The 9 Best SendGrid Alternatives: Bigger, Better, Cheaper?

SendGrid is a transactional email service provider that specialises in bulk sending. It’s trusted by some huge enterprises like Uber, Spotify and Airbnb. The kind of businesses that send a lot of customer emails.

But SendGrid is by no means the only bulk email service out there. And just because it’s right for Uber, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

In this article, I’ve picked 9 SendGrid alternatives. For each, I’ll show what they do better than SendGrid and who they’re best suited for.

Why people look for a Sendgrid alternative

SendGrid runs SMTP servers. SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It provides reliable email delivery at high volumes. Sendgrid can be used for email marketing and for sending transactional emails like order confirmations, abandoned cart emails, and password reset mails. Find out more about SMTP or read our guide with the best free SMTP servers.

But there are also plenty of reasons why you might want to check out an alternative to SendGrid.

Cost, for one. SendGrid isn’t the cheapest SMTP option out there. 

It starts at $19.95, which lets you send up to 50k emails a month. Not too bad. But if you’re in a team, it’s per user. And you don’t get email validation, which checks you’re sending to legit email addresses. There is a free plan but limited to 100 emails a day. 

SendGrid’s email marketing platform isn’t the best out there. There is no way to automate campaigns until you sign up for the most expensive tier. Even then, they’re just basic drip campaigns. So there are plenty of reasons to look at SendGrid alternatives.

SendGrid Alternatives Overview

With all the reasons to look at SendGrid alternatives. Here’s a quick summary of what the 9 best have to offer.

Best ForFree Plan?Starting Price
SMTP2GODeliverability Reporting & TestingYes$15/month
Brevo (Sendinblue)Free Marketing & Transactional EmailsYes$25/month
MailerSendValue for TeamsYes$30/month
MoosendValue for Small BusinessesYes, 30 days free$9/month
ActiveCampaignAdvanced Marketing AutomationYes, 14 days free$29/month
MailgunManaging Where Emails LandYes, 30 days free$35/month
GoogleFree Bulk Email SendingYes, w/ Workspace$6/month
Amazon SESScalable Sending & Flexible Pricing62K free emails on EC2$0.1/1K emails
Elastic EmailUser-friendly Bulk Email SendingYes$9/month

The 9 Best SendGrid Alternatives in 2023

The 9 SendGrid alternatives below are different types of platforms. Some are SMTP servers. Some specialise in email marketing. Some cover both. But all are here because they beat SendGrid in one way or another.  Let’s dig into the details of each great SendGrid alternative. 

1. SMTP2GO – Best for Deliverability Reporting and Testing

SMTP2GO activity reports

SMTP2GO is a global email delivery service. It’s an SMTP bulk-sending service with extras, geared towards high deliverability.

There are lots of tricks and techniques for helping emails avoid junk folders. SMTP2GO does most of them. It monitors blocklists and ‘spam traps’, tools email clients use to ‘catch’ unsolicited sending.

It constantly monitors not only its own servers but all major email clients, too. If there are any issues, SMTP2GO takes care of them.

This means SMTP2GO can offer in-depth reporting. You can see what has been delivered, what has bounced, what has been tagged as spam and more for every email. Before you send, you can also check how your email looks in 40 different email clients. And if there is anything to do that increases your mail to pass spam filters.

SMTP2Go Pros

  • Excellent deliverability 
  • Automated spam detection tests and monitoring
  • Status reports for every email
  • Email testing across 40 clients

SMTP2Go Cons

  • It’s purely email delivery, so if you want automation or email design it isn’t the right fit.
  • The interface doesn’t look too shiny or spiffy.

On price, SMTP2GO beats SendGrid. It starts at $15 a month for 40,000 emails. There is a free plan with 1,000 emails per month.

Try SMTP2GO for free here

2. Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) – Best for Free Email Marketing and Transactional Emails

Brevo vs Sendgrid transactional email marketing alternative

Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) is an excellent alternative to SendGrid based in Europe. Like SendGrid, it offers email marketing alongside an SMTP server. Brevo is a stronger option for email marketing campaigns. It’s got high-quality pre-made email templates plus a useful drag-and-drop editor. Automation for campaigns is far better compared to Sendgrid. You’re not limited to simple autoresponders. Conditional workflows make it easy to send emails triggered by contact behaviour.

Brevo’s SMTP server makes it very easy to start. Just a simple three-step process. You can also use the API for automated sending from your website. Once configured, Brevo’s SMTP server tracks all emails for delivery, opens, clicks etc. Find out more in our full Brevo (Sendinblue) review

Brevo Sendgrid alternative SMTP set up

Brevo Pros

  • Email marketing and transactional email service 
  • Great automation tools
  • Easy to configure
  • Very generous free plan

Brevo Cons

  • No built-in email verification service

Brevo pricing starts at $25 a month. That gives you 20k emails with unlimited contacts. And Brevo is better value for bulk sending over 100,000 emails a month. Learn more about costs in our Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) pricing guide.

Brevo also has a great free plan. You can send up to 300 emails a day to unlimited contacts. All core transactional and email marketing features are included.

Get started with Brevo for free here

3. MailerSend – Best Value for Teams

email templates transactional emails SMTP server

MailerSend is a straight-up transactional email service. It’s the sister service of email marketing software MailerLite. It borrows MailerLite’s drag-and-drop email builder. And its templates. Learn more about the editor and templates in our full MailerLite review.

A lot of SendGrid alternatives overlook email design. The assumption is a transactional email doesn’t have to look great. Receipts, order confirmations, delivery updates etc are purely functional. That’s a myth. A good-looking transactional email reinforces your brand and gives visual consistency. A professional template also makes the recipient feel secure. This is important for security, too. It’s much easier for a scammer to copy a plain email for phishing with minimal design.

MailerSend’s templates support dynamic content. You can personalize the same template to show different content to different contacts.

MailerSend has an email verification tool for removing unused or fake email addresses. This improves email deliverability rates. Its API lets you set up email sending within your website. You can also use MailerSend as your inbox with inbound email routing.

MailerSend Pros

  • Dynamic templates
  • Drag-and-drop email editor for customising transactional emails
  • Email verification
  • Great value for teams

MailerSend Cons

  • No native email marketing options

MailerSend pricing starts at $30 a month. For this, you can send 50,000 emails and verify 100 emails. This also gives you 20 users on the account, making it much better value for teams than SendGrid. It continues to be a good value as you scale email sending. There is a free plan, too. This lets a single user send 3,000 emails a month for free. 

Try MailerSend for free here

4. Moosend – Best Value for Small Businesses

SendGrid alternative Moosend SMTP email service provider

Moosend is a great email marketing service for small businesses. But it also comes with an SMTP server to help with high-volume campaigns. An API lets you send emails directly from a web host, like WordPress. And you can use it for transactional emails. Get the full picture of what it has to offer in our complete Moosend review

Moosend’s email marketing tools are slick and user-friendly. Some are also pretty advanced. It offers advanced automations and lead tracking. Especially good for ecommerce businesses. You can connect your digital store and drop product listings straight into emails. And it helps achieve high email deliverability rates with tools like its spam test.

Moosend great SendGrid alternative spam testing

Moosend Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • No email sending limits
  • Quality email marketing tools
  • Great for ecommerce businesses

Moosend Cons

  • SMTP is a little tricky to set up and use

As an alternative to SendGrid, Moosend has a stand-out advantage. It’s excellent value for money. Moosend pricing starts at just $9 a month. For this, you can send unlimited emails to 500 contacts.

You can try Moosend out with a 30-day free trial but you can use the SMTP server in the free trial.

Get started with Moosend for free

5. ActiveCampaign – Best for Advanced Email Marketing Automation

SendGrid alternative ActiveCampaign email automation options

ActiveCampaign is a great SendGrid alternative for marketing automation. If you are looking to scale your email marketing, it should be right at the top of your list. It has a transactional email service called Postmark.

ActiveCampaign has a good reputation for deliverability. it’s one of the longest-running email marketing services. And it has made running a reliable high-volume email server one of its core USPs. It offers built-in list-building tools. And various features that help you avoid being flagged as spam.

The email marketing tools are high quality. In particular, it has some of the best email automation tools out there. Including hundreds of pre-made automation templates. You can find much more information in our in-depth ActiveCampaign review.

It’s also great for ecommerce businesses. You can add sales CRM for a fully integrated sales and marketing set-up. Even with these advanced features, it’s all easy to use and learn.

ActiveCampaign Pros

  • Unlimited email sending
  • High deliverability rates
  • In-built list cleaning
  • Advanced email marketing tools, including excellent automation

ActiveCampaign Cons

  • The free trial is 14 days, which would be great if it would be longer.

ActiveCampaign pricing starts at $29 a month. All paid plans get unlimited email sends until you reach 250,000 contacts. So it’s ideal for small to medium-sized businesses looking to grow their email marketing. Try ActiveCampaign with a 30-day free trial.

Try ActiveCampaign for free

6. Mailgun – Best for Managing When and Where Emails Land

Mailgun SMTP relay server deliverability tools

Out of all our SendGrid alternatives, Mailgun is perhaps the most direct competitor. Like SendGrid, the core of its service is an SMTP relay server and accompanying API. It has a similar lineup of big-name clients. Microsoft, Etsy, Lyft and more. And similar features.

In a straight SendGrid vs Mailgun contest, SendGrid is a better option for email marketing. Mailgun lacks email marketing tools to send marketing messages. Although you can sign up for its sister service, Mailjet.

But Mailgun fights back with its InboxReady tools. This is a full suite of deliverability features. It includes email verification, pre-send testing, and inbox placement. This last tool tells you where messages will land. For example, in the Promotions tab of Gmail or the Inbox. All of these work together to increase your deliverability and open rates.

Mailgun also features send-time optimization. It uses AI to pick the best time to send emails. User tracking also supports flexible and in-depth analytics. You can use tagging and tracking to dig down into contact behaviour stats at an individual level.

Mailgun Pros

  • Advanced suite of deliverability tools
  • Flexible and in-depth reporting
  • Send time optimization
  • Inbound email routing

Mailgun Cons

  • No native email marketing tools

Mailgun pricing starts at $35 a month for 50,000 emails. For $75 a month, you get a dedicated IP address and 100,000 emails. There’s a one-month free trial, limited to 5,000 emails.

7. Google – Best for Free Bulk Email Sending (for Google Workspace Users)

If you are a Google Workspace user, here’s some good news. You can send bulk emails from your Gmail account. And unlike other SendGrid alternatives, it won’t cost you anything.

Gmail multi-send mode

Google has a couple of bulk email-sending options. The first is to use Multi-send Mode. This is really straightforward. In the Compose window, click the icon at the bottom of the screen. Once you activate Multi-send Mode, Gmail will personalize the greeting to each contact. You can send to 1,500 contacts at a time.

The other option is to use Gmail’s free SMTP relay. This takes a bit more setting up. You have to log in to your Google Admin console. And then navigate to Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail > Routing. There are options to route emails from other platforms through Gmail’s SMTP relay. You can also access the API to add the relay to websites and other apps.

Google SMTP routing

These options are free and convenient for Google Workspace users. But they’re only really suitable for modest sending volumes. Google is careful about sending limits. Multi-sending in Gmail is limited to 1,500 recipients per day. The SMTP relay allows only 100 recipients per message. And there is an overall limit of 10,000 total recipients per day. But you can scale to very high limits using a Google for Business account.

Google Pros

  • Free bulk sending with Google Workspace accounts
  • Very convenient if you use Gmail
  • High deliverability
  • Automatic personalisation

Google Cons

  • Low send limits

8. Amazon SES – Best for Scalable Sending

Amazon SES cloud-based Sendgrid alternative

Amazon Simple Email Service is a SendGrid alternative built on Amazon’s giant cloud infrastructure. Which means you get enormous scalability.

SES works with any cloud application. It can be used for email relaying or transactional emails. Its Virtual Deliverability Manager (VDM) tools automate inbox placement and send optimization. In-depth statistics cover all sending and deliverability metrics.

It also features a Mailbox Simulator. This lets you test specific scenarios like bounces or getting flagged as spam. The idea is to let you test-run how to handle such issues that harm your sender reputation.

What makes SES unique as a SendGrid alternative is its open-ended scalability. Amazon uses it for its own transactional emails and marketing campaigns. It sends out billions of emails every month. But its pay-as-you-go pricing structure means you only pay for what you send. So however big or small your business is, however many emails you send, the cost is customised to your needs. And changes as your needs change.

Amazon SES Pros

  • Open-ended scalability
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing
  • Automated deliverability tools and reputation reporting
  • Mailbox simulator for testing deliverability issues

Amazon SES Cons

  • No tools for creating and managing email marketing campaigns

Amazon SES charges a flat rate of $0.10 per 1000 emails sent, plus $0.12 for each GB of attachments. But if you run applications on Amazon’s EC2 cloud, you can send up to 62,000 emails a month free of charge.

9. Elastic Email – Best for User-Friendly Bulk Email Sending

Elastic Email user-friendly SendGrid alternative

Elastic Email is a user-friendly SendGrid alternative. It offers an SMTP relay API so you can send emails from your website or app. It includes a range of features to ensure high deliverability rates, including email verification. Dedicated IP addresses are available. They come with extra deliverability features like IP warm-up.

Backing up these deliverability tools, Elastic Email offers in-depth analytics. These include insights about why contacts unsubscribe.

For email marketing, Elastic Email features all the tools you would expect. Everything is straightforward to use. You get the email builder and templates to build emails that fit your brand but the customization is a bit limited. 

Elastic Email Pros

  • Advanced deliverability tools
  • In-depth analytics
  • Drag-and-drop email builder for transactional emails
  • Full email marketing suite

Elastic Email Cons

  • Template customization is a bit limited

The Elastic Email API plan starts at $9 a month for 10,000 emails. The email marketing plan also starts at $9. You can send up to 60,000 emails a month to 2000 contacts. Both have free plans limited to 100 emails a day.

SendGrid Alternatives: which is the best?

So here’s my take on the best SendGrid alternatives out there. But which one is the best email delivery service for you?

It’s easier to have an email marketing and transactional email service combined. Especially for small businesses. SendGrid offers both but isn’t the most affordable.

Best for email marketing and transactional email combined:

Best ForFree Plan?Starting Price
Brevo (Sendinblue)Free Marketing & Transactional EmailsYes$25/month
MoosendValue for Small BusinessesYes, 30 days free$9/month
ActiveCampaignAdvanced Marketing AutomationYes, 14 days free$29/month
Elastic EmailUser-friendly Bulk Email SendingYes$9/month

Best alternatives to SendGrid for transactional emails only:

Best ForFree Plan?Starting Price
SMTP2GODeliverability Reporting and TestingYes$15/month
MailerSendValue for TeamsYes$30/month

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sendgrid free?

Yes, SendGrid is free. It has a free plan with 100 emails/day, an email template editor, SMTP relay, analytics, deliverability insights, and ticket support.

Sendgrid alternatives with better free plans are Brevo, MailerSend, and Elastic Email.

How much does SendGrid cost?

SendGrid costs $19.95/month/user for 50,000 emails and 5,000 contacts. The cost goes up if you raise the email delivery and contact limit. It costs $89.95/month for 200K emails, 1000 users, 5 event webhooks, 2500 email validations, and dedicated IP. 1,4 million emails cost $749/month with the same features.

Why do people use SendGrid?

People use SendGrid to send bulk and transactional emails. It uses SMTP servers to provide a reliable email delivery service at high volumes. It also combines email marketing services with transactional emails.

What are the limitations of SendGrid?

SendGrid’s limitations include only offering limited email marketing automation options. It becomes expensive for higher email limits. And its cheaper tier lacks email verification tools. These are among the reasons why people look for SendGrid alternatives.

The best SendGrid alternatives are SMTP2GO, Brevo, MailerSend, Moosend, ActiveCampaign, and Elastic Email.

About Pauly Newman


Pauly Newman is a business writer with 2+ years of email marketing and software review experience. He tested over 60 business software including email marketing tools, CRMs, outreach services, SMTP providers, and AI writing tools.

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