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A Comprehensive Comparison: SendGrid vs. Mailgun vs. Amazon SES vs. Mandrill

Hitesh Umaletiya
Hitesh Umaletiya
June 1, 2023
Clock icon10 mins read
Calendar iconLast updated June 1, 2023

In this blog post, we’ll compare four popular ESPs for notification purposes: SendGrid, Mailgun, Amazon SES, and Mandrill.

Emails have played a vital role in business operations for a long time. Marketers have utilized Email to communicate various types of information, such as product announcements, launches, updates, business communication, newsletters, and more.

However, managing email notifications can pose a significant challenge, especially when sending thousands of emails frequently.

That’s where email service providers (ESPs) come in. ESPs provide a reliable and efficient way to send and manage Email at a large scale. There are many email providers available on the market, each with its features and benefits. We’ll examine their key features, pricing, and overall performance to help you choose the correct ESP for your business or application. Whether you want to start from a new one or switch your email marketing platforms, keep reading to find out which ESP best fits your needs.


SendGrid is an SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol) email client to send large volumes of emails. It provides users with email marketing tools to keep track of emails sent, delivery rates, spam reports, clicks, etc.


SendGrid offers comprehensive and useful data metrics, as well as the ability to establish automated processes.

  • There’s a lifelong free plan.
  • It’s secure and safe.
  • Users can send both newsletters and transactional emails: This allows users to use a single tool for all email needs, like sending newsletters and email updates.
  • Advanced analytics: With the rich dashboard, you can gain access to in-depth information about the performance of your email campaign, such as open, click and bounce rates and spam scores. Furthermore, you can track deliveries, clicks, and unsubscribes for an individual email, providing valuable insight into the effectiveness of your campaign. Tools for customizing campaigns: It provides options to plan and execute marketing automation campaigns; also, you can take advantage of user segmentation, A/B testing, and scheduling.
  • Easy to understand: The platform offers extensive resources such as comprehensive documentation, guides, and instructional videos to help users understand its various features. Additionally, round-the-clock support is available to users who may require any assistance.
  • With well-written documentation, APIs are easy to use and understand.
  • Libraries are compatible with popular frameworks: A broad range of API libraries, compatible with many popular frameworks such as Java, Node.js, Go, PHP, Python, C#, and more, that support various frameworks offer developers a convenient way to integrate SendGrid into their applications.
  • Deliverability: The company states that its delivery rate is over 90%, exceeding the industry average of 85%.
  • Support: The level of support available varies depending on your plan. Free plans allow you to create a support web ticket and receive email responses. The “Essential plan” includes live chat support, while the “Pro/Premier plans” offer phone and live chat support. Starting at $19.95, the Premium plans to provide a guaranteed response time for customer inquiries.


  • Sendgrid’s premium plans are relatively expensive compared to other counterparts.
  • Additionally, it restricts access to advanced features if you don’t opt for the highest tier of plans, which are also relatively expensive. 
  • Premium plans differ based on the user’s required services and tools. 
  • Users can choose the essential plan if they only need to send emails. 
  • However, the highest-tier plan offers a full range of tools and automation features for a more comprehensive email campaign.

When to choose:

  • SendGrid is a reliable email service for bulk emailing, allowing you to efficiently manage and send millions of emails, including newsletters and transactional messages.
  • The platform features tools for creating marketing campaigns, such as email templates, A/B testing, and analytics, which can help marketers to reach their audience effectively.
  • For transactional emails, including order confirmations, password resets, etc.
  • SendGrid also provides tools to ensure that your emails aren’t marked as spam, which can be crucial for successful email marketing. 


The cost of using this platform depends on your chosen plan, either the Email API plan or the marketing campaign plan. The price may also differ based on your specific needs and requirements.

However, it offers a trial plan that allows you to send approximately 40,000 emails during the first 30 days, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the platform.

The Email is easy to integrate into your website, while the marketing campaign plan provides various tools to create, send, automate, and market your campaigns effectively.


Mailgun is a transactional email service provider for developers, offering seamless SMTP integration and enabling the sending of emails with just a few lines of code. So it may not be suitable for marketers (or non-technical people). 

Mailgun’s robust APIs empower developers to effortlessly create and manage email campaigns, gain deep insights into advanced analytics, and easily send, track, and build marketing campaigns with precision.


  • Deliverability: The company claims to have a bounce rate of 0.42%, lower than the industry average of 2%.
  • Developer-friendly: It is designed with developers in mind, providing a robust API that is easy to use and integrates easily with other applications.
  • Advanced features: Advanced email features, such as email validation, spam filtering, and email tracking, can help optimize email campaigns.
  • Email validation: This tool verifies email addresses, ensuring that emails are delivered to valid addresses and reducing bounce rates.
  • Customizable templates:  A wide range of customizable email templates are available to help developers save time and effort when designing emails.
  • Marketing email: MailJet is another tool designed to assist users in creating marketing templates and automating, sending, and monitoring email marketing campaigns within the market.
  • Tracking: It includes powerful tracking tools to provide users with detailed data, real-time visibility, and clean organization. Marketers can use this data to send personalized and targeted emails to their audience.
  • Support: The “Pay As You Grow” plan offers flexibility to begin with a lower fee and then increase the level of service as needed, with corresponding adjustments to the payment amount. The basic plan offers support through a ticket system, while higher-tier plans provide the option for a real-time chat or phone communication with a representative.


  • It has no free plan: Unlike other ones, it does not offer a free plan but provides a free trial that includes 5,000 complimentary emails.
  • Limited marketing features: Mailgun is designed primarily for transactional emails, so it only offers limited marketing features that other email delivery services do, such as list and campaign management.
  • Limited customer support: Mailgun’s customer support is limited to Email and chat and does not offer phone support.
  • Complex: Mailgun may seem complicated for users who lack experience with programming. 

When to choose:

  • Easy integration with the application: Mailgun provides developers with convenient tools, such as pre-built libraries for popular programming languages and well-documented APIs, which can save them time and effort.
  • Mailgun is better suited for transactional emails and small business owners who don’t need to send thousands of emails simultaneously or frequently.
  • For developers looking for advanced features with powerful email capabilities, Mailgun is a great choice.
  • It provides email validation tools that can verify whether an email address is valid and capable of receiving messages and offer insights into email deliverability.


Pricing plans depend on how many emails you send and what you need to do with the tool. Mailgun provides a free trial along with various premium plans to choose from.

  • Trial (5000 emails for 30 days)
  • Foundation: from $35/month for 50,000 emails
  • Scale: from $90/month for 100,000 emails
  • Custom (Pricing as you request)

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Amazon SES

Amazon SES is a highly reliable and cost-efficient email-sending service that allows you to send a variety of content. It lets you send marketing messages and transactional emails to users. It provides a highly scalable email infrastructure to send transactional emails at a low cost.


  • Amazon SES is an excellent tool for transactional Email, with a pay-as-you-go pricing model that can be a good option for many users.
  • Integrating SES with other Amazon AWS services is easy and seamless, allowing you to use it with EC2-hosted websites, SNS-based notifications, and customer reporting from Amazon CloudWatch.
  • Marketers can utilize Amazon SES API to send and receive emails; for receiving emails, the charge would apply. 
  • It allows for up to 1,000 free emails every month.
  • Users can use it with the Amazon email simulator to test emails before sending them, which can help you avoid unnecessary failures.


  • If you are looking for a user-friendly interface with features like drag-and-drop, templates, and a visually appealing dashboard, you will feel disappointed.
  • The dashboard’s user interface could be more straightforward, making it difficult for a non-technical person to decode. 
  • Obtaining real-time analytics and valuable data from the dashboard involves the use of external tools, as it is a more technically-oriented process.
  • The setup process can be challenging for non-technical users, so if your team includes individuals with limited technical skills, they may need help using Amazon SES.

When to choose:

  • Familiarity with the AWS environment
  • Hosting application on Amazon EC2 or considering migration to EC2
  • Seeking a pay-as-you-go subscription model
  • Looking for a cost-effective solution.


If you host your application Amazon’s EC2, you can enjoy sending up to 62,000 emails for free monthly. Amazon SES is particularly advantageous for small companies and startups looking to run email campaigns without incurring costs. On the other hand, if your application is hosted elsewhere, you will be charged $0.1 for every 1000 emails sent using a pay-as-you-go subscription model. This model benefits those who prefer not to opt for prepaid plans and want to pay only for the services they use.


Mandrill is a transactional email API for MailChimp users. It allows marketers to send individualized e-commerce emails and automated transactional emails. 

Marketers widely prefer this tool due to its exceptional capacity to meet their requirements for transactional email marketing. The platform features a well-designed and easy-to-use interface, enabling marketers to execute their campaigns effortlessly. It is also well applauded for its robust and simple email service, allowing developers to integrate it into their applications without hassle.


  • Mandrill uses custom frameworks to ensure high deliverability and security.
  • There is smooth onboarding and a quick setup.
  • It is compatible with and easy to integrate with various web frameworks.
  • Advanced features: Mandrill offers advanced features such as A/B testing, delivery schedules, and useful insights, which can help optimize your email campaigns.
  • Robust API: Mandrill is well-documented and easy to use, making it easy to integrate with other applications.
  • Easy integration: If you are already using Mailchimp, you can easily integrate Mandrill with your Mailchimp account.
  • Customizable templates: Mandrill offers customizable email templates, which can help you save time and effort when designing your emails.


  • Mandrill does not offer a free plan but lets you send 1,000 free emails.
  • Limited marketing features: Mandrill is explicitly designed for transactional emails, so it only offers some of the marketing features, such as list and campaign management.
  • Limited customer support: Mandrill’s customer support is limited to Email and chat and does not offer phone support.
  • Relies on Mailchimp: Mandrill is owned by Mailchimp. It may be a disadvantage for those who prefer to use an independent email marketing tool and also have to pay for two tools
  • After 30 days, no information will be available on the delivered emails.
  • It needs an updated user interface.
  • Difficult domain validation. 

When to choose:

  • You need to send a large volume of emails regularly.
  • It isn’t for affiliate marketers.
  • It can be a favorable choice if you seek a tool offering detailed email reports.
  • When a user wants to send only transactional emails.


Mandrill offers paid plans with different features and email volume for all emails.


After comparing several ESPs, including SendGrid, Mailgun, Mandrill, and Amazon SES, it’s clear that each platform offers its unique set of features and benefits.

SendGrid is well-liked for its easy-to-use interface and reliable platform.  Mailgun stands out for its advanced email analytics and security features. Mandrill, part of the Mailchimp platform, offers excellent email personalization options and integration with other Mailchimp tools. Finally, Amazon SES provides a cost-effective solution for sending high volumes of emails with flexible scaling options.

In summary, the choice of an email service provider (ESP) is based on users’ specific requirements and preferences and other key factors such as budget and technical expertise in utilizing advanced tools. We hope the comparison above can help you pick the most suitable ESP for your needs.

Hitesh Umaletiya

Hitesh Umaletiya

Co-founder of Brilworks. Technology futurists who love to help startups to convert their ideas into reality. We are working with startups to SMEs and we always believe in their success.

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