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Choosing the right email marketing platform is a crucial decision for any business owner. SendGrid and Mandrill are two of the most popular solutions, but they have key differences. In this comprehensive SendGrid vs Mandrill comparison guide, we will evaluate both platforms across a variety of factors to help you determine the best choice for your needs.

Our comparison looks at market position and popularity, ease of use, design customization, features and functionality, website performance, customer support, pricing, and reviews and reputation. We will dig deep into specifics on email capabilities, blogging, integrations with other software platforms, speed and reliability metrics, community forums, transparent pricing models, and what real users are saying.

With so many key aspects of your business relying on your email marketing software, it is essential to make an informed decision based on your unique priorities. Both SendGrid and Mandrill have advantages in certain areas, and our goal is to break these down so you can confidently choose the platform that aligns with your business goals.

1. Understanding the Basics

SendGrid was founded in 2009 by Isaac Saldana, Jose Lopez, and Tim Jenkins. The company has become one of the most popular email service providers, currently used by over 80,000 customers. SendGrid went public in 2017 and was acquired by Twilio in 2018, furthering its market leadership position.

Mandrill started in 2012 and was acquired by MailChimp in 2014. It quickly gained popularity as an add-on service to MailChimp for more advanced email functionality. Mandrill continues to be part of MailChimp today following its acquisition in 2014.

Both platforms now have strong market positioning. SendGrid has more large enterprise customers while Mandrill tends to focus on growing small businesses. In terms of broader community engagement and support, the SendGrid Facebook page has over 15,000 members and the Mandrill Facebook page has over 492K followers.

The market landscape continues to have room for both SendGrid and Mandrill as leading email service providers. SendGrid may have an advantage in some larger organizations. Still, Mandrill’s simplicity and integration with MailChimp make it appealing for early-stage startups.

2. Features and Functionality

Marketing Automation


SendGrid offers a variety of automation tools to help streamline email workflows. Their Workflows tool allows you to set up triggers and sequences to send targeted emails based on user actions.

For example, you can set up a welcome series to onboard new subscribers or an abandoned cart workflow to re-engage non-purchasers.

The Automation tool also lets you build campaign-driven interactions based on time delays, moving contacts between groups, and sending associated emails.

You can create date-based drips for holidays, events, or nurturing sequences. There is also automation functionality built into other SendGrid products like Marketing Campaigns.

Overall, SendGrid provides robust options for handling repetitive tasks in your email marketing campaigns, and creating personalized subscriber journeys. The drag-and-drop workflow builder makes it relatively easy to set up complex multi-branch automation without coding.


While Mandrill doesn’t have the same extensive built-in automation tools as SendGrid, you can accomplish similar functionality through its API and integrations with other email services.

For example, by connecting Mandrill with Mailchimp’s automation workflows you can set up sequences, and triggers based on user engagement, and personalized behaviors.

Mandrill also enables automation through subsequent API calls. You can build custom onboarding journeys by writing code to have emails deploy in response to certain actions.

Webhook support facilitates the process further. This approach does require more technical expertise compared to SendGrid’s point-and-click editor.

In summary, achieving automation with Mandrill requires either external tools or development work. SendGrid makes it much easier to self-serve complex automation across the customer lifecycle within a single UI.

Winner: SendGrid

SendGrid is the winner when it comes to easy and powerful email automation for your marketing campaign. The visual workflow builder enables dynamic sequences without needing to write any code.

SendGrid’s breadth of native automation capabilities surpasses what Mandrill can offer without integration or API-based development. For rapidly setting up behavioral journeys, SendGrid is the preferable choice.

Email Templates


SendGrid provides a library of professionally designed email templates that you can customize for your brand. There are templates for a wide variety of use cases including welcome series, product announcements, event promotions, newsletters, and more.

The template editor makes it easy to swap out images, colors, and text without any coding required. You can also create new templates from scratch using a responsive drag-and-drop builder. It includes modules for buttons, dividers, social sharing, footers, and other common email elements.

Overall, SendGrid streamlines the creation of polished, on-brand emails with flexible templates and an intuitive editing experience. The availability of mobile-optimized pre-designed templates accelerates getting impactful emails deployed quickly.


Mandrill also offers customizable email templates, but there is less variety available compared to SendGrid. The focus is more on providing base templates for transactional emails like order confirmations, shipping updates, password resets, and receipts.

The templates use handlebars syntax to define editable elements for things like header images, product details, user info, and more. There are also modules for common components like footers, headers, and buttons that you can mix and match.

While suitable for essential operational emails, those needing templates for broader marketing communications like newsletters or lead nurturing campaigns have more limited options with Mandrill. The code requirements also introduce more complexity.

Winner: SendGrid

Both transactional email services have tons of value, but SendGrid wins for email templates thanks to the vast library spanning marketing and transactional use cases. The drag-and-drop editor minimizes any need to touch code to customize templates.

Together with mobile responsiveness being built-in, SendGrid’s templates enable launching highly professional emails faster across any device.



SendGrid provides several ways to segment your contacts for targeted email campaigns. You can create segments based on user behaviors like email opens, clicks, and site activity as well as profile attributes and engagement with specific campaigns.

Dynamic segmentation automatically groups users whenever certain conditions are matched so your lists stay up-to-date. AI-powered predictive modeling is also available to identify the best contacts for each campaign using machine learning algorithms.

SendGrid’s segmentation combines high flexibility with intelligence to easily allow both rule-based and highly tailored segments. You can get very granular separating exact user actions over time when needed.


In Mandrill, you create segments mainly using tags that can be assigned to individual contacts in several ways: via API calls, MailChimp integration, or imports from a database. You can group all contacts carrying a given tag for emails targeted to that list.

While functional for basic grouping by shared attributes, Mandrill doesn’t have the behavioral and predictive segmentation offered in SendGrid. Your ability to create advanced segments representing sequences over time or dial into specific metrics is limited.

Segmenting requires manual tagging of contacts instead of leveraging natural clusters in your data. The targetability is decent but lacks dynamic updating and intelligence of SendGrid’s offerings.

Winner: SendGrid

With its behavioral-based, automated, predictive, and AI-enhanced segmentation, SendGrid beats Mandrill.

You can finely target emails based on multiple contact attributes and granular metrics in a constantly optimizing way not supported by Mandrill’s tags and static lists. For advanced segmentation unlocking the most value from your data, go with SendGrid.



SendGrid provides robust email analytics allowing deep analysis of your campaigns. You can track opens, clicks, unsubscribes, bounces, and more with visualizations over time. Data can be segmented across campaigns, groups, templates, and other attributes.

The Email Activity feed lets you drill into metrics for each email like delivery rate, spam rate, latency, click activity, and engagement over segments like location, device type, client type, and contact attributes. Comparative reporting shows how different campaigns performed relative to others.

SendGrid also offers funnel analysis for conversion tracking. You can connect data from your website, ads, landing pages, and other systems to map the entire customer journey with their Email Experience Platform. Highly customizable dashboards give flexibility in reporting.


Mandrill also includes opens, clicks, unsubscribe tracking, and related metrics for understanding email campaign performance over time. However, reporting tends to be more standardized without the deeper segmentation or customization offered by SendGrid.

Exporting the raw data is available for additional analysis outside Mandrill. However, exploring trends around specific use cases, buyer stages, or integrated platforms requires separate tools. Insights are largely limited to general campaign metrics versus user journey analysis.

The reporting works well for basic email deliverability, opens, and clicks but lacks the conversion tracking and customizable reporting of SendGrid’s expansive analytics toolkit. you dive into our unique buyer personas or model complex nurturing journeys over time.

Winner: SendGrid

With its advanced behavioral analytics, comparative reporting, multivariate visualizations, and unified customer data, SendGrid easily wins over Mandrill for actionable email insights.

The custom dashboards, engagement segmentation, and conversion rate optimization capabilities provide unmatched analytics depth tailored to any business’ needs.

Unique Features


SendGrid has a few standout unique features not offered by Mandrill. One is the Email Validation API which verifies the accuracy of email addresses to reduce bounces before sending. You can also A/B test email content and subject lines to optimize engagement.

The SendGrid Suppression Manager provides in-depth invalid email management across multiple accounts in one dashboard for improved deliverability. There are also add-on offerings like Ground Control for protecting against bot attacks and Package Defender for scanning attachments.

Overall, SendGrid focuses more on expanded tools to perfect the email sending process end-to-end from list validation to security protections and optimization. The integrations possible across these components enable highly customized journeys.


A unique feature of Mandrill is inbound email processing which enables setting up addresses to receive emails that automatically trigger actions like adding data to a CRM. This facilitates workflows triggered by users emailing a support alias rather than needing API calls.

Mandrill also offers distinctive capabilities around sending high volumes of email at scale. Custom packages are available for sending over a million emails per month, including dedicated IP addresses and account management. This caters well to major e-commerce sites with huge mailing lists.

For core high-volume email sending or tying emails received to database updates, Mandrill has differentiated functionality versus SendGrid. But SendGrid’s tools better support maximizing engagement and conversions once emails are sent.

Winner: Tie

Both Mandrill and SendGrid offer unique features that could be appealing for certain use cases. SendGrid provides more end-to-end optimization while Mandrill’s inbound email and extreme scalability stand out for niche needs around automation or ultra high-volume mailings.

For most, SendGrid likely edges ahead, but Mandrill secures the tie with its inbound and scaling specialization.

3. Ease of Use


SendGrid provides a clean, modern interface that is intuitive to navigate. The main navigation menus segment tools into categories like Email, Automation, Marketing, Contacts, Analytics, and Account. Within each section, settings and options are well-organized.

For beginners, SendGrid offers guided onboarding tours for getting set up with common workflows like sending your first email campaign.

The visual workflow editor also makes it simple to map out automation journeys step-by-step. Contextual help content provides recommendations as you use the platform.

Overall, SendGrid offers a polished experience that both beginners and experts can appreciate. Despite having deep functionality, the UI avoids complexity overload. The segmentation keeps related tools together while guiding new users.


The Mandrill user interface displays are simple and easy to use, although arguably more text-heavy compared to SendGrid’s highly visual approach. The menu navigation uses small-caps text links rather than icons which may appeal more to technical users.

The tooltips and support articles available are useful for orienting new Mandrill users toward creating marketing emails.

However, the UI lacks some of the step-by-step guidance that accompanies SendGrid’s onboarding flows. Moving between sections can involve clicks across several pages making workflows slightly less cohesive.

Mandrill covers the basics well but falls a bit short on UX polish and intuitiveness tailored for email marketing newcomers. For developers familiar with APIs and documentation-driven experiences, Mandrill aligns better with less technical marketers.

Winner: SendGrid

While the Mandrill user-friendly interface has a lot going for it, SendGrid wins this one thanks to its modern interface, guided onboarding, and workflow approach.

Both new and experienced email marketers can appreciate the thoughtful information architecture and intuitive navigation. Mandrill misses the mark on UX polish that alleviates complexity for beginners.

4. Email Deliverability


SendGrid offers high deliverability through dedicated IP addresses and integrations to ensure emails stay out of the spam folder and reach the inbox. Sender authentication like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC prevent emails from being flagged as spam.

Granular analytics provide visibility into deferral, bounce, and spam rates across every campaign. Advanced tools like automatic IP warmup help new IPs establish a good sender reputation to avoid temporary blocks when first sending.

Additional monitoring capabilities are available to stay ahead of any deliverability issues.

Overall, this transactional email service provides robust deliverability capabilities tailored to both high-sending volume and companies ramping up more gradually with complete visibility to optimize along the way.


Mandrill also offers reliable email deliverability leveraging a large-scale shared IP infrastructure built specifically to maintain the IP reputation of your transactional emails. Reputation maintenance helps ensure long-term inbox placement while still allowing customers access to peaked usage capacity when needed.

Details are more limited compared to SendGrid but overall effectiveness remains decent. There may be occasional throttling during monthly sending spikes for the small minority of high-volume customers.

But in aggregate Mandrill sustains strong deliverability through its shared sending architecture and years of inbox provider relationship building.

For lower-mid volume use cases, in practice, Mandrill sustains deliverability nearly on par with SendGrid’s more premium offerings, although less customizable for individual customer needs.

Winner: Tie

When it comes to email delivery, we’ll call it a tie. Both SendGrid and Mandrill present reliable platforms for getting your transactional e-mails delivered with proper sender authentications, dedicated IPs, relationship building with major inbox providers, and analytics when issues occur.

SendGrid offers more customization while Mandrill’s shared focus targets reliability at scale. For most use cases, end effectiveness is likely comparable either way.

5. Customer Support and Community


SendGrid provides 24/7 customer support via live chat, email, and phone. Common questions can typically be answered quickly through the chatbot or by searching the knowledge base articles. All users have access to the support team for assistance with technical issues.

Additional resources like step-by-step tutorials, videos, webinars, and guides are available through SendGrid’s Email Education Hub to help you develop effective email marketing strategies.

In terms of community, there is an active SendGrid Facebook group with over 1,500 members for posting questions and discussing best practices with peers.


Mandrill offers technical support tiers based on your account package, ranging from limited email support for free users to 24/7 live chat and priority case handling for higher-level paid plans. Knowledge-based articles provide help for self-troubleshooting common setup issues as well.

Because Mandrill’s focus leans more technical than end-user engagement, there are fewer ancillary resources available for guidance beyond the core email functionality compared to SendGrid’s email-focused training offerings. This places more reliance on direct support tickets for assistance.

The Mandrill Facebook group provides access to a small but decent community for discussion and tips among users.

Winner: SendGrid

For the combination of robust official customer support teams and ancillary educational content across multiple formats and channels, SendGrid edges out Mandrill as offering superior guided help resources for users. Especially for those needing more strategic email marketing enablement, SendGrid shines.

6. Integrations


SendGrid offers hundreds of platform integrations to expand what you can achieve beyond basic email.

Tight integration with leading CRMs like Salesforce, marketing platforms like Adobe and Hubspot, e-commerce providers like Magento and WooCommerce, and many more enable bidirectional data flows to be centralized around the customer journey.

The integrations unlock capabilities like syncing purchase activity to your contacts database, deploying behavioral automation across email and ads in a unified workflow, and leveraging rich customer analytics for segmentation and personalization.

New connections are continually added through SendGrid’s evolving partnerships and developer community. You can also integrate with the platform’s SMTP servers to send emails reliably with no email servers required. The SMTP server is included in your service.

With robust API access and webhooks as well, the possibilities through SendGrid integrations are vast for tying data-driven customer experiences together across technologies.


Mandrill also provides core platform integrations such as MailChimp, Salesforce, and Zoho along with common web frameworks like Django and Ruby on Rails.

The availability trails SendGrid’s extensive ecosystem but covers popular CRMs and developer tools for connecting email capabilities where needed.

More technical users can leverage Mandrill’s webhooks and APIs to build custom integrations tailored to unique stacks as well. Documentation and libraries support effectively tying these connections together, especially for transactional email triggering across databases and cloud services.

For out-of-the-box alignment with marketing clouds, ad platforms, etc, SendGrid has a clear upper hand. But Mandrill provides decent links to everyday business systems along with the extensibility to connect as needed.

Winner: SendGrid

With hundreds of pre-built integrations spanning core platforms for marketing, sales, e-commerce, and more, SendGrid offers substantially broader abilities to seamlessly connect email activities across technology ecosystems – without needing engineering resources.

The availability, choice, and pre-configuration of customer journeys make SendGrid the winner.

7. Pricing


SendGrid offers a free plan for getting started sending emails with core features included. Paid plans start at $15 per month and scale up based on the number of contacts and emails sent.

The pricing structure is very clear with increasing sending limits and additional tools accessible in each higher plan tier. Everything related to contacts, email sending, and key functionality like automation and marketing tools carries a single price driven by monthly volume needs.

SendGrid’s transparent pricing provides predictable scaling aligned to business growth. The free tier also makes barriers to initial trial very low although limits kick in quickly for higher email volumes.


Mandrill also offers a limited free plan. Paid MailChimp account plans start at $13 per month for up to 12,000 emails. Incremental packages beyond that are priced per 1,000 emails sent making costs potentially less predictable as your volume fluctuates.

The posted pricing reflects only very basic sending too – additional charges per email apply if needing to leverage Mandrill’s core template and segmentation features in many cases.

Support packages likewise require add-on fees to access different tiers. This nickel-and-diming approach may frustrate some users.

Mandrill’s pricing works well for lower, predictable email volumes but grows opaque quickly requiring per-use and packaged add-ons that diminish savings for mid-market and enterprise needs. Limits are also tighter on free testing compared to SendGrid.

Winner: SendGrid

For its free tier aligned to getting started and transparent scaling plans with all features included, SendGrid wins on pricing model quality. Potential use case charges are clear upfront whereas Mandrill’s pricing grows convoluted through volume fluctuations and unclear add-on costs as needs increase.

8. Reviews and Reputation


SendGrid earns strong reviews from industry analysts and customer feedback. G2 scores SendGrid 4.4/5 from over 1,700 user reviews citing excellent deliverability, reliability, ease of use, and support satisfaction. Users highlight automation, integrations, and analytics as key strengths.

PCMag and other expert reviewers praise SendGrid’s scalability, segmentation capabilities, and flexibility even at lower pricing tiers.

Some downsides mentioned include complex navigation at times and limitations needing workarounds with basic use cases. But overall SendGrid impresses through features and performance.

Read SendGrid Reviews on G2.


Mandrill also maintains decent reviews averaging 4/5 across various online sources. Users most commonly cite reliable core email functionality, quality deliverability, and ease of integrating Mandrill’s API capabilities into their platforms as high points.

Less positive feedback centers around subpar scaling capabilities for serious email volume needs, as well as fake delivery reports, which is bad business practice. There are also reported bugs when using the Mandrill API with multiple Mandrill technical error reports from users.

As per TrustRadius reviews, lacking more complex segmentation, reporting, and sophisticated automation also poses frustrations for some Mandrill users with growth ambition. But for simpler email purposes, many remain satisfied.

Read Mandrill User Reviews on G2.

Winner: SendGrid

With G2 and other review sites showing higher praise across factors like features, support, and usability – especially for use cases beyond basic email capabilities – SendGrid pulls ahead of Mandrill clearly for reputation. SendGrid’s combination of reliability, expansive functionality, and ease of use wins over most users.

9. FAQ’s


  • What type of support does SendGrid offer?

    SendGrid provides 24/7 live chat, phone, and email support. All users regardless of plan get access to the support team. Additionally, there is an Email Education Hub with tutorials, videos, and guides for assistance.
  • Does SendGrid offer free trials or discounts?

    SendGrid offers a free plan for testing core features. Paid plans provide discounts for annual subscriptions that can lower costs by up to 60% versus month-to-month payments. Non-profit and student discounts are also available.
  • Can SendGrid scale to extremely high email volumes?

    Yes, SendGrid is built to handle major enterprise-scale email volumes into the billions thanks to partnerships with major cloud infrastructure providers like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure.
  • Is it easy to get started with SendGrid?

    The modern UI dashboard and guided onboarding tour make getting started smoothly for new users to quickly set up accounts, make API connections, create contacts groups, and send test emails.
  • What integrations does SendGrid offer?

    SendGrid offers hundreds of platform integrations with leading marketing, sales, customer service, and development tools through App Store partnerships and API connections. New integrations are continually added.


  • What type of support does Mandrill offer?

    Mandrill offers email support for free users and higher-tier 24/7 live chat for paying customers based on their usage level. All users have access to knowledge base documentation.
  • Does Mandrill offer free trials or discounts?

    Mandrill offers a limited free account option to help new users get started. However, paid plans do not advertise discounts or special promotional offers. Volume discounts based on high sending are available.
  • Can Mandrill scale to extremely high email volumes?

    Yes, Mandrill specializes in scalability, offering custom packages for sending hundreds of millions to billions of emails monthly. Large e-commerce sites often leverage Mandrill for reliability at scale.
  • Is it easy to get started with Mandrill?

    Developers familiar with working with APIs may find onboarding smoother as Mandrill is more technical vs end-user focused. Less technical users may need to rely more heavily on docs and support requests.
  • What integrations does Mandrill offer?

    Popular Mandrill integrations include MailChimp, Salesforce, Zendesk, and common platforms like Django, Ruby, and Java through offered libraries and widgets.

Final Thoughts

Choose SendGrid if…

You want an intuitive, highly visual platform optimized for email marketing experts through to newcomers. SendGrid shines for those focused specifically on email-driven customer journeys or tying email deeply into broader stacks – not just for basic transactional delivery.

The breadth of native features, integrations, predictive capabilities, and design flexibility makes it best for purpose-built email marketing.

Choose Mandrill if…

You need a straightforward email-sending service tightly integrated with MailChimp. For users already embedded within MailChimp’s ecosystem, its simplicity and seamless workflow alignment will resonate best.

Mandrill also wins for high-demand customers requiring enormous, tailored scale capacity – think extremely high-volume e-commerce sites. API-centric developers will also appreciate Mandrill’s extensibility.

Ultimately the right email marketing platform depends heavily on your specific use case and priorities. Both SendGrid and Mandrill can drive value, but focus on your unique needs for marketing complexity, customization, scalability, and integration requirements.

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