What’s the cheapest way to send transactional emails?

What’s the cheapest way to send transactional emails?

Short answer: Amazon SES (Simple Email Service).

If you are looking to send product-triggered transactional emails from your application, the most cost effective way to do it is going to be Amazon SES. At $0.10/1000 emails for an email API that sends reliable emails at scale, it’s hard to beat.

But think of it as wholesale vs retail

The big but, however, is that Amazon SES is like wholesale shopping. You get the lowest price but it can be cumbersome and lacking in the niceties that the retail experience offers. So depending on your team’s needs, Amazon SES may or may not be the right fit for your team.

If you are simply looking to send reliable emails from your codebase, especially at a high volume, SES is a fantastic solution.

However, if your team could benefit from a visual template builder and powerful logging – it’s worth considering an alternative that’s designed to work well for collaborative software teams off-the-shelf.

While the price will certainly be more, the tradeoff for saving on engineering costs and freeing your devs to focus on more important functionality may be worth it.

An Amazon SES alternative

If you are looking for an Amazon SES alternative, Waypoint is a great solution (still with reasonable pricing). In addition to sending emails reliably at scale, the two biggest benefits to using Waypoint over Amazon SES are a powerful template builder and frustration free observability:

1. A powerful dynamic template builder

Since Amazon SES is developer focused, all email templates are configured in code. Waypoint on the other hand, has a powerful dynamic email template builder to create data-rich templates visually. This helps teams divide and conquer the workload and reduce engineering bottlenecks. Designers can create templates and developers can focus on sending the data.

Screenshot of Waypoint’s powerful transactional email template builder

2. Frustration-free observability

While Amazon SES has ways to configure Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Service) to capture email timeline events it can be cumbersome to setup and use. Waypoint provides full logging out of the box with a full email preview, the raw HTML, and even the template data that was passed in from the API for debugging purposes.

Screenshot of Waypoint’s logs on a single email.


If your team is sending a high volume of emails and wants to optimize on usage costs, Amazon SES is a great option. If your team wants to optimize for developer experience and collaboration tools (while still being affordable), Waypoint is a great alternative to consider.