Cologne spraying

Cologne spraying (Photo by Oleg Gekman on Shutterstock)

Let’s face it, we all want to smell like a million bucks without actually spending it. But navigating the world of affordable colognes can feel like a high-stakes game of scent roulette. Will you end up smelling like a pine forest after a rainstorm or a middle school locker room? Fear not, frugal fragrance fanatics! We’ve sniffed out the best cheap colognes that will have you smelling suave without breaking the bank. Get ready to turn heads and noses for all the right reasons, because smelling great shouldn’t come with a luxury price tag. StudyFinds has found the best cheap colognes on the market today. We took a look at 10 reputable reviewers to find the five-most frequently recommended products. Is one of your favorites not on the list? Let us know in the comments below!


A Preview Of The Top 3

1. Nautica Voyage

Irreverent Gent calls it the best cheap cologne for everyday wear. “Nautica’s Voyage eau de toilette easily earns our top pick thanks to its crisp, fresh scent that evokes the smell of fresh water, but also has amber notes and an almost woody scent that makes it distinctly masculine.”

Nautica Voyage
Nautica Voyage Eau de Toilette for Men

“With a clear, crisp blue bottle and a name like Voyage, it’s clear that this scent is brisk, fresh, and perfect for making daily memories,” notes FashionBeans. “Nautica makes many great scents that sparkle in the summertime. And they’re wildly popular, too. This easy, breezy scent boasts a whopping 72,000 positive Amazon reviews.”

BestMensCologne.com writes, “Nautica Voyage has an aquatic aroma with musky undertones. However, the main attraction is the fruit which is listed as apple, and has a cold crispness to it. Very fresh with additional floral notes.”

2. Armaf Club de Nuit Intense Man

Armaf Club de Nuit Intense Man (armafusa.com)

Coming in second on the list is Armaf Club de Nuit Intense Man. “I’m telling you right now – Club De Nuit Intense Man is one of the most complimented fragrances in my collection,” says 7Gents. “It’s very similar to Aventus by Creed. I doubt 99% of people would be able to tell the difference. But it somehow manages to get me even more positive female attention than Aventus did when I wore it.”

“Club de Nuit Intense Man is a spicy, woody experience that is rich, intense, and sensual,” notes Viora London. “Bathe in contrasting notes of lemon, apple, ambergris, and patchouli with the underlying sweetness of rose and vanilla.”

Beautypert says that Armaf Club de Nuit Intense Man has a “sweet and fruity sexy masculine scent…Plus, you can use it in all seasons and for all occasions, days or nights. In fact, it works amazing for nights out and dates (this is where it shines).”

3. Curve by Liz Claiborne for Men

Curve by Liz Claiborne for Men comes third on the list because it “contains the perfect blend of top notes like lavender with longer-lasting developing notes like cardamom.” “Dry elements like sandalwood and black pepper also offer a slow burn with an exotic flair,” says FashionBeans. “Don’t believe us? Just check the nearly 12,000 positive Amazon reviews. Not only will this scent stick with you, but it’ll also trail behind you in a memorable fashion.”

Curve by Liz Claiborne for Men
Curve by Liz Claiborne for Men

Don’t be fooled by the female designer behind this fragrance. Liz Claiborne knows cologne. “Yes, Liz Claiborne is a notable women’s fashion brand, but they also make this incredibly well-priced cologne,” notes Men’s Journal. “This line of thinking is very much in the spirit of Liz Claiborne—who believed that good fashion didn’t need to come at such a high cost. And we agree, thanks to the low price, large quantity, and impressive versatility of this cologne, it could quickly become a signature scent.”

Irreverent Gents writes, “Curve has top notes of lemon and pineapple, which evoke warmer weather and make this an excellent choice for spring and summer. But the main reason it ranks so high on our list is that these notes of citrus are nicely complemented by a base of sandalwood, mahogany and a manly musk, which go a long way toward making it both more masculine, and more appropriate for year-round use.”

4. Calvin Klein CK One

Another popular pick is Calvin Klein CK One. “Is there any scent that better captures the ’90s? The answer, of course, is no,” says Men’s Health. “It’s genderless, but what that means for you is a subtle fresh, citrusy scent that gets muskier—and sexier—as it dries down.”

Calvin Klein CK One
Calvin Klein CK One

“CK One is an enduringly popular low-cost unisex fragrance by Calvin Klein,” notes Viora London. “Bright, sharp, and sparkling, this scent has notes of lemon, mandarin, pineapple, nutmeg, and orris root.”

5. Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger for Men

Rounding out the top five is Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger for Men. “Very clean scent that is appropriate for all situations and lasts for a good amount of time, there is little fading of the cologne as the day goes on, I can still smell great after a ten hour workday,” says Irreverent Gent.

Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger for Men
Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger for Men

FashionBeans calls it the best cheap cologne for young guys. “We all know Tommy Hilfiger as the classic all-American brand that evokes imagery of wholesome preppiness. This scent, often mentioned among the best budget perfume for men, only furthers that notion and has been doing so since its creation in 1995. The most notable feature of this Tommy scent is its deliciously distinctive aroma.”

BestMensCologne.com writes, “Tommy is the perfect simple blend of sweet and fresh. Tommy gives you a clean, crisp, and sort of aquatic blast of citrus notes and apple.”

Best Practices For Buying & Wearing Cologne

Choosing the right cologne differs for every individual. Just because other people love a cologne doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best for you. So what should you think about when it comes to buying the cologne?

  • Consider your personality and style. What kind of impression do you want to make? Do you want a cologne that is sophisticated and refined, or something more casual and playful?
  • Think about the occasion. Are you wearing cologne for work, a special event, or everyday use? A cologne that is too strong for work may be perfect for a night out.
  • Sample different fragrances. Don’t just buy the first cologne you see. Go to a department store and try on a few different fragrances. See how they smell on your skin and how they last throughout the day.
  • Pay attention to the concentration. Cologne, eau de toilette, and eau de parfum all have different concentrations of fragrance oil. Cologne is the lightest, followed by eau de toilette, and then eau de parfum. Eau de parfum is the strongest and will last the longest.

When it comes to applying cologne, it’s not so simple as just spraying it right onto your neck. Too much cologne can be an annoyance to those around you and do the exact opposite of what it’s meant to do. Here are some best practices for applying cologne correctly:

Applying Cologne

  • Apply cologne to your pulse points. These are the areas of your body where the blood vessels are closest to the surface of the skin. This will help the fragrance to project and last longer.
  • Your pulse points include your wrists, neck, inner elbows, and behind your ears.
  • Don’t rub your wrists together after applying cologne. This will break down the fragrance molecules and make the scent fade faster.
  • Less is more. A few spritzes of cologne are all you need. Overspraying can make the scent overpowering and unpleasant.
  • Let the cologne dry completely before putting on your clothes. This will help to prevent staining.

Additional Tips

  • Store your cologne in a cool, dark place. Heat and light can damage the fragrance molecules and make the scent fade.
  • Don’t wear cologne on broken or irritated skin. The alcohol in cologne can sting and irritate the skin.
  • If you’re not sure how much cologne to wear, err on the side of caution. You can always add more later if you need to.
  • Consider layering your cologne. This means applying a different fragrance to your skin and then spraying cologne over it. This can create a more complex and interesting scent.
  • Have fun with it! Experiment with different fragrances and find what you like best.

Sources used to create this consensus list

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Matt Higgins

Matt Higgins worked in national and local news for 15 years. He started out as an overnight production assistant at Fox News Radio in 2007 and ended in 2021 as the Digital Managing Editor at CBS Philadelphia. Following his news career, he spent one year in the automotive industry as a Digital Platforms Content Specialist contractor with Subaru of America and is currently a freelance writer and editor for StudyFinds. Matt believes in facts, science and Philadelphia sports teams crushing his soul.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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9 Comments

  1. Jennifer Scott says:

    What about women’s fragrances?
    I would love to see recommendations ☺️

  2. Andre Berry says:

    One million, Paco Rabanne
    Is my choice of frags,sweet & sexy!

    1. Erich says:

      I think the key word is affordable, possibly under $50

  3. Keith Beck says:

    Stetson…..English Leather…..the only two I’ll ever wear !

  4. Keith Beck says:

    Stetson and English Leather ! Done !!

  5. The Beard says:

    Nautica Voyage is a horrible scent, must be a paid promotion…honestly it’s terrible. Armada Club de Unit intense is great, cheap version of Creed and gets plenty of compliments, price has doubled the last couple of years but still very affordable.

  6. Erich says:

    These are all summer fragrances. You’re leaving out many others…

  7. Jim M says:

    No! We learned better than to apply perfume to skin in the 1960’s, half-century ago!
    It contains true hazmat amongst the (typically) half-dozen “secret” ingredients.
    Its alcohol easily moves the toxins through the skin.
    Capillaries then transport the toxins to susceptible organs without the liver getting a chance to neutralize them, as it does for ingested toxins.

    Now comes double-danger, China! Bad actors there have no qualms about putting truly hazardous chemicals in otherwise benign products. And you can “bet-your-bippy” that the overwhelming majority of perfume & topical skin chemicals originate in China.

    Don’t do it! Don’t let your loved ones do it!
    I now smell lower-school kids at a distance, regardless of gender.

  8. Mary Lynn Mixson says:

    SUPER AFFORDABLE:
    I love ASPEN for men! Much less expensive if you buy online & I can buy enough to stock up for gifts…
    Little Secret: This is MY go-to fragrance as well if I’m wanting the aroma of standing in lush, green pines .