Fragrances are important for personal style, but that doesn’t mean I condone spending a fortune on them – as long as you look good and smell good, who cares how much you spend? In fact, I find it more impressive when someone can look stunning and smell marvelous without spending much at all. You just need to pick the right budget men’s colognes.
High Price Doesn’t Mean Quality
In the world of fragrance, price doesn’t correlate with quality. There are cheap colognes and perfumes that smell great, and there are bank-breaking colognes and perfumes that smell awful, and you can find colognes and perfumes across the entire price range that are starkly divisive – loved by some, hated by others. The key is to find fragrances that smell good when worn on your skin, and know how to apply colognes and perfumes properly!
Don’t want to spend too much? Here are the best budget men’s colognes to wear, where “budget” means priced at $12/oz or cheaper. One ounce is about 250-400 sprays, so these bottles will last you quite a while.
1. Voyage by Nautica
Scent Family: Fresh
Top Notes: Green leaves, apple
Heart Notes: Mimosa, lotus, marine
Base Notes: Cedarwood, oakmoss, musk, amber
While regularly priced at $65, you’ll often find this 3.3 fl. oz. bottle on sale for less than $20. With hints of marine scents, it’s an ideal summer scent, but also works well for year-round wear. Plus, it’s surprisingly long-lasting.
2. Curve by Liz Claiborne
Scent Family: Fresh
Top Notes: Lavender, juniper berry, douglas fir
Heart Notes: Lavender, clary sage, cardamom, rosemary
Base Notes: Black pepper, sandalwood
This is one of the best budget men’s colognes for a sexy date night. The fresh, light lavender scent hits first, but the deeper sandalwood base creates an exotic scent perfect for a night out. It’s designed to last all evening and is wallet-friendly at $29 for 6.8 fl. oz.
3. Guy Laroche Drakkar Intense
Scent Family: Aromatic
Top Notes: Bergamot, absinth, coriander, rosemary
Heart Notes: Lavandin heart, clary sage, juniper berries
Base Notes: Patchouli, vanilla, suede, moss
If you’ve ever worn Drakkar Noir, you might want to consider Drakkar Intense. It’s a deeper, yet more modern scent that’ll last all day. In fact, it’s one of the top budget men’s colognes in terms of lasting scent. While the warmer undertones make it perfect for winter, wear this confidently all year long. Plus, it’s just under $29 for 3.4 fl. oz.
4. 360 Red by Perry Ellis
Scent Family: Oriental
Top Notes: Lime zest, Italian parsley, mandarin
Heart Notes: Red cinnamon, lavender, nutmeg
Base Notes: Patchouli, Mysore sandalwood, musk, red cedarwood
If you’re searching for a more subtle, yet exotic scent, it’s hard to go wrong with 360 Red. It’s bright enough for the office and still sensual enough for a romantic night out. The masculine scent isn’t overpowering and it’s priced just right at $27 for 3.4 fl. oz.
5. Seductive Hommes by Guess
Scent Family: Oriental, Woody
Top Notes: Cardamom, pink pepper, mandarin pulp
Heart Notes: Vanilla orchid, vetiver, violet leaves
Base Notes: Amberwood, skin musk, sandalwood, patchouli
While Guess’s Seductive Homme doesn’t last quite as long as some other budget-friendly men’s colognes, the pink pepper, followed up by vanilla, and amberwood create an unforgettable fragrance that’s both playful and sophisticated. Think of it as a carefree scent ideal for everyday wear. While normally $60 for 3.4 fl. oz., it’s often on sale for less than $30.
6. Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene
Scent Family: Oriental, Woody
Top Notes: Galbanum, petitgrain, bergamot, lemon, bitter orange
Heart Notes: Mimosa, sage, rose, geranium
Base Notes: Tonka bean, oakmoss, cedar, sandalwood
As one of the cheapest options on this list, Grey Flannel is also one of the best budget men’s colognes around. Wrap yourself up in a scent that’s relaxing, luxurious, and woody. It’s kind of like snuggling in a sophisticated grey flannel shirt. While it’s more of a winter scent, it still smells great all year. Plus, you get 4 fl. oz. bottle for just $16.
7. Zino by Davidoff
Scent Family: Floral
Top Notes: Lavender, clary sage, bergamot, rosewood
Heart Notes: Jasmine, lily of the valley, rose, geranium
Base Notes: Sandalwood, cedar, vanilla, patchouli
The floral heart is elegant, but the surrounding masculine notes create a classic scent perfect for almost any occasion. It’s been around since 1988 and is still a surprisingly cheap, yet high-quality fragrance at just $25 for 4.2 fl. oz.
8. Gold by Cuba Paris
Scent Family: Oriental
Top Notes: Pink pepper, grapefruit
Heart Notes: Vetiver, lavender
Base Notes: Vanilla, amber, tonka bean
It’s hard to find a more budget-friendly men’s cologne than Cuba Paris’s Gold. Despite being around $13 for 3.3 fl. oz., it’s still a high-quality scent that’s inspired by the Cuban cigar. It’s a rich, exotic scent that’s both light and sexy.
9. Musk for Men by Jovan
Scent Family: Woody/Musk
Top Notes: Lime, pepper, carnation, lemon
Heart Notes: Lavender, mint, amber, exotic spices
Base Notes: Musk, woods
Seductive, classic, and captivating – Musk for Men is the perfect scent for everything from work to a romantic night out. Plus, the highly masculine fragrance lasts throughout the day, so no need to keep reapplying. Though, at just $29 for 3 fl. oz, an extra spritz won’t break the bank.
10. Ed Hardy Love & Luck for Men by Christian Audigier
Scent Family: Amber Fougere
Top Notes: Bergamot, orange, mandarin, cardamom
Heart Notes: Violet, cypress, sage
Base Notes: Vetiver, cedar, musk, agarwood
Just like falling in love, Ed Hardy Love and Luck starts off playful and light before turning into something deeper and more sensual. However, it does tend to fade quickly in warmer weather, so save this one for cooler months. But, it’s a steal at $24 for 3.4 fl. oz.
11. Halston Z-14 by Halston for Men
Scent Family: Woody, Aromatic
Top Notes: Cypress, lemon, green notes, gardenia, bergamot, basil
Heart Notes: Coriander, jasmine, geranium, patchouli, cinnamon, vetiver, cedar
Base Notes: Leather, musk, amber, oakmoss, tonka bean, benzoin
It doesn’t get more masculine than a mixture of lemon, coriander, and leather. It’s a highly aromatic scent that expertly combines a light sweetness, a sharp floral, and a grounding woody base of musk, leather, and oakmoss. You also get an impressively large 8 fl. oz. bottle for just $27.
12. Stetson Original By Stetson
Scent Family: Woody
Top Notes: Citrus, sage
Heart Notes: Cedar, vetiver, patchouli
Base Notes: musk, vanilla, amber, honey, tonka bean
It doesn’t get more classic than this woodsy cologne by Stetson. Despite its popularity, it’s still one of the best budget men’s colognes around. It’s a more powerful, in-your-face scent, but it also lasts for hours. If you want bold and masculine, grab a 2.25 fl. oz. bottle for just $26.
Cheap doesn’t mean low quality. You just have to know which colognes smell expensive while still leaving you enough money to go out and have some fun. And, with these tips, your inexpensive cologne’s scent will last even longer.
Image credit: Pexels
Get the best of ModernRatio delivered right to your inbox!