Smell Good: 15 Best Cheap Cologne’s for Men

Nobody wants to be the guy in a room that everyone slowly inches away from. Whether it’s because their cologne isn’t doing its job or they opted against spritzing themselves that morning to prolong the bottle’s life, it’s never a good feeling. That’s why it’s important to find a cologne that not only smells good, but one that you’re comfortable using because it doesn’t break the bank.

When people think of colognes, chances are they imagine bottles that will last a week and cost several hundred dollars. One doesn’t have to break the bank in order to smell nice, however, and they don’t have to relegate themselves to cheap body sprays.

This list of 15 inexpensive colognes will have the wearer smelling pleasant and will leave enough money in their wallet to be able to enjoy the finer things in life.


Nautica Voyage by Nautica for MenNautica Voyage by Nautica for Men

When it comes to inexpensive and best perfumes for men, Nautica’s “Voyage” tends to be a favorite. The light packaging gives a hint as to what awaits with each spray from the bottle. As you’d expect from a nautical themed fragrance, the top notes are light and refreshing, giving off a hint of citrus that fades into a salt cucumber aroma.

Before you get to the mossy base note, you’ll be hit with a touch of floral apples, a strange mix that you wouldn’t expect to work well together. In practice, they’re actually a great pairing as you work down to that lasting base note.

The overall scent may not last long, but at such an affordable price, it’s a forgivable offense. Looking past its shortcoming, this is a refreshing Eau de Toilette that does exactly what you want it to do.


David Beckham InstinctDavid Beckham Instinct

You have to be careful with celebrity named colognes. More often than not, you’re paying for a fragrance simply approved of by the person it’s named for. David Beckham’s Instinct, however, doesn’t fall under that same trope. In fact, this incredibly inexpensive Eau de Cologne is surprising considering the cost.

The scent, which may fade within a few hours, starts off with a citrus orange top note that doesn’t fade until the medium notes of star anise and red pimento linger. You’ll also likely get a hint of cardamom, though it may be overshadowed by the star anise. What awaits after is a top note of orange and wood, a unique combination that works much better than it sounds.


Quorum by Puig for MenQuorum by Puig for Men

For under $20, this is a bargain on a top mens cologne that you simply can’t pass up. Crafted by Antonio Puig, Quorum is all about smelling like a man. Don’t expect citrus or floral notes as Puig’s sticks heavily with notes of leather and tobacco, something more along the lines of a fine whiskey.

The lower price does mean it has a shorter longevity, but even after it’s dissipated, it’s tough to truly rid yourself of that musky aroma that’s sure to attract plenty of attention. Quorum is the mature man’s fragrance and makes a statement about the individual wearing it. The woodsy aura created by it will leave any man feeling like they can dominate a room just with their strong but pleasing scent.


Pierre Cardin LegendPierre Cardin Legend

It doesn’t get much cheaper than Pierre Cardin Legend, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality just to save a few bucks. The dark, tinted bottle contains within it a Eau de Cologne spray that kicks off with top notes of sea mist and fresh ginger, a strange sounding combination that smells much better than it sounds.

Beneath that, balsam fir, vetiver, and dark amber round out the medium and base notes, creating an aroma that sticks with those that smell it. It’s a spicier aroma than many fragrances without crossing the line into unpleasant. The price really makes it difficult to pass up and once you catch a small scent from the bottle, you’ll need to add it to your selection of affordable colognes.


Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Eau de Toilette SprayViktor & Rolf Spicebomb Eau de Toilette Spray

This Eau de Toilette is a little on the pricier end of inexpensive fragrances, but it has no problem proving why you’d want to spend a little extra. If you’re dressing and acting manly, you might as well smell the part. Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb is as masculine as a scent can get, something you’d expect to be worn by the rugged hero of an action movie.

Though it exists because of the popularity of the women’s fragrance, Spicebomb does a fine job of separating itself from the source material. The scent is a mix of grapefruit, pink pepper, cinnamon, grapefruit, and more manly notes like saffron, leather, tobacco, and Vetiver. It sounds more like a fine whiskey than a cologne.

The notes of spice are the key in drawing in attention while the lighter, more refreshing aromas are what get people to stick around and chat.


Adidas Deep Energy Skulls and Roses by Ed HardyAdidas Deep Energy Skulls and Roses by Ed Hardy

Ed Hardy’s clothing line may be a thing of the past, but the designers cologne is still going strong. The design of the bottle is a huge draw and certainly has that staple Ed Hardy aesthetic to it. What’s inside, however, is the real prize.

This mildly inexpensive Eau de Cologne hides within its skull bottle an appealing fragrance that both men and women will love. At first spray, you’ll get hints of cardamom and orange that fade gently into a subtle mossy note. The base scent is a musky aroma that lingers for a while, exuding a masculinity one would want from their fragrance.

You’ll spend a little more than other inexpensive brands, but what you get is a fragrance that does not disappoint.


Ps by Paul SebastianPs by Paul Sebastian

Don’t let the color of the fragrance throw you off. It may be a bold yellow, but its aroma stays true to the masculine customer it’s intended to appeal to. As an Eau de Cologne, the fragrance won’t last forever, but the time you do get out of it is pleasing. Its longevity, however, does impress for an Eau de Cologne.

Right off the top you’ll get a floral and sandalwood scent, accented by sweet vanilla. At its core, a herbal scent lightens up the flowery scent before segueing into a sandalwood, myrrh, vanilla, and patchouli scent. Ps seems to change over time, so how it smells right out of the bottle will be completely different from its final scent 20 minutes later.


Royal Copenhagen Musk by Royal CopenhagenRoyal Copenhagen Musk by Royal Copenhagen

When a fragrance stands the test of time to be near three-decades old, you know it’s a trusted and appealing scent. Royal Copenhagen Musk was a popular choice in the ‘70s and remains well-known among cologne connoisseurs.

The bright blue liquid kicks off with an herbaceous blend of basil and clove. As its longevity starts to wear off, which it will within only a few hours, you’re left with a pleasing mix of nutmeg and sage.

Royal Copenhagen Musk is a good evening fragrance. It’s not too strong or potent but will still be subtly noticeable by those around you. Though it’s more than 40 years old, Royal Copenhagen has aged well and has remained a memorable scent.


Gucci Guilty Eau Pour HommeGucci Guilty Eau Pour Homme

There’s nothing to feel guilty about when you’re wearing this crisp and clean fragrance. Guicci’s Guilty cologne is a fine casual fragrance with a fresh scent that gives off a hint of lemon and orange blossom.

Quality is a common Gucci quality and with Guilty, you’ll walk around with the comfort of knowing that the scent will last all day. This long-lasting fragrance stands up to the hardest days with base notes of musky wood and orris.

For a Gucci product, Guilty is very reasonably priced, especially considering how long it lasts and how good it smells. If you have a woman in your life you’d like to share this scent with, it’s often considered a “unisex” cologne.


Azzaro Wanted for MenAzzaro Wanted for Men

As an Eau de Toilette, you’ll get a reasonably long lasting aroma from this uniquely shaped bottle. Just as the name implies, any man that wears this will be a wanted commodity thanks to the sweet and spicy mix of perfumes mixed within.

It’s a natural fragrance of sweet apple, mint, citrus rounded off in a woody base note. The natural aroma is pleasing, making it easy to wear on any occasion. Despite being more on the reasonable side of pricing, Azzaro Wanted isn’t dissimilar from more expensive colognes.

Wanted doesn’t assault your senses with a pungent odor, which is one of the best qualities you can ask for in a fragrance. It’s a gentle aroma that blends in well with the world around you.


Guess Seductive Homme BlueGuess Seductive Homme Blue

The one thing you won’t have to be guessing when you spray this fragrance on is if it will drive people away. Seductive is exactly as the name suggests. It’s such a subtle aroma that people will smell it, but won’t be overpowered by its sophisticated blend of woody and Fougere scents.

Before you get to that appealing woody aroma, you’re hit with a mix of cardamom milk, pink pepper, vanilla orchid, vetiver, amber, musk, sandalwood, and violet leaves. It may sound like a lot for one small bottle, but it all blends well for an airy and mild.

For the price, you wind up with something that’s magnetic, a pleasant aroma with sweet, floral notes that dissipate into a more manly woody base note.


Versace ErosVersace Eros

If the ornate bottle is any indication of how the cologne will smell, there’s no doubt that Eros will be a crowd pleaser. The vibrancy of its initial notes hit hard, but are an important factor in the cologne’s overall sex-factor. The clear fragrance is a blend of green apple, lemon zest, and a touch of mint leaves for a natural and light aroma.

The top notes blend well with the medium and base notes of tonka beans, amber, vanilla, cedarwood, vetiver, and oak moss. The overall experience is very masculine and is sure to attract the attention of the opposite sex.

Though turquoise, the color of the bottle, may appear to be very feminine in nature, it’s actually more of a masculine shade in general.



What Are Notes?

After into the list of inexpensive colognes for men, it’s worth understanding some of the terminology used to describe a fragrance. The real meat of the cologne is its notes, or the parts of the fragrance that appeal to the sense of smell. Every fragrance has three different parts – top notes, medium notes, and base notes – that create the overall smell.

Top Notes:

These notes are what you smell the moment you spray the cologne. They’re generally lighter and more delicate than the more lingering notes and will only last about 15-minutes to two-hours, depending on the brand. Expect scents of floral, citrus, powders, and spices.

Medium Notes:

Lasting upwards of five hours after being sprayed, these notes of jasmine, cinnamon, clove, or grass are a bit stronger than top notes, but still not overpowering. They’re pleasing, but will be overtaken by the much stronger base notes.

Base Notes:

When it comes to notes, the base note is typically the scent you smell throughout the duration of the day. Depending on the lasting power of the fragrance, base notes can last up to ten hours. These aromas are more along the sandalwoods, leathers, moss, and vanillas. The base note is the fragrance that will draw people to you as its masculine overtones are an attractor.

Types of Colognes

You thought this would be easy, didn’t you? Well, on top of the notes of a fragrance, you should also understand the different types of colognes out there. One would think it would be break down to just one type – the good smelling kind – but few things are ever that easy.

The biggest difference between the various types of cologne is how long they last, with the weakest of the five types lasting for one hour and the strongest going for up to 20.

Eau Fraiche

Made from a concentration of 1 to 3% of perfume oil, these fragrances won’t last for long. They’re good for a quick spritz if you’re not going to be out in the public for more than an hour or so.

Eau de Cologne

Chances are, if you’ve owned a cologne, this is the type you’ve worn before. It’s considered on the lower end of the fragrance market and is made from up to 4% perfume oil with a mixture of alcohol and water. Expect Eau de Cologne to last approximately two hours.

Eau de Toilette

A common and inexpensive version of the higher end perfumes, Eau de Toilettes are mixed form a concentration of 5 to 15% perfume oil, alcohol, and water. If you want the basic features of a perfume but don’t want to pay more for them, an Eau de Toilette is going to be your best bet.

Eau de Parfum

When you enter a department store and see glass cases filled with fragrances, you’re typically looking at Eau de Parfum. They’re a lower quality than regular perfume, made from 15-20% perfume oil and an alcohol and water mixture. Expect your fragrance to last upwards of eight hours.


Concentrated with 20-30% perfume oil, Parfum are considered the rarest form of fragrance. Since they are made from a high percentage of scented oil, they are the most expensive type of perfume or cologne available. They may be pricey, but you will get what you pay for. Parfum fragrances will last up to 24 hours.