It’s understandable why someone would be shopping for the best cheap cologne. At the same time, “cheap cologne” sounds more like an insult after a bad Tinder date than something you’d actually want to spray on your body. But whatever you call it (inexpensive? affordable?), for those of us paying rent, feeding a family, or still in school, that price tag on fragrance matters a lot.
Fortunately, you don’t need to take out a loan in order to get a great scent. Yes, $100 is still an investment, but you can spend that money intelligently—and judiciously apply the scent, for that matter. (We always err on the conservative side: a single spritz on one wrist, patted on the opposite wrist and on your neck’s pulse points.)
In any case, we say the best cheap cologne usually actually isn’t cheap cologne—It’s smaller bottles of the good stuff. Many of the most reputable brands in the industry have a 1.7-oz. option within this budget. You know, like Chanel, Dior—the heavy hitters! So here are the best fragrances under $100, picked with value in mind. We didn’t want to lean into sample-sized vials, though, even if they’re a terrific way to discover new fragrances. Instead, these are all scents that will last you months and months with continued use. If you truly fall in love, then the best way to save money on fragrance is to buy a larger bottle. But if you’re anything like us, it’s hard to fish off even a smaller bottle before moving on to the next thing.
The Best Sub-$100 Colognes Shopping Guide
- The Summer-Ready Cologne: Vacation “Vacation” eau de toilette (1 oz.), $60
- The Date-Night Cologne: Chanel “Bleu de Chanel” eau de toilette (1.7 oz.), $96
- The “Clean” Cologne: By Rosie Jane “Dylan” perfum (1.7 oz.), $70
- The Mood-Boosting Cologne: The Nue Co. “Mind Energy Fragrance (1.7 oz.),” $95
- The Cologne Subscription: Snif collection, $59
The Summer-Ready Cologne: Vacation “Vacation” eau de toilette
Vacation “Vacation” eau de toilette (1 oz.)
Vacation is an instant cult-classic developed by the genius noses behind the boutique brand Arquiste. It blissfully emulates a day at the beach with notes of coconut, banana, and pineapple, supported by an essence of pool water, sea salt, and—*checks notes*—swimsuit spandex. It might smells a little out of place at the office, but few scents feel more perfect for a sunny weekend relaxing by the ocean.
The Date-Night Cologne: Chanel “Bleu de Chanel” eau de toilette
Chanel “Bleu de Chanel” eau de toilette (1.7 Oz.)
Since its release over a decade ago, Bleu de Chanel has become a hit among stylish guys and gals who want to smell—and there really is no other way to say this—sexy. The alluring blend of citrus accord, sandalwood, and ginger make this woody fragrance well-suited for anyone looking for a sensorial pick-me-up that softly fades into a spicy, warm trail. Luxury can cost you a pretty penny, but in this case, it doesn’t have to break the bank.
The “Clean” Cologne: By Rosie Jane “Dylan” perfum
By Rosie Jane “Dylan” perfum (1.7 Oz.)
If you’re particularly sensitive to the ingredients in your grooming routine, then a go-to clean fragrance is a must. By Rosie Jane’s Dylan scent is vegan and cruelty-free, with a base of cane sugar alcohol delicately topped off with warm cedar, spicy frankincense, and sweet musk. It’s the type of fragrance that hints at new beginnings—y’know, new job, new apartment, new favorite cologne.
The Mood-Boosting Cologne: The Nue Co. “Mind Energy Fragrance”
The Nue Co. “Mind Energy Fragrance” (1.7 oz.)
The Nue Co. specializes in what it calls “functional fragrances”, which lean on aromatic associations to catalyze a rush of specific feelings. In Mind Energy’s case, the means to the end are juniper, clary sage, pink peppercorn, and clove. Together, they don’t just clear the head and boost focus—they smell pretty damn great, too.
The Cologne Subscription: Snif collection
We can recommend plenty of Snif scents, but that’s besides the point—the brand purposefully rotates fragrances as part of its promise to keep you smelling fresh. You can subscribe to a try-before-you-buy program, shop their latest offerings, or browse their best-sellers (we’d also get on the waitlist for “Way with Woods”, if we were you.) So, in place of a singular Snif product, consider this an endorsement of any and all.
Plus 8 More Affordable Colognes We Love
Acqua di Parma “Mandorlo di Sicilia” eau de toilette spray (1 Oz.)
Transport yourself to the Sicilian coast with a few sprays of this light scent, which blends key hits of star anise, bergamot, and vanilla.
Malin+Goetz “Cannabis” eau de parfum (1.7 oz.)
No, you won’t smell like the parking lot at a Phish concert—but you will get the mind-clearing, spirit-warming sensation you may or may not associate with one.
Ralph Lauren “Ralph’s Club” eau de parfum (1.7 Oz.)
Ralph’s Club is a heady scent that blends notes of clary sage, cedarwood, and vetiver to keep the party going long after last call.
Diptyque “Eau Rose” eau de parfum (1 Oz.)
Who knew the smell of roses—layered with notes of chamomile, litchi, and artichoke—would help you smell like spring itself?
Dedcool “Blonde” eau de parfum (1.7 Oz.)
Spritz yourself with this spicy, woody scent, and you’ll soon realize that blondes really do have more fun.
Dior “Sauvage” eau de toilette (2 oz.)
Moms, partners, and besties take note: Sauvage might be the surest no-brainer gift on the market right now, especially if the fella you’re giving it to is a first-time cologne-wearer.
Boy Smells “LES” eau de parfum (2.2 Oz.)
A dab of Boy Smells’ aptly-named LES fragrance—formulated with ripe pomela, peonies, and warm vanilla—will help you make the right impression in even the hippest of downtown circles.
Cartier “Déclaration Haute Fraîcheur” (1.7 oz.)
Cartier’s spicy-citrus concoction is like seeing the sun for the first time after the doldrums of winter. Even if you thought you remembered what it smelled like, it’ll still stop yo
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