10 Best Colognes for Men 2020
Choosing a cologne may seem simple, but in our guide to the best cologne for men below, you’ll discover that there is much, much more to it than simply spraying and smelling to see whether or not you like it.
- What are some of the most popular scents out there right now?
- Which colognes are appropriate for certain age groups?
- How much do they cost?
We’ll answer all of these questions for you right here in our guide.
Where to Begin
How should you approach the cologne selection, anyways?
- Understand the Difference Between Each Type. Cologne, perfume, eau de toilette and eau de parfum all contain different percentages of fragrance inside, make a difference in their longevity once you spray them on.
We’ll discuss the differences more in detail below.
- Occasion. Your scent is a powerful, invisible weapon, so be careful when and how you use it!
Make sure you are choosing something that is appropriate for the occasion. For the office, you may want a light yet powerful scent that summarizes your role in the office: powerful and confident. A cologne should enhance you at work, not overpower your personality.
For a night out on the town, you’ll want something sexy and manly: for a day of running errands or “just because,” something light and simple.
- Season. Musky, woodsy scents are best in the cold weather – typically fall through winter.
In the summer, stick with fresh citrus scents and marine/aquatic scents to match the season.
- Age. Finding an age-appropriate cologne can be tricky.
At 20, you probably don’t want to smell like your dad or grandpa, but once you mature, smelling like dad and grandpa ain’t so bad.
We’ll be providing you with a few age-appropriate suggestions below based on popularity of the fragrance with certain groups of men.
Top 10 Best Men’s Colognes Comparison
|1. Philips Norelco All-in-one styler & shaver||Eau de Toilette||$$$||4.7|
|2. Paco Rabanne 1 Million Eau de Toilette Spray for Men||Eau de Toilette||$$||4.6|
|3. Ps By Paul Sebastian For Men||Cologne||$||4.6|
|4. Joop Pour Homme Eau de Toilette Spray for Men||Eau de Toilette||$||4.6|
|5. L'eau D'issey by Issey Miyake for Men||Eau de Toilette||$$||4.5|
|6. Kenneth Cole Black By Kenneth Cole For Men||Eau de Toilette||$||4.5|
|7. Dolce and Gabbana The One EDT for Men||Eau de Toilette||$$||4.5|
|8. Mania By Giorgio Armani For Men||Eau de Toilette||$$$||4.3|
|9. Terre D'Hermes by Hermes for Men||Eau de Toilette||$$||4.3|
|10. Creed Aventus Creed 4 OZ Millesime Spray For Men||Millésime (like Eau de Parfum)||$$$$||3.8|
Percentage of Fragrance
The term “cologne” is usually associated with a man’s fragrance and “perfume” with a woman’s fragrance, but the terms actually have nothing to do with the gender they are marketed for.
They tell us the amount of fragrance that the perfume developer has added into the bottle.
- Perfume: Contains 20-30% fragrance.
- Eau de Parfum: Contains 15-20% fragrance.
- Eau de Toilette: Contains 5-15% fragrance.
- Eau de Cologne (or Cologne): Contains 2-4% fragrance.
Less fragrance means that the scent doesn’t last as long, so make sure you understand this as you search for the best “cologne” for men.
A single brand of fragrance may come in a cologne, an eau de toilette and an eau de parfum, each one with a different price tag. Colognes make a great “everyday” choice since they cost less, and those with a higher percentage of fragrance are best for special occasions (when you use them less often).
Perfumes, having such a high percentage of fragrance, usually aren’t the first choice for men because many prefer to have a light scent rather than a heavy, “I took a shower in the stuff” smell.
If you do find perfume that you like, use it sparingly. A little goes a long way.
The scents you detect after that initial misting of fragrance are different than the ones you smell a few hours later.
That’s because fragrances are made of up notes.
- Top Notes: These are the initial scents you detect when a cologne is sprayed. Here you’ll detect the citrus and other scents such as anise or lavender.
You’ll be able to detect these anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours after the cologne has been sprayed.
- Middle Notes: Middle notes – also known as heart notes – come into play next. Here, you’ll detect the floral, fruity and spicy scents such as rose, jasmine, leaves, and cinnamon.
These come into play anywhere from 3-5 hours after you spray.
- Base Notes: The last to make an appearance are the base notes, which consist of earthy, wooded tones cedar, sandalwood, moss, vanilla, tobacco or Tonka bean.
These last between 5-10 hours.
Trial, Error and Samples
Our first bit of advice is that you start taking advantage of the sample colognes when they’re offered to you. This is the number one way for you to really test the fragrance properly in order to see if it’s right for you.
So many guys stop by the cologne section of a store, spray, and decide immediately whether they like it or not.
BIG mistake! Many things affect the way a perfume or cologne smells on you and you won’t know until you actually let it sit on your skin and you may actually be cheating yourself out of some fragrances that would work extremely well for you.
Age, diet, medications you are taking, mood, stress level and even your age can all affect the way it interacts with your body chemistry.
Trial and error! Dedicate the time to giving the fragrance a real shot before you ditch it for something else.
Choosing a fragrance for someone as a gift is easy if you know what he uses already. Go out and buy them a fresh bottle and they’ll be happy.
If you were thinking of gifting a cologne or any other type of fragrance to a man and you’re not sure if he’s ever smelled it, don’t buy.
It’s too easy for you to purchase something that you like and not what the person wearing it likes.
If possible, find out what they’ve been interested in trying or that you know they like but have never purchased.
That is the correct way to give a man some cologne as a gift.
How to Try a Cologne and Then Wear One
As we mentioned, there are many things that affect the way a fragrance smells on you, which is exactly why it needs to go on you and not your clothes or a little sample card.
- You have two arms, so try on two fragrances at the store. Spray them, walk around and see what you think an hour later…three hours later….5 hours later.
This will give you an accurate reading.
Once you’ve chosen…
- Don’t walk into the cloud of spray. Choose two areas on your body and make sure you’re spraying directly on the skin from about 3-6 inches away.
The best time to apply a cologne is right after a shower. Your skin is clean and your body is still exposed, which gives the fragrance a proper chance to absorb.
Top 5 Best Cologne for Men Reviews
This is a popular scent for younger men and a versatile one that works well in a variety of settings.
Most who wear it find it to work well in the office (not too overpowering but pleasant) and in casual settings (an everyday cologne).
It is subtle and soft, not too musky.
- Top – Artemisia, mandarin tree, violet leaves
- Middle – Nutmeg, Virginia cedar wood, white pepper
- Base – Vetiver, musk, Tonka beans
Burberry makes some other great scents for men, but this is definitely the one that sticks out above the rest.
If you already feel like a million bucks (or if you have a million bucks) and you want to smell like it, too, then what better choice is there than 1 Million by Paco Rabanne?
This is ideal for younger professionals who needs a versatile scent that allows him to flawlessly transition from business meeting to cocktail hour with the guys. It is a masculine scent: spicy yet sweet.
This is probably the best cologne for men in their 20s-30s (only our opinion, but this is usually the age group that buys it) for evening use or important occasions.
- Top – Blood mandarin, apple, cinnamon
- Middle – Tobacco, myrrh
- Base – Patchouli, Tonka bean
If you’re looking for something appropriate during the colder months and something that will compliment a more mature man’s sense of style.
It has a classic, yet individual smell that is hard to describe. Old Spice comes to mind, but it’s definitely not Old Spice. A unique blend gives it timeless smell that appeals to those who are young and young at heart.
- Top – Sage, lavender, amber
- Middle – Armoise
- Base – Sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, musk, vanilla
It’s quite affordable and would be appropriate in the office and for special occasions.
In terms of longevity, Joop! is definitely one of the best men’s cologne. A little goes a long way since this one lasts all day!
This is definitely a scent that appears to the more mature age group. It’s classic and sensual; definitely a particular choice for
- Top – Bergamot, cinnamon
- Middle – Orange blossom, jasmine, honeysuckle
- Base – Sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, Tonka bean, musk, vanilla
Some love it or learn to love it (for some, it is an acquired taste) while others can’t stand it, but you won’t know until you try!
This scent just works. Period. Whether you’re in your 20’s or your 60’s, you can totally pull it off thanks to the unique blend of scents in here.
Some find that it’s best for evening use or for important occasions, yet others find that it works just as well in casual, everyday settings.
Who doesn’t like having a versatile scent like this in their collection?
- Top – Yuzu, lemon, mandarin orange, lotus,
- Middle – Cinnamon, nutmeg, lily of the valley, carnation
- Base – Vetiver, amber, cedar, musk, sandalwood, tobacco
This is a fresh scent – not too strong and not to faint. Just right for some, too light for others.
Check out the other great choices on our list above if none of these worked out for you!