best places to buy cologne online

Best Places to Buy Cologne Online

I’ve been married for about as long as I’ve been writing about cologne and perfume, so I’ve been looking for the best places to buy cologne online (and in general) for almost 20 years.

My husband enjoys fragrance but doesn’t obsess over or collect colognes the way I collect perfumes. That means I always help him find his scents. I gather samples and buy his full-sized bottles for him once they earn our approval, which makes special occasions easy and gives me plenty of opportunities to shop online for cologne.

I narrowed the options down to the top nine places online I’d recommend for cologne purchases. 

Bottom Line Up Front

There are a lot of places I recommend for buying cologne online (nine on this list). Still, if I had to narrow it down, I’d say to start at FragranceX because of their selection, low prices year-round, and the low bar to get free shipping on your order.

After that, I’d say MicroPerfumes because of their wide range of fragrances and the option to choose a travel spray or even smaller sample. (You can also purchase full-sized bottles there.)

Ulta’s on the list of my top three because their rewards program lets you earn points that you can use like cash in the store.

How They Made the List

As with most purchases, choosing the best places to buy cologne online involved weighing a few different factors:

  • Price 
  • Potential for sales, discounts, and other perks
  • Authenticity of fragrances
  • Sizes available
  • Selection

The 9 Best Places to Buy Cologne Online

FragranceX

Fragrancex

Best for: Overall price, selection, and shipping cost and speed

FragranceX has a good balance of everything I look for in the best places to buy cologne online. 

Pros

  • They offer a comprehensive and exciting selection.
  • The threshold to get free shipping in the US is only $35.00, and they ship the day you order (all my orders have shown up within a couple of days).
  • The site is easy to navigate and shows you other fragrances you might like based on the one you’ve clicked on.
  • You can get mini sizes, unboxed full-size bottles, testers, and regular (boxed) full-size bottles.
  • The discounts are exceptional, and you can save even more with promo codes they offer often.
  • They educate you on each cologne with tips on what season it’s appropriate for, who might like it, and what it smells like.

Cons

  • If you need to return a cologne, you won’t be refunded for the shipping cost (understandable), but you’ll also be charged $6.95 for a return label if you choose to use one (available in the US and UK). That cost will be deducted from your refund amount.
  • Information about their rewards program is practically buried. The discount that comes with the program isn’t especially impressive, either, but it’s still more money in your pocket (and I have to give them credit for offering a discount on already-discounted items). For example, spend $100.00 to get 100 points that can then get you 2% off future orders. If you spend $500.00 and get 500 points, you’ll get 5% off. You can get 10% off orders, which is better, but you’ll need to spend $1000.00 to get to that tier.

FragranceNet

FragranceNet

Best for: Discounts and an inexpensive subscription option

FragranceNet reminds me of FragranceX. In my mind, they’re almost interchangeable. However, a few differences could make one better than the other, depending on what you’re looking for.

Pros

  • The prices are incredible, and you can usually find a discount code to use on top of them for even more savings.
  • The selection is good if you’re not looking for anything too niche or vintage. They definitely have more on the perfume side. 
  • You can get samples, unboxed bottles, and testers to save even more. 
  • Shipping is fast and free once you hit the $59.00 mark.
  • There’s an affordable subscription option if you want to go that route.

Cons

  • The site feels clunky and crowded, so I search for exactly what I’m looking for and decide whether to check out based on what’s available and how much it costs. I don’t browse there much.
  • If you’re just there for the savings, you’re probably going to have a hard time hitting the free shipping mark. Paying for shipping will eat into your savings.

Ulta

Ulta

Best for: Those who tend to shop for skin care or hair care products at Ulta and would benefit from a generous rewards program and amazing sales a few times per year (it’s a great time to stock up on essentials and try a new, exciting fragrance!)

I love shopping at Ulta for fragrances, but unless you time it just right, you’ll spend more than you need to.

Pros 

  • The rewards program is phenomenal; you can redeem your points to buy anything in the store.
  • They occasionally have sales where you can save up to 20 percent on fragrances. Sometimes they have special point-multiplying events that will get you 2X or 5X the points on your cologne, which puts even more points back into your account to shop with.
  • There are travel sizes at reasonable prices, so you won’t have to commit to a full bottle if you don’t want to.
  • You can buy online and have your cologne shipped, or you may even be able to pick it up in the store at a convenient time (this is handy when there’s a sale but you can’t make it to the store right away). 
  • They sell more than fragrances, so if you’ve been hoarding points on other orders, you might have enough to get your cologne free. Even if you don’t, the points you earn on your cologne will get you a discount on a future purchase.

Cons

  • When there’s no sale, promo code, or event that boosts the number of points you’ll get on your cologne order, you’ll be paying retail. What you get back in points might not make it worth it compared to other perfume sites.
  • Sometimes the selection is different from what I’d like it to be, but they have the basics and new fragrances covered.

Sephora

Sephora Cologne

Best for: Quick shipping, a good selection of mainstream and some niche fragrances, plus a rewards program

I used to spend so much time in the fragrance aisles of Sephora I felt like I should’ve worked there, directing people to their next signature fragrance. Trying them out was fun, but I love the convenience of ordering from Sephora online, too. 

Pros

  • Their selection isn’t massive, but they cover enough bases to make it feel like it is. There’s a lot to choose from if you’re not looking for anything too niche or vintage. Newer scents or classics? They’ve got you covered on most of those.
  • Their shipping is fast. Plus, it’s free for Beauty Insiders.
  • Their rewards program is pretty good. You get special discounts. Sometimes, there are point-multiplying events, so you get more per purchase.
  • Sampler sets allow you to try several different colognes over a few weeks and then redeem your voucher for a full-size bottle of your favorite. This is a good idea to accommodate people who don’t live close enough to a store to go in and ask for samples.

Cons

  • You can only redeem $10.00 worth of points at a time unless you’re a Rouge member (top tier). In that case, you can spend 2,500 points to get $100.00 off. That’ll go a long way on a cologne purchase, but accumulating that many points can take a while.
  • The sampler sets are a brilliant idea, but only if you’re interested in a few of them or are sure you already know you want a full-size of one of the included colognes. When you attempt to redeem your voucher, you might find they no longer have the cologne you want. This is probably rare, but it happened to me once several years ago.

Scentbird

Scentbird Cologne

Good for: Finding your perfect go-to scent or just trying a new one every month because you don’t feel like settling on just one (and why would you, with the incredible selection they offer?)

If you like variety or you’re searching for a new signature fragrance and need help knowing where to start, Scentbird can help. You’ll take a quiz to let them know what you like, then they’ll point you in the right direction to make your list of colognes you want to try.

Each month, you’ll get one travel spray (or more, depending on your subscription) in the mail. Try it for about a month, and you should know whether it’s something you want a full-sized bottle of.

Pros

  • You have help choosing colognes you’ll like.
  • You’re not spending a full-sized bottle price on something you might not like after a few days or weeks.
  • You can set up your list and forget about it; they’ll keep sending you cologne each month until you tell them to stop.
  • There’s a good selection.
  • You don’t have to sign up for a subscription (you’ll save money if you do, though).

Cons

  • I have searched for specific fragrances to try and have been disappointed to find they didn’t have them, so it’s something you might run into even though they have hundreds of scents.
  • Even though Scentbird is a subscription service, the price could fluctuate monthly, depending on which colognes you choose. Sometimes you’ll pay $5.00 or $10.00 more. The colognes that cost more are clearly marked, but it’s something to remember as you build your list of fragrances to try.

ScentBox

Scentbox

Best for: People who love to experiment with their scent vs. settle down with one signature

If you like the idea of a subscription, ScentBox is another option for you to consider.  

Pros

  • There are over 850 fragrances, and each travel spray will give you enough to make it through about a month.
  • You can exchange your cologne for free (one per month) if you’re not happy with it.
  • You can choose from cologne or perfume. Even though the quiz will ask if you’re ordering for a man or woman, you won’t be blocked from ordering perfumes. This means you can experiment with those or share the account with a woman in your life if neither of you needs a new fragrance monthly.
  • There are several subscription options to choose from, and you can choose which tier you want access to (Designer, Premium, or Platinum) so your bill won’t fluctuate from month to month.

Cons

  • Some of the plans are pricier than I expected. For example, getting one cologne from the Platinum tier each month costs $30.95/month (after the first month at $17.75). To try three at that tier, it’s $77.95.
  • I had to dig to access a list of all the scents they offer. It’s impressive, but I’d like that displayed more prominently on the page before the sign-up process.

Perfume.com

Perfume

Best for: User-friendly site, low threshold for free shipping, and a stellar selection

Perfume.com reminds me of FragranceX and FragranceNet. The selection and prices are exceptional. This site has been around longer than I’ve been shopping for fragrances online.

Pros

  • You get free shipping on orders of $35.00 or more, plus free returns.
  • The prices are already lower than retail, but they often have coupons to stack on top of that for even more savings.
  • I like that you can find colognes that were a big deal in the 90s (I’m looking at you, Ck One) right next to newer fragrances like Versace Eros and Dior Sauvage. Want a fragrance that’s been discontinued? Check here.
  • The selection has just about anything you can imagine wanting to add to your cologne collection. If you click on Men’s Cologne, you’ll be met with over 70 pages–almost 3000 items–to sift through.

Cons

  • This is a picky critique and not worth much, but I have a hard time finding any cons. So here goes: If you’re looking for a place to buy cologne online where you can also purchase body care, haircare items, skincare products, or fragrances for your home in addition to your body, you’ll be disappointed here.
  • There are some items I would expect much lower prices on, and I was shocked to see what they were listed for. Even the discount codes don’t make those items worth it.

MicroPerfumes

MicroPerfumes

Best for: When you don’t want to commit–even to a subscription

I keep going back to MicroPerfumes for travel sprays because they’re reasonably priced (especially if you have a promo code or they’re having a sale) and have just about every fragrance I’ve searched for. The Dior Sauvage I got from here gave my husband enough time to try it out and decide he wanted a full-sized bottle.

One Christmas, I gave him a different cologne he thought he liked after trying it once or twice. After a few weeks, he decided he didn’t like it because neither of us ever smelled it when he wore it. MicroPerfumes and other sites that sell travel sprays with enough cologne to try for a few weeks could prevent situations like that.

Pros

  • You can get a wide variety of colognes here, including some niche brands. I rarely look for a fragrance and then can’t find it. Need a recommendation? Try Le Labo Santal 33 (it’s unisex). I also recommend giving Dior Sauvage a try.
  • You can get smaller samples or full-sized bottles here; they’re not all travel sizes, but those are my favorite.
  • This isn’t a subscription. 
  • If you’re in the US, you get free shipping on orders of $40.00 or more.

Cons

  • You might get a better deal elsewhere depending on what you’re looking for and what promos are running. 
  • This is picky, but the full-page 25% off offer for giving them your email or phone number is annoying to the point of making me want to leave sometimes. It keeps popping up on almost every visit, often after I’ve started looking around on the homepage at what’s new or on sale, so it’s especially jarring. I’m pretty sure I already gave them my email address, too.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom

Best for: A wide selection of full-sized bottles of mainstream, high-end, and niche colognes

Nordstrom is the only department store that made it onto this list of the best places to buy cologne online because of their range (niche to more mainstream colognes). I love that there’s so much variety here; I could find something here for anyone in my life.

Pros

  • You get the full range, from the mainstream, newer fragrances to niche. Creed, Versace, Maison Margiela Replica scents, and more can be found here.
  • During sales (they’re running one as of this writing, actually, at the end of March), you can save quite a bit on cologne purchases. These sales don’t only happen around Christmas. You can find promo codes to save money, too. 
  • If you’re giving a gift, you can add a pretty gift box to your order for a small fee, so you won’t have to worry about how to wrap it. Just put the gift in the box and hand it to the recipient when it’s time.
  • Free shipping and returns in the US

Cons

  • Unless the timing works out with a sale or availability of a promo code, you’ll be paying full price for the cologne, which means there are sometimes better places to shop than Nordstrom.
  • Their return policy says they handle returns on a “case-by-case basis,” but they aim to keep their customers happy. That means there’s a risk that you won’t be able to return your cologne, albeit a small one.

FAQs

Question: Which website is best for buying perfume?

Answer: Some of the best websites for buying perfume and cologne are MicroPerfumes, FragranceX, FragranceNet, Ulta, Sephora, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Scentbird, ScentBox, and Scent Split (for niche samples).

Question: Where is the best place for cologne?

Answer: As far as stores go, the best place for cologne is FragranceX, FragranceNet, Ulta, Sephora, Scentbird, ScentBox, Perfumes.com, MicroPerfumes, and Nordstrom. The best places for cologne on your body are your neck, chest, inner elbows, and/or wrists.

Question: How to get cologne cheaper?

Answer: You can shop for travel sizes, testers, and unboxed fragrances on sites like FragranceX, FragranceNet, and Perfume.com.

If you time it out right, you can save quite a bit during seasonal sales at stores like Ulta, Sephora, or department stores. Finally, suppose you’re just looking for cologne to try out but don’t necessarily need a full-sized bottle yet. In that case, you can pick up samples from stores like MicroPerfumes, ScentSplit, and Perfume.com. 

Conclusion: It Depends…

My top three best places to get cologne online are MicroPerfumes, Ulta, and FragranceX. That said, you can sometimes pay less if there’s a special sale going on (especially around the holidays).

Sometimes you’ll get gift sets or free gifts during the holidays at some stores, too. FragranceNet, FragranceX, and Perfume.com almost always have a discount code to use on top of their regular discounts, so comparing those three at any time of year is a good idea. 

I chose MicroPerfumes because of their travel sprays and vast selection. Ulta gets points because of their rewards program (ha, see what I did there?). FragranceX is on the list because the prices tend to be low, shipping is fast, and the selection is excellent. If you want a whole bottle of a fragrance outside of the seasonal sales and point-amplifying events at Ulta, I’d choose FragranceX.

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