The Best Deodorant for Men

When it comes to the best deodorant for men, there are two camps: antiperspirants that stop wetness and natural deodorants that fight BO. We did deep dives on each, scrutinizing ingredients lists, and talking to dermatologists and chemists, before testing 37 finalists to find which glided on the smoothest and left the least residue.

The 5 Best Deodorants for Men

Best Scented Antiperspirant
Speed Stick Power Fresh Antiperspirant Deodorant
Speed Stick Power Fresh
Sweat-stopping ingredients in a mildly scented stick that leaves little residue.
Pros
Comfortable application
Lack of residue
Cons
Some strong scents

Why we chose it

Comfortable application

When it came to application and residue, all the Speed Sticks emerged as frontrunners. They have wide, domed heads that molded nicely to underarms, and one tester said Speed Stick Power felt “smooth, not wet or gritty.” After two hours, the same tester noted his armpits still felt dry.

Lack of residue

Where Speed Stick really pulled ahead was our residue test: It left no clumps or flakes on underarms, even on hairy pits where goop might easily cling. And when we wiped our armpits with t-shirt swatches, Speed Stick left only a slight chalky streak. Dove and Axe performed respectably but received slightly lower marks from our testers.

All three results were in stark contrast with options like Gillette Endurance and the Old Spice Wild Collection, which left so much product on the T-shirt fabric that we questioned how much had adhered to our skin in the first place.

Speed-Stick-Power-Unscented-Comparison

Points to consider

Some strong scents

The slightly fruity Speed Stick Power Fresh was ultimately our top pick, but we’ll note that we didn’t love all of the brand’s other formulations (namely, we found Irish Spring a bit too Irish Spring-y, and the musky Gear Drycore sent a few of our testers reeling). If your scent-sensitive try the unscented option. Otherwise, the Power Fresh should be mild enough for most users.

Best Unscented Antiperspirant
Speed Stick Power Unscented Solid Antiperspirant and Deodorant
Speed Stick Power Unscented
Stops sweat and leaves your pits smelling like nothing.
Pros
Truly unscented
A balanced application
Cons
A bit of residue

Why we chose it

Truly unscented

Turns out, without a scent to differentiate them, a lot of antiperspirants are very similar, and Speed Stick is about as scentless as it gets. If you put your nose really close to the package, you might catch a faint waxy whiff, but even that is a stretch. Its closest runner-up in our testing, the Ban Invisible Solid Antiperspirant Deodorant, is also unscented, but is a bit muskier — it includes some barley and sandalwood extract low on its ingredients list that the Speed Stick lacks.

A balanced application

Speed Stick and Ban both performed well in our application and residue tests, though Speed Stick earned an edge. Testers found that Speed Stick struck just the right balance between wet and dry, and after two hours, they’d forgotten it was even on. Speed Stick also left a slightly fainter trace in our residue test.

Speed Stick Unscented Comparison for Men's Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Points to consider

A bit of residue

Though the Speed Stick Power Unscented left less residue than some of its competitors, it’s still a noticeable mark. Our natural deodorants left nearly no white smudges and may be a better choice for the purveyor of a black wardrobe.

A Clinical-Strength Option
Dove Men+Care Clean Comfort Clinical Protection Antiperspirant
Dove Men+Care Clean Comfort Clinical Protection
Takes longer to dry but includes 20 percent aluminum zirconium.
Pros
FDA-approved
Effective
Cons
Slow to dry

Why we chose it

FDA approved

The FDA does not set standards for products labeled “clinical strength,” so it’s hard to say whether these antiperspirants actually provide the superior results they claim.

However, there are products like Dove Men+Care Clinical Strength, which is labeled “extra effective.” The FDA does set standards around this language. A product can be labeled an “antiperspirant” if it reduces sweating by 20 percent in user tests; products that reduce sweating by 30 percent can be labeled “extra effective” (Section IIC, Comment 9).

Effective

The product includes 5 percentage points more aluminum zirconium than its non-clinical Dove counterparts, topping out at 20 percent, the most of any men’s antiperspirant we tested. With this kind of antiperspirant strength, the Dove deodorant has a great chance at combatting odor and sweat.

Points to consider

Slow-to-dry

Dove’s clinical-strength formula has a lot going for it from a stats perspective, but our testers weren’t super impressed once they actually applied it. While packaged in a regular-looking tube, the product itself clicks out as a lotion, and one tester noticed it took longer to dry. Dealbreaker? Not if it works. If you perspire more than you’d prefer, this may be a good option. But there is one last caveat: It’s twice as expensive for about half the product ($5 for 1.7 ounces).

Best Natural Deodorant
Sam's Natural Deodorant
Sam’s
Uses baking soda and coconut oil to prevent body odor.
Pros
Odor-fighting natural ingredients
Circular design
Minimal residue
Cons
Costly

Why we chose it

Odor-fighting natural ingredients

Our top pick for a natural deodorant is aluminum-free and contains coconut oil and baking soda, two of our three top odor fighters. It also includes shea butter as a moisturizer. Sam's comes in 15 scents, 14 of which are marketed “for men.” We tried the Cedar (derived in part from cedarwood essential oil) and found it to be pleasant and not too intense. After two hours, we could still catch a faint hint of it — but not of BO. (We also tested Sam’s one “woman’s” scent, which was on the lemon-citrus spectrum, and found it, frankly, pretty unisex.)

Circular design

Among the natural deodorants we tested, some came in circular tubes, like Sam’s and AC Nature, while others, like For Pit’s Sake and North Coast Organics came in ovals, similar to what you’d expect from a traditional antiperspirant. We actually preferred the circular design, which plugged right into our pits. Natural deodorant can have a softer, creamier texture than traditional antiperspirants, often resulting in excess goop on the rims of oval sticks that don’t fit quite as nicely.

Minimal residue

But as a great all-around option, we recommend Sam’s. It glided smoothly onto our pits and left minimal residue in our T-shirt test. One tester was pleased to see “almost nothing, no flaking or clumps” when he checked.

Natural Deodorant Comparison Comparison for Men's Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Points to consider

Costly

A 3-ounce stick will cost you around $10, which puts Sam’s below the median price of our top 26 natural deodorants (which ranged from $6 to $24), an impressive feat when you consider the brand is hand-crafted in New Hampshire.

Best Organic Natural Deodorant
Green Tidings All-Natural Deodorant
Green Tidings
Certified-organic ingredients, with coconut oil and baking soda to stop odors.
Pros
Organic, vegan, and cruelty-free
Soft scents
Circular stick
Cons
Expensive

Why we chose it

Organic, vegan, and cruelty-free

In addition to being organic, Green Tidings is vegan, cruelty-free, and made in a solar-powered facility (which could explain that higher price tag). Like Sam’s, it’s free of aluminum and harsh irritants and contains baking soda and coconut oil, plus shea butter as a moisturizer.

Soft scents

Green Tidings comes in both lavender and unscented formulas. Our testers described the lavender-scented stick as smelling more herbal than floral, with a scent that was “subtle, not overpowering,” so it’s still a fairly universal option. Either way, Green Tidings easily outperformed certified organic finalist AC Nature Natural Deodorant Stick, which testers said smelled “gross” and “like Play-Doh.”

Circular stick

As a bonus, Green Tidings uses our preferred application method: a circular stick. This set it apart from products from North Coast Organics and Bubble and Bee, which, as with other ovals, left excess goop on our skin and along the tube’s rim. Green Tidings felt a little gritty going on, but not in a bad way. Testers said they liked being able to feel it applying, and the gritty feeling didn’t linger once the product was on. Green Tidings also killed it on our residue test. It left way less residue on T-shirt fabric than our other organic contenders, again outperforming North Coast Organics and Bubble and Bee.

Points to consider

Expensive

Compared to Sam’s, Green Tidings' $8 1-ounce tube may feel like a steep price hike. It’s our most expensive pick, but it’s ingredients and manufacture methods warrant a higher market value.

What’s the Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant?

If you’re trying to figure out whether you need an antiperspirant, a deodorant, or a combination of both, it helps to understand why armpits are so smelly in the first place.

The culprit is actually bacteria, not sweat. Sweat is odorless when released by your body — but the bacteria living on your skin will feast on it, producing odor as a byproduct. Antiperspirants and deodorants each tackle this problem in a different way.

Antiperspirants prevent wetness

The main goal of an antiperspirant is to stop sweating, keeping your armpits dry and starving the bacteria. Antiperspirants rely on aluminum to achieve this. When combined with acids in your sweat and on your skin, aluminum forms a jelly-like plug that stops up your sweat glands.

Deodorants fight odor

A deodorant doesn’t attempt to stop sweat. Its aim is to neutralize the odor caused by bacteria when they digest sweat — or to just kill the bacteria. These goals can be achieved through the use of fragrances, antimicrobials, and other ingredients that curb any bacterial activity.

A product that’s advertised only as a deodorant doesn’t usually contain aluminum. And this is actually a selling point: Some people avoid aluminum due to concerns that it could be linked to Alzheimer’s disease or cancer — although the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and FDA all believe there’s not enough evidence to support either claim.

Men and women sweat the same stuff

You’re reading a review of men’s deodorants, which begs the question: Do men sweat differently than women? One study from 2010 found that yes, they do. Men start sweating sooner (e.g., at a lower body temperature) and release more sweat. But then we spoke with Sean Notley, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Ottawa, and the lead author on a similar, but more recent study, published in 2017.

“In our tests, we found that sex could explain a maximum of about 5 percent of individual variations in sweating.” The bigger factor in how much you sweat? According to Notley, it’s body type.

There’s also no evidence that the content of sweat differs by sex, and Notley tipped us off that there’s little evidence to show that men (or women) have more sweat glands, or different ones. So do men and women truly need different deodorants? Probably not.

"In terms of active ingredients, there’s no difference between men’s and women’s products. The main difference is scent."

In fact: “In terms of active ingredients, there’s no difference between men’s and women’s products. The main difference is scent,” said Dr. David Pariser, senior physician at Pariser Dermatology. Cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson, of BeautyStat.com, agreed. “It’s really about personal preference for scent and application style,” he said.

With this in mind, consider our top picks for the best men’s antiperspirants and deodorants as your starting point. If you don’t love a particular scent or application experience, shop around until you find one that works. Keep in mind: It could be a product marketed for women.

Deodorant FAQ

When should you apply antiperspirant?

Some experts, including Dr. Pariser, recommend applying your antiperspirant before bed. Why? During your sleep, you perspire moderately. The theory goes that this activates the aluminum in your antiperspirant and gives it a solid seven or eight hours to form a good plug in your sweat glands. Conversely, when you apply after a shower, your skin is moist and the product might slip off. (If you’re wondering if your morning shower will also wash off the antiperspirant you applied so carefully the night before, most accounts say no.)

Can Botox prevent sweating?

If you’re experiencing a level of sweating and body odor that interferes with your daily life, it may be time to talk to your doctor about trying something more.

“In severe cases, Botox is an effective treatment for excessive sweating,” says Dr. Kunin. Botox works by blocking your nerve endings from sending signals to your sweat glands to produce sweat. A prescription for topical neurotransmitter inhibitors like dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate and gamma aminobutyric acid can produce similar effects.

If you require Botox for your sweating, you might be one of 3 percent of the population that suffers from a condition known as hyperhidrosis. According to Dr. Malcolm V. Brock, medical director of the John Hopkins Center for Sweat Disorders, some of the telltale signs include only wearing black to avoid sweat stains, avoiding people due to embarrassment about how much you sweat, changing your shirt two to three times a day, and experiencing all these symptoms even in the cold.

In these cases, a more potent prescription antiperspirant may be recommended. However, the risk of irritation with these is higher, so they’re only recommended for extreme cases. Talk to your doctor.

Do men sweat more than women?

Notley’s research found, after accounting for differences in body type between men and women, that less than 5 percent of individual differences in sweating could be attributed to sex. Body type is actually the biggest factor, explaining up to 48 percent of individual variations in sweating.

“If a coffee is half full, it will cool much faster than a full cup. We thought that those principles might apply to sweat,” said Notley. “We found that a large individual who has a low surface-area-to-volume ratio has less relative surface area to lose heat through.” Thus, larger individuals are less able to release heat through the skin and must rely more on sweating.

The Best Deodorant for Men: Summed Up

Men's Deodorant The Best Price
Speed Stick Power Fresh
Best Antiperspirant
$2/3 oz.
Speed Stick Power Unscented Solid
Best Unscented Antiperspirant
$1.5/3 oz.
Dove Men+Care Clean Comfort Clinical Protection
A Clinical Strength Option
$7/1.7 oz.
Sam's Natural Deodorant
Best Natural Deodorant
$10/3 oz.
Green Tidings All-Natural Deodorant
Best Organic Natural Deodorant
$8/1 oz.