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The 16 Very Best Men’s Deodorants and Anti-perspirants

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

In this article

Sweating, both literally and figuratively, stinks. No guy wants to go through the day worrying whether he’s emitting B.O. or not, or that he can’t lift his arms without revealing serious pit stains. And finding the right deodorant can feel like a journey itself. I’ve personally tried over two dozen different deodorants over the past 17 years. Some masked my body odor but smelled too strong, others stained the insides of my clothes, while one gave me actual chemical burns. But your search for the right deodorant doesn’t have to be beset with all that trial and error. To find out what products are most effective at controlling sweat and odor, I tested seven deodorants for this story, and reached out to five dermatologists, two personal trainers, and three men’s grooming experts to get their top recommendations.

Since choosing a deodorant is a personal decision, and everyone has different body chemistry, it’s hard to proclaim one specific deodorant the “best overall.” So I broke everything down by what it is (stick, roll-on, wipe) and what the experts say it’s best for (whether that’s masking scents, stopping sweat, or both), noting which options come recommended for the heaviest sweaters among us. I also reached out to our staffers and contributors to get their recommendations for their favorite deodorants and anti-perspirants for daily use and for workouts.

What we’re looking for

Anti-perspirant or deodorant

While you might see the terms “deodorant” and “anti-perspirant” used interchangeably on product labels, there’s a difference between the two: Deodorants make you smell good, and anti-perspirants stop you from sweating. “Deodorants technically only mask or neutralize the body odor caused by bacteria, whereas an anti-perspirant temporarily suppresses the flow of sweat,” says Dr. Jennifer Chwalek of Union Square Laser Dermato­logy. As she explains, the metallic salts in anti-perspirants — typically aluminum compounds — “create a plug in the sweat duct reducing the flow of sweat.” For those reasons, Dr. Jeremy Fenton of the Schweiger Dermatology Group and Dr. Samer Jaber of Washington Square Dermatology agree that the gold standard for sweat and odor protection is a combination anti-perspirant deodorant.

Another quick point of clarification: You’ve probably heard a lot about “aluminum-free” deodorant or “natural” deodorant. The two terms essentially mean the same thing, says Jaber. “Natural deodorants are aluminum-free products,” he explains. “Aluminum salts are the only FDA-approved chemical anti-perspirant.” Aluminum can be irritating to sensitive skin, so if you’re prone to rashes or itchiness, you might want to opt for a deodorant-only product that kills odor-causing bacteria. Fenton says to look for ingredients like “zinc, witch hazel, or essential oils that have anti-bacterial properties, such as lemongrass, sage, and tea tree, or baking soda, which neutralizes odor.” And Dr. Corey Hartman of Skin Wellness Dermatology adds that people with melanated skin especially should consider an aluminum-free product, because when melanin is irritated by aluminum, it can result in visible skin marks that can take days or weeks to go away.

Application format

Deodorants come in wipes, roll-ons, powders, sprays, and creams. We’ve noted which types are which below.

Best anti-perspirants for men

Best roll-on anti-perspirant for heavy sweaters

Protection type: Anti-perspirant | Application type: Roll-on

Certain Dri is two of our experts’ favorite brand for excessive sweating. “One of the keys when you’re using it is to apply at night,” Fenton says. “You want the aluminum to settle down in the sweat glands,” which is harder to do during the day when you’re actively producing sweat. Because it’s so strong, both Fenton and Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali of Hudson Dermatology recommend starting slowly — every other night at first — to avoid irritation. “There’s a cumulative effect as it settles into the pores,” Fenton notes, so using it every 48 to 72 hours may be all you need.

Best anti-perspirant wipes for heavy sweaters

Protection type: Anti-perspirant | Application type: Wipes

If you want something equally powerful that requires even less frequent usage, try these antiperspirant wipes. Endorsed by the International Hyperhidrosis Society, one SweatBlock wipe can be effective for up to seven days. Like Certain Dri, SweatBlock is supposed to be applied at night. But if leaving the house in the morning without applying anything feels strange to you, Fenton says you can use a non-anti-perspirant deodorant in the morning for added odor protection. Strategist contributor Carlo Dellaverson, a self-proclaimed “card-carrying member of the excessive-sweating community,” says SweatBlock wipes “have taken on a sort of cult status among excessive sweaters, for when nothing else works.”

Best anti-perspirant deodorants for men

Best anti-perspirant stick deodorant for heavy sweaters

Protection type: Anti-perspirant deodorant | Application type: Stick

Former Strategist associate editor Daniel Varghese started using this Arm & Hammer unscented deodorant because his mother wouldn’t buy him Axe in middle school. Since then, he has been a loyalist. As someone who describes himself as “really sweaty,” he finds it helps him sweat less, especially if he reapplies.

Best anti-perspirant deodorant for heavy sweaters with sensitive skin

Protection type: Anti-perspirant deodorant | Application type: Stick

If you have particularly sensitive skin but still need a strong antiperspirant, Jaber, Hartman, and Bhanusali recommend Vanicream. It has a high concentration of aluminum to prevent sweating, but it’s free of all fragrances, dyes, lanolin, parabens, and pretty much any other potentially irritating ingredients. “If someone has eczema or contact dermatitis, I recommend this,” says Hartman.

Best anti-perspirant deodorant for moderate sweaters

Protection type: Anti-perspirant deodorant | Application type: Stick

For guys who don’t need the most powerful anti-perspirant or who find it irritating to their skin, Fenton says Mitchum is “one step down” in intensity from the strongest stuff and very effective for controlling wetness and odor.

Best anti-perspirant deodorant for moderate sweaters with sensitive skin

Protection type: Anti-perspirant deodorant | Application type: Stick

The experts say unscented products are generally the best for sensitive skin, since chemical fragrances and even essential oils can be irritating for some people. For those folks, Jaber and Bhanusali specifically recommend this fragrance-free Dove stick, which is also alcohol-free and contains moisturizing ingredients. This stick is also one of our top-recommended deodorants for women. (Four experts told us the active ingredient in Dove, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex, is less irritating on the skin than some of the harsher chemicals in other deodorants.) Dove’s line for men currently lacks an unscented anti-perspirant deodorant, but those who would prefer something from that line can find a lightly scented one further down on this list.

Best roll-on anti-perspirant deodorant for moderate sweaters with sensitive skin

Protection type: Anti-perspirant deodorant | Application type: Roll-on

Ban is another company known for making gentle products. Its fragrance-free roll-on deodorant comes recommended by celebrity groomer Ronnie Peterson, who says he has “been using it for the past eight years.” The roller ball dispenses a thin layer of clear liquid with each application, so the product should absorb quickly without leaving any white residue behind.

Best anti-perspirant deodorant for dry skin

Protection type: Anti-perspirant deodorant | Application type: Stick

People with chronic dryness often find that anti-perspirant deodorants dry them out even more. That’s why Hartman recommends this newer option from Old Spice to all of his patients who complain of dry skin. Its formula includes moisturizer and the same less-irritating ingredient (aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex) found in the Dove anti-perspirant deodorant, above. As someone whose skin reacts badly to aluminum, Hartman adds that this is what he uses himself; his son, who has atopic dermatitis, also uses it.

Best anti-perspirant deodorant for working out

Protection type: Anti-perspirant deodorant | Application type: Stick

Personal trainer Andrew Flores — who “likes to sweat” while working out — is another fan of Dove’s anti-perspirant deodorants. He says they’re stronger than the Right Guard anti-perspirants he used to use, which would never last him a full gym session. This particular stick smells great (“like laundry”) even after a heavy workout, according to Flores, who adds that it leaves no marks and causes him no irritation. He also appreciates its value, noting that a four-pack breaks down to just $3.50 per stick.

Best natural deodorants for men

If any type of aluminum anti-perspirant irritates your skin or if sweat isn’t a big problem for you, it may be time to try a deodorant-only product. Just be prepared for the difference. “You may feel extra wet at first,” says Chwalek, “as they really don’t reduce sweat.” But “that doesn’t mean it won’t be effective,” says Chad Beightol, owner of men’s grooming boutique Consigliere, who has been using a non-anti-perspirant deodorant for several years. As he explains, a good natural deodorant employs ingredients that “fight the bacteria that cause odor.”

Best natural deodorant overall

Protection type: Natural deodorant | Application type: Stick

I don’t sweat excessively, so I’ve never needed to use anti-perspirants before — the majority of the products I’ve tested in this list are deodorants. After testing more than a dozen in the past few years, I always recommend this one from Ursa Major first, because it smells super fresh and doesn’t stain my clothes. It’s also made with the same mint and eucalyptus that’s in my favorite bar soap (which is also made by Ursa Major), so it pairs well with my overall scent. Beightol told us that, after trying out a bunch of natural deodorants, this eucalyptus-scented stick is the one that works best for him. “I swear by it,” he says. The deodorant contains hops, which, “while great for making beer, is also effective at fighting bacteria and microbes,” he adds.

Best simple natural deodorant

Protection type: Natural deodorant | Application type: Stick

This fall, I reached a point in my deodorant hunt where all I wanted was an extremely bare-bones deodorant: no more “clean” scents (which often end up having a nauseating soapy smell), no creamy deodorant sticks that leave my armpits wet, and no sprays that double as light colognes. I found this aluminum-free one at my local drugstore and immediately liked its subtle, barely-there scent, which has hints of palo santo and frankincense. And while it’s not an anti-perspirant, it feels dry on my skin (even more so than other natural sticks that claim to have a dry application). It’s become my go-to daily deodorant.

Best scented natural deodorant

Protection type: Natural deodorant | Application type: Stick

This aluminum-free deodorant comes recommended by programmer Michael DiSanto, who has been using it for the past year and likes it for its wide variety of complex scents. “Previously I’d pretty much used Old Spice all my life, which did the job, but I didn’t really consider that there was a wider scent world on offer,” he says. “It feels less chemical-y and higher quality when you’re using it and it’s nice to have a few different scents available.” It also gets the stamp of approval from his partner, Strategist writer Kitty Guo, who says it “smells amazing” and is “stronger and way more sophisticated than Old Spice.” DiSanto has tried the Calle Ocho, Matia, and Sterling scents so far, and says that when he runs out, he’ll get refills (the brand sells refillable sticks of each scent).

Best natural deodorant with subtle scent

Protection type: Natural deodorant | Application type: Stick

I’ve used this aluminum-free stick from Method Men as my daily deodorant because it has a fresh, subtle earthy scent that doesn’t smell overpowering. As an active person, I sweat every day, so I look for deodorants that don’t leave smells or stains on my workout clothes. This one fulfills both needs. After a few months of testing, I did notice that I was going through two of these sticks per month — much faster than with other deodorants. So if you use your deodorant sparingly, this one might be a better option for you.

Best natural deodorant body spray

Protection type: Natural deodorant | Application type: Spray

I’ve used this aluminum-free spray for the past two years. I use it as a deodorant spray and a light cologne, but I like to pair it with a roll-on deodorant: As a sweatier guy, I need the extra layer of deodorant to feel comfortable, but only using OffCourt’s spray might work best for folks who are generally drier.

Best natural deodorant for sensitive skin

Protection type: Natural deodorant | Application type: Stick

I’ve also used this stick from Native as my daily deodorant — I like that it’s discreet and fragrance-free, so it doesn’t get in the way of other scents. This is a great natural option for people with more sensitive skin. Fenton reminds us that “even scented deodorants without anti-perspirant can be irritating” because of the chemicals that may compose their fragrances. So those with sensitive skin who would prefer a natural deodorant should look for one without fragrance, he says. For those reasons, Strategist tech writer Jordan McMahon uses this aluminum-free deodorant daily. “I wanted something with a light or no smell, and something that didn’t feel like it left residue,” he says. “Native’s deodorant doesn’t really have much scent. The smell is there, but it’s not as potent as something from Old Spice or Right Guard.” Former associate editor Louis Cheslaw uses Native’s deodorant, too. According to him, one stick lasts for months, “goes on dry, and is irritation-free.”

Best clear gel natural deodorant


Protection type: Natural deodorant | Application type: Stick

Strategist writer Erin Schwartz likes the deodorant from Baxter of California, which has a gel formula that dries clear and doesn’t stain clothing. The formula contains a blend of tea-tree and witch-hazel extracts, which have antibacterial and toning properties. Previously they stuck to Tom’s of Maine, but after using this one for about a year, they’ve switched over to the Baxter of California full time. “The best thing about it is that I don’t really notice it,” they say. “And it smells nice.” The brand describes the scent as a citrusy, herbal musk, which Schwartz says is accurate.

Some more men’s deodorants we’ve written about before

Our experts

• Chad Beightol, owner of men’s grooming boutique Consigliere
• Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, dermatologist at Hudson Dermatology
• Dr. Jennifer Chwalek, dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermato­logy
• Carlo Dellaverson, Strategist contributor
• Michael DiSanto, programmer
Andrew Flores, certified personal trainer
Kitty Guo, Strategist writer
• Dr. Corey Hartman, founder and medical director of Skin Wellness Dermatology
• Dr. Samer Jaber, dermatologist at Washington Square Dermatology
• Erin Schwartz, Strategist writer
Ronnie Peterson, celebrity groomer

Additional reporting by Karen Iorio Adelson, David Notis, and Tembe Denton-Hurst.

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The 16 Very Best Men’s Deodorants and Anti-perspirants