What is a Tester Cologne? The Pros and Cons of Buying One!

Written By: Ahmed Farah
Reviewed By: Ahmed Farah
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A tester cologne is a version of a fragrance that is produced for promotional or display purposes. They contain the same perfume liquid as the official releases but are typically without any packaging and labeling, and are sometimes even without caps and sprays.

If you have been around the fragrance community long enough, you may have come across the term ‘tester’. You may have also seen many people swearing by buying these products, and claiming they are even better than the official releases.

So to save you all the confusion, in this article, we’ll delve into the details of what exactly a tester cologne is, how it differs from actual perfumes, and whether or not you should buy one.

What is a Tester Cologne?

A tester cologne is a version of a fragrance that is produced for promotional or display purposes.

An array of Testers

It serves as a sample to allow customers to experience the scent before committing to a full-sized bottle. Tester colognes are often used in retail settings to encourage potential buyers and provide them with a sneak peek of what they’ll receive with a purchase.

Tester Vs Sample

If you’ve read the definition above, you are probably thinking that testers sound exactly like samples, but there are some key differences between the two.

While both serve the purpose of allowing customers to experience a scent before purchasing, testers are larger and usually come in plain packaging, resembling the final product.

Testers come in the 50ml, 75ml, 100ml, and 150ml range, while Samples are a lot smaller, containing 1.5 to 2ml.

Difference between Cologne and Tester Colognes

The is no actual difference between the liquid of a cologne and tester cologne. Despite popular opinion, the two mixtures are identical.

From a packaging perspective, however, there are notable differences between the two.

Tester colognes typically lack elaborate packaging and decorative features. While the official cologne releases come in the well thought out and designed bottles and packages created for them.

To learn about the difference between colognes and perfumes, check out our article here!

Pros of Tester Colognes

So now that you are well versed on what tester colognes actually are, what are some of the reasons for you to actually buy one?


Theres no doubt a bottle of popular designer colognes can be expensive. And I mean really expensive. But due to the lower costs, tester colognes have compared to the actual colognes, they are a lot cheaper and more affordable than the official bottles.

The lack of cost cologne testers need in the form of packaging and bottling, means you’re able to pick the same scent at a cheaper cost. Allowing you to save money and find multiple fragrances more worth your money.

Access New Releases Early

Testers are a perfect option for staying up-to-date with the latest fragrance releases. Those of us enthusiastic about our fragrances can stay ahead of the curve by testing new scents without the major commitment of a full-sized bottle, ensuring they’re always in tune with the latest trends.

Better for Travelling

The compact and straightforward packaging of tester colognes makes them super convenient for travel or carrying in a purse or pocket.

So for those of us that like to travel, especially by plane, testers give us an easier passage of taking our favorite colognes with us and a better time with airport security.

Cons of Cologne Testers

While tester colognes offer a cost-effective way to experience a variety of fragrances, there are a few potential downsides we should consider as well.

Boring Packaging

One of my favorite things about new colognes is how good the bottle looks on a shelf or a dresser. I find that great cologne bottles are able to act as free trinkets around the room.

With testers, they often come in plain packaging, and without the fashionable bottles found with the official releases.

So for those of us who appreciate the aesthetic aspects of the cologne collection, the boring appearance of tester colognes may not offer the same level of satisfaction as owning a beautifully crafted bottle.

Hard To Use

Some tester colognes lack a spray mechanism, such as caps and nozzles, and sometimes just come in small plastic bags! This can be pretty inconvenient and requires users to apply the fragrance using alternative methods.

So compared to the easy and quick spray application of the standard retail versions, the application of tester colognes is pretty difficult.


Collectors who view fragrances as works of art or artifacts find that tester colognes hold a lot less collector’s value than the actual perfumes.

The absence of official packaging and bottles will badly impact their appeal as collector’s items.

How to Know the Cologne Tester is Real?

A major issue I’ve come across when looking for cologne testers online is just how fakes there are circulating the internet.

Since testers do not come in official packaging, it can be pretty easy for scammers to sell you the wrong cologne

So it’s important to verify beforehand and to make sure the money your spend is for the real thing.

To verify the authenticity of a tester cologne, it’s essential to pay attention to certain aspects.

Firstly, ensure that the fragrance notes and concentration match the official description of the cologne.

Secondly, make sure to buy from a reputable seller. Although I am usually a big fan of second-hand seller sites like eBay or Etsy, for testers, the risk seems too big.

Instead, go for reputable fragrance-specializing sites like Fragrancex.com, Perfumedirect.com, or thePerfumeShop.com.

Where To Buy Cologne Testers

Shop for cologne testers in the same places you would find colognes.

Cologne testers are commonly available through various channels.

They can be found in department stores, specialty fragrance shops, and online retailers. Preferably you buy from fragrance-specialized department stores like Fragrancex.com, Perfumedirect.com, or thePerfumeShop.com.

If you do have to buy secondhand, make sure that the seller and product are fully verified. One way to do this is by looking at the seller’s product reviews.

Are Cologne Testers Original?

A common concern among fragrance enthusiasts is whether tester colognes are genuine and original. The answer is yes, they are indeed authentic.

As long as you follow the verification steps we listed above, Tester Colognes will contain the same fragrance composition as the regular retail version, ensuring that you’re experiencing the true essence of the scent.

Are Cologne Testers Stronger?

One misconception I’ve heard about tester colognes is that they might be more potent or concentrated. However, this is not the case. Tester colognes contain the same concentration of fragrance as the regular retail version, offering a consistent scenting experience.

Are Cologne Testers Diluted?

Addressing another myth, tester colognes are not diluted or watered-down versions of the fragrance.

They provide the same scent experience as the full-sized bottles, offering a true representation of the fragrance’s profile.


So there you have it. Cologne testers can be good since they are more affordable, easier to travel, and are often released early. But do have their drawbacks too, such as being difficult to apply, and having a pretty boring exterior.

In the end, understand what you are looking for in a cologne, and make your decision based on the information we’ve provided. We do hope you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out our others!

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About The Author

A cologne lover and reviewer, Ahmed has reviewed over 45 colognes on the site. Finding the best perfumes and colognes for our audience, review and ranking them as well as looking at all types of data, from price, longevity, silage to uniqueness.

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