This solid from budget brand Suave received the lowest score from our survey of consumer reviews, as well as one of the lowest scores of our in-house test. Not only did it fail to keep our reviewer dry, its "fresh" scent also offended her nose, prompting her to describe it as "clean chemicals." Along with third-worst Tom's of Maine, this is the only antiperspirant to use aluminum chlorohydrate as its active ingredient. Perhaps it's just not as effective as the other aluminum derivatives.
$2 at pharmacies; suave.com
This solid stick didn't do the job for our reviewer, who commented on the promisingly powerful scent (described as "soapy," and detectable by a dining partner seated across the table). By the end of the 24-hour test period, it had morphed into a disappointingly stale, damp, body odor-laced aroma. Yuck.
$3-4 at pharmacies; armandhammer.com
Tom's touts the sustainable provenance of its ingredients, including anti-microbial olive leaf extract, recycled aluminum and 100% natural fragrance, which our tester said was "the least obtrusive" of any she tried. Unfortunately, it failed to keep her dry in the dance studio, prompting her to reapply repeatedly over the 24-hour review period "lest my dance partner and students be appalled."
$6-7 at pharmacies; tomsofmaine.com
Though it touts the sex appeal of its scents, Axe lost major points for whiff-factor. Our reviewer described it as a "crude, cheaply synthetic version of cologne," and discovered a "faint mustiness" under his arms after 24 hours of use.
$4-6 at pharmacies; theaxeeffect.com
Unisex brand Sure didn't keep our pits dry, especially not after a speedy bike ride into the office. Also, our male reviewer found the straightforward "regular scent" to be too feminine for his liking.
$4 at pharmacies; surdeodorant.com
This women's antiperspirant is one of the most popular on the market, as evidenced by the literally thousands of consumer reviews available online. The vast majority give it middling to good reviews. But our reviewer, who's sworn by this stick for more than a decade because the powder version is her "favorite scent ever," didn't realize until this test what she was missing. Just a brisk walk in the sun—even wearing a tank-top—led to sweat beads literally running down her arm. And, after spin class, she smells "like a goat."
$3-4 at pharmacies; dove.us
It's all in the name with this antiperspirant that goes on "really dry, like too dry," according to our reviewer, contributing to an uncomfortable, chalky feeling that lingered. While it kept our self-professed excessive sweater mostly dry, he won't be trying it again.
$4-5 at pharmacies; arrid.com
Our tester loves the fresh, masculine "Pure Sport" scent from Old Spice's Sweat Defense line, but was disappointed with both the application and performance of this white gel. He found the application—twist the dial "two clicks" to squeeze the gel through a plastic grate and then rub into your underarm until it turns clear—irritating to his skin, and noticed that his armpits were damp while sitting at his desk, doing no exercise at all. Major fail. A survey of 100-plus consumer reviews, however, indicated overall satisfaction with the product, raising our score.
$4-5 at pharmacies; oldspice.com
Our reviewer was dubious that this budget solid—one of the first antiperspirants she tried—would hold up over 24 hours. She had no major complaints, though, noting that the powder fresh scent smelled "exactly like baby powder" and only allowed a little body odor to creep in by the end of the test.
$2-3 at pharmacies; colgate.com
With 20% active ingredient, this is one of the few clinical-strength antiperspirants we sampled, primarily because Mitchum is so much cheaper than the more common $9-10 options from Dove, Secret, Degree and Gillette. It kept our reviewer dry through a casual bike commute, and he was pleased that the "slightly medicinal" scent was virtually unnoticeable during the test period.
$6 at pharmacies; mitchum.com
This clear gel from Gillette goes on soaking wet, but our reviewer—already a gel user—noted that it dries quickly enough to avoid staining shirts. It kept him pretty dry throughout the test, performing particularly well after exercise. Still, he was a touch turned off by the initial soaking.
$5 at pharmacies; gillette.com
This solid yielded one of the more interesting results in our test: It had a second wind. Just when our reviewer—a competitive dancer with particularly potent sweat—noticed her underarms getting damp a few hours into the test, they dried out. "I'm not quite sure how that worked," she said, "but I recommend holding off on reapplication and having faith that Ban will do its job."
$3-4 at pharmacies; feelbanfresh.com
This hypoallergenic solid from cosmetics maker Almay held up to our tester's long walkabouts across swampy Washington, DC, thanks to its clinical-strength 20% active ingredient. She was impressed, too, that it truly was fragrance-free. All in all, this is a great option for any woman with sensitive skin or nostrils.
$4 at pharmacies; almay.com
Secret earned a new customer with its 48-hour Outlast protection. Though our reviewer—a decades-long Dove wearer—found the "Simply Clean" scent to be overpowering, she was blown away by how dry it kept her. "After a long, very brisk walk in a shirt that usually gives me the sweats, this baby kept me desert-dry!" 24 hours after first application, her underarms were still dry and smelled like the deodorant.
$3-4 at pharmacies; secret.com
This clear gel gets rave consumer reviews for its performance. Our tester detected a slight chemical scent in the "Fresh" antiperspirant, but agreed that it deserved high marks for performance both during exercise and over the full 24-hour test period. "I would definitely use this again, simply because it worked so well."
$3-4 at pharmacies; dryidea.com
This budget solid stick received the best score of any in our test, but was dragged down by middling online consumer reviews. Our reviewer gave it 29 out of 30 possible points for sweat-protection, and noted that the scent "can resemble an Abercrombie + Fitch store" (that could be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective). "Keeps dry and smells good," he said before mentioning that he's continued using this Speed Stick since testing ended.
$2-3 at pharmacies; colgate.com
Despite having the lowest amount of active ingredient—15.2% of aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY—this offering from Dove kept our reviewer happy and dry, even on long, hard bike rides. Maybe it's the new "silver technology," though the label lists silver chloride as an inactive ingredient. It's a bit of a head-scratcher, but we're going to trust our pits in this case.
$4-5 at pharmacies; dovemencare.com
It may smell like it (bracingly strong) but this is definitely not your granddad's Brut. Our reviewer thought it performed admirably when freshly applied, generating only a little dampness on a very humid, post-rain bike ride into the office. Once it set in, though, it became scary effective. After a friendly bike race from Manhattan into Brooklyn, he found his armpits to be bone-dry, even as his head, chest and shoulders dripped sweat. He's still using this stuff.
$3 at pharmacies; brutworld.com
"This stuff was hard core," wrote our reviewer of Right Guard's five-point defense system that guarantees 72 hours of protection. "If I wore only this, I'd probably never sweat again."
$6 at pharmacies; rightguard.com
Both consumers and our reviewer have great things to say about Degree's Adrenaline Series, which includes Adventure, Ironman (tested), Everest, Extreme and Sport Defense flavors. It "performs well, goes on dry, has a decent scent and solid performance," according to our tester. "All in all, it kept a sweaty man dry during summer." And what more can you really ask for?
$4-5 at pharmacies; degreedeodorant.com