Buying vodka is a tricky business. It's easy to end up with low-quality, bad-tasting spirits when you're trying to save money. While many bottom-shelf options are cringe-worthy, you no longer have to sacrifice quality on a budget-friendly bottle. That's right—there are several great, inexpensive options that you'll want to use as part of a delicious cocktail, and many are even impressive on their own. Among the finest cheap vodkas, you’ll find a nice selection of flavors, and the clear ones are excellent candidates for homemade infusions.
New Amsterdam Vodka
Launched in 2011, New Amsterdam Vodka is a relatively young superstar in the vodka category and a favorite of the frugal drinker. This California spirit is distilled five times from American grains and goes through a three-stage filtration.
The brand's flavored vodka line is filled with fun and tasty finds. The red berry variety is one of the portfolio's originals, while the coconut option rivals similar products from top-shelf brands. Beyond that, if you're looking for apple, grapefruit, mango, peach, pineapple, or watermelon vodka, New Amsterdam has you covered.
For the price, this vodka is surprisingly smooth. Don't hesitate to drink it straight or keep it in stock as a go-to for any drink. From the vodka tonic to the spicy bloody Mary, New Amsterdam Vodka forms a perfect foundation for any adult beverage, and the flavored vodkas add a fun twist to a rainbow of cocktails.
Price at time of publish: $14
Region: America | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Nectarine, bittersweet, oily
Deep Eddy Vodka
Deep Eddy Vodka came onto the scene in 2010 and made a big splash in the spirits market. The company's clear and flavored vodkas are at the high end of the "cheap" list, but they are worth every cent. Produced in Austin, Texas, this handcrafted, small-batch vodka is distilled ten times in a corn column and blended with water from a Texas aquifer. The result is crisp and simply spectacular, matching many of the premium brands.
The flavors from Deep Eddy come from natural ingredients—a rare treat with vodkas today, especially value brands. Ranging from sweet tea to ruby red grapefruit, they're perfect for cocktails or quirky shots.
Price at time of publish: $19
Region: Texas | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Silky, subtle smooth
"Deep Eddy is super smooth and pleasantly thicker than many inexpensive vodkas, and it comes in a bunch of nice flavors. 'Sweet Tea' is so refreshing you could drink it on the rocks, but mixed with lemonade ... it's summertime in a glass." — Taylor Rock, Associate Editor, Commerce, The Spruce Eats
Luksusowa Potato Vodka
This Luksusowa vodka bottle may not catch your eye, but the spirit inside is surprisingly tasty when you consider its low price. If you've been passing this one up on the liquor store shelf, this is your chance for redemption.
Luksusowa is a Polish potato vodka crafted in the fine traditions of the country's vodka lineage. Distilled three times, the finished flavor is smooth and sweet. The company does not produce flavored vodkas; instead, it prefers to stick with the same recipe and method used since 1928. It's an ideal choice for fruity vodka highballs, so if you’re a vodka cranberry drinker or enjoy the occasional screwdriver with brunch, it’s a great find.
Price at time of publish: $15
Region: Poland | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Herbal, smooth, sweet
Poland may be best known for potato vodkas, but Sobieski Vodka (popularly called Sobi) is a great Polish rye vodka. It owes its name to the late 17th-century Polish king, John III Sobieski, whose image was on the label for many years.
Sobieski is one of the best clear vodkas you'll find at a low price. Distilled from Dankowski rye, it goes through a continuous distillation process before it's married to crystal-clear spring water. The rye gives the finished product a rich, silky taste that's quite enjoyable on its own.
In true vodka fashion, Sobi offers flavored options, as well. Its portfolio was extensive for a few years, but it has since been refined to only the most sophisticated flavors, including cytron, orange, raspberry, and vanilla. They're an excellent choice for any vodka cocktail, even those like the cosmopolitan, in which you might be inclined to pour a top-shelf vodka.
Price at time of publish: $22
Region: Poland | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Spice, fruit, rye
Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka
Finlandia is a reliable vodka that's easy to find and can easily serve as any bar's well vodka. The popular spirit is distilled in Finland from a special strain of barley that can handle the cold climate and 72 days of full sun each summer. It also undergoes more than 200 distillation steps and is blended with glacial spring water.
As with most vodka brands, Finlandia has a few flavored vodkas available. The once-extensive portfolio has been streamlined to grapefruit and raspberry vodkas, though they're just as impressive as any other. The grapefruit variety adds a little pizazz when used in place of citrus vodkas, and the raspberry is a tasty foundation in soda-based mixed drinks, like the raspberry press.
Price at time of publish: $18
Region: Finland | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Grapefruit, citrus, fresh
"The name takes its root from the word 'Voda,' which in many Slavic languages means 'water.' The word vodka literally translates as 'dear little water.' Vodka originated somewhere in Northern or Eastern Europe and was consumed in Russia as early as the 14th century." — Brian Olson, Owner of Café Intermezzo
Pinnacle Whipped Flavored Vodka
Pinnacle Vodka was at the heart of the dessert vodka boom, producing a variety of novelty whipped cream, cake, and pie flavors. This French vodka built a name on stretching the limits of what you thought vodka should be. Distilled five times from wheat, the popular brand has released some rather bizarre (and admittedly fun) flavors over the years.
While the original vodka is good, Pinnacle grabs cocktail lovers' attention with flavors. Although they've narrowed the selection considerably, Pinnacle Whipped Vodka remains a favorite to many. The added sweetness is gentle enough that you know it’s vodka and not liqueur while reducing some of the alcohol’s bite. Pinnacle makes delicious cocktails and can add a sweet touch to simple mixed drinks, such as the white Russian.
Price at time of publish: $13
Region: France | ABV: 35% | Tasting Notes: Sweet, smooth, creamy
Best for Moscow Mules
Smirnoff Vodka should be almost anywhere you look. It's one of the most reliable and inexpensive vodkas out there with several flavors to explore. The brand claims to be the world's most popular vodka and most awarded name in the category.
Smirnoff is a grain-based vodka; the unflavored is available in 80-, 90-, and 100-proof bottles. Originally from Russia (now produced by Diageo in the United Kingdom), it has been around since the early 1900s. The company's groundbreaking marketing campaign in the mid-20th century was instrumental in kicking off the vodka cocktail craze, including the popular Moscow mule, in the 1940s. For an authentic taste, pair Smirnoff with spicy ginger beer—and don’t forget the copper mug.
Price at time of publish: $24
Region: United States | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Grain, sweetness, spice
Best for Fruity Cocktails
SVEDKA Vodka is among the crispest-tasting value brands available. The Swedish vodka is distilled four times from corn, which gives it a subtle sweetness. The use of spring water and continuous distillation ensure it comes out crisp and perfectly drinkable right out of the bottle.
The brand is continually expanding its flavors and has some very fun options. Fruit vodkas are a specialty, including the ever-useful citron, a surprisingly tasty cherry limeade, and sweet peach. SVEDKA also experiments with combinations, such as strawberry lemonade and mango pineapple.
SVEDKA can work in almost any vodka cocktail you mix up. As with most budget brands, stick with the easy mixed drinks and fruity martinis with layers of flavor. There are so many recipes that fall into this category, so you won't run out of choices anytime soon.
Price at time of publish: $23
Region: Sweden | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Crisp, bold, sweet
Best for Colorful Cocktails
UV Blue Raspberry Vodka
UV Vodka is one of the most popular and least expensive brands of vodka available. Distilled in Minneapolis by Phillips Distilling Company, the key to the brand's success is its innovative and extremely colorful flavor line. The clear vodka, which is distilled from Midwest grains, is just as good as any of the others, but the stunning hues are what really make UV special.
The vibrant array of vodkas span the rainbow. UV Blue is the most famous, providing a brilliantly simple way to make blue cocktails with the sweet taste of raspberry. UV Apple is a bright green option that's nearly as popular—ideal for sweet appletinis. From a purple grape-flavored vodka and fire-red cherry vodka to bright orange and pretty pink lemonade, they add an amusing splash of color to simple mixed drinks.
Price at time of publish: $18
Region: Minnesota | ABV: 30% | Tasting Notes: Sweet, raspberry
When you really want to get some bang for your buck, buying vodka by the handle is a cost-efficient way to go. The majority of vodkas are bottled at 750 milliliters, but this one measures in at 1.75 liters. Considering its competitors, it’s hard to reconcile Tower’s low price tag with the fact that it’s a small-batch spirit. The Texas corn vodka is distilled six times, and many drinkers compare it to the state’s more famous premium brand. If you enjoy Tito’s, this one’s worth a shot, and at this volume, you’ll have plenty of “shots” available to form a solid opinion of your own.
Price at time of publish: $26
Region: America | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Corn, crisp, smooth
We chose New Amsterdam Vodka (view at Drizly) as our top pick because it works like a charm in nearly any mixed drink, from vodka sodas to bloody marys. For a consistently great small-batch distiller with great flavors, Deep Eddy Vodka (view at Drizly) is a steal.
What to Look for When Buying Vodka
While all vodkas may look similar, the production process can vary wildly from producer to producer. On average, a producer will distill a vodka around three times to remove impurities and filter the liquid through carbon or charcoal to smoothen the spirit.
Many think that vodka should have absolutely no flavor, but that isn’t true. Good vodka will have nuanced, sippable flavors, just like a Scotch or whiskey. That said, budget vodkas can often be quite bracing to sip neat. “Low-brow vodkas are best made in a simple 'liquor/mixer' drink, such as vodka and club soda or the famous vodka cranberry,” describes Dylan Alpaugh, the general manager of Sophia's Lounge.
When it comes to the flavor of vodka, much of the spirit’s character will come from the base ingredients. Wheat or rye will add a subtle spice to the finished vodka, while corn will add a creaminess. “Vodka was originally made from potatoes, but can also be made from corn, wheat, and rye being the most common,” says Danny Park of The Robey.
Flavorings are relatively common in vodka. They can range from subtle citrus to bolder blue raspberry flavors. Depending on the producer, these flavors can be naturally sourced or full of processed flavors. Check the ingredients to know what’s truly in your vodka.
How do you make cheap vodka taste better?
Try balancing out the flavors with citrus, sweetness, or soda. “I use low-brow vodka for cocktails that are higher in citrus and/or sugar content. One great way we use this category of vodka is in frozen cocktails,” says Park.
Can you filter cheap vodka?
Some vodka fans believe that filtering your vodkas through a water filter (perhaps Brita) over four times can greatly reduce bite. However, experimental taste tests have been underwhelming—and it can be hard on your filter, which was designed for water; it may be easier and more affordable to let the distillers do the work.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Colleen Graham is a food and beverage writer with over a decade of experience writing about cocktails, beer, and wine. She is the author of two books and has toured several distilleries to get a first-hand look behind the scenes and talk to the experts who craft distilled spirits.
Kate Dingwall, a sommelier and spirits writer, updated this roundup. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years and has her BarSmarts and WSET certification. She loves a good martini.