A Guide to Popular Vodka Brands

Whatever your budget, there are options for you

Navigating the world of vodka can be a challenge, and choosing the right brand for you can be a long road. The great news is that there is good vodka at almost every price range, so no matter your budget, you should be able to find one that you enjoy.

How to Choose a Good Vodka

It is difficult to give specific advice about finding a great vodka. But there are a few generalizations that hold true.

  • Less expensive brands will generally be hotter and burn in the mouth. These are good for a tight budget or for cocktails with flavorful mixers like a Sex on the Beach.
  • Stores stock the cheap stuff on the bottom. The premium vodkas are at eye level to grab your attention. The best bargains are found right in the middle—usually about waist high—and many of these vodkas will work in almost any mixed drink.
  • In general, the more you spend, the better the vodka. Premium and super-premium brands are going to be good choices for sipping and​ lightly flavored drinks like the Vodka Martini.
  • Just because you pay more, doesn't guarantee you'll like it. Some vodkas are pure hype and their popularity is a result of nothing more than great marketing.

If you really enjoy vodka, it may be best to stock two or three brands and use them in specific drinks.

How Important Is Distillation?

For years, consumers were led to believe that a vodka which was filtered six times or distilled five times was naturally superior to one filtered or distilled only two or three times. These numbers were marketed as creating a smoother vodka with less burn. Quite simply, this is not always the case and many vodka brands have backed down from this emphasis.

It is entirely possible for any vodka, no matter how many times it is filtered or distilled, to be just as smooth or smoother than its competition. These are only two factors in vodka's quality.

The quality of the ingredients—the grains, potatoes, etc.—the vodka was distilled from are often as important as how many times the vodka was filtered. If you begin with cheap ingredients or use poor practices, no amount of filtration or trips through the still can remedy the situation.

Many great vodkas are filtered and distilled just once and are significantly smoother than those with five or six filtrations.

  • 01 of 04

    Let's Get Cheap - Vodkas Around $10

    Smirnoff

    Hans / Pixabay / CC By 2.0

    Just because it's cheap, doesn't mean it's bad vodka. Most of these brands can be purchased for between $10 and $20.

    It's quality over quantity and that mantra will serve you well when buying vodka.

    • Denaka - Wheat, 80 proof. Denmark. A few flavors available.
    • Leaf Vodka - Wheat, 80 proof. Michigan, United States. Certified organic, made with mineral and glacial waters.
    • Luksusowa - Potato, 80 proof. Poland.
    • Olifant - Grain, 80 proof. Netherlands.
    • New Amsterdam - Grain, 80 proof. California, United States.
    • Pinnacle - Wheat, 80 proof. France. Over 40 flavors, specialists in dessert vodkas.
    • Seagrams - Grain, 80 proof. Indiana, United States.
    • Smirnoff - Grain, 80 proof. United Kingdom (originated in Russia). Many flavors available.
    • Sobieski - Rye, 80 proof. Poland. Many flavors available.
    • Svedka - Winter wheat, 80 proof, Sweden. Many flavors available including many interesting combinations.
    • UV Vodka - Grain. 80 proof. Minnesota, United States. Many flavors available, known for bright colors.
  • 02 of 04

    Vodkas Around $20

    Finlandia Vodka

    Jemal Countess / Staff / WireImage / Getty Images

    Spending $20 on a bottle of vodka is a safe bet. This range includes many of the biggest names in the vodka market, but again, that does not mean they're the best.

    What you will find in these vodkas is a nice range.

    • 1.0.1 Vodka - Grain, 80 proof. California, United States. 
    • 360 Vodka - Grain, 80 proof. Missouri, United States. A few flavors available.
    • Absolut - Winter wheat, 80 proof. Sweden. Higher proof and many flavors available.
    • Blue Ice - Potato, 80 proof. Idaho, United States. Organic Wheat, multi-grain and flavored vodkas available.
    • Deep Eddy - Corn, 80 proof. Texas, United States. A few flavors available.
    • Finlandia - Barley, 80 proof. Finland. Many flavors available.
    • Han - Rice and barley, 80 proof. China. A few flavors available.
    • Prairie Organic - Corn, 80 proof. Minnesota, United States. Organic. Gin and cucumber vodka available.
    • Skyy - Grain. 80 proof, United States. Many flavors available.
    • Stolichnaya - Wheat and rye, 80 proof. Russia. Higher proof and many flavors available.
    • Sonnema Vodka HERB - Grain, 80 proof. Netherlands. Herbal-infused.
    • Tanqueray Sterling - Grain, 80 proof. England. Higher proof available.
    • Three Olives - Wheat, 80 proof. England. Many flavors available.
    • Zodiac - Potato, 80 proof. Idaho, United States. Flavors available.
  • 03 of 04

    Vodkas Around $30

    Belvedere vodka
    Mike Marsland / Contributor/ Getty Images

    At around $30 we start to see the really good vodkas. These include a handful of the big brands that are actually worth the money as well as many craft vodkas.

    If you really like vodka and can swing a few extra dollars, almost any brand on this list will be a winner.​

    • 42 Below - Wheat, 80 proof. New Zealand. A few exotic flavors available.
    • 44˚ North - Potato, 80 proof. Idaho, United States. Wheat vodka and a few flavors available.
    • Blavod - Grain, 80 proof. United Kingdom. Black catechu gives it a black color.
    • Cape North - Golden wheat, 80 proof. France.
    • Belvedere - Rye, 80 proof. Poland. A few flavors available.
    • Charbay - GMO-free corn, 80 proof. California, United States. A few flavors available.
    • Chopin - Potato, 80 proof. Poland. Rye and wheat vodkas available.
    • Christiania - Potato, 80 proof. Norway.
    • Ciroc - Grape, 80 proof. France. A few flavors available.
    • Corbin - Sweet potato, 80 proof. California, United States. Gin and rye whiskey also available (all distilled from sweet potato).
    • Dry Fly - Winter wheat, 80 proof. Washington, United States. Gin and whiskeys available.
    • Grey Goose - Wheat, 80 proof. France. A few flavors available.
    • Hangar 1 - Grapes, 80 proof. California, United States. A few flavors available.
    • Imperial - Grain, 80 proof. France
    • Ketel One - Wheat, 80 proof. Netherlands. A few flavors available.
    • Oval - Grain, 84 proof. Austria.
    • Reyka - Wheat and barley, 80 proof. Iceland. 
    • Square One Organic - Rye, 80 proof. California, United States. A few 'botanical' flavors available.
    • Van Gogh Vodka - Corn, barley, wheat, 80 proof. Netherlands. Many flavors available.
    • Winter Palace - Wheat, 80 proof. France.
    • Zyr - Wheat and rye, 80 proof. Russia. 
  • 04 of 04

    Vodkas Over $40

    Crystal Head Vodka

    Crystal Head Vodka

    Vodka is a tricky liquor because when you get up into the $40 or more range, you have to wonder what you're really paying for.

    • Anestasia - Corn, 80 proof. Oregon, United States.
    • Chase - Potato, 80 proof. United Kingdom. A few flavors available, single-estate.
    • Cold River - Potato, 80 proof. Maine, United States. Flavors available.
    • Crystal Head - Corn, 80 proof. Newfoundland. 
    • IS Vodka - GMO-free wheat, 80 proof. United Kingdom.
    • Snow Queen - Wheat, 80 proof. Kazakhstan. Organic.
    • Stolichnaya Elit - Wheat and rye, 80 proof. Russia. Popularly called Stoli.
    • Tru Organic - Wheat, 80 proof. California, United States. Organic. A few flavors available.