11 best cheap swimsuits that look way more expensive than they actually are

Get trending looks for less, with the best cheap swimsuits that look far fancier than their price tag

best cheap swimsuits: Simple Be, Zara, Mango
(Image credit: Simple Be, Zara, Mango)

The best cheap swimsuits prove that looking and feeling good poolside doesn’t have to break the bank and there are affordable swimwear styles whatever your style.  

Exactly what constitutes affordable swimwear will vary from person to person, but we’d say that anything under $50/£50 counts as a purse-friendly purchase. Whether you're looking for the latest swimwear trends, want a figure contouring one piece, or want to feel the sun on your skin in a bikini, there are cheap swimwear options for every size and style. If you’re looking for the best cheap swimsuits a small price point is your main priority, but there are other details you’ll want to consider to make it a worthwhile purchase.

“A well-fitted swimsuit will always look more expensive,” says celebrity stylist Nina Vargas. Consider your bra size, as well as your clothing size, when shopping for one and two-piece swimsuits to make sure they’re neither too small nor too big. If you’re between sizes, to get the best swimsuit, order above and below your normal size to give yourself options. “If we’re really getting into the details, then the fabric should feel thick to the touch, and any hardware should be metal and not plastic,” Vargas continues. “Opt for solid colors and not prints, as prints can look dated and fade.”

11 best cheap swimsuits: Affordable swimwear that won’t break the bank this summer

pink ruffled swimsuit

(Image credit: Zara)

1. Zara Ruffled Fronted Swimsuit


RRP: $47.90 / £29.99
Sizes: XS-XL

One of the best Zara swimsuits of the season, this affordable one-piece is in one of this season's hottest hues - Barbiecore pink. A runway worthy style, the front detailing is a perfect example of how to wear ruffles for the beach, and the lengthways from placement helps to elongate your silhouette, as well as helping to create the illusion of a fuller bust. Super glamorous, this perfectly pink suit could easily be paired with a pair of straight leg jeans for a bar-ready look, making it a versatile piece for a capsule wardrobe for travel. An absolute winner at under $50/£50.

Aerie Shine Pique Babewatch One Piece Swimsuit

(Image credit: Aerie)

2. Aerie Shine Pique Babewatch One Piece Swimsuit


RRP: $49.95 (international shipping available)
Sizes: XXS-XXL

Aerie has a strong reputation as being one of the best lingerie brands, so it's no surprise that its swimwear is well regarded too. Offering some of the best cheap swimsuits. this 'red sprinkle' one piece has a delicate sparkle throughout, meaning it will pick up sunrays on the beach for a gorgeously shimmery look. The high neck offers coverage at the front, while the low scoop back means it is better suited to those with a smaller bust. With removable cups for a light level of supper, this classic swim style feels modern thanks to the metallic, although the shape renders it pretty timeless.

Cupshe Paisley V Neck Tummy Control One Piece Swimsuit

(Image credit: Cupshe)

3. Cupshe Paisley V Neck Tummy Control One Piece Swimsuit


RRP: $29.99 / £26
Sizes: XS-XL

If you’re self-conscious about your stomach, then one of the best tummy control swimsuits, with in-built support is worth every penny. This suit has paneling at the front as well as ruching to hone and contour your shape for a curve-loving finish. The paisley print nods to this season’s '70s fashion trend but this cheap swimsuit is still timeless enough to see you through plenty more summers. Extra brownie points for the removable cups and adjustable straps too, helping you to get a spot-on fit. 

one-shoulder bikini

(Image credit: Simply Be)

4. Simply Be One Shoulder Bikini


RRP: Top: £25 (UK only) | Briefs: £22 (UK only)
Sizes: 10-32

A truly size inclusive buy, this is one of the best plus size swimwear looks on the market right now. Directional, bright and stylish, it's available in sizes 10 to 32 and the one shoulder style is an instant figure-lengthener. One of the best high waisted swimwear looks, the high rise briefs offer good midriff support and bottom coverage, while the slashed sides offer a playful feel to this look that taps into recent trends. Sold as separates, each piece is £25 or less and as you can choose the size you need for the briefs and the top you can get the ideal fit.

red swimwear

(Image credit: ASOS)

5. Dorina Red Swimsuit


RRP: $39 / £22
Sizes : 4-14 / 8-18

Bring on those Baywatch vibes with this red one piece. Coming in at an affordable $32 / £22, a red swimsuit, like the best black swimsuits are unlikely to date, as the bold hue is a summer classic, delivering on nautical vibes when pair with white and blue. With feminine detailing including a criss cross back and plunge front this affordable swimsuit has designer style at a tiny price tag. Crafted by one of the best bra brands, Dorina, it delivers support and style.

H&M Flounced Shaping Swimsuit

(Image credit: H&M)

6. H&M Flounced Shaping Swimsuit


RRP: $39.99 / £29.99
Sizes : XS-XL

Scandinavian clothing brand H&M make some of the most affordable swimwear, and this one-piece is a great example to the brand delivering on style and budget-friendliness. An ideal choice for those who usually wear bras for smaller busts, the front wrap over with ruffle detail creates a fuller and more rounded shape. With padded cups to help with that fullness and supportive shoulder straps, at a distance, this swimsuit looks like it could be a block color pale green, but up close you can see the narrow stripes which helps with figure lengthening. 

Love & Other Things High Rise Bikini

(Image credit: Love & Other Things/ASOS)

7. Love & Other Things High Rise Bikini


RRP: $47 / £
Sizes: S-L

ASOS houses some of the best swimsuit brands, giving you a huge choice when shopping and you can’t go wrong with a monochrome bikini as this classic color combination will never date. The deep V-neck will flatter existing curves and boost smaller busts, while the high-rise bikini briefs that sit just beneath your belly button really put the focus on your waist. Team with your best beach cover-up in a bright shade to bring a pop of color to your look. 

H&M Bandeau Bikini Top and 2-pack Bikini Bottoms

(Image credit: H&M)

8. H&M Bandeau Bikini Top and 2-pack Bikini Bottoms


RRP: Top $12.99 / £ | Briefs: $17.99 for two / £ for two
Sizes : XXS-XL

H&M is brilliant at delivering quality pieces on a tight budget, and its swimwear always feels trend-led. This bandeau design is great for anyone who wants to avoid tan lines when sunbathing but still likes the option of the security of straps when swimming. We love the textured fabric, bright teal shade, and statement bow back – gorgeous. 

Mango Textured Swimsuit

(Image credit: Mango)

9. Mango Textured Swimsuit


RRP: $79.99 / £49.99
Sizes : XL-4XL

This textured one-piece is giving us serious Hunza G vibes (one of the hottest swimsuit brands around) but at a fraction of the price. The fabric might not move and stretch in quite the same way as the designer one, but this is a great way to try the look without the investment. This is part of Mango’s plus-size swim range, which spans from an XL to a 4XL. The way the fabric is composed means there’s give between sizes, so you feel contoured but not uncomfortable. 

Cupshe Maroon Ruched Halter & Shirred High Waist Bikini Set

(Image credit: Cupshe)

10. Cupshe Maroon Ruched Halter & Shirred High Waist Bikini Set


RRP: $26.99 (international shipping available)
Sizes: S-XL

Halter neck styles are great for a range of body types, making them a winner for fuller busts, as they offer great support, drawing your bust line up and in, while the triangle silhouette helps to narrow fuller, pear shaped hips. The ruching beneath the bust and at the top of the briefs on this maroon set make it feel more interesting and thought through than your average bikini. There’s tummy control paneling in the briefs, for a smoother finish, and hidden support in the bra top too and all for under $30!

H&M High Leg Swimsuit

(Image credit: H&M)

11. H&M High Leg Swimsuit


RRP: $34.00 / £24.99
Sizes: XS-XL

As the '90s are the major trend at the moment, low slung jeans and high-leg swimwear are two of the biggest fashion trends at the moment. A high leg swimsuit has the ability to make legs look longer making it a particularly popular swimwear style for petites. This monochrome swimsuit is effortlessly cool with the contrast piping giving it a sporty feel. To keep it at its best and stop the shades from mixing, wash on a cold setting with other light-colored items. 

How much should a good swimsuit cost?

What makes a good swimsuit, and how much that should cost, will be a personal decision based on your style and budget. “I think anywhere between $20 and $100 is about standard pricing,” says celebrity stylist Ellis Ranson. “How much you spend depends completely on your budget and how many bikinis or swimsuits you need to purchase. I love to check out the outlet stores, as you get some great brands for less.” 

Shopping out of season can help too. For example, if you buy your swimwear at the very end of summer (when most people have already been on holiday) or during the winter (when fewer people are going on holiday) you’ll be more likely to bag a bargain. 

If good swimwear to you means a bathing suit that’s been made sustainably, then sustainable swimwear brands, unfortunately, come at a premium. “Shoppers are increasingly looking for sustainability in manufacturing and these swimwear brands come with a cost and often start at around $250 but can easily go upwards,” says personal stylist Zoé DuFour

Is it worth buying expensive swimwear?

Torn between one of the best cheap swimsuits and a more expensive option? The experts are divided on whether it’s worth splashing out on fancier pieces. 

For Ranson, the investment is worth it for a boost in confidence. “I prefer to invest in a few great styles that I can re-wear on different trips as I’m all about the fit and shape of my swimwear,” she says. “They do last longer and the quality makes such a difference. It gives me a lot more confidence in my swimwear knowing that once I take a dip it won’t be see-through or saggy.”

Fashion expert Rosie Mangiarott disagrees. “In my opinion, I don’t think it’s worth spending a ton of money on swimwear given the elements it’s exposed to, like sun, sunscreen, chlorine, and salt water,” she explains. “It’s not worth the splurge unless the quality is really high and won’t be affected by this.” 

Not sure which side to take? Fashion stylist Robin Saperstein’s approach is that “it’s only worth buying expensive swimwear if you love it and it doesn’t bother you to spend the money,” she explains. “If it stresses you out to spend more then don’t. There are so many options out there, and just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s better.”

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.