Protection differs among various styles of adult diapers
Millions of adults struggle with chronic incontinence on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are a wealth of quality products on the market designed to meet their needs, though choosing the best one for your particular situation can be tricky at times.
Brief-style disposable diapers are the most common solution to total bowel or bladder control loss. Of all the types of incontinence products out there, these protective adult briefs offer the most consistent leakage protection, the highest absorbency and the most security. They generally feature a cloth-like or plastic outer surface, a highly absorbent inner core, leg elastics, and either tape tabs or hook-and-loop fasteners. Our editors found that brief products by Abena, Attends, Dry Care, NorthShore and Molicare consistently outshine other competitors in this category.
Disposable adult pull ups work like regular undergarments by pulling on and off, and they are meant to offer more dignity and freedom than brief-style diapers. However, they often don't have the capacity or protection to handle severe incontinence.
Disposable incontinence pads, much like female menstrual pads, are designed to be worn inside regular underwear. They are generally not absorbent enough to protect against major bowel incontinence, but they can provide adequate protection against light bowel leakage and urinary incontinence.
Absorbency booster pads are worn inside a primary diaper for supplementary protection. When they fill to capacity, wetness passes through them and into the host garment, extending the longevity of the main diaper. Many people with severe incontinence rely on booster pads for extra overnight protection.
When it comes to adult incontinence products, the general rule is that high absorbency comes at the cost of discreetness. For the most part, the higher a diaper's capacity, the bulkier it's going to look under clothing. It's almost always a trade-off, although some are slightly less conspicuous than others.
Finding the best adult diapers
The best website by far for testing and reviews of adult diapers is XPMedical.com, an online retailer specializing in incontinence products. Owner Gary Evans and a small staff perform exhaustive testing on their products, and their ratings have a good reputation in the online adult diaper community. Their diaper reviews are detailed and specific, and information on each style includes wet and dry measurements, features, results of wetting and rewetting tests, cost per diaper and comments on overall quality and effectiveness. We also considered the reviews done at IncontinenceSupport.info. They are more anecdotal than scientific, and we'd be happier if we knew more about those who administer the site, but the reviews are based on hands-on testing and cover most aspects of what those who need adult diapers should know before making a selection. However, on the whole, there isn't a lot of informative testing out there on adult diapers, so we also placed a lot of emphasis on user reviews and ratings.
To name the best-reviewed adult diapers, we considered performance (how well the diaper retains contents, how well it absorbs fluids and how well it protects against leaks), ease of use (comfort, fit, convenience of removal) and odor absorption (whether the product neutralizes odor and how long the protection lasts). Our top picks for disposable underwear, adult pull ups, incontinence pads and booster pads all receive favorable reviews from experts and strong feedback from owners.