Most reviewers agree that traditional adult diapers, also known as disposable briefs or disposable underwear, are the best choice for extended use or severe urinary or fecal incontinence. Users say that, while they can be awkward to put on and take off (and difficult to change in a public washroom), adult briefs offer the most secure protection and the most customizable fit.
The key criteria to a good adult diaper is a satisfactory blend of absorbency and comfort. Top products are also easy to put on and take off. Among adult diapers, the Molicare Super Plus (Est. $25 for a pack of 14) does a good job of covering all those considerations.
Even though its usable capacity of 46 ounces is less than that of some other adult diapers, the Molicare Super Plus has an excellent wicking distance of 18 inches, allowing fluid to spread throughout the entirety of the padding, according to laboratory testing by retailer XPMedical.com. It also absorbs quickly, up to three times faster than competing diapers, the experts there say, adding "This gives unbeatable performance for night use or other situations where sudden floods need to be effectively contained."
This capability is all thanks to the diaper's unique paper and gel construction. The reviewer at IncontinenceSupport.info rates its comfort while either dry or wet as Very Good, the top grade there. That reviewer does have an issue with their fit, however, noting that they are snugger than their sizing indicates, which could be an issue for larger wearers.
For those with severe incontinence, the Dry Care ConfiDry 24/7 (Est. $45 for a pack of 18) outperforms most other models in absorbency tests -- a whopping 95 ounces of usable capacity in the tests at XPMedical.com, which adds that this is "unmatched by any product we have ever tested (and we test a lot)."
However, other feedback reveals a couple of issues worth mentioning. While the hands-on review at IncontinenceSupport.info says that these adult briefs has "the best tapes of any diaper I have EVER used," a handful of users reporting in at Amazon.com disagree, finding the tape's adhesive to be inadequate. Another complaint is that the briefs are quite bulky. That's not an issue for dealing with problems overnight; user reviewers say that these adult diapers are ideal for extended wear of 8 to 10 hours, while IncontinenceSupport.info says that they can "go a full 12 hours without a problem," though that's not recommended. But that bulk can be an issue for day use by those that are self-conscious.
We also saw some good feedback for NorthShore Supreme Briefs (Est. $25 for a pack of 15). These are the house brand of adult diapers from NorthShore Care Supply, an online distributor of incontinence products. We saw hundreds of reviews at NorthShore's website and another hundred or so at Amazon.com, and most are very complimentary. It's also the top-rated adult diaper at IncontinenceSupport.info, and the first product to earn top scores across the board. If there's an issue, it's that there's a little bit of a process to get the most effective leak prevention -- something that annoyed some users. Still, IncontinenceSupport.info calls that minor, saying, "This is not at all a complicated process and pretty much involves just stretching the diaper out to make them stand up."
All three products are premium diapers, and all are a little on the costly side. They can also be tougher to find in local stores -- though they're available online through Amazon.com and elsewhere.
The Attends Overnight Brief (Est. $35 for a pack of 36) is a less costly adult diaper and may be easier to find in local stores. It boasts a usable capacity of 59 ounces, according to XP Medical. Users concerned about discretion will enjoy the product's cloth-like covering, which allows for quiet, comfortable movement. However, discretion comes at the cost of performance; the briefs don't possess standing leak guards, which can be a problem for side-sleepers or active users.
If discretion is your upmost concern, expert reviewers say that Attends makes the best briefs for wearing discreetly under close-fitting pants. Attends Briefs Waistband Style (Est. $25 for a pack of 44) are a "long-standing favorite where discreetness and comfort are priorities," says XPMedical.com. The close fit comes with reduced capacity-- just 18 ounces, XP Medical reports, which is decidedly below the absorbency levels of every other adult diaper that the site tests. In addition, user reviews are mixed, with poor absorbency being the source of some negative feedback.