Not everyone dealing with incontinence needs to wear full adult briefs or even pull-on disposable underwear. Incontinence pads are sold in a range of absorbency levels and can be worn with either regular or specialty underwear. Some pads are designed specifically for use with the manufacturer's own underwear, but most can be used with any snug-fitting underwear.
This category has the widest range of protection levels. For example, Abena's Abri-San Mono Long Pad (Est. $56 for 336 pads) is designed to hold only 10 ounces of liquid, while their Abri-San X-Plus (Est. $68 for 64 pads) can contain nearly 115 ounces. Which style performs best depends on the wearer's degree of incontinence and sensitivity to bulkiness. According to XP Medical, the Midi (9 by 18 inches) is "incredibly discreet under clothing," while the Super (12 by 22 inches) "provides nearly the same protection as a full brief, without the hassle of tapes." For comparison sake, the X-Plus is 14 by 24 inches, significantly larger in size than the others.
Molicare, Tranquility, Depend and Attends also make a wide selection of pads and guards, which reviewers say users should consider both the manufacturer's stated absorbency level and the brand's reputation. While Depend Guards for Men (Est. $25 for 52 pads) may work well for mild incontinence, and Attends Shaped Pads (Est. $23 for 18 pads) are a readily available high-absorbency pad, reviewers at NationalIncontinence.com say those with moderate to severe incontinence are better off using a premium pad such as one from Abena. Because of the range of discreetness and absorbency between sizes, we chose Abena Abri-San pads as our best reviewed pick.
Boosters are like pads, but without the absorbent backing. Not intended to be worn alone, they add protection when combined with a disposable brief or pull-up. According to The New Diaper Primer on IncontinentSupport.org, the best booster is Tranquility's Topliner Booster Pad (Est. $83 for 200 pads) , which is designed to fill to capacity before transferring the liquid to the primary protective brief or pull-up. Booster pads are generally much cheaper than full briefs or pull-ups, so they can potentially save you money by extending the life of your primary undergarment.
Elsewhere in this report:
Best Adult Diapers: After analyzing professional tests, several expert reviews and hundreds of owner opinions, we identify the best disposable adult diapers for different levels of incontinence and in various price ranges.
Best Disposable Briefs: What brand of disposable brief offers superior absorbency and performance? Editors survey expert and user reviews to find the best product for adult incontinence.
Best Pull-On Underwear: What's the best pull-on disposable diaper? Editors analyze expert and user reviews to find out. Abena and Tranquility come out on top.
Buying Guide: Need some guidance in choosing the best adult diaper for you? Editors lay out your options.
Our Sources: Links to the expert and user reviews we used to select the top adult diapers, along with our assessment of each reviewer's expertise, credibility and helpfulness.