Menu
Updated August 2022
Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

38
Models
Considered
118
Consumers
Consulted
8
Hours
Researched
Category cover

Buying guide for Best panty liners

Although not every woman needs them, panty liners can be the unsung hero in your menstrual supplies. These lighter counterparts of the menstrual pad are useful for absorbing everyday vaginal discharge, keeping you fresh on sweaty days, and even protecting undergarments on the lighter days of your period. They’re conveniently small and thin enough to tuck into a purse too.

Before you stock up on panty liners, there are some factors to consider. For one, consider the ebb and flow of your periods and when the liners would be most useful. Also think about your own level of discharge. Every woman’s body is different, and some have heavier discharge than others. Also, vaginal sensitivity plays another role in your choice.

Regardless of your specific needs, a good buying guide and some curated recommendations can help you make your choice. 

Woman visiting doctor
Some discharge is perfectly normal and a sign of a healthy vagina. Healthy discharge has a slight odor, is whitish or clear, and might leave a light stain in underwear. Any discharge that’s a different color or has a foul odor should be checked by a doctor.

How to buy the best panty liners

History of the panty liner

Panty liners are closely linked to menstrual pads, which are by far the world’s oldest means of menstrual management. Centuries ago, women would use reusable rags or items made from materials like wool and animal fur. The very first menstrual pads as we know them date from the 1800s and were bandages created out of wood pulp. 

While early pads were too expensive for many women, over time they lowered in price and the design improved. The introduction of adhesive to hold them in place was a game changer. The modern panty liner was modeled from this menstrual pad design. The first panty liner was patented in the 1980s.

Why wear panty liners?

Some people see these items as unnecessary. After all, why not just use a light pad? Pads are designed to absorb menstrual blood, but vaginal discharge is pretty common between periods. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ. By expelling secretions, the vagina is removing fluids and cells. The discharge also keeps the vagina lubricated and guards against infection and irritation. Panty liners are excellent for absorbing this regular vaginal discharge, which can vary in volume depending on where you are in your cycle. 

Some women experience spotting during ovulation, and panty liners are handy for that too. If the very end of your period is pretty light, you can use a liner instead of a light pad. Also, after giving birth, it’s quite normal for women to experience light bleeding for up to six weeks.

Finally, panty liners are helpful for those who experience light urinary incontinence. This is usually triggered by something like a laugh, cough, or sneeze. 

How to use panty liners

Panty liners are pretty intuitive and work similarly to menstrual pads. When you unwrap one, you’ll notice that one side is soft and quilted and the other side has a sticky adhesive strip. The sticky side sticks to the gusset in panties. You can change the liner as necessary without worrying about having to change into clean underwear.

Size

As with menstrual pads, panty liners are available in multiple sizes and absorbencies.

Ultra-thin liners feel like they’re barely there. This is a good choice to pair with delicate panties and is ideal for women who experience minimal vaginal discharge. Ultra-thin panty liners are a good choice for everyday use.

Regular liners are standard thickness and absorbency. Regular panty liners are useful for end-of-period spotting, ovulation spotting, and light urinary incontinence. 

Long liners might be a better fit for some women’s bodies. These are a little larger than regular liners and available in ultra-thin absorbency too.

Thong liners are also available. This more recent development narrows to a small point on one end, so you can wear the underwear you want without compromising that fresh feeling.  

Antibacterial protection

Some panty liners include antibacterial protection. Those who deal with conditions like bacterial vaginosis or who are otherwise prone to infection will appreciate this feature. Organic brands may use an organic substance such as aloe vera as the active ingredient. Other manufacturers rely on tourmaline and antibacterial silver ions. Also, depending on the materials they’re made of, some panty liners may already have antibacterial properties without the addition of an antibacterial strip.

The amount of vaginal discharge varies throughout the menstrual cycle. Consider buying panty liners with different absorbency levels. 

Staff 
BestReviews

Features to look for in panty liners

Scent

Some panty liners incorporate a light scent meant to “neutralize” natural odors. This might be appealing to anyone who experiences vaginal odor, which can be caused by a number of factors. For most, we recommend avoiding scented panty liners when possible, especially if you plan to wear liners frequently. The vagina’s skin and pH balance are delicate, and scented liners can cause irritation.

If you opt for a scented liner, try not to use them on a daily basis. And monitor any vaginal changes, such as redness, itchiness, or irritation, to be on the safe side. 

Wings

Wings are a game changer whether on pads or panty liners. The wings are the sticky, contoured strips on either side of the pad or liner. Wings tuck around the crotch of a pair of panties and keep the liner in place all day. They also secure against leakage.

On the downside, wings can add bulk to your underwear. And winged panty liners aren’t as easy to adjust once they’re in place. 

Staff-Tip-1-Personal Care-Best Panty Liners
Staff Tip
In addition to cotton liners, consider wearing cotton underwear too. Cotton is the most breathable fabric and a better choice than synthetics.
Staff
BestReviews

How much do panty liners cost?

Inexpensive 

Because of how thin they are, panty liners tend to be cheaper than pads. You can easily buy them in the $1 to $4 range, with a few even costing less than $1. Liners in this range are usually regular size and packaged in packs of 10 to 25. A lot of these are generic store brands. 

Mid-range

In the $4 to $8 range, your options include liners with wings and liners sold in packs of about 30. This is where you’ll find liners from reputable menstrual product brands. Many of these include an antibacterial lining. In this range, you’ll come across more long and specialty liners, such as those made to wear with thongs. 

Expensive 

Panty liners that cost $8 and more are usually organic. These manufacturers ensure that the cotton used is organic and unbleached. For those who are exceptionally sensitive to vaginal irritation, organic liners are a great choice. 

If your discharge seems excessive to you on a daily basis, even if there’s no odor, consult your doctor. There could be an underlying cause. 

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Wash your hands. It’s best practice to wash your hands before applying the panty liner to the gusset in your underwear. It’s always a good idea to minimize any bacteria that might touch the liner and transfer to your intimate areas.
  • Choose cotton. Anyone with sensitive vaginal skin should look for panty liners that are mostly cotton. Some liners include synthetic materials, which can irritate the delicate skin down there. 
  • Use liners as extra reinforcement. If you use tampons or menstrual cups to manage your bleeding, a panty liner makes a good barrier against leakage, especially if it has wings. 
Individually-wrapped panty liner
Many panty liners come individually wrapped to keep them fresh and clean until you need them.

FAQ

Q. Can I wear panty liners every day?

A. The answer depends on your vaginal health. It’s certainly not necessary. Wearing unscented liners on a daily basis isn’t the worst thing, but consult your gynecologist if you deal with vaginal sensitivity in any way. We don’t recommend wearing them every day, since it’s important for the vaginal skin to breathe. If you choose to wear them daily, make sure to change them every few hours and go liner-free when you’re sleeping. 

Q. Can panty liners cause a UTI or any other infections?

A. There aren’t any studies that have linked liners to urinary tract or other infections. Generally speaking, you can lessen the chances of vaginal infection by not wearing a liner at night, swapping them out when they’re no longer fresh, and avoiding wearing them on a daily basis. 

Q. How long can I wear a panty liner before changing it?

A. The answer varies depending on the person, but as a general rule, you should change the panty liner once it gets moist. For some, that might be after a few hours. For others, it might be half the day. 
 

Our Top Picks