Best Adult Diapers

Updated June 2021
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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 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

60 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
100 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best adult diapers

If you’re looking for a discreet, reliable way to manage bladder and bowel control issues, adult diapers are worth exploring. These disposable undergarments are made of soft, flexible materials that have superabsorbent qualities to keep leaks at bay. They’re also designed to hide well under clothing, so you can maintain your dignity while managing incontinence issues.

Adult diapers are also used by individuals who are recovering from pregnancy and postoperative procedures. As they’re disposable, they take away the stress of ruining clothing or bedding by holding onto liquids between changes. Young women who are experiencing their first menstrual cycles may use adult diapers, too, as it’s a modest, mess-free way to manage a new bodily change. They’re also used by adults with special needs as they learn to become more independent with personal hygiene.

We created this buying guide on adult diapers to help you choose the best pair for you to wear. Learn the differences between styles and how to select a pair with the right level of absorbance for your needs.

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To prevent chafing and skin irritation from the fabric of adult diapers — particularly around seams and elastic bands — apply lotion to serve as a barrier. Opt for non-greasy, oil-free formulas so they absorb into skin instead of saturating the diaper.

Key considerations

How adult diapers work

Adult diapers are known for being absorbent, which is a coordinated effort by different parts of the diaper. For one, adult diapers feature a highly absorbent, multi-layered pad in the crotch and buttocks areas, as this is where leaks originate. Anything that isn’t caught or absorbed by the pad is cut off from escaping the diaper by well-fitting elastic leg holes. These are often lined with absorbent layers to prevent leaks as well.

The rest of the diaper plays a role in absorbance, too. While other areas don’t feature the layering of the middle section, their material is still absorbent, and in some cases, it is also moisture-wicking and odor-fighting. If someone is in bed and the leak travels up the body, the waist and sides of adult diapers still have enough absorbent layers to at least minimize the spread of liquids.

Pull-on vs. adjustable styles

Adult diapers come in two styles: pull-on and adjustable. Pull-on styles look and wear like regular underwear, as they have elastic waistbands and leg holes. This is by far the most popular style, as they’re convenient and quick to put on and take off. Adjustable styles are closer to the design of baby diapers and rely on closures in the form of sticky or Velcro tabs to put them on. The fit isn’t always the best with these, but they do stay put if you tighten them properly.

Sizing

Adult diapers come in men’s, women’s, and unisex sizing. As far as unisex sizing goes, these are based on height, weight, and measurements. Therefore, you’d need to do some measuring to find the right size. Men’s sizing follows that of normal clothing sizes, from small through XXL.

Women’s sizing is a bit more complicated, especially if you’re petite or plus size. Consumers of these sizes note a limited availability in product and often feel pigeonholed into wearing certain brands. For the most part, women’s sizing comes in small through XXL, and there are certain styles that have a size table that corresponds with pants sizes. With these diapers, there’s a greater number of sizes to choose from and therefore a better chance of finding a good fit.

Features

Color

The majority of adult diapers come in white, though there are some on the market that are blush, purple, blue, or nude shades. While there isn’t a big color wheel for diapers, there are a number of brands that come in different patterns and prints. There are some diapers that feature skull and crossbones, princesses, flowers, or sea creatures. These are relatively new to the market, so you can expect to pay a premium for these highly fashionable pairs.

Materials

Adult diapers are made with soft, flexible materials with a high degree of absorbency. For the most part, they’re made from a combination of cellulose, polymers, bamboo, cotton, or microfiber. Not only do these textiles have superabsorbent properties, they also offer breathability, which reduces sweat and odors.

In addition to the diaper’s main materials, they also utilize elastic materials in waistbands and leg holes similar to those seen in regular underwear. For the most part, they consist of rubber, Lycra, nylon, or latex. Some adult diapers also have thin elastic bands throughout the diaper to provide a flexible yet secure fit.

Adult diaper prices

Adult diapers cost between $20 and $60 per package, depending on construction quality and how many diapers are in the package.

Inexpensive: Between $20 and $30, expect between 25 and 60 diapers. High-quality, medical-grade brands have fewer diapers in a package, while name-brand packages have far more.

Mid-range: Mid-range packages cost between $30 and $40. These contain around 40 diapers, and they have better leak protection and absorbency at a fair price. This is where you get the most for your money.

Expensive: Between $40 and $60, expect to get only 20 to 40 diapers per package. The quality in these is superior, and they’re as comfortable as it gets when it comes to diapers. Since they’re expensive, they’re intended for isolated use as opposed to long-term use.

Tips

  • Travel with a couple days’ worth of adult diapers. If you’re taking a plane trip, always keep a couple days’ worth in your carry-on. That way, if they lose your checked luggage, you still have backup pairs.
  • They’re helpful for gastroenteritis recovery. If you’re recovering from gastroenteritis or food poisoning, adult diapers are a discreet way to handle diarrhea. Cleanup is easy if you don’t make it to the bathroom in time, and you don’t need to worry about ruining your regular underwear.
  • Dry your body thoroughly before wearing. Because adult diapers are so absorbent, it’s important to dry your body thoroughly after a shower before putting them on.
  • Buy the right size to avoid leaks. Adult diapers are equipped with leak guards and extra-absorbent areas near thigh holes, so wear the correct size to avoid gaps that could lead to leaks.
  • Dispose of adult diapers in the garbage. Because adult diapers have human waste in them, they must be disposed of in the garbage and not a bathroom trash bin to avoid spreading germs and bacteria.
  • Try sizing for the opposite gender for a better fit. If you find your gender-specific adult diapers don’t fit well in any size, try a pair from the opposite gender. You might find a better fit with more shapes and sizes from which to choose.
  • Check for latex. If you have a latex allergy, check the material list and defer to the manufacturer for a firm answer to avoid an unnecessary skin reaction in your adult diapers.
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Purchase enough adult diapers so you always have a week’s supply on hand. That way, if you run low and need to order more, you’re covered while you wait for your shipment.

FAQ

Q. Can I wear adult diapers to exercise?
A.
Certain adult diapers are better than others for exercise, but it also depends on your level of activity. For the most part, any adult diaper is comfortable and flexible enough for low-impact activities. If you plan on engaging in more intense exercise, you should purchase active adult diapers. They’re shaped to fit better under fitness apparel and are more breathable to avoid unnecessary sweat accumulation.
 

Q. Which are more discreet: high-waisted or low-waisted adult diapers?A. It depends on what you’re wearing, though high-waisted adult diapers tend to be easier to hide, as it’s easy to wear a loose top over them with pants. Because waistbands of bottoms tend to fit over them, you can achieve a smoother silhouette under clothing. Low-waisted diapers, on the other hand, tend to be more noticeable, as they add bulk beneath the waistband of pants and skirts. More often than not, it’s easy to see both waistbands when wearing low-waisted diapers.
 

Q. How much liquid can adult diapers absorb?
A.
It depends on the diaper and its level of absorbency. For the most part, adult diapers absorb between 90 and 130 ounces of liquid. With that said, the absorbency level is subjective and usually refers to blood and urine amounts, so expect the diapers to hold less than that amount for semi-solid bowel movements. 

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