Best Menstrual Cups

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

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

15 Models Considered
13 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
125 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Why trust BestReviews?
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best menstrual cups

Last Updated August 2019
By Lauren Corona

With the right sanitary products, periods can be easier. If you’re not satisfied with tampons or pads, it might be time to try a menstrual cup. A reusable menstrual cup saves money and is ideal for those with heavy flows. But how do you choose the right menstrual cup for your period needs? You can find a wide range for sale, and if you’re a first-time buyer, selecting one can prove baffling. Need some assistance? Well, you’re in the right place.

At BestReviews, our goal is to match you with the products that suit you best. If you’re ready to buy a menstrual cup, check out our recommended products. For everything you need to know about this eco-friendly alternative to tampons and pads, please keep reading.

 

About the author

Lauren Corona has been writing about and researching personal care products for more than five years. She knows how important a grooming routine can be to help you feel good, and enjoys finding the top products for some all-important self care.


Lauren Corona  |  Writer
All menstrual cups are made from medical-grade materials. The same can’t be said for tampons or sanitary pads.

Benefits of menstrual cups

If you’re still on the fence about switching from tampons or pads, here are some of the many benefits of using a menstrual cup.

  • Reusable menstrual cups are much better for the environment than disposable sanitary products.

  • You will save money in the long run by using a menstrual cup. The average woman spends roughly $120 a year on tampons and pads.

  • Many users find menstrual cups more comfortable and less likely to leak when playing sports or otherwise being active.

  • Menstrual cups can hold about five times what tampons can, which is excellent news for anyone with a heavy flow.

  • When traveling, you can pack a single menstrual cup rather than bulky boxes of sanitary products.

  • Menstrual cups don’t contain fragrances, chlorine, bleach, or other chemicals sometimes found in tampons or pads.

DID YOU KNOW?

Unlike tampons, menstrual cups are not associated with a higher risk of toxic shock syndrome.

What to look for when buying a menstrual cup

Size

Most menstrual cups come in two sizes. The smaller size is generally recommended for those under 30 who haven’t given birth vaginally. The larger size is generally recommended for those over 30 or anyone who has given birth vaginally.

These recommendations can vary between manufacturers, however, and some menstrual cups come in three sizes.

The benefit of the larger sizes is that they have greater capacities, but some users find them uncomfortable.

You can safely go up to 12 hours before emptying a menstrual cup.

Material

Menstrual cups are generally made from silicone, latex, or thermoplastic elastomer (TPE). Of the three, TPE has the longest shelf-life, but silicone and latex are very durable and long-lasting, too.

The vast majority of menstrual cups are made from medical-grade silicone, which is good news for anyone with a latex allergy.

Firmness

Some menstrual cups are firmer than others. Firmer cups are more likely to open properly after being inserted. They also have a tighter seal, meaning less chance of leaks. The downside to firmer cups is that some users find them less comfortable or more difficult to insert, since they don’t fold up as easily.

If in doubt as to what firmness will suit you, a menstrual cup with medium firmness is a good compromise.

Menstrual cups are less likely to irritate those with sensitive skin or dermatitis.

Capacity

The capacity of a menstrual cup can vary from 10 to 40 ml, depending on the model and size. A capacity between 20 and 30 ml is average. Most periods amount to 30 to 120 ml for the whole menstrual cycle, so you don’t need to worry too much about capacity unless you have very heavy periods.

That said, the greater the capacity, the less often you need to empty your menstrual cup. If you have a job where you can’t always take a bathroom break at your leisure, a large capacity can be a godsend.

Price

There’s a higher upfront cost for menstrual cups, but considering how long one cup lasts, you will save money compared to disposable sanitary products.

Menstrual cups generally cost between $10 and $40, with most falling in the $15 to $25 range. We don’t recommend the cheapest menstrual cups (those under $15), as they are often manufactured by unknown brands and tend not to be as durable.

CAUTION

Never clean your menstrual cup with any kind of soap containing colors or fragrances, as these can cause irritation.

TESTING MENSTRUAL CUPS

After spending 13 hours researching 15 different menstrual cups we picked our top five favorites. We also consulted 125 consumers to find out what they needed when shopping for menstrual cups.

Tips for using a menstrual cup

  • Most menstrual cups come with a carrying bag or case, so you can take it on the go.

  • If you’re okay inserting a non-applicator tampon, you should feel comfortable inserting and removing a menstrual cup.

  • Normally, you rinse your menstrual cup in the sink after emptying and before re-inserting. But if you’re using a public bathroom with shared sinks, you can simply wipe the cup out with tissue.

  • Menstrual cups have a stem at the bottom to help you remove them. Some people find they don’t use the stem, and it just gets in the way. You can trim the stem or cut it off completely — just be careful not to nick the body of the cup.

  • While many menstrual cups are clear, you can also find cups in various colors. Menstrual cups inevitably stain with use, and this can be less obvious on colored models.

  • Some menstrual cups have ribbed sides for a better grip, which can make removal easier.

  • Compact menstrual cups fold down when not in use, which is handy for traveling.

  • If you have a heavy flow, opt for a menstrual cup with as large a capacity as is comfortable for you. This means you won’t have to empty it as often.

  • If you have a low cervix, or your cervix tends to sit low during menstruation, opt for a shorter menstrual cup.

  • A menstrual cup can last indefinitely if looked after properly. Some users choose to replace theirs every couple years, but you don’t really need to get a new menstrual cup unless yours splits, becomes sticky, or starts to leak.

There’s a bit of a learning curve to properly inserting a menstrual cup. Carefully read the instructions before trying one for the first time.

FAQ

Q. Is my menstrual cup supposed to have holes around the rim?

A. Many menstrual cups have small air holes around the rim. This promotes suction, which makes menstrual cups easier to insert and remove. Don’t worry about leakage from these holes. They’re positioned high enough that you will empty your menstrual cup long before any menstrual blood reaches them.

Q. What’s the best shape for a menstrual cup?

A. Some menstrual cups are long and thin like a champagne flute, some are bell-shaped, and others are almost spherical. Most users find any menstrual cup comfortable, so often people have a preference toward the first shape they tried. However, if you tried one shape and found it uncomfortable, try experimenting with a different shape of menstrual cup.

Q. How do I keep my menstrual cup clean?

A. It’s important to clean your menstrual cup before you first use it and between each menstrual period. Different manufacturers have different cleaning guidelines, so check the instructions on your chosen menstrual cup. Common cleaning methods include boiling for five to 10 minutes, submerging in a sterilizing solution (the kind used for baby bottles), or cleaning with natural products such as castile soap or baking soda.

The team that worked on this review
  • Amy
    Amy
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Heather
    Heather
    Chief Content Officer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer

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