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Incontinence product buying guide

Compare pads, liners and absorbent underwear.


Fact checked

An estimated 13 million Americans struggle with incontinence each year, with many ignoring their symptoms. The right incontinence products can offer you the confidence to comfortably go about your daily life. Compare the wide range of incontinence products available to find the right one for your needs.

Compare some of the best incontinence products

NameAvg. price
TypePack sizeAbsorbency level claimPurchase
Poise Incontinence Pads$35.86Pads906/6Buy now
Depend Incontinence Guards for Men$22.78Pads104MaximumBuy now
Tena Incontinence Liners for Women$18.89Liners1761/6Buy now
Prevail Extra Absorbency Incontinence Underwear$36.88Underwear56ExtraBuy now
RMS Ultra Soft 4-Layer Washable Incontinence Bed Underpads$19.97Bed pads34 layers of protectionBuy now
Attends Advanced Briefs $42.41Diapers962/4Buy now
Data obtained April 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What are incontinence products?

Incontinence products can help you manage accidental or involuntary bladder or bowel problems. They can protect your clothing, furniture or bedding and come in numerous forms, including liners, pads, underwear and diapers.

Incontinence product costs

Individual incontinence products are relatively cheap — around 10 cents to $3 per product — but the costs add up quickly if you wear multiple products per day for an extended period of time. Discounted and subsidized products may be available, and some incontinence products are covered by insurance. Medicaid covers incontinence products in most states, but check with your state Medicaid office to make sure.

What types are available?

The right type of incontinence product will often depend on comfort and how much absorption is required. Some products are for short-term use to help people recovering from medical procedures, while others are for long-term use.

There are three main types of wearable incontinence products:

  • Pads. Pads are available in disposable and reusable styles and come in a large range of sizes. Larger pads tend to be more absorbent, but need to fit snugly in order to avoid leakage. While disposable pads offer convenience, they can be expensive if used often over a long period of time.
  • Liners. Liners are best suited to those with a light flow or leakage. The main benefit of wearing liners is that they tend to be discreet and thin and are not visible under clothing.
  • Undergarments. These can come in the form of adult diapers, underwear or underpants. Undergarments are geared toward heavy leakage and can be disposable or washable. They’re also ideal for sleeping when bladder control is often reduced.

How to compare incontinence products

The right incontinence product will depend on how much absorption is needed, as well as your individual preferences and needs. When comparing incontinence products, consider the following:

  • Size and fit. The fit is essential. If it’s too small, your garment might ride up and leave cracks for leakage. If it’s too big and baggy, it may not create a tight seal. Sizes like “small”, “medium” or “large” are not consistent across different brands, so make sure you read the packaging for specific measurements. You may have to try a few brands to find the perfect product for you.
  • Absorbency. Products with greater absorbency tend to cost more. If you know you need maximum absorption, look for a brand’s most absorbent product. Brands typically have their own systems of defining leakage rates and flows, making it hard to compare products across brands. It may be a case of trial and error, but you can start by reading customer reviews and listening to the advice of medical practitioners.
  • Odor control. Typically, products with greater absorbency offer more odor control. Some manufacturers claim to negate smells by drying out leakages, balancing pH measurements or adding fragrance. Note that products with added fragrance could cause irritation if you have sensitive skin.
  • Appearance. This often comes down to thickness. The thicker a product is, the less discreet it tends to feel. But thicker products offer more absorbency. You may have to try a few brands before you find the right balance.

Additional factors to think about:

  • Day or night. Bladder and bowel control are often reduced at night. You might find you need to wear more absorbent undergarments or pads at night, even if you would usually use liners during the day.
  • Comfort. Absorption ultimately equals comfort. The closer you can get to a dry feeling post-leak, the more comfortable your incontinence product will feel.
  • Washable. Some incontinence products are washable and can be reused. If incontinence is an ongoing struggle or you’re concerned about the environmental impact of single-use products, consider trying a washable and reusable product.
  • Gender. Some products have gender-specific designs to match the contours of male or female bodies. Other products are unisex. Ultimately, the right choice for you comes down to what fits your body best.
  • Tabs. Undergarments often include tabs to help fasten the garment to your body. Look for tabs that are easy to use yet strong and secure when fastened.

Nonwearable incontinence products to use at home

Incontinence can be an around-the-clock issue. There are several non-wearable products that can help combat incontinence during times of inactivity.

Non-wearable incontinence products include the following:

  • Bed pads. You can use pads just about anywhere, including on chairs, couches, beds or the floor. They’re absorbent mats that come in a variety of sizes and you can place them in convenient locations around the home.
  • Mattress cover. Mattress covers wrap around your entire mattress and are typically waterproof, hypoallergenic and odor-resistant.
  • Bedpans. Bedpans are typically for people who are immobile or bedridden and are often used in hospitals or care homes.

3 tips for using incontinence products

  • See a doctor. If you have continence issues, discuss it with your doctor. He or she can provide you with advice regarding the suitability of different incontinence products and may be able to give you some free sample products.
  • Try new products at home. It can be hard to tell if a product will work for you or if it’s the right size until you try it. If you’re concerned about leaking, try the product at home first.
  • Combine wearable and non-wearable products. If you don’t like wearing wearable products all the time, consider using a mix of protective pads on furniture at home and wearables when you leave the house.

Bottom line

There are a variety of incontinence products available, so it can take some trial and error to find the best fit for you and your specific needs.

How did we choose these products?

We compared some of the most popular products currently available, factoring in our own online research and third-party product reviews to create our list of products.

Frequently asked questions

How can I get Medicare to cover incontinence products?
Most Medicare plans don’t cover incontinence products, unless you have supplemental insurance. Medicaid, on the other hand, typically does cover incontinence products.

How often do you need to change incontinence pads?
If you wear an incontinence pad regularly, you may need to change it four to six times per day. Change incontinence products frequently to prevent health issues such as rashes and infection.

How do I dispose of incontinence pads?
Incontinence pads can go directly in your regular trash can, but you may want to put them inside a small bag first to help control odors. Never flush these products down the toilet.

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