Learn how to choose incontinence pads that are right for you.

Incontinence Pads Comparison: Sizes, Styles, and Products

Learn how to choose incontinence pads that are right for you.

Choosing the right incontinence pad should be a simple, straightforward task, right? You just look at the products, compare their features, and pick the one you think is right for you. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Incontinence pads are not so simple. They come in many different varieties, and are often described with unfamiliar terms that can be misleading. Companies also use different words to describe similar products, making comparisons even more difficult.

But don’t worry. This guide will help you cut through the confusion and get to what matters: finding a pad that’s right for you. We’ve put together some important tips that will help you know what those words on the package really mean, and how to know if it’s the right product for your needs. 

About Incontinence Pads

Incontinence pads are thin, absorbent pads designed to manage light urine leakage. Other names for incontinence pads are:

  • Bladder Control pads
  • Incontinence nappies
  • Incontinence diapers
  • Adult liners
  • Insert pads

important note about incontinence pads!Important Note: 
Only use products designed to manage urine. Using products not designed for urine, such as feminine pads, will risk your health (and happiness).

Generally, incontinence pads are made of soft, absorbent fabric that’s filled with a liquid-absorbing polymer. When urine touches the polymer, it becomes trapped,  keeping the skin clean and dry. The back of the pad consists of a waterproof layer that keeps leakage from passing through onto clothes.

About Incontinence Pads

Incontinence pads are thin, absorbent pads designed to manage light urine leakage. Other names for incontinence pads are:

  • Bladder Control pads
  • Incontinence nappies
  • Incontinence diapers
  • Adult liners
  • Insert pads

important note about incontinence pads!Important Note: 
Only use products designed to manage urine. Using things such as feminine products for will risk your health (and happiness).

Generally, incontinence pads are made of soft, absorbent fabric that’s filled with a liquid-absorbing polymer. When urine touches the polymer, it becomes trapped,  keeping the skin clean and dry. The back of the pad consists of a waterproof layer that keeps leakage from passing through onto clothes.

Absorbency

One thing that confuses people is the absorbency of incontinence pads. When shopping for products, you may see words like “super-absorbent,” “maximum,” or “ultimate” on the package. That does not mean that the incontinence pad can manage moderate or heavy flows.

No matter how they are described, incontinence pads (bladder control pads) can only handle light leakage. Light leakage is characterized by drops of urine or moderate to heavy dribbles. If you experience leakage that’s heavier than a few drops, there are other types of incontinence products that are better suited to manage it.

Here is the absorbency scale for the incontinence pads in this guide. Keep in mind that this range represents different levels of light leakage only, and not heavier types of leakage.

Sizing Guide

When picking the right pad size, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the variety of words used to describe them: regular, moderate, ultra-long, classic, normal. How do you know which size is right?

Don't forget this important fact about incontinence pads!Important Note: 
Use pad length to select the right pad for you. This measurement is found on most package labels.
The first thing to understand is that incontinence pad sizing is different for each manufacturer. Some brands use their own terms to refer to their sizes.

For example, one company may use the word “petite” to describe their small size.  Other brands use the traditional “small,” “medium,” and “large,” but just like clothing, these sizes may be slightly different from one company to the next. What counts as a medium in one brand may be longer or shorter than a medium in another.


Picking your Size

There are two ways to choose the correct size: The first is to focus on the actual pad length. Almost all incontinence pads are measured in inches, and most manufacturers put these measurements somewhere on the packaging. Using the actual pad length will help you know the exact size of the pad regardless of what a company calls it.

Don’t Forget
All incontinence pads are designed to handle light leakage, no matter how they are described in marketing.

Another option is to go by the hip and waist size. Some incontinence pads are sized based upon the waist (just like when you buy pants). For these pads, choose  one made for your waist size.

Sizing Guide

When picking the right pad size, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the variety of words used to describe them: regular, moderate, ultra-long, classic, normal. How do you know which size is right?

Don't forget this important fact about incontinence pads!Important Note: 
Use pad length to select the right pad for you. This measurement is found on most package labels.
The first thing to understand is that incontinence pad sizing is different for each manufacturer. Some brands use their own terms to refer to their sizes.

For example, one company may use the word “petite” to describe their small size.  Other brands use the traditional “small,” “medium,” and “large,” but just like clothing, these sizes may be slightly different from one company to the next. What counts as a medium in one brand may be longer or shorter than a medium in another.


Picking your Size

There are two ways to choose the correct size: The first is to focus on the actual pad length. Almost all incontinence pads are measured in inches, and most manufacturers put these measurements somewhere on the packaging. Using the actual pad length will help you know the exact size of the pad regardless of what a company calls it.

Don’t Forget
All incontinence pads are designed to handle light leakage, no matter how they are described in marketing.

Another option is to go by the hip and waist size. Some incontinence pads are sized based upon the waist (just like when you buy pants). For these pads, choose  one made for your waist size.

Common Brand Terms and What they Mean

Although companies use different words to describe size and absorbency, there are some common terms you may see across brands.

Incontinence pads & their different sizes and absorbency levels.

 

Thin/Ultra Thin/Very Light:
Max Absorbency 

These pads are typically the smallest and are ideal for managing the very light leakage (a few drops at a time).

Moderate: 
Max Absorbency 
Moderate is the most common (and most popular) size of incontinence pads. They can handle more leakage (light dribbles) and come in a wider range of styles.

Ultimate: 
Max Absorbency 
Ultimate pads are generally designed for people with heavier kinds of light leakage (moderate dribbles). They contain more polymer and are often longer in length.

Note:
Some brands might use “ultimate” for their biggest size, so it’s important to look at the actual length and determine if that will meet your needs.

Maximum: 
Max Absorbency 
Maximum (or max) are made for the heaviest forms of light leakage (heavy dribbles). They are also the longest pads and contain the most polymer.

Common Brand Terms and What they Mean

Although companies use different words to describe size and absorbency, there are some common terms you may see across brands.

Incontinence pads & their different sizes and absorbency levels.

 

Thin/Ultra Thin/Very Light: Max Absorbency 

These pads are typically the smallest and are ideal for managing the very light leakage (a few drops at a time).

Moderate: Max Absorbency 
Moderate is the most common (and most popular) size of incontinence pads. They can handle more leakage (light dribbles) and come in a wider range of styles.

Ultimate: Max Absorbency 
Ultimate pads are generally designed for people with heavier kinds of light leakage (moderate dribbles). They contain more polymer and are often longer in length.

Note:
Some brands might use “ultimate” for their biggest size, so it’s important to look at the actual length and determine if that will meet your needs.

Maximum: Max Absorbency 
Maximum (or max) are made for the heaviest forms of light leakage (heavy dribbles). They are also the longest pads and contain the most polymer.


Styles of Incontinence Pads

It’s not only the size of the pads that can be difficult to choose, but also the style. Incontinence pads come in many different varieties: thin, lite, etc. Here are some of the most common styles of incontinence pads you’ll see.

Rectangular 

As the name suggests, rectangular pads have a rectangular shape. They tend to be less bulky than other pads, but they don’t contour to the curves of the body as well. For this reason, they are best used for lighter leakage.

Shaped 

Shaped pads are the most common type of incontinence pad. Their shape aligns with the contours of the body, providing comfort and protection. While they can be a little bulkier than rectangular pads, they tend to provide more protection than rectangular ones.

Long

When long is used with incontinence pads, it usually comes after another term (moderate-long, ultimate long, etc…) The “long” indicates that the pad is longer than the regular version, but has the same absorbency level. Generally speaking, a long pad is 1-3 inches longer than the regular version.

Male Guards

 Male guards/shields are incontinence pads designed specifically for men.  Their unique shape accommodates the anatomical needs of men while still providing protection against leakage. Just like normal incontinence pads, male guards come in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels.

Scented/Odor-Reducing

Scented and odor-reducing pads are designed to help with unwanted odor that urinary incontinence might cause. Scented pads work by releasing perfumes when urine hits the polymer (similar to household odor sprays). Odor-reducing pads have materials that work to prevent the creation of odor-causing particles.


Styles of Incontinence Pads

It’s not only the size of the pads that can be difficult to choose, but also the style. Incontinence pads come in many different varieties: thin, lite, etc. Here are some of the most common styles of incontinence pads you’ll see.

Rectangular 

As the name suggests, rectangular pads have a rectangular shape. They tend to be less bulky than other pads, but they don’t contour to the curves of the body as well. For this reason, they are best used for lighter leakage.

Shaped 

Shaped pads are the most common type of incontinence pad. Their shape aligns with the contours of the body, providing comfort and protection. While they can be a little bulkier than rectangular pads, they tend to provide more protection than rectangular ones.  better protection for moderate and heavy leakage.

Long

When long is used with incontinence pads, it usually comes after another term (moderate-long, ultimate long, etc…) The “long” indicates that the pad is longer than the regular version, but has the same absorbency level. Generally speaking, a long pad is 1-3 inches longer than the regular version.

Male Guards

 Male guards/shields are incontinence pads designed specifically for men.  Their unique shape accommodates the anatomical needs of men while still providing protection against leakage. Just like normal incontinence pads, male guards come in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels.

Scented/Odor-Reducing

Scented and odor-reducing pads are designed to help with unwanted odor that urinary incontinence might cause. Scented pads work by releasing perfumes when urine hits the polymer (similar to household odor sprays). Odor-reducing pads have materials that work to prevent the creation of odor-causing particles.

Product Guide & Comparison

Choose a product to learn more about the different styles and absorbencies each has to offer.

Incontinence-Bladder Control Pads-1100B-CS132

Covidien SureCare™ Bladder Control Pads

  • Features an absorbent layer of polymer for better leakage absorption.
  • Reduces odor and pulls moisture away from the skin.
  • Features a special insert that helps the pad keep its shape, preventing it from bunching up.
  • Made with comfortable, cloth-like material that’s latex free.
  • Individually sealed with a wrapper that can also be used to dispose of the pad.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
Light 9.75”
Moderate 10.75”
Heavy 14.5”
Get Supplies

Attends Discreet Bladder Control Pads

  • Dermadry Technology pulls moisture from the skin to keep it clean and fresh.
  • Three layers of absorbent material for better leakage protection.
  • Odor-reducing layer that helps prevent odors from escaping.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
Moderate 10.5″
Maximum 13″
Maximum Long 14.5”
Get Supplies

Prevail Pads

  • Shaped pad made with comfortable, cloth-like fabric.
  • Features a layer of polymer for quickly absorbing leakage.
  • Keeps the skin dry with special “Stay-Dry” strip technology that locks moisture away.
  • Uses an adhesive strip that attaches to the underwear, helping keep the pad in place.
Style: Size Absorbency Made for:
Very Light 7.5”
Light 9.25”
Moderate 9.25”
Moderate Long 11”
Maximum 11”
Ultimate 16”
Get Supplies

Prevail Male Guards

  • Designed specifically for the incontinence needs of men.
  • Can be worn underneath the underwear.
  • Features a layer of polymer that quickly absorbs moisture.
  • Comes in a discreet gray color.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
N/A 13”
Get Supplies

Tena Light Pads

  • Made for light to moderate dribbles of urine.
  • Features a soft, comfortable layer that’s gentle against the skin .
  • Uses special Dry-Fast Core Technology to keep the skin dry and absorb moisture fast.
  • Made with an adhesive strip that attaches to the underwear to help keep the pads in place.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
Very Light Long 9”
Ultra Thin Light 9”
Moderate 11”
Moderate Long 12”
Heavy 13”
Ultimate 16”
Get Supplies

Tena MEN Guards

  • Designed for the  light bladder leakage needs of men.
  • ProSkin Technology keeps the skin clean and dry.
  • Made with a soft outer layer that quickly pulls fluid away from the skin.
  • Designed with an adhesive strip to keep the guards in place.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
N/A 8”
Get Supplies

Getting Incontinence Pads with Insurance

Did you know that Medicaid and some private insurance plans cover incontinence supplies? It’s true, and it could potentially save you money on the cost of your products.

To learn more about Medicaid coverage for each state, check out our guide to Medicaid Coverage of Incontinence Supplies.

If you have Medicaid, then you may be eligible right now to get incontinence pads as a covered benefit. To start using your benefits, just provide your information  below. We’ll find you the right product, deliver them discreetly to your door, and bill your insurance for the cost. It only takes a few minutes to enroll and could save you hundreds on your out-of-pocket costs.

Product Guide & Comparison

Choose a product to learn more about the different styles and absorbencies each has to offer.

Incontinence-Bladder Control Pads-1100B-CS132

Covidien SureCare™ Bladder Control Pads

  • Features an absorbent layer of polymer for better leakage absorption.
  • Reduces odor and pulls moisture away from the skin.
  • Features a special insert that helps the pad keep its shape, preventing it from bunching up.
  • Made with comfortable, cloth-like material that’s latex free.
  • Individually sealed with a wrapper that can also be used to dispose of the pad.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
Light 9.75”
Moderate 10.75”
Heavy 14.5”
Get Supplies

Attends Discreet Bladder Control Pads

  • Dermadry Technology pulls moisture from the skin to keep it clean and fresh.
  • Three layers of absorbent material for better leakage protection.
  • Odor-reducing layer that helps prevent odors from escaping.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
Moderate 10.5″
Maximum 13″
Maximum Long 14.5”
Get Supplies

Prevail Pads

  • Shaped pad made with comfortable, cloth-like fabric.
  • Features a layer of polymer for quickly absorbing leakage.
  • Keeps the skin dry with special “Stay-Dry” strip technology that locks moisture away.
  • Uses an adhesive strip that attaches to the underwear, helping keep the pad in place.
Style: Size Absorbency Made for:
Very Light 7.5”
Light 9.25”
Moderate 9.25”
Moderate Long 11”
Maximum 11”
Ultimate 16”
Get Supplies

Prevail Male Guards

  • Designed specifically for the incontinence needs of men.
  • Can be worn underneath the underwear.
  • Features a layer of polymer that quickly absorbs moisture.
  • Comes in a discreet gray color.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
N/A 13”
Get Supplies

Tena Light Pads

  • Made for light to moderate dribbles of urine.
  • Features a soft, comfortable layer that’s gentle against the skin .
  • Uses special Dry-Fast Core Technology to keep the skin dry and absorb moisture fast.
  • Made with an adhesive strip that attaches to the underwear to help keep the pads in place.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
Very Light Long 9”
Ultra Thin Light 9”
Moderate 11”
Moderate Long 12”
Heavy 13”
Ultimate 16”
Get Supplies

Tena MEN Guards

  • Designed for the  light bladder leakage needs of men.
  • ProSkin Technology keeps the skin clean and dry.
  • Made with a soft outer layer that quickly pulls fluid away from the skin.
  • Designed with an adhesive strip to keep the guards in place.
Style Size (in inches) Absorbency Made for:
N/A 8”
Get Supplies

Getting Incontinence Pads with Insurance

Did you know that Medicaid and some private insurance plans cover incontinence supplies? It’s true, and it could potentially save you money on the cost of your products.

To learn more about Medicaid coverage for each state, check out our guide to Medicaid Coverage of Incontinence Supplies.

If you have Medicaid, then you may be eligible right now to get incontinence pads as a covered benefit. To start using your benefits, just provide your information  below. We’ll find you the right product, deliver them discreetly to your door, and bill your insurance for the cost. It only takes a few minutes to enroll and could save you hundreds on your out-of-pocket costs.

Ready to Enroll? Contact us and get started now!