Incontinence Products: The Ultimate Buying Guide

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This guide helps you to buy incontinence products. See tips and industry tricks to help you make better choices & save money!

How To Buy Incontinence Underwear & Adult Diapers

More than 44 million Americans experience urinary incontinence everyday. And everyday, these millions of people use about 1 – 5 adult diapers or pull ups. But that’s not the only incontinence protection they use. There are other secondary incontinence products that are needed, such as creams; wipes, under pads, bladder protection, briefs, skin protection, & disposable bags and more. And every day these millions of Americans wonder if they are buying the right products, are they spending too much? Is there a better deal? We created this ultimate guide on how to buy incontinence products and supplies to help you in your journey. Make sure you get the features you need with the quality you expect, at a cost that works within your budget. Most shoppers are unable to find the right continence supplies without assistance or guidance from manufacturers. Currently, 80% of adults with incontinence use the same products. Every day. If you need to learn more about urinary incontinence products or have a difficult search to find a solution, this blog is for. Even if you’ve been shopping for incontinence supplies for a while now, this blog is also for you. We aim to help you manage your life at home with the right incontinence products.

Before we begin: Urinary Incontinence & Bowel Incontinence. What are they?

Urinary incontinence is when someone loses control of their bladder and this can lead to just leaks or with no control, it could lead to full discharge. Bowel incontinence or fecal incontinence is the loss in ability to control bowel movements.

Terms to remember: Protective Underwear, Pull Ups, Diapers, & Briefs

Protective underwear and pull ups are the same. You wear them like regular underwear, but for urine leaks. You slide over your legs. Diapers and briefs are open and you wrap them around your waste and use flaps to stick them together. Terms are misleading across the industry. Knowing the right terms, will help you to quickly find the right incontinence products.

9 Things to Look for When Buying Incontinence Supplies

When you begin shopping for products, you’ll want to look for 9 specific things:
  1. Support for bowel, urinary, or both
  2. Who is using them
  3. Absorption
  4. Material – inner and outer
  5. Size
  6. Gender specific
  7. Cost
  8. Support
  9. Delivery
Your product does not have to check all the boxes for it to be perfect for you. Figure out what’s the most important to you and make sure your choice checks those boxes. Gender specific products for instance are very unique. In almost every case, gender neutral diapers will work for everyone. It’s only when you get to choosing pull ups that you’ll look for gender specific options.

1 Type of Incontinence

Before you begin, it’s important to understand the type of incontinence the wearer is struggling with. Is it urinary incontinence, bowel, or both. This will help determine the types of incontinence products you will need. Be it absorbent underwear, an adult diaper, or absorbent pads.

51% of women struggle with urine leaks.

According to the National Library of Medicine, in adults over the age of 20, 51% of women struggled with urine leaks well as 13.9% of men battled urinary incontinence.

The National Library of Medicine also analyzed adults 20 years and older for bowel incontinence. 8% of these adults had bowel incontinence issues.

As you can see, urinary incontinence is definitely more prevalent so products are geared more toward that. Don’t assume that a product was built for both. Be it diapers, pull ups, pads and more, always make sure it can handle both types of incontinence.



Most product descriptions do not mention if a product is meant for both. Look at the packaging for information from the manufacturer. If shopping online, always click on product images to zoom in and read the packaging.

Speak with customer service for consultation. A few retailers offer chat and phone support for customers.

Incontinence Identifier Quiz

2 Who is the Wearer

Knowing the wearer is key to finding the right product. Is the wearer mobile? Are they mostly or permanently in a bed or wheelchair? Other questions to ask is if they can change themselves or is there a caregiver? This will give you the tools to know the incontinence supplies you will need.

These are important questions to ask and perhaps write down or create a Google Sheet. I’ve personally found that clarity comes with writing.

If the wearer is mobile then pull ups are probably a good choice – depending on the type of incontinence. If the wearer is mostly in bed then a caregiver is probably changing them so diapers are convenient for both. They’re easier to snap around the waist.



Create a Google sheet (I'm a nerd) or you can write it down in a journal. In fact we suggest you write the answers down to all of these topics to help you determine the best product.

Also note, this is just a great starting point. You can always change what you don't like. Try till you find something you are content with.

3 Absorption

Tranquility strongly recommends a wearer and caregiver consider absorbency and wearability when purchasing underwear or diapers. There are so many stories that involve dirty linen and laundry, long nights of accidents, leakages and more. Although product failures are usually linked to multiple factors, many are caused by low absorption.

It’s certainly not simple, but the industry is flooded with ambiguous marketing terms like “supermaximum” and “ultra” to describe absorbency. It can be difficult to compare two identical products based on their absorbency.

The raindrop icons to denote absorbency levels are not helpful in this instance unless they’re used.

Take our quiz to determine which product will work best for you.


Check Absorption Levels

Always check for a definitive absorption level as shown in the cups or some unit of measure. Most healthcare sites provide a customer service chat. You can speak with product experts. Make use of this feature to ask all your questions.


A special shout out to Because Market for clearly indicating absorbency levels in measuring cups. It's time the entire industry standardized this so users don't have to play guessing games.

4 Material

Another important aspect is the materials used for the outer layer (also referred to as backsheet). The most commonly used material is cloth and Poly backing. Poly-back protective underwear has a plastic cover that is similar to that of many baby diapers.

Most diapers and protective underwear contain the same materials. But it’s always good to check, depending on the type on incontinence products you are purchasing.

Alternately clothless underwear is produced using cloth that is soft and rustless. Clothy products have an air-flow design that helps improve the skin’s moisture retention and helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and blemish marks.

It can be determined mostly by personable preferences. Most products today are cloth-like and most are made from breathable material.

Most disposable diapers and pull ups contain a non woven layer inside. This helps with keeping the skin dry as the liquids drain through this “meshy” layer quickly into the absorbent layer. The meshy or the non woven layer remains dry against the skin.


Help is Available

If you are unsure of the material, some retailers offer free samples. If they don't always speak with customer service. Retailers pay big money to earn your business. Sending you a free sample is worth 5% of what they would spend on advertising to earn your business.


Retailers like NorthShore Care, Prevail, and Carewell offer great chat features where you can connect with some of the nicest customer service folks. Definitely speak with these experts and get a consultation.

5 Size

This again is so confusing. Brands use their own terminology marketing words and users are left confused. But size is very important for many reasons. The right size offers comfort and prevents leaks.

Dimensions are crucial for product performance. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that larger sizes hold more urine, but a good fit is critical to performance. Too large of size creates openings resulting in leaks.

Many patients who suffer from urinary incontinence cite brand, style, and absorbability when in fact it’s the size that’s most critical. Always follow the manufacturers sizes guide for the best fitting.


Size is Most Critical

Measure your waist and hips and avoid choosing "small, medium, large" as they are such generic terms. Manufacturers print waist sizes and retailers can also help you get the right size.

This is where gender specific sizing play a part. Women, measure hips and waist well as men can just measure their waist. Then speak with your retailer. Buy a small pack or order a sample.

6 Gender Specific

As you saw from the stats above, urinary incontinence is the leading type. And in this type, 51% are women. Most products are gender neutral by default and you can use them no matter who you are. Diapers are so adjustable with the flaps that it will be difficult to find diapers made specifically for men or women.

If you are shopping for pull ups, this is when you will need to get gender specific. They are designed specifically for male and female. Waist and hip sizes vary and also the point of where urine is discharged varies.

Pull ups are otherwise called underwear because that’s exactly what they are – padded underwear. And most people will buy underwear for men or women. Pull ups need to be snug to avoid leaks, so choosing the right type will keep you confident dry, and comfortable.

See the best pull ups or best adult diapers for women.

7 Cost

While it is true that you get what you pay for, that is in extreme terms. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives that are perfectly fine and then there are some brands that are boutique and you pay for color options and that extra slim look.

It depends on whether you are looking for style or absorption.

Cheaper products may work well and there are hundreds of testimonials from wearers and caregivers explaining how to use them effectively. The average adult goes through 3 – 5 diapers a day. So consider this in your monthly budget.

For people who need help finding the most cost efficient products for their household, they contact the manufacturer or the retailer – if they offer customer service over chat, phone or email. Always take the phone call. It’s much more efficient.

We’ve curated the best places to buy incontinence products – brick and mortar and online.


Buy More Save More

Consider buying in bulk. Prices come down a good amount at a per unit rate if you buy larger packs. You could pay $0.70 per diaper if you bout a large pack as opposed to $1.25+ per diaper in smaller quantities.

Think of combination products. Perhaps you don't need a diaper or pull up all the time. Could you use a pad during the day? Explore all the different types of products.

8 Support

We’ve already mentioned multiple times here, a few retailers offer customer support over live chat, email, or phone. This is such an important and helpful thing they do.

There are large retailers like Amazon, Target, CVS, and such where they are e-commerce focused. Then there are smaller retailers who are mission focused. They were founded to solve a pain in their lives. They are driven to help people first and then be an e-commerce business.

Business like these offer free customer support, a sense of community, and much more personal experience. They are often way more available and willing to do more than just give you a product in exchange for your money.

Here’s a list of retailers that are better options. They are mission driven and offer consultations and support over phone, chat, or email.

  1. – full home healthcare catalog
  2. – Widest selection of home health care products
  3. BecauseMarket – mostly urinary products
  4. – though a large brand, they do have their online nurse program to help with questions.

9 Delivery

Plenty of people ordering products for the first time or the thousandth are surprised and embarrassed to come home to see a large box by their front door that says “Adult Diapers”. Worse yet, if they have it delivered to their work place.

They do not expect packages to be shipped with the manufacturer’s marketing material on the outside. Some people aren’t bothered by this. But, if this is something you would rather not announce to your coworkers and neighbors then you should check the product listings.


Check for Discreet Shipping

Read the product descriptions carefully. They should explicitly mention that the product ships discreetly. If they don't mention it, speak with an agent to make sure it does.

How Shipping Works

A lot of online retailers do not actually control their products. They do not house them. Most times they are reselling other brands. So when you order something from a retailer, they are passing on your order to the manufacturer. The manufacturer then ships out your products. The retailer has no control over how things are shipped and cannot guarantee discreet shipping.

Other Incontinence Products You Should Consider

Bed pads

There are more absorbent products than just an adult diaper or protective underwear. This protective cover protects your furniture and other items when they come in contact with water.

The pad is handy if you want to protect your mattress from an accident. This adds an extra protective layer for the more expensive things that you just cannot dispose off and replace later. These pads are generally thin and their absorbency can vary.

They are specifically designed to protect mattresses, cushions etc. Things you should protect from accidental leaks.

Wipes and Washes

Barrier cream keeps your skin hydrated but requires gentle cleaning and rubbing to protect against dirt and toxins. Look for hypoallergenic products that contain soothing aloe vera.

If urine contaminates the skin regularly, it will result in redness rashes and yeast infections. You have to be very careful about your skin. Always speak with your physician about this and get a list of approved products from them.


Catheters are also an option for incontinence. Most people default to diapers, pads, or pull ups. There are external catheters for men and a variety of options for women. When shopping for complete home healthcare products it sometimes is more helpful to shop at or over

Absorbency is not an issue here, but in this case you’d definitely want that extra protection from urine that you get in briefs. Bed pads add a great backup protection for those urine leaks.

Retailers like NorthShore Care & Carewell are full stocked with medical equipment, creams, ointments, gloves and more. The more you buy from one place the better the deals and savings.

Male Guards

Men, dealing with light bladder leaks? There are male guards for men. Pads aren’t a luxury just for women. Now, men too can insert male guards into their underwear and not have to worry about urine leaks. It protects the skin from bladder leaks.

Booster Pads

Booster pads are available for both, men and women. They cannot be worn by themselves, but as the name suggests, they boost the absorbency level of the existing diaper or pulp by adding a layer of super absorbent material.

These are generally used for urine leaks. They can be worn inside a brief for bladder incontinence. Absorbency levels may vary so it’s always good to check the product packaging for absorbency information from the manufacturer.

Final tip

Look for items that are covered by insurance or medicaid. Most online retailers have search filters. So once you find the product category you are looking for, let’s say “Adult Diapers”. You can further filter the page to show products only covered with medicaid.

You can also filter products only made in the USA.

Lastly, if you are buying a wide category of products, it’s handy to create a list of types of products and check with your physician. Knowing the history and condition of the patient, they might recommend alternatives.

Did find this useful? Please leave us a comment. If you think there’s something we left out that other readers will find useful, please share it with us in the comments. We’d love to add it to this list

What are the various types of adult diapers

With so many manufacturers and marketing tactics, the language can be very confusing. Adult diapers are simply diapers that you can open up and wrap around the wearer and then fasten them with tabs. This is why you’ll notice some manufacturers and retailers refer to them as Adult Diapers with Tabs or even briefs.

Adult Pull ups

These on the other hand, are just like underwear and you wear them just like the name suggests. You slide them up. Patients and caregivers might have various needs and in some cases pull ups might work better well as diapers with tabs might be preferred other times.

Now that you know the difference, consider your situation and decide what will work best for you. No reason you can’t switch back and forth. For those with mobility, it might be easy to slide on a pull up like you would normally get dressed.

Looking for the best adult diapers? See the table comparison below or read our article reviewing only the best of the best.

Compare the Best Adult Diapers Side-by-Side

DiaperCost Per DiaperAbsorbencyStar RatingBuy Now
Abena Abri-Form Premium Incontinence Briefs​$0.75 - $1.10Up to 51 fl. oz.4.5 (774)

Buy on Amazon

Prevail Bariatric Brief with Tabs Ultimate Absorbency

$1.00 - $3.38Heavy4.5 (391)

Buy on Amazon

Tranquility ATN Adult Disposable Briefs$1.42Up to 34 fl. oz.4 (284)

Buy on Amazon

TENA Overnight Super Protective$1.08 - $1.50Super Absorbent4.5 (745)

Buy on Amazon

McKesson Ultra Briefs$0.42 - $1.3514.5 fl. oz.4.3 (470)

Buy on Amazon

Attends Advanced Briefs$0.47Heavy4.2 (1,789)

Buy on Amazon

FitRight Ultra Adult Diapers$0.75Heavy4.4 (1,663)

Buy on Amazon

Seni Super Plus Adult Diapers with Tabs$1.07Severe4 (79)

Buy on Amazon

Prevail Air Overnight Briefs$1.17Severe4 (71)

Buy on Amazon


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