Best Sanitary Napkins

In some ways, we all bleed the same, but in other ways, we don’t. If you’re after a comfortable, leak-free period, then knowing what to look for can help you choose the right sanitary napkin (also called a sanitary pad or period pad) to suit your menstrual needs. Continue reading...

25 listings
Always Discreet Incontinence Pads

If you experience light to moderate bladder leakage, Always Discreet Incontinence Pads can give you the confidence to go about your day without a worry.

  • Highly absorbent

  • Comfortable

  • Minimal odour

  • Value for Money
    4.0 (60)
  • Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (61)
Audrey Sun TCF Double Core Sanitary Pads

Latest review: Super discreet white packaging which I love and I really appreciate that not only is it organic but it is toxic free and majority of it is biodegradable unlike other brands.

  • Value for Money
    4.9 (17)
  • Causes Irritation Yes (1) · No (12)
Always Discreet Incontinence Pads Plus

With odour control, rapid drying technology, and a longer design for added security, the Always Discreet Incontinence Pads Plus offer the support you need for peace of mind day and night.

  • Controls odour

  • Discreet fit

  • Prevents leaks onto clothes

  • Value for Money
    4.0 (22)
  • Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (24)
U by Kotex Regular Ultrathin Pads

U by Kotex Regular Ultrathin Pads prevent leaks while offering optimal comfort, helping take some of the stress out of your time of the month.

TOM Organic Ultra Thin Panty Liners

Those with sensitive skin may find what they’re looking for in the TOM Organic Ultra Thin Day Panty Liners - they’re comfortable, gentle on your privates, and offer up help on days when you have a light flow.

TOM Organic Period Briefs
2.1 from 35 reviews

Period underwear can help make your monthly flow a little more fuss-free, but opinions are still divided on the absorbency and comfort of the TOM Organic Period Briefs.

U by Kotex Super Ultrathin with Wings

Latest review: Used them for a few years but no longer they cause skin irritation terribly. Not sure what chemical is in it but just awful. Can no longer use them. The material is absorbent

Stayfree All Nights
2.5 from 15 reviews

Latest review: Absolutely awful product. The top layer cover is plastic and dreadful. It rips away and the cotton lumps up and it's worth 5 cents let alone the price you pay . The extra tail piece of top layer

Libra Pads
1.8 from 62 reviews

Latest review: Dots everywhere on the pads. I opened another one and it is the same. It looks filthy and unhealthy for my private part. I'm pretty sure that was the reason why I got this uncomfortable feeling down

Olivia Sanitary Pad
1.3 from 16 reviews

Latest review: I have been a fan of the Olivia brand sanitary pads since I started shopping at Aldi. I have always purchased the Ultra thin ones with wings even though I have a heavy flow and they have always been

Libra Double 2 in 1 Liners

Latest review: Great to have on hand when you're out and about, especially if you don't have your purse on you. Came in handy, was pleasantly surprised. Love that you can peel the top layer off, felt like I

Wonder Super Ultra Thin
5.0 from 1 review

Latest review: I really like using this pad. It is nice and thin so you don't feel like you're wearing a nappy like you can with some other super pads. Has good absorbency, have not experienced any leaks with this

Natracare Maxi
5.0 from 1 review

Latest review: For years I have used conventional tampons and pads, nervous about the pesticides and plastics they contain and putting them in or on my body... very scary. Natracare products are completely natural

Wonder Regular Ultra Thin
5.0 from 1 review

Latest review: I love Wonder pads, they're really cheap in comparison with other brands and you get 18 pads in one pack which makes them even more economical. The pads are super-thin, so they're really comfortable

TOM Organic Maternity Pads
4.1 from 7 reviews

Latest review: The two Toms products I tried have both been horrible. Was given almost full bags by girlfriends after it caused allergic reactions to them and they couldn't use them. I'd rate them 0 in terms of

Stayfree Ultra Thin with Thermocontrol

Latest review: I like these pads, they work well for my regular flow. Sometimes, when I have a heavier period, I put two pads, one on top of the other, and I am OK. My skin is very sensitive and these pads never

Cottons Ultra-Thin Pads
3.8 from 9 reviews

Latest review: Absolute worst pads I have ever tried. Decided to give these a go and boy did I wish I didn't. They bunch up, slip around and are generally uncomfortable after only a little while or they stay put

Stayfree Ultra Thins Cottony Soft

Latest review: The StayFree Ultra Thin (not Dry Max) line of pads are the only ones I can use. The cottony soft cover has never given me a rash in my 2 years of use. Even on a 40 degree summer day. The plastic

TOM Organic The Period Cup
3.5 from 6 reviews

Latest review: Menstrual cups are not for everyone, so if it doesn't work for you, it's not necessarily a reflection on the cup itself. This cup from TOM worked extremely well for me, and the microwave sterilizer

Moxie Sleepovers Pads
3.2 from 6 reviews

Latest review: First things first. Moxie's packaging looks very appealing. The actual pad material is very soft and doesn't give me any rashes. I wish it absorbed better and sustained longer. The cover of the pad

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Are pads the right choice for me?

Woman pulling individually wrapped pads out of a box

There are benefits and drawbacks to using pads, and knowing them can help you decide for yourself whether they’re the right option for you.

Pros

  • They're more versatile - they come in a variety of options to suit different types of flows.
  • Because they don't need to be inserted into the vagina, they may be more user-friendly for certain people who have difficulty doing this, such as those with vaginismus, or younger people who have just started menstruating.
  • They can be worn overnight.

Cons

  • You can't swim in them.
  • They can sometimes be bulky and noticeable under your clothes.
  • As they're disposable and larger, they're less environmentally friendly than other menstrual hygiene products.
  • Certain body movements and positions can cause them to bunch up and fit less well.
  • They can't be worn with thongs or G-strings.

If you don’t think pads are for you, then you might want to consider opting for tampons or menstrual cups. They’re inserted into the vagina, so you can swim in them and you don’t need to worry about them being bulky or visible to others. In the case of menstrual cups, they’re also more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Just as pad-wearers may use different types of menstrual pads within a single cycle, some people also choose to use a mix of feminine hygiene products - many people use pads while sleeping regardless of their day-to-day preference.

Types of sanitary pads

  • Regular pads are suitable for medium flows, offering a moderate level of absorbency to support you when your flow isn’t too heavy.
  • Super pads (or maxi pads) are highly absorbent, and are suited for days when you have a heavy flow.
  • Night pads are more absorbent, offer more coverage, and are often less discreet, as they’re designed to be able to control leaks for a longer period of time (so you don’t need to wake up in the middle of the night to change your pad).
  • Maternity pads are thicker and longer to cover a larger area, to help accommodate a larger belly, and are used for anything from when a mother’s water breaks to postpartum bleeding.
  • Incontinence pads are used for those who experience bladder leakage, and are designed to absorb the rapid dispersion of urine rather than a slower menstrual flow.
  • Panty liners are thinner, shorter pads that are generally used when you’re expecting or ending your period as a precautionary measure against the odd leak. Plenty of people also wear them with a tampon or menstrual cup for extra protection - particularly when they’re wearing white bottoms.
  • Period underwear absorbs blood, and is washable and reusable. It can be a more eco-friendly option to pads for those who don’t want to insert a menstrual hygiene product.

Because it’s common to have different flows on different days of their period, you may find that you need a variety of pads and panty liners to suit both your light and your heavy bleeding.

Four pads lined up in a row; the left two are larger and have wings while the right two are smaller and don't have wings
Pads come in different shapes and sizes, with and without wings.

What to consider when choosing sanitary napkins

Absorbency

Menstrual flows differ from person to person - sometimes they can be light, sometimes they can be heavy, and sometimes, it can be a mix of both. Luckily, pads come in different lengths, fits, and thicknesses to accommodate your flow regardless of what day of your period you’re on.

Absorbency is mainly determined by the length, rather than the thickness of the pad. This is why super or maxi pads tend to be longer than regular pads, offering more front or back coverage to absorb more moisture.

Pad packaging will usually state the level of absorbency, but you can also tell by looking at the amount of ‘droplets’ on the wrapping.

Should I get pads with or without wings?

Wings are flaps on the side of the pads that fold over the sides of underwear. They help keep the pad in place (making them useful for when you’re playing sport) and can help provide more leak protection by drawing blood from the side of the pad to the centre.

While they’re commonly found in pads (except for panty liners), it’s up to you whether you want them. They do often make the pad bulkier, so may be overkill for days when you're spotting or only have a light flow.

Comfort

You deserve to feel comfortable on your period. A pad shouldn’t feel wet when you wear it - it should absorb moisture straight away from the top layer of the pad to the layer or layers underneath it.

If you have sensitive skin, you might need to be more picky with what you wear. There are pads on the market which are less irritating on your skin; they’ll usually be hypoallergenic, unscented, or made from organic cotton - or all three!

It is difficult to tell how comfortable a pad is before you wear it, but before you do this, you can read through reviews to see first-hand accounts of how comfortable users found a particular pad.

Environmental friendliness

When it comes to figuring out how green your pads are, there are a few things to consider.

Pads are typically made from synthetics such as rayon or SAPs (Super Absorbent Polymers), the latter of which usually contains plastic. These materials are also often bleached to make your pads white.

This means that for the most part, the production and disposal of pads are harmful for the environment - those containing SAPs can take anywhere from 500 to 800 years to decompose.

While you’d be hard pressed to find a pad that is truly “eco-friendly”, there are a few things you can look out for if you’re shopping with the planet in mind:

  • 100% organic cotton pads
  • Biodegradable pads
  • Unbleached pads
  • Plastic-free packaging
  • Vegan, cruelty-free pads

Other considerations

Pad manufacturers might also claim that their pads have certain features, such as being breathable, having odour control, or having flow guards that help prevent leaks. Some may also say that their pads are suitable for sport, meaning that they’ll generally be less bulky and more well-fitting.

It’s difficult to say whether pads with these claims are actually effective at what they say they do until you try them. Don’t worry if you try out a brand and it doesn’t work for you - we all have different preferences, prefer different fits, and have different flows, so it may take a bit of trial and error before you find something right for you.

Price

The tampon tax (which included all feminine hygiene products) may have been axed at the end of 2018, but the costs of buying pads can still quickly add up.

A 16 pack of pads can cost you anywhere from $1.80 to $7.25. Generally, the larger packs you buy (you can get anywhere up to 30 in a single pack), the lower cost will be per pad. In different packs across different pads, a single pad can range anywhere from 6c to $1.50 each.

Super, maternity, and overnight pads will usually set you back more than regular pads, while period underwear can cost you anywhere from $15 to upwards of $45.

Common questions

You should change a regular pad every 4 hours, but you may need to change it more frequently if you have a heavier flow. Some pads, such as overnight pads, can be worn for up to 8 or more hours.

Because different pads are designed for different purposes, you should check with the manufacturer about how long you can safely wear your pad.

You should wrap your pad in toilet paper and dispose of it in the bin. If a public toilet has a sanitary disposal bin, use it - it's the most hygienic way to trash your pad.

You should never flush your pad down the toilet, as this will likely block your drain, and your pad will end up in waterways.

Reusable sanitary pads, or cloth pads, are hygienic when used properly. They’re usually made from antibacterial, anti-fungal fleece and absorbent cotton.

They’re typically cleaned by rinsing them in cold water and then washing them in a machine on a cool setting. However, if you do opt for a reusable menstrual pad, you should follow the manufacturer’s specification to ensure you’re using and cleaning them properly.

Wrapping up

Regardless of your preference, no one should shame you for your choice. Everyone is different, and if what you choose feels good for your cycle and lets you make the most of your life, then it’s likely the right product for you.