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...

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Rating

Based on 432 reviews
Always Discreet Incontinence Pads

Always Discreet Incontinence Pads 🏆 2024

4.2  (68)
 Summary
Juneb
Juneb
 
Now scentedI have used Always for years they were the best on the market until they decided to make them scented. They have a strong coconut smell which I found irritated me quite badly. I can only find the scented ones which are of no use to me. Please can you make the unscented ones again? Show details
Audrey Sun TCF Double Core Sanitary Pads

Audrey Sun TCF Double Core Sanitary Pads

4.9  (25)
 Summary
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Kathrin
KathrinWA
 
Definitely a good productused the “2 drop strength ones” which was definitely not too tick or too thin for daily use. The liner itself and packaging around it are made comfortable & discreet. Good material use Show details
Always Discreet Incontinence Pads Plus

Always Discreet Incontinence Pads Plus

4.0  (25)
 Summary
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Naima Asad
Naima Asad
  Fair Incentive Verified
Life saver! Had a great experienceThis pad worked as a life saver for me. It controlled the odour with a very pleasant fragrance which boosted my self confidence to a great extent. I am so happy with my purchase and had a great experience using it. Show details
U by Kotex Regular Ultrathin Pads

U by Kotex Regular Ultrathin Pads

3.5  (21)
 Summary
BBE
BBE
 
TOM Organic Ultra Thin Panty Liners

TOM Organic Ultra Thin Panty Liners

2.9  (34)
 Summary
Anna L.
Anna L.VIC
 
TOM Organic Maternity Pads

TOM Organic Maternity Pads

4.1  (7)
 Summary
Traveller107
Traveller107QLD21 posts
 
Nicole
NicoleNSW72 posts
 
Ultra Thin - Regular no wingsI 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 gave any problem (rash, soreness).

Overall, a good experience.

 Show details

Libra Extra Goodnights Pads with Wings

Libra Extra Goodnights Pads with Wings

3.3  (11)
 Summary
LeeJonesMonto
LeeJonesMontoAU2 posts
 
Best iv ever used with no irritationAs I'm approaching menopause my periods have got heavier. I find these fantastic for full peace of mind. I have to put a second pad on top of these, the smaller good night one. Using this method I get no leaks day or night and no bunching. Sitting on a cloud :) I love finding these on special for $3.50 , that's when I stock up. Show details
TOM Organic Period Briefs

TOM Organic Period Briefs

2.1  (59)
 Summary
woowooloulou7272
woowooloulou7272NSW
 
They don’t work - Leaked through!So disappointed. I bought these for my teen daughter on her third period. She didn’t even make it to the front gate for school when they leaked through to her sports shorts. TOM should recall their products! These are going in the bin and now I will use ModiBodi only for her. Show details
TOM Organic The Period Cup

TOM Organic The Period Cup

2.1  (34)
 Summary
Millie C.
Millie C.
 
TerribleI love using menstural cups but this one is horrible almost impossible to get it in place properly always leaks and hurts compared to every other brand I've used which just goes in without effort and goes into place without having to spend ages trying to fund the right spot do bit buy!! Show details
Libra Pads

Libra Pads

1.9  (71)
 Summary
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B ML
B ML9 posts
 
Libra organic pads are great, a go-to!I’ve tried the different organic pads currently available on the market and the libra ones in the pink packet are the best. Highly absorbent , secure and comfortable and its great to know that with the organic topsheet i am decreasing my exposure to toxic chemicals. Show details
U by Kotex Super Ultrathin with Wings

U by Kotex Super Ultrathin with Wings

2.9  (10)
 Summary
Peta
PetaQLD35 posts
 
They cause skin irritationUsed 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 though Show details
Stayfree All Nights

Stayfree All Nights

2.4  (16)
 Summary
Frankie
Frankie
 
Moxie Sleepovers Pads

Moxie Sleepovers Pads

3.2  (6)
netkith
netkithQLD11 posts
 
Great material, cutest packFirst 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 could improve and be stronger.

 Show details

U by Kotex Overnight Ultrathin

U by Kotex Overnight Ultrathin

3.0  (6)
 Summary
Miranda F.
Miranda F.3 posts
 
Bamboo Babe Organic Bamboo Night Pads

Bamboo Babe Organic Bamboo Night Pads

2.2  (10)
 Summary
Maria
Maria2 posts
 
HorribleThese are the worst pads ever. Shredded when opening it.
Elle
EllePerth3 posts
 
Soft and stays all dayThe 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 feeling pads give me a rash within hours :( Bonus is that it has good staying power - it sticks all day and I don't have to reposition it.

Olivia Sanitary Pad

Olivia Sanitary Pad

1.3  (16)
 Summary
Kelly B.
Kelly B.NSW
 
Libra Double 2 in 1 Liners

Libra Double 2 in 1 Liners

5.0  (1)
sammi
sammi5 posts
 
Great productGreat 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 started the day fresh again! If only they came in larger sanitary pads.

Libra Ultra Thin Regular Pads

Libra Ultra Thin Regular Pads

5.0  (1)
Cindy D.
Cindy D.NSW16 posts
 
GreatThey do the job and they are thin. Absorbancy is really good for its size and comfotable for day to day.
Save me all the time aswell cause they are not too chunky compared to other pads that take up valuable bag space.

Woman pulling individually wrapped pads out of a box

Are pads the right choice for me?

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

How long can I wear a pad for?

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.

How do I dispose of a used sanitary 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.

Are reusable sanitary pads hygienic?

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.

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