Four Tips for Choosing the Right Disposable Adult Diaper

Four Tips for Choosing the Right Disposable Adult Diaper

Alex Alex
6 minute read

The disposable adult diaper is one of those things that’s not quite polarizing or controversial but is definitely not a dinner table conversation topic. You’d be forgiven for thinking adult diapers are a modern-day invention. In fact, they go back a couple of hundred years, at least. They were just not as common back then as they are now.

Adults wear diapers for many reasons, the most common being incontinence. This is an affliction that affects more and more people every year. And that’s not because it’s a disease that is spreading. It’s simply because people are getting older and this condition is much more common among older people. In addition, they are gradually becoming more widely accepted as the historic stigma is put to rest. For more information on incontinence in older people, click here.

Although many people are uncomfortable dealing with adult diapers, they are a reality that will directly or indirectly affect an ever-growing number of people. The chance that any particular person will have to deal with them in their lifetime is now running well upwards of 20%.

There is a vast range of diapers on the market and choosing the right one can be quite a daunting experience. It needn’t be, though. Like so many other items we use regularly and take for granted, adult diapers have certain basic attributes that we need to match with our own unique requirements. Whether you’re looking for adult pull up diapers, adult briefs or swimming diapers, there are four primary factors that you need to consider.


The ultimate purpose of an adult diaper is to absorb and hold fluids that leak out accidentally. Thanks to the invention of super absorbent polymers (SAPs), modern diapers can hold large volumes of fluid. In fact, the thirstiest of them all can hold a massive four liters or just over a gallon.

The degree of incontinence largely determines which diaper type you need. For mild incontinence, you may be able to get away with an incontinence pad inserted into an incontinence pant. However, if your situation is more serious, you will want to choose adult pull up diapers or adult briefs.

With adult pull up absorbent underwear, you can pull the diaper up like underwear. It is also more discreet than an adult brief. Of course, these diapers will be able to absorb more liquid from urinary incontinence than a pad alone would be able to. If you are dealing with complete bladder loss or fecal incontinence, you will need a much more heavy-duty absorbency, such as that found in an adult brief.

Lifestyle also plays a role here. If you’re active and get out and about, you’ll be wanting the more discreet pull up style of diaper. You will, of course, sacrifice absorbency in exchange for more freedom of movement. For more sedentary patients, the higher absorbency of briefs would be a more practical option. In both cases, inserts or booster pads can be used temporarily for increased flexibility.


With adult diapers, size really does matter. It’s probably the most important factor in choosing the correct diaper. Getting this wrong could result in a very unpleasant or embarrassing experience. A diaper should fit snugly around both waist and legs to ensure a leakproof seal. It must, however not be too tight.

If you select an adult diaper that is too small, you will, at the very least, have a very uncomfortable squeeze with some possible abrasion and inflammation. At worst, long-term constriction of blood circulation can lead to more severe and lasting damage. You may also find that they are a little light on absorbency due to their smaller size. Conversely, if the diaper is too large, there may be gaps that result in leakage of urine or fecal materials onto clothing or bed linen.

When selecting the right size of brief or pull up, you will need to measure your waist. Next, you can review the sizing charts of the different brands. Not all brands have the same waist size so make sure to check each product’s sizing details. Bear in mind also that people are not cast in molds. We’re all different shapes and sizes so you may need to try several different options before you find the ideal fit.


Diapers have three basic components – fabric, plastic and SAP. All diapers, nowadays, will contain SAP. The quantity depends on your absorbency requirement. Your choice here, then, is the mix of plastic and fabric. Or plastic that looks, feels and behaves like fabric.

Some diapers have plastic backings and provide somewhat more protection from leakage than fabric-backed diapers. However, many people do not like how bulky these adult diapers feel. Another drawback of the plastic backing is that it tends to rustle when the wearer moves around.

Fabric-backed adult diapers, on the other hand, are less bulky and quieter so they’re much more discreet. They’re also breathable, allowing air to circulate and reducing the frequency and severity of rashes and inflammation. On the flip side, though, these diapers are not a little less leak-resistant.


Lastly, when selecting an adult diaper, you must consider the cost. The age-old adage, “most expensive does not necessarily mean best quality”, holds for adult diapers. While cost shouldn’t be your first and overriding consideration, it is, nevertheless, important to set a budget before purchasing.

Weigh up absorbency, size, material and overall fit first to narrow your choices down. Once you have a shortlist of adult diapers that will work for you, you should review the cost of the products. In some instances, you can purchase these adult diapers in bulk and find cost savings through automatic delivery.

In Conclusion

While discussing adult diapers may not be anyone's favorite topic, it's important to know what to consider if you need to buy them. Giving these four attributes careful thought should help you to choose the right adult diaper right from the start. This, however, is not assured; some individuals may need to try a few different options. If you’re still in any doubt and need assistance in choosing the right adult diaper, contact LL Medico Sales for assistance. Our team has supported incontinence sufferers and their loved ones and caregivers for more than 25 years. We are industry leaders in incontinence supplies.

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