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How we test sanitary pads

We find out which pads are best for absorption, keep you feeling dry and stay in place.

woman holding sanitary pad HWT

Whether you're buying a liner, regular, super, night, maternity, with or without wings sanitary pad, we need to feel comfortable and protected during that time of the month. Our tests help you find the best type for your needs.

How we choose what we test

With such a huge range of products on the market, what makes us choose one sanitary pad product to test over another? 

Well, as with most of our product testing, our aim is to test the most brands on the market and to reflect what you're likely to see in stores.

We check in-store to see what's available and we survey manufacturers to find out about their range of products, and we use this information to put together a final list that goes to our buyers. They then head out to the retailers and purchase each product, just as a normal consumer would. 

We do this so we can be sure they're the same as any consumer would find them and not 'tweaked' in any way.


The dosing apparatus used to measure absorbency speed.

How we test

We send the sanitary pad products to a laboratory for testing. 

We also calculate the value for money of each product by measuring how much each costs based on the pack size.

Absorbency score

Using a special dosing apparatus, each product is tested for its absorbency speed. 

A specific amount of saline solution is dosed into the centre of the sanitary pad using the dosage pump. The amount of time it takes for the liquid to disappear is recorded and the process is repeated once more after waiting for three minutes. 

The total time for both gushes to absorb is taken as the absorption speed.


Filter papers are used to measure rewet (wet feeling).

Wet feeling (rewet) score

Five minutes after the last gush from the absorbency test, six pre-weighed dry filter papers are placed on the sanitary pad and held down for 30 seconds. 

The filter paper is then removed and immediately weighed. 

Ideally, the filter paper should remain relatively dry.

Velcro strength (stay in place) score

We measure the force required to pull the pad from a cotton surface.

We also look for any leakages during testing and note if a leak was observed. This isn't scored.

Test criteria explained

The overall score is made up of:

  • Absorbency (60%), 
  • Wet feeling (20%) and 
  • Velcro strength (20%).
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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.