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How we test tampons

Here's how we find out which tampons are best for absorption.


As so many of us know, periods can be unpredictable – and when you're already battling cramps, headaches, bloating and more, the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether or not your tampon is going to leak. But how do you know which brands live up to their absorbency claims?

Here's how we lab test tampons so you can find the best type for your needs and feel comfortable and protected during "that time of the month".

How we choose what we test

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

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

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

We do this so we can be sure the products are the same as any consumer would find them and not 'tweaked' in any way for better performance.

How we test tampons

We send the tampons to a laboratory for testing, where they're tested against clauses of the Australian Standard for tampons AS 2869:2008. 

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

Absorbency score 

We test five tampons per model for their absorptive capacity (i.e. how much they can absorb) and compare the result to the absorptive capacity claim for each product.

Cord strength score

We assess the pull strength of the withdrawal cord and its attachment point by testing two tampons in a dry state and two tampons in a wet state. We document the force required to detach the cord from the tampon body or break the cord for each tampon. 

Cord length score 

We measure the length of the withdrawal cord for each tampon tested. 

Test criteria explained

The CHOICE Expert Rating is made up of:

  • absorbency (70%)
  • cord strength (20%)
  • cord length (10%).
We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.