Top Ten Best Adult Incontinence Briefs
Date: November 10, 2020
By Burt Cancaster
Incontinence briefs are single-use products used to absorb urine and feces. The design of this product is to support adult enuresis. Sometimes referred to as adult disposable diapers, these products offer hygiene aid for the incontinent.1
Enuresis products are not just used to protect clothing, bedding, and furniture. They protect dignity, lifestyle, and peace of mind. Advanced products go several steps further to wick moisture away from the skin to keep skin healthy and dry.
An Incontinence Brief's Design
Incontinence care through the use of absorbent products takes on many forms, one of which is absorbent briefs. The design of adult briefs allows caregivers to change incontinence products while the user is in bed or a wheelchair. The briefs open to lie nearly flat on a table surface. Tabs located on the sides allow for enclosing the briefs around the legs and torso. The tabs allow for an adjustable fit for the needs of the individual user.
A brief's core consists of an absorbent material that holds fluid. This material often includes nonwoven fabrics that have the characteristics of strength, stretch, resilience, absorbency, softness, cushioning, bacterial barrier, and sterility.3 The absorbency level of briefs falls into several categories based upon the amount of fluid they can absorb. The best objective measurement for the absorbency level of briefs is how many ounces of liquid they can hold without leaking. Unfortunately, many manufacturers do not release information about their products absorbency except to give them a label such as light, moderate, heavy, and maximum.
Pass-through Barrier Layer
Interior barrier layers next to the skin allow moisture to pass through the membrane and into the absorbent material. After the liquid passes through, it is unable to return and come into contact with the skin. This protective layer helps keep the skin drier and at less risk of developing rashes or skin breakdown.
Exterior Barrier Layer
The exterior of the brief consists of a moisture barrier that keeps fluids from escaping. Some of these barriers are plastic-like, while others look and feel like cloth. The cloth-like barriers provide a more discreet appearance and are slightly more expensive.
Remaining dry and comfortable is an essential feature for most brief wearers. Many briefs now include this in the design of the brief. Some products only have breathable sides, while some newer products use breathable fabric around the entire garment.
Leg Gatherers or Leg Cuffs
Some manufacturers add elastic to the opening around the legs. This area of the brief is most prone to leaking. The elastic provides a snug but comfortable fit that keeps urine and feces from escaping.
Tabs are a closure device that comes in a range of materials starting with adhesive tape (the least expensive) to a hook-and-loop type that adheres to anywhere on the brief's exterior surface (the more expensive). Some tape tabs attach only once to the brief so repositioning the tape is not possible. Other tabs can reposition numerous times without failing.
Since caregivers play a significant role with incontinence briefs, many manufacturers add a wetness indicator to the brief. This strip located on the exterior of the brief turns color to provide a visual notification to the caregiver that the user needs changing. This indicator allows caregivers an easy way to check on their patients without having to undo the brief and check inside.
Many manufacturers now add odor neutralizers to the core of the briefs to help keep them discreet and inoffensive to others. This feature is essential to most wheelchair users that spend time each day in public. No one wants to smell offensive to others and themselves.
Ranking the Top Ten Adult Briefs
- Tranquility ATN All-Thru-the-Night
- Prevail Breezers 360
- Wings Super Quilted
- Prevail Bariatric Briefs
- MoliCare Slip Maxi Briefs
- Prevail Per-Fit Briefs
- Prevail Per-Fit 360 Briefs
- Medline FitRight Extra Briefs
- Tranquility Bariatric Brief
- Wings PLUS Quilted Adult Briefs
This cloth-like garment offers superior absorbency of up to 34 ounces of fluid. Its design supports multiple voids for up to 6-8 hours of wear time. It provides a superabsorbent polymer at the core and pH neutralization to protect the skin. The core prevents bacterial growth, and a pass-through layer helps keep the skin dry. This product is available in 5 different sizes, from an 18-inch to 64-inch waist size.
- Absorbent Layers – offers an expanded surface area made with super absorbent polymers that absorb multiple voids and holding up to 34 ounces
- Pass-through Barrier Layer –keeps the skin dry
- Exterior Barrier Layer – provides a full-fit poly-backed brief
- Breathable Fabric – not included
- Leg Cuffs – employs inner leg cuffs to channel fluids to the core
- Tabs – uses refastenable tabs and Miro-hook closure tabs on the XS size
- Wetness Indicator – Yes
- Odor Neutralizer – utilizes odor reduction
This unisex brief for adults offers breathability to help keep skin dry and comfortable. Moisture wicks away from the skin and locks in the absorbent core. The fabric for this protective garment is hypoallergenic for sensitive patients. Prevail Breezers 360 offers three sizes ranging from a 26-inch to a 70-inch waist size.
- Absorbent Layers – according to the manufacturer, the Prevail Breezers 360 offers maximum absorbency; however, the manufacturer does not provide any measurable criteria
- Pass-through Barrier Layer – provides a Quick Wick layer for rapid absorption
- Exterior Barrier Layer – cloth-like backing for discreet wear
- Breathable Fabric – made with breathable AirMax fabric
- Leg Cuffs – provides elastic gathers around each leg to prevent leaks
- Tabs – tabs are refastenable within a refasten zone
- Wetness Indicator – not provided
- Odor Neutralizer – offers Odor Guard protection
#3 Wings Super Quilted
This adult incontinence brief offers a quilted design that locks in fluid and neutralizes odors. A high-density core of absorbent material locks moisture away from the skin. This product is discreet and noticeably quieter than many competing products. A soft-top sheet provides a more comfortable experience for the user. Leg gatherers offer a snug fit around the legs to prevent leaks.
- Absorbent Layers – offers a high-density core for maximum absorbency but does not disclose any measurable data.
- Pass-through Barrier Layer – provides a soft layer that wicks moisture away from the skin.
- Exterior Barrier Layer – contains a cloth-like backsheet ultrasonically bonded for a quilted look and feel
- Breathable Fabric – allows airflow to keep skin cool and dry.
- Leg Cuffs – provides leak protection with leg gatherers
- Tabs – supplies refastenable tabs
- Wetness Indicator – none provided
- Odor Neutralizer – features an odor neutralizer
#4 Prevail Bariatric Briefs
These Prevail briefs offer bariatric users heavy absorbency. Breathable panels allow moisture to escape to keep the user dry and comfortable. Soft cloth-like material is comfortable to the touch. These adult briefs are available in two sizes, starting at a 62-inch waist and going up to a 100-inch waistline.
- Absorbent Layers – provides heavy absorbency but no measurable data for how much
- Pass-through Barrier Layer – contains wick away moisture panels
- Exterior Barrier Layer – soft cloth-like outer fabric for discreet wear
- Breathable Fabric – breathable zones reduce moisture
- Leg Cuffs – offers leg gatherers around each leg
- Tabs – provides Easy-Lock Fastener tab strips
- Wetness Indicator – none provided
- Odor Neutralizer – contains a built-in odor guard prevention
#5 MoliCare Slip Maxi Briefs
The Slip Maxi Briefs offer skin-friendly pH compatibility. The core has 3-layers to lock away liquids. A soft textile-like backsheet is comfortable to the wearer. They are equipped with four reclosable tape tabs to secure fit the brief to the body. These briefs provide day and night protection against incontinence.
- Absorbent Layers – comes with 3-core layers of absorbent core
- Pass-through Barrier Layer – wicks moisture away from the skin to the core
- Exterior Barrier Layer – is a soft cloth-like backsheet that reduces rustling noise and is more discreet
- Breathable Fabric – not provided
- Leg Cuffs – employs soft leg leak protection
- Tabs – comes with re-adjustable tags
- Wetness Indicator – Yes
- Odor Neutralizer – Yes
#6 Prevail Per-Fit Briefs
This unisex designed incontinence product offers a cloth-like exterior appearance. The briefs deliver maximum absorbency with Comfort Shape Plus technology for a comfortable fit. The outer material of the garment is a soft, cloth-like material that is discreet and comfortable.
- Absorbent Layers – maximum absorbency core
- Pass-through Barrier Layer – features a QuickWick layer of MaxSoft material that takes moisture away from the skin
- Exterior Barrier Layer – features a soft material that mimics real underwear
- Breathable Fabric – made with breathable zones to allow circulation
- Leg Cuffs – have gentle elastics that shape the product around the legs for a leakless fit
- Tabs – equipped with Easy-Lock Fasteners that are re-fastenable
- Wetness Indicator -
- Odor Neutralizer – offers an Odor-Guard
#7 Prevail Per-Fit 360
Prevail boasts that this incontinence product offers maximum plus absorbency; however, they provide no measurable data. Waist and side panels have breathable zones to allow air to pass to reduce heat buildup and moisture against the skin. The side panels stretch and expand to fit individual needs. Three sizes start at 26-inches and go up to a waist size of 70-inches.
- Absorbent Layers – has a dual-core to absorb and trap liquid. MaxSorb gel beads capture moisture and lock it in the core, away from the skin
- Pass-through Barrier Layer – uses Dri-Fit weave of soft cotton material, woven to rest against the user’s skin
- Exterior Barrier Layer – comes with a cloth-like outer fabric that is quiet and discreet
- Breathable Fabric – built-in waist and side panels allow circulation for increased comfort
- Leg Cuffs – comes with elastic leg gatherers to prevent leaks
- Tabs – are adjustable within the refasten zone
- Wetness Indicator – not available
- Odor Neutralizer – Omni odor guard acts on waste before odors begin
#8 Medline FitRight Extra
This heavy absorbency product offers soft Anti-leak Guards around the legs to prevent leaks. The design is anatomically contoured to the body for the best fit and comfort. These adult briefs have a cloth-like backsheet that resembles regular underwear. The FitRight Extras have six sizes to get a perfect fit starting at a 20-inch waist up to 69-inches.
- Absorbent Layers
- Pass-through Barrier Layer
- Exterior Barrier Layer – offers and ultra-soft cloth-style backsheet for a discreet appearance
- Breathable Fabric – located in the side panels allow airflow to maintain healthy skin
- Leg Cuffs – comes with soft anti-leaking guards for ultimate protection
- Tabs – refastenable closure tabs are skin safe
- Wetness Indicator - Yes
- Odor Neutralizer – located in the core keeps embarrassing odors at bay
#9 Tranquility Bariatric Brief
This incontinence product is heavy-duty fitting waistlines of 64- to 94-inches. Its high capacity core is peach-colored and very absorbent. The core utilizes a mat construction to trap liquids away from the skin and keep the user dry and comfortable. The exterior has a soft cloth-like appearance and feel. These briefs offer 6 to 8 hours of incontinence protection.
- Absorbent Layers – comes with a high absorbency core of up to 34 fluid ounces
- Pass-through Barrier Layer – allows liquid to pass through and feels dry soon after
- Exterior Barrier Layer – offers stretch side panels for greater user comfort
- Breathable Fabric – offers breathable side panels to prevent heat and moisture against the skin
- Leg Cuffs – equipped with Kufguards to channel fluid to the core
- Tabs –equipped with micro-hook closure tabs that grip the outer-layer material
- Wetness Indicator – not available
- Odor Neutralizer – Yes, stabilizes pH and inhibits bacteria growth
#10 Wings PLUS Quilted
Wings Plus adult briefs employ a quilted design that supports super absorbency. The quilt-like fabric offers a soft and comfortable surface that is strong and resilient to provide a longer wear time. A blue dryness layer wicks fluid away from the skin. These quilted briefs come in four sizes ranging from 20-inches up to 64-inches at the waist.
- Absorbent Layers – provides super capacity with absorbent polymers
- Pass-through Barrier Layer – has a blue dryness strip that passes moisture away from the skin to the core
- Exterior Barrier Layer – is quiet to provide discreet movement
- Breathable Fabric – located at the side panels allow for air circulation
- Leg Cuffs – stretchable leg opening provide a snug fit to reduce leaks
- Tabs – four tape tab closures
- Wetness Indicator – none provided
- Odor Neutralizer - Yes
How is an incontinence brief different from protective underwear?
The adult brief design supports caregiver assistance to help put on and take off the incontinence product for patients lying down or sitting in a wheelchair. The patient requires caregiver assistance to don or remove the brief. On the other hand, protective underwear design allows the wearer to self-administer the brief and remove it when soiled.
What are the types of adult briefs?
There are two types of adult briefs, but both serve the same purpose: protecting the user from incontinence. There are disposable briefs and washable briefs.
- The disposable type is for single patient use
- Constructed from cellulose or polymer materials
- Once soiled, discard the product in the trash
- They are very popular because most people do not want to deal with dirty diapers
- The washable type is reusable
- Made from textile materials
- They usually accommodate a single patient but are not restricted to such use
- When soiled, remove from the user and launder
- They are not as popular as the disposable type because most people do not want to handle dirty diapers, and they do not want the hassle of washing, drying, folding, and then storing for next use
- Washable products are less expensive than disposable products long-term
How do you size disposable briefs?
Measure the user’s circumference at the waist. These products fit a size range in inches around the waistline. There is significant flexibility with sizing for briefs as opposed to protective underwear. Briefs allow for adjustability around the user's waist by positioning the tabs according to the size and fit of the user. When the tabs overlap each other, step down to a smaller size. When the garment becomes too tight or the tabs fail to reach the material or fails to stay in place, step up to a larger size.
Tranquility Challenge Video (0:47 minutes)
Prevail Incontinence Products Video (0:31 minutes)
- 1 Qin, Yimin, ed. Medical textile materials. Woodhead Publishing, 2015. (Last Accessed November-9-2020)
- 2 Ajmeri, J. R., and C. J. Ajmeri. Nonwoven personal hygiene materials and products. em>Applications of nonwovens in technical textiles. Woodhead Publishing, 2010. 85-102. (Last Accessed November-9-2020)
- 3 Bhat, G., and D. V. Parikh. Biodegradable materials for nonwovens. Applications of nonwovens in technical textiles. Woodhead Publishing, 2010. 46-62. (Last Accessed November-9-2020)
- Beguin, Anne-Marie, et al. Improving diaper design to address incontinence associated dermatitis. BMC geriatrics 10.1 (2010): 1-10. (Last Accessed June-1o-2020)
- Gray, Mikel. Optimal management of incontinence-associated dermatitis in the elderly. American journal of clinical dermatology 11.3 (2010): 201-210. (Last Accessed November-9-2020)