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9 Best Tampon Brands of 2022, According to Wellness Experts

Not all tampons are created equally.

best tampon brands
lola

We updated this guide in February 2022 to add more information about our testing protocols designed by the pros in the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab. We also updated shopping links to ensure every product is in-stock.


For many, our periods arriving each month like clockwork is one of the most reliable aspects of our lives. You may have to deal with unfortunate cramps and general moodiness, but you shouldn’t settle on uncomfortable tampons. With more and more options such as organic tampons available, you can find what works best for you and your cycle.

In the Good Housekeeping Institute Wellness Lab and Textiles, Paper and Plastics Lab, we test menstrual products such as tampons, pads, menstrual cups and period underwear in Lab and with consumer testers. Our wellness experts test tampons for absorbency, retention (i.e. ability to prevent leaks) and shedding, while more than 150 consumer testers provided feedback on ease of use and comfort. We only tested tampons that passed FDA evaluations that ensure they are safe for use and labeled correctly.

Our top picks:

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    Best Overall Tampons
    Pure Organic Tampons
    Tampax
    Tampax

    • Made of organic cotton
    • Aced absorbency testing
    • Easy open tabs

    • Only two absorbency levels

    These tampons were the overall winners in our test – plus, they're the best organic tampon, too! Tampax organic tampons got high scores for absorbing fluid, producing minimal shedding and being comfortable according to our testers. Testers liked the ease of use features such as the tabs on the wrapper, making it easier to open and the grips on the applicator for easy insertion.

    • Price per tampon: ~$0.40
    Tampon count: 132
    Applicator: Plastic
    Shape: Side to side
    Sizes available: Regular, super

      Best Value Tampons
      Pearl Plastic Tampons
      Tampax
      Tampax
      Now 19% off

      • Widely available
      • Good range of sizes
      • Excellent absorption

      • Fewer innovative features

      These affordable tampons clinched the second place spot and cost only $0.22 a tampon. In Lab testing, these tampons were absorbent and shed minimally. Testers especially liked that these tampons were super comfortable and the packaging was quiet when opening – a huge complaint with other brands.

      Price per tampon: ~$0.22
      Tampon count: 47
      Applicator: Plastic
      Shape: Side to side
      Sizes available: Light, regular, super, super plus

        Most Sustainable Organic Tampons
        Organic Cotton Tampons
        Seventh Generation
        Seventh Generation

        • B Corp company
        • Recyclable packaging
        • Highest comfort score from testers

        • Pricey

        These organic tampons were top performers and are made by Seventh Generation, which is a B Corp company with an ethical ethos. They use no fragrances, dyes or chlorine bleach when producing these tampons. Our testers gave these tampons high scores for comfort, while our Lab tests found them absorbent too. We love that this brand focuses on doing good by using recyclable packaging and donates $0.43 per pack to nonprofits providing period care for low-income communities.

        Price per tampon: ~$0.39
        Tampon count: 36 (2 boxes with 18 each)
        Applicator: Plastic
        Shape: Side to side
        Sizes available: Regular, super

          Best Tampons for Beginners
          Radiant Plastic Tampons
          Tampax
          Tampax

          • Resealable packaging for easy disposal
          • High comfort score from testers
          • Comfortable grip for insertion

          • Lower absorbency score than other styles

          If you have never used a tampon before, Tampax Radiant is the perfect place to start. These tampons feature a plastic applicator with a grip that our testers said made for easier insertion. These were the only style of tampons tested to feature resealable wrappers for discreet disposal, which was a favorite feature among our testers!

          Price per tampon: ~$0.25
          Tampon count: 112
          Applicator: Plastic
          Shape: Side to side
          Sizes available: Regular, super, super plus

            Best Tampons for Exercise
            Sport Tampons
            Playtex Sport
            Playtex
            Now 18% off

            • Affordable price
            • Comfortable to insert
            • Great fluid retention

            • Not all testers liked the brightly colored packaging

            When it came to tampons to wear when exercising or swimming, our panel highly recommended Playtex Sport tampons. Testers liked the contoured plastic applicator and the grip for a more comfortable insertion. Note that these have a longer string, so make sure it’s tucked away when at the beach.

            Price per tampon: ~$0.19
            Tampon count: 48
            Applicator: Plastic
            Shape: 360º
            Sizes available: Regular, super

              Best Tampons for Light Flow
              Organic Plant-Based Applicator Tampons
              o.b.
              o.b.

              • Physically smaller than other styles
              • Rated comfortable to remove and insert
              • Great retention scores and showed no shedding

              • Lower absorbency scores

              In our Lab tests, these o.b. Organic tampons received high scores for holding onto fluid to prevent leaks. Our testers found these 100% organic cotton tampons comfy to remove, ideal when changing your tampon frequently. They didn't absorb as much as other styles, so they are great if you have a lighter flow.

              Price per tampon: ~$0.33
              Tampon count: 18
              Applicator: Plastic
              Shape: Side to side
              Sizes available: Regular, super

                Best Tampons for Heavy Flow
                Simply Gentle Glide Tampons
                Playtex
                Playtex

                • Available in ultra sizing
                • Very high comfort rating from testers
                • Great fluid retention

                • Showed more shedding than other styles

                Playtex Simply Gentle Glide tampons are one of the few styles with a plastic applicator available in ultra size. Our testers gave them high scores for being comfortable to wear and easy to use. Keep in mind that ultra tampons should only be used when you know you have a heavier flow and need maximum protection.

                Price per tampon: ~$0.35
                Tampon count: 72 (2 boxes with 36 each)
                Applicator: Plastic
                Shape: 360º
                Sizes available: Regular, super, super plus, ultra

                  Best Subscription Tampons
                  Plastic Applicator Tampons
                  Lola
                  Lola

                  • Customizable box with other menstrual products
                  • Delivers every three months, so you always have tampons
                  • Absorbed fluid well

                  • Had more leaks than other styles

                  Subscription boxes make it easy to always have the products you need once your period arrives – never be caught off guard without your favorite tampon. Lola subscription boxes let you choose a variety of tampons and pads to be included in each shipment. This tampon brand offers light tampons (not common in many brands), which our testers found comfortable to wear and remove.

                  Price per tampon: ~$0.56 (can vary with subscription boxes)
                  Tampon count: 18 (adjustable with subscription boxes)
                  Applicator: Plastic
                  Shape: Cylindrical
                  Sizes available: Light, regular, super, super plus

                    Best No-Applicator Tampons
                    Original Non-Applicator Tampons
                    o.b.
                    o.b.

                    • Small size makes these easy to stash in any bag
                    • Extra long string for easy removal
                    • Showed no leaks in Lab testing

                    • Not as absorbent, which is expected from a non-applicator style

                    If you don’t like using an applicator, want to produce less waste, or are looking for a plastic free tampon, o.b. original tampons are the top tested no-applicator style. They feature a pocket at the base to keep your fingers protected when inserting. Plus, these tampons have an extra-long string, making for easy removal.

                    Price per tampon: ~$0.16
                    Tampon count: 40
                    Applicator: No applicator
                    Shape: Cylindrical
                    Sizes available: Regular, super, super plus

                      What type of tampon is best?
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                      Tampons are available in so many different varieties, from applicator to size. Whether you've had a heavy flow for years or are totally new to periods, we broke down all your tampon options and important considerations:

                      ✔️ Absorbency: Available in sizes light, regular, super, super plus and ultra, each tampon size holds a specific amount of menstrual blood (psst: these absorbency labels are regulated by the FDA!). If you have never used a tampon before, try a light or regular size and then see if that works for your flow. If not, then move up to a higher absorbency, like super or ultra. To avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome (which is rare), you should use the lowest absorbency tampon for your flow and change it every 4-6 hours to minimize your risk.

                      ✔️ Applicator: There are three main styles of applicators: plastic, cardboard or no applicator. Generally, our tester panel preferred tampons with plastic applicators than cardboard or no applicator styles. Although, people who use no-applicator tampons highly recommended them; they found them easier to use while leaving less waste.

                      ✔️ Shape: When filled with fluid, tampons typically take three specific shapes: they either unfold side to side, unfold 360º around or just expand. No-applicator tampons mostly just expand as they don’t have an applicator to help keep their shape. Testers didn't have a significant preference to any one shape, but our Lab tests found that the styles that expand are less-suited for a heavier flow as they don't hold onto liquid as well.

                      How we test tampons
                      double line

                      Like all tests at the Good Housekeeping Institute, we tested tampons in Lab and had testers try each style. Over 150 consumer testers at home tried tampons that match their preferences, giving feedback on comfort, fit, absorbency and more. After completing all in Lab testing and reviewing tester feedback, our pros analyzed 740 data points before making these picks. Here's how our fiber scientists tested each tampon in Lab:

                      Absorbency testing
                      best tampons
                      Emma Seymour

                      To test absorbency, we place a tampon without the applicator in a beaker filled with cough syrup (it has a similar viscosity to your period flow!) to determine how much fluid the tampon absorbs in a set amount of time.

                      Retention testing
                      best tampons
                      Emma Seymour

                      Following the absorbency test, we evaluate retention (i.e. ability to prevent leaks) by taking that tampon and hanging it above an empty beaker to see how much fluid leaked from the tampon.

                      Construction testing
                      best tampons
                      Emma Seymour

                      Ideally, tampons shouldn't shed — you don't want fibers left behind after insertion and removal. That's why, to evaluate proper construction, we test for shedding by removing the applicator from the tampon above a dark surface to see how many fibers shed from the tampon. Our pros gently pull at the tampon to see if any fibers are released. We give each tampon a construction score based on innovative features such as excellent finger grip, resealable packaging or a braided string.

                      Why trust Good Housekeeping?
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                      Emma Seymour is a senior textiles product analyst. She’s been at Good Housekeeping for over three years, overseeing Lab and consumer tests for walking shoes, luggage, tampons, pillows, sheets, period underwear and more. With a degree in Fiber Science and Apparel Design from Cornell University, she has extensive research experience, particularly focused on athletic wear. As a lifetime sewer with previous product development experience, she has a strong fashion background with expertise in proper fit and construction. She continues to expand her knowledge with additional coursework on sustainable manufacturing and new textile testing methodologies.

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