How to Find the Best Underpads: Buying Guide 2022

Latest posts by Maddy Chiffey (see all)

Learning how to find the best underpads is the difference between buying a substandard product to one that’ll make a difference to your overall quality of life, fundamentally your mental wellbeing.

This guide has been put together with lots of research, care, and consideration taken to ensure that our readers know how to find the best underpads. It may be that underpads will be needed for the very short term, or it could be that you’ll need this product for much longer. Regardless of the timeframe, you must buy the right underpads.

Purchasing underpads that are simply not good enough will be counterproductive. They may allow leakage onto the mattress, require bedding changes daily, leave you waking up wet and sore, and generally result in low self-esteem or mentally upset. This doesn’t have to be the case. 

I have found, what I believe to be, the six best underpads on the market today. Further on in this post, I will provide full reviews of these underpads, including their advantages and drawbacks. To see a snapshot of these products, their links are just below.

At a Glance: 6 Best Underpads

Prevail UnderpadsOur #1 Top Pick

MedPride x50 UnderpadsOur #1 Budget Pick

McKesson x100 Underpads

Improvia Washable Underpads

MedLine x50 Underpads

CoolShields Washable Bed Pad

Why Buy Underpads?

Rarely will any consumer readily await a time when they can purchase underpads. This isn’t an exciting shopping venture, and it can come with a lot of emotional upset. But, there are times in life when a loss of bladder control happens; it could be due to childbirth, stress, mobility problems, or an illness.

It may also be that you have been diagnosed as being incontinent (during the day or night, or both). But, before we dive fully into this article, it is essential to note that incontinence isn’t something you have to just put up with. There is help out there, such as medications, cognitive and physical therapies, and even surgeries to help with incontinence.

This isn’t the taboo subject it once was, and help is out there.

Suppose you have your independence and can manage to live alone. In that case, underpads are a good alternative to bedpans (where you need someone’s assistance) and commodes, specifically designed for people who cannot get to a toilet or are doubly incontinent.

Underpads keep the user and the mattress dry and protected. They are often very affordable and simply thrown away after use, although reusable, washable pads are available.

For a caregiver, underpads can be a huge convenience when looking after someone who struggles to remain dry through the night. They take away the need for daily bedding changes and promote the longevity of the mattress, duvet, and linens. However, there are some things to consider before buying underpads, as they are not created equally.

We will now look into how to buy the best underpads.

How to Buy the Best Underpads 

The quality of underpads can vary quite dramatically. While some are super-absorbent, thick, and comfortable, others are shoddy in comparison and can easily rip or tear, rendering them useless.

Some underpads can move around underneath the user and fail to protect the mattress from any urine. Those which remain in the position do so via adhesive backing, but again, this isn’t the same quality across the board, and some are much more effective than others.

Prices vary too. And for a product that will often just be thrown out after use, it can be confusing to know how much is the right amount to spend.

The regularity of deliveries can also be an important factor to consider. If this is an essential item for you, a repeat order option, or subscription service, will stop you from running out of the product.

Quality 

Underpads’ quality level has a considerable bearing on its price and its effectiveness.

Depending on the level of absorbance needed, it is usually worth purchasing a thicker pad. Some underpads claim to hold six cups of liquid, others hold up to ten, and some hold up to fifteen.

Realistically, the bladder holds around two cups of liquid, so the chances of needing a pad to hold up to fifteen cups are rare, but the more absorbent then generally, the more comfortable.

As well as absorbance, the material quality matters, especially if the user suffers from specific allergies. Plastic material pads can make a crinkling noise and are less comfortable to lay on than hypoallergenic fabrics – however, they tend to be considerably cheaper.

Most pads will sit between the fitted sheet and the mattress, but some will lie between the sheet and the user.

If the underpad you buy lies between the user’s skin and the bed sheet, its comfort level must be a priority purchasing consideration. Look for materials like polyblend, quilted polyester, or microfiber, which are soft next to the skin and very breathable; to prevent overheating.

Adhesivity 

Most underpads will have self-adhesive edges to affix to the mattress, large pads can have fabric hooks to fasten under the mattress, but some underpads have no adhesivity at all.

The underpad must remain in place; otherwise, it’s pretty much useless. Look for how the pads affix to the mattress or bedding; reading consumer reviews is a great way to authenticate the brand’s claims on this factor, as they’re the people who know if the item works as it should do.

As well as the adhesivity, the size of the underpad matters greatly. Ensure that the dimensions are compatible with the mattress and that the adhesivity reaches the edge.

Price 

In the incontinence sector, the price of items varies substantially. If you’re looking for the best drop-down commodes, you are looking at spending well over $100. But, when looking for underpads, they can work out at less than $0.15 apiece. But within the underpad market, there are still fairly dramatic price points.

The biggest differences on the financial spectrum here are between disposable and reusable underpads. Disposable underpads are much cheaper; used once and discarded. Reusable underpads can cost up to $50 per pad but are much better for the environment, ensure you’ll never run out, and tend to be made of thicker, more comfortable materials.

If you can afford to purchase reusable underpads, then they often offer a better value for money in the long run. However, some disposable pads can be just as supportive and maybe the better financial option if your bladder problems are temporary.

Selection Criteria

As I chose the underpads to feature in this article, I want to share with you what I was looking for to certify these as the best six underpads on the market today. So, here are the things I was looking for.

Price

As mentioned previously, the price of underpads varies, so it can be challenging to know if you’re buying quality or simply paying over the odds. I believe the seven underpads featured to be fairly priced and offer good-to-excellent value for money.

Quality

I am confident of the quality level of each product I reviewed. After reviewing so many different brands and types of underpads, only seven made it into this article. Those seven are of the best quality I found.

Ease of Use 

Ease of use can mean a few things; easy to buy and re-order, fast delivery, ease of sticking and unsticking, or ease of rewashing. I believe the underpads I settled on offer all of these things.

Consumer Reviews 

As always, I take into consideration the ratings of products given by verified consumers. This is an essential thing to do when looking to buy any product online. The underpads chosen by me all have a high level of positive feedback online by other consumers.

6 Best Underpads

Prevail Underpads – Our #1 Top Choice

 

  • Super Absorbent Gel Technology
  • Made in the USA
  • Discreet Packaging
Find it Here
MedPride x50 Underpads – Our #1 Budget Choice

 

  • Premium Polymer Layers
  • Odor Control
  • Bulk Buy Options
Find it Here
McKesson x100 Underpads

 

  • Heavy Absorbency
  • Latex Free
  • Soft and Gentle on the Skin
Find it Here
Improvia Washable Underpads

 

  • 100% Washable and Stain-Resistant
  • Self-Drying Technology
  • 100% Leak Proof Protection
Find it Here
MedLine x50 Underpads

 

  • Soft-Quilted Top Sheet
  • Leak-Resistant Back Sheet
  • Online Best Seller
Find it Here
CoolShields Washable Bed Pad

 

  • Non-Slip Bottom
  • Premium Fabric Top
  • Can Tumble Dry
Find it Here

#1 Prevail Underpads – Our #1 Top Pick

Although not the cheapest on the market, the Prevail Underpads have a lot of pros, and being FSA eligible, the price may be reclaimable. There are different buying options, from the cheapest 1-pack and XXL option to a 40-pack and a 100-pack. The pads are delivered discreetly, in a standard Amazon box, with no clue to the contents on the outside. It also arrives quickly, within a few days.

The pads are very soft, absorbent, and durable, remaining in place all night long and keeping the mattress completely dry. The construction of these pads is remarkable and features super-absorbent gel technology. Prevail pads are made by a family-owned company in North America and have undergone rigorous testing to meet US standards.

Pros

  • Very Durable
  • Soft Tops
  • USA Made
  • Plain, Discreet Packaging
  • Different Size Options

Cons

  • Quite Pricey
  • A Few Days for Delivery

#2 MedPride x50 Underpads – Our #1 Budget Pick 

The MedPride x50 Underpads are a great, budget-friendly choice with same-day delivery available and a subscription service to ensure you never run out. These pads come in different size bulk buys and offer excellent bed protection against bladder control issues. I found them to be comfortable and to remain in position all night long.

The MedPride pads offer good coverage, with dimensions of 23-in x 36-in. Some consumers cite them as being too thin and not adequate, but they do hold 3 cups of water without leaking, and at just $0.46 per pad, you could always double up for more confidence.

Pros

  • Same Day Delivery
  • Subscription Service
  • Great Value for Money
  • Good Coverage

Cons

  • Quite Thin
  • Some Consumers Find Them Insufficient

#3 McKesson x100 Underpads

The McKesson brand is a leading supplier of healthcare products and has experience spanning over 180-years. This gives consumers the confidence of reliability in the products, which can be said for the McKesson x100 Underpads. With a budget-friendly price point and free delivery, these pads are an excellent option for those who don’t want large financial outlays.

I found the McKesson pads to be very absorbent and have a good degree of odor control, the skin remains dry throughout the night, and the fluff core of the pads is comfortable and almost padded in feel. These pads are highly rated online, with thousands of positive reviews, although a couple of consumers mention ripping upon opening the pads.

Pros

  • Budget-Friendly Price Point
  • Free Delivery
  • Good Odor Control
  • Reduce Stains
  • High Absorbency

Cons

  • A Couple of Mentions of Pads Ripping

#4 Improvia Washable Underpads

The Improvia Washable Underpads were the first reusable underpads I researched, and I found them to be amongst the very best. There are different purchasing options, from singular pads to a pack of two and six, with different dimensions available. All options offer great value for money, with a next-day-delivery service. I reviewed the 2-pack, priced at a little over $20.

There is 100% leak protection throughout the entire pad, right up to the edges. Their material blend of 100% Polyester Fabric, Polyester, and Rayon, result in great comfort, but the biggest advantage is the drying technology. These pads dry in just 10-minutes and can be washed up to 500 times before any signs of wear and tear become visible, backed by consumers.

Overall, a great quality, environmentally and budget-friendly purchase.

Pros

  • Excellent Value for Money
  • Super Absorbant
  • Quick Drying
  • Next Day Delivery
  • Highly Durable

Cons

  • Lack of Adhesive Backing

#5 MedLine x50 Underpads

The MedLine x50 Underpads are an online best-seller, with more than 16,000 reviews (94% are 4 or 5-stars). They aren’t the cheapest disposable underpad, and I was intrigued to learn what made them so popular, so I decided to investigate this product.

There are different bulk buy options, but all pads measure a square 36-in x 36-in, which is generous and suitable for most beds. They have a soft-quilted top sheet and leak-resistant back sheet, which combined make for a dry and comfortable night’s sleep. I like how they arrive in discreet packaging and pre-folded, so you can take a couple in a purse with ease.

Their design is no-frills, basic, and some consumers say they’re too similar in appearance to puppy pads. Which, they are, but they’re highly effective at prolonging mattress life and keeping the user dry and free from skin irritation. There’s a high level of odor control but a lack of adhesive backing.

Pros

  • Highly Rated Product
  • Online Best Seller
  • Comfortable
  • Effective
  • Good Size

Cons

  • No-frill, Basic Design
  • No Adhesive Backing

#6 CoolShields Washable Bed Pad

The second reusable underpads I reviewed were the CoolShields Washable Bed Pad. At almost double the RRP of the Improva Pads, I wanted to know why every single Amazon rating was a 5-star; pretty unheard of. Their initial feeling was that of an actual quilt – super-soft, comfortable and nice feeling against the skin due to the premium brushed fabrics.

The CoolShields underpads have a larger water absorption capacity, with a 100% waterproof barrier, protecting against accidents and stains perfectly. The bottom side is non-slip and remains in place throughout the night, and has incredible durability of over 200 washes. The lesser expensive washable pads had more longevity but more negative feedback too.

Pros

  • Incredible Consumer Feedback
  • Environmentally-Friendly Option
  • Adhesive Back
  • Super-Comfort Top
  • 100% Leak Proof

Cons

  • Expensive
  • 200-Wash Durability

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How Comfortable are Underpads?

Answer: It’s widely known that sleep is as essential as nutrients to our overall health, but there is a difference between good sleep quality and bad. The underpads we have featured should only improve the comfort of your night but ensure you remain dry even if an accident happens.
There are underpads of poor quality that can become tangled with a person, move, slip, and be a general hindrance, but there shouldn’t be a problem if you select from this guide. I found the washable underpads to be the more comfortable product type, but that could well be a personal preference.
We’ve written previously about finding the best orthopedic pillows, which could help you increase your comfort further during the night.

Question: Can I Reuse a Disposable Underpad if it’s Still Dry?

Answer: You can use a disposable underpad if it hasn’t been wet the previous night; however, not all of them are up to this. Some pads may lose their padded feel and adhesivity after lying underneath a moving human for many hours, so it would be best if buying lower quality pads to apply a fresh one each night to ensure that it’ll be 100% effective.

Question: How do I Dispose of a Used Underpad?

Answer: Generally, disposable underpads are not recyclable however, regulations about their disposal vary, state to state. Some places consider them clinical waste, meaning they can’t be disposed of with your general trash so check if this is the case for your area.
You should avoid flushing underpads down the toilet as their absorbent gel can swell up, which will lead to a blockage in the toilet pipes. Used underpads can usually be folded and put into a refuse bag for disposal. A pad disposal system can be a good way to keep the home hygienic while waiting to dispose of the underpads properly.

Question: Why Haven’t You Looked at Scented Underpads?

Answer: I have looked at many scented underpads for this article but felt that they came up short compared to the listed products. This was down to a few things, but mainly that the scent was a major selling point, leaving the rest of the pad’s quality a secondary factor.
I also wanted to ensure that all readers could choose any underpad from my guide, and those that are scented may not be suitable for people with specific allergies or sensitive skin. A few of the underpads I tried have a high level of odor control in them, and as they’re not a decorative item, I felt their natural smell wasn’t a focal point.

Finding the Best Underpads – My Verdict 

There is a lot to consider for a relatively inexpensive product when buying underpads, and it differs from person to person what makes an underpad the best. Although I rated the Prevail Underpads as our #1 pick, I did find the reusable CoolShields Washable Bed Pad and Improvia Washable Underpads more comfortable to lie on.

I also like the eco-friendly aspect of avoiding disposable pads in general, but I appreciate the care and time involved in washing and reusing the same pad. Washable pads are also more of a higher investment initially and are not always as cost-effective as you’d hope for.

Compared to our #1 bargain pick, the MedPride x50 Underpads, which work out at just over $0.40 per pad, this value of money can’t be found elsewhere. I found these pads to be effective, and the convenience of a subscription service means you’ll never be left short. However, some consumers found the MedPride pads a little thin.

I found the best odor control with the McKesson x100 Underpads; they also have a high absorbency capacity, a budget-friendly price point, and free delivery. I found some complaints where consumers had ripped the pads upon opening them, but overall they had a good level of feedback, and I found them to be a suitable product.

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