In our series of product tests/ reviews it’s finally time to tackle a complex subject that still confuses even me. What could this be? Of course I’m speaking of the Tena Slip line of products. And why is it confusing? Because there’s more than one. You’re head is already spinning? You ain’t seen nothing yet! So let’s delve into the details.
First let’s look at the original/ legacy version, depending on how you like to see it.
This is actually the first adult diaper I ever bought back a few years ago when I suffered from a series of renal infections and couldn’t get the urine dripping under control and it was more or less lucky chance that I ended up randomly picking a good product. Yes, it is/ was actually one of the best products out there.
As I wrote in my recent review of the Tena Flex, SCA‘s products (the company behind the brand name) probably have the best absorbent pads of them all in relation to their technical parameters like size and thickness, so it’s easy to recommend them just for that. In addition they have a very “normal” shape that makes them well suited for wearing under clothing or your underwear without anything peeking out. That translates to the front and back flaps being relatively short and the leg seams having a high cut. This is even evident in the placement of the adhesive tapes which are rather close together and high up in the hip, so there’s no tear on them like on other products where the lower one is used to form a leg “tunnel”. These days of course I see this a bit differently and prefer “diaper-y” diapers that have more wrapping around the rear parts and go a bit higher up, but this doesn’t mean this one couldn’t do the trick.
One more thing that earned this product quite a reputation is the good foil used for the outer shell. It’s quite stable, but not excessively stiff or rigid and it allows to reposition the tapes in the front area. As is visible in the pictures, the usual conveniences like a wetness indicator strip and ruffled zones are also in place. The green stands for the middle absorbency level called Super (7 drops), the lowest one is Plus (6 drops) and the highest one is called Maxi (8 drops) and they’re quite distinctly different, but not in a bad sense. Even Plus holds up better than many competing products. Now some bad news: You can no longer buy this particular product except perhaps for some leftovers from garage or cellar stockpiles.
Beginning in 2014 SCA started following the “industry trend” of converting their products to “breathable” outer surfaces and they cunningly call it Confio Air in their marketing. Luckily, despite getting rid of the foil, they left most of the rest intact, meaning the pads are just as good. The shape has been tweaked a bit, but only by one or two centimeters here and there, so the overall fit is more or less the same.
As you can see, the adhesion tapes are a bit wider and more or less in the same places. They are less sticky, owing to the cotton-like surface. This works reasonably, but you should not open and re-fasten them too often to avoid damage.
The same logic with the absorbency levels applies as evidenced by the picture, but there is actually a fourth level called Ultima (9 drops). I haven’t been able to figure out that one since it only seems to be available in some countries, e.g. Italy and Switzerland, but not Germany, and couldn’t get my hands on a sample. This product is completely white.
As if all of this weren’t complicated enough, there is a product called Tena Slip Original. This is a hybrid diaper that features a foil covered center piece, but has breathable side wings.
Unfortunately, at least for the samples I had, this is not at all a good product. It seems to bring together the best of both worlds, but then fails terribly with quality issues. The wings are severely too thin and weak and rip if you’re pulling too hard plus there are severe manufacturing issues with the seam lines not holding together. This is not only my own experience, but lots of people have reported this on respective forums and returned entire packages.
Now the thing is, that this could entirely be an issue with the initial production run, but – no pun intended – this is a major slip-up and for the time being one can’t recommend this product and you should be extremely careful and inquire beforehand, should you decide to buy it.
Otherwise it shares the same good features like the others, but in light of the many problems that’s more or less hypothetical until the quality issues are sorted out.
If you are feeling exhausted already from this rather long article, you can’t stop yet. There is even more in the mess the Tena people made for themselves! No article would be complete without mentioning the Tena Slip Basic and Slipad variants. Both are/ were “budget” products aimed at serving the ever budget-conscious medical care markets. Only leftovers are being sold now. Slipad was an unbranded version of the foil version Plus slip. The Basic line seems to have made its cost savings primarily by using smaller and a lot thinner absorption pads (equaling 5 drops to 6.5 drops) plus omitting the sideguards between the legs. As I wrote in this article, this is not a good thing and because of the limited ability to take in liquid, I doubt it was particularly good. Eventually this will probably become a lost memory of some bad product development.
At the end of the day the biggest issue with all flavors of the Tena Slip is probably the confusion surrounding it. This is entirely the manufacturer’s own fault that will only resolve itself once the remnants of the older products still floating around will have faded and SCA focus more on quality with the remaining ones. That’s something one would have expected in the first place, since generally Tena products tend to be a tad more expensive. The “real” Slip (without any extra title appendages) is actually quite good, so for now focus on that and keep an eye on how things develop. Who knows, you might read another review here on this site one of these days…