After having had to let things slide a bit, I’m easing back into action and hope to return to a more regular pattern of posting articles, the occasional news and my random rants. For now I’m clearing up my backlog and therefore today I’m presenting you with a review that I have been pushing around for forever. This has of course also to do with the subject matter – shaped pads/ inserts – and there being limited opportunity for me to actually use and evaluate them. Regardless, let’s see how the Tena Comfort holds up.
For this article I made good use of all the sampler packs that had amassed over time and exploited my connections to Tena to complement the collection and fill in the missing pieces – literally. That’s why I was able to present you with a full deck of all five absorption levels and both flavors, so to speak.
As can be seen in the photo, all levels have the same larger size in common with the exception of the lowest level labeled as normal. The latter is the only one that features a notably smaller overall surface area, which of course makes perfect sense. With it being the thinnest, least absorbent version, anyway, it wouldn’t make too much sense to make it larger, the reason being that you probably need to change it relatively often either way.
Actual use proves this point easily. In my case this basically amounts to pretty much only one time of letting the waters run, but even then you have to be careful. If your bladder is too full, mayhem will ensue. As such, therefore this product is only advised for cases of mild urge incontinence as a stop-gap measure or those situations where you go *oops* when you laugh too hard.
The other levels follow the conventions of the Tena Slip in terms of color coding and absorption strength, with an additional extra level inserted between the plus and super. This new level is exclusive to the shaped inserts and doesn’t exist for the other products. Its actual absorbency leans more towards the higher values, so it is in effect more like super than plus.
Naturally, while in technical terms the theoretical overall absorption volume is almost identical or at least very close to the Slip versions for some products, the reality of it is that in all likelihood you will never go so far as to really exhaust every last bit of safety margin. I laid out some reasons for this in the Kolibri Compact article and they apply here as well with the most important still being that there simply is a higher risk of leakage to begin with.
This argument is even true if you use the foil-based versions, which have the Original moniker attached to it in addition. They are easily discernible by looking slightly more pristine white on photos and their dot pattern being made up of hollow rings. There are no differences beyond that, so whether you use the breathable flavor or the one with foil is entirely a matter of your personal preference. For me it’s the breathable version simply because the coarser outer surface makes it slide around a lot less in your undies, which is something you might want to consider.
Another thing to keep an eye on is once more the thickness. As I have often said in relation to flex/ belted products, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to go with the maximum absorption level here. They may wrinkle up a lot more and thus make it even more complicated to get a smooth, perfect fit. Did I mention that it also increases the risk of leakage? Those two things alone should be reason enough to approach this cautiously and in case of fit issues go with lighter versions instead of “bulking up”.
For me I suppose the sweet spot would be the extra and super, though one problem remains – how do you get those things put on elegantly in the first place? I still find this the most stressful part about the whole exercise. Those shaped pads can appear huge when they flap loosely in your hands and you have to wrangle them into position between your legs and on your bum.
In case of the Tena Comfort products this is helped somewhat by their center part having those extra blue threads that give the whole thing a specific tension, resulting almost automatically in a curved, conformal overall shape, plus relatively high side liners. In fact, freshly unpacked this region looks nearly perfectly round and to me in a funny way this looks like you could place a flower-pot in there. However, this offers an opportunity to facilitate your changing procedure. If you don’t wear out this intrinsic tension, holding the product in one hand in that exact same spot is perfectly possible and the front and back parts will automatically stand up. Makes a few things a lot easier.
The fit on the body is okay-ish, though I find it rather trying to get the product to fit like I actually want. I totally blame this on Tena‘s old problem of the absorbent pads being rather dense/ compressed and thus being a bit too smooth for their own good, i.e. they tend to slide on your bum a bit before settling into their final position. It helps to move around a bit after you’ve put it on, so the mechanics can work their own magic and everything slides into place.
Coverage of the critical regions is good, though I honestly still can’t get over my distrust with these inserts in case of posterior accidents. Unless I have spent enough time in the bathroom and can be sure there isn’t unwanted bowel activity for the next two hours or so, it’s just not for me, even more so since all Tena products to me still feel short in the back and I always have this nagging suspicion that my butt crack may be exposed or conversely stuff might leak out on top if and when things go terribly wrong.
The final question is of course the usability of these shaped pads as boosters for your regular diaper. Here I’m gonna say “No!”. Aside from the size requirement with these large pads that I already mentioned in the Kolibri Compact article (to recap: likely you will need size L and up to achieve good wearing comfort and cover the pad suitably) here the hardness of the inner surface will work against you.
Even if you mangle it hard and have your kitty shred it all day with its claws, it’s not going to be an ideal situation. It’s quite possible that the fluids will more or less seep through the holes and cracks you made and soak whatever product you use as the outside wrapper instead of filling up the shaped pad first. This means that the inside could still be relatively dry while the exterior is already dripping.
On a whole this is an okay product in all the good and bad ways this could imply. My instinct is to call it “typical Tena” in the sense that ever since they transitioned from their old product versions to the new ones something seems to have been lost in the process. In particular the hard surfaces of the absorbent pads make this a tough choice. Because of this I would settle on the extra and super versions where you can at least be reasonably sure to use their capacity. If you need something different from that you’ll be happier by looking elsewhere and using other products, strange as this may seem.
Perhaps it’s really time that Tena take a step back and reconsider. Their stuff was once considered acclaimed and coveted premium products, but lately this appears to be no longer the case, an impression I know some of you share…