9 Best Tampon Brands of 2019, According to Wellness Experts

Not all tampons are created equally.

best tampon brands
lola

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 Aunt Flo moodiness, but you shouldn’t settle on uncomfortable tampons. With more and more options such as organic tampons and menstrual cups available, you can find what works best for you and your cycle.

In the GolfHr Institute Wellness Lab and Textiles, Paper, and Plastics Lab, we tested tampons for absorbency, retention (i.e. ability to prevent leaks), and shedding using cough syrup, as it's a similar viscosity to your period flow. Meanwhile, 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.

Which type of tampons are best?

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.

Applicators: 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, women 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 360 degrees 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.

Here are our top picks for the best tampons of 2019:

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1
Best Overall Tampons
Pure Organic Tampons
Tampax
Tampax amazon.com
$17.97
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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: $0.37
Tampon count
: 32
Applicator: Plastic 
Shape: Side to side
Sizes available: Regular, super

2
Best Value Tampons
Pearl Plastic Tampons
Tampax
Tampax amazon.com
$11.99
$8.84 (26% off)
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These affordable tampons cinched the second place spot and cost only $0.18 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: $0.18
Tampon count
: 50
Applicator
: Plastic
Shape: Side to side
Sizes available
:  Light, regular, super, super plus

3
Most Sustainable Organic Tampons
Organic Cotton Tampons
Seventh Generation
Seventh Generation amazon.com
$13.98
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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
Applicator
: Plastic
Shape: Side to side
Sizes available
:  Regular, super

4
Best Tampons for Beginners
Radiant Plastic Tampons
Tampax
Tampax amazon.com
$27.88
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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

5
Best Tampons for Exercise
Sport Tampons
Playtex
Playtex amazon.com
$12.99
$8.13 (37% off)
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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: $0.16
Tampon count
: 50
Applicator
: Plastic
Shape: 360 degrees
Sizes available
: Regular, super, 

6
Best Tampons for Light Flow
Organic Tampons
o.b.
o.b. amazon.com
$20.91
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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: $0.39
Tampon count
: 54
Applicato
r: Plastic 
Shape: Side to side
Sizes available
: Regular, super

7
Best Tampons for Heavy Flow
Simply Gentle Glide Tampons
Playtex
Playtex amazon.com
$27.33
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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: $0.25
Tampon count: 108
Applicator
: Plastic
Shape: 360 degrees
Sizes available
:  Regular, super, super plus, ultra

8
Best Subscription Tampons
Compact Plastic Applicator Tampons
Lola
Lola mylola.com
$9.00
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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: Expands
Sizes available: Light, regular, super, super plus

9
Best No-Applicator Tampons
Original Non-Applicator Tampons
o.b.
o.b. amazon.com
$6.47
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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: Expand
Sizes available
:  Regular, super, super plus

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