See how Mooncup, Tampax and Boots menstrual cups are rated by users – plus how to choose the right menstrual cup for you

 

 

Menstrual cups are reusable silicone cups that you insert into your vagina like a tampon to collect menstrual fluid. Typically costing £15-30 up front, and with a lifetime of around 10 years, they are gaining popularity as a cheap and eco-friendly alternative to disposable and plastic-based period products.  It can however take some trial and error to find the right one for you, and get the hang of using one.  Here, we explain the key things you’ll need to consider, typical costs and what to be aware of.  Plus, we reveal how people rated popular brands including Mooncup, Divacup, Tampax and Boots for things like comfort and leak protection, based on our unique survey of menstrual cup users.

Menstrual cups rated

We asked 382 people who had used a menstrual cup in the past two years to tell us whether they thought the brand or brands they used. People told us if they thought Mooncup, DivaCup, Tampax Cup and Boots menstrual cups were good for value, comfort, durability, and protection from leaks.

Best menstrual cup

The Mooncup was most highly rated by users in our survey, who were more likely to give it the thumbs up on all measures than users of the other three brands. It’s somewhere in the middle price-wise, so is a good bet if you’re looking to buy a menstrual cup. See the full results and info by brand below (in alphabetical order):

Boots Menstrual Cup

 

 

Cost: £17

Sizes:

Pre-birth (size A), 42mm diameter x 59mm length, holds up to 21ml

Post-birth (size B), 46mm x 63mm, holds up to 26ml

Boots own-brand menstrual cups are made from medical-grade silicone.   Boots categorises its menstrual cup sizes as ‘pre-birth’ and ‘post-birth,’ which is a bit reductive, but it broadly corresponds to the same two-size system as the other menstrual cups. How users rate the Boots menstrual cup: users of Boots menstrual cups were more likely to say they were good value for money than users of Tampax Cup or DivaCups, but were less likely to say the Boots menstrual cup was comfortable than users of Mooncups or Tampax Cup. So, while they may be a cheaper option if you’re looking to try a menstrual cup, don’t be put off if you don’t get on with them. And you might be better offer spending a bit more on the Mooncup, which was better rated by users. Available to buy from Boots

DivaCup

Cost: £27.50

Sizes:

Model 0 (for people 18 years or under), 40mm x 67mm, holds 23ml

Model 1 (for ages 19 – 30 and with a medium flow), 43mm and 67mm, holds 27ml

Model 2 (for those over 30 or with a heavier flow), 45mm x 67mm, holds 30ml

Along with Mooncup, DivaCup was one of the first companies to bring menstrual cups to the market. They come in three sizes, and are made from medical-grade silicone. How users rate the DivaCup: users were more likely to say they were more durable than users of Tampax Cups or Boots menstrual cups, but were relatively less impressed with comfort than Mooncup or Tampax Cup users.

Available to buy from Amazon

Mooncup

Cost: £21

Sizes:

Size A (for those who are 30 and over, and anyone who has given birth vaginally), 46mm x 50mm, holds 29ml

Size B (for those under the age of 30 and who have not given birth vaginally), 43mm x 50mm, hold 28.8ml

Mooncup is perhaps the best known menstrual cup brand, and was one of the first on the market in the UK. It was the most commonly owned brand in our survey. Like other cups, it’s made from medical-grade silicone. How users rate the Mooncup: if you’re thinking of trying a menstrual cup, a Mooncup is a good choice – it was rated best by users on all measures (value, comfort, durability and leak protection) compared with the other brands. And in the case of leak protection and durability, this was by some distance. Available to buy from Mooncup, Asos, Amazon, Boots and Planet Organic

Tampax Cup

Cost: £23.50

Sizes:

Regular (for those who use light, regular or super absorbency tampons), 46mm x 60mm

Heavy (for those who use super plus absorbency tampons), 53mm x 61mm T

ampax might be best known for manufacturing disposable period products, but it has expanded its offering into reusables with these menstrual cups made of medical-grade silicone. Tampax classifies its sizes by menstrual flow, which is less common, but you can still compare sizes with other brands to see which might fit best. How users rate the Tampax Cup: users didn’t give glowing reviews. It was rated lower on value for money, durability and protection from leaks. But, after the Mooncup, it was the next most highly rated as comfortable to wear. Available to buy from Amazon and Boots

Organicup, Saalt, Intimina, TOTM and other menstrual cup brands

 

 

 

We could only include user insights for brands where we received 50 or more responses in our survey, so while our list above covers the brands that the most people had tried, there are a number of other menstrual cups available to buy. Other brands include: Organicup (now AllMatters), £20 – a silicone cup that comes in three sizes (mini, A and B), with storage pouch. Available from AllMatters, Amazon, Holland & Barrett and Superdrug. Lena, £22 – silicone cup in two sizes, plus a sensitive option made from softer silicone. Some fun colours to choose from. Available from Amazon. Lunette, £24 – silicone cup in two sizes and bright-coloured options. Available from Lunette and Amazon. Intimina, £23-40 – range of four silicone cups in slightly different shapes, including collapsible and sensitive options (Lilycups), and the Ziggy cup, which can be worn during sex. Available from Intimina, Holland & Barrett, Feel Unique and Oliver Bonas. Saalt, £25 – these pastel coloured silicone cups include a teen size, twin packs and the brand also sells period pants. Available from Saalt and Amazon. TOTM, £17- hot pink cup in three sizes made of medical-grade TPC. Available from TOTM, Superdrug and Tesco.

 

How to choose the best menstrual cup

 

The best menstrual cup for you will come down to personal preference, and will depend on your body and how you feel using one. So don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries to find the right one, or to get in the swing of using it. Some respondents in our survey said it took a while to get used to their menstrual cup and find a comfortable position, but overall 61% told us they liked or loved their menstrual cup. What to consider when choosing:

Material

Most menstrual cups are made with medical-grade silicon, while some are made from medical-grade TPE (rubber and/or plastic). Both are safe and durable; it shouldn’t make a difference unless you have an allergy to either material, but you might find one type more comfortable.

Cup size

Most brands have at least two sizes, one that’s a bit smaller for users who are under 30 and have not given birth vaginally, and one that’s slightly larger for those who have given birth vaginally, or are over 30. Some brands offer a specific smaller teen size, too.  The length of the cup or stem you want (which differs slightly between brands) depends on how low your cervix sits during your period. This is where you might need to experiment with fit a bit. You can also use your fingers to judge how low your cervix is sitting. Once you’ve figured out a comfortable position for your menstrual cup, you can trim the stem if necessary so you don’t feel it – it shouldn’t be sticking out.  Most menstrual cups have a larger capacity than a standard tampon. For example, a Mooncup holds 30ml of fluid, while a super tampon holds up to around 12ml.

Firmness

 

 

Some cups are more soft and pliable while other are more firm. Some people might find softer cups easier to insert, and those with sensitive bladders may prefer a softer cup it won’t have the same level of outward pressure as a firmer cup. Firmer cups tend to be easier to pop open though, so can be quicker to situate it inside your vagina.  Again, this is a matter of personal preference and might take a bit of experimentation to get the right fit. You should be able to find some information about the firmness of the menstrual cup on brand’s websites.

Shape

Most cups are shaped in a similar bell/funnel style, but there can be slight differences in width and length. There are also menstrual discs that are shaped more like a shallow bowl, without a stem. These tend to be one size fits all, and some can be worn during sex. It may take a bit of trial and error to get the hang of inserting and removing them.

Cost

Though a menstrual cup is a bigger one-off expense than a pack of tampons or pads, it should easily pay for itself over time. Unlike period pants, you can manage with just one during a period, though you might prefer to have a back-up and some brands sell twin packs. A Mooncup (£21) breaks even in cost after about 10 packs of regular Tampax cardboard applicator tampons (£1.90 for 20), and should last much longer.

Pros and cons of menstrual cups

 

In our survey, people were overall more positive about their experiences with menstrual cups than negative – 61% said they liked them compared with other sanitary products. Here are the top fives pros and cons from users of menstrual cups:

Pros: Reduces waste (51%)* ‘

Definitely SO much better for the environment. This is my main reason for using, but I found there is a learning curve’

Good value for money/saves money over time (46%)

‘They are just like using sanitary towels and pads but cheaper – a good money-saving option.’

I can wear them for long periods of time (39%)

‘I think they are brilliant, last longer than a tampon and no leakage.’

Easy to wash (37%) ‘

I like them because they feel clean.

‘ Discreet (36%)

‘It worked perfectly when I went on holiday and fit in my handbag and is discreet if I need it when I’m out and about.’

Cons Awkward/difficult to wash when not at home (34%)  ‘

Great for reducing waste but not ideal for when you need to change it as some changing rooms don’t have sinks to clean. But great for lighter periods.’

Difficult to insert (26%) ‘

They are fiddly to insert and can leak if not positioned correctly.’

Difficult to take out (20%)

‘It takes a while to perfect how to take them out… this definitely caused issues at first!’

Uncomfortable (16%)

‘I started out loving them but over time they started to cause me pain. My body shape has changed and I think my cervix moved. I had to cut use right down.’

Leaks (15%) ‘

They can leak if the sizing is not right so sometimes I put a pad on as well which defeats the purpose of a sustainable sanitary product.’

*% of those who said they liked/disliked vs other sanitary products

How to wash your menstrual cup

 

During your period, you can simply rinse your menstrual cup with water or wipe it with a tissue after emptying it, and reinsert it. In between periods, and before using your menstrual cup for the first time, you should boil it in a pan of water (which should only be used for this purpose) for 5-10 minutes.  This is one of the more obvious impracticalities of using a menstrual cup.

But as they have become more mainstream, a whole mini-industry has popped up to make menstrual cup cleaning simpler.  Some brands, including DivaCup and Lunette, sell menstrual cup cleansers, and there are also wipes available (which could put a bit of a dent in the eco-credentials of your cup). Some brands sell small sterilising pots which you pop in the microwave to steam clean the cup, which seem like a neat solution, and others make standalone steamer units.  The microwave versions are cheaper, around £10, while steamers tend to be more like £30. For example, Hey Girls sells a microwave cup steamer for £10 – available from Hey Girls.

When to replace your menstraul cup

 

any users report keeping their menstrual cup for years, and brands say that with proper care and cleaning, this can be done up to around 10 years. Check your cup for signs of degradation regularly. Signs that your menstrual cup needs replacing include: odour any tears or cracks in the material a change in texture (if it becomes grainy or develops a white residue)

Are menstrual cups safe?

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but serious condition that can result from using tampons, and is an issue that can also happen with menstrual cups. Make sure you follow the cleaning instructions above and change your menstrual cup as regularly as the manufacturer recommends.