Tuesday 31 December 2019

Depend Protection with Tabs (S/M) Adult Diaper Review

*For information on how I do reviews see Diaper Test Methodology


Depend Protection with Tabs is a light-moderately absorbent adult diaper with dual waistbands and a plastic backing. In North America it's one of only a small number of plastic-backed diapers you still frequently find in shops and is one of the cheapest tab-styled adult diapers on the market. With respect to comfort it provides a snug fit but the elastics may chafe a little. Given its relatively slow absorption rate and low overall capacity (it will only take about 1 wetting before leaking laying down) I would recommend it for individuals with a slow dribble or urge incontinence. However, I wouldn't recommend it for bedwetting without a booster pad or stress incontinence (because it cannot be removed without tearing the backing once applied). That said, when I started this review I expected this diaper to be a complete failure based on other online reviews, but found some aspects like the dual-waistband and leg gathers to be better than you'd get in many higher end adult diapers. It should be noted that it briefly switched to cloth-backed with 2 tapes before going back to the plastic-backing after major consumer backlash. If you haven't tried this diaper in awhile and find it in the store it's probably worth another try.

Key Features:
  • Front/rear waistbands
  • Triple tapes
  • Plastic-backing
  • Standing inner leak guards

  • Easy to get a snug fit
  • Cheap and easy to find
  • Very discrete in terms of profile and noise

  • Padding becomes damp to the touch when wet
  • Not enough padding at the back for overnight wear
  • Tabs cannot be re-attached

Product Details

For the purpose of this post I will be reviewing and referring to the small/medium-sized Depend Protection with Tabs diaper. However, other available sizes are listed below.


Brand: Depend
Manufacturer: Kimberly-Clark
Origin: Mexico
Units Per Bag: 20
Cost Per Unit: $
Dimensions (L x W x H): 25.5 cm (10”) x 16.5 cm (6.5”) x 28cm (11”)
Weight: 1.9 kg (4.2 lbs)
Available Sizes: S/M, L/XL
Advertised Absorbency: Maximum

1.1 Depend Protection with Tabs Packaging


Backsheet: Plastic (Poly)
Wetness Indicator: Yes (blue dashed down the middle, disappears when wet)
Standing Inner Leak Guards: Yes
Leg Gathers: Yes
Product Style: Tab-Style Brief
Refastenable Tabs: No
Number of Tapes:3
Repositionable Tabs: No
Outer Color: White
Inner Color: White (Blue-Green Lining)
Front Waistband:Yes
Rear Waistband: Yes
Folded Thickness: 1.6 cm (0.63”)
Folded Length: 26 cm (10.2”)
Dry Weight: 93 g (3.3 oz)
Fragrance: None
Diaper Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW):
78 cm (30.7”) x 60 cm (23.6”) x 22 cm (8.7”) x 58.5 cm (23”)
Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Padding Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW):
57 cm (22.4”) x 29 cm (11.4”) x 15 cm (5.9”) x 30 cm (11.8”)
Padding Wing Dimensions (fPW x fPH x bPW x bPH ):
7 cm (2.8”) x 14 cm (5.5”) x 7.5 cm (3”) x 19 cm (7.5”) (height averaged)
Padding Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Total Padding Area: 1336 cm2 (207 in2)
Tape Spacing (t1 x t2 x t3): 6 cm (2.4”) x 12 cm (4.7") x 20 cm (7.9”)
Tape (W x L): 2.5 cm (1") x 4 cm (1.57")

1.2 Depend Protection With Tabs Diaper

Laboratory Absorbency Tests

Total Absorption Volume (after press out): 667 ml (23.5 oz)
Total Absorption Volume (before press out): 682 ml (24.1 oz)
Time to Absorb Wettings (first to last): (84 s, 71 s, 72 s )
Wet Folded Thickness: 4.5 cm (1.77 in)
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 98.7%
Total Padding to Absorbency Ratio: 667 ml / 1336 cm2 = 0.5 ml / cm2  (0.11 oz / in2)
Press Out Volume: 15 ml (0.53 oz)

Surface Dampness Rating: 2
From the very first wetting the surface of the diaper was noticeably damp, by the second wetting the pressed paper towel showed significant signs of moisture nearly everywhere it made contact with the diaper's surface. This was in spite of the diaper appearing to have handled the wettings relatively quickly. While the pressout test showed relatively little loss due to pressout this may have been more due to the structure of the outer backing resisting pressout than it being effectively held by the padding. For this reason I can only give the Depend Tabs diaper a 2/10 with respect to surface dampness.

2.1 Wet vs Dry Diaper After Capacity Test

2.2 Used vs Unused Padding After Capacity Test

"Real World" Absorbency Tests

Posture Tests


Total Absorbed Volume: 965 ml (34 oz)
Total Wettings: 3 (1 standing, 2 sitting)
Leaked After Sitting: No
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 94.8%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 965 ml / 1336 cm2 = 0.72 ml / cm2 (0.16 oz / in2)

Standing-Sitting Rating: 7
The Depend Tabs diaper was easily able to take a full void standing up. There was no leakage on the standing wetting, yet there was clearly moisture pooling and it took a few minutes to be completely absorbed (it may have leaked sitting down immediately after). To my surprise there was no leakage after sitting down in the wet diaper only about 5 minutes later. Not only that, but it also was able to take a second full wetting while seated. Temporary moisture pooling was again clear on the second wetting but the leak guards and backsheet were very effective. By the third wetting the diaper was clearly going to fail; however, there was again relatively little leakage as the structure and leak guards were effective at channeling excess fluid and preventing leakage. The diaper performed much better than expected in this test when compared with the previous capacity test, comparable even to the ATN for "absorbency". The only issue I have with it is that the backsheet will be damp to the touch far before leakage occurs, but for the diaper's price you can't complain too much.

Lying Down

Total Absorbed Volume: 807 ml (28.5 oz)
Total Wettings: 2
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 76%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 807 ml / 1336 cm2 = 0.6 ml / cm2 (0.14 oz / in2)

Lying Down Rating: 4

The Depend Tabs diaper demonstrated reasonable absorbency for the first wetting lying down, however it remained noticeably damp and was slow to wick. Perhaps its greatest strength was its very effective leak guards and snug fit design, which prevented any leakage before unabsorbed moisture could effectively wicked to nearby padding. The wearer would certainly notice this for a brief time, but after absorption it isn't particularly noticeable, just feels a little more humid than a higher end diaper might feel. The second wetting lying down in this diaper was a complete failure, there was very little wicking up the front of the diaper and the excess moisture overwhelmed the leak guards and escaped from the sides and back (where the padding length is relatively short). For this reason I would say Depend Protection with Tabs can only take a single wetting lying down.

2.3 Pattern of Used vs Unused Padding Test Stand/Sit (right) / Lying Down (left)

Daily Wear and Bedwetting

The Depend Protection with Tabs diaper comes up short in the absorbency department but somewhat makes up for it by having top notch leak guards and a very effective plastic backing. The diaper's structure held up very well in both day and overnight testing. However, I would not recommend it for overnight usage unless you can guarantee frequent changes, as it almost certainly won't handle more than a single wetting. If you require frequent changes this might be the diaper for you as it's relatively cheap and easy to find. I would recommend the Depend Tabs diaper for daytime use, particularly in situations where changes can happen after the first wetting. It provides many benefits to the daytime wearer including discreetness (it's very easy to conceal), durability (the triple tape mechanism holds strong and the padding doesn't easily clump), and fit (dual waistbands provide a snug fit). For longer wear, even after a single wetting, it can expose the wearer to rashes due to the continuing dampness of the topsheet once wet. Moreover, the tapes will not refasten once applied, so if your condition allows you to make it to the bathroom in time you will lose the diaper; likewise if you don't fasten it correctly the first time. The fact that the padding tends to run further up the front and shorter on the back when properly fastened also suggests this is a diaper best suited to daytime use (overnight diapers tend to extend padding further up the back). This diaper should be fine for a more active wearer, but I suspect it could get a little warm and uncomfortable in warmer weather or intense exercise.

Suitability for Bowel Incontinence: 6

The Depend Protection with Tabs should actually be OK when it comes to managing bowel incontinence. It has key attributes including dual waistbands, a plastic backsheet and inner leak guards. The biggest problem with this diaper is the relatively limited area of rear padding.

Wear & Tear Tests


Depend Protection with Tabs uses a triple tape mechanism to fasten with three tapes per side. The tapes can be attached to any part of the backsheet, but can only be applied once and will tear the backsheet if you attempt to remove/reapply them. That said, there does seem to be a bit of a grace period when applying the tapes and they can usually be removed without tearing the backsheet if done only shortly after they were first applied. The tapes have a strong adhesive and do a very good job at staying put once applied.

3.1 Depend Protection with Tabs Fastener

Easy-of-Use Rating: 6

Achieving a snug fit is very easy with the Depend Tabs diaper due to the triple tape mechanism and front/rear waistbands. The leg gathers are also very elastic and have a relatively tight fit making it easy to avoid gaps between the diaper and the leg. If applying the diaper were the only criteria for ease-of-use I would probably rate it as 7 or 8, as it's pretty easy to get the right fit on the first try and unlikely you would need to adjust it. However, the problems will happen more when the diaper is removed. The sticky adhesive tapes work against it and tend to tear the backsheet when removed making it difficult to remove and impossible to reapply if you're able to make it to the bathroom in time.

3.2 Depend Protection with Tabs Fit


Comfort Rating (dry): 6
Depend Protection with Tabs has a firm/compact topsheet and relatively ridged leg gathers. I didn't find it particularly uncomfortable to wear, but you likely will experience a bit of chafing from the leg gathers if on a long walk or bike ride. The plastic on the backsheet is also fairly firm and may get stuck when in contact with skin rather than sliding in the way a softer backsheet might do, but perhaps less than a cloth-backed diaper. I suspect it could also get a little warm in warm weather as breath-ability and slow moisture absorption may be an issue. That said the overall snug fit means you won't need to deal with a sagging or loose diaper and is its greatest advantage when it comes to comfort.

Comfort Rating (wet): 4
The snug fit is a great advantage for the Depend Tabs diaper and the padding holds together fairly well when wet. This means it's unlikely to sag and won't clump too much after a wetting. That's about the only thing this diaper has going for it when it comes to comfort when wet. The slow absorption rate will result in a diaper that, in spite of not leaking, will feel very clammy. Preventing clumping is important and I credit the diaper on that; but preventing clamminess is an equally, if not more important, factor when it comes to comfort when wet so I can't give this diaper a higher rating.

3.3 Depend Protection with Tabs Topsheet and Backsheet


Dry Padding Deterioration Proportion: 0.5% (topsheet), 0.7% (backsheet)
Shake Deterioration Test: 4 shakes to deterioration

Durability Rating (dry): 9
Doing a proper "dry" durability test with the Depend Tabs diaper was a challenge and this test ended up being shorter than I was aiming for (at about 6.5 rather than 8 hours of wear). The main challenge here was that the diaper cannot be fully removed during the test. Trying to hold one's bladder/bowel for that long is just not realistic. The waistband affords some flexibility so it still is possible (at least for a male) to use the toilet for urination; but even then it's not easy. I cut the test short when I felt it had adequately been through some wear/tear (walking/standing/sitting). You'll note both the topsheet and backsheet held out remarkably well, with the exception of the tearing of the backsheet where the diaper was removed (I didn't count that toward wear/tear). The wetness indicator also demonstrated some fading as a result of a relatively small amount of involuntary post void dribbling during the test, but again I don't consider that wear/tear. There was minor degradation near the edges of the diaper but overall it held its form and it's hard to imagine a diaper doing much better than this for dry durability.

Durability Rating (wet): 6
The Depend Tabs diaper remained fairly durable when wet. The padding didn't exactly clump but it quickly detached from the backsheet and collapsed in places; this after only a single wetting. It held out relatively well in the shake test and, in spite of collapsing, no material fell out of the diaper. Were it more absorbent I'd probably rate it as 7 or 8 with respect to wet durability, but I can't justify such a rating when a higher end diaper would easily brush off an equivalent amount of moisture.

3.4 Depend Protection with Tabs Dry Test Deterioration

Discretion Tests


Front Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 3 cm (1.18"), 3.5 cm (1.38")
Back Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 4.5 cm (1.77"), 4.5 cm (1.77")
Side Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 4 cm (1.57"), 4.5 cm (1.77")

Profile Discretion Rating: 9
It's hard to imagine a diaper being much thinner than the Depend Tabs diaper. It feels like a slightly thicker underwear and should easily be concealed under all but the tightest fitting outfits with respect to profile (I can't exactly say the same for the noise). It will protrude slightly above the pant-line, so I can't give it a perfect score but it's probably about as good as you're going to get if you want discretion with a decent amount of protection against leaks.

4.1 Depend Protection with Tabs Jeans Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear Jeans (right)

4.2 Depend Protection with Tabs Sweatpants Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear Sweatpants (right)


Noise Rating: 7
For being plastic-backed the Depend Tabs diaper is surprisingly quiet when dry. It will still stand out in a quiet room under light clothing, but under a pair of jeans and mesh pants you won't hear a thing. When wet the padding will separate from the backsheet and it is noticeably louder. I'm sure there are more discreet cloth-backed diapers and I can't quite give this an 8 or 9 for the aforementioned reasons but for the protection of the plastic backsheet you can't complain too much. In figure 4.3 you'll see the observed waveform of crinkling produced by the Depend Tabs diaper when shifting from sitting to standing multiple times nearby in a very quiet room.

4.3 Depend Protection with Tabs Sit-Stand Noise Profile

Odor Reduction

Odor Reduction Rating: 6
Depend Protection with Tabs has no fragrance and the padding / backing emit-little-to-no odors. The fact that the padding remains relatively damp after a wetting suggests it could be prone to odors when worn for longer. This is counteracted by the diaper's superior fitting which can be expected to keep odors from escaping. Overall it does a decent job, but I would rate it higher in this category if it absorbed more and wasn't so prone to surface dampness.

Want to give the Depend Protection with Tabs a try?

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  1. I love love them don't need them but like them

    1. The nice things about these is they can often be found for incredibly cheap prices for a diaper that can usually absorb a full wetting.

  2. This appears to be for, adult potty training games. That wetness, along with time until leakage happens, permits double diapering related bondage games. I am glad you published material related to Sadomasochistic Gear Selection

  3. Reviews for this item appear to contradict your "surprisingly quiet" review. When you mention sound dampening via mesh pants, are you referring to form-fitting compression shorts/pants (similar to biker shorts)?

    With mesh pants, would you call these completely noise-discreet (9-10/10 on noise rating)?

    1. There are a number of companies that produce medical grade form-fitting underwear and yep it's similar to biker shorts. An example would be the "Abena Abri-Fix Super Pants". They're typically used to keep pads in place but when worn over plastic-backed diapers they dampen the sound.

      I don't think they'd completely cancel the noise of these, particularly when wet. But likely bring them to a 9 on my rating scale assuming product quality hasn't changed since my review.