Saturday 2 May 2020

First Quality Briefs (Full Mat) Adult Diaper Review

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


The First Quality Briefs product is a plastic-backed diaper by First Quality; in fact it appears to be the only plastic-backed diaper they've produced in recent years and has likely been discontinued in favor of their cloth-backed Prevail line. It stands out among adult diapers for its extensive padding coverage, which decreases skin contact with the backsheet and improves comfort. Unfortunately, the extensive padding coverage doesn't translate to absorbency and it's among the worst performing diapers I've tested in that regard. It may be fine for minor leakage, but keep in mind this is a taped diaper that cannot easily be reapplied when worn, so it may not be the best choice if you can still make it to the bathroom most of the time. I haven't yet tried the First Quality Prevail line of products, but I would encourage others to try those before trying this one.

Key Features:
  • Plastic-backing
  • Full Mat padding
  • Soft padding
  • Inexpensive pricing
  • Comfortable padding
  • Very extensive padding coverage
  • No leak barriers
  • Very prone to leakage/surface dampness
  • Poor durability
  • Appears to be discontinued

Product Details

For the purpose of this post I will be reviewing and referring to the medium-sized First Quality Briefs diaper. However, other available sizes are listed below.


Brand: First Quality/Prevail
Manufacturer: First Quality
Origin: USA
Units Per Bag: 16
Cost Per Unit: $
Dimensions (L x W x H): 33 cm (13”) x 17 cm (6.7”) x 20 cm (7.9”)
Weight: 1.65 kg (3.6 lbs)
Available Sizes: Y, S, M, L, XL, 2XL
Advertised Absorbency: Moderate

1.1 First Quality Briefs Packaging


Backsheet: Plastic (Poly)
Wetness Indicator: Yes (parallel yellow lines down the middle, turn blue when wet)
Standing Inner Leak Guards: No
Leg Gathers: Yes
Product Style: Tab-Style Brief
Refastenable Tabs: No
Number of Tapes: 2
Repositionable Tabs: No
Outer Color: White
Inner Color: White (Blue Rectangle in the middle padding)
Front Waistband: No
Rear Waistband: No
Folded Thickness: 7 cm / 3 = 2.3 cm (0.91”)
Folded Length: 25 cm (9.8”)
Dry Weight: 100 g (3.5 oz)
Fragrance: Slight synthetic smell
Diaper Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW):
81 cm (31.9") x 61 cm (24") x 45 cm (17.7") x 60 cm (23.6")
Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Padding Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW):
65 cm (25.6") x 45 cm (17.7") x 17 cm (6.7") x 45 cm (17.7")
Padding Wing Dimensions (fPW x fPH x bPW x bPH):
14 cm (5.5") x 16 cm (6.3") x 14 cm (5.5") x 25 cm (9.8") (height averaged)
Padding Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Total Padding Area: 2253 cm2 (349 in2)
Tape Spacing (t1 x t2): 5 cm (2”) x 18 cm (7.1")
Tapes (W x L): 2.5 cm (1") x 4 cm (1.57")

1.2 First Quality Briefs Diaper

Laboratory Absorbency Tests

Total Absorption Volume (after press out): 670 ml (23.6 oz)
Total Absorption Volume (before press out): 675 ml (23.8 oz)
Time to Absorb Wettings (first to last): (44 s, 43 s, 50 s)
Wet Folded Thickness: 4 cm (1.57 in)
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 76%
Total Padding to Absorbency Ratio: 670 ml / 2253 cm2 = 0.30 ml / cm2  (0.07 oz / in2)
Press Out Volume: 5 ml (0.18 oz)

Surface Dampness Rating: 1
This First Quality diaper performed very poorly in terms of surface dampness. From the very first wetting there was clear wicking up into the backsheet. In subsequent wettings there was clear liquid pooling and very slow absorption.

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: 500 ml (17.6 oz)
Total Wettings: 1 (1 standing)
Leaked After Sitting: Yes
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 37%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 500 ml / 2253 cm2 = 0.22 ml / cm2 (0.05 oz / in2)

Standing-Sitting Rating: 2
The First Quality diaper wasn't a complete failure on the standing-sitting test, so I couldn't justify giving it the lowest rating. But it performed poorly. It's unlikely to leak if wet while standing and I haven't experienced that with this diaper. On the other hand the padding does a poor job at retaining moisture and it will almost certainly leak if the wearer sits down after a wetting and did exactly that in this test. The leakage was relatively minor but still would leave an obvious wet mark on the wearer's chair/pants.

Lying Down

Total Absorbed Volume: 400 ml (14.1 oz)
Total Wettings: 1
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 70%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 400 ml / 2253 cm2 = 0.18 ml / cm2 (0.04 oz / in2)

Lying Down Rating: 1
The First Quality diaper performed unexpectedly poorly when tested laying down. The expectation was that the extensive padding would provide wider protection than observed in the laboratory test. In reality the padding was quickly overwhelmed and leakage occurred from the sides due to the absence of leak barriers. It only took a single wetting for the diaper to leak and therefore I can't recommend this for situations where the wearer will be laying down for anyone who is a moderate-heavy wetter.

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

Daily Wear and Bedwetting

Unless you're a very light wetter I would not recommend this First Quality diaper for bedwetting. It's far too prone to leaking and doesn't do a good job at preventing surface moisture. This would likely lead to skin irritation and discomfort. It may be fine if you only experience light incontinence during the night, rarely wake up to use the bathroom, and want to wear something comfortable (it is a very comfortable diaper). For daytime use I'm pressed to think of scenarios where it would be ideal. Perhaps the best would be for someone with urge incontinence who will normally make it to the bathroom but leak a bit on the way. The main problem with using this for light daytime use is that it doesn't have refastenable tapes so you will not be able to re-attach it if you remove it to use the bathroom. It's a bit of a shame because this is among the most comfortable diapers I've ever tried and the plastic-backing reduces the risk of pinhole leaks. It also features a fairly discreet profile. In combination with my earlier review of the Attends Waistband diaper I think this proves just how essential a good standing inner leak guard is when it comes to preventing leaks; the Depend Tabs diaper targets a similar market but performs much better. On a final note, it seems the wetness indicator in this diaper is highly sensitive to sweat/humidity and will likely turn blue before a significant wetting has occurred.

Suitability for Bowel Incontinence: 4

I can say with a fair amount of confidence that the First Quality diaper isn't particularly well suited for bowel incontinence. Yes, it does have a plastic backsheet and extensive rear padding. However, it's lacking the key inner leak guards and the padding is thin/somewhat susceptible to sagging/deterioration. It may be only slightly better than the Attends Care Waistband diaper in this regard.

Wear & Tear Tests


The First Quality Brief diaper has a total of 4 one-time use tapes. Once you fasten the tape it's very hard to remove it without damaging the backsheet so you need to be careful to ensure its placed correctly. Otherwise, the tapes have a good grip and are unlikely to come undone while worn.

3.1 First Quality Briefs Fastener

Easy-of-Use Rating: 6
Due to the extensive area of padding it's relatively easy to get a comfortable fit with this First Quality diaper. Getting a snug fit is a bit tougher, but probably not as important with this diaper as others with less padding coverage. However, this diaper is a bit harder to use when it comes to removal as the tapes stick firmly to the backsheet and removing them will result in tearing. Don't expect to easily refasten this diaper if you make a mistake when applying it.

3.2 First Quality Briefs Fit


Comfort Rating (dry): 9
The First Quality diaper was designed for comfort with its "full mat" feature. When worn correctly, very little skin will be in contact with the backsheet, reducing clamminess that can be a problem in diapers with limited padding. This diaper also feels a soft-plastic backsheet that is unlikely to cause irritation. Overall this is almost as good as it gets for diaper comfort, with the caveat that it may become less comfortable if worn long enough for padding deterioration.

Comfort Rating (wet): 3
The First Quality diaper becomes considerably less comfortable when wet, largely due to its poor retention of moisture and padding deterioration. This will result in more skin surface moisture and more skin in contact with the backsheet as the padding begins to clump. Its tendency to leak will almost certainly cause discomfort for the wearer as wet spots show up around the sides diaper's mid-section. The surface dampness issues are unfortunate, because otherwise the extensive padding in the diaper would otherwise be a great bonus for comfort when wet.

3.3 First Quality Briefs Topsheet and Backsheet


Dry Padding Deterioration Proportion: 11% (topsheet), 7.4% (backsheet)
Shake Deterioration Test: 9 shakes to deterioration

Durability Rating (dry): 6
The First Quality diaper had significant signs of wear/tear after 8~10 hours of low-level durability testing. The key parts of the padding were largely intact at the end of it, but multiple tears started showing up (fig 3.4). In any other diaper this might be more noticeable but the sheer amount of padding in this diaper masked discomfort that would normally happen as a result of wear/tear. At the end of the test there was still sufficient padding coverage for protection so I wouldn't rank this too low, but it certainly isn't among the best performers when it comes to durability. As a further note, the wetness indicator is quite sensitive and will likely turn blue as a result of sweat or minor dribble, yet oddly some parts of it remain yellow even after a full wetting.

Durability Rating (wet): 5
The First Quality diaper had mixed results when it came to wet durability. During the shake test a newly opened diaper, wet from the capacity test, was shaken and proved very resilient. However, when worn wet and put through wear/tear the diaper did start to break down in a slightly more obvious way than it did during the dry durability test. For this reason I can't quite give it a low or a high score.

3.4 First Quality Briefs Dry Test Deterioration

Discretion Tests


Front Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 6 cm (2.36"), 6 cm (2.36")
Back Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 5 cm (1.97"), 5.5 cm (2.17")
Side Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 8 cm (3.15"), 7 cm (2.76")

Profile Discretion Rating: 6
This First Quality diaper is relatively thin, but its padding extends quite high and has a large surface area making it slightly harder to conceal than you might otherwise expect. The backsheet also extends well above the waistline. I was tempted to give it a lower rating due to the relatively poor absorbency but many of the features that hurt its profile discretion also help with comfort, so it somewhat balances out. Given how quiet it is, it provides enough profile discretion that it could be used for discreet daily wear with a few extra layers of clothes.

4.1 First Quality Briefs Jeans Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear Jeans (right)

4.2 First Quality Briefs Sweatpants Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear Sweatpants (right)


Noise Rating: 8
For a plastic-backed diaper with a loose backsheet the First Quality diaper is remarkably quiet. It produces a slight crinkling but the sound is so soft it could easily be covered up. I'm not sure exactly why this is, but I suspect it might also be due to the extensive soft padding coverage. If worn under pants/mesh underwear it's unlikely to be noticed.

4.3 First Quality Briefs Noise Profile

Odor Reduction

Odor Reduction Rating: 6
The First Quality diaper has a very slight synthetic fragrance fresh out of the bag, but you're unlikely to notice it. It had mixed results when it came to reducing odor and it was hard to truly gauge it due to the poor absorbency. I believe the total padding area helped cut down on odors and I rarely noticed any odors in testing, but the surface dampness will inevitably lead to the formation of odors. It also lacks a waistband so so it's hard to get a comfortable seal and odors may pass the backsheet from gaps around the waistline.

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