Sunday 13 December 2020

Abena Delta-Form M3 Adult Diaper Review

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


The Abena Delta-Form M3 provides the maximum level of available absorbency in Abena’s Delta-Form line of products; unlike the Abri-Form line, which goes up to M4. The Delta-Form used to be plastic-backed but has since moved to a cloth-backed design and seems slightly less absorbent. The padding is very similar to the Abri-Form M4, but less absorbent. It has the same issues with surface dampness and padding deterioration but is otherwise pretty comfortable.

This diaper has a pretty good wicking ability but the surface dampness issues can make it feel a bit clammy when wet. I also have concerns about the cloth-like backsheet permeating moisture, although it was never obvious during testing. It actually reminds me a bit of the old green Tena Super, with this being more absorbent. I found this diaper hard to classify, it looks like it should be up there with the premium adult diapers by appearance and thickness, yet its absorbency is more in line with mid-range diapers like the Tranquility ATN (generally good for 1~2 wettings). In terms of pricing this diaper falls within the bottom of the premium range of adult diapers. If you can find it for a decent price it may be worth trying out; at regular price I don’t feel it provides a great value for the cost.

Key Features:

  • Cloth-like (non-woven backsheet)
  • Blue backsheet
  • Repositionable tapes


  • Thick/soft flexible padding
  • Breathable design
  • Relatively quiet/discreet for its size


  • Padding easily deteriorates
  • Some issues with surface dampness

Product Details

For the purpose of this post I will be reviewing and referring to the medium-sized Abena Delta-Form M3 diaper. However, other available sizes are listed below:


Brand: Delta-Form
Manufacturer: Abena A/S
Origin: Denmark
Units Per Bag: 15
Cost Per Unit: $$$
Dimensions (L x W x H): 39 cm (15.4") x 16 cm (6.3") x 26 cm (10.2")
Weight: 2.3 kg (5 lbs)
Available Sizes: M,L,XL
Advertised Absorbency: Maximum

1.1 Delta-Form M3 Packaging


Backsheet: Cloth-like (non-woven)
Wetness Indicator: Yes (double yellow lines down middle, blue when wet)
Standing Inner Leak Guards: Yes
Leg Gathers: Yes
Product Style: Tab-Style Brief
Refastenable Tabs: Yes
Number of Tapes: 2
Repositionable Tabs: Yes
Outer Color: Light blue
Inner Color: White (light blue leg gathers/outline around padding)
Front Waistband: No
Rear Waistband: No
Folded Thickness: 2.7 cm (1.1")
Folded Length: 26 cm (10.2")
Dry Weight: 150 g (5.3 oz)
Fragrance: None
Diaper Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 83 cm (32.7") x 66 cm (26") x 27.5 cm (11.2") x 66 cm (26")
Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Padding Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 70 cm (27.6") x 30.5 cm (12") x 19 cm (7.5") x 35 cm (13.8")
Padding Wing Dimensions (fPW x fPH x bPW x bPH): 5.8 cm (2.3") x 15 cm (5.9") x 8 cm (3.2") x 18 cm (7.1")
Padding Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Semicircle, Semicircle
Total Padding Area: 1791 cm2 (278 in2)
Tape Spacing (t1 x t2): 2.5 cm (1") x 16.5 cm (6.5")
Tape (W x L): 3 cm (1.2") x 4.5 cm (1.8")

1.2 Delta-Form M3 Diaper

Laboratory Absorbency Tests

Total Absorption Volume (after press out): 925 ml (32.6 oz)
Total Absorption Volume (before press out): 975 ml (34.4 oz)
Time to Absorb Wettings (first to last): (54 s, 55 s, 65 s, 77 s)
Wet Folded Thickness: 4 cm (1.6")
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 81%
Total Padding to Absorbency Ratio: 0.52 ml / cm2 (0.12 oz / in2)
Press Out Volume: 50 ml (1.76 oz)

Surface Dampness Rating: 4
During the capacity test the Delta-Form M3 demonstrated substantial surface dampness after only a single wetting. In the real world testing it didn’t feel as bad as it would appear but the surface dampness issue was still very much apparent. I rank right where I ranked the Abri-Form M4, as I feel they have a similar padding construct.

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: 950 ml (33.5 oz)
Total Wettings: 3 (1 standing, 2 sitting)
Leaked After Sitting: No
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 97%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.53 ml / cm2 (0.12 oz / in2)

Standing-Sitting Rating: 7
The Delta-Form M3 was easily able to handle the first wetting while standing and didn’t leak when seated; all dampness was absorbed rapidly. The second wetting while seated was quickly and easily absorbed with quick wicking up the diaper’s front and back sides. At this point the diaper still felt relatively dry. By the third wetting moisture wicked up the front and back again but was much more apparent, some came through the sides and there was leakage apparent at the rear. Based on this, I feel it would be reliable for 2 wettings but is most likely to leak on the third during daily wear.

Lying Down

Total Absorbed Volume: 825 ml (29.1 oz)
Total Wettings: 3
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 93%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.46 ml / cm2 (0.10 oz / in2)

Lying Down Rating: 6
The Delta-Form M3 performed decently in the lying down test. On the first wetting there was a very brief pooling but once absorbed it was mostly dry. On the second wetting, moisture channeled to the back as the mid-section had become saturated. At this point the diaper’s padding was noticeably clammy and it took much longer for the moisture to be absorbed. On the third wetting the Delta-Form leaked immediately, so it’s hard to say this diaper can take any more than 2 wettings while lying down.

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

Daily Wear and Bedwetting

The Abena Delta-Form M3 proved moderately absorbent during testing, which came as a bit of a surprise because the diaper is as thick as many of the highest absorbency diapers on the market. The padding is of a relatively low density and during testing I found it has the same surface-dampness issues as the more absorbent Abena Abri-Form M4. In terms of discretion this diaper doesn’t stand out as much as you might think based on thickness, because of the fit and flexibility of the padding. My main issue with it in terms of discretion is the glaring hospital blue, which will be very apparent with its high rise if anyone were to catch a glimpse. It should be OK for daily or overnight usage, but you need to keep in mind that it will only reliably absorb 1~2 wettings. Beyond 2 wettings I’ve found it to be quite prone to leakage. In terms of overall absorbency I feel it actually comes quite close to the Tranquility ATN, but I trust the ATN a little more as its plastic-backing is more resistant to leaks. When worn during the day you need to be particularly aware of the potential for leakage when sitting after a wetting. In terms of construction, this diaper has some issues with deterioration during extended wear and the tapes can tear the other cloth part of the backsheet when being re-applied and lose their stickiness. The backsheet itself is somewhat similar to the Attends Premier Overnight, though a bit less soft. It has a fibrous feel to it and fibers can become detached with wear. It’s best worn for shorter intervals, but not what you want for extended wear.

Suitability for Bowel Incontinence: 5

The Abena Delta-Form M3 probably isn't the best choice for dealing with bowel incontinence. The cloth-like backsheet and relatively weak tapes could be problematic. If it were a little more structurally durable I'd probably rank it higher here, because it has generous area of rear padding. As it is, I feel there are other diapers better suited for dealing with bowel incontinence like the BetterDry/Crinklz.

Wear & Tear Tests


The Abena Delta-Form M3 features a cloth-like backsheet with mixed tape/hook and loop fasteners (there are strips of hook and loop mixed in with the tape). The tapes can be reapplied but I’ve found they tear at the backsheet and lose some stickiness over time.

3.1 Delta-Form M3 Fastener

Ease-of-Use Rating: 7
It isn’t too hard to get a reasonably snug fit with the Delta-Form M3, but the tapes have a slight tendency to loosen over time. The tapes also tear at the backsheet, which although it doesn’t cause leaks, makes it even harder to refasten. I put it right around average when it comes to cloth-backed diapers. The ability to reposition the tapes anywhere on the backsheet makes it easy for a wearer or carer to change by easily correcting any mistakes in fit. It also has generous sizing and padding distribution, which makes it easy to position it in a way that provides a good level of protection.

3.2 Delta-Form M3 Fit


Comfort Rating (dry): 7
The Delta-Form M3 has a soft padding and backsheet, not the softest I’ve tried but it does feel reasonably breathable. The backsheet is cloth-like and fibrous, I’ve found these fibers can become detached, but not so much as the Attends Premier Overnight. It’s possible to get a good fit with this diaper, but hard to get a snug fit. This diaper has two main deficiencies when it comes to dry comfort. The first is that the padding has a tendency to tear when worn, even while dry. The second is that the tapes lose their stickiness with wear and have a tendency to slide and tear the fabric covering resulting in a loose fit; this differentiates it from the Abri-Form M4, which has much stronger tapes. I rank it a little below the Medline Extended Wear Briefs in this regard.

Comfort Rating (wet): 6
The Delta-Form M3 will feel mostly dry after the first wetting, but begins to feel clammy with subsequent wettings. When wet it also suffers from the same problems around padding deterioration and loosening tapes, which detract from its comfort. I’d say it falls at about the lower-to-mid-range for wet comfort as it provides a reasonable amount of absorbency and still has some degree of breathability even when saturated. I’ve ranked it slightly below the Abri-Form M4, because it has the same surface dampness issues, but also has weaker tapes and absorbs less; I don’t feel the better breathability quite makes up for those two detractors.

3.3 Delta-Form M3 Topsheet and Backsheet


Dry Padding Deterioration Proportion: 6% (topsheet), 4.3% (backsheet)
Shake Deterioration Test: 4 shakes to deterioration

Durability Rating (dry): 6
When it came to dry durability, the Delta-Form M3 was remarkably similar to the Abri-Form M4, even though this diaper is cloth-backed and the other plastic-backed. It likely all comes down to padding. At the end of the dry durability test there were substantial areas of padding deterioration including several spots key to absorption. While the absolute deterioration wasn’t quite as high, the tapes lost more stickiness with each refastening. Activity during this test was relatively minor, so I feel this would be even more of an issue for an active individual and wouldn’t recommend it for active daytime wear.

Durability Rating (wet): 6
The Delta-Form M3’s wet durability also mirrored the Abri-Form M4, with the padding tearing and starting to come loose. This would surely be an issue for an active wearer and I would again recommend against using this diaper for active daily wear. The weakness of the tapes is also somewhat amplified when wet as it will want to sag. I didn’t find the sagging to be as bad as it was for the Lille SupremFit Maxi, but then this diaper is not as absorbent as the Lille diaper. Otherwise, it wasn’t as bad as some of the others on the shake test, but I didn’t feel it was enough to bump its rating in this regard.

3.4 Delta-Form M3 Diaper Dry Test Deterioration

Discretion Tests


Front Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 5 cm (2"), 5.5 cm (2.2")
Back Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 8 cm (3.2"), 5.5 cm (2.2")
Side Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 5 cm (2"), 6.5 cm (2.6")

Profile Discretion Rating: 7
For a fairly thick diaper the Delta-Form M3 is surprisingly discreet when it comes to profile. It will stick out in tighter pants but the padding is flexible and it has a pretty snug fit when dry (sitting quite high on the wearer); so it should be easier to hide with the right choice of clothing. The downside is that it rises well above the waistline and has a distinctive “hospital blue” color that would stand out were anyone to catch a glimpse.

4.1 Delta-Form M3 Jeans Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)

4.2 Delta-Form M3 Sweatpants Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)


Noise Rating: 8
The Delta-Form M3 is roughly in line with most of the other cloth-backed diapers on the market and produces only a slight crinkling sound. The padding is thick and soft, which may have a dampening effect on noise. This is particularly true when dry, while it becomes a little noisier when wet. I wouldn’t rank it among the top diapers for noise discretion but it’s at least as discreet as the Attends Premier Briefs Overnight.


4.3 Delta-Form M3 Noise Profile


Odor Reduction

Odor Reduction Rating: 5
The Delta-Form M3 performed similarly to the Abri-Form M4 when it came to odor reduction. The tendency for surface moisture after only a single wetting contributes to odors and the structure doesn’t do a good job at retaining them. The breathability may help in some ways by reducing sweating, but it's countered by more easily allowing odors to escape when they do form. The diaper itself doesn’t have any added fragrance and the padding doesn’t seem particularly adept at preventing odors from developing.

Want to give the Medline Extended Wear a try?

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