Saturday, 25 September 2021

Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper Review

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


Summary

The Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper is a low absorbency cloth-backed diaper that is among the most commonly sold brands in Japan along with the Attento Tape-Style diaper. The Lifree brand is also one of the mostly widely sold adult diaper brands sold in stores around Southeast Asia. This diaper features a large landing zone with high quality fasteners for easy re-attachment. It’s also among the most comfortable tested so far when worn dry.

In terms of absorbency this diaper ranks at the lower end. Its advertised absorbency is 4 using the Japanese rating system, which translates to 600 ml (20 oz). You can expect it to handle up to a single wetting but no more than that without a booster. I would say it’s inadvisable to use this diaper without a booster, because even with a single wetting you’ll find perspiration through the backsheet.


Key Features:

  • Cloth-like (non-woven backsheet)
  • Repositionable tapes
  • Rear waistband
  • Dual standing inner leak barriers

Pros:

  • Comfortable fit
  • Breathable design
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Poor absorbency
  • Prone to odors
  • Backsheet perspiration

 

Product Details

For the purpose of this post I will be reviewing and referring to the medium-sized Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper. However, other available sizes are listed below:


Packaging

Brand: Lifree
Manufacturer: Unicharm
Origin: Japan
Units Per Bag: 20
Cost Per Unit: $$
Dimensions (L x W x H): 40 cm (15.8") x 20 cm (7.9") x 26 cm (10.2")
Weight: 2.25 kg (4.96 lbs)
Available Sizes: S,M, L,LL
Advertised Absorbency: 600 ml

1.1 Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper Packaging

Diaper

Backsheet: Cloth-like (non-woven)
Wetness Indicator: No
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 (white markings + patterned landing zone)
Inner Color: White
Front Waistband: No
Rear Waistband: Yes
Folded Thickness: 2.2 cm (0.87")
Folded Length: 25.5 cm (10")
Dry Weight: 117 g (4.13 oz)
Fragrance: None
Diaper Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 80 cm (31.5") x 46 cm (18.1") x 33 cm (13") x 61 cm (24")
Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Padding Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 62 cm (24.4") x 27 cm (10.6") x 21 cm (8.2") x 27 cm (10.6")
Padding Wing Dimensions (fPW x fPH x bPW x bPH): 3 cm (1.2") x 15 cm (5.9") x 3 cm (1.2") x 19 cm (7.5")
Padding Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Total Padding Area: 1506 cm2 (233 in2)
Tape Spacing (t1 x t2): 2 cm (0.8") x 14 cm (5.5")
Tape (W x L): 5 cm (2") x 2 cm (0.8")

1.2 Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper


Laboratory Absorbency Tests

Total Absorption Volume (after press out): 678 ml (23.9 oz)
Total Absorption Volume (before press out): 683 ml (24.1 oz)
Time to Absorb Wettings (first to last): (35 s, 37 s, 34 s)
Wet Folded Thickness: 4 cm (1.6")
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 81%
Total Padding to Absorbency Ratio: 0.45 ml / cm2 (0.10 oz / in2)
Press Out Volume: 5 ml (0.2 oz)

Surface Dampness Rating: 3
The Unicharm Lifree diaper performed about as expected in terms of surface dampness given the thin padding. There was substantial surface dampness from the very first wetting, similar to that seen in the Attento diaper. It wasn’t as bad during testing, but that may have had more to do with its breathability as the padding doesn’t take much to hit saturation.




2.1 Wet vs Dry Diaper After Capacity Test


2.2 Used vs Unused Padding After Capacity Test

"Real World" Absorbency Tests

Posture Tests


Standing-Sitting

Total Absorbed Volume: 633 ml (22.3 oz)
Total Wettings: (1 standing, 2 sitting)
Leaked After Sitting: No
Used to Total Padding Ratio:81%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.42 ml / cm2 (0.10 oz / in2)

Standing-Sitting Rating: 3
The Unicharm diaper comfortably absorbed the first wetting while standing and didn’t show any signs of leakage. Much of the moisture was absorbed at the front of the diaper but the surface dampness wasn’t particularly noticeable. I found this surprising for a diaper with an advertised absorbency of only 600 ml (20.2 oz). After a while it did feel like there was some perspiration through the backsheet. The second wetting was completely absorbed, but the surface dampness was more apparent and there was even more perspiration through the backsheet. In spite of that the double inner leak guards performed wonderfully. There was substantial leakage on the third wetting and a fair amount of surface dampness. Based on this, the Unicharm diaper should be able to take at least 1~2 wettings before leakage becomes an issue, certainly more if used with a booster like intended; however, you would still need to worry about perspiration through the backsheet.


Lying Down

Total Absorbed Volume: 658 ml (23.2 oz)
Total Wettings: 2
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 70%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.44 ml / cm2 (0.10 oz / in2)

Lying Down Rating: 3
The Unicharm diaper proved highly resistant to leakage on the first wetting in spite of the relatively sparse padding. The dual inner leak guards seem to play a big role in this diaper's ability to avoid leaks. However, the diaper felt very saturated at this point and the backsheet started “sweating” moisture shortly after. I pushed it through to a second wetting and it just became more saturated, there wasn’t much leakage but there was heavy perspiration through the backsheet. I stopped it at that, I think this diaper would do well with booster pads like its intended usage, but the backsheet sweating may still be an issue. Without a booster, I wouldn’t push it past a single wetting, even if the leak guards can take more.

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


Daily Wear and Bedwetting

The Unicharm Lifree diaper is typical of many Japanese adult diapers, which tend to be very spacious with thin padding and designed for use with a booster pad. This diaper has a very soft cloth backsheet and padding. It also has a design typical of Asian adult diapers with a landing zone, which in this case uses a hook & loop system for easy re-application. It’s among the most breathable diapers you’ll find and very similar to the Attento diaper. One thing that sets this diaper apart from others is its use of double inner leak guards. These seem to help with the fit and are particularly good at preventing leakage. Unfortunately, the breathability has the downside of leaving the diaper susceptible to perspiration through the backsheet. During daily wear this will lead to dampness on the wearers pants at times and it generally shouldn’t be worn for long. It seems better suited for bed wear with a booster pad where it can be changed frequently, but even then I suspect perspiration would be an issue. Without a booster pad this diaper should take at least a single wetting without leaking (not including backsheet perspiration), any more than that and it’s very likely to leak.


Suitability for Bowel Incontinence: 4

The Unicharm Lifree diaper has some features that make it very good for dealing with bowel incontinence, but others that go against it. The dual inner leak guards is a big plus as well as the rear waistband, but like most cloth-backed diapers it isn’t great at containing odors and the backsheet may perspire leakage.


Wear & Tear Tests


Fitting

The Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper features two high quality repositionable hook & loop (velcro-like) fasteners per side and a cloth-like backsheet. It has a dedicated landing zone for the tapes that makes them easier to detach/reattach when needed. It also features two soft/stretchy inner leak guards.

3.1 Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper Fastener

Ease-of-Use Rating: 9

The Unicharm diaper ranks similar to the Attento diaper when it comes to ease-of-use. It has the same great hook and loop + landing zone combo that makes it very easy to attach/reattach the tapes and it doesn’t lose stickiness over time. It’s easy to get a snug comfortable fit, but the lack of a wetness indicator could make it more challenging to determine when changes are needed.

3.2 Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper Fit

Comfort


Comfort Rating (dry): 10
This Unicharm diaper has a very similar construct to the Attento diaper and is right up there in terms of dry comfort. This diaper feels very light and breathable with a soft padding and snug fit. The material used in this diaper won’t easily chafe and its padding doesn’t easily clump or tear when dry. The only potential issue is that if you put the bottom tape too low in the tape landing zone it can scratch the legs. That’s easily avoidable with proper tape placement so I really have no complaints.

Comfort Rating (wet): 7
You wouldn’t expect to wear this Unicharm diaper for long without a booster pad, but it can take a single wetting without one and not leak. In this case you might still notice some minor perspiration through the backsheet, which takes away slightly from the comfort. The padding has a damp feel to it, but like the Attento diaper the clamminess is somewhat reduced by it’s amazing breathability. Moreover, the Unicharm diaper’s padding holds up well with wear, even when wet so clumping and tearing aren’t much of an issue. Fixing the surface dampness and backsheet perspiration would go a long way to improving the wet comfort of this diaper, but considering it’s designed to be used with boosters that may not be much of an issue if used as intended.

3.3 Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper Topsheet and Backsheet


Durability

Dry Padding Deterioration Proportion: 9.2% (topsheet), 7% (backsheet)
Shake Deterioration Test: 3 shakes to deterioration


Durability Rating (dry): 8
The Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper has 3 channels of padding running parallel from the front of the diaper to the back. This gives the padding a bit more give in terms of being able to collapse inwards, reducing the potential for deterioration. The padding is also pretty thin, which poses a problem for absorption but assists with durability. This diaper has a high quality construct and the tapes won’t lose much, if any, stickiness over time. During 8~10 hours of extended wear during the dry durability test the padding clearly looked worn, but otherwise had no clumping or tearing.


Durability Rating (wet): 6
The Unicharm diaper has relatively thin padding and is well constructed so naturally it holds together quite well when wet. The tapes are also quite strong so there’s not much risk of it coming loose under its weight. Its padding won’t clump or tear, but keep in mind that it has very little absorbency and the backsheet sweats moisture.

3.4 Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper Dry Test Deterioration

Discretion Tests


Profile

Front Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 4.0 cm (1.6"), 5.0 cm (2")
Back Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 8.0 cm (3.1"), 6.5 cm (2.6")
Side Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 6.0 cm (2.4"), 6.0 cm (2.4")

Profile Discretion Rating: 8
The Unicharm diaper is very similar to the Attento diaper when it comes to profile discretion, though perhaps slightly slimmer fitting. The main issue is that it does have a bit of a bulge at the rear. This diaper should be pretty easy to hide under clothing although you’d need to be careful about its tendency to perspire moisture through the backsheet.

4.1 Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper Jeans Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)

4.2 Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper Sweats Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right) 



Noise

Noise Rating: 9
The Unicharm diaper is again very similar to the Attento diaper when it comes to backsheet noise. It’s very very quiet, not much different from regular underwear. The primary issue is in the hook & loop tape system, which can scratch the landing zone and create modest noise. Otherwise, for the most part you wouldn’t notice this diaper based on its noise.

4.3 Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper Noise Profile

Odor Reduction

Odor Reduction Rating: 5
The Unicharm Lifree Adult Diaper doesn’t appear to be very good at preventing odors. This isn’t uncommon among cloth-backed diapers, because odors can often escape the breathable sides. However, in this case the perspiration through the backsheet makes it particularly prone to odors. On the flip side, it does have a rear waistband, which helps counteract odors that form within the padding.


Saturday, 18 September 2021

Wellness Briefs Original Adult Diaper Review

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


Summary

The Wellness Briefs Original diaper has been on the market for quite awhile and was one of the earliest “high performance” diapers available. This diaper is advertised for it’s NASA inspired technology, referencing the Maximum Absorbency Garment (MAG) diaper used by astronauts. It has a light-blue plastic backsheet and soft absorbent padding with reasonably high absorbency. This diaper is made in Turkey with materials imported from the US and Germany. Regrettably, it has one fatal flaw: a strong tendency to develop pinhole leaks in the backsheet, which will result in leakage to clothing or bedsheets. I found many of the diapers tested suffered from this problem. This diaper is advertised as being best for bedridden patients and perhaps with very minimal movement the leakage can be avoided. In personal experience, even a restless sleep by a bedwetter will be enough to trigger the leakage if the diaper nears saturation. This does have the potential to be a great diaper due to its fit and comfort, but until the quality control issues are fixed it would be hard to recommend it for active wearers.


Key Features:

  • Plastic backsheet
  • Standing inner leak barriers
  • Refastenable tapes

Pros:

  • Soft/comfortable padding/backsheet
  • Good padding absorption
  • Resistant to surface dampness

Cons:

  • Numerous pinhole leaks
  • High unit cost

 

Product Details

For the purpose of this post I will be reviewing and referring to the medium-sized Wellness Briefs Original Adult Diaper. However, other available sizes are listed below:


Packaging

Brand: Unique Wellness
Manufacturer: EBM Ventures, Inc.
Origin: Turkey (with US and German materials)
Units Per Bag: 20
Cost Per Unit: $$$
Dimensions (L x W x H): 40 cm (15.8") x 17 cm (6.7") x 25 cm (9.8")
Weight: 2.38 kg (5.24 lbs)
Available Sizes: M, L,XL
Advertised Absorbency: Super

 

1.1 Wellness Briefs Original Packaging

Diaper

Backsheet: Plastic (Poly)
Wetness Indicator: Yes (orange line down the 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: No
Outer Color: Light Blue
Inner Color: White (green rectangle in middle padding)
Front Waistband: No
Rear Waistband: No
Folded Thickness: 2.3 cm (0.92")
Folded Length: 25 cm (9.8")
Dry Weight: 125 g (4.4 oz)
Fragrance: None
Diaper Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 76 cm (29.9") x 64 cm (25.2") x 25 cm (9.8") x 63 cm (26.7")
Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Padding Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 68 cm (26.7") x 24 cm (9.5") x 16 cm (6.3") x 26 cm (10.2")
Padding Wing Dimensions (fPW x fPH x bPW x bPH): 4 cm (1.6") x 11 cm (4.3") x 5 cm (2") x 14 cm (5.5")
Padding Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Semicircle, Semicircle
Total Padding Area: 1316 cm2 (204 in2)
Tape Spacing (t1 x t2): 5.5 cm (2.2") x 11 cm (4.3")
Tape (W x L): 2.5 cm (1") x 4 cm (1.6")

1.2 Wellness Briefs Original Diaper


Laboratory Absorbency Tests

Total Absorption Volume (after press out): 1225 ml (43.2 oz)
Total Absorption Volume (before press out): 1350 ml (40.6 oz)
Time to Absorb Wettings (first to last): (40 s, 40 s, 46 s, 50 s, 48 s)
Wet Folded Thickness: 5 cm (2")
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 84%
Total Padding to Absorbency Ratio: 0.87 ml / cm2 (0.20 oz / in2)
Press Out Volume: 75 ml (2.65 oz)

Surface Dampness Rating: 7
The Wellness Original diaper demonstrated no obvious surface dampness after the first wetting and just a small amount after the second wetting. It wasn’t until the 3rd that more dampness showed up, but it was still far from saturated. This was backed up in real world testing, where the diaper showed strong resistance 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


Standing-Sitting

Total Absorbed Volume: 900 ml (31.2 oz)
Total Wettings: (1 standing, 1 sitting)
Leaked After Sitting: No (see notes below)
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 75%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.68 ml / cm2 (0.16 oz / in2)

Standing-Sitting Rating: 2
The Wellness Original diaper absorbed the first wetting while standing without any obvious leakage, but I still felt like some moisture escaped through the backsheet. There appeared to be some minor leakage upon sitting. The second wetting while seated pushed up the front of the diaper, but didn’t cause any immediate leakage in the front and nothing got past the leak guards. However, there was even more substantial leakage through the holes that had formed in the backsheet and it would have left a very obvious wet stain on the wearer’s chair/pants. There was also still a large area of unused padding at the rear and absorbency might have improved had it been wicked up back there. So with this in mind, I would not recommend this diaper for daytime use. It needs to be used in combination with a bed pad and even then there can be substantial leakage with a single wetting. Aside from that, the diaper’s padding remained decently comfortable after both wetting (although it felt a little damp on the second wetting) and there wasn’t much in terms of clumping or tearing. This diaper would be great if they could just fix the leaking backsheet.


Lying Down

Total Absorbed Volume: 900 ml (31.2 oz)
Total Wettings: 2
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 74%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.68 ml / cm2 (0.16 oz / in2)

Lying Down Rating: 4
The Wellness Original diaper didn’t perform as well as expected in the lying down test; it could be so much better with better quality control on the backseat. There were pinhole leaks on the very first wetting, yet the leak guards were barely tested and the padding remained dry and comfortable. On the second wetting there was more substantial leakage through the backsheet, even though there was no apparent leakage through the leak guards. It wasn’t entirely clear where the leakage was coming from but it would have made a mess of the bed if a bed pad hadn’t been used. The performance was quite disappointing considering the diaper still remained relatively comfortable and may otherwise have been able to take a 3rd wetting without leakage. Unless they fix the backsheet leaks, then with a bed pad you may be able to get one or two wettings out of this diaper otherwise you’ll be dealing with at least some leakage from the very first wetting. I didn’t find this was the case with every diaper tested, but it was a high enough number that I wouldn’t have confidence to wear it to bed.

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


Daily Wear and Bedwetting

I have to say, I’m glad I tested the Wellness Briefs Original diaper before wearing any to bed. Perhaps, I got a bad batch, but many of those tested had pinhole leaks and the amount that they leaked was beyond mere perspiration, it was enough that it would have left a significant stain in pants or bedding. This is really too bad, because otherwise this is a pretty impressive diaper with comfortable padding and a soft backsheet. I also was curious to see how this diaper performed and hoped it would do well based on its unusual NASA-based branding and marketing materials. Upon first inspection of the diaper I noticed some bumpiness in the backsheet, which had me concerned from the start. Nevertheless, I did test it sitting and lying down. It will absorb a modest amount before leakage becomes an issue, but that may not even be a single full wetting. It does advertise this product as one that should mostly be used for bedridden patients, but even then I found pinhole leaks developed when lying down and while it wasn’t as bad it would still be an issue and require a bed pad much of the time (perhaps not for those who are bedridden with very minimal movement). It isn’t great for daily wear, it sometimes (though not always) would leak on the first wetting while still standing, in that case it would leak even more if sitting afterwards. Again, it has the potential to be a great diaper but I can’t recommend it at present due to quality concerns, not to mention a pretty high unit price.


Suitability for Bowel Incontinence: 5

The Wellness Original diaper should perform well at containing bowel incontinence. It has decent leg gathers, quality padding and a plastic backsheet. Containment won’t be an issue, but introduce any amount of liquid into the mix and it will find its way through the pinholes in the backsheet.


Wear & Tear Tests


Fitting

The Wellness Original diaper features two small double-tape fasteners per side, allowing the diaper to be detached and reattached in the same position. The tapes are small, but have a reasonably strong adhesive that holds well on the plastic backsheet. Just don’t pull too hard, or hold the inner tape when removing them as they can rip the backsheet.

3.1 Wellness Briefs Original Fastener

Ease-of-Use Rating: 7

I put the Wellness Original diaper in a similar spot as the Tranquility ATN or Molicare Slip Maxi when it comes to ease-of-use. Generally it was a little easier than the Tranquility ATN to achieve a snug fit in spite of having no waistbands. In this particular rating I’m ignoring the tendency to develop pinhole leaks, which could obviously introduce some challenges. Otherwise, this diaper is easy to apply and remove (as long as you’re careful in the way you detach the tapes if reapplying). This doesn’t account for the fact that the bag they come in doesn’t have any easy-tear seams so it can be tricky to open.

3.2 Wellness Briefs Original Diaper Fit

Comfort


Comfort Rating (dry): 8
The Wellness Original diaper has a very soft plastic backsheet, with a consistency I haven’t noticed in any other diaper. Its padding is also incredibly soft and doesn’t easily clump or tear. This diaper has a snug fit and is very unlikely to come loose during wear. It may have been a little better with front/rear waistbands, otherwise the only real downside is that the diaper can get pretty warm and doesn’t disperse heat as well as might be expected (though this isn’t uncommon in plastic-backed diapers).

Comfort Rating (wet): 4
The Wellness Original diaper doesn’t fall back in terms of wet comfort due to surface dryness or claminess (though it can get a bit warm). Instead, the primary reason for its low score is once again the leaks that develop in the backsheet. It doesn’t matter that the plastic backsheet and padding are still super comfortable when your pants are getting soaked. I give it points that until it hits a certain level of absorption this problem generally isn’t noticeable, but when it does happen you really notice it; so far it’s the only diaper tested that has leaked while standing (even low absorption diapers tend to hold off leakage until seated).


3.3 Wellness Briefs Original Topsheet and Backsheet


Durability

Dry Padding Deterioration Proportion: 5.1% (topsheet), 15.2% (backsheet)
Shake Deterioration Test: 3 shakes to deterioration


Durability Rating (dry): 6
The Wellness Original diaper performed well in terms of avoiding padding clumping or tearing and the only significant areas of deterioration were between the legs where the padding folded inwards a little. So the condition of the padding itself wouldn’t have a significant impact on the performance of the diaper. Unfortunately the rapid development of holes in the backsheet was a far more serious issue. The holes were tiny, but still large enough to lead to substantial leakage after the diaper hit a certain level of absorption. This is the primary reason for the lower score in terms of dry durability.


Durability Rating (wet): 4
The padding of the Wellness Original diaper still holds up quite well when wet, but again it's the leaks that are a huge problem, which you may notice as a theme by now. If it were only based on the state of the padding or look of the backsheet I’d consider this to be a fairly durable diaper in terms of wet durability. Unfortunately the most important part of wet durability is the ability to keep leakage to a minimum and thus it gets an even lower score than given in terms of dry durability.

3.4 Wellness Briefs Original Dry Test Deterioration

Discretion Tests


Profile

Front Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 3.0 cm (1.2"), 4.0 cm (1.6")
Back Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 7.5 cm (3"), 5.4 cm (2.1")
Side Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 4.5 cm (1.8"), 4.0 cm (1.6")

Profile Discretion Rating: 7
The Wellness Original diaper can be concealed under clothing but it does have a tendency to cause a bit of a bulge at the rear. I put it inline with diapers like the Certainty or Attends Delta-Form M3 in this regard.

4.1 Wellness Briefs Original Jeans Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)

4.2 Wellness Briefs Original Sweats Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right) 



Noise

Noise Rating: 4
The Wellness Original diaper has a relatively loose plastic-backing that is easily prone to rustling. This creates an obvious crinkling noise with even the slightest movement. I ranked it between the Attends Care Poly and Attends Waistband diapers in this regard; it would be challenging to hide the noise produced by this diaper.

4.3 Wellness Briefs Original Noise Profile


Odor Reduction

Odor Reduction Rating: 5
This diaper would perform well in terms of odor reduction if only it weren’t for the pinhole leaks in the backsheet. The lack of waistbands could allow odors to escape more easily, but otherwise the padding isn’t particularly prone to odors (though far from the level of the Tena Active Fit Ultima). But again, it doesn’t matter how good the padding or structure of the diaper are at containing odors when leaks escape through the backsheet.