*For more information on how I do reviews see Diaper Test Methodology
SummaryThe Tena Flex Maxi is a very different type of adult diaper from other tab-based diapers I’ve reviewed so far. In most others the back wing is fastened to the front of the diaper during fitting, while in this diaper a belt from the back of the diaper is fastened around the waist then the front of the diaper is fastened onto the belt. The padding and to some extent the fit has a lot of similarities with the Tena Slip Active Fit Maxi. Both diapers are produced in Europe so perhaps they use similar materials. During testing it proved highly durable and surprisingly absorbent. I rank it among the most comfortable diapers I’ve tested, with a very snug, breathable design and soft padding. In terms of availability it seems this diaper is widely available in North America and the UK, it doesn’t appear to be in many marketplaces elsewhere. This diaper performed quite well in both daily wear and for bedwetting. If you’re looking for something breathable and relatively affordable this could be a great choice, the quality and absorption for the price seems quite reasonable.
- Belt-based fastener
- Cloth-like backsheet
- Repositionable tapes
- Dual waistbands
- Standing inner leak barriers
- Comfortable, breathable design
- Highly absorbent
- Very quick/easy to change/adjust
- No small size
- Tapes can fold inward on themselves
- A bit tough to wrap up after use
For the purpose of this post I will be reviewing and referring to the medium-sized Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Diaper. However, other available sizes are listed below:
Manufacturer: Essity HMS North America Inc.
Units Per Bag: 22
Cost Per Unit: $$$
Dimensions (L x W x H): 38 cm (15") x 18 cm (7.1") x 24 cm (9.5")
Weight: 2.6 kg (5.6 lbs)
Available Sizes: M, L
Advertised Absorbency: Maxi
|1.1 Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Packaging|
Backsheet: Cloth-like (non-woven)
Wetness Indicator: Yes (yellow line and text down middle, blue when wet)
Standing Inner Leak Guards: Yes
Leg Gathers: Yes
Product Style: Belt-Style Brief
Refastenable Tabs: Yes
Number of Tapes: 1.5 (2 front, 1 belt)
Repositionable Tabs: Yes
Outer Color: White (green lines and dots along edges, grey belt)
Inner Color: White
Front Waistband: Yes
Rear Waistband: Yes
Folded Thickness: 2 cm (0.79")
Folded Length: 24 cm (9.5")
Dry Weight: 116 g (4.1 oz)
Diaper Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 77 cm (30.3") x 32 cm (12.6") x 25 cm (9.8") x 92 cm (36.2")
Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Padding Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 58 cm (22.8") x 19 cm (7.5") x 15 cm (5.9") x 22 cm (8.7")
Padding Wing Dimensions (fPW x fPH x bPW x bPH): 2 cm (0.8") x 7 cm (2.8") x 3.5 cm (1.4") x 11 cm (4.3")
Padding Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Semicircle, Semicircle
Total Padding Area: 975 cm2 (151 in2)
Tape Spacing (t1): 1.5 cm (0.6")
Tape (W x L): 3 cm (1.2") x 5 cm (2")
|1.2 Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Diaper|
Laboratory Absorbency Tests
Total Absorption Volume (after press out): 1184 ml (41.8 oz)
Total Absorption Volume (before press out): 1209 ml (42.6 oz)
Time to Absorb Wettings (first to last): (55 s, 53 s, 55 s, 70 s, 71 s)
Wet Folded Thickness: 4.5 cm (1.8")
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 84%
Total Padding to Absorbency Ratio: 1.21 ml / cm2 (0.28 oz / in2)
Press Out Volume: 25 ml (0.88 oz)
Surface Dampness Rating: 7
The Tena Flex Maxi was comparable to the Tena Slip Active Fit Maxi when it came to surface dampness. There was no sign of surface dampness on the first wetting during the lab test and only a small amount on the second. It only showed a considerable amount of dampness at the third. Moreover, this was backed up in real world testing, where dampness was generally only apparent by the second wetting.
|2.1 Wet vs Dry Diaper After Capacity Test|
|2.2 Used vs Unused Padding After Capacity Test|
"Real World" Absorbency Tests
Total Absorbed Volume: 934 ml (33 oz)
Total Wettings: (1 standing, 1 sitting)
Leaked After Sitting: No
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 77%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.96 ml / cm2 (0.22 oz / in2)
Standing-Sitting Rating: 7
The Tena Flex Maxi had a decent performance in the standing-sitting test. The first wetting while standing was easily absorbed without much in the way of noticeable dampness. There was no sign of leakage upon sitting shortly after. The second wetting while seated was initially absorbed but eventually pooled at the diaper’s crotch and leaked through the front leg gathers and out around the belt. Even so, the rear padding was still completely dry. With a bit more padding up the front this diaper could likely take a second wetting while seated, but the padding on the Tena Flex Maxi has a relatively low rise up the front. A second wetting while standing in this diaper is likely to be absorbed as moisture has an easier time wicking toward the back. I’d expect the Tena Flex Maxi to manage 1~2 wettings during daily wear depending on posture.
Total Absorbed Volume: 1009 ml (35.6 oz)
Total Wettings: 3
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 96%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 1.03 ml / cm2 (0.24 oz / in2)
Lying Down Rating: 7
The Tena Flex Maxi performed surprisingly well when tested while lying down, given the precariously open sides. This was likely a result of the great fit facilitated by the waistbands and double leak guards (although I feel there would still be some risks for a side sleeper). The first wetting was easily absorbed with minimal surface dampness and a bit of padding swelling at the front. The back remained completely dry at this point. I figured the second wetting would leak, but surprisingly it avoided any sign of leakage. There was a brief period of pooling but it was wicked into the unused rear padding and completely absorbed. At this point the padding had further swelled and likely was susceptible to pressout, but not while lying down. The third wetting went as expected, with significant pooling in the mid padding a substantial leak through the rear leg gathers. Interestingly enough, after the leak the unabsorbed moisture was wicked up and absorbed. The overall performance for this diaper was surprisingly good when tested while lying down and I feel it could be a reasonable choice for bedwetters, particularly if you aren’t frequently a side sleeper. What it loses from the open sides, it makes up for with a very snug fit.
|2.3 Pattern of Used vs Unused Padding Test Stand/Sit (right) Lying Down (left)|
Daily Wear and BedwettingI have to say, when I started this review I was expecting the Tena Flex Maxi to just be a variation of the Tena Stretch line of products. Don’t get me wrong, the Tena Super Stretch is a decent and affordable product, but it lacks standing inner leak guards and waistbands that contribute to fit and protection. The Tena Flex Maxi is full featured. The absorbency of this diaper is also considerably better than the Tena Super Stretch or Tena Stretch Night and was surprisingly good for overnight wear. I give it more of an edge for overnight wear than daily wear because the padding at the front comes up a bit short. In either case I never had a leak after a single wetting, even under continuous pressout from sitting so you can wear this diaper with a lot of confidence. The padding absorbs quickly and keeps it locked away. The design of this diaper is particularly interesting, it features a belt that you wrap around your waist before pulling the main padding between your legs and attaching it to the front of the belt. It reminds me a bit like the Mawashi belt worn by sumo wrestlers or the Fundoshi. The advantage of this is that it’s incredibly breathable, with about the minimal amount of skin contact possible to provide a good level of protection. It has a cloth-like backsheet that doesn’t perspire moisture, though I imagine if you wet in the wrong position there is some risk of moisture escaping out of the open or belted region where the leak guards are weaker. Aside from that, I feel the padding structure has many similarities to the Tena Slip Active Fit Maxi and Ultima, albeit with a bit less absorbency. This diaper is also very easy to change while standing, probably the easiest I’ve tried so far. This will be really helpful when away from home and in need of a quick change at a public restroom. The other advantage is that when you can make it to the restroom on time it’s easy to move the padding to sit on the toilet. You simply unlock the padding from the front of the diaper and pull it back between your legs to sit, then pull it back and refasten it when done. If you haven’t tried the Tena Flex Maxi before I’d highly recommend giving it a try. I’m sure some people will love it and some will hate it, but it does have distinctive advantages not found in most other diapers.
Suitability for Bowel Incontinence: 8
I’m always hesitant to rank a cloth-backed diaper highly when it comes to bowel incontinence but I feel this one hits the mark. The snug fitting leg gathers, waistbands and standing inner leak guards provide ample sources of containment. The backsheet is great and doesn’t perspire while the padding resists the formation of odors. Perhaps the most standout feature this diaper has with regards to bowel incontinence is the speed and ease at which it can be changed. That said, there are still some areas for improvement, I feel the padding may not be wide enough for those with bowel incontinence, particularly at the rear, and the inner leak guards aren’t particularly strong.
Wear & Tear Tests
The Tena Flex Maxi has a very unique design with a cloth-like backsheet and an adjustable belt attached to the rear. The belt material is soft but is different from the material in the backsheet. It’s made of a thicker, more durable material that is specially designed to keep its hook & loop fasteners in place. Unlike most cloth-backed diapers, the fasteners on this are 100% hook & loop so they don’t lose much if any stickiness with multiple refastenings (similar to those with a landing zone like the Attento or Unicharm). There’s one fastener to keep the belt in place and two fasteners on the inside of the diapers backsheet that connect the front of the diaper back to the belt.
|3.1 Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Fastener|
Ease-of-Use Rating: 10
The Tena Flex Maxi is remarkably easy to apply from a standing position, in fact I think it may be the easiest diaper to apply from a standing position that I’ve ever tried. When lying down it’s about as easy as any other diaper to apply and would be an excellent choice for caregivers needing to make quick changes. From a standing position you simply open the belt then wrap it around your waist, then pull the body of the diaper through your legs to attach to the front of the belt. The tapes are all hook & loop fasteners that can be adjusted and re-applied multiple times. I never had any issues obtaining a snug fit and the diaper is full featured, with front/rear waistbands and standing inner leak guards as well as a wetness indicator that goes from yellow to blue when wet. If that weren’t enough, the backsheet of every diaper contains image instructions showing you how it can be applied.
|3.2 Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Diaper Fit|
Comfort Rating (dry): 10
The Tena Flex Maxi is among the most comfortable diapers on the market. The padding keeps its form and doesn’t clump or tear easily. The material isn’t the softest, but comparable with the Seni Super Plus. However, the belt and waistbands provide a snug comfortable fit and the design makes it highly breathable and resistant to overheating. For this reason it could be a particularly good choice for wear during warmer weather. I was expecting this diaper to be similar to the Tena Stretch Super due to a similar looking construct, but I didn’t have the same issues with tape sliding in this one; once the belt is applied it stays in place quite firmly.
Comfort Rating (wet): 9
The Tena Flex Maxi remained quite comfortable when wet. It’s not among the best diapers on the market in terms of reducing surface dampness, but I didn’t notice much in the way of surface dampness or pressout moisture after a wetting. There was a little bit of sagging at the rear when wet but the belt held up well under weight and there was no noticeable loosening at the waistband so it remained snug and comfortable. The padding remained relatively firm through testing when wet and didn’t clump or tear to any substantial degree. Aside from that, the “breathability” of this diaper when wet makes it less susceptible to skin irritation than many. All in all I have no major complaints in terms of wet comfort.
|3.3 Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Topsheet and Backsheet|
Dry Padding Deterioration Proportion: 5.6% (topsheet), 3.3% (backsheet)
Shake Deterioration Test: 2 shakes to deterioration
Durability Rating (dry): 9
The Tena Flex Maxi proved highly durable during testing. At the end of the durability test there was very little padding deterioration or other visible signs of wear. This is likely partly the result of the unique design that I suspect puts less stress on the padding than the typical wing fasteners, but it’s also consistent with what was seen in the Tena Slip Active Fit Maxi. Padding aside, I found the belt held up quite well. Occasionally, a bit of the overlap past the point of attachment would shift above the belt, however, this had no effect on its ability to hold in place. The fasteners are a high quality hook & loop system that doesn’t tear any material when reapplied so there was no damage there. Perhaps the only issue I noticed was that the two fasteners holding the front of the diaper to the belt had a tendency to fold inward a little so they didn’t make complete contact with the belt. I never had them come undone but this could cause problems for some. Even so, it’s easy to correct just by pulling the folded fastener apart and re-attaching it.
Durability Rating (wet): 9
Durability of the Tena Flex Maxi when wet was very similar to its dry state with no noticeable increase in padding deterioration during regular wear (clumping or tearing). The belt design easily held up under the weight of the wet diaper, so it didn’t suffer the typical loosening seen in cloth-backed diapers like the FitRight Restore or Abena Delta-Form. On the flip side it did perform worse in the wet shake test with only 2 shakes to padding collapse, but I didn’t factor that much into my rating since it performed so well in real world testing. Aside from that, the backsheet held up without signs of perspiration and the waistbands remained snug.
|3.4 Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Dry Test Deterioration|
Front Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 6.5 cm (2.6"), 6.5 cm (2.6")
Back Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 3.5 cm (1.4"), 2.5 cm (1")
Side Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 8 cm (3.2"), 3.5 cm (1.4")
Profile Discretion Rating: 8
You won’t have too much trouble hiding the Tena Flex Maxi as it has a slim profile. The profile is very similar to the Tena PROSkin Stretch Night. It does have a bit of a bulge at the rear, but one that could easily be concealed with under or meshpants. Though you may need to be mindful of the relatively high rise at the rear.
|4.1 Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Jeans Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)|
|4.2 Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Sweats Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)|
Noise Rating: 10
The Tena Flex Maxi gets top marks when it comes to noise discretion. This diaper can easily be worn when out and about and is very unlikely to be noticed. The belted system results in less rustling than a typical diaper with tabs. Otherwise, the structure is very similar to the also quiet Tena Super Stretch.
|4.3 Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi Noise Profile|
Odor Reduction Rating: 9
I rate this diaper right between the Tena Slip Active Fit Maxi and Tena Super Stretch when it comes to odor reduction. It has the same great padding resistance to dampness and odors in particular. It doesn’t have a plastic-backsheet like the Tena Slip Active Fit Maxi or Ultima and won’t be quite as good as those in this regard, but it does have a great fit with a combination of leak guards and waistbands.
Want to give the Tena PROSkin Flex Maxi a try?
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