*For more information on how I do reviews see Diaper Test Methodology
SummaryThe Abri-Form Premium “Air Plus” M4 is the cloth-backed equivalent to the popular plastic-backed original Abena Abri-Form M4 (also known as the Abena X-Plus). Both are premium European-manufactured diapers with a high level of absorbency. The diaper has an interesting history as it was initially expected to replace the Abri-Form M4, but due to a significant amount of push-back that never happened and eventually the “Abri-Form M4” (also L4 since its size dependent) stuck with the original plastic-backed diaper while the cloth-like diaper took on the “Premium” and “Air Plus” qualifiers. The Abri-Form absorbency scale goes from 0 to 4, and during the transition it looks like only the 4th most absorbent level retained the plastic-backsheet and plastic-backed sizes outside M4 and L4 were dropped. The original plastic-backed diaper took on the “Comfort” or “White Foil” qualifiers in marketing though it’s not entirely obvious on the package. The Abri-Form Premium line contains the full range of sizes from S to XL and also the full range of absorbency from 0 to 4.
In testing I found this diaper was generally able to absorb 2 wettings before leakage would be a concern and was very comfortable and breathable to wear. Its primary downsides were a tendency for surface dampness and the weakness of the fasteners, which make it tough to maintain a snug fit. It also tends to be priced highly so I don’t really see any benefits over the original Abri-Form M4 unless you’re really attached to the cloth-like backsheet.
- Cloth-like backsheet
- Repositionable tapes (with double tape mechanism)
- Standing inner leak barriers
- Comfortable and breathable
- High absorbency
- Fastener weakness
- Surface dampness issues
- Backsheet perspiration
For the purpose of this post I will be reviewing and referring to the medium-sized Abena Abri-Form Premium "Air Plus" M4 Diaper. However, other available sizes are listed below:
Manufacturer: Abena A/S
Units Per Bag: 14
Cost Per Unit: $$$
Dimensions (L x W x H): 38 cm (15") x 16.5 cm (6.5") x 24 cm (9.5")
Weight: 2.6 kg (5.7 lbs)
Available Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Advertised Absorbency: Plus
|1.1 Abri-Form Premium M4 Packaging|
Backsheet: Cloth-like (non-woven)
Wetness Indicator: Yes (two 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: White (blue lines next to wetness indicator)
Inner Color: White
Front Waistband: No
Rear Waistband: No
Folded Thickness: 3 cm (1.2")
Folded Length: 25.5 cm (10")
Dry Weight: 142 g (5 oz)
Diaper Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 81 cm (31.9") x 67 cm (26.4") x 29 cm (11.4") x 66 cm (26")
Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Rectangular
Padding Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 71 cm (28") x 31 cm (12.2") x 19 cm (7.5") x 35 cm (13.8")
Padding Wing Dimensions (fPW x fPH x bPW x bPH): 6 cm (2.4") x 16 cm (6.3") x 8 cm (3.2") x 19 cm (7.5")
Padding Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Semicircle, Semicircle
Total Padding Area: 1845 cm2 (286 in2)
Tape Spacing (t1 x t2): 3 cm (1.2") x 17 cm (6.7")
Tape (W x L): 2.5 cm (1") x 5 cm (2")
|1.2 Abri-Form Premium M4 Diaper|
Laboratory Absorbency Tests
Total Absorption Volume (after press out): 1367 ml (48.2 oz)
Total Absorption Volume (before press out): 1417 ml (50 oz)
Time to Absorb Wettings (first to last): (52 s, 50 s, 49 s, 50 s, 52 s, 52 s)
Wet Folded Thickness: 6 cm (2.4")
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 84%
Total Padding to Absorbency Ratio: 0.74 ml / cm2 (0.17 oz / in2)
Press Out Volume: 50 ml (1.8 oz)
Surface Dampness Rating: 4
I rank the Abri-Form Premium in line with the Abena Abri-Form M4 and Delta-Form M3. In each case there was at least some surface dampness after the first capacity test wetting and a substantial amount thereafter. During real world testing it didn’t perform as bad as I expected but the surface dampness was still fairly noticeable.
|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: 1067 ml (37.6 oz)
Total Wettings: (1 standing, 2 sitting)
Leaked After Sitting: No
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 73%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.58 ml / cm2 (0.13 oz / in2)
Standing-Sitting Rating: 8
The Abri-From Premium performed well when it came to absorbency during the standing-sitting test. The first wetting while standing was easily absorbed. I didn’t notice much in the way of surface dampness at this point and the absorption was relatively quick. Unfortunately the tapes didn’t hold up well and it felt like it was loosening during wear while walking. The second wetting, while seated, was again fully absorbed with much of the front padding damp though surface dampness wasn’t as much as I expected, perhaps because of how breathable it was both due to the cloth-like backsheet and looseness. After a while it did feel like there was some perspiration through the backsheet so I’m not sure whether I’d call it completely leak free after the second wetting. The third wetting quickly resulted in leaks through the leg gathers, the diaper had loosened considerably and the tapes weren’t holding so moisture spread up the front padding and straight into the sides. I wouldn’t recommend this diaper for daily wear, the tapes just won’t hold out long enough for it to hit capacity and may even loosen before the first wetting. Otherwise, it should absorb about 2 wettings during daily wear before leakage is a concern.
Total Absorbed Volume: 1417 ml (50 oz)
Total Wettings: 3
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 80%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.77 ml / cm2 (0.17 oz / in2)
Lying Down Rating: 8
The Abri-Form Premium performed similarly to the Abri-Form X-Plus when it came to capacity while lying down. However, it suffered from problems that weren’t apparent in the Abri-Form X-Plus. Both had issues with surface dampness but the tapes in the X-Plus have a far better grip where the Abri-Form Premium started coming loose even with minimal movement. The first wetting was easily absorbed, though there was a slight sensation of pooling and dampness afterward. At this point just the mid-padding was wet and the front and rear were still completely dry. On the second wetting there was substantial pooling that seemed to last a lot longer and the dampness never fully went away. I also noticed a bit of perspiration through the backsheet. Finally, on the third wetting there was substantial leakage through the leg gathers and up the rear. At this point the front padding was still mostly dry but the rear padding was completely saturated and highly susceptible to pressout. The extra weight of the diaper also continued to pull the tapes apart resulting in a looser and looser fit. The looseness of the fit could easily result in leaks far before capacity is hit, which would be my biggest concern in real world use. I called the test at that, but generally I’d anticipate this diaper will absorb 2 wettings without leakage, but I wouldn’t push it past that. Even then there would likely be some pressout leakage or backsheet perspiration.
|2.3 Pattern of Used vs Unused Padding Test Stand/Sit (right) Lying Down (left)|
Daily Wear and BedwettingI feel I had pretty high expectations for the Abri-Form Premium M4 prior to reviewing it since I hadn’t reviewed an Abena product in several years and was interested to see if there were any differences from my previous reviews. However, I found this diaper to have some of the same shortcomings as the Abena Delta-Form and original Abri-Form M4 (X-Plus). All three have issues with surface dampness, likely due to the padding construct, while both this and the cloth-backed Abena Delta-Form struggle with their fasteners becoming loose with wear. I generally found this diaper capable of taking two wettings before leakage would be a concern, but feel it’s best suited for non-active wearers or perhaps overnight wear. During daily wear I found it was problematic to refasten the diaper as the tapes would rapidly lose their adhesiveness with each refastening, pulling off bits of the backsheet. This will be a problem for those times you actually are able to make it to the bathroom on time, particularly if you aren’t double-incontinent (bladder and bowel). In practice I found a bit of a hack to reduce the amount of loosening that happens. What I found was that the diaper is actually somewhat flexible to the point that it could be pulled up and down much like pullup-style incontinence underwear. Of course, that does beg the question of why to use this over one of the similar pullup products, but with this diaper you will find substantially more padding coverage and protection up the wings compared with pullups. The other odd quirk of this diaper is the double-tape looking fasteners. These act almost as a backup if the primary tapes fail. In that case you can separate the white fastener from the blue part and refasten it to the backsheet. It has a bit more hook & loop material so it could even provide a better grip. With regards to smaller leaks, I found the backsheet of this diaper to be susceptible to backsheet “perspiration”, as is the case for many diapers with a cloth-like backsheet but otherwise didn't notice pressout leaks. That aside, this diaper does have surface dampness issues but because of its breathable sides it rarely feels clammy, even when wet. Were it not for its tendency to loosen it would rank highly in terms of comfort and I didn’t notice much in the way of skin irritation while testing it. I’d love to see improvements in this diaper, but at the current time I feel it's best suited to care environments, and for active wearers it would be better to go with something like the Seni Super Quatro.
Suitability for Bowel Incontinence: 5
I don’t feel the Abri-Form Premium M4 is suitable for bowel incontinence. Generally this is the case for cloth-backed diapers, but, for obvious reasons, particularly ones like this where the tapes have a tendency to loosen with wear. You just won’t be able to maintain a snug fit with this diaper and even if it manages bowel containment you’ll still have issues with odors (it doesn’t have waistbands and is susceptible to surface dampness).
Wear & Tear Tests
The Abri-Form Premium has a cloth-like backsheet with a mixture of adhesive and hook & loop material on its fasteners. It seems to use a double-tape mechanism, but it doesn’t feel particularly practical. The blue plastic tape will separate from the white bit above it and with care the white part can be refastened to that, but in reality it’s much better at fastening to another part of the backsheet. Since both tapes lose adhesiveness pretty fast with refastenings it feels like it gives you two chances to get it right.
|3.1 Abri-Form Premium M4 Fastener|
Ease-of-Use Rating: 7
I rank this diaper about the same as the Abena Delta-Form M3 when it comes to ease-of-use. Size-wise, it has a large area of padding and is relatively easy to get an initially snug fit. The wetness indicator is good and doesn’t seem sensitive to minor moisture so it will be clearer when it needs to be changed. The fasteners are technically repositionable in that you can refasten them multiple times anywhere on the backsheet, but these are also its greatest weakness when it comes to ease-of-use. The problem being that these fasteners quickly lose adhesiveness with refastenings and eventually become useless. I think this diaper would also be slightly improved with decent waistbands, but it does have good quality inner leak guards. For non-active wearers this diaper should be easy enough to use, but with any level of activity you’ll have problems with it coming loose. So it may be best suited to a care-giver environment or for overnight wear.
|3.2 Abri-Form Premium M4 Diaper Fit|
Comfort Rating (dry): 7
The Abri-Form Premium has a soft comfortable backsheet and padding that provide a high level of breathability when dry. Much like the original Abri-Form M4, this diaper has an extensive area of padding coverage and less skin is directly exposed to the backsheet. I never noticed any chafing or skin irritation while testing this diaper. Moreover, in spite of its large size, this diaper didn’t have the heavy obstructive feel that some larger diapers have. However, it suffers from the same fatal flaw as the Lille SupremFit Maxi, whereby the tapes have a strong tendency to lose their grip with wear. I didn’t feel this tendency was as strong as in the Lille SupremFit when dry so I rated it slightly higher. Yet it’s almost certain the diaper will come loose over time, particularly if you need to do any refastenings, and eventually the tapes become useless if you need to refasten. It would be best for those who are less mobile or otherwise less likely to make tape adjustments and not so good for those who are double incontinent (urinary and bowel) or can sometimes make it to the toilet on time.
Comfort Rating (wet): 6
I’ve rated the Abri-Form Premium diaper slightly lower when it comes to wet comfort for two key reasons: the tapes become more likely to slip under the added weight and this diaper has the same susceptibility to surface dampness as the plastic-backed Abri-Form M4. The breathable design does somewhat help overcome the feeling of surface dampness, but I still noticed it in the core padding. This also seemed to be an issue with the Abena Delta-Form so perhaps it's not a huge surprise these diapers ended up being very similar in performance. With the tape weakness, sagging is quite likely and this will have a negative impact on comfort.
|3.3 Abri-Form Premium M4 Topsheet and Backsheet|
Dry Padding Deterioration Proportion: 6.8% (topsheet), 9.9% (backsheet)
Shake Deterioration Test: 4 shakes to deterioration
Durability Rating (dry): 6
This diaper was very similar to the Abena Delta-Form when it came to durability performance. In both cases the key issue was the weakness of the fasteners. The fasteners are a mixture of hook & loop and tape adhesive and the backsheet is particularly vulnerable to degradation with multiple fastenings. Each time you pull the tape up, more of the backsheet will adhere to the fastener making it harder to adhere the next time (much the way a tape covered in sand will stop adhering to surfaces). Aside from that the padding held out relatively well in the Abri-Form Premium with most deterioration occurring due to collapsing between the legs with little affecting the core padding. Moreover, the wetness indicator wasn’t very susceptible to smaller dribbles during wear so it would clearly show when it was time for a change.
Durability Rating (wet): 6
The Abri-Form Premium performed similar to its dry performance when wet, yet with more sagging due to the weakening of the tapes. During testing it didn’t happen consistently but I did find sometimes it would sag and become loose enough as to fall right off when worn wet. I suspect this would be a particular problem for active individuals. Otherwise, the padding held up well when wet with limited deterioration and the results of the wet shake test were relatively strong for a diaper of its capacity. I do feel the tapes could be a fatal flaw in this diaper, but imagine most who wear this would wear it overnight or when otherwise not active so it’s more likely to add to discomfort than make the diaper completely unusable.
|3.4 Abri-Form Premium M4 Dry Test Deterioration|
Front Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 3.5 cm (1.4"), 5 cm (2")
Back Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 9 cm (3.5"), 7.5 cm (3")
Side Rise Above Waistline (Jeans, Sweatpants): 3 cm (1.2"), 5.5 cm (2.2")
Profile Discretion Rating: 4
The Abri-Form Premium is not going to win any awards for profile discretion. This diaper presented a visible diaper bulge at both its front and rear. That said, it would likely be easier to hide than the plastic-backed Abena M4 because the backsheet will provide less resistance if worn under meshpants or underwear. That said, you’ll need to be mindful of the tendency for its tapes to weaken resulting in obvious sagging.
|4.1 Abri-Form Premium M4 Jeans Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)|
|4.2 Abri-Form Premium M4 Sweats Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)|
The Abri-Form Premium diaper is exceptionally quiet. Perhaps owing to its thick/extensive padding coverage and soft flexible cloth-like backsheet, this diaper is highly unlikely to be noticed from a noise perspective. I rank this diaper similar to the Seni Super Plus in this regard and can’t say I had any complaints with respect to noise when testing.
|4.3 Abri-Form Premium M4 Noise Profile|
Odor Reduction Rating: 5
I can’t really vouch for the Abri-Form Premium with respect to its ability to block odors. Unfortunately, the loose fit and cloth-like backsheet will contribute to the escape of odors. Moreover, the presentation of surface dampness will contribute to the formation of odors. This matches the problems found in the Abena Delta-Form.
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