*For more information on how I do reviews see Diaper Test Methodology
SummaryFor the second part in our series of reviews covering incontinence pads I’ll be reviewing the Depend for Men Guard. This makes our second review of a Kimberly-Clark product after the earlier review of the Depend Protection with Tabs. As far as I can tell, Depend was one of the first brands to introduce a male-specific incontinence pad and may have even coined the term “guard” and “shield” for this sort of pad. This pad provides a higher level absorbency than the Depend for Men Shield and seems geared for larger leaks but provides far less absorbency than you’d get from diapers or protective underwear. Like the Lindor 5D, this pad contains an adhesive strip down the middle that can be used to attach it to the wearer’s underwear. It requires you wear snug fitting underwear and will not work well with boxers.
To account for the product differences between diapers and pads I’ve adjusted my review format as previously described in the Lindor 5D review. Overall, I found this pad to be a great choice for light incontinence and I never had a hint of a leak during my own testing. It was likely a bit more than I needed for my own light drips and dribbles during the day and I expect anyone with constant dribbles or moderate surge incontinence will find they need to change this pad frequently. On the flip side, it absolutely won’t work for bedwetting and I didn’t bother to test it out in that capacity. When testing its limits, I found it tends to leak before all the padding has been used so I’d say you’ll probably get half its theoretical capacity before experiencing leakage. For my purpose, the Depend Shields are typically sufficient, but I’ve found that occasionally the guards can actually be priced at a cheaper unit rate than the shields without compromising much in the way of discretion so I certainly wouldn’t discount purchasing them for lighter incontinence when the price is right.
- Plastic backsheet
- Leg gathers
- Adhesive tape fastener down the middle
- Compact and easy to apply
- Great for light incontinence
- Very affordable pricing
- Little absorbency
- Surface dampness when wet
- Won’t work for bowel incontinence
The Depend for Men Guard comes in a one-size fits all. Consequently no other sizes are listed here and this review should be universally applicable for the product line.
Units Per Bag: 52
Cost Per Unit: $
Dimensions (L x W x H): 28 cm (11") x 18 cm (7.1") x 23 cm (9.1")
Weight: 1.2 kg (2.7 lbs)
Advertised Absorbency: Maximum
|1.1 Depend for Men Guards Packaging
Backsheet: Plastic (poly)
Wetness Indicator: No
Standing Inner Leak Guards: No
Leg Gathers: Yes
Product Style: Male Guard
Refastenable Tabs: No
Number of Tapes: 1
Repositionable Tabs: No
Outer Color: Light Gray (dark gray adhesive strip down middle)
Inner Color: White (blue dotted circle pattern in padding)
Folded Thickness: 1.9 cm (0.75")
Folded Length: 9.5 cm (3.7")
Dry Weight: 25 g (0.88 oz)
Pad Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 30 cm (11.8") x 14 cm (5.5") x 14 cm (5.5") x 14.5 cm (5.7")
Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Semicircle
Padding Dimensions (L x fW x mW x bW): 27 cm (10.6") x 11 cm (4.3") x 8 cm (3.2") x 9.5 cm (3.7")
Padding Wing Dimensions (fPW x fPH x bPW x bPH): 1.5 cm (0.6") x 13 cm (5.1") x 0.75 cm (0.3") x 5 cm (2")
Padding Wing Shape (Front, Rear): Rectangular, Semicircle
Total Padding Area: 263 cm2 (40.7 in2)
Tape (W x L): 5 cm (2") x 23 cm (9.1")
|1.2 Depend for Men Guards Pad
Laboratory Absorbency Tests
Total Absorption Volume (after press out): 165 ml (5.8 oz)
Total Absorption Volume (before press out): 185 ml (6.5 oz)
Time to Absorb Wettings (first to last): (10 s, 13 s, 15 s, 19 s)
Wet Folded Thickness: 3 cm (1.2")
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 93%
Total Padding to Absorbency Ratio: 0.63 ml / cm2 (0.14 oz / in2)
Press Out Volume: 20 ml (0.71 oz)
Surface Dampness Rating: 6
The Depend Guard showed surface dampness as early as the second wetting during testing. This puts it well behind the Lindor 5D in that regard. In real world testing I found it somewhat susceptible to surface dampness, though by the nature of the product it does still remain pretty breathable, so excess humidity can escape from the sides or it may even dry in place, given the lower volumes absorbed by the pad during a real world use-case.
|2.1 Wet vs Dry Pad After Capacity Test
|2.2 Used vs Unused Padding After Capacity Test
"Real World" Absorbency Tests
Total Absorbed Volume: 185 ml (6.5 oz)
Total Wettings: (1 standing)
Leaked After Sitting: Yes
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 84%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.70 ml / cm2 (0.16 oz / in2)
Standing-Sitting Rating: 1 (Male Guard Adjusted: 7)
To get a rough idea of the maximum capacity before leakage the Depend Guard was pushed to the point of leakage with a regular wetting while standing. To make the test a little more reasonable it was combined with the Carer M67 underwear to assess feasibility with combined protection. This matched the format used for testing the Lindor 5D Pad. During this wetting, moisture hit the front padding but largely sank toward the bottom of the padding where it leaked out into underlying padding from the M67. Surprisingly, the combination worked decently with the two absorbing nearly 250 ml (8.5 oz). The combination worked a bit better than the combination with the Lindor 5D, because the lower padding is narrower so the moisture reaches the underlying underwear padding. At the end of the test, most of the padding was used, but there was still a bit of unused padding at the very top of the pad. This pad fell short of the Lindor 5D pad but should generally work for light-to-moderate leakage with light leakage quite unlikely.
Total Absorbed Volume: 100 ml (3.5 oz)
Total Wettings: 1
Used to Total Padding Ratio: 78%
Padding to Absorbency Score: 0.38 ml / cm2 (0.09 oz / in2)
Lying Down Rating: 1 (Male Guard Adjusted: 6)
The Depend Guard didn’t perform as well when tested while lying down as it did when seated. Moisture immediately flowed through the padding almost to the bottom where it leaked out the sides. Again, it was tested with the Carer M67 underwear, which captured a good part of the moisture but some still escaped through the sides around the absorbent padding. Interestingly there was still a bit of dry padding at the bottom of the pad even though it had already leaked and, unsurprisingly, there was more dry padding at the top where gravity would have pulled it away. It may be useful as additional protection when worn with reusable absorbent underwear, however you’d need an underwear with a very wide mid-section to avoid leaks. It’s interesting, because there was (not sure if there still is?) a bedwetting product by Goodnites that closely resembled these. That would seemingly suggest it could be worn for light-moderate bedwetting, or perhaps those who often wake up quickly when they start wetting.
|2.3 Pattern of Used vs Unused Padding Test Stand/Sit (right) Lying Down (left)
Daily Wear and BedwettingThe Depend Guard provides a degree of absorbency for managing light incontinence and is certainly best suited for daily wear. Although a very similar pad has been marketed under the Goodnites brand in the past for bedwetting, I wouldn’t trust this pad for bedwetting given its very limited absorbency. However, for its intended use-case during daily wear it’s quite apt. I found it very convenient to carry around and change due to its compact form. For my needs, where I experience only light drips and dribbles during the day this was more than sufficient. However, it’s nowhere near as absorbent as the Lindor 5D and I would recommend that pad over this one for anyone who experiences moderate or continuous leakage. In practical use, for light incontinence, I think you’re more likely to need to change this pad well before it approaches capacity. The company also provides a lighter incontinence pad called the Depend for Men Shield, which is more suited for light drips and dribble. So some may find that a better/more affordable choice if they never approach the capacity of this pad. For larger leaks, I think you’ll find this pad will leak before it hits capacity. During testing I found the mid-section of padding tends to take most of the moisture while the top and bottom stay dry and, when pushed, it will even leak out from the mid-section before the top and bottom padding are used. Otherwise, it proved highly durable and I was able to comfortably walk and run while wearing this pad without it slipping. The only durability issue I found was that the topsheet can detach a bit when wet, but by that point you’re likely to be changing it anyway.
Suitability for Bowel Incontinence: 0 (N/A)
This product is not designed for use with bowel incontinence.
Wear & Tear Tests
The Depend Guard has an almost rectangular shape with slight rounding at the top and bottom. The absorbent padding has an hourglass form with a much larger area toward the top, narrow mid-section, and slightly wider circular padding at the bottom. Moreover, there’s a small area of elastic leg gathers, which help it wrap around the crotch. The pad is sufficiently large to cover the entire male anatomy, but it does take some positioning to get it right. The fastener consists of 6 narrow adhesive strips running down the middle of the pad to be fastened onto the wearer’s underwear.
|3.1 Depend for Men Guards Fastener
Ease-of-Use Rating: 10
This pad is very easy to use. Each pad comes individually wrapped with a fabric-like wrapping for convenient storage. When you’re ready to apply it, you’ll pull the folded pad out of the wrapping, unfold it, and attach it to the front of your underwear with the wider side facing up. To make it even more straight forward the adhesive strip on the front has instructions demonstrating how it should be placed. Notably, this pad is only designed for use with regular underwear or meshpants and will not work with loose boxers, as is the case with all male guards. The pad sits nice and snugly in the wearer’s underwear and I found it easy to get a good fit. It’s just the right size to quickly position and swap. The only issue I’ve typically had with it is that when you first put it in your underwear and start to pull your underwear back up, the top can fold downward if you’re not careful. I’ve generally found it’s better to position this pad lower in my underwear as that’s where gravity will pull any drips or dribbles, this follows the positioning shown in the instructions.
|3.2 Depend for Men Guards Fit
Comfort Rating (dry):8
The Depend Guard provides a decent level of comfort when dry. I’ve found it starts off quite comfortable but can compact and feel a little rougher after extended wear, albeit that borders into what I’d consider “wet comfort” so I didn’t weigh that too much against it in the dry state. Even so, the pad is nowhere near as soft as the Lindor 5D and I found even when it’s first applied it can feel a bit rough. The elastic leg gathers at the border of the pad can also be a bit rough and I found they sometimes chafed against my legs during testing, particularly when seated. Otherwise, the padding structure itself held out well during testing and I didn’t have issues with it coming loose or ending up in weird positions.
Comfort Rating (wet): 7
The Depend Guard is a little less comfortable in its wet state compared to its dry state. This is mostly a result of the way the padding tends to become a bit denser and rougher when wet. It’s also susceptible to surface dampness but with the volumes of liquid involved I don’t feel that is as much of an issue as you’re likely to change well before saturation and the pad. Otherwise feels quite breathable with its sides being open to airflow and the padding holds together well without clumping or tearing. I also found the tape continued to hold strong even when wet and there was no pad slippage during this phase of testing.
|3.3 Depend for Men Guards Topsheet and Backsheet
Dry Padding Deterioration Proportion: 3.7% (topsheet), 6.5% (backsheet)
Shake Deterioration Test: 6 shakes to deterioration
Durability Rating (dry): 9
The Depend Guard proved highly durable when tested while dry. After extensive testing including active wear and exercise the pad had only minor deterioration, all outside the core area of absorbency. I didn’t notice any significant clumping or tearing and was impressed by its condition. I also found that, in spite of appearing weak at the first fastening, the tapes held the pad firmly in my underwear for an extended time and I never had issues with it shifting or coming loose. I can’t quite rank it at the level of the Lindor 5D, but I’d definitely rank near the top in this regard given the lack of any significant faults.
Durability Rating (wet): 9
The Depend Guard demonstrated similar durability in its wet state in comparison to its dry state. However, the padding was perhaps slightly more susceptible to deterioration. Otherwise, the pad remained firmly placed in my underwear when wet and didn’t shift with movement. The only significant issue I noticed was that the topsheet has a tendency to come loose from the padding when wet. In reality that didn’t have a huge impact, but it can make the padding a bit more likely to come apart. The compact nature of this product leaves little room for deterioration and I have no significant complaints, hence the nearly perfect score.
|3.4 Depend for Men Guards Dry Test Deterioration
Profile Discretion Rating: 10 (Male Guard Adjusted: 8)
Depending on what you’re wearing, this Depend pad may form a very slight bulge at the crotch. However, I found the shape of it keeps it quite flat at the front so I rarely found it in a spot where it would be noticeable. Compared with the diapers I’ve reviewed, this easily gets top marks for discretion and it’s certainly more discreet than Lindor 5D as far as male guards go. Yet, I do feel there are a few products on the market that are thinner and more discreet compared to this one so I can’t quite score it perfectly for the category.
|4.1 Depend for Men Guards Jeans Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)
|4.2 Depend for Men Guards Sweats Profile (left) vs Normal Underwear (right)
Noise Rating: 10
The Depend Guard is completely silent. Perhaps it’s just the nature of this product, but I never noticed any noise during wear, even under light clothing. That was the case when sitting, standing, or moving around. It’s highly unlikely anyone will notice you wearing this pad, I don’t think it could get any better for noise reduction.
|4.3 Depend for Men Guards Noise Profile
Odor Reduction Rating: 9
I never noticed any odors when testing this Depend pad. However, its limited absorbency could explain a lot of that, as there’s less time/area for odors to form. Even so, I’m rating it for how it performs as a product of this category and I’d place it near the top. The only issue I can see is that the susceptibility to surface dampness could contribute to odor formation. Yet, I feel the design of the padding and topsheet go a ways to mitigating such odors.
Want to give the Depend for Men Guards pad a try?
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