The best period pants of 2024, for stylish but effective absorbency

best period pants 2024
Hey Girls, Modibodi, Wuka and M&S made our review of the best period pants

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Period underwear is a game changer. Like many, I was unsure and tentative at first. Could they work? Would they leak? Might they smell? But when I tried period pants, all my concerns melted away, replaced by a new question: where have these been all my life? I wish I could travel back in time and gift them to my younger self. The best period pants I tried made periods so much more comfortable and easier to manage.

Just like regular underwear, pants for your period (also known as menses panties) come in a range of styles - high-waisted, bikini, midi, hipster, shorts and so on - but with an absorbent lining to hold menstrual blood. They’re also good for soaking up little leaks, which can be useful postpartum.

If you’re currently using disposable pads, period pants are an obvious swap. Goodbye rustly plastic, sticky wings and waste - hello comfy leak-proof underwear that moves with your body! Not only for working out or wearing overnight for a better sleep, but for the regular day to day. Of course, if you use tampons, you might prefer menstrual cups as a reusable option.

However, if tampons and cups are not for you, period pants could be the answer. I’ve tested a range of period pants and you can read my full reviews below, followed by answers to frequently asked questions such as, most simply, how do they actually work? If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick glance at my top five:

Which are the best period pants of 2024? At a glance

How to choose the best period pants

Wendy Richards runs The Period Lady, an online outlet selling reusable menstrual products, and she recommends that you “start by thinking about your flow, whether it’s light or medium or heavy. Then it’s about choosing what style of pants you like, whether you want bikini, boy shorts or seamless without a visible panty line.”

Most people choose pants with a medium or high level of absorbency, as these hold the equivalent content of multiple tampons. However, if your flow is very light you might be able to get away with a slimmer product. There are also super absorbent pants for heavy periods. Extra layers are added into the gusset to increase absorbency.

Richards tells me that “price is generally the best indicator of quality and how long-lasting” the pants are likely to be. She says, “Wuka were industry leaders. Wuka started high end, around £25-30 per pair and people paid it because it was all that was available. Now others have copied and high street options are coming in, bringing the price point down. Primark have some which are £3-4 a pair, though they’re not such good quality and not so long-lasting, they’re a popular option for teenage girls who are growing anyway. Love Luna products are a good budget option as they last”.

How we tested the best period pants

best period pants 2024
On the left, period pants Nicola tested during the day, on the right, those she tested during the night

I’ve used period pants for a few years, but in my search for the best on the market, I tried out a range of styles from eight different brands with popular names like Wuka period pants aswell as M&S period pants for a highstreet option. I’ve worn these pants every day for nearly four months, testing them for comfort and to see how they endured multiple wears and washes.

I also rotated them when I was on my flow, to ensure all the brands were put to the test on heavy and light days. I assessed the absorbency, whether they were effective for day or night, or both, and whether they were washing machine or tumble dryer safe.

I didn’t experience any leaks and found they all did the job of keeping me safe and secure when I was menstruating. But some did a lot better than that, proving to be the best underwear I’ve ever worn. Honestly, we’re spoilt for choice.

The best period pants

1. Wuka Midi-Brief

£19.99, Wuka

Best period pants overall, 10 out of 10

We like: comfy, secure, high-quality and long-lasting

We don’t like: they’re expensive (but we think they’re worth it)

Wuka Midi-Brief best period pants 2024
Wuka: carbon neutral production
  • Sizes available: from 4 to 26

  • Absorbency level: available in light (7ml), medium (15ml), heavy (20ml), super (60ml)

  • Day or night: day, but they offer an overnight version too

  • Washing instructions: wash at 30 or 40 degrees, air dry (don’t tumble dry)

Wuka stands for ‘Wake Up, Kick Ass’ and these pants put me in a positive, confident mood. Wuka was one of the first companies to bring period pants to market in the UK and still lead the pack when it comes to quality and innovation. The female-led business provides stylish underwear to empower women and eradicate menstrual shame. I’d say they’ve been successful in that field.

These briefs have an unusual design, with mesh sides, but feel comfortable, strong and high-quality. I found myself reaching for them first, whenever I thought my period was coming on. I felt really secure in them and wore them on my heaviest days with no leaks. They come in a wide range of absorbencies, to suit all flows. They’re lasting well, feeling like new after multiple washes.

They’re made primarily from Tencel fabric, which claims to be eco-friendly, being forged from wood pulp. Wuka’s founder, Ruby Taut, grew up in Nepal and was given her mother’s old saris to fold into her underwear when she was on her period. Later, studying environmental science in Britain, she decided innovation was desperately needed in the menstrual market, so she started developing prototype pants with absorbent material stitched into the gusset. The result: Wuka.


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2. Marks & Spencer Heavy Absorbency Period Full Briefs

£16 for three, M&S

Best value period pants, 8/10

We like: bargain buy for comfy, decent pants

We don’t like: not so luxurious

Marks & Spencer Heavy Absorbency Period Full Briefs best period pants 2024
Marks & Spencer: made with elastane for stretch
  • Sizes available: from 6 to 28.

  • Absorbency level: heavy (20ml)

  • Day or night: day

  • Washing instructions: wash at 40 degrees, can tumble dry

These multi-packs from M&S are a bargain buy because they do the job, but for a fraction of the price of other brands. Whilst the general advice is ‘you get what you pay for’, and cheaper products tend to have shorter lives, I’ve used M&S period pants, exclusively during my periods, for two years and can vouch for the fact that they’re still going with no leaks. I have worn them all day, even on my heaviest day (though everyone’s flow is different, and some will need or prefer to change underwear more regularly).

They come in a range of styles - full briefs which are high waisted, low rise shorts, high leg or bikini. The fabric feels quite light and thin but is really comfortable.

Good alternative:

Love Luna also offers a good range of period underwear at reasonable prices, representing decent value for money.

£16 for three

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Marks & Spencer

3. Hey Girls Super Soft Cherry

£17.35, Hey Girls

Best period pants for heavy flow, 9/10

We like: super absorbent and comfortable to wear, even when bloated

We don’t like: they look huge on the washing line

Hey Girls Super Soft Cherry best period pants
Hey Girls: high-rise and maximum coverage
  • Sizes available: 6 to 22

  • Absorbency level: heavy (25ml)

  • Day or night: day

  • Washing instructions: wash cold at 30 degrees, do not tumble dry

These pants are so sturdy and comfy, they feel like a big hug around your middle. I found them a reliable companion for the heaviest day of my period, particularly if I was bloated. They’re super absorbent and can be worn for up to twelve hours.

These are very large pants and make quite a statement when hanging out to dry, especially in cherry red. They conjure memories of Bridget Jones (think Hugh Grant’s “hello Mummy”), but I treasured them. Wearing them felt like a kindness to myself.

Even better, you’re extending that kindness to others too, because for every pair you buy, you’re also buying a pair for Hey Girls to donate to someone in period poverty. There’s a great team of women behind this brand, which is run as a social enterprise, with all profits going towards providing free access to quality period products and lobbying for period dignity in the UK. They’re also kind to the environment, as they’re mostly made from organic cotton and sustainable bamboo, with no nasty chemicals, and can last for five years if properly cared for.


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Hey Girls

4. Modibodi Classic Boyshort

£22, Modibodi

Best period pants for overnight, 8/10

We like: complete coverage for nighttime

We don’t like: trickier to fit, a bit rustly due to back pad

Modibodi Classic Boyshort best period pants 2024
Modibodi: made from bamboo and elastane
  • Sizes available: 8 to 20

  • Absorbency level: heavy Overnight (20ml)

  • Day or night: night

  • Washing instructions: wash cold, do not tumble dry

These Modibodi shorts offer a feeling of comfort and security overnight, with a thick absorbent layer running all the way up the back to meet the waistband. This gave me confidence to lie flat on my back and read a book, which I’ve never felt able able to do when on my period before. They’re lovely and soft, primarily made from breathable bamboo, and with merino wool providing absorbency in the gusset.

The only downside is that if you’re big bottomed, the rise on these is a bit small, so you might want to size up. It can prove trickier to find the right fit with shorts, compared to other shapes of underwear.

Good alternatives:

There are other worthy contenders for this overnight category. Hey Girls offer similar period shorts to these, with similar absorbency and fit. The Hey Girls shorts are slightly more absorbent overall (at 25ml) but the pad becomes thinner on the back.

Having coverage all the way up the back is a real game changer at nighttime, allowing the freedom to sleep however you choose. Wuka, Primark and Bodyform also have underwear that fulfils this brief. Love Luna’s Full Briefs (£9) have a longer gusset than most pants, so are pretty good for nighttime (functioning more like an extra long pad), but their absorbent material doesn’t extend right the way up the back to the waistband.


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5. Wuka Stretch Seamless Midi-Brief

£16.99, Wuka

Best period pants for a flexible fit, 8/10

We like: flexible size for changing body shape

We don’t like: it can ride up

Wuka Stretch Seamless Midi-Brief best period pants 2024
Wuka: promises up to 12 hour wear
  • Sizes available: 6-14 and 14-22

  • Absorbency level: heavy (20ml)

  • Day or night: day

  • Washing instructions: wash cold at 30 degrees, do not tumble dry

These pants come in just two sizes, with one covering extra small to large and another covering extra large sizes 14 to 22. Wuka have pioneered an innovative new design, which sculpts to fit your body shape. It works by having a hammock-style inner layer with the absorbent pad, cradled inside a stretchy outer layer. These pants offer amazing flexibility if you’re someone who fluctuates in size and weight, or if you have a changing body shape postpartum.

Whereas normally we risk shelling out money for pants that might end up feeling too tight or large to wear, these stretchy pants adapt, fitting snugly across multiple sizes. The outer part is mostly made of nylon, with a smooth and shiny finish. They look flattering, avoiding visible panty lines. The inner part is largely cotton.

Wuka’s founder and CEO, Ruby Raut, tells me it makes good business and sustainability sense too. Rather than stocking twelve different sizes and having lots sitting in storage, they can operate more efficiently with two sizes. They also get far fewer returns because the pants fit a wide range of sizes and customers are happy.

The only downside for me was that the fabric occasionally rode up when I was walking, which didn’t happen with the conventionally-sized Wuka pants in first spot, so perhaps there is some compromise on fit.


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6. ModiBodi Basic Mid-Rise Brief

£13, ModiBodi

Best period pants for comfort, 8/10

We like: super soft organic cotton

We don’t like: delicate washing instructions

Modibodi basic mid rise brief best period pants 2024
Modibodi: wash before first use to activate absorbency
  • Sizes available: 8 to 24

  • Absorbency level: moderate (15ml)

  • Day or night: day

  • Washing instructions: wash cold, do not tumble dry

These super soft organic cotton pants feel so comfortable that it’s easy to forget they’re period underwear. I could wear them everyday. They feel light but luxurious. They can absorb two to three tampons worth.

Australian brand Modibodi offer a wide range of high-quality period underwear to suit different flows. Like Wuka, they’re market leaders with a broad fanbase. Just be sure to follow the instructions to wash cold and avoid tumble dryers, or you risk shortening the shelf life of these pants dramatically.


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Period pants FAQ

How do period pants work?

You wear period pants like regular underwear, but they’re absorbent, meaning you don’t need to use tampons, cups or sanitary pads. They’re designed to hold blood without leaking, providing you choose an absorbency level to suit your flow.

How long can you wear period pants for?

The mantra is ‘only you know your flow’, so you should change them whenever you feel uncomfortable. Generally, most period pants for heavy flow can be worn all day for up to eight or 12 hours and will hold the equivalent amount of blood of multiple tampons and pads. Mostly it’s fine to wear a pair in the daytime and change into a fresh pair for nighttime. On very heavy days, you might need to change your underwear more frequently, or prefer to do so to feel fresher.

How to wash period pants?

Best practice is to rinse pants with cold water straight after using them until the water runs clear, then pop them in the washing machine. Some people take them off in the shower to give them an initial rinse there. Make sure you follow the washing instructions of the product you’ve bought. Many brands advise washing cold, at 30 degrees, though some can be washed at 40. Never use fabric softener because it reduces the absorbency of the products and can damage fabric too. Most period pants should be left to air dry, so avoid tumble dryers.

Are you supposed to wear a pad with period pants?

No. The whole point is that period pants do the job of a pad, with the absorbency built into the underwear itself in layers of fabric. That said, some people like to mix the two. For example, if you’re working a long shift on a heavy flow day, you might wear a pad inside your period underwear, so you can remove the pad midway through and let the underwear take over, as a way to refresh. Equally, some people like to wear period underwear in addition to a cup, for extra security. Or some will wear period underwear in the lead-up to their period, when they don’t quite know when it’s going to arrive.

How many period pants will I need?

This all depends on your flow, how often you want to change your period underwear, how long your periods last and how regularly you wash your clothes. We’re all different. Most of us will need around five to seven pairs, if we’re wearing them throughout our period and washing as we go (remembering to allow time to line dry before wearing again). It’s common to choose different pants for different stages of your period.

Are period pants cheaper?

It depends. Yes, generally, but if you buy lots of the most expensive period pants then it could be years before you see any saving when compared to your outlay on disposable tampons or sanitary pads. If you’re buying bargain multipacks of period pants, you should see savings within a few months. Since January 2024, period pants are exempt from VAT, just like other sanitary products and that’s brought prices down.

Of course, period pants have a higher upfront cost than disposables and that can be a barrier to getting started. If that’s stopping you, why not ask for some period pants as a birthday or Christmas present?

Do I need to worry about nanosilver in period pants?

Concerns have been raised regarding the use of silver as an antimicrobial treatment in some period underwear. The US Food and Drug Administration found that nanosilver can kill the healthy bacteria in your vagina, which help to fight off infection. Testing in this country found silver in some period underwear but there is currently no legal limit on the amount of silver allowed in textiles. If you’re worried about it, period pant manufacturer Wuka states that it doesn’t use any silver or antibacterial treatments in its period products and regularly tests for chemicals, including PFAS (see below).

Do I need to worry about chemicals?

American brand Thinx settled a class action lawsuit in 2022 which alleged that their period underwear contained harmful chemicals. Whereas the brand had marketed itself as ‘organic, sustainable and non-toxic’, independent testing had found PFAS (‘forever chemicals’ which don’t break down) in some of its underwear. A second test in the UK in 2023 did not find any PFAS.

Sadly, PFAS are endemic throughout our environment. They’re in our clothing, cookware, food packaging and cleaning products. They’ve also been found in disposable sanitary products - so if you’re worried about chemicals, it’s something to be alert for whatever you’re buying.