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The Abena Premium Air-Plus Level 4 X-Plus Diaper comes in five sizes:
•X-Small 20” to 26” waist or hip
•Small 24” to 31” waist or hip
•Medium 28” to 43” waist or hip
•Large 39” to 59” waist or hip
•X-Large 43” to 67” waist or hip
The Premium Air Plus products come in four absorbencies labeled 1 - 4 (formerly “plus”, “super”, “extra” and “x-plus”). The size and absorbency are denoted on on the package like this S4 (would be small size number 4 absorbency. It’s the size and absorbency denoted in the letter/number. How’s that for complex?
The “fit” and “ease of putting it on” of the Abena Premium Air-Plus gets an “average - poor” rating due to the fact that this product has two “stretchy” tape tabs on each side that adheres to the cloth like backing with adhesive and a hook and loop section. Depending on where you place the tapes and how tight you pull them before they stretch, this product can become extremely “saggy” when wet and even fall down! That, and the tapes aren’t great for a “premium” diaper. We’ll cover that later.
The X-Plus has a white cloth like outer covering with a dark colored “ladder like” print (for lack of a better explanation) and 1 to 4 vertical lines, presumably to indicate the absorbency level, down the center on each side of a double yellow line wetness indicator. There are two dual layer stretchy adhesive/hook and loop tapes on each side. The dual layer tapes have a blue tape that attaches to the plastic backing of the diaper with a white tape tab on top of it. When you need to unfasten and refasten the tape, you pull up on the white tape leaving the blue one behind. When you want to refasten the tape, you put the white tape right back on the blue tape and you have the same fit as you did when you first put them on! The Premium AIr-Plus also has very effective standing inner leak barriers on each side and elastic at the legs for leakage containment and comfortable fit.
The cloth like backing on these briefs is very strong, with the exception of the cloth breathable side wings of the diaper, which can stretch over wear time. It does not tear when you fasten the diaper very tight (and depending on where you fasten the tapes, “very tight” can be a misnomer). The cloth like backing on this diaper is breathable, which means air flows through the backing. Where air flows, so does moisture when the diaper is saturated. I have found that when very wet, these diapers feel damp or “clammy” to the touch on the outside. While the wetness is not visible on the outside of your clothing (unless there’s a leak) YOU will notice it, along with odor that comes from wetness over time. The cloth like backing makes absolutely NO noise WHATSOEVER under ANY type of everyday clothing.
Those of you who know me know I think elastic waists are an extra cost gimmick that is not really necessary, and on this product apparently Abena felt the same, as there is NO elastic waist band at all. Trust me, it’s no big loss! The elastic at the leg openings is VERY effective at giving a comfortable and snug fit around the legs and in the leg creases without binding or cutting into the skin. If the lower tape is fastened comfortably snug, the elastic will flex as you move, keeping the diaper snug against your skin without allowing leakage.
The standing inner leakage barriers on this product are very effective. They come about 3/4 of the way up the front and about 1/2 way or so up the back of the diaper on each side. While not the tallest inner leakage barriers on the market they are more than effective at preventing urine and especially bowel leakage.
The padding shape on this diaper is the “figure 8” shape with padding out toward the wings in the back and front. While the padding does not wrap all the way around the sides, it comes far enough past the elastic in the front and back to catch any wetness that MAY get past the standing elastic leak barrier. The padding that extends out toward the wings in the front is about 4” narrower than it is in the back. This allows a good, less bulky fit but still gives enough padding to make this a very protective product.
The padding on this product is fairly bulky depending on the absorbency level you buy. For example, padding on the “4” absorbency (formerly X-Plus) is just a little thicker than the padding on the Molicare Super Plus Brief. The padding tends to “fluff up” the longer the diaper is out of the bag, as Abena uses a “compressed packaging” which compresses the padding while in the bag. Under everyday clothing, this product would not be very obvious at all. The padding seems to absorb very quickly and wick very well. Usually, you can utilize just about every inch of the padding in regards to wetness without a leak. This 4 (formerly X-Plus) is DEFINITELY my top pick for heavy overnight protection, although due to the weeping of moisture from the cloth backing when very wet, it would be with a pair of waterproof pants! If taped snugly, this diaper will rarely ever leak even when you sleep on your side.
As noted above, these diapers have the two piece refastenable tape system, with the blue “under tape” that fastens to the plastic backing and the white top tape that adheres to the blue tape and is used for unfastening and refastening. Abena uses a reasonably large tape tab with VERY good folded over ends that make the tape easy to grasp when fastening and unfastening. The tapes hold very well and the white tape can be unfastened from the blue one and refastened on the blue tape over and over again without any noticeable degradation in stickiness. Don’t bother putting the white tape tab directly on the cloth like backing if you ever want to unfasten it again, as once it’s unfastened from the cloth backing, it will not refasten and hold again. A big drawback for those who may need to unfasten on occasion to self cath or do other things.
Overall, the quality of the Abena Premium Air-Plus is pretty good, with no stray padding pieces outside of the padded area, tape tabs that hold very well and great absorbency. Abena does suffer from variances in their quality from case to case though. I have had some cases where EVERYTHING was perfect (more often than not) and then other cases where absorbent polymer is clumped in areas and not in others, padding is not as heavy at times Again, the cloth backing will tend to weep moisture when it is very wet, so I would advise wearing a good pair of waterproof over pants with these for dampness AND odor control. Variances in quality is about 15% of the time. They are still an EXCELLENT product and when figuring defect rate, you have to remember the company runs millions of the product per year, so the defect rate is VERY low compared to other brands.
Again, a manufacturer who gets the fact that incontinence can be embarrassing enough without wearing a pink, blue, purple, peach or tan diaper! Who in the world ever decided on pink for a diaper color anyway?? They should be fired. Well, with this product, the cloth like backing is all white, with the exception of the design down the center of the diaper about 1/3 of the diaper width, that, under thin white pants, you would probably see, but as far as anyone would know, it could be a design on a pair of underwear. It is not a design that would make it obvious that you are wearing a diaper. This white cloth like backing color applies to the x-small, small, medium, large and x-large sizes.
These diapers fit pretty well IF you get the stretchy tape tabs in the right place so that when they are applied they don’t stretch out so the diaper sags or falls off. If you are on the outer edge of the size though, the stretchy taps can make what would have been a tight or impossible fit a more comfortable or possible fit. Other than that, they are indeed very comfortable without too much bulk in bad places. Once very wet though (past 2/3 capacity) you are going to notice a damp or clammy feel to the outside of the diaper and/or your pants unless you are wearing waterproof pants over them. If you are a very physically active person (walking, running, etc..) you may notice the padding does come apart in the front and sag down into the crotch of the diaper...especially if saturated. If you haven’t fastened the tapes tight enough, they may stretch and lead to diaper sag too. Under everyday “normal” activity or if you are a wheelchair user or confined to bed, this is not an issue. Skin dryness is actually excellent! Most times, it’s almost impossible to tell the diaper is even wet against your skin. The odor control for the most part, is not that great due to the breathable cloth like backing. It is better than cheap products with cloth like backings but not as good as it is with the plastic backed Abena products. If you wear the product long enough and you are not drinking a lot (meaning your urine is concentrated), an ammonia smell will build up after about 3 or 4 hours. If you are drinking normally and stay well hydrated though, odor is not a real big issue until about 4 or 5 hours’ wear time. Overall comfort is good.
Considering the average cost of these diapers is about $0.95 to $1.75, I find the cost to be kind of high, considering you may want to wear a pair of waterproof pants over these if you wear them to the saturated point or long enough for wetness to weep through the backing. When it comes to skin dryness and capacity for that price, you really can’t go wrong! If you have complete incontinence with large volumes, you should be able to feel secure that these diapers will not LEAK while out and about in this diaper BUT use caution when it comes to the damp feel on the outside and odor! If you don’t mind wearing waterproof pants over your diaper, then you should give this one a try, as once you figure out how to fasten the stretchy tapes, it’s pretty good!