Unfortunately, a woman’s menstrual cycle doesn’t only bring painful cramps, but it also creates a lot of waste. The hundreds of tampons and pads used every day by women worldwide contribute to landfills and are not environmentally friendly. Luckily, there is a way to be sustainable when it’s that time of the month: menstrual cups! They’re reusable, comfortable, and reliable once you get the hang of inserting them. Plus, many come in cute colors and patterns. The best menstrual cups allow for an eco-friendly alternative to other period products and do just as good a job!
Tampon applicators from sewage outfalls are the most common form of trash washing up on beaches around the world. A survey of over 2,000 people showed that seven in 10 are aware of this, and nearly three in four respondents (73%) said they worried about their carbon footprint. Despite this concern, more than half of respondents (53%) struggled with finding menstrual care products that are both eco-friendly and work well.
Unfortunately, and irrationally, periods are still taboo for some people, leading to period shame. As a result, too many women think less about what’s best for the environment and more about how they can avoid having others catch an unwanted glimpse of their tampon, according to a recent study. The study showed that while 97 percent of participants feel concerned about the environment, only a meager 15 percent dispose of used tampons properly. The other 85 percent flush the product down the toilet — so others don’t see it in the trash. Women typically go through 11,000 tampons in their lives, which take centuries to break down in the environment, researchers say.
Whereas tampons or pads need to be changed much for frequently, a menstrual cup lasts up to twelve hours, with hopefully more opportunities to dispose of it properly. Some cups are reusable (see number two on our list) or can be recycled via the manufacturer (see our number one), providing an even more environmentally sustainable alternative to tampons and pads.
In the aforementioned survey, 61 percent agreed that they would prefer to use products by brands that prioritize environmental sustainability and care. Similarly, the same number added they would try a reusable menstrual cup if they knew that, after the life cycle of the menstrual cup, it could be safely and responsibly recycled. To help you find a product that works for you, StudyFinds consulted experts from 10 websites and based on their reviews and recommendations, we created a list of the top-five best menstrual cups. If you have any models to add, please let us know in the comments.
The List: Best Menstrual Cups, According to Experts
No expert list of recommendations was complete without the DivaCup! According to The Strategist, this popular cup is the “best overall.” And Cosmopolitan states that “everyone on YouTube seems to be obsessed with the Diva Cup – and for good reason.”
To ensure a good fit for everyone, the DivaCup is “available in three different sizes, making it ideal for those with lower- or higher-sitting cervixes. Plus, the relatively firmer cup means you don’t have to worry about it moving or shifting when you’re working out,” points out Glamour.
“Choose among a variety of products designed for those ages 18 and under, ages 19 to 30 with medium flow and ages 30+ or with a heavy flow,” adds Forbes.”They’re made out of medical grade silicone, with no chemicals, plastic or dyes.” Bonus: This cup can be recycled through its manufacturer!
The Saalt Cup follows the DivaCup very closely. Experts especially recommend its “soft” model. “The Saalt cup puts comfort first with its ultra-soft silicone cup, which is hypoallergenic and nontoxic,” says Glamour about the cup, pointing out that it “flexes easily” and is “pretty much effortless to insert and remove.” It’s also worth noting that Saalt offers reusable cups and discs!
“This cup was designed with Put A Cup In It, a menstrual cup product and information platform,” shares Women’s Health. “They created Saalt’s shape with a soft feel that’s ideal for beginners or those with a sensitive pelvic floor. Seventy-nine percent of Amazon users gave it a five-star rating and love that its texture feels softer compared to others.”
“The Saalt cup was the most highly recommended beginner-friendly cup from the experts we consulted,” writes CNN Underscored. “[One of our experts] says the Saalt cup fits a large percentage of people because of its length and average firmness. It comes in small and regular sizes, is made for a normal to heavy flow, can be worn for up to 12 hours and holds as much as three to four tampons, which means you don’t need to worry about emptying it throughout the day.”
3. Lena Cup
The Lena Cup is just a little behind the Saalt Cup based on mentions. For Verywell Health, however, this cup is “the gold standard option.” And its “sensitive” model is ideal for menstrual cup novices, according to The Strategist: “We feel confident in recommending the Lena Sensitive as a great starter cup that should work well for most people.”
“Sometimes simple is better, which is why the Lena Menstrual Cup is our top choice,” states Verywell Health. “This cup is bell-shaped, and angled airflow holes are designed to slide easily into place and create strong suction to avoid slippage or leakage […] The Lena Cup is a no-fuss, easy-to-use, flexible option you can rely on no matter how heavy or light your flow, making it perfect for regular usage.”
“It’s great for all persons, regardless of their parity, age and size of their cervix,” quotes Forbes. The Lena Cup is available in two sizes and “you can buy a two-pack ($40) that includes one small and one large cup, which makes it easy to figure out which fits you best.”
This cup has an extra-smart design, according to Byrdie and Wirecutter. “There is a finger indentation for easier placement, as well as a tapered and textured base for effortless removal,” says Byrdie‘s expert. Plus, “it can last for up to a decade, and […] the company gives back to those in need.”
The Cora Cup is Wirecutter‘s top recommendation for a menstrual cup. “Most cups are shaped almost exactly the same way, but we think the Cora Easy-Does-It Cup has some really smart design differences that make it a great beginner choice. The cup has a flattened bit on the side, showing you where to place your finger while folding it, and the bottom narrows in a way that makes pinching to remove the cup easier. The silicone is soft and easy to clean, and it’s a nice middle size in case you’re not sure how much space you’ve got down there.”
Per Select‘s expert, The Cora Cup is “one of the easiest to fold, insert and remove.” It comes in two sizes: “Size 1 is recommended for those who haven’t given birth and don’t experience bladder leaks, while Size 2 is best for users with a medium to heavy flow, as well as for people who have given birth.”
5. MeLuna Cup
This cup made our list because “it comes in the biggest variety of sizes (eight total, including the Shorty versions),” as The Strategist writes. “The MeLuna is also available in a firmer version and with three handle options. Its design can be folded the most ways, yet it pops open easily. This cup is simple to insert, remove, and clean.”
“Of all the menstrual cups on this list, the MeLuna offers the most options to customize your cup to your body,” confirms The Strategist. “I appreciate how many options there are with the MeLuna cups, and their guidance is helpful and makes choosing one less overwhelming,” says their senior editor Winnie Yang.
CNN Underscored‘s expert also mentions the brand’s helpful website: “Their website has size charts, a ‘cup fairy’ for recommendations and a calculator for patients with special needs such as prior pelvic surgery. The standard height cup works for those with average cervix heights, classic firmness is comfortable for most users and the ring handle is beginner-friendly and makes it easy to reach and remove the cup.”
You might also like:
- Best Multivitamins for Women
- Best Prenatal Vitamins
- Best Postnatal Vitamins
- Best Women’s Bras
- Best Natural Deodorant
- Women’s Health
- Verywell Health
- The Strategist
- CNN Underscored
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.