Best Menstrual Cup of 2021
Getting top marks in all categories, the Lena Menstrual Cup sets itself apart as a truly easy to wear and simple product to use that will likely be a fit for everyone. Constructed of firm silicone and boasting an average length, it works well for users with varying degrees of cervix heights. The seal on the rigid rim is trustworthy and leak-proof, and after it is folded and inserted, it opens almost instantly. We especially appreciate the fact that we couldn't feel the flexible stem at all, and it has a ribbed surface that you can easily grip for removal. Depending on your preference, you can also keep a grip on the ribs at the base of the cup in order to break the seal without it slipping from your fingers.
We really tried, but couldn't come up with a drawback to this product, and it thoroughly impressed us with its well-rounded excellence. We felt good about using the Lena due to its full list of certifications (FDA, FSC, Green Seal, etc.), and we also appreciate its stylish carrying case, recycled packaging, and company focus on education and charity. This cup gets our top recommendation and comes in two different sizes, three shades, and two different flexibility choices.
The Pixie is a medium-sized soft silicone cup. Some users will experience more comfort with this model because the silicone is less firm, thus applying less outward pressure when in use. However, others may find that it seems slightly less secure, specifically when exercising or performing other vigorous activities. One of our favorite features of the Pixie is the bulb that allows you to easily grip it at the tip of the stem when ready to remove it. While our testers didn't feel the stem or cup when it was in use, if you have a low cervix, it is possible you might feel it, and you can't trim this stem.
The Pixie comes with an attractive cotton carrying case, and with every cup sold, one is donated to a woman in need by the company. Be aware that there is a bible verse printed inside the cup, which may be a positive or a negative for different customers. If you're looking for a basic, comfortable cup that removes best via the stem and that won't break the bank, this is a great option.
If anyone can make menstrual cups cool, it's Saalt. You'll be drawn in by striking graphics and packaging, a selection of beautiful colors (seafoam green! desert blush!), and a carrying pouch that doesn't scream, "this is for a menstrual cup!" They back it up with a great product that's easy to use and high quality. For those with lower cervixes, this cup's shorter body will make it sit properly without discomfort. Those with higher cervixes will like it too, though, because its long stem makes it accessible even if it's sitting higher up within you. Its slightly softer silicone gives it a bit of added comfort, but it isn't so soft that we couldn't insert it easily.
Our one critique of this cup is that the stem could use a bit more texture. It does have some slight indentations, presumably for added grip and as guides for trimming if you find it to be too long, but there were times we thought it was a bit slippery. The good news is that the cup is ribbed along the bottom, so if you struggle at all with the stem, it'll be easy to grip the base and remove it that way. This is another cup that scored top marks in the quality metric for its overall presentation and the company's B Corps status, which means they are dedicated to funding menstrual health initiatives, education, and sustainability. Their transparency about their impact and which organizations they work with means you can feel good about your purchase.
With a serious emphasis on the environmental good that comes from switching to non-disposable forms of period products, the OrganiCup is our top choice for the eco-conscious consumer. Made of a medium stiffness silicone, this dye-free cup is easy to insert, stays in place, and doesn't leak. The body length should work for wearers with both high and low cervixes, and we love the prominent ridges along the stem for easy removal.
OrganiCup not only has all the traditional certifications we looked for, but it is also certified allergen-free, vegan, and comes in a minimal amount of recycled cardboard packaging. The company works with NGOs around the world to tackle "period poverty," bringing education and donations to those in need. If you want to be sure that your purchase has a positive impact, this high-quality cup in its organic cotton pouch is a perfect choice.
One of the original silicone menstrual cups, the Diva Cup is a classic for a reason. The medium stiffness silicone helps it pop open easily after insertion and stay in place no matter what activity you're doing. Additionally, its thick rim provides a seal you can fully trust. With a longer profile to the body of the cup, wearers with high cervixes will find this one comfortable and easy to remove by gripping the tapered, ribbed base.
One of the downsides to the Diva is its short, hollow stem. Trying to break the suction and remove the cup using only the stem is a bit hard, especially because of that great seal we mentioned before. Also, if you have a lower cervix, the elongated body of this cup may not sit well in the vaginal canal and could cause discomfort. This is a great quality cup that will last for years, and the company has a proven history of education and advocacy in menstrual health. If you've worn a cup before and are comfortable that you know the height of your cervix, don't overlook this one.
For those brand new to the world of menstrual cups and a bit intimidated by removing them, the Flex Cup may ease your concerns. Its standout feature is a long stem with a loop at the end for a finger. There's a plunger that goes up through the center of the cup and attaches to the rim, and when you pull down via that finger loop, the rim bends inward, breaking the seal and pulling the cup out. Pretty cool! The downside is that even though it's possible to adjust the length of the stem, our testers could still feel it slightly, which affected its comfort score. The stem also makes it a bit harder to clean with the added step of having to pull the plunger out and then rethread it.
We were happy with how the Flex suctioned and didn't experience any leaks during use, but when you pull the plunger stem down, there is a possibility of some fluid leaking through the hole in the base of the cup. However, if you're squeamish, the opaque silicone will help keep you from having to see too much, and the unique stem design will eliminate some of the inevitable hands-on aspects of most cups. This is a solid performing cup, and we're happy with its quality, so if the pros outweigh the few cons, this may be the cup for you.
The Dutchess is a straightforward, no-frills cup. It has an elongated body more suited to those with higher cervixes and is made of a soft silicone. Our testers didn't experience any leaks and generally found it comfortable. For its price point, it's a good way to try out a menstrual cup for the first time without having to invest a lot of money.
Our one gripe is that the stem is tricky to use. It's short and not ribbed enough to be of much help when things are slippery. There are some slight ridges at the very base, but we found that it was easiest to grip the sides of the cup and pull it out that way, being careful not to squeeze the soft silicone too hard and make a mess. A beginner might not love how difficult the stem is to use, but if you're looking for just a basic, inexpensive cup, and you know what you're doing, this could be it.
The Athena cup has the same color, the same stiffness, and the same design as the Dutchess — they were truly so alike that we couldn't even tell them apart. One of the only distinguishing factors between the two is that this cup comes with a decidedly cute carrying pouch for storage. Its basic, slightly elongated design is pretty comfortable, although we are not a fan of the short, hard to hold stem.
We couldn't find the Athena on the list of FDA-registered menstrual cups, which lowered its quality score. Some users will find the softness of the silicone helps make it easy to insert, while others may be frustrated that it creates a less secure seal. Still, the Athena is a simple, inexpensive cup that could be a good entry product into the world of menstrual cups.
The Talisi comes with not one but two cups in different sizes, so you're bound to find one with the right dimensions for you. It also includes a collapsible silicone cleaning cup that you can fill with water and microwave with your cup inside to sterilize it after use (though you can also just boil a cup to sterilize, so we don't find this super useful.) It's nearly identical to some of the other basic cups we reviewed, but it is distinctly thinner and flimsier. While this means it might be easier to fold for insertion, it is less reliable and more likely to lose suction and leak.
Like other cups with the same design, the stem of the Talisi is very difficult to use because it's short and slippery. With no FDA registration and a low-quality feel, we're hesitant to recommend this product, especially because menstrual cups are classified as medical devices and used in a sensitive area of the body. However, since it includes multiple sizes at a low price point, it could be a useful purchase to determine the best cup size before upgrading to a higher quality product.
Why You Should Trust Us
Between the two of them, reviewer Paige Klugherz and editor Penney Garrett have been using menstrual cups for nearly twenty years, so they were more than up to the task of tackling this unique product category. As athletes and avid travelers, both Paige and Penney have relied on menstrual cups through long trail runs, rock climbing, multi-day backcountry trips, and international flights. They are an easily overlooked piece of "gear" that has the potential to streamline your routine and make it easier to enjoy your favorite activities, all while producing less waste — an all-around win, in our eyes.
To really form a well-rounded opinion of each cup, we wore them for their maximum recommended duration to check for comfort and functionality, put them in numerous times to determine ease-of-use, and did all of our favorite activities (yoga! running! climbing!) to make sure they wouldn't let us down when we needed them to perform. We also paid close attention to quality and researched the materials used in each product. While this category has a particularly personal nature, and every body is shaped differently with different tolerances, we tried our best to provide as thorough a review as possible so you can make an informed decision about which menstrual cup will be best for you.
Analysis and Test Results
We created a testing plan to cover the four metrics that we determined to be the most important factors of a great menstrual cup. Comfort, functionality, and ease of use are the categories given the most weight because when it comes down to it, you want to be able to put your cup in and not have to think about it again for hours. While maybe slightly less important, the quality still may be a deciding factor between two otherwise similar products, so we made sure to test that, too.
Comfort is the most heavily weighted metric in this review because, first and foremost, your cup shouldn't be adding any discomfort or pain to an already uncomfortable time of the month. This certainly has a personal component, where one individual may find a stiffer cup and shorter stem to be the most comfortable, and another may prefer a longer or softer cup. The height of your cervix will play a role in which cups you find to be the most comfortable since those with higher cervixes will be able to get most cups to work with their anatomy, but those with lower cervixes will likely want a cup with a shorter body. Additionally, the length and thickness of the stem can hit wearers at different points. For this review, we paid attention to whether or not we could feel the cup once it was in position. The highest scorers were the ones that we nearly forgot we were wearing!
There are a number of very high performers in this category. The Saalt cup with its shorter body will sit well in someone with a lower cervix, and we love that the stem is soft enough that we didn't notice it at all, despite its length. An important factor to consider is the firmness of the silicone. Softer cups can be more comfortable since they won't provide as much outward pressure in your vaginal canal, but they can be harder to insert and open. If you're particularly active, you'll probably find that a firmer cup stays in place better and is less likely to slip down. The Lena and the OrganiCup have nearly the same length body, but the former is a bit firmer, and the latter is a bit softer. If you have a higher cervix, you may find the longer, more conical shape of the Diva Cup to be just the right fit.
Functionality boils down to whether or not the cups do what they're supposed to: securely hold menstrual fluid without leaking. Each cup was worn for at least 5 consecutive hours to make sure it maintained its seal and wouldn't leak. We did all of our regular day-to-day activities, including heading to the gym to make sure the cups were up to par.
Most of the cups did exactly what we wanted them to do-- they stayed in place and didn't leak. The Lena, Saalt, Diva, OrganiCup, and Pixie all performed equally well, and we'd trust them even wearing white pants on our heaviest cycle days. Some of the softest cups, including the Talisi, Dutchess, and Athena, wouldn't be our top choice for activities like yoga, running, or rock climbing because they are more likely to lose suction and leak, but they performed as expected while working and doing errands.
Ease of Use
When analyzing ease of use, we paid attention to how easy or difficult it was to insert and remove each cup. For many first-time users, there's a fear of not being able to remove a menstrual cup, and while there is nowhere for your cup to disappear to inside your vaginal canal where you won't be able to get it out, some cups are certainly easier to remove than others. We experimented with removing them by just their stems, paying attention to length, stiffness, and texture, and we also removed them by gripping the base of the cup and noting the texture and stiffness of the silicone.
There's a definite learning curve to using a menstrual cup, and it can take a few cycles before you really get the hang of it. Remember to relax and take it slow.
- Folds: There are a few different folds you can use to insert the cup, with the simplest being a basic C or U fold. Push in one edge of the rim so that it meets the other side, and then pull the ends to meet each other.
- Positioning: The first step in knowing where to position your cup is knowing where your cervix is. Find a comfortable position, such as sitting on the toilet or squatting, insert the folded cup with the opening angled back towards your cervix, and then pull your fingers off so that the fold comes undone. It should open up, and you can run your finger around the edge to make sure it's sealed around your cervix.
- Removal: To remove your cup, you can either pull downward on the stem or grip the base of the cup and pull it out. There are lots of different styles of stems, and if you're newer to cups, you may prefer a longer one. After some time, though, you might find that it's easier to simply pull out the cup by its body.
The unique bulb tip on the stem of the Pixie makes it very easy to pull out. The long, ribbed stems on the OrganiCup and Lena are two others that make removal a breeze. The Flex has a patented pull tab that releases the suction along the rim of the cup, which is a great option for a beginner, although we feel like it does create some minor sacrifices in the comfort category. If you prefer to grip the base of the cup between your thumb, forefinger, and middle finger, you'll find the narrow, ribbed base of the Diva Cup easy to use.
With this metric, we took a fairly broad approach. From the quality of the cup itself to the packaging and carrying pouch, as well as whether a product is registered with the FDA and the overall message of the company, it all factored in. Special attention to the cup being allergy certified, using recycled cardboard packaging, a nicer carrying pouch, or a company that incorporates a donation and education model boosted scores in this category. These factors may be less important than the other metrics, but if you're deciding between two otherwise similar products, you may prefer to go for the one that ranks higher here.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies menstrual cups as medical devices, but because of their level of classification, new cups don't undergo specific scrutiny or gain FDA approval. However, cups sold or distributed within the U.S. should be registered with the FDA, and we weren't able to find two of the products we tested on that list.
The environmentally friendly mission of the OrganiCup is evident through its minimal, recycled cardboard packaging, organic cotton carrying pouch, and allergy and vegan certifications. With beautiful packaging and the prettiest carrying pouch, Saalt backs up its top-notch design with a B Corps certification, meaning they have a focus on social and environmental good. Lena has a Green Seal certification, among many others, uses recycled packaging, and is made in the U.S. All three of these top scorers also place a significant emphasis on education about menstrual health and donations by working with numerous organizations globally.
Menstrual cups are fantastic, albeit slightly intimidating, products that can greatly impact your quality of life. We hope our honest review on these cups takes some of the guesswork out of buying one.
— Paige Klugherz