Tampon Sizes and Types By Age and Preferences

Tampons are a type of menstrual hygiene device designed for insertion into the vagina to absorb blood during menstruation. These vaginal products solve managing your flow inconspicuously. They are made with rayon, cotton, or a blend of these two fabrics (skip straight to the tampon sizes chart).

Tampon Sizes and Types By Age and Preferences size-charts.com
Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

Why use a tampon, and why is it important to know the right tampon sizes?

  • There are many period products, but tampons are the best if you want discretion.
  • Tampons allow women to adopt an active lifestyle even during their periods, and yes, this means that you can swim with them.
  • Choosing the right tampon size is a guarantee for a relaxing day during your menstrual cycle.
  • Finally, using a highly absorbent tampon could leave you susceptible to bacterial infection and Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Luckily, we have summed up everything you need to know about tampon sizes in this post.

Related: Complete Condom Size Chart: Find The Right Size, Breast size chart for all shapes, Diapers Size Charts

Table of content of Tampon Sizes and Types

Tampon Sizes Chart

Related: Women’s Underwear Size Guide Chart And Sizing Guide

Your flow typeLight/junior tamponRegular tamponSuper tamponSuper plus tamponSuper plus extra/ultra-tampon
LightEvenly soakedLight white spaceSome white spacePlenty of white spaceMajority white space
Light to moderateEvenly soaked to some overflowEvenly soakedLight white spaceSome white spacePlenty of white space
ModerateSome overflow on stringEvenly soakedEvenly soaked to light white spaceLight white spaceSome white space
Moderate to heavySome overflow on string or underwearEvenly soaked to some overflowEvenly soakedLight white spaceSome white space to plenty of white space
HeavyHeavy overflow on string or underwearHeavy overflow on string or underwearOverflow to evenly soakedEvenly soakedEvenly soaked to light white space

How to Choose the Right Tampon Sizes

While there are a variety of Always sanitary pads to choose from, there are some advantages of using tampons. If you are trying out tampons for the first time, the different sizes available could confuse you. However, there are specific things to keep in mind when choosing the right size tampon. Let’s discuss them below.

tampon sizes
Feminine Tampons Set. Different Tampon Sizes of Cotton Swabs by Dreamstime.com

Absorbency level

The first thing to know is that tampons are categorized according to how much liquid they can absorb. As such, you’ll need to choose a tampon size that matches your menstrual flow for the best experience. In terms of length, most tampons are the same, but they will vary in width. Let’s consider the different tampon sizes:

1. Junior tampons

Also known as light tampons, compact tampons or slim tampons are the smallest you’ll find and are suitable for a lighter flow. These are the best for first-time users because they have the lowest absorbency and light size. They can take in as much as 3 mL of menstrual blood making them ideal for a lighter period.

When searching for the best tampon size, you need to start with the lowest absorbency tampons to reduce the chances of toxic shock syndrome. If your flow grows heavier, you can use a different absorbency level.

2. Regular tampons

A regular absorbency tampon can contain 5mL of fluids and is great when you are experiencing a moderate flow. You can wear a regular tampon for about 4 – 6 hours to manage your menstrual bleeding. This is usually the lowest absorbency tampon you can easily find.

Most women use regular tampons for their periods since they are readily available. You shouldn’t opt to wear a tampon with higher absorbency for longer instead of changing regular tampons every few hours. This is because, according to the FDA, wearing a tampon for longer than 8 hours will pose a significant health risk.

3. Super tampons

These are the tampons you need if you are experiencing a heavier flow, which is usually the case in the first few days of your period. Super absorbent tampons can hold about 12mL of menstrual fluid, making them a great choice for heavy periods.

We don’t recommend using these if you have a light flow because it could become painful and uncomfortable. You can improve your comfort level by sizing down from a super-size tampon to a smaller tampon.

4. Super-plus tampons

Not all tampon manufacturers offer this tampon size. This full-size tampon can absorb as much as 15 – 18 grams of blood and is a great option for heavier period flow. So, you can use it when you are on your heaviest flow instead of regular tampons, which could saturate much faster in certain individuals. You can start with these and then go lighter as your flow gradually reduces. 

You should only go for a higher tampon absorbency if your tampon leaks or needs changing in less than 4 hours.

Type of applicator

Your tampon could come with or without an applicator. An applicator is a tube that makes it easier to insert the tampon into the vagina. It eliminates the possibility of handling menstrual blood as you put the tampon in, which many women appreciate. Non-applicator tampons are also an option, but most people don’t prefer them.

There are different types of applicators. Let’s look at different tampons with applicators below.

  • Plastic applicators

These are made from plastic and help with tampon insertion so that you don’t need to use your fingers. Most women find plastic applicators to be comfortable and easy to insert. The downside is that they are more expensive than their cardboard counterparts.

  • Cardboard applicators

These are more affordable than plastic applicators, and you can find them in public restrooms and vending machines. The applicators are made from cardboard material. Some ladies experience discomfort when inserting cardboard applicators.

  • Extendable applicators

These extendable models are still plastic applicators, but the bottom tube can extend outwards and retract. They look shorter, making them ideal for carrying around.

  • Digital applicators

Also known as non-applicator tampons, these don’t come with any casing. Instead, you push them directly with your finger into the vagina. Some people find these tampons travel-friendly and environmentally friendly since

Some tampons are designed for specific scenarios. For instance, “active” or “sports” tampons are made for those with an active lifestyle, which means they can readjust in the vaginal canal as you move to prevent leakage.

Tampon Brand

There are different tampon manufacturers around the US. Some brands offer more options than others in terms of size like Tampax which has five tampons sizes including ultra which comes after super-plus. You’ll need to try out different sizes and brands before finding what works well for you.

Scented Tampons

You can find scented or unscented tampons on the market. We don’t recommend you use scented ones because the chemical additives could have unforeseen reactions in your body. Plus, you don’t have to worry about an unpleasant smell as long as you change your tampon every four hours.

How to Use Tampon and Everything Related to it (video)

How To Use Tampons | Everything you Need To Know To Survive Your Period! by Glamrs

FAQs About the Best Tampon Sizes for You

What size tampon should I use for the first time?

It’s best to use the lowest absorbency tampon (depending on the brand it’s labeled as thin, light, or junior). These junior or light sizes are typically more comfortable. When new to the process the tampons can be easier to insert.

What is the smallest tampon size?

Junior tampons have a slim applicator and come in the lightest tampon size, making them great for those trying tampons for the first time.

What is the biggest tampon size?

Most brands have a super-size tampon as the largest option, but some offer a super plus-size option. These can absorb between 9 – 15 grams of liquid.

What size tampon do I need for a heavy flow?

You should use super tampons or ultra tampons during your heavy flow days because they have heavier absorbency.

What size tampon do I need for swimming?

A regular-size tampon is sufficient for any sports activities, including swimming.


Tampons are among the best solutions for managing your menstrual flow. These are inserted into the vaginal canal to soak up the blood, unlike sanitary pads. You can get rayon or organic cotton tampons based on preference. The best way to use tampons is to determine the minimum absorbency necessary to control your period.

Tampon absorbency ranges from light to super absorbent levels. It’s crucial to find the right size tampon for your flow because taking a tampon with high absorbency could leave your vagina dry and expose you to Toxic Shock Syndrome. If you experience symptoms like fever, diarrhea, skin rash, or dizziness when using your tampon, seek medical help from your local healthcare provider.

Leave a comment or ask questions about tampon sizes in the section below!

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