Are you considering buying cheap, no-name, dollar store condoms – or novelty condoms that were manufactured god-knows-where?
Hopefully, after reading the information on this page, you’ll reconsider. The costs associated with a failed condom are far more expensive and potentially life-threatening than choosing a reputed brand.
Trusted brands like Durex, Lifestyles, Trojan, Okamoto, and other premium condoms might cost $0.20 more per use, but do you really want to spend the next 9 months choosing a baby name, or worse; bouncing from one doctor’s appointment to another to receive treatment for a sexually transmitted disease, infection, or viral infection?
Using the best rated condoms offer a variety of extra pleasure and performance-enhancing features, are thinner, more flexible, and most important: more reliable! Buying cheapo condoms is a recipe for disaster, and that choice will come back to bite you sooner or later.
Below, you’ll learn more about the key benefits of buying premium condoms, what you should be looking for on the packaging, and our list of the very best of the best rated condoms currently available.
3 Key Benefits of Using Premium Condoms
1. Premium condoms are rigorously tested prior to sale, ensuring maximum protection against STD’s and unplanned pregnancies. Testing includes one or all of the following: water, air, and electrostatic testing.
2. The better brands are much thinner than their cheaper counterparts, making for more of a natural sensation for both you and your partner, without sacrificing reliability. Thinner is always better, but not if they break like bargain condoms can!
3. They contain sexual performance-enhancing features like ribbed/dotted texturing for increased pleasure, and a variety of added lubricants that will increase pleasure for you and her, normally delaying the male orgasm and creating a warming sensation for her.
What to Look for When Purchasing
• Are the Condoms Tested?: Testing methods include some, or all of the following: water, air, and electrostatic testing for pinholes and other imperfections in the condoms, prior to packaging.
• Latex vs. Non Latex: Latex is the gold standard when it comes to strength and durability. However, if you or your partner are allergic you’re going to need a condom that uses synthetic polyisoprene, or polyurethane. Reliable manufactures of non-latex condoms are few and far between, but Lifestyle’s Skyn is a brand that you can definitely trust.
• Lubricated?: Some brands will offer no lubrication at all, if you want to use your own or don’t care for the feeling of lubricated condoms. Others will have an added lubricant infused with a spermicide to protect against pregnancy. Other brands offer unique dual-lubrication features, with benzocaine-based ingredients on the inside to delay male orgasm and outer lube that warms your partner’s genitals to increase her pleasure.
• Ribbed or Not?: Not everyone is interested in purchasing ribbed condoms. If you and your partner enjoy this feature, it can be fun to experiment and buy a few different textured condoms. There are several kinds of ribbing patterns: top only, bottom only, ribbed from top to bottom. Some brands like Durex Performax have raised dots all over the condom for a truly unique experience. Condoms that have excessive ribbing will be thicker and will delay ejaculation, which may be a benefit or drawback, depending on what you’re looking for.
• Thin or Thick?: Most men will want a thinner condom. However, if you’re the type who needs some extra insulation from your partner to prevent premature ejaculation, you’ll want to steer clear of condoms that claim to be the thinnest out there. If you find it difficult to find thin condoms, look for ones with delayed ejaculation lubrication or “ultra/extra ribbed for her” on the label.
• Can They Accommodate You?: Finding a custom fit is such a hard thing to do and may require some trial and error. If you’re on the large, or extra large size you might find it hard to find a condom with “magnum” or “extra large” on the label that fit comfortably. Unfortunately, most condoms specifically designed for larger men tend to be on the thick side. Most of the brands listed in the review section below are both thin and extremely flexible “one size fits all” type condoms that are made for a range of penis sizes. Low quality condoms from non-trusted manufacturers are notorious for splitting/breaking when your size exceeds the normal range. You want a snugger fit, not something that squeezes you!
• Expiry Date (Important!): If the condoms you purchased don’t have an expiry date on them, don’t use them! Most will have an expiry date that’s 2 – 4 years from the date of manufacture. Beware of expiry dates when purchasing condoms at discounted prices, they’re probably closer to their expiry date than those which aren’t price-slashed. Ensuring the expiration date hasn’t passed ensures unstressed, safe sex.
Best Condom Brands You and Your Partner Can Trust
Amazon is the most affordable and discreet resource for purchasing condoms. If you don’t mind spending extra money, the drug or grocery store variety are just fine. However, if you want your condoms delivered to your door, without the mail man knowing what’s inside, all the while saving money, use Amazon and stay away from EBay sellers (near expiry condoms or knockoffs), and manufacturer direct sites (can cost a fortune.)
Trojan Stimulations Ultra Ribbed Lubricated
While there are other brands that have an equal reliability rating, you still won’t find a more dependable and trusted brand than Trojan condoms. These ultra ribbed condoms have large pronounced ribs on the top and bottom to increase both yours and your partner’s pleasure. They’re also fairly thin (though not the thinnest) condoms. Best, they’re a one size fits all condom, so unless your name’s David Beckham, it’s safe to assume these Trojan Stimulations will fit just fine!
Durex Extra Sensitive Ultra Thin Lubricated
Durex has been in the contraception business for over 80 years, making them among the most popular among heavyweight condom manufacturers. These extra sensitive condoms from Durex are really popular. They’re super-thin, while thousands of reviews worldwide indicate a very low breakage rate among users. This is probably due to the easy-on design that makes them easy to slip on, plus the company’s rigorous testing prior to packaging. Durex Extra Sensitive Ultra Thins come with a basic non-spermicidal lubricant.
Kimono Latex Micro Thin
Kimono’s were the original company to make super-thin condoms. So, if thin is what you’re looking for, it’s safe to say these Micro Thins aren’t likely to disappoint! They claim to be 38% thinner than regular condoms, while still as reliable as their competition against breakage. Micro Thins don’t contain spermicide, so if you’re sensitive to nonoxynol they’re a great choice for you. The reviews are impressive, with many happy men claiming this brand to be #1 for offering maximum pleasure during intercourse. One drawback is that they’re not designed for the big boys. If you’re on the large size, Kimono Micro Thins might feel a little snug.
Okamoto 0.04 Zero Zero Four Condoms
Okamoto brand condoms are imported from Japan, where they’re the best selling brand of condoms, bar-none. Okamoto 0.04 are even thinner than the Micro Thins from Kimono, and are only bested by Okamoto 0.02’s and 0.03’s, which some users have complained are more susceptible to breakage unless you add tons of extra lube during long intercourse sessions. Okamotos are only mildly lubricated. These condoms are made from ultra thin latex, much thinner than other condoms, and were formerly Guinness record holders in the thinnest condom category. Expect to pay a few dollars more per package, for the added thinness.
Lifestyles Wyld Condoms
These are a great value for men who want a premium, female pleasure enhancing condom that doesn’t cost a lot. A twelve-pack of Wyld’s is around half the price you’d pay for ten other premium condoms. They’re ribbed for her pleasure and have one of the longest-lasting lubes straight out of the package, compared to other premium condoms. Wylds also fit really nicely, being designed to accommodate both smaller and larger sized men. Though the lower price is attractive, you might prefer to buy a pack of these for special occasions in combination with a non-ribbed condom, since the ribbing is fairly aggressive and can dampen/delay pleasure.
Playboy Lubricated (Bulk Deal)
You really can’t go wrong with a bulk package deal like this! When you buy 144 of these premium Playboy Lubricated condoms, you’re literally paying $0.30 per condom. Heff and company were thinking of ‘girthier’ men when they designed these 54mm wide condoms, but Playboy Lubricated condoms still accommodate men of average girth too. They don’t contain any added spermicide and are electrostatically tested before being packaged.
Durex Performax Intense Ribbed
These Performax condoms can really offer a very interesting evening of sex for you and your partner. They’re ribbed on the top and base, while micro dots are carefully located over the entire shaft area of the condom to help you hit those extra sweet spots inside your lady! That’s not where the interesting benefits of these premium Durex condoms end though, not by a long shot! The inside of the condom is lubricated with a non harming, ejaculation-delaying formulation (5% benzocaine) that slows you down when things heat up, literally! The outside of the condom has a pleasure-enhancing lube to make things feel even hotter for your partner. They do cost a bit more, but if you end up liking them, consider buying a thousand for big savings.
Trojan-ENZ Condom ENZ Lubricated
These are regular non-thin, non-ribbed condoms from Trojan. They’re a modern-made classic condom for men (and women) who don’t care for all the frills offered by fancy condoms, but still want the reliability offered by a premium manufacturer. Trojan-enz condoms are among the least expensive of the plain-jane regular condoms from trusted U.S. manufacturers. They’re reliable and work, plain and simple.
Okamoto Crown Condoms, World Famous Super Thin and Sensitive Condom, for Extra Sensation
Crown are Okamoto’s regular condom. They’re manufactured in Japan, and are probably the cheapest regular premium condoms available anywhere. Both Okamoto and their customers both claim that these condoms are far from regular though; being thinner than U.S. brand condoms like the Trojan-enz listed above. Hey, where else can you find 100 condoms for under $20, from a trusted manufacturer?
Crowns can be restrictive for men of the large girth persuasion. Consider Okamoto XL’s or Super Big Boys (with a horse on the label) if this is you.
Lifestyles Skyn Polyisoprene Condoms (Non Latex)
Marketed as “the closest thing to wearing nothing,” Lifestyle’s extra-lubricated Skin condoms offer sexual partners with latex allergies an alternative to more dangerous or invasive birth control methods like the pill, needle and diaphragm. These condoms are made from a special polyisoprene formulation that closely matches the strength, flexibility and comfort offered by latex. In fact, studies have shown that polyisoprene to be much stronger and longer lasting than latex. Best, Skyn condoms don’t have the trademark “latex smell” that other condoms do.
Sustain Natural Latex Condoms
The Sustain Ultra Thin Condom offers a great sexual experience while being eco-friendly. It is free from a lot of the chemicals, fragrances or animal-by-products. The condom is vegan and are sustainably produced. In terms of feeling, they are amazing! If you have allergic reactions to normal condoms, it could be due to the lube most condoms apply. Give Sustain Condoms a chance as their products use different materials. They also donate 10% of their profits to women’s health organizations!
If you’re not condom-savvy and haven’t used them very much before, or simply never put much thought about what brand/features to use, a premium sample pack is a really smart idea. You’ll find manufacturer-specific samplers containing a variety of lubed, non-lubed, lubricated, pleasure-enhancing, ribbed, dotted, etc., condoms to help you and your partner make a better-informed decision.
Several long term, lab based studies have shown that there’s really no single perfect condom out there. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks for individuals. The most important things are reliability and the ‘pleasure factor’, combined with the long-term cost of use. Stick with trusted brands and don’t be afraid to switch brands if you’re not happy with the current condom you’re using. Know what else is important? Your breath.