Unbound Ranks: Condoms


While vital to protect against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, condoms can act as a potential barrier to intimacy- both physically and in terms of how putting them on necessarily demands a (sometimes awkward) break in the action.  Fortunately, the wonders of technology and product development have allowed us to come a long way from the “rubbers” of yore.  At Unbound we leveraged our four-step curation process to ensure that only the best condoms on the market are available for sale in our store.  Read on to learn more:

  1. STANDARDS: Only the best for our babes. All the products we consider curating must first meet two stringent standards:
  • 100% Body safe: we do not sell condoms that are either made with or feature lubes that contain harmful compounds such as phthalates or that risk causing unanticipated physical harm because of their design (undue construction, or unsafe internal or external textures e.g.). We are able to ensure products meet the top of this funnel by expertly selecting the vendors that we work with based on this quality standard.
  • Aligned manufacturer ethos: we only source products from manufacturers that are pro-woman and body-positive (like us!). We do not source products that feature packaging or language that is offensive to women. 
  1. RESEARCH: Not all condoms are created equal. We combed the internet in search of suppliers and manufacturers with the best-reviewed and most innovative condoms on the market to ensure that every product we sell performs to meet the highest quality and comfort standards. When improperly used or manufactured, condoms can break or tear, resulting in serious consequences like STIs or unwanted pregnancy.  Tearing or breakage can result from a number of factors including difficult-to-open packaging, hidden weakness in the rubber or other material used in the condom (that may have eluded the quality spot checks many manufacturers use), or excessive friction / insufficient lubrication.  While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sends inspectors to condom manufacturers to conduct leakage and breakage tests, condoms are not federally required to pass any sort of "friction test". Thus, in sourcing the samples we planned to test we were particularly attuned to any reviews that mentioned poor fit, tearing, or skin irritation.  Ultimately, sourced 18 of what we deemed to be the top-rated condoms on the market across a number of key categories including:
  • Regular and extra large (fit is important to both comfort and effectiveness- a condom that is too tight can interfere with an erection while one that it too loose can fail to protect both partners)
  • Extra thin (condoms that are too thick can result in less pleasurable sensation and an inhibited sense of intimacy)
  • Studded and Ribbed (externally studded condoms can offer the partner being penetrated an enhanced level of sensation and stimulation) 
  • Organic (organic condoms are more sustainable and better for the environment) 
  • Flavored (flavored condoms can add an extra level of fun to safe fellatio)
  • Warming (warming lube can offer the partner being penetrated an enhanced level of sensation and pleasure)
  1. TESTING: Your intrepid product tester found six willing volunteers representing a variety of ages, orientations and …physical attributes to each test a subset of the 18 considered condom varieties under a range of controlled conditions including anal vs vaginal penetration, longer versus shorter sessions, and the application versus absence of additional lube.

After each round all participants were asked to complete a standardized survey addressing the metrics most relevant for the quality of a condom, namely:

  • Packaging: Was the wrapper pretty and -more importantly- easy to open without inadvertent tearing? Nothing kills the mood more than ineptly fumbling to open condom wrapper.
  • Fit/tightness: It’s a bit like goldilocks- a good condom shouldn’t be too loose or too snug but juuuust right
  • Internal and external lubrication: prevents tearing and it feels good!
  • Internal and external texture: studs and ribbing and more, oh my!
  • Adequacy of reservoir tip: kind of the whole …point
  • Resiliency / durability: a good condom should take a lickin’ and keep on , well, you get what we mean

In addition to providing feedback on all of the above metrics we also asked all participants to provide a holistic score on a scale of 1-10 as well as a score for how likely on a scale of 1-10 they would be to recommend the condom to a friend.  These scores were averaged and used as a basis to rank all the samples that were tested. 

SPECIFICATIONS
PRODUCT
USED FOR
Extra Large
Extra Thin
Textured
Natural
Flavored
Warming
Blended Rating
003 Regular
Vaginal
X
9
Lifestyles SKYN Original
Vaginal, Anal
X
9
Sir Richards Ribbed
Vaginal
X
X
8
Trojan Magnum
Vaginal, Anal
X
8
Condom Brand 1
Vaginal
X
8
Condom Brand 2
Vaginal
X
8
Condom Brand 3
Vaginal
X
X
8
Condom Brand 4
Vaginal
X
X
7.5
Condom Brand 5
Vaginal
7.25
Condom Brand 6
Vaginal
X
7
Condom Brand 7
Vaginal, Anal
7
Condom Brand 8
Vaginal
X
6.75
Condom Brand 9
Vaginal
X
6.5
Condom Brand 10
Vaginal
X
6.5
Condom Brand 11
Vaginal
X
5.5
Condom Brand 12
Vaginal
X
X
3
Condom Brand 13
Vaginal
2
Condom Brand 14
Vaginal
X
1.5

 

Most of the condoms we tested (which isn’t to say most of the testers who helps us) were simply adequate. The most common issues cited involved fit concerns like tightness or thickness.  One of our participants might have sustained minor bruising from using an insufficiently large sample and there was one instance of an ultrathin condom breaking (everyone is fine!- or at a minimum STI and gestating fetus free) but by and large most of the samples scored in the 5-7 range. The top performers scoring 8 or above (which we now feature on our site) were as follows:

Best Ultra-Thin Condom / Best Overall Condom: Okamoto 003
Ultra-thin condoms can improve feelings of intimacy by allowing partners to feel as close to skin-on-skin as possible, but finding a manufacturer who can produce an ultra-thin product that can stand up to the friction and impact of an intense session can be tricky.

These fancy imports have garnered an international following, and not without good reason.  Engineered to contour perfectly to his unique shape without being constrictive, these ultra-thin condoms (“003” refers to the 0.03mm thickness of the condom) allow for delicious sensations without compromised safety. 



Best Non-Latex Condom: Lifestyles SKYN
For those with latex allergies or for those who simply dislike the texture (or distinct scent) of certain latex condoms, options can be limited. We tried the best non-latex options on the market and found a clear winner that stands up against even the best traditional condoms.

Ultra-thin condoms can prove less resilient than traditional condoms and most are made of latex, which has a distinctly un-sexy odor.  SkYN by Lifestyles are a non-latex, ultra-thin condom that stretches without constricting and features a fantastic long-lasting lubricant to enhance durability and comfort. 


Best Extra-Large Condom: Trojan Magnum
We’ll spare you the jokes about whether size matters. The simple truth is that if your partner happens to more endowed, traditional condoms might result in compromised comfort and safety. 

Magum has built a reputation as the gold-standard for larger condoms with good reason.  These high-quality extra smooth latex condoms feature a tapered, secure fit, reservoir tip for extra safety, and lubrication to enhance comfort for both of you.




Best Textured and Best Natural Condom: Sir Richard’s Ribbed

Some people like a little more sensation.  Textured condoms come in a wide range of varieties including ribbed, studded and many more elaborate patters.  But which of these adornments were mostly for show and which really enhance pleasure?  We were determined to find out (and it just so happened that the best performing textured condom was also made of all-natural, vegan materials!).

Yes, Sir Richards condoms are a bit pricier than what you might pick up at Wallgreens, but trust us they’re worth it. When it comes to something that 1) it going to be intimately in contact with your body and 2) needs to keep you safe and healthy, quality matters. Not only do these ribbed condoms feel great, they’re vegan, odorless and glycerin-, paraben-, spermicide- and petrochemical-free. The best part? For every condom purchased Sir Richard’s donates a condom to communities in need.

A note on the other categories we tested:
In the purely Organic and Flavored condom categories none of the samples we evaluated had a blended average rating of "8" or more.  We will continue to research the market for emerging products in these categories and add variants to our site if we find any that meet our performance thresholds.  

We realize that many of our customers are concerned with sustainable sex.  For those interested in a natural, vegan condom option we highly endorse Sir Richards (see above).  For those looking to add extra flavor in the bedroom, we recommend adding a dollop of quality flavored lube like .Sliquid.

At Unbound we believe in making it easy for women to enhance your sexual health and wellness every day. That's why we put so much care into testing and researching products so that you can be confident that anything you find on our site measures up to exacting quality standards and does what it's supposed to do- whether it's condoms or vibrators or lip gloss. We invited you to try some of our favorite condoms for yourself in our specially curated assortment of the best performing condoms we reviewed (including our very top three) in our curated Unbound Condom Box: get yours today!

  1. REVIEWS:

The final (and most important) part of our curation process involves you!  We continually hone our product offering based on feedback from our customers and our testers in order to make decisions about which products to carry every quarter:

If you have tried one of our featured condoms and would like to share your opinion with us please email thegirls@unboundbox.com.  All input- positive, constructive or otherwise will receive a discount code by way of thanks, so tell us what you really think! 

If you would be interested in helping our team test samples of condoms (or other products) in the future or for any further inquiries about our curation methodology please email lorraine@unboundbox.com.


Whatcha think?


Please don't be mean :-)


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Unbound will donate 6.9% of all profits to nonprofit organizations that support female sexual health and wellness.

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