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In a perfect world, cheap tampons and pads would be available for every woman — no matter their budget — which is why I decided to dig into the real cost of these necessities.
I researched the most popular brands of pads and tampons — think Tampax, Kotex, and Playtex — at six go-to stores to figure out everything from cheapest organic tampons to best stores to ways to save money on feminine products. I’m going to share what I found with you — so you can save that extra cash for chocolate (or whatever your time-of-the-month treat is).
From the most affordable organic brands to where to find the best coupons, here’s how to find the cheapest pads and tampons.
Psst…Don’t forget to download the KCL app, because I’m going to talk about using coupons. Our team looks for pad and tampon coupons and uploads them straightaway. This will save you hours of frustration and legwork!
1. Pay attention to cost per tampon or maxi pad, not per box.
Every brand packages their feminine hygiene products in different quantities — and it gets even more complicated when you add in different sizes.
Just as you should pay attention to cost per ounce when bargain hunting for food and household products, when it comes to feminine hygiene, you should pay attention to price per tampon or pad — not price per box.
2. How many tampons do you need per month? / How much should you budget for tampons and pads per month?
Women, on average, lose between 5 to 80 milliliters of menstrual fluid in each cycle. Regular tampons/pads hold about 5 milliliters of fluid, and super (or super plus) tampons/heavy pads hold about 10 milliliters of fluid. That being said, most of us end up, erm, refreshing our situation based on timing — tampons are meant to be changed every four to six hours. And, though pads can be worn overnight, they’re also designed to be changed every four to six hours during waking hours.
UbyKotex.com also has a pretty neat feature: A period calculator that, based on a few simple questions, can offer suggestions for which types of pads and tampons are best for you.
PRO TIP: Yes, there are different tampon sizes for a reason! It’s not just based on flow, but comfort, too. As a rule, if your tampon feels dry, uncomfortable, or is still half or more white when you take it out, it’s time to size down. Likewise, if your pad or tampon is being soaked-through within two or less hours, it’s time to size up. Knowing your right tampon size will help you cut down on waste and cost!
3. Of the three most popular tampon brands, Tampax is the most consistently affordable.
When comparing prices among the top three tampon brands — Kotex, Playtex, and Tampax — Tampax tampons are the most often affordable.
Tampax Pearl tampons typically hover between $0.18 and $0.21 per tampon at Rite Aid, Walmart, and Target. While U by Kotex Click Tampons are sold as low as $0.20 per tampon at Amazon and Target, they also jumped up to $0.27 per tampon at Rite Aid and even $0.36 per tampon at CVS.
4. Kotex is the all-around cheapest of the popular maxi pad brands.
When comparing Always, Kotex, and StayFree, U by Kotex Security Ultra Thin Pads come out on top.
Don’t be fooled by the name — U by Kotex Security Ultra Thin Pads comes in regular, heavy flow, overnight, and other absorbency options. Prices at Walmart, Target, CVS, and Amazon hovered between $0.12 and $0.19 per pad.
RELATED: How to Get Cheap Diapers All Year (So You Don’t Go Baby Broke)
5. If you want to be budget- and eco-friendly, reach for o.b. Original Non-Applicator tampons.
O.b. sort of holds the space for no-applicator tampons; many brands don’t even produce tampons sans applicators. A multi-pack of O.b.’s non-applicator tampons is just $0.16 a pop — or $6.47 for a pack of 40 — from Amazon.
6. Looking for an online deal? StayFree pads from Walmart.com are as cheap as they’ll get (without coupons).
StayFree maxi pads — in all sizes — had the lowest price ($0.10/pad) on Walmart.com.
According to the price-per-pad chart above (Tip #4), the cost of regular absorbency pads ranged from $0.10 to $0.29, with the average being $0.18. So, if you’re in a pinch, buying StayFree pads online from Walmart is your best bet.
RELATED: Walmart Grocery Delivery Is Cheaper and Easier than You Think
7. U by Kotex all around is the best brand for heavy flows.
Super absorbency pads for heavy flows probably had the most price fluctuation out of any feminine products — ranging from $0.12 to $0.42 , which is no small difference! Super tampons were a little more stable, with most prices hovering between $0.19 and $0.28.
Overall, with an average of $0.18 per maxi pad and $0.24 per super tampon, Kotex makes the cheapest super-absorbency tampons and the cheapest heavy-flow pads. Here’s how that breaks down across stores:
U by Kotex Heavy Flow Super Maxi Pads, 44-count box:
Price Comparison: $5.37 at Walmart ($0.12 per pad)
Price Comparison: $6.49 at Walgreens ($0.15 per pad)
Price Comparison: $6.79 at Target ($0.15 per pad)
Price Comparison: $6.99 at Amazon, 32-count box ($0.15 per pad)
Price Comparison: $5.99 at Rite Aid, 40-count box ($0.15 per pad)
Price Comparison: $14.49 at CVS ($0.33 per pad)
U by Kotex Super Plus Tampons, 16-count box:
Price Comparison: $2.89 at Walgreens ($0.18 per tampon)
Price Comparison: $3.84 at Walmart ($0.24 per tampon)
Price Comparison: $6.79 at Target for a 32-count box ($0.17 per tampon)
Price Comparison: $4.29 at Rite Aid ($0.27 per tampon)
Price Comparison: $5.79 at CVS ($0.36 per tampon)
PRO TIP: Recently, there was also a 40% off coupon for your first Subscribe & Save order of Kotex tampons or pads on Amazon. You can always cancel after the first delivery.
8. Want to stock up for the next three to six months? Here’s what to look for.
You’ll save the most on feminine care when couponing, sometimes even getting boxes of tampons and pads for free (more on that below).
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend that you stock up when you see prices drop to $1.50 or less per box or $0.11 or less per tampon/pad, based on KCL’s (amazing!) stock-up price sheet.
Don’t forget to bookmark KCL’s tampon coupons and deals page, too.
9. Stack a coupon with a store sale to save the most money possible on feminine hygiene.
The very best way to save money on tampons and pads is to stack a store sale with coupons, promotions, and rebates. New to couponing? Just follow the chart!
RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Stacking Coupons
10. This is L. is the most competitively priced organic tampon.
This is L. (or L. for short) is the cheapest organic tampon brand, especially if you are shopping at Target or Rite Aid, where the price per tampon is $0.23.
Other organic makers — Organyc, o.b. Organic, Cora, Lola, Tampax Pearl Pure — ranged in price from $0.26 all the way up to $0.50 per tampon.
The cheapest regular tampons are $0.19 per tampon, so if what’s going in your body is important to you, L. tampons are a comparable choice.
11. L. is also the most competitively priced chlorine-free pad.
I found the cheapest L. pads for $0.17 per pad at Target and Rite Aid.
Compared with the next cheapest, La Vie, ( $0.28 at Walmart), I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.
PRO TIP: If organic isn’t the most important thing to you, but you still want something chlorine-free, check out Seventh Generation products on Amazon.com. Prices are as low as $0.16 per pad — both in small and bulk packages — plus you can save an extra 25% by signing up for Subscribe & Save.
12. Don’t shop for feminine products at CVS unless you’re a frequent CVS shopper. Then do.
Without coupons, CVS has the highest prices for all brands of pads and tampons (even the CVSHealth generic brand was pricey!).
But it also has one of the best rewards programs of any drugstore, which is why I love CVS. The more you shop there, the more ExtraBucks you get. ExtraBucks function like store credit which can literally be converted into free stuff — just for being a regular CVS shopper!
Here’s an example:
Buy 1 Get 1 50% off
Buy 2, receive $2 ExtraBucks, limit 1
Use one $1.00/1 – Any Tampons, Pads, or Liners, CVS Store Coupon from the CVS Coupon Center or CVS App
And use one $2.00/2 – U by Kotex Products, CVS L2C Manufacturer Coupon (cvs.com)
Pay $4.79, receive $2 ExtraBucks
Final Price: $1.39 each, when you buy 2
RELATED: THIS Is How to Coupon at CVS
13. Costco is the best place to buy (a lot) of Tampax Pearl tampons.
At everyone’s favorite wholesaler, you can buy a 96-count box of Tampax Pearl tampons (regular or super) for $14.99 — that’s $0.16 per tampon, which equates to $2 to $3 in savings if you were to buy the same elsewhere.
FYI, the jumbo box of Tampax is listed for $15.99 on Costco.com but was only $14.99 at my local Costco. Either way, it’s a better deal than the competitors.
RELATED: Best Deals That Justify a Costco Membership Fee
14. Get ’em cheap when you take advantage of one of Walgreens’ “buy one get one 50% off” offers.
Walgreens basically always has Buy 1 Get 1 50% off deals in store and online. (Keep in mind that Walgreens stores will match their prices/sales on Walgreens.com!)
Buy 1 Get 1 50% off
Plus 15% off with promo code HEALTH15
Spend $35 to qualify for free shipping
Final price: $9.29 for 64 tampons or $0.14 per tampon.
15. Ibotta is the best rebate app for feminine products.
I’m a big fan of Ibotta and soon you will be too.
In my opinion, you should never shop for feminine products — or, shoot, any product! — without checking to see if you can get cash back for it. Recent Ibotta offers include $0.75 back on Cora tampons and $3 back on Always Discreet Boutique Pads.
RELATED: How Does Ibotta Work?
16. Target has the most frequent deals on feminine products.
According to our deals team, Target has the most frequent sales and rebates for tampons and sanitary napkins.
When you couple Target Circle offers with rebates and/or ongoing sales, you can get the price per item down to $0.08 (stock-up pricing!).
Here are some examples:
Use one $2.00/1 – Playtex Simply Gently Glide or Sport Tampons, Target Circle Single-Use Manufacturer Coupon
And submit one $2.00/1 – Playtex Sport Tampons, Ibotta Rebate Offer
Pay $4.99, submit for $2 Ibotta credit
Final Price: $2.99
Use one $2.00/1 – U by Kotex, Target Single-Use Manufacturer Coupon (circle.target.com)
Or $2.00/1 – U by Kotex Tampons from SS April 19
Final Price: $1.89
Buy 4, receive $5 Target gift card
Use two $1.00/1 – Tampax Pearl, Pocket Pearl, Radiant, Pocket Radiant, or Pure Tampons 14 ct or larger from PG Aug. 30
And use two $1.00/1 – Always Radiant, Infinity, Pure, Pure Cotton, Ultra, or Maxi Pads 10 ct or larger from PG Aug. 30
Pay $11.96, receive $5 gift card
Final Price: $1.74 each, when you buy 4
17. Target is the best place to buy Cora products — with or without coupons.
If you’re partial to Cora brand tampons and pads, Target is the place to shop. Price per pad and per tampon was cheaper than other stores, plus there are frequent 10% off Target Circle Offers on Cora products.
Here are a couple deals I’ve seen in the past:
Buy 3, receive $5 Target gift card through Sept. 12
Use three $1.00/1 – Cora, Peelie coupon found on product in-store
And submit three $1.75/1 – Cora Organic Cotton Tampons, Ibotta Rebate (ibotta.com)
Pay $14.97, receive $5 Target gift card and submit for $5.25 in Ibotta credits
Final Price: $1.57 each, when you buy 3
Use Free $5 Target gift card with $20 Personal Care or Beauty Purchase, Target App Coupon (valid 8/11-8/17)
And submit three $3.00/1 – Cora Organic Liners or Pads, Ibotta Rebate (ibotta.com)
And submit one $2.00/1 – Cora Organic Cotton Tampons, Ibotta Rebate (ibotta.com)
Pay $23.96, receive $5 Target gift card and submit for $11 Ibotta credit
Final Price: $1.99 each, when you buy 4
18. Walgreens has the cheapest generic brand tampons and maxi pads.
Want to really save money? Go generic. Here’s how the top four stores’ generic feminine hygiene options look compared to each other:
Store brand maxi pad, 48-count box:
- Price Comparison: $3.29 at Walgreens ($0.07 per pad)
- Price Comparison: $3.76 at Walmart ($0.08 per pad)
- Price Comparison: $3.79 at Target ($0.08 per pad)
- Price Comparison: $6.29 at CVS ($0.13 per pad)
Store brand tampons:
- Price Comparison: $3.49 at Walgreens for a 40-count box ($0.09 per tampon)
- Price Comparison: $4.32 at Walmarts for a 40-count box ($0.11 per tampon)
- Price Comparison: $3.99 at Target for a 36-count box ($0.11 per tampon)
- Price Comparison: $7.29 at CVS for a 36-count box ($0.20 per tampon)
PRO TIP: Feminine hygiene purchases from both Walgreens and Walmart are FSA (flexible spending account) and HSA (health savings account) eligible.
19. Here are six ways to get free tampons and pads.
The days of jailbreaking tampon dispensers because you ran out of quarters is over. Soon, the tampon tax will be over, too (we hope). Here are six ways to get free feminine hygiene products in the meantime.
- Sign up to get free samples from Poise.
- Do a free trial of the Cora subscription box.
- Sign up for o.b. brand emails; they’ve given away free boxes of tampons in the past.
- Pay $5 to get a Lola start kit, including an extra free sample of your choice.
- Get a free U by Kotex sample just be requesting it.
- And of course, look out for deals on KrazyCouponLady.com.
Don’t scroll up! Here are the related links mentioned:
The Ultimate Guide to Stacking Coupons
20 Deals That Justify a Costco Membership Fee
Walmart Grocery Delivery Is Cheaper and Easier than You Think
How to Get Cheap Diapers All Year (So You Don’t Go Baby Broke)