These Are the Best Menstrual Cups, According to Gynecologists

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In case you missed it, tampons and pads aren’t the only period protection options out there. Menstrual cups are having a major moment, offering lots of benefits that their counterparts don’t. First and foremost, they’re reusable, a notably more sustainable alternative to tossing tampons and pads in the trash. (In fact, some of them can last up to 10 years.) There’s a safety and health element as well; they collect blood rather than absorb it and reduce the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, says Dr. Stephanie Culver, an OB/GYN, and the staff gynecologist at Pandia Health. Finally, they can hold way more fluid than a tampon or pad can, meaning you can wear them for much longer, oftentimes up to 12 hours. If you’re a little hesitant about the idea, we get it: “Women may shy away from using menstrual cups due to the perception of the difficulty of insertion and removal. Slower uptake of its use may likely be due to impatience of getting the hang of using one,” says Culver. The point being, it can take a little practice and time to acclimate to one, but it’s worth the effort. (In fact, one recent data analysis, found that ~70% of participants across 13 different studies wished to continue using a menstrual cup.)

Here, the menstrual cups that doctors recommend.

Our Top Picks
A Byrdie fave, this cup features a comfortable design that comes in an array of sizes.
Best Overall, Runner-Up:
Aisle Cup at Periodaisle.com
It comes in two sizes, can hold up to six tampons worth of liquid, and is easy to insert and remove.
This wallet-friendly pick beats out its competitors in price, storage, and feel.
It doesn't have a stem, which can make the wear more comfortable for some.
Best for Beginners:
Flex Cup at Amazon
It has a velvety feel, which makes it comfortable to wear and easy for new users to acclimate to.
This cup is essential if you lose a lot of fluid during your period.

Best Overall: Hello Cup

Best Overall
What We Like
  • A good silicone-free option

  • Very comfortable design

  • Comes in three sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Cup has the potential to stain

Both Culver and Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a Chicago-based OB/GYN, and the Chief Medical Officer of VeryWell Health sang the praises of this pick. Culver likes that it comes in several different sizes—extra small, small/medium, and large—and that there’s also a great starter kit for beginners. (There’s a very helpful sizing quiz online if you’re unsure which one to go with.) Shepherd points out that the wider and tapered stem is different than that on other cups and makes removal easier. It’s also unique in its design, the cup was created by a nurse, and it's the only silicone-free pick on this list, made of a medical-grade, thermoplastic elastomer.

Material: Medical-grade thermoplastic elastomer | Size: Three | Color: Varied, based on size

Best Overall, Runner-Up: Aisle Cup

Aisle Cup
What We Like
  • Holds a good amount

  • Comes in two sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Has to be replaced annually

Culver lauds this option for being a good affordable option. It also comes in two sizes, a nice bonus, and can hold up to six tampons worth of liquid. The cone shape has a small stem that makes it easy to insert and remove. Just FYI, it is recommended that it be replaced yearly.

Material: Medical-grade silicone | Size: Two | Color: Clear

Best Budget: Intimina Lily Menstrual Cup One

Intimina Lily Menstrual Cup One
What We Like
  • Easy removal

  • Collapsible

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes in one size

Shepherd also recommends this (very affordable) option, which she says is ultra-soft. It’s a good choice for newbies, too, not only because it’s wallet-friendly but thanks to the petite cone shape—also collapsible for easy storage—and convenient removal ring. Also nice: It lasts up to 10 years, among the longest of any option out there.

Material: Medical-grade silicone | Size: One | Color: Pink

Best Stem-Free: Nixit Menstrual Cup

Nixit Menstrual Cup
What We Like
  • Holds a good amount

  • Comfortable wear

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes in one size

  • Lack of stem can make removal challenging

This is a top choice for Shepherd who lauds the shallow, disc-shaped cup. It’s a one-size-fits-all situation, conforming to fit your body for a comfortable fit sans-suction. The double-rim helps prevent spills or leaks; to that point, it can hold up to 70 milliliters of fluid, more than four times that of a super tampon. It’s made of medical-grade, BPA-free silicone and doesn’t have a stem, which can make removal a bit trickier for some but also can make the wear more comfortable.

Material: Medical-grade silicone | Size: One | Color: Pink, yellow, purple, or blue 

Best for Beginners: Flex Cup

Flex Cup
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Very soft and comfortable

  • Comes in two sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Black color isn’t the prettiest

“This is great for beginners,” says Culver. “It has a velvety feel, which makes it comfortable to wear and easy for new users to acclimate to, plus a soft pull tab that makes the removal that much easier,” she explains. (So much so that the brand says removal feels like removing a tampon.) We also appreciate that it comes in both slim and full-fit sizes.

Material: Medical-grade silicone | Size: Two | Color: Black

Best for a Heavy Flow: DivaCup Menstrual Cup Model 1

The DivaCup
What We Like
  • Comes in three sizes

  • Holds a lot of fluid

What We Don't Like
  • Suction aspect can feel weird at first

“The DivaCup is one of the best known menstrual cups and is very good at holding a lot of blood,” says Shepherd. “It has a hollow stem, which makes it easier to collect blood and other tissue which many women who have heavier bleeding may experience,” she explains. It comes in three sizes (all of which correspond with various flow levels, as well) and also includes a convenient case for storing it when it’s not in use.

Material: Medical-grade silicone | Size: Three | Color: Clear

Final Verdict

For those looking for a more sustainable, potentially healthier period protection option, menstrual cups are a good alternative. The Hello Cup (view at Hello) gets our vote for best overall, touting a unique design that makes for comfortable wear and removal, several sizes, and no silicone. Those who prefer a stem-free pick should try the Nixit Menstrual Cup (view at Nordstrom), a shallow disc that conforms to your body, while the Intimina Lily Menstrual Cup One (view at Amazon) is a nice affordable pick that’s also great for beginners.

What to Look for in a Menstrual Cup

Size

According to Shepherd, this is one of the most important things to look for, as it can dictate not only how well it fits for you, but also how much blood it can hold.

How Well It Folds and Opens

Shepherd says that folding the cup and making sure that it’s easy to do that (as well as making sure that it stays open once it pops open) is a good thing to check.

FAQ
  • How do you choose the right type of menstrual cup?

    “It really should be specific to the needs of your menstrual cycle and also your anatomy since everyone is different,” she says. You also want to make sure you’re not allergic to the materials the cup is made of, she adds. 

  • How long should you use a menstrual cup each time?

    “Because menstrual cups simply collect blood instead of absorbing it, the risk of TSS is pretty low, however, it’s still good to have good menstrual hygiene and remove and clean it after every eight to 12 hours at most,” suggests Shepherd.

  • How do you clean a menstrual cup?

    Shepherd underscores the fact that it needs to be cleaned after every use; you can do so with warm water and mild soap, no harsh cleaning chemicals, she says. Also important: Make sure it’s completely dried before re-inserting it, as moist areas can harbor bacteria.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Since she hasn’t yet hopped aboard the menstrual cup bandwagon, she relied on expert intel and tons of reviews and consumer input when researching this article.

Meet the Expert

Dr. Stephanie Culver is an OB/GYN and the staff gynecologist at Pandia Health, the only women-founded, women-led, and doctor-led birth control delivery service.

Dr. Jessica Shepherd is an OB/GYN practicing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also the Chief Medical Officer of VeryWell Health.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any menstrual cups from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Tatnai B., M.D.Menstrual cup: Good alternative to tampons? Mayo Clinic.

  2. Hansen NS, Leth S, Nielsen LT. [Toxic Shock Syndrome] Ugeskr Laeger. 2020;182(20):V11190673.

  3. Eijk AM van, Zulaika G, Lenchner M, et al. Menstrual cup use, leakage, acceptability, safety, and availability: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Public Health. 2019;4(8):e376-e393.

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