I get a lot of interesting reactions when I tell friends I’m covering our tests of condoms. Their excitement wanes a little when I say we don’t test condoms by personally trying them out. But they tend to be quite impressed by the scope and scale of what we put the humble latex sleeves through in our labs—as well as the sheer number of condoms we buy to ensure our sample sizes are large enough to draw statistically valid conclusions.For our latest test, our intrepid mystery shopper bought more than 15,000 condoms—yes, one guy, 15,000 condoms. Lab technicians then unrolled them, stretched them, measured them, visually examined them, dunked them in liquid (to check for leaks), and inflated them with air until they burst to determine which ones are strong enough to put your trust (or you or your partner) into.
Seven of the 20 models we tested earned a perfect score, indicating they were not only stronger and more reliable than most, but also had no leaks or flaws in their packaging. Those top seven include one Durex, two Lifestyles, and four Trojan models (Ratings available to subscribers). Alas, one of the more playful condoms we tested, the Night Light glow-in-the-dark model, didn’t fare as well, earning our lowest score for strength and exceeding the allowable number of samples with holes. But it did live up to its name on the glow front.
—Jamie Kopf Hirsh, associate editor
Take a look at some important things to remember when using a condom.