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Pads vs. tampons: Which is costing you more?

By Danielle van Wyk

For women sanitary wear is something you simply can’t escape buying. While sanitary pads and tampons have various and unique benefits, have you ever stopped to consider if either one could be costing you more?

Justmoney conducted a cost comparison between sanitary pads and tampons. The comparison sought to compare the prices of three of the most common sanitary wear brands namely Ava, Kotex and Lil-lets. To establish a fair comparison, we looked at the standard sizes in each.

*The products were shopped at Pick n Pay stores.

Sanitary pads vs. Tampons: Which costs more?





Sanitary pads cost

Tampons cost


Regular pads (16):

Regular (16):


Regular pads (16):

Regular with applicator (16): R26.99


Regular pads (16):

Regular with applicator (16):

Based on the comparison above we were able to deduce that sanitary pads seem to cost slightly more than tampons, except in the case of the Lil-lets brand. It is important to note however that sizes of the sanitary wear may differ and one may end up using more of the one, which will result in cost differences. 

To add pain to injury, South Africa continues to be one of the few countries to maintain a tampon tax. While there has been increased petitions against this in recent years, this year’s Budget Speech outlined that sanitary products will continue to have VAT. This is because these items remain in the luxury goods classification. In addition, last month saw a 1% VAT increase and with it the cost of sanitary wear increased too.

While you may simply not have noticed or even felt the almost-R30-dent that your sanitary wear makes in your budget monthly, for thousands of South Africans living below the breadline this is crippling.

Yes, pads are a cheaper option than tampons, but still an expense many can’t afford.

Sanitary drive projects like Project Dignity estimate that there are 7 000 000 school girls in South Africa who don’t have access to sanitary pads as they cannot afford them.  Most girls are from child headed homes where there is no one to talk to and educate them on sexual health.

If you want to get involved in donating sanitary wear, visit Project Dignity or Girls with Wings.

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