Why are some condoms more expensive than others?
Condoms come in all styles and sizes, and there are several factors that determine their retail price. However, most cheap condoms provide the same quality and protection as the more expensive ones. Here are some of the factors that determine how cheap or expensive a condom is:
Most brands nowadays are manufacturing their condoms overseas – including some of the heavyweight names such as Durex and EXS. However, all condoms made by these brands are manufactured in production facilities according to strict International Standards Organisation guidelines (the ISO 23409:2011 standard, to be specific).
Whilst the labour force isn’t as expensive as it would be in the UK, these condoms are slightly more expensive than unbranded condoms arriving from China or India. At the same time, they are much cheaper than condoms manufactured in European or British facilities.
The cost of materials and the actual manufacturing process also impact the final price of condoms.
Latex condoms are cheaper than non-latex because the materials and manufacturing process is inexpensive. Non-vegan condoms are also cheaper than vegan condoms because thistle extract is more expensive than casein.
Likewise, standard condoms are cheaper than novelty condoms. In the novelty category, we can include coloured, flavoured, textured, and glowing condoms.
Marketing isn’t cheap, and brands who advertise their products usually make up for these costs by increasing the price per product. That’s why Durex condoms are often more expensive than Mates or EXS.
We mentioned novelty condoms already, but a special mention goes to the newly developed technologies designed to make condoms thinner and more resistant at the same time. Not many brands can say they reinvented the condom, but the ones that do use new technologies usually reflect it in the condom price.
One of the most popular examples is Lelo Hex, manufactured by popular sex toy brand Lelo. Lelo Hex Original and Lelo Hex Respect XL condoms boast the durability of thick condoms from other brands yet are way thinner.
This is possible thanks to their unique structure consisting of interconnected hexagons – a design that enhances elasticity and resistance at the same time.
Quantity and packaging
Another thing that drives costs up is the packaging. It goes without saying that the fancier the box or wrapper, the higher the price. Smaller packets are also more expensive than bulk condoms from the same brand.
For instance, EXS Regular costs around 60p per condom if you’re buying a 12-pack, but the same condoms cost less than 14p per condom if you get a bulk pack containing 144 condoms.
Are cheap condoms safe?
Defining cheap is complex, and not all cheap condoms are safe. It all comes down to how they are made.
Cheap condoms from Asian countries are rarely manufactured according to the strict International Standards Organisation guidelines UK and European brands have to follow. Whilst there are international companies that make perfectly fine condoms (Glyde, for example, is Australian), all condoms manufactured by these reputable companies and sold on the UK market comply with our standards and regulations.
This allows said companies to mark their condoms with the CE mark and BSI Kitemark, two signs that the condoms you buy are tested and safe to use.
However, Asian brands that primarily sell their condoms on the Asian market don’t have to follow these guidelines. Due to less strict regulations, their condoms are not as safe nor as effective as CE and BSI-approved condoms.
Knowing this is important because some retailers import condoms that were not manufactured for the UK market from these countries and sell them on marketplaces like eBay.
Sure, those condoms are much cheaper than condoms manufactured to ISO standards, but they leave you at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections as well as an elevated risk of unwanted pregnancy. For these reasons, it is important to buy all your condoms from trusted suppliers, such as Condoms.uk.
All cheap condoms you can find on our website comply with the BSI and CE standards and come in packaging bearing at least one of the marks. All the condoms we sell are electronically tested for safety and are effective against pregnancy and STIs.
How to use a condom?
Even the best condoms can’t protect you if you’re not using them correctly. No matter where you buy your condoms or how expensive they are, here are a few rules to follow to guarantee their effectiveness:
- Store the condoms correctly: All condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place away from heat and direct sunlight. Natural latex, as well as synthetic rubber materials used for non-latex condoms, can lose their integrity when exposed to heat. For this reason, you shouldn’t use a condom you have kept in your pocket or wallet for more than a few hours.
- Check the expiration date: Contrary to popular belief, condoms aren’t eternal. The expiration date printed on the package matters because past it, the condom may tear or break during intercourse.
- Roll it on correctly: Most condoms are lubricated to reduce friction and minimise breakage, but most manufacturers use different quantities of lubricant on the inside and outside of the sheath. The outside is usually more lubricated to reduce friction, whilst the inside is coated with a thinner layer of lubricant to improve grip and prevent it from sliding. Thus, rolling on the condom inside out may lead to condom breakage. If you put the condom on incorrectly, bin the used condom and put on a new one. It is also essential to pinch the teat end of the condom and remove the air before rolling it on, or the condom may burst or break during intercourse or when you’re ejaculating.
- Use the right lube: Additional lubricant is not always needed – for instance, the vagina lubricates naturally when your partner is aroused. However, if you’re having anal sex or if you want to combat the symptoms of vaginal dryness, only use an intimate lubricant that is compatible with the condom. Most condoms are compatible with water-based, and silicone lubes, but you should steer clear from oil lubes, body creams and lotions, and Vaseline, as these products will alter the condom’s structure leading to breakage.
- Use the right size condom: Whilst regular condoms fit most people, they may not be right for you. That’s why brands make condoms in various sizes, ranging from small to extra large. Small condoms usually have a nominal width under 53mm, whilst the biggest can have a nominal width of 60mm. With so many sizes, it is quite easy to find a condom that suits you perfectly.
- Pay attention when unwrapping a condom: Did you know that most condoms break when people open the package? Teeth, scissors, sharp nails, and large rings can damage the condom.
Why are the CE and BSI marks important?
CE and BSI marks guarantee that the condoms were manufactured according to strict UK and EU regulations. These marks are usually applied on the main package as well as each individual condom wrapper.
Using condoms that are not marked with any of those symbols could mean that they are not manufactured to standards.
Not only could these condoms be made from lower quality materials that are more likely to break, but they could also contain parabens, glycerine, or other harmful chemicals that could cause a number of health issues.
Who buys cheap condoms?
A cheap condom isn’t necessarily a poor quality one, as proven by many institutions and organisations that use them. In the UK, cheap condoms are usually bought by:
- The NHS: LTC Healthcare manufactures cheap condoms under the EXS brand name and is one of NHS’ official condom suppliers since 1993
- Sexual healthcare charitable organisations
- Sexual healthcare and family planning clinics
- Teenagers, students, and young adults
- Anyone who can’t afford expensive condoms
What are the cheapest condoms I can buy in the UK?
The cheapest condom brands in the UK include Mates and EXS, two popular brands with decades of experience in the industry.
|Product name||Nominal width||Material||Flavour/Colour||Texture|
|Mates Ultra Thin||53mm||Latex||No||Smooth|
|Product name||Nominal width||Material||Flavour/Colour||Texture|
|EXS Air Thin||56mm||Latex||No||Smooth|
|EXS Delay Endurance||53mm||Latex||No. Contains Lidocaine 1%||Smooth|
|EXS Extra Safe||55mm||Latex||No||Smooth|
|EXS Snug Fit||49mm||Latex||No||Smooth|
|EXS Mixed Flavour||56mm||Latex||Mixed||Smooth|
|EXS Black||54mm||Latex||Black colour||Smooth|
|EXS Ribbed and Dotted||56mm||Latex||No||Ribbed/Dotted|
|EXS Nano Thin||53mm||Latex||No||Smooth|
|EXS Cooling||54mm||Latex||No. Cooling effect gel||Smooth|
|EXS Warming||54mm||Latex||No. Warming effect gel||Smooth|
Can cheap condoms cause urinary tract infections?
No, cheap condoms specifically can’t cause urinary tract infections. However, some condoms and other intimate products may increase its risk.
According to several studies, spermicide-coated condoms increase the risk of urinary tract infection by 5% and are responsible for over 43% of cases of urinary tract infections in women who use spermicide-coated condoms.
This happens because spermicide facilitates the growth of E. Coli inside the vagina, a gut bacteria responsible for around 90% of urinary tract infections worldwide.
How does E. Coli go from gut to bladder, and how are spermicide-coated condoms responsible? Easy. Since it normally lives in your intestines, E. Coli can make its way to the rectum and even further to the area around your anus, travelling outside of your body with your stool.
Since the anus is located in the proximity of a woman’s vulva, E. Coli can sometimes make its way to the vaginal area. This scenario happens more frequently than believed, even with perfect hygiene, but in healthy women, the vaginal flora neutralises E. Coli. If the vaginal flora is compromised for some reason, the harmful bacteria can thrive and spreads further toward the urethra thanks to vaginal fluids. Once inside the urethra, there is nothing else that stops E. Coli from reaching the bladder and causes a urinary tract infection.
Here’s where spermicide-coated condoms step in, helping the harmful bacteria grow and spread outside of their natural environment by altering vaginal flora and making it easier for E. Coli to adhere to the epithelial cells inside the vagina.
Spermicide-coated condoms aside, you should know that spermicidal lubricants are also responsible for causing urinary tract infections in the same way.
Since there is no scientific evidence that using spermicide-coated condoms or spermicide lube enhances effectiveness and provides more protection against pregnancy, you can safely use standard condoms without spermicide to reduce the risk of urinary tract infection.
Furthermore, all condoms may increase the risk of urinary tract infection if you don’t use a new condom each time you switch from one type of sex to another – especially when you’re switching from anal to vaginal sex. Obviously, the risk of urinary tract infection is also high if you switch from anal to vaginal sex if you’re not wearing a condom and don’t clean your penis before vaginal intercourse.
Where can I buy cheap condoms?
You can buy cheap condoms online, right here at Condoms.uk. We sell exclusively genuine condoms sourced directly from brands or their official suppliers in the UK – a thing that helps us not only ensure quality but also offer competitive prices for the highest quality products. Browse our range now to find the best standard, textured, or flavoured condoms for you.