Polyurethane vs. Latex Condoms – What’s the difference?

Since the beginning of time (to be exact, 1855), latex was the primary ingredient used in making of condoms for prevention of STI’s and unwanted pregnancies.

Every couple that uses a condom will tell you that their concern is protection. However, what happen if you are allergic to latex?

A few years ago, the ISO Board recognized the lack of contraceptives to STI prevention for this minority and released a new material called “Polyurethane” for condoms. Industry experts call it “PU” and which is a form of plastic – its texture is similar to the plastic clear wrap we normally use to cling onto the food before putting it away in the refrigerator.

Despite the fact that there are no mature regulations over this material, it was allowed given the need for STI prevention for people who are latex intolerant. After all, it’s better to have some protection than none for latex intolerant users. Given the latter, certain manufacturers start jumping on board to make polyurethane condoms. Unlike the latex condoms that have a full book on its procedures, testing, etc. requirements, the polyurethane’s condoms only require a certain number of clinical trials prior to launching on the market. In the condom industry’s point of view, this was the only protection way for those who are allergic to latex.

Likewise, polyurethane condom was meant to be alternative – besides being latex free, it has many properties that render it as a not so sustainable option compared to latex condom:

  • Not bio-degradable compared to latex as it is made of plastic
  • Lots of chemicals involved in the process to make it.
  • Less elastic texture – its inherent properties are not as elastic or stretchy as natural latex condoms thereby rendering it very likely to create folds when being used during intercourse.
  • Increased Slippage and Breakage Rate – based on the “Evaluation of the Efficacy of a Polyurethane Condom: Results from a Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial” (By: Ron G. Frezieres, Terri L. Walsh, Anita L. Nelson, Virginia A. Clark, and Anne H. Coulson), it reads “the breakage and slippage rate was significantly higher for polyurethane condoms than for the latex condoms (4% compared to 0.4%) for a risk ratio of 9.4.” In addition, the risk of breakage was 7 times higher in the polyurethane condoms compared to latex.

Although latex condoms may have been used the material used since 1855, there’s a reason. Despite all the technology today, it is still proven to be the most secure option given its innate properties that provide a much more elastic touch and a much snugger fit for the user. No matter the thickness, the softness in the latex provides the fit that you don’t have to worry about slippage or folds during your hottest moments.


The polyurethane condoms are made as an alternative for people allergic to latex condoms, because it’s important that everyone gets protection! However, bottom line is latex condoms is the better bet for safety and feeling. To try Aoni’s premium quality condoms – click here!