Condoms don't give 100% protection and can break, that's a known fact.

I would like to know, are there any ways/hacks to check a single condom (before using it) and see if it might be defective and break while using it? Anything that can prevent such an "accident" before it happens (i.e. if there will be a chance for defective condom I can just use another one) would be welcome.

2 Answers 2


You should not attempt to test a condom yourself. (See other post.)

The “test” is circumstantial:

All condoms1 are tested at the manufacturer’s, individually, before packaging. This is certified on the packaging and guaranteed for a certain time, provided correct storage conditions etc. are maintained. Your assessment of the usability/safety of the condoms hinges on whether that state is maintained between the product leaving the factory and you using it. In short, start with the assumption that the condom is safe, discard any where there’s any doubt that they are no longer, for whatever reason.

  • If you can be reasonably sure that these conditions (e.g. temperature range) were maintained, the condoms should be fully functional until you intend to use them, at least until the given date on the packaging.
  • Any sign of tampering (even inadvertently) means that the product is to be considered “not safe” (which doesn’t necessarily translate to defective), so don’t buy the ones where the box is damaged. And don’t use those where the individual packaging isn’t like a slightly inflated cushion or deflates when pressed.
  • Follow the instructions for use, that includes opening the packaging carefully and keeping all sharp and pointy things away. So no dramatic “ripping the pack open with your teeth”, sorry.

So the responsible answer to the question for a lifehack must be: Don’t attempt to hack it, follow the instructions.


1 assuming the genuine medicinal protective item, not novelty items that are “toys” and were never intended as true form of protection

  • "ripping the pack open with your teeth".... LOL.... made me actually laugh! Thanks. Well, was expecting answers involving X-ray scans and such but guess it was just wishful thinking on my side. Thanks again for the best possible answer, and I can only hope I won't fall again, three children are enough, lol. (Reason for my distrust is condom breaking years ago, it was totally valid and new, stored properly, etc.) Commented May 6, 2021 at 7:15
  • @ShadowTheVaccinatedWizard I think we’ve all been there, one way or the other... I suppose only the more permanent measures are truly safe.
    – Stephie
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 7:43
  • And I’d love to see answers that use ultrasound, x-rays or some other fancy technology. Just because I posted the “conventional” solution doesn’t mean others can’t be more creative!
    – Stephie
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 7:51
  • Thanks, but re-thinking and doing some basic searching, I kind of gave up on such creative ideas. :( Commented May 6, 2021 at 9:05
  • A purely visual inspection is about all you can do. It's fine to take rolled the condom out and look at it closely (without unrolling) before using it. The usual method of factory testing condoms is to take a sample from a batch, test it destructively, and then pass or fail the rest of the batch, assuming your processes are consistent.
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 31, 2021 at 16:32

The standard way to check the integrity of a condom is to inflate it and wait as long as you can stand it a while to see if it deflates.

EDIT: According to Rick Sowadsky, MSPH at TheBody.com, you must NOT attempt to test a condom for holes before or after use. Doing so may damage the condom. The information is within the context of HIV infection rather than unanticipated pregnancy.

It's probably good to mention that the answer and Web site cited above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified health care professional.

The usual way (wait to see if menstrual cycle remains regular) is less desirable for a number of reasons.

Good luck.


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