The Best Condoms (That Don’t Smell Like Balloons)

No more cringe-condoms, man. Let LELO, Maude, Okamoto, and other cult condom connoisseurs give your penis the spa day it deserves.

Feb 9 2022, 3:47pm

Most condoms are kind of cringe. I’ll say it. Even if we do only see them in that fleeting, forgettable moment of penile dressing, it can feel cringe to use a condom whose branding would be better suited for a drain cleaner (*cough* Iron Grip condoms *cough*), or the off-brand candy at a dental reception desk (sorry, Durex Tropical). We can do better.  


Not that we’re condom snobs, mind you. When we’re about to bone, the last thing on our minds is whether or not the condom we’re using is clashing with our latest personality rebrand. The most important thing, of course, is that we have access to condoms in the first place to protect against pregnancy and STDs/STIs—but I’ll be damned if we can’t do better than a condom that looks like it’s sponsored by a questionable energy drink. 

Most condoms smell like hot bubble wrap, or hot bubble wrap sprayed with an off-brand luxury perfume like Aqua for CEO. That is exactly what we won’t be settling for in this humble condom guide. Instead, we’re looking for condoms that have gotten an insane amount of adoration in their online reviews, or condoms that we’ve personally vetted and loved. 

We’re living in the era of aesthetic-everything, from glossy, mauve, Tupperware-esque containers to Gen Z-ready mustard bed sheets, and the following condoms speak to that everyday design shift. They’re thoughtfully made to sit stylishly on your nightstand; they’re unscented—or scented subtly, like a spa for one’s penis; and they’re designed with new technologies that make them feel better during use—and they’re even more unbreakable, and more stretchable—than ever. So roll up your sleeves, and let’s get into the most bankable spankables... 

The versatile condom

This condom has a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants thing going for it. Somehow, it can fit a variety of small to decidedly above-average penises without skipping a beat, and is made of a near-odorless, polyisoprene that is safe for people with latex allergies. Like Maldon salt or a decent cheese grater, this one is a horny pantry staple.  

Original Condoms (24 Pack)

$10.48 at Amazon

Then there’s SKYN’s ~elite~ ultra thin latex-free condoms, which are the best-selling condoms on Amazon with over 28,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating. “I picked these up because my girlfriend has a latex allergy,” writes one reviewer, “But they turned out to be some of the best condoms that I've had to use.”

Elite Ultra-Thin Latex Free Condoms (36 Pack)

$14.97 at Amazon

For a big bosna

When I die, stuff my ashes into a LELO Hex condom, sling it over your shoulder, and walk around town talking about what a benevolent ho I was. Luxury Swedish sex toy company LELO makes the best XL condoms, hands-down, in my book, because all of its condoms are made out of a super thin latex with a uniquely hexagonal material that grips and stretches without breaking. They can accommodate girth, length, and a big pounding. They’re also nearly odorless, save for a barely noticeable sweet smell upon opening that I can only describe as the ghost of a Viennese kardinalschnitte(For regular sausages, we recommend the original LELO Hex.)

HEX XL Condoms (36 Pack)
$24 at Amazon

$34.90$17.45 at LELO

HEX™ 36 Pack
$23.40 at Amazon

$34.91$17.45 at LELO

The super-thin condom with great heat transfer

Okamoto is a Japanese condom company known for its thin-fit condoms (and for making condoms that taste like… honey pancakes?). As one reviewer explained, “You can feel your partner's warmth slightly better than other condoms,” and they even win in thinness over Kimono Microthin condoms. They’re a little pricier, but worth it. 

004 Latex Condoms (24 pack)

$34.99$23.69 at Amazon

An odorless, aesthetic fit

If Matisse moved on to condoms after cut-outs, this would’ve been it. The packaging takes me to a stuccoed French Meditteranean villa, what with the clean lines and spartan design. But that’s how Maude does everything in their sexual wellness arsenal, from the brand’s  clay-colored vibrators to its hand-poured massage candles. The only downside? They don’t run very large. But they are truly odorless, and actually feel good—dare I say, enriching? Hydrating?—in your nethers. 

Rise Ultra-Thin Latex Condoms (Pack of 10)

$12 at Maude

Playboy’s aesthetic condoms

It’s like if Euphoria and the Playboy Bunny collided. Playboy is always sold out of its highly aesthetic condoms, so why not give these ultra-thin latex slingshots a go while they’re on the shelf? They’re great for people who like a little extra texture, as they’re slightly ribbed, and the box will look stylish floating around your home.

Epiphany Premium Lubricated Condoms (Pack of 12)

$13 at Playboy

Les French ‘Lord of the Rings’ novelty condoms

Again, not big on novelty condoms, but can you imagine gifting these to the horny hobbit(s) in your life? The condom captions read, “The Two Holes,” “You Shall Not Pass,” “The Fellowship of the Anus,” “My Precious,” and, my personal favorite, “The Return of the Finger.” 

Custom Condom
Lord of the Rings Parody Pack

$8.23 at Etsy

Show a little respect for your rubbers

There’s nothing worse than rummaging through your bag for a condom, and pulling out a rubber that’s been smushed to death on the subway, or covered in Tote Bag Dust™. This handy tin carrying case by the makers of Jems condoms will make sure your good stay fresh as the day you bought them, wherever your sexcapades may take you.

Jems for All
The "Just In Case" Condom Case

$6 at Verishop

Well, that does it for now. Unless you want to talk about that TikTok semen sponge?

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.


Sex, penis, safe sex, condom, sexual wellness

like this
The Best (Actually) Quiet Vibrators, for Anyone Who Needs Some Privacy
The Best Cock Rings for Beginners and Kinky Daddies Alike
The Best Sex Toys and Lubes for Prostate Orgasms
How to Make Your Penis Seem Bigger, During Sex or Forever
The Best Squirting Dildos and Ejaculation Sex Toys for Cum Lovers
The Best Oral Sex Toys That Feel Like Getting (Really Good) Head
The Best Lubes for Every Kind of Sex
A Guide to Every Kind of Sex Toy (Yes, Even the Vajankle)