Urinary incontinence is common, and considerable advances have been made in treatments and therapies for this distressing and socially unacceptable condition. Most people with incontinence use continence products to conceal their loss in the short term or long term. A huge range of products is available, including absorbent products, collection devices, catheters, and accessories. However, little guidance is available to aid consumers and health professionals in product selection. Therefore, a systematic review of research literature from 1982 to 2000 concerning the effectiveness of continence products was conducted. More than 350 articles were retrieved, of which 75 met the selection criteria for this review. It is apparent that there is a lack of high-quality research into the effectiveness of continence products. A recurrent theme in the literature is the importance of individual assessment to find products to suit the particular needs of each consumer. This review indicates that the absence of research information about the effectiveness of continence aids and appliances makes selection difficult.