These ain't your mother's "back massagers." The vibrator category has exploded in recent years with a diverse range of options. From the well known-rabbit, to bullet, g-spot, clit, and finger vibrators, there is something here for everybody.
Vibrators are a great addition to any bedroom, but shopping for them can be confusing and downright nerve-wracking. Luckily, we've created a guide that will help you find the best vibrator for you.
Behold, our buyer's guide for vibrators! Think of it as a treasure map to pleasure, where X marks the spot and good vibrations are just around the corner.
How to Choose a Vibrator
Vibrators are excellent for spicing things up in a relationship or for adding a bit of extra excitement when you’re flying solo. They can also help those who have trouble reaching orgasm from penetration or digital stimulation - after all, you never have to worry about a vibrator running out of steam - unless you forget to replace the batteries! With thousands of models, shapes and styles on the market and the promise of endless hours of fun it's no surprise that vibrators are the most popular sex toy.
It's also no surprise that searching for the perfect one (like searching for the perfect mate!) can seem like a daunting task.
There's a whole wide world of vibrators out there, but don't let that deter you. Unfortunately, you can’t try before you buy with vibrators, but you can narrow down your search to a specific type of vibrator that meets your needs in terms of performance and price.
Here are some questions to help guide your search for the perfect vibrator:
- Do you want to use your vibrator for clitoral stimulation, penetration, or both?
- Do you want to use it alone or with a partner?
- What do you want your vibrator to look like?
- How much power do you need?
- How much do you want to spend?
Clitoral Stimulation Versus Penetration
If you have a clitoris, you probably need it stimulated to orgasm. That's why the most popular vibrators are those that are designed to focus on the clitoris. Clitoral vibrators are also compact, discreet and pretty much guaranteed to deliver pleasure without the need for lube or any practice, so they're great for beginners.
Bullet vibrators like the We-Vibe Tango are petite enough to hide discreetly in your pocket yet powerful enough to deliver a clitoral orgasm in a few minutes. Bullet vibrators are great for solo play.
Want something with a bit more oomph? Try the famous Magic Wand. Powerful wand vibrators aren't insertable, but they give off strong vibrations that are for clitoral orgasms - and for body massages.
For hands-on play, try a finger vibrator like the Jopen Key Aries, which fits snugly on your fingertip for additional control of your pleasure.
While clitoral vibrators are great for first-timers, vibrating dildos or penetrative vibrators are a wonderful option for those who want some G-spot lovin' or are craving that full-up feeling.
Stoked about texture and ribbing? Try Fun Factory's Stronic Drei a pulsating dildo, which is curved at the tip to stimulate the G-spot.
Can't decide whether you want to pay more attention to your clit or your G-spot? Good news: you don't have to decide! Get the best of both worlds with the ultra-popular rabbit vibrator. Rabbit vibrators generally come with a shaft for penetration and G-spot stimulation, and a second arm that reaches up to stimulate the clitoris. Some shafts also rotate or include rotating beads, which provide even more stimulation and sensation. The key part of a rabbit vibrator is its little rabbit-like ears, which are designed to gently tease the clitoris while the shaft of the vibrator does the internal work.
If you orgasm from your G-spot and your clitoris, or you don’t know but are keen to experiment, then a rabbit might be for you. They are much better for solo play because they aren’t very flexible and can be quite big, so you might want to consider buying something else if you know you’re going to play as a pair.
Almost all sex toy manufacturers make a version of the rabbit, but here are some of our faves:
- The LELO INA 2 is a sleek take on the traditional rabbit.
- The Vibratex Rabbit Habit has dual motors and is modeled off the rabbit vibe featured in "Sex and the City."
- The Fun Factory Miss Bi offers a unique fit and is designed to be easy to hold.
For a twist on the rabbit, try a triple action vibrator that stimulates your anus, G-spot and clitoris at the same time, or a dual stimulation "butterfly" vibrator, like this one from California Exotic.
Solo Versus Couples' Play
Although pretty much every vibrator can be used during couples' play, there are some that can totally satisfy during solo sex as well.
Just the Two of Us?
We'll say it again: Clitoral stimulation is the key to orgasm for most women. And this isn’t according to just one study either; the figure comes from a comprehensive analysis of 33 studies over the past 80 years, which was conducted by Elisabeth Lloyd for “The Case of the Female Orgasm.”
Of course, intercourse isn’t the only kind of sex out there. Hands and mouths are both great for pleasing female bodies, as are vibrators.
Spice up Foreplay
When it comes to skin-on-skin contact and intimacy, sex with others definitely has a few fun perks. Couples’ vibes are designed to make sex pleasurable for both partners.
A lot of vibrators are great for couples’ play. You can add a wand vibrator, or a simple clitoral vibrator during partner play, or even during intercourse as long as you’re in a position to fit it between you and your partner.
The vibes we often refer to as couples’ vibes, however, are designed to be worn during intercourse for both partners’ pleasure. Although vibrating cock rings fit into this category (and many couples love them!), the main contenders here are c-shaped, wearable couples’ vibes like the LELO Tiani. This type of vibe is designed to be worn inside the vagina, with one arm extending out to reach the clitoris. What this means is that not only can these vibrators be worn hands-free during intercourse, but that a male partner gets a buzz (in addition to a tighter fit).
What Do You Want Your Vibrator to Look (and Feel) Like?
While some vibrators are super-realistic, others boast bold colors and shapes. Some are wild and wacky and others are beautiful enough to serve as pieces of art. Heck, you can even get a vibrator that looks like a cupcake, a tube of lipstick ora rubber ducky!
The Leaf Bloom+, which has a pronounced head and a silky silicone body, looks so much like an elegant sculpture that it's tempting to display it on your mantle.
Want something that's closer to the real thing? Try Doc Johnson's Vibrating 7-Inch Dong, with a life-like look, complete with veins and a pronounced head.
Think About Materials
The material from which a vibrator is made affects not only its appearance, but the way it feels, therefore affecting its performance and your enjoyment of the toy. As a general rule, the harder the material, the better the vibrations will resonate. This means that plastic and metal will resonate vibrations better than a plushy PVC or silicone.
You also want to think about whether the material your vibrator is made from contains phthalates, which are chemicals used to soften PVC rubber. Some people are sensitive to phthalates and may experience an allergic reaction when they use these toys. Many adult manufacturers will label a toy phthalate-free if it was made without phthalates, and sex educators often recommend covering a toy with a condom if it contains phthalates, so that's something to keep in mind when picking out your potential toy. (Learn more in Sex Toy Safety: A Guide to Materials.)
Bonus: Our Sex Toy Directory allows you to refine your search based on whether toys are latex and phthalate-free.
Try Out Different Textures
Quite a few vibrators come with varied textured surfaces for your pleasure. There are vibrators with ripples, bumps, curves, spikes, studs, swirls, veins, bulbs and more. On the other hand, some people prefer a completely smooth surface. You'll have to figure out what texture (or lack thereof) will work best for you.
Consider Cleaning and Care
Depending on the toy you choose, it will need to be cleaned in a specific way. If your toy is fully waterproof, you can be much less careful during cleaning. If you're planning on using a toy with multiple partners (or for both vaginal and anal use), you'll want to choose a non-porous material such as silicone. It can be fully sterilized. (Learn more in Keeping It Clean: Top Tips for Sex Toy Sterilization.)
How Powerful Do You Want Your Vibrator to Be?
Vibrators come in a wide variety of strengths and offer various types of vibration styles. One way to determine the kind of power a vibrator will offer is to check whether it's electric or battery-powered.
Electric vibrators - those that plug in or are re-chargeable - are almost always more powerful than battery-powered vibrators. The Original Magic Wand is famous thanks to its reliable delivery of strong electric vibrations, but it only provides two rates of vibration. We also love the Doxy Massager, which offers an escalating scale of vibrations to give the user greater control over their pleasure.
Rechargeable vibrators are also known to be quite powerful, and come without the pesky cord. The Lelo Smart Wand is re-chargeable by USB, as is the Womanizer W100, which stimulates the clitoris without direct contact through a combination of multiple vibration settings and a light sucking action.
Want something cordless that offers a bit more nuance? Go battery-powered with a toy like BMS Factory's Rain Power Bullet or OhMiBod's 3.OH Music Vibrator, which buzzes along to the rhythm of your favorite song.
Another thing to consider with battery powered vibrators is the size of the toy. Smaller vibrators can feel stronger because the the delivery is more focussed, rather than dispersed across a broader area, as it is on a larger toy.
The material your vibrator is made from will also determine how powerful the sensation it delivers is. Even if they have the same size motor and take the same number of batteries, hard plastic vibrators usually feel as though they give off stronger vibrations than soft rubber ones.
For beginners, it's best to start with a vibrator that offers a low vibration setting, but has the ability to escalate in power once the user is comfortable with the lower setting. Many people find once they get comfortable with vibrator that they enjoy somewhat stronger vibrations.
How Much do you Want to Spend?
Looking around a sex shop, you'll see everything from $10 plastic bullet vibes that run off watch batteries to $175 rechargeable waterproof silicone "pulsators" with multiple speeds and settings. When you are shopping for a bargain, the choice can seem simple. "I don’t need all those bells and whistles," you might say. But what about when you are comparing a $20 rubber dildo and a $90 silicone one? Or if you have a $12 jelly butt plug in one hand and a $125 glass one in the other? What's the difference, really? And how can you know that pricier toys will actually give you more bang for your buck?
The least expensive vibrators generally range in price from $10 to $40. They are typically fitted with inexpensive Chinese motors, are made of hard plastic or jelly rubber, and are not necessarily built to last. That said, there are some good entry-level toys here.
Mid-range vibrators can cost between $50 and $80 and are either made with better quality materials or better quality motors, but not usually both. There are some really well-made toys in this range, though, and many offer great value for the dollar.
High end vibrators generally combine the best of all of the above - quality motors, material, and design - and can range in price from $80-$200. That said, more money does not necessarily equal more pleasure. Do your research, particularly when it comes to toys in this price range, to ensure that they are the best fit for you.
Luxury vibrators take the high-end category one step further, often with indulgent materials like gold and diamonds. One extreme example of a luxury sex toy is an exceptionally crafted $15,000 gold-plated vibrator from LELO, but a somewhat more reasonable option is LELO's Tiani 24K, a SenseMotion couple's vibe featuring a 24K gold ring for $415. Jimmyjane's Little Platinum Eternity vibe will set you back $3,250 and is crafted with 28 diamonds. These vibrators aren't more pleasurable than their less expensive counterparts, but if you have the cash, they could make a very sexy and elegant gift.
There You Have It...
Our Vibrators Buyer's Guide, to help make your search for a vibrator easy, painless and maybe even fun! Whether you're shopping for your first vibrator or looking to add to your sex toy inventory, we hope our guide will equip you with the tools you need to find your perfect toy.