Ten years ago, there used to be an almost-palpable split between "high-end toys" and "low-end toys". On the more expensive end, you could expect body-safe materials and lots of pleasure. On the lower-priced end, your sex toy might be carcinogenic, probably wouldn't smell all that good, and its abilities to pleasure you might be dubious at best.
The sex toy industry has come a long way in ten years—and more-informed consumers means the manufacturing side of things has caught up with the demand for body-safe and affordable sex toy options.
Gone are the days where there was no way to find a body-safe option under $50. Instead, armed with a bit of knowledge, you can find body-safe, affordable sex toys that will fit into a limited budget. While we always encouraging upgrading where you can, a limited budget doesn't need to exclude you from receiving toe-curling, orgasm-inducing pleasure any longer.
So let's get to it.
What to Look For
Now that you know it's possible to find body-safe, affordable sex toys, let's talk about what you should be looking for when looking to buy that toy. Like with any purchase, being an informed customer helps you pick out some of the best options available—and avoid selecting ultra-cheap options only designed to make a company a quick-buck.
Like everything, a sex toy—even an affordable one!—will cost money. While this whole article focuses on finding affordable sex toys, we also want to make sure you're aware of the "baseline" of cost. You should be looking to spend $40 to $60 on an affordable, body-safe sex toy if it vibrates or has moves. We know that might be above your current monthly budget, but this is one of those things that's worth saving up for.
Alternatively, if that budget is too rich for your blood, you can always consider toys that don't vibrate or have built-in movement. Stationary toys (like non-vibrating butt plugs or non-vibrating dildos) can realistically be priced in the $20 to $40 range for a body-safe, affordable option. (This is part of the reason why most people's first sex toy purchase is a dildo! They're much more attainable at lower budgets!)
Look up the brand of the toy you're buying from online. If you can't find a dedicated website for that sex toy brand, you might want to consider selecting another option. There are a lot of "fly-by-night" sex toy companies popping up all of the time—especially on retail websites where you can list your own products.
Making sure your potential sex toy has a brand name—and a website for that brand where they list their products - will help weed out any of the toy "manufacturers" that have popped up just making to look a quick buck. (You should always be careful about buying sex toys on Amazon or other big box stores, too.)
Now, let's talk about materials. You want your potential affordable sex toy to made from body-safe materials. After all, that's what we're here to talk about, isn't it? First off, we need to address what we're looking to avoid. Since the sex toy industry is largely unregulated (mostly because of the fact that it's sexual!), sex toy manufacturers have been able to make toys out of some downright dangerous substances. That's what we're looking to avoid.
One of the biggest offenders is phthalates. Phthalates are bonding agent chemicals that can make plastic more flexible. Especially in cheaper sex toys, they're the main way to make a toy "feel" better and squishier in the hands without having to use expensive materials. Luckily, the sex toy industry as a whole (through consumer buying habits!) has cleared up a lot of their use of phthalates. If in doubt about your sex toys' phthalate status, look for any "Phthalate-free" wording on the packaging. While there's no certification board to ensure that they're actually phthalate-free, most companies won't risk the bad press with false claims about their sex toy safety.
Luckily for us, aside from packaging, it's usually very clear when a sex toy has been made with concerning chemicals. Just smell it. Toys with very strong scents are suspect. Occasionally, high-quality toys might have a light scent - possibly due to the packaging or releasing agent used to get the toy out of the mold. In general, if your toy has an odd scent (especially like a shower curtain) that's extremely strong or lasts past cleaning and airing it out, it's probably not made from body-safe materials. If you must continue to use it, cover it with a condom to reduce the amount of contact your sensitive internal bits have with the material.
If you want to avoid all of the headache of worrying about sex toy material safety, just pick up a sex toy that's made from a higher-quality, non-porous safer material in the first place. For vibrating toys, the most common choice is silicone with hard plastic as a second-best choice. For non-vibrating toys, silicone, wood, stainless steel, glass, and ceramics are all common materials.
Of course, once you have that body-safe sex toy, make sure you clean your sex toy properly to ensure it stays in good shape.
Cut Costs Where You Can
When you're buying your toy-box collection (and we applaud you for wanting to make it body-safe!), you'll want to figure out where you can cut costs. As we'll talk about later, you're not likely going to get a fantastically powerful wand massager for $35. It just costs too much to make something like that to sell it at that price point.
You can, however, get a body-safe, slim G-spot vibrator (like the Minx!) for $35. Since the focus of the G-spot massager is on the curvature of the massager (with the added pleasure of vibrations), you can have an amazing g-spot sex toy experience with the $35—whereas your wand massager experience would likely be lackluster.
We recommend picking and choosing what's most important to you and figuring out where you can cut costs—then put that money towards toys that might not offer an amazing of an experience if you had purchased them at a lower price point.
For example, you might know you want to try an anal toy. Does the anal toy need to vibrate? If not, you can get an amazing, body-safe, non-vibrating butt plug (like the Cheeky butt plug) for $20. If you try to get the same thing in a body-safe vibrating version, it will easily double the cost.
If you know a vibrating rabbit vibrator is important to you, but you could "take it or leave it" on butt plug vibrations, we recommend choosing the non-vibrating butt plug option and putting your extra cash towards ensuring you can get a body-safe, awesome rabbit vibrator (like the Joy!).
(Pro tip! Any non-vibrating sex toy can quickly become a vibrating one with the help of another vibrator you own. Just press the vibrator up against the base of the non-vibrating toy while it's inserted, and the inserted toy will vibrate as well!)
Know Your Numbers (or Don't!)
To some people, large numbers of patterns and incremental power choices are important. However, with toys at a lower price point, your options may be a bit more limited. It costs money to program in 15 different patterns—and money to use a motor that offers 10 different incremental vibration strengths.
We recommend you stop and think about whether that's necessary though. A lot of vibrator owners usually only use a couple “favorite” settings when they pick up their favorite toy.
It's quite possible that you really do need those 50 vibration combinations in order to enjoy yourself, but in most cases, a bigger number doesn't necessarily mean more pleasure. With that in mind, your quest for higher vibration customization options might require you to push your budget a bit higher if that's important.
Look at the Power Method
While rechargeable sex toys (with their Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries—much like your cell phone) are all the rage these days, those rechargeable toys also come at a premium—rechargeable technology can be expensive to install into a toy. It's quite possible that the body-safe, affordable sex toy you're looking at is going to use disposable batteries. If that's the case, find out which ones and make sure you have them on hand so you can actually "enjoy" your sex toy when it makes it your way.
Know What Higher-Cost Options Provide
Of course, in order to make these sex toys affordable and body-safe, you'll likely need to compromise on other wish-list aspects to keep it down at a lower price point.
Really powerful, rumbly motors cost money to buy, to install, and ensure the rest of the toy can support the intense power and heat that the powerful motor puts off. You'll likely find that a lot of sex toys at lower price points have weaker vibrations than similar designs at higher price points.
Depending on your needs, you may not even notice the difference. Some people specifically dislike powerful vibrations (and find them too painfully intense), and in other sex toys, the sole purpose of the toy isn't the vibrations (like G-spot vibrators, prostate massagers, or vibrating dildos). The vibrations just happen to be an added bonus.
Making something affordable means selecting parts that may not last forever. While higher-end toys might offer 10-year warranties for toys that are designed for years, you might not get the same experience with a toy at a lower price point.
In particular, some stainless steel and silicone dildos are—quite literally—designed to last your lifetime. You're not likely to get that from sex toys at lower price points. At the same time, instead, you get an affordable way to try out a wide variety of different sensations and figure out which sex toy types you'd like to invest more money and time into.
Speaking of warranties, many sex toys at lower price points might not offer warranties—especially not long ones. This is because running a warranty program means extra administrative costs in addition to the cost of actually replacing toys.
When selecting affordable, body-safe sex toys, make sure to know the return policy of the retailer. While "satisfaction guaranteed" returns are rare in the sex toy sphere (due to the hygienic issues with used sex toys), most sex toy retailers offer a return or exchange period in case of product defects.
Use This Knowledge to Make a Choice
We're huge proponents of selecting affordable sex toys! Not only does choosing cheaper options make sex toys accessible to more people, but it also provides an easy way to "try out" sensations without spending hundreds on a toy you might hate.
Use your sleuthing skills to find amazing, body-safe, and affordable sex toys. We promise, it's possible!
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