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How to choose a good vibrator guide

How to Choose a Vibrator for Your Needs (+Recommendations)

In this article, we will talk all about how to pick the perfect vibrator for you (or a partner). I know the options can be overwhelming with all the shapes, sizes, features, etc., so I will break it down step-by-step.

  • Step 1: Explore Your Body
    Discover what types of touch and stimulation you enjoy most.
  • Step 2: Decide What to Stimulate
    Determine if you want a vibrator for clitoral, G-spot, dual stimulation, etc. This narrows the options.
  • Step 3: Consider Key Features
    Based on your priorities, assess shape, size, intensity, material, usage scenarios, etc.
  • Step 4: Be Patient When Experimenting
    It may take trying a few options to find the vibrator that’s the perfect fit.
  • Step 5: Introduce to Your Partner
    If using with a partner, communicate desires clearly and add toys carefully.

First, an important note – there’s no “one size fits all” toy that’s perfect for everyone. We all enjoy different stimulation, so choosing a vibrator involves trial and error to see what works best for your body. Don’t get discouraged if the first ones you try aren’t your favorite. Finding the right match might take some experimenting, but that’s okay!

The First Step: Discover What Feels Good

Exploring your body’s responses is key to choosing a vibrator matched to the stimulation you enjoy.

If you lack sexual experience, start simply by using your hands. Trail featherlight touches all over to awaken nerve endings – nipples, inner thighs, stomach. Pay attention to which caresses elicit tingles or arousal. Rub the vulva in swirling patterns, feeling out the contours.

Then, gently part your labia and stroke the clitoris directly in different ways – up/down, side/side, circles. See if direct pressure or lighter brushing feels better. Insert a finger inside your vagina and try stroking the front wall in a “come hither” motion to stimulate the G-spot region.

Experiment with touching yourself through fabric, too. Glide a soft makeup brush handle over your panties. Grind against the corner of a pillow. See if barriers tantalize you.

Take notes! Are certain spots or sensations making you flush with heat? Do you crave lighter teases or intense force? Finding out what drives your body wild guides you to a vibrator with features to match.

This self-led body mapping helps determine if you like:

  • Direct clitoral stimulation → bullets, wands, panty vibrators, air-pulse vibrators
  • Insertion with G-spot targeting → G-spot wands, rabbits, eggs

Let your arousal be the guide. Pay attention to natural reactions, then choose a vibrator aligning with the stimulation that speaks to your nerves!

Which vibrators are good for what?

Now that you know which part of your body you want to stimulate, let us get into the different types of vibrators that do it best.

Vibrators for clitoral stimulation

  • Wand vibrators – these are the first vibrators that were used as body massagers. They are ideal for external stimulation of the vulva, clitoris, nipples, or other erogenous zones. Great if you need the strongest vibration. Lovense Domi 2, Lovehoney Desire Wand, and Doxy Die Cast are the top performers here. The difference between a full body massager vs. a compact wand vibrator
  • Bullet vibrators – compact-size mini vibes that offer pinpoint accuracy for direct clit stimulation. Easy to hold and control during partner play, too. They are quiet with a discrete design and can fit in your purse for on-the-go pleasure. They are also very easy to hide if you do not live alone. We-Vibe Tango X is the most powerful and rumbly bullet.
  • Vibrating panties – mini vibrators that can be attached to your underwear and can be used as hands-free wearable clit stimulators or for adventures in public. They often have a physical remote control or an app for customization. Lovense Ferri and We-Vibe Moxie+ are the best choices in this category.Pocket size vibrators
  • Air-pulse vibrators – these toys are also called clit suckers. They use air pressure waves to create a sucking sensation on the clitoris and the clitoral structure without direct contact. They have a mouth that envelops around the clit and creates a seal. This builds up the pressure and creates a unique sensation. Womanizer’s flagships Premium 2 and Next are the best performers for most people, and We-Vibe Melt is my personal clitoral stimulator overall.air-pulse vibrators

Vibrators for G-spot stimulation

G-spot vibrators

  • Egg vibrators – these toys have bulbous shape and can be worn comfortably in the vagina for hours. They are discrete and quiet and often come with a remote control or an app for hands-free G-spot fun or public play. Lovense Lush 3 is the best egg vibrator. We-Vibe Jive is a smaller toy with deeper and more balanced vibrations, but its app’s connectivity is not great.
  • Handheld G-spot wands – these insertable toys are better at G-spot stimulation than the love eggs because you can control more precisely the angle and the pressure. They can also be used externally for clit stimulation. My favorite here is We-Vibe Rave 2.

Dual stimulation vibrators

Dual stimulators - rabbit vibrator, suction + G-spot vibrator and two C-shaped couples vibrators

  • Rabbit vibrators – These vibes have two separate arms with motors in each to stimulate the clit and the G-spot at the same time and create blended orgasms. The most important feature of the rabbit vibes is their flexibility and adjustability because everyone’s clit to vagina opening distance is different, and the G-spot location is unique to every person. The best rabbit vibrator is We-Vibe Nova 2.
  • Clit suction + G-spot vibrators – these toys are the same as the rabbits, but instead of a clitoral arm that applies pressure and vibrations, they have a suction head that stimulates with air pulses. Again, adjustability is important here. Womanizer Duo 2 is the top performer here. It is not as adjustable as Nova 2, but it has a great intensity range both on the suction and the G-spot arms.
  • C-shaped vibrators – these are also called couples vibrators because they are designed to be used during PIV sex. They have two arms, one slimmer that goes into the vagina and a larger one that stimulates the clit. The insertable arm creates vibrates and creates additional pressure in the vaginal canal when the penis enters and increases the sensation for both partners. We-Vibe Chorus is the winner among the couples’ toys. We-Vibe Sync 2 is almost as good but a more affordable option.

Anal vibrators

anal vibrators

These vibes have flared bases for safety and are intended for backdoor play. Anal vibrators are comfortable, feel great during PIV sex on both partners and can be used discretely in public. Start with a smaller size and go bigger, or get a training kit. Lovense Hush 2 is amazing in this category and comes in 4 different sizes so that I can work both for beginners and experts in anal play.

Note: always go for an anal vibrator that has a base wider than its diameter. This is an important safety precaution. Also, the T-based, like Hush 2 in the photo above, is the safer option. The Jewel looks nice, but there is a chance it gets swallowed.

What are the important features to consider when choosing a vibrator?

Design

  • Firmness & Softness – How hard or pliable do you want the vibrator material to be? Silicone allows for more give, while hard plastic is unyielding. Personal preference!
  • Shape – Consider if you want a curved G-spot targeting shape, a classic phallic shape, or something more non-representational. Shape impacts how it stimulates internally.
  • Girth -How wide around do you want the shaft’s diameter to be? Slimmer girths work better for beginners, while more advanced users may want thicker girths.
  • Length – Longer isn’t always better! Make sure the vibrator length suits your body’s depth and comfort levels. The average is 4-7 inches.
  • Texture – Some vibrators feature textured sleeves or surfaces for added stimulation. Great for those needing more sensation. It can be overwhelming for newbies.
  • Realism – Do you prefer stylized designs or vibrators sculpted to look surprisingly real? Ultimately, it is about personal taste and comfort levels!

Material

ABS Plastic and Silicone and how they look and feel.

Always opt for body-safe, non-porous materials when choosing a vibrator. These materials are silicone and ABS plastic.

All other materials, like silicone blends, liquid silicone, jelly, rubber, TPE, TPR, Vinyl, PVC, etc., are either porous and can harbor bacteria or toxic, which is bad for your health.

There is a big difference in the sensation between the ABS and silicone.

ABS Plastic

ABS plastic, also called ABS, doesn’t compress at all. It’s a completely solid and firm material with zero squish!

That unbending hardness presses intensely against the body when you use it. The smooth plastic surface glides nicely but doesn’t gently give to pressure as softer silicone does.

The firmness makes sensations feel more buzzy and concentrated right on top rather than transmitting deeper, rumbly vibes. It’s intense but in a narrow, surface-level way.

Plastic retains room temperature, unlike body heat-conductive silicone. So, it stays neutral when you press a plastic vibe against warm skin unless you chill or warm the material intentionally first.

For some people, plastic is almost TOO intense on delicate, hot spots like the clitoris or nipples! It can feel uncomfortably rigid, and applying too much pressure causes discomfort—no organic cushion to soften the effects.

So plastic vibes deliver concentrated, no-frills power right where you want it. Great if you like precise, relentless vibration sensation! But the unyielding hardness isn’t for everyone – especially sensitive areas.

Silicone

Silicone is an elastic, flexible material with a nice squish to it! So silicone vibes have a softer, more cushiony feel when pressed against your skin.

The material compresses then bounces back rather than remaining rock solid like unyielding plastic. This adapts better to your curves for a comfier sensation!

Those supple material properties also allow silicone to transmit more rumbly, deeper vibes into your tissues. The vibrations diffuse through the whole toy for all-encompassing intensity.

On the other hand, silicone can harbor more bacteria if not cleaned properly since it’s unfortunately porous at a microscopic level. Be vigilant about thoroughly disinfecting after each use to keep your toys pristine!

Another perk of responsive silicone is that it quickly warms up to match your body temp. So it feels more fluid and natural once you start using it vs. remaining a neutral plastic at room temperature.

So, silicone brings that cushiony feel if you like vibes with some squish, bounce, and flexible give. And the deeper rumble vibration transmission makes climaxing more intense!

Vibration intensity range

The best vibrators have wide intensity ranges to fit more sensitivities. They are also great for building up an orgasm and warming up by starting on the low levels and gradually moving up. The ideal scenario is a very gentle start that can be increased to extremely powerful slowly. This means the vibrator has a lot of built-in speed levels or an app that you can customize the exact power that feels the best at the moment.

I use a vibrometer to measure the exact acceleration(power) and velocity(speed) of each vibrator on its minimum and maximum levels so you can have objective metrics to compare each toy and one that best fits your sensitivity.

Vibration quality

You will see a lot of the terms ‘buzzy’ and ‘rumbly’ in the reviews. Buzzy usually means a more superficial vibration that makes a high-pitched sound. These are sometimes irritating and can numb you, but some people prefer them. ‘Rumbly’ means a deep vibration that can be felt on the skin and through the body.  Most people prefer this type of vibe, especially for the G-spot stimulation.

I use a special vibrometer to quantify the vibrations of each vibrator objectively. In my reviews, look for the sections where I talk about the displacement or the depth of the vibration.

Where and how are you going to use the vibrator?

remote control vibrator applications

It is important to consider how you are going to use the vibrator. Do you want a toy that you will primarily use for solo masturbation in your bedroom, or do you need a remote control vibrator for hands-free and couples play? If you intend to use the toy in public or a long-distance relationship, the Bluetooth connection and the app features are a priority.

Waterproofing (IPX7) is a must if you need a vibrator to use in the shower or a tub. They are also much easier to clean and care for. Splashproof (IPX6) is also an option for easy maintenance.

Discretion

Discreet vibrator designs

If you live with other people who have access to your room (like living with parents or kids), pick non-life-like vibrators. Smaller ones are weaker but easier to hide. There are even some that don’t look like sex toys at all, e.g., the Rose suction toys or Lovense Exomoon that looks like lipstick.

how quiet a vibrator can be

Noise is also a factor. Make sure to choose vibrators that can be muffed by background sounds, like music or the TV, at the power level you enjoy using them. There are wands like the Doxy Die Cast that are pure power, but they sound like a drill on the highest levels. And then there are suction toys like Womanizer Next that are barely audible and have a special feature that makes them work only when muffed by the body.

Battery power and charging

Look at the technical specifications of the vibrator you are considering and check the charging time and playtime. Ideally, you want a toy with a long-lasting battery, good standby time, and a play-to-charge ratio of at least 1:1. The reputable brands I have tested do not lie about their battery life capacity.

Remember that most rechargeable vibrators get weaker when the battery drains. And the batteries have a shelf life of about 2-3 years, less if you drain the batteries often.

Different vibrator charging ports

Toys with magnetic chargers have better durability, but sometimes the magnetic connection is not strong enough and can get annoying, so check the reviews. The plug-in pins have a better connection, and you can be sure your toy is charging, but they can get water, dirt, and other substances in the charging port, so make sure it has a covering membrane at the hole.

Cleaning, maintenance, and durability

Silicone and ABS plastic vibrators with an IPX7 waterproof rating are usually the best choice because they are both body-safe and very easy to clean. Wash them before and after use with warm water and antibacterial unscented soap

A 10% bleach solution or hydrogen peroxide works to sanitize silicone toys and remove odor. Keep the vibrator with the solution overnight, and the next day, wash it very well with warm water and soap. You can try removing odors without chemicals if you leave the toy in sunlight for a few days or until the odor disappears.

For non-waterproof vibrators, you can look into special UV sanitizers that kill bacteria with light.

Do not put vibrators in the dishwasher or boil them because this will damage the toys.

Always dry your vibes before storing them so they do not get moldy. Silicone attracts lint, so it is always a good idea to have a nice cotton pouch for each vibrator and store them separately.

Note: Do not use silicone lubricant with silicone toys because it will degrade them over time. It is best to use water-based lubes with silicone vibrators.

Warranty and brand reputation

I recommend buying intimate products from reputable, established brands with good customer service. If a vibrator arrives defective, which happens, or if it breaks, you want to be sure you will get a replacement in a fast and discrete way.

With good brands, you can be sure you will get what you are paying for in terms of materials, battery, and vibration, and they will follow up on their warranty policy if your vibrator breaks.

Some brands that have great toys that I use and have reviewed are Lovense, We-Vibe, LELO, Fun Factory, Womanizer, and Lovehoney. Then, there are some brands with questionable reputations over the years that now create good vibrators in the budget segment, like Satisfyer and Tracy’s Dog.

Price range

My advice is, do not cheap out on something you use in your most sensitive areas. It is better to save up on something else, like a dinner or coffee, and get a toy from a reputable brand and place where you can be sure all the materials are what the label says they are and are body-safe.

That being said, some vibrators are the best in their category and are usually more expensive, and there are safe alternatives that are good enough and cheaper but don’t perform as well in some aspects. It is all about your priorities and what can you sacrifice. Personally, I would save and buy the very best toy I can find for the stimulation I am looking for. Here is an example.

Satisfier Pro 2 Gen 3 is a very good clit suction vibrator that can be found at around $50. It is strong, has an app, has a good range, is overall a great toy if you are on a budget, and delivers fulfilling orgasms. On the other hand, We-Vibe Melt is $150, which is 3 times more. But the orgasms I get from it are out of this world.

Now, let’s say I use the toy daily for 2 years. This means I would pay 7c for an ok orgasm from the Satisfyer and 20c for an amazing sheet-grabbing orgasm from the Melt. So which toy would you get?

Where to shop for vibrators?

First, where not to shop for vibrators. Amazon, Aliexpress, Temu, eBay, and other marketplaces are no-go for me. Why? The chance of getting a knockoff toy or something that says it is silicone but is some toxic blend is very high.

There are some official brands on Amazon, but then again, if you receive a toy that breaks or is defective, you have to talk with Amazon customer service, which, in my experience, is not very good for intimate toys. It is much better to buy directly from the brand’s official website or a specialty website like Lovehoney, which knows what they are selling. They replace your item discretely and without too many questions if an issue arises.

Choosing a couples vibrator

Vibrators are not only for solo masturbation. But before buying a couples toy, have frank talks about your desires, hang-ups, boundaries and expectations. A vibrator should improve your experience together, not cause anxiety.

Small vibes like bullets or compact mini wands are a good starting point. They are easy to maneuver in different positions.

The C-shaped couples vibrators are great for both partners, but only if you know there is some extra space to insert the vaginal arm. In this case they help by creating more pressure on the vagina walls and also stimulate the penis and the whole experience gets tighter. However, if you already find PIV with more than enough pressure, these will be more of inconvenience.

Air-pulse vibrators feel great but are a bit more advanced level, because they are harder to maneuver. A clit sucker with sleek and unobstructive silhouette like We-Vibe Melt is perfect for this use.

Wearable vibes allow hands-free stimulation during intercourse. Some strap into lingerie, others tuck into the labia snugly. There are even vibrating panties with remote controls for naughty secret stimulation in public if you dare!

App control brings long distance relationship into play. Partners can tease from anywhere with customizable vibration patterns. Just be sure your WiFi connection is secure!

I would avoid large an buky vibrators like the full-size wands and rabbits for couples play.

Beginners tips

First up, excited for you taking this big, beautiful step for your sexual self-care! It may feel awkward at first but finding the perfect feel-good vibrator is so empowering.

As with anything new, start small. Mini bullets and lipstick vibes allow you to dip a toe before diving into more advanced toys. They’re mighty little marvels! Easy to grip, control speed, and hide discreetly.

Quality over quantity too! Better to buy one vibe that knocks your socks off than a grab bag of questionable ones. Check labels for non-porous silicone, AB plastic or soft skin-safe rubber. Dodgy materials can irritate sensitive areas.

If buying online, read reviews and guides to inform your choice, just like you’re doing now! It helps match shape and features to the sensations you crave. Once decided, head to reputable sex toy sites for discreet, judgement-free purchasing.

When first playing, tease yourself! Caress erogenous zones before directly stimulating the vulva or clit. Take time. Edge your arousal. Mix up pressure levels and movement patterns to see what thrills you most.

It may take some trials to discover your perfect vibe match. But embracing beginner’s mind will make the self-love journey that much juicier! Have fun with the luscious process of awakening your senses.

Pros and Cons of Using a Vibrator

Benefits

  • Vibrators provide consistent stimulation, unlike oral sex from a partner. You can keep it in the exact right spot without your hand cramping up!
  • Using a toy either alone or with a partner lets you explore new sensations at your own pace. They don’t get tired like a human might!
  • Adding a vibrator during penetrative sex provides great clit stimulation. Studies show most women need this combo to orgasm.
  • Research shows there is often an orgasm gap between people with vulvas and penises. Adding clitoral vibrators or other toys into a couple’s play can help balance pleasure.

Potential Drawbacks

  • It can take time to find one shaped perfectly for you. Be patient in the process of trying different options. Monitor budgets, too, since costs add up.
  • Using a powerful toy exclusively can make it harder to orgasm from lighter touches. Take occasional breaks to keep sensitivity intact.
  • Some partners feel insecure about not being able to make you come like a toy. Communicate that the vibrator adds more pleasure but doesn’t replace human touch and warmth!
  • It’s possible very powerful vibrators can temporarily numb the genitals after orgasm. This is normal, and the sensation should return shortly. Turning down vibration intensity can prevent overstimulation.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, here are the core things to keep in mind when picking out your perfect vibrator:

  1. Do some self-exploration about what types of stimulation and features truly excite you – don’t get caught up in hype or what worked for your friends. Choose based on your personal preferences.
  2. Be patient with trying different options to find the one that’s the ultimate match! It often takes experimenting with shapes, materials, and intensities before discovering your new go-to vibe.
  3. While toys provide incredible solo experiences, they can enhance couples’ intimacy too if introduced constructively. Use toys on each other first before bringing them to genitals directly. Let pleasure lead the way.
  4. No toy can fully replace human interaction and skin-on-skin contact. But incorporating vibes and dildos into the mix allows you to tap into new sensations and orgasmic potential!

The key is maintaining an open, positive attitude while you explore the range of amazing products available now. Follow what feels good, and don’t overthink it too much!

Vibrators and other sex toys are meant to enhance your sexual experiences. Let them unlock new confidence and comfort in asking for your body’s desires. You deserve all the pleasure and joy possible!

Amie Dawson, Ph.D.

Amie Dawson, Ph.D.

Amie is your go-to gal for all things related to sex and sexual well-being.

A certified sex educator and award-winning sex toy reviewer, Amie has spent her career empowering individuals and couples to embrace their sexuality.

With a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality and an ever-growing collection of over 200 vibrators, she's got the knowledge and experience to guide you on your pleasure-seeking journey.

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