The Best Vibrators

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After 70 hours of research—including reading hundreds of reviews of 51 best-selling models, interviewing sex researcher Debra Herbenick and five other experts, crowdsourcing opinions from enthusiasts, and analyzing data from seven testers who tried eight different models—as well as six months of follow-up testing, we’ve concluded that the cordless Magic Wand Rechargeable is the best vibrator for most people.

Last Updated: Three months ago
The Doxy Massager replaces the Lelo Siri 2 as our runner-up. It’s similar to the Magic Wand Rechargeable and has a similar price, but it is not rechargeable. The Tokidoki x Lovehoney 7 Function Girl Power Vibrator replaces the CalExotics Silver Bullet as our budget choice, since it’s both more versatile and aesthetically pleasing. We’ve also added the innovative Womanizer suction vibrator as an “also great” choice.
Expand Most Recent Updates
Three months ago: Standard Innovations, the maker of the We-Vibe Tango vibrator, settled a class-action lawsuit that alleged that the company inappropriately recorded personal data from its line of "smart" vibrators. The We-Vibe Tango is not one of those vibrators. We are in the process of updating this guide and will delve a bit deeper into these privacy issues when we publish our update.
10 months ago: We’ve added long-term test notes below.
One year ago: After spending 10 hours testing eight new toys, we can say that our new main pick is the Magic Wand Rechargeable. Although it's more expensive than our previous pick, the Magic Wand Original, it offers improvements that make it worth the higher price. If you prefer a small but strong vibrator, the Lelo Siri 2 is our new runner-up; it has an easier learning curve than our previous runner-up, the Jimmyjane Form 4. If you're on a budget or on the hunt for a small and portable spare vibrator, the California Exotic Novelties Silver Bullet is our lower-cost choice, though it has less power than our other picks and tends to wear out quickly.
Two years ago:
There is an updated version of the our main pick, the Magic Wand, that appears to address almost every possible shortcoming of the original: The new model is cordless, has a silicone head, and more speed options. We will test it against the model that is our current pick and report back on our findings.
Our pick
Magic Wand Rechargeable
Our testers agreed that no toy offers the same level of power and intensity as the Magic Wand. The Rechargeable is considerably more expensive than the Original version, but it’s worth the additional cost.

Many of our testers described the Magic Wand Original as their “go-to” vibrator for clitoral stimulation, a toy that was almost always guaranteed to induce an orgasm when others could not. The Magic Wand Rechargeable is twice as expensive as the Original, but its easy-to-clean silicone head, rechargeable battery, quieter motor, and greater variation in intensity and vibration patterns make it worth the extra cost. The Magic Wand has been a favorite of sex-toy enthusiasts for 40-plus years for good reason. The toy is durable as well as functional: Vibratex offers a one-year warranty, but several testers have reported that their Magic Wands have stood up to years of daily use without breaking.

Runner-up
Doxy Massager
Similar in shape, size, and price to our top pick, the Magic Wand Rechargeable, but more aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately it’s not cordless, and it’s more than twice the price of the corded Magic Wand Original.

If you can’t get the Magic Wand Rechargeable, the Doxy Massager has a similar price and rivals that model in power, but you must plug it in to run it. For anyone who doesn’t mind the cord, the Doxy is a sleek and colorful alternative to the clinical-looking Magic Wand. Our tester found its control panel to be easier and more intuitive to use, but preferred the shape and texture of the Magic Wand’s firmer, more angular head.

Budget pick
Tokidoki x Lovehoney 7 Function Girl Power Vibrator
The battery-operated Girl Power Vibrator is not significantly more expensive than our previous budget pick, the CalExotics Silver Bullet, but it is much more convenient, versatile, and aesthetically pleasing, making it a great value at its price.

The Tokidoki x Lovehoney 7 Function Girl Power Vibrator is not only one of the most aesthetically pleasing budget toys we’ve found but also quite powerful and versatile for its price. This easy-to-operate toy, which is available in several sleek designs and colors, offers three strengths of vibration and four patterns, and runs on two AA batteries. Its cordless oblong shape makes it great for both external and internal stimulation during solo and partner play.

Also great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $160.

Womanizer Pro W500
Despite the bizarre name and high price tag, this toy—which uses a combination of suction and vibration focused on the clitoris—is one of the greatest innovations in vibrator technology in recent times.

Seasoned sex-toy enthusiasts and beginners alike will love the innovative Womanizer. With its combination of suction and vibration, it more accurately replicates the sensation of oral sex than other toys we’ve tested. While the name and appearance can be off-putting (the second-generation Pro W500 model is significantly sleeker-looking than the bedazzled leopard print of the first-generation W100 model), according to our testers this rechargeable toy delivers focused, gentle, yet intense stimulation that differs from what traditional vibrators offer.

Also great
We-Vibe Tango
Some testers loved the intensely concentrated vibrations at the pointed tip of this toy, while others found them uncomfortable. The Tango is great if you desire ultrastrong, focused vibrations in a pocket-sized vibrator.

If you want something rechargeable and very small, you may like the palm-sized We-Vibe Tango, a rechargeable thermoplastic lipstick-shaped vibrator that offers some seriously rumbly vibrations at a lower price than other, luxury toys. Several of our panelists loved this model’s particularly powerful vibrations and hard, sleek shape. Magic Wand devotees accustomed to broader, more diffuse vibrations may find the pinpoint shape ineffective, but the We-Vibe Tango is a nice choice for travel and partner play.

Table of contents

Why you should trust us

I’m a full-time writer and sex educator who has tested more than 150 different sex toys in the past 15 years. I began blogging about sex toys in 2011, and I worked as a toy tester and copywriter for the retailer The Stockroom for several years.

I received my Master of Public Health degree from Indiana University in 2014, where I assisted research scientist Debra Herbenick with academic and consumer research related to sex-toy use. While at Indiana University, I worked as a blogger and sex educator at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.

We followed up our preliminary research with interviews with the following experts:

Should you buy a clitoral vibrator?

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Sex toys can be a godsend for people who are unable to reach orgasm easily from manual masturbation, oral sex, or penetrative intercourse alone. But buying sex toys can be an intimidating experience for newbies and experienced users alike, and not just due to the buyer’s shyness. High-quality sex toys are often expensive and nonreturnable, you have hundreds (if not thousands) of sex-toy models to choose from, and the criteria for what makes a good sex toy can be highly subjective. Determining what toy will work best for you based on reviews can be difficult, because every person’s sexual response is different. Nobody wants to spend $100-plus on a toy that turns out to be a dud.

We’ve tried to focus on toys that will work well for most people, including beginners. We’ve also included a budget option for anyone who is looking to test the waters before diving in.

Nobody wants to spend $100-plus on a toy that turns out to be a dud.

Don’t be distressed if you don’t see your favorite toy represented in our picks. We are presenting the items that stood out after we considered hundreds of models. We recognize that many other models not addressed in this article are also great for some people, and that our pick may not necessarily be the best choice for all people. Our picks are simply the models that the majority (if not all) of our testers enjoyed the most.

How we picked and tested

Five different types of vibrators.

From left: the Womanizer Pro W500, We-Vibe Tango, Magic Wand Rechargeable, Doxy Massager, and Tokidoki x Lovehoney 7 Function Girl Power. Photo: Michael Hession

We identified several vibrator features that were most important to our experts, our testers, and a general sample of sex-toy owners:

  1. Sufficiently powerful stimulation to induce an orgasm (one tester listed her top three criteria as “strong vibrations, strong vibrations, strong vibrations!”)
  2. Multiple or variable speeds
  3. A high-quality, easy-to-clean, nonporous body-safe material like silicone or ABS plastic
  4. A long battery life, whether the device is battery-operated or rechargeable
  5. User-friendliness and intuitive functions

If a toy was rechargeable, versatile, durable, small (most of my sample, though not all, preferred smaller toys), affordable, waterproof, easy to clean, or covered by a solid warranty, we considered those attributes to be bonuses. Many users also desired an aesthetically pleasing toy with multiple color options. Features that we considered overrated included multiple vibration patterns, fancy packaging, or a gimmick such as a remote control, as well as a charging system (if it didn’t work well).

Dealbreakers included poor-quality materials, a short battery life, a tendency to break easily, a lack of power, and a design that was awkward, inconvenient, or painful to use.

In total we considered 51 different models. For the first edition of this guide, we tested five of the most popular toys that met our criteria (which we’ll discuss further in the following sections). For this update, we tested three more recommended toys that had seen release since our original guide’s publication.

An animation showing five different vibrators on a dark surface.

Running the toys at maximum speed to test the battery life. (G-spot vibrators also shown.) Video: Bianca Jarvis

Our clitoral-toy testers consisted of seven people with vaginas across two rounds of testing, ranging in age from early 20s to mid-30s,1 a mix of people who identify as queer, heterosexual, and bisexual. All had used vibrators in the past and were reliably able to achieve orgasm through vibrator use, though some were more experienced than others. We instructed our testers to use each toy at least once, preferably twice or more, and to also incorporate these toys into partner play when possible.2

An animation showing five different vibrators powered on in the bathtub.

Bathtime for waterproof toys (G-spot vibrators also shown). Video: Bianca Jarvis

In addition, we independently tested interactions with silicone lubricant (more about this topic in the Care and maintenance section), evaluated battery life by cycling the devices on and off for 20 minutes until they died, assessed overheating by letting them run for extended periods, and tested the function of waterproof vibrators.

Our pick

“Our pick” vibrator on top of bed linens.

Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick
Magic Wand Rechargeable
Our testers agreed that no toy offers the same level of power and intensity as the Magic Wand. The Rechargeable is considerably more expensive than the Original version, but it’s worth the additional cost.

We recommend the Magic Wand Rechargeable, an improved version of the ultrapowerful Magic Wand Original. The cordless Rechargeable is well worth the additional investment, as it offers twice as many levels of stimulation as the Original model, plus an assortment of vibration patterns, an easy-to-clean silicone head, and a rechargeable battery that works with or without the power cord with no significant decrease in power.

Virtually all of our testers reported that the Magic Wand was the only toy in our test group that could consistently bring them to an intense climax quickly, intuitively, effectively, and predictably. In an essay published in the book Mothers Who Think, sex expert Susie Bright calls the Magic Wand a “miracle” because its power enables users to have an orgasm within 60 seconds. In fact, multiple academic research studies have found that prescribing the Magic Wand is one of the most effective therapies for women who struggle with chronic anorgasmia, or the inability to reach orgasm.

A close-up of the buttons on “Our pick” vibrator.

The Rechargeable version of the Magic Wand works without the power cord and with no significant decrease in power. Photo: Michael Hession

The Magic Wand was the only toy in our test group that could consistently bring testers to an intense climax quickly, intuitively, effectively, and predictably.

The new rechargeable battery offers longevity as well as strength, according to sex-toy reviewer Epiphora, who told us: “It runs for 4.5 hours straight on a single charge; I tested it.” (We found that it lasted 3.5 hours at maximum speed, spread out over a series of 20-minute intervals; it may last longer at lower speeds.) If it runs out of power, you can connect it to the removable AC cord and continue using it.

Our testers agreed, with comments like “It always makes me orgasm; never a letdown” and “Makes me climax every time.”

The Magic Wand Rechargeable offers four strength settings, two more than the Original model. Owners who might have previously needed to use the Original through a blanket or pants may find the lower, gentler settings of the Rechargeable model to be more comfortable.

Testers reported that the long handle made it comfortable to hold for long periods of time without hand cramping or numbness. The switch sat high enough on the handle that testers were unlikely to switch it off accidentally during use (which is an issue with some of the smaller rechargeable models).

Some testers said that they disliked the texture of the Original version’s white vinyl head. The Rechargeable features a softer, smoother silicone head, which is much easier to clean and may feel more comfortable against the body. Nonporous (it will not trap bacteria) and less prone to discoloration, the Rechargeable’s silicone head eliminates any previous concerns about phthalates, a plasticizer in the Original’s vinyl head.

Another great aspect of this toy is its versatility: It can stimulate penises and nipples as well as vulvas, and it can convert into a vibrating insertable G-spot/P-spot stimulator or a penile-masturbation sleeve when you purchase and add one of many attachments designed to fit over the head. It also works well as a whole-body massager, and owners report that it can help soothe menstrual cramps. In the unlikely event that you buy this toy and hate it as a clitoral vibrator, you can always use it on your back.

In addition, we found that the Rechargeable version was quieter than the Original model—it still emitted a loud hum, but in our tests it was quiet enough that when we put the toy on a bed and closed the door, it wasn’t audible through the door in the same way that the Original was.

Vibratex offers a one-year warranty for the Magic Wand Rechargeable, but many of our testers reported that the Original could stand up to daily use over the course of many years, unlike budget models (such as the CalExotics Silver Bullet) that tend to burn out after a few months of consistent use. Thus far we have not experienced any issues with the Magic Wand Original version released in 2013, or the Magic Wand Rechargeable model released in 2015.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The primary complaints we received from our testers about the Magic Wand Rechargeable related to its large size (the Rechargeable model is 13 inches long with a nearly 2½-inch-wide head), which can make it difficult to use in certain positions during partnered intercourse.

Unlike some of the other toys we tested, the Rechargeable is not waterproof. This makes it a bit harder to clean, as you cannot submerge it, but you can easily wipe off the silicone cap with a soapy washcloth or tissues and toy-cleaner spray.

While the Original model also tended to heat up with prolonged use during our motor test, we ran the Rechargeable at full speed for 20 minutes and found that it was not significantly warm. Unfortunately the Rechargeable has an automatic shutoff function at the 20-minute mark, which can be distressing if you don’t expect it (one of our testers thought the toy had run out of battery life when this happened). The manufacturer recommends letting the toy cool off after 20 minutes to prolong the motor’s life, but you can continue to use it at this point by simply turning it back on again. Given how intense the vibrations are, many people will not want to use it for more than 20 minutes straight regardless.

The Magic Wand Rechargeable’s control panel is slightly less intuitive and easy to use compared with the dual switch of the Original model, but nevertheless it’s fairly straightforward. The first button turns the vibrator on, the second button cycles through speeds ranging from relatively gentle to face-meltingly intense, and the third button cycles through four vibration patterns: a long-short pulse pattern, a long slow pulse pattern, a short fast pulse pattern, and a low-to-high “wave” pattern. The console lights up with blue bars to indicate the strength of the vibration. You could accidentally hit the wrong button during play, but switching back to the correct mode is easy enough.

And of course, you have aesthetics to consider. A beautiful, elegant toy this is not, but it gets the job done. One tester put it best: “No [it’s not attractive], but as a sexual health academic, I know that this is the ‘OG’ of vibrators, and I respect it for keeping its original, functional design.” The Rechargeable version, while a little sleeker, has basically the same appearance as the Original model.

Long-term test notes

The Magic Wand Rechargeable has remained the go-to vibrator for many of our testers. One of the best aspects of this toy is that if it runs out of juice, it can still work while it is plugged in and recharging. However, one tester complained that the four settings weren’t identical to the two settings of the corded Original model, and that she wished it had something in between the second and third setting.

A powerful corded option

The Doxy Massager vibrator on top of bed linens.

Photo: Michael Hession

Runner-up
Doxy Massager
Similar in shape, size, and price to our top pick, the Magic Wand Rechargeable, but more aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately it’s not cordless, and it’s more than twice the price of the corded Magic Wand Original.

The Doxy Massager is similar to the Magic Wand in power, function, and price, but it offers several distinct advantages: It’s more aesthetically pleasing (sleeker looking and available in four colors, as opposed to the Magic Wand’s clinical white), and it offers twice as many vibration speeds (eight as opposed to the Magic Wand Rechargeable’s four). However, unlike the Magic Wand Rechargeable, the Doxy still needs to be plugged into the wall to operate, and the softer texture of the head has a tendency to reduce the perceived intensity of the vibrations.

One potential advantage of the Doxy Massager is that it offers a faster maximum speed than the Magic Wand (9,000 rpm versus 6,300 rpm), but to our tester and other reviewers, it did not feel stronger than the Magic Wand in use. This perception may be due to the fact that the Doxy produces vibrations felt more on the surface of the skin, while the Magic Wand provides more intense, penetrating sensations. The reviewer at the Slutty Girl Problems blog echoes our tester’s experience: “I don’t think the Doxy was more powerful. It does seem to have more vibration speed, but not necessarily more vibration intensity.”

A close-up of the cord on the Doxy Massager vibrator.

The Doxy’s 9-foot cord is significantly longer than those of other models we looked at. Photo: Michael Hession

The body of the Doxy Massager is a smidgen longer than that of the Magic Wand (by about a half inch), and the 9-foot cord is significantly longer than the 6-foot cord of both the Original and Rechargeable Magic Wand models. Comparing against the Magic Wand Rechargeable’s control panel, our tester found the location and design of the Doxy’s to be more convenient and intuitive. The Doxy has three half-inch-wide buttons, including an easy-to-press power button that remembers the last setting you used with the toy (for example, if you used it on the highest setting last time, it boots up to that setting when you press the power button). The other two buttons adjust the intensity up and down in increments. Holding down the power button when firing up the toy activates a “pulse” mode that you can dial up and down, but our tester found that getting this mode to engage was sometimes tricky.

The Doxy’s control panel is farther from the base of the toy’s head (about 5 inches away, versus the Magic Wand’s 4½ inches), so it’s hard to press buttons accidentally in the heat of the moment. You can also more easily dial the intensity up and down in gradual increments, rather than having to press the same button repeatedly to cycle through the four intensity settings of the Magic Wand Rechargeable. Unlike on the Magic Wand, the Doxy Massager’s control panel doesn’t light up, so it may present less of an obnoxious visual distraction in low-light settings. The Doxy’s buttons are clearly embossed in a way that makes them easy to navigate by touch alone, a design that’s ideal for playing in the dark, or for folks who are sight impaired (or simply not wearing their glasses).

Our tester also found that while the Doxy had a faster motor than the Magic Wand, the shape and texture of the head caused the vibrations to feel more diffuse. Whereas the head of the Magic Wand is made of dense cylindrical silicone, the Doxy Massager’s squishier dome-shaped head is made of medical-grade PVC, which our tester found to create a buzzier sensation than her rumbly Magic Wand. Doxy also sells an upgrade model with a silicone head, the Doxy Die Cast, but it’s significantly more expensive than the Magic Wand Rechargeable.

A battery-operated vibrator for less than $30

The “Budget pick” vibrator on top of bed linens.

Photo: Michael Hession

Budget pick
Tokidoki x Lovehoney 7 Function Girl Power Vibrator
The battery-operated Girl Power Vibrator is not significantly more expensive than our previous budget pick, the CalExotics Silver Bullet, but it is much more convenient, versatile, and aesthetically pleasing, making it a great value at its price.

Our tester initially purchased the Girl Power Vibrator, from the British sex-toy retailer Lovehoney’s collaboration with Italian lifestyle brand Tokidoki, as a cheap and cheerful collector’s item. Toys this stylish tend not to be affordably priced and typically don’t work well, but this vibrator is the exception to that rule. Our tester loved the toy’s versatile shape and firm texture, and found that it was exceptionally powerful for a battery-operated model.

The Girl Power Vibrator is a waterproof toy made of ABS plastic, a hard material that transmits vibrations well. The graphics are printed on an easy-to-clean nonporous matte polyurethane coating that gives the plastic a soft suede-like feeling and lacks the slipperiness of noncoated plastic toys such as the We-Vibe Tango. The classic oblong shape makes it easy to use either vaginally or clitorally, and it’s also slim enough to be convenient for partner play. While the vibrations are not as strong as those of the Tango, they exceed the power of our previous budget pick, the CalExotics Silver Bullet. While it offers less variability in speed than the Silver Bullet, its three speeds provide a decent range of intensity, with the bonus of four vibration patterns. You can easily operate the toy with its single button, which you press to turn it on and cycle through patterns, and then hold down to turn it off again. The only major drawback of this toy is that it is nonrechargeable, requiring two AA batteries. If you’d prefer to spend a little more money for a rechargeable vibrator with similar basic functions, we recommend the Tango.

The Girl Power Vibrator line is adorned with quirky images of anime-style jewel thieves and tattooed devil girls, giving the vibrators a literal toylike appearance that might be a bit less intimidating for newbies (and perhaps less incriminating if a nosy houseguest discovers them). More advanced sex-toy collectors may also want to get their hands on other goodies from this series, such as the disturbingly whimsical unicorn-head wand vibrator.

For suction and vibration

The Womanizer Pro W500 on top of bed linens.

Photo: Michael Hession

Also great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $160.

Womanizer Pro W500
Despite the bizarre name and high price tag, this toy—which uses a combination of suction and vibration focused on the clitoris—is one of the greatest innovations in vibrator technology in recent times.

Despite its unsettling name, the Womanizer is one of the few toys that actually live up to the hype surrounding their gimmick—in this case, a silicone nozzle that latches onto the clitoris, stimulating it with a combination of suction and vibration. Our tester reported that this toy felt unlike any other toy she’d tried, with a sensation that was focused, gentle, yet intense in a totally different way than a traditional vibrator, providing a sensation similar to oral sex. While its appearance is oddly both clinical and tacky (the W100 model looks like a medical device covered in leopard print and rhinestones), our tester found this rechargeable toy to be worth every penny of its steep price tag.

We have tried both the discontinued W100 model and the newer W500 model. The W500 has a sleeker look than the original W100, with a more intuitive and accessible control panel located on the top (as opposed to the underside on the previous model), and it offers two sizes of suction nozzle instead of one. The W500 is also more powerful than the original, featuring eight levels of stimulation instead of five, as well as stronger suction. Our tester, who generally loves strong vibrations, found that less is more with a toy that is so focused on direct clitoral stimulation, so this big boost in power may not actually be necessary for most people.

A close-up of the Womanizer Pro W500 vibrator.

The sensation is focused and gentle, but intense. Photo: Michael Hession

The W500 is fairly easy to operate: After you lubricate the silicone nozzle and place it over the clitoris to form a suction seal, you turn on the toy by pressing an actual Swarovski-crystal power button that Liberace would approve of, using plus/minus buttons to dial the intensity up and down. You charge the toy with a USB cord (sadly, the W100 and W500 models use different, noninterchangeable chargers). The toy is not waterproof, but you can easily remove the silicone nozzle for cleaning after use.

The major drawback of this toy is the price tag: Most people don’t have an extra $200-plus in their budget for sex toys. If you do, this model is worth the investment. If you don’t, you might want to wait for the less expensive but currently unavailable W40 model to return (reviewer Dangerous Lilly expressed that she preferred the overall function of the W40 to the W500, but we haven’t had a chance to try it yet).

A pocket-sized vibe

The We-Vibe Tango on top of bed linens.

Photo: Michael Hession

Also great
We-Vibe Tango
Some testers loved the intensely concentrated vibrations at the pointed tip of this toy, while others found them uncomfortable. The Tango is great if you desire ultrastrong, focused vibrations in a pocket-sized vibrator.

Several experts, including Debra Herbenick, PhD, and Mr. Will of the blog Mr. Will’s House of Thrills, recommended the We-Vibe Tango to us. We can almost describe it as a hybrid between the Magic Wand and the CalExotics Silver Bullet, rolled into a small, rechargeable package.

A close-up of the We-Vibe Tango vibrator showing two magnets at the base.

You can recharge the We-Vibe Tango by placing the two magnets at the base of the toy against the USB-powered charger port. You easily control the toy by pushing a single, invisible button between the two magnets. Photo: Michael Hession

The thermoplastic We-Vibe Tango offers ultrapowerful vibrations that rival the lower setting on the Magic Wand, but the stimulation is intensely concentrated over a small surface area. As a result, the Tango proved to be the most polarizing of all the vibrators we tested: On a scale of one (hated it) to 10 (best ever), it received both twos and 10s.

The testers who gave the Tango high scores said they loved the size, the shape, and the powerful vibrations it offered. Fans said this toy worked especially well for clitoral stimulation during intercourse, because of its small, narrow size and its smooth, sleek shape. It’s a good step up from the traditional silver-bullet vibrator, and it can work for many of the same applications.

This hard-plastic lipstick-shaped vibrator is completely waterproof, and you can charge it using a magnetic USB cable. We found that the toy became slightly warm with prolonged use, but it sustained its power at full strength for 45 minutes and survived four 30-minute sessions (with breaks in between) at full power, about two hours in total, before it stopped vibrating.

The Tango was one of the most intuitive vibrators we tried. One simple button on the base, when pressed, takes the user through four strengths of regular vibrations, followed by a pulse, a wave, a cha-cha (yes, really), and an erratic “tease” pattern. Unfortunately you do have to click through all eight modes to turn it off again, and you can’t independently control the intensity of each pattern mode.

Several users who normally aren’t big fans of vibration patterns said this toy was the exception to the rule: The pinpointed ultrastrong vibrations felt a bit more diffuse and pleasing when broken into patterns, and the cha-cha and tease patterns were likable, unusual offerings.

The testers who didn’t love this toy reported that it felt either too strong or too weak. In both cases, the effect may have been related to the very small surface area of the toy’s tip. Several testers said that the vibrations felt too concentrated and intense even at lower settings, and that the small, hard toy had a tendency to make their hands feel numb with prolonged use. Other minor complaints concerned the pointy shape of the device and issues with the smooth plastic material’s tendency to become slippery and difficult to grip when used with lubricant.

What makes a toy ‘body safe’

This blog post from the Kinsey Institute’s blog gives a helpful overview, but in a nutshell, body-safe toys are:

  • Nonporous: Such devices are less likely to trap bacteria, viruses, or fungi after proper cleaning.
  • Nontoxic: High-quality toys will not off-gas or leach chemicals that the body’s mucous membranes can absorb.

Materials considered to be body safe include 100 percent silicone (some toys that manufacturers bill as silicone are sometimes made from a blend of silicone and other materials, so you should make sure that the toy is actually 100 percent silicone), all types of glass, metals such as stainless steel and aluminum, certain types of treated wood, ceramics, and hard, nonporous plastics such as ABS, lucite, and acrylic.

The presence of possibly toxic chemicals in sex toys has been a source of significant concern in the sex-toy aficionado community. Sex toys are still not well-researched (beyond this study by the Danish counterpart to the EPA) or regulated by any consumer-safety agencies. The researchers behind the Danish report name six hazardous substances that they found in the studied sex toys, and they conclude that “normal” usage of the tested toys (which they define as 15 minutes once a week) is safe, provided the user is not pregnant or breastfeeding. However, the anus and rectum are delicate mucous membranes that are highly absorptive and prone to irritation, and many people use their toys more frequently than 15 minutes per week. For this reason, we decided to err on the side of caution and choose toys made from high-quality, nonporous materials for this guide.

Care and maintenance

You can find some detailed guides on how to use a vibrator here, here, and here.

Keeping sex toys clean is extremely important for preventing bacterial and yeast infections, especially if you share your toys with partners. We recommend that you cover your toys with a condom when sharing them with partners, especially if it’s someone with whom you are not fluid-bonded (that is, you typically use barriers for other types of sexual activity).

If you’re using a toy with a condom, make sure that the condom covers the entire surface that comes in contact with your genitals. The condom should be thin enough for you to see, feel, and press the buttons through the barrier. Do not use oil-based lubricants with condoms, and make sure to remove and dispose of the condom directly after use. Do not reuse condoms with toys, as that practice is unsanitary and a sure way to encourage the condom to break.

Waterproof toys made from nonporous materials such as silicone and stainless steel can tolerate washing with soap and warm water. If you have nonwaterproof toys, carefully wipe them clean with a solution of soap and warm water. Spray-on toy cleanser can be useful for toys that you cannot submerge. Dangerous Lilly offers a great in-depth guide to caring for a variety of toy materials.

Generally you don’t need to disinfect toys that only one person uses or that stay covered with condoms. Some nonporous, nonmotorized toys can go into the dishwasher without soap for steam-sanitizing. Alternatively, you can boil most nonmotorized, nonporous toys in hot water. You can soak waterproof toys of all stripes in 10 percent bleach solution for 10 minutes to disinfect them, and thoroughly wash them with soap and water afterward.

We recommend storing toys in boxes or pouches to keep them dust-free and putting them in a cool, dark place where they will not have exposure to direct sunlight. Many high-end manufacturers include free cloth pouches or attractive storage boxes with a toy.

A note on lubricants

If you wish to use a lubricant with your toy, we recommend water-based lube, because it is safe to use with all types of toys. Oil-based lubricants are not only unsafe for use with condoms, but they can also interact badly with toys made of soft plastic or rubber, causing the devices to disintegrate or to leach chemicals (PDF). Silicone lubricants are great for anal play, but unfortunately they interact negatively with silicone toys.

We recommend water-based lube, because it is safe to use with all types of toys.

Several prominent sex educators have recently claimed that the interactions between silicone lube and toys are overstated, so we decided to conduct our own test. We applied a quarter-sized amount of Überlube brand silicone lubricant to a patch toward the base of nine different toys, rubbed it into the surface of each toy for one minute to simulate friction, and then left the toys to sit for an hour.

At the end of this experiment, we discovered that the lube had an effect on every single toy. In the best instances, the patch exposed to lube appeared slightly raised; in the worst cases, the lube completely removed the finish from the toy, causing it to become gummy, sticky, and blistered. The staff at Early to Bed replicated our test and found similar results.

A close-up of the Siren dildo base.

Gumminess and blistering appeared on the base of the Siren dildo after we exposed it to silicone lubricant and then washed it. Photo: Bianca Jarvis

In some cases you can scrub off the stickiness, but we do not recommend using silicone lubricants with silicone toys, because we don’t really know how the lubricants will affect the porosity and integrity of the toys over time.

Many high-end sex-toy companies offer limited warranties or guarantees in the event that your toy breaks within a certain amount of time (typically one to three years). In order to redeem your warranty, you will need to purchase the toy from a licensed retailer (due to problems with counterfeit toys being sold on Amazon and eBay) and save the receipt.

What to look forward to

We intend to test the new We-Vibe Wish for our next update. Our testers (mostly) loved the lipstick-shaped We-Vibe Tango, and the silicone Wish offers equally powerful but more diffuse vibration than the hard-plastic Tango (some testers complained that the vibrations of the Tango felt too concentrated on the small surface area). The Wish also is compatible with a smartphone app that allows you to program custom vibrations and use the toy with a long-distance partner.

That said, We-Vibe recently settled a class-action lawsuit over tracking its customers’ sexual activity via its app without their knowledge, and will pay a $4 million settlement. Prior to the lawsuit, two security researchers discovered that the We-Vibe app was totally unsecured and would theoretically allow anyone within Bluetooth range to take control of connected devices. Because of this issue, we recommend being wary of connected sex toys in general, and reading all terms of use very carefully.

We might also look at the Womanizer’s competitor, the Satisfyer, which adopts similar suction technology to create a less expensive toy that may or may not stand up to the Womanizer, depending on who you ask.

The competition

The Magic Wand Original was our top pick for the first version of this guide, and it remains available as an excellent budget alternative to the Magic Wand Rechargeable. It still gets the job done well at a reasonable price.

We also looked at some smaller, battery-operated or rechargeable alternatives to the Magic Wand, including the Lelo Smart Wand, the Mystic Wand, and the Palm Power Massager. None seemed able to replace the Magic Wand in terms of both time-tested power and value, although the Doxy Massager emerged as a close second.

We tried Svakom’s Emma wand as a possible competitor to the Magic Wand. Svakom makes high-quality, rechargeable silicone toys at affordable prices. The company also has some cool technology, such as a vibrator with a built-in camera function (the Siime Eye). Our tester liked the versatility of the Emma (it works great as both a clitoral vibrator and a G-spot toy), as well as the heating function (which helps boost arousal by increasing circulation to the vulva) and the duck-bill-shaped attachment. However, the vibrations could not rival the power of the Magic Wand, and the control panel was a bit confusing and finicky.

Lelo’s Siri 2 was our runner-up in the last update. While the Siri 2 is a fine toy, it’s a bit expensive compared with similar competing vibrators that are more streamlined and less gimmicky. We also tested Lelo’s classic hard-plastic Nea 2, which was plenty powerful for its tiny size but could not compare to the ultraintense vibrations of the We-Vibe Tango.

Jimmyjane’s Form vibrators, particularly the membrane-like Form 3 and bowling-pin-shaped Form 4, had their fans, but overall the Form 2 seemed to be the most popular of the series, and that model was our runner-up pick in the first version of this guide. The Jimmyjane Form 2 is less intuitive and easy to use than other models we tested: While some of our testers loved the Form 2’s dual-prong design, others found it frustrating or confusing.

Reviewers preferred We-Vibe’s Tango, which we included for testing, over the We-Vibe Touch 2.0, although we may consider testing that model for a future update.

The vibrations of Je Joue’s Mimi felt jerky and choppy at the lower speeds and caused the motor to make wheezing noises. This toy works best when you use it at its maximum setting, provided that the maximum setting is not too strong or weak for your personal tastes.

The futuristic-looking Eroscillator offers stimulation through oscillation rather than vibration, but reviews indicate that it can be hit or miss for people, and the price seems a bit too high.

vibrators-dame-eva

Dame’s Eva vibrator.

Dame’s Eva vibrator was appealing in concept as a “hands-free, strap-free, non-intrusive couples’ vibrator.” Unfortunately, neither of our testers found that it stayed in place well: “The only issue with the thing is its strapless design, which means that during PIV [penis-in-vagina intercourse] the thing just falls right off unless you’re flat on your back and trying your best not to move too much. Too much focusing on keeping the toy in place takes attention away from the act itself.” Others found it too weak and “buzzy” to be satisfying.

The Wahl All-Body Massage is a popular budget alternative to the Magic Wand, featuring intense power concentrated in a smaller head, but users report that it breaks more easily.

The CalExotics Silver Bullet was our previous budget pick. We concluded that the slightly pricier but cordless Tokidoki x Lovehoney 7 Function Girl Power Vibrator was more aesthetically pleasing and versatile.

Footnotes:

1. I’m referring to people by their genitalia and not by their gender in this case, at the suggestion of Searah Deysach, owner of toy store Early to Bed and the website FtM Essentials, to make this guide more inclusive to transgender people. Not all people who have penises identify as men, and not all people who have vaginas identify as women. Jump back.

2. We recruited testers on a volunteer basis and did not give them any compensation for their participation other than free sex toys. None of our testers currently have any ties to the sex-toy industry as bloggers or as employees of any sex-toy retailer or manufacturer. Jump back.

Magic Wand Rechargeable

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