The Best Vibrators
After 30 hours of research—including reading hundreds of reviews of 48 bestselling models, interviewing six sexperts including sex researcher Dr. Debby Herbenick, and crowdsourcing opinions from enthusiasts—our panel of six testers tried five clitoral vibrators and picked the Magic Wand ($55) as the one to recommend to most people, despite its intimidating size. This massager-style vibrator is huge, noisy, and looks like “something you’d see in a chiropractor’s office” according to one of our testers, but it offered hands-down the most power of any vibrator we tested at a very reasonable price. Many of our testers described the Magic Wand as their “go-to” vibrator for clitoral stimulation, a toy that was almost always guaranteed to give them an orgasm when others could not.
The toy is durable as well as functional: Vibratex offers a 1-year warranty, but several testers have reported that their Magic Wands have stood up to years of daily use without breaking.
But seasoned sex toy enthusiasts with a little extra cash on their hands might want to splurge on the rechargeable Jimmyjane Form 2 ($150). Created by a pair of industrial designers, this is the creme de la creme of luxury vibrators. The toy’s hefty price tag is justified by dual motorized heads, quiet but powerful vibrations, and a 3-year warranty. This toy probably will not replace the Magic Wand as the go-to vibrator for many people; the vibrations are distributed across two pinpoint tips rather than a broad surface, creating a very different type of sensation that can be hit or miss depending on your personal preference. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile purchase for novelty-seekers who are willing to spend the money to try a luxury toy that actually lives up to the hype.
We also think the California Exotic Novelties Vibrating Silver Bullet ($9) is a great budget option for beginners or those who want a portable spare vibrator to keep around. The toy is small and impressively powerful for an inexpensive battery-operated unit. While it may not pack the same dramatically powerful punch as the Magic Wand, it is much quieter and the smaller size is more convenient for traveling or using with a partner.
Table of contents
- Why you should trust me
- Should I buy a clitoral vibrator?
- How we picked and tested
- Our pick
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- For experienced users
Why you should trust me
I’m a full-time writer and sex educator who has tested more than 100 different sex toys in the past fifteen years. I began blogging about sex toys in 2011 and worked as toy tester and copywriter for retailer The Stockroom for several years.
I received my Master’s of Public Health from Indiana University in 2014, where I assisted research scientist Dr. Debra Herbenick with academic and consumer research related to sex toy use. While at Indiana University, I also worked as a blogger and sex educator at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.
Should I buy a clitoral vibrator?
Sex toys can be a godsend for people who are unable to easily reach orgasm from manual masturbation, oral sex, or penetrative intercourse alone. But buying sex toys can be an intimidating experience for newbies and experienced users alike. Beyond the shyness factor many people experience, high-quality sex toys are often expensive and non-returnable. It can be difficult to determine what toy will work best for you based on reviews, because every person’s sexual response can be so different. Nobody wants to spend $100+ on a toy that turns out to be a dud.
For this reason, we will be going into a great amount of detail about what makes each toy we’ve picked excel according to our panel of testers, and we’ve tried to focus on toys that will work well for most people, including beginners. We’ve also included a budget option for those who are looking to test the waters before diving in.
One of the inevitable limitations of this type of guide is that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of sex toy models available, and the criteria for what makes a sex toy “good” can be highly subjective.
Do not be distressed if you don’t see your favorite toy represented in our picks. We are presenting the items that stood out after considering hundreds of models. There most likely are many other models not addressed in this article that are “also great” for some people, and our pick may not necessarily be the best pick for all people. They are simply the models that most (if not all) of our testers enjoyed the most.
How we picked and tested
First of all, we tried to limit our selections to toys made from high-quality, “body-safe” materials as much as possible. What does body-safe mean? This blog post from The Kinsey Institute’s blog gives a helpful overview, but in a nutshell, body-safe toys are:
- Nonporous: This means they are less likely to trap or absorb bacteria, viruses, or funguses after being properly cleaned.
- Non-toxic: High-quality toys will not off-gas or leach toxic chemicals that can be absorbed by the body’s mucous membranes.
Materials considered to be body-safe include 100 percent silicone (some toys that are billed as a silicone are sometimes made from a blend of silicone and other materials), all types of glass, metals such as stainless steel and aluminum, treated wood, ceramic, and hard non-porous plastics such as ABS, lucite, and acrylic.
We determined our initial selections by reviewing data from retailers including Amazon, Babeland, Good Vibrations, The Pleasure Chest, and Early to Bed. We looked for the toys that were bestsellers and/or top-rated by users. We also reviewed picks from sex toy guides on mainstream websites such as Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Women’s Health, as well as picks from bloggers Epiphora, Mr. Will, Dangerous Lilly, and countless other sex toy bloggers.
We followed up our preliminary research with interviews with the following experts:
- Dr. Debra Herbenick, author, sex educator, and research scientist at Indiana University who wrote Wirecutter’s previous guide to vibrators
- Dr. Emily Nagoski, sex educator, author, and blogger
- Aforementioned sex toy bloggers Epiphora and Mr. Will
- Owners and employees of sex toy shops, including Searah Deysach of Early to Bed, Carlyle Jansen of Good For Her, and Dr. Carol Queen of Good Vibrations.
After compiling our lists of bestselling and recommended toys, we then tallied up the number of times any particular toy showed up in our research. For example, the Original Magic Wand showed up an impressive 11 times in our background research, while many others received only one or two mentions.
We narrowed our lists down to five of the most popular toys that met our criteria (which will be further discussed in the following sections). We tried to balance our picks across a variety of manufacturers, price points, and features.
In our background research, we found that preferences varied from person to person as far as specific toys but criteria for purchasing a toy were pretty consistent. We asked our experts, testers, and a sample of general sex toy users what their criteria for the “perfect” clitoral vibrator would be. The factors that mattered the most were:
- The vibrator must offer sufficiently powerful stimulation to induce an orgasm. One tester listed her top three criteria as “strong vibrations, strong vibrations, strong vibrations!”
- The vibrator should have multiple or variable speeds.
- The toy should be made of a high-quality, easy-to-clean, non-porous material like silicone or ABS plastic.
- The toy should have a long battery life, whether it is battery-operated or rechargeable.
- It should be user-friendly with intuitive functions.
Features that were viewed as “added bonuses” were rechargeability, versatility, durability, size (most of my sample, though not all, preferred smaller toys), affordability, waterproof, ease of cleaning, and warranty options. Many users reported that they desired an aesthetically pleasing toy that has multiple color options (not everyone likes pink or purple!). Features that were considered overrated included multiple vibration patterns, fancy packaging, gimmicky features (such as remote control toys), and charging systems that didn’t work well.
Dealbreakers included poor-quality materials, toys with short battery life, toys that break easily, toys that aren’t powerful enough, and toys that are awkward, inconvenient, or painful to use.
Our clitoral toy testers consisted of six people with vaginas, ranging in age from early twenties to mid thirties1. Our panel included a mix of people who identify as queer, heterosexual, and bisexual. All of our testers had used vibrators in the past and were reliably able to achieve orgasm through vibrator use, though some were more experienced than others. Our testers generally reported that they either preferred a toy with strong vibrations or a variable-speed toy that would allow them to dial the stimulation up or down depending on their mood2.
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. After using the toys, our testers filled out surveys that measured how well each toy fulfilled the criteria outlined above, with space to add their own comments as desired. We also asked them to give each toy a score from one (hate it) to 10 (love it) and rank the five toys in order of preference. After entering and analyzing our participant’s data, our picks were based on two averages: the average score each tester gave a particular toy on a scale of one to 10 and the overall average score each the toy received based on all criteria included in the survey.
We also conducted several criteria tests independently of the testing panels:
- We tested all of the the silicone toys for interactions with silicone lubricant by rubbing überlube brand silicone lubricant on a test patch of each silicone toy for 1 minute (to simulate friction) and leaving the toys to sit for 1 hour. (More about this in the Care and maintenance section.)
- We tested all of the the vibrating toys for battery life and overheating by fully charging them (or inserting fresh batteries), then allowing them to run at full strength for 45 minutes (assuming the average user will most likely not use a toy longer than this in any given session). We checked the toys every 15 minutes for overheating or diminished vibrations.
- We tested the function of waterproof vibrators by submerging them in warm water to check for malfunction. (Note: A vibrator should never be submerged in water unless it is specifically advertised as a waterproof toy. “Splashproof” toys can tolerate external exposure to liquid but should not be submerged.)
- We performed an additional battery life test on the rechargeable toys to see if their battery lifespan on a full charge matched what the manufacturers claimed. For example, the We-Vibe Tango is reported to have a 2-hour lifespan on a single charge. Instead of running each toy continuously for hours on end (and risking burning out the motors), we decided to test the battery life in a way that more accurately reflected actual usage. We allowed all of the toys to run at full speed for thirty minutes and then turned them off for a minimum of one hour to allow the motor to cool and reset. We then turned them on at full strength for another 30 minutes, allowed them them to rest, and repeated this cycle until the toy stopped vibrating completely.
Unsurprisingly, strong vibrations turned out to be the criterion that trumped all others. The ultra-powerful Magic Wand ($55) emerged as the toy most beloved by our testers. Achieving orgasm is the end goal for most vibrator users, and virtually all of our testers reported that the Magic Wand was the only toy we tested that was able to consistently bring them to an intense climax quickly, intuitively, effectively, and predictably. 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 inability to reach orgasm.
The Magic Wand’s best features boil down to several factors: power, price, ease of use, durability, and versatility.
The Magic Wand’s strong vibrations may be attributed to the fact that it plugs into an AC wall socket and receives a direct current of electricity. There’s no need to replace batteries or recharge the toy before use and no concerns that the toy will lose power with prolonged use. Sexpert Susie Bright called the Hitachi Magic Wand a “miracle” in an essay because its power enabled users to have an orgasm within sixty seconds.
Our testers seemed to agree, with comments like, “It always makes me orgasm. Never a let-down,” and, “Makes me climax every time.”
The low price is another big selling point for the Magic Wand. At $55, this toy can easily fit into most people’s budget. The Magic Wand occupies a sweet spot between battery-operated toys, which are generally priced under $30, and luxury vibrators, which tend to be priced upwards of $60 (and as much as $15,000 for a gold-plated model).
The Magic Wand is very intuitive and easy to use compared to luxury models that feature complicated chargers and console panels. You simply plug it into the wall and flick the switch up or down to select the high or low setting. Testers reported that its long handle makes it easy to hold for long periods of time, and that the switch was placed high enough on the handle that users were unlikely to accidentally switch it off during use (which was an issue with some of the smaller rechargeable models).
Vibratex offers a 1-year warranty for the Magic Wand, but many of our testers report that this toy can stand up to daily use over the course of many years, unlike budget models like the Silver Bullet that tend to burn out after a few months of consistent use. One tester reported that she bought her (Hitachi-branded) Magic Wand in 2011, and it’s still running strong almost 4 years later. Time will tell if users experience any quality control issues with the new generation of Magic Wands released by Vibratex in 2013.3
Another great aspect of this toy is versatility: It can be used to stimulate penises and nipples as well as vulvas, and it can be converted into a vibrating insertable G-spot or P-spot stimulator or penile masturbation sleeve by purchasing one of many special attachments designed to fit over the head. It’s also great as a whole body massager, and users 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.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The primary complaints we received from our testers about the Magic Wand were related to its large size (12 inches long, with a 3-inch-wide head), which can make it difficult to use in certain positions during partnered intercourse. Others found the 6-foot cord to be cumbersome, or not long enough if there wasn’t an outlet nearby, but this problem can easily be remedied with an extension cord. That said, this is likely to be a toy that most average people use in the comfort of their homes—if you want a more portable one for travel, check out some of our alternate picks.
Some testers complained that they disliked the texture of the vibrator’s white vinyl head. While it’s made of vinyl, it is slightly textured, which one tester found unpleasant: “The texture of the head skeeves me out and ‘catches’ against my skin. The bumps and materials of the head are a weird texture to me.” The head also has tendency to become discolored with regular use (see photo below).
Unlike some of the other toys we tested, the Magic Wand is not waterproof, which makes it a bit more difficult to clean, as it cannot be submerged. However, it is possible to buy inexpensive replacement head caps if the toy becomes discolored with time. Vixen Creations and Good Vibrations also offer non-porous silicone caps designed to fit on the Magic Wand’s head.
Another possible drawback related to the toy’s head is that vinyl is created using chemical plasticizers called phthalates, which have been a source of concern in the sex toy reviewer community. Sex toys are still not well-researched by scientists (beyond this study by the Danish version of the EPA) or regulated by any consumer safety agencies.
The Danish study found that the plasticizer content of toys made from vinyl may be as low as 0.7 percent or as high as 70 percent. Regardless, they determined that in most cases, “normal use” (about 15 minutes once a week) was not a cause of concern, and that “maximum use” (an hour a day) was only a minor cause of concern in women that were pregnant or breastfeeding.
In summary: It’s probably safe to use the Magic Wand on your clitoris, but you can cover the head with a latex or polyurethane condom or replace it with a silicone cap if you are concerned about phthalates.
The Magic Wand also had a tendency to heat up with prolonged use during our motor test. We found that the toy already began to feel warm after only 15 minutes of use at maximum speed. However, most testers found that it’s fine to use the toy for 30-45 minutes without the toy shutting down, smelling funny, or having any other issues that would indicate a malfunctioning motor.
The Original Magic Wand is also hands-down the noisiest of all the toys we tested. The motor produces a loud humming noise that can be heard through a closed door. This can be a definite drawback if you live with roommates or family. However one tester reported that she found it the noise to be pleasant: “The sound did not bother me as I was masturbating. In fact, it helped to drown out other sounds and help me focus a little more, since I couldn’t hear little things like people walking outside my apartment, the cat meowing, etc.” During my interview with Debra Herbenick, she mentioned research that reflected these findings—not all people find a noisy toy to be distracting or unpleasant.
One surprising issue is that the strength of vibrations—the very factor that draws many people to the Magic Wand in the first place—may be too strong for people with sensitive clitorises. Unlike the other vibrators we tested, the Magic Wand only has two settings: strong and ridiculously strong. One tester reported that the toy felt too strong when applied directly to her genitals, but was able to enjoy it if she used it through her pants, or a blanket. Another tester found that the toy felt great right until the moment of orgasm, when it abruptly became painfully intense. There seem to be two effective workarounds for this: Use the toy through a blanket or towel, as the first tester did, or connect the toy to a dimmer switch, which will allow you to dial the intensity up or down as you please. Sex therapist Eric Albert has posted a handy guide to various adapters you can use to this effect.
And of course, there is the issue of aesthetics. A beautiful, elegant toy this is not, but it gets the job done. Testers described it as looking like “industrial grade massager/microphone,” “medicinal and as if it would be more in place at a chiropractic office,” and “a ‘function over form’ toy.” One tester probably 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.”
For experienced users
While the Magic Wand is our top pick for a general audience, Jimmyjane’s Form 2 ($150) is an excellent alternative for more experienced sex toy users who aren’t limited by budgetary concerns. It got great scores from our testers across a variety of criteria and stands out as a unique vibrator that offers not one, but two motorized heads for “stereo” stimulation, offering a more complex sensation than any other model we tested.
Unlike the Magic Wand, the Form 2 is cordless, rechargeable, waterproof (making it much easier to clean), and quiet, with a discreet and portable small size. The major drawbacks of this toy are the hefty $150 price tag (almost three times the cost of the Magic Wand) and the learning curve for using this toy. Unlike the Magic Wand, the sensations, while powerful, are much more concentrated on a smaller surface area, and unlike “bullet” type models, the stimulation is distributed across multiple contact points.
Users who want a predictable, “old reliable” go-to vibrator may find this toy overly fussy, but sex toy junkies who crave novelty and variety will love experimenting with it. It’s a bit less intuitive to use than our other top picks, but most testers found they loved it after getting the hang of it.
The Form 2 was created by a pair of industrial designers, and it shows. This toy scored 100 percent on aesthetics and quality criteria with our testers. Its silky, waterproof silicone body is tiny and cute (3.2 by 1.9 inches), available in pink or black, and reminiscent of Jeff Koons’ rabbit sculpture.
Users found the push button system itself to be intuitive: It features a “plus” button to increase power, a “minus” to decrease, and a third “mode” button that cycles through three additional pulsating vibration patterns (these were hit or miss with our testers—about half preferred the traditional buzz setting).
The toy can also be “locked” for travel by pressing the plus and mode buttons simultaneously. Some users complained that the buttons were too easy to accidentally press during use, though, which tends to be a issue with many of the smaller toys, not just the Form 2.
The toy features two vibrating prongs (“rabbit ears”) powered by separate motors. The vibrations produced by this toy are exceptionally strong for a small, rechargeable vibrator. These prongs are designed to fit between the outer labia and clitoris, but the tips can be positioned in a variety of ways to offer pinpointed stimulation to the clitoris and vulva.
Unfortunately, this innovative design was this toy’s downfall for some our testers. Because the shape is so different from other toys, it has a bit of a learning curve to figure out exactly how to best use it, a factor that might actually appeal to novelty-seeking sex-toy collectors.
Once our testers got the hang of it, the unique shape seemed to go over well, but it required a bit more adjustment than a single-headed vibrator. Some testers liked the way the prong surrounded the clitoris and vulva, other prefered to rotate the points of the tips around the clitoris, another user preferred to press the flat part of the toy against her vulva using her palm. Although this toy is small enough to be used during intercourse, several testers expressed that they prefer to use it solo simply because it does require a bit more fine-tuning to achieve the desired result.
The Form 2 recharges using a proprietary charger that plugs into AC outlet, and it can be a bit finicky—you have to make sure it’s seated correctly in the port so that the toy lights up to indicate that it’s charging. Once charged, the toy is supposed to provide up to 4 hours of use. We ran the toy at maximum strength for 45 minutes and did not observe any significant decrease in power. However, we did find that it ran out of juice after four 30-minute sessions of running the toy at full power with breaks between (2 hours total). It may be that the battery lasts longer if the toy is used in shorter increments or at lower power levels.
The Form 2 is an expensive toy, but it is extremely well designed, and the 3-year warranty offers protection against technical mishaps. Think of it this way: If the Magic Wand is a six-pack of your favorite inexpensive beer that you drink every week, the Form 2 is more like that rare and expensive scotch you love to savor on special occasions. Jimmyjane prides itself on being an upscale luxury brand: They also offer a $3,500 diamond-encrusted vibrator in their lineup.
The budget pick
California Exotic Novelties’ Silver Bullet ($9) was Debra Herbenick’s top pick in our previous vibrator guide at The Wirecutter. It emerged as our budget pick this time around, and it’s a steal at its price. It offers surprisingly powerful variable speed vibrations for a small, battery-operated toy, and it’s relatively quiet. After inserting two fresh AA batteries, we were able to run this toy at maximum power for 30 minutes without its losing steam, though it did heat up a bit.
It’s inexpensive, powerful, and reliable, making it a great entry-level vibrator. It’s small enough to be portable for travel: Simply remove the batteries before packing it (this also helps prevent wear on the motor when not in use). It’s also great for use during partnered intercourse since it’s small enough to slip between bodies.
The main drawback of this toy is the corded battery pack, which felt cumbersome and annoying to some testers. A user for whom this toy was her go-to for more than a decade complained that they have a tendency to wear out and break after a few months of daily use. In the long run it might be more cost-effective (and eco-friendly) to buy a rechargeable model with a good warranty if you use your vibrator on a daily basis, but this one works well as backup or travel vibrator.
A better bullet
The We-Vibe brand is best known for their C-shaped vibrators that offer simultaneous clitoral and G-spot stimulation during intercourse. However, the We-Vibe Touch and Tango vibrators have also gained cult followings amongst sex toy fans. The We-Vibe Tango ($80) was recommended to us by several experts, including Debra Herbenick and Mr. Will of blog Mr. Will’s House of Thrills.
The Tango can almost be described as a hybrid between the Magic Wand and he Silver Bullet, rolled into a small, rechargeable package.
The We-Vibe Tango offers ultra-powerful vibrations that rival the lower setting on the Magic Wand, but the stimulation is intensely concentrated over a small surface area. For this reason, 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 scored both twos and tens. Users were divided over the extremely concentrated, pinpointed vibrations this toy offers—some loved having the power of the Magic Wand rolled into a tiny package, while others found the strong vibrations jarring in this form.
This hard plastic lipstick-shaped vibrator is completely waterproof and can be charged using a magnetic USB cable. We found that the toy became slightly warm with prolonged use, but could sustain its power at full strength for 45 minutes, and survived four 30-minute sessions (with breaks between) at full power (approx. 2 hours) before it stopped vibrating.
The Tango was one of the most intuitive vibrators we tried: There’s one simple button on the base that, when pressed will take the user through four strengths of regular vibrations, followed by a pulse, wave, cha-cha (yes, really), and 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 the pattern modes as with the Form 2.
Several users who normally aren’t big fans of vibration patterns said this toy was the exception to the rule—the pinpointed ultra-strong vibrations felt a bit more diffuse and pleasant when broken into patterns, and the cha-cha and tease patterns were likable, unusual offerings.
The testers who gave the Tango high scores said they loved the size, shape, and powerful vibrations this toy offers. Fans said this toy works especially well as toy for clitoral stimulation during intercourse because of its small, narrow size and smooth, sleek shape. It’s a good step up from the traditional silver bullet vibrator and can be used for many of the same applications. At $80, it’s a good value for a high-end toy: It offers many of the same amenities as the Form 2 at almost half the price.
Interestingly enough, the testers who didn’t love this toy reported both that this toy felt either too strong OR too weak. In both cases this may be related to the very small surface area of the toy’s tip. It may be that the Tango does not offer diffuse enough stimulation for those accustomed to the Magic Wand’s large, soft head. Several testers reported that the vibrations felt too concentrated and intense even at lower settings, and the small, hard toy had a tendency to make their hands feel numb with prolonged use. Other minor complaints were related to the pointy shape of the toy and issues with the smooth plastic material becoming slippery and difficult to grip when used with lubricant.
Je Joue’s Mimi ($90) is a quality luxury vibrator under $100 with a variety of perks. It’s rechargeable, waterproof, and easy to clean; it offers multiple levels of vibration and vibration patterns; it’s quiet; it’s crafted from silky, lint-free silicone; and it arrives with a storage pouch and a satin blindfold (for reasons unknown, but it’s a nice little extra). It had the longest battery life of any of the rechargeable clitoral vibrators we tried, lasting for more than 3 hours. Our testers loved the soft silicone and squishy tip, but there were a few flaws that prevented this toy from being a top pick.
The primary complaint from multiple testers was that the vibrations felt jerky and choppy at the lower speeds, a phenomenon exacerbated by wheezing noises from the motor. The noise subsided and the vibrations became smooth at the highest setting, but one tester who prefers milder vibrations remarked that the noises had a negative psychological effect on her experience: “It felt like it was going to die on me despite having been fully charged.” Several testers also found the toy was a bit too large or wide to be ideal for clitoral stimulation. Another tester was annoyed that the buttons required firm pressure to activate (though this could be an advantage for those who worry about accidentally pressing buttons during play). Our tester who designated “strong vibrations, strong vibrations, strong vibrations” as her top criteria for toy selection complained that the highest level still didn’t feel strong enough for her, but she had this issue with all of the rechargeable toys we tested. We found that this toy works pretty great when used at its maximum setting, provided that the maximum setting is not too strong or weak for your personal tastes.
We considered several Lelo models in our research, including the Nea ($90), Lily ($130), and Siri ($100). Two of our testers love the Nea in particular for its beauty and portable small size, but the reviews we read indicated the vibration levels were not powerful enough for many people. Nevertheless, these are lovely luxury toys for individuals who don’t require super-intense stimulation, and the Nea and Lily are the perfect size and shape to be used for clitoral stimulation during intercourse.
We considered the Pocket Rocket ($18) as a budget alternative to the Silver Bullet. However, the Silver Bullet’s smooth curved shape seems to be better for clitoral stimulation than the Rocket’s flat, studded head and offers stronger, more variable stimulation. (The Pocket Rocket does have the advantage of being cordless and needing only one battery, however.)
We also looked at some smaller, battery-operated, or rechargeable alternatives to the Magic Wand, including the Lelo Smart Wands ($130-$190), the Mystic Wand ($60), the Doxy Massager ($140), and the Palm Power Massager ($85). Many of these toys had great selling points and reviews, but none seemed to really be able to replace the Magic Wand in terms of both time-tested power and value.
The Wahl Massager ($30) is another popular budget alternative to the Magic Wand, featuring intense power concentrated in a smaller head, but it’s reported to break more easily, making it a less appealing choice.
Fun Factory’s Layaspot vibrator ($50) is a smaller vibrator with a similar price point to the Magic Wand. It is reasonably quiet and features a fun, elegant design and variable speeds and patterns. However, not all reviewers found the toy to be powerful enough, and $50 can seem a bit pricy for a battery-operated toy when there are decent rechargeable models available for as little as $60.
We considered the We-Vibe Touch 2.0 ($100) as a competitor to the Je Joue Mimi, but decided to go with the Je Joue model. This seems to be a good model for those seeking a small, powerful, rechargeable clitoral vibrator, but we found that most reviewers preferred We-Vibe’s Tango model, which we included for testing.
Epiphora recommended the futuristic-looking Eroscillator ($140-$470) as an option that offers stimulation through oscillation rather than vibration, but reviews indicated that it’s a product that can be hit or miss for people, and the price point seemed a bit too high to warrant inclusion.
How to use clitoral toys
Research has shown that 75 percent of women surveyed require direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. Intercourse, manual stimulation, or oral sex may not provide enough stimulation for some women to get over the edge. Some women may only be able to reach orgasm while using a vibrator, and there is nothing abnormal about this. Vibrators can be used for solo masturbation or can easily be incorporated into sexual play with a partner.
Everyone has different ways that they like to use clitoral vibrators. Some people may enjoy pressing a toy directly against their clitoris, while others may enjoy indirect stimulation through pressing a vibrator against the clitoral hood or mons (the fleshy mound above the vulva). Clitoral vibrators can also be used to stimulate the inner and outer labia and vaginal opening as desired. If you are new to vibrators, it can be helpful to experiment to see which ways work best for you. It is a good idea to try a vibrator a few times before dismissing it, as your body will need time to adapt to new forms of stimulation. Experiment with different settings and power levels to find out what works before you. You can find some detailed guides on how to use a vibrator here, here, and here.
Vibrators work great for inducing clitoral orgasms because they offer intense stimulation that penetrates more deeply than the surface level of the skin. While the external portion of the clitoris (known as the glans) is quite small, the internal legs (crura) and bulbs (corpus cavernosum) of the clitoris are much larger. (This helps to explain why many people with vaginas report pleasure from internal vaginal stimulation as well as external stimulation of the clitoral glans.) This blog post offers a lot of insight to the workings of the internal clitoris. A powerful vibrator like the Magic Wand or Form 2 has the power to reach nerve endings that are more deeply situated within the vulvovaginal structure. This may facilitate an orgasm for people who find that surface-level stimulation isn’t intense enough to bring them over the edge.
Some people are concerned that vibrator use will cause nerve damage, make the clitoris become numb, or permanently desensitize their clitorises to gentler forms of stimulation. This is simply not true. The reality is that some people will always struggle to reach orgasm with milder forms of stimulation, regardless of whether they use a vibrator or not. Your body will generally adapt to the type of stimulation you use most frequently to bring yourself to orgasm, so if you’re used to using the Magic Wand on the “high” setting, it’s not surprising that a milder stimulation feels, well, milder.
While one of our testers expressed concern the she might be becoming desensitized by the strong vibrations of the Magic Wand, another regular Magic Wand user said that her ability to climax was much more dependent on her level of arousal than the strength of the stimulation itself. Part of the appeal of the Magic Wand is it’s so strong that you can “skip the foreplay” and get straight to the orgasm, but when arousal levels are already high it might actually provide too much intense stimulation. If you are worried about desensitization, you can always “reset” your stimulus response by switching to a less intense setting on your toy or taking a break from vibrators entirely if you wish to focus on climaxing from other types of stimulation.
Care and maintenance
Keeping sex toys clean is extremely important for preventing bacterial and yeast infections, especially if you are sharing your toys with partners. We recommend that you cover your toys with a condom when sharing them with partners, especially if it’s someone you are not fluid bonded with (you typically use barriers for other types of sexual activities). This is twice as important for toys made made from porous materials like TPR (thermoplastic rubber) and TPE (thermoplastic elastomer).
If you wish to use a toy with a condom, make sure that the condom covers the entire surface that comes in contact with your genitals. You can easily cover the entire head of larger vibrators like the Magic Wand or use a condom to completely cover a smaller toy like the Form 2. The condom should be thin enough that you should be able 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 it is not sanitary and may cause the condom to be more prone to breakage.
Waterproof toys made from non-porous materials like silicone and stainless steel can be washed with soap and warm water. Non-waterproof toys can be carefully wiped clean with a solution of soap and warm water. Spray-on toy cleanser can be useful for toys that cannot be submerged. Tool Shed Toys offers a great in-depth guide for how to care for a variety of toy materials here, as does Dangerous Lilly.
It is generally not necessary to disinfect toys that are only used by one person or covered with condoms, but there are several techniques that work well if desired. Some non-porous, non-motorized toys can be put in the dishwasher without soap to be steam sanitized. Alternately, you can boil most non-motorized, non-porous toys in hot water. Waterproof toys of all stripes can be soaked in 10 percent bleach solution for 10 minutes to disinfect and thoroughly washed with soap and water afterwards.
We recommend that toys be stored in boxes or pouches to remain dust-free and in a cool, dark place where they will not be exposed to direct sunlight. Many high-end manufacturers include free cloth pouches or attractive storage boxes with the purchase of a toy.
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 not safe for use with condoms, they can also interact badly with toys made from soft plastic or rubber, causing them to disintegrate or leach chemicals. Silicone lubricants are great for anal play, but unfortunately they do interact negatively with silicone toys.
Several prominent sex educators have recently made claims that the interactions between silicone lube and toys were overstated, so we decided to conduct our own test. The toys we tested included the JimmyJane Form 2 and Je Joue Mimi that we tested for this article plus seven other silicone toys. We applied about a quarter-sized amount of überlube silicone lubricant to a patch toward the bases of the toys, rubbed it into the surface of the toy for 1 minute to simulate friction, then left the toys to sit for an hour.
Following this experiment, we discovered that every single toy had been affected by the lube. In the best instances, the patch exposed to lube appeared to be slightly raised; in the worst cases, the lube completely removed the finish from the toy, causing it to become gummy, sticky, and blistered. In the interest of scientific validity, the staff at Early to Bed replicated our test and found similar results.
In some cases the stickiness can be scrubbed off, but we do not recommend that silicone lubricants be used with silicone toys because we don’t really know how these lubricants will affect the porosity and integrity of these toys over time.
Many high-end toy companies offer limited warranties or guarantees in the case that your toy breaks within a certain amount of time (typically 1-3 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. It’s generally a good idea to file away any and all documentation of your purchase in a safe place in case you need to redeem the warranty. We asked manufacturers of our picks for links to licensed retailers; we included either their suggested link when we received a response or a link to Early to Bed, a respected shop based in Chicago, IL.
Wrapping it up
There will never be one perfect vibrator that works flawlessly for all people. However, the Magic Wand is a toy that has achieved cult status for a very good reason: It’s powerful, affordable, and works great for many people. We also found that drawbacks of this toy (such as the vinyl head and lack of variable speeds) can be easily remedied with accessories or simple hacks. The Magic Wand stood out in a sea of toys as a durable workhorse of a vibrator that reliably helped our testers achieve intense clitoral orgasms time after time.
Author, sex educator, and research scientist at Indiana University, Interview,
Science Editor for The Sweethome, Interview,
Owner of Early To Bed sex toy shop, Interview,
Sex educator and owner of Good for Her sex toy shop, Interview,
Sex educator, author, and blogger, Interview,
Sex toy blogger, Interview,
Sex toy blogger, Interview,
Writer, speaker, educator and activist with a doctorate in sexology, worker/owner at Good Vibrations sex toy shop, Interview,
Originally published: February 5, 2015