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Everything you Need to Know Before Buying a vibrator

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In our most recent vibrator test, we found that 68% of women openly discuss vibrators with their partner and an impressive 77% of participants told their friends that they were taking part. It's clear to see that conversations about masturbation and vibrators are no longer being discussed in whispers and hushed tones.

With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you invest in a vibrator that works best for you. Here, we discuss the different types on the market – G Spot, Cliterol , combination and the best for couples– and look at the key features that will determine your choice.

What is the best kind of vibrator?

On the surface of it, the world of sex toys can feel a little intimidating, especially if you're new to vibrators. But once you’ve got your head around what’s on offer, what each type is for and how to use them, a world of pleasure awaits.

As they can be designed for either internal or external use (or both), your first port of call when choosing a vibrator is to decide how you want to use it. Make your decision based on how to stimulate yourself or what brings you to orgasm when your partner touches you. This will help you find the best vibrator for you.

Does clitoral contact work for you? If so, opt for an external toy. Or do you prefer fingertip touch? If this works for you, then choose a bullet or a vibrator with a tapered tip. If you prefer the broader contact of a couple of fingers try a magic wand or if penetration is what brings you to orgasm, choose a toy designed for internal use.

If you’re not sure, or are stimulated by both clitoral touch and vaginal penetration, then choose a rabbit or combination vibrator that can stimulate both areas at the same time.

Bullet/clitoral vibrators

If clitoral contact works best for you – as it does for 61% of our panel – then opt for a clitoral vibrator. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from discreet bullets that mimic fingertip touch to wider-based magic wands that offer broader contact.

G-spot/vaginal vibrators

Some women achieve orgasm through penetrative sex. For those who do, there a few different types of vibrator available. One option is a classic vaginal vibrator with a curved tip as this offers easier G-spot stimulation. Others are ribbed along the shaft, which allows the raised ridges to pass over the G-spot. Some come in the form of a fully insertable egg, the tip of which sits right on the G-spot.


Combination – or rabbit – vibrators are ideal for women who are stimulated by both clitoral contact and vaginal penetration, achieving what is otherwise known as a blended orgasm. Some combination vibrators look like a G-spot vibrator but have a small vibrating rabbit on top. Others are more abstract. They have a shaft and clitoral stimulator but aren’t as detailed as those with a rabbit. Some are adjustable and can be manoeuvred into place allowing for hands-free fun.


Couple’s vibrators

In our most recent vibrator test, we found that 68% of couples surveyed openly discuss vibrators and sex toys in their relationship. If you’re looking to introduce sex toys to the bedroom to enhance your sex life, there a few options to consider. Couple’s vibrators can come in the form of any of the above designs – vaginal, clitoral, or combination. Some are discreet insertable vibrators. Others are remote- or even app-controlled, offering short and long-range control.

Before purchasing, consider what you and your partner want from a sex toy. If you’re looking for shared pleasure, choose a vibrator with a slim and flexible design – these will easily sit between you both when having sex. If you like the idea of putting your partner in control, opt for a vibrator with a short-range remote control. Or if you’re in a long-distance relationship, app-controlled vibrators are a great option. These can be controlled from anywhere in the world and some even allow you to create customised patterns and speeds.

Key features to consider


Check the dimensions to be sure you’re happy with the size – it may be bigger or smaller than you thought. And make sure you like the way it looks.


Just as vibrators come in a huge range of shapes and sizes, there is a wide choice of materials too.

Silicone: One of the most common materials used is silicone. It feels super-soft and has skin-safe properties. For extra security, many brands use “medical grade silicone”, this is silicone that has been tested for biocompatibility to ensure that the material does not become toxic when exposed to bodily fluids, and as such suitable for use in medical devices. Rest assured though; vibrators made of silicone that don’t say “medical grade” are still body-safe.

Jelly rubber: Soft and slightly pliable, jelly rubber – when used to make vibrator – is designed to mimic the feel of skin. A less expensive alternative to silicone, but if you have a latex allergy, steer clear.

ABS: Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a sturdy, non-porous plastic that is easily moulded then set into shape – LEGO is made from ABS for example. Firm but smooth, ABS is the material to look out for if you prefer harder vibrators.

Avoid anything containing phthalates (chemicals used to increase flexibility) as these chemicals have links to health risks. Look for the ‘phthalate-free’ certification on the box. Silicone, skin-safe rubber and hard plastic products do not contain phthalates. None of the vibrators that we’ve reviewed contain phthalates.

Any product made of TPR, TPE and any ‘realistic feel’ materials need thorough cleaning after use as they are more porous than harder plastics and silicone, which makes them more susceptible to bacterial growth.


Settings, speeds and power

Look at the range of settings and speeds on offer and the way it's powered. Battery-powered vibrators tend to be the cheapest and most popular. Rechargeable toys are more expensive but mean you can avoid the ongoing cost of replacing batteries.

Battery-powered or rechargeable?

These are the two most common ways to power your vibrator and both methods have distinct pros and cons.



  • No need to wait for your vibrator to charge – just pop the correct batteries in and you’re instantly ready to go
  • Easy to travel with – just remove the batteries to avoid it turning on when you don’t want it to
  • Battery-powered vibrators tend to be more discreet


  • The batteries are an added expense
  • Some vibrators require obscure and difficult to find batteries



  • The charge lasts a long time
  • Rechargeable vibrators are often more powerful
  • No need to buy replacement batteries


  • Rechargeable vibrators tend to be more expensive
  • You have to wait for it to charge before you can use it which can be especially annoying if it runs out of battery while using it

Remote controlled and app-enabled vibrators

Some vibrators, particularly those designed for couples, offer different methods of control. Remote control vibrators are exactly what the name suggests; they come with a separate device that offers short-range control. For couples, this allows you to put your partner in control or they are a hands-free option.

App-controlled vibrators are a brilliant option for long-distance couples as they can be controlled from anywhere as long as you have a wi-fi connection. More advanced than remote-controlled vibrators, some app-controlled models have features that allow you to customise your own speeds and patterns.



You may need to use a lubricant. Water-based lubricants are the safest bet for most as they are cheap, safe and generally don’t stain. Be sure to check which lubricants can be used with your toy and never use a silicone lubricant with silicone toys as it can damage the material and ruin your product.

Travel lock

If you plan to travel with your vibrator, knowing that it’s not going to unexpectedly turn on is helpful. Not all vibrators have a travel lock though, so if you’re a frequent flyer or are constantly on the road, this is something to look out for. If you’re shopping in-store, try out the travel lock before buying to ensure you know how to turn it on, and more importantly turn it off.

If you have a battery-operated vibrator, we advise taking the battery out. This is a good way to avoid any embarrassing moments. If you’re travelling with a rechargeable vibrator that doesn’t have a travel lock, we suggest draining the battery completely and recharging when you can.

How loud is it?

If you are concerned about being overheard, look for ‘whisper-quiet’ vibrators, though take this claim with a pinch of salt. Check whether the product description gives the decibel level - anything 40db or below is exceptionally quiet. As a rough guide, the sound of an average whisper is about 30db and average speech volume is about 60db. If you’re browsing vibrators in a shop, make sure you turn it onto the highest speed setting to get a true idea of the volume.


How to clean your vibrator

Safe-sex practices are important whether with a partner or on your own. Ensuring that your toys are clean keeps infections at bay and can improve the life-span of your bedroom-drawer buddy. Thankfully, cleaning your sex toys is very easy.

Wash your toy with unscented, anti-bacterial soap, warm water, and a damp cloth before and after use. Many sex toy sites and shops sell their own specialist anti-bacterial cleaner that can be bought alongside your vibrator. Make sure it is completely dry (air drying is best) before storing it on its own in the box it arrived in. If you no longer have the box, we suggest investing in a silk or satin bag to avoid dust.