How to choose a vibrator

How To Choose A Vibrator

Rose MacDowell

Interested in a vibrator but don’t know where to start? Does browsing through options leave your head spinning? Well, help has arrived! I’m here to cut through the confusion and show you exactly how to pick a vibrator that’s perfect for your unique needs! From basics like size and material to a full breakdown of toys by type, your essential vibe guide has arrived.   

What is a Vibrator, Anyway? 

A vibrator is an electronic device that uses tiny weights or coils to generate a rumbly or buzzy sensation. When used on the clitoris, penis, or other sexual organs, a vibrator stimulates the nerves and increases blood flow, leading to a feeling of pleasure and often to orgasm. Mechanics aside, vibrators just feel really good to most of us! 

Vibrators can help us explore our sexual responses and become more comfortable with our bodies (and pleasure in general!). For some of us, vibrators are the only way we can have an orgasm, making them a key part of our sexual satisfaction.    

First Things First: How Do You Use A Vibrator? 

Now that you know what a vibrator is and how it works, ask yourself this question: What do you want to use your vibrator for? Yes, you want to explore your body and enjoy as many mind-blowing orgasms as possible, but let’s delve a little deeper. 

  • Where on your body do you plan to use your vibrator? Clitoris, prostate, penis, nipples? Vibrators can be used all over the body, inside and out!
  • Will you be using or sharing your toy with a partner? Some are designed purely for partnered play, others strictly for solo sessions, and many are designed for both! 
  • Would you like a vibrator that can adapt to your mood and stimulate you in more than one place, or do your solo sessions focus on one part of your body? 

Before plunging into the exciting (and sometimes confusing) world of vibrators, take a little time to explore what feels good for you. Knowing your body and what you enjoy can help you choose the right toy, and cut down on purchases that bring more frustration than joy. 

How do you usually masturbate? Where do you touch yourself, and how? Some of us are good with old-fashioned finger-to-clitoris or palm-to-penis stimulation, while others crave penetration or other erotic sensations. Also, notice the length of your solo play sessions. Do you prefer to take your time, or is getting off quickly more your thing?  

Once you have a better sense of how your body responds, let’s look at some vibrator basics. Finding the right toy may seem like a tall order, but there’s an almost infinite variety of options for all bodies and sexual styles. No matter how you like your pleasure, there’s a vibe for that.  

Air pressure vibrators

Function

How It Vibes 

Vibrators can function in several different ways, and each has its own unique feel and benefits. Some are designed for targeted stimulation, meaning the vibration is focused in one particular part of the toy. Others vibrate in two or more sections of the device, while others vibrate all over. Some aren’t even technically vibrators, but create stimulation with pulses of air or sonic waves.   

When you start browsing for a vibrator, check out how each toy delivers stimulation. If you enjoy tightly focused sensation on your clitoris when masturbating, a toy designed for more targeted vibes may be a great fit. A toy with a larger vibe surface might be better if you like vaginal stimulation, or if you prefer sensation spread over a wider part of your body.

If you’re interested in a toy that can stimulate you in more than one place, your ideal vibrator will target multiple areas at once. Look for a toy that can stimulate the G-spot, clitoris, and even the anal region at the same time, or a non-binary, lay-on toy crafted to envelop two (or more) sensitive spots at once.   

Rumbly Vs. Buzzy  

Each vibrator has its own type of vibration, typically described as either rumbly or buzzy. Each type has passionate fans (count me in for rumbly!), and some vibe users like both. So what’s the difference? It’s all about the frequency! No, not the number of times you use your vibrator, but low frequency vs. high.

Toys that deliver a low-frequency vibration feel more rumbly, which can be described as a deep, rolling type of sensation. Rumbly vibrations can travel farther without losing energy. What does that mean when it comes to vibrators? Simply this: the low frequency of a rumbly vibe will stimulate deeper nerve endings and tissues, and may be better at pleasuring the clitoral network and prostate. Rumbly vibrators tend to have a lower-pitched sound, too. 

Okay, so what’s great about buzzy vibes? Well, they deliver a lot of surface power, which can be perfect if you like strong and direct stimulation. This can be especially pleasurable on the clitoris, nipples, or other smaller areas that respond to pinpoint stimulation. 

Because buzzy vibrations are more superficial and deliver focused stimulation to fewer nerve endings, they can lead to a feeling of numbness. Using this kind of toy for less time say, a few minutes at the end of a play session can help you avoid numbness and enjoy the intensity a buzzy vibe has to offer.

Penis Owners, Take Note

If you have a penis, note how the vibrating sleeves and masturbators function. Are they designed to stimulate one part of the penis, the entire shaft, or the penis and perineum? Do they deliver vibes to areas you usually stimulate, and if not, do they offer a sensation you’d like to explore? 

Vibrating penis toys range from low-profile cock rings to complex blow-job devices with multiple speed and sensation settings. Are you looking for a simple ring to jazz up play with a partner, or a good-as-the-real-thing masturbator that offers epic stimulation? Before pulling the trigger, be sure to check out each toy’s stats, including the description of how it feels and which areas it targets.  

Browse penis vibrators     

 Wand vibrator

How It Operates 

Just as important as vibe function is operation. If you’re tech-savvy and unintimidated by lots of bells, whistles, and phone apps, you’ll have your pick of multi-function toys to choose from. Some of us (okay, me!) prefer a toy that can be operated by pure instinct while half-conscious. If this describes you, too, don’t worry  there are plenty of vibrators that are almost effortless to operate, including some of the most popular vibes on the market!

When you’re on the hunt for a vibrator, think of how you deal with other electronics (vibes are electronic devices, after all!). If you’re the kind of person who always hands your partner the remote, a vibrator with a few simple controls may be right up your alley. Think an on/off button, a plus and minus sign to increase the intensity, and maybe one more button to switch up the pattern. Sounds just about right for many of us! When reading descriptions of vibrators, look for words like “effortless,” “easy to use,” and “intuitive controls.” 

If you have issues with hand or wrist mobility, look for a vibrator with simpler or larger buttons that are easier to maneuver. Some vibrators come with a switch or remote that can be operated with minimal movement. 

Vibes operated by phone apps can be helpful if your movement is restricted or painful. Finger vibes that loop around your fingers or affix to your hand are also great options, as are lay-on or grind vibes that don’t need to be held at all! 

Browse easy-to-operate vibes!

Speaking of phone apps, maybe you’re more a “control my partner’s vibe with my phone from this yurt across the world” kind of person. In that case, you’ll be right at home with Bluetooth enabled vibrators that allow you to connect with partners, and even people you’ve never met, from a distance of 30 feet or 3,000 miles. And even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, the majority of these toys are easy to understand and operate.

App-enabled or remote control toys offer lots of features, including multiple settings and communication options. Cam folks often use app-enabled vibrators with clients, who can operate them from wherever they are for a fee. No wonder they’re some of the most popular vibrators we carry here at Delicto!          

Check out our app-enabled and remote-controlled vibes 

Size

When it comes to vibrators, size matters! Bigger isn’t necessarily better, but size is an important consideration when you’re purchasing a vibe.

Have Vibe, Will Travel. Or Not. 

Again, when shopping for your new toy, take into account how you’ll use it. Do you need a travel-sized vibe to take along on trips or overnight visits? Will your toy spend most of its time in your nightstand drawer? A vibrator you plan to use at home can be significantly larger and heavier than one that needs to be portable. 

Browse travel-sized vibrators!

About Yay Big

Whether your toy will be a travel companion or bedroom dweller, you’ll want something comfortable to maneuver. When browsing vibrators, consider your hand size, mobility, and strength. A weighty power wand may be perfect for someone who can wield a heavier toy, while a bullet vibe or lighter option might be the right choice if you’re smaller or less mobile. 

Size is also important when it comes to the unique dimensions of your body. A larger body may need a larger toy to feel satisfied, while a smaller body may be better suited to a petite toy. Depending on your anatomy and arm length, you might prefer something with a longer reach, or a lower-profile vibe that feels like an extension of you. 

When sizing up a vibe, consider how you’ve responded to partners and solo play sessions in the past. Are you a size queen or king who leans toward longer, girthier toys? Does a slim, just-right vibe sound perfect for you? Check out each toy’s weight and dimensions as you browse to see if it’s a good fit for you. 

Pro tip: Toy dimensions are usually described in length, width, circumference, and diameter. Width and diameter both refer to the dimension straight across a circular toy, while circumference refers to the distance all the way around a circular toy

Rabbit vibrator

Material

Now that we’ve discussed size, let’s talk material. 

Each type of vibe material has a feel all its own, and varies in terms of durability. The majority of vibrators are made from silicone, ABS plastic, or aluminum. Some are also made from a type of food-grade nylon. Other toys are made from potentially toxic materials like PVC or jelly rubber (never fear, we don’t sell those here!). What’s the difference between this, that, and the other thing, and how can you tell which is right for you?

Safety First

Let’s start by ruling out toxic materials. Most lower-priced toys are made from some combination of vinyl or other plastics that are dangerous for you and the environment. These toys are porous, allowing them to harbor bacteria and viruses that can cause UTIs, STDs, or systemic infections. They’re also made with BPAs and phthalates, dangerous chemicals that can potentially cause cancer or harm children. We heartily recommend that you steer clear of them, no matter how tempting their price tag! 

When shopping for a high-quality vibrator made from safe materials, look for a few key phrases. Number one? Body-safe. Body-safe silicones, plastics, and metals won’t degrade when warmed by the body and are easy to clean and sterilize. They are made without phthalates or other toxic substances, and can last for years with proper care. 

Body-safe vibrators won’t pick up smells or harbor bacteria the way poor-quality toys can, and offer much more bang for your buck over time. How do these vibe materials feel, and what are the benefits of each? Let’s check them out.   

Silicone

Body-safe silicone is by far the most popular material used in high-quality vibrators. It’s durable, comes in a spectacular array of colors, and is silky-smooth to the touch. Silicone is also easy to clean and is ideal for all types of vibes, from anal toys to rabbits to suction and air pressure toys. Though smooth and soft on the skin, silicone may be ridged or textured for extra stimulation.  

ABS Plastic

ABS plastic is technically known as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. ABS is a component of many silicone sex toys, and is often used for operating buttons or parts of the vibe’s casing. This material is resistant to temperature changes and has no known carcinogens or harmful effects on the body. ABS generally feels smooth, but, like silicone, can be textured or molded to create more sensation.  

Aluminum 

Aluminum is used as a skin, or casing, for vibrators, and is also a common material in controls and design accents. Like ABS plastic and silicone, aluminum used in body-safe vibrators is non-porous, easy to clean, and resistant to damage from temperature changes. It has a smooth, cool feel on the skin and is a popular material in bullet vibrators (a smaller vibe shaped like you guessed it a bullet!).  

Travel-sized vibrator

Speed and Patterns

We’ve talked about common vibe materials, so now let’s discuss speed and patterns. Speed and pattern options let you choose how fast your toy vibrates, as well as the pattern of the vibration. 

Speed

Toy speeds range from slow and gentle to blow-your-doors-off, letting you customize your vibes from warm-up to orgasm and beyond. Some of us are satisfied with a few speeds (I’m good with slow, fast, and off), while others prefer 8 or 10 speeds or even more. Some vibrators offer as many as 20 speeds, or variable controls that allow you to quickly toggle from leisurely to bat out of hell

Again, let your individual sexual response and need for variety be your guides. Those who like gentle stimulation may not need a knee-shaking toy, but if supersonic vibes are important to you, take a look at multi-speed options that provide the intensity and range you crave.

Patterns

A vibe’s patterns can make the difference between a toy you tuck away and one you treasure. Do you need consistent vibration to bring you from start to finish, or do you prefer interesting vibes with different sequences? Some patterns are throbbing, others more staccato, others like a wave with a crest of intensity. Patterns that mimic the pace of thrusting are common, as are those with a gallop-type rhythm.   

Vibe patterns are often unique to particular lines of toys or manufacturers. When deciding between vibrators, check out the number of patterns each toy offers. If this is your first purchase, look for an option with at least 5 distinct patterns to choose from. Multiple pattern toys are more versatile and can help you explore which tempo suits your body best. 

Sound Level

Vibrators are electronic devices, and will emit some degree of sound during playtime. Some of us hardly notice the sound, or find it pleasantly soothing (never met a noisy vibe I didn’t like!). Others find loud toys distracting, or downright unbearable. 

If this describes you, look for vibrators described as quiet, or even whisper-quiet. Smaller vibes and those designed for internal use may produce less sound, but not always. Remember, vibrators described as “rumbly” tend to be quieter than buzzy models, which vibrate at a higher frequency and are easier to hear. 

Waterproof vibrators

Waterproof Vs. Water-Resistant   

The world of vibrators includes options that are waterproof, water-resistant, splash-proof, or not compatible with water. Waterproof vibes can be used in water and submerged without damage. Some waterproof vibes are submersible for a limited time, typically around 30 minutes, to a certain depth, usually about 3 feet. 

Water-resistant, or splash-proof, vibrators can’t be submerged but are safe to use in the shower or clean with water. 

Vibrators that are not compatible with water include many wand-style vibrators, particularly classic models such as the Magic Wand. Plug-in toys should never be used in or near water, and battery-powered vibes are less likely to be waterproof or resistant. When shopping for a vibe, be sure to check the description and toy stats for information about water compatibility and safety.    

Lubricant

Why mention lubricant in an article about vibrators, you ask? Does it really matter which lube you choose? Yes, it does, and here’s why: the majority of vibrators are made from silicone, and, odd as it may sound, silicone lube can degrade silicone toys. How? Because silicone lubes and toys are made from similar chemical compounds, the lube can penetrate an otherwise non-porous vibe and damage it. The horror!  

If you love the long-lasting smoothness of silicone lubricant, take heart! Most hybrid lubricants (a nice, slick combo of silicone and water) are safe to use with silicone toys, as are water-based and oil-based lubes. Problem solved.  

Browse our wide selection of lubes!

Price

Vibrators come in all shapes, sizes, and yes, price points! Toys that are body-safe and durable (the kind we recommend!) may cost a bit more, but are typically safer, more enjoyable, and last longer than lower end toys made from toxic materials. 

Though body-safe vibes are better, they aren’t necessarily expensive! Our vibrators range from around $22 to several hundred dollars for unique toys with multiple features and for vibes made with high-end materials like gold. Lower-cost vibrators are often battery-powered and may not be waterproof, but make great starter or travel toys! As vibrators become less of a luxury item and more of an essential purchase, more economical models arrive on the market to suit folks on a budget.

Browse wallet-friendly vibe options!

If you’re looking to splurge, you’ll find a wide selection of well-crafted vibrators from top toy manufacturers. These vibes typically offer cutting-edge features and design, and are the product of extensive research and development. Higher-end toys tend to be whisper-quiet, super-charged, and made of premium quality materials like platinum-cured silicone and metal accents. Most higher-priced vibes also include warranties of at least one year.   

Shop our favorite vibe splurges!  

Budget vibrators

Vibe Type

Now that you’ve got some basic vibe knowledge under your belt, let’s chat about vibrator types. 

The popularity of vibrators has spawned a wealth of shapes and styles, from simple, petite bullet vibes (don’t leave home without one!) to combo air pressure/rabbit vibes that stimulate nerve endings you didn’t know you had. So… how to choose between all the options, and what are the benefits of each? Keep reading for a quick-but-comprehensive guide to popular vibes by type.  

Wands

Wand-style vibrators look like no surprise magic wands! They typically have a long handle and a vibrating head covered with a smooth silicone skin. Some classic toys such as the Magic Wand Original (not to be confused with the Magic Wand Plus or Magic Wand Rechargeable) have heads made with vinyl. 

The most powerful toys available are wands, and they are some of the best selling vibes on the market, too. A wand is an ideal clitoral toy, but can be transformed into a vaginal, anal, or penis toy with a simple snap-on attachment. 

Shop wand-style vibrators!      

Rabbits

Popularized in the infamous rabbit vibe storyline in Sex and The City (“I thought it would be all scary and weird, but it isn’t!”), the rabbit vibrator has come a long way. Most models are now made from body-safe silicone and have a more streamlined, modern profile than early versions. 

What hasn’t changed about the rabbit is its ability to deliver simultaneous vibes to the G-spot and clitoris with an internal shaft and rabbit-ear-shaped clit stimulator. This is the toy that ignited a movement, and for good reason. The rabbit may single-handedly be responsible for more blended orgasms than any other vibrator.   

Browse rabbit-style vibrators

Air Pressure and Sonic Waves

Toys that use air pressure or sonic waves to create stimulation are not technically vibrators, but share some of the same benefits as vibrating clitoral stimulators. Many models are palm-sized, portable, and designed to stimulate the entire clitoral network with air vibes instead of direct contact. Some air pressure options are larger and include multiple stimulation options, such as a vibrating internal shaft for G-spot stimulation. 

Air pressure toys may also be referred to as suction toys. The feeling of air pressure or sonic waves is often described as sucking, blowing, and even light nibbling. Definitely a bucket list experience (trust me). 

Check out our air pressure and sonic wave toys!

Bullets

Bullet vibrators utilize a simple, cylinder-shaped design for clitoral stimulation. Typically compact and portable, bullet vibrators can also be used to stimulate the vulva and vagina. Bullets are not recommended for anal stimulation because they lack a flared base for safety. 

The petite profile of most bullet vibes makes them great for travel. Folks looking for a reasonably priced toy will find plenty of great bullet options, which can offer a lot of focused power for your buck! 

Shop bullet vibrators!

G-spot vibrator

G-Spot Vibes 

G-spot vibrators are shaped to target the G-spot, the nerve-rich area inside the vagina and part of the clitoral network. These vibes tend to be curved, with a bulbous end for focused stimulation. The path to blended orgasms goes through the G-spot as well as the clitoris, making G-spot vibes a perennial favorite. 

These toys are designed to enable easy reach of the G-spot, and range from super-slim to girthy. 

Check out our G-Spot vibrators!

Prostate Vibes

Like G-spot vibrators, toys designed for the prostate offer a curved and often bulbous shape for direct stimulation. Also known as the P-spot, the prostate is an epicenter of nerve endings and a key to blended orgasms. Prostate vibes may also stimulate the perineum and other anal areas, and are specifically designed to be anal safe. 

If you’re new to prostate play, look for a slimmer vibe designed for comfort and easy positioning. Advanced players can opt for larger models or those with extra features, like testicle rings and perineum stimulators. 

Browse prostate vibrators!

Anal Vibrators

Anal vibrators can stimulate the prostate, yes, but are not specifically designed for that purpose. These types of vibes are great for exploring the full gamut of anal sensations and are suitable for all genders. Most vibrating anal toys are made from smooth, body-safe silicone. Some include a remote control for easy operation, great if you're looking for a vibe for long-term wear.  

From petite plugs for novices or smaller anatomies to extra-large plugs for experienced aficionados, there's an anal vibrator for every body shape and size. If you're new to anal play, consider starting with a compact to moderately sized toy and working your way up as your nerves and muscles adapt to a feeling of fullness. 

Shop anal vibrators!

Thrusting Vibes   

Thrusting vibrators take things to a penetrative level for more-real-than-real vaginal stimulation. Powerful motors coupled with multiple speeds and settings make thrusting vibes a perennial favorite. Some also include external, rabbit-style clitornal stimulators. These toys are generally more technologically advanced, and are often manufactured by companies known for durable, high-quality products.

On the hunt for a thrusting vibe? Look for dimensions that suit your anatomy and smooth, body-safe silicone construction for maximum pleasure. 

Shop our favorite thrusting vibrators

Couples’ Vibes

Vibrators can add as much pleasure and discovery to time with a partner as they do to solo play. From double-ended vag vibes to C-shaped toys designed to be worn during intercourse, couples’ vibrators are intended to pleasure both partners. Some provide clitoral stimulation during PIV sex (We-Vibe Chorus, where have you been all my life), while others bring vibrating rabbit ears or a warming feature to the game. 

When looking for a couples’ vibe, think about how you’ll use it. During intercourse? With a same-sex partner? While away from home? Some couples’ vibes are app-enabled or remote controlled, making them ideal for long-distance play. 

Browse couples’ vibes

Strap-On and Strapless Vibes

Speaking of couples' toys, strap-on and strapless vibrators supercharge the traditional dildo with sensations both partners can enjoy. These toys are designed for anal, VIV (vibe in vagina!) sex, and pegging, and are a far cry from the strap-on dildos of days gone by. 

If G- or P-spot stimulation is what you're after, go for a vibe with a curve and bulbous head to target the right spots. Strap-on and strapless vibrators should fit comfortably and pleasure both partners. Look for a size that feels right for you and/or your partner(s). Moderately-sized, crowd-pleasing vibes generally run in the 5-7 inch range, but you'll find a plethora of options in larger and smaller profiles!

Shop strap-on and strapless vibes!

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned the vibe essentials, go forth and browse, secure in the knowledge that the perfect toy is out there waiting for you! If you run into snags (how to choose between a panty vibe and lay-on vibe? Help!), remember: we’re always here to answer questions or make suggestions! Just drop us a note at info@delicto.com or DM us on Instagram or TikTok.

For now, check out our complete list of tempting, fun, colorful, body-safe vibrators. Happy vibing!