The Best Vibrator: Is There Really A “Best Vibe?”

Alexandra Fine, Credentialed Sexologist, M. Psych | Written by Dame

What does it really mean to be “the best?”

Basketball fans can argue for hours about the respective merits of Michael, LeBron, Kobe and (for the old-timers) Bill Russell.

Casablanca, The Godfather or Star Wars? Boxers or briefs? Android or Apple?

You’re never going to get people to agree on “the best” – particularly when personal preference is involved. You can’t convince someone that chocolate is better than strawberry, if they hate strawberry.

In fact, “the best” can often depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. You may think that Ferrari and Lamborghini make the “best cars,” but they’re probably the worst choices for taking your kids’ soccer team on the road.

That brings us to vibrators.

Surveys regularly show that only about 20% of vulva-havers can reach orgasm with vaginal stimulation, about a third require clitoral stimulation to climax, and an even larger number need or prefer both.

So what’s the best vibrator for vulva owners?

The answer is obvious: it depends.

A fingertip vibe isn’t going to do you much good if you’re trying to hit the G-spot, a vibrating cock ring isn’t the optimal choice for stimulating your clitoral area during a solo session, and a humongous vibrating dildo may be more painful than exciting if your goal is anal stimulation.

That’s why it’s impossible to simply designate one or two sex toys as the “best vibrators.”

But if you know what you want your vibrator to do – or where you want to use it? Now we’re getting somewhere.

The best approach to determining “the best vibrator” is to do it by categories.

A Brief Word about Vibrator Use

There’s one important fact to mention before moving forward: vibrators can be used just about anywhere.

Ask ten people who consider themselves to be “sex experts” to list all of the erogenous zones on the body, and you’re likely to get ten different lists. Perhaps the best answer came from researchers publishing in the Archives of Sex Behavior, who concluded that “stimulation of practically all bodily regions may trigger sexual arousal.”

And those regions can all be stimulated with vibrators. You don’t need a vibe designed for your nipples, neck or inner thighs in order to get excited; if a toy vibrates, it will probably do the job. In fact, those sensations may do more to get you ready for the main event than focusing solely on the genitals.

Here’s the moral of the story: what follows are just guidelines. The “best” vibrator is the one that works best for you.

External Vibrators

Researchers have done a number of studies to determine how vulva owners who own vibrators use them, and the vast majority of respondents say it’s to stimulate their clitoris. Surveys of penis owners don’t ask that specific question, but it’s pretty obvious that most who use vibes during masturbation target their external genitals.

For those reasons, we’ve chosen to begin with an exploration of so-called external vibrators, which are best used to excite genital regions.

External Stimulation for Vulva-Havers

The term “clitoral stimulation” is commonly used to describe any sexual activity involving the vulva. In truth, as almost every vulva owner knows, there’s a lot more “down there” than just the clitoris.

Since we’re being truthful here, clitoris isn’t really the proper term for the sensitive hotspot above the urethral opening. It’s actually known as the glans clitoris, or simply the glans. And it’s just part of a much larger organ – you guessed it, the clitoris – which extends well into the body and surrounds the vagina.

The glans has somewhere around 8,000 nerve endings, twice as many as the penis (which is anatomically known as the glans penis, by the way). That’s why it’s the part of the vulva that’s most responsive to stimulation. However, the area surrounding the glans clitoris is extremely sensitive as well.

The labia (both the outer and inner lips), the clitoral hood protecting the glans (the flap of skin formed where the labia minor meet) and the mons pubis (the mound above the glans, where hair grows) are other pleasurable targets for exploration with a clitoral vibrator. Many people, in fact, find that their glans clitoris is so sensitive that they prefer stimulating the areas around it instead.

In that last sentence, you’ll see two of the key words – sensitive and area – to keep in mind when you’re choosing the best vibrator to use in the vulval region. Less-powerful vibrators are generally better for use in sensitive areas and larger toys, naturally, can stimulate a larger area.

Thankfully, there are a number of options to choose from.

Bullet Vibrators: Best for Overall Clitoral Stimulation

Once upon a time, all bullet vibrators were actually built in the shape of bullets, albeit somewhat larger than the ones that go into a handgun. Today, you can find these small and versatile toys in several different shapes, but they all have two important qualities in common.

  • Bullets are small and discreet; they’re easy to take just about anywhere, and easy to use or store without attracting a lot of attention.
  • Their size makes them easy to manipulate and quite versatile; you can use them to stimulate your favorite target anywhere in the clitoral area – or for that matter, just about any erogenous zone – while maintaining full control.

And that’s not all. They’re small enough to fit snugly between two bodies, and can even fit into slots in specially-designed harnesses and cock rings.

Bullet vibrators have been on the market for a very long time. Those who’ve used early versions of the bullet are likely to think of them as somewhat-tame vibrators powered by AA batteries, with just one or two speed selections. Those vibes are still available, of course, but many modern bullet vibrators are USB-rechargeable and much more powerful. A good number offer a large selection of speeds and vibration patterns as well, and some come complete with a remote control.

We like Dame Products for bullet vibes, because they carry several high-quality versions.

  • The rechargeable Zee is small, versatile and inexpensive, with a classic shape, three speeds and a water-resistant plastic outer shell.
  • The waterproof Pom is soft, flexible (so it can get very close) and quite powerful; it fits into the palm of the hand, with four rumbly vibration modes and a variable intensity control.
  • The Kip is a lipstick-shaped bullet vibe made from medical-grade silicone, perfect for strong vibrations with pinpoint accuracy.
  • Then there’s the Fin, not really a bullet but designed to perform the same functions. It’s a finger vibrator (yes, it’s worn on the fingers) that make it easy for you or your partner to work the glans and labia during penetrative sex or other types of play. It works just as well on the shaft, testicles and frenulum of penis-owners, too.

Looking for a little less power? The Je Joue Mimi (available at Babeland) is similar to the Pom but provides less-intense vibrations. And if you want something really different, the skinny Crave Vesper necklace vibrator is finished in gold and looks gorgeous when worn on a chain around the neck – until you’re ready to climb into bed and use it for a very different purpose.

Magic Wand Vibrators: Best for Powerful Clitoral Stimulation

Bullet vibrators have been around for decades, but large, heavy and extremely-powerful magic wand vibrators have been around even longer. The Hitachi Magic Wand was first marketed in 1968 as a back and neck massager, but even in the late 60s it was being recommended by sex therapists as the masturbation aid most likely to induce clitoral climaxes.

They’re still recommending the Magic Wand today as a tool for vulva-havers with chronic amorgasmia (meaning they’re unable to achieve orgasm), and many in the sex toy industry call the Wand the mother of all vibrators. Hitachi changed the vibe’s name in 2013 because the company no longer wanted its brand associated with sex toys. It’s now sold as the “Original Magic Wand.”

Wand vibrators may look intimidating to first-time shoppers because of their large handles, which are topped by equally-large vibrating balls which deliver a stimulating punch to the glans and surrounding areas. But they’re as popular as ever thanks to the pleasure they deliver, not to mention the episode of Sex and the City which featured Samantha and her “massager.”

They’re more versatile than ever, too, with many models featuring well over a dozen different speeds and vibration/pulsation patterns. Some even come with extra heads or attachments, heating functions or other goodies.

Why are wand vibes so large? They deliver some of the most powerful vibrations imaginable. Most are so powerful that they have to run on AC power and must be plugged into the wall. Needless to say, that makes them a little less versatile to use and not particularly travel-friendly. Ask any devotee, though, and they’ll tell you the sensations are worth those small sacrifices.

The “Original” isn’t the only magic wand vibrator to check out. The LeWand vibrator can run at ten different speeds with 20 vibration patterns, and several interchangeable sleeves are available. And the Lelo Smart Wand is cordless and waterproof, if you want an earth-shattering experience in the tub. One warning: price tags on wand vibes are definitely on the high side.

Oral Sex Vibrators: Best for Cunnilingus Simulation

The big difference between oral sex “vibrators” and the others we’ve described? Oral sex vibrators suck.

You know what we mean; a vibrating toy isn’t enough to realistically simulate the sensations of cunnilingus. Most of the vibes designed to replicate oral sex do it by combining suction with vibrations, in order to stimulate the soft tissue of the glans, clitoral hood and lips. Some also have ingenious mechanical features like rotating “tongues” or moving balls, so the vibrator can “lick” the clitoris as well as suck it. It’s a magical experience.

Oral sex vibes which set the bar quite high are the Lovehoney Sqweel 2 (it has a rotating wheel with ten tongues and a “flick” function), the Womanizer Premium (with “Pleasure Air Technology” and autopilot), and the Lelo Sona Cruise (which uses sonic waves to deliver its pleasure). The biggest selection is available from Satisfyer, which specializes in these vibrators.

External Stimulation for Penis-Havers: Best for Penis Stimulation

It bears repeating that most external vibrators designed for those with vulvas work equally well on those with penises. We highlighted the Dame Fin as one of them, but just about any bullet vibe will work just fine.

But don’t feel left out, penis owners. Other types of vibes are specifically designed for you.

  • The Fleshlight artificial vagina is the most popular sex toy in history for penis-havers, and both the original manufacturer and many imitators have released Fleshlight-like toys that vibrate and/or suck. Many, like the Fleshlight Vibro, rely on bullet vibes inserted into a pocket on the sleeve.
  • Vibrating cock rings can provide intense pleasure to both the wearer and a partner during penetrative sex. Particularly noteworthy are the soft, flexible We-Vibe Pivot, which can be controlled via app by a partner located anywhere in the world, and the larger Fun Factory Manta stroker which encircles the penis and delivers enhanced, rumbly sensations.
  • If you want to get futuristic, complicated oral sex machines can come very close to replicating the real thing. The expensive but impressive Autoblow AI, for example, can simulate nine different blow job techniques; its final setting delivers a mix of fellatio techniques at random.

Internal Vibrators

Since the only effective way to internally stimulate a penis-haver is anally, and we’ll be looking at anal vibrators shortly, we’ll reserve this category those with vulvas.

Internal Stimulation for Vulva-Havers

Penetrative and G-Spot Vibrators: Best for Vaginal Stimulation

Many automatically think of these vibrators as the “next step” after experimenting with dildos. Their shapes are similar, but the sensations they can deliver are very, very different.

In simple terms, penetrative vibrators are shaped like a penis, and most G-spot vibrators are shaped like a penis with a curved shaft. The curve is easy to explain; it allows the vibe to contact the vaginal wall where most experts now agree that the erogenous zone called the G-spot is located.

Naturally, the most common use for a penetrative or G-spot vibe is to simulate sexual intercourse. They’re available in an enormous variety of lengths, widths and material, to make penetration as comfortable as possible. You can also choose from vibes with a huge selection of intensities and vibration patterns; many provide pulsating sensations as well as rumbling ones, to mimic the in-and-out feeling of penetration.

These vibrators are also terrific toys for partner use – not just for penetration, but for clitoral stimulation and whole-body play. They’re usually quite powerful, though, so they may not be the right choice for extremely sensitive areas.

The best vibrators in this category? Perhaps the most powerful is the waterproof and flexible Dame Arc G-spot vibe. It’s made from medical-grade silicone and features a curved handle for easy exploration, five intensities and five vibration patterns.

The most unique is the Lela Mona Wave, which moves back and forth inside the vagina. And if you’re relatively new to the game, the First Time G-Spot Tulip is comfortable, intuitive, inexpensive and even long enough to hit the A-spot (and if you’re not familiar with the A-spot, it’s worth finding).

Egg Vibrators: Best for Multi-Purpose Play

Egg vibrators are great for couples’ fun – or for individuals who like to play in public. The egg-shaped vibe (actually, some are shaped more like bullets) fits nicely into the vagina and can be controlled by remote or an app; you can probably imagine the possibilities. Egg vibrators can also be used in more conventional ways since they’re similar to bullet vibes, with the added benefit of being able to sit comfortably in the vaginal canal. The Lovehoney Power Play Egg and Lelo Lyla 2 are among the best to consider.

Combination Vibrators

Most combo vibes are intended for use by those with vulvas, but a few are specifically designed for penis-havers.

Rabbit Vibrators: Best for Complete Stimulation

If you were paying attention to the statistics we cited at the start of this article, you know exactly why these vibrators, with a shaft for vaginal penetration and attached “rabbit ears” for clitoral stimulation, are so popular.

If not, we’ll briefly remind you: Surveys regularly show that only about 20% of vulva-havers can reach orgasm with vaginal stimulation, about a third require clitoral stimulation to climax, and an even larger number need or prefer both.

“Both” is what the rabbit vibrators are all about. If you’re playing solo, there’s no better way to achieve both types of orgasm at the same time.

Rabbits aren’t all the same. Most, but not all, can hit the G-spot. Some don’t literally have bunny ears; the external vibrator can be shaped in many different ways. And the best sex toys in this category have two separate motors, so you can control their speed and vibration patterns independently.

But any well-designed rabbit vibrator can bring vulva-havers’ pleasure to an entirely new level.

There’s an enormous number of rabbits to choose from. Some of the best are the powerful Lelo Soraya 2 and the Fun Factory Amorino, the latter of which stimulates the labia and perineum as well as the glans and vagina. And both the Satisfyer G-Spot Rabbit and the Phanxy (available on Amazon) simulate oral sex while mimicking vaginal sex.

Other Combo Vibrators: Best for Experimentation

Think of two or three different erogenous zones and you can probably find a vibrator made to hit all of them. For example, there’s the Svakom Vicky G-spot vibrator and anal plug, and the Total Ecstasy Triple Stimulator combining a rabbit and vibrating anal beads. You can also find similar toys for penis-havers, which stimulate the scrotum, perineum and anus simultaneously.

Anal Vibrators

We’ve already mentioned a few of these toys in passing, but that doesn’t really do them justice.

Prostate Massagers: Best for Most Penis Owners

Many are hesitant to give it a try at first, but prostate stimulation is one of the most satisfying sexual activities anyone with a prostate can experience. In many ways, these vibrating toys are similar to traditional or G-spot vibrators, but angled differently so they can hit the “P-spot.” Some also have ridges or bumps to increase pleasure, and many also stimulate the perineum at the same time.

Among the best to check out: the waterproof Loki Prostate Massager, the Rocks Off Rude Boy, and the app-controlled We-Vibe Vector.

Other Anal Vibrators: Best for Universal Back Door Play

Except for prostate massagers, anal massagers and toys are suitable for use by anyone. Anal vibrators look much like traditional vibrators, but with a narrower shaft (the anus is not only narrower than the vagina, but its tissues don’t expand as quickly) and a flared base (so they can be retrieved without getting stuck). The b-Vibe Trio (with three motors and nine vibration patterns) and the Lovehoney Beaded Anal Vibrator are among our faves.

There are options other than vibes, too, like the Adam and Eve Booty Bliss Vibrating Anal Beads, and the Paloqueth Rotating Butt Plug. They’re not as scary as they look, but just one piece of advice: don’t forget the lube.

Couples’ Vibrators: Best for Two Players

Sex toy manufacturers are so creative that it’s hard to separate the many vibrators designed for couples into categories. Instead, here’s just a sampling of the best vibrators made for two:

  • Dame Eva II: On its face, this is a wearable clitoral stimulator. However, its flexible wings fit under the labia to allow hands-free use – and stimulation of both partners’ genital areas during penetrative sex or face-to-face sexual contact.
  • We-Vibe Sync: The first couples’ vibe to hit the market; one end is worn internally, and the other lies atop the clitoris to stimulate both partners.
  • Satisfyer Partner Multifun 1: It’s impossible to fully describe this vibe, but it can be twisted and turned to function as a combo vaginal/clitoral/body stimulator while also being used as a vibrating cock ring.
  • Ohare Double Vibrating Rabbit Cock Ring: You probably get the picture from the name; it’s basically a vibrating cock ring with vibrating rabbit ears.
  • Wet For Her Vibrating Double Dildo: Two vulva-havers, no waiting!

Buying the Best Vibrator: Other Considerations

Function isn’t the only quality to consider when looking for the very best vibrator to boost your sex life and sexual health. Factor in these criteria as well.

Materials

Most of the softest vibrators are made from porous materials like TPE, jelly rubber and PVC. Unfortunately, their surfaces are impossible to fully clean, so they may trap bacteria (leading to infections) and even transmit STDs. They’re best used with condoms for that reason.

Non-porous materials like glass and stainless steel are better choices, and the best of all may be medical-grade silicone which is soft, flexible and also non-porous.

Be sure to carefully check the product labeling for any vibes made from vinyl or plastics to be sure they don’t contain BPAs or phthalates, and don’t use antibacterial soap containing Triclosan to clean your vibe. Those are all hormone disruptors.

Features

To reword a commonly-used cliché, pleasure is in the mind of the beholder.

If you need a powerful vibrator (or a less-powerful one for sensitive areas), a plethora of different vibrating speeds and patterns, pulsing or throbbing motions, or remote/app control for partner play, you’ll be able to find the features that will boost both your pleasure and your fun. If you don’t need them, you’ll probably save some money.

Power Source and Versatility

Think about where and how you’ll be using your vibe before pulling out the credit card.

Those who need extreme power to reach orgasm may want a plug-in vibrator or one with multiple motors, while a USB-rechargeable vibe will provide plenty of juice for most people without tethering them to the wall. Those who plan long, extended play sessions may prefer a toy powered by AA or AAA batteries, since most rechargeables only last an hour before they have to go back on the charger.

You probably don’t need a reminder, but it’s not a good idea to take a vibrator into the pool or shower unless it’s waterproof. Water-resistant makes things easier to clean, but doesn’t ensure safety when used in the tub or Jacuzzi.

Finally, appearance also matters. There are so many colors and designs of vibrators available, ranging from cute to ultra-sexy, that you should be able to find a model that’s exciting to look at – even before you turn it on.


(1) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1346530

(2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27091187/

(3) http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.451.3909&rep=rep1&type=pdf

(4) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/24438600_Prevalence_and_Characteristics_of_Vibrator_Use_by_Men_in_the_United_States

(5) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoris

(6) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitachi_Magic_Wand

(7) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31464000/

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