Alexandra Fine, Credentialed Sexologist, M. Psych | Written by Dame
There are some people who don’t really need whisper-quiet vibrators.They’re the ones who are unable to contain their noisy expressions of pleasure while a properly-designed and properly-used vibrator is performing its magic.
For everyone else, though, the telltale buzzing and rumbling of sex toys could pose a real problem – or at least, real embarrassment – if alert kids or nosy neighbors are within ear’s reach.
Here’s the good news: there are many vibes which don’t have to be drowned out by loud music just to be used in close quarters. In fact, some can even be discreetly used in public – if you dare.
We’ll take a look at some of the best choices, after figuring out why some vibrators are so darned noisy.
Why Vibrators Make Noise
Basically, it’s the motor. Or, in high-quality vibrators which contact two or more erogenous zones at the same time, it’s the motors.
The motors in vibrators vibrate more strongly than those in most kitchen appliances or home tools, and that’s by design. Engineers usually try to build perfectly-balanced motors whose vibrations are kept to a minimum. The goal is exactly the opposite for sex toys, though. The whole idea is to make the vibrations strong and powerful enough to stimulate the desired sexual response.
Designers do that by deliberately building unbalanced vibrator motors which rattle and shake as they run. The amount and types of vibrations are determined by factors like the speed of the motors, how unbalanced they are and where they’re placed inside the vibe’s housing. That’s why the sensations that vibrators deliver are always a little different, even if they’re the same size and shape.
That creates a dilemma. If a vibrator’s motor is designed to shake and wobble, how can it possibly be quiet? Designers use a number of tricks like firmly screwing down components, using materials that won’t “chatter” in the vibrator housing, and putting extra insulation inside the housing and battery compartment (if there is one).
Our concern, however, isn’t the “how” – it’s the “how well.” If designers and manufacturers do their jobs well, they can create whisper-quiet vibes which can’t even be heard by your eagle-eared relative sleeping on the living room couch. You’ll never find completely “silent” vibrators, but these come awfully close.
We’ll break down our choices of the best quiet vibrators into categories.
Studies have shown that more than half of adult vulva owners use vibrators. Research also shows that about two-thirds of vulva-havers either need clitoral stimulation to reach climax, or find that it enhances their orgasms.
Bottom line: there’s an enormous demand for vibrators designed primarily to pleasure external genitals like the glans clitoris (the “button” most people simply call the clitoris), the clitoral hood, the labia and the mons pubis. And since clitoral stimulators aren’t inserted into the vagina where the body might muffle their sound, some of them can get quite loud.
- Kip: This lipstick vibe from Dame Products is small, versatile and one of the quietest vibrators you’ll find anywhere. It’s made from soft silicone and has two important “pleasure delivery tools” – a flexible, rounded point which flutters at high speeds and can be used to stimulate the glans with pinpoint accuracy, and a flatter, cupped face which can be placed over the vulva to deliver broader vibrations to the entire genital area. There are five speeds and five vibration patterns, and there is very little noise to clue people in the rest of the house into what you’re doing.
- Zee: Those who prefer a bullet vibrator will be extremely satisfied with the Zee. Not only is it a small, quiet and powerful three-speed vibe, but unlike most bullets, the Zee is a USB-rechargeable clitoral vibrator. It’s water-resistant and made from ABS plastic so it’s easy to clean and won’t retain bacteria or other nasty stuff; it’s also a great first vibrator because it’s easy to use and not “intimidating.”
- Pom: Larger, high-end vibrators don’t have to be noisier, and the Pom is a perfect example. Featuring five vibration patterns and continuously-adjustable intensity levels, this palm-sized vibe is made from medical-grade silicone to be soft, flexible and able to satisfy just about anywhere, while making only a little more noise than an electric toothbrush. It’s waterproof, too.
Other external vibes with very low noise levels include the Crave Vesper, which is a stainless steel vibrator so slim and beautiful that it’s designed to be worn as a necklace.
- Fin: Yes, the Fin is also designed to be an external vibrator, but we put it into a separate category that’s become extremely hot: vibes you wear on your fingertips for ultimate control and satisfaction. The Fin has a “squishy” side and a “pointy” side allowing you to choose the feeling you want, and there are three easy-to-control speeds. This may be the quietest vibe you ever own, and don’t be surprised if it quickly becomes your best friend.
Much of the sound produced by vibrators designed to be used in the vaginal canal may be absorbed by the body, but these toys are generally larger and quite powerful. That means finding a quiet vibe to replace your trusty dildo can be essential if you want to maintain a low profile while bringing yourself to new heights.
- Arc: The Arc is a waterproof, USB-rechargeable G-spot vibrator whose soft, pliable head can do double-duty as an external vibe as well. The handle is perfectly shaped to let you try different angles to find and stimulate the G-spot (or even the A-spot), and the five selectable speeds and five rumbly vibration patterns give you ultimate control over your excitement and orgasm. The Arc is a high-quality, waterproof vibe made from medical-grade silicone, and it’s one of the quietest vibrators you’ll find with this powerful a motor.
Honorable mention: The Lelo Gigi 2 has a four-button control panel that can be a bit difficult to work with while you’re in the throes of pleasure, but is indeed whisper-quiet.
Rabbit vibrators are the most popular vibrators sold on Amazon, since (as you certainly know from watching Sex and the City) they are able to pleasure both the glans clitoris and the vagina at the same time. They’re not always quiet sex toys, though, since the best vibrators for stimulating two different regions will have separate motors for each.
However, you can still find rabbit-style vibes that won’t make it sound like you’re pulled out the power tools or the chain saw. Among the best are the Lovehoney Happy Rabbit (with three thrusting speeds for the shaft and a whopping nine vibration patterns for the rabbit), and the Babeland Lioness (which comes complete with an app that lets you monitor your responses to determine your “optimal masturbation style”).
Most vibrators don’t suck, but these do – for good reason. They’re designed to employ air to create stimulation, and they do it by creating sucking sensations rather than direct vibrations.
The large and sleek Lelo Sona Cruise is notable because it uses quiet, pulsating sonic waves, with increased intensity when the toy is pressed against the vulva. The Satisfyer Pro has a “whisper mode” for completely private satisfaction sessions. And the Womanizer Premium uses air instead of sonic pulses; it’s even quieter than the Lelo and Satisfyer models, but just as satisfying.
Vibrators for Couples
Vibrators can play a much greater role than just a buzzy masturbation buddy, or a toy that one partner uses on the other. There are a growing number of couples’ vibrators hitting the market, and some of them are quiet enough to ensure your sex play stays between the two of you.
- Eva II: This couples’ vibe has gotten rave notices from industry reviewers and very satisfied customers ever since its release. The Eva II is a hands-free toy which is actually worn in the vulva, thanks to flexible wings which guarantee it stays firmly in place during both sensual and frantic activity. Naturally, it provides quiet but powerful stimulation for the vulva owner wearing it, but it also makes contact with the partner’s genitals at the same time. It’s more convenient and comfortable, and a lot less distracting, than holding a toy in place during a hot and heavy sex session. The Eva II is waterproof and made from medical-grade silicone.
It wouldn’t be right to ignore We-Vibe, manufacturer of another long-time couples’ favorite (as well as the Tango mini-vibe and other toys like vibrating cock rings and anal plugs). The latest version of the We-Vibe Sync is both a clitoral and G-spot stimulator; a partner (or the user) can change intensity and vibration modes with a remote control, or with an app that can “manage” the partner’s excitement from anywhere in the world.
Anal Vibrators and Toys for Penis-Havers
The We-Vibe cock rings and anal plugs we’ve just mentioned are on the quiet side, but there are other nearly-silent goodies on the market as well. The Silent Fun anal vibrator (don’t forget the lube!) from Love Plugs is surprisingly quiet for a toy with seven vibration patterns controlled by a remote. The Dibe vibrator is very similar, except that it’s designed to be a prostate massager that not only features seven vibration modes, but an “intelligent heat” function.
And winning the award for “incredibly quiet, incredibly versatile and incredibly cool” is the Phanxy vibrating cock ring, which not only does what its name promises, but also has an attachment with a collection of rotating, medical-grade silicone tongues which can “lick” the clitoris while the vulva and penis owners are enjoying earth-shattering penetrative sex.