Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/30/2021
Choosing a vibrator is a grown woman’s version of being a kid in a candy store. There are so many options — can’t we just buy them all?
Yes, you can, actually.
But it helps to be selective and choose vibrators that are most likely to check all the boxes on your wishlist.
Do you want to play with it in water? With your partner? Is anal penetration important, or are you only seeking clitoral stimulation (external) vibrators?
Knowing what you like and what you’re after can help you narrow down the options, whether you’re shopping for better masturbation or for hotter sexual encounters with your partner.
More than half of women have used or do use a vibrator, so why be bashful about it?
Vibrators are great for getting off and reaching orgasm, but they’re also good for you.
Their use is associated with positive sexual function and overall self-care (aka “health-promoting behaviors,” according to scientific literature).
But there are so many vibrators to choose from! How do you know which is right for you? Well, start by understanding all of your options.
What your vibrator is made of matters.
You can find them made of glass, silicone, hard plastic, even stainless steel and wood, among other things.
Some contain phthalates, which can potentially cause cancer. Because they can be inserted into the body, it’s right to be concerned about whether or not your vibrator contains phthalates.
As a matter of fact, Congress banned the use of phthalates in children’s toys. So, why not yours?
A Danish study found sex toys made with phthalates are safe to use for up to one hour per day. However, women who are pregnant or nursing should limit their use to 15 minutes per week.
Because of this, sexual health professionals largely recommend choosing vibrators made with nontoxic materials instead. Silicone, glass, hard plastic and stainless steel are nontoxic choices.
There are dozens of different types of vibrators, but here are some of the more popular features and types:
Some bullet vibrators are designed for external stimulation only, such as on the clitoris, for example, and may be a great option for vibrator beginners — a topic we’ve also explored in our guide, How to Use a Vibrator.
Others can be inserted into the vagina, but as their name implies, they’re smaller than other vibrator varieties. They’re small and may be connected by a wire (or wirelessly connected) to a remote control.
In addition to external vibrators meant to stimulate the clitoris, other insertable vibrators — such as the rabbit style — may have an appendage that sticks out to stimulate the clit.
Vibrators designed to stimulate the G-spot may be curved towards the front, in order to better reach the Grafenberg spot. G-spot stimulation can be attained with your fingers, but these vibrators are designed to do that work for you.
Some vibrators are designed to enhance the pleasure of partners, such as our OMG Ring Couples Vibrator. This device is placed at the base of the penis and vibrates for both parties.
These days, vibrators generally have several settings. Some adjust by speed only, while others may have pulsating, surging or escalating (gradual climbing in intensity) vibration settings.
A study looking at the size of vibrators found most approximate actual penis size — between four and six inches long, and four and five inches in diameter. However, some companies sell much larger vibrators.
Some vibrators may be attached to a stationary surface like a chair or the floor, using suction at the base or other methods.
Vibrators can often be used both vaginally and anally, but some are designed specifically for anal insertion. Experts recommend anal vibrators have a wide base or cord/string for retrieval.
Waterproof vibrators allow you to use them in the shower or even under water for a certain length of time.
Smaller vibrators are more easily portable than larger massager types that plug into the wall. Fortunately, most vibrators today do not require their own carrying case.
There are countless vibrators on the market to choose from, and choosing one with features you really enjoy can be a matter of trial and error.
Pay attention to size, materials, functions and speed settings while shopping, and you should end up with the type of vibrator (or several) that meets your satisfaction.
Luckily, when it comes to your sexual health, it’s worth the effort.