Vibrators 101

Vibrators are any type of toy that's electrical and has one or more vibrating motors. Vibrators come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be used on any part of the body by any gender.

What to look for

  • Pick vibrators that are made of hard plastic, ABS plastic, elastomer, thermo-plastic rubber, or 100% silicone. Other types of soft rubber materials degrade quickly, are difficult to clean, and may contain toxic chemicals that leach out of them.
  • If you're new to toys, choose something simple that can be used in a variety of ways. Try something with a shape that might be used both externally and internally and that has several different speeds or settings.
  • In general, the smaller the toy-maker, the better the quality. The biggest brands in the toy business have thousands of items in their catalogues. With that many products to oversee, quality control is somewhat lacking. These large brands often do not design and manufacture the toys themselves, but rather purchase the toys from a variety of manufacturers. Companies that design their own toys often have a small line and better quality control. Good examples of this are FunFactory, We-Vibe, and Vibratex.

What to avoid

  • If the toy has an odor, don't buy it! The smell is probably chemical softeners that are leaching out of the toy. Sometimes odors are coming from packaging. If the toy has been removed from the packaging and washed, it should no longer have an odor.
  • If your hands feel sticky or oily after you've touched the toy, be wary — it probably has phthalates or petroleum products in it.
  • Watch for toys with battery compartments that seem hard to open or look fragile, as well as wiring that's exposed or looks close to the surface of the rubber.
  • Think twice about gimmick toys, as they often don't work properly. These are toys that are designed to look like something in particular (like the tongue) or to do something very specific (like the vibrator that attaches to your tongue). Stay with things that are fairly simple and can be used in a number of ways.