Penis pumps, or vacuum erection devices (VED), can increase blood flow to your penis to help you achieve or maintain an erection. They cannot permanently lengthen your penis.

Penis pumps use a vacuum to draw blood into the penis. This can often help people achieve or maintain an erection.

This article discusses the efficacy of penis pumps and the science behind their use.

Penis pumps can help people to achieve and maintain erections. Some studies show that penis pumps may help erectile dysfunction (ED) patients achieve an erection in up to 90% of cases. Other research highlights that for people with ED and their partners, up to 77% are happy with the outcomes of penis pump use.

For someone with ED, penis pumps are less expensive and generally safer than other options when used correctly. People can also use them alongside ED medication, like Viagra.

Small studies also show that, in combination with medications, penis pumps can help to preserve penis function and reduce shrinkage following prostate cancer surgery.

A penis pump works by using suction to draw blood into the penis.

The blood fills the blood vessels in your penis, causing them to swell so your penis gets — temporarily — bigger and harder.

A constriction ring — better known as a cock ring — is usually placed around the base of the penis to help keep the blood in the penis and maintain the erection.

Is it safe?

Penis pumps, or vacuum erection devices, are generally safe, but they may not be right for people with certain medical conditions.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), using a penis pump or other external rigidity device could aggravate penile conditions, such as priapism.

Too much air pressure in the cylinder can also cause mild bleeding under the skin’s surface. For this reason, penis pumps may not be right for you if you:

  • have a blood disorder
  • have a history of blood clots
  • take blood thinners

A cock ring that’s too tight or left on too long could cause your penis to become bruised, numb, and cold.

The duration of an erection can vary when using penis pumps. Many product manufacturers suggest that around 30 minutes is a typical outcome. Factors like your arousal level, and overall health status can also influence how long the effects last.

For those with ED, penis pumps alone are unlikely to result in a full erection. In this instance, the use of a constriction device is necessary.

Cock rings can help to extend erection times. However, it is unsafe to use them for more than 30 minutes. Extended use of constrictive devices on the penis can lead to swelling and potentially severe injury.

There is no set limit to daily penis pump uses. Experience, comfort, and necessity will often dictate usage. Most people can use it safely multiple times a day if needed, as long as they use it correctly.

If a penis pump is causing pain or discomfort, it is best to stop using them immediately. If pain persists, seek medical assistance.

When it comes to improving function and getting stronger erections, a balanced lifestyle will go a long way. This means:

  • reducing your stress levels
  • getting enough sleep and regular exercise
  • limiting things like nicotine and alcohol, which can have the opposite effect on boners

Certain medications can also mess with your sex drive and cause erection problems — especially antidepressants and blood pressure medications. See your doctor if you think your medication may be the issue.

There’s no reliably safe way to increase your penis size without surgery.

Penis size does not matter in terms of function, yet many people feel anxious about it. Learn more here.

Some products have more bells and whistles than others, but the basic function is the same.

Here’s the gist:

  1. You place a tube over your penis.
  2. You pump out the air, using the hand pump or electric pump attached to the tube, creating a vacuum effect.
  3. Once you’re erect, you remove the pump.
  4. You can place a constriction ring around the base of your penis to help you maintain your erection.

Do pumps actually increase girth or size?

Penis pumps can increase blood flow to the penis to help you get or maintain an erection. But they do not permanently increase the girth or length of your penis.

How long does it take for a penis pump to work?

How long it takes for a penis pump to achieve an erection can vary. Your erection from a penis pump can typically last for about 30 minutes but may depend on other factors.

Is a penis pump better than Viagra?

A penis pump is generally less costly than other options and effective when used correctly. Some people may also use them with ED medication, like Viagra.

Penis pumps can effectively help people reach and maintain erections. However, they are not a penis enlargement device and any change in penis size will be temporary.


Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.