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So, you want to buy a vibrator. Your first instinct might be to google “vibrator,” a valiant but complicated intention because the internet is the internet. You’ll likely stumble upon too many options — from a low-quality vibrator that isn’t body-safe or one that doesn’t fit your needs at all.

So instead, I, a seasoned sex and wellness writer, offer you a tried-and-true guide on how to buy a vibrator.

There are endless types of vibrators, from those that mimic masturbation to vibrators to use with a partner to those that vibrate along to music. The key to choosing your vibrator is what kind of stimulation you enjoy and want.

The five main types are internal, external, combo, anal, and penis-focused. What you like may determine the shape and style — and the keyword to look for when shopping!

How do you like being stimulated?Type
inside the vaginainternal
around the clitoris and labiaexternal
both inside and outside the vaginacombo
inside or outside the anusanal
around and on the shaft of the penispenis-focused

Not sure what you think? Here’s a little more detail about the main types of vibrators

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  • Internal vibrators. These are inserted into the vagina, typically for those who enjoy penetration and G-spot stimulation. Internal vibrators are often — but not always — long cylinders, ideal for hitting the G-spot or mimicking a penis, if that’s your goal.
  • External vibrators. They’re used on the clitoris and labia, for those who either prefer no penetration or who need clitoral stimulation during penetration, either with or without a partner. The look of external vibrators can vary, but they’re often not cylindrical to cover more surface area.
  • Combo vibrators. These have a combo of internal and external stimulation and are often called rabbit vibrators because of their shape. Combo vibrators look like dildos with an added arm to hit both the G-spot and clitoris at the same time.
  • Anal vibrators. These vibrators are different from internal vibrators because they have a base so they don’t get lost or stuck.
  • Penis-focused vibrators. These vibrating cock rings, such as the PlusOne vibrating ring, are excellent for those with a penis who struggle with arousal or who want to add to the stimulation they feel during sex or masturbation.

Internal vibrators can vary anywhere from one- to five-fingers size. External vibrators can range from three inch bullets to large magic wands.

Anal vibrators tend to be a bit smaller or have multiple sizes as the anus takes a bit longer — and more lubricant — to open up. Penis-focused vibrators often stretch to accommodate different shaft sizes.

Next you need to decide what kind of vibration, and therefore motor, you’d like.

Sex educator and founder of LeWand, Alicia Sinclair, recommends asking yourself the following questions: “[Do you want] broad or targeted [vibration]? Patterns or non-stop vibrations?”

Here are some great recommendations:

  • If you enjoy being stimulated across your vulva, you might enjoy broader vibrations with toys that have a bigger surface area, such as Le Wand Petite.
  • If you enjoy only certain parts stimulated, you may enjoy a more targeted vibrator with a smaller surface area, such as the Sona Cruise.
  • If you enjoy constant stimulation, you’ll want a motor that runs consistently, which is luckily most vibrators.
  • If you prefer a certain pattern, such as short pulses or a pattern of pauses, you’ll want a vibrator that offers settings, such as the Laya II.
  • If you want the element of vibrating and thrusting, there are some that stimulate penetrative sex, such as the Stronic Surf Pulsator.

You may also want to consider if you want one motor or multiple motors. If you’re just starting out, a single motor will do the trick as you discover what exactly you like in your vibrator. Smaller and one-type vibrators often have single motors.

Combo vibrators, such as the Lelo Soraya rabbit vibrator, have two motors that work independently, giving you control over the amount of stimulation you receive internally and externally.

For those who aren’t sure what kind of vibration they enjoy, there are a few that offer different patterns and strengths you can switch through — like the Fin, which is non-phallic shaped and held between two fingers.

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“Whether this is your first vibrator or your hundredth, always make sure you’re buying a toy that uses body-safe materials,” Sinclair recommends.

Materials is one area where expertise and experience doesn’t discriminate — whether buying for you or a friend, get the best.

The hands-down best vibrator material? Silicone. It’s nonporous, easy to clean, super soft, and all-around body safe.

Important note about silicone toys: Make sure to only use water-based lube on them as silicone bonds with silicone and will turn your toys into goop.

For those looking to spend less money, there’s another body-safe material called ABS plastic that’s also nonporous, but not as soft as silicone.

Certain metals such as silver and gold are also safe, but these products tend to be more expensive. The No. 1 rule when it comes to material is to avoid jelly-like vibrators at all costs. They’re porous and will hold bacteria, making them unsafe for the genitals.

Finally, you’ll want to consider price. Vibrators can range from $10 to thousands of dollars and a higher price doesn’t always mean higher quality.

There are generally four levels of vibrator price: beginner, mid-range, high-end, and luxury.

$ to $$$

  • Beginner. You’ll find options such as bullet vibrators and simple internal vibrators. I find that Good Vibrations has an excellent selection of toys under $25.
  • Mid-range. You’ll find an excellent selection of toys for $25 to $75, including excellent toys for beginners and seasoned vibers alike, such as the JimmyJane Intro 4 or the Iroha Mini Vibe.
  • High-end. You’ll find incredible toys that range from $75 to $250, such as LeWand Rechargeable Vibrating Massager and the Mona 2.
  • Luxury. If high spending turns you on, then these big spenders are for you. Luxury vibrators can cost thousands of dollars, such as this personalized rideable vibrator, The Cowgirl, and the 24-karat gold $15,000 luxury vibrator, Inez by Lelo.

In the end, finding the perfect vibrator for you is a journey and it doesn’t have to be one-stop.

Starting with a cheaper vibrator provides lots of options to find what you love and then invest in a more suited-to-you toy.

Better yet, visit your local sex-positive sex store and test out a few vibrators on your hand to get a feel for the sensation. Beginners should start out by asking about price, size, and versatility. For more information, I love the well-stocked Babeland and Good Vibrations websites.

If you can’t get to a store, you can always give them a call and talk with a sales associate who can help you find exactly what you need.

Whatever choice you end up making, remember to spend time learning your new toy and your own body. May you be filled with pleasure!

Healthline and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link above.


Hannah Rimm is a writer, photographer, and generally creative person in New York City. She writes primarily about mental and sexual health and her writing and photography has appeared in Allure, HelloFlo, and Autostraddle. You can find her work at HannahRimm.com or follow her on Instagram.