Holigay Gift Guide 2013: Choosing the Perfect Vibrator

holigays-2013-banner[1]

Vibrators are equally awesome used alone or with a partner, which means that getting your activity partner a vibrator is different from getting her the underpants situation you find her most attractive in — sure, you might use it together, but it’s ultimately all about her.

Which is why this gift guide is for anyone choosing a vibrator, whether you’re looking for your first vibrator or your latest.

The variety of vibrators can be overwhelming. To help narrow it down, think about the following things:

Power:
Do you want softer or stronger vibrations? (People often talk about this as the difference between buzzy and rumbly sensation. Buzzy vibes hit the surface and for many people have to be extremely powerful to do the trick, while rumbly vibes are more penetrating.) Do you want to be able to change the level of vibration? Have it buzz in patterns? Make up those patterns yourself?

Location:
What body parts do you want to use it on — just your clit? Your clit and sometimes for penetration? Do you want to put it in your asshole? Do you want to be able to give (mostly) platonic massages with it?

Materials:
Do you have any allergies or sensitivities you might need to pay attention to? (And though most feminist sex shops no longer stock toys with phthalates, look at the materials list to make sure your future toys are phthalate-free.) Do you want something softer or something harder? Do you want the surface to be smooth or textured?

Power source:
Do you come fairly easily, or do you want something that can run for hours if you need it to? What suits you better: disposable batteries, rechargeable batteries or something that plugs into the wall?

Size:
Do you want to be able to take it with you almost anywhere, or do you have a nice big drawer for it to live in? Do you want the vibrations to hit a wider area (as they do with bigger vibes) or be more concentrated? Do you want it to be able to fit between you and your partners, or are you okay with working around it accordingly, or do you just want to use it alone?

Noise:
What is your living or bedroom situation, and how much do you care if people hear your vibrator?

Waterproofing:
Do you want to use it in the shower? Or with buckets of lube? Or have it be particularly easy to clean?

Color and aesthetics:
The least important still-important factor. If you do not like the color pink, having an offensively neon pink sex toy will not make you feel as sexy as a toy in another color, for instance. There’s been a move towards more aesthetically pleasing sex toys, and even though a lot of toys still come mostly in pink, there’s never been a better time to find a vibrator that looks as sexy as you want it to feel.

Price:
Is this your first-ever vibrator or an investment piece for an already-full box? Have you eaten instant 23-cent ramen non-ironically in the last month? Do you know exactly what you want, or are you mostly curious?

Once you have an idea of what you might want, it’s time to choose a vibrator! The following are a few of the most common styles of vibrator, with recommendations for each.

The Gateway Drug Vibrator

babeland-bullet-vibrator

The Babeland Silver Bullet

The classic bullet vibrator is tiny, discrete and inexpensive. Bullet vibrators are a good choice if you want to try out the idea of the vibrator and want to spend less than $20. (The kind without external batteries also fit into the bases of some dildos or into pockets in some harnesses.) Oh Joy Sex Toy’s Erika Moen calls the bullet “the little device that turned me into the Delightful Pervert you see before you,” so you know there’s something to it.

Because of the low price point, however, bullet vibes are not particularly powerful, feature buzzier surface vibrations and don’t last as long as their larger, slightly more expensive counterparts. Many also eat through watch batteries like tic tacs.

The Babeland Silver Bullet is tiny, zippy and has an external battery pack and controls, making it easier to change the vibration intensity when you’re using it. For a cordless version, try the three-speed Jimmyjane’s Iconic Bullet.

The “Cadillac of Vibrators”

The Magic Wand

The Magic Wand

I don’t have any evidence that the Magic Wand (formerly the Hitachi Magic Wand) is so named because if you have not been able to orgasm through other means it will probably feel like magic in your pants, but that’s how I think of it.

The Magic Wand is basically a large vibrating ball on a non-vibrating stick. It’s electric, has two levels of intensity (though the wand controller can give you more nuance) and has 80 billion possible attachments for changing the way the vibration feels and for adding penetration. It isn’t particularly pretty, and it’s big enough to be a pain to travel with, but it will absolutely get the job done.

(Read Autostraddle’s anonymous review or anonymous g-chat discussion about the Magic Wand.)

The Vibe For People Who Were Really Into Sex and the City And Somehow Don’t Own One Yet

The Ina 2

The Ina 2

Rabbit-style vibrators feature a dildo that may or may not be designed to hit your g-spot and a smaller finger designed to hit your clit. Depending on the toy, both parts might vibrate together or separately and the top part might move independently. Depending on your body, it might or might not hit you in the right place.

The Rabbit Habbit is the updated version of the classic, now without body-unsafe phthalates. If you really really want to try this specific object, follow your vagina. (I don’t really recommend it, though.)

Otherwise, the Ina 2 is a more modern, much sexier-looking and far better-designed toy. The Ina 2 has settings that range from rumbly to buzzy, a curve that aims for your g-spot and a hard velvety silicone exterior.

The Best Stealth Vibrator

The 8GB Crave Duet

The 8GB Crave Duet

Especially if it’s your first, you might be really concerned that, even though you want to own a vibrator, someone else might know you own a vibrator.

Vibrators that look like USB keys are an easy and discreet option. Though most are about as powerful as bullets and roughly the same size, they really don’t look like what they are. Some even double as actual USB keys, such as the 8GB Crave Duet. For a buzzy silicone option, try the Lovehoney Flash. (Read Autostraddle’s anonymous review of the Lovehoney Flash.)

The Form 2 is also a great option because it’s little, it’s powerful, and it doesn’t look anything like what people think of when they think of a vibrator — if it’s charging next to your bed and a bottle of lube, it might be obvious what it is, but mostly it just looks like a miscellaneous design-y object. (Read Autostraddle’s anonymous review of the Form 2.)

The G-Spot Vibrator

The Mona 2

The Mona 2

G-spot vibrators combine all the joys of a regular vibrator with the fun of penetration. Though you can use them on your clit if you want to, it’s not what they do best.

The Mona 2 has relatively deep vibrations and a wide girth. It’s slightly longer than its earlier model, and “100% more powerful.”

There’s also the Minna Ola, which has a gentler curve but a really neat user interface. (Read Autostraddle’s anonymous review of the Minna Ola.)

The Clit Vibe That Stays In Place With Penetration

The We-Vibe 4

The We-Vibe 4

Some vibrators are designed to be used without you holding them in place. Previously, cock rings, awkward strap-on situations and bullets nestled in a pocket in your strap-on were the best options for hands-free vibrators.

The We-Vibe 4, however, is a vibrator that you wear internally — half of it presses against your g-spot and half nestles against your clit, so it stays in place during penetration, under a harness or while your hands do other things or people. The latest version has a remote, ten speeds and six patterns of vibration and a waterproof silicone casing. Best of all, the We-Vibe 2 and We-Vibe 3 are now significantly cheaper.

The Vibrator That Thrusts

stronic-eins

Pulsators are a whole new category of vibrator that move back and forth instead of vibrating in one spot, which means that — if you use the right amount of lube (a lot) and can get them to stay where they’re supposed to be (a challenge) — they feel like they’re thrusting instead of vibrating.

The Stronic Eins is the first in a line of pulsators. It’s big, waterproof and heavy enough to be really rumbly on even the lightest settings. (Read Autostraddle’s anonymous review of the Stronic.)

The Very Very Expensive Vibrator

The Yva

The Yva

For the vulva that has everything, the gold Lelo Yva comes in at $3,900. Lelo actually makes a more expensive vibrator, the $15,000 gold Lelo Inez, but that is an amount so high it is almost comical. (The Nea and the Lily are essentially the same model in far less expensive finishes.)

What vibrator do you have your eye on right now?


Visit the Autostraddle StoreShopping online? Use our affiliates!

Avatar of Carolyn

Carolyn is the NSFW Editor for Autostraddle.com. She is also a freelance copy editor and writer, and her work has appeared in Bitch, Xtra!, Jezebel, the Billfold, and other places. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 283 articles for us.

17 Comments

  1. Thumb up 14

    Please log in to vote

    Can Autostraddle do a post one day that’s “how to buy sex toys if you are a poor and starving artist who also wants to have great orgasms while still being able to afford food?” because that would be great. (Wow that sounds passive aggressive. I don’t mean it like that. *flail*)

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      I second this so, so much. I know to a certain extent it’s kind of a “get what you pay for” situation, but I also really doubt I’m alone in not having $80-$150 lying around for a new toy. There are always bullets, but…

      • Thumb up 3

        Please log in to vote

        The Magic Wand is relatively inexpensive, as sex toys go, and it’s a far better return on investment than other sex toys. (At least for me, YMMV, of course.)

        Cost: $48.32 on Amazon, $54.95 on Babeland. All in all, cheaper than the Lelo products. Certainly not cheap, but also only the cost of about 2.5 bullets.

        Pros: Amazing orgasms. You can one day buy a speed controller and insertable add-ons. You can use it for back massages (it gives GREAT back massages). You can possibly ask your parents for a back massager for Christmas, but that’ll depend on your parents. It plugs into the wall, so it never dies.

        Cons: It does cost $50. It plugs in, so it’s not portable. It’s loud as hell. (Seriously, sometimes my gf thinks they’re doing yardwork out back when no, it’s just me.) It’s large – mine barely fits into my bedside table, and even then I just leave it plugged in all the time.

        When I started saving up for my Lelo Gigi (which was like $130, I was in grad school and I decided I was done with cheap vibrators) I mentally set aside a dollar every time I thought about wanting one. I quickly got to $130, and I bought one. Could you try doing that with actual dollars? I know $50 is a big chunk of change, but every time you think about wanting one, see if you can find some money to put in a piggie bank somewhere?

        If this advice is insensitive, I’m sorry, but if you/someone is lamenting a price point of $80-$130, I want you to know that it’s not QUITE that much.

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      Hello yes I can help you! I’m a starving artist/student (who admittedly works at a sex store but hey) and my #1 recommendation is figure out what you orgasm from most easily (clit, g-spot, whatevs) and save a little a week and eventually buy something rechargeable! That way, it’s a one-pop expenditure, and you’re always guaranteed orgasms when you want ‘em as long as you put it back on charge last time you used it. :)

      Basically for me this meant a one-time spend of ~£40 (~$55-60?) on a rechargeable magic wand vibrator and my life has improved so so much. I promise it is worth sticking out the wait just to have sweet sweet rechargeable vibe goodness.

  2. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    No, toys for us who like(or is the only option atm) poker in the back?

    That said those usb ones look interesting, but it sadly doesn’t look like you can use the usb in the computer and the vib at the same time.

  3. Thumb up 5

    Please log in to vote

    The Hitachi Magic Wand is a life changer, and can be found online for as little as $30. I’ve never been impressed with the most expensive didlers, the sparkle ponies of the bedside drawer. After the Hitachi, the only thing that’s going to best it is something with the same starter as a pull mower.

  4. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    The $15,000 vibrator is such a weird thing. Like, it only seems like you’d get something that needlessly expensive as a status symbol, but… are there people who show off their sexy toys to their friends? Like, “I masturbate in style” I just?

    Well, if there are people like that, they sound interesting and I want to meet them.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.