Should you buy a clitoral vibrator?
Sex toys can be a godsend for people who are unable to reach orgasm easily from manual masturbation, oral sex, or penetrative intercourse alone. But buying sex toys can be an intimidating experience. High-quality sex toys are often expensive and nonreturnable, you have hundreds of models to choose from, and the criteria for what makes a good sex toy can be highly subjective. We looked for toys that will work well for most people, including beginners.
How we picked and tested
We identified several vibrator features that were most important to our experts, our testers, and a general sample of sex-toy owners:
- Sufficiently powerful stimulation to induce an orgasm
- Multiple or variable speeds
- High-quality, easy-to-clean, nonporous body-safe material like silicone or ABS plastic
- Long battery life
- User-friendliness and intuitive functions
If a toy was rechargeable, versatile, durable, small (most of our testers, though not all, preferred smaller toys), affordable, waterproof, easy to clean, or covered by a solid warranty, we considered those attributes to be bonuses. Many users also desired an aesthetically pleasing toy with multiple color options.
We considered 55 different models, and tested eight of them. Our test panel consisted of seven people with vaginas, of various ages and sexual orientations. We instructed our testers to use each toy at least once, preferably twice or more, and to incorporate these toys into partner play when possible.
In addition, we independently tested interactions with silicone lubricant (more about this topic in our full guide), evaluated battery life by cycling the devices on and off for 20 minutes until they died, assessed overheating by letting them run for extended periods, and tested the function of waterproof vibrators.
Our pick: Magic Wand Rechargeable
We recommend the Magic Wand Rechargeable, an improved version of the ultrapowerful Magic Wand Original. The cordless Rechargeable is well worth the additional investment, as it offers twice as many levels of stimulation as the Original model, plus an assortment of vibration patterns, an easy-to-clean silicone head, and a rechargeable battery that works with or without the power cord.
Virtually all of our testers reported that the Magic Wand was the only toy in our test group that could consistently bring them to an intense climax quickly, intuitively, effectively, and predictably. It offers four strength settings, and converts into a vibrating insertable G-spot/P-spot stimulator or a penile-masturbation sleeve via an attachment.
A powerful corded option: Doxy Massager
The Doxy Massager is similar to the Magic Wand in power, function, and price, but it offers several distinct advantages: It looks sleeker, and is available in four colors, as opposed to the Magic Wand's clinical white. It also offers eight vibration speeds, twice as many as our top pick.
However, unlike the Magic Wand Rechargeable, the Doxy still needs to be plugged into the wall to operate. Also, the softer texture of the head has a tendency to reduce the perceived intensity of the vibrations, even though the Doxy Massager has a higher top speed.
A battery-operated vibrator for less than $30: Tokidoki x Lovehoney Sugar Rush 7 Function Girl Power Vibrator
Our tester initially purchased the Girl Power Vibrator, from the British sex-toy retailer Lovehoney's collaboration with Italian lifestyle brand Tokidoki, as a cheap and cheerful collector's item. Toys this stylish tend not to be affordably priced and typically don't work well, but this vibrator is the exception to that rule. Our tester loved the toy's versatile shape and firm texture, and found that it was exceptionally powerful for a battery-operated model. It offers three speeds and four vibration patterns. The only major drawback is that it's non-rechargeable, requiring two AA batteries to operate.
Lovehoney is discontinuing all four versions of the Tokidoki-branded vibrator that is our budget pick. As an alternative, consider the Fifty Shades of Grey Charlie Tango Classic Vibrator; it's the same model, but with different branding.
For suction and vibration: Womanizer W500
Despite its unsettling name, the Womanizer W500 is one of the few toys that actually live up to the hype surrounding their gimmick—in this case, a silicone nozzle that latches onto the clitoris, stimulating it with a combination of suction and vibration. Our tester reported that this toy felt unlike any other toy she'd tried, with a sensation that was focused, gentle, yet intense in a totally different way than a traditional vibrator, providing a sensation similar to oral sex. The biggest drawback of the Womanizer is the price tag: At $200-plus, it exceeds most people's budget for a sex toy.
Also great: Zumio Classic
Though the Zumio Classic's unusual shape resembles that of a thermometer or oral hygiene device, the toy's narrow stem and rounded tip deliver sensations more precisely than any other vibrator we have tested. This toy is ideal for those who like to focus stimulation on a particular part of the clitoris or vulva, as the small surface area of the oscillating hard plastic tip causes the vibrations to feel more concentrated in the areas they come in contact with. This makes the Zumio excellent for partner play or solo use. However, it costs nearly as much as our top pick, the Magic Wand, and is largely unable to match its broad, deep internal clitoral stimulation.
This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.
Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.