Saturday, 3 January 2009 | Tags: , ,

Popular sex toys enjoyed on their own or with a partner, vibrators come in many shapes, sizes, colours, textures, and intensities. We recruited some willing testers to help us narrow the field.

The Basics

  • A vibrator is a device used by both women and men to stimulate different parts of the body for sexual pleasure.

  • Vibrators are powered in one of two ways:

    • Electric plug-in vibrators tend to produce the greatest intensity and have many settings. Running out of power is not a worry. Note: some people find even the lowest setting of electric vibrators to be too intense.

    • Battery-operated vibrators provide a more gentle vibration and are more portable. The amount of power a battery-operated vibrator puts out depends on the batteries it uses (e.g. one that runs on C batteries will probably be stronger than one on AA batteries.)

  • Prices for vibrators vary greatly and usually depend on the materials, electronic design, and power. Electric are typically more expensive, battery-operated usually less expensive.

  • More power isn’t necessarily better. Vibration intensity really depends on personal preference.

  • Some stores have demo models for you to try on your hand. To get an idea about how much power you can tolerate, turn the vibrator on and place it under your nose. If can’t tolerate it very long, find one that is gentler.

  • Material and construction of the vibrator add to the sensation. For penetration, start with a soft-textured vibrator. Hard plastic vibrators are best for external stimulation.

  • Try to avoid vibrators with a lot of seams and cracks, which can collect potentially harmful bacteria and are harder to clean.

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Other Considerations

  • Buying a vibrator in person can be embarrassing for a first timer. Take a friend, use the “I’m getting a gag bridal shower gift” line, or try shopping online. Some department stores also carry massagers with special attachments that aren’t obvious sex toys.

  • Keep an eye out for “sex toy parties”, which are like Tupperware parties, without the Tupperware. Or better yet, book your own and invite a group of friends.

  • You should clean your vibrator after use. Most stores carry cleaners suited to the various materials. Silicone requires special cleaning treatment, so be sure to consult the sales associate for info. If you’re concerned about cleanliness, use a condom on it each time.


We recruited some willing participants to test these vibrator products behind closed doors, and also took them to a physics lab:

  • Hitachi Magic Wand (electric): $80
  • Water Dancer (battery, pocket/purse size): $35
  • Rabbit Pearl (battery, silicone, dual-mode made famous on “Sex and the City”): $105
  • Fukuoku (fits on end of finger and runs on watch battery): $35
  • Patchy Paul (battery, silicone): $70

Lab Test

We asked a physicist to hook each vibrator up to a machine to measure speed and intensity.

  • The Rabbit Pearl won the race operating at 12,000 revolutions per minute.

  • When it came to raw power the Hitachi Magic Wand blew the others away. The vibrations were ten times more powerful than the battery models (but this isn’t necessarily a good thing).

Sound Volume Test

If privacy is important to you then pay attention to these results:

  • The Hitachi had the loudest hum of the bunch.

  • The Rabbit Pearl and the Water Dancer were the quietest.

Usage Test

When it came to the real deal, we got some good input from our participants:

  • The Water Dancer wasn’t too strong or too soft.

  • The Hitachi had a lot of power and was preferred by one tester, but the rest felt it was too strong.

  • Patchy Paul had a soft, more natural texture. Using Patchy Paul with the Water Dancer was a popular experience. It is also a good one to try with a partner.

  • The Rabbit Pearl, with its dual touch-points and variety of settings was fun to play with and provided a lot of variety.

  • The Fukuoku had the smallest battery and the lowest intensity. Most testers felt it wasn’t really strong enough to do a good job.


This is a very personal product and, while our tests offer a guide, you are the one who has to decide what’s right for you.



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