It’s been three years since we first wrote about the new class of high-design vibrators, the ones that look less like penises (or rabbits) and more like objets d’art. Since then, we have seen a steady influx of sculptural vibrators that can be purchased everywhere from Anthropologie to Walmart and left out on a nightstand without catching a second glance. These vibrators could not appear more different from what’s been available in the past, which Lisa Finn, brand manager at Babeland, calls “a lot of large, pink, sparkly phallic machines.” Instead, they are designed to ergonomically fit a wide array of bodies, delivering powerful orgasms while passing for a prop from a tasteful Instagram photo shoot or a knickknack found on the bookshelf in someone’s Zoom background. Companies such as Maude, Tenga, Dame, and Crave now sell sex toys the same way any other wellness or lifestyle product is sold. The cool, placid branding makes a deliberate point: Carnal pleasure doesn’t need to be raunchy, gendered, or silly. It can just be nice (not to mention nice-looking).
We asked Finn and Dr. Manuela Maria Vazquez, board-certified OB/GYN and founder of LaMaria, for advice on picking the best high-design vibes. Check the materials, they said, and know that medical-grade or body-safe silicone is nonporous and therefore more hygienic — plus it feels more sensual against your skin. In addition, Vazquez tells us that with her own patients, she suggests reading the reviews and asking friends what toys they like, if you’re comfortable with that. As best as you can, have a sense of whether your anatomy responds to external or internal stimulation and whether you prefer strong, rumbling vibrations or more tingly, buzzing sensations, as this is what will most determine how much pleasure you get out of whatever you buy. And pay attention to how a device charges — people have surprisingly strong opinions about USB cords versus magnetic ports.
To find the best new high-design vibrators, the ones that work so well you’d recommend them to a friend, we asked 14 women (who preferred to remain anonymous) to test-drive best-selling toys from Womanizer, Maude, Dame, Crave, We-Vibe, Lelo, Tenga, and Je Joue, as well as a few highly anticipated celebrity-endorsed options, and 17 out of the 23 they tested made the cut. To help us compare and contrast vibrators, we asked testers to consider a long list of criteria, including material, mechanics, ease of use, aesthetics, price, packaging, and overall satisfaction. Each tester was given a period of two weeks to fully get to know the toy they were testing. To help distinguish one person’s opinion from the next, we have given each tester a letter from A to N. And because there are new vibrators launching all the time (most notably one from Goop that has been sold out for four weeks straight and Maude’s new Drop vibrator), we will continue to add products to this list as we are able to test them.
Best overall vibrator
The Strategist’s best-selling vibrator, the Vibe from Maude launched two years ago with a highly SFW gray-and-forest-green website that looks more like a place to buy linen goods or silk button-downs than sex toys. The Vibe is made with 100 percent platinum-grade silicone (Restriction of Hazardous Substances passed/FDA grade), has three speeds controlled via one button, comes in a small canvas zip pouch, and charges with a USB. Maude founder Éva Goicochea was recently joined by a new co-creative director, actress Dakota Johnson, and just launched a second egg-shaped vibrator called the Drop (see below). We tested the Vibe, a gender-neutral slim teardrop that tapers into a round point. It can be purchased on its own or bought with condoms and a lubricant that come in packaging as pretty as Aēsop’s.
What we think: “This one was amazing. It worked so fast that I was like, Whoa, not even ready for it,” says Tester A, who has owned several vibrators and prefers higher-powered ones. “And I didn’t think it would work because it looks like a Muji mister.” Tester B, who has had little success with vibrators in the past and likes a buzz that’s medium in intensity, had the same reaction. “I got it out without expecting much, purely because the company is relatively new and we live in a world where the Hitachi Magic Wand from the 1970s is still a huge hit. The best way to describe this was that an orgasm just zipped out of me. I was caught totally by surprise.” Tester B adds that her boyfriend liked this one best out of all the vibrators she (and he) tried. “It’s easy to hold one end and use the other end on myself, and he can feel the vibrations even without any direct contact. He’s now asked more than once during sex for ‘that cone thing.’”
Buy if: You want an almost guaranteed orgasm in under two minutes. Or if you want a no-frills, high-powered device that is, at least aesthetically, a blank slate. The pale-gray, non-shape shape means the Maude Vibe works equally well for solo use or with another person. And its small size makes it a great beginner toy for anyone who is curious about anal play.
Best starter vibrators
Tenga is most well known for its strokers and penis-based toys. But the Japanese brand makes some of the most beautifully designed vibrators (that don’t look like vibrators) on the market. Tenga’s Iroha line looks like a sampling of fancy perfume bottles, mochi ice cream, seashells, and glazed ceramic jars. It features body-safe silicone that is buttery soft and satisfyingly squishy, plexi display cases that also charge the toys, and pretty pastel colors. We tested six vibrators from Tenga: the Minamo, the Yuki, the Rin, the Temari, the Kushi, and the Tori. They are all pleasant to look at and pleasing to hold, but two of them stood out as our favorites to actually use: the Tori, which resembles a tiny bird and features five vibration strengths plus two pulse patterns, and the Kushi, which looks like a perfect delicate seashell you would take home from the beach.
What we think: Testers H and M agree that these six Tenga toys have the softest, squishiest silicone they’ve ever come across in a sex toy. “Since I prefer more intense vibration, I had the best experience with the Tori, because it has a stronger motor and additional vibration settings compared to the Yuki and Minamo,” says Tester H, who appreciates that the shape of the Tori provided sensation to her entire vulva and that the pointy tip could be used for more precise stimulation. In general, Tester H found the vibrations of all three Tenga toys she tested to be on the buzzy side of the spectrum. “While the Yuki and Minamo were a bit too gentle for my liking, I did find that all three toys created a very slow buildup to orgasm, and the subtle sensations were good for teasing out multiple orgasms.” The one drawback she mentioned is that because the Tori and Yuki are so small, and because she had to use them for a longer period of time, she had to keep switching hands. Both testers love the fact that each toy comes with its own charging case. Plus, perhaps more than any other vibrator on this list, you can genuinely display these anywhere in your apartment, and guests would be none the wiser. Case in point: “When I left mine out on my nightstand, my mom asked me where I had bought my new sculptures from,” says Tester H.
Like the Tori, the Kushi had the strongest motor and the most vibration settings of the three toys Tester M tried. In fact, the Kushi was so intense that it didn’t take much buildup to orgasm at all. By contrast, the Rin was so gentle that it was a struggle to make it all the way to orgasm, and the Temari, while beautiful to look at and strong enough, was a little awkward to maneuver. The Kushi is the only one of the three that she tested both in bed and in the bath (all six of the Tenga toys tested are waterproof up to 20 inches), and it worked well in both situations, though it worked faster in the bath. Because the Kushi is nice enough to leave out, she can look at it all day and get excited about playing with it later that night. Overall, Tester M was very impressed with the Kushi, so much so that she is adding it to her permanent toy rotation. Most of all, she loves how the pointed tip and the multiple ridges transmit vibrations to all the right places. “This is the first time I truly understand the phrase ‘ribbed for her pleasure,’” she says.
Buy if: You want a 101-level toy that could easily be mistaken for an art object, you like a bit of a buildup to orgasm, or you’re on the sensitive side.
Je Joue has been around longer than most companies on this list, but it fits right in among the list of brands making minimalist luxury vibrators that could get lost among some ceramic sculptures — specifically, Je Joue’s pebble-shaped Mimi, which often appears on best-of lists. Along with the Maude Vibe, this is by far the most discreet vibrator we tried, especially if you buy the black one. It has five speeds and seven patterns, all operated via three buttons: a plus button, a minus button, and one for mixing up the rhythm.
What we think: Tester D, who prefers deeper motor power (and whose primary vibrator is a literal back massager), loved the Mimi. “I used the Mimi after I was using another one that I didn’t like, and it was like, Clunk!” (That clunk was an orgasm, if you couldn’t tell.) “Also, so soft,” Tester D adds. Tester B says the Mimi was similar to the Maude Vibe — noncontroversial looks, fits in easily during sex with another person — but because of the oval shape, it delivers broader pressure to the whole area around the clitoris, and therefore worked much more slowly. But it did work.
Buy if: You want a good middle-of-the-road vibrator that is slightly more mellow in motor power than the Maude Vibe and that has a greater variety of vibration rhythms. You really can’t go wrong with this one, whether for solo use or partner use.
Best travel vibrator
If you know Crave, it’s likely because of the Vesper — a long, skinny, bullet-shaped vibrator that can be worn on a chain and comes in silver, gold, and rose gold. The necklace was the idea of Ti Chang, the head industrial designer at Crave whose goal is to change the social stigma of sex toys by elevating their aesthetics. Not only is the golf-pencil-size Vesper incredibly portable, but it also charges conveniently in any USB port.
What we think: The Vesper is equally suited for solo or partner use on the go. Its hiding-in-plain-sight design means you can wear it out in public and use it pretty much anyplace where the spirit hits you. For such a slim vibrator, it has way more power than you’d expect and features four vibration settings: low, medium, high, and pulsing. “Sometimes my partner will pull it out of the bedside table by the chain, and it’s just sexy,” says Tester D, who loves wearing it like a provocative little secret. The Vesper doesn’t just look like fine jewelry; it’s made with stainless steel finished in one of three precious metals, all of which are body-safe and nonporous. Tester M has had the Vesper in rose gold for two years and counts it as her go-to vibrator for long weekend trips. “Because it’s so small, I can fit it easily in my toiletry bag or travel jewelry pouch, and I’m never worried about where to hide it in a hotel room or Airbnb — not to mention in the guest room at my parents’ house. It’s incredibly discreet, but the powerfully buzzy vibrations still work better than most of the bigger, more complicated vibrators I’ve tried,” she says, adding that she likes the way the metal glides easily against her vulva and warms up to her body temperature.
Buy if: You like buzzy vibrations and the idea of discreetly wearing your vibrator out of the house, you want something that’s easy to bring on road trips, or you are looking for a sexy gift for your partner. There’s nothing else out there like it.
Best ergonomic external vibrators
The Touch X is a compact vibrator made from silky-smooth silicone, and it has seven vibration patterns that truly feel different from one another and eight intensity levels. It has a slight figure-eight shape with a nipped-in middle that makes it easy to hold and a wider bottom half that fits nicely in your palm. Its curvy shape and flexible tip feel both sensual and a little bit elegant, but it’s probably not neutral enough to leave out on a nightstand. It does, however, come with a white satin pouch for storage, which wouldn’t be embarrassing to leave out. It has a two-hour battery life and comes with a USB cord that attaches magnetically to the vibrator, which is especially nice because there’s no internal port that can get gunked up with lube or soap. One cool feature is the travel lock: Just hold down the plus and minus buttons and the vibrator won’t accidentally turn on in your bag and kill the battery — or get you into an awkward TSA situation.
What we think: “On the box, the Touch X is described as the ‘Magic Multitasker,’ but I think it’d be more accurate to call it the ‘Magic Multi-Orgasm-er,’” says Tester I. Straddling the line between a design-y vibrator and a more obvious sex toy, it won’t double as a little modern sculpture (like the Maude) or necklace pendant (like the Crave), but it definitely doesn’t look like a cheesy gag gift from Spencer’s, either. What the Touch X lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for with its perfect — at least in Tester I’s opinion — shape and size. “As pretty as something like the Crave is, I doubt it’d be as ideally contoured to my anatomy as the Touch X, which feels like a natural extension of how I usually masturbate (externally with my fingertips), but with a buzz that made it a lot more exciting.” The tip slips smoothly beneath your labia to touch the head of the clitoris, but you can also use it outside the labia for gentler, less direct sensation. Though it has a powerful motor — especially at the higher-intensity levels — this vibrator is so quiet that you wouldn’t be able to hear it in another room (or even on the other end of a relatively large room). With buzzy vibes that can build from gentle to very intense, the Touch X works for pretty much any kind of sexy situation: You can start at the lower vibration levels and gradually make it more intense for a more drawn-out pleasure session, or you can crank it all the way up right away if you’re close to an orgasm but just need that little push over the edge. Because the vibrations are concentrated at the tip, the bottom side is both easy to hold on to and nice to use for softer, more muted sensations. If she had to pick a feature to critique, it’s a minor one. “I’d make the plus and minus symbols on the buttons raised, rather than indented, so it’s easier to know which one you’re pressing when you’re using the vibrator,” she says.
Buy if: You are new to vibrators, prefer external stimulation with plenty of vibration patterns to choose from, or need something nearly silent so your roommates won’t know every time you’re masturbating.
The Smile Makers Ballerina is a lovely object that looks sort of like a pointy egg and feels quite nice and hefty in the hand. It’s about 3.5 inches tall and made of smooth silicone gel, with just two small control buttons and a tiny hole for charging. Really discreet, in other words, and not intimidating at all. There are four speeds and three pulsation patterns, and you cycle through all seven modes with the bigger button (the smaller button will take you to the previous mode).
What we think: Tester G was drawn to the Ballerina’s premise as a vulva vibrator — one whose “organic shape cups the vulva into a luxurious embrace and delivers wholesome stimulation” — as she prefers external vibrators. “Nestling it against my body was intuitive,” she says, explaining that you place the pointed end on your clitoris and the broader end over your vulva, and it cups that whole area, though the sensations are concentrated in the clitoris. Overall, though, this toy was a little too gentle for Tester G, whose go-to vibrator is the Hitachi Magic Wand, which is really powerful. “I found myself alternating between the four-pulse and the highest speed, as the other modes felt a little too weak for my taste. Still, the highest speed is pretty manageable, and I found that I had to press it against my body in order to really feel it,” she says. But once she got into the right position, the orgasms came quickly, which is why she recommends it as an introductory vibrator for someone who’s just embarking on their sex-toy journey. “It’s friendly,” she says with a buzz that starts slow and soft and a design that’s “just so graspable.” She loves holding and squeezing it in her palm. On the downside, she says the $200 price tag is way too much, considering the Hitachi rechargeable model is only $90 and is much stronger, more versatile, and a little easier to switch to your preferred mode. Plus, you can get a bunch of entry-level vibrators for under $100. Overall, the Ballerina isn’t the first vibrator she would reach for, but because of how compact it is, she would consider bringing it along on a trip. And because it comes nicely packaged, with a satiny pouch for storage and a small charging cord, she could imagine it making a nice gift.
Buy if: If you’re looking for an entry-level vibrator that’s got a little extra going on, with an unassuming form that’s actually quite nice to look at and hold in your hand.
Best vibrator that also works on sore feet
Like the Vibe, Maude’s newest vibrator, the Drop, is made of 100 percent platinum-grade silicone and comes in two sleek colors: gray and green. It, too, has three speeds. What separates the Drop from the Vibe — beyond the obvious size and shape differences — is that the Drop is “intended as an all-body, erogenous zone body massager,” which is exactly how our tester tried it out.
What we think: Like the Vibe, the Drop’s motor is quite powerful — so much so that tester N, who prefers less vibration, found it to be a little overwhelming. Despite that, she says it is extremely quiet, which is a plus since her apartment walls are paper-thin. The shape is intended to fit in one’s palm, but even with her average sized hands she found it a tiny bit cumbersome, particularly during sex. “It’s just so … bulbous,” she says, adding that the shape made toggling between speeds while otherwise engaged not as easy as one would like. “Several times, I tried to turn it off, and accidentally turned it up,” she says. For other parts of the body, though, the Drop was easier to use and more successful too. After a long run, she decided to try the Drop on her tired muscles. “It felt weird at first. (A vibrator? On my calves?) And then it felt great. I later used it on the arches of my feet after a long day of walking, and I’ll never stop using it this way.” She says the Drop is easy to clean with any gentle soap and water.
Buy if: You like intense vibration in a quiet and small-ish package that you can use during sex or as a way to soothe tired muscles.
Best suction vibrators
Suction toys concentrate vibrations and pulses of air that feel similar to oral sex in a small round cup that fits around the clitoris. There are now a huge number of suction toys on the market, but Womanizer did it first, and it is still considered by many to be the best of the bunch. The Womanizer Premium has 12 intensity levels that you can manually toggle between as well as an autopilot mode that cycles through the various levels if you’d rather just turn it on and go. You can barely hear it once it’s under the covers, and it only starts working when it touches skin, which is a nice detail. Plus it’s completely waterproof, making it easy to clean, not to mention great for those who like to take their toys into the tub. Also, the Womanizer Premium comes with two easy-to-swap stimulator heads of different sizes, so it can work for lots of different body types and you can buy additional heads on its site.
What we think: As a rule, air-suction toys tend to produce a much deeper, fuller, and more intense orgasm than regular vibrators. And they get you there fast. “I’ve tried a bunch of air-suction toys at lower price points, and while some of them produce a similar orgasm, none can touch the thoughtful details in the Womanizer Premium’s design,” Tester H says. While the vaguely tonguelike shape may not be as high design as some of the other toys on this list, the functionality of it more than makes up for it. The toy nestles between your legs so you can go hands free if you want, and while the body of the toy doesn’t vibrate, it does feel good sitting against your vulva while the stimulator head goes to work on your clit. And it’s really easy to hold, so your hand doesn’t cramp during longer sessions. “I’ve had mine for a little over a year, and it’s more than earned its place of honor in my nightstand drawer. While it is pricey, if it ever broke, I would go without groceries to buy a new one. It’s become that essential to my life,” she says.
Buy if: You’re looking for a best-in-class air-suction toy.
The Liberty looks like a little pink avocado half with a white suction tip where you’d see the avocado pit. The cover (which attaches magnetically) looks like a full avocado and a little less like a sex toy. The specific edition of the Liberty that we tested out was designed in collaboration with singer Lily Allen, and her face is all over the packaging. Part of her partnership with Womanizer is a campaign to destigmatize pleasure and sexuality. The outer shell of the Liberty is hard plastic that isn’t very luxurious-feeling, but the underside that actually touches your body is a little softer. That part is made of medical-grade silicone that’s smooth but not quite as buttery soft as other toys on this list. It comes with a magnetic USB charging cord, two suction tips to accommodate different-size clitorises, a cool-looking magnetic cover, and a removable head that makes the vibrator easier to clean.
What we think: The Liberty buzzes like a traditional vibrator, but its main draw is the “Pleasure Air Technology” that creates a suction sensation to stimulate the clitoris without direct contact. It’s rather noisy, even at the lower levels; it gets a little louder when it’s in contact with your body and quieter when you pull it away. Compared to the Touch X, which Tester I also tried, the Liberty is about the same size. It fits comfortably in your palm and is designed to line up with the contours of your body. It also stays in place between the legs without having to hold on to it, which is a plus for hands-free play. To create a sucking sensation, the hollowed-out tip encircles your clitoris and delivers intense pulses of air. “Even though it doesn’t touch the clitoris directly, I found this feeling to be very intense and a little overwhelming, even at the lowest-intensity level,” says Tester I. For that reason, before you spend nearly $100 on this vibrator, you’d better be sure you like suction. Tester I realized that she prefers a more traditional buzzing feeling on or around the clitoris and that the suction wasn’t totally up her alley. However, If you do like this feeling, then the Liberty is probably a good buy since it has a powerful suction fe