Do you want a silicone vibrator for a soft and comfortable feel or do you want a plastic one with stronger vibrations? Learn how different materials can affect your vibrator so you know can make an informed decision when you're ready to buy a new vibe. 

Vibrator Materials: Pros & Cons

Picking the right material for your new toy is nearly as important as deciding what type you want. The vibrator’s material affects countless factors including its price, how you use it, and even its life-span. When you're buying a vibe, there are three main factors for you to consider when it comes to material.

• Firm or Flexible: Can you bend the material into different shapes or does it remain stuck in its original form? Many people find flexible materials more comfortable to use since they can bend easily to fit your body. On the other hand, firm materials are easier to insert and remove and can be more stimulating.

• Smooth or Textured: Some vibrator materials have a naturally smooth and sleek surface for easy penetration. While other types have a rough or textured surface for better vaginal stimulation.

• Vibration Transmission: Have you ever stuck your head underwater and listened to someone talking and then listened to them in the air? It can make a pretty big difference, and the basic principle even applies to vibrations. Some vibrator materials are simply better at transmitting vibrations than others. Generally speaking, firmer materials translate sensations better than flexible materials, but that’s not always the case.

Plastic Vibrators

Adam & Eve Love Bullet Plastic Vibrator

The material of choice for budget-minded customers, plastic vibrators are popular for their low price, vivid colors, and extremely smooth surface. Plastic is a firm material that easily transfers vibrations, which leads to more powerful stimulation. Plus, plastic vibes are also extremely easy to clean and maintain.

On the down side, plastic toys tend to be very basic designs with little to no special features. Most feature a relatively weak motor that can wear out quickly with heavy use.

Plastic vibrators are good at clitoral stimulation, overall massage, as well as vaginal and anal penetration. With their low price, these toys are an excellent choice for someone interested in a first-time vibe.

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Latex, PVC & Rubber Vibrators

Adam & Eve Magic Massager Rubber Vibrator

They might go by different names, but these materials are all related together with similar features and very minor differences. Durable enough to stand up to whatever you can dish out, rubber-based vibrators are low priced and offer more special features than plastic ones. They are also firm enough for easy penetration, but they also have a little flexibility for increased comfort. They tend to be simple to clean.

On the other hand, rubber, PVC and latex toys are usually extremely thick, which weakens vibrations. Rubber-based materials are semi-porous with tacky exteriors, which makes them harder to clean and somewhat sticky to the touch. This makes lube a necessity, but rubber-based vibes are incompatible with petroleum-based lubes like KY Jelly. Combine the two, and you can literally melt your vibrator. These type of toys also tend to be rather limited in color to either black or white.

Rubber-based vibrators are excellent for deep vaginal penetration. With their low price and rugged durability, these vibes are great for energetic users who tend to be a little rough with their toys.

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Jelly Vibrators

Adam & Eve Blue Dolphin Jelly Vibrator

Jelly vibrators were hugely popular just a few years ago, but they’re extremely rare today. Jelly vibes have a consistency similar to hard-boiled eggs, resulting in a smooth and flexible material that does an excellent job transmitting vibrations.

For years, jelly provided an excellent balance between usability and cost – making it the material of choice for many mid-range and luxury vibrators. A health scare over phthalates, however, prompted many sex toy makers to stop making jelly vibes completely and switch to TPE/TPR instead. The few jelly vibrators still around are now phthalate free.

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TPE & TPR Vibrators

Wild G-Spot TPE Vibrator

TPE and TPR are some of the most widely used materials in vibrators, along with silicone and plastic. While the two types are chemically distinct, there’s very little practical difference between them when it comes to making vibes and other sex toys. Even sex toy experts get the two materials confused sometimes. TPE/TPR were originally developed as phthalate-free versions of jelly. As such, they are moderately soft and flexible while remaining firm enough for easy penetration. Compared to other materials, TPE/TPR are softer then rubber but firmer than realistic materials. TPE/TPR is commonly used in mid-priced vibrators, especially rabbit, G-Spot and clitoral vibes.

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Realistic Vibrators

Real Feel 9 Inch Wallbanger Realistic Vibrator

Realistic materials are specially formulated to mimic the look, feel, and other properties of human skin. This is why they are commonly used in realistic vibrators and other toys designed to be as natural and as lifelike as possible. Realistic vibes usually feature a soft exterior with a firm interior, created by the motor and internal structure.

But this enhanced realism comes at a price. Realistic materials tend to be somewhat more costly than others, so you can expect to pay more for a vibrator made out of Cyberskin than a similar one made of jelly. Vibrators made from realistic materials come in a limited range of colors and shapes and might be somewhat weaker than other vibes because realistic materials absorb the vibrations slightly. Additionally, these toys also require special care and can be damaged with rough use. Realistic vibes are porous like jelly vibrators, making it easy for them to attract and trap dust, dirt and other materials. You can solve this problem by carefully storing your toys in a safe place and putting a condom around them before use. Realistic materials also require a special renewal powder. Similar to baby or talcum powder, the renewal powder is used after cleaning to preserve the unique feel and properties of Cyberskin and other realistic materials. If you neglect to use the renewal powder, then your realistic material vibrator will become sticky to the touch and lose its life-like properties.

Realistic material vibrators are excellent for vaginal penetration and G-Spot stimulation. they make an ideal choice for someone interested in a more life-like experience.

Sex toy manufacturers tend to have their own patented formula for making realistic toys. This means realistic materials is actually a catch-all name for several different types of materials, including Cyberskin and UR3.

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Silicone Vibrators

Adam & Eve Silicone G-Gasm Rabbit Vibrator

Probably the most popular material used in sex toys, silicone is incredibly versatile and loaded with all kinds of special benefits. To begin with, silicone is considered one of the healthiest materials. It’s hypoallergenic, which makes it safe for people with sensitive skin or severe allergies. And it’s also non-porous, which means it won’t attract dirt, dust or hairs like other materials. Silicone is extremely durable and naturally retains its shape. No matter how many times you bend it or how far you stretch it, silicone toys will always return to their original design. Generally speaking, silicone is extremely smooth and sleek. Silicone vibrators, however, can be flexible or firm. It depends on how the toy is designed and the overall thickness of the silicone. Silicone’s durability makes it great at transmitting vibrations.

On the other hand, silicone vibrators do cost more than average. And they can also be damaged if they come into contact with silicone-based lube or other silicone toys.

All in all, silicone’s many benefits more than outweigh its few downsides. Silicone makes an excellent material for vibrators and other sex toys – especially if you want to get the biggest bang for your buck.

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Metal Vibrators

Rocks Off 80mm Metal Vibrator

If you want to make a statement, metal vibrators are the way to go. With their ultra-smooth surface and stylish good looks, metal vibes not only look good but they pack a powerful punch! The firmness of metal makes it excellent for transmitting sensations. Metal toys also tend to feel stronger than other types to greatly enhance your fun. Since they tend to be more expensive, metal vibrators usually are highly durable with powerful, long-lasting motors.

Interestingly enough, metal vibes have many common features found in silicone and glass toys. They are hypoallergenic and non-porous, which makes them safe to use and easy to clean. Starting off cool to the touch, they rapidly warm up and retain heat – making these toys a great choice for temperature play.

On the downside, metal vibrators tend to have a very basic design with none of the special features you’d typically find in other toys. On average, metal vibrators tend to be more expensive. Even basic metal toys can run $60 or so, while higher-end vibes made from titanium or 24K gold can cost thousands.

Metal vibrators are great for vaginal or anal penetration, plus they make great accessories for playful bondage games. If you’re an experienced vibrator user and interested in a durable and high-status model, then you’ll want to add a metal vibe to your collection.

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