Every Type Of Vibrator, Explained By Sex Experts

by | Jun 14, 2023 | Toys

If you’ve spent even a few seconds perusing a sex toy website, you probably know that there are thousands of different vibrators on the market. Bullets! Wands! Rabbits! Oh my! With so many products out there, it’s only natural to feel slightly overwhelmed about which toy (or two) to add to your cart, especially if you’re new to the wonderful world of sex toys.

The good news, though, is that with so many options, there’s something for everyone. “Think about what kind of sensations you know that you already like, whether that’s your fingers, a water faucet, a tongue,” says Rachel Wright, LMFT, a licensed sex and relationship therapist. “Whatever that may be, there’s a toy that’s job is to recreate that—but even longer and more steady.”

All vibrators fall into seven main categories: bullet vibrators, wand massagers, wearable vibrators, suction vibrators, rabbit vibrators, G-spot vibrators and vibrating anal toys. Some toys feature some crossover between the two categories; for example, the WH editor-approved LELO Enigma is a suction vibrator and a G-spot stimulator in one. But generally, honing in on one of these categories will help you narrow down the perfect toy for you.

If you’re ready to find your match, read on for a full breakdown of all seven categories and how they work, along with product recommendations from experts.

Meet the Experts: Rachel Wright, LMFT is a licensed sex and relationship therapist. Lisa Finn is a product expert and sex educator for sex toy shop Babeland.

First off, how do vibrators work?

Simply put, vibrators “can do things humans can’t,” says Wright. “Fingers can vibrate, in a way, but we can’t do it for an extended period of time in the same pattern over and over again,” she explains. “So, vibrators or any type of pleasure aids are meant to give you different types of stimulation for different types of orgasms and pleasure.”

Most vibrators also provide one of two kinds of vibrations: rumbly or buzzy. Buzzy sensations are more surface-level and more intense, while rumbly sensations have a lower wavelength and penetrate deeper into the skin.

“Think of a rumbly motor as if you’re in a car that has the base turned up all the way. You can feel that thumping even if the volume isn’t turned up really loud. And that’s because it has those lower wavelengths,” says Lisa Finn, a product expert and sex educator for Babeland. Meanwhile, buzzy vibrations are “a little bit more targeted, more pinpointed,” they add.

Vibrators can be used solo or with sexual partners. Some are meant for internal stimulation, external stimulation, or a mix of both. Here’s exactly what to expect from each type.


Bullet Vibrators

When you think about a beginner sex toy, the bullet vibrator might come to mind. This external toy is known for its small size: Most of them are around one to two and a half inches in length. Some are shaped like bullets or pills, while others are meant to look like lipsticks, with an angled point.

Bullet vibrators provide pinpoint sensations that feel very direct. For this reason, a bullet vibe can be a good choice if you enjoy clitoral or nipple play. It can also be used on the underside of the penis, says Finn.

You may want to invest in a bullet vibrator if larger sizes are intimidating, or if you want a toy that’s travel-friendly. Parents who worry about their kids snooping around or couples who have been hesitant about bringing sex toys into the bedroom might find this type of vibe discreet and easy to enjoy.

Finn also stresses that while bullet vibrators are small, they should not be inserted anally, because they don’t have a flared base to keep them in place. In other words, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Wand Massagers

Fun fact: The OG Magic Wand was originally designed to be a back massager. That’s why the motor for the wand is housed in the handle, which is larger and longer than other vibes. “The larger the space to house the motor, the bigger the motor is… A lot of times, that translates directly into how much power you’re getting,” says Finn. “Wand vibrators are really great for folks that like power.” For this reason, you might invest in a smaller option if you’d prefer a lower-intensity vibration.

Like bullet vibrators, wand massagers are great for people who love external play—although some come with attachments for internal stimulation, too. But unlike the direct, pinpointed stimulation you’ll get from a bullet, a wand’s broader base allows for rubbing or grinding. If you’re all about discretion, these may not be for you, since they tend to be loud.

Wearable Vibrators

Large handles can help hit the right spots, but sometimes, a hands-free experience can be even better. (Especially if your hands are busy stimulating another part of your or your partner’s body, if you catch my drift.) That’s where wearable vibrators come in.

Many wearable vibes can be used internally or externally. Butt plugs can be considered a sub-category of wearable vibrators, as well, since they’re meant to stay in during sex, or tease you throughout the day.

“Wearable vibrators are great for many reasons—the top first and foremost is that some folks are looking to engage in discreet play outside of the bedroom,” says Finn. If you don’t have a partner to use a hands-free toy with, you can also use it during solo play.

Suction Vibrators

Okay, so maybe you’re not a fan of vibrations. The good news is not all vibrators actually vibrate! In fact, many suction vibrators use something called pleasure air technology instead. “What the air does is mimic a sucking sensation, but it is not actually suction,” says Wright. “It’s air coming out so fast at different patterns that it feels like suction.” However, she adds that some toys actually do use suction, or suction combined with pulsations or vibrations.

However, suction vibrators, no matter which type of technology they use, can feel too intense for some people. “Anybody that is super sensitive probably wouldn’t like it,” says Finn. “So if you are a person that does not like direct clitoral touch or if you get very sensitive very quickly, this is a pretty intense sensation, because it’s creating a seal over the head of the clitoris.”

On the other hand, you might buy a suction toy if you enjoy the sucking and flickering motions that come from oral sex—or if you don’t like penetration, but want to expand your collection beyond wand massagers and bullet vibes.

Rabbit Vibrators

If you love experiencing clitoral stimulation and penetration at once, you’ll love rabbit vibrators. The vibe gets its name from the design, which has two small rabbit-like “ears” that flick against the clit.

“The thing that defines [this type of vibrator] is that there is one internal arm meant to target either the G-spot or the prostate, and then an external arm that’s meant to stimulate either the clitoris or the perineum,” says Finn.

They add that using a rabbit vibe is a great way to aim for a blended orgasm, which is an orgasm that comes from internal and external stimulation at the same time.

Some rabbit vibrators allow you to control each motor separately. For example, with one toy, you may be able to turn the clitoral or G-spot part on or off independently, depending on the kind of stimulation you like.

A rabbit can be used if you’re interested in squirting because it provides dual simulation, says Finn. Solo play is the best time to use a rabbit just because it’s an all-encompassing toy that wasn’t designed to be used with someone else, nor does it provide pleasure to both parties at the same time. Still, you can use it on a partner or vice versa.

G-spot Vibrators

The category name for this type of vibrator speaks for itself—it’s specifically designed to stimulate the G-spot. “It’s tough because everyone’s internal organs are literally arranged a bit differently, so not every G-spot toy is going to work for each person. That really goes for most sex toys in general,” says Wright.

Generally, though, these are the toys you’ll want if you’re into penetration. But that’s not to say they don’t have multiple purposes! The curved hook can target the clitoris, and because these toys vibrate, you can use them externally on the clitoris or other parts of your body, if you’d like.

G-spot vibrators might physically resemble dildos, but there are differences between the two. First off, dildos are just designed for penetration—they aren’t necessarily made to hit your G-spot. Dildos also don’t always vibrate (but they can!)

Vibrating anal toys

The number one rule when it comes to anal toys is to always use a product designed for the butt. “A toy is not an anal toy unless it has a flared base to anchor it outside of the body—not a string, not a chain, but something that will physically stop it from going further into the body,” says Finn.

If an object were to “get lost” in your vagina, your cervix would prevent it from going further. Unfortunately, the butt doesn’t have anything like that, which could result in medical attention. Also worth noting: It’s key to use the right kind of anal lube that pairs with your toy and personal needs.

Anal dildos, butt plugs, anal beads, and prostate massagers are the most popular anal toys, all of which can vibrate. “Vibrations help relax the muscles in the anus. So if you’re feeling nervous and tightening up, it can be really helpful. Start with something small that vibrates, and then continue to work your way up,” says Wright. Because the anus is so sensitive, these toys can create a feeling of fullness and add sensation to create a blended orgasm.

Hopefully, with all these options in mind, you have a better idea of what you’d like to add to your shopping cart. And if you’re on the fence about buying a vibrator altogether, remember: It’s an investment in your pleasure. “There’s nothing wrong with owning one [vibrator] or owning 50,” says Wright. “It’s a beautiful, wonderful way to enhance pleasure.”


Choose Your Vibe

Rabbit Vibrator

Oh My Rabbit Vibrator
Fifty Shades Darker

This vibrator received 5 stars across the bank. “There are soo many settings which means you don’t have to do too much to feel intense pleasure.”

G-spot Vibrator

Je Joue Uma Waterproof
G-Spot Vibrator

The soft sensual curves of the Uma G-spot vibrator make this a wonderful toy for beginner and experienced toy users alike. “I’ve never looked back since buying this vibrator. It’s sleek, sexy and feels wonderful.”

Anal Vibrator

Rocks-Off Pearls Petite Sensation Plug

Five incredible silicone pearls await your attention! Each pearl on this vibrator adds another layer of pleasure. It’s waterproof for play in the bath and the shower and the petite, slim design makes it ideal for beginners.

LELO Sona 2 Clitoral Suction Vibrator on a white background

Suction Vibrator

LELO Sona 2 Clitoral Suction Vibrator

This toy is a clitoral stimulator and uses sonic waves and 12 settings to tease you to a powerful orgasm.  Read more about this mind-blowing stimulator here.

Bullet Vibrator

Rocks-Off Red Alert Bullet Vibrator

Another 5-star candidate. One user exclaimed: “There’s a lot of power packed into this small thing! Inexpensive product with impressive results”

We-Vibe Moxie + Panty Vibrator on a white background

Wearable Vibrators

We-Vibe Moxie And Panty Vibrator

A discreet hands-free toy designed to be worn inside your underwear, while you control the pleasure stakes via the easy-to-use remote or the We-Vibe app. 

Women’s Health participates in various affiliate marketing programmes, which means we may get commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

*This article was originally published by Women’s Health.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This