A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist US.
Bullet vibrators, originally named for their cylindrical shape, are a gateway sex toy. Many people buy them as a first toy because they are small, discreet, and not too intimidating. And though they’re typically thought of as being designed for clitoral stimulation, they are actually highly versatile and can be used to stimulate many different body parts, in solo or couple’s play. “Bullet vibrators are great for travel, and some people like them because they can fit in between bodies more easily than bigger toys,” says Zoe Ligon, owner of Spectrum Boutique. Plus, she says, a lot of dildos, cock rings, and harnesses are designed with slots to fit a standard-sized bullet, in case you want to “supercharge” the sex toys you already own. These days, not all bullet vibrators are shaped like bullets, but they’re still quite discreet. And they are made in a host of different materials, from stainless steel to silicone, with added features like multiple vibration patterns, remote controls, rechargeable batteries, and aesthetics so pleasing you won’t want to hide them away in your top drawer.
To find out which bullet vibrators are best to buy your partner, (and which one you should pick up for yourself), we spoke to 11 sex therapists, shop owners, and sex educators about the bullet vibrators they love and recommend.
Best bullet vibrator to give as a gift
If you’re looking for something truly discreet that makes a great gift, this skinny bullet vibrator doubles as a necklace. Megan Fleming, a sex therapist, likes how pretty it is and calls it deceptive — while it doesn’t look like it, “it packs a lot of punch.” Jacq Jones, sex educator and owner of Baltimore’s Sugar Shop, agrees that it has way more power than you’d expect and notes that Crave is an ethical company using all body-safe materials. (The Vesper is made of stainless steel and finished with 24-karat gold.) Sid Azmi, owner of Please in Brooklyn, is also a fan of the Vesper’s power and design, and notes that it has four speeds. Unlike a lot of the other rechargeable bullets on this list, the Vesper is compatible with any USB charger, so you don’t have to worry about having another cord to misplace.
Best small-but-powerful vibrator
The Tango is a little larger than the Crave — and a lot more powerful. According to Azmi, We-Vibe made a name for themselves with the Tango because it was the first bullet vibrator to deliver really strong vibrations in such a small package. Dalychia Saah and Rafaella Fiallo, the creators of Afrosexology, an online sex-ed resource for black women and men, agree. “It’s small but powerful and is a great clitoral stimulator,” they say. They recommend the Tango for beginners because it’s easy to travel with or carry around. Carolanne Marcantonio, a licensed master social worker and sex therapist based in Brooklyn, likes that it’s rechargeable, waterproof, and has eight different vibration settings for varying intensity. “If you’re a person who needs a lot of vibration, it’s great for using on your clit during penetration and it’s not big and cumbersome, so it won’t get in the way,” she says.
Best quiet vibrator
Though it’s not cylindrical, the Je Joue Mimi has all of the qualities our experts look for in a great bullet vibrator. It’s small, versatile, waterproof, and rechargeable. According to Archie Bongiovanni, sexual health educator and events coordinator at the Minneapolis store Smitten Kitten, the Mimi is quiet and mellow, which makes it great for people with roommates and thin walls. It also works well on sensitive bodies, says Andrea Barrica, CEO and founder of O.school, who finds the “intense vibrations from wand-like and suction toys too intense and feel painful.” Clémence Polès, founder of Passerbuys, a recommendation website for women, also recommends the Mimi for people who want something that feels soft against their skin. It’s made of supple silicone which feels great and, because it’s almost completely nonporous, it is known to stand up to bacteria better than plastic.
Best bullet vibrator for people who still live at home
If you still live with your parents and you’re always leaving things out, a lipstick-shaped bullet vibrator is your best bet. There are tons of bullet vibrators made to look like tubes of lipstick, but Azmi called out this rose-gold bullet vibe from Rocks Off because it’s affordable, waterproof, comes with ten vibration settings, and has decent power.
Best bullet vibrator with a remote control
Fleming pointed us to this silicone bullet vibrator that comes with wireless remote control for hands-free or interactive couple’s play. What’s innovative about the Lyla 2 is that the remote can be controlled with subtle wrist movements and can even mirror the same vibrations felt by the person using the bullet so you can share the sensations at a distance.
Best ecofriendly bullet vibrator
If you’re on a budget and trying to reduce your plastic consumption, this ecofriendly bullet comes recommended by both Azmi and Ligon. They describe it as a powerful vibrator with adjustable speed that’s made using food-grade nonporous bioplastic, which biodegrades faster than standard hard plastics. The price and the longer body also make this a perfect first vibrator for folks still getting to know what kinds of stimulation they like.
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