How we test sex toys: woman&home's expert process

We've researched, tried, tested, and reviewed the best sex toys around. Here's how we do it.

A selection of sex toys to represent how we test sex toys
(Image credit: Lovehoney and Satisfyer)

Finding a sex toy that works for your body can make all the difference to your pleasure - as long as you know what you're looking for. Our team of experts, led by woman&home's digital health editor Grace Walsh, are in the best position to offer advice on finding a toy for any desire you have.

We've tested dozens of sex toys over the years from leading brands such as Lovehoney, LELO, Anne Summers, and Satisfyer, in a range of environments. Before testing, we thoroughly researched each toy, being sure to gather a range of different types and models across a price range. 

Our anonymous panel then tests each product to ensure total honesty and transparency before review. The tests are standardised to understand the basics of every toy and compare them. Even the most budget bullet vibrator is put through the same paces as the top pick in a selection of luxury sex toys. As a result, we can be sure that our selection of the best is suited to your needs. We have tried and tested guides on the best sex toys and the best vibrators overall, along with the best bullet vibrators and so many more. 


How we test sex toys

How we choose which sex toys to test

We are always on the lookout for what's new in the world of sex toys, keeping our fingers on the pulse of what's hot to find the exciting launches, updates to our favourite products, and innovative new products worth talking about. Alongside this, we keep our eyes peeled to spot the rising stars - products with thousands of genuine four and five-star reviews that grab our attention. 

Lovehoney is the largest sex toy retailer in the world, boasting an impressive range of own-brand products along with toys from German-owned sister brand WowTech, which includes the likes of Womanizer, We-Vibe, and ROMP. It's only natural we would look to toys from this company, given their market-leading status, impressive reviews, and the huge range of options available. For similar reasons, we love premium brands such as LELO and Satisfyer.  

We are committed to supporting smaller, upcoming sex toy brands as well, those who focus on a small curation of excellent products, such as Roam, Smile Makers, Dame, and Biird. 

Test 1: Power

We test each device on the basis of its power, so we know the intensity of the toy in any situation. Each test is repeated across however many settings the toy offers, if it's a vibrator or another mechanical device. Toys with low power levels even on the highest settings tend to last for longer before you need to change the batteries or recharge but they tend to be less intensive. For some people, that means they're not as effective. Toys with high power levels even on the lowest settings don't tend to last as long between charges, but they can allow users to reach orgasm easier.

These tests help us see which sex toys are suited to which needs. It might be the case that those who use sex toys for foreplay prefer a low-power, low-intensity sex toy - like the Hot Octopuss DiGit vibrator - over one that offers higher intensity levels - like the LELO Ina Wave 3

Test 2: Ease of use

We test each vibrator to see how easy it is to actually use in the moment. Not only is this important as sex toys and vibrators can be useful tools for those with mobility issues, but accidentally turning your toy off mid-use or being unable to turn it on when you need it doesn't exactly contribute to a good overall experience. 

If a sex toy is easy to use, the experience will automatically become a lot more pleasurable. Every sex toy is used slightly differently, so it's difficult to have one test for this. Largely, we just make sure that all buttons are accessible no matter what angle the toy is held in, that the toy has an easy charging method and does so reliably, and the design is flexible to fit most body types. 

3. Waterproofing

We test all sex toys and vibrators at woman&home by changing the testing environment. All testers will use the toy in their bedrooms, or similar comfortable surroundings, and then (if the toy presents itself as a waterproof option) in a water setting such as the shower or bath. 

In 2023, most sex toys claim to be waterproof. Testing in the shower or bath allows us to reassess much of the criteria we use. A vibrator may be high-powered and intense in the bedroom and fade to a light buzz when exposed to water, which is important to recognise as top pick toys should excel in all environments. 

4. Battery power

If a sex toy is mechanical, such as a rabbit vibrator or wand vibrator, we charge it to full capacity as stated in the manufacturer's instruction manual. We then record for how long and how many sessions the vibrator is used for before it runs out of battery and compare this to the suggested run time on the product description.

Most toys - not even just luxury sex toys - are USB-powered these days, which makes it easier to determine whether the toy is living up to expectations or whether the quality of the battery has had an impact on run time. To mitigate this, we use the same brand and power of battery in each toy. 

Our testing team

Health editor Grace Walsh
Grace Walsh

Grace Walsh is the health editor at woman&home, covering all areas of wellbeing, including nutrition, fitness, sleep, sex, and relationships. From revealing the surprising benefits of everyday activities to debunking the latest health fads, she loves uncovering new ways to improve our physical and mental wellbeing. 

With years of experience buying and using sex toys, our expert panel have their fingers on the pulse. They know what's a passing trend and what's here to stay, with many remembering their purchase of the first iconic rabbit vibrator in the 90s. 

There's nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to using a sex toy or vibrator, but we offer anonymity to be able to gather a good range of testers from across various age ranges, life experiences, and body types. Being anonymous allows them to feel confident about giving their honest opinion on each of the toys and to what extent they bring about pleasure. 

Here's a brief overview of who our testers are: 

  • A 47-year-old professor of economics, recently divorced, who owns a small selection of vibrators
  • A 55-year-old mum of two, married, who owned one singular bullet vibrator before testing for woman&home
  • A 53-year-old yoga teacher, single, who bought her first vibrator at 40 and has since accumulated a large collection of sex toys and vibrators  
  • A 53-year-old teaching assistant, married, who had never used a vibrator before testing bullets for the first time
  • A 45-year-old brand manager and fashion influencer who had used sex toys in past but not for some years before joining the panel 
  • Mandy Ruther is a 50-something, award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist and author, who writes about consumer electronics. She writes about sex toys for woman&home under this pseudonym. 

Ongoing testing

We don't just leave our reviews and buying guides alone though, done and dusted. 

As the months go by, our testers are still using the sex toys - on their own, with a partner, in new environments. If a toy that was considered to be a top pick doesn't meet our standards of durability (the manufacturer's guarantee or longer) then we edit the guide or review to reflect this.

Grace Walsh
Health Channel Editor

Grace Walsh is woman&home's Health Channel Editor, working across the areas of fitness, nutrition, sleep, mental health, relationships, and sex. She is also a qualified fitness instructor. In 2024, she will be taking on her second marathon in Rome, cycling from Manchester to London (350km) for charity, and qualifying as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. 

A digital journalist with over six years experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace has covered (almost) everything in the world of health and wellbeing with bylines in Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more.