SPECIAL NOTE: While this post was originally written in 2011, it has been heavily updated over the years. So if you’re here in 2016, rest assured that everything here is still relevant. When a new remote-controlled toy comes out and I have had the opportunity to review it / feel it and can talk about it here, I do so. The recommendations here are not out-dated.
Remote control vibrators have an appeal that is special and can be something really awesome & kinky for certain folks (public sex toy play is very fun). I get a ton of people asking for recommendations on a really good model; you’ll see plenty of cheapies and definitely plenty that cost well over $100 so how are you to know which is worth the time and money? Hopefully I can help steer you on the right path and save you money and disappointment. Let me assure you, there’s more disappointment in this niche of sex toys than anything else. WHY is it so damn hard for a company to come out with a really awesome remote control vibrator? Honestly I’ve yet to come across one that meets the Remote Controlled Vibrator Holy Trinity.
First, you have to determine where you want most of the vibration (vaginal/g-spot, clitoral, or anal) and then determine if you actually want to be able to orgasm in public or you’re just looking for a tease. Just looking for a tease? You’re in luck because that’s about all many of these are capable of unless you’re very sensitive and find it easy to orgasm. So to me, a really good remote controlled sex toy has these three features nailed down – aka the Remote Controlled Vibrator Holy Trinity:
1. A remote that allows the remote-holder to know what the toy-wearer is feeling – they need to know when it’s on, when it’s off, what level of vibration it’s on, etc.
2. A remote that works from across the room, or 20 feet away while the person is in any position and wearing clothes – I’ve had a few that work fine if I’m spread-eagle and naked but since many people want this for public play…..that doesn’t work.
3. A design that fits and vibrations that feel good – why the fuck is this so hard? Who is designing these? Klingons?
What the Hell is Happening Here
Let’s talk about the first one. A common complaint with many wireless remote controlled vibrators is that the remote control holder doesn’t have a damn clue what’s going on. They push a button and that’s it. Lelo, as you all know, set out to majorly change that and give the person holding the remote a much more active role in the process with their Sensemotion technology. The Club Vibe 2.OH from OhMiBod has a remote that kinda fixes that…except that it lights up, the remote is huge and it’s not at all discreet. The Club Vibe (both original and 2.Oh) is buzzy and weak, it looks uncomfortable and the 2.Oh has a button you must push on the vibrator to start it up and it lights up, too. I hope you don’t wear this in public with clothing that would show the lit up button through it! The Marc Dorcel Secret Vibe (the secret being that achingly boring vibrations) has been the only vibe I’ve come across in the under-$100 category that had a decent remote – small, unobtrusive, didn’t light up or vibrate but it had an LCD panel that told me what was going on.
One last problem – most of these don’t tell the controller if the connection to the vibrator has been lost.
Many of these wireless remote controlled vibrators take batteries – weird batteries, lots of batteries and go through them at a rapid pace, so that’s another thing to keep in mine.
Bluetooth and Smartphone Apps
Newer versions are starting to use Bluetooth and can be controlled with an app which is really great in theory but so far isn’t working out. I couldn’t get the We-Vibe 4 Plus to reliably keep the Bluetooth connection, and I’m not alone in this problem. I haven’t tried the blueMotion Nex 1 but the design requires panties (like the Club Vibe 2.OH design) and also won’t work for people with full labia and buried clits. Looking at the Google Play Store, both apps for We-Vibe and Ohmibod only rate about a 3.5 out of 5, with a lot of complaints that things just aren’t working the way they should. Another line of vibes with a Smartphone app is the new Je Joue Nuo and Duo – but the app is currently only available for the iPhone. WTF! In an age where plenty of people are using something other than an iPhone (like me!) this is a pretty dumb move. I won’t even review these until they make an app for Android.
A Remote That Works
So far, the Lelo Sensemotion line has the only remote I’ve experienced that kept a connection through flesh, clothing and across a room. It even worked from another room for me. I liked the Tiani design best; I don’t feel confident that the Tiani 3 has better vibrations than the Tiani 2, plus that boxy clitoral part may or may not be better. It is available in Canada and perhaps for less given the dollar conversion.
Just because a vibe has an app, doesn’t mean it’ll work – see also: We-Vibe 4 Plus review. I couldn’t even insert the We-Vibe the way it was meant to be inserted; as soon as I did it would drop the connection. Many other remote control vibrators are the same way, and the remote only works if I’m naked and legs-spread. Fail.
But What About the Vibrations!
So what if the Lelo Lyla 2 has a remote that lets the remote-holder know what’s going on and works through clothing, flesh and even a wall? If you’re looking for anything beyond a tease or you need more power, then you’re not going to love the Lyla 2. But if the tease factor is it? Go for it. The style is meant to be worn vaginally but that would be a total waste on me – so a snug pair of panties will keep it in place clitorally for most people well enough.
The We-Vibe 4 Plus’s vibrations were utterly boring to me, but sensitive folks might be more excited. The vibrations from the L’amourose line are pretty powerful, but the designs work best for people who don’t need pinpoint stimulation and whose clitoris is more exposed. The Marc Dorcel Secret Vibe was atrocious, so so piddly.
Remote Control Vibrators to avoid:
- Anything by Bnaughty – the vibrations are piss poor and the remote is crap on the cheaper one, and doesn’t work through clothing on the pricier one.
- Anything by CalExotics – Whether it’s a gimmicky panty vibe or horrible butterfly, Dr Berman branded or their overpriced Embrace line, the quality is bottom of the barrel. Do not waste your money. The vibrations are going to be surface-buzzy and weak, the unit will break easily and the remote will not work as advertised.
- Anything from Pipedream and their Fetish Fantasy line, for the same reasons as I list for avoiding CalExotics.
- I’ve heard more negative reviews than positive about the gimmicky Lelo Hula Beads and of course, avoid that damn Lelo Ida
- Due to my own experiences and those of readers, I can’t recommend the We-Vibe 4 Plus – issues with connectivity and the vibrations? Yawn.
- As mentioned above, the Marc Dorcel Secret Vibe or the anal version, Genius Secret Vibe – too weak and buzzy
- Anything under $50. So far, not a damn one under $50 has been worth 5 cents.
- Jopen Envy 15 – I had high hopes, but the vibration placement is stupid, the vibrating portion glows red and the remote is fucking dumb. BUT the motor is super powerful. It’s the most powerful of those listed. My reasons for hating it are complicated and some might be body-related and wouldn’t bother you as much. I recommend reading the review if you’re looking for something under $100.
Remote Control Vibrators to consider:
- Lelo Lyla 2 – the vibrations aren’t super-powered but it’s the one in the line that might work for you. I would find a way to use it externally with a pair of snug panties, personally. Quiet, and the remote (which vibrates normally) can be turned to stealth mode.
- Consider the Lelo Tiani 2 or 3. Again, it’s not powerful in vibrations, but they’re a little better than the We-Vibe, plus I liked the fit of the Tiani 2 better than the We-vibe. Quiet, and the remote (which vibrates normally) can be turned to stealth mode.
- L’amourose’s line is decent, preferably the Mae or Lana – the bullet is very powerful and the remote is a little weird to use at first, plus it’s big. Also, the remote-holder doesn’t fully know what remote-wearer is feeling. If it had a functioning smartphone app, it would be pretty great. Apparently this wasn’t selling well and the first run remotes didn’t work at all, so most stores have discontinued it.
- Je Joue Nuo or Dua – I’ve heard good things about the vibrations. The pen style remote is wonky, but for iPhone users the app seems to work pretty well.