Once upon a time, we used our hands to masturbate. Now, with so many vibrators and sex gadgets on the market, why wouldn’t you take a little technological assistance every once in a while? I have a vulva, so I typically add phallic sex toys and clitoral suckers to my cart. But there are toys for penis owners too, like strokers, which are designed specifically to tired hands a break.
Just like vibrators and anal plugs, strokers and masturbators are great in solo and partnered play, says Justin Lehmiller, PhD, a social psychologist, sex researcher, and scientific researcher for sexual wellness retailer, Lovehoney.
“Used alone, strokers can offer a novel sensation to masturbation by mimicking some of the feelings of partnered sex, which is one of the reasons people are drawn to them,” Lehmiller says. In partnered play, “strokers can be used to simulate what a threesome might be like, or perhaps when one partner isn’t into penetration but would still like to be intimate,” Lehmiller adds.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about strokers: what they are, how to use them, and the best ones to stash in your pleasure chest.
What is a stroker?
“A stroker is a device meant to enhance penis-based masturbation or partner pleasuring,” says sexologist Carol Queen, PhD, author of The Sex & Pleasure Book ($25). “Most strokers consist of a tube made of a soft material, often with texture on the inside to add to the sensation the penis receives when the stroker is moved on the penis or when the penis thrusts into it.”
Lehmiller adds that strokers, “mimic the sensations of oral sex or penetrative intercourse.” There are, of course, different kinds of strokers with all sorts of distinct features. “Some have remote controls, vibration, or temperature settings,” says Lehmiller. “‘Advanced’ strokers offer more options and sensation possibilities, but come with a higher price tag.”
So, how do you know if you’re getting a good one?
What experts recommend when shopping for strokers
Like everything else, there isn’t one, perfect sex toy for those who have a penis. “It ultimately depends on what kind of sensations they want to explore and what they find to be pleasurable,” Lehmiller says. In order to make sure you’re getting what will work for you, he advises you to consider, “what you want and what seems like the best fit for your comfort level and body.”
From there, you’ll want to opt for a reputable brand, consider your price point, and think about which features you want. “High-tech strokers, while they do involve higher cost, are more customizable. For example, you may be able to vary vibratory pulses to make it feel different each time, turn the heat on or off, and adjust stroke length and speed,” says Lehmiller.
That doesn’t mean you should totally disregard less high-tech toys, though. “Very basic toys can be great strokers—they don’t need to have bells and whistles to be good,” says Queen. If you’re getting a non-electronic stroker, Queen says to look at the material and the texturing. “Consider how easy, or not, it will be to clean—and make sure you know what kind of lube will work with it. If it’s latex, no oil. If silicone, no silicone lube,” she says.
How to use a stroker
True to its name, there’s stroking involved, be it manually or automatically. “Generally speaking, with a stroker, you insert a lubricated penis into a hole that has a soft and textured interior—and then you stroke away,” says Lehmiller. “The stroking motion and speed will depend on whether it’s a toy you control manually or whether it is motorized.” Again, you can do this as solo or partnered play.
Strokers are also a great tool to have in your sexual wellness arsenal as they might help you build sexual stamina and ejaculatory control, Lehmiller says. “With a stroker, you can practice edging—bringing yourself to the brink of orgasm and then pulling back, or maintaining a high level of arousal without orgasming.”
Speaking of climaxing, here’s what you came here for: the best strokers on the market your money can buy. Below are 12 different strokes for different folks—scroll to find something that’ll tickle your fancy.
The 12 best strokers and masturbators
Fleshlight, Ice Lady — $70.00
Ice, ice baby. Meet the Ice Lady, who’s hotter than its name suggests. It’s made out of transparent soft plastic, and it’s textured with bumps, nodules , and spirals throughout. The stroker itself is 9.75-inches long, but the insertable length is 8.5 -inches. It’s also highly rated, with one reviewer saying it changed their mind about fleshlights all together. “[I thought they were] uncomfortable and too tight but alas, I was wrong!”
Queen has pros and cons for this toy, so listen up. “It’s good for people who like the idea of seeing their penis through the material, and Fleshlight has a good reputation,” says Queen. “This will be especially appropriate for users who like to fantasize about [vulvas],” since it’s yonic (meaning shaped like a vulva). As far as her cons? “There’s no vibration or anything, but a user desiring that could try tucking a waterproof, small vibrator into the sleeve, or using a strong vibe against the outside of the sleeve,” Queen suggests.
- Great for people who fantasize about vulvas
Fleshlight, Ice Butt — $70.00
The Fleshlight Ice Butt is pretty much exactly the same as the Fleshlight Ice Lady. Same materials, same total and insertable lengths (9.75 inches and 8.5 inches, respectively), but with one key difference—instead of the opening being shaped to look like a vulva, the opening is shaped like an anus. “This is good for those who eroticize anal,” says Queen.
One reviewer did note that the entrance is really tight, but quickly added, “that’s part of the fun.” Like the Ice Lady, the Ice Butt is also highly rated. On the Fleshlight website, it has 95 reviews total—each of them are five stars. On Amazon, the toy has 233 reviews and averaged 4.4 stars. A glowing review: “Best sex toy ever! Go at it for hours with this thing. It’s always at my beside. Even take it on vacations.”
- Mimics anal
Arcwave, Arcwave Voy — $99.00
“The Arcwave Voy is designed for penis stimulation, but is a device you control with your own hands,” says Lehmiller. “It comes at a lower price point than the strokers with high-tech features, but offers a unique advantage in being adjustable for tightness.” This allows you to customize the Voy to the exact “grip” you’d like to feel, “which is very valuable in the sense that every penis is shaped differently,” adds Lehmiller.
It’s also made of silicone, which tends to be more smooth and more durable—so long as you don’t use it with silicone-based lube. Since this toy is also water-resistant, it can be used in the shower if you don’t feel like cleaning up the mess after. Reviewers tend to like how discreet this toy is, as it’s 4.5 inches in length and 3.3 inches in width. It also comes with protector lids so nothing gets in there when it’s not supposed to.
- Adjustable tightness
- Shallow; no deep penetration
- No vibrations
Doc Johnson, Mood Thrill Handheld Stroker — $22.00
Up to this point, we’ve gone through some pretty high-tech sex toys for penis-havers. As you may recall, though, Queen says that there are also reliable, simple kinds of strokers. “This is a great example of the genre, with soft material, texturing on the inside, and that’s easy to clean,” says Queen. “Plus the ‘pop beads’ look for the exterior is playful and would make it easy to grasp.”
In addition to the textured exterior, this handheld stoker also has internal textures—three different types, to be exact. These include large massage beads, thick ribbing, and small massage beads in the 4.5-inch toy. Unlike other strokers and masturbators, this baby is open-ended, so it may feel a little different. It may also be easier to clean than close-ended options.
- Diverse internal texture
- Simple design
- No vibrations
- Self-regulated tightness
Tenga, Flip Zero EV — $260.00
“Tenga is a great brand, and they are really creative about their designs,” says Queen. “This one has a fairly hard shell but includes soft panels that let you get a lot of contact with the penis.” The Tenga Flip Zero EV “also has vibrating elements in the core, so you can have the pleasures of a great Tenga sleeve and vibration in [five] different modes,” Queen adds. However, the sheer number of modes, “might be more than some users want to take charge of,” Queen says, so make sure you’re not too overwhelmed by that before purchasing it.
This toy features dual vibrating cores, which live inside an elastomer sleeve that feels like rubber. The term “flip” indicates that you can open and close this toy like you would a flip phone (remember those?). This makes it easy to use and clean. What’s particularly cool about the Flip Zero is that it has pretty strong vacuum suction, which is designed to feel like fellatio.
- East to clean
- Creative texture
- Vacuum suction
- Number of modes can be overwhelming
Tenga, Aero — $59.00
According to Queen, the great thing about this toy is that it, “lets you play with suction,” which may also feel like someone’s giving you a blow job. The toy itself features dial-operated suction control, of which there are 10 levels, and comes with a drying stand that’s meant to be a more hygienic way to dry your toy post-cleaning. This option is also waterproof, so it’s safe to bring with you into the shower.
The Tenga Aero, like the Fleshlight Ice toys, is transparent, allowing you to see yourself as you thrust. A unique feature of this toy is that it comes with an integrated penis ring, which traps blood in your penis to give you a stronger erection. It’s also nice that it has a removable sleeve because cleaning is a bit simpler, according to a review: “I own a few other brands and I’m really impressed with the variety of sensations this one provides. Highly recommended. Super easy to clean and dry.”.
- Customizable suction
- Built in C-ring
- Drying stand
- No vibrations
- Bulky design
Myhixel, TR Male Sexual Wellness System — $230.00
Queen says that the biggest pro of the Myhixel TR Male Sexual Wellness System is that it’s, “a wellness product, which offers training for the person who wants to learn to last longer.” She also caveats that any stroker can help with this, but what sets the Myhixel apart is that it’s, “more likely to give useful info for someone who needs to be walked through it,” Queen adds. The downside is that its price point is among the highest on this list.
It’s pretty high-tech though, as evidenced by the fact that there’s a self-heating system that achieves, “a temperature similar to the body,” per the product description. Keep in mind, though, that even the manufacturer is specific that this toy should be exclusively used with water-based lubes. Considering that the toy is made of silicone, and that oil-based and silicone-based lubes erode silicone, that tracks.
- Training programs to last longer
- Compatible with water-based lubes only
Doc Johnson, OptiMALE Warming Stroker — $179.00
If the Myhixel sounds like your cup of tea but is out of your budget, you may consider the OptiMale Warming Stroker. As its name indicates, it has a warming feature—which gets to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit in about five minutes. It’s, “also made of a soft material, plus it vibrates,” says Queen. To be exact, that soft material is body-safe silicone.
The toy is open-ended, and it doesn’t envelop the penis from a 360-degree angle. Instead, there’s a slight opening at the top of the plastic shell. There are 10 vibration features and three speed settings for this toy, which are controlled via one of the two buttons on top. The other button controls the warming features.
- Soft texture
- Doesn’t totally envelope the penis
- Not much internal texture
Fun Factory, Manta Vibrating Stroker — $140.00
I saw this baby in action when I visited a sexual wellness store in Las Vegas, and let me tell you: even though I don’t have a penis, I could definitely see how the Manta could be highly pleasurable. This is another vibrating stroker, which has six settings and intensities. From holding it in my hand, I can tell you it’s powerful.
You can personalize each experience using the buttons on the handheld portion of the toy. Also made of flexible silicone, one of the cooler features of the Manta is that it was designed with partnered play in mind. According to the product description, you can place it around a partner’s throat so that you get the vibration during oral sex. You can also use it as a handheld cock ring.
- Powerful vibration settings
- Good for partner play
- Small surface area
Arcwave, Arcwave Ion Pleasure Air Smart Silence Male Masturbator — $199.00
“The Arcwave Ion is a toy for penis stimulation that [uniquely offers] targeted stimulation of the frenulum, the area on the underside of the penis where the head and shaft meet,” says Lehmiller. “It delivers pulsating airwaves to this spot in a way that simulates the feeling of oral sex.” And sure, this stroker is a pit pricier than other toys, but it’s kind of the only toy in its category.
It stimulates penis-owners by using pulsating airwaves instead of traditional vibrations. Because of that technology, though, reviewers and Arcwave advise trying the toy at least five times to get fully get used to it and learn which sensations feel best on your penis. It’d be helpful to know, then, that there are three buttons on this toy. The top button controls the smart silence option, and the two below it—marked with a plus sign and minus sign—control the strength.
- Targets the frenulum
- Powerful air stimulation
- Takes some getting used to
Tenga, 3D Spiral — $46.00
Taking into account that Queen says Tenga is a great brand, it only made sense to include three different options from the manufacturer. Unlike its Flip Zero and Aero counterparts, the 3D Sculpted Pleasure Device isn’t all that high-tech. Essentially, the toy is just a white silicone sleeve that you invert before sliding into. It’s available in five different textures, like a spiral, with protruding blocks, and one called “pile,” which features stacked triangles that look like they’d offer a bit of suction. Regardless of which texture you get, expect there to be a stretchable width and length of 3.15 inches and 9.8 inches, respectively.
Users rave about how easy to clean this toy is since there’s no other component besides the reversible sleeve. “This toy made my other sleeve obsolete—just because clean up has never been easier,” said one Amazon reviewer. It really is that simple, since you just turn the toy inside out (the texture should be facing outward) and wash it with lukewarm water and mild soap. Once it’s washed, make sure that you let it dry completely before putting it back in its case.
- Simple design
- Interesting textures
Hot Octopuss, Pulse Solo Essential Stimulator — $99.00
Made out of silicone (internally) and plastic (externally), the Pulse is 4.25-inches long and 2.5-inches wide, making it the perfect toy to bring with you on the go. If you’re concerned you won’t fit in the Pulse Solo, know that its “wings” expand considerably, which will fit a broader range of penis sizes. Don’t let the name fool you, though: Just because it’s designed for solo play doesn’t mean that you can’t use this during partnered play.
It’s also cool that it’s, “waterproof and rechargeable,” says Queen—plus, it has a sensor, “that directs the motor to compensate when pressure is put on the PulsePlate”, aka the toy is only on when there’s skin contact. The product page says this toy can be used with or without lube, but the safest bet is to always put on a little bit of water-based lube. The biggest downside here, though, is that the Pulse Solo requires three whole hours of charging for one hour of play.
- Fits wide array of girths
- Good for partner play
- Pressure activated
Want to be the first to hear about the latest (and greatest) SHOP product drops, custom collections, discounts, and more? Sign up to have the intel delivered straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.