My last post about my toy hoarding tendencies made me think about the pros and cons of cheap vs. expensive toys. I thought I’d sum up my thoughts on why, even though some of my favorites are super fancy, I am by no means a toy snob.
Cheap Toys – Pro:
1) Price =/= Quality
First off, “cheap” can mean “inexpensive” or it can mean “shoddy crap”. To make it clear, I am not pro-shoddy crap. I am more pointing out that it can be wrong to assume price indicates quality.
There are inexpensive toys out there that are just all-around great, like the Bootie I mention below. It can take some research to find them, but good inexpensive toys are out there.
Also of note is that a lot of expensive “luxury” toys are unfortunately not that great.
2) You have a chance to try out things you’re not sure about.
Sometimes, you are better off experimenting with an inexpensive version of a toy before you pay serious money for the pricier version.
My first anal plug was Fun Factory’s Bootie – I had never tried one before but after wearing the Bootie for a while I knew I liked it and wanted to try different sizes and materials. If I’d hated it, I would have been much less upset about tossing out a $20 toy than if I’d gone straight for the $$$$ jeweled metal plug that is now my fanciest one!
On the other end of the spectrum is the rabbit. I got a cheap one and it’s just not a design that works for me at all. I could have guessed that, based on my usual habits, but I guess I just had to try one for myself given all the hype. There is no improvement that could be made on this design that would make it something I’d want, so I will never buy another one.
3) Some toys don’t NEED to be expensive.
Often, the “expensive version” HAS to be more expensive and you are better off saving and investing in that. Anything made of silicone, or medical-grade stainless steel, is going to cost more just because of the materials. Other materials, not so much. ABS plastic is a good example of this – it’s considered body-safe but costs way less than silicone. Another good example is nipple clamps. Sure, you COULD get 24 karat gold, but you don’t HAVE to.
ALSO – as I mentioned in my first point, “luxury” toys aren’t always that great. There are toys that are worth spending $100+ on, and there are those that just aren’t. (This is why independent reviewers are so important!)
And now, the CONS:
1) Mystery materials!
Is that really silicone? Will this give me an infection? Or chemical burns? Who knows!
Sex toys are not regulated at all in the US, and anyone can call anything silicone. I have these scary ben wa balls that have oxidized – they’ve been stored in a plastic box and, well, look at that! They’ve developed a green spot!
Back before I knew better I tried a “jelly” dildo that gave me a chemical burn. Google around and you’ll find this is not an unusual experience!
So, you may not be getting what the toy claims it is, and you might not be getting a toy you should even use. This is not a problem you can completely solve by price alone, but it’s a starting point! $10 ‘silicone’ dildo on Amazon? NOPE. Don’t buy toys from Amazon, period. *
2)They Die 🙁
This is more a vibrator-specific one, but – confession time! – I have a pile of dead vibrators and it makes me sad. At least one of these probably bit the dust after I left batteries in it for too long, I’ll admit. But that is something you never even have to think about with rechargeables!
I personally don’t use TPE dildos** but some people like it as a material. No matter how you care for it, TPE does not last long so you have to throw out and replace toys made of it.
3) Bad Design
Again, this is not confined to the under $50 set AT ALL. But as far as sex toy design, well, sometimes it seems like things are designed by aliens who have never seen an actual human body. Everyone’s different, and even weird designs will find their fans. But there’s weird and then there’s just plain bad.
I think brands that really strive to cultivate a curated set of excellent products often spend more time in testing and tweaking their designs – there will never be a toy that works for everyone, but when more work and feedback goes into a toy it shows.
I love hearing about other people’s experience, so if you have a favorite affordable toy – or a story about one to avoid! – let me know in the comments!
*And if you are looking for sex toy information in general, Dangerous Lilly’s entire site is a wealth of information and worth reading!
** TPE is porous, which I consider an unsafe material. Some people are okay with this. Again, I suggest reading up on anything you’re going to put inside your body.