If you were to review your hand like it was a sex toy for masturbation, how many stars would you give it?
The adjustable tightness and speed are pretty cool, but it doesn’t offer much variety in terms of texture. It can’t vibrate or produce intense suction, but it’s a simple tool that often does the trick nonetheless. It’s certainly convenient — I mean, it’s literally attached to your body — but it can get a little boring after a while.
That’s where strokers come into play. These soft, penetrable toys offer various features your hand doesn’t, like suction, softness and the sense of actually fucking something. They can lend some realism to whatever fantasies flit through your mind while you jerk off, with the tactile and visual variety they provide. They also look great on camera, whether you’re showing off for your long-distance partner over FaceTime, snapping pics to titillate your local FWB or even making content for OnlyFans.
One major benefit that hands have over toys is that they’re free. But the good news is, a stroker doesn’t have to be expensive to get the job done.
What to Look for in a Stroker
Different strokes work for different folks, which is why it’s good to have a sense of what you need and want in a stroker before pulling the trigger. Here are some factors to consider…
1) Disposable vs. Reusable. Some strokers on the cheaper end of the spectrum, like Tenga Eggs, are only meant to be used a handful of times (so to speak) before being thrown out and replaced. These are often made of materials that are highly soft and squishy, which is why they start to fall apart or lose their shape after just a few uses. Disposable strokers are a good introduction to the category, especially when money’s tight — just remember you gotta wash and dry them thoroughly between sessions, because getting mold on your dick would be a bad idea even in the short-term.
That said, even strokers marketed as reusable will tend not to last as long as, say, a well-made vibrator or dildo. Why? Well, strokers are almost always made of porous materials like elastomer, because they offer the soft plushness that many penises enjoy. The problem is, the porosity of the material makes it more likely to break down over time. These materials also cling onto bacteria and can’t be fully sanitized, so you should throw yours out if it develops mold or if you start noticing a weird smell or new irritation when you use it. You can maximize your stroker’s longevity by washing and drying it thoroughly after every use, avoiding silicone- and oil-based lubes and powdering the toy with cornstarch if it starts to get sticky.
2) Case vs. No Case. Some strokers, like most Fleshlights, are housed in a hard plastic casing that helps give them shape and tightness. These can be easier to hold and stroke with, and even to thrust into hands-free if you find a good way to mount them. But they don’t give you the same degree of moment-to-moment control over how much pressure you’re feeling and where it’s located on your dick.
Using a stroker without a case is basically just like masturbating with your hand but better, because the stroker adds some plushness and texture to the squeezing and stroking motions you already enjoy. The drawback here is that this type of stroker doesn’t hold its shape as well over time and is much trickier to thrust in and out of, should you want to.
3) Texture. The main factor that’ll affect how your stroker feels is the texture on the inside. Some strokers have fairly low-key ripples or ridges, while some have several different complicated textures incorporated into their design. Experimenting with cheap disposable strokers is the easiest way to figure out which textures feel good for you, so you can then look for a longer-lasting option that feels similar.
4) Open-Ended vs. Closed. A stroker that’s open on both ends is easier to clean, takes less time to dry, can be easily used on the lower part of your shaft during a blow job and lets you focus your attention on specific areas of your dick, like the head or frenulum. Meanwhile, a stroker that’s closed on one end can usually stimulate more of your shaft at once, may create more of a suction effect and will catch your jizz so it doesn’t spray everywhere. Decisions, decisions…
5) Cleanability. Washing a stroker after using it is definitely the most cumbersome part of the whole process, especially since, at that point, you’d probably rather just enjoy the post-orgasmic afterglow. But it’s vital that you clean your stroker thoroughly after every use, so you might as well pick one that’s relatively easy to rinse out. Check the cleaning instructions on the company’s website or read reviews to get a sense of what’s involved. Often, the easiest strokers to clean are those that have openings at both ends and can be turned fully inside-out.
Ready to upgrade from your bare hand? From cheapest to priciest (but still pretty cheap), these are some of the best affordable strokers on the market. Don’t forget to throw some water-based lube into your cart while you’re at it!
Price Check: $7
The Rub: Alongside Fleshlight, Tenga is among the best-known stroker brands, and one of their most ingenious offerings is this egg-shaped disposable toy. Made of wildly stretchy elastomer, it fits just about any penis size. Each one comes with a packet of lube, making it ultra-convenient and portable; it’s like the Go-Gurt of masturbation.
Tenga Eggs are technically meant to be single-use, but if you flip yours inside-out, rinse it thoroughly and let it dry between uses, you should be able to get another three to five sessions out of it. With a variety of textures to choose from, these nifty toys are a cost-effective way to mix up your masturbation routine.
Price Check: $10
The Rub: This disposable stroker comes pre-lubed, and uses a combo of textured elastomer and urethane foam to create a grip that’s firm yet comfortable. By far the coolest feature, though, is the way you can roll its top half around during use, for some unique head-focused stimulation.
An air hole on one end of the stroker helps moderate the tightness inside — you can cover it with your finger when you’re in the mood for intense suction sensations. Just be aware that this toy is best-suited for small-to-average penises; those on the larger side might find it uncomfortably tight.
Price Check: $12
The Rub: When it comes to strokers, some people prefer them hyper-realistic, while others would rather not fuck an uncanny valley, thank you very much. If you’re in the latter group, you might enjoy this simple elastomer stroker. It’s called The Tube because it really is just… a tube.
Some ridgey texture on the inside keeps things interesting, or you can flip the toy inside-out if you prefer a totally smooth orifice (maybe you’re fantasizing about fucking a robot or an inner tube — hey, whatever floats your boat). The open-ended design makes The Tube easy to clean when you’re done, too.
Price Check: $14
The Rub: If you’re in the “more realistic = better” camp, this elastomer stroker should hit the spot. It’s got a lifelike tongue and even teeth, which the creators helpfully note have been “upgraded [to a] soft material for [a] more comfortable experience.”
With its closed-end design and assortment of internal textures, stroking this toy up and down can feel remarkably like getting deep-throated by a human — albeit one who probably needs to see a dentist about those soft teeth. Just try not to get too freaked out when you have to turn it inside-out to clean it afterward.
Price Check: $24
The Rub: If you’ve never tried vibration on your dick, there’s no time like the present! This stroker wraps around your shaft with a variable pressure you can control with your hand. Its bumps and ridges feel great when you stroke it back and forth, but you can also just hold it in one spot and enjoy any of the 10 different vibration settings against your sensitive frenulum. Conveniently, it’s waterproof, too; so bring it into the shower or bath with you for a relaxing self-love session.
Price Check: $25
The Rub: This reusable stroker has a wacky design that allows it to automatically twist back and forth as you stroke it up and down. Reviewers note that it works best when you hold it by the tip, though, rather than gripping around the shaft like you might be accustomed to — which could be refreshing or annoying, depending on your perspective.
Cleaning and drying can be a bit challenging because it can’t be turned fully inside-out, but if its rotation sounds intriguing to you, you might as well give it a whirl.
Price Check: $35
The Rub: Most of Fleshlight’s strokers are higher-end, but they do make a few gems for $40 or less, including this one. It’s made of their patented Superskin material, so it’s got all the luxurious squishiness of a regular Fleshlight, but in a smaller (and cheaper) package.
Because this toy is open-ended, you can use it solo or ask a partner to incorporate it into a BJ for some extra stimulation. Your partner might appreciate the see-through material if they’re voyeuristically inclined, because it lets them watch the magic happen while you use the toy. Cleaning it is a breeze, and once it’s dry, you can screw its endcaps back on and it’ll be kept safe from dust and dirt while stowed away in your nightstand or bag.
Price Check: $35
The Rub: Like the portability of the Quickshot Vantage, but want something more realistic? This version has a vulva on one side and a butthole on the other, so you can mix things up depending on what you’re fantasizing about.
It’s called the Stamina Training Unit because the bumpy texture on the inside is so intense that edging with it can be good practice for lasting longer during sex. But even if that’s not your goal, it’s still a solid stroker at a great price.
Price Check: $40
The Rub: Also known as a “handjob helper,” this reusable stroker is like a Fleshlight without a case — it’s made of their signature, super-squishy material, but allows you more control over the amount of pressure you’re getting at any given moment.
Conveniently-placed finger holes on the side help you (or a partner) keep a firm grip on the toy while you use it. It’s easy to clean it and dry it, especially with the help of the included air-dry stand. This type of toy also takes up way less space than a standard Fleshlight, so if real estate in your nightstand is at a premium, it might be the way to go.