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How Do Vibrators Work?

Short Answer: The movement of a vibrator is created by an electrical mechanism inside it. The motors in battery-powered vibrators are small and have an off-center weight that spins around, making them shake. Larger, plug-in vibrators have bigger, more powerful motors, and some models use spinning electromagnetic coils to create movement.

Long Answer: Most vibrators use an internal electric motor to generate movement. The motor spins a weight, often a large ball bearing, around inside the case. Because the weight is off center, the centrifugal force of the spinning causes a vibrating motion. Vibrators speeds, when given, are usually listed in rpm, or revolutions per minute.

Battery-powered vibrators have smaller, lighter motors designed to operate on the relatively low current provided by the battery cells. For that reason, they create less powerful vibrations and may have shorter life spans. Battery-powered vibrators are usually designed so that the entire device vibrates, although the location of the motor in the housing may determine where the most intense vibrations emanate from.

Electrical (plug-in) vibrators, such as the Hitachi Magic Wand, operate with a standard 120V wall current, and have heavier duty motors. They weigh more, but are also less prone to break down, and produce much stronger and consistent vibrations. Depending on the model, they may be designed so that an attachment or head is the primary locus of vibration.

Coil vibrators, such as the Wahl ProSeries massagers, use spinning electromagnetic coils rather than a motor to produce movement. This makes them very quiet compared to motor-driven vibrators. They tend to produce more localized and "finer" vibrations than their motorized cousins.

Basic Information
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