Vibrators Meet Science

Ever since online vibrator purchases began in 1994, buying vibrators online has frequently posed several questions that have been tricky to answer. Two of the biggest questions have always been: ever wonder just exactly how strong the vibrator is? Ever wonder if your roommate will be able to hear you and your toy through your paper-thin walls?

At last, Tom Nardone and his Troy, Mich.-based company,, has a tried and true solution for those consumers who prefer receiving “plain, brown boxes” on their doorstep to walking into an adult store to purchase their adult toys.

When testing toys, Nardone and his crew purchase one toy to experiment with. “We attach it to the machine and let it rip.

From 1991–94, prior to getting into the adult industry, Nardone was a test engineer for a helicopter company, supplying copters to their many military contracts. Several years after launching in 1998 through his company, Nardone had a light bulb moment when contemplating how to accurately rate vibration and noise generated by frequently purchased vibrators from his company.

Nardone explained “When I tested machines in my previous career, I used a vibration analyzer to make sure the engines we made fell within military standards for sound and vibration. Three and a half years ago, I decided to purchase our own machine, basically the same one that I used back then. I thought it could easily be applied to testing our adult toys to educate our consumers so they know exactly what they are getting.”

He continued, “The machine reports the results with a number-based system and I decided it would be easier for our customers to grasp the scale of sound and vibration if we instead assigned descriptive words to the results.”

When testing toys, Nardone and his crew purchase one toy to experiment with. “We attach it to the machine and let it rip. If it is up to our standards and we think our customers will like it, then we get the toy in. If it’s not as strong or quiet as it should be, then we pass on it.”

One glimpse of the website will give the consumer a clear and concise rating of each and every toy they sell with further descriptions of the ratings system on their “Vibrator Institute” page. Starting with the sound ratings, the quietest ones rate a “Whisper” rating: they are barely audible and, with keeping with the company’s strict privacy policies, allows the lucky user to comfortably use their toy, well, privately. Those with the “Purr” rating are a little louder and can often be used under a blanket and this classification also happens to be the one that is the most populated for the toys on The three other classifications include “Hum,” “Buzz,” and the allimportant “Thundering,” which offers only three vibrators in this loud and powerful category, enough to rattle the bedsprings both audibly and physically.

Quiet vibrators range from several LELO toys, to finger vibes and vibrating cock rings, offering a variety of toys in usage and price range for all customers.

When it comes to the all-important strength and vibration ratings, they, too, have their own rating system, appropriately referred to as the “Power Levels.” The “Gentle” category is often recommended for beginners — something that many retailers recommend for starting off with as well. “Pleasurable” offers the widest range of toys available and often recommends these toys for most women. “Intense” and the over-the-top “Unrelenting” are for those women who just can’t get enough action. Of course, the ever-popular “Cadillac of vibrators,” the Magic Wand, is in the “Unrelenting” category.

Other strong vibrators present themselves in many shapes and sizes, including external, clitoral vibes and sturdy insertable ones. There’s even a dual usage Rabbit among the group, although because of their swirling shaft, the Rabbit-style vibes can only be tested for sound and for the vibration of their fluttering of ears.

But doesn’t stop there — they also recommend many vibrators based on sound, power and popularity with those toys represented by manufacturers such as We-Vibe, LELO, CalExotics and many others. Nardone chuckles when he mentions that the top two searches on his site are for “Unrelenting” and “Whisper” — complete opposites that indicate shoppers are looking for the quietest and strongest vibes out there.

Adding the vibration and sound testing for the website has significantly increased sales for the company. “It’s what the brand is all about … to curate sex toys that are on the market and make it incredibly easy for our customer to find the right one,” Nardone said. “We’d rather carry 400 of the best ones and present the data to our customers and leave out the ones that don’t score well,” citing how the ratings make it easier to differentiate a standard bullet vibe versus the similarly shaped and higher ranking We-Vibe Tango vibe. “When we break it down with a standardized score, it’s much easier for the customer to make their decision based on our findings.”

Who thought that being a helicopter test engineer would result in selling highly rated sex toys to frisky customers throughout the country? Quick thinking Tom Nardone at, that’s who!