Silicone vs TPE Sex Dolls: Which is Better?
TPE and silicone are the most common materials for making high quality, realistic sex dolls. Though the two can look and feel similar, they vary significantly in make, model, longevity, and pricing.
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TPE Sex Dolls
Around 2012, manufacturers began experimenting with a new type of material called “TPE,” or thermoplastic elastome. This began a new era of sex doll production: realistic looks and feel (like silicone), but at much lower prices.
Pros and Cons of TPE Dolls
- Valuable – With TPE, you don’t have to choose between a lower-quality blow-up or an artisanal silicone doll. TPE dolls offer a long-sought-after medium to the other options.
- Realistic – TPE dolls can be incredibly lifelike.
- Feels Great – The texture of TPE dolls is smooth and soft. TPE is often used for making other items with a tactile nature, like ergonomic handles.
- Squeezable – TPE is elastic and jiggly when it needs to be.
- Temperate – Like silicone, TPE retains warmth, giving your doll a realistic presence when heated.
- Hypoallergenic – No need to worry about allergic reactions unless you’re specifically allergic to the rubber properties used in TPE.
- Odorless – Some materials, like harsher rubbers or vinyl, will have a distinct (and mostly unpleasant) smell. Though TPE dolls can pick up some stink when it is first shipped, it is mostly odorless after a couple washes.
- Compatible – You can customize your doll and use water-based lubricants.
- Porous – TPE has microscopic holes, just like real skin… and, also like real skin, can be dyed or damaged when left unclean. Fluids can seep into TPE skin, causing mold or harmful bacteria if not sterilized. See our instructions on proper doll cleanliness here.
- Quality Varies – There are numerous blends of TPE, and the texture of your sex doll will highly depend on the blend used. Since every manufacturer has their own secret formula, it is entirely possible that your manufacturer opts for sub-optimal TPE fillers or imprecise mixtures.
- New-to-market – The technologies behind TPE dolls are very recently, so the production techniques can still be imperfect.
It’s clear that TPE is a material with advantages for the budget conscious owner who still wants top-tier quality. Most issues with TPE sex dolls are caused by manufacturers brewing the wrong TPE blend. This is generally mitigated by buying through trusted manufacturers and vendors (list coming soon).
Silicone Sex Dolls
Silicone is a type of synthetic polymer that is used in a wide variety of products. Because of its properties, silicone is often used to make lubricants, glue, moldings, and household objects. Silicone is non-toxic and heat resistant.
Silicone was (and still is) the material behind the original “real love dolls” – that is, hyper-realistic dolls meant to provide a more intimate experience than blow-up or cloth dolls. Silicone comes in many forms — some of them are softer and more elastic than others. The material used to make sex dolls is called silicone rubber. To this day, it is the most common material used for high-end love dolls and sex robots.
Pros and Cons of Silicone Sex Dolls
- Realistic – The OG of sex dolls, silicone models can be sculpted to look exactly how the manufacturer envisions them.
- Life-like – With silicone, it’s possible to create a texture almost indistinguishable from real human flesh (it is often used for breast implants). Silicone dolls usually feel perfect.
- Tried and Tested – Silicone sex dolls have been around for a long time, allowing for the manufacturing process to be perfected. They’re a trusted choice.
- Temperate – Just like TPE, silicone retains warmth well for that “alive” feeling.
- Non-porous – Unlike TPE, silicone is resistant to germs and bacteria, making it much easier to clean and sterilize.
- Hypoallergenic – Unless you are specifically allergic to silicone, no need to worry!
- Expensive – There’s no sugar-coating it; silicone is a pricy material, and the expensive is passed along to the consumer. Check out our pricing breakdown here.
- Rigid – Some silicone dolls can feel too rigid to their owners, especially after trying a TPE doll. That said, the feel of the material largely depends on the quality of silicone used by the manufacturer.
- Un-durable – Silicone dolls need to be handled very gently as parts of them can be damaged easily.
- Incompatible – Only water-based lubricants can be used with silicone dolls.
Because of its great properties, silicone is a very popular material with a wide range of applications. Since it’s used to make breast implants, it’s easy to understand why it’s also one of the best materials for sex dolls. These dolls are safe, easy to clean, and have a real feel. The only real problem is the high price tag.
Both silicone and TPE female dolls come equipped with at least one orifice – the vagina. Just like everything else, the vagina will be considerably softer on a TPE doll. A silicone vagina will feel tighter and firmer. Which one is right for you? Even though silicone is a tried-and-tested favorite, many people actually prefer the feel of TPE.
Size can be an important factor. If you are larger down there, you may find that a TPE vagina is more comfortable. Since TPE is more elastic than silicone, it leaves more room to… accommodate.
If you have a larger budget and don’t mind the price tag, you should go with silicone. This material has been around longer so the production technique has become very refined. These are the highest quality dolls you can find!
If your budget is tighter, TPE remains a great alternative to silicone, providing good quality with much lower price tags. Going TPE is also a good choice if you are buying your very first doll, especially since they are more durable – just make sure that you understand doll cleanliness before owning a TPE doll. A TPE doll requires more bathing and maintenance.
If money and time are not parts of your equation, it of course comes down to whichever texture you prefer.