TPE vs Silicone Sex Dolls [2022]: Which Type of Doll is Best for You?

Welcome to the TPE vs silicone sex doll battle of 2022! I’ll cover every pro, con, and detail of each type of doll so you can decide which one is better for you.

So you’ve been eyeballing sex dolls for some time, huh? And not those blow-up Macy’s-day-parade-looking gag gifts that always look way too surprised to see you. But the new upgraded realistic love dolls that actually resemble human beings.

You’ve probably noticed that the “silicone v. TPE” debate is like the “Batman v. Superman” of the sex doll universe. 

WHICH IS BETTER? We’ll take a closer look at the two options so that you can decide for yourself.


What is TPE?

TPE stands for Thermoplastic Elastomer – a combination of plastic and rubber. The material is flexible and slip-resistant. It’s quite popular in the sex doll industry.

As compared to other materials, TPE is much more soft and stretchable to use. It can retain heat for longer periods of time, making it ideal for manufacturers that are keen on the longevity of their products. Also, part of what makes it popular is how affordable the material is on the market. 

In fact, what makes TPE appealing is how diverse it is to use for consumers. A ton of products come from TPE resin applications. And these are not only limited to the creation of sex toys.

TPE SEX Dolls

Pros

  • TPE is more elastic and softer than other materials, making it feel like human skin. That provides a life-like experience during play. You can totally lose yourself in your fantasies and imagine you’re getting it on with a real girl or guy. It just feels better than silicone, which is what the majority of people care most about.
  • TPE is WAY CHEAPER than silicone, so any doll made of TPE will be more affordable. Sex dolls are a huge investment, so that is definitely something to consider. 
  • TPE dolls have been around for longer than silicone ones and are more popular since they’re so budget-friendly. Because of this, there is greater variety in design with TPE dolls. Choosing TPE for your go-to material means you have a better chance of finding a doll that checks all your boxes.

Cons

  • TPE is quite sensitive to heat, so you should be wary of leaving it near a heat source – it can get damaged. Unfortunately, that also makes it harder to warm it up for a more lifelike experience with your doll.
  • TPE is a porous material, so it can’t be fully disinfected. The pores hang on to moisture, which increases the risk of bacterial growth. This may lead to an infection and will absolutely ruin your fun. A risk like that is very important to consider if you get a male or trans toy and want to get penetrated by it.

    Vaginas are VERY sensitive and develop infections easier, so TPE isn’t the best option for vulva owners.

    Because it’s porous, TPE can also get stained pretty easily, even by the clothes you put on your doll. Germs can, of course, be kept at bay if you take proper care of the material. But TPE requires a LOT MORE care than silicone because of hygiene concerns. 
  • Even with a lot of extra effort, a TPE doll would last a few years at best because TPE isn’t as durable as silicone.
  • All of this also means that TPE dolls basically have no resale value, so you won’t be able to make some money off an old doll when you decide to get a new one.

What is Silicone?

Silicone is a polymer material. It has a lot of uses, and it’s available in many forms. It’s used for everything from household products to cosmetics and medicine. It is one of the most popular materials, not just for sex dolls but for many sex toys in general.

The material itself can be stable and soft, but it can also be strong under extreme conditions depending on how it is prepared. Silicone is also heat-resistant, making it less likely prone to external damage. Additionally, you don’t need to do a ton of maintenance since the material doesn’t react with too many contaminants in its environment.

Silicone Sex Dolls

Pros

  • Silicone can be FULLY DISINFECTED because it’s a non-porous material. That will keep you safe from bacteria and infections and also provide you with the opportunity to resell the doll somewhere down the line. For hygiene purposes, it is more suitable for vagina owners.
  • Silicone is way more durable and heat resistant, so a silicone doll will last you a long time with proper care. 

    Heat resistance also means you can easily warm up your doll to body temperature, which will give you a more life-like experience and make penetration more comfortable and pleasurable.
  • Silicone can get very realistic when it comes to how your doll LOOKS, so if you need a strong visual you’ll find it in silicone dolls.

Cons

  • Silicone’s pros come at a *high* price, so silicone dolls are not for everyone’s budget. 
  • Dolls made out of silicone tend to drag more than TPE ones, so if you’re a penis owner and plan on penetrating your doll you might need to use more lube.
  • Silicone dolls aren’t compatible with silicone lube, which might damage the material. You should use only water-based lubricant, which is not as slippery as silicone ones.

It should be noted that silicone materials get better every day. As a result, you can find some silicone dolls that mimic human skin better than others. They, of course, tend to be even pricier and still won’t be as realistic as TPE.

We also compiled the best silicone sex doll for your quick view.


How Should You Decide Which Option Is Best For You?

So many pros and cons for both materials, right? Don’t be overwhelmed. Just think about some key factors to decide what is more important for you.

Consider Your Budget

Full-size sex dolls are a big investment either way. Are you able (and willing) to splurge on a doll that will last you virtually a lifetime?

Note that if you go for the cheaper option (TPE), you WILL have to get a new one after a few years – there is no way around it. Also, the material will wear off. Depending on your financial situation, this may be more achievable for you, but a silicone product may save you money in the long run. 

If you don’t have much to spend, you can also consider getting a mini-doll or a torso.

Want to know more about sex doll prices? Here’s a detailed breakdown of all doll costs.


Realistic Feel & Bounce

TPE’s texture and softness are more life-like as a whole. The material also behaves like human tissue and moves and wobbles the same way real human parts would. Imagine titties bouncing – TPE can mimic that quite well.

On the other hand, it’s very risky if you decide to warm up a TPE doll (vs. a silicone doll) to body temperature for a more realistic experience – you can damage your very expensive doll.

If you’re willing, you can splurge on an RRS silicone doll. RRS stands for hyper-realistic painting / realistic skin texture / smooth matte effect. This way you get closer to a more realistic texture and also the opportunity to warm up your doll safely.

You can roll up your doll in an electric blanket and use a special heating rod to warm up the orifices. Some silicone dolls are even self-heating if you’re willing to spend a little extra.

Some silicone dolls have gel implants in their breasts, tights, and buttocks to achieve optimal softness and a lifelike feel. That is also most often a premium feature you’ll have to pay extra for, and after a while, such extras add up.


Sex Doll Material

If you compare both silicone dolls and TPE dolls on the surface, then there’s a clear difference between the two. 

Sex dolls made from silicone are non-porous. Meanwhile, TPE dolls are porous

So when it comes to the former, you don’t have to worry about having moisture absorbed into the material. You can freely use any cleansing agent you want.

On the other hand, cleaning TPE dolls requires more attention than your standard procedure. Moisture is retained, and you may have to use other means to get rid of it, like utilizing an aquarium pump or tampon. Yes, it may require more effort, but that shouldn’t stop you from maintaining the quality of the material in the long run.

Regardless of what you choose, cleaning your sex dolls should be done on a regular basis. This is especially true when it comes to its erogenous spots. One common recommendation is to use hydrogen peroxide to help clean out the excess contaminants present in the material.


Longevity & Durability

On the whole, silicone is more durable than TPE because it’s resistant to heat and pressure.

Silicone dolls can last virtually a lifetime, not only because of their durability but also because they can be fully disinfected. This means you can even resell your silicone doll for a small profit if you decide to change things up a bit and get a new one.

With proper care, TPE dolls can also have a long life, but you WILL have to get a new one sooner or later.


Ease of Maintenance and Care

Silicone is generally easier to maintain than TPE because it’s easier to dry, which means bacteria are less likely to grow.

A wipe-down with a damp, lint-free cloth should be enough for the outside of any doll. Be very gentle! Dolls have some very delicate parts like eyelashes, fingernails, etc.

The orifices of a silicone doll should be thoroughly rinsed with soapy water. You can either buy a cleaning tool or use a sports bottle.

For TPE dolls, it’s better not to use regular soap because that can actually damage the material. Instead, go for cleaning agents specially designed for TPE materials.

If you have any stains, you can use a 10% benzoyl peroxide solution – it will not only remove them but also has antibacterial qualities. You’ll need a day for the solution to work its magic on the stains.

Pro Tip

It’s very important to dry your dolls thoroughly, no matter which material they are made of, because moisture is ideal for bacteria. Pay special attention to your TPE dolls since the porous material holds on to moisture. 

The most important thing is to dry the orifices of your doll. Use rolled-up paper towels or tampons.

Both silicone and TPE can feel a bit sticky after drying. Powdering them with baby powder or cornstarch will solve this problem.

Store your dolls in a dry place away from direct sunlight. Don’t dress your TPE doll in dark clothes to avoid stains.

Avoid completely submerging your doll in water, no matter the material. Water can get through small openings near the bolts into the inner metal skeleton of the doll. That could cause a build-up of mold and rust.

If you get any small tears, it’s very easy to fix them yourself with the right glue and tools. Stores that carry love dolls often also sell repair kits.

Here’s a complete guide on how to clean a sex doll.


Give It a Trial Run with a Smaller Commitment

If you’re unsure which material will satisfy your needs, it’s best to “test-drive” something small. For example, if you enjoy a silicone masturbator, chances are you’ll enjoy penetrating a silicone doll. The same goes for TPE.

You can also get a half doll, a mini-doll, a torso, just a butt, or a penis insert. All of these products will cost less than a full-sized doll. Try out the different materials and see what feels right for you. 

You can find wonderful TPE torso dolls at tantaly.com. If you’re interested in giving silicone a go, try out the Firefly Yoni silicone stroker first.

As a whole, TPE will feel better for penis owners. Vulva owners, on the other hand, should prioritize hygiene since they develop irritations and infections more easily and go for silicone dolls.


Who Should Consider a TPE Sex Doll?

A TPE sex doll is for you if:

  • You want a toy with squishier material that is much more similar to natural skin.
  • You are determined to devote more time to maintenance.
  • You’re on a budget. 

Who Should Consider a Silicone Sex Doll?

A silicone sex doll is for you if:

  • You prefer sex toy orifices that look (vs. feel) as close as possible to the real thing.
  • You like using sex toys in wet places or environments. 
  • You want a sex toy that doesn’t require a ton of maintenance.
  • You are not worried about spending more.

Conclusion: So What Doll Is Best For Me?

What did we learn today?

TPE is more lifelike AND budget-friendly, but it requires a lot of maintenance and may not be the best choice for vagina owners because of hygiene risks.

Silicone is more durable and way easier to clean but will also be more expensive, and the skin texture might not be as lifelike as you would hope.

At the end of the day, there isn’t a “better” option – it all depends on what you want, need, and can afford.

The good news is there is no wrong answer either! Whatever you end up choosing, you’ll have a lot of fun. And with proper care for your doll, you’ll be having fun for quite a while.

Dainis Graveris

Dainis Graveris

Over last 4 years Dainis have helped millions of people through his advice on this site (200+ guides and 1M+ visits/monthly). His work & advice has appeared on sites like: Healthline, Vice, Cosmopolitan, Men's Health, WomensHealthMag, MindBodyGreen & more. Read More

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