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A penis pump is a non-surgical over the counter device that is used to improve erection health, treat erectile dysfunction symptoms, and temporarily increase the size and firmness of your erection.

Also known as vacuum erection devices, or vacuum pumps, these devices are easy to use and considered safe for anybody with a penis.

A penis pump is simple device consisting of:

  • A round tube that fits over your penis
  • A pump seal that sits snug around the base of the penis and creates an airtight seal
  • An electric or hand powered vacuum pumping device that removes the air out of the tube


sad man sitting on steps

How to use a penis pump

Although some of the features are slightly different from model to model, the basic way of working is generally the same between different products.

  1. Apply lubricant to the sleeve at the base of the pump (Only use water-based lubricants with your pump. Never use oil or petroleum-based lubricants such as Vaseline)
  2. Place the tube over your penis - making sure there's a snug, airtight fit around the base
  3. Pump the air out of the cylinder with the handpump (or electric pump) - creating a vacuum in the tube
  4. When your penis is erect, remove the tube
  5. Place a constriction ring around the base of the penis to maintain your erection

How long does it take?

Typically, it takes 2-4 minutes to get fully erect using a pump.

It may take a little longer though - the speed of results varies between different people. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended usage though.

How often should I use a penis pump?

This is where you need to listen to your body and see how it responds. As long as you have no bruising or pain you can use it as often as you would like.

Even multiple times per day.

Never use a penis pump for longer than 30 minutes at a time. 

Should I use a constriction ring when pumping?

Constriction rings or cock rings are designed to firmly squeeze all the way around the base of your shaft – making sure the blood stays where you need it after you’ve pumped. Constriction rings are the safest method to stay hard after pumping.

Expert tip

You need to make sure you only use a constriction ring after pumping. If you put one on beforehand, the pump and the ring will effectively work against each other.

Learn how to use a cock ring in our dedicated guide:

How to prepare for pumping

It's important to shave or at least trim your pubic hair as short as possible before you use a penis pump.

This prevents any painful snagging of hair on the seal at the bottom of the pump - and makes it much easier to create an airtight seal between the device and your body.


Are penis pumps safe?

If you follow the instructions and use the vacuum erection device as intended, using a penis pump is perfectly safe and can be a healthy part of your sex life.

Modern penis pump designs emphasize safety and come with all the features one could need to ensure not just a safe experience but a pleasureful one as well.

We should mention that penis pumps are not suitable for some individuals with certain underlying medical conditions.

We've explored this in more detail below - but if you're in any doubt, check with your doctor to make sure using a penis pump won't cause you any problems.

If you follow the instructions and use the vacuum erection device as intended, using a penis pump is safe and can be a healthy part of your sex life.

What are the risks or side effects of using a pump?

There are very few risks associated with using a vacuum device but they are not 100% risk-free. You only want to apply the minimum amount of vacuum necessary to achieve an erection. 

  • Using too much air pressure in the tube can cause over-pumping which may injure your penis. Using an air gauge can help avoid this.
  • You may experience mild bleeding or bruising under the surface of your skin. You might notice small red spots also known as petechiae, on your penis shaft.
  • You may notice that the firmness or hardness of your erection might not feel as stiff at the base as a natural erection.

Warning Signs

  • If there is any pain or discomfort, you should reduce the vacuum. and STOP if it continues.
  • If flesh goes purple or blue, cold and numb, STOP immediately and massage. You have been pumping too
  • Never use a damaged pump cylinder
  • Only use water-based lubricants with your pump. Never use oil or petroleum-based lubricants such as Vaseline

    Who should consider using a penis pump?

    Vacuum devices can be used by anybody with a penis, with the exception of those suffering from certain medical conditions. No matter if you suffer from erectile dysfunction or just looking to improve your experience in the bedroom, you can benefit from one.

    Penis pumps are one of the few devices out there that really can be used by all men.

    While they do not cure erectile dysfunction they can help tremendously with it.

    You should use a penis pump if:

    • You are looking to enjoy stronger erections that last longer
    • You just are looking for new types of fun in the bedroom
    • You are not getting as hard as you once were
    • You want to increase the sensitivity of your penis
    • You suffer from erectile dysfunction
    • (Note: Pumps are not a cure for all erectile dysfunction symptoms, if you suffer from ED, please contact your physician)

    Want to know more about penis pumps?

    Check out our Penis Pump FAQs:

    Do I need a prescription to purchase a pump?

    No, you do not need a prescription from a doctor to purchase a penis pump. These devices are readily available over the counter (OTC) for purchase.

    Choosing your first penis pump

    As you can imagine, penis vacuum pumps are a personal thing - so finding the best one will depend on what you're looking for.

    For ease of use, an electric penis pump is extremely convenient - although they do tend to be more costly than manual pumps. Most electric pumps include a quick-release air valve for safety purposes.

    However, if you’re looking for lasting growth you might want to explore hydro pumps – they’ve been shown to be more effective with longer-lasting results than standard air pumps.

    What are the different types of penis pumps?

    Now we've covered some of the basics; it's a good idea to get familiar with the different kinds of penis pumps on the market.

    Different stores and brands have slightly different categories - but you can generally count on seeing 5 main product types: 

    Types of penis pumps

     Type Description

    Manual (standard) air pumps

    A standard or manual pump is one that is hand powered by you. 

    At the end of the round cylinder, there's a hose that connects to a squeezable pump, bulb, or trigger-type pull.

    Electric penis pumps

     Electric pumps replace the manual version with a small electric vacuum pump that pulls air out of the tube automatically, without any manual effort.

    Vibrating penis pumps

     Vibrating penis pumps combine penis pumping with some breath-taking new sensations.

    As well as being a manual pump, a tiny device makes the pump shiver and shake to help get you harder even quicker.

    Penis head pumps

    penis head pump - or 'glans pump' is a little smaller than a standard penis pump, as it only covers the head of the penis and seals around the shaft just below.

    Hydro Pumps

    Hydro pumps are designed for use in the shower or the bath – and rather than using air to create a vacuum, they use water.

    By creating a vacuum with warm water, hydro pumps help to dilate (expand) the blood vessels in the penis to encourage even better blood flow and growth than a standard pump.


    Standard pump sizes are typically 7.5 inches to 9 inches in length. Standard cylinder widths are 1.75 inches all the way up to 3.5 inches.

    It is to be noted that 95% of men should be using a standard 8” – 9” long pump cylinder. The larger cylinders are less effective on average size penises.

    Using an oversized penis pump will not make your penis larger. 

    Did you know hydro pumps have been proven to give users more permanent results?

    If you're interested in penile growth, you might want to check our resources on penis stretching:

    Using a penis pump with a partner

    Some men like to use their pump solo to work on getting a little more size - whereas others introduce it into bedroom activity with a partner.

    There's no right or wrong - just do what works for you.

    You might like to introduce the idea of a penis pump before buying one - perhaps as something you and a partner can fool around with and see if it works for you both.

    Then again, some men prefer to pump in privacy - and just let their partner feel the benefits.

    Thinking on buying a penis pump?

    Check out our penis pumps buying guides for more details and recommendations on buying a penis pump:

      Important health information: Penis pumps and medical conditions

      At this stage, we fully appreciate that you're probably ready to order a penis pump and start feeling the benefits - but it's worth pausing for a second to consider a few health conditions before you do.

      Unless your doctor says otherwise, The Mayo Clinic suggests that penis pumps are generally not suitable if you:

      • Have a blood disorder - like Sickle Cell Anemia
      • Have any conditions that cause excessive bleeding or clotting
      • Use anticoagulant medication (blood thinners)
      • Experience priapism (erections that already last longer than usual)
      • Regular pumping exercise can also help as an effective treatment for Peyronie’s Disease and other forms of erectile dysfunction.

      Remember, you should never begin using a penis pump against medical advice.

      Want to learn more? Here are some research documents on ED and penis pumps: