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Let's face it, there are times when your penis can feel like it's got a mind of its own. In our youth, that often meant springing into action at awkward moments - but as we get a little older, it can mean our penises let us down in the heat of the moment.

Penis pumps are a great way of combatting this - getting some extra blood flowing when you need it. They're also a lot of fun if you like experiencing additional length, girth, or sensitivity during your play.

In this guide, we'll take a detailed look at penis pumps, including - the different types available, how they work, some of the benefits you can enjoy, and how to get the most from a pumping session.

We'll also answer some important questions about penis pumps, including whether they work if you're experiencing erectile dysfunction - and whether they can permanently enhance your penis size.

What is a Penis Pump?

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.

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

When properly using a vacuum erection device it will increase blood flow to your penis. This blood flow will help you achieve an erection if you are unable to do so naturally. If you can produce a natural erection, a pump will help you maintain or even give you additional firmness.

The Different Types of Penis Pumps



Manual Pump

The most basic air-based pump design. Pumping is done manually with a hand-operated pumping trigger or balloon - creating pressure inside a tube that fits snugly around your flaccid penis

Electric Pump

An electronic pump replaces manual air pumps with digital controls and a small electric motor that removes air from the plastic tube.

Vibrating Pump

A vibrating penis pump can be manual or electric and adds stimulation to the pumping experience to help encourage blood flow.

Head Pump

Penis head pumps are designed to sit snuggly over your glans (penis head) and work specifically on these blood vessels to enhance sexual sensations.

Hydro Pump

 Also known as 'water pumps' - replace air with water, offering a different sensation and suitable for use in the bathtub or shower.

Stroker Pump

A stroker pump has a built-in masturbator sleeve that works together with vacuum pressure to get the blood flowing into your penis.

How Do Penis Pumps Actually Work?

Penis pumps work by pulling blood into your penis through a negative vacuum chamber. When you use the pump, you are removing the air from the pump cylinder which draws the blood into your penis. This causes your penis to get larger and harder, temporarily.

Some penis pumps are electric battery-powered - with a small air pump motor that sucks the air from the tube. These penis pumps require batteries or cable recharging.

Others are hand-powered; meaning the user must pump the air out of the tube manually with some sort of suction device - often a handball pump.

As more blood is drawn in, your penis gets fuller and harder - and you get an erection.

As more blood is drawn in, your penis gets fuller and harder - and you get an erection.

When the penis pump is removed, you can slide or roll a constriction band down to the bottom of your shaft (near your pelvis) to make sure the blood stays where it's needed in your penis.

How Long Does the Effect of a Penis Pump Last?

While everybody is different, generally, the best penis pumps produce results that last 30 minutes. There are external factors such as mental state and arousal that will contribute to the effects.

Do Penis Pumps Work?

Yes, penis pumps work - but, in truth, this is a question that benefits from more than a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer.

To understand whether or not a penis pump works, you have to understand the difference between what they're designed to do and what's just hype designed to sell more products.

Let's look in detail at some of the claims:

Do Penis Pumps Work as an ED Treatment?

The answer to this question is a definite 'yes.' Although they're a product often sold with promises of other benefits, a penis vacuum pump is primarily designed to help you get (and stay) hard.

Penis pumps work so well for erectile dysfunction because they don't rely on anything else to work - you don't have to be horny, you don't have to have amazing circulation, and it doesn't matter what your testosterone levels are like. More blood into your penis will result in an erection - it's as simple as that.

Relationship between age and erectile dysfunction diagnosis or treatment using real-world observational data in the United States


That said, a penis pump is designed to benefit those with moderate ED. It may not, however, be effective in those with severe ED.

A penis pump is designed to benefit those with moderate ED. It may not, however, be effective in those with severe ED.

Regardless of the severity of your ED, it's worth thinking about trying a penis pump before you explore other treatments. You have the upfront cost of a penis pump to think about - but beyond this initial spend, even the best penis pump will be a lot more cost-effective and less prone to side effects than the other treatments available.



Testosterone Treatment

Acne, increased risk of prostate problems, increased risk of blood clots

Oral medications

Flushing, indigestion, stuffy/running nose, back pains, and priapism (failure of the erection to subside on its own)

 Penile Implants

Uncontrollable bleeding following the surgery, scar tissue formation, reservoir displacements.

Bypass Surgery

Post-operative infections, mechanical malfunction

What Else Can I Do to Improve Erectile Function Along with a Pump?

Whether you are using vacuum devices for erectile dysfunction or for other personal reasons, they are only one part of the puzzle. Everyday life has a lot to do with your overall health, stress levels, and libido. You should look at your lifestyle and look for places to improve on.

Your Diet

Look at what you put into your body on a daily basis. You should aim to have a healthier diet with foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients. You will be amazed at the results this has on your erectile function and libido. Furthermore, improving your diet will help you lose weight which will give you the appearance of a larger penis.

Remove Stress

It is easier said than done but removing as much stress as you can from your life will help improve your sex life (and health). Stress often plays a role in erectile dysfunction.

Get a Good Night's Sleep

We are often overworked and under-rested. This type of behavior can negatively impact your mood and libido. If you get a solid night's sleep you can improve all aspects of your life.

Get Rid of your Vices

Another easier said than done but what an improvement you will see. If you consume alcohol, drugs, nicotine, or too much caffeine, you are not helping your body perform at its peak. Removing these vices from your system will improve your mood and libido.

Review Your Medications

Some medications such as antidepressants and blood pressure meds can have an adverse effect on your sex drive and libido. If you notice this, speak to your doctor about potential alternatives.

Enjoy All Aspects of Sex

Arousal is a major part of getting erections. If you are not aroused how can you expect to become hard? Start to explore other parts of sex including foreplay and pleasuring your partner first. Find out what makes you horny and do it. You have a better chance of getting an erection when you have more sex, studies show.

Do Penis Pumps Work for Penis Enlargement?

If you're hoping that a penis pump is going to permanently increase your penis size, you're probably going to be disappointed by the results. There's no scientific evidence to prove that penis pump use will result in permanent enlargement.

This isn't to say that a good dick pump won't give you a temporary increase in length and girth - but the gains will be exactly that; temporary.

Other Uses and Benefits of Penis Pumps

You could be fooled into thinking that penis pumps are just intended for people with erectile dysfunction - but that is definitely not the case.

Vacuum pumps are fantastic fun for anyone with a penis. Pumping extra blood where it's needed means you temporarily get some extra size and plenty of extra sensitivity.

Vacuum pumps are fantastic fun for anyone with a penis. Pumping extra blood where it's needed means you temporarily get some extra size and plenty of extra sensitivity.

Additional benefits include:

  • More staying power: When used with a constriction ring, pumping can make your penis less sensitive, making it possible to go longer without orgasm.
  • Visual boosts: It can be a real kick to see your penis looking bigger than it has before - so if visual stimulation is your thing, dick pumps can be seriously exciting.
  • Partner play: Pumping doesn't have to be done solo in preparation for sex. Using a penis pump can be an exciting part of foreplay for you and your partner. Some people even like to tie it into some light power play or BDSM.
  • Different feelings: More blood in your penis means extra sensitivity - so pumping can transform penetrative sex, oral sex, and playing with toys.

There's also a psychological benefit of using a penis pump to consider. Often, the anxiety around not being able to get an erection is one of the major hurdles that stand in your way. Knowing you've got a penis pump nearby to help can reduce this performance anxiety and make sex a more pressure-free, enjoyable, and relaxing experience for everyone involved.

How to Use a Penis Pump

All penis pumps are a little different - so there's no substitute for carefully reading and following the manufacturer's instructions. However, if your penis pump consists of a plastic tube, a rubber ring seal, and a device for removing the air from the tube, the instructions will usually be quite similar.

Before you open the box and get moving, it's useful to do a little prep:

How to Prepare for Using a Penis Pump

While penis pumps are effective and safe, there are a few precautions your should take when using.

  • Shave your pubic hair. It's important to shave and remove as much of the hair around your penis before using a pump. If you do not do this, you risk snagging and ripping your pubes out. This can be quite painful and a mood killer.
  • Use lubricant. Using a quality water-based lubricant with your pump will help you slide into the pump easier. Many pumps come with a tight silicone sleeve that helps create the airtight seal needed to pump effectively. The lubricant will help you slide in pain-free and snugly.
  • Follow directions. Always read and follow the instructions included with your pump. While pumps all act the same, each may have its own best practices.
  • Limit your time. You don't want to have the penis pump on your penis for an extended period of time. Limit your actual pump time as well as the time you have the cock ring on your penis to no more than 30 minutes.
  • Listen to your body. Nobody knows you better than you do so listen and do not push your body past what it is telling you. If you start feeling pain or noticing bruising or lacerations on your skin, stop pumping and allow your body to heal.

Step-by-step of Using 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, push the quick release valve and remove the tube
  5. Place a constriction ring around the base of the penis to maintain your erection

    Best Complements of a Penis Pump

    A penis pump is likely to work well when used by itself - but there are a few additional products you might like to add to your session for maximum effectiveness, comfort, and pleasure. They include:

    A Cock Ring

    When someone gets an erection naturally, the muscle tissue in the penis actually relaxes - letting blood enter more freely. When your penis is erect, a membrane traps the blood in place - so your erection stays firm.

    A cock ring does the same job as this membrane - constricting the muscle so the blood can't leave. This makes it a perfect addition to a penis pump - the pump does the initial work, then the cock ring makes sure the blood stays where it's needed.

    Since cock rings are often sold as sex toys, there's a huge number on the market. It's a good idea to experiment with different materials and sizes to find one that's perfect for you.

    Pump Sleeves

    Pump sleeves are designed to make your pumping experience more pleasurable - either by enhancing the sensation of the pump or by adding visual stimulation.

    For example, some pump sleeves have an entrance that's shaped like a mouth or vagina, giving a feel that simulates foreplay or sex. Other sleeves are textured and grip your penis when you're inside - giving a sensation like using a male masturbator.

    Again, there are lots of sleeves out there - with many offering a universal fit that suits most pumps. Think about what turns you on - then find a sleeve that offers what you're looking for!

    Good Lube

    Adding a touch of lubrication to your pumping session is a good idea for two reasons. Firstly, lube helps you enter the rubber ring at the bottom of the pump. Chances are, you're not going to be hard when you get the pump in place, so lube will help you slip in with no discomfort.

    Secondly, lube helps to create a good seal between the base of your penis and the rubber ring that sits snugly around you. That seal is an important part of getting a great result, so you can afford to be liberal with the lube.

    If you do decide to use lube while pumping, make sure you choose a lube that's suitable for use with your pump and won't damage the donut sleeve at the bottom. If in doubt, a water-based product is a safe choice.

    If you do decide to use lube while pumping, make sure you choose a lube that's suitable for use with your pump and won't damage the donut sleeve at the bottom. If in doubt, a water-based product is a safe choice.

    Are Penis Pumps Safe? Safety Tips for Optimal Use

    Millions of penis pumps are sold every year, and, unlike many sex toys and enhancement devices, penis pumps have been subject to countless reassuring medical studies.

    That said, it's natural to be at least a little cautious about sticking your penis into any device - so it's good to know some dos, don'ts, and general safety information:

    Are There Any Risks or Side Effects of Using a Penis 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 pressure gauge or a pump with a vacuum limiter 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.

    How Long Should I Use a Penis Pump for?

    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.

    Cases Where you Shouldn’t Use a Penis Pump

    Penis pumps are safe for virtually everyone to use - but there are a few exceptions that are worth being aware of.

    Avoid using a penis pump if you:

    • Use blood thinning medication
    • Have any history of blood clots
    • Have any kind of blood disorder (such as sickle cell anemia)
    • Suffer with priapism (prolonged erections)

      If you're struggling with erectile dysfunction and have one of these issues, it's a good idea to talk to a medical professional about how you can encourage erections in a way that's completely risk-free.

      If you're struggling with erectile dysfunction and have one of these issues, it's a good idea to talk to a medical professional about how you can encourage erections in a way that's completely risk-free.

      What Should I Avoid When Pumping?

      Penis pumps are safe to use - but, like anything, misuse could lead to discomfort or injury. Since your penis is usually the last part of your body anyone would want to damage, it's worth being mindful to avoid these things:

      Pumping Beyond a Safe Pressure

      While some penis pumps have pressure limiters, many don't - and that means over-pumping is possible.

      It may be tempting to over-pump thinking that you'll get a harder erection or a little more size - but this isn't going to be the case. Instead, you'll probably get some mild bruising and pin-pricks of blood appearing under the skin. Keep going and you may need a visit to the emergency room.

      Pumping for Too Long

      We've already talked about keeping your sessions to 30 minutes or less. It's important to follow this rule when you're pumping and avoid going over this limit.

      This is because your blood is usually pumping around your body, picking up fresh oxygen to feed your muscles. When your blood stays in one place for a long time, it can damage the tissue it's resting in.

      If you feel like you're going to get carried away and lose track of time, set an alarm!

      Using the Wrong Kind of Lubricant

      Okay, so this one isn't going to result in any injury - but it may shorten the lifespan of your pump.

      Avoid using a lubricant that reacts with your penis pump. Oil and silicone lubes may degrade the rubber seal. Don't find yourself having to shell out for a replacement when it's avoidable.

      How to Buy Your First Penis Pump

      If you ever read a bad review about a specific penis pump or penis pumps in general, you can bet that the person has bought a pump that's just not right for them.

      The trouble is, there are hundreds - if not thousands - to choose from. As such, getting the right one first-go isn't easy.

      The trouble is, there are hundreds - if not thousands - to choose from. As such, getting the right one first-go isn't easy.

      To help you understand the different kinds of penis pumps available, we've created a detailed penis pump buyers guide. Our guide is based on six key factors about each pump - and lists a series of pros and cons for each, so you can make a purchase with all the information you need.

      Looking to buy budget penis pumps?

      Check our related blog for more insights:

      How to Choose the Right Size for Your Penis Pump

      The ideal size for a penis pump is around 2-3 inches longer than your penis when it's erect. You should also allow for around 1/4 inch of space around the sides of your penis.

      As an example; if your penis is 6 inches when erect, a pump with an 8-9 inch plastic cylinder size is going to be right.

      Since everyone's penis is slightly different, we've put together a detailed guide on finding the right size penis pump for you - including a penis pump calculator and a handy size conversion chart.

      Penis Pump Care Tips

      To get the most from your penis pump, you need to make sure it's clean, stored correctly, and safe for use. We've gone into detail here about storing and cleaning your pump - then explored 6 other things you need to think about to keep your pump in pristine condition.

      How to Store Your Penis Pump(s)

      It's tempting to just stick your penis pump at the back of your bedside drawer or closet when it's not in use - but this increases the chances of it getting dusty, dirty, or damaged.

      Ideally, pumps will come with a semi-rigid case for storage - this prevents any dust or dirt from entering the pump when it's not in use and means that surrounding heavy items won't damage it. If you don't yet have a case or don't plan to buy one, keeping the original box is a good idea - just make sure everything's packed away neatly.

      How to Clean Your Penis Pump

      Giving your penis pump a clean after every use is essential - but a good cleaning regimen should go one step further. As well to a post-use clean, you should think about a weekly deep clean too.

      Let's look at both:

      Cleaning After Every Use

      Perhaps obviously, a post-pumping clean doesn't have to be done immediately after a session - but it's a good idea to clean your pump as soon after as is practical.

      Strip the pump down according to your manufacturer's instructions, then soak and wipe down each part in turn. It's a good idea to use a mild skin-friendly soap since your penis is likely to be more sensitive than your hands or face.

      When washing thoroughly, leave the parts out to dry naturally before reassembling and putting them back in the case or box.

      Sterilizing Once a Week

      No matter how well you clean your pump after each use, there's a slight chance that some stubborn bacteria could get left behind. To make sure this doesn't happen, it's advisable to strip the pump down and sanitize it weekly when you're using it.

      There are plenty of great products out there that are gentle on materials but tough on bacteria. Soak the parts that are waterproof, and use a wrung-out cloth that's been soaked in the sanitizing solution to safely wipe down any parts that contain electrical components.

      6 Penis Pump Care Tips

      1. Use the right lube - We've touched on this already - but it's worth being certain about. The wrong kind of lubricant can damage the materials used to make your pump and give bacteria places to hide. Understand what your pump is made from and which lubes are compatible. Water-based lube is always your best bet and the one you should choose if you're not sure.
      2. Be careful with moisture - Manual pumps and hydro pumps tend to be safe to use in the shower or the tub - but most electronic pumps are not. Check the instructions before use - and if you're in any doubt, only pump in dry conditions.
      3. Remove batteries when not in use - Batteries will drain slightly when they're in a pump - even if it's not switched on. To preserve battery life and avoid any damage from battery corrosion, remove them after each use.
      4. Wash before use - We've covered washing your pump after use - but it's worth making sure it's squeaky clean before you use it too. Not only does this minimize any chance of bacteria being present - it also helps to safeguard the pump's materials from any deterioration or damage.
      5. Inspect the pump before use - At best, a damaged pump is going to be ineffective. At worst, a damaged pump could injure your sensitive penis. Check that the materials are free from splits, cracks, or other damage before you use it.
      6. Don't use the dishwasher - Don't be tempted to put your pump in the dishwasher - no matter how gentle it suggests the wash cycle is. The heat, cleaning products, and jets of water can damage or melt the components of your pump, even if you do it just once.

      Penis Pumps FAQs

      Are penis pumps medical devices?

      A penis pump is considered a medical device when an FDA-approved pump is prescribed by a doctor. You can also purchase an OTC vacuum pump that is not FDA approved, therefore, not a medical device.

      Do I need a prescription to purchase a penis 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.

      Can you use a penis pump along with Cialis or Viagra?

      Yes, you can. Penis pumps are often considered even more effective when used with medications like Viagra and Cialis. That said, you should always check with a doctor if you've been prescribed this kind of medication - just to make sure there are no issues to be aware of.

      Can penis pumps help with Peyronie's Disease?

      According to published research, the answer is yes. A study published in the National Library of Medicine showed that the use of a vacuum pump over a 12-week period resulted in "clinically and statistically significant improvement in penile length, angle of curvature and pain after 12 weeks of using the vacuum pump" - with 21 out of 31 participants seeing a reduction in the angle of curvature by 5-25 degrees.

      However, it's essential that you consult your doctor before trying anything that could have an impact on Peyronie's Disease. Everyone is different and it's important that you work with medical advice that's specific to you.

      Does using a penis pump hurt?

      No. Used correctly, a penis pump shouldn't hurt. The sensation takes a little getting used to - but as long as you're using too much pressure or pumping for too long, you shouldn't feel any pain whatsoever.

      Can a penis pump affect fertility?

      Fertility issues are not a recognized side-effect of penis pump use in any study done on the subject. In fact, since a penis pump can help people with erectile dysfunction achieve an erection, it can help encourage regular sexual intercourse. This is something that, when aligned with the menstrual cycle, is proven to increase the chances of conception.

      Penis Pumps: A Summary

      As a fairly discreet device that uses suction to encourage or enhance an erection, penis pumps are an important part of sex for millions of individuals and couples. They don't take long to work - and they're a medically proven way to fight some of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

      No matter what you read elsewhere, penis pumps won't permanently increase your penis size - but they can temporarily add some extra length and girth, while hopefully giving you a firmer, longer-lasting erection. This is especially true when used with a suitably-sized cock ring.

      No matter what you read elsewhere, penis pumps won't permanently increase your penis size - but they can temporarily add some extra length and girth, while hopefully giving you a firmer, longer-lasting erection

      Like all sex toys and devices, penis pumps need to be used correctly if you want to get the most out of one. This means preparing properly, pumping safely, cleaning afterward, and storing safely. However, if you're willing to invest a little time in those things, a penis pump can transform your sex life - encouraging blood flow whenever it's required and unlocking a world of new sensations and stimulation!