Product review: Free by Romp

I’m constantly on the lookout for budget-friendly sex toys that work just as well as their expensive counterparts. Over the years I’ve found many inexpensive bullet vibes, rabbits, dildos and plugs to recommend to readers who don’t have a lot of cash to splash, or who want to try something new without spending a fortune. I’ve been searching for a budget version of the popular air-pressure clitoral stimulators, like The Womanizer. For a while, my go-to recommendation was the Satisfyer Pro 2, which retails for around $85. However, last month I stumbled across Romp, an offshoot of the Womanizer brand with a range of pressure-wave stimulators that all sell for less than $80 each.

Romp has three pressure-wave stimulators in their range: Shine, Free and Switch. All three are made from body-safe ABS plastic with a silicone head. The Shine and Switch both feature a longer handle, similar to the original Womanizer. Switch is the cheapest of the three, at about $50. It’s the only battery operated toy in the line. The Shine is rechargeable and sells for around $80 in Australia. I opted for the mid-range toy, Free, which cost $70. Free is a compact toy that fits in the palm of my hand. It’s rechargeable and waterproof and comes with a handy travel cap. It only comes in one colour, royal purple.

Aesthetically, I’m a fan of the Free. The simple shape and clean lines don’t scream “Sex Toy”, making this a really discreet toy. It’s very lightweight and the cap keeps the nozzle clean between uses. It’s a pretty fantastic option for travelling.

The Free is waterproof, which means that you can take it in the shower or tub with you. Like many waterproof toys, it features a magnetic charging port, which I find frustrating. The points on the toy and charger are particularly finicky, so the charger has to be positioned perfectly or the toy won’t charge. The magnetic connection isn’t very strong, so it’s very easy to accidentally jostle the charger and lose the connection. As the Free is rounded on every edge, it’s very difficult to get it to sit perfectly still while charging, as it tends to rock or shift when placed on a flat surface. Each time I’ve charged the Free, I’ve set it up perfectly only to check on it later and realise that the toy has shifted and the charger has lost it’s connection. This is incredibly frustrating, especially as the toy has to be charged so often. The battery life on the toy only gives you 45 minutes of play time, which really isn’t terribly long. I found the short battery and dodgy charging port a real pain in the backside.

Like most of the air-pressure stimulators I’ve tried, the Free needs to be positioned very precisely over the clitoris to work effectively. It’s a kind of set-and-forget toy, in that once you’ve got it in the right spot, you can just lie back and let it do all the work. I personally think that air-pressure toys work best for solo play, because they need to be held in place to work well, and trying to hold them still while having penetrative sex can be a real challenge. Of all the pressure-wave toys I’ve tried, I found the Free to be the most temperamental in terms of positioning. It had to be placed exactly on my clitoris to work. If it was even a fraction to one side, all I’d feel is a vague fluttering sensation. I suspect this might be due to the shape of the nozzle. The Free has a fairly wide opening, which doesn’t have a defined lip around it like many other air-pressure toys. I feel like it wasn’t as effective as other toys I’ve tried at making a “seal” around my clitoris, so it was easy to lose the suction and sensation with even a tiny shift in position. This was pretty frustrating, and I feel like I used up a lot of the precious battery power just trying to get the toy in the right spot.

One lesson I learned through using the Free was the importance of switching it up when you’re masturbating. Most of the time, if I’m using a clitoral stimulator I use it lying on my back, propped up on pillows. On a whim, I decided to have a go at using this toy lying on my stomach to see if that made it easier to get it to stay in place. And that made a huge difference! I’m not certain if gravity made it easier for the toy to isolate my clitoris, or if the weight of my body added a little more pressure, but using this toy on my side or stomach was so much easier than on my back. Sometimes it pays to try a different position to find new sensations, even when you’re playing by yourself.

Once I’d found the right spot, I was very impressed with the Free. It has ten speeds, ranging from a soft whisper all the way up to a rapid jack-hammer. The motor is quite powerful for such an inexpensive toy. Even on the higher settings, the Free was fairly quiet when it was pressed against my body. It’s one of the quietest pressure wave stimulators that I’ve used. The Free has just two buttons, a + and – which you use to increase or decrease the speed. The buttons are quite responsive and they’re coated in silicone, so you can find them by touch under a blanket or in the dark. Once I’d hit the spot, I experienced fairly fast, strong orgasms with the Free. It was very easy for me to have multiple orgasms in a single session, as the sensation was strong without being overwhelming and I had a lot of control over the strength of the sensation.

Overall I feel like the Free was a pretty good toy with some frustrating features. I despise the magnetic charging port and long for more battery life so that I don’t have to contend with the charger as often as I do. Although the open nozzle will work for a greater range of clitoris shapes and sizes, it does make the toy a bit trickier to position correctly and maintain the sensation during use. The motor is comparable to some of the pricier toys in this range, and its compact size and quiet motor make it a discreet option for travelling or maintaining privacy if you share a bedroom wall. I feel confident recommending the Free as a decent budget air-pressure stimulator, with a few caveats and minor frustrations.

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