Penis Pump vs Vacuum Erection Device - What's the difference between erectile dysfunction pump devices?

This article will teach you the difference between the two common terms for erectile dysfunction pumps - the penis pump and the vacuum erection device. At the end of this article you will know what is the best pump for a few common situations, especially if you are looking for a pump to help with ED after prostate surgery.

What is a Penis Pump?

‘Penis Pump’ is the generic name for the ‘sex toy’ intended version of trouser vacuum technology.

Think: Austin Power.

Austin Powers and the infamous ‘it’s not mine baby, it’s not mine’ device.

Austin Powers and the infamous ‘it’s not mine baby, it’s not mine’ device.

You tend to find Penis pumps in adult/sex shops. They consist of a plastic cylinder, usually 2 inch+ diameter, attached to a hose, with a bulb or trigger mechanism on the end. This mechanism draws air out of the cylinder once the pump is applied over the penis and against the groin (testicles kept out of the cylinder). Removing air creates negative pressure with a bulb or trigger mechanism. This facilitates blood to move from the body into the penis tissue. This device is perfectly safe so long as you do the process slowly, buy a quality device (more on the that later) and always make sure you know how to release air after you’re done pumping.

Buyer’s Tip #1 : if you buy a penis pump, always check it has an air release valve for safety.

This type of adult shop penis pump is best for men who are looking to add a bit extra to an existing or semi-full erection. The penis pump draws more blood into the penis so for the pumper to enjoy more fullness, girth and length, especially when coupled with a constriction ring (sex shop translation: ‘cock ring’).

Does using a penis pump lead to permanent enlargement?

Some men will venture into pumping to add ‘permanent gains’ to their package.

I specialise in helping men choose the best devices and lifestyle adjustments for their ED journey post prostate surgery. In this case, studies suggest that daily use of an erectile dysfunction pump (for at least 4 weeks) can significantly bring back length lost after surgery (it is common for men post surgery to notice a shortening). Regularly creating erections is also suggested post surgery to prevent further shrinking.

However, I am unsure if men using a pump to make ‘permanent gains’ outside of the prostate surgery category find any success. No hard evidence on this as far as I am aware (at least we got a pun out though).

How is a Vacuum Erection Device different?

Vacuum Erection Devices (VEDs) use the same basic underlying technology. A VED however tends to have a different intention leading to subtle but important design differences.

A Medical-grade Vacuum Erection Device:  The Vacurect OTC5  (this is the one we recommend for ED after prostate surgery)

A Medical-grade Vacuum Erection Device: The Vacurect OTC5 (this is the one we recommend for ED after prostate surgery)


Vacuum Constriction or Erection devices usually refer to medical-grade standard pumps. They are designed with erectile dysfunction in mind: you feel aroused but there is no response downstairs.

This can be a common side effect from many cancer treatments, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, or the cause may be hormonal or psychological. Always seek advice from a health professional if you notice any erection changes.

VEDs are best to use if you are wanting to create erections from a flaccid state, and want to maintain the erection created in the cylinder afterwards.

Buyer’s tip #2 : some men just use a pump to ‘exercise’ the penis . All you need for this is a reliable pump. If you want to keep the erection around after pumping and you currently cannot keep erections through arousal alone, then you MUST make sure you get a vacuum pump with a constriction system.

How do you know what is the best pump for you?

CASE ONE : You have ED after prostate cancer treatment. Currently, Viagra (or other PDE5 inhibitors) is not working, and when you feel aroused there’s no physical response. You want to be able to have intercourse, and also a rehabilitation tool to keep blood flowing and prevent shrinkage.

I’d recommend a medical grade vacuum erection device that comes with a constriction system of variable sizes (such as the Erecaid or Vacurect). The constriction system is designed to keep blood in the penis without the need of anything else, the rings are a lot smaller and tighter than commercial ‘cock rings’ (but should not be uncomfortable)

Buyer’s Tip #3: Some sex shops sell a token ‘cock ring’ with their pumps for ED, but if you cannot keep erections after pumping these rings tend to be too loose for keeping blood in the erection.

CASE TWO : You have ED after prostate cancer treatment, you want a device for rehabilitation only.

If you’ve lost length and girth then I would recommend a medical grade vacuum erection device because they tend to have smaller, tapered openings compared to commercial penis pumps. This is important because it will help you avoid 'testicle suck-up when pumping from flaccid (I’ve heard awfully painful accounts from clients and want to help as many men as possible avoid this).

If you are only looking to pump every so often for rehabilitation and you don’t want to spend big bucks, then I would suggest going to a sex shop and ask for a penis pump with the smallest diameter opening.

On the other hand, if you want to take the gold standard approach for rehabilitation (daily use) then I would recommend choosing a device that will be easy to clean and travel with as your priority. Some devices are battery operated, tricky to clean and heavy/bulky in a suitcase. The hose attachments on penis pumps can get tricky to clean over time as water gets lodged in the hose. This is one of the reasons I’ve chosen to stock The Vacurect as a go-to for men looking for an all-rounder VED, it’s well designed for daily use.

CASE THREE : You achieve erections spontaneously or using medical aids like pills or injections and you just want to add a bit more oomf (for example, some men using penile injections to create erections when they have ED after prostate treatment and get a 5/10 erection from this, they then can use a pump to bring more blood in to get to an 8/10)

You may want to try a commercial penis pump so long as you like the look and feel. I highly recommend going into a sex shop to view a range of pumps because it’s tricky to tell the size and feel of the pump online.

Buyer’s Tip #4: In my consultations when I show men erectile dysfunction pumps for the first time and their eye’s widen - ‘am I supposed to fill up that whole cylinder?!’ Please note, the size of the cylinder has nothing to do with your size or an expected size. The cylinder is designed to create the right air pressure chamber, not as a benchmark

Images :
1. still from Austin Powers ‘International Man of Mystery’ the movie
Vacurect OTC5

Victoria Cullenpopular