The 12 Best Water-Based Lubes for Sex, According to an Ob-Gyn
No matter how turned on you are, a good lubricant can make any sexual experience even better. Yet it can be tough to find a lube that keeps things slippery without making a mess or irritating your body's most sensitive areas. That's where water-based products come in; no matter their exact formulation, water-based lubes tend to be made with hypoallergenic ingredients that won't stain sheets and can be wiped away with a simple washcloth.
Bonus points: They're also some of the most affordable lubricants, and some of the easiest to find. You can buy water-based lube at the drugstore or online, where it's available from tons of brands including K-Y, Astroglide, and Lelo. Plus, the quick-clean picks are safe to use with sex toys, unlike silicone-based options. Why? "The silicone can leave a sticky residue on the toys, resulting in your inability to clean it off," says Christine Greves, M.D., Orlando-based ob-gyn and a fellow of the American Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "Also, if the toys are softer [or made of silicone], the material may be compromised if you're using a silicone lube." Dr. Greves adds that oil-based lube can weaken latex condoms, which leaves you less protected from STIs or pregnancy. (One thing water-based lube is not good for? Anal — try these lubes instead.)
As you can imagine, the water-based lube market is hyper-saturated with great options (pun intended). Luckily, this list can help you narrow it down. Below, check out 12 of the best water-based lubes out there, including the most affordable varieties, hypoallergenic picks, and more.
The 12 Best Water-Based Lubes in 2021
- Best Overall: Lube Life Water-Based Personal Lubricant
It's Amazon's best-seller — need we say more?
- Best Affordable: K-Y Ultragel Premium Water-Based Lube
Its non-sticky texture quickly lubricates target areas.
- Best Drugstore: Astroglide Ultra Gentle Gel
A drip-free formula prevents accidental spills.
- Best Splurge: Lelo Personal Moisturizer
It doubles as a full-body moisturizer, and the bottle is gorgeous.
- Best Quality: Pjur Woman Aqua Water-Based Personal Lubricant
This non-sticky lube is dermatologist-tested and made to last.
- Best Hypoallergenic: Wet Original Water-Based Lube
A huge bottle of unscented lube provides endless possibilities.
- Best Non-Toxic: Isabel Fay Natural Water-Based Lubricant
Shoppers with chronic UTIs swear by this fragrance-free product.
- Best for Condoms: IntiMD Personal Lubricant
Just add water to revive its original texture.
- Best for Travel: Unbound OMG-Spot Stim Serum
Individual packets make this chill-inducing lube easy to stow.
- Best for Sex Toys: Shibari Premium Personal Lubricant
Reviewers say it adds slip without going everywhere.
- Best Organic: Maude Shine Organic Personal Lubricant
The brand packed tons of all-star ingredients into this pH-balanced formula.
- Best for Couples: Fav Water-Based Luxury Personal Lubricant
Its user-friendly bottle prevents awkward pauses, and reviewers are hooked.
The Selection Process
To determine the best of the best, only water-based lubes that are free of parabens, sulfates, and synthetic glycerin were considered. Those ingredients are big no-nos when it comes to your sensitive nether regions. All three can cause irritation, while synthetic glycerin breaks down into sugar and can encourage bacteria or yeast overgrowth, leading to infections. Because of that, Dr. Greves recommends sticking to options that "state that they're suitable for sensitive skin." From there, customer feedback and cost effectiveness were factored in, which led to the final cut.
Keep reading to learn more about each water-based lube on the list, and get ready to kick things up a notch no matter how you prefer to get it on.
Best Overall: Lube Life Water-Based Personal Lubricant
A long-lasting, non-staining formula free of glycerin, silicone, parabens, and artificial scents has made this lube the best-seller on Amazon. Shoppers say its consistency is thicker than the average water-based lube, which prevents any major leakage issues from the bottle, but is still slick enough to keep things moving. On the off chance you encounter any unwanted spills or drips, it'll wash off quickly with water without leaving any residue behind — or you can save time by simply licking up the edible leftovers.
Best Affordable: K-Y Ultragel Premium Water-Based Lube
K-Y's affordable water-based lube has a thick, non-greasy texture that stays in place and rapidly lubricates targeted areas; no need to wait for it to "soak in." Free of fragrance and alcohol, shoppers say its jelly-like consistency makes it a breeze to clean off of any surface. "This is a great product for women of all ages during sex. After menopause, it is a must product," wrote a reviewer introduced to K-Y by her doctor. "Great value, easy to use, easy to clean, and does what it says it will do."
Best Drugstore: Astroglide Ultra Gentle Gel
This 3-ounce bottle of Astroglide's Ultra Gentle Gel is easy to slide into any purse or backpack, so it's perfect for those who need to leave home to see their partner. Reviewers say it fulfills its promise of going on drip-free. "It stays where you put it, and doesn't go running off and dripping on everything," one reviewer wrote. "So, the area you want lubed, stays lubed." Plus, it's formulated without glycerin or parabens, making it safe for sensitive skin.
Best Splurge: Lelo Personal Moisturizer
The 5-ounce version of Lelo's Personal Moisturizer comes in an elegant bottle that could discreetly sit anywhere, be it a nightstand or bathroom shelf. Though its name is just as subtle, it's a super effective lubricant. Free of glycerin and parabens, this water-based lube is unscented and fortified with aloe for a texture that's slick and made to last, minus the oiliness you'd expect from a typical heavy-duty lube. Psst: It doubles as a rich moisturizer that's perfect for sensitive skin.
Best Quality: Pjur Woman Aqua Water-Based Personal Lubricant
Amazon shoppers love this lube due to its incredible staying power and non-tacky texture. "I like that it's not sticky like some of the store-bought lubricants are," one repeat buyer wrote. "It feels natural." Others say it's the perfect fit for sensitive skin, which makes sense given that Pjur tests its products with dermatologists. "I have a lot of allergies and skin sensitivity — this stuff is perfect for both me and my partner," wrote another reviewer. To top it all off, the fragrance-free, water-based lube is safe to use with toys and latex condoms. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About Internal Condoms)
Best Hypoallergenic: Wet Original Water-Based Lube
This 32-ounce bottle of fragrance-free lubricant is bound to last you ages. It comes with a convenient pump dispenser, which shoppers say makes it easy to dispense during intimate moments when the lights are off. Customers note that its texture is impressively thick for a water-based product, which explains how it's earned more than 11,000 perfect ratings. "Of all of the water-based lube products, this has proven for years to be my personal favorite. I simply cannot give it enough stars," raved one reviewer.
Best Non-Toxic: Isabel Fay Natural Water-Based Lubricant
Water is the first ingredient in this Isabel Fay lube, and that's a great sign off the bat. It's also odorless and colorless, which reviewers say has helped them avoid irritation and burning during sex. According to a shopper with chronic UTIs, switching from a scented product to this one completely "changed" their life. "It was an amazing investment, and the bottle lasts forever," they wrote. "My UTIs are almost completely gone. I just can't say enough good things about this." Bonus: It's manufactured in the United States.
Best for Condoms: IntiMD Personal Lubricant
This non-staining, water-based lube from IntiMD does exactly what you need it to — and it'll run you just $7. It's toy-friendly, sulfate-free, and intended to moisturize while it lubricates, which enhances its slippery texture and makes it last. Once it inevitably starts to dry out, just rub in a few drops of water to revive its initial silky-smooth feel. Compatible with latex, natural rubber, and polyurethane condoms, it's truly one of the most versatile lubricants available at its price point.
Best for Travel: Unbound OMG-Spot Stim Serum
Unbound takes an unorthodox approach to water-based lubrication with its OMG-Spot Stim Serum, which comes in the form of 10 individually wrapped packets stored within an adorable box. Compatible with toys, condoms, and skin alike, the lube is specifically formulated to increase the size and sensitivity of the female G-spot thanks to ingredients like organic Japanese peppermint oil and the amino acid L-arginine. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way with this one — you should be able to squeeze several uses out of each metallic packet. (More here: What Are Arousal Oils? Plus 5 That Will Change Your Life)
Best for Sex Toys: Shibari Premium Personal Lubricant
It's no accident this lube has amassed over 4,500 five-star reviews on Amazon. Its non-staining formula is condom-compatible and fragrance-free, and a little goes a long way. "I am a repeat buyer of this product and my wife and I can't recommend this highly enough," wrote one reviewer. "It's safe with toys, and one of these bottles lasts a VERY VERY long time." Other reviewers note that it's slippery while staying only in the areas where they want it. (Related: The Best Lube for Any Sex Scenario)
Best Organic: Maude Shine Organic Personal Lubricant
This lube from woman-owned brand Maude is made with the highest-quality ingredients to avoid disrupting the natural pH of the vagina — think: hydrating aloe vera and not one drop of glycerin. It's a great choice for those experiencing dryness due to menopause, but it still packs a punch during sex. "Hands-down the best lube my husband and I have ever used," said a reviewer. "It feels amazing on the skin and the size of the bottle, along with the pump, is so convenient!"
Best for Couples: Fav Water-Based Luxury Personal Lubricant
Enhance your body's natural lubricant rather than masking it with Fav's premium formula. Not only is it great for sensitive skin, but its pump dispenser allows you to pour out only what you need. Reviewers note that its ease of use prevents any awkward pauses in bed. "No mood-killing fiddling with flip-top bottles or tubes," wrote one Amazon user. "The action barely stops, if at all. This is a must-have."