Silicone Versus TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)
Silicone, also known as silicone rubber, is a mixture of silicon polymer with carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) is a mixture of plastic and rubber. Every manufacturer uses their own formula, which means that TPE is more of a "catch-all" which may include several compounds which differ from manufacturer to manufacturer . This means that TPE quality may vary wildly between manufacturers, especially among "knock-off" brands.
Even high-quality TPE is less expensive to produce than silicone, which means that even high-end TPE dolls are more affordable than those made from silicone. TPE is becoming more popular, largely as a product of the lower price, but also because it is softer to the touch compared to silicone, and has a more realistic "jiggle factor". However, doll owners say that silicone dolls can sometimes last longer than TPE dolls due to being more resistant to damage.
TPE Pros And Cons
Silicone Pros And Cons
- TPE is softer to the touch compared to silicone - generally, although can be made to be a soft as TPE, but then is weaker.
- More elastic and flexible which can handle more positions compared to silicone
- Retains warmth, but sensitive to excessive heat
- Cheaper than silicone
- Skin has a more realistic look compared to silicone
- Can be invisibly mended (with care) using TPE solvent
- Allows for greater fine detail in the vagina and anus
- Retains colouring much longer than TPE
- Less sensitive to heat than TPE, but retains less warmth
- Easier to clean, and can be sterilized
- More resistant to damage, water, and staining
- Less required maintenance and can be repaired with silicone adhesive
- As silicone is heat resistant, can include integrated heating systems for added realism
- More prone to staining than silicone
- Naturally sticky. This can be fixed by rubbing baby powder or corn starch over the doll
- Porous. Mould can grow in the doll over time if doll is not cleaned and dried regularly
- TPE cannot be sterilized
- Harder to repair compared to silicone
- TPE requires baby oil and/or petroleum jelly treatments to keep material "saturated" and avoid damage and deterioration.
- More expensive than TPE
- Generally not as soft as TPE. Feels more like muscle
- Breasts and booty will not "jiggle" so will require gel implants
- While less sticky than TPE, does require baby powder or corn starch to make smooth
- While easier to clean than TPE, requires cleaning and can mould if moisture is not dried - although mould can be wiped from silicone with ease
- Skin has an unnatural sheen and looks less realistic compared to TPE unless a textured surface is employed.
A much more detailed examination of Thermo Plastic Elastomers was provided by Paul Martin at: https://omnexus.specialchem.com/selection-guide/thermoplastic-elastomer