The toothbrush debate is one that will last for the ages, it seems. Of course, we’re talking about the big question, electric or manual? Human muscle or advanced machinery? Millions of years of evolution and flexible rubber or decades of development and hard plastic? Which will you choose?
Well, for their budgets’ sake, many opt for the former, and that’s perfectly understandable in many ways. However, what we’re here for is to show you just how an electric toothbrush can completely overhaul your oral hygiene regimen, and what to look out for to make sure you really get the best. Read on below for our guide on the very best electric toothbrushes for sale today.
Electric Toothbrush Comparison Chart
Table of Contents
- Electric Toothbrush Comparison Chart
- Best Electric Toothbrush Reviews
- 1. Oral-B White Pro 1000 by Braun
- 2. Oral-B Vitality Floss Action
- 3. Philips Sonicare Essence
- 4. Philips Sonicare 2 Series
- 5. Oral-B Pro 5000 SmartSeries
- 6. Philips Sonicare for Kids, HX6321/02
- 7. Waterpik Complete Care, WP-900
- 8. Oral-B Pro-Health Kid’s Electric Toothbrush
- 9. Fairywill Electric Toothbrush
- 10. Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean
- How did we review?
- Our Winner: The Oral-B Pro 1000 by Braun
- Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide: 21 Factors to Look Before Choosing the Best Electric Toothbrush
- #1. Rechargeable or Battery-powered?
- #2. Vibration vs Oscillation Technology
- #3. Cost
- #4. Charge Indicator
- #5. Timer
- #6. Pressure Sensor
- #7. Indicator Bristles
- #8. Brush Head Compatibility
- #9. Brush Head Container
- #10. Replaceable Heads
- #11. Ergonomic Grip
- #12. Battery Life
- #13. Warranty
- #14. Quadpacer
- #15. Travel case
- #16. Brushing Modes
- #17. Money-back Guarantee
- #18. UV Sanitizer
- #19. ADA Seal of Acceptance
- #20. Brush head size
- #21. Handle size
- More about Electric Toothbrush
- Is an Electric Toothbrush Worth the Investment at all?
- How Much should you Spend on an Electric Toothbrush?
- Should you Upgrade to the Latest and Greatest?
- Settling the Debate: Oscillating vs Sonic?
- Regular Care and Maintenance
- The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid
- How to Brush Properly?
- 2 Popular Brands
- Final Words
- Related Posts:
|Name||Technology||Battery Backup||Consumer Ratings||Price|
|Oral-B Pro 1000||3d cleaning||7 days||4.4||View Price|
|Oral-B Vitality Floss||2d cleaning||10 days||4.4||View Price|
|Philips Sonicare||Sonic||2 weeks||4.3||View Price|
|Philips Sonicare 2||Sonic||2 weeks||4.2||View Price|
|Oral-B Pro 5000||3d cleaning||10 days||4.3||View Price|
|Philips Sonicare for Kids||Sonic||10 days||4.4||View Price|
|Waterpik Complete Care||Sonic||_||4.3||View Price|
|Oral-B Pro-Health for kids||Rotation||_||4.4||View Price|
|Fairywill||Sonic||30 days||4.6||View Price|
|Philips Sonicare DiamondClean||Sonic||3 weeks||4.3||View Price|
This list is revised monthly to keep the audience updated. Last, this page was edited on 6 January, 2019.
Best Electric Toothbrush Reviews
Here are the top-rated electric toothbrushes recommendation below.
Oral-B is as well-known a name in the electric toothbrush business as any, and their models have been praised without any clear limit for decades. Braun, too, is a high-quality manufacturer of mainly luxury-oriented hygiene and health-care devices, and that includes toothbrushes.
The two giants in the industry teaming up was an inevitability, but how would the Braun-B look, we wondered? Well, now we have the answer.
Coming in at a really surprisingly low $50, and sporting Oral-B’s classic white-and-blue, minimalist design scheme, it comes with a rather Braun-esque, elegant charging pod and some high-tech features such as a pressure sensor that detects whether you’re brushing too hard or not hard enough and a small vibration motor that warns you if you do by making the brush rattle in your hand.
A timer makes daily brushing a lot easier, splitting each session up into four 30-second long parts, one for each quadrant of the mouth, adding up to those two magical minutes that dentists always tell us are optimal. When it’s time to switch to the next area, the same vibration motor we mentioned earlier goes off to remind you.
While this may sound pretty high-tech and feature-laden to most users of manual toothbrushes, the Pro 1000 is actually the least expensive, and thus most poorly-equipped, model in Oral-B’s Pro by Braun line.
The range-topper, the 7000, features a much more Braun-inspired, dark design with more, sharper angles, and it includes lots of high-fidelity goodies you’d normally expect from a thoroughbred product of theirs, not something with the rather clinical, straight-to-the-point Oral-B badge.
- Large feature set
- Low price
- Modern design
- Cooperation between Oral-B and Braun brings out the best in both
- High degrees of efficiency, power and convenience
- Vastly outperformed by other Oral-B Pro by Braun products
- Despite being very affordable, price isn’t competitive, even with other Oral-B offerings
In the end, despite its nearly estranged position in its lineup, as a singular product placed in a vacuum where no others exist or affect it, the Oral-B Pro 1000 by Braun is an excellent electric toothbrush.
Unfortunately, this vacuum does not represent real life, and Oral-B themselves of all people have effectively made the 1000 model a niche choice for budget hunters by selling just as cost-efficient, but much more feature-laden and powerful models in the same lineup at a premium so low it barely justifies the 1000’s existence in this constellation of theirs.
This toothbrush is exactly the kind of thing Oral-B are known for. Starting at $25, but commonly found for peanuts online simply due to the model’s relative age and a huge supply, it’s one of the most cost-friendly electrics on the market that can still hold its own when it comes to quality.
Featuring Oral-B’s own MicroPulse bristle design, the Vitality Floss, as the name implies, has such a great reach that the manufacturer claims it can double as tooth floss. Can it? Like many costing twice as much and as a great surprise to our reviewers, yes it can.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The most common problem Vitality Floss users will face is that unique MicroPulse head.
Sure, it can be swapped out for any of Oral-B’s large assortment of alternative heads, but it is the Vitality Floss’ party piece, and unfortunately, despite being highly effective in common use, it wears out way too quickly.
- Lowest possible price for a quality electric toothbrush
- Some basic, but useful additional features
- Great cleaning power and reach
- MicroPulse head needs replacing regularly
- Poor build quality across the board; longevity issues
- Unimpressive battery life
Unfortunately, thanks to some questionable build quality on Oral-B’s part, not all buyers will actually be new; a great deal of them will have bought numerous Vitality Flosses already, only for every single one of them to break. Eventually.
Priced at $50 by the manufacturer, but commonly seen at half of that on various online marketplaces as is common with many of these products, it is a clearly different design than the two Oral-Bs we looked at above.
With a much larger handle and comparatively diminutive brush head, the proportions alone set it apart, but there’s more. The stylish recharging port, which contrasts greatly with Oral-B’s rounded, circle-shaped solution thanks to hard angles and lots of creases creating a geometric design that, despite looking very cool, barely fits the toothbrush itself.
We mean that in every way, also literally: Fitting the Sonicare into its station was a little tricky at first, but at least it’s easy to get the hang of. A two-minute timer is included for convenience, and the handle vibrates clearly to let you know when the time’s up.
The bundled e-Series head works fine, and it does include fade-away bristles that remind you of when to replace it, which is a great convenience, but overall, it isn’t really exceptional, so it’s not something for those who want to break records and win awards, despite the patented and ingenious sonic brushing technology.
Fortunately, there’s an entire line of Philips brush heads out there that you can easily fit onto the Sonicare Essence without any compatibility issues. To top it off, the battery on the Sonicare can easily last for a couple of weeks’”don’t ask us how they do that at this price point.
- Affordable now, after losing much of its initial value
- Convenient two-minute timer
- Great battery life
- Large selection of heads
- A cost-friendly way to enter the world of sonic toothbrushes
- So-so recharging station
- Accessory heads, especially non-default ones, can get costly
If what you’re looking for is a high-end electric toothbrush to get your fangs as white as humanly possible, then the Philips Sonicare Essence isn’t it. Yet. With the amazing selection of high-quality Philips hardware, the remaining, fixed part of the brush the handle’” loses much of the importance it otherwise would have had as with many other designs.
Coming in at roughly $20 more than its sister model, it sports numerous funky paintjobs including monochrome, and more advanced tech under the hood, such as EasyPower, which gets rid of the sensitivity problem that many new users of sonic brushes often face.
How? By automatically dialing the power back during the first few uses, and increasing it step by step across 14 different levels until it reaches a maximum that the user is comfortable with.
Some might find it annoying, especially as it cannot be turned off, but for first-time users of sonics, it sounds like a godsend.
As all Sonicare brushes are compatible with the same set of snap-on heads, it should come as no surprise that the ‘Plaque Removal‘ one fitted to the Series 2 is readily available for all other models at a very low cost.
Still, it does what it’s name implies, scrubbing away like nothing else. However, there are a few more extras you won’t get on the cheaper Sonicares, such as an advanced, 2-minute ‘Smartimer’ that doesn’t really do anything the competition’s timers won’t, but works great nonetheless, a charge display and a battery that is rated for 2 weeks.
- Stylish for once, with a great variety of colors to choose from
- Numerous extra features warrant the higher price
- Charger a definite improvement over cheaper Sonicares
- Includes EasyPower, Smartimer and numerous other convenience enhancements
- Good battery life
- No Travel case
- Higher price than competition
In the end, the only thing Philips really can’t seem to nail down with this product of theirs is the price-performance ratio.
We’ve previously mentioned that the stellar Pro 1000 was but the lowest-priced and least-equipped model in a whole line of products by Oral-B, so wouldn’t it be a good idea to check out what the higher-end segment can offer us?
The Pro 5000 costs about twice as much as the 1000 model, but then again, you get what you pay for. There’s a more easily readable charge display now, and the toothbrush itself can even wirelessly connect to your phone via Bluetooth to give you feedback on your brushing, yes, really.
There are five different brushing modes now, too, which you can switch between freely depending on whether you want to clean or whiten your teeth, whether you want to treat your gums and if so, with what intensity and so on and so forth.
You also get a nice travel case, and instead of the vibration-based pressure sensor from the 1000 model, this one light up brightly in red when you’re brushing too hard. The battery has also been improved, with 40 minutes of total runtime between charges to the 1000’s 30.
- Travel case, cleaning modes and Bluetooth connectivity, among other new features
- Charger a great improvement over Pro 1000, as is pressure sensor and numerous other features
- Improvements in overall quality, battery life
- Diminished value through harsh increase in price
- Both Pro 1000 and 7500 better alternatives for sheer price-performance ratio
- Improvements rather evolutionary instead of revolutionary
Although we found the Pro 5000 to be an improvement over its cheaper brother, the 1000, in nearly every way, there is not much value to be found here, as barely any of the new features, modifications and tweaks found here justify the 100% increase in MSRP. A sad fact, as, judged as a product of its own, the Pro 5000 is a terrific oscillating toothbrush.
Looking for an electric toothbrush for the youngsters? Don’t look further than the Sonicare for Kids. As one of the few specifically developed with prepubescent dentition in mind, it is also a member of the prestigious and well-known Sonicare family of Philips-branded vibration toothbrushes.
So, what can it do? Lots. While the 2-minute timer with integrated quadpacer ensures your little one will be brushing for just as long as they need to, the included free app adds a game-like element of interactivity into the mix, rewarding the user for completing certain brushing ‘milestones’ and teaching them certain brushing techniques.
The app is made to be compatible with as many devices as possible, from iOS phones to Android tablets and much in between. There is also a variety of small, child-sized brush heads to choose from, which sets the Sonicare for Kids apart from regular offerings.
Not to mention that its cleaning performance ended up in the top 5%, which is more than satisfactory. Being a sonic toothbrush, some kids might find it awkward to use at first. Children’s sensitive teeth may not respond that well to excessive pressure placed on them, which many inexperienced users are prone to.
- Great performance
- Designed with children’s teeth in mind
- Many designs and brush heads to choose from
- Interactive app encourages regular brushing and helps with the learning process
- Affordable brush heads
- Discomfort traditionally associated with sonic toothbrushes may also apply here
- Reliability concerns
True, the build quality has been brought to question after numerous reviews pointing out Philips’ failing in that area, but as a product in and of itself, the Sonicare for Kids is great to use, and that’s what counts, right?
The Complete Care is one of their few products to complement the usual waterflosser, or just Waterpik as it’s often called, with a sonic toothbrush of their own design.
With a large water tank good for 90 seconds of flossing and a charging solution that supplies juice for both the brush and flosser via only one cable that goes into the wall socket, the WP-900 is more efficient than most, if not all non-Waterpik brushing and flossing solutions we could think of.
As masters of their craft, not many words should be wasted on how good the flossing component of the package is. With 10 different strength settings, terrific reach and the elegant, water-based flossing action that has made Waterpik so famous, we found nothing to complain.
Being able to clean any and all crevices between teeth without hassle, and without those finicky pieces of string, never felt so liberating and so well-executed as it does with the WP-900. To top all that off, the WP-900 comes with loads of extras, including half a dozen heads for both the flosser and brush.
The toothbrush component, however, is different. Here, what we have is a more or less standard sonic brush, with a nice three-element charge display and a speed button that can switch between two settings: Soothingly slow, if to such an extent that cleaning becomes arduous and difficult, or blazingly fast, so much so that it feels like your teeth are going to get ripped right out of your mouth.
- Amazing flossing action with few, if any flaws
- Large number of extras
- Great cleaning power
- High price
- Speed settings on the toothbrush could use some adjustment
Although the Waterpik WP-900 gets you the same brilliant water-based flossing experience that the brand has been known for worldwide for decades, bundling it with a toothbrush might not have been the best idea ever.
The company simply doesn’t have as much experience with these devices as they do with flossers, and it shows. Hey, at least you can buy the flosser separately and combine it with a different brush, right?
However, the Pro-Health Kid’s Toothbrush is not a direct analogue to the Philips model at all. In fact, it targets an even younger demographic, as it proudly declares on the box: ‘Ages 3 and up’.
So, being a much more basic device, it doesn’t include a smartphone app, though an optional one is available, it doesn’t include a timer of any sort, it doesn’t include anything, in fact, besides a plastic body, a brush head and some batteries as yes, this one isn’t rechargeable, you just put some AAs into it and that’s it.
In fact, not even the head is replaceable on this one; it’s a true barebones device. However, where Oral-B have really outdone themselves is craft a toothbrush that suits their demographic’s teeth.
Although the head might be a little large for some, everything else is perfect, with ultra-soft, gentle bristles’”and not too many of them, either!’” and a slow rotating action that is soothing for both gums and teeth.
And, for under $10, it’s a true bargain, too! Some might find reason to complain at the sight of the total lack of so many features we take for granted on our toothbrushes.
- Amazingly affordable
- Cleans well
- Child-friendly design
- Pretty barren in terms of features
What more is there to ask? Well, for some, there is, and those will unfortunately be disappointed with this product.
However, if they can churn out a good product, perhaps that name might get a little more well-known in the future, right? Let’s see.
The Fairywill, with its black design and metal accents, emulates the look of much more expensive products while coming in at just $25 itself. Is that a good thing? You’ll need to decide for yourself.
It does mean the materials used are not as pretty as they look, but hey, at least it’s eye-catching from afar, so that’s something. Right?
Further making matters more interesting is the great deal of brush you get for this little amount of money. Again, the Fairywill costs no more than $25, and for that amount, they give you a whole set of replaceable heads, five brushing modes, a timer with quadpacer and a battery that charges via USB, rated for three to four weeks!
Not to mention that this is, again, despite the price, not an oscillating toothbrush, but a vibrating one. So, how did Fairywill accomplish this nigh-impossible feat and still make a profit by selling this thing at the cost of Oral-B’s lowest-end, most basic oscillating brushes?
Well, they’re Fairywill, what did you expect? If you ever thought that build quality doesn’t matter in something as simple or disposable as an electric toothbrush, think again, and if thinking still doesn’t work, get yourself a Fairywill to find out.
The nylon-like material used for the bristles isn’t that good, either. But hey, the price is amazing and you do actually get good performance as well as a one-year warranty, so it’s almost like the toothbrush deal of the decade. Until it breaks, that is.
- Amazing value; low price and huge feature set
- Can easily compete with expensive Sonicares on paper
- Numerous brush heads included
- Great battery life
- Interesting, sleek and modern design
- Terrible build quality in places, so-so in others
- Lack of brand recognizability damages its trustworthiness
It would have been great to have a third option in the electric toothbrush market, an alternative to the duopoly of Philips and Oral-B. While Waterpik is busy trying to figure out how to design a toothbrush, mostly sticking to the flossing formula that has made them so great to begin with, Fairywill fails at building one.
Philips’ top-of-the-range product, the $200 Sonicare DiamondClean, tries to impress by shoving as many high-end features into its rather elegant, compact shape as possible.
You get rather ‘standard’ stuff such as a set of half a dozen brushing modes, timer with quadpacer, a 3-week battery and, of course, full compatibility with all Philips brush heads with three different ones being included out of the box.
However, there’s also some features you wouldn’t normally expect, such as a rather neat travel case, which doubles as a USB-powered charger, and a charging glass.
Yes, a charging glass, as in, a regular glass such as the one that millions across the world use to store their used toothbrushes in, but one that, by a process we can only refer to as ‘magic’, can actually charge up the internal battery.
No, we have no idea how that works at all, but yes, it does. Cleaning performance is nothing short of excellent. Being a sonic brush, reach is truly awesome, and the included brush heads are some of the best Philips has on offer.
Of course, build quality is excellent, too. Truth be told, however, we didn’t find there to be too much justification for the astronomical price. Consider the Oral-B Pro 1000, coming in at just under 20% of the cost.
Does it really clean your teeth 80% worse than a Sonicare DiamondClean does? No, not really. In fact, if there is a difference, it’s pretty darn difficult to notice.
- Excellent performance
- All the features you have come to expect from a luxury item
- Insanely cool charging glass
- The top of the line from Philips
- Includes a healthy number of extras
- Compatible with all Philips brush heads
- Ridiculously expensive
- Subpar value considering price and features
That includes ‘more expensive’, by the way. So expensive that anyone looking for a sensible investment will inevitably look the other way, towards Oral-B’s assortment of arguably more reasonable products.
How did we review?
Of course, this is a very sensible question. How can you trust our assessment of these products if you don’t know what metrics we used to get to our conclusions? Thankfully, we listed them all down below. The reviewing criteria we used can mainly be sorted into any of the following categories:
- User-friendliness: This can include anything from ergonomics to the intensity of the brushing movement to the clarity of the user manual and extent of helpful accessories. Simply put, it’s a measurement of how much attention the manufacturer paid to the user as an individual.
- Travel convenience: This one’s pretty self-explanatory. We all take our toothbrushes with us, and that’s why their manufacturers have crafted those ultra-neat carrying bags and travel cases. Too bad many don’t offer those right out of the box, and even some that do only manage to bring out a subpar product. Obviously, there’s something worth critiquing here, in an effort to show just how travel-friendly the model at hand is. Of course, this goes beyond mere cases, and can also, for example, include the usefulness and dimensions of the included charger.
- Battery life: Again, it really explains itself. Who doesn’t want a device that can hold a charge for as long as possible? That’s just it. No-one.
- Brushing feel: What we mean by this nebulous term is the presence and quality of the positive sensation that one feels when using a brush that is finely tuned to serve the gums and teeth of the average human well. A good brush soothes the gums, and doesn’t make you think it’s going to make them bleed like red waterfalls. As this is what any buyer is going to notice first when using the toothbrush, it’s of paramount importance to us in our review.
- Cleaning Power: Well, duh. That’s what these devices are for after all, isn’t it? Of course, it’s sometimes hard to measure this objectively, but we always try to make a fair assessment of not only how clean our mouths feel after using a certain make and model of brush, but also how they look and how both of these attributes compare to the other items reviewed. The whiter and more pleasant the look and feel, the better, obviously.
Our Winner: The Oral-B Pro 1000 by Braun
It was obvious from the start, wasn’t it? The Pro 1000 didn’t take the cake just because it was good, though. Not even because it was very good. No, the reason we chose it as our definite winner is that, unlike many on this list, it just gets one immensely important thing right, and that is value.
They may outperform it, heck, even some of Oral-B’s own products do, but they’ll never get close to its excellent combination of price and performance.
Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide: 21 Factors to Look Before Choosing the Best Electric Toothbrush
A list to guide you along and give you an overview of the current market situation is all fine and dandy, but what if you’re a little more concerned with finding the one product that’s best for you, personally? What is there to look out for? Which criteria are important, which aren’t, and how do you distinguish a promising offering from one that you should rather not use on your own set of choppers?
Simply run any electric you’re looking at through the following, question-based filter, and you’ll have a full, personalized pro-and-con list that’ll help you make the final buying decision.
#1. Rechargeable or Battery-powered?
There are two types of electric toothbrushes, both running on batteries. With rechargeables, you plug the toothbrush itself into a kind of pod or base, in some rare cases even into the wall outlet, to charge the internal battery up once it runs out.
However, if you have a so-called battery-powered model’”a misnomer as both designs are’”you’ll have to replace the battery or batteries themselves once the brush loses its juice. Usually, these are either AAAs, AAs, or those circle-shaped lithium-ions.
Under optimal conditions, a rechargeable model will win against any ‘battery-powered’ one easily in terms of sheer longevity. As strange as it sounds, using the same battery over and over again, if you charge it right as instructed in the manual, is more efficient and gets you longer times between charges than the alternative.
In addition, rechargeables are great since the only costs they drive up is your electricity bill, even if by a very slight margin. In contrast, the cost of buying a pack of batteries every so often to recharge your device can quickly add up to something substantial.
#2. Vibration vs Oscillation Technology
When reading through your chosen device’s description, you’re likely to come across at least one of these terms, sometimes accompanied by synonyms such as ‘Rotation’ or ‘Oscillation’. What do they mean, you wonder? It’s actually not that complicated.
Oscillation and any of its synonyms and marketing language equivalents refer to a brush head that continuously moves back and forth, emulating the movements that you yourself would make with a manual toothbrush, but hundreds of times quicker thanks to the electric motor.
Oscillators are the original kind of electric toothbrush, and what most buyers think of when they hear the term. They are traditionally known for being highly efficient and many times more powerful in cleaning out plaque than manual models.
Vibration-based brushing heads, also sometimes called sonic brushes, work differently. Instead of having the brush head, and the bristles with it, rotate very quickly, the head itself stays in place and simply vibrates in your hand. You’ll notice this when putting it against your teeth as a dim movement, somewhat similar to your hands shaking slightly, not nearly as torquey or strong as the back-and-forth motion of an oscillation-based brush.
The concept is that the vibration is so quick that, in spite of the bristles themselves not moving on their own, the sheer force of it alone will drive out any kind of gunk, plaque or food particles while not putting as much physical pressure on the tooth as a normal electric brush would.
Does it work? Yes, and it is a great improvement over any manual brush. Is it better than an oscillating type? Not necessarily. Many with sensitive teeth find the experience of using a sonic toothbrush difficult to get used to, and some complain about gum irritation or similar adverse side-effects. Those that don’t, however, are still in the majority. Also, sonics tend to go for higher prices than their oscillating counterparts. Speaking of which…
Obviously, the price of the toothbrush that interests you should be one of the most important purchasing criteria. Generally speaking, you should be able to find any kind of electric toothbrush at any price imaginable’”from $10 to $100 and beyond, there really aren’t limits. Of course, what there definitely is in their stead are market tendencies.
For example, below $50, it would be pretty difficult to find a high-quality sonic model, but at the same price or even much lower, oscillating toothbrushes are no big deal. You’ll need to weigh your needs for quality against your needs for cost, so to say, and come to a compromise that makes sense for you.
#4. Charge Indicator
Simply put, this neat contraption visually informs you of the battery’s charging state. Handy to have, and often comes standard on many expensive models, or as an optional extra on some budget offerings.
This, too, can probably be best described as a convenience, and how important of a convenience it is will mostly depend on you. The timer built into many electric toothbrush designs, from budget to ultra-luxury, often amounts to 2 minutes, since that is the clinically recommended total brushing time.
Some advanced timers have a 30-second quad-pacer that goes off a total of four times to let you know when to switch sides of the mouth. Others simply start vibrating the brush head after two minutes to let you know when your brushing session is supposed to end.
#6. Pressure Sensor
Many costly, gadget-packed models, and recently, some more affordable ones below $50, have this nice piece of tech included. A pressure sensor actively measures just how strongly you apply the brush head to your teeth or gums, and warns you, either audibly, by flashing an LED or via a vibrating motor, when you’re putting too much dangerous strain on your dentition. It can of course be very helpful if you have a bad habit of brushing too hard, but should not be seen as a game-changer.
#7. Indicator Bristles
These colorful bristles, which can go by a whole host of names depending on the manufacturer, can easily be recognized by their clearly visible green or blue stripes. The concept is that the stripes will fade away during use, and when they’re gone completely, you know when to replace the head. Certainly nice to have, but not essential. Besides, nearly every toothbrush, manual or electric, has these nowadays.
#8. Brush Head Compatibility
Probably one of the best arguments for getting a toothbrush from a reputable manufacturer, especially an electric one, is the amount of heads you’ll have at your disposal. If you buy from one of the big names, expect there to be a truly vast assortment to choose from, and that can only be a good thing, right?
#9. Brush Head Container
Now, we are entering the far reaches of, in the eyes of the common buyer, unnecessary luxury. A brush head container is just what it sounds like: A small covering to put your toothbrush in, head first, and that’s mostly it. Some more elaborate versions get actually functional by including a built-in water flossing mechanism that cleans and sterilizes your brush’s bristles for you. Expect to pay a lot for a model that includes this kind of gadget out of the box, though.
#10. Replaceable Heads
Now, this is an absolute must, and of course a pre-requisite for the aforementioned compatibility with interchangeable heads. A brush head that cannot be replaced is, at least on an electric model, totally useless. It will wear down, mind you, no matter how well-made it is, and replacing a moderately expensive electronics device because of a stupid design flaw doesn’t feel that satisfying. Just stay away from non-swappable heads, will you?
#11. Ergonomic Grip
Here we arrive back at the home of unnecessary, but nonetheless useful extras. An ergonomically-designed grip, made with comfort and health in mind, can surely make the brushing experience more pleasant, but since you’re not supposed to be using it more than four to six minutes a day, one can only wonder about its true usefulness.
#12. Battery Life
Manufacturers have two ways of giving away their devices’ battery lives. Either, they approximate how long one charge will last, assuming that the user brush a certain number of times a day and charges exactly as described in the manual, or, they flat-out tell you how many minutes in total the battery can hold a charge.
The latter might be more useful, as you can then calculate based on your brushing habits how long it will last, but in any case, long battery life is of course a positive attribute you should look out for. What constitutes ‘long’? Compare as many products in your price range of choice to find out!
This barely needs an explanation. A warranty is an absolute must, and the longer, the better. Period. And now for some bonus features, small trinkets and pieces of gadgetry that may or may not be nice to have.
As previously mentioned, a so-called quadpacer splits the usual 2-minute timer into four subsections, giving you an even more precise overview of not only when to brush, but when to brush where. Every time one of the 30-second sections comes to an end, you’ll know to switch sides. Practical, but in most cases, expensive to boot.
#15. Travel case
A simple travel case can make taking your toothbrush with you on the move much, much easier. Thankfully, specially-made cases, often with room for additional brush heads and accessories, are found bundled with many models nowadays.
#16. Brushing Modes
The last word in any debate about convenience features, brushing modes let you select just how your dental cleaning experience should feel like today. Do you want it quick and efficient, or slow and soothing? Anything in between, perhaps? Simply put, it’s personalization cranked up to 11. Most users will arguably not get around to using this feature too often, but some certainly swear by it. Mind, it does often carry a hefty premium.
#17. Money-back Guarantee
Sure, many manufacturers offer factory warranties, but a money-back guarantee can make the whole returning process that much sweeter. Look for it in the fine print.
#18. UV Sanitizer
UV sanitizers are simple and cheap enough, but having one out of the box bundled with your new toothbrush is a nice courtesy. Generally, they are applied to the brush head after each use, decontaminating it and making it sterile and clean for the next brushing session.
#19. ADA Seal of Acceptance
An ADA Seal of Acceptance confirms that the product you’re using is clinically accept by doctors to work reliably, efficiently and clean as much as is required to maintain a healthy set of teeth and gums. For some, it may be essential, while others will see it as just a nice bonus. If you’re planning to buy an electric toothbrush for your child, then some additional considerations will have to be made.
#20. Brush head size
Due to smaller, more sensitive teeth, a smaller brush head than usual makes sense if you’re shopping for something for your child. Recognizing a small head can be tricky depending on the remaining proportions, but usually, the manufacturer will readily provide measurements.
#21. Handle size
Of course, for smaller hands, there are smaller handles, nothing too extraordinary about that. Similarly as above, contact the manufacturer if it isn’t too clear what size you’re looking at, then compare with adult-sized products to make your decision.
More about Electric Toothbrush
Is an Electric Toothbrush Worth the Investment at all?
This is a question that any buyer must have asked themselves at some point for sure, and it is one that is easily answered once you look at the facts. Firstly, an electric toothbrush will clean your teeth more efficiently and thus be better for your dental health than a manual one, no matter the price.
Secondly, the only recurring cost resulting from owning an electric toothbrush comes from replacing the heads, which is no more expensive than the comparable regular replacement of a manual brush as it wears out. And third, if you know where to look, an electric toothbrush doesn’t have to cost much, if any more than a manual one. Seems like the decision is a relatively easy one, eh?
How Much should you Spend on an Electric Toothbrush?
Another question that can’t not pop up at some point is, ‘How much should I spend?’ Of course, this is highly subjective. Medically speaking, a $10 oscillating toothbrush is more than enough, but some might want extra-white, ultra-clean fangs and convenience features, and for them, there’s $100+ products. You’ll need to decide based on your own personal needs, but be aware that even the bare minimum in price carries a lot of capability in actual, day-to-day use.
Should you Upgrade to the Latest and Greatest?
Short answer: No. Toothbrushes are not smartphones, they don’t become obsolete that fast. Many will not cease functioning for half a decade or even more than that, and there’s generally not really a reason to replace an electric that’s working perfectly fine with a brand-new one.
The technology itself, whether you’re using an oscillating brush or a sonic, hasn’t really changed at all since the early 80s, and the only benefits a new model can give you compared to your old one are things like Bluetooth connectivity, bundled smartphone apps and such. Whether you really gauge those as highly important, important enough to replace a perfectly working device with one that may not actually perform better, is your choice.
Settling the Debate: Oscillating vs Sonic?
As you have probably realized by now, there are two main types of electric toothbrushes, Oscillating and Sonic. Oscillating models are often called rotating ones and sonic brushes also go by ‘vibrating’ or ‘vibration-based’, but that doesn’t really tell us anything about the products themselves, now, does it? Let’s take a closer look.
The first thing anyone will readily notice when examining the two technologies critically is that oscillating brushes move back and forth, pretty much like a manual brush with motorized ‘assistance’, while sonics don’t externally move at all, just shake when you hold them in your hand.
This is where the whole ‘vibration’ moniker comes from. What is hard to discern by just holding them in your hand is that it is the sonic brushes that are faster’”much faster. Up to five times faster, in fact. This is what makes their manufacturers claim that they’re so much more efficient at cleaning your teeth, but is it true?
In theory, it seems promising. While an oscillating brush is essentially doing the same thing as a manual one’” it just helps you out with all the back-and-forth movement’” the sonic design actually vibrates so quickly and with such force that saliva and toothpaste alike get launched into your mouth at high speeds, through crevices that no other toothbrush, manual or electric, would be able to clean simply due to physical limitations.
This is what advertisers mean when they talk about the brush ‘cleaning areas where the bristles won’t reach’. Make no mistake, it does work just like that, and it is very effective, but then again, it’s nothing that some regular flossing won’t do much better.
For those who don’t floss, though, a sonic toothbrush can seem like a godsend, and even for some who do, it might complement their usual dental care routine nicely. However, many would disagree entirely, with anecdotal stories of discomfort and pain after using sonic brushes plentiful when you search for them on the net.
Add to that a generally high price, and you can easily see why they’re not for everyone. Turn towards oscillating toothbrushes, and the choice remains just as tricky. Sure, they do clean much better than a manual, but they lack the reach that a sonic has, and some high-revving examples can actually put a dangerous level of stress on your teeth if you put too much pressure on the brush when using them.
They’re low-priced, however, as are their heads, which does make them an attractive proposition given the fact that they can clean with just as much power as a more expensive vibrating brush.
Regular Care and Maintenance
So, you’ve got your brush, and the only thing you’re left asking yourself is, ‘What can I do to prolong its life as far as possible?’ Fortunately, there are few things you’ll really need to take care of, so let’s go through all of them in quick succession.
First, there’s the brush head. If you’ve got one with fade-away ‘reminder’ bristles, as most do, then you’ll know just by looking at it when the time has come to get a new one. Generally, softer bristles are better for cleaning and dental health, but harder ones last longer.
Try to find a suitable compromise that works for you. To make the gaps between buying new heads as long as possible, don’t put too much pressure on them when you’re brushing, and remember to always clean them properly.
Next up, there’s batteries and charging. There’s not much you can do here; rechargeables often have a certain charging cycle that must be adhered to, for example, ‘Only charge once the battery life nears 50%’ or, ‘Charge only at least 24 hours after the last charge’.
To find out what exact schedule you are supposed to follow with your model, go through the respective chapter in the user’s manual. Removable battery-type models are even simpler: There’s barely anything you could do.
Battery-driven electrics are known for breaking more often, and that’s a sad side effect of the design. Just use them with care, and know that when it gives up, it most likely isn’t your fault.
The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid
We all know stories of people who made purchasing decision so absurd, they could make anyone go ‘Oh, surely, no decent, rational-thinking human being could ever do that, could they?’. Well, some of us also know the stories of the ones that asked this very question and went on to commit those same mistakes they laughed about. To minimize the risk of that happening, here are those you should avoid when shopping for an electric toothbrush.
Buying Brush Heads that are way too large
You know what the benefit of a large brush head is? There isn’t one, really. You should go as small as you possibly can while maintaining the best concentration and placement of bristles possible. A large head, especially one that is too large, will not reach as far as a smaller one and is much more likely to accidentally wound your gums as it will be harder to gauge just where you’re cleaning.
Using Bristles that are way too hard
This is a similar issue. However, it isn’t as one-sided. Hard bristles actually have their use; they live longer. So, if you want a brush head that’s more reliable than your last one, go for harder bristles. Also, harder bristles are known for being more efficient at removing plaque than soft ones, so there’s that, too.
However, softer bristles are always recommended if you want the best brushing experience, and there’s a good reason why: Hard ones just aren’t that nice to your teeth and gums. If you have any kind of sensitive areas in your mouth, hard bristles will be a pain to use, literally. Stories of gum inflammations and even gingivitis and receding gum disease that were all caused by using bristles with an excessive hardness are all over the place.
How to Brush Properly?
Sure, all of us know how to use a toothbrush, but when making the switch from manual to electric, it can be a good idea to sit down for one second and familiarize yourself with the differences between the two. So, without further ado, here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly handle an electric brush in day-to-day use.
- First, take care of charging. Rechargeables are easy; just remember to plug them in after each round of brushing. Before using them for the first time, they might need an extra-long charge’” expect 24 hours or more. Models with replaceable batteries are a bit trickier, especially if they don’t have a charge display.
- Consider leaving a small stash of ’emergency’ batteries always at hand in this case. Having made sure the brush is fully charged, run some water through it and apply toothpaste as you would onto a normal manual one.
- When brushing, try placing the head at a 45Â angle to your gum line and maintain only as much pressure as is absolutely needed. This is even more important than with manual toothbrushes, and becomes a sort of second nature you’ll have to master if you’re using a sonic toothbrush.
- Move your hand slowly, from the outer to the inner areas of the teeth. Generally, more movement is needed with oscillating than with sonic brushes, as the latter vibrate much faster and can even clean areas the bristles do not directly touch, while the former need to physically scrub away each particle of gunk and plaque that they touch, not unlike a manual brush.
- Remember that cleaning your tongue and palate, too, is often a good idea. Go over them with minimal pressure in slow, back-and-forth motions. Remember to spend 2 minutes in total or thereabouts brushing your teeth, 30 seconds of which should be devoted to each quadrant of your mouth. Your toothbrush’s timer, if applicable, may help with this.
- After brushing, rinse with water again to make sure any toothpaste residue is cleaned off, and store your toothbrush in its charging station or any other storage compartment upright. Some toothbrush models include a cleaning apparatus to help with all this. After brushing, make sure to floss, too!
2 Popular Brands
And, from our review above, here are the two current market leaders in electric toothbrush technology:
With a stellar reputation for high quality and a product line that spans nearly every price segment, Oral-B are hard not to trust.
Their association with Braun becomes more apparent on their high-end offerings, most of them colored in black, which feature high-tech gadgetry and electronic trickery that seems almost too much for a simple dental care appliance.
Still, Oral-B’s products are convincing in their performance, and continue to be the gold standard that nearly all others are consistently compared to.
Philips are known as a tech giant, and that would be a fitting description. Hailing from oh-so pedantic and orderly Germany, their products, no matter the type, are always well thought-out and refined, with competitive pricing to match.
Their toothbrushes are no exception to this, with the Sonicare line of vibrating brushes being their main weaponry in the sales fight against Oral-B.
A clear winner has yet to be found, with both brands enjoying immense profits, but Philips is arguably much more of a risk-taker, trying to present to the market a sonic toothbrush design that’s both better than the tried-and-true oscillating competition and cheaper, when common wisdom dictates something like that would be utterly impossible. And yet, they’re in business.
If there’s anything you feel we haven’t covered above, seek your answers here.
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We hope this overview of ours got your bearings a little straighter when it comes to the admittedly tough and convoluted market of electric toothbrushes. Although by and large worth your time and money, the whole topic can often seem a little too much, and we understand that. That’s why we crafted this article to begin with! We hope things are a little clearer now, and that you’re now a little more confident in choosing your own electric to make your teeth shine like never before. We’re crossing our fingers for you!