It’s no secret that dentists want you to swap to an electric toothbrush. The best electric toothbrush do a much better job of keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy.
But it’s often hard to know the difference since they all seem to do the same thing and can cost anywhere from a cheap $20 battery version into the hundreds of dollars. Is it even worth paying that much?
There are 4 types of electric toothbrushes – rotating, oscillating, sonic, and ultrasonic. Rotating are usually the cheapest and have a simple head that spins.
The oscillating ones often have a combination of a rotating head as well as another section that oscillates back and forth. The sonic brushes are much more expensive and vibrate at a higher speed to pus toothpaste between the teeth.
The ultrasonics work the same way but pulse so fast that they move at millions of waves per minute to create tiny nanobubbles of toothpaste between the teeth to get it into the smallest crannies.
Things to look for when choosing a toothbrush include how long the battery lasts, and how often you’ll need to replace the heads.
Other options you might see are pressure sensors, textured handles, a timer, and whether you need a charging station or a USB adapter.
The reason you want a pressure sensor is that sharp scrubbing can cause cuts and tearing at the gum line leading to infection and scratch the delicate tooth enamel.
Best Electric Toothbrush – Reviews
Philips Sonicare Healthy White HX8911
A basic enough model which provides a moderately powerful clean with three intensity modes and uses sonic technology to get between teeth. It has 31,000 pulses per minute and can even get into hard to reach areas.
It comes with a charging stand, travel case, travel cap, and a spare brush head. There are 6 custom settings to remove stains, whiten, and clean and the Diamond brush head has fairly stiff bristles to scrape away plaque.
The heads snap on and off quickly and while they’re not cheap they do last up to 3 months. The brush has a quadpacer timer that pulses every 30 seconds to let you know to clean a new quadrant of your mouth before shutting off after the full recommended 2 minutes.
The battery lasts up to 3 weeks and has a small base charger, unlike most of the Oral-B models.
- 31,000 Sonic pulses
- Quadpacer Timer
- 3 week battery
The Sonicare line all use a standard 31,000 pulses so you’re getting the same power as the much more expensive models, just without some of the fancy features. These do a great job of cleaning and whitening.
It’s quite light compared to some other models and not as noisy. The brush is compatible with several different types of heads if you don’t like the medium hard that comes with it, including the more expensive diamond clean (making it the same power and design as the Diamond Clean model but $100+ cheaper). It has a simple light to let you know when it needs charging and what mode it’s in.
It’s rather loud, rattly, and whiny, at a pitch that can be really annoying. It’s loud enough you can’t use it when someone else is sleeping or they’ll wake.
There’s not a lot of difference between this and the Sonicare models that are half the price so it’s questionable why pay this much in the first place.
After a while the timer gets off and doesn’t measure 2 minutes anymore and may not actually stop. The battery life is poor and starts degrading almost immediately so you won’t get the full life for long.
It’s also a pretty strong vibration even on the easiest setting for someone not used to the design.
Oral-B Pro 3000 Rechargeable Electric toothbrush with Bluetooth – $XX.xx
It seems everything has to have bluetooth these days including your toothbrush. It has the classic Oral-B shape with a rotating head and a timer to tell you when to switch areas every 30 seconds.
The app lets you monitor your routine daily and send it to your dentist (if they’re listed).
It’s good at getting rid of hard plaque and the bristles are long enough to reach between the teeth which helps make them whiter.
The heads are widely available and fairly inexpensive and have color coded bristles to let you know when it’s time to change.
There are also 10 different styles of head available with a variety of features.
Most sites will list this as the number one because it’s got a good combination of features for a fairly cheap price.
The body has three modes for sensitive teeth, gum cleaning and a pressure sensor which lights up to show you’re brushing too hard.
- Bluetooth app
- Pressure sensor
- Quadpacer Timer
- 10 different Heads
Compared to the basic 1000 (only $20 cheaper) you’re getting an upgrade of features like the pressure sensor and the 3 modes. The bluetooth is rather superfluous unless you want a Fitbit for your teeth.
This feels much cleaner than a manual brush and is still a simple one button design. The charging station can collect a bit of dirt but it’s easy to clean and you can store spare heads (or you and partners) inside and away from germs.
You’ll have to charge this about once a week which is not great if you’re heading on vacation since you’re forced to bring the charger station or use it manually at the end.
The heads don’t really last very long and you only have a choice between hard and soft which means you may not like either.
When it says pulsating you expect sonic action but really the pulses are just for the timer and not for actual brushing.
Unless you’re brushing in front of a mirror with the light showing through your hand you also won’t generally notice the pressure sensor light.
Phillips Sonicare 2 Series Plaque Control HX6211/30
One of the cheapest brushes out there it’s designed much the same as the 3000 with a one button and charger stand. It has a plaque control brush head and generations 31, 000 sonic pulses a minute.
It has easily replaceable head and a timer for 2 minutes brushing. The handle has a textured grip to make it easy to hold when wet and there’s a dual color light to let you know when it’s time to recharge.
There’s also an easy start feature where the brush slowly increases to maximum power with the first 14 uses so that you can acclimatize to using it which makes it ideal for beginners swapping from manual brushes. The battery life lasts up to two weeks and there are 6 optional head styles.
- 31,000 sonic pulses
- 2 week battery
- 6 different heads
- Easy introduction mode
This cleans very effectively and the battery life just keeps going without needing replacement. The heads can last up to 3 months or more and there’s also an included coupon for your first head refills included.
The battery life is very convenient and you can easily take it away without needing to bring a charger. There are also different colors available if yo want to have different bodies as well as heads for family members. It automatically turns off after 2 minutes to let you now you’ve brushed long enough too.
The heads are both expensive and small. They’re almost half the size of a manual toothbrush. It’s a pretty powerful brush and it’s too powerful for some even in the easy mode which means anyone with sensitive gums is going to find this uncomfortable.
There’s no pressure sensor and as powerful as this is it’s easy to see that brushing too hard will be a problem. Not having a 30 second timer can also be frustrating if you’ve gotten use to the standard 30 second warning most models have.
Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries Black with Bluetooth Connectivity – $XXX.xx
It almost seems like Oral-B has a bluetooth fixation because most of their better quality brushes have it, though you might be paying for a feature that isn’t altogether important.
It uses the same heads as the 3000 but has a slightly more upgraded base and a travel case. The app does give you tips based on your brushing habits and which areas you should be focusing on.
The brush oscillates, pulsates, and rotates to remove more plaque than each of those alone and it has 6 different modes that it can do those in. One of the modes includes a gum massage to stimulate the area and clean it.
This was the first brush to include Bluetooth technology on the market so that you could see in real time what you were doing inside your mouth.
It has a pressure sensor, storage for new heads in the base, a cross bristle design with 16 different angles to get a 360 degree clean (though it’s compatible with 9 others too), a tongue cleaner, and a polishing mode. It has 40,000 pulsations and 8,800 oscillations, far more than the Sonicare 2.
- 40,000 sonic pulses
- Bluetooth app
- travel case
- 10 different heads
The battery lasts about 10 days, and the base as a large display to show what mode you’re in, how long you’ve been brushing and a suggestion of what to brush so you don’t even need the app necessarily.
There’s different colors available which is nice if you have picky kids. The travel case is a nice touch and while it’s not useful if you don’t travel for those that do it’s better than cleaning gunk off the head when you get there.
Like the Sonicare 2 it also stops dead after 2 minutes to signal that you’re “done”. The tongue mode doesn’t really do anything and the charger is limited only to a 110V while most other Oral-B units are compatible with 220V as well.
One of the issues when charging is that it has a bright blue flashing light which can light up the entire bathroom and is annoying. The brush can also take up to 36 hours to fully charge from flat.
Phillips Sonicare Diamond Clean Black – $XXX.xx
You’ll see a lot of comparisons between the 7000 and the Diamond Clean. It has 5 brushing modes and uses 31,000 pulses per minute.
It has a unique glass charger that looks like a plain glass you would store an ordinary toothbrush in so it camouflages well in the bathroom. You can also use the glass for rinsing afterwards!
There’s also a travel case with a USB adapter and head caps for traveling. It’s one of the most popular brushes out there and has a 30 second pulse warning and smart timer.
It also has the tongue and gum cleaning modes that the 7000. The battery lasts up to 3 weeks and there’s a light to let you know it’s time to charge.
It comes in 5 different colors and is guaranteed to remove surface stains and more plaque.
- 31,000 sonic pulses
- 3 week battery
- 5 colors
- Glass charger
- Quadpacer Timer
This keeps going without needing to recharge forever and with the charger being a simple glass design you won’t even have to remember to put it on the charger if you store it in there anyway.
The travel case and head covers outdo the 7000 because they really stop the water from the heads getting everywhere and the case getting gunky.
It’s very good at powering off plaque build up, even when it’s built up. The battery warning also doesn’t mean the toothbrush is dead, but has three more brushes left, so you’re fine even if you forget.
There’s also an LED display to let you know what mode you’re in.
There’s no warning when you’re pushing too hard and since the Sonicare line is pretty powerful there’s a good chance that you might cause some gum damage without realizing.
The heads aren’t great quality and if defective there’s a choking hazard from them detaching during brushing.
Waterpik WP-950 Complete Care 7.0 Flosser and Sonic Brush – $XX.xx
To be honest you’re paying for a lot more than a sonic brush and it’s designed to really get between your teeth and into every crevice.
This gets into the places that brushing can’t with the high powered water flosser (basically a mini water jet for your teeth).
It has a charging base with tank for the flosser and charging bases for both as well as simple dials to set their power.
It’s powerful but not excessively like the Philips which means it can be used on dental work like bridges and crowns too. There’s two different speed modes and 4 types of brush heads available as well as different flosser heads.
You can alternatively buy the toothbrush on it’s own as the Aquarius model. There’s also a travel carry case for the brush with a separate case for the heads. It has 32,000 pulses per minute, more than the Sonicare.
This also has the cheapest replaceable heads and they’re almost ¼ of the price of the Oral-Bs.
- Flosser and brush
- 32,000 pulses
- 2 modes
- 1 week battery
With 10 speed settings as well as power settings you’ve got plenty of options to customize your brushing based on how powerful you’re comfortable with so you don’t have to worry about over brushing even though there’s no pressure warning.
It does an excellent job of getting between teeth and each attachment has a color coded section so everyone can use one device without mixing up their heads in the 5 head storage compartment.
It lasts about a week without charging on average, though you’ll have to have it plugged in for the flosser to work.
Not having a timer is a let down as is the fact that it’s pretty loud. The “space saving” base is far bigger than any of the others thanks to the large water tank for the flosser.
There’s no travel charger either and unless you want to pack the whole thing you’ll just have to deal with it dying once the battery finishes. The charger is also only rated for 120v so it can’t travel well.
The brush is rather sub standard, it feels cheap and doesn’t really give the impressive clean of the Sonicare or Oral-B models since the soft mode is rather useless and the hard mode just seems forceful without finesse.
While it’s nice to have the added flosser on the Waterpik it’s clear that the model is aimed at being a flosser first and a brush second.
Oral-B uses the more traditional rotating and oscillating technology rather than pure ultrasonic which is both a blessing and a curse as the nanobubbles aren’t as small to really get between the teeth like the Sonicare.
If you want gadgets though Oral-B really has everything beat with it’s app and huge array of modes.