Over eight months a panel of 15 testers tried out all the popular brand name electric toothbrushes on the market. The testers had one simple goal, to find the best electric toothbrush.
We got to know all the electric toothbrushes very intimately. We learned how they work, the best way to use them as well as their shortcomings.
As we quickly became aware, coordinating and recording the results of 15 individuals over eight months is no easy feat. But the end result is the most detailed and current guide to electric toothbrushes on the entire Internet. And it is continually being updated! In fact, even as this guide gets published a further two electric toothbrushes are in the process of being tested.
This guide is BIG. Use the links below to jump down to your preferred section.
- The winners – Which electric toothbrush is best?
- Electric Toothbrushes – A detailed look at the following electric toothbrushes:
- Best electric toothbrushes – The best electric toothbrushes for kids, braces, sensitive teeth and gums.
- Electric Toothbrush 101 – An introduction to electric toothbrushes.
- How we chose – Our criteria for choosing electric toothbrushes to test.
Oral-B vs. Philips Sonicare – Who makes the best electric toothbrush?
If you have been shopping for a brand new electric toothbrush then you likely have come across the two major brands. Philips Sonicare and Oral-B.
Confusingly, both Philips Sonicare and Oral-B claim that they are the number one dentist brand.
If you look on the box of any Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush you will find the following:
#1 Recommended Brand by Dental Professionals
And if you look on the box of any Oral-B electric toothbrush you will find something similar:
#1 Dentist Used Wordlwide
So do you want the electric toothbrush that is used by dentists or do you want the electric toothbrush that is recommended by dentists.
Now upon speaking to dentists (who do not wish to be named for obvious reasons), we learned that Oral-B and Philips Sonicare are very quick to hand out free products to those in the dental profession.
Being in the review industry we are fully aware the amount of bias that can come along with receiving free products. If you are receiving a free product then there is an expectation that you will review it positively. This is a major reason why we purchase all the products ourselves to review. None of those “Okay, thanks for the free product, but we hated it” moments.
So with dental recommendations possibly being tainted by which brand gave them freebies, it was on us to test each of these brands to determine which removed more plaque.
Our results were actually quite surprising. With proper technique both Oral-B and Philips Sonicare perform equally well at removing plaque from both the tooth’s surface and along the gumline.
No Conclusive winner. If you are looking for a great electric toothbrush then either Philips Sonicare will effectively clean your teeth. You are free to choose whichever you prefer.
The best electric toothbrushes
After wrapping up the 8 month long testing period, testers agreed that there were two leading electric toothbrushes. And it was a dead tie between the two as to which could be crowned best.
So which two electric toothbrushes were as close to perfect at you can get?
The Oral-B Pro 1000 and The Philips Sonicare 2 Series Plaque control
Both of these electric toothbrushes are perfect for general brushing. They are low cost, brush equally well as the top models without any unnecessary features.
Now we do say general brushing. If you suffer from sensitive teeth and gums then you will need to jump up to the next model, in this case the Pro 3000 and 3 Series Gum Health. These electric toothbrushes offer a gentler brushing experience although you will have to pay a little bit extra. But the price difference is more than worth it if it means you do not trigger your sensitivities.
Even better, these recommendations all cost less than $100. In our testing we found that there was no need to pay more than this for a good electric toothbrush. Unless the fancy features appeal to you of course.
Below you can find more information on all the electric toothbrushes we tested as well as links to the full review.
Philips Sonicare is the supreme leader when it comes to Sonic electric toothbrushes (although Waterpik does come close).
Interestingly, ALL Philips Sonicare models brush at the same 31,000 strokes per minute. This creates an interesting phenomenon in that the cheapest Sonicare toothbrush (the Essence) brushes just as well as the premier model (the DiamondClean). Yep, you read that right. You don’t have to spend much at all on a Sonicare to experience the best possible clean.
In order to separate each model, Philips Sonicare has incorporated a wide range of different features. From USB charging cases to UV sanitizers, there is a wide range of features designed to grab your attention.
How useful these features are entirely depends on what you want from your toothbrush. But if all you want is to experience the best clean that Sonicare has to offer then you will be just fine with the entry level model.
Besides the Essence, all Philips Sonicare toothbrushes use a snap-on style of brush head and are completely interchangeable with each other. You can find detailed information on each brush head in our
Complete guide to Philips Sonicare Brush Heads.
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
Without a doubt the Rolls Royce of electric toothbrushes. The DiamondClean is downright gorgeous. Compared to the lackluster White 7000 (Oral-B’s top model) Philips Sonicare have really knocked it out of the park. Brushing with the DiamondClean just feels special.
Available in four different color options (White, black, purple and pink) and with a stylish charging stand to match, it is clear that the DiamondClean is meant to be put on display.
We particularly liked the travel case. Not only does it look great and offer good protection but it can also be used to charge your electric toothbrush through USB. We honestly wish all electric toothbrushes came with this feature and if you frequently travel, you will love it.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean.
Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum
Surprisingly, the FlexCare Platinum is packed with even more features than the top of the line DiamondClean.
You can choose from three different brushing modes at three different intensity setting but by far the stand out feature is the UV sterilizer. Perfect for germophobes, the sterilizer uses UV light to kill bacteria and other nasties that hide on your brush head when it’s not in use.
A less bulky charger for use when traveling and a travel case round out the included accessories.
At first glance the FlexCare Platinum does not have a sensitive option. But reducing the brushing intensity to the lowest speed will provide the same gentle brushing experience.
The UV sterilizer cannot be that important if it is not included on the DiamondClean and we found the three separate buttons on the handle of the electric toothbrush made things needlessly complicated.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum.
Philips Sonicare FlexCare Plus
The second Sonicare electric toothbrush in the FlexCare range. A slightly watered down version of the FlexCare Platinum which and better value for money given the $50 difference in price between the two.
Sonicare has ditched the intensity setting in favor of a single button that cycles through one of 5 different cleaning modes, giving the electric toothbrush a much sleeker look.
A Deluxe charger and travel case wrap up the additional accessories included in the box.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Plus.
Philips Sonicare HealthyWhite Plus
We were puzzled by why the HealthyWhite Plus exists. In terms of features it barely offers more than the model below it and far fewer than the model above it.
The key differentiator of this model is, like the FlexCare Platinum, you can choose from three different brushing speeds. But since the Sonicare comes with the DiamondClean brush head, one of the most aggressive that Philips Sonicare offers, it is not really appropriate for those of you with hypersensitive teeth and gums.
A travel case is also included in the box.
While the design is far sleeker than the lower models, we just don’t feel it offers enough value to justify the price jump.
Philips Sonicare Series 3 Gum health
This is our most recommended sonic toothbrush for those of you with sensitive teeth.
With a soft bristled brush head included in the box and a dedicated sensitive brushing mode, this is as gentle as brushing with a sonic toothbrush gets. Testers noted that this model provides a much more delicate touch when brushing and while not as aggressive as other models, was just as effective at removing plaque.
The Series 3 Gum Health also has a lithium-ion battery which holds an extra weeks worth of charge over the lower models.
Included in the box of the 3 Series is a plastic travel case, making it more suitable for those of you who want to brush on the go.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Philips Sonicare 3 Series Gum health.
Philips Sonicare Series 2 Plaque Control
Our most recommended electric toothbrush for general users. While it may not have all the features of the high end electric toothbrushes, the Series 2 Plaque control hits the sweet spot in terms of quality and price.
The Series 2 is first model that can be used with the modern range of “Snap-on” brush heads. While it doesn’t come with a travel case, it is the perfect toothbrush for at home brushing.
If all you want is a good brushing experience then there is no reason to spend more money than this on an electric toothbrush.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Philips Sonicare 2 Series Plaque Control.
Philips Sonicare Essence Plus
The new entry level model from Philips Norelco. The Essence Plus brings the older Essence below up to speed in features and functions with the rest of the Sonicare range.
On Paper the Sonicare Essence Plus is identical to the 2 Series above. However the handle on Essence Plus is not as well insulated, and you can feel the vibrations through the handle with your hands. While this will only affect you if you are particularly sensitive to vibrations still adversely affects the user experience.
Considering the 2 Series is only fractionally more expensive we recommend choosing that model over this one.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Philips Sonicare Essence Plus.
Philips Sonicare Essence
The Essence is a relic from a time long ago. Believe it or not the Sonicare Essence was originally released over 10 years ago. While it is no way as pretty or ergonomic as modern day Sonicare Toothbrushes, it can still hold it’s own with the best of them.
While all the other models of Philips Sonicare toothbrush use snap-on brush heads, the Essence uses screw-on. Screw-on brush heads take longer to install and remove, are more difficult to clean and offer less variety than the snap-on type.
The Essence is the cheapest of the Philips Sonicare range. It is a great example of a product that can stand the test of time. If this is as far as your budget can stretch then you can be confident you will experience the best clean that Philips Sonicare has to offer.
But if you can afford to drop another $10 on an electric toothbrush then we recommend jumping up to the 2 Series Plaque Control for the sleeker handle and larger choice of brush heads.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Philips Sonicare Essence.
When it comes to rotary electric toothbrushes, Oral-b is unrivaled.
Unlike the Sonicare range of toothbrushes, Oral-B brushes are tiered in terms of their brushing movement’s per minute. However, the maximum tier is actually reached in their middle model, the Pro 3000. Higher models go the same way as Sonicare and rely on various fancy features like Bluetooth connectivity to grab your attention.
Oral-B is manufactured by Braun (yes, the same mob that makes electric shavers) which is a subsidiary of Proctor & Gamble. We found it fitting that given Braun’s German origins that they choose to manufacture most of their electric toothbrush range in Germany.
While Oral-B used to also have a line of Sonic toothbrushes designed to compete with Sonicare, these were average at best by comparison. We were not surprised that before lone the Oral-B sonic toothbrush range had been completely discontinued.
While many Oral-B models include a pressure sensor, testers found that you could press far too hard before it would activate. The pressure sensors are little more than a gimmick and may trick you into believing that you are using the correct amount of pressure when in fact you are actually bearing down too hard.
The current toothbrush head of choice that comes standard in almost all (except the vitality) Oral-B models is the CrossAction, a medium firmness brush head that works well at both general cleaning and sweeping the gum line.
If you find the brush head just isn’t to your liking, Oral-B manufacturers a whole range of different brush heads. There is a lot of choice – sensitive options “flossing” brush heads and side action scrubbers to name a few. For more information on the different types, be sure to check out our detailed guide to Oral-B brush heads.
All Oral-B electric toothbrushes use the same charging stand. This means you can purchase multiple Oral-B toothbrushes and only have to set up a single charger.
It can be confusing buying an Oral-B electric toothbrush because they rename their models on a regular basis. Previously the entire range was known as the ProfessionalCare Series. Now this has been shortened to the Pro Series for the current range. Next year? Who knows.
Let’s quickly cover the current range of Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Be sure to click through to the full review for more information on each.
Oral-B White/Black 7000
Leading the Oral-B line up is the 7000 Model and in terms of features it is the Cadillac of Electric toothbrushes.
There are two variations of the Oral-B 7000 and the only difference between the two is color. Out of the two we recommend the white model. Toothpaste and water marks were much more visible on the black model.
We feel that that Sonicare did a better job adding value to their top model of electric toothbrush than Oral-B did with theirs. It just doesn’t feel very premium.
And the reason for this is that the toothbrush is identical to the Oral-B Pro 5000 with the exception of an added brushing mode (tongue clean, and it’s useless) as well as a fancy travel case (not as good as the DiamondClean) and storage bag (also useless).
You can also connect the Pro 7000 to a timer that is included in the box (via Bluetooth). The timer simply lets you keep track of how long you have been brushing at a glance. Since it performs the same function as the mobile app, we were somewhat puzzled as to it’s usefulness and it quickly became another piece of junk littering our bathroom countertop.
The minor differences make the Oral-B 7000 feel like it should be a special edition of the Pro 5000 rather than a stand alone model. The price jump between the two hardly justifies the additional features.
If you have to have the best of everything then we won’t be able to talk you out of purchasing the Pro 7000. But for those of you who want the brushing experience with Bluetooth connectivity, we recommend the Pro 5000. You can even buy the travel case as a spare part from Braun Online
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Oral-B 7000.
Oral-B Pro 5000
Since the Pro 3000 offers the best brushing experience you can get from an Oral-B toothbrush, Oral-B has had to differentiate the more expensive models by packing them full of features and the Pro 5000 is very evident of this.
We will be straight up, these features are not for everyone. The Bluetooth connectivity syncs with an app on your smartphone to monitor your brushing times and keeps a record of your brushing sessions. We found the feature to be somewhat of a gimmick and did not add a whole lot to the brushing experience.
The Oral-B Pro 5000 includes 5 different brushing modes. Of the 5 only two are essential, the standard mode and sensitive mode, both of which are also found on the Pro 3000.
We did like that a travel case is included with the Pro 5000, something that the lower models desperately need.
Should you buy the Pro 5000? It all comes down to just how much importance you place on the Bluetooth connectivity, more brushing modes and a travel case.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Oral-B Pro 5000.
Oral-B Pro 3000
When it comes to Oral-B electric toothbrushes, in order to achieve the ultimate clean you do not need to go any higher than the Pro 3000.
The Oral-B Pro offers the full 8,800 oscillations (brush strokes) and 40,000 pulses (vibrations) per minute. This is the standard found on all higher models.
The Pro 3000 also features three different brushing modes – Standard, sensitive and gum care. While the gum care mode is pretty useless, the sensitive mode offers a gentler brushing experience and is perfect for those of you with sensitive teeth and gums.
Highly recommended. You honestly do not need to go any higher than this model unless the idea of Bluetooth connectivity and travel cases appeal to you.
The Pro 3000 also comes with a brush head case capable of storing up to four different brush heads. A handy solution for those of you who share your toothbrush handle with other members of your family.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Oral-B Pro 3000.
Oral-B Pro 1000
In our opinion this should be the starting point for those of you looking to buy an Oral-B electric toothbrush. The Pro 1000 is the lowest model of Oral-B electric toothbrush that performs at the max 8,800 oscillations per minute.
The Pro 1000 also pulses (vibrates) 20,000 times per minute, testers found that this added range of movement particularly helped at removing plaque from the sides of the teeth and along the gumline.
Unless you have sensitive teeth (in which case you should use the Pro 3000) the Pro 1000 will be nearly perfect for everyone. This is our most recommended model for general users and hits the sweet spot between price and performance.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Oral-B Pro 1000.
Oral-B’s cheapest electric toothbrush comes in two different styles, The Vitality Floss Action and the Vitality Dual Clean. The only difference between the two is the included brush head in the box.
The vitality does not feature Oral-B’s 3D brushing movements. The Vitality can only drive the brush heads from side to side, it does not pulse forward and back.
The Oral-B Vitality also brushes at a lower 7,600 Oscillations (brushing motions) per minute. Every higher model brushes at the full 8,800 Oscillations.
While the oral-B Vitality brushes well enough we felt that the slower brushing speed and “2D” brushing just didn’t remove plaque as efficiently as the next model up. But if you just want a budget electric toothbrush then you could do much worse.
When it comes to electric toothbrushes, Waterpik is not a brand that immediately spring to mind. Believe it or not, they have been creating oral hygiene products since the 1960’s.
Waterpik is the undisputed leader in the Water Flosser industry. What you may not know is that Waterpik also manufactures electric toothbrushes.
Waterpik launched their first sonic toothbrush back in 2007; The Sensonic Professional. The design has been further refined into the Sensonic Professional Plus that you see today.
Don’t be fooled by the limited choice when it comes to Waterpik Electric Toothbrushes. Waterpik has taken a “do it once and do it right” approach and the results are more than evident, an electric toothbrush that is many ways better than that of the Philips Sonicare range.
Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus
It is very obvious that Waterpik has drawn inspiration from Philips Sonicare in regards to how the Sensonic Professional Plus functions. But this is much more than just a copy-cat, Waterpik has found ways to improve on areas that the Sonicare lacked.
The Sensonic Professional Plus scrubs 25% faster than a Sonicare. That puts the brushing speed in the 38,750 brush strokes per minute range.
We loved that the Sensonic Professional included three different brush heads in the box and their Interdental Brush Head is perhaps the best sonic toothbrush we have ever used at focusing on a single problem area, testers with dental work were particularly impressed.
Overall we were hugely impressed by what the Sensonic Proessional Plus had to offer. If it was just a little cheaper this would have been our number one pick for the best Sonic toothbrush.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus.
Waterpik Triple Sonic
The Triple Sonic was released early in 2016 as part of the Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 flossing station. It is unclear as to whether or not Waterpik will release it separately as an update to their Sensonic electric toothbrush. We hope they don’t because the Triple Sonic is a huge step backwards.
While Waterpik knocked it out of the park with the Sensonic Professional Plus, the Triple Sonic is downright awful. It is essentially a generic electric toothbrush masquerading under the Waterpik brand name.
Only a single style of brush head is available and are virtually non-existant in retail stores, you have to order replacements online. The handle has no rubber grip and the sensitive cleaning mode has been removed. The Triple Sonic feels like it was designed to be manufactured as cheaply as possible. While it will still adequately clean your teeth, it is far from great.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Waterpik Complete Care 5.0.
Foreo is the new kid on the block when it comes to electric toothbrushes. A Sweedish beauty brand with a love of silicone, Foreo has attempted to design the electric toothbrush of the future.
Being new to the game, Foreo has a very limited selection of electric toothbrushes to choose from. But they are like nothing you have ever seen before. The minimal toothbrush is absolutely beautiful and makes all other electric toothbrushes ugly in comparison.
Foreo’s toothbrushes feature bristles made from medical-grade silicone. Not only are the silicone bristles bacteria resistant, and incredibly gentle on the teeth and gums but are also long lasting. In fact, you will only need to replace your brush head once a year!
Like with all new technology, you can expect to pay for the privilege of being amongst the first to use it. Foreo Toothbrushes are far from a bargain, priced higher than the top Oral-B or Philips Sonicare models.
While we applaud the fact that Foreo has tried to revolutionize the toothbrush, we found that their products just aren’t ready to replace the traditional bristled toothbrushes. Still, they have managed to make us excited for the future of electric toothbrushes.
The ISSA is Foreo’s Premier toothbrush. With Four different colors to choose from the ISSA’s eye-catching sleek design will stand out on any bathroom counter top.
Believe it or not, the ISSA can offer up to a years worth of brushing on a single charge. That kind of battery life is unheard of in the world of electric toothbrushes. We also liked that the ISSA charges via USB cord instead of having to keep a bulky charging stand on our bathroom counter-top.
The ISSA is hands down the quietest electric toothbrush we have tested. The ISSA is possibly the only electric toothbrush that won’t wake a light sleeper one room over.
But when it came to removing plaque, the ISSA fell short. The odd shaped brush head combined with larger shaped bristles struggled to remove plaque from along the gum line and between the teeth.
While the ISSA is available with a hybrid head (both silicone and PBT bristles) it only provided further evidence that the silicone bristles just couldn’t compare traditional ones.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Foreo ISSA.
Foreo ISSA Hybrid
The only difference between the ISSA and the ISSA Hybrid is the brush head. The Hybrid brush head can be purchased separately if you so choose. Otherwise the ISSA and ISSA Hybrid should be treated as the same electric toothbrush.
We covered the ISSA Hybrid brush head in our detailed review of the Foreo ISSA.
Foreo ISSA Mini
The ISSA Mini is essentially a smaller version of the ISSA. While it has been designed for kids as young as 5, it is also suitable for those of you with smaller mouths (or even medium mouths given the sheer size of the ISSA head).
In addition to offering all the features of the ISSA but at a smaller size, there is a smiley face indicator in the base of the ISSA Mini. You will receive a happy face if you brush for more than two minutes and a sad face will appear on the toothbrush if you have not used for more than 12 hours. If you have kids, it may help them improve their brushing habits.
While Foreo claims that the ISSA Mini can easily be used by all ages, testers found that the smaller handle was a little difficult to grip. This was a particular problem amongst those with larger hands.
Surprisingly the smaller sized brush head did help remove plaque better than that of the ISSA, even on larger mouths. If you have the money to spare and want to experience a silicone toothbrush then we recommend the ISSA Mini over the ISSA. Just don’t expect it to beat out traditional bristles.
It’s a shame that Foreo does not make a toothbrush for children under three. Silicon bristles would be perfect for these small and sensitive mouths.
Pursonic is an interesting brand in that while we could not find a whole lot of information on them (including on their own website) they have their product on the shelves of just about every major retailer imaginable. Bestbuy, Target, Walmart and QVC are just a few of the retailers who stock their product.
If the badge on their website is to be believed, Pursonic has been manufacturing oral-care products since 1971, however their website was only set up in 2010 and a trademark filed in 2013 for the name by Samsonic Trading Co, a well known importer of electrical products.
Pursonic toothbrushes come with more replacement brush heads in the box than any other brand and appear to offer great value for money.
Unfortunately, the toothbrushes worked poorly and despite claims to be equal to the 31,000 brush strokes of the Philips Sonicare, just didn’t perform as well. The bristles also wore quicker through general use than any other brand.
It appears that Pursonic electric toothbrushes are little more than cheaply made imported products. Our testers were fairly unimpressed with them, especially given the price was comparable to better known brands.
We would also like to mention that the Pursonic was the only brand to have not one but two electric toothbrushes fail on us during testing. On one the plastic shaft completely snapped off while another just outright refused to charge after just a month of use.
We do not recommend any electric toothbrush from Pursonic in their current range.
Pursonic’s deluxe electric toothbrush, comes with a UV sanitizer and 12 brush heads. Despite claiming that it brushes at 30,000 strokes per minute, the S520 just felt weak.
This was particularly evident during brushing, the S450 struggled really struggled to remove plaque from the edges of the teeth.
During our testing this model died on us, refusing to charge just a month into testing, forcing us to replace it.
Buy at your own risk
The pursonic S520 claims to brush at a whopping 40,000 brush strokes per minute. That is faster than any other electric toothbrush on the market.
It also brushed the worst out of all the Pursonic electric toothbrushes we tested. This may in part be to the inclusion of a different brush head to the other Pursonic models, which just doesn’t brush as well.
The most annoying feature on the S520 is the shaft that connects the brush head to the handle. You have to slide the electric toothbrush on and twist it into place. All other models allow you to simply slide the brush head into place.
Brush to tooth, we were fairly unhappy with how the model brushed in comparison to the other electric toothbrushes we tested. The bristles required more passes to remove the same amount of plaque.
This models plastic neck broke when replacing the brush head, requiring us to replace it.
Buy at your own risk
The cheapest electric toothbrush in the Pursonic line up also brushes better than any other model. The 31,000 strokes per minute saw more movement in the bristles than the S420.
While the S420 performed far better at removing plaque than the other Pursonic models, the bar is set fairly low. It still fell short when compared to other Sonic toothbrushes on the market (Philips Sonicare and Waterpik in particular).
Buy at your own risk.
The Interplak brand is part of the Conair Personal Care Division and focuses solely on oral health. It was bought from Bausch & Lomb back in 1996.
We will be straight up, We have not had a good experience with con-air products in general. We have nothing against the company, but in all our reviews where Conair featured fielded a product, it was generally inferior.
While Conair only manufacturers two models of electric toothbrushes, both underperformed not only in terms of build quality but also the amount of plaque they were able to remove.
If you have ever heard someone say anything good about Interplak products it is likely that they are referring to Interplak toothbrushes prior to Conair. Since the buyout, the quality of Interplak toobrushes has gone down hill.
We do not recommend that you purchase Interplak electric toothbrushes in their current form.
Interplak Rechargeable Power Toothbrush (NT11)
Interplak offers the only electric toothbrush on the market where each individual tuft of bristles spins. It’s just a shame that it works better in theory than practice.
The motor is weak. Even after charging the electric toothbrush the bristles slow down or stop moving at the lightest touch, effectively turning the Interplak Power Toothbrush into a manual one.
The overall build quality is cheap and it appears costs have been cut wherever possible. What is even more depressing that this product is priced very similarly to our best recommendations from Oral-B and Philips Sonicare.
Not recommended. Buy at your own risk.
Interplak OptiClean Plaque Remover
Moving down to Interplaks lower model, things just get worse. It’s Just awful. That really is all we can say about the OptiClean.
I don’t know what else you would expect from a rechargeable toothbrush that costs less than $20. The thing that made us laugh is that the replacement brush heads cost as much as the toothbrush itself. Work that one out.
The motor is weak to the point that it can barely drive the brush heads and the whole handle feels cheap and nasty.
Then there is the brush heads themselves. The bristles are nearly twice as long as that found on Oral-B electric toothbrushes. The long bristles bend and flex all over the place and are not only difficult to maneuver around smaller mouths but are fairly inefficient at removing plaque.
The only good thing we can say about the Opticlean is that it is cheap. Buy at your own risk.
The best electric toothbrush for…
While our top electric toothbrush recommendations will be more than suitable for most people, there are some special situations where you may need a more specific electric toothbrush.
We took our collection of electric toothbrushes and put them to the test in the following scenarios.
Kids bring two problems when it comes to brushing teeth. Their small mouths and annoyingly short attention span. If you have ever tried to get your child to brush his or her teeth for the full 2 minutes then you will know just how difficult it can be.
While you could just use a regular electric toothbrush with a small brush head, two products go a step further and help create an environment where kids want to brush their teeth.
The two models in particular are the Philips Sonicare For Kids and the Oral-B Pro-Health Jr.
We will be honest, when it comes to creating a kid friendly toothbrush, Oral-B was quite lazy about it. They have literally just taken the handle of their Vitality model, printed a star pattern on it and included their standard sensitive toothbrush in the box. To put it simply, it is an adult toothbrush trying to be passed off as one for kids.
The Sonicare For Kids on the other hand has very obviously been designed in mind. The handle can be customized with a variety of stickers and features hooked handle that is easy to grip by smaller hands. The Sonicare For Kids also has two specific brush heads with super soft bristles just for child sized mouths and rubber backs so that the rear of the brush head does not bump your child’s teeth.
To keep your kids interested you download an app on your smartphone or tablet and animations play while your child brushes. While the Oral-B app features Disney characters it is little more than a 2 minute timer. The Sonicare For Kids app connects to the brush handle through Bluetooth and is much more interactive with rewards and unlockables to encourage good brushing behavior.
If you are a mom or dad then you will no doubt be aware just how much kids love smartphones and tablets. The brushing apps were very effective at getting children excited about brushing their teeth.
So the best electric toothbrush for kids? The Philips Sonicare hands down. Oral-B didn’t even try and just coated an adults toothbrush in a coat of paint.
For further information, check out our detailed review of the Philips Sonicare For Kids.
Cleaning your teeth can be tricky enough without having to worry about braces. The Brackets and wire add an extra element to your mouth capable of trapping food and plaque.
We were fortunate enough to track down two teenagers who wear braces and got them to test which electric toothbrush cleaned their braces the best.
When it came to cleaning braces, small sized brush heads far outperformed the larger ones in terms of plaque removal. The small size made it easier to maneuver the bristles around the wire, pins and brackets to target problem areas where food gets stuck.
Despite our expectations, soft bristles worked better at sweeping around the braces than stiffer bristles. The firmer bristles just wouldn’t bend or flex enough to effectively sweep around the braces.
So if you have braces, which electric toothbrush works best?
All but the most expensive model of Oral-B electric toothbrushes require you to purchase a softer sensitive brush head separately. Oral-B used to sell an orthodontic brush head designed just for braces, it appears to be discontinued and has become increasingly difficult to track down.
While cheaper Philips-Sonicare models did come with softer bristles, the brush heads were far too large. Again, smaller sized compact brush heads had to be purchased separately.
When it came to choosing the electric toothbrush that offered an unbeatable clean there was only one clear winner. The Waterpik Sensonic Professoinal Plus.
Everything you need for effective brace brushing is included in the box. Not only does it include a compact soft bristled brush head but it also includes a interdental brush head.
Testers found the narrow bristles of the interdental brush were perfect for getting under the wire to remove any plaque that had built up in hard to reach areas, particularly around the brackets. While brushing with two different brush heads took a little longer than normal, testers found the results were substantial enough to make it worth their while.
The Waterpik Sensonic Professional was chosen by both our testers to be the most suitable for braces out of the box.
Note: Braces cause more wear to bristles than regular brush heads. You will find that you will need to replace the brush head of your electric toothbrush more frequently if you wear braces.
As your enamel starts to wear down it can lead to sensitive teeth. And the biggest culprit for enamel wear is you pressing down too hard. So lighten up!
Once enamel is gone the damage has been done. But you can prevent further damage by fixing your bad brushing habit.
Because an electric toothbrush does the scrubbing motion for you, that’s one less thing for you to worry about. This leaves you free to focus on just how much pressure you are using.
If you are able to curb your enthusiasm for rough brushing then any old electric toothbrush will do. But if you cannot contain this habit then you will want to choose one with soft bristles and a gentle brushing speed. While on their own these features will not stop you from pressing too hard, the gentler brushing will help prevent further damage while you learn the correct technique.
Out of the box the Philips Sonicare Gum Control is perfect for gentle brushing. If you prefer a rotary, we recommend the Oral-B Pro 3000 although you will have to buy the sensitive brush head separately.
Just note, that pressure sensors in electric toothbrushes should not be relied upon. You can still press down far too hard before the sensor activates.
While there are numerous causes for gum recession, aggressive brushing is a major contributor. Yep, just like sensitive teeth, you hard brushing has a lot too answer for. If your dentist has identified that you are pressing too hard then the first thing you are going to need to do is ease up on that pressure.
Do not be fooled into thinking pressure sensors on electric toothbrushes will train you to brush lighter. All our testers noted that you are able to apply far too much pressure before the sensor will activate.
When it comes to choosing an electric toothbrush, you are going to want to pick one that encourages a lighter touch. The best way to do this is to choose one with a gentle speed setting and soft bristles that can flex to take some of the excess pressure.
Out of the box only Philips Sonicare offers this solution, the cheapest option being the Series 3 Gum Health. The dedicated sensitive cleaning mode and brush head designed for effective yet gentle cleaning along the gum line, is as gentle as it gets.
If you are shopping around for a rotary, then the Oral-B Pro 3000 has a sensitive mode for delicate brushing but you will need to purchase the soft bristled brush head separately since the one included in the box may be a little too firm.
We stress this: when brushing along your gumline, be gentle and let the electric toothbrush do the work. A light touch will make more difference than any feature on an electric toothbrush ever could.
Electric Toothbrush 101
Below we will attempt to answer some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding electric toothbrushes.
Do you need an electric toothbrush?
If you are scrubbing away at your teeth the old fashioned way then you may find yourself asking the question:
Does an electric toothbrush brush clean your teeth better than a manual toothbrush?
The short and sweet answer: No.
According to American Dental Association the only thing necessary to achieve an effective clean is a basic toothbrush and the correct brushing technique.
So to put it short, YOU are the key component good toothbrush.
That being said, many consumers report that an electric toothbrush helps with maintaining the correct technique.
If you find yourself:
- Struggling to brush for the full recommended two minutes
- Brush your teeth unevenly
- Press too hard while brushing
- Cannot perform brushing movements due to injury/disability
- Find an abundance of plaque even after brushing
- Are just plain lazy
Then it makes perfect sense to update to an electric toothbrush.
But if you use a manual toothbrush, maintain good brushing habits and are satisfied with the cleanness of your teeth then there is no reason to swap over to an electric toothbrush.
Are electric toothbrushes cheaper in the long run?
No. Electric toothbrushes are more expensive than manual toothbrushes by a long shot.
There are three primary reasons for the increased cost:
1. Replacement brush heads – Just like a regular toothbrush you will still have to replace the brush head of your electric toothbrush once every three months to keep it hygienic and working effectively.
2. Planned obsolescence – Eventually your electric toothbrush will reach the end of it’s usable life. This is usually due to the battery either not holding as much charge as before or downright dying.
Unfortunately, manufacturers have designed electric toothbrushes so that they battery cannot be replaced (they actually solder the battery into the handle, the jerks). When your electric toothbrush finally fails you will need to purchase a brand new unit.
If you know your way around a circuit board and are handy with a soldering iron then it is possible to replace the battery of your electric toothbrush although the process will be much too complicated for the average consumer.
3. They use electricity – While it may only add pennies to your annual energy bill, it’s pennies that your manual toothbrush won’t need.
However, the benefits of using an electric toothbrush will far outweigh the cost (and potential pain) of visiting your dentist. If you find that an electric toothbrush is the very thing responsible for your perfectly clean teeth than it is more than worth the investment.
Is a more expensive electric toothbrush better than a cheaper one?
This is what really surprised us in our testing. The optimal electric toothbrush from any manufacture will cost you less than $100.
Once you reach a certain point, manufacturers add needless features to the electric toothbrush to encourage you to spend more than you need to. Some of these features include UV sterlizers and smartphone connectivity.
How important you find these features will entirely depend on your personal situation. But the good news is that you can experience the best clean that a manufacturer has to offer at an affordable price.
Sonic vs. Rotary (oscillating) electric toothbrush – Which is better?
There are two main types of electric toothbrushes, Rotary and Sonic. The two are identified by the brushing motions that the head of the toothbrush makes.
Rotary electric toothbrush
As the name suggests, the head rotates back and forth at tremendous speed. This movement is called an oscillation.
Rotary electric toothbrush heads are general small and circular, making them easy to navigate around all areas of your mouth. Because the back and forth brushing motion is closely resembles that of a manual toothbrush, there is virtually no learning curve to using a rotary electric toothbrush.
Some models of rotary (Oral-B in particular) also pulsate forwards and back which not only helps bristles work their way between your teeth for interdental cleaning but also has a non-contact cleaning effect, somewhat similar to a sonic toothbrush.
All current models of Oral-B electric toothbrushes are the rotary type.
Sonic Electric Toothbrush
Sonic toothbrush heads are very similar in looks to that of a manual toothbrush. But looks are where the similarity ends.
Sonic toothbrushes use rapid side to side vibrating movements. These movements are at an incredibly high frequency and produce a secondary effect, the rapid vibrations cause the liquid around the brush flush around the teeth (known as the fluid dynamics effect). This moving liquid may help remove bacteria without any contact from the bristles.
It is important to note that while the fluid dynamics effect exists, it does not even remotely compare to the clean caused by the bristles making contact with your teeth and gums.
Sonic toothbrushes have more traditional shaped brush heads. Because some people find these brush heads too large, smaller brush heads known as compacts can be purchased separately.
The rapid vibrations can cause a ticklish sensation in some first time users. Before long, with repeated brushing, your teeth and gums will adjust to these sensations but some perseverance may be required.
Sonic toothbrushes can cause an uncomfortable feeling if the back of the brush head comes into contact with your teeth. However, with proper technique this is easily avoidable.
All Current models of Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes are the Sonic type.
At the end of the day it comes down to preference. Some people prefer the feeling of rotaries while others prefer Sonic toothbrushes. Unfortunately this means you may have to test them both to find out which electric toothbrush works best for you. Both are capable of cleaning equally well.
Can an electric toothbrush replace floss?
No. An electric toothbrush will only replace a manual toothbrush. A daily flossing routine is still recommended in addition to brushing your teeth for good oral hygiene.
While numerous “flossing” brush heads exist claiming to offer superior interdental cleaning, they simply do not compare to good old fashioned string floss.
Any flossing is better than no flossing. If you simply cannot bring yourself to use string floss then check out these simpler flossing options.
Electric toothbrush discount coupons
If you are feeling frugal and do not need to buy an electric toothbrush immediately then you should hold off. Great savings could be had.
Both Philips Sonicare and Oral-B routinely discount their electric toothbrush range throughout the year. You can often find yourself saving up to $20 off some models.
While this still wont make the high end models cheap, it can help pay for a replacement pack of brush heads which is nice.
Fortunately, price played a part when selecting the best electric toothbrushes and we have attempted to find low-priced solutions that offer the same clean as the higher models.
How we chose which electric toothbrushes to test
The key criteria was that the electric toothbrush had to commercially available on American soil. This means that you could easily buy our recommendations at your local retailers (like Target or Walmart) or online through Amazon.
We decided to focus on electric toothbrushes that were powered by a rechargeable battery. The reason for this is that the rechargeable models are much more of an investment than the disposable battery powered toothbrushes; which often only cost marginally more than a manual toothbrush.
From here we eliminated the following:
Knockoffs – Did you know that you can find counterfeit electric toothbrushes online? We didn’t. While we may have had a great laugh at the likes of the Sonicair and Oral-C, they infringed on intellectual property, the quality looked dubious and and the companies selling them even more so. This was an immediate no go.
Rebranded products from China – Recently there has been a surge of rebranded products on online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Sellers simply import a generic product from China, print their name on it and sell it as their own. This process is called private labeling and the products are often inferior and sometimes even dangerous to use (as seen in the recent hoverboard fiasco).
Outdated models – An obvious area to avoid. Outdated models very rarely offer aftersales support and finding replacement parts can prove to be difficult.
International Models We are an American review website focused on the American consumer. International models of electric toothbrush have no local warranty or customer support and sometimes even lacked locally available replacement parts. These are areas which we believe are a vital part of any purchased product, as a result, international products were excluded from this review.
So now we knew what to avoid we needed to further refine our current line up. Being the major players we decided to purchase the entire range of Oral-B and Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes.
From here we also tested various other user favorites such as the Conair Interplak, Foreo and Pursonic.
We have tested and reviewed a greater range of electric toothbrushes than any other review website and we are confident in our recommendations.
while testers only brushed for two minutes twice a day with the electric toothbrushes, it added up to a lot of time. In fact, Close to 300 hours went into creating this guide.
But we feel the work was worth it. As you can see this is the most up to date electric toothbrush guide on the entire internet. But it’s not finished yet.
This guide is going to be constantly updated as new electric toothbrushes come out. Even as I finish typing these final words, a new electric toothbrush from Waterpik is being tested and will be added to the guide very shortly.
As for the best electric shaver, we feel confident that in terms of performance and price you will be hardpressed to find better. We certainly didn’t, Across all the different brands of electric toothbrushes the Oral-B 1000 and Philips Sonicare 2 Series Smart Control stood out.
Until next time, Stay awesome!
- ADA – The recommended brushing technique.
- battery replacement – Guides to replacing that “irreplaceable” battery
- Oral-B Spare Parts – Brauns official spare parts manufacturer
- The Sweethome – Another great electric toothbrush guide, we agree with their top picks.