When it comes to water flossers, Waterpik is without a doubt the best known brand in the industry. What isn’t so commonly known is that Waterpik also manufacture an impressive sonic electric toothbrush as well; the Sensonic Professional Plus (Model SR-3000).
With toothbrush heavyweights in the ring Like Philips Sonicare and Oral-B, can the Sensonic Professional Plus hold it’s own? Our detailed review will allow you to make the right decision on whether or not this is the electric toothbrush for you.
Unboxing the Waterpik Sensonic Professional
If you were to tear open the box of your new Waterpik Sensonic toothbrush, this is what you would find inside:
Let’s break it down:
- Sensonic Professional Plus handle
- Standard brush head (SRRB-3W)
- Compact brush head (SRSB-3W)
- Interdental Brush Head (2SIP-2W)
- Brush Head Caps
- Travel case
- Battery charging Stand
- Instruction Manual
That’s a pretty generous amount of included extras for a sonic electric toothbrush that costs under $100. Let’s explore the contents of the box further, starting with the Sensonic handle.
Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus Handle
The Sensonic Professional handle is quite sleek and it was pleasing to see that Waterpik had put some thought into the design. The majority of electric toothbrushes that are not from Oral-B or Philips Sonicare are often large chunky pieces of plastic.
A blue rubber grip runs down the length of each side of the handle. The grips are positioned and shaped in such a way that your fingers will rest on the grip regardless of how you hold the toothbrush. Even if you are left or right handed.
Now this might seem like a pretty basic feature but poorly positioned grips was a complaint we had when we reviewed the Philips Sonicare Essence. The added grip makes the Sensonic Professional easy to grip even if you have wet hands.
Towards the top of the handle you will see a silver colored button:
Pressing this oval shaped button performs two different functions
1. On/Off – Pretty self explanatory
2. Cycle brushing modes – Toggles the brushing speed from sensitive to a standard full powered clean.
Now because you only have a single button to perform these two functions , you have to press the button multiple times. This is similar to how the Oral-B pro 3000 works (Review here).
So a complete tooth brushing routine would require three button presses, cycling through the following:
1. Sensitive mode (on) -> 2. Standard mode -> 3. Off.
While it may seem confusing on paper, it works really well and was a much better choice than adding a second button to the handle.
Towards the bottom, of the Sensonic handle, just above the Waterpik branding, you will find a small indicator panel:
The indicator panel tells you at a glance just how full the battery in your Sensonic is. When fully charged, three LED indicators (each representing approximately a third of the battery charge) will light up.
As your battery drains the indicators go out until only the bottom one blinks rapidly at you; alerting you that you that it is time to place the toothbrush handle on charge.
If you look under the base of the Sensonic handle, this is what you will see:
A model number (SR-3000), serial number as well as the battery inside the casing (NiMH).
If you flip the handle over you will notice a very plain looking rear:
The only thing of note on the rear of the Sensonic is the small horizontal piece of rubber that sits towards the bottom of the handle. This small piece of rubber stops the Sensonic from rolling away when you place it down on your bathroom counter (the handle is perfectly round without it).
At the very top of the Sensonic you can see a small metal shaft sticking out the top of the handle:
The shaft holds the brush heads in place. Each brush head simply slides onto the shaft and snaps into place. A gentle tug is all that is required to remove the brush head. Now let’s take a closer look at those brush heads:
Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus Brush Heads
If there is one thing I can get behind, it’s generosity. And Waterpik have definitely been generous with the brush heads included in the pack. Most electric toothbrushes in this price range only include a single brush head in the box. Waterpik have gives you three!
Now admittedly Waterpik only makes three different types of brush heads, much fewer than the Sonicare or Oral-b range. But in contrast, the only Oral-B toothbrush to give you more than a single brush head in the box is their top of the line (White (or Black) 7000. The Sensonic Professional Plus really is value for money.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the three brush heads.
1. Standard Brush Head
The standard brush head the majority of people will be most comfortable with. The bristle area is near identical in size to that of a manual toothbrush, if the Sensonic is your first electric toothbrush then you will find the familiar size reassuring.
If you look closely at the right hand side photo you will notice that the bristles are varied in height. The longer bristles help remove plaque from between the teeth and along the gum line while the shorter bristles get to work removing surface build up from your teeth. All bristles are end rounded, giving them a softer feel.
2. Compact Brush Head
The compact brush head is roughly a half the size of the Standard Sensonic brush head. The smaller size makes it perfect for children or even adults with smaller mouths. If you find yourself struggling to brush around your back teeth (molars) with the standard brush head then the compact brush may be just what you need for a more precise clean.
The bristles sit in a near identical lay out to the standard brush head, offering a similar clean on a small scale. Again, all bristles are end-rounded, giving them a softer feel.
3. Interdental Brush Head
Waterpik’s Sensonic gets up on the Sonicare by offering the only sonic interdental brush heads on the American market.
While the interdental brush head won’t be suitable for everyone, those of you find plaque and bacteria collecting in periodontal pockets or dental work (bridges, crowns and implants) will wonder how you brushed without it this narrow brush head.
The bristles narrow down to a point allowing you to brush even the smallest of gaps in your teeth. Just note; the interdental brush head is not designed to replace flossing.
By including all three brush heads in the box, Waterpik allows you to test which brush heads you prefer without having to pay extra.
Just like a regular toothbrush it is recommended that you replace the Sensonic brush head once every three months. Standard and compact refills come in a pack of three while Interdental brush heads come in a pack of two.
The brush heads are priced similarly to that of the Oral-B range and cheaper than the Sonicare brush heads.
You may have noticed that the bases of the Sensonic brush heads have colored rings:
The great thing about the electric toothbrushes is that your whole family can share the toothbrush handle, simply swapping out the brush head when they come to use it.
The identification rings allow you to tell each others brush head apart. You may share a lot of things with your family but I doubt that your toothbrush is one of them. Each family member gets a color and you don’t have to worry about brushing your teeth with someone else’s brush.
Since the refill brush heads are sold in packs of three there are only three colored rings; red, green and blue. Fortunately the rings are removable so if you are sharing your Sensonic with a family of four, you simply remove one of the rings so that someone brushes with a plain white brush head.
Another handy accessory included in the box are the brush covers:
If you have ever brushed your teeth only to discover it tastes like hairspray or deodorant then you of all people will appreciate the brush head covers.
Two are included in the box and slide neatly over both the compact and standard brush heads. Unfortunately, they do not fit over the interdental brush heads.
Sensonic Travel Case
If you like to travel then you will love that Waterpik has included a travel case in the box of the Sensonic:
Straight out of the box the case has a tiny plastic odor but nothing as overwhelming as the Oral-B Pro 5000 that also includes a plastic case.
The case has four air vents, two in the top and two in the bottom. Even if your brush heads are slightly damp when they are placed inside, the airvents will prevent mold and mildew from growing on the interior.
While it isn’t dishwasher safe, the plastic surface was easy to wipe down with some hot water and a cloth.
The Case has slots for the Sensonic Professional and two brush heads:
The two brush heads clip into place. If you share your Sensonic with more than one other person then you will be pleased to know that I could squeeze an extra two brush heads inside, although these sit loose and rattle around.
Charging the Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus
The charging stand for the Sensonic is a fairly standard size as far as electric toothbrush chargers go.
It almost looks like a white plastic donut.
If you are wondering what that small knob is towards the rear; that is the brush head stand. It allows you to keep a spare brush head standing upright when not in use. Beat’s it rolling around in the bathroom drawer!
If you flip the charger over you will see 3 white rubber feet to stop the base from sliding all over your slippery bathroom countertop. As well as some good news if you travel…
The charger works on any voltage from 100-240v. That’s basically every country in the world. From America to Australia and everywhere in between, whether you travel for work or are just enjoying a good holiday you can keep your teeth polished clean. The only thing you will need is one of those travel adapters (you can pick them up for cheap on eBay).
The Sensonic Professional sits in the hole of the donut and chargers wirelessly.
Yep, you read that right. No messing around with plugs and sockets, simply place the Sensonic on the stand and it will immediately begin to charge.
You can tell that the battery is charging because the indicators on the display panel will light up green. I was pleased to note that unlike some of the Oral-B brushes that are bright enough to wake you up at night, the Sensonic’s indicators are a dull green and don’t shine too bright, even at night.
A full charge takes 24 hours and Waterpik recommends you charge the toothbrush for a full 24 hours before you first use it. The instruction manual says you can get 7 days of use from a single charge, brusing morning and night for two minutes. I found myself consistently getting 8 days of use. From the Sensonic before the battery would die completely.
If the battery does die on you, you will have to charge the brush for an hour before you can get a good two minutes brushing from it.
If you travel then please be careful with the charger, if you lose it you will have to buy a whole new Sensonic toothbrush. When we reached out to Waterpik we were told that this is not a spare part that they keep in stock.
With our Sensonic Professional fully charged it’s time to test it out.
Testing the Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus
The first thing you will notice when you pick up the Sensonic is just how long the handle is. If you are coming across from an Oral-B electric toothbrush then the long size will feel strange in the hand.
Likewise if you have small baby sized hands then you may find the handle awkwardly long.
After a few brushing sessions I was hardly aware of the size at all, except for the fact that with a brush head it is too tall to stand upright on the shelf in my medicine cabinet.
Pressing the power button once puts the vibrations onto low speed. At this speed the Sensonic is little more than a gentle hum. Pressing the power button a second time will see the standard speed kick in and the sound will be a much louder higher pitched hum.
The humming sound is near identical to that of the Philips Sonicare Essence that we also reviewed. The sound is loud enough to wake those sleeping a single room over but then the same can be said of most electric toothbrushes (with the exception of the Foreo ISSA).
Brushing with a sonic toothbrush can prove to be a very ticklish experience if you have not used one before.
The Philips Sonicare range has a lovely feature known as “Easy Start”. What this does is slowly increase the vibrations with each brushing session until you are used to the feeling of a sonic toothbrush against your teeth.
Waterpik’s Sensonic does not have this feature if this is your first sonic toothbrush then the standard setting may be too ticklish and uncomfortable at first. If this is the case then I highly recommend using the gentler setting until your mouth adjusts before jumping up to the higher setting.
Those of you that have sensitive teeth and gums will also prefer the much gentler vibrations of the slow speed setting, especially since the standard mode is stronger than the Philips Sonicare range.
Waterpik claims that the standard mode is 25% faster than a Sonicare. This should place it in the 38,750 brush strokes range.
Brushing technique is simple, essentially you position the brush head at 45 degrees to your gumline and with light pressure, move the brush back and forth across a single tooth (or two) at a time.
The Sensonic also features what Waterpik calls a “Quad Timer”. Every 30 seconds the handle of the Sensonic will briefly pause to alert you that 30 seconds has passed.
Essentially you split your mouth up into quadrants (quarters), spending 30 seconds brushing each. I’ll use my brushing routine as an example:
- Brush left half of top teeth for 30 seconds
- Brush right half of top teeth for 30 seconds
- Brush left half of bottom teeth for 30 seconds
- Brush right half of bottom teeth for 30 seconds
Like the Sonicare range, the Sensonic turns off by itself after two minutes are up. For most of you this won’t be a problem, you will be happy your teethbrushing session is over.
But some of you reading this may prefer to brush your teeth for longer, say 3 minutes. If this is you then you will have to manually turn the Sensonic back on after 2 minutes has passed. This may quickly begin the less tolerant of you.
And just like that you have brushed your teeth for the recommended two minutes. If you have poor brushing discipline and find yourself not brushing long enough then the Quad Timer may be just the thing to fix your bad habit.
In the early days of brushing you might accidentally touch the rear of the brush head to your teeth. This can be quite an unpleasant feeling for some people and can be experienced with all brands of sonic toothbrushes.
However, once you are well practiced with the Sensonic it is unlikely you will make this mistake.
But how does it clean?
Both the standard and compact brush heads clean exceptionally well. Running my tongue across my teeth after each brushing session gave me that lovely smooth teeth feeling.
Looking closely at my gum line I was satisfied with how well the bristles cleaned where gum meets tooth, even the edges between the teeth had all the plaque removed. While the brush heads will never replace daily flossing, I was pretty impressed at the clean they offered.
When you are done brushing your teeth you will need to remove the brush head and clean both it and the handle to remove any toothpaste that fell from your mouth.
Cleaning is easy and a quick rinse under running water will remove all but the most stubborn of toothpaste build up. For stubborn build up you can simply use warm water and one of the included brush heads to scrub it away.
Waterpik might have only a single rechargeable toothbrush on the market but gosh darnit if they didn’t hit it out of the ball park with this attempt.
Priced under $100 and with 3 included brush heads and a travel case too boot, the Sensonic Professional Plus represents incredible value for money. Waterpik proves that you do not need to blow your budget to achieve a very effective teeth clean.