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Published: 28 May 2023

Oral-B Pro 500 review

Author: Jon Love (Leave a comment)
Oral-B Pro 500 review 1

The video shows the UK version of the Pro 500, known as the Pro 600. The provided brush head and charging stand are different, as is the price. However, the general message is the same.

It has what you need to get the job done

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If you are after a basic, superb value toothbrush, then this is it.

There is no arguing that this is a good electric toothbrush for the majority and you are not wasting money if you buy one.

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1 cleaning mode

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Only a 7 day battery life

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Slim handle

Also worth considering

The Pro 700 is identical to the 500, it just has a black coloured grip rather than the pale blue.

As good as the Pro 500 is, there is a brush that outperforms in our opinion, topping the chart for best electric toothbrush for Australia.

That brush is the Pro 2 2000 from Oral-B.

It is very similar to the Pro 500, only it has a more powerful motor, twice the battery life, an extra cleaning mode and if you pick up the black gripped version it comes with a travel case too.

How the Pro 500 looks, feels and works

What always impresses me about the Pro series from Oral B is that the design and size of the brush handles are such that most people from a child right through to pensioner with limited movement in the hand can normally comfortably hold, grip and use the brush.

Weighing in at 130g and no more than 3cm thick the handle fits comfortably in the palm of the hand and a mixture of rubber and plastic grips make for easy retention of the brush even when wet.

The Pro 500 has a length of light blue coloured rubber that runs down the front of the brush. It makes it look a little less clinical, in comparison to an all white brush handle which is quite common within the Oral-B range.

At the time of writing, there are 4 main variants of the Pro 500.

  • Pro 500 CrossAction - Light blue
  • Pro 500 CrossAction - Pink
  • Pro 500 3D White - Light Blue
  • Pro 500 (CrossAction) Value pack - Light blue + travel case

From a performance and functionality point of view, they are all the same.

Light blue and pink refers to the colour of the rubber grip that is present on the front of the brush handle.

CrossAction and 3D White are the names of the brush head included.

Each comes with 1 head. 3D White is designed to help polish the tooth surfaces, whereas the CrossAction is more focused on achieving a good overall clean.

The 'value pack' includes a travel case in the box.

While subject to change, the Pro 500 CrossAction and Pro 500 value pack tend to be the most widely stocked and more cost effective.

If possible, opt for the value pack, assuming there is no real price premium to be paid.

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The rear is constructed from a rigid, gloss white plastic with grips running down from the top to the bottom. Whilst functional, using rubber here would be nice as it would feel even better and look more premium.

The raised power button is what starts and stops the one cleaning mode on this brush. A tactile button that sits prominently in the upper third of the brush handle it is not only very visible thanks to white accents, above and below are a series of contoured grips in the rubber to ensure it remains in the hand.

Once the power button has been activated the one and only cleaning mode, known as Daily Clean mode will begin.

A standard brushing cycle is for 2 minutes which is the recommendation from dental professionals.

You should perform a 2 minute clean at least twice a day (remember to clean interdentally at least once too).

During the 2 minute cleaning cycle the brush will provide alerts when it is time to change quadrant. By pausing the brush head movement briefly at the 30 second intervals, you get a change in brushing sensation and sound.

There are 4 quadrants to the mouth. You spend 30 seconds on each quadrant and at the end of the 120 seconds or 2 minutes another audible tone is heard to signify the end of the cycle.

The Oral-B Pro 500 toothbrush continues to operate at the end of the cycle unless you turn it off.

Brushing for the full 2 minutes is very important, but just as important if not more so is the right technique. Make sure you learn how to clean your teeth properly.

A common mistake particularly when using a manual brush is applying too much pressure.

The bristles of the brush should virtually skim the surfaces of the teeth. Some brushes have a pressure sensor built-in. The Pro 500 does, but it is not a visible sensor like the more premium models.

When applying too much pressure the speed of the brush head is automatically adjusted to ensure that minimal damage is done.

You should be able to hear the brush motor sound change if you are applying too much pressure. It will sound like it is staining.

When relieved, the motor will increase the brushing speed again.

This is where the likes of the Pro 2 2000 come into their own. They have a pressure sensor, that will not only slow the motor, but alert you to via a red warning light on the back of the brush handle.

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Another area in which the Pro 2 2000 is potentially a bit better is with the cleaning action.

Both offer a 3D motion from the small round brush head. However, the brush motor in the 2000 is a bit more powerful.

Now in truth, the differences are not massive and it is not a case that the Pro 2 will clean the teeth radically better. However, if you were ever to use the two side by side you would likely notice the difference.

Those extra few movements can potentially give that extra boost to the cleaning performance. It does come at a cost, but given that you are generally investing in the brush to last a good few years, the premium could well be worth it.

It can be very confusing when buying a toothbrush, as the names and marketing messages are all similar but different. Don't panic. There is little meaningful difference between them.

As I have already demonstrated there are different versions of the Pro 500.

The important thing to note is that whilst they come with different brush heads, they perform virtually identically to one another and should give a good overall clean.

It is the CrossAction brush head that is more common and is the go to brush head for overall good cleaning on a daily basis.

There is nothing wrong with the 3D White brush head that comes supplied with some variants. It is just designed to focus a little more on buffing the teeth to a nice shine, so they look at white as possible.

Don't worry too much about the differences, just use one and stick to it. Brushing with something is better than nothing.

That said, there are up to 6 different brush head styles you can choose form. All of which are interchangeable, pulling off and pushing onto the handle.

It never hurts to seek advice from your dentist on which is best for you. In most instances, they will recommend the CrossAction or the Sensitive brush head. More details on all of these are available in our comprehensive brush head guide.

Remember to change your brush head at least once every 3 months. Set a reminder on your phone, in your diary or just check your brush head regularly.

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You will notice that the bristles will actually change colour and fade as they get older and are used more. If you have not changed your brush head for a while and the bristles look a bit faded, it is probably about time.

By their very nature, a toothbrush will get wet. The Pro 500 is water resistant.

Whilst leaving it at the bottom of a bath might not be the best idea, you can use the brush in the shower if you like without issue and running tap water over it is just fine to keep it clean.

All of the electronics, including the rechargeable battery is sealed inside.

Unless you pick up the variant that has the travel case included, you get no extras in the box.

Yes, it would be nice to have another brush head or 2 included, but sadly that is not the case.

The travel case, if you do get it is of plastic construction and is nothing too fancy. However, it does serve the purpose in protecting the brush handle should you be taking it away for a few days.

It will hold the handle and up to 2 brush heads, limiting the chance of physical damage or the heads coming into contact with dirt etc.

Whilst I have no reason to believe the Pro 500 is unreliable, as standard, a 24 month warranty is provided with the Pro 500, giving you a bit of peace of mind, should anything go wrong.

Summary of design, usability, clean & general use

Slim and comfortable brush to hold and use, even if limited hand movement
1 cleaning mode - daily clean
1 brush head included
Alternative brush heads available
Built-in quad pacer and 2 minute timer tells you when to change quadrant and finish brushing
Pro 2 2000 has a move powerful motor
Travel case available with select variants
Water resistant and can be used in the shower
2 year warranty as standard

Battery life

What you expect in terms of battery life from a toothbrush may different from what someone else expects. Generally speaking, most rechargeable toothbrushes offer at least a couple of weeks, if not a bit more.

This 2 week plus time frame is based on one user, making use of the brush twice a day for a total of four minutes.

The Pro 500 falls a bit below par, with just 1 week or 7 days of use from the built-in rechargeable battery.

That is equivalent to 14 cleans or 28 minutes of usage time.

If you clean your teeth more than twice a day or for longer than 2 minutes, expect the number of days usage time to be less.

For many, this will be perfectly sufficient. However, you couldn't go away for a couple of weeks without taking the charger.

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All other models in the Pro Series, as well as the Smart and Genius Series from Oral-B offer 2+ weeks.

Philips Sonicare generally offer 3+ weeks, with many achieving 5.

Part of the battery life problem is potentially down to the battery used.

Sealed inside the 500 is a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery, rather than the more desirable Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion).

When power is low the battery status icon will flash red and you will likely feel the decrease in brush power.

It can feel like you don't get much warning. You can usually eek out about 2 cleaning sessions from when the battery says it is low.

A small convenience and power saving feature found on Sonicare brushes, not available on Oral-B is the automatic power off. At the end of the 2 minute cleaning cycle, it turns off without any intervention from you. This not only makes it clear that the brushing time is up, but reduces battery use.

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In the box when you buy the brush is a fairly basic but functional charging station. The small prong on the top marries up with a recess in the bottom of the brush handle and will charge the brush fully in about 8-12 hours. I tend to leave it on charge overnight. When charging the battery charging icon flashes green.

The charger does work on 220-240v and the power cable is hardwired into the stand.

Should you travel with it, subject to your destination you may require a voltage and plug adapter.

Summary of battery life

28 minutes of usage time or 7 days usage based on 2 cleans a day
Can be left on the charger
Takes about 8-12 hours to charge fully
A charger included in the box
The status icon flashes green when charging and red when the battery is low
Works on 220-240v

Price & where to buy

The Pro 500 has a recommended retail price of $99.99.

DO NOT pay this. The brush is not worth it.

In fact, I don't recommend paying anything over $60. That is the maximum I would suggest you pay for it.

If any retailer is asking more than $60, either shop around for a better deal or opt for a different model.

You can get premium models like the Pro 2 2000 and Smart 4 for under $100, so the Pro 500 would be overpriced if sold at this price.

Arguably it could be sold for $100, but the reality of the situation is that Oral-B brushes sell for the majority of time at up to 50% off.

Therefore the retail price is a bit artificial.

An acceptable price for the 500 is around $50-55.

For this price, you will get the box contents listed above.

It should too be possible to get that value pack variant with the travel case included too for the same price. This is the one to go for if you can. That case has at least a $10 value in my opinion.

Here at Elective Teeth we like to try and give a bit of a benchmark on the cost of ownership and for comparison to other models.

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The Pro 500 comes with just 1 brush head in the box.

Over 3 years you will need to purchase a further 11 heads, which on average cost around $7 each.

Add this onto the purchase price and you get the cost.

At a fair $50 for the Professional Care 500, plus the $77 for replacement brush heads, you are looking at a total cost of $127 or $0.12 per day.

If it was sold for full retail price this would change to $176 or $0.16 per day.

The Pro 2 2000 I have mentioned several times comes in at just $0.14 per day. You can see, how it is not really much more expensive given the extra benefits.

With any model, these prices only act as a rough guideline. The price does exclude the cost of water, toothpaste and electric to charge it, but you get a rough idea.

Of course, the vast majority will last a lot longer than 5 years, reducing the ownership cost as time goes on.

Please note that all prices quoted are approximates and should be used only as a guide during your decision process.

Summary of price & where to buy

Recommended retail price of $99
Generally available from $50
Replacement brush heads cost approx $7 each
Works out at around $0.12 per day over 3 years
Share brush handle with another user to extend the value

My thoughts on reliability and repairability

Having been using Oral-B brushes for many years personally along with having put many through extensive tests we can be pretty confident that your brush will still be functional 4 or 5 years down the line.

With a regular rinse and wipe down the brush will stand the test of time.

Plastics and rubber may start to discolour but you should not really expect failure.

The weakest point is the battery. After this time this is most likely to fail due to the constant charge and discharge and internal parts could wear out but anything beyond three years and you are doing well.

Remember, you do have the warranty, should go wrong sooner than expected.

Sustainability

Dr. Gemma Wheeler has looked in detail at the environmental impact of electric toothbrushes. Our guide to eco-friendly dental health offers advice on steps you can take to reduce your own impact.

With regards to the Pro 500 specifically; it has limited box contents which reduces its weight during transportation compared to others that come with more items in the box.

It is not a smart brush, which reduces the total number of components used and means not as much waste is created when the brush no longer works.

It has not been designed to be easily repaired by yourself. Trying to replace parts like the battery will likely break the brush. This makes it more likely to be discarded rather than repaired if broken.

While Oral-B has partnered with schemes such as TerraCycle in some countries, it does not yet have its own recycling scheme for used brush heads or faulty products.

Its brush heads are made from petroleum-based plastic, which uses up the planet’s finite resources compared to using plant-based plastics.

Summary of reliability, long term use & sustainability

Oral-B has extensive expereince in the dental care market
Established warranty & support networks
Comes with a 2 year warranty
Toothbrush feels well built and sturdy in hand
A minimal box contents reduces the overall weight of the package
Not designed to be easily repaired
No own schemes to recycle brush heads or faulty products
Plastics of the handle & head made from petroleum-based plastic

Conclusion

It is cheap, cheerful and functional.

It may sound like there are sacrifices but the build quality is as good as any brush three times the price. The cleaning performance isn't too far behind either.

There is no arguing that this is a good electric toothbrush for the majority and you are not wasting money if you buy one.

However, as good as it is, the Oral-B Pro 2 2000 is, in my opinion, a better buy.

With the 2000 you get twice the battery life, a more powerful brush motor, an extra cleaning mode and pressure sensor, for less than twice the price.

Size guide

  • Toothbrush height with head - 23.5cm / 9.3 inches
  • Toothbrush height without head - 19.5cm / 7.7 inches
  • Width - 2.5cm / 1 inches
  • Depth/thickness - 3cm / 1.2 inches
  • Weight with head - 130g / 4.6oz
  • Weight without head - 124g / 4.4oz

Noise

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Country of manufacture

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Author: Jon Love

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