A budget option, but there are better alternatives
The Oral-B Vitality serves a purpose, it does what it needs to do. It is functional, fairly robust and practical.
In truth, it is hard to argue with what you get for the money. But, spend a little bit more and you get an all round better product.
Simple to use – 1 cleaning mode
No 30 second pacer
No pressure sensor
Small round brush head cleans hard to reach areas
No battery notification LED
Not as powerful cleaning action as other models
It's probably worth spending more
If I was buying a new toothbrush today, my top pick would be the 'Best Overall' choice listed in our best electric toothbrush article, the Pro 2 2000.
It offers a superb clean, the essential dentist recommended features and a battery life better than the Vitality, in a slimmer form factor.
The Pro 2 does cost more though, so the Oral-B Pro 100 is worth considering if you are on a budget, but want to get a bit more value from your spend.
How the Vitality looks, feels and works
There are 2 key parts to the Vitality from Oral-B.
There is the brush handle, that contains the rechargeable battery and motor. And there is then, of course, the detachable brush head.
The handle and head work together to offer a pretty good clean.
The Vitality range appears more confusing than it actually is. There are 6 different variants. Importantly though, there is just 1 difference between all of these. The difference is the brush head supplied.
If you want to know more information about each brush head style, then do have a read over our Oral-B brush heads guide. The key thing to note is whilst they are all designed to do slightly different things, they all give a good overall clean.
It is nice to see you get 2 included in the box. Quite a bonus at this price.
Whilst you may pick the CrossAction for example, you are not tied to this style for life, you can change.
All the heads can be purchased separately and are interchangeable with the Vitality handle.
Small round heads they all are. The shape makes it very easy to move around the surfaces of the teeth and in particular move around the teeth at the back of the mouth, which are traditionally harder to get to and clean around properly.
All of the brush heads have fading indicator bristles. These are blue bristles on the brush head that dull to a translucent white colour over a 3 month period.
Be sure to replace them approximately every 3 months, sooner if they are showing obvious signs of damage or wear.
The Vitality brush handle itself has a tapered design.
It is thinnest at the bottom and gets wider/thicker to the top of the handle, where the brush head attaches.
The shape moves from a round/cylindrical shape to almost oval by the time you reach the neck of the brush.
It will stand upright on a worktop if you want it to.
On the base of the brush is a recess into which the prong on the charging stand fits. More on the charging stand in the ‘battery life’ section of the review.
The front of the handle is mainly a smooth touch plastic but is accented by the large blue rubber grip around the power button, the one and only button on the handle.
On the rear of the brush handle, but wrapping around partially onto the front, is a large grip.
The rubber is a turquoise colour and has a series of ridges on it, which the fingers catch on to allow a firm grasp of the brush.
The sizing works well and the extensive grip should mean that for the most part its held securely, even when wet.
Towards the bottom of the brush handle, on the front, is a small Oral-B/Braun logo whilst regulatory icons adorn the same area on the rear of the brush.
Normally, there would be a battery status icon/LED on the front of the handle. So you have no indication of how much power remains in the built-in rechargeable battery.
A small rubber protrusion on the neck of the brush handle at the rear helps the brush stay in one place if laid flat on a worktop.
At the top of the brush handle is a metal shaft that is attached to the motor sealed inside the handle.
The motor inside this handle is satisfactory.
It provides significantly more movements to the brush head than a manual toothbrush to help you achieve a greater standard of clean.
However, do be aware that the motor is a little less powerful than the more premium models you can buy from Oral-B. This will be very obvious to existing electric toothbrush users, and I think even new users of the Vitality might feel it is a bit weak.
Don't get me wrong, more power doesn't necessarily equal better cleaning results. But, it can help. Technique, routine and total brushing time all has a part to play too.
Another factor affecting the clean is the cleaning motion. The Vitality offers a 2D cleaning action (oscillations and rotations), not the 3D cleaning action (oscillations, rotations and pulsations) of more premium models.
You will find the 3D action on the Pro 500 model and above.
For comparison, the Vitality offers 7,600 oscillations compared to the 8,800 oscillations and 20,000 pulsations of the Pro 500.
The Vitality is powered on by a single press on the power button on the front of the handle.
This same button has to be used to turn the brush off. It will not turn itself off at the end of a cleaning cycle.
There is just 1 cleaning mode on the Vitality. There are no differing modes or speeds as is the case on some brush handles.
Compared to a manual brush, these bristles are going to pass over the tooth surfaces a lot more and increase the chances of sweeping away plaque build-up and debris.
It is important to make sure you are using the toothbrush correctly, to gain maximum advantage from the additional brush head movements.
Dentists recommend brushing the teeth twice a day and doing so for 2 minutes each time.
Unfortunately, too many fail to brush for this amount of time, so there is a useful feature built-into the Vitality, a 2 minute timer.
At the time of pressing the power button, you activate the 2 minute timer.
This runs silently in the background until you achieve 2 minutes (120 seconds) of brushing time. At which point, the brush motor will pause briefly 3 times and as such case a change in the brushing sensation and sound.
This is your alert that the 2 minutes has been achieved.
However, what the Vitality from Oral-B lacks that you get on virtually all other Oral-B brushes is the 30 second pacer.
A what? The quadpacer/30 second timer.
At 30 second intervals, the brush motor will pause briefly causing a change in the sound and motion. It is this that signals you to change from 1 quadrant to another.
It is just like the 2 minute timer, expect it kicks in at 30 seconds intervals.
The principle is you brush the 4 sections of your mouth (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left) for 30 seconds each so you essentially give and equal clean to all teeth, rather than focusing just on the front ones for example.
It is a bit of an oversight in my opinion that the Vitality does not have this.
Those brushes that have this essentially allow users to level up their brushing routine and standard. The Pro 500 that I suggest does have this.
The brush handle itself is water resistant and is designed to survive everyday use, exposure to water, toothpaste, and saliva.
The handle should not be immersed in water though, so whilst a rinse under the tap is fine, a trip in the bath is not.
The brush comes with a 2 year warranty and will likely continue working longer than this, but you have that peace of mind.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
Oral-B claims you get 5 day between charges.
This is a total of 20 minutes running time, based on a child brushing twice a day for 2 minutes.
In my hands-on testing I achieved double this.
Why, I am not sure.
I managed a total of 44 minutes of usage time from the brush, which is equivalent to 22 cleaning sessions or 11 days of usage time. Perhaps not all brushes are created equal?!
What I suspect this means is that the minimum usage time will be 20 minutes and there is a very good chance you will get longer from it.
However, I can’t be assured you will get the same experience and although more expensive, the likes of Sonicare’s brushes offer a minimum of 14 days, that is a reasonable improvement.
Whilst most of us are going to be close to a charging stand most days, I often think 2 weeks is the minimum battery life we should expect froma toothbrush.
I always think of the scenario of a holiday. If you were to be travelling for 2 weeks, ideally you would want to travel without having to take the charging stand with you. However, you couldn't with the Vitality.
But, for the price perhaps I am asking too much.
What makes things more difficult is that you get no feedback from the battery in terms of remaining power, as there is no status light on the handle.
Where my testing exceeded the quoted life, I just didn't know when the battery would go flat, because there was no way of knowing like there is with most other models.
The Pro 500 and above in the Oral-B range all have these indicators.
When the battery is low, you will feel the speed of the brush head decrease and the sound of the brush will get weaker.
As a fairly regular habit you are going to want to sit this on the provided charging stand.
The charging stand supplied is white in colour and has an Australian power adapter.
The stand supports 220-240v.
If you travel you are potentially going to need a plug and voltage adapter to use internationally, depending on where you are travelling to.
When it is connected, the toothbrush sits upright on the charging stand, with the prong on the stand fitting into the recess on the bottom of the brush.
If the brush is completely flat, it will take up to 16 hours to charge it fully.
If you already own an Oral-B electric toothbrush, this is the same charging stand that is supplied with other models. So you need not have different charging stands in the bathroom if you and other members of the family are using other Oral-B brushes.
Summary of battery life
Price & where to buy
The recommended retail price of the Vitality is $50.
However, the good news is that you do not need to pay this much. In fact, I really do not encourage you to pay anything more than about $30.
This is because the majority of Oral-B brushes sell for up to 50% less than their retail price. So with that logic the Vitality can be purchased for around $25.
This does too mean that more premium models in the range are lower than their retail price, normally. This is in part why the Pro 2 2000 is recommended. It is twice the price, but I feel you are getting a much better product.
I have to be honest, for $25, to get the brush handle, 2 brush heads and a charger is great value, even if this isn't the 'best' toothbrush you could own. It packs a punch for the price.
Brush heads need to be replaced every 3 months on average and they will normally cost about $7 each on average.
Here at Electric Teeth, we like to work out a rough average cost to purchase and own electric toothbrushes.
With a typical working life of 5+years, we work out the cost over a 3 year period for consistency.
Priced at full retail price the Vitality would work out at $120 or $0.11 per day.
At the discounted price of $25, it costs $95 or $0.09 per day.
This excludes the cost of toothpaste, water, and electricity, but you get the idea.
All told I think this is a very fair price for what you get.
The premium Pro 500 will set you back $0.12 per day.
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
My thoughts on reliability and repairability
As one of the leading brands within the electric toothbrush market, you can expect the Oral-B Vitality to be well built.
Here at Electric Teeth, although we do not have any special testing equipment or tools to really test the brush to its limits,
We have our experience and knowledge of other brushes to make comparison and comment on.
The overall build quality and construction of the brush is very good and this is thanks in part to Oral-B’s tried and tested approach and refinements over the years.
The weakest point is the battery. After repeated charges and discharges it can fail and should it, they are not easy to replace. But, by the time this happens, you will likely have gotten your value from the brush.
Backed by a 2 year warranty, should something go wrong, it can be returned for repair. Although in truth, the cost is so low it might not be economically viable.
To prolong the life of any brush giving it a rinse and a wipe down to remove grime that builds up is a must.
With regards to the Oral-B Vitaliy 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
The Vitality is a satisfactory product, it does the job it needs to for the price.
It can clean the teeth better than a manual brush, if used correctly.
However, given that you are going to be holding onto an electric brush for a good few years, I think a little extra spent upfront will serve you better over time.
The Pro 2000 might for example be 3 times the price, but you get a better battery life and battery status icon.
You too get a more powerful cleaning action as well as a built-in pacer to encourage you to clean the teeth evenly. And, with savvy shopping, you should get a travel case included in the box too.
Country of manufacture