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Sonicare ProtectiveClean vs DiamondClean

Sonicare Toothbrush Head Under Water Flow

Editor’s Note

We have had requests for comparison between the Sonicare DiamondClean and ProtectiveClean range of toothbrushes. Readers want to know which is the better one to buy.

The difficulty in answering this question is that ‘DiamondClean’ and ‘ProtectiveClean’ are the names of a series of brushes. Under each series, there are at least 3 different models.

As a result, that would be 9 separate comparisons!

So, below I have linked to our review of each brush and given a quick one line summary to try and steer you in the right direction of what might be the right brush for you.

The ProtectiveClean 4300 is perfectly adequate for most people.  The 5100 offers a couple of justifiable extras.  

I am not saying you shouldn’t consider the DiamondClean series, they are still brilliant. But they are a lot more expensive. The 9000 and Smart are Bluetooth enabled toothbrushes which not everyone needs or wants.

  • ProtectiveClean 4300 – Excellent brush – Best for the vast majority
  • ProtectiveClean 4500 – Ok, but little gain over the 4300.
  • ProtectiveClean 5100 – Great toothbrush offering a bit more than the essentials.
  • DiamondClean – Still a reasonable product, but an older model, being phased out.  Better brushes exist.
  • DiamondClean 9000 – A great smart toothbrush with a whole host of features, but still quite expensive.
  • DiamondClean Smart – Superb and the absolute best when it comes to smart electric brushes.  Very expensive and difficult to justify.

The remainder of the comparison is between the 2 brushes I recommend most from each series, the ProtectiveClean 4300 and the DiamondClean 9000.  For those wanting a bit of extra detail, this should help explain why I have come to the conclusions I have.

Which one would we choose?

Our choice: Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300 (view on Amazon)
2nd choice: Sonicare DiamondClean 9000 (view on Shaver Shop)

2 great electric toothbrushes in their own right.  

Both can clean the teeth really well.

The DiamondClean 9000 is technically the better brush from a feature and capability perspective.  But it is the ProtectiveClean 4300 is the better brush for the vast majority of people.

The 9000 offers lots of things you don’t need, but are desirable if you can justify them.

Key Differences

  • The DiamondClean 9000 has 4 cleaning modes (Clean, White, Deep Clean & Gum Health) compared to the 1 (Clean) of the 4300.
  • The DiamondClean has a separate cleaning mode button as well as icons/labels on the handle fo each cleaning mode.
  • The DiamondClean 9000 comes with 3 brushing intensities compared to the 2 of the 4300.
  • The DiamondClean 9000 comes with a travel case that allows you to charge the brush inside via a detachable USB cable.  The 4300 does not come with a case.
  • The 9000 has Bluetooth connectivity to make it a smart toothbrush.
  • The 9000 comes with 2 brush heads in the box (1 x C3 Premium Plaque Control & 1 x W2 Optimal White) compared to the 1 (C2 Optimal Plaque Defence) with the 4300.
  • The 9000 has BrushSync mode pairing.
  • The 9000 is available 3 colour option (White, Black & Pink) compared to the 2 (Black Gray & White & Mint) of the 4300.
  • The 9000 is the more expensive brush.

These differences are explained at length later in this article. However, you might wish to learn more about each brush being compared. To do so, check out our hands-on reviews:

Please note. Every effort is made to ensure the key differences listed are correct, but these differences are subject to change without notice. Products and the box contents can be changed without notice and different variants can exist.

Detailed comparison: what’s the difference between the ProtectiveClean and DiamondClean?

There is a similar design language between there 2 electric toothbrushes given that they are made by the same company.

However, the DiamondClean (DC) 9000 has 4 cleaning modes (Clean, White, Deep Clean & Gum Health) compared to the 1 mode (Clean) of the 4300.

A more detailed explanation of the different cleaning modes is available here, but essentially they help you achieve different oral healthcare goals and may suit individual circumstances a little better.

As a consequence of the additional modes on the 9000 the front of the handle looks a little different.

Sonicare ProtectiveClean vs DiamondClean 1

There is a separate cleaning mode button, beneath the power button that the ProtectiveClean does not have.  This button is used to cycle through the cleaning modes.

Below this sit the labels for each of the cleaning modes.  These are almost hidden until the white backlight is lit behind each label.  When lit, you see the name of the brushing mode selected.  You don’t get this on the 4300.

Sitting in between the power and cleaning mode button are 3 vertical bars on the handle of the DC.

These bars relate to the brushing intensity options you have.  3 intensities, low, medium and high.

The 4300 does not 3 intensities or icons like this.  But, it does have 2 brushing intensities.

These intensities on the 4300 act a little like a cleaning mode option in their own right.  One is the higher intensity for a standard clean and the other a softer intensity for a more gentle clean.

These intensities mean that in reality, the 4300 has 2 different brushing configurations, whereas the 9000 has 12 because of the 4 modes and 3 intensities available.

The standard clean mode available on the 4300 is fine for most, but it is the DC that fives the most flexibility.

Sonicare ProtectiveClean vs DiamondClean 2

In the box with the 4300 is a single C2 Optimal Plaque Defence brush head, whereas the 9000 comes with 1 x C3 Premium Plaque Control and 1 x W2 Optimal White brush head.

Given the higher price of the 9000, this is not entirely surprising, it is a premium model after all.

The W2 Optimal White also pairs nicely with the whitening mode available on the 9000.

Any of these heads can be purchased separately and used on either brush handle.

What the 4300 cannot do that the 9000 can is automatically select the most appropriate cleaning mode for the head attached.  What this means is that with the DC 9000, fitting the W2 brush head will automatically select the whitening brushing mode.

This is part of a technology called BrushSync.  

Both do have the brush head replacement reminder system that will alert you when it is time to replace the brush head.

No travel case is included in the box with the ProtectiveClean, but one is included with the DiamondClean.

The case included is actually a charging travel case.  What this means is that the toothbrush can actually be recharged inside the case, when the USB cable is connected to a USB power source.

Unlike some cases where the cable is detachable, this cable is hardwired into the base of the case.  It is a very premium option and works well.  Of course, not all need it, but the option exists should you need to.

So then to one of the most significant differences between these models, the Bluetooth connectivity.

Sonicare ProtectiveClean vs DiamondClean 3

My hands-on review explains how this works in more detail but in summary…

Whilst brushing the handle tracks and stores certain pieces of data.

After a brushing session is complete, this data is sent to the Sonicare smartphone application, if a paired smartphone is within range.

The data is collated and displayed on the screen, with any other data it has from the last 7 days.  It then allows you to review this and gain insights and an understanding of your habits.

Green icons mean everything is good and you are taking good care of your mouth.  Grey and orange colours indicate areas for improvement.

By reviewing this you should be able to understand how you can improve if you need to.

The penultimate difference is the colour of the brush handle.

The 4300 is available in 2 options black grey and white mint.  The grey and the mint are the colour accents around the power button that stand out against the black or white handle bodies.

The DiamondClean is available in white, black or pink.

The final difference is the price, which I explain in more detail in the section below, but the 9000 is the more expensive model.

Does one clean better than the other?

The short answer is no.

Both brushes have the same motor that offers up to 31,000 brush strokes or 62,000 movements per minute.

There are a couple of ways in which it could be argued that the DiamondClean 9000 can clean the teeth better, but actually proving this would be difficult.  It would too be very likely that any difference would be clinically significant.

Sonicare ProtectiveClean vs DiamondClean 4

What I am saying here is worry more about your toothbrushing technique, routine and frequency than the brushes themselves.

One of the reasons for suggesting that the 9000 is better is that it has multiple modes and brushing intensities.  The choice of modes and power of the brush will allow you as the user to find the optimum cleaning mode and results for you.

For example, you may achieve whiter teeth quicker or more effectively with the DiamondClean 9000 because of the whitening mode.

The other way in which the 9000 could work in your favour is the app.

The collation of the data makes it easy to see where you can make improvements, in ways you can’t get with the ProtectiveClean.  

The app doesn’t focus on individual teeth or areas of the mouth, it looks at things as a whole, like brushing time and pressure.  But, actually seeing that you are not brushing for long enough might be enough to motivate you to do so and improve your oral health as a consequence.

Is one better priced than the other?

Yes, the ProtectiveClean 4300 is the cheaper of the 2 brushes.

This is perhaps not all that surprising when you consider the features the 9000 offers in comparison.

Sonicare ProtectiveClean vs DiamondClean 5

The recommended retail price of the 9000, is $370.

The recommended retail price of the 4300 is $109.

The 9000 is 3 times the price of the 4300 if we go by retail price alone.

Both however do sell on average for less than retail.  The ProtectiveClean enjoys a discount of about $10-20 on average, while the DiamondClean is discounted by about $40.

The ongoing cost of ownership is very similar, because both use Sonicare brush heads which on average cost $12 each.

The only difference might well be that you may buy extra or different styles of heads for the 9000 to take full advantage of different cleaning modes it offers.  However, for the sake of this comparison we will not factor this into our prices.

To give a benchmark of costs, based on 1 user over 3 years, the DiamondClean works out at $0.41 per day compared to the $0.20 per day of the 4300.

The DiamondClean is literally twice the price.

Please note that all prices quoted are approximates and will vary based on location, supplier and time of purchase.  These figures were correct at the time of writing and should not be relied upon as hard fact, but used as a guide during your decision process.


Make no mistakes about it, these are 2 superb toothbrushes that I would happily use on a daily basis.

The extra features of the 9000 are appealing.  Most appealing is the USB charging travel case for me.

However, for me and most others reading this, as lovely as the 9000 is, it doesn’t actually clean the teeth any better and doesn’t significantly improve day to day use in such a way that the price premium is worth it.

I am not saying you shouldn’t buy the DiamondClean 9000, but just be aware you really are not getting the maximum value for money out of it.

Your Opinions

Ultimately, whatever brush you decide upon, it is you who needs to make the decision; but do so based on which is best for your needs or the end user, if you are purchasing on behalf of somebody else.

Only pay the price you are happy with and do not be led into buying something if it is not right.

Hopefully, I have presented the facts and made the whole decision process that little bit easier.

About Jon Love

Jon is a leading voice on electric toothbrushes and has been quoted by mainstream media publications for his opinions and expertise.

Having handled & tested hundreds of products there really is very little he does not know about them.

Passionate about business and helping others, Jon has been involved in various online enterprises since the early 2000s.

After spending 12 years in consumer technology, it was in 2014 that he focused his attention on dental health, having experienced first-hand the challenge of choosing a new toothbrush.

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