It does the job and is powered by AA batteries
The Waterpik Express is a very likable cordless water flosser. It does exactly what it was designed to do and offers a good clean of the interdental spaces.
The small water tank might be limiting for some, but this is a problem shared by the vast majority of cordless options.
2 pressure settings
No battery status feedback
No rotating nozzle
American Dental Association (ADA) approved
No travel pouch included
Consider these other water flossers
The Waterpik Cordless Advanced is our ultimate pick for a cordless water flosser. It addresses some of the shortcomings of the Express.
It does come at a price premium and isn’t powered by removable AA batteries.
The Express cleans the teeth comparably to the Advanced, which is ultimately the most important thing.
You may too want to consider the Cordless Freedom. Very similar to the Express it comes with a travel pouch which might be more appealing if you are a regular traveller.
How the Cordless Express looks, feels and works
The Cordless Express comes packaged in a very typical Waterpik style box. It promotes the product and calls out the key features you can expect and the benefits you will get from using this product.
I have used water flossers before, but first impressions for some will likely be this is bigger than I was expecting.
This isn’t a flat out negative, it is just the nature of the situation. Make the unit smaller and the size of the reservoir is impacted. Make it bigger and it is larger and heavier to hold.
I think Waterpik has managed to achieve a fairly good balance. This size vs portability question is an issue all cordless water flosser manufacturers have.
There are essentially 3 key parts to this cordless unit.
You have the main handle/flosser body. Then you have the removable water tank (reservoir) and then you have the flosser tip or nozzle.
I have the white coloured version of the WF-02, but you can also get it in blue. It is nice to have a choice, not just plain old white.
It is a fairly clean looking device and relatively inoffensive. The overall shape and design is very similar to the WF-03 Cordless Freedom water flosser.
Looking at the unit head-on, in the upper third of the handle is the power/function slider switch. It has a rounded rectangle design and sits slightly proud of the unit's body. It has 4 embossed chevrons on it (2 in opposing directions) that give grip and a more tactile feel to the switch. This controls the 2 modes, which I will explain shortly.
A little lower on the handle is the Waterpik logo.
The remainder of the front is smooth touch plastic with no ports or controls.
Only on the very bottom edge at the front do you then have the slider switch for unlocking the cap on the bottom of the flosser, to access the batteries.
From the side profile, you will see the lower half of the handle is deeper than the upper half. This is because the upper half of the unit is the area around which your hand grips to hold and control the unit.
The right side is free of any notable features whilst the left side has the opening to the water tank itself.
Looking at it from the rear, the lower half is the transparent water tank, with the upper half of the plastic body covered in lots of differently sized dots. These give a texture to the handle.
The size and positioning are such that you can get a pretty good grip on the unit. It doesn’t feel all that awkward.
It is not as comfortable in hand as the Cordless Advanced, but more comfortable than the Cordless Select.
For some, the unit will just be too awkward to hold. Particularly if holding heavier items is more challenging.
Little hands of children are not ideally suited. Typically this is designed for adults or older kids.
The base of the unit is flat, so the Express will sit upright on a countertop. It is essentially split into 2 parts. You have the bottom of the water reservoir and the compartment to access the batteries.
Padlock icons and arrows on the base depict how to lock and unlock it to gain access.
At the top of the unit, centrally placed is a hole, into which the nozzles fit. Behind this is a raised grey button that is pressed to release the nozzle fitted into the handle.
Over the last few years, Waterpik appears to have been making small tweaks and improvements to their products and that has resulted in a more comprehensive range but also better quality products.
The Express doesn’t boast all of the best bits of Waterpik, but given that the Express is an entry level it is still relatively impressive and hard to criticize.
Water flossing isn’t a new thing, it has been around for years. But, it isn’t something that is all that heavily promoted by dental professionals. Many tend to recommend dental floss or interdental brushes over water flossers.
This is typicaly because these tools are considered more effective because of the physical contact they have with the spaces between the teeth.
But, many people don’t floss and this isn’t good for anyone’s oral health.
Therefore, most dental professionals will agree that doing something is better than nothing. Water flossers are a more convenient approach and are clinically proven.
Waterpik has plenty of clinical evidence to prove that their products are more effective than string floss.
The Express has also earned the American Dental Associations (ADA) seal of acceptance. To do so, it has to pass stringent tests and proof must be shown that it can achieve the results the manufacturers claim.
Such certification brings peace of mind to you and me as users.
I am not here to argue the pros and cons of each or say which is right. Water flossing is most certainly an option that many people can embrace with more ease as it is less difficult to master.
I feel it important to note how messy water flossing can be. This applies to all water flossers, irrespective of brand and whether it is a countertop or cordless option.
You have to be lent over a sink really. This is because the volume of water pushed into the mouth during use means you have to expel it somewhere.
It takes practice to master the technique.
The suggested technique is:
- Lean low over sink and place the tip in mouth.
- Aim the tip towards the teeth, and turn the unit on (l or II).
- For best results, start with the back teeth and work toward the front teeth. Glide tip along gumline and pause briefly between teeth. Continue until you have cleaned the inside and outside of both the upper and lower teeth.
- Direct the jet stream at a 90-degree angle to your gumline. Slightly close lips to avoid splashing but allow water to flow freely from mouth into the sink. Keep unit upright during use for best results.
Even experienced users will slip up at times and you will end up spraying their bathroom mirror etc with water. It is worse for new users. It gets easier quite quickly, but just be aware that this is something to contend with.
The Express is cordless. This means you are not tied to a power outlet and have much more freedom to move when in use.
This is great, but, as I have highlighted, you still need to be lent over a sink. So even with the cordless option, you are not truly free of the bathroom like you might expect.
And linked to this, because it needs to push through water, it needs the tank built into the unit to allow this to happen. Thus, even cordless models, like the Express, are bigger than some might expect.
They are more travel friendly than a countertop unit, but if you want to pack minimally, it is unlikely even the cordless water flosser will make the cut.
The water reservoir on the Express has a door on the side that can be opened to fill it, whilst attached to the rest of the unit, or alternatively, you can slide it off if you would prefer.
It is a bit more hassle I feel to remove it each time, particularly to refit with the water in. But, the fact it is removable is good, because it helps if you want to clean out the tank.
Because it is clear, you can see the water inside.
You can add a couple of dashes of mouthwash to the water if you want to give that extra freshness.
It holds 5 ounces (148ml) and ideally, you want to use luke warm water rather than cold because it makes for a more pleasant flossing experience.
How quickly the water drains from the tank is depicted by the mode you are using.
There are 2 pressure settings. The lower setting, labeled as I on the handle is 45 PSI, whilst the higher power mode, labeled as II on the handle is 75 PSI.
You are not getting the 10 different settings you often get on the countertop units, but this is more than good enough. Essentially you have a powerful and gentle mode.
Set to the lower pressure setting the tank drains in approx 45 seconds.
Set to the higher pressure mode and the tank drains in approx 35 seconds.
To an experienced user, you might just manage a full floss. I can generally get a good clean in 45 seconds. However, many will find that a refil of the tank is necessary.
I do like the slider switch. It is easy to use and you can quite quickly change between pressure settings as you floss, if you desire.
I found that I preferred the more powerful setting of the two offered, but those with sensitive gums may find the lower power setting to be better.
Despite my preference for the more powerful option, my mouth did feel clean after use with either mode.
It is amazing just how much debris these water flossers blast out from between the teeth.
Included in the box are 2 classic jet tips. These are great and suit most users.
However, they don’t serve everyone. Waterpik has a range of alternative tips that are compatible with the Express and can be used if you so desire.
Other tips available include:
- DT-100E Waterpik Implant Denture Tip
- OD-100E Waterpik Orthodontic Tip
- PP-100E Waterpik Pik Pocket Tip
- PS-100E Waterpik Plaque Seeker Tip
- TB-100E Waterpik Water Flosser Toothbrush Tip
- TC-100E Waterpik Water Flosser Tongue Cleaner
As the names imply some are specially designed for specific scenarios that might apply to you.
As you can probably tell from the list of tips this water flosser is suitable for a whole range of users. Whether you have braces, dental implants, dentures or a crown.
You can find more information on each of the different tips here.
In some respects, it is a shame that more tips are not included. For some, additional tips might be required before you can really benefit from it. However, it suits the majority and does mean that many people are not getting tips they wouldn’t have otherwise used.
The classic tips included need replacing every 6 months on average.
Waterpik advocates holding the tip at a 90 degree angle to the gumline to complete the cleaning. This is fine for the most part, but one of the features lacking on the Express is the ability to easily rotate the nozzle.
Technically it is possible, but you can only really do this when it is out of the mouth and it is switched off.
Whilst I find with many water flossers that my need to rotate the nozzle is relatively limited, it is nice to have this option. It makes things a little more convenient and the product overall a bit more versatile. I think some will miss the lack of a rotating nozzle, especially if you have used such before.
The unit is water resistant if you were wondering. You can use in the shower, and rinse it off if needs be. There is a good seal around the batteries, so the chance of ingression is very slim.
By no means are these things essential, but they are handy for those who do want to travel with their cordless water flosser. A soft drawstring pouch case and a plastic water stopper. The case holds and gives a bit of protection to the unit and tips. Whilst the stopper goes in place of the nozzle when travelling.
These are items that come included with the like of the Cordless Advanced and the Cordless Freedom. They don’t come with the Cordless Express. It is a bit of an oversight in my opinion. But, this then might be a reason to pick the Cordless Freedom over this Express model.
The overall build quality is good, a bit better than I had expected for the price. Having been made by a leading brand, one hopes for long term reliability. It does come with a 1 year guarantee which is pretty standard.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
In what seems to be a relatively rare configuration nowadays, the WF-02 Cordless Express is powered by 3 x AA batteries.
I say rare, Waterpik’s WF-03 is also powered by removable batteries, but there aren’t many like this.
With both you do get batteries included with the unit, so you can be up and running immediately.
They are fairly easily inserted into the base of the flosser via a locked and watertight compartment.
You need to slide the switch on the bottom edge of the flosser to lock or unlock the cap to the compartment.
This switch is very tactile and there are large padlock icons on the base that make it very easy to know which way to lock or unlock it.
There are also clear icons inside the compartment that show which way to align the batteries.
The batteries are NiMH and although the supplied batteries are not rechargeable you can use rechargeable ones if you wish. This is one way of reducing the longer term ownership costs.
Waterpik does specifically mention not to use Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries in this.
The performance of batteries does vary from one brand to another, so there is no hard and fast rule as to how much usable life you will actually get from the Express.
Within the manual, Waterpik does suggest typical battery life is at least 40 usages.
Given that the idea is to use this at least once a day, you should achieve about 40 days of use before needing to replace the batteries.
My hands-on testing is by no means conclusive, but the Express managed 110 flossing sessions on the highest power setting. That is just shy of 16 weeks and is nearly 3 times the claimed life. I used the batteries that came in the box.
One of the biggest downsides to this battery setup is that there is no way to tell how much power remains in them. When the batteries are low the pressure drops off or the unit stops completely. It will then be time to change.
I would suggest keeping a set on standby as it were, just in case.
You may find as a course of habit you replace every 12 weeks for example.
Another point is that AA batteries do negatively impact the ownership costs.
The counterargument to this is that AA batteries are easy to source when you need them, almost wherever you might be.
If you don’t particularly need removable batteries, models with a rechargeable battery inside are often more convenient, because you get that feedback on the remaining power.
Summary of battery life
Price & where to buy
The Cordless Express from Waterpik has a retail price of $134.95.
I can tell you that this is a competitive price.
And whilst many products of this type do get discounted, don’t go expecting too much discount here.
At the time of review, prices are for the most part the same as the retail price. Although I have seen odd deals pop up from time to time.
Here at Electric Teeth we like to price a product over a 3 year period to give a bit of a benchmark to the ownership costs.
On top of the initial purchase price of $135 you need to factor in replacement nozzles (jet tips).
Using the classic jet tips for this example, a pack of 2 retails at $18. That makes each jet tip $9.
You get 2 included in the box. You should replace them every 6 months, so over 3 years, you will need to buy 4 more at a cost of $36 in total.
This makes the total purchase price $171.
If you were using Waterpiks other tips styles, you could be replacing them more regularly, every 3 months. This will add to the cost.
But, there is too something else to consider, replacement batteries.
Now as per the battery life section of the review, there is variance in how long the batteries actually last. But let’s assume you get 3 months use from the batteries.
Let’s also assume an average cost of $0.75 per battery. Given that you need 3 batteries at each replacement, that is $2.25 every 3 months, or $9 every year.
This is basically another $25 to factor into the cost of the Express, taking it to around $196.
Compare this to traditional string floss and there is no denying that floss is considerably better value for money. But there is a price to be paid for the convenience and effectiveness of the Express.
Waterpik’s top of the line Cordless Advanced costs around $186 over 3 years. Unless AA batteries are an absolute must, you are actually going to save money by going for the Advanced.
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
I have tested quite a few different Waterpik products over the last few years.
I have found them to be reliable.
The overall build quality is solid, certainly in newer models like the WF-02 and the materials don’t feel or look as cheap as some competitors products.
By the nature of what I do, I can’t test them for months or even years, but in my experience, it is not that common for them to fail.
Admittedly it is an electronic product that does get exposed to water, so it is not immune to failing, but Waterpik have done their best to limit such.
It comes with a 1 year/12 month warranty, which is ok, but not great. More premium options like the Cordless Advanced get 2 years of support, a benefit of paying more I presume.
There is limited data to really determine the environmental impact of a water flosser, but it is likely similar to an electric toothbrush.
With regards to the Express specifically; it has limited box contents which reduces its weight during transportation compared to others that come with more items in the box. It's great to see Waterpik are not including lots of necessary nozzles.
The removable AA batteries have their benefits, but might not be as good for the planet as a rechargeable variant.
Sadly, the express has not been designed to be easily repaired by yourself. Trying to replace parts will likely break the flosser. This makes it more likely to be discarded rather than repaired if broken. And just 1 years warranty, isn't great.
Summary of reliability, long term use & sustainability
The cordless express is a neat and effective cordless water flosser.
It cleans the spaces between the teeth well, but the small water tank does make it difficult for many to get the thorough clean they desire without having to refill. This is a struggle that plaques most cordless options, unfortunately.
By its very nature, it won’t serve everyone perfectly, but it does have what is required to satisfy many people.
The lack of a travel bag and easy to rotate nozzle is a bit frustrating, but I am mindful of the affordable price for which this is offered.
The Waterpik Cordless Advanced is the best cordless water flosser, but it does come at a price premium.
- Width - 5.7cm / 2.24 inches
- Depth/thickness - 8cm / 3.15 inches
Country of manufacture