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The Best Cheap & Budget Friendly Electric Toothbrushes

Oral-B Pro 500 Full Height Shot

Our main recommendation

It is the Oral-B Pro 500 that is our top pick if you are looking for the best cheap electric toothbrush.

Use it correctly and it provides a good clean of the teeth. It has dentist recommended features and is clinically backed. You do also gain the peace of mind that it is produced by a leading dental company.

In this article, we explain why we chose the Pro 500 from Oral-B.  We highlight some comparable products and others you may wish to consider if your budget allows.

All our recommendations at a glance

Best budget electric toothbrush: Oral-B Pro 500 (Oral-B, Amazon)

Runner up: Philips Sonicare 1100 (Sonicare, Amazon)

Best if you can spend a bit more: Oral-B Smart 1500 (Amazon, Oral-B)

In this post

What we regard as a ‘budget’ electric toothbrush

When it comes to categorizing ‘budget’, ‘cheap’ or ‘affordable’ the boundaries and expectations are different from one person to another.

But for the sake of simplicity, we roughly group brushes into five brackets based on their selling price: 

  • $0-15: Too cheap — these products should be avoided
  • $15-30: Budget — they do the job, but it’s worth spending slightly more if you can.
  • $30-70: Optimal — these products have the essential features, but no extra bells and whistles.
  • $70-150: Mid-range — extra features that may be nice to have, but aren’t strictly necessary
  • $150+: Premium — the most capable if you want the very best, but overkill for most

These are not hard and fast rules and there are always exceptions. 

But what years of testing and insight bring is a deep understanding of what makes a good brush and what you can realistically expect at different price points.  

As a result, we consider the best budget electric toothbrush to be one that is available for $30 or less.

It’s worth spending a bit more if you can

If your budget allows, we strongly recommend that you spend a little more and choose the brush that is our overall best pick for an electric toothbrush today, the Oral-B Smart 1500 (Amazon, Oral-B).

It falls within the optimal price range that we recommend shopping in, typically costing around $65.

Compared to the Pro 500, it offers a deeper and more invigorating clean thanks to additional movements from the brush motor.  

It has a visible pressure sensor that will alert you if you are brushing with too much force. A pressure sensor is particularly important if you have any gum recession.

The Smart 1500 has a battery life about twice that of the Pro 500 and you get feedback from the LED built into the handle on how much charge remains.

It is also easier to keep clean.

If you are able to wait another month or two to be able to afford our best overall electric toothbrush, we passionately believe that over the years of ownership the Smart 1500 will deliver superb results and value.

The Oral-B Pro 500 is good, but the Smart 1500 is great.

Best if you can spend a bit more

Oral-B Smart 1500

$79.99 From Oral-B*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The Smart 1500 has the key features our in-house dentists recommend for an electric toothbrush. We rate it as the best Oral-B electric toothbrush, all things considered.

The small round brush head cleans the teeth well. It is easy to maneuver into some of the tightest spots in the mouth. If you brush too hard the visible pressure sensor illuminates red to warn you. 

You can choose between the standard clean mode, a more gentle sensitive mode or a whitening mode. There are no icons to let you know which mode is active, but it’s easy enough to distinguish between the two.

This slim handled brush has a smooth texture, which looks slick and makes it easy to wipe clean afterwards. The slight downside to this is that it does not feel quite as secure in hand as some models, which have a rubber grip.

The Smart 1500 has been independently approved by the American Dental Association (ADA), which means it is safe to use, and that it has the benefits advertised.

It’s worth noting that despite the name, it is not a ‘smart’ toothbrush. It has no Bluetooth connectivity.

In case you are interested in the Philips equivalent, it is the 4100 Series that we rate as the best Sonicare toothbrush.

What we like

  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
  • Slim, grippy handle
  • Visible pressure sensor – alerts you when brushing too hard
  • 2 weeks use on a single charge
  • Affordable

What we dislike

  • No icons on the handle to show which cleaning mode is selected
  • Limited feedback on remaining battery power
Oral-B Smart 1500 Electric Toothbrush in Hand

Buying Advice

Useful things to know before buying

We have 3 main bits of advice we wish to share with you and anyone considering a new electric toothbrush, irrespective of their budget.

1. You don’t need to buy an expensive toothbrush

This article specifically features the best cheap electric toothbrush, and although we do advise spending a little more than $30, you don’t need to spend a lot more.

Spending more on a toothbrush doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting a better product. Often you are paying for extra features and functions you will not use. This is particularly true if you spend over $70.

Many of the best electric toothbrushes cost $50 – $70.

2. Smart toothbrushes are generally not worth it

Toothbrushes with Bluetooth and the ability to link to an app on your smartphone can help to encourage better technique and habit formation. But, they typically cost a lot more and are no more effective at cleaning your teeth.

3. Routine and technique are important

Your toothbrushing technique and routine have more impact on your oral health than the toothbrush itself. It’s no use having the best budget electric toothbrush if you don’t use it properly.

What to look for in an electric toothbrush

There are 3 features we strongly recommend are present in any electric toothbrush that you decide to purchase.

In order of importance, they are a 2 minute timer, pacer and pressure sensor.

Unfortunately, you won’t get all of these with the main recommendations featured in this article, nor other cheap brushes.  It is the pressure sensor that is often lacking.

Below is a short description of what each feature does.

2 minute timer

A timer helps to ensure that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes each time, which is recommended by dentists and governing bodies around the world.

Pacer

A pacer helps you to spread your brushing time evenly across all parts of the mouth.

Pressure sensor

Frequently brushing too hard will severely damage your teeth. A pressure sensor alerts you when you are brushing too hard so you can adjust your technique.

Key tips for looking after your teeth

When it comes to looking after your teeth, the most important thing is to create a regular cleaning habit, following the steps below.

Doing so will have the biggest impact, over and above the toothbrush you choose:

How we chose

Our selection process

Our team is made up of dental professionals and experienced product testers.  We specialize in oral health and abide by a strong code of ethics

We buy and test every product we recommend.  In most instances, we have detailed written and video reviews for each product.

We consult the clinical evidence, the feedback from consumers and industry leaders.

Together, we ensure our recommendations include only the very best choices.

We regularly review our recommendations based on newly released products and clinical evidence.

More on how we test products >>

Best budget electric toothbrush 2022 — our recommendations

In the sections below we go into detail about the brushes we have tested and explain our recommendations.

We also share further insight as to why a toothbrush can in fact be too cheap.

Best Budget Electric Toothbrush

Oral-B Pro 500

$24.99 on Oral-B*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

You just can’t argue with what you get for the price. 

This is a no-nonsense, simple to use, get the job done kind of toothbrush.

Oral-B’s Pro 500 is suitable for so many different users but is particularly appealing because of the very affordable price at which it is sold.

The handle is one of the most grippy on the market today. The tapered design works well for smaller and larger hands as well as those with dexterity issues.

Because the textured grip wraps 360 degrees around the brush handle it certainly won’t slip from your hand. The only downside here is that it isn’t the easiest to keep clean. Toothpaste residue easily builds up within the textured surface.

You have 2 out of the 3 features we recommend a brush have. The 2 minute timer along with a 30 second pacer are present,  it just lacks the pressure sensor. This means that you can be encouraged to brush the teeth evenly and for the recommended time. You won’t get alerts when you brush too hard. Just remember bristles need only skim the teeth.

Oral-B are well known for their small oscillating and rotating brush heads. The 500 boasts this. The size makes it easier to reach more crowded or restricted areas of the mouth.

The cleaning action is more than good enough, doing a good job of removing plaque and debris from the teeth and gums. But, because the Pro 500 has a 2D cleaning action it isn’t quite as intense and thorough as those that offer 3D cleaning. 

Sealed inside the handle is a rechargeable battery which offers 8+ days of use on a full charge. Satisfactory for many, the negative here is the lack of feedback on the remaining charge. You don’t get an LED notification light to warn you the battery is almost flat.

The retail price is $40, so over our budget, but more often than not it is available for around $30.

What we like

  • Easy to use single cleaning mode
  • The grip on the handle helps to securely hold the brush
  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time

What we dislike

  • No pressure sensor
  • No battery status feedback
  • Battery life
  • 2D cleaning action
Oral-B Pro 500 on charging stand facing forwards
The Oral-B Pro 500 on its charging stand

Read our Oral-B Pro 500 Review >>

Runner Up

Philips Sonicare 1100

$24.96 from Sonicare*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The Sonicare 1100 doesn’t come in quite as cheap as the Pro 500. 

That might sound surprising, given that its retail price is $24.99 for the 1100 compared to $40 of the Oral-B Pro 500. 

The reason is that Sonicare brush heads are much more expensive. You pay on average $3 more per head. Over a 3 year period this has a meaningful impact.

There are though some things about the Sonicare 1100 that could be worth the premium.

It looks and feels like a more premium model, despite the cheap price.

The handle is very slim and comfortable to use. It doesn’t have textured grips on the handle, instead, it has a smooth, but somehow resistive finish to the plastic. The big benefit here is that it is easier to keep clean, whilst also looking more minimal too.

It has a 2 minute timer and a 30 second pacer to help keep you on track when brushing. But as you might well have expected, because of the price, a pressure sensor is lacking.

Compared to Oral-B the sonic cleaning action the 1100 offers is different, but all things considered, the results are comparable.

The motor in the brush handle does only offer 31,000 brush strokes per minute compared to the 62,000 movements of the most powerful Sonicare brushes. But, used correctly the brush still provides a more than satisfactory clean. You just don’t get quite the same intensity with each brushing session.

Sealed inside the handle is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery which offers about 2 weeks of use on a full charge. You do gain the LED on the handle for feedback on the charge levels.

For some, the USB charging stand will be a more modern and convenient option. But to connect to a power outlet you need to buy a USB power adapter or use one you already own.

What we like

  • 1 cleaning mode makes it nice and simple to use
  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
  • Slim handle design – stylish & easy to keep clean
  • USB charging stand makes it more convenient for some
  • Good value – get what you need at an affordable price

What we dislike

  • No pressure sensor to alert you when brushing too hard
  • Cleaning action not as good as premium models – brush motor configured differently
  • USB charger makes it less convenient for some
The Best Cheap & Budget Friendly Electric Toothbrushes 1

Why do we make these recommendations?

The answer is really quite simple. These are the products we would buy ourselves or recommend to our closest family and friends if we or they had a budget of approximately $30 or less.

These are the products we know will do a good job of cleaning the teeth (when used correctly). The cleaning actions are backed with scientific evidence and we have seen firsthand how well they remove plaque from the teeth.

Sonicare and Oral-B are major players within the oral care industry and you can pretty much be assured that their brushes will give you many years of trouble free use. And should the worst happen, you will be able to access repair or replacement relatively quickly and easily.

You will also be able to source replacement brush heads with little stress. Most major grocers and pharmacies stock them.

Oral-B Brush Head

Given a choice, we would advocate that you choose our top recommended electric toothbrush, the Oral-B Smart 1500, rather than our top choice for a budget toothbrush.

By spending just a bit extra, you will gain considerably more.

Notably, our recommendations for the best budget electric toothbrush do not include a pressure sensor.

The cleaning action will likely be more intense and invigorating and slightly more effective in removing plaque.

Battery life and charge feedback tends to be better too.

And there are often additional useful accessories like travel cases included in the box. You just don’t normally get these with cheap brushes.

Oral-B Smart 1500 Electric Toothbrush in Hand
The Smart 1500, our recommendation for best overall electric toothbrush.

When specifically looking at budget electric toothbrushes, there are and will always be other brushes from other companies that could well be deserving of our recommendation.

However, as we document in the following sections, sometimes what might appear better doesn’t always deliver.

Alas, there is no one perfect brush for everyone and we do always advise making a decision on the right oral care products for you in conjunction with your dental professional.

But, when taking everything into consideration for the vast majority of users, we can confidently stand by our recommendations knowing they will serve you well.

Other brushes we considered

Whilst the hundreds of brushes we have tested don’t all fall into the budget category, they certainly help guide us into understanding what makes a good toothbrush.

As a consequence, we can much more confidently recommend the products we do.

There are a fair few brushes that cost less than $30 and the vast majority are not at all bad.

The Oral-B Vitality is essentially identical to the Pro 500, but lacks the 30 second pacer. It is somewhere in the region of $5 less than the Pro 500 as a consequence.

Oral-B Vitality on its charging stand

You might still find some stocking the Sonicare Essence.  This is an older model, essentially replaced by the 1100 featured above. It is bulky and a little dated in its design, but it still does the job.

The Pursonic Rechargeable S330 rotary toothbrush certainly presents itself as a very affordable option with no less than 12 brush heads included.

It uses a rotating cleaning action a little like Oral-B and does too have the 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer. That is in addition to the 3 different cleaning modes and charging stand that includes space to store up to 4 of those 12 heads.

It isn’t widely sold and sourcing replacement brush heads once the 12 supplied have been used isn’t as simple as it is with the major brands.

Target’s up&up rechargeable toothbrush has a similar design and feature set to older generations of the Oral-B Vitality.  

It has 2 round brush heads included in the box, as is a charging stand complete with a place to store that spare head.

Because the head is small and round, it is easy to access tighter spaces in the mouth.

This is a no nonsense toothbrush with 1 cleaning mode that you can rely on.  

A 2 minute timer is present and the handle is grippy too, thanks to textured surfaces.

Walmart offers the Equate Infinity rechargeable electric toothbrush. Identical to the up&up brush, is uses a nickel metal hydride battery that is sealed inside the handle and is claimed to offer 5x better cleaning at the gum line than a manual toothbrush.

Replacement brush heads for the Equate Infinity and up&up rechargeable brushes are comparably priced to those heads from Oral-B.  This means they are quite a bit cheaper than Sonicare equivalents. But, they don’t bring the cost saving you might expect, unless you buy larger packs of heads.

One thing to consider is that the best affordable and cheap toothbrushes might actually cost more than our suggested $30 budget to buy initially.

We pointed out that the Sonicare 1100 was cheap to buy, but replacement heads were expensive. Therefore over 3 years, it wasn’t as affordable as you might think.

But this principle applies the other way too. There are brushes or packages where the initial purchase price is higher than our suggested $30 budget.

But, because the package includes multiple brush heads and accessories when priced over 3 years, for example, they become much more affordable.

Take the Aquasonic Vibe Series and Black Series. The Vibe sells for around $37, but you get 8 brush heads included in the box. Therefore the total ownership cost over 3 years is $48.  The Oral-B Pro 500 is in the region of $85. Plus you get a travel case with the Aquasonic.

aquasonic vibe in hand
The Aquasonic Vibe comes with 8 brush heads in the box which brings down the lifetime cost compared to other brushes

Arguably the Aquasonic is a better cheap toothbrush, particularly when you consider both have been awarded the American Dental Associations Seal of Acceptance. But issues around warranty support and replacement brush head availability play a part in the decision process.

Fairywill’s range of toothbrushes is another example of this. The E11 is one model in particular that stands out. Though as our next section explains, there are potential complications to consider. We don’t recommend Fairywill products because of high rates of the product failing, and the companies abuse of reviews leading to a ban from selling on Amazon (we talk about that more here).

Technically, electric toothbrushes include those powered by built-in rechargeable and removable batteries such as AA or AAA. However, we tend to separate those with removable batteries into their own category. 

In most instances, those with removable batteries don’t compete quite as well as those with rechargeable batteries sealed in the handle.

Our best battery toothbrush article gives our top recommendations if a removable power source is important to you. 

The Philips One is one of the best options. Compact, lightweight and simple to use it is a very likeable toothbrush. Unfortunately, the cleaning power of the motor is weak and it relies on using a brushing technique the same as a manual toothbrush, rather than the easier techniques required with most other electric brushes.

It is the same story for the GLEEM battery toothbrush.

There is no denying it is super slim as to is the travel case, but the motor is weak, the battery cover a bit fiddly and there appears to be no warranty, despite being made by Procter & Gamble, the owners of Braun Oral-B.

The biggest benefit of using removable batteries for most is you are not reliant on a power outlet. This is particularly appealing to travelers. Then again, there are some other criteria travelers have and subsequently we have an article with a number of travel friendly electric toothbrushes, if this is what you are after.

Going too cheap — too good to be true?

It might come as a surprise to some, but there is such a thing as going too cheap. 

In the years we have been testing brushes, we have yet to test an electric toothbrush that is less than $15 that really captures our attention in any serious way.

Yes, inevitably there are some that are impressive options for the price, but there is always a compromise. What that compromise is depends on the brand and the particular model in question.

The big question that needs to be asked is how can something be produced this cheap?

Are cheap labor sources being exploited? What quality of materials are being used? Are the appropriate taxes being paid to sell such a product?

It does vary from one product to another, but our experience is that quality and reliability are often the biggest compromises. The product looks and feels cheap and rarely lasts longer than the 1 year warranty, if that long.

Toothbrush in parts

And because it is so cheap, it is easier and more convenient to throw away the faulty one and replace it with a new one, rather than repair it.

Manufacturers know this and it can work in their favor.

Some sellers and brands, particularly those from China, exploit this opportunity. Many work on the basis of making a profit by selling much higher volumes than their more expensive counterparts. The saying ‘pile it high and sell it cheap’ comes to mind.

We are not saying this is a dishonorable tactic, but it is one that doesn’t sit particularly well with us considering the environmental impact electric toothbrushes have.

Selling a product really cheap isn’t typically sustainable long term. Keeping a high sales volume is particularly challenging and given the levels of competition in the market today it is far from easy.

This is something that the Chinese brand Fairywill has experienced.

They did and still do make some exceptionally cheap products. But where they were once selling thousands through the likes of Amazon, they are now selling very few.

This is because they had to constantly fight to become the top seller and be recommended by the algorithm. In order to achieve this, the company broke Amazon’s terms of service to gain high star ratings and sales on the platform. It ultimately led to them being kicked off Amazon and doing significant harm to their business overnight.

Fairywill Pro P11 Power Button
Fairywill was a popular cheap brand, but it’s products broke easily and its response to warranty claims was poor

Ignoring the shady tactics and what it takes to sell on Amazon, the biggest losers are the existing owners of Fairywill products.

With their main sales outlet now closed, Fairywill has been unable to sustain support for customers. It has gotten a bit better since, but for many months after being kicked off the platform Fairywill brush owners couldn’t get replacement brush heads or spare parts.

We have had many complaints of poor or no response to warranty claims. We can comment from first-hand experience on how communications with representatives from the company went unanswered.

There is a cost to offering something cheap and that cost often is more impactful long term than paying a few extra pounds initially to get a better quality product.

Smaller companies and new brands don’t have the overhead costs of the major players like Oral-B, Philips and Colgate. 

They can bring better value products to market more rapidly. But the vast majority don’t have the same reputation, reliability and infrastructure in place.

You may well get an absolutely fantastic deal on a brush from a relatively unknown brand online, but when you need replacement brush heads where are you going to go?  How can you be assured the replacement heads will be there in the future? And what if the brush goes wrong?

Buyers guide

In our best electric toothbrush article we include an extensive buyer’s guide.

The whole point of our recommendations is that we have done all the hard work in picking the best models within a particular price range.

We have done the research, we have bought the brushes, and we have extensively tested and learned what makes one brush better than another.

You might well have specific needs and wants and it may well be possible to find specifically what you want and still ensure the toothbrush is cheap. 

But more often than not, where you gain or benefit from one thing, you lose out on another.

This article focuses on the most affordable electric toothbrushes and doesn’t include all the things that you could potentially consider when buying one, such as cleaning modes and the various features available.

We do however cover that information in our buyer’s guide, so check that out should you wish to delve deeper.

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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