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The Best Electric Toothbrush: 3 Recommendations For 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Gemma Wheeler

(GDC Number: 259369)

Prestige 9900 Pressure Sensor

We rate the Oral-B Smart 1500 as the best electric toothbrush, all things considered.

In this post we explain how we came to this decision, and offer some alternative options should you be looking for something slightly different.

Our in-house dentist Dr. Gemma Wheeler explains the evidence for using an electric toothbrush, and our buyer’s guide includes further advice to help you decide.

Our recommendations at a glance

Best overall: Oral-B Smart 1500 (Amazon, Walmart)

Most features: Sonicare Prestige 9900 (Sonicare, Amazon)

Best budget: Fairywill D7 / FW-507 (Fairywill, eBay)

In this post

Evidence

Dr. Gemma Wheeler, BDS (Hons)

Best Cordless Water Flosser Rework V2 2

Can an electric toothbrush replace a manual toothbrush?

Yes.

Studies (1,2,3) show that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque. They make it easier to completely remove plaque.

Plaque contains the bacteria that cause dental decay and gum disease.

That being said, a manual toothbrush is adequate if used correctly.

Can an electric toothbrush improve your oral health?

Yes, it can.

An 11 year study found that electric toothbrush usage has a long-term protective effect on oral health. 

A 2014 review of many different studies found that an electric toothbrush removes more plaque than a manual toothbrush. 

Electric toothbrushes improve gum disease and reduce the progression to more severe gum disease (periodontitis).

People who use electric toothbrushes keep more teeth in the long term.

Do dentists recommend electric toothbrushes?

Whilst not everyone needs an electric toothbrush, many will benefit from using one.

Electric toothbrushes make good plaque removal easier for you to achieve at home. They improve your technique.

I have also found that patients are more likely to clean their teeth for longer because the timers built into the brushes encourage this.  

And because they are proven to remove more plaque they help keep the gums and teeth healthy.

Is Oral-B better than Sonicare?

No.  

There is some evidence (1 & 2) that Oral-B’s oscillating-rotating technology is better in lab tests. 

Whether this will make much difference in the mouth is unclear and the most recent review by El-Chami et al suggests you won’t see more benefits with one type over the other. 

In reality, more research is needed. Our Sonicare vs Oral-B article explores this in more detail.

Buying Advice

Useful things to know before buying

Below are the three main bits of advice we would give to someone considering a new electric toothbrush.

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

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. An expensive toothbrush does not clean the teeth better. Many of the best electric toothbrushes come in at under $100.

2. Smart toothbrushes are generally not worth it

They can help to encourage better technique and habit formation, but they are not 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 electric toothbrush if you don’t use it properly.

What to look for in an electric toothbrush

Toothbrushes can come with all manner of features at different prices.

From our testing, the most essential features to look for in an electric toothbrush are:

2 minute timer

A timer helps to ensure that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes each time, which is recommended by dentist 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.

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 electric toothbrush 2021 — our recommendations

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

Dr. Gemma Wheeler answers common pre-purchase questions and explains the evidence for electric toothbrushes.

Best Overall

Oral-B Smart 1500

$96.00 From Walmart*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The Smart 1500 has the key features we recommend for an electric toothbrush.

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 lights up 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 does not feel quite as secure in hand as some models. It doesn’t have lots of rubber grips. The benefit is that it’s easier to keep clean.

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

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

If you prefer Philips Sonicare, the ProtectiveClean 4100 is equivalent to the Smart 1500.

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

Most Features

Sonicare 9900 Prestige

$349.95 From Sonicare*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The Prestige has more features than you need, but it is the best smart toothbrush on the market today.

It looks fantastic and feels great in hand.  The smooth touch materials are good quality and easy to keep clean.

The A3 brush head included in the box gives a really thorough clean — there’s no need to switch out different heads for different modes. 

The Sonicare app can tell you precisely where you have and haven’t brushed. It will tell you if you brushed with too much pressure and if you scrubbed the teeth. You get visible alerts for these things too.

Despite the complex technology, Sonicare has simplified daily use. During our testing, we didn’t find the smart features to be annoying, but we stopped checking the app for feedback after a while.   

The compact USB-C enabled charging case is every bit as stylish as the toothbrush itself. The strap on the case is a little impractical though.

One downside is that the power and intensity buttons require a firm push. They don’t give a lot of feedback.

You do pay a premium price for this brush.

If you prefer Oral-B, the iO Series is the equivalent to the 9900 Prestige.

What we like

  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
  • Visible pressure sensor alerts you when brushing too hard
  • 4 weeks use on a single charge
  • Premium charging travel case included
  • Premium materials & design
  • Reminds you when to replace the brush head
  • Tracks & monitors your brushing

What we dislike

  • Expensive
  • No place to store the detachable USB cable
  • Bluetooth isn’t essential
Prestige 9900 under running water

Best budget

Fairywill D7 / FW-507

The Best Electric Toothbrush: 3 Recommendations For 2021 1

~$27.99 on Fairywill*

~$25.99 on eBay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

15% discount available from Fairywill using code ELECTRICTEETH (when no other offers are running)

Why we chose it: 

The 507 has the essential features we look for in an electric toothbrush and more. It is one of the best value options on the market today.

It is a slim and lightweight toothbrush that lasts an impressive 30 days on a full charge.

The sonic cleaning action doesn’t feel quite as intense as a Sonicare toothbrush, but it still cleans the teeth well.

It has been awarded the American Dental Association ‘Seal of Acceptance’. This means that the toothbrush has been assessed by an independent panel of experts. It has been confirmed as safe and that it has the benefits it says it does.

The compromises are the material quality and 1 year warranty. It feels cheaper and more plasticy in hand, but it is perfectly functional.

What we like

  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
  • Travel case included
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight
  • Value for money

What we dislike

  • Build quality isn’t as good
  • Only has a 1 year warranty
Fairywill FW-507

Our choices explained

The range of electric toothbrushes available is so vast that it can be overwhelming to choose one. To keep things simple, we have narrowed down the options to the choices you see listed above, and will now explain why we recommend them.

Our choice for the best electric toothbrush, the Oral-B Smart 1500, is based on the best value for money. It has the features we regard as essential, as well as a few more. It strikes a good balance between features and cost.

The very best brush you can buy is the Sonicare Prestige 9900, which is a top of the line smart toothbrush. We don’t recommend this as the top choice because it has far more features than the average user needs. Additional features inflate the price, and you can clean your teeth just as well with the Smart 1500 and other cheaper models. 

The Sonicare equivalent to the 1500 is the Protective Clean 4100. Both models do a great job, but we do find Oral-B’s small round brush heads a little easier to move around the teeth and reach the tighter spaces at the back of the mouth.

Oral-B Smart 1500 Toothbrush
The small brush head on the Oral-B Smart 1500 is easy to move around the mouth.

The cost of replacing Oral-B heads is also cheaper compared to Sonicare.

The rubber grip around the power button and the textured surface on the back of the hand means it is fairly grippy in hand. It doesn’t feel quite as secure in hand as some other Oral-B models that have a rubber grip running down the front of the handle.  The benefit, though, is that the Smart 1500 is easier to keep clean.

The built-in timer and pacer encourage you to brush for the right amount of time, evenly across the mouth. 

The pressure sensor (which wraps a full 360 degrees around the handle) alerts you if you are brushing too hard, which is a cause of gum recession.

It would be nice if the Smart 1500 came with a travel case.  It would be useful for protecting the toothbrush during transport. It doesn’t though, but few do at this price and it’s easy enough to buy one separately.

All in all the Smart 1500 has everything you need in an electric toothbrush and is approved by the American Dental Association. We explain this certification in more detail below.

In terms of design, the 1500 isn’t as refined as top of the line models like the Sonicare 9900 Prestige and the Oral-B iO, but it is far cheaper.  

You don’t need a smart toothbrush.  But, if you want the most advanced and interesting toothbrush, then this is the 9900 Prestige.

Sonicare 9900 Prestige vs Oral-B iO
The Oral-B iO and Sonicare Prestige are the two very best electric toothbrushes you can buy.

It is very expensive, but you do get some very nice extras. For example, the travel case is slimmer and more stylish than the basic plastic case Oral-B offers.  You can even charge the toothbrush inside it.

Sensors in the handle track your brushing and find areas for improvement. It relays this information to charts and other visuals within the application.  

In certain circumstances, the brush automatically adapts to prevent you from doing damage to your teeth.

None of these extras are necessary.  And nothing about this brush actually cleans your teeth better.

What the Prestige can potentially do is educate and encourage you to take better care of your teeth.

If your preference is Oral-B, the iO is the most feature rich model they offer.  It isn’t as refined as the 9900, but it offers some unique elements. These include a color display and sensor that confirms when you are using the correct pressure. We compare them to one another in our Oral-B iO vs Sonicare Prestige 9900 comparison.

There is little difference between them, but the Prestige just edges the Oral-B iO in our opinion.     

If your preference is Oral-B, the iO is the most feature rich model they offer. It isn’t as refined as the 9900, but it offers some unique elements. These include a color display and sensor that confirms when you are using the correct pressure. We compare them to one another in our Oral-B iO vs Sonicare Prestige 9900 comparison.

There is little difference between them, but the Prestige just edges the Oral-B iO in our opinion.     

The Fairywill FW-507 is the most affordable option.  

The initial buy price is a bit cheaper than the Smart 1500.  But, the extra value comes from all the extra brush heads that are included in the box. You get an extra 7.

The sonic cleaning action is more than good enough. Although there have not been any clinical tests for this brush so that is our opinion from hands-on testing.

A compromise is the 1 year warranty and the fact that it looks and feels a bit cheaper than the other choices.  But, it is perfectly satisfactory.

From our testing the sonic cleaning action is more than good enough, although there have not been any clinical tests as of yet.

Another compromise is the 1 year warranty and the fact that it looks and feels a bit cheaper than the other choices. But overall, it is a perfectly satisfactory brush.

The Fairywill FW-507 in its travel case
The Fairywill FW-507 in its travel case

Other electric toothbrushes we have tested

While only a handful of brushes make it into our list of the best electric toothbrushes, we’ve put many more to the test.

Over the last few years we have tested well over 130 different models. The majority of these are featured in our reviews and comparisons.

We’ve explained our recommendations in detail above. That being said, we know there will be interest in the other brushes we have tested, so we’ve included a quick overview of them below.

Recent years have seen an increase in the appeal and offering of smart toothbrushes.  As you will have learnt, we don’t typically recommend them.  They are expensive, and you don’t need one to clean your teeth well.  But, inevitably, the top of the line models come with smart features built-in, out of the box.  

The Oral-B iO and the Sonicare 9900 Prestige are the two leading smart toothbrushes. We have included them above as the best Oral-B and best Sonicare brushes. They are truly the best in terms of technology. But, we encourage our readers to consider the cheaper options, such as the Oral-B Smart 1500, as these can do the job as well. 

If you are set on a smart toothbrush but don’t have a huge budget, the hum by Colgate is an exceptional product for the price. We particularly like you are not paying significantly more than you need to.

It isn’t perfect.  The cleaning performance does feel a bit weak and it doesn’t have the all important pressure sensor.  But, going in its favor, is the fact that it is relatively affordable. The real-time tracking actually works well. You get a travel case included and you can even get rewards for regular brushing.

hum by Colgate in hand
The hum by Colgate is a good choice if you want a relatively cheap smart toothbrush

The hum by Colgate essentially replaced the Colgate Connect E1. This was made in partnership with Kolibree. It was the first toothbrush to be stocked in Apple stores.  But, much of what we know and love about Colgate has been lost and the software experience is substandard.  It simply isn’t a great brush for daily use.  A little more work on the software would have resulted in significant improvements.

The ExpertClean from Sonicare is a premium mid-range toothbrush. It tries to offer a balance between premium features and price. It is arguably an upgrade on the DiamondClean.  You now have a pressure sensor. This is not a visible sensor, but the handle vibrates when it is activated to alert you.

It has a brush head replacement reminder system. An orange light shines on the brush handle when it is time to change your brush head. This is very useful. The negative consequence is the higher price of the brush heads.

The brush also has 3 different pressure settings and 4 cleaning modes. They don’t clean the teeth any better. Nor are they essential, but they offer choice.

The 9000 has Bluetooth Smart features. It does not have the position detection and tracking facilities like the 9900 Prestige, DiamondClean Smart or older  FlexCare Platinum.  If the app is used in real-time, you get an on-screen timer only.  Data is synced post brushing. It is displayed on the screen in the form of colored charts.  This data shows performance for the last 7 days only.  It doesn’t allow brushing history and learning as you might expect.

The 9900 Prestige is the latest addition to the Sonicare lineup of brushes. It offers Bluetooth connectivity. Like the DiamondClean Smart, this does actually offer real-time tracking.  

They fundamentally work the same. But the unique element to the Prestige is that even if you don’t use the app in real-time, the handle stores and syncs this data in the background.  You get a mouth map for cleaning, pressure, and scrubbing, something the DiamondClean Smart does not offer. This means you get more meaningful data over time, irrespective of real-time app use or not.

The 9900 is also focused on simplification.  It sounds odd given the brush offers so many features. It’s more about getting the job done.  Learning good habits will help you and your oral health in the long term.

It was Oral-B that really pushed smart technology into the toothbrush some years ago. The iO is the latest iteration with even more tech, including a display in the handle, previously only seen on the Oclean X before now.

With the Oclean X, the cleaning performance was great. The display was touch-sensitive and horrible to use.  The iO’s display is not touch-sensitive.  Despite this, the X has a lot going for it.  It has a magnetic wall mount, great color choices and it is affordable.

With the introduction of the Oclean X Pro Elite there is little reason to opt for the older X variant.  The touchscreen has been radically improved and is a delight to use.  It might not be essential, but it adds something to the experience.  The Elite is also super quiet.  In fact, it is the quietest electric toothbrush that we have ever tested, by quite some margin. Oh, and it is a smart toothbrush too. It sends data back to your smartphone to help you track and improve your oral care habits.

Brushing teeth with X Pro Elite from Oclean
The Oclean X Pro Elite is the quietest electric toothbrush we have tested

Oclean is affiliated with Chinese technology giant Xiaomi. Their Mi toothbrush is another good value option.  It comes complete with, yes you guessed it, Bluetooth technology.  Yet again the implementation of this tech was not great. You need to be quite forgiving to get the value from it.  The Mi and Oclean models are not widely stocked, giving favour to those household names when it comes to availability. 

Older models like the Oral-B Genius X are extremely capable.  It has more features than you need, but it is more affordable than the iO.  It does away with the clunky position detection technology used by the Genius Pro 8000. The sensors are built into the handle of the Genius X so there is no need to stand in front of a smartphone camera to track the movements, unlike with the Genius Pro 8000.

Oral-B’s app has evolved over the years. But it can be a little confusing. Particularly when there are different configurations for different models.

The Oral-B Genius 6000/6500 is a solid mid-range toothbrush.  It cleans the teeth well, has extra cleaning modes, a pressure sensor and 2 weeks battery life. It is neither cheap, nor extortionately expensive.  It is somewhat lost in the range though. Particularly when you consider the slimmer handled Smart 3000.  The 3000 offers multiple modes, nigh on identical cleaning performance and comparable battery life.  All for less money.

Oral-B has always underperformed in the battery department.  Sacrifices might be expected for entry-level models.  But, around 1 week on a single charge isn’t good enough from the Pro 1000.  For a little extra, you can own the more capable Smart 1500.  It comes with twice the battery life, 3 cleaning does and a visible pressure sensor.

Even then, the 2 week battery life is no match for the budget-busting brand that is Fairywill. They have constantly over-delivered.  A month is the minimum you will get from their brushes.  The E11 is one such example. When the battery does need recharging, you use the detachable USB cable.  This is compact and convenient for some.  The drawback here is the design of the cable and the position of the charging port on the base. Otherwise, the brush is lightweight and comes with 8 brush heads included in the box. Based on value for money alone, it is simply sensational.

It is a similar story for Aquasonic.  Their range has increased over the years to include the Black Series and now the Vibe.  They pack a punch for the price. Coming with multiple brush heads in the box, as well as a travel case. They have too been approved by the American Dental Association.  The slight catch here is that replacement brush heads have proven slightly more tricky to source at times.

No electric toothbrush, cheap or expensive, can ultimately clean your teeth perfectly unless you use it correctly. Proper technique and enough brushing time are key to good oral health.

Mouthpiece style toothbrushes like AutoBrush are trying to help with this.  They have a brush head that positions the bristles at the perfect 45 degree angle.  But, in addition, it attempts to clean all tooth surfaces at the same time.  Conceptually it is a great idea.  However, in practice, it does not work.  It fails to reach all the tooth and gum surfaces, leaving lots of plaque behind.  And despite being designed to correct technique issues, there is still a technique to use it.  Worryingly, there is a kids version.  The engaging characters on the brush handle are fun. But it is no replacement to regular toothbrushing.

Unobrush Toothbrush In Hand
We don’t recommend mouthpiece toothbrushes

Y-Brush is better, but only by a little bit.  It still isn’t a suitable replacement for a regular toothbrush.   Using nylon bristles found on regular toothbrushes, it manages to lift more plaque from the teeth and gums compared to other mouthpiece brushes.  It is easy to use and has a good battery life.  But revisions are needed.  It looks and feels a bit homemade at the moment. Refinement in the materials and production process is needed. As are different sized mouthpieces. The one size fits all approach means brushing can feel awkward and uncomfortable.

SymplBrush, is a newer automatic toothbrush that is arguably better than Y-Brush. It is more refined and well thought out. Interestingly though, there is a lot of similarity between them. SymplBrush uses nylon bristles and focuses on just one arch of teeth at a time. The cleaning results are the most impressive we have seen to date. Still not perfect, but it is most definitely the best mouthpiece toothbrush we have tested to date.

We are all for innovation if done well.  On paper the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion reads like a great idea. It is a combination of water flosser and sonic toothbrush. 2 in 1 products can take up less countertop space, whilst delivering multiple benefits. In reality, it is expensive and impractical.  You don’t get the choice of different tips like you do with a normal water flosser. Water is fed through the brush head, making angling and positioning more difficult.  The battery life of the toothbrush itself is poor.  And the noise it makes is quite irritating.  It is a shame as Waterpik’s Complete Care range is pretty good. It’s also proof that a separate water flosser and toothbrush is the answer.  

We rate Burst Oral Care as the USA’s best toothbrush subscription toothbrush.  You can buy it outright or subscribe. It’s good value. The charcoal bristles are a little overrated, but it has been proven to perform well. We recommend you opt for our best choice, unless you want the convenience of regular brush head deliveries.

New products coming soon

There are always new products coming through.  Manufacturers regularly update their models.

Adding smart technology is popular at the moment. There are now various smart toothbrushes, which we run through in our guide here.

However, there is no product we would recommend waiting for.

There are some interesting developments happening around toothbrush technology. “Automatic” or “mouthpiece” toothbrushes are one such example.

We don’t deem any to be a suitable replacement for the traditional manual or electric toothbrush. That said, SymplBrush is the best mouthpiece toothbrush we have tested so far. 

A few companies are attempting to perfect the approach. Some new models due in the coming months include:

This technology and approach is very new and has limited clinical testing.

Based on the products we have tested, don’t delay the purchase of a regular toothbrush. It is far more important to pick a brush and use it correctly than to find that perfect toothbrush.

If you are interested in new toothbrush technology, you can stay up to date with this by viewing our toothbrush technology page or signing up for our email alerts.

Buyer’s Guide

Useful pre-purchase advice

Dr. Gemma Wheeler, BDS (Hons)

Best Cordless Water Flosser Rework V2 2

With the help of our in-house dentist Dr. Gemma Wheeler, we’ve added useful notes and tips from our research and testing.

No doubt you’ll have one or two particular questions before buying, as did we.

Browse the sections below, and if you can’t find the information you need, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page and we’ll get back to you.

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 much should you spend on an electric toothbrush?

There are a number of types of electric toothbrush, including side to side movements, sonic, and rotation oscillation.

Oral-B brushes use rotation oscillation technology, whereas Sonicare brushes use sonic technology.

There is a small amount of evidence showing that rotation oscillation brushes are better than other types. They reduce levels of plaque and gum disease.

But one review rightly points out that the difference is small. It is unknown whether these clinical trials actually translate into day to day use.

The good news is that rotation oscillation toothbrushes tend to be cheaper.

Apart from this, there is almost no evidence supporting one type of brush over the others. 

However, key characteristics which may benefit you in an electric toothbrush are:

  • a pressure sensor to prevent scrub brushing.
  • a timer to help ensure you are brushing for the full two minutes.
  • a good quality toothbrush head which is changed every three months or when you can see them fraying.

Our number 1 pick in the list above, the Oral-B Smart 1500, includes all of these. Many of the best electric toothbrushes come in at under $100.

Spending more money on a toothbrush may provide things like travel cases and better battery life, but these aren’t going to actually help brush your teeth better!

Is a smart toothbrush worth the money?

No, not in my opinion.

A smart toothbrush is one with Bluetooth technology, which is developing all the time. In the last few years it has evolved from just connecting to a timer to being able to connect to an app on your phone.

Some smart toothbrushes also send reminders when you should change your toothbrush head.

There is no evidence currently available to support the use of a smart toothbrush over a normal electric toothbrush.

As a dentist, I would point out that many of the benefits advertised by a smart toothbrush can be gained more affordably elsewhere, such as by setting a calendar reminder on your phone, or by learning proper techniques from our videos and your own dental professional.

This topic is discussed in more detail in our article: is a smart toothbrush worth it?

What are the pros and cons of an electric toothbrush?

We have already explained the evidence about how an electric toothbrush can improve your dental health. We have explained why they can replace a manual toothbrush.

But what are the other pros and cons of using an electric toothbrush? This list is a combination of evidence we have already discussed and the professional experience of our in house dentists.

ProsCons
Less technique sensitiveMore expensive than a manual toothbrush
Remove more plaque Need a power supply to recharge (or access to new batteries)
Easier if you have limited hand movementsNeed to buy matching replacement brush heads
Easier for people with bracesNot as travel friendly because they are bigger and can turn on in transit
More likely to brush for 2 minutesMore susceptible to damage
Tracking technology guides you in real-time to ensure you cover all teethSome people don’t like the intensity and sensation of the cleaning action they provide
Bluetooth technology teaches better habits and help track brushing progressNegative impact on the environment
Gadgets and apps give brushing reminders every dayNeed to be disposed of as electrical waste
Smart toothbrush heads give digital reminders to replace your brush head.
Variety of modes can adapt for sore teeth and gums
Pressure sensors prevent brushing too hard and potentially damaging teeth and gums

Is it better to choose an electric toothbrush instead of a manual toothbrush?

Some people will see benefits when using an electric toothbrush instead of a manual toothbrush.

The purpose to toothbrushing is to:

  • remove plaque, which contributes to dental decay and gum disease.
  • remove food debris from the teeth to reduce the risk of dental decay.
  • introduce a fluoride containing toothpaste to reduce the risk of decay.

When asking whether an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush is better, the question is really “which one removes more plaque and food debris, without harming the teeth and gums”.

Studies (reviewed by Niederman and Yaacob et al ) show that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque. They also show that electric toothbrushes help with gum disease.

Despite the clear evidence in reducing plaque, there is no evidence to support the use of electric toothbrushes when it comes to reducing decay.

For people wearing braces, a review of the evidence concluded that there is no reason to support the use of electric toothbrushes for reducing plaque on teeth and avoiding gum disease (although this evidence only covered a period of 8 weeks).

When thinking about the safety of your brush, know that both manual and electric toothbrushes have the potential to cause harm when used incorrectly. An example is causing wear on the outside of the tooth by scrubbing too hard. Evidence has shown that electric toothbrushes are of no greater concern to teeth and gums than a manual toothbrush, and some studies even support the use of electric toothbrushes to prevent worsening tooth wear caused by over brushing.

One other consideration is which one are you more likely to use? A toothbrush that encourages you to brush twice a day for two minutes each time, is always going to be better than one you can’t use.

Finally, when thinking about whether an electric toothbrush is better than a manual toothbrush, you will also want to think about the environment. This recent study discussed the greater impact of electric toothbrushes on the environment.

The take home message?

It is a personal choice.

If you are good at cleaning with a manual toothbrush and have no gum disease or tooth wear, then a manual toothbrush is satisfactory. It also has less impact on the environment.

If you struggle getting your teeth clean enough with a manual toothbrush, or if you suffer from gum disease, then an electric toothbrush is a better option for you.

Will an electric toothbrush help with gum disease?

Yes, electric toothbrushes help with gum disease.

Managing gum disease is all about reducing the amount of plaque on the teeth and under the gums. An important part of this is physical removal by toothbrushing and interdental cleaning.

Multiple reviews  (Van der Weijden Niederman and Yaacob et al) support the fact that electric toothbrushes help with gum disease. More recently, an 11 year long study by Pitchika et al has examined long term successes of electric toothbrush users. These papers have found:

  • electric toothbrushes remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes, in both the short and long term.
  • electric toothbrushes provide a benefit in reducing levels of gum disease (compared to manual toothbrushes) both in the short term (6%) and long term (11%).
  • electric toothbrushes reduce the progression of advanced gum disease, with users having less bone loss.
  • users of electric toothbrushes, and who have gum disease, are less likely to lose teeth.

Can I use an electric brush with braces, crowns, veneers, bridges or an implant?

Yes.

It is safe to use electric toothbrushes with dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, bridges and implants.  

You can also use an electric toothbrush with fixed braces — we cover this in more detail in our post on the best toothbrush for braces.

An explanation of the different toothbrush features

There are lots of features that can be built into electric toothbrushes today.

Not all of them are necessary.

We have grouped the most common features by their importance.

For the high and medium importance features, we have included a brief description. We explain what they do and why they might be helpful.

High importance — essential in any electric toothbrush

2 minute timer

We cannot stress the importance of a timer enough.

Dentists, hygienists and governing dental bodies around the world are in unison that brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes is important.

When brushing your teeth, it is all too easy to get distracted and misjudge time. You can think you have been brushing for longer than you have.

A timer keeps track of how long the toothbrush has been switched on for.

At the end of 2 minutes (120) seconds, the toothbrush will power off or briefly pause the brush motor.

If the timer hasn’t gone off, you haven’t brushed for long enough.

Quadpacer

2 minutes spent cleaning your front or back teeth is no good.  To maintain good oral hygiene you need to clean all the teeth.

A pacer is linked to the 2 minute timer.  

It is designed to encourage you to brush the teeth in the mouth evenly during the 2 minute brushing cycle.

Most pacers work by pausing the brush motor at 30 second intervals.  The pause in the sound and motion of the toothbrush is your cue to move from 1 section of the mouth to another.

Imagine your mouth split up into 4 sections:

  1. Upper right
  2. Upper left
  3. Lower right
  4. Lower left

Spend 30 seconds cleaning the surfaces of the teeth in each quadrant. By the end of the 2 minute cleaning cycle all teeth will have had equal attention.

Some brushes (notably Sonicare) have a pacer set to 20 second intervals.  This results in 6 sections of the mouth. They are as follows: 

  1. Upper right back teeth
  2. Upper front teeth
  3. Upper left back teeth
  4. Lower left back teeth
  5. Lower front teeth
  6. Lower right back teeth
Pressure sensor

We believe a pressure sensor is an underrated feature, particularly for a first time user.

Brushing too hard can damage the gums. Bristles of the brush need only skim the surface of the teeth and gums.

Brushing too hard will also wear away the outermost surface of the tooth. This is what dentists call abrasion. Abrasion itself can cause sensitivity to hot and cold.

Scrubbing harder is not an effective way to remove plaque and debris from the teeth. You and many others may not have known this, because you have never been told or shown how to brush correctly.

A pressure sensor alerts you when you are applying too much force as you brush.

It is a gentle reminder to use a little less force and help you maintain a healthy smile.

Sensors are implemented differently.  

In many instances when pressure is detected, the motor will slow down. This limits the bristle movement and potential damage.

A visible pressure sensor will illuminate to act as a visual alert.  This is common in Oral-B brushes.  Usually, a red light is emitted around the neck of the toothbrush.

Some models, notably Sonicare, will vibrate the brush handle to alert you.

Avoid activating the pressure sensor if you can.

Once the pressure is relieved, the sensor is deactivated and normal brushing resumes.

Medium importance — worth considering, but not critical 

Good battery life

Most electric brushes have built-in rechargeable batteries.  

Over recent years performance and usage time of batteries have gotten better. Most brushes are on par with each other, with an average of around 2-3 weeks use between charges.

The vast majority of batteries in toothbrushes use Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion). Some are Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH).  

Some brushes will have removable AA or AAA. They can last months. They are not that common and tend to be the cheaper models at less than $30. 

Rechargeable toothbrushes typically perform better and are more cost effective.

Travel case

Even if you are not a regular traveler, a case makes it much easier to transport the toothbrush and brush heads.

When in the case, the likelihood of damage, particularly to the bristles on the brush head is reduced. There is also less chance of the brush accidentally being switched on. Any excess moisture and toothpaste remains in the case and not on anything else that might be in your bag. Nobody likes toothpaste stains on their clothes!

There are certain models that come with travel cases that allow charging whilst in the case. They do not need to be placed on a separate charging stand.

Price

Only ever spend what you are comfortable with.

For some spending $30 will be a lot whilst to others $200 will be cheap.

You do not have to spend a fortune.

A more expensive brush does not mean it is any better at cleaning your teeth.

For less than $100 you can buy an excellent electric toothbrush.

The act of regular brushing, with the correct technique, is more important than what you pay.

Additional cleaning modes

There is little need for extra cleaning modes. The default cleaning mode on a toothbrush is suitable for most users.

If we were to pick an additional mode it would be sensitive.

A sensitive cleaning mode uses less power from the brush motor.  It is more gentle on the teeth and gums.

Model dependent, there can be up to 6 or 7 different brushing modes.

What differs is the power/intensity of the mode and the brushing time.  Very often the likes of a ‘deep clean’ mode will last for 3 minutes.

For more information, read our Sonicare brushing modes or Oral-B cleaning modes article.

Brushing intensity

Being able to control the amount of power the motor delivers can be useful.

Some models offer the choice of low, medium and high power settings.

If the brush has 1 cleaning mode, it may default to the high setting.

You could change it to the low setting for a less intense clean.

Although the brush motion does not change, the speed of the motion does.

These act as alternatives to cleaning modes.

A brush with 1 mode but 3 intensity settings is in many respects equivalent to a brush with 3 modes.

Cost of replacement brush heads

The cost of replacement heads affects the long term ownership cost. It is worth factoring into your decision. Oral-B brush heads are cheaper than Sonicare.

It’s recommended that you replace your brush head every 3 months. If you follow that advice you’ll need 4 brush heads a year.

Official brush heads cost anywhere from about $5-10+ per brush head. This can be a lot of money when they will only be thrown away 3 months later. 

You can save money by buying when there’s a deal on or by buying in bulk.

In most instances, you have the choice of opting for a third party brush head. There may not be the same range and the quality may be different. But there are some great options at very good prices.

Do be aware of fakes/counterfeit brush heads which pose as genuine but are often not the real deal. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

Low importance — not a big consideration

  • Brush handle shape, size and color
  • Brush head shape and size
  • Cleaning mode notification lights
  • Battery charging/status icon
  • Smart features
  • Bluetooth
  • Motion tracking
  • Smart guides
  • UV sanitizers
  • Automatic power off
  • Charging stands/USB charging
  • Water resistance
  • Noise
  • LEDs/cleaning mode display
  • Storage compartments
  • Dual handles

An explanation of the different brush heads

The brush heads available vary depending on the brand of toothbrush and the model that you choose.

Oral-B, Sonicare and Colgate all offer a range of different types of brush heads.

Each head is, in theory, designed to do a different job.

Sonic brush heads tend to be larger than the small round brush heads found on oscillating-rotating toothbrushes. Sonic heads have an oval shape to them.

The ranges are unnecessarily complicated. There is no definitive evidence to say one head is better than another.

It is best to pick and stick to one style of brush head and use it, rather than to worry about the particular type.

We have dedicated guides for brush heads:

How does dental association approval work?

There are many dental bodies and organizations around the globe.

In fact, each country will usually have a  panel of leading experts. They usually guide oral health within that country. 

These organizations have similar goals and approaches. For example, producing advice for the general public on how to look after their teeth and gums. Or the recommended fluoride doses.

People look to these for advice on what products they should and should not be using.

The American Dental Association (USA) and the Oral Health Foundation (UK) are 2 examples.

Each has programmes that verify the safety and effectiveness of consumer products.

Consumer oral health care products are independently evaluated. This is to ensure they are safe and that the claims made are proven and not exaggerated.  Reliable scientific evidence is usually required. 

The programmes are designed to give consumers peace of mind and reassurance.

Each programme is run independently.  A manufacturer must apply and submit the relevant data to each organization. Only once this process has been completed will a product be awarded the ‘approved’ status of the relevant body.

The ADA issues a ‘Seal of Acceptance’. The Oral Health Foundation labels products as ‘Approved’.

Although they are separate programmes, they operate with similar policies.  A product awarded the ADA seal would likely be approved by the Oral Health Foundation.

Warranty & Guarantee

2 years (24 months) tends to be the standard warranty period from the manufacturers.

Products that stop working as a result of poor workmanship or failure of parts are covered.

Manufacturer warranties do not cover damage and faults that are a result of user damage.

Some brands do offer warranty extensions of anywhere between 3-12 months.  These are usually promoted at the time of sale, or in the box. 

If the brush does develop a fault, you can send the brush in for a free of charge for assessment and repair or replacement as necessary.

Watch

Video explainer

In the video below our chief product tester Jon Love explains the advice from our buyer’s guide and runs through our choices for the best electric toothbrush.

Best Electric Toothbrush 2021

FAQ

Below you can find some other common questions about electric toothbrushes. We’ve answered them briefly and then linked off to our dedicated articles on the topic.

  • Do electric toothbrushes damage teeth?
    • No.
    • When used correctly, an electric toothbrush does not damage the teeth or gums.
  • Do electric toothbrushes cause gum recession?
    • No, the toothbrush itself does not cause gum recession.
    • It can exaggerate or accelerate recession. But this is as a result of user (human) error rather than the action of the brush.
  • Do electric toothbrushes whiten teeth?
    • No, electric toothbrushes do not whiten teeth.
    • Electric toothbrushes can help with stain removal from the tooth surface.
  • How long do electric toothbrushes last?
    • The average lifespan of an electric toothbrush is around 5 years.
    • Manufacturers normally offer a 2 year warranty should the brush fail sooner.
    • Some brushes will last a lot longer. We know of people still using electric toothbrushes that are 10+ years old.
  • Can you share an electric toothbrush?
    • Yes, you can share a toothbrush handle.
    • But do not share a toothbrush head.
    • It is not advised. Yet, almost one in ten (9.7 percent) said they had shared a toothbrush (Oral Health Foundation, 2014).
    • Bristles of the brush head can harbour bacteria and germs. These can have a negative consequence on your health when shared.
    • The interchangeable heads do allow for brush handles to be shared.
  • Can electric toothbrushes get wet?
    • Yes.
    • With few exceptions, electric toothbrushes are designed to be water resistant.
    • Vulnerable electronics are sealed inside the brush handle.
    • Different manufacturers have different guidelines on using in the shower. At no point should the brush be submerged in water.

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.

Read More

Leave a comment or question

73 thoughts on “The Best Electric Toothbrush: 3 Recommendations For 2021”

  1. I bought an Oral-B BrAun PRO timer sonicare toothbrush for my granddaughter, who lives in a different State than myself. She came to visit recently and she was so excited to show me her new toothbrush. She had the brush wrapped in cellophane to protect it, since it had no plastic protective cover. I bought my other granddaughter a lesser priced electric toothbrush and it came WITH a protective cover. Was this a faulty packaging problem? I would appreciate you helping me resolve this issue please. Very unsanitary. If I would have known this , I would have made a different purchase. Thank you for your time.

    Reply
    • Brenda, when you say ‘protective cover’ do you mean a case that covers & protects the whole toothbrush or a cap that goes over the brush head only?

      Oral-B kids brushes don’t typically come with a travel case or a brush head cover/cap.

      Reply
  2. Have you heard of silk’n dental ir toothbrush?
    Their product is called toothwave, and they claim it uses some kind of radio frequency waves to clean.

    Reply
  3. We’ve used a few electric toothbrushes down through the years. Various Sonicare models…recently the Boka electric. My favorite to date is the Curaprox Hydrosonic Pro. For reasons unknown (possibly a virus or allergic reaction, new toothpaste… who knows?), I suddenly (like almost overnight) developed highly sensitive, swollen, PEELING, bleeding gums. It was right at the beginning of what folks are calling the pandemic and routine dental care became essentially unavailable. So I started researching it myself. I initially discovered two manual brushes (Nimbus and Curaprox 5460) and both were better than the Boka as far as being kind to my gum issues (whatever they are) with the Curaprox being slightly kinder. Given that I attributed the difference to the Curaden bristles I decided to try their electric model. This is the first electric toothbrush I can honestly say I enjoy using. It’s not overly technified, only feature, really, is 4 x 30 second notifications. Otherwise it just brushes. It holds a charge for several weeks, which I like, offers power, sensitive and solo brush heads and stores in a very nice travel case (though a charging feature would be an excellent upgrade). I’m using the sensitive brush head, as you can imagine. Two final steps in my routine, just recently added, are interdental brushes (again, Curaprox from similar reasoning – the Curaden bristles) and PerioScience AO series toothpaste, mouthwash and topical gel. Everything seems to be coming together as my gums are doing better daily. A review of the Hydrosonic Pro would be something I’d enjoy reading if you’re able to manage it. I know, feature wise, it’s not on par with that Sonicare 9900 but for me, it’s been perfect.

    Reply
    • Hi Ken. Thank you very much for the comment and feedback. So pleased to read you have found a brush that works for you.
      The Hydrosonic Pro from Curaprox is on our list to review in the near future. Just haven’t quite gotten to it yet!

      Reply
      • I’ll be watching! 😄

        Just FYI – I read your review of the Boka brush (since it was my previous brush) and I agreed with your review completely (save, potentially, one point) I will say, in every category you list, the Curaprox pulls slightly ahead (IMO)

        Styling – Yes, the Boka is a “clean” design that’s pleasing to look at and use. The Hydrosonic Pro, even more so. One big add is the battery indicator. I found it difficult to know how much charge the Boka had left. The Hydrosonic Pro has an attractive blue led stripe giving you a very easy indicator.

        Brush heads – You mentioned the charcoal bristles were maybe more fad than fact but not necessarily a negative. Possibly, but I’m not convinced they weren’t at least a factor in the issues I experienced. The Curaden bristles are (again, IMO) vastly superior in that regard, and I’ve come to the opinion that bristle material, composition and design are (or should be) one of the primary criteria when selecting a brush. This is likely just for people like me, not for people who have no negative effects from nylon bristles, charcoal bristles etc, naturally.

        Travel case – this being included with the Hydrosonic Pro made it a no brainer to take these brushes with us on a recent trip. Our last trip, we left the Bokas behind and simply packed our manual brushes. A small thing but even so… Beyond that, there’s daily storage at home. It’s well understood that the bathroom is, by far, the least sanitary room in our homes and storing an open, uncovered brush in the bathroom is undesirable (have you ever addressed this issue?). With the Boka we tried to minimize that exposure by storing them upright, in a cupboard, using their included cap. Well enough. Only problem was, it’s fairly unstable in that position and they would get knocked over routinely. But with the Hydrosonic Pro, I use that same travel case. Covered and stable for the win.

        In most other regards, I find the two brushes very similar in form, function and use.

        Reply
        • Thanks for the extra feedback Ken, all great stuff!

          We haven’t done extensive research about how sanitary a bathroom is and the best place to store your toothbrush.

          It would appear from some research that the risk to the toothbrush is often overplayed. It isn’t quite as bad as some think. Yes, keeping the brush away from the loo will always help, but there doesn’t seem to be lots of evidence to suggest you must take lots of steps to protect the toothbrush. I reiterate we haven’t done lots of research to confirm, so there might be data against this.

          Most leading dental organisations recommend any special steps or the need to sanitize the toothbrush after or before use.

          Keeping the brush in a case or cupboard will of course help, providing it is ventilated. A toothbrush head stored in damp conditions can potentially cause bacteria to grow on the head. The bristles ideally need to dry out between uses if possible.

          All said and done most toothbrushes are very similar and serve the vast majority well. Personal circumstances and desires will always have a part to play and particular brushes will stand out for one reason or another, as you have found yourself.

          Reply
  4. Dear John, I used an Oral B and tried in every way to keep it clean — the hole in head, the seal at top and bottom. Is there any electric toothbrush with elegant engineering design to solve all these surface easy to keep clean problems. I tried putting heads in kangan water high ph, scrubbing 2 seal lines with toothpicks. Is the oral b type design all there is. How to keep clean? It sorta looks like 2 of the 3 oral b heads have smaller holes in their shaft. I really appreciate your help.

    Reply
    • Hi Tamara. All the Oral-B heads have holes in their shaft.

      I can’t say there is 1 toothbrush that is much easier to keep clean. Sonicare models a bit easier as they do not have holes in the brush head shaft and tend to have less rubber grips on the handles so less nooks and crannies for possible buildup of dirt etc.

      Reply
  5. We are looking to share a handle (not the brush heads) and have limited counter space. Ideally, the unit would include a charger and a place to store the brush heads. Is it me or are these difficult to find? I can’t seem to find an Oral B or the Sonicare versions that meet our needs.

    If not, what is the best way to store the brush heads after each use (from a cleanliness POV).

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Paul.

      Great question. The good news is that there are options.

      A great option is the Oral-B Smart 3000. Our review is available here. It comes with a brush head storage compartment. It does have Bluetooth Smart features. But these don’t work well when sharing the handle. But you don’t have to use this feature.

      The brush head storage compartment is as small as it can be really considering it holds 4 heads. But, it is larger because it hold 4.

      The benefit here is it all comes in 1 box.

      Alternatively, you can purchase pretty much any Oral-B toothbrush and then buy this accessory, to clip around the charging stand. It will hold 2 brush heads.

      I link you to the official part, but there are cheaper equivalents such as this on Amazon.

      You can get equivalent holders for Sonicare, but they don’t tend to come in the box as standard.

      I hope this helps. If you need more assistance, please let me know.

      Reply
  6. Someone mentioned that Phillips Sonicare and Oral-B is both equally good eletric toothbrushes. But why do Phillips thinks they are better than Oral-B and Oral-B is better than Phillips? Phillips try their best to equally remove the same level of plaque as Oral-B. And also, I think saying “Im the one that removes way more plaque than you” phrase should stop because it will hurt the other eletric toothbrush company.

    Reply
    • This is a battle that has and will continue to exist. Each brand wants to outperform each other, it is the marketplace we have created as humans. It is the same for other product categories, be that cars, technology, etc. Each is trying to appeal to the consumer in one way or another and validate claims.

      There are studies that show Oral-B clean better, removing more plaque, then there are studies that suggest Sonicare removes more plaque. The data in each is valid, but the studies are usually small.

      As a general rule, whilst the data does seem to stack up in favor of Oral-B slightly, the reality is the differences are not necessarily significant and what differences do exist rely on correct and regular use of the brush.

      In everyday use, both are great and more than good enough. Heck, used correctly a manual brush is sufficient.

      It would be nice to see a little less competition and more working in favor of happy, healthy smiles, but both do work on this goal too. I don’t expect to see any change in the competitive speak and claims.

      Reply
  7. Hi,
    Could you please recommend a smart toothbrush, I understand that a cheaper one will do the job, but I find it easier with as app showing me my progress as well has how long I should do it.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Amrith,

      If money is no issue then the DiamondClean Smart is the one to go for. You can read our review of it here.

      Oral-B has recently released the iO, which we have reviewed here, but we still recommend the DiamondClean Smart over this.

      Reply
  8. Hi, I was hoping to get a recommendation
    I live in Canada
    I’m looking for a sub $100 range, preferably with smart features.
    Also how does Phillips stack up against oral b, considering one specializes in oral care.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi. The recommendation we have for Canda is the same as for the USA. In fact, we do have a Candian site with recommendations available here.

      The Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 is an excellent choice in my opinion.

      Both companies specialize in oral care and ultimately there is not a great deal to choose between them. Both offer brushes that clean the teeth well, they are just different. Technically, Oral-B offers a better clean according to the clinical trials, although ultimately more trials are needed. However, Sonicare offers a better value package in the form of the 4100.

      My view is worry less about the brand and the particular brush and worry more about your brushing routine and technique as this will deliver more effective results than the brush alone.

      If you have specific questions you would like answered, please let me know.

      If you have a

      Reply
  9. I’d like to see a review of that teeth cleaner that looks sort of like a mold of a complete set of upper and lower teeth. It appears that there is one on the shelf behind you when doing a comparison review.
    Please show me where to find –

    Thank You;
    Mike Stancil

    Reply
    • Thanks for the request. We will add this to our list of products to consider reviewing and of course if we deem suitable include it in our recommendations.

      Reply
  10. hello
    I am greatful to find this site
    is Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300 better than Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 ?

    thanks for your efforts

    Reply
    • Thanks for the question. They are essentially the same brush. The 4100 is the model sold in the USA primarily, whilst the 4300 has been designed for the UK/European market. The box contents and charging stand differs. However, from a cleaning performance point of view they are the same.

      Reply
  11. Have you evaluated the Sonicbrush?
    I’ve used a Sonicare for years and was thinking of changing to this type of method. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Kate.

      Typically a toothbrush, with a small brush head is going to be best. So, I would suggest looking at an Oral-B model. The Pro 1000 is a great option.

      It is a similar price point to the mentioned Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100, but the battery life is not quite as good.

      You could also consider the Pro 1500, which is a slight upgrade on the aforementioned Pro 1000, with twice the battery life.

      I suspect you know this already, but it is going to take time and practice to try and train yourself not to gag.

      Reply
    • Hi Alison.

      The words ‘electric toothbrush’ are a broader headline term to describe a type of toothbrush.

      A sonic toothbrush is a type of electric toothbrush.

      Essentially all types of electric toothbrushes work towards the same goal of cleaning the teeth effectively so that you and I can have cleaner and healthier teeth and gums.

      The main 2 types of electric toothbrushes are Sonic and Oscillating-Rotating.

      If you click here, we have a more detailed explanation of the differences that I really hope you will find useful.

      Reply
  12. Hi. I would like to know why the Burst toothbrush did not make the line up for 2019? I noticed one of the con’s you listed on the Burst review was the cut of the bristles. Do you think these bristles are not efficient and effective at cleaning, or that they may do harm to teeth and gums? I like the look, price, and subscription offered by the Burst. However, I would not put these likes before caring for my teeth and slightly receding gums.

    Reply
    • Hi Shannon.

      Simply put, there are many great choices, all of which could with justification make it into the best list, Burst included.

      Overall, I quite like the Burst toothbrush. It is a perfectly capable toothbrush and just because it hasn’t made the list does not mean you should not consider it.

      Personally I did find the bristle cut to be a bit different and not quite as pleasant to use initially, but that is just my opinion. It would be unfair of me to suggest you are putting your teeth and gums at risk.

      I do think the charcoal bristles are a bit overhyped, there is limited clinical evidence to the benefits these bring.

      The fact that so many dental professionals recommend Burst is a very positive thing, however a degree of cynicism is that they get a commission for doing so.

      I am not suggesting all do this for the money, the majority only recommend what they believe in.

      To try and keep things simple, we have broken the ‘Best Electric Toothbrush’ down into 10 categories. Those in my opinion, that Burst may have contended for are, best overall, best subscription and best for receding gums and sensitive teeth.

      The reason it hasn’t taken top spot in these categories for 2019 is that ultimately we feel the competition just beats Burst within these categories.

      We consider a whole range of things when compiling the list, from brush features, price, reliability, availability, clinical evidence, brand reputation, etc.

      To further clarify, the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 (the recommended ‘best overall product’ at the time of reply) presents a subscription free purchase, which is widely available (not sold online only, like Burst primarily is) with many great features, clinically proven performance from a brand that many recognize and trust. For the average user, this represents a good option, because things like replacement brush heads can be purchased from the local drug store etc, whereas this is not possible with Burst.

      We are certainly not saying Burst should not be one you consider. If you think it is better suited for you, then great.

      I hope this answers your question and provides a little more insight.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your quick response Jon. The fact that the positive reviews for the Burst are all coming from Burst ambassadors has been a big reason for me not having already purchased this trendy rose gold toothbrush. Your unbiased review is very much appreciated by an over thinker like myself. I suppose all that is left for me to do is try the Burst under the 90 trial and formulate my own unbiased opinion. If I don’t like it I will purchase my third Sonicare Diamondclean and hope that is lasts longer then the 2 year warranty this time.

        Reply
        • Shannon.

          Glad I could be of some assistance and pleased to see that I am not the only one who has noticed the recommendations all being from Ambassadors.

          If you do try Burst, I would love for you to let me know what you think as insights and impressions from users like yourself are so valuable.

          Reply
          • Jon,

            I couldn’t resist taking advantage of an early Black Friday deal from Burst. I will definitely update you with my first and lasting impressions in 60 – 90 days.

            Reply
  13. Hello! I’m curious if you test durability or reliability? I currently have a Phillips Sonicare DiamondClean that just died. I think the power button is stuck and now won’t even charge. It is just over the 2 year mark and based on other reviews it doesn’t seem as though Phillips will do anything about it. $200 is a lot to spend on something that just lasts 2 years…any that you think will last longer? Or is that the standard for electric toothbrushes? At $40-50 I think 2 years would be acceptable.

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer.

      Thanks for the comment.

      I have heard quite a few reports about the Sonicare DiamondClean and its durability.

      I cannot comment how regularly these products fail, but inevitably, there tend to be more reports of when it fails than praising it for when it works, so sometimes issues can seem worse than they really are.

      You have clearly been unlucky and it is a shame it has failed after the warranty has run out.

      Whilst I don’t have scientific data, the durability of brushes tends to be well in excess of 2 years, more towards 5+ years on average.

      I certainly would have expected the brush to last longer.

      In terms of long term testing and durability, there is only so much we can do.

      We do use some brushes on a long term basis, but we are a small team and there are lots of brushes on the market. However, I can say we had a DiamondClean that failed a little after the warranty period. In our case the button didn’t appear stuck, but it would not turn on.

      We are not a testing/durability lab with specialist machines and processes that can really test the brushes to destruction as it were. It would be nice if we could do this, but sadly we don’t have the funds for this!

      Reply
  14. Hi,

    I love your website and I have read so many good things here which helped me but also made me confused or better to say made me rethink my choice. I’m in active search for new toothbrush and problem that I have is kinda specific so I hope you will be able to help me with making right choice. I’m about to have some serious dental work, 4 implants in upper jaw (2 with their own crowns and 2 with 4crowns bridge) and also if it will be possible two implants in lower jaw, never the less point is that those require to be cleaned perfectly thus electric > manual. My mind was set on Sonicare mainly because in had rotating electric brush in past and it was really harsh to my teeth so I decided I dont like round/rotating heads. But after reading lots of your reviews I’m now not sure and looking at Oral-B as possibility. I dont need too much gizmos but I’m not running away from them either. Pressure sensor is must for example because with manual I always had problem with being harsh on my teeth and rubbing as mad. That is maybe one of stuff that made me develop animosity to rotating brushes, if I pressed to hard. So do you have some suggestion for me? Thank you in advance for reading and answering.

    Reply
    • Hi Filip.

      I am glad you have found our website helpful. I do apologize that it has perhaps also complicated your decision making process.

      Sonicare and their sonic cleaning action or Oral-B and their oscillating-rotating cleaning action toothbrushes are both perfectly fine to use.

      Many are concerned about using electric brushes on implants/dentures/bridges and other cosmetic dental work, but they are fine to use (unless your dentist says otherwise).

      Personally, I generally prefer Oral-B’s cleaning action, but I know many who have tried it and not got along with it. The same can be said for Sonicare.

      Clinical studies exist for both brands claiming how well they clean, but generally Oral-B takes the edge. However, in day to day life they really are just as good as each other when used correctly.

      The gizmos are nice to have, but you often pay a premium and very few really get the value from them.

      I would suggest you look at the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 and the Oral-B Pro 1500. Both are pretty much on par for specs.

      Prices are always subject to change, but the initial cost of the Sonicare may well be cheaper but over the lifetime of ownership, the Oral-B will be more cost effective.

      Both brushes do have pressure sensors, although I do believe Oral-B’s implementation is slightly better.

      Sonicare win’s on battery life, but the Oral-B will give you 2 weeks on a single charge.

      Ultimately it will be personal opinion. I wouldn’t rule out trying Oral-B again if I were you.

      The good news is Oral-B has a 60 day money back guarantee and Sonicare a 90 day, should you need to use it.

      I hope this helps. If you need any extra information, just let me know.

      Reply
    • Hi Alex.

      Yes, many clinical studies have found that oscillating rotating toothbrushes are better.

      However, these tests are run under clinical situations and in reality, when you take into account everyone’s different brushing styles, or not brushing for the right amount of time etc, in the real world, for most there is little difference.

      That said, our general preference is for oscillating brushes.

      When it comes to suggesting the best though we try and take in a number of factors and at present, the Sonicare still offers a fantastic clean and is in our opinion a better all round package at this time.

      Reply
  15. I have the benefit of buying a cariPRO through my insurance for a very very good price over retail.
    I have used oral b for about 15 years. The thing is I cannot find a true review of this brand. All reviews are from people who were given the product which tells me nothing really. Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The cariPRO is a brush we have become aware of in more recent months. We have found like you that most people have been given one to review and have fairly positive things to say, as you might expect.

      We hope to review this product in the near future, but I can’t say when this will be exactly.

      If I were you, stick to what you know and that is proven.

      Any further questions, please let me know.

      Reply
  16. If I wasn’t confused enough before, your site has gotten me there. Why is your Best electric toothbrush recommendation different for the UK than it is for the US?

    Reply
    • Hi Steve,

      The toothbrush features and prices differ slightly from UK to US – even models with the same / very similar name are not necessarily like for like. We therefore have different recommendations for each country. Let us know what sort of price range and features you’re interested in, and which country you’re in, and we’ll give a couple of recommendations.

      Reply
  17. Hi Jon,

    I would appreciate if you give a quick comparison summary between Sonicare 4100 and Oral-B 1500, using your categorized breakdowns. I believe many other prospective first time users would appreciate this comparison of two later models.

    Best,
    Amar.

    Reply
    • Hi Amar,

      A full written comparison is on the list to do, but here are the main differences for you.

      The cleaning action of the brush head is different. Oral-B has the small round oscillating-rotating brush head, with pulsations compared to the side to side sweeping movement of the Sonicare.

      The 4100 ProtectiveClean has Sonicares BrushSync brush head reminder system. You can learn more about that here.

      Sonicare offer a range or brush heads, but you ideally want to use their newer, more premium ‘BrushSync’ compatible heads to take full advantage of the features that are on offer.

      You will typically find each brush head from Oral-B is a couple of $ cheaper.

      The 4100 has just 1 cleaning mode (Clean) compared to the 2 modes of the Oral-B 1500 (Clean and Sensitive).

      The Pro 1500 has a visible pressure sensor on the rear of the handle. The 4100 has a pressure sensor, but not the visible light like the 1500.

      The Pro 1500 has a 2 week battery life as does the 4100, but in hand, testing has had the 4100 lasting up to a couple of weeks longer.

      The Pro 1500 comes with a US charging stand, as does the 4100, but the Sonicare stand has support for global voltages should you travel.

      Those are the main differences.

      Just to recap a few similarities. Both brushes are similarly, have a built-in 2 minute timer, quadpacer, rechargeable battery, 2 year warranty and 1 brush head in the box.

      i hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Thank you very much. It does help, and as I am not from the States, the voltage factor has the deciding say. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember reading about the voltage on your reviews, and believe your international readers would praise if you include this difference in your future reviews. Of course I read both reviews, and even the differentiating techniques of the two companies, but such eye-to-eye comparison tells me clearly what I’m gaining and what I’m losing for my choice. Thanks again and keep up your splendid in depth reviews!

        Reply
        • Hi Amar,

          I do normally include information about the voltage/charging stand in the reviews, but it is possible that I may have forgotten to do so on one or two reviews. If you need more information please let me know.

          Reply
  18. Hello, I’ve been thinking about getting my first electric toothbrush, and had settled on the Oral-B Smart 5000. Then I noticed I could get a Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100 for a similar price, and a bit of research lead me to your site. I see a lot of people say they prefer Oral-B brush heads, both for comfort and replacement cost. Any advice?

    Reply
    • Hi Andrew.

      Thanks for the comment.

      To be honest, it is often a personal preference at the end of the day.

      On a more technical level, the Oral-B’s do tend to clean the teeth better and the brush heads are cheaper to replace, hence this is why many prefer.

      Sonicare tend to be quieter brushes and feel a little more premium, whilst offering better battery life. If you use either brand of brush correctly, there will deliver a superior clean to a manual brush.

      If you have any specific queries you need answering then just let me know.

      Reply
  19. I have had a Braun 3D excel now for about 20 years that is just starting to go. (Got my money’s worth from that one!) I need a replacement and need it to be simple. The fewer choices the better for me to not over think and just get it done. Do you have a recommendation which would be most similar to that one?

    Reply
    • Hi Denise,

      I had to look that model up. I can see it is from the mid 2000’s so, yes it is fair to say you have gotten your value from that one!

      My go to recommendation for no nonsense, simple to use Oral-B brush is the Oral-B Pro 1000.

      It does a good job of cleaning the teeth and is great value.

      If you want to learn more, check out my review here.

      Any questions, just ask.

      Reply
  20. I owned a phillips toothbrush for years, bought the brushes online, but the battery finally died. I am 77 years old with many crowns and each toothbrush I have bought end up buzzing too fast, tickling my gums, tongue and shaking my teeth. Which toothbrush is available that is not so intensive and I do not like the round brush heads. Any help from you would be great.

    Reply
    • Hi.

      If you don’t like the round brush heads Sharon, it will be a case of sticking with Sonicare like you have had previously.

      Most are going to move at a high speed though unless you use them on a sensitive/gum care mode. Have you tried brushes with these more gentle modes? If so did you still feel the tickling/buzzing sensation?

      Reply
  21. I bought the Phillips Sonicare Diamondclean & even though I liked it, I will never buy another or recommend it. It was guaranteed for 2 yrs & a little after 2 yrs the battery went bad. There is no replacement for that. You might as well throw it away. The Phillips customer service people were “so sorry, but it is out of warranty “. They refused to do anything except sell be another at 10% off! Why on earth would I buy another one if the batteries are designed to go bad shortly after the warranty expires?
    I am now looking for a replacement toothbrush with a better battery life and/or better warranty on the battery and/or a toothbrush with a replaceable battery. Any help with this searc would be greatly appreciated.
    I should add that price is not my greatest concern.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Rhonda.

      Sorry to hear of the circumstances you have experienced.

      When it is out of warranty, there is little manufacturers offer to do, but this is the same with most products.

      I would not say that your experience is normal, most do last longer and we suggest the average life of an electric toothbrush is 3-5 years on average. Many will last longer.

      Happy to help in your search. In comparison there are few options you have that are quite as capable as the Sonicare DiamondClean, but have removable batteries.

      I think you would benefit from taking a look at some of the options listed in our best battery toothbrush article. The Fairywill 959 is the winner and will give a similar brushing experience, but there is the likes of the Sonicare PowerUp if you would prefer to stick to a better known brand.

      Sadly, to my knowledge, none offer longer warranties, in fact, most are just a year, but the purchase price tends to be less.

      The only exception to this is Quip, which is a subscription service. I believe their warranty lasts as long as you remain subscribed.

      I really hope this helps.

      Reply
  22. Great site, Jon!
    I just purchased a Sonicare 5100 Protective Clean Gum Health (with a coupon I paid $60 at CVS which I know is a very good value!).
    I am wondering now if upgrading to the 5100 (from a Sonicare Gum Health Series 3) is worth it. After reading your review, I am convinced the 5100 is a great brush but is it worth the extra features from the Series 3 which is only a year or two old? I don’t like clutter or waste and if I do keep the 5100 (I haven’t opened the box yet so can still return it) my other brush will never again be used again. I’m okay with that if you think the 5100 is worth the upgrade. Many thanks, Nora

    Reply
    • Hi Nora.

      Thanks for the compliment on the site. 😍

      Wow that was a good price on the 5100, good work!

      Whether it is worth it, is always a difficult question and is somewhat is a personal opinion.

      Normally, based on the presumption that the 3 series is working fine, unless you needed the extra features it would not normally be necessary to upgrade as the 3 series still does a good job.

      You will likely feel the 5100 is better, but there wont likely be significant benefits to you, although there are some nice features built in such as the pressure sensor, brush sync technology and the travel case that is included.

      Given the price you bought it at, it seems a shame to return it, but of course no point keeping it if you won’t use it.

      You obviously felt it was worth buying in the first place, so that says something to me.

      I would probably keep it.

      You could move to it and sell on the 3 series brush handle, you will get a few $ for it. Perhaps you could pass the handle onto a friend or family member who may benefit.

      You could always gift the 5100.

      Or keep it as a spare, should the 3 series fail.

      The choice is yours.

      Reply
      • Thanks so much for your thoughtful and thorough reply, Jon!
        I wish all review sites were as well researched and detailed as yours.

        Based upon your comments above, I’m keeping it. I do like the extra features, especially the pressure sensor and brush sync, which are lacking in my older Series 3.

        And, you’re right, since I felt it was worth buying in the first place, that says something to me also. You are very intuitive and I suspect it goes beyond electric toothbrush reviews! 🙂

        Thank you again, Jon!

        Nora

        Reply
        • No problem Nora.

          Thanks for the positive comments.

          Once you have used the 5100 for a couple of weeks, please do come back and let me (and others reading this site) know what you think. 😊

          Reply
    • Hi Amy.

      We use them on a day to day basis, so every opinion we give is on a first hand, have used basis.

      Scientific tests are not what we are about. The brands already do this and there is plenty of supporting data to show the benefits of electric toothbrushes.

      Reply
  23. Hi!

    Just a question, I have 2 oral b toothbrushes, the 7500 and the 8000. Usually I leave one in my house and carry the other with me all the time. Do you know if there’s a way to have both of them connected to the app?

    When I pair one of them, the other one is not recognized by the app. So I have to enter to settings and select “connect a new handle”, when I do that, the app don’t recognize the one that was connected.

    Best Regards

    Reply
    • Hi Pablo.

      This is a very good question. The answer is that you cannot have more than 1 brush connected to the app at any 1 time.

      To log all your cleans in the app you would have to use just 1 brush.

      I understand why you have got the setup you have, but most people have 1 brush that they use and this is how the app has been designed to work.

      Reply
    • Arian,

      The post you are referring to is our UK website.

      In the UK the toothbrushes available and their prices are different to the USA, which influences the list.

      The Pro 2 2500 is not a model available in the US, so this affects the list we offer to our US readers.

      I hope that helps. If you need more information, please do let me know.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the answer. What would you say is the best between the nr 1 on this list and the nr 1 on the uk list?

        Reply
        • Good question. They are both slightly different and very difficult to compare because things like price usually have to be considered.

          If I had to pick, it would be the Pro 2 2500 from Oral-B, but only just. It comes with a travel case and visible pressure sensor which I like.

          The BrushSync technology on the ProtectiveClean is great, but less important as is the longer battery life it offers.

          Reply
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