Choosing an electric toothbrush can be confusing.
There are many brushes to choose from and it can be hard to tell how they differ.
And to make matters more confusing there are now “smart” toothbrushes, which can be rather more expensive than the entry-level options.
Given these challenges, the aim of this post is to save you time and money when picking a new brush.
Here at Electric Teeth we thoroughly test the latest electric toothbrushes, so our recommendations remain well-informed and up to date. They are also dentist approved.
For this post we’ve put a lot of thought into boiling our recommendations down to 6 simple choices, and our number 1 choice is based on the best value for money.
You don’t need to spend loads to get a good brush.
The top of the range brushes do have their uses and we include a couple in our list, but the more affordable brushes can clean your teeth just as effectively.
If you’ve got any questions after reading this post, please ask in the comments.
Here are our 6 top rated electric toothbrushes for 2020
In the sections below you can read a bit more about each brush and the reason we have chosen it as the best in its category.
1. Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
Best value electric toothbrush
|Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100||28,811 Reviews||$49.95 $39.95||View on Amazon|
As close to perfect as can be. A stunning electric toothbrush that cleans well, looks good, is simple to use and has a battery life better than most. Superb value, it even reminds you when it’s time to change your brush head.
In terms of the number of features offered, our choices below for the best Oral-b and best Sonicare are superior, but we rate this as the best overall choice once the lower price has been accounted for.
Read our full Philips Sonicare Protective Clean 4100 Review
2. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart
Best If Money Isn’t An Issue
Best Sonicare electric toothbrush
|Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart||2,658 Reviews||$229.99 $189.95||View on Amazon|
If money is no object then this is the toothbrush to go for, it’s safe to say it’s the best Sonicare electric toothbrush and comes top of our ratings.
Innovation is packed in from brush head replacement reminders to Bluetooth connectivity and in case charging. A refined and premium brushing experience.
Read our full Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Review.
3. Oral-B iO
Best Oral-B electric toothbrush
|Oral-B iO Series 9||192 Reviews||$299.99||View on Amazon|
This is the Oral-B equivalent to the DiamondClean Smart.
The Oral-B iO is much sleeker and technologically advanced than its predecessors and is, without a doubt, the best Oral-B brush I have used.
It looks and feels more premium than any previous Oral-B brush and the battery life is staggering, lasting 3x longer than the 2 weeks advertised by Oral-B.
Built into the handle is a color display that allows you to select your cleaning modes and provides brushing feedback. There is only one other toothbrush I have seen with a color screen in the handle.
There are a whole host of clever features built into this toothbrush. A pressure sensor not only alerts you when you are brushing with too much pressure, but also when you are brushing with the correct pressure. The real-time tracking is also more accurate than on previous models.
The iO is quieter thanks to a new motor and the brushing experience is softer on the teeth and gums.
A premium power2go charging case is included in the box.
Oral-B has created a great product, but it does come at a price.
Read our full Oral-B iO Review.
4. Fairywill Sonic FW-507
Best Budget electric toothbrush
|Fairywill FW-507||7,052 Reviews||$29.99||View on Amazon|
Fairywill might not be a brand that many are familiar with, but this Chinese company produces a range of good products.
The FW-507 is a toothbrush with 3 different cleaning modes, from the standard clean to a more sensitive mode that uses less power from the motor.
There is the built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer to help encourage you to brush for the dentist recommended 2 minutes.
It is a slim and lightweight toothbrush, with a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts 30 days between charges. That is a lot longer than most toothbrushes. When it does require charging it plugs in via a USB cable.
You pay a slightly higher purchase price, but in the box, you get 8 brush heads so the ongoing ownership cost is reduced as a result.
There is too a travel case, which is really handy for those on the go, allowing you to protect the toothbrush when not in use.
Read our full Fairywill FW-507 Review.
5. Oral-B Pro 3000
Best For Receding Gums & Sensitive Teeth
|Oral-B Pro 3000||4,009 Reviews||$88.20||View on Amazon|
The Pro 3000 has 3 brushing modes, including gum care and sensitive. These slower and more gentle modes help stimulate blood flow and good gum health, whilst not being overly harsh on the soft gum tissue. It is worth buying a Pro Gum Care head, which is sold separately, as this has softer bristles than the head supplied.
The brush is slim and comfortable to hold in hand and the built-in timer and pacer help you brush your teeth evenly for the right amount of timer.
A red light shines when you brush too hard, to alert you, and stop you from doing any more damage to the teeth and gums. The brush can even connect to your smartphone and log your brushing routines, so you can show your dentist at your next checkup.
Read our full Oral-B Pro 3000 Review.
Best For Travel
The Netflix of the toothbrush world. An evolution of the manual toothbrush, it is compact, comfortable and powered by an AAA battery. Delivered to your door are the brush and replacement heads, there is a fantastic convenience.
You can order it on the Quip Website.
Read our full Quip review
Read more: best travel toothbrush
Electric Toothbrush Buyer’s Guide
Having given our answers above, what follows below is a buyer’s guide that further explains toothbrush choices.
We’ve tried to provide the information we think you’ll find most useful, without getting too bogged down in detail.
If you would like a more thorough explanation, you can view our full length buyer’s guide here.
Explaining our choice for ‘best overall’
At the top of this page, we’ve given our recommendations for the best electric toothbrush.
Part of the difficulty in answering the question is figuring out exactly what people mean by ‘best’; do they mean the best once all factors have been considered, or the best in terms of technology and performance?
Generally, we think people would like to know which electric toothbrush is the best without having to spend a lot. A brush that is affordable but has the most important features. We’ve therefore chosen the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 as the best, because:
- It’s not that expensive
- It has a built-in 2 minute timer
- It has a 30 second (quad-pacer) built-in
- It reminds you when to replace your brush head
- It comes with a pressure sensor
- It has a great battery life
The pressure sensor, timer and quad-pacer are features we consider worth paying for and they aren’t always included with slightly cheaper brushes. We give our thoughts on other features and how important they are in the next section.
|Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100||28,811 Reviews||$49.95 $39.95||View on Amazon|
For those that want truly the best in terms of performance (and if money isn’t an issue), we’d recommend the Oral-B iO or the DiamondClean Smart, which also happen to be the best Oral-B electric toothbrush and best Sonicare electric toothbrush respectively.
If we had to choose between the two, the DiamondClean Smart just takes the edge as a more complete package, despite the fact that the iO is the newer model.
Both of these brushes offer extra cleaning modes and smart technology, including real-time tracking. But that comes with a price and for some people it will be overkill. Unless you really feel you can benefit from these smart features, avoid them, and save yourself the cash.
Believe it or not the Sonicare Protective Clean 4100, which is considerably cheaper, can serve you just as well — it is our recommendation for the best overall brush.
The built-in timer and pacer encourage you to brush for the right amount of time, evenly across the mouth. The pressure sensor alerts you if you are brushing too hard, which is a cause of gum recession and the brush head replacement reminder system tells you when it is time to swap out the current head for a new one. Damaged, frayed or worn bristles can be damaging to the teeth and gums, this technology helps stop this damage from occurring.
Are there any new innovations to consider?
There are some interesting developments happening around toothbrush technology — “automatic” or “mouthpiece” toothbrushes are one such example.
Y-Brush is the most promising of the products we have tested so far. However, we don’t yet deem any to be a suitable replacement for the traditional manual or electric toothbrush.
Are there any soon-to-be-released products worth holding out for?
Ultimately no, there are not.
No upcoming products are going to revolutionise the way you brush your teeth or the standard of clean you can achieve.
Of course new products do come along fairly regularly so there could always be something else.
Oral-B has a model called the Oral-B Sense in the pipeline , which it describes as a “fitness tracker for the mouth”. This looks to be an interesting product, but as above, unless you really feel you need the features it offers, we wouldn’t suggest holding out for it.
If you are interested in new toothbrush technology, such as mouthpiece toothbrushes, there are a few products due for release over the coming months:
However this technology is very new and has limited clinical testing.
Based on the products we have tested so far, we would not recommend delaying the purchase of a regular toothbrush in favour of one of these products, especially as some of them will not be released until 2021.
How important are other features and factors?
In the following section, we include our own insight on the other questions you may have when shopping for an electric toothbrush. This is compiled having extensively tested the range of brushes available in the USA.
To make things nice and clear we have labeled each with what we consider to be of high, medium and low importance.
How important is a timer?
If we could have only one feature on the toothbrushes we recommend, a timer would be our first pick, its importance is highly underrated.
Too few people brush for the dentist recommended 2 minutes. Failing to do so puts your oral health at risk.
When brushing your teeth, it is all too easy to get distracted, misjudge time and think you have been brushing for longer than you really have.
The built-in timer, helps keep you focused, on track and brushing for the right amount of time. Counting down from the moment you switch the brush on, it alerts you when your 2 minutes are up. Only when the 2 minutes are up, should you stop brushing.
Some brushes even turn themselves off at the end of the 2 minute cleaning cycle (this is another desirable feature you may want to look out for).
Of course our top recommendation, the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 has a 2 minute timer built-in.
How important is a quad pacer?
Essentially this is another type of timer, that works in conjunction with the previously mentioned 2 minute timer.
A quadpacer is a very useful addition and can seriously impact how well you clean all the teeth in your mouth.
The inclusion of a quad pacer on an electric toothbrush helps us brush our teeth evenly. It is no good spending 2 minutes brushing just the top row of teeth, or just those front teeth, all need equal attention.
A quadpacer works by essentially splitting the mouth and the 2 minute cleaning time into 4 pieces.
2 minutes is equal to 120 seconds. Split 4 ways that gives 30 seconds.
If we now imagine breaking the mouth up into 4 sections, in section 1 you have your upper right teeth, section 2 your upper left, section 3 your lower right and section 4 your lower left.
The idea is that you spend 30 seconds cleaning each section.
What the quadpacer does is alert you as you hit these 30 second intervals. As you get the alert, you move to the next section.
The way this alert presents itself does differ from 1 brush to another, but normally you will get a brief pause in the brushing motion, which also causes a change in the sound the brush makes. In most instances, this is more than enough to alert you that it is time to change quadrant.
By the end of the 2 minute clean, you should have cleaned all 4 sections and given an even clean to all of the teeth in your mouth.
Our number 1 recommended brush, the Sonicare 4100, includes a quadpacer.
How important is a pressure sensor?
This is not an essential feature, but one that we feel is highly underrated.
It is most useful to new electric toothbrush users, but even those who have been using an electric brush for years can still benefit.
The bristles of a toothbrush need only skim the surface of the teeth and gums. You do not need to scrub the teeth aggressively to clean them and remove plaque and bacteria.
Sadly, because many of us have never been shown how to brush our teeth properly, we do brush the teeth with too much force. Over time this can lead to gum recession, a condition best avoided if possible.
Where you have gum recession, brushing too hard will also wear away the outermost surface of the tooth, causing what dentists call abrasion. Abrasion itself can result in sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.
The pressure sensor, therefore, is able to monitor the force with which you brush and alert you when you get a little too aggressive.
In most cases, as the sensor is activated it will alert you through a change in sound, a vibration in the handle and in some cases by switching on a light in what we call a visible pressure sensor.
During that time, the best brushes will also decrease the speed of the bristle movements to avoid doing too much damage to the teeth and gums. When the pressure is relieved the normal brushing power will return.
A pressure sensor is there to help and protect you and act as a gentle reminder to use a little less force and help you maintain a healthy smile.
As you might expect, our number 1 recommended toothbrush, the Sonicare 41000, includes a pressure sensor.
How important is price?
Our experience has suggested that most people have a perception that the more you spend, the better the electric toothbrush is and the better the clean you get from it.
The reality of the situation is, this is not true.
Whilst the most expensive brushes might be able to achieve better results, often these brushes are more expensive because they include features and accessories that are not essential.
Simply switching to the most basic and cheapest of electric toothbrushes will give you many of the benefits.
Even if you can afford and justify the most premium models, this is no benefit to you if you do not use the right brushing technique or brush for the right amount of time.
In most instances, by the time you spend more than $50 on a toothbrush the returns are diminishing for each dollar spent.
Our primary recommendation is the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100. It is one of the cheaper Sonicare models available today and is priced very competitively.
However, spending a bit more may bring features such as Bluetooth connectivity that might be beneficial to you and your oral health.
How important is battery life?
Often many people desire a toothbrush with a long battery life, but they rarely need it because when not in use it sits on the charging stand in the bathroom.
Therefore battery life needs not be a big part of your buying decision, however, it should be a consideration, particularly if you find yourself traveling frequently or unable to charge your toothbrush at regular intervals.
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 weeks use between charges.
Typically the cheaper the brush the less battery life it offers but this isn’t always the case.
Going away for a week or two, knowing you don’t need to take a charging stand to replenish the battery can be helpful.
If you do need a particularly long battery life, Philips Sonicare tends to be the best for this.
How important is the cost of replacement brush heads?
An electric toothbrush is a long term investment that benefits your oral health.
The cost of replacing the brush heads every 3 months, as is recommended can affect the long term ownership cost. Therefore you may want to consider this cost before making your decision.
Typically Oral-B brush heads are cheaper than Sonicare with a single head costing $5 and $8 respectively.
You will need to buy 4 new brush heads a year, so these costs can add up. But, you can often buy in bulk or get deals that bring the overall cost down a little.
In most instances, you have the choice of opting for a third party (compatible with) brush head. There may not be the same range of choice and the quality may be slightly inferior, but there are some great options at very good prices for both Sonicare and Oral-B.
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.
Is it useful to get a brush with a travel case included?
Far from the first thing you should consider when buying an electric toothbrush, but a travel case can be extremely handy, even if you are not a regular traveler.
What is often a plastic case that holds the handle and up to 2 brush heads can make it much easier to transport the toothbrush and the brush heads in those instances you need to.
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 in the heads remains in the case and not on anything else that might be in your bag; nobody likes toothpaste stains on their clothes!
Premium models like Oral-B’s iO range or Sonicare’s DiamondClean range even allow the toothbrush to be charged in their travel case. This means there is no need to mount on a charging stand, ideal for regular travellers.
How important is a gum cleaning mode?
This is not a mode that everyone needs, but if you are in the early stages of gum disease or experience sensitivity in the gums when brushing, you may find this mode helpful to ensure the gums become more tolerant to brushing and generally healthier.
Gum cleaning mode is lower powered than the standard cleaning mode and moves the brush head less aggressively, but in a way that cleans and encourages blood flow in the gums.
Having the mode available can act as a good reminder to brush the gums occasionally.
How important is sensitive cleaning mode?
Like gum cleaning mode, this is not a mode that everyone needs.
The motor tends to move more slowly for a gentle but still effective bristle movement over the teeth and gums.
It can be helpful if you have tender teeth and gums, and is particularly useful for those with gum disease or going through dental surgery.
How important is a whitening mode?
Arguably an overrated cleaning mode, this is not something you need on your electric toothbrush.
Whitening mode is normally just an extended (longer than 2 minutes) cleaning cycle, which allows extra time so that additional attention can be given to those front teeth that are most obvious to others.
No electric toothbrush, with or without a whitening mode can actually whiten the teeth.
All that is happening is that the power and efficacy of the toothbrush cleans the tooth surfaces to a higher standard and lifts off substances that have dulled and stained the teeth. Therefore it restores the natural color or whiteness that had been hidden under the stains.
How important is a tongue cleaning mode?
Remembering to clean your tongue in an important part of oral hygiene, but a dedicated mode for it is of low importance in the scheme of brush features — it’s not worth spending extra money on.
The tongue is home to lots of bacteria and is often one of the major causes behind bad breath.
Cleaning the tongue after brushing, simply by dragging the brush head across it several times can really help freshen the mouth up and for some be a cure to bad breath.
A tongue cleaning mode is just a shorter and lower-powered mode that is more convenient than others available on the brush.
How important is brush head shape and size?
Studies have shown that the small round brush heads like those found on Oral-B electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque and do essentially result in better oral health.
However, these studies have often been completed under strict conditions and the real world reality is that any electric toothbrush will provide meaningful benefits over a manual toothbrush.
To get the ‘best’ results the correct brushing technique and time needs to be adhered to and even the most scientifically engineered toothbrush head cannot control this, that is down to you.
It is worth paying a little attention to though, particularly if you have a small mouth. It may well be that the smaller round brush head will allow you to reach areas of the mouth that other brush heads would not.
More important than brush head size is adopting the right brushing technique.
How useful are the smart features in the likes of the Oral-B iO and DiamondClean Smart?
Smart features on offer today can be very useful, but they are far from essential and usually come with a premium price tag.
They can also add a certain convenience to the way in which you use and interact with the brush.
Sonicare’s BrushSync brush head replacement reminder system is a great example of how technology can be used very effectively — it reminds you exactly when you need to replace the brush head. This is a luxury, though, and only worth paying for if you’re shopping without a budget.
Is it worth having Bluetooth?
It is not essential and we would not encourage you to spend a lot more to get a brush with Bluetooth technology unless you feel you will make good use of it.
You need to invest a little time to get the most from Bluetooth and that may include changing habits of a lifetime.
In-built Bluetooth technology can send data about your brushing back to your smartphone. This data can then be used to help educate you on how to improve your technique and in turn improve your oral health.
We acknowledge that there are certainly significant benefits for some users. The best Bluetooth equipped brushes can be likened to having a dentist on hand each time you brush.
However this does involve you making use of it and fitting it into your routine, so consider whether this is likely to happen before you spend extra cash on it.
Further to the above, as part of our extensive hands-on testing of brushes we’ve tried to answer any of the questions you may have before and after buying.
Browse the sections below for more information, and feel free to ask a question in the comments if there’s anything we’ve missed.
What are the benefits of an electric toothbrush?
The following are the key benefits to owning an electric toothbrush:
- Consistent power delivery for a dentist-like clean
- Can remove up to 100% more plaque than a manual brush
- Reduces tooth decay and improves gum health
- Can help to eliminate bad breath
- Timers and pacers to encourage a 2 minute clean
- Various cleaning modes
- Differing styles of brush head to achieve different results
- Fading bristles remind you when to change your brush head
- A relatively low lifetime cost
- Can improve your oral hygiene routine
Is an electric toothbrush worth the investment?
The increased efficiency with which they clean, the convenience they offer and the way in which they encourage you to brush for the right amount of time can certainly pay off.
Whilst there is an initial purchase price, this is offset over time as you could have fewer or cheaper dental bills, not to mention healthier teeth and gums.
Purchasing at a reasonable price helps to ensure the investment pays off. Our primary recommendation, the ProtectiveClean 4100 is a great example of this — it includes the ‘core’ features we recommend having, but doesn’t pile on unnecessary extras.
Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual toothbrush?
The short answer is yes, electric is better than a manual toothbrush when it comes to effectively cleaning your teeth.
We will be the first to say a manual brush is adequate for daily teeth cleaning, but the clinical studies and trials show how an electric brush is better.
The most important thing is that you brush your teeth with the right technique, for two minutes twice a day.
Do electric toothbrushes damage teeth?
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. This effect is just as likely to happen with a manual toothbrush.
Do electric toothbrushes whiten teeth?
No, electric toothbrushes do not whiten teeth.
Electric toothbrushes can help prevent and remove stains on your teeth, but no brush can whiten teeth beyond their natural whiteness.
The regularity with which you clean, your diet, lifestyle and toothpaste can all have a bearing.
How long do electric toothbrushes last?
The average life span is 3-5 years.
Manufacturers normally offer a 2 year warranty should the brush fail sooner.
Many brushes will last a lot longer and we know of many people still using toothbrushes that are 10 years old.
Can you share an electric toothbrush?
Although almost one in ten (9.7 percent) said they had shared a toothbrush (Oral Health Foundation, 2014), it is not advised.
Bristles of the brush head can harbor bacteria and germs that can have a negative consequence on your health when shared.
The interchangeable brush heads of an electric toothbrush make sharing a brush handle easier and possible.
In fact, we are advocates of sharing the handle (not the brush head) as it is a great way to keep ownership costs down and get extra value from your toothbrush.
Can electric toothbrushes get wet?
With few exceptions electric toothbrushes are designed in such a way that they can be rinsed under a tap for cleaning, wiped with a cloth and exposed to water.
The vulnerable electronics are sealed inside the brush handle with measures in place to stop water from getting in.
Different manufacturers have different advice and guidance on using in the shower, for example. At no point should the brush be submerged in water.
Electric Toothbrush Reviews
We’ve made it our business to review all of the top brushes in the US so that we can compile a ratings post like this.
We’ve listed some of our most popular reviews below. If there’s a particular review you’re looking for, use the search box at the top of the page. If you still can’t find it, leave a comment to let us know.
You can view a list of all our electric toothbrush reviews here.
- Oral-B iO Review
- Oral-B Pro 7500 Review
- Oral-B Genius X Review
- Fairywill FW-917 Review
- Quip Toothbrush Review
- Oral-B Pro 500 Review
- Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 Review
- Foreo ISSA 2 Review
- Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Review
- Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 Review
Electric Toothbrush Comparisons
If you’re choosing between two or three brushes, you may find some of our side-by-side comparisons useful.
These include actual photos of the brushes (we buy them in to review and compare them) and our recommendation of which we think is the best choice.
Choose a comparison from the list below, or use the search box at the top of the page if there’s a particular one you’re looking for.
You can view a list of all our toothbrush comparisons here.
- Oral-B iO vs DiamondClean Smart
- Oral-B iO Series 7 vs Series 8 vs Series 9
- Quip vs Sonicare vs Oral-B
- Oral-B Genius X vs Genius Pro 8000
- Sonicare 4100 vs 5100 vs 6100
- Oral-B 1000 vs 1500
- Oral-B Pro 6000 vs Genius Pro 8000
- Sonicare DiamondClean vs Genius Pro 8000
- Sonicare DiamondClean vs DiamondClean Smart
What are your thoughts & opinions?
Is there a brush you’re thinking of buying? Not sure about the difference between two brushes? We’re always interested to hear from readers, so let us know any thoughts, questions or opinions you have by leaving a comment below.