Our recommendations are independently selected and dentist-approved. We may earn a commission if you buy something. Why trust us?

Best water flosser 2023

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Gemma Wheeler

(GDC Number: 259369)

Our recommendations

Best countertop (corded): Waterpik Aquarius (Amazon, eBay)

Best cordless: Waterpik WP-560 Cordless Advanced (Amazon, eBay)

Best budget: Fairywill 5020E (See advice here before buying) or Panasonic EW-DJ10 (Amazon, Ebay)

Best for travel: Waterpik Sidekick (Amazon, eBay)

Best Cordless countertop: Waterpik ION (Amazon, eBay)

Best for repair: Hydro Floss (Amazon)

Water flossers are an alternative to string floss

Instead of relying on traditional string floss, water flossers can be a viable substitute. Research indicates that incorporating a water flosser in conjunction with regular tooth brushing can decrease bleeding gums by 37%, a recommendation also supported by the European Federation of Periodontology.

Our in-house dentist Dr. Gemma Wheeler notes that interdental brushes are the most effective method of cleaning, but she does recommend water flossers for some people: 

“A water flosser doesn’t replace interdental brushes, which are the most effective interdental cleaning method. My recommendation to patients is to find a cleaning method that works for them, and there is certainly a place for water flossers. The most effective type of interdental cleaning is the one that you will actually do.”

In this post we recommend some reliable water flossers based on vigorous hands-on testing and advice from Dr. Wheeler. 

What to look for in a water flosser

In this post we offer recommendations for both corded (countertop) and cordless water flossers. If you have space (approx 6 x 6 inches) for one in your bathroom, we recommend going for countertop over cordless — we explain this in more detail in this section.

Both types of flosser come with similar features, not all of which are necessary. From our hands-on testing, the most essential features of a water flosser are:

  • 45 seconds or more flossing time: enough time to get a thorough clean without having to refill
  • 2 or more pressure modes: important if you have any sensitivity
  • Rotating nozzle (or handle if it’s a countertop flosser): to help you reach all parts of the mouth
  • Comfortable grip (for a cordless): a large area for the palm and fingers to grip onto is better than a slim handle. It’s also helpful if the grip is made from materials that prevent slippage
  • Water control button on the handle (countertop): this makes it easy to stop, start and pause the jet of water
  • Hose storage (countertop): this helps to keep the bathroom tidy

Best countertop

Waterpik Aquarius WP-660

$69.99 on eBay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why it’s the best countertop flosser:

The Aquarius WP-660 has all of the essential features we look for in a water flosser. It is a suitable option whether you are taking proactive steps to clean interdentally, have periodontal disease or if you’re recovering from oral surgery.

It is not portable like our best cordless choice below, the WP-560, but the slim handle is easy to hold and move around the mouth. The WP-560 is great, but, the smaller handle on the Aquarius gives the feeling of greater control. In-hand comfort is really quite important. In our testing, we found it easy to control the water flow from the handle, and the water pressure was easy to adjust with the rotating dial.

The WP-660 is fairly compact with hose storage to keep things neat, although there is no place to store any excess power cable. It actually has a smaller profile than you might imagine and although it’s bulky, it doesn’t feel as dominant on a countertop as you might expect

An inherent benefit of a countertop option is that it has a larger water tank.  The 600ml capacity means that you can floss for longer or get multiple flossing sessions from one single fill. There are 10 different pressure settings on the Aquarius Professional. This is more than you need, but it does give a very finite level of control, which we like. Each setting varies by 10PSI. 

Read our Waterpik Aquarius Review.

What we like

  • 80+ second flossing time
  • Easy to rotate the nozzle
  • 10 pressure settings
  • Water control button on handle
  • Hose storage

What we dislike

  • No place to stow excess power cable
  • It’s a more expensive option
Waterpik WP660 Water Flosser
The small handle of the Waterpik Aquarius provides great control

Best cordless

Waterpik Cordless Advanced WP-560

$59 – $79 on eBay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why it’s the best cordless: 

The Cordless Advanced is one of the most comfortable cordless flossers we have used. Because of its portability, it’s also better suited to those who travel. The shape and the large area of raised dots on the back make it lovely to hold. You feel in control, even when you want to rotate the nozzle.

The nozzle is easy to rotate so you can reach all the teeth and clean the entire mouth. In fact, rotating the nozzle on the Advanced is possibly easier than on the Aquarius.  The large wheel used for rotating the nozzle feels natural to use with good feedback. Being able to rotate the nozzle makes it easier to reach all parts of the mouth. 

The 207ml tank does offer 45 seconds of use on the most powerful of the 3 pressure modes. This is about half the time of the Waterpik Aquarius. You don’t have to rush with either, but a compromise for a more portable option is the smaller tank.

Read our Waterpik WP-560 Review.

What we like

  • 45+ second flossing time
  • Easy to rotate the nozzle
  • Grippy handle
  • 3 pressure settings
  • Easy to attach magnetic charger
  • Travel pouch included in the box

What we dislike

  • Price – it is expensive
Waterpik WP-560 Cordless Advanced
The WP-560 has the most comfortable grip of the cordless water flossers we’ve tested

Best budget

Fairywill 5020E

Best water flosser 2023 1

$30.99 on eBay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

There aren’t very many good options if you want a reliable ‘budget’ water flosser.

On Amazon you will find several products under $30, but do be aware that the product may fail a lot sooner than a product from a well-known brand such as Sonicare or Waterpik.

One such example is Fairywill, which is arguably the best-known ‘cheap’ brand that makes these kinds of products.

Fairywill products are no longer available on Amazon.

This is due to the way it has gone about gathering positive reviews for its products.

As a result of this, and because of direct reports we have received about how frequently Fairywill products fail, we no longer recommend Fairywill as a budget alternative.

However, we are still including the Fairywill 5020E in this post because there are very few alternatives if you want a budget recommendation.

If you can afford to, we strongly advise going for one of our other recommendations above. Failing that, you could consider the Panasonic EW-DJ10 (Amazon, Ebay), although it is more basic than the 5020E.

The EW-DJ10 does have the advantage that it folds up, so it is a good option if you travel about a lot and want to take it with you. For more detail, see our Panasonic EW-DJ10 Review.

The Fairywill 5020E has a few more features, but again, you may run into reliability issues. It lasts an impressive 90 seconds when using the most powerful of the 3 modes available.

In our testing, the cleaning performance was comparable to other water flossers. The mouth felt clean after each use. But, it is not supported by clinical evidence. The studies simply haven’t been completed.

The nozzle can be rotated to help reach all areas of the mouth. But we found it much more difficult to rotate than the WP-560, particularly when in use.

What we like

  • 90+ seconds flossing time
  • 3 pressure settings
  • Long battery life
  • USB charging

What we dislike

  • Reliability issues reported by users
  • Difficult to rotate the nozzle
  • Warranty is only 1 year
  • Small port cover that is easy to lose
Fairywill 5020E Cordless Water Flosser

Best travel

Waterpik Sidekick

$85-$110 on eBay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why it’s the best for travel:

The Sidekick is a unique and compact water flosser, designed with portability in mind. Although it requires connection to an outlet, the power adapter conveniently slides into the unit’s base, which then fits into the reservoir, creating a travel-friendly package. Despite its square design, it occupies minimal additional space compared to a cordless model.

One notable advantage of the Sidekick is its extended flossing time. Its 400ml/13oz tank provides approximately twice the usage time of a cordless model. Although it lacks a water control switch and nozzle rotation capability, these are reasonable trade-offs for the slim handle and enhanced portability.

A switch on the unit’s base allows you to select from five different pressure settings, offering precise control over the water flow’s intensity.

Read our Waterpik Sidekick Review.

What we like

  • Compact & travel friendly
  • 5 different pressure settings
  • Good size tank

What we dislike

  • No ability to rotate the nozzles
  • Use different tips to other Waterpik units
  • A more expensive option
Best water flosser 2023 2

Best cordless countertop

Waterpik ION cordless

$45-$90 on eBay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

This is the first countertop water flosser we know of that features a built-in rechargeable battery, enabling usage without being tethered to a power outlet. You can enjoy approximately a month’s worth of use before needing to recharge. When recharging is necessary, the magnetic charging cable is incredibly convenient.

While this model is considerably more compact than most other countertop units, it is not explicitly designed for travel. It does not include a case, and its size remains relatively large, making it less than ideal for taking on a week-long overseas holiday, for example.

Approved by the American Dental Association, this water flosser effectively cleans between teeth, and the rotating nozzle, water control button on the handle, and 10 different pressure settings provide substantial overall control.

Regrettably, the compact handle can feel somewhat awkward to use at times. It appears that design has taken precedence over usability, as rotating the nozzle can be difficult. The addition of more textured gripping points would significantly improve the experience.

Read our Waterpik ION Review.

What we like

  • Doesn’t need to be plugged in
  • 10 pressure settings
  • Compact form factor
  • 100+ seconds of usage time
  • Water control button on handle

What we dislike

  • Difficult to rotate the nozzle
  • Compact, but not really travel friendly
Best water flosser 2023 3

Best to repair

Hydro Floss

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The Hydro Floss isn’t the most visually appealing countertop unit, in our opinion. However, it compensates for this with a number of features, including its ease of repair. We do not wish to imply that it will fail sooner than other flossers, but if you ever need to fix it or replace a worn-out part, Hydro Floss sells individual components on their website. This level of access to parts (apart from tips) is not offered by many other brands, and we wish more would follow suit.

This water flosser boasts one of the largest tanks we have seen, holding 27 fluid ounces, ensuring you won’t run out of water while flossing. Similar to other models, it offers water flow control via a button on the handle and water pressure adjustment through a control dial on the base unit. Hydro Floss has even designed the base to neatly store the power cable, which is a feature not commonly found in other units.

Read our Hydro Floss Review.

What we like

  • Large water tank
  • Rotating nozzle
  • Excess cable storage
  • Easy to source replacement parts

What we dislike

  • Dated design
  • 1 year warranty
Best water flosser 2023 4

Recently tested products

We have recently completed testing on 4 relatively new models from Waterpik. Each has its pros and cons, but none have resulted in a change to our top recommended products, although the Radiance gets very close. It is arguably the best of the latest flossers we have tested. It is very similar to the Aquarius with a slight refinement in its design. It is fairly quiet in use, has 10 pressure settings and easy to use on handle controls. The slight downside is that the tip isn’t quite as easy to rotate as the Aquarius.

The Sonic Fusion 2.0 Professional is the 2nd generation of Waterpik’s flossing toothbrush; it is a water flosser and electric toothbrush combined into one handle. It is an improvement on the original, but we are still not won over. Having a totally separate electric toothbrush and water flosser is a more practical and effective solution in our opinion if you have the countertop space for them.

For those looking for a more portable and cordless option, the Waterpik Express is a great value option and is one of a select few to be powered by AA batteries. It does the fundamental job of cleaning the interdental spaces well. It is easy to grip hold off too. However, the nozzle is not easy to rotate and you don’t have any travel friendly accessories in the box.

The ION is another cordless unit, but it is a bit different in that it has all the benefits of a countertop unit. Although technically cordless it is closer to a countertop unit with the large water tank and 10 different pressure settings. You just have the benefit of a rechargeable battery built-in so you don’t actually have to be tethered to a power socket.

Other flossers we have tested

Only a select few of the water flossers we test actually make it into this best list.

And yet, we can’t say that any of the water flossers we have tested are really bad.

We have been most disappointed by the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion.  Admittedly this is a hybrid product, rather than a standalone water flosser.  It combines an electric toothbrush and water flosser to create a flossing toothbrush.

Unfortunately, the Fusion isn’t great at either job.  It is noisy and cumbersome to use.  You don’t get to enjoy all the benefits of an electric toothbrush and water flosser. You are better off sticking with separate items. A regular electric toothbrush and one of Waterpik’s other countertop water flossers.

Waterpik Sonic-Fusion on table
We found the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion 2.0 to be disappointing during our testing.

The Waterpik WF-06 and WF-05 are 2 countertop models that have ‘whitening’ capabilities.  The WF-05 Whitening Professional is the premium model.  

Both allow you to add whitening tablets into the handle of the flosser.  As the water passes through, it dissolves the tablet. It results in a mildly abrasive solution being pushed against the tooth surface. The idea is that it will remove light surface stains from your teeth.

The tablets contain glycerine which helps to lift the stains off the tooth surface. Silica, also contained in the tablets, is an abrasive ingredient which also helps remove stains. Both are effective stain removers and are commonly found in professional polishing pastes.

In theory, it works. Waterpik has done its own research and found it to be effective at removing stains.

In practice, people are often disappointed. It is an expensive solution that doesn’t deliver the tooth whitening results most would expect from Waterpik calling it a “whitening” water flosser.  It is only ever going to remove extrinsic staining. It won’t change the natural color of the teeth like professional bleaching.

Oral-B is a major player in the oral care space.  It has produced water flossers in the past, the Oxyjet being the most well-known.

But it has been quite some time since it has competed properly within this space.  Recently it has attempted to change this with its new Water Flosser Advanced.

Given its experience and might within the industry we expected better.

It has 45 second flossing time and at least 2 pressure settings. It has 2 weeks of battery life and a water resistant design.

It has a rotating nozzle and is comfortable to hold.

But, it does not feel the best quality. The retaining clip for the water tank feels weak, and the nozzle does not rotate easily

The nozzles do rotate, but not all that easily. 

The different pressure settings and modes are made more complicated than they need to be.

It comes with a bulky charging stand that is less than ideal for travel.

It is more expensive than it should be when accounting for these shortcomings.

Best Cordless Water Flosser 2021 5
The Water Flosser Advanced from Oral-B doesn’t feel the best quality

As you will have seen from our top choices, Waterpik does make some excellent products.

The Waterpik Cordless Advanced takes the top spot for best cordless water flosser.  A good alternative is the Cordless 3000 Power Flosser from Philips.

It replaces the AirFloss that came before it.  It wasn’t a true water flosser, offering bursts of air mixed with water.  The Cordless 3000 is and it is a very good product.

It is arguably comparable to the Cordless Advanced, in fact you get longer usage times from it as the tank is bigger and the X shaped water jet allows for a larger area to be cleaned with each pass of the teeth and gums.

However, it isn’t perfect, the Waterpik’s nozzles rotate easier and replacement nozzles are more affordable.

Fairywill has built a reputation for offering cheap alternatives to the major brands.

However, reports have emerged about Fairywill products breaking sooner than they should, which is one of the risks of going for cheaper products from less well-known brands.

They also don’t come with the refinements of their more expensive counterparts.

For example, with the Fairywill 5020E you have to connect a power cable into the flossers.  The Cordless Advanced and Cordless Select WF-10 have magnetic chargers.

In fact, the Cordless Select has a magnetic USB charging cable. This is super convenient and great for travelers.

Yet, despite this benefit, it loses favour because of the cramped grip.  You don’t get the same in hand comfort as the vast majority of other models. We found it one of the most awkward models to use.

Best water flosser 2023 5
Waterpik WF-10 Cordless Select has a nice charger but a cramped grip.

You don’t have to worry quite so much about in hand comfort with the likes of the Waterpik Nano or Ultra.  These are countertop units. They have slim handles, which the fingers and thumbs easily hold onto.

The Nano and Ultra are both good options. But, there is little to differentiate between them. When you consider their features and price, our preference is the Aquarius.

The Hydro Floss is another slim handled countertop option.  It is quite unique, because it has one of, if not the largest water tanks of any unit we have tested. It has an 800ml capacity.

Although it comes with a standard style jet tip, it is the only company to offer cannula style tips for the flosser, to get deep into periodontal pockets. 

It also boasts the benefit of adding a magnetic charge to the water, which is supposed to help.  In practice, you can’t tell the difference. At least we couldn’t.

It is a little dated in its design, but it is certainly functional.

The Hydro Floss or any of the Waterpik units will ever be as cheap as the east Asian brands — Truewell, Hangsun, Atmoko and Nicewell to name a few —  nor will you get as many accessories in the box.

But if you do want a cheaper option from Waterpik, the WF-03 Cordless Freedom is a good option.

Waterpik Cordless Freedom Water Flosser Review 11
The WF-03 Cordless Freedom is a cheap option from Waterpik

The compromise here is the small water tank. It is just 150ml. This means less flossing time per fill of the tank. It also has removable AA batteries rather than a built-in rechargeable one. But, in its favour, you do have the option of the different types of interchangeable nozzles. You don’t with most other cheap models. 

As this page has shown, Waterpik dominate the water flosser market. It comes as no surprise that they have been relatively unchallenged by a major brand.

Oral-B has had a go, but in all honesty, they are not good enough devices. Philips’ attempt with their Sonicare Power Flosser range of flossers on the other hand though is a different story.

No less than 4 different countertop models and a cordless device have been introduced.  They are quite similar, with subtle differences.  Our power flosser comparison highlights the notable differences.

All are very good, but it is the power flosser 3000 that is the best of the countertop units.

Unsurprisingly there is some similarity between the 3000 and the Waterpik Aquarius.  The Power Flosser is the better looking. It is quieter in use too.   It is the best alternative to Waterpik from a reputable manufacturer.  But, a couple of small details let it down.  It has no rotating nozzle and it isn’t quite as good value for money.

All flossers, irrespective of brand, have their pros and cons. For our main recommendations, we have chosen products that are comfortable to use and come with the features that we regard as essential. Comfort is important when it comes to interdental cleaning — the more comfortable a product is, the more likely you are to build a good flossing habit.

Our budget pick isn’t quite as comfortable to use, but it still has the features you need and it’s a good option if you don’t want to pay the price tag of the high end models.

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. In the sections below, we include the most relevant and important information about shopping for a water flosser. If you’ve got any questions or would like further advice, please leave a comment below.

Who should use a water flosser?

Overall, water flossers are not the most effective method for plaque removal. But they still show benefits for gum health.

They are a good option for someone who has tried and failed to use interdental brushes.

Our in-house dentist Dr. Gemma Wheeler says:

“I would recommend a water flosser to certain people:

  1. Those who have limited hand mobility and so struggle with interdental brushes. 
  2. People with large gaps where a brush doesn’t fit but food gets trapped.
  3. Those who won’t use floss and brushes due to a gag reflex, negative experience, or who can’t get the technique right.
  4. Someone with braces, to help clean around the brackets.

I also say anyone who wants to try them can add them to an existing routine e.g. interdental brushes. 

Even with the evidence available, I know that the most effective type of interdental cleaning is the one that you will actually do. I want to support people to make flossing a habit.”

The water flosser features we regard as essential

From handling and testing lots of water flossers, we’ve come to regard some features as essential, and others as nice to have but not a dealbreaker if they are missing.

We deem the essential features of a good portable flosser to be:

45 seconds or more flossing time

Flossers with a water tank of around 200ml will achieve this. 45 seconds is enough time to get a thorough clean without having to refill. It can make the flosser slightly heavier but it is a worthwhile trade off.

2 or more pressure modes

If you have sensitive gums it is useful to be able to adjust the pressure.

Water control button on the handle (countertop)

A button or switch on the flosser handle allows for much greater control of the water flow. This makes it easy to stop, start and pause the jet of water. No need to use the on/off switch on the countertop unit itself.

Rotating nozzle (or handle for countertop)

Having a 360 degree rotating nozzle makes it easier to reach all parts of the mouth.

Comfortable grip (cordless)

From our testing, a large area for the palm and fingers to grip onto is better than a slim handle. It’s also helpful if the grip is made from materials that prevent slippage, particularly when wet.

Hose storage (countertop)

Having a convenient place to tuck away the hose when not in use avoids trailing cables around the bathroom.

Features that are nice to have, but not critical

There are lots of extra features that can be built into a flosser.  These are in our opinion not essential. They are nice to have if they are included:

600ml+ water tank (countertop)

Having a large tank allows for multiple uses from a single fill, or extended flossing times for those who need more time when cleaning.

2+ week battery life (cordless)

A battery life stated as being at least 2 weeks allows for a good amount of use between charges.

Battery status/charge light (cordless)

A battery status or charge light gives you a clear indication of how much power actually remains. You know when it will need recharging and there is less chance the flosser will cut out on you mid session.

Backed by clinical evidence

Scientific studies that have tested the product and confirm what it can achieve.

Approved by dental bodies and organisations

Independent assessment of the product and any clinical data that exists. Examples include the Oral Health Foundations “Approved” status and the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

Compact footprint

A compact footprint reduces the amount of space the water flosser takes up in your bathroom.

Power cable storage (countertop)

If the flosser comes with a mechanism for keeping excess cables tidy it is a bonus. It helps to keep the bathroom tidy and makes it easier to stow the flosser away if necessary.

Mode/pressure setting notification lights (cordless)

Visible indicators to show the selected mode.

Variety of flossing tips

Interchangeable tips make the water flosser more adaptable to different use case scenarios. For example, some tips are designed to safely reach into periodontal pockets. These allow for deeper cleaning beneath the gum-line.

Nozzle storage 

Some flossers come with a place to stow any additional/replacement nozzles, which helps to keep the bathroom tidy. A removable lid cum storage compartment also works well.

Travel pouch/case (cordless)

It’s a bonus if the flosser comes with a protective cover to prevent damage, leaks or accidental activation when in transit, but it’s not a deal-breaker if it isn’t included.

USB charging (cordless)

USB charging offers a more convenient option as the cable tends to be smaller with no bulky power brick. It’s particularly useful for regular travelers.

2 Year warranty

Ideally the flosser will come with a warranty of 2 or more years so that you have the peace of mind that should the product fail it will be repaired or replaced. Typically products do come with a 2 year warranty, but there are some that only come with 1 year.

Cordless vs corded (countertop) water flossers

If you have space (approx 6 x 6 inches) for one in your bathroom, we recommend going for a countertop over a cordless water flosser. If it is cordless that you’re interested in, we make a few more suggestions in our best cordless water flosser post. There is no evidence to suggest one is better than the other. There are scientific studies that confirm the effectiveness of both. In our own hands-on testing, we have found them to be as effective as each other.

We’ve found countertop models slightly more comfortable to use. They also have larger water reservoirs, meaning they have longer cleaning times and need to be refilled less often. They often come with extra features, such as extra pressure settings or a built-in timer.

That being said, a cordless water flosser is still a perfectly good option if you don’t have space for a countertop model, or if you travel a lot. Countertop units need a power outlet. They need to be plugged in for them to work. You are therefore more restricted on where you place them. Cordless units are wire-free. This makes them more portable and convenient, particularly if you don’t have a socket in your bathroom.

Examples of how much space countertop flossers take up

One of the drawbacks to countertop water flossers is that they are larger.

Each model is different, but you generally need an area 6 x 6 inches or 15 x 15cm on your countertop to accommodate the footprint of the water flosser.

You then want to have about 10-12 inches (25-30cm) space above this free for the unit to stand upright.

Each corded unit has a power cable that is around 3-4ft (90-120cm) in length.  The hose from the handle tends to be of a similar length too.

A maximum distance from the power socket and the sink is approximately 2 meters. Any more than this and you will likely struggle.

If you are short of countertop space, one option is to store the flosser elsewhere and get it out as and when you need it.  Many people place it in a bathroom cabinet.  This overcomes the space issue, but regular use can become more challenging as it takes more effort and time to get it setup, and there isn’t the visual reminder from it sitting in plain sight.

Here is a table comparing the sizes of some of the most popular water flossers.

Waterpik Ultra Professional/Aquarius Professional4.70 inches (11.94 cm)3.80 inches (9.65 cm)10.35 inches (26.29 cm)
Waterpik Ultra Plus5.60 inches (14.22 cm)5.30 inches (13.46 cm)9.90 inches (25.15 cm)
Waterpik Sidekick5.70 inches (14.48 cm)3.90 inches (9.91 cm)4.84 inches (2.29 cm)
Waterpik Nano5.40 inches (13.72 cm)4.40 inches (11.18 cm)6.80 inches (17.27 cm)
Hydro Floss8.27 inches (21cm)3.93 inches (10cm)4.92 inches (12.5cm)

A bit more on why having different pressure settings is useful

You might not need to switch between them all the time, but having the choice is valuable. Whilst countertop water flossers can have as many as 10 settings, 2 or 3 is common for cordless models. You want at least a low and a high setting. As the names imply, the pressure varies between these.  Low is more gentle and high more intense.

Pressure is measured in Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) or Bar. Typically the pressure ranges from 10 to 100 PSI, although some models reach as much as 160 PSI. Low pressure tends to be around 30-45 PSI and high 60-80 PSI, subject to model. 

The extra power can blast away more debris, but sheer force is not essential and may feel uncomfortable to some people.  Lower pressure with the correct technique is equally as effective. There is no evidence to support using higher power over a lower power. A low setting is ideal for inflamed, sensitive and bleeding gums. If you have healthy teeth and gums, the higher setting can be used.

Best water flosser 2023 6
Having a variety of pressure settings is useful if you have any sensitivity or gum issues

The evidence for and against water flossers

Water flossers are one of the less common forms of interdental cleaning. They are safe, with little ability to cause damage to the gums. Going by the studies that have been completed, it seems that water flossers do not fully remove plaque. Despite this, they can still have a positive effect on the gums, as we explain below.

Waterpik publishes its own clinical research

Waterpik has listed a large amount of clinical research on its website. Some people could perceive this as biased. But it is worth noting that it is independently scrutinised to be published in peer-reviewed journals. This means that you can discount any obvious problems with their data. However, do consider that they are unlikely to promote data that doesn’t support their hypotheses (read: advertising claims). Many of the articles are not available in full online, only the Waterpik summary or the paper abstracts.

Highlights from their research are (the link will lead you to the journal article, not the Waterpik page):

  • Using a water flosser in addition to toothbrushing reduces bleeding gums and plaque levels. Lyle et al. compared bleeding scores and plaque levels in two groups: those using only an electric toothbrush; those using an electric toothbrush + water flosser. They found that the group who used the water flosser had decreased levels of bleeding gums. The plaque levels were also lower in those using the water flossers. Although these results were of less statistical significance.
  • Waterpiks reduce gingival inflammation more than flossing does. Barnes et al. 2005 study found a Waterpik to be more effective than string floss in reducing gingival bleeding. This study compared manual toothbrush + floss to manual toothbrush + water flosser and sonic toothbrush + water flosser. They miss out a key comparison group: sonic toothbrush + flossing. This makes the evidence somewhat skewed in favour of the water flosser. Much of the benefit of switching to a powered brush is presented as being the water flosser, but there is no way to compare.
  • Water flossers are effective and safe for implants. Kotsakis et al. showed that water flossers are as effective as interdental brushes and more effective than chlorhexidine mouthwash. They reduce the amount of bacteria on implants, without damaging the implant surface. 

Independent reviews and papers support most of these claims

Independent reviews by Ng and Lim as well as Worthington et al showed that water flossers do not reduce plaque levels. This is also shown in Waterpik’s own study in 2011. Despite ineffective plaque removal, water flossers do reduce inflammation of the gums. They reduce bleeding from the gums, an indicator for active gum disease.

Water flossers might not reduce levels of plaque, but it is thought they do disrupt forming plaque from above and below the gum level. The theory is that this changes the structure of the plaque layer. If the plaque structure is altered, it may cause less inflammation in the gums. But at present, this is only a theory.

The water flossers also flush out food debris. This 2015 review by Sälzer et al also supports water flossers for improving gingival health versus no interdental cleaning aid. The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) also recommends water flossers for interdental cleaning in their evidence based guidelines.

Best water flosser 2023 7

The benefits of water flossers

  • Convenience: you fill the tank and switch it on. It is less hassle than pulling out a length of floss and wrapping it around the fingers. Not to mention then feeding it between the teeth. Rotating nozzles make it easy to reach awkward spots in the mouth. A long nozzle makes it easy to reach the back teeth.
  • Less time-consuming: you can complete a thorough floss of the teeth with a water flosser quicker than you can with string floss.
  • Reduce inflammation and bleeding of the gums: the water reaches spaces that a toothbrush or traditional floss can’t. Notably, under the gumline. This means bacteria and debris that cause inflammation and bleeding are removed.
  • They disrupt more plaque: traditional string floss requires a very specific technique to be effective. Water flossers are easier to use to disrupt the plaque layer.
  • They are more gentle on the gums: incorrect flossing technique can be painful or damaging to the gums. The pressurised water feels softer and gentle on the gums. It will stimulate blood flow. Variable pressure settings allow you to find the right pressure for you.
  • Suitable for braces, implants, bridges and crowns: the water flow allows for a quick and effective clean around dental appliances.
  • They are easier for people with limited mobility (dexterity): the nozzles allow for much easier positioning and reach into the mouth. There are fewer fingers and thumbs and awkward movements.
  • Nozzle variety: a variety of nozzles allows for a more personalised oral care routine. Individual circumstances, such as periodontal disease, can be more effectively treated at home.

And the drawbacks

  • Environmental impact: no studies into the environmental impact of water flossers exist yet. In 2020 a study compared electric toothbrushes to manual alternatives. Electric brushes came out worse in many areas. The weight and electrical components likely make water flossers less environmentally-friendly. This is in comparison to other flossing options. The heavy use of water also has a large impact on the environment. 
  • Size: even the most compact cordless water flosser isn’t as travel friendly as a reel of traditional floss.
  • Noise: a water flosser makes quite a bit of noise when in use.
  • Price: a cordless water flosser is more expensive than string floss or floss sticks.
  • Interdental brushes are more effective: despite the ease of use, interdental brushes produce better results. Plaque isn’t removed as effectively by a water flosser as it is with an interdental brush.
  • Water tank size/pressure settings: each flossing session is limited to the size of the water tank and the pressure setting selected. You may have to refill the tank multiple times to complete the clean.
  • Sink access: you need to be lent over a sink, even with a cordless, due to the amount of water that needs to be expelled during use.
  • Batteries/power: water flossers will require recharging or replacement batteries.

How the different nozzles / tips work

d when you like. The most common nozzle is the ‘jet tip’.  This is suitable for the vast majority of users. It is designed for everyday use, offering a deep clean between teeth and along the gumline. Most water flossers come with this type of tip included and available as a spare/replacement.

Some brands, notably Waterpik, offer a wider variety of nozzles. The additional nozzles are specifically designed to offer benefits to particular users. Here’s a short explanation of what various tips can be used for:

  • Orthodontic tip: this has a tapered brush on the end to help remove plaque from braces and orthodontics.  It also helps flush out bacteria and food debris from around teeth and under the gums.
  • Plaque Seeker tip: designed to clean in and around harder to reach areas.  Most notably dental restorations. 3 thin bristle tufts gently access stubborn plaque around dental implants, crowns, bridges and veneers.
  • Pik Pocket tip: designed to deliver water deep into periodontal pockets.  Ideal for those diagnosed with more advanced gum disease.
  • Tongue cleaner: the nozzle has a spoon-like shape. This traps and removes plaque from the tongue, in an effort to prevent bad breath.
  • Toothbrush tip: you can brush your teeth as you floss. It acts like a manual toothbrush (the bristles do not move like an electric toothbrush).
  • Implant denture tip: designed to reach hard to access areas. Ideal to clean around dental appliances such as fixed implant bridges and dentures.

The names and features of the tips can vary from one brand to another. The range of nozzles and the availability tends to be best with larger brands. For example, DentJet only offers a jet tip only.  Those with more personalised needs will not be best served by DentJet.

Our research suggests Waterpik offers the best range. In fact, out of the box, Waterpik models often come with some of these different tip types. Your dental professional can recommend specific tips if they are suitable for you.

Manufacturer guidelines suggest a nozzle such as a jet tip should be replaced every 6 months.  More specialist tips such as a plaque seeker or orthodontic tip should be renewed every 3 months. Some people will clean jet tips with distilled vinegar. This is to extend the usable life from them and reduce the need to replace them.

The type of nozzle and its availability can affect the cost. A jet tip from Waterpik will likely cost in the region of £4-5 per tip, whereas a Fairywill option will cost around £2.50. Please note. Although nozzles are interchangeable, 1 brand might not be interchangeable with another. For example, Waterpik nozzles will not work with Sonicare.

Key tips for water flosser use

Create a regular habit. Doing so will have the biggest impact, over and above the water flosser you choose.

  • Clean between the teeth with the water flosser at least once a day
  • Use the correct flossing technique

Ensure that alongside flossing you:

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

12 thoughts on “Best water flosser 2023”

    • Hey. To be honest I haven’t tried to be able to comment properly.
      I think it will serve a purpose, but there are going to be limits on effectiveness as it will be dependant on the water pressure etc.
      You will need to bear in mind that it can only be used in the shower, so if travelling you can’t take it with you etc. Also, consider the availability of replacement nozzles etc.

  1. Hi Jon,
    Wow, we love the videos and your blog. My wife and I have just spent 2 hours at our kitchen table reviewing all Waterpik products and plan on buying a flosser tomorrow. We really like your insight and feel so grateful for this information. Can we ask you something? We have searched and searched for any reviews on Waterpik’s Radiance Water Flosser and cannot find anything. What do you know about Waterpik Radiance model? Would you recommend this model over the Waterpik Aquarius Professional? Do you know when the Radiance model came out? Maybe its brand new?

    We are torn between Radiance and White Aquarius Professional. It seems as though the Radiance is a newer version of Aquarius with just better upgraded button feature, however there is no reviews and they don’t even sell this model on Amazon. So we thought we would reach out to you since we both agreed you are an expert and we respect and value your insight.

    Hope you are having a great start to your 2021!

    Kimberley & Zachary

    This link is to comparison page

    • Hi Zachary & Kimberly.

      Thanks for your question.

      Although I don’t know exactly when the Radiance was launched I do understand it to be a newer model launched, I believe within approximately the last 6 months.

      I have not had hands-on time with this model or reviewed it as yet.

      The lack of reviews is likely because it is a newer product, it is sold only via Waterpiks own online store (so fewer people will even come to learn it is available) and well, not many people review a water flosser! Reviewing water flossers for most isn’t quite as exciting as the latest smartphone for example.

      Because I have not had hands-on time with is, I can’t honestly say that you most definitely should or should not purchase it.

      However, based on my knowledge of Waterpik and the specifications I have absolutely no reason to doubt its ability and I feel it would perform as well as the Aquarius WP-660.

      It has the same size water tank and the same pressure settings.

      The most significant differences as I am sure you have seen are:

      – Different design
      – The lack of color options for the unit itself
      – No massage mode (not essential)
      – The button on the handle – a push rather than slider found on the Aquarius
      – Ther way you can rotate the nozzle/jet tip

      A little further explanation on that last point. With many Waterpik models, you can rotate the nozzle a full 360. You do this by twisting the attachment at the bottom of the nozzle. The hose that fed into the handle was fixed and the handle itself does not rotate.

      However with newer models like the radiance, instead of the nozzle being rotated at the top of the handle, the whole handle now rotates because the way the hose attaches to the handle is slightly different. Therefore by rotating your hand (with the handle in it) creates the 360 rotation that you would have once gotten from twisting the nozzle at the top of the handle. I hope that makes sense!

      Ultimately it is your decision, but most importantly I do believe the flossing/cleaning experience will be basically the same with no discernable differences.

      Whilst the Radiance is newer you may get a better value deal on the Aquarius.

      I sincerely hope that helps.

  2. I have gone through more than 8 water flossers of various brand names in the past 10 years. In my opinion, even the most highly rated brands and models are poorly made. That includes larger separate tank models as well as cordless ones. One is very lucky to get 6 months of daily use for any of them, and, sometimes less. They just stop doing their job. Either the pump goes or the electronic parts crap out. I have taken most of them apart after they quit. I admit total ignorance of how to repair anything more complicated than a leaaky hose or connnection. What strikes me as both obvious and a bit odd, is the fact that these devices, made to work in a wet environment, all showed major areas of oxidation/rust on their interior metal parts. My last failed flosser, was one I took very speciial care to dry out after each and every use…as much as I was able to dry. That one, a “Usable” brand, of course, made in China like they all are, was the first one, After 4 Waterpik brand devices failed within 6 months of purchase, and each was corroded inside. Whenever a water flosser manufacturer, effectively protects the metal innards of the device from moisture, maybe the will then have a moderately long service life. Presently, though, no brand or model can be trusted to work longer than a few months even with care. And since the average price for these pieces of junk seems to be about $45 online, per unit, and water flossing is something one learns to value highly, and miss when the device just lies there taking up space, replacements become something of a priority…and there goes another good piece of change for a new one. But, I am afraid that buying any water flossser at a reasonable price which will last enough to prove it’s value is a fairy tale.

    • Thanks Neil for the feedback on your experience. With any of these that have failed, have you gone back to the manufacturer to ask for a repair/replacement under the warranty?

    • Hi Barry.

      I am sorry to say that we have not written a full review of this product, so I have no link to provide you.

      It is still a functional model that at the right price could make for a good buy.

    • Hi Cindy.

      Thanks for the comment.

      I am pleased to read that you think the Sonic-Fusion from Waterpik does a good job. Personally I was not so impressed, particularly when you take into account the price. I felt a separate electric toothbrush and flosser would be better.

      If however you got a discount, that can make a bit of a difference on the judgement.

Leave a comment