The best Oral-B toothbrush on a budget
Our best budget electric toothbrush, the Pro 500 is a functional option that can provide a good clean of the teeth.
The 8 day battery life is satisfactory, if not as good as the competition.
- Easy to use single cleaning mode
- The grip on the handle helps to securely hold the brush
- No battery status feedback
- No pressure sensor
Also worth considering
If I were buying a new electric toothbrush today, my choice would be the Oral-B Smart 2000. It’s affordable with the features you need. It is our number 1 choice for the best electric toothbrush.
If you can’t quite stretch to the 2000, there is too the Pro 1000. It sits between the Pro 500 and Smart 2000.
The 1000 feels slimmer in hand and does too offer a bit more power in the clean it offers. It does too offer a battery charge/status light that the 500 does not.
The Pro 1000 and Smart 2000 have a pulsation cleaning action that the Pro 500 doesn’t. Therefore you get an extra dimension to the clean, and potentially better results.
|Oral-B Pro 2000||1,505 Reviews||$84.97||View on Amazon|
Design, usability, clean & general use
It offers the core essentials without all the bells and whistles that most of us are attracted to.
The Pro 500 is designed with simplicity, practicality, and budget in mind.
What this means is that the Pro 500 is a functional brush, but with such a focus on the basics comes a lack of what I would consider beneficial features.
Opening the box, the contents is minimal. A brush handle, charging stand and a single Precision Clean brush head, oh and of course some documentation.
In truth, the Pro 500 offers what you need and nothing more. This probably isn’t a bad thing.
The brush is relatively easy to hold. It has a tapered design where it is thicker at the top of the handle and thinner towards the bottom. Oral-B’s more premium models tend to have a more uniform shape down the length of the handle, which I prefer personally.
The body of the handle is made from plastic, which is gloss white in colour, but the black rubber grip that is wrapped around the majority of the brush handle not only makes the brush look smart and easy to hold, it reduces the very clinical look of the white plastic.
Some might prefer other colour options for the rubber grip, but it is black only.
It is a 360 degree grip with small dimples all over it that really give the fingers something to grip onto.
You might think how hard can it be to grip onto a toothbrush handle, but if you have limited dexterity or small hands, it can make a big difference.
The gloss white plastic is visible in the lower third of the brush handle and at the neck of the brush, where the brush head attaches.
In the lower third, on the front is the Braun Oral-B logo and on the back is some regulatory information.
Easily missed, but a potentially useful feature is found on the rear of the brush handle. A small raised piece of rubber extends very slightly just below the neck of the handle. This stops the toothbrush from rolling if laid on a countertop.
On the base of the Pro 500 is a recess into which fits the charging prong on the charging stand.
The handle itself is a sealed unit, which means it is designed to resist water and can happily be rinsed under the tap.
The detachable brush head slides on and off the metal prong on the top of the handle. This prong feeds down inside the handle to the motor and battery, which are not user accessible.
Nickel Metal Hydride is the battery type used in the brush, which is ok, but not exactly cutting edge which is surprising that the Pro 500 was revised in 2019. I suspect cost had some bearing on this decision.
The motor inside the handle is not the most powerful available on an Oral-B brush. It does deliver more movements than any manual brush can, but if you are looking for a powerful motor you will need to invest in the likes of the Pro 1000.
Another small thing is that the Pro 500 does not offer ‘Pulsations’ which is what adds the 3rd dimension to Oral-B’s 3D cleaning action.
The brush head on the 500 oscillates and rotates, but not pulsates. It is not an absolute deal breaker, the Pro 500 still cleans the teeth well, but more premium models do a better job.
When the single button on the front of the brush handle is pressed, it will launch into the one and only cleaning mode available, also known as Daily Clean mode.
A standard brushing cycle is for 2 minutes.
From the moment the toothbrush is powered on, the built-in timer begins working.
Once 2 minutes have passed, the timer will alert you as the user by pausing the motion of the brush head briefly 3 times.
This changes the brushing sensation, as well as the sound and is your clue that you have hit 2 minutes.
The brush does not automatically turn off at the end of the clean, you need to do this manually.
The other part of the timer is the 30 second pacer, also known as the quadpacer.
What this does is try to encourage you to brush your teeth evenly over the 2 minute brushing period.
At 30 second intervals, the brush will pause briefly, changing the sound and cleaning sensation. Like the 2 minute timer, this is your clue to do something. In this case, it is to move from 1 quadrant to another.
The idea is you virtually break your mouth up into 4 sections (quadrants) and spend 30 seconds cleaning each.
Starting with the top right, you can move to the top left, bottom left and bottom right.
At the end of the 2 minute cycle, you will have in theory given the teeth an even clean and not focused purely on the front teeth for example.
Brushing for the full 2 minutes is very important, but just as important if not more so, is the right technique. Make sure you learn how to clean your teeth properly.
You get a minimum of 16 cleaning sessions of 2 minutes from the Pro 500, but no warning from the brush when the battery is low.
I say no warning, you can usually hear the battery getting weaker, because you can see, hear and feel it in the brush head.
Essentially as you get close to depleting the battery the cleaning action gets weaker.
There is no battery icon, so it’s up to you to recharge it regularly if you want to avoid it going flat mid clean. This is where the likes of the Pro 1000 are appealing as a battery status icon gives you some feedback.
When brushing, you should let the bristles of the brush head skim the surface of the teeth, you need not brush hard. If you were to, you may well notice the sound of the brush motor straining and slowing down if you do apply too much pressure.
Oral-B has designed its toothbrushes so that most toothbrushes can be used with different heads, meaning they are interchangeable. Each brush head works to achieve different results, with some best suited to particular cleaning modes not available on the 500.
Despite this they will work on this brush handle, so you can buy and use any of the following:
- 3D White
- Precision Clean
- Pro GumCare
- Deep Sweep
The CrossAction brush head relies on hundreds of bristles that are angled in different directions. It has been scientifically engineered, to ensure the bristles cross over different parts of the tooth surface more effectively than those brush heads that have standard straight bristles.
The FlossAction brush head also oscillates and rotates like the cross action head does, however in addition to this it has micropulse bristles which help to achieve a deeper clean.
The 3D White brush head has a polishing cup in the center of it which helps buff teeth up to give them the dentist shine.
The Precision Clean brush head, the one provided in the box, also oscillates and rotates like the CrossAction and the FlossAction however it has a different cut to the bristles which clean the teeth with a slightly different approach.
The Sensitive brush head has softer bristles aligned in a petal formation. They are not angled and are less abrasive on the teeth and gums. Ideal if you have or suffer from increased sensitivity.
The Deep Sweep brush head has a sweeping motion which is designed to sweep in-between the teeth to remove more plaque than a manual brush.
Remember to replace your brush head at least once every 3 months or 90 days, if not sooner.
An Oral-B brush head will actually fade in colour as it ages giving you another visual indicator that it is time to replace the brush head.
The waterproof handle needs little in the way of maintenance, but to prolong the life of the brush you should make sure that it is given a good wipe every so often to remove any grime and dirt build-up and it will continue running well.
If for any reason the toothbrush does stop working, there is a standard 24 month guarantee that comes with it.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Slim and comfortable brush to hold and use
- One cleaning mode and one brush head included
- Alternative brush heads available
- Built-in 2 minute timer and quadpacer
- Easy to maintain
- 2 year warranty as standard
Given the price point, I nor you should expect an exceptional battery life from this brush.
Oral-B claims that the Pro 500 will offer 8 days of use.
That is 16 brushing sessions.
Each brushing session should last 2 minutes, so that gives a total running time of 32 minutes.
My hands-on testing confirms that the Pro 500 can achieve that, I actually managed a few days extra. 8 days should, therefore, be the minimum you get.
Do be aware, this is based on one user. If you share it with others, whilst you will get the same usage time, you will need to recharge it sooner.
It would be nice if it lasted a little longer, many competing brushes offer at least 2 weeks, if not longer. Sadly Oral-B does lack compared to a lot of the competition.
Even its more premium models like the Pro 1000 and 3000 only offer a weeks battery life.
Part of the reason is the battery technology. Oral-B still uses in many brushes Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. This is the case in the Pro 500.
Functional they are, but many now use the better, Lithium-Ion batteries which give some of these performance improvements. It is a shame this latest variant of the Pro 500 did not gain a new battery.
The other big issue here is that you get no feedback from the brush in terms of how much power is left. There is no battery or charging icon.
It is a bit of a guessing game.
If you are the only user you will likely know roughly when it needs charging, well in fact if very low you will feel the speed and power of the motor decrease. But a battery icon with a flashing reminder would be nice. This is one of the appeals for sure of the premium models Oral-B offers.
When you do need to replenish the battery, you can recharge the Pro 500 on the provided charging stand.
It will generally recharge in full if left overnight.
The stand is a fairly typical Oral-B charger with a 2 pin power adapter hardwired into it.
The stand itself supports voltages of 110-130, so fine for the USA and Canada, but you will need voltage and potentially plug adapters if you travel overseas to Europe for example.
Summary of battery life
- 32 minutes of usage time or 8 days usage based on 2 cleans a day
- No battery status icon on the brush handle
- Takes about 16 hours to charge fully
- A charger included in the box
- 2 pin power adapter hard wired into the charging stand
- Charging stand supports 110-130v
Price & where to buy
$50-55 is the recommended retail price of the Pro 500.
Expect a $100-110 for the dual handled package.
A suggested selling price of around $50 isn’t too bad all things considered and I would argue the Pro 500 was worth this, if there were no better options available.
But, the reality of the situation is, that better value options do exist.
Now to be fair, the single handled units do have an average selling price of around $40, which is a $10 saving on retail.
1 brush head does come supplied in the box, but replacements will, of course, be required, there typically work out at around $8 each.
Price it over 3 years (our standard calculation) and the Pro 500 will cost $128 or $0.12 to own per day.
This price does exclude the cost of water, toothpaste and electric to charge it and prices do change, but you get a rough idea at how much you will be paying for it over the whole 3 years.
It’s not a bad price to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but the Pro 1000, which I think is a better overall brush, comes in at $0.14 per day.
If the budget is really tight and you cannot afford the more premium options, don’t get me wrong, this does a good job.
Please note that all prices quoted are approximates and will vary based on location, supplier and time of purchase. These figures were correct at the time of writing and should not be relied upon as hard fact, but used as a guide during your decision process.
Summary of price & where to buy
- Recommended retail price of $50-55
- Generally available from $40
- Live price comparison here
- Works out at around $0.12 per day over 3 years
Reliability & long term use
When you are investing in a toothbrush you want it to last and on average you can expect most electric toothbrushes to last a minimum of 3 years, with the vast majority now last longer than 5.
From extensive hands-on time with the Pro 500, I cannot see any reason why this brush should not serve you well.
The weakest point tends to be the battery. After repeated charges and discharges it can fail and should it, they are not easy to replace.
Oral-B is a big brand within the industry and have the knowledge and experience to produce quality products. To back you up there is a 2 year warranty included with the brush which will cover you should it fail, providing it is not as a result of user damage.
To prolong the life of any brush giving it a rinse and a wipe down to remove grime that builds up is a must.
If you are looking at this brush as your first electric toothbrush, you could do worse.
It is our best Oral-B toothbrush on a budget.
I think for your own benefit if you can afford to spend a little more the likes of the Oral-B Smart 2000 is a great choice.
You get a bit more value for money and most importantly it works towards achieving better oral health care in my opinion.
The 500 will give you many benefits over a standard manual toothbrush including a more consistent power delivery.
You have the option of different brush heads to suit your needs.
An 8 day battery life is ok, but the lack of battery status icon is a bit frustrating.
- Height (without head) – 18cm
- Height (with head) – 22cm
- Width – 3.2~2.5cm
- Thickness – 3.2~2.5cm
- Weight (without head) – 99g
- Weight (with head) – 105g
All are approximates