The subscription model is by no means new, for many years people have subscribed to the likes of magazines, clubs or perhaps services associated with their bank.
However, over recent years the model has been rolled out to more and more products and services and is becoming a more popular and convenient approach for some consumers.
Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Spotify are just a few popular examples.
More recently, the humble toothbrush market has been disrupted by brands offering subscription brush heads or toothbrushes, delivered right to your door.
Whilst, for the most part, the principle behind these is the convenience, they do also have a knock-on effect, causing the likes of you and me to consider our oral health more seriously.
I will go into more detail below about how the various subscription clubs and services work, but first I’ll jump straight in with the question many of you are probably asking…
What is the best toothbrush subscription service?
Best subscription electric toothbrush: Burst Sonic
Best overall package: Quip
Best subscription for Oral-B or Sonicare brush heads: Amazon
Deciding which is the best subscription based service is very difficult and is very much influenced by your personal situation.
If you want the whole package including toothbrush and toothpaste, your options and choices are different from those who want to receive brush heads for a regular electric toothbrush.
Quip is to date the best-known service and offers the biggest number of packages that can be purchased as a one off or on a subscription basis.
However, based on my own hands-on testing, it is Burst Sonic that is actually the better toothbrush from the cleaning experience point of view.
However, if you have an electric toothbrush already and want just replacement brush heads, then seriously consider Amazon’s subscription plan as this, in my opinion, is great and saves you money.
Save money without a subscription
Many believe you will save money by going on a subscription plan, and most of the time you do.
But, subject to what you opt for this rule might not always apply. In some instances, you pay a premium for the convenience that they offer.
The prices are influenced by what it is you want and need from the services. We all buy different products at different price points, so to make a fair comparison is difficult.
If the same subscription toothbrush was sold in a shop for a one-off purchase it would be easier to make comparison with a subscription, but to date, this does not exist.
For the sake of example, let’s take the subscription service from Burst Oral Care.
The cost for this will be $210 or $0.19 cents per day over 3 years.
Oral-B’s Pro 1000 works out at $0.14 per day over the same period.
However, when compared to the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 that comes in at $0.23 per day, Burst is cheaper.
From my research and comparisons, I have calculated that the price differences between subscriptions and non subscription models are not really that great, typically within a few dollars of each other, if you compare like for like.
If you do not want to go on a subscription model that is perfectly understandable.
If you do buy outright and not on subscription, the biggest area you can save money in is the cost of the brush heads. Shop around and buy the larger pack sizes for the best value.
How do subscription services work?
As you are likely well aware, a subscription is an arrangement whereby goods or services are sold at predetermined intervals rather than as a one off or individual transaction.
Under the subscription banner are several different types of subscription services including fixed usage, unlimited usage and pay-as-you-go.
It is the latter that is most common in the electric toothbrush market.
As a general rule, you will pay a one-time higher fee to acquire an electric toothbrush and then at predetermined intervals (often 3 months), payment will be made in exchange for replacement brush heads or associated accessories to be delivered to your door.
Each company or brand offering subscription based services have different packages, pricing, and terms associated with their subscription model, but most allow for cancellation and amendments to the subscription to be made at any time.
Who offers subscription toothbrushes and brush heads?
As the demand for subscription based products increases, so do the number of brands or suppliers who offer such.
There are those companies who have their own toothbrush and brush head subscription services as well as those that offer just brush heads accessories such as floss for existing brands.
- Quip – www.getquip.com
One of the most comprehensive subscription toothbrush services, there are packages for individuals, families, and groups.
Plastic, or more premium metal, handled brushes exist in different colors to suit your style and budget.
You can buy products individually or on a subscription basis.
Quip offer fluoride toothpaste and a manual toothbrushes in addition to their standard electric model. They also have children’s options available.
There is no flexibility in the frequency of delivery.
Although they are US based, Quip do ship internationally.
Read our Quip Review.
- Burst – www.burstoralcare.com
Designed as a subscription based service for your oral healthcare needs. There is only one product choice in either black, white or rose gold color options.
The brush has a selection of brushing options and comes with a quad-pacer.
Burst also offer peroxide-containing whitening strips, and a whitening toothpaste which can be bought as one-time purchases or with a subscription.
The brush heads are either delivered as 1 shipment annually every 3 months, if you prefer.
You can cancel the subscription plan at any time if you like. You can then purchase replacement heads when you want, rather than having them shipped at intervals as set by Burst.
This is a US based service that ship to Canada.
Read our Burst Sonic Toothbrush Review.
- Bruush – www.bruush.com
Bruush follows in the footsteps of Quip and Burst, with a very similar package offering.
The toothbrush itself provides a good clean, which is of course important.
The built-in rechargeable battery lasts 4 weeks before charges and there is a travel case included to protect the handle and heads should you be on the go.
6 different cleaning modes are built into the brush handle, which is available in black, white and pink.
Bruush appear to have kept things nice and simple, not too much choice, but just what you need.
The subscription delivers 3 brush heads every 6 months, rather than the more typical new brush head every 3 months. This means you could, in theory, replace the head approximately every 45 days.
There is a 90 day money back guarantee and a 2 year warranty on the toothbrush.
- Amazon – www.amazon.ca
This massive online retailer has a subscribe and save option whereby many products, including toothbrush heads from leading brands are available to buy.
Whether it’s for Oral-B or Sonicare, or Colgate, Amazon have the broadest range to subscribe to and one of the best subscription models with the ability to change how frequently you receive deliveries.
Some heads come in individual packs, but more common is a pack of 2 or more, so you need to make your own informed judgment on setting the schedule you want or desire.
Amazon have international sites that may or may not offer this option. Subscription is available in Canada.
- Brushette – www.brushette.com
An innovative solution, Brushette is currently designed only for Oral-B electric toothbrushes.
This aftermarket head is made up of 2 parts, the neck adapter and brushettes.
Essentially what you do is make a one off purchase of a neck adapter, then you replace only the toothbrush bristles.
This means you are not disposing of the brush head and neck, just the very top of the brush head, reducing the amount of waste created.
You can get the heads (called Brushettes) delivered to your door choosing from 1, 2, 3 or 4 week or month intervals.
You can subscribe or make a one time purchase if you prefer.
- Goodwell – www.thegoodwellcompany.com
Available with or without subscriptions, these products are environmentally considerate and well worth checking out.
Not just toothbrushes, there is floss and toothpaste too.
On subscription, the brush heads are sent out every 2 months with no way of changing the frequency.
This is a US based service that ships to Canada.
- Boie USA – www.boieusa.com
An environmentally considerate toothbrush, it is made from recyclable plastics.
The brush heads are interchangeable and able to be recycled too.
Available for purchase on an ad hoc or subscription basis, whilst the brush heads can last 6 months, you can choose to subscribe to the 3, 4 or 6 month plan.
One delivery is made each year containing all the brush heads you need for the following 365 days.
They are US based, but Boie does ship to Canada.
Read our Boie Review.
Subscription toothbrushes we have reviewed
We have had hands-on with a few of the subscription based toothbrushes and have written detailed reviews of each.
Here is a list of those we have tested with a brief summary of them.
Perhaps the best known and one of the pioneers within this space, Quip is a stylish electric toothbrush that offers good value for money, particularly to US residents.
It is not the best performing electric toothbrush and feels more of a crossover between manual and electric.
A variety of different packages at different price points exist. This is probably the most comprehensive and well managed subscription based toothbrush service to date.
- Design – The Copper Metal handle I had looked and felt really good. Solid, but light and there are some small but neat touches in the construction of the brush.
- Packaging/experience – Tying in with the design, the packaging and whole user experience is very good and slick, offering a very premium feel from ordering through to the delivery and use.
- Travel cover mount – So simple, yet ingeniously effective at holding and protecting the brush head when in transit but also keeping the brush out of harm’s way when not in use.
- Automatic power off – The brush automatically turns off after a 2 minute clean.
- Cleaning experience – Feels somewhat odd. Potentially better than a manual toothbrush but far weaker and less effective than a conventional electric toothbrush. A kind of hybrid that for me just didn’t deliver.
- Design – As smart as it looks, the position of the power button for me was not natural and a little awkward to get used to.
- Battery Status – No indication of how much power is in the brush.
Burst are a fast growing subscription service that are well worth considering.
With the backing of many dental professionals, the Burst toothbrush has the look and performance similar to that of brand leaders Sonicare.
The service is not necessarily the cheapest, but it is convenient and works, which is ultimately what you want.
It is a solid performing toothbrush.
- Built-in timer and pacer – Helps encourage even brushing for the right amount of time.
- Automatic power off – Turns the brush off at the end of the cleaning cycle.
- Battery life – A solid 4+ weeks of battery life.
- USB charging stand – Convenient charging option.
- 90 day money back guarantee – Peace of mind if you are not happy or are unsure whether its right for you.
- Lifetime warranty – Remain subscribed and any faulty brush will be replaced. Cancel subscription and you still get a healthy 2 years.
- Charcoal bristles – Limited benefits and feel like they are used to be ‘on trend’ rather than proven clinical benefits. Quality is also a concern.
- Price – Cheaper that equivalent brushes and services but not much cheaper considering the promotion around how Burst cuts out the middleman.
How do subscription electric toothbrushes compare to other electric toothbrushes?
Something you may be wondering is how do the electric toothbrushes included with a subscription box compare to non-subscription toothbrushes, such as those from Oral-B and Sonicare.
Truthfully, brushes from better known brands have had years of research and development invested, so for many, they will offer better performance. However, there are other aspects to consider as part of the equation, such as the convenience offered by a subscription service. We take a deeper look at these in our Quip vs Sonicare & Oral-B article.
If you need help choosing a regular brush, you may find our best electric toothbrush article useful.
Is a subscription toothbrush worth it?
This question is not necessarily one that can be answered for you.
It is a case of you making your own judgment based on the information available to you.
For many, one of the biggest driving factors in deciding to go with a subscription service is the convenience that it brings.
A large number of us are guilty of not replacing our brush heads as frequently as we should and the arrival of a new one on our doorstep is a good catalyst to do just this, without having to remember or think about it.
Outlined below are some of the positives and negatives associated with a subscription service.
- Convenience – The desired items are delivered to your door as and when you request, without the need for you to do anything. You can be assured of always having the items you need in stock.
- Better oral health – Receiving regular brush head deliveries can encourage the replacement of brush heads sooner than if a new head was not delivered. Brushing is completed with a brush head that is in better condition and in turn better for your oral health.
- Flexibility – Most services allow some flexibility in when you receive your subscription with the ability to adapt plans as well as cancel when you like.
- Cash flow – Regular fixed costs can often be easier to manage and budget for allowing a better cash flow than if you have to purchase items on a more ad hoc basis.
- Cost – Subject to the plan and product chosen, you may pay a slight premium for the convenience that comes as a result. A non subscription model may allow for better prices through bulk purchases of the likes of brush heads and could work out cheaper in the long run.
- Flexibility – Subject to the company and products you might not be able to get the subscription to fit with the timescales and intervals for delivery that you desire.
- Adhoc needs – As the brush heads and services are configured on arriving just before you need them, should you lose a brush head or need a new item sooner, you may have to wait or go without as you do not have stock of spares or cannot easily obtain them.
- Delivery – Whilst most subscription plans are pretty robust and things like deliveries guaranteed or insured, the additional stages and parties involved could potentially cause delays and problems that might not come with buying from a normal retail store.
- Brands and commitment – At present, the subscription services are run for the most part by smaller, newer companies rather than larger and more recognized brands that have the resources, including financially to scale and manage such services. Smaller companies may not hit numbers and reach to continue long term.
Subscriptions are certainly the way forward and they will become more mainstream.
All of these current services have their pros and cons.
No one company in our minds is really winning on all counts, but a few are progressing nicely.
Consider what it is you want and make an informed decision.