An ideal first electric toothbrush
The Gleem rechargeable toothbrush is surprisingly good and considerably better than Gleem’s removable (AAA) battery toothbrush.
It has the features and performance to compete with some of the best value options available on the market today. Although there are ‘better’ choices.
- Slim and stylish handle
- Basic travel case included
- Made by Procter & Gamble
- No pressure sensor
Consider these brushes
There are 2 obvious alternatives you should consider, in my opinion.
The address some of the Gleem’s shortcomings are are arguably better all-round choices.
The Oral-B Smart 1500 is our top pick and winner of our best electric toothbrush.
It cleans the teeth well. It is affordable and has the dentist recommended features.
However, it is worth considering the 4100 Series from Philips if you prefer the sonic cleaning action. It is the Sonicare equivalent to the Oral-B 1500.
|Oral-B Smart 1500 - Blue||4,288 Reviews||$79.99||View on Amazon|
Design, usability, clean & general use
The GLEEM rechargeable electric toothbrush comes in a fairly typical cardboard box.
The main features, functions and box contents are stated on the packaging along with a color matched image of the toothbrush you will find inside.
Refreshing to see is the lack of plastic.
I have the slate coloured brush handle here, or as I call it, grey. This is one of 4 colors (pearl (white), slate (grey), coral (soft pink/red), aqua (baby blue) the brush is available in.
I should state the handle is available in 4 colors. The brush head provided with all variants is white.
Initial impressions were and remain that it felt solid in hand and was actually a little thinner than I had expected.
Made from plastic, the handle is a perfect cylinder shape, with no harsh edges. It is finished in a matt coating that is not slippery to the touch, but is not the most grippy.
There are limited gripping points on the handle, which means it is less appealing to those who may struggle to hold items in hand.
There is a flatter panel on the front of the handle, that covers about two thirds of this side. There is a slight diamond shaped raised texture which offers a little more grip to the fingertip, but not much.
It certainly looks smart and not all that clinical.
On the front is a circular power button with a grey power icon on it as well as a small raised notch which makes it clear to the fingertip that this is the power button.
The button is not backlit.
In the lower half of the handle, still within the flatter section are 3 icons. 2 of these are to highlight the cleaning modes available, whilst the third is the battery/charging icon.
All 3 have a white LED below them that is illuminated when the mode is either selected and active or the brush is on charge.
Towards the bottom of the handle is the GLEEM brand name, in white contrasting with the slate color.
The sides of the handle are free of controls or notable mentions as is the back of the handle. The exception being at the bottom of the handle, on the back. There are 2 raised nodules that stop the brush rolling when laid flat on a worktop. This is a much underrated feature. There is also an icon to show a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery is built inside.
The base of the brush is white, and has a recess in the middle of it, which is where the charging pin on the supplied charging stand fits to recharge the battery.
A screw is visible in this recess, which you don’t normally see on Oral-B or Sonicare models, but it does not affect the design or reliability of the brush.
The brush will stand upright.
At the top of the handle, is a white plastic part that is fitted to the metal shaft that extends from inside the sealed brush handle. It is here the brush head connects.
Although ultimately made by the same company who manufacture Oral-B toothbrushes, famous for their small round brush heads, GLEEM’s brush head is not round.
It is more ovalish shaped much like most other sonic toothbrush heads. It is, however, smaller in length by about 25% than the brush heads offered by Sonicare.
The head fit to the handle by being pushed onto the metal shaft. They will only fit one way. To remove, simply pull the head off.
The bristles on the brush head are tightly clustered together and give the impression of being firmer than they actually are when it comes to brushing.
Like other toothbrushes, the brush head should be replaced every 3 months on average, sooner if there are obvious signs of wear etc.
There are no fading indicator bristles on this brush head to remind you.
Also, to keep things simple, there is only 1 style of brush head, not the diverse and confusing range Oral-B and Sonicare offer. And no, Sonicare or Oral-B heads do not fit this handle.
A pack of 2 heads will set you back $9.99
Power the toothbrush on to clean the teeth and this kicks into gear the sonic motor inside.
The motor inside the brush handle creates vibrations that cause the bristles to move. The head offers up to 36,000 strokes per minute.
This information is not (at the time of review) listed on the GLEEM website. I had to email and ask for it. However, their site does state 200 vibrations per second for their AAA powered brush. This rechargeable variant is much more powerful.
This variant cleans and performs like you would expect an electric toothbrush to. Their removable battery variant is much weaker in comparison.
The 36,000 strokes are more powerful than Sonicare. I wouldn’t have thought that from my use. However, telling the difference with this many movements is difficult. It is however very comparable to Sonicare sonic toothbrushes.
The movement of the bristles is designed to help break up and sweep away more plaque and debris as you brush, and I have no doubt that it can do this.
It did a great job of cleaning my teeth and I could happily use this on a daily basis.
If you are new to sonic electric toothbrushes, I am convinced your teeth will feel super clean compared to when you use a manual toothbrush.
It is a shame that the brush does not have a pressure sensor built-in. Brushes that do, will alert you when you are using too much force to clean the teeth. Too much force can erode the tooth surface and damage the gums over time. Just remember not to scrub, let the bristles do the majority of the work.
What it does have is a 2 minute timer and pacer.
These are activated from the moment the brush is powered on.
This timer functionality is to help you brush for the recommended 2 minutes and do so evenly. Break the mouth up into 4 sections, upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left and spend 30 seconds brushing each.
At 30 second intervals the brush motor will pause briefly changing the sound and brushing sensation. This is your cue to move from one section to the next.
At the end of the 2 minutes, the toothbrush will pause again but the pattern is different this time to the usual 30 seconds. This is the cue that the 2 minute cleaning time is up.
Sonicare toothbrushes turn off automatically after 2 minutes, as does Gleems other toothbrush. I don’t understand why this premium model doesn’t. I love that feature.
A redeeming positive is that this brush is quiet in operation. An audible humming sound, typical of a sonic toothbrush. It is much quieter than the Oral-B Pro 1000.
Electric toothbrushes tend to offer just one or multiple cleaning modes.
This GLEEM model has 2.
The modes are known as Classic Clean and GLEEM Clean.
Both modes run for 2 minutes.
So what is the difference?
GLEEM clean, uses more sonic vibrations than Classic Clean.
Classic Clean is your usual daily mode, whilst GLEEM Clean might be a mode you select a couple of times a week to polish those teeth to a lovely shine.
The reality is here, just stick to 1 mode, it is all you need. Noticing any cleaning difference between the 2 is almost impossible.
To change the mode, you first need to power the brush on and then press the power button again to change the mode. The relevant mode icon on the brush handle will be lit.
The tooth icon is the Classic Clean, whilst the heart is the GLEEM Clean.
I think names of the cleaning mode on the handle would make more sense!
Included in the box is a charging stand, I explain this more in the battery life section, but unsurprisingly, it does the job it needs to.
Also included is a travel case. Well, pouch.
A thin black fabric pouch with a zip, it can hold the brush handle and head, with a little room to spare. It is not quite large enough to get the charger in too.
It is basically a pencil case. It will keep the items together, but it is too thin to provide any protection. Because the head and handle are not separated, the bristles could become damaged and the power button could still be activated on the brush. It also has no venting for airflow to help and wet bristles dry out.
It is nice to have it included, but a more traditional plastic case would serve more value and be easier to keep clean.
With GLEEMs removable battery toothbrush, they provided a very slim hard plastic case that held the handle and just 1 head. That would have been ideal here.
I would also just like to note that GLEEM are trying to be fairly socially and environmentally responsible with this toothbrush, even if it is an electrical product with a removable battery in it.
The original packaging is not excessive with any unnecessary extras, which is good to see and they offer a recycle scheme that you can use to recycle the brush handle, brush heads and packaging.
You fill out your details and you get sent a free shipping label by email. Attach this to a box, drop it off at any UPS store and it will be sent off to be dealt with at no cost to you. GLEEM will then send you rewards (I suspect money off vouchers) for using this service.
Overall, there is a lot to like about this toothbrush, it has exceeded my expectations and it really takes the challenge to Oral-B and Sonicare.
I do think the 4100 Series is a better buy for the features it offers, but the differences are minimal for most.
The lack of any real warranty is one of the biggest kickers here (see the reliability section). I feel you would likely opt for the premium brands, for that peace of mind.
I am also surprised that GLEEM does not offer a subscription service. Being a new brand it has an opportunity to differentiate. It seems logical and would be more convenient to many. But, being owned by the slow moving multinational that is Procter and Gamble it is perhaps not that surprising.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Slim and smart handled toothbrush available in a range of colors
- Limited grips on the handle
- Built-in rechargeable battery
- Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second quadpacer
- Quiet toothbrush
- Sonic cleaning action – up to 36,000 brush strokes
- 1 style of brush head only with push on, pull off fitting
- Single power button
- 2 cleaning modes, Classic Clean and GLEEM Clean
- Provides a good overall clean
- No pressure sensor
- No automatic power off feature
- Charging stand included
- The provided travel pouch isn’t ideal
- No real warranty
- Recycling scheme available
Fitted inside the brush handle of GLEEM is a rechargeable battery.
It is not user removable. It is designed only to be removed at the end of the toothbrushes life for disposal.
It is a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery, the same type found in the Oral-B Pro 1000.
Sonicare’s 4100 Series has a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery, which tends to be more typical on newer toothbrushes.
Nonetheless, GLEEM claims a battery life of 2 weeks on a full charge.
Compare this to the 7 days of the Pro 1000 and this is a good improvement.
On a full charge, which can take up to 22 hours, it lasted 78 minutes.
This is equivalent to 39 brushing sessions or 19 days of use.
That means an extra 5 days over the 2 weeks claimed. This is good to see.
To recharge the battery you use the provided charging stand.
White in color it is a fraction larger than Oral-B and Sonicare stands, but is quite smart looking with the GLEEM logo on the front.
Hardwired into the stand is a power cable with a 2 PIN US power plug.
The stand supports 120v only. This means if you travel, particularly internationally you may need to consider a voltage and plug adapter.
The brush sits on the prong in the centre of the stand. It round, so it spins a full 360 degrees, meaning it doesn’t just sit on the stand in 1 particular way.
When on charge the battery/charge icon on the front of the brush handle will pulse with a white light. It will stop pulsing once fully charged.
If the battery is low, the charge icon will flash for a few seconds when the brush is switched off after a brushing session.
In an ideal world, it would be nice if there was a bit more feedback from the battery. For example, if the LED changed color based on the percentage of power remaining or the light was split into bars or similar.
Summary of battery life
- Built-in rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery
- The battery is not user removable
- Claimed 2 weeks of battery life
- Lasted 19 days in my hands-on testing
- Charging stand provided
- Supports 120v only
- 2 pin US plug hardwired into the stand
- Charge icon will pulse when on stand and charging
- Charge icon will pulse when battery is low
Price & where to buy
I have included links to buying options here at the start of the review.
In the section below, I discuss the price more generally and in relation to similar products.
This rechargeable electric toothbrush has a recommended retail price of $49.99.
Without question, considering what this offers, this is a competitive price.
I know of other brushes with similar features that are selling for many dollars more.
As I have suggested earlier, this brush competes most with the likes of the Sonicare 4100 and the Smart 1500 from Oral-B.
Both of these have an average selling price of around $40-65.
Whilst I can’t say GLEEM will never be sold for less, the discounts available are unlikely to be as great as the Sonicare and Oral-B models. A $5 saving maybe, but I think it is highly unlikely it will be sold for $30.
At the time of review, it is sold through limited channels, meaning there is more control over the price too.
For this $50 price you are getting a comparable box contents. Perhaps, slightly better if the pouch style travel case is appealing to you.
What can make a brush more expensive over the time that you own it, is the cost of replacement heads.
These need to ideally be replaced every 3 months.
A pack of 2 heads, cost $9.99, so $5 per head.
This price is the same as Oral-B, but cheaper than Sonicare heads that tend to be $8-10 each.
To give a benchmark of ownership costs, here at Electric Teeth we price the brush over a 3 year period.
With a $50 purchase price, plus the 11 additional brush heads required, totalling $55, the GLEEM rechargeable will cost $105.
Sonicare’s 4100 costs $150 and the Smart 1500 from Oral-B, a fraction cheaper at $120.
This price does exclude the cost of water, toothpaste and electricity to charge it. This price also works on some assumptions, but you get a rough idea.
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
- List of buying options included here
- Recommended retail price of $49.99
- Rare to see discounts on this price
- Replacement brush heads cost $9.99 for 2 ($5 each)
- Costs $105 to own over 3 years
- Comparably priced to the competition
Reliability & long term use
Over the few weeks I have been testing GLEEM, I have not had any issues with this toothbrush, it has performed well and shown no signs of giving up.
It feels well built and solid in the hand.
It feels and looks more durable than their cheaper removable toothbrush option.
On the base of the brush is a very visible screw, which does make it look a bit cheaper. It also makes it look less seamless compared to competing brushes. However, it is recessed deep into the handle, so you’re never going to see it and it’s not likely to get wet or become damaged.
There is also a gap between the handle and the brush head attachment, which may concern some, but it appears to pose no issue in performance and durability.
The biggest kicker and issue with GLEEM is the warranty/guarantee, or more specifically the lack of it.
Typically toothbrushes have a 1 or 2 year guarantee provided as standard. Oral-B and Sonicare do.
The returns section of the GLEEM website nor product packaging make no reference to the warranty.
The website does speak of a ’60 Day Satisfaction Guarantee’ where you can return the product if not satisfied for a refund.
I would have thought you would get a 1 year warranty, but the lack of detail is somewhat surprising. I contacted them for clarification, but just got referred to the 60 day policy. So, I guess that means no 1 year warranty, which is a shame.
Given GLEEM is owned by P&G, the same company who offers a 2 year warranty on their Oral-B models, this is surprising.
I do suspect though, based on the standards P&G have, this should last a good amount of time.
You can direct any questions you have to them by calling 1-855-210-8802.
The GLEEM rechargeable has surprised me. It is a very good electric toothbrush that has the ability to compete with some of the best value brushes available on the market today.
I shouldn’t be surprised, given that Procter and Gamble are the owners of GLEEM. They own Oral-B too. But, based on my testing of their AAA powered toothbrush, I had lower expectations.
This rechargeable battery version is not perfect, I still think the Oral-B Smart 1500 and Sonicare 4100 are better, but the differences are not drastic and GLEEM can serve as an excellent toothbrush for many people.
- Height (without head) – 19cm
- Height (with head) – 24cm
- Width – 2.4cm
- Thickness – 2.4cm
- Weight (without head) – 110g
- Weight (with head) – 114g
All are approximates