Hum by Colgate is by far the best smart toothbrush I have used to date when you consider the price it sells for.
For the vast majority, myself included, they simply do not deliver the performance and experience per dollar spent for the premium they command.
The hum exceeded my expectations by quite a long way, and the smartphone app is one of the key reasons for this.
It has been well thought out and designed. There is a range of user controls and customizations. It is engaging and interactive. There is a points based system that encourages us all to brush better and more consistently. And, points equal money off future purchases, a smart way to motivate many of us.
The hum is not perfect. The tracking can be a bit off and the reality is you don’t need a smart toothbrush. As inviting as this is, I remain unconvinced that many will access the app frequently.
Personally, I still prefer the cleaning performance offered by the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100. It’s not a smart brush so it may suit you better too.
- 3 cleaning modes
- Slim and lightweight
- Stylish design
- Built-in timer
- Travel case
- Bluetooth & app
- Real-time brushing feedback
- Battery life
- Cleaning performance
- Real-time brushing feedback
- Power button
- No pressure sensor
- No automatic power off
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The 3 BIG questions about the hum by Colgate
If you are short of time, the answers to the following 3 questions should let you know all you need to about the Colgate hum rechargeable toothbrush. If I have missed something, let me know in the comments.
If you want more detail, you can read my full hum by Colgate review or watch the review video further down the page.
1. Is there anything drastically wrong with this toothbrush?
No, there really isn’t.
The hum by Colgate is a really neat, strong performing electric toothbrush that has the added benefit of smart features.
I personally prefer the cleaning performance from Oral-B or Sonicare. But, unless you have tried these you won’t know the difference, it is still good enough.
2. Which other brushes should I consider?
There isn’t an absolute need to consider a different product. The hum really is a very solid option, even if you don’t require a smart toothbrush.
The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 would be my recommendation as the best alternative brush to consider alongside the hum though.
I prefer the clean from Sonicare. It is hard to describe why, but to me it ultimately feels more thorough.
The main difference is that it is not a smart toothbrush. So you will not get data about how well you have brushed nor the smartphone based encouragement.
However, the 4100 has a battery life far superior to that on offer by Colgate. It does also have a pressure sensor built-in and a brush head replacement reminder.
Oral-B’s Pro 3000 is similarly priced and has smart features, but the smartphone app is by no means as good as that offered by Colgate.
If an affordable smart toothbrush is what you are after, the hum is the one to go for.
Alternatively, if you are not sure where to turn, do take a look at our best electric toothbrush article.
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And now for a bit more detail…
Colgate is a well-known brand in the dental healthcare space. They have a range of manual and electric toothbrushes, which are sold globally. But their range of electric toothbrushes within the USA has been somewhat limited.
The Connect E1 has been their main electric toothbrush in the US over the last couple of years. It is available to buy online and in Apple stores.
The E1 is ok, but really it isn’t as good as it could have been.
Although manufactured by Colgate, the E1 relied on technology from French company Kolibree, and the hum is no different.
This partnership has evolved over the years and the hum is the latest product of that.
Lots appears to have been learned and significant improvements implemented in the hum.
Variants of this toothbrush
The Colgate Hum is available in a few different options.
The first and most significant thing to be aware of it you have 2 different options:
- Battery powered (2 x removable AAA batteries)
- Rechargeable (built-in battery)
You then have different color choices. They are:
The 3 color choices are the same for both the battery powered and the rechargeable option.
There are brush heads available in all 3 color options too.
As you will see from the images below, although the handle and head are all one color, on the battery model, the removable battery cap is a darker shade of that color and provides a more significant design contrast.
Another small point to note is that it is possible, that if purchasing through stores others than Colgate’s own web shop, you may be offered an extra brush head in the box.
Colgate Hum rechargeable vs battery
The key difference between these 2 models is their power source.
The rechargeable is powered from a built-in rechargeable battery, whereas the battery powered version takes its power from 2 x user removable AAA batteries.
The rechargeable delivers up to 30,000 strokes per minute compared to the 20,000 of the battery.
There is one other main difference to be aware of.
The rechargeable version comes with 3 different cleaning modes (deep clean, normal, and sensitive) compared to the 2 (normal and sensitive) available on the battery option.
- Normal mode: operates at high speed – white LED
- Sensitive mode: operates at low speed – pink LED
- Deep Clean mode: operates at high speed – white LED
- Normal mode: operates at medium speed – teal LED
- Sensitive mode: operates at low speed – pink LED
It is the rechargeable version that I am reviewing.
What’s in the box?
- 1 x Colgate hum toothbrush handle
- 1 x Brush head
- 1 x Travel case
- 1 x Charging stand
- Sonic cleaning action – 30,000 strokes per minute
- 3 cleaning modes
- Built-in timer and pacer
- Smart features
- Built-in rechargeable battery
Pro & Cons
Here are what I consider to be the pros and cons of the hum by Colgate.
- 3 cleaning modes – The choice of different power modes to suit you.
- Slim and lightweight – Comfortable to hold. It is not bulky or heavy.
- Stylish design – Looks very smart and the color matched brush heads are a bonus.
- Built-in timer – Encourages you to brush the teeth evenly and to do so for the recommended 2 minutes.
- Travel case – A fairly compact protective case included for the handle and up to 2 brush heads.
- Bluetooth & app – A very well thought out and comprehensive app that encourages you to brush correctly and regularly. Points to be earned and redeemed in the form of money off.
- Real-time brushing feedback – See how well you are brushing and get feedback as you brush so that you can improve.
- Price – Really good value when you consider what you get for the price asked for it.
- Battery life – With around 10-12 days use from a single charge, it is not as good as I would hope for. It is ok, but 14 days should really be the minimum from a modern electric toothbrush.
- Cleaning performance – Satisfactory. But, doesn’t give the same satisfying clean as Sonicare or Oral-B.
- Real-time brushing feedback – Accuracy can be a bit hit and miss and the technique is different from most others.
- Power button – Quite a firm button that lacks tactile feedback.
- No pressure sensor – No mechanism to alert you if you are applying too much pressure as you brush the teeth.
- No automatic power off – Unlike most other Colgate brushes, this does not turn itself off automatically at the end of a cleaning cycle.
Design, usability, clean & general use
Colgate have really upped their game with the hum.
If you buy directly from them, their website, the online shopping experience is slick and this continues through into the product itself.
It comes in an oval-shaped box, which is red in color and really stands out amongst others you would see on the shelves.
It is worth noting that the box is all card, as is the inner tray, making it nice and easy to recycle. Plastics are limited to the toothbrush and accessories.
You get all the key things you need in the box and not much more, but the inclusion of a travel case is a very welcomed accessory.
The hum is a sleek looking electric toothbrush and it certainly feels very on-trend with the 3 color choices, blue, purple, and teal.
It is the teal color option that I have.
Hum by Colgate is actually based on an electric toothbrush Colgate offers in Europe, the 250R.
However, the hum has been enhanced, benefitting from Bluetooth technology and associated smart features.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for the price, the hum hasn’t got quite the same premium look and feel as the likes of the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart. But, the matt finish to the handle and the color matched brush handle really do look good. It certainly doesn’t feel cheap or poor quality.
The handle has a tapered design. The top (not including the brush head) is widest, thinning toward the base of the handle.
In the upper third handle is a centrally placed rounded rectangle panel. It runs vertically down the handle.
This panel sits ever so slightly recessed into the body of the handle and is surrounded by a clear ring of plastic.
The power button is at the bottom of the panel. There is a teal colored circle, a much darker shade than the rest of the handle. This makes it contrast nicely. It is too ever so slightly raised, making it easy to detect with the fingertip.
My annoyance with this power button is that it feels a bit stiffer than some other buttons on similar toothbrushes. And there is basically no feedback from the button when pressed. You don’t get any noticeable click or resistance and response that would usually indicate you have actually pressed it. I will admit I am being a bit picky, but I think it is important.
The clear ring of plastic around this panel allows the light from the LEDs inside the handle to shine through. When illuminated, this light fills the very bottom third around the panel and is quite noticeable and a nice design touch.
Within the bottom third of the handle, is the ‘hum’ name/logo, running up the handle. In my particular case, it is a dark shade of teal, like the power button, to contrast with the handle color.
The sides and back of the handle are pretty much free of any significant grips or design cues.
Although on the back of the handle, almost at the bottom is a small raised piece of plastic that is designed to stop the brush rolling when laid flat on a countertop.
And also in the very top third of the brush handle, there is a ring that runs around the whole handle. Above this is a plastic part that has a more gloss finish compared to the otherwise matt finish elsewhere. It is hard to explain, but you should see it in the hands-on pictures throughout this review.
The handle is rounded with no harsh edges. The brush also stands upright.
The base of the handle has a small recess into which the prong on the top of the charging stand fits.
In the case of the removable AAA battery powered version of this brush. The lower half of the handle is a darker teal color, to contrast with the upper half of the brush. The base is flat, with no recess as it is powered by the 2 x AAA batteries which fit inside the handle.
Of course, at the top of the handle is the point at which the brush head fits.
The head keeps the fairly sleek and stylish look of the handle. Wider at the base, it tapers a little up to the bristles at the top of the brush head.
The handle is all plastic construction, smooth to the touch. It looks good enough and feels solid enough in hand. It is light also.
A single brush head is included with the hum. This is simply referred to as a ‘replacement head’ for hum by Colgate. It is teal in color to match the handle.
There is just 1 style of brush head available for the hum.
I won’t explain in detail the configuration of bristles on the head, but essentially it has been designed as a bit of a do it all head.
It aims to tackle hard to reach areas and what Colgate call floss-tip bristles are designed to be gentle, yet effective on the gumline. A series of wider rubber bristles from a rounded cup shape to polish the tooth surface.
Quite honestly, this is an ideal setup. There is little need for lots of different brush head styles.
There are exceptions, but for the majority of us, it is perfect.
A nice touch is the tongue cleaner on the back of the head. A number of small silicone bristles, this part of the head can be run along the surface of your tongue or inside cheeks to refresh the mouth and remove bacteria build-up.
I particularly like the smaller size of this brush head, it makes it easy to position and manipulate the brush position. It is particularly easy to access the harder to reach areas at the back of the mouth. It is a fraction larger than the round Oral-B brush head, but smaller than a Sonicare head.
There is only 1 way to attach the head, so you can’t get the fitting wrong. Have the bristles of the head aligned with the front of the brush handle and then just push it on and pull it off. You will hear it clip in and out of place. No twisting or locking into place required.
With any toothbrush, the head should be replaced every 3 months. The hum is no exception.
The head does have indicator bristles. These are bristles that fade to white. This is a gradual fading normally over 3 months. They act as a reminder to change your brush head. Replace the head sooner if the bristles are visibly worn, splayed, or damaged.
As this is a smart toothbrush, there is also a reminder feature built into the app too.
Heads come in packs of 2 and cost approximately $10.
You can make purchases as and when you like or you can subscribe via the Colgate website and have a replacement head delivered every 3 months.
Make sure you recycle those used brush heads, by making use of Colgate’s oral care recycling program.
At the time of writing, my daily toothbrush is an Oral-B brush, and in my opinion, it provides me with what I feel to be the better overall clean compared to the hum. I feel the same way about Sonicare brushes.
Don’t get me wrong, the hum offers a very good standard of clean. You are not going to be left with dirty teeth. I personally don’t get that sensation of a powerful clean as I do with Oral-B or Sonicare. Both feel more intense and thorough in their clean.
I think it is partly psychological and sensation based due to the different shaped heads. If you have not used the others then you don’t have the same comparisons to make.
Plaque disclosing tests show all do a great job. In fact, Sonicare and Colgate have the same 30,000 brush strokes per minute.
A single press of the power button will turn the brush on and launch into the last cleaning mode used on the brush.
The power button is used to change the cleaning modes used on the brush. There is no separate ‘mode’ button.
Press it once to turn the brush on, then press the power button 1 or 2 more times, to select the mode you want. A 3rd press will turn the brush off, as you will have been through all available choices.
If the brush is running for more than 3 seconds in any cleaning mode, a press of the power button will turn the brush off.
The 3 modes available are:
- Deep Clean
Each mode offers a different amount of power/speed from the motor.
- Deep Clean – High speed
- Normal – Medium speed
- Sensitive – Low speed
To make it nice and clear which mode you have selected, the LED around the power button lights up different colors.
- Deep Clean – white LED
- Normal – blue LED
- Sensitive – pink LED
Although the deep clean mode uses the full power of the motor and delivers 30,000 strokes per minute, I do not know precisely how many strokes are offered in the normal or sensitive mode. There is a clear difference and it does affect the brushing experience.
For most, you do not need multiple cleaning modes. The deep clean mode is going to provide the best clean.
However, the brush might be too powerful for you. Or you may suffer from sensitive or bleeding gums and the lower powered modes could well be beneficial.
The AAA battery powered version has just 2 modes, normal and sensitive and operates at a maximum of 20,000 strokes per minute compared to the 30,000 of the rechargeable variant.
When the brush is powered on, a 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer are activated.
At 30 second intervals, a pause in the motor and a change in brush sound alerts you to the need to change quadrant, for an even and effective clean.
After 120 seconds (2 minutes) have passed there are 3 distinct pauses in the brush head motors movement and a change in brush sound. This is your notification that the cleaning cycle is over.
At these 30 second and 2 minute intervals, the light around the power button flashes too, for an extra warning.
Unlike other Colgate electric toothbrushes, the brush does not automatically power off. It will continue to run until you press the power button to turn it off. Not the end of the world, but it was a nice feature on other models.
Unfortunately, there is no pressure sensor built into the hum. It is by no means a deal-breaker, but something I would have liked to have seen.
It is quite common for people to brush with too much force and a pressure sensor alerts a user when they are doing this.
The bristles of the brush need really only skim the surface of the teeth, you don’t need to scrub.
Whilst there is no sensor built-in, you will notice the motor straining, and the sound of the brush changes slightly if you are brushing with too much force.
A point I note with the hum, particularly compared to Oral-B brushes, is the sound. The hum as the name implies produces an audible humming sound and a strong vibration through the brush handle. This is quieter than Oral-B brushes which produce more of a mechanical sound, but do not deliver as much vibration through the handle.
If you have used a Sonicare brush the sound of the motor and the vibration are very similar.
All this talk and no mention of the smart features the hum offers.
Looking at the toothbrush there is nothing bar a small Kolibree logo on the back of the handle that would give you any indication this is smart.
For the cynics, I agree you don’t need a smart toothbrush.
You do not have to use the smart features. You can use it like a regular brush. The performance is not affected.
I think this is a clever move by Colgate. It has smart capabilities but you are not pushed to make use of them.
But, a smart toothbrush can bring advantages, the biggest being the education of how to take better care of your teeth and gums.
The implementation here is simply the best I have seen to date.
The whole experience with the app is really slick. Even those who are reluctant to make use of smart toothbrushes I think could be won over here.
I have to give Colgate (and their technology partner Kolibree) significant praise here for how they have gone about creating and implementing this.
This app is fairly comprehensive and there are a lot of details and things I could cover. I will highlight the most important parts, and the included screenshots will hopefully give a little extra context and insight.
All of the features of the app are the same for both the rechargeable and AAA battery variant.
You then need to pair the hum with your smartphone. It uses a Bluetooth connection between them. The setup process is simple and explained on screen.
You essentially have 5 key screens/sections within the app.
- A dashboard with your latest points and brushing data.
- Links off to extra learning content and mechanisms to earn more points.
- A place to buy accessories such as replacement brush heads for the hum, along with new electric toothbrushes.
- 1 point = $0.01 to spend.
- 999 points needed for a pack of 2 brush heads
- A normal brushing session will gain 2 points.
- Learn how to brush and get feedback on your brushing to improve technique and win points.
- Profile (Your name)
- Key summary data of your activity and where you have earned points, be that whilst in the app or for offline brushing.
- Control all aspects of your profile such as your name, which hand you brush with, and whether you want weekly review emails.
- Set the standard brushing time of the brush from anything between 2-5 minutes.
- Control notifications.
- Set a specific brushing program.
- Export your data.
- The brush
- Connectivity details about the Colgate hum.
- See how much power remains in the battery (%).
- See when the brush head was last changed and reset the counter.
- Change the brush name
- See what version of software it is running.
You have to sign up/into the app. But you need nothing more than an email address. You don’t need to create a password.
Creating the account appears to save and restore the data, so you can easily switch between phones and obtain historic data.
The app is easy to navigate and easy to understand.
There is a nice use of graphics and text and all makes sense.
There is quite a push to create and complete your profile and do various other tasks to win points.
Each point earned is equivalent to $0.01 to spend in the store built into the app. So, 100 points = $1.
Aside from some bonus configuration points, you’re typically going to be earning about 4 points a day or approx 1,460 per year, if you brush twice a day for 2 minutes each time.
The app offers up to 3 eligible brushing sessions per day. So if you brush 3 times a day you would be earning approx 2,190 per year.
A qualifying brushing session must last longer than 30 seconds and achieve more than 50% coverage.
It is not a massive saving, but with a pack of 2 brush heads costing $9.99 or 999 points, you should get approximately 3 free brush heads per year.
You need to buy replacement brush heads, so it is better than nothing. It is essentially free money, for a job you ought to be doing at least twice daily anyhow.
The slight catch is that the points reset on the 31st December of the following year. So, you need to be mindful of this. Full conditions about the points are available here.
Colgate really doesn’t push you to use the app every time you brush. By default, reminders are turned off. It really is the least intrusive of all the toothbrush apps I have tested.
They do recommend syncing every 10 days to retain data, which implies the hum retains the data of 20 brushing sessions. Forget to sync and you’re going to miss out on those points.
If you do choose to use the app at the same time, it will launch into the ‘guided brushing’ mode of the app.
I think this is a powerful feature.
However, there is a part of it I do dislike. And that is the way it guides you around the 16 different sections of the mouth.
Those sections are:
- Upper right back teeth outside surface
- Upper right back teeth inside surface
- Upper right back teeth biting surface
- Lower right back teeth outside surface
- Lower right back teeth inside surface
- Lower right back teeth biting surface
- Upper left back teeth outside surface
- Upper left back teeth inside surface
- Upper left back teeth biting surface
- Lower left back teeth outside surface
- Lower left back teeth inside surface
- Lower left back teeth biting surface
- Upper front teeth outside surface
- Upper front teeth inside surface
- Lower front teeth outside surface
- Lower front teeth inside surface
I absolutely agree that you should be brushing the front, back, and top (biting) surfaces of the teeth during any normal brushing session.
This is my personal opinion, but for me the way it guides you is frustrating.
My approach has always been to complete all 3 surfaces of one section, for example, upper right) before moving onto my upper left for example.
The app, I am sure intentionally, moves across the mouth in more of a zigzag pattern. It is a bit jarring for me, having been so used to one approach.
I am sure it does this to keep you and me as the user engaged and alert.
One of the 16 zones is highlighted and as you brush that area you get a percentage score that comes up on the screen. The aim is to get each one to 100% to be able to move onto the next zone.
You can brush a different area to that highlighted, but if you do, it will not register within the app that you have brushed here, so your coverage score is affected.
I would like to be able to control this, but I am being a bit picky!
Colgate really doesn’t suggest or promote that the brush offers real-time feedback and position tracking, but this is precisely what it is doing when you use the guided brushing.
The features and performance are being undersold here. I think that is a good thing. There is no brush in this price range that is as good.
During the guided brushing session it alerts you if you are brushing too slowly if you are focusing on the wrong area and more.
The sensors in the handle are pretty accurate. I would not suggest it is spot on all the time, but I would say the tracking is marginally better than both Oral-B and Sonicare. But all could do with some refinement.
The brush still tracks your position, even if you are not using the app and turns this into a score, available for review in the app.
I struggled to achieve 100% when not using the app at the same time. On average it was scoring me at 80% which is lower than I expected as I think my technique is pretty good.
This could in part be poor position detection or part intentional to encourage longer and better brushing by users. Or perhaps my brushing is really not that good?!
This real-time tracking and feedback are only available on high-end models from Sonicare and Oral-B.
The Pro 3000 which is similarly priced to the hum has some smart features, but no real-time tracking. You are going to have to pay about another $50+ for that.
To gain such on Sonicare you are really going to be paying upwards of $100+ more than the hum.
Whether you use the guided session or not, the app is collating data about your brushing habits and storing them for you to review.
I did find the Bluetooth connection a bit flakey. Once connected it was fine, but on quite a few occasions it seemed to take 30-60 seconds to establish a connection between the brush and the phone and sync.
I have only been testing for a couple of weeks, but over time you should be able to build up and refer to months worth of brushing data, and ultimately see how you have improved.
I think there comes a point where you don’t improve or will struggle to, but at least you can check in with the app to monitor how you are doing.
I am testing the hum with an Android phone, but iPhone users can link this up with Apple’s health app.
There is even an option for you to download your brushing data for those who might want to make use of it elsewhere.
An option to change the brushing time exists within the app, but I couldn’t determine what this actually changes, nothing in my experience seemed to change when I modified it from 2 to 3 minutes for example.
There is nothing in the app that pushes flossing or mouthwash. Nor is the app too heavy on promoting certain routines and providing lots of tips. There isn’t even the push to buy Colgate toothpaste for example.
It is a fine balance. Ideally, I would like to see a few more tips, such as explaining gum bleeding or the importance of flossing, so that everyone learns a bit more about their oral health. Some might find this too much. I believe Colgate has tried to create a useful tool for those who want to use it. You can dig into educational topics like this if you want, you are just not pushed to do so.
This smart technology has been designed and integrated by Kolibree in partnership with Colgate. They have come on leaps and bounds from their own early models and this really shows with the hum.
There are elements of Oral-B and Sonicare’s smartphone apps I like more. But both are inferior in many ways to the setup here with the hum.
I still remain a little unconvinced that people will sync and use the app regularly. Too often smart features are used for a short period and then users become complacent.
However, there is no denying that this is the best smart toothbrush I have used to date at this price point.
Supplied in the box is a color matched charging stand that has a small prong on the top of it. It is that prong that fits into a recess on the base of the handle to charge the battery encased inside the handle. You can expect 10-12 days of battery life.
Just bear in mind that if you are traveling for more than 10 days, you are going to want to take the charger with you.
You also get a travel case included. Made from plastic and in the same color as the handle itself, the hum logo is placed on the top lid.
It holds the handle and up to 2 brush heads. It is perfectly functional, it is going to do a good job of protecting the toothbrush when in transit. The case isn’t too large either which is good. And small holes in the bottom of the case allow for ventilation.
Hinged on the back edge, it opens up like a jewelry box might. There is a clip on the font that secures the case closed. That same clip needs to be lifted slightly to open it.
The case is a well thought out and welcomed addition.
In the box also you get some simple documentation. It is not the most comprehensive but it is all you need to get you going.
For many smart toothbrushes, I would usually mention the need for a smartphone holder/stand to be included in the box. Whilst this would be handy for those who want to make use of the guided brushing regularly, it is not as essential. This is because Colgate is not pushing you to do this every time. It feels like you really can dip in and out of this option when you like.
Oral-B pushes its smart features quite heavily on the premium models. You almost feel like you must make use of them. You don’t have to of course.
And the other factor at play here is the cost. This is cheaper than many equivalent smart brushes, so it is not unsurprising that a smartphone holder is not included.
The brush itself is water-resistant rather than waterproof. This means it will survive life in a wet bathroom, a rinse under the tap, and exposure to moisture from the mouth. Don’t use it in the bath or shower.
As you would expect, the brush comes with a warranty, a 2 year warranty. This covers mechanical faults like the battery no longer charging or the power button not working. It does not cover user damage.
A small but possibly powerful component to what is on offer here is the 30 day money-back guarantee. This is not well marketed but is shown on the Colgate hum website.
This essentially allows you to try the brush and return it for a full refund of the purchase price (excluding shipping) if you are not happy. You have 30 days from the date of purchase to try the brush. Contact Colgate customer support for more information on this.
So overall, the hum by Colgate is a solid electric toothbrush. It offers more than the basics, but not lots of things that you don’t need.
Arguably the ‘smart’ features are not essential, but the way they have been implemented is very slick and there isn’t the constant push to use with the app.
Colgate have done a fantastic job to create this product. It works well for so many different users.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- 3 different colored handles
- Slim and comfortable brush to hold and use
- No real grips on the handle
- Plastic construction but good for the price
- The power button is firm and provides little feedback
- 3 cleaning modes (Deep Clean, Normal, Sensitive)
- Built-in 2 minute timer
- 30 second quadpacer built-in
- No pressure sensor
- 1 brush head provided
- Only 1 style of replacement brush head
- Smart toothbrush thanks to partnership with Kolibree
- Tracks your cleaning performance in real time
- Tracking is pretty good but not perfect
- Logs your cleaning performance for review along with a score
- Well designed smartphone application
- Encouragement given via points and challenges
- Points gained equal money saved on Colgate products
- Travel case included
- Water resistant
- 2 year warranty as standard
- Money back guarantee option for 30 days
Battery life on an electric toothbrush is a topic that divides many.
For a large number of us, it is not all that important. When not in use the brush normally sits on the charging stand or worktop in our bathroom. Therefore, whether the battery lasts 5 days or 5 weeks it doesn’t matter all that much as the charger is within easy reach.
However, for those that are on the road, or those who travel for a week or more at a time, opinions might be different.
The battery life available on electric toothbrushes does differ quite considerably. Some offer 5 days whilst others offer 5 weeks or longer.
2-3 weeks is now probably the average battery life of most new electric toothbrushes. Therefore I was quite surprised to see that the claimed battery life of the hum was up to 10 days.
Sometimes toothbrushes outperform the claims, manufacturers perhaps play it a little safe.
These claims are generally always based on 1 user brushing their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes.
Based on Colgate’s claims of 10 days, that is a total running time of 40 minutes or 20 brushing sessions.
My own hands-on testing managed to achieve 12 days. In other words 48 minutes of brushing time or 24 brushing sessions.
This is good as it exceeds the claims, but somewhat disappointing given the average battery life available in other electric toothbrushes today.
Then again the Pro 3000 from Oral-B has just 1 weeks battery life. In its defense, this has been on the market for a few years now.
You can see here how Colgate is really not up to speed with the competition This, of course, assumes battery life is important to you.
Working back in the hums favor is the charging stand.
A revised design means that it is now not as wide and deep as that provided with the E1, but is a bit taller. The brush sits on top of the stand and is a little more secure, less easily knocked off.
The charging stand supports 100-240v and has a 2 pin US power adapter.
What this means is that should you travel internationally, the stand itself will support voltages around the world, you will just need a plug/socket adapter.
Whilst it is possible to take the stand with you, it’s a little inconvenient, particularly when you have to then worry about plug adapters.
The rechargeable battery built into the handle is not user replaceable. For those who are interested, it is a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery.
A full charge can take up to 10 hours, but generally, it is charged sooner than this.
When sat on the charging stand and connected to power, a white pulsing light will be emitted around the edge of the power button.
Once the battery is fully charged, the light will go out.
When the battery has about 20% remaining, the light around the power button will shine red to alert you that the power in the battery is low.
If you are using the smartphone app, it is possible to get a percentage (%) reading of the remaining power in the battery. There are very few brushes that offer this. It is a much more precise percentage such as 34%, rather than the 10% increments the likes of the Oral-B iO offers.
Summary of battery life
- Claimed 10 days of battery life
- Achieved 12 days in hands-on testing
- A battery life of 2+ weeks would be preferable
- Nickel Metal Hydride rechargeable battery built into the handle
- Comes with a charging stand
- A 2 pin power cable is hardwired into the stand.
- The charging stand supports 100-240V
- A full charge can take up to 10 hours
- When charging, pulsing white light around power button
- Light goes out when charge completed
- When battery charge is low, a pulsing red light around power button
- Remaining battery power shown as a percentage (%) within app
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 variant of the hum, with a built-in rechargeable battery, has a retail price of $69.99.
I think most would agree with me in saying that given what is included and the features that this offers, this is a fair price.
Sonicare’s ProtectiveClean 4100 has the same retail price, but has no smart features. The typical selling price is around $50.
Oral-B’s Pro 3000 is considered smart, but doesn’t have real and has a retail price of $80-100, but typically sells for about $70.
Even though the selling price of the Pro 3000 is more similar to the hum, the Colgate brush has real-time tracking that is not on offer from the Oral-B model.
As a very rough rule, prices of electric toothbrushes tend to sell at around 20% less than their retail price. We can see evidence of this from the Sonicare and Oral-B prices.
However, the limited number of Colgate brushes means that this precedent has not really been set.
I am reviewing this brush soon after launch, so the prices are much more likely to remain at or closer to retail.
I think a $5-10 saving would be a real sweetener to the deal, but the reality is this is an excellently priced toothbrush for what you get.
With any brush, you will need to factor in the cost of replacement brush heads every 3 months.
To give you a benchmark of costs, we work the cost of ownership out over a 3 year period.
Replacement brush heads cost $9.99 for 2 heads for the hum, so $5 per head.
You can also subscribe via the Colgate website to have a single brush head delivered every 3 months, for $5, if you prefer.
Over 3 years, you will need to buy 11 additional heads (1 included in the box) at a total cost of $55.
Add this to the $70 purchase price and the cost is $125. Or to put it another way, $0.11 per day to own.
The Sonicare 4100 comes in at $0.13 and the Oral-B Pro 3000 $0.15.
These figures really speak for themselves.
You have the potential that you can save a little more, by using the points you acquire in the app. As I demonstrated earlier, this could be anywhere between $14-20 per year.
Let’s assume the worst at $10 per year. This brings the cost down to $95 or $0.07 per day.
So, for a lower price you are getting a brush that helps you brush your teeth to a higher standard, the sacrifice is really a mediocre battery life.
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 $69.99
- Typically no real discount to be had
- Competing products $10-20 cheaper purchase price
- Replacement brush heads costs $5 each
- Ownership over 3 years costs $125 or $0.11 per day
- Further savings to be had via points system
- Cheaper long term than competing products
- Best value smart toothbrush
Reliability & long term use
The hum by Colgate has undergone a couple of weeks of testing prior to writing this review.
I would love to be able to test it for longer to give you a long term opinion on what it is like in terms of reliability, but sadly this is not feasible.
Having paid close attention to the construction of this toothbrush I see no glaring issues.
Going by previous models, of the same design (available in Europe), the hum series will, on the whole, prove to be a very reliable range. Although the warranty is not this long, you can likely expect the brush to last 3+ years.
Of course, being an electrical product and one that is exposed to moisture, it is perhaps more susceptible to failure, but it does come with a 2 year manufacturer warranty should something fail.
Should it stop working within this period, Colgate will either repair or replace the handle in most instances.
We tend to live in a throwaway society. Opinions and attitudes are changing and more users are calling for electric toothbrushes like the hum to be user repairable. It is not designed to be this way. In part, this is to do with safety and the exposure to water, another is cost.
Ultimately, as I see it, the hum should last a good few years. But, should this fail outside of the 2 year warranty period, for the price, you will have had your value from it.
The hum by Colgate has far exceeded my expectations.
Is it absolutely perfect? No. But, find me a product that is.
When so many so-called smart brushes over promise and fail to deliver, it is refreshing to have a toothbrush that does the opposite.
It is made I believe even more appealing by the lack of hard push or sell on the smart features.
Yes, to some extent, there is little point buying this brush unless you intend to use the smartphone application. But, even if it is occasional use, you can get benefits without having paid a ridiculous premium for the privilege.
There is an increasing level of competition when it comes to smart toothbrushes, but none, from my own hands-on testing, have offered a user journey like the hum does.
It offers subtle encouragement. It engages you to seek out the points to gain financial rewards. But, it lets you be in control and turn off nagging notifications.
The Colgate hum is by far the best smart toothbrush I have used to date when you consider the price it sells for.
- Height (without head) – 6.89 inches/17.5cm
- Height (with head) – 8.27 inches/21cm
- Width – 0.94 inches/2.4cm
- Thickness – 0.94 inches/2.4cm
- Weight (without head) – 1.69oz/48g
- Weight (with head) – 1.83oz/51.9g
All are approximates
- Is the hum by Colgate an oscillating brush?
- No, it is not. It is a sonic toothbrush.
- How many brushing modes does the hum have?
- There are 2 variants of the hum, the battery, and rechargeable.
- Battery powered – 2 modes:
- Normal mode: operates at high speed – white LED
- Sensitive mode: operates at low speed – pink LED
- Rechargeable – 3 modes:
- Deep Clean mode: operates at high speed – white LED
- Normal mode: operates at medium speed – teal LED
- Sensitive mode: operates at low speed – pink LED
- What brush head does it come with and what alternative ones can be used?
- There is just 1 style of brush head for the hum toothbrush. It comes supplied with 1 in the box. This is the only compatible head for the hum.
- Does the hum have a pressure sensor?
- No, it does not. However, you can often hear the motor straining and the sound of the brush changing if you brush with too much force.
- Does the hum by Colgate have Bluetooth?
- Yes, it does. Bluetooth 4.0.
- Does the hum come with a warranty & how long is it?
- Yes, it comes with a 2 years warranty from Colgate.
- Does the hum have a built-in timer?
- Yes. The brush has a 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
- During the 2 minutes, at 30 second intervals, there is a pause in the motion of the brush head and a change in the sound that the brush head makes. This is the 30 second/quadpacer kicking in, to help guide you to an even clean of the teeth.
- At 120 seconds (2 minutes) the brush will pause briefly 3 times to alert you it is the end of the clean.
- How long does the battery last?
- The battery is supposed to last up to 10 days according to Colgate. I achieved 12 days in my testing.
- Does it come with a charger?
- Yes, a charging stand is included with the hum. It supports 100-240v, but has a 2 pin US power adapter.
- Can I use the hum in the shower?
- No. The handle is splash proof and is not designed for use when in the shower or bathing.
- Does it come with a travel case?
- Yes, it does.
hum vs Sonicare
Since the launch of the hum by Colgate, we have had a few readers ask how it compares to Sonicare.
The short answer is that there is quite a bit of similarity, but I feel that Sonicare cleans the teeth better.
However, let me be clear in that, the answer here is slightly more complicated. This is because the ‘hum’ is a specific model from a range of electric toothbrushes that Colgate offers, whereas ‘Sonicare’ is a brand that offers multiple different toothbrushes.
Asking how the hum by Colgate compares to the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 or the Philips One by Sonicare for example are better questions because it is more logical to compare 2 specific models.
To try and demonstrate the differences and present which I think is better, I will give a brief comparison of the hum by Colgate to the ProtectiveClean 4100.
Both brushes offer a sonic cleaning action, with the hum said to offer 30,000 strokes per minute whilst the Sonicare offers 31,000. Despite the very small difference in stroke numbers, the ProtectiveClean feels like it offers a better clean, there is something about it that feels more thorough, to me at least.
If you used them side by side it is easier to spot and existing Sonicare users would likely notice this if switching to the hum.
I am not saying the hum cleans poorly, it doesn’t. It is just that the Sonicare cleaning action feels like it is doing a better job.
The battery life of the Sonicare is considerably better at around 5 weeks on a single charge compared to the 10-12 days of the hum.
The ProtectiveClean has a pressure sensor built-in that and an LED on the brush handle alerts you when it is time to change the brush head.
These are features that the hum does not have, but given these brushes are approximately the same price to buy, there are some really impressive features available on the hum that the 4100 does not have.
A travel case is included in the box with the hum and the ongoing cost of replacement brush heads are cheaper. Brush twice daily and you can actually earn money to use against the cost of replacement brush heads.
You do this by syncing the handle to the smartphone application, because yes, the hum has Bluetooth connectivity to pair with your mobile device. Data transferred to the app earns you cents and dollars to spend at the Colgate store.
And whilst the last stand out feature is far from essential, it is a feature that is typically only found on Sonicare models commanding a price premium of 3-4x greater than the hum.
It has position detection technology that tracks the movement of the toothbrush in the mouth and shows on-screen, in real-time, areas of the mouth you have and have not brushed, helping you to improve your brushing technique and routine.
Whilst technically in many respect the hum is the better and more capable brush. For the money, but the 4100 cleans the teeth better and feels a more practical everyday product to use.
Had I been comparing the hum to the Philips One by Sonicare, then the win would have gone to the hum.
Do you own or have you used the hum by Colgate?
Are there certain features that you really like or dislike?
Let us know what you think about this brush and let others who may well be considering purchasing one know your opinions before they do.