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Published: February 10, 2024

hum by Colgate review

Author: Jon Love (6 Comments)
hum by Colgate review 1

One of the most affordable smart toothbrushes available

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You don't need a smart toothbrush. The tracking can be a bit off cleaning power and battery life are lacking.

But, the Hum by Colgate packs a punch for the price, if you really want a smart toothbrush on a budget. Particularly when you consider the financial rewards you can earn from daily use.

Colgate Hum Smart Rechargeable
Colgate Hum Smart Rechargeable
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Pros

Cons

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Stylish, slim and lightweight

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Battery life should be better

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3 cleaning modes give a choice of power

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Cleaning performance is a bit weak

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Travel case included

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Real-time brushing feedback isn’t always accurate

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Real-time brushing feedback via smartphone application

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Power button doesn’t give much feedback when pressed

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Good value for the features it offers

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No pressure sensor to alert you when brushing too hard

Other smart toothbrushes to consider

Oral-B's Smart 1500 is our most recommended toothbrush and tops our best electric toothbrush list. This is because it offers the essential features you need at a good price. You don't pay for unnecessary extras.

Smart toothbrushes have a place and the Hum is a solid offering, but the likes of the iO Series 6 feels like a more refined offering, addressing some of the shortcomings. It will cost a bit more over a lifetime of ownership, but it could be worth it.

The absolute pinnacle of smart brushes is the 9900 Prestige from Sonicare, but it is very expensive for limited real-world benefit.

Oral-B iO Series 6 (iO6)
Oral-B iO Series 6 (iO6)
hum by Colgate review 2 hum by Colgate review 2 hum by Colgate review 2 hum by Colgate review 2 hum by Colgate review 2

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.

Colgate hum box

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.

hum by Colgate in hand

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.

Rear of hum by Colgate toothbrush

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.

There is too a variant of the Hum powered by 2 x AAA battery. Available in the same color options. Although the lower half of the brush is a different shade 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.

Colgate Hum brush head

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, thus turning the hum into a subscription toothbrush offering.

Make sure you recycle those used brush heads by using of Colgate’s oral care recycling program.

hum by Colgate review 12

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.  

Hum toothbrush from Colgate in Teal

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
  • Normal
  • Sensitive

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.

Teal colored Colgate hum laid on side

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. Learn more about the differences here.

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.

Colgate hum smart toothbrush with app

All of the features of the app are the same for both the rechargeable and AAA battery variant.

First things first, the app is available for Android and iOS devices and can be downloaded for free from the relevant app store.

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.

  • Home
    • A dashboard with your latest points and brushing data.  
    • Links off to extra learning content and mechanisms to earn more points.
  • Shop
    • 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.
  • Activities
    • 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.

It is also worth noting that you can add multiple users to one account. Colgate are the first toothbrush company to do this as far as I am aware. The points other users earn can be added to your total points for the account. Ideal for families or couples.

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:

  1. Upper right back teeth outside surface
  2. Upper right back teeth inside surface
  3. Upper right back teeth biting surface
  4. Lower right back teeth outside surface
  5. Lower right back teeth inside surface
  6. Lower right back teeth biting surface
  7. Upper left back teeth outside surface
  8. Upper left back teeth inside surface
  9. Upper left back teeth biting surface
  10. Lower left back teeth outside surface
  11. Lower left back teeth inside surface
  12. Lower left back teeth biting surface
  13. Upper front teeth outside surface
  14. Upper front teeth inside surface
  15. Lower front teeth outside surface
  16. 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 Smart 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 jewellery 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.

Hum by Colgate travel case

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

Slim and comfortable brush to hold and use
Lightweight
No real grips on the handle
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
Tracks your cleaning performance in real time
Tracking is pretty good but not perfect
Well designed smartphone application
Points gained equal money saved on Colgate products
Travel case included

Battery life

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. 

Sonicare’s ProtectiveClean 4100 manages 5 weeks!

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.

On charging stand - Colgate hum

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. 

Summary of battery life

Claimed 10 days of battery life
Achieved 12 days in hands-on testing
Nickel Metal Hydride rechargeable battery built into the handle
Comes with a charging stand
A 2 pin power cable is hardwired into the stand
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.

In hand shot of hum by Colgate

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. The Oral-B Smart 1500 comes in at $0.11 per day.

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

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

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.

Conclusion

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 and choices 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.

Size guide

  • Toothbrush height with head - 21cm / 8.3 inches
  • Toothbrush height without head - 17.5cm / 6.9 inches
  • Width - 2.4cm / 0.9 inches
  • Depth/thickness - 2.4cm / 0.9 inches
  • Weight with head - 52g / 1.8oz
  • Weight without head - 48g / 1.7oz
  • Travel case size - 21cm / 8.3 inches (L) x 5cm / 2 inches (W) x 3.2cm / 1.3 inches (D)
  • Travel case weight - 56g / 2oz without brush or 108g / 3.8oz with brush
  • Package weight - 489g / 17.9oz

Noise

  • 57dB

Country of manufacture

  • China

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.

Battery powered:

  • Normal mode: operates at high speed - white LED
  • Sensitive mode: operates at low speed - pink LED

Rechargeable:

  • 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.

hum by Colgate review 37

hum vs Sonicare

hum by Colgate review 38

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.

hum by Colgate review 39

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. 

Author: Jon Love

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Leave a comment

LH
Lorna Hilgers
February 14, 2021

I’m a dental hygienist. Does Colgate offer any specials for Hygienest so maybe they can review and recommend for patients..... I would love to try one.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
February 15, 2021

Hi Lorna. I am afraid I am unable to answer this question. I wouldn't be surprised if they did, but I think you would need to make contact direct with Colgate to be put in touch with the right persons.

J
Jason
December 15, 2020

Great toothbrush for kids in helping them develop good brushing techniques. The battery lasts a lot longer if you drop a lithium battery in it. Only flaw I have seen is the case design. Should have made it so the toothbrush would stow away without having to remove the head.

LM
Liz McCarthy
December 2, 2020

I really liked this Hum toothbrush when I got it and I’ve been using the guided brushing everyday. Well today it stopped working on the app and I’m unable to do guided brushing. I’ve had this item for about 2 months.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
December 2, 2020

Hi Liz. Sorry to hear that it is no longer connecting to the app. Have you tried disconnecting the handle and the phone and running through the troubleshooting tips Colgate provide? Are you aware of any updates to your phone or the app that might have caused this?

LM
Liz McCarthy
December 2, 2020

Yes. I had it forget the connection to the brush and then reconnected. I will check to see if there are any updated to the hum app. I was really liking the toothbrush and I felt that it was helping me due to the guided brushing that I used every time. I sure hope I can figure out how to fix it. If all else fails, I will contact Colgate because it is still under warranty. Thanks for your suggestions

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