The hum kids smart toothbrush by Colgate is available in both battery (electric) and manual options.
This review refers to both but is primarily focused on the electric variant.
This toothbrush does a great job of making toothbrushing fun.
It uses games and rewards to encourage more regular and thorough brushing.
It relies heavily on the use of the smartphone app which not all will approve of.
The best results are achieved by those kids who stay still and pay attention.
Some small inconveniences, but it does make establishing an oral care routine with your little one that bit easier.
It is really good value too.
- Bold and engaging colors
- Timer to encourage brushing for the recommended time
- 2 cleaning modes with different power settings
- Smartphone app makes brushing more fun and engaging
- Tongue scraper on brush head
- No 30 second pacer built into the handle
- No icons on the handle to show which cleaning mode is selected
- No battery status feedback
- Heavy reliance on app & tracking by the app isn’t always perfect
hum kids by Colage in-depth review
Colgate is one of the best known oral care brands within the USA and across the globe.
Hum by Colagte is a more recent addition to their range and began with a very impressive adult toothbrush.
This kids toothbrush is essentially an adaption of that product, with adjustments made to better serve the younger users.
Variants of this toothbrush
There are 2 different variants of the hum by kids toothbrush.
One is a manual brush, the other is electric.
Both the manual and electric brush are available in either yellow or red color options.
With the electric brush, the yellow plastic handle has a red power button and hum logo. The red color handle has a yellow power button and a yellow hum logo.
The manual brush is the same, but rather than a power button it is the rubber grips on the handle that differ in color.
What’s in the box?
- 1 x Hum kids smart battery toothbrush handle
- 1 x Brush head
- 2 x AAA batteries
- 1 x Smartphone stand
- 2 different cleaning modes
- 2 minute timer
- Fun smartphone application
Design, usability, clean & general use
Both the manual and electric hum by kids brushes come in eye catching boxes. Bold child friendly colors. They have a slightly different design, and the electric one is a little larger than it probably needs to be.
On the box, some of the key features and functions are highlighted but there isn’t extensive information. It’s enough I think.
The box contents will differ. Of course, the electric brush comes with 2 x AAA batteries. Both come with a smartphone stand. This is because both the manual and electric brush work with the smartphone app.
I will cover the app in more detail shortly, but I feel it is important to share now how the app detects these brushes.
Neither the manual nor the electric brush has Bluetooth to connect it to the app. The app uses the front facing camera on a smartphone to look out for the colorful dotted module at the base of the brush handle. It is this module and the raised dots that are tracked by the camera/app.
With the electric brush, this is fixed to the handle and can’t be removed. With the manual brush, this comes apart, to allow the manual brush to be removed and replaced as is necessary. The brush should be replaced every 3 months.
Each brush achieves the same end goal, they just do it slightly differently. The manual brush is the more cost effective option, whilst the electric will likely help your child achieve a better overall clean, thanks to the number of bristle movements.
I am going to focus on the electric variant for the majority of this review.
Like most electric toothbrushes, this is made up of 2 key parts, the handle and the brush head.
I have the yellow colored option, but it is too available in red.
The brush head is color matched and pushes on and pulls off of the handle.
The main body of the brush has a cylindrical shape, made with a smooth touch plastic which is easy to wipe clean.
It is a fairly uniform shape down the handle until you reach the bottom. I am not sure what you call this part, but it is a bizarre looking bulbous module with raised rubber nodules of varying color.
Despite the odd shape, it does allow it to sit upright on a countertop.
The very bottom of this part of the brush can be removed if needs be. You twist it to unlock it and twist it the opposite way to lock it back in place. There are icons on the back of the handle to show this.
The lower half of the handle has the hum logo in red printed on it and does also unscrew from the top of the handle. This is to allow access to the battery compartment.
With the 2 x AAA batteries installed the handle can be turned and locked shut. It is a secure and tight screw mechanism and icons on the back of the handle show when it has been successfully locked in place.
In the upper half of the handle is the one and only function button. This turns the brush on and off. It is a silicone material with a power icon debossed in it. Red in color it stands out and provides a little grip to the finger. It sits very slightly proud of the main brush body.
The button has a good level of resistance and clicks when pressed.
Above the power button is the top of the brush handle which tapers up to the bristles of the brush head when fitted. If the head is removed a long white plastic shaft is exposed.
On the rear of the handle are 2 raised plastic nodules that help prevent the toothbrush from rolling when laid on a countertop. There are too the icons for locking and unlocking the pasts of the handle. And there is the Colgate logo along with the Kolibree logo. Kolibree is the company that builds the technology for the smartphone app.
Although there are not lots of raised gripping points, the handle shape isn’t slippy and most children should be able to hold onto this quite comfortably.
The replaceable brush heads for this sonic toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months.
There is only 1 style of head which makes things quite easy.
The bristles are very soft. On the head itself are 4 rows of bristles, with the outer 2 rows being longer and more tapered to help clean along the gumline.
All the bristles are white in color. They do not fade or change color over the weeks and months of use.
On the back of the head is a tongue cleaner. This is a nice touch and more useful than many realize. It ties in nicely as the smartphone app actually promotes tongue brushing.
The toothbrush has 2 cleaning modes. Colgate hasn’t specified what these modes really are or how they differ, but it is quite obvious that the first mode is the more gentle and less powerful.
A single press of the power button will access this mode. A second press will access the more powerful mode.
I believe it to be similar to Oral-B Kids 3+ brush where the default mode is the sensitive mode and the other the normal cleaning mode.
I like this setup because it doesn’t put kids off straight away. It is an option for easing the child into the power of an electric brush.
Older children or those used to an electric brush can use the more powerful mode when they feel ready.
Colgate hasn’t specified the number of bristle movements, but I think the maximum number is 20,000 on the more powerful mode.
There is no easy way of knowing which mode is selected. There are no mode labels or LEDs on the brush handle. In time you can tell the difference between the pitch of the sound. But, some form of cleaning mode icon would have been nice.
Unlike some sonic toothbrushes, this will not automatically turn itself off. To turn it off you will need to press the power button when your child has completed their brushing.
In our opinion, essential features of a good electric toothbrush are a 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer. This is to encourage even brushing of the teeth for the dentist recommended 2 minutes.
In some respects, it is less important for younger children because the main thing here is to get them in a habit of doing some brushing. But, at the same time, it is good to promote doing it for the right amount of time.
The hum for kids has a 2 minute timer, but not a 30 second pacer. This pacing is handled by the smartphone application.
And in actual fact, the app works on 6 x 20 second sections (sextants), rather than the slightly more typical 4 x 30 second (quadrants).
It is not an absolute deal breaker, but something to be aware of if your child is not brushing with the app open.
The 2 minute timer alerts you by 3 pauses in the motor. The change in sound and brushing sensation to your child or to you as the parent/guardian that the time has been achieved.
In use, the brush does produce an audible humming sound. It is not the loudest toothbrush, but not the quietest. Vibrations are felt through the brush handle and the motion of the bristles can feel quite ticklish to children that are not used to it.
Most will desensitize to it over a week or so.
My preference is for electric over manual because you get the increased bristle movement compared to a manual brush, which can help with getting better cleaning results.
Toothbrushing can be complicated so things that make the clean easier but yet effective can be very helpful.
That said, used correctly a manual brush is still more than adequate.
From my testing, the cleaning results were perfectly satisfactory.
Another useful feature not found on the hum is a pressure sensor. This helps prevent brushing with too much force. The observant will hear the motor straining when too much pressure is used.
Few kids brushes have this, so again it isn’t a big issue, just something to be aware of.
Key for children is establishing good, basic oral care habits.
Colgate suggests this brush is best used by children aged 5+ and I would be inclined to agree. A 4 year old might be able to use it, depending on how competent they are. That extra year’s development of a 5 years old pays off, particularly with using the app alongside the brush.
Whatever age, you should ideally be monitoring your children brushing until they are about 7 or 8 years old.
Right, so let me cover the app now in more detail and how it works.
Let me start off by saying, you don’t have to use the app, but it is kind of pointless getting the hum if you don’t intend to.
As a parent myself, I am not overjoyed at the thought of my child using a smartphone in the bathroom, for all the inherent risks that go with it. I also personally try and limit some of the screen time. But, I am keener on ensuring my child has a positive experience with toothbrushing and learns to establish good oral care routines.
You can probably agree that kids find these apps and gamified experiences far more engaging than a parent or guardian teaching them how to brush.
The hum by kids app can be downloaded for free from the Apple or Android app store.
There are a few different parts to the app. The included screenshots likely better demonstrate what I am trying to explain.
Central to the app is the child’s experience. It makes brushing fun and likely more appealing than any parent’s oral care lessons!
With each session, the child earns points, that turn into prizes within the app. Prizes include unlocking levels and overlays that add further to the game experience. The more points, the better and the more they brush over the weeks and months the further they can progress through the different levels/courses within the app.
Fundamental to this is the smartphone being able to see your child brush.
Both the manual and electric brushes come with a smartphone stand. The phone needs to be positioned here and the app then uses the front facing camera to track the movement of the brush.
The camera and app are looking for the colored nodules on the bottom of the brush handle. This is what is used to track the position etc.
For it to work correctly the child needs to stay in sight and within the boundaries of the camera. The app is quite good at demonstrating this to the child and letting them know when things aren’t quite right.
Artificial Intelligence or AI monitors this and gives the on-screen overlays to make the app what it is.
On the whole, the tracking of the app with this method was pretty good. But, it wasn’t 100% perfect. At times it didn’t track correctly or it is quite awkward to ensure the child and the brush remain in the frame for it to work.
To be fair to Colgate, the app really does the best job it can of trying to keep the child on track. It pauses the app and alerts the user the brush can’t be seen.
It is much better than the Disney Magic Timer app that Oral-B promotes with their kid’s brushes.
When brushing the screen is split into 2. Half with a visual of what the camera is seeing with some visual overlays. The other half is the diagram for brushing.
This is really quite good. It highlights what area needs brushing and the child should then follow it. Dark blue teeth turn to white as the child brushes.
At the same time, assuming the brush is in the correct position and being moved appropriately points are won.
As the 2 minutes pass, it moves from section to section of the mouth. There are 16 in total.
Areas that are not brushed properly are left with more of a yellow color to show that more time should have been spent brushing.
Bugs on the teeth help make it more fun for the child to see what they should be cleaning and the app will give helpful tips like saying to slow down if the child is brushing too fast.
Now technically because the app isn’t connected by Bluetooth to the brush, it is possible that the brush isn’t even turned on and the app/timer will still count down. And providing the brush is still within the frame, it will continue to move from section to section, even if the brush isn’t being moved. Thus it isn’t perfect, but I have yet to find one that is.
You can create multiple profiles within the app so that if you have more than 1 child each can be tracked individually and their progress kept separate.
Different parents/guardians might be helping children with brushing at different times. It is technically possible to keep some elements in sync with different devices, providing the same account is used to log into the app.
Colgate recommends if possible that only 1 device is used to track game progress and rewards.
With the current version of the hum kids by Colgate app, the game progress and rewards do not synchronize in real-time. Therefore, if you use the same hum kids account to log in on different devices, the game progress and rewards may be different. They are working to resolve this in later app updates.
Some extra controls are set behind the parental dashboard. You can manage settings such as the brushing time and see brushing records for the last 7 days.
You can see if they are consistently missing areas and give your child that reminder to spend more time on their back teeth for example.
There are too small customizations that can be made to the app, including adding in the option to give a pause in the brushing to allow your child to spit. This is brilliant.
I do also like how Colgate promotes tongue brushing with the hum for kids.
Overall I really like the app. I think Kolbree has done a great job with Colgate in creating a product that engages children and makes brushing more fun.
I think the Sonicare for kids app is slightly more refined in some areas. It feels more educational and possibly suits older children slightly better.
But there are elements to the hum app which are definitely better. It feels a bit more interactive. The child being able to see themselves for example on screen I think it is a big win. You can win prizes with Sonicare, but not points. Winning the points as the child brushes is quite a motivational factor for some.
It is very hard to conclusively say 1 app is better than the other. There are benefits and drawbacks to each.
The hum for kids doesn’t come with a travel case or any way to protect the bristles of the brush head, which is a shame. No optional travel case exists as far as I am aware either.
The removable batteries make it quite convenient for those who do travel with their children and even the plastic smartphone stand is compact and lightweight.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Manual and electric versions
- Available in 2 color options
- Plastic construction is easy to keep clean
- Electric toothbrush potentially more effective with increased bristle movements
- 2 cleaning modes on the electric – sensitive and normal
- No easy way to tell which mode is selected
- 2 minute timer built-in
- No automatic power off
- No 30 second pacer built-in
- Powered by 2 x AAA batteries
- 1 style of brush head with soft bristles
- Cleans the teeth well
- Smartphone application key to the experience
- Uses the front facing camera to track the colorful & unique base of the brush handle
- The app is very good at encouraging better brushing & technique
Of course, of the 2 types of hum by kids toothbrushes available, it is only with the AAA powered electric brush that we need to be concerned about the battery life.
Supplied in the box with the brush as 2 x Energizer AAA batteries. It is nice to see premium brand batteries included. It is not always the case, but more often than not the premium brands perform better.
Unscrewing the bottom half of the handle gives access to the battery compartment. They are easy to insert and remove and the handle locks nice and tightly to prevent water ingression.
Colgate does not state the exact battery life you should get from this toothbrush.
In my experience of testing such products, the removable batteries can last many months. I can confirm that the supplied batteries were still going strong after 3 months of twice daily usage. I haven’t completed testing to see exactly when they will run out.
The problem is, the battery life might not be quite the same for other brands of batteries.
Because you don’t have any battery status light, there is no way of knowing precisely when they will go flat. The brush will usually slow down and eventually just stop.
The benefit of removable batteries is they are widely available and easily replaced.
It is most cost effective to replace the batteries only when they have actually depleted and run out.
However, there is a certain level of benefit and practicality to replacing the batteries at the same time you replace the brush head, every 3 months.
Doing this, you can be assured that the batteries should last and a fresh head has been fitted. It is easier to make this a routine and feels less hassle than the batteries dying one evening as you are trying to get the child to brush their teeth.
It would be great if there were a rechargeable variant, like the adult hum toothbrush.
The price would likely be comparable when you factor in the cost or replacement AAA batteries. For some, this would be more convenient and you could have the peace of mind that the brush was always charged up.
Summary of battery life
- Powered by 2 x AAA batteries
- 2 Energizer batteries supplied in the box
- Last more than 3 months
- No battery status/charge light
- The brush will slow/stop when batteries are flat
- The batteries are sealed securely in the handle
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.
The retail price of the battery powered hum for kids is $29.99.
The manual version is half that at $14.99.
Based on my experience, and I am sure you will agree, for the electric variant, this is a pretty fair price.
Of course, prices are always subject to change and can vary from one seller to another. In fact, at the time of review, it appears more cost effective to buy direct from the online store that Colgate has set up for hum.
Often some popular online retailers are cheaper than the manufacturer, in this instance that doesn’t appear to be the case.
The manual brush is a bit more expensive than I would like and will likely be offputting when compared to the alternatives. However, you must consider that included in this price is the removable boot that connects to the manual brush and is key to the AI app actually functioning. Once you have this, the cost of replacement brushes are just $5 each, although they are sold in a pack of 2 for $9.99.
$9.99 is the same cost of a pack of 2 replacement brush heads for the battery version. Each head cost $5 each.
Manual or electric these should be replaced every 3 months on average.
Prices are comparable to the competition.
When buying an adult electric toothbrush, it isn’t uncommon for the selling price to be quite significantly discounted compared to the retail price.
Based on the prices I am seeing, I think it is unlikely to expect any great discounts or savings here. You might be able to save a few dollars from time to time. But I doubt it is going to be worth worrying too much about this.
To give some sort of benchmark to the cost of ownership, we like to price brushes over a 3 year period here at Electric Teeth.
As 1 brush head is included in the box, a further 11 will be needed over 3 years. At $5 per head, this adds $55 to the $30 purchase price. This gives a total of $85 (rounded to the nearest dollar). However, we need to factor in the cost of replacement batteries.
Working on the assumption that 2 x AAA batteries are replaced every 3 months, you can expect to need 24 batteries over 3 years. 2 come supplied, so 22 extra in total. With a typical price of around $0.50 per battery, you are looking at an extra $1 every 3 months. That is an extra $11 on the purchase price.
This works out at $96 or $0.09 per day.
For the sake of comparison, Oral-B kids 3+ works out at $0.08 per day, whilst the Sonicare for kids connected comes in at around $0.14 per day.
I like the Sonicare option a lot, but if the price is a big factor for you, there is a reasonable saving to be had for few other compromises.
But, it is probably fair to say, the hum kids is comparable if not better value than most of the other options on the market.
The manual brush by contrast works out at $70 or $0.06 per day.
For the benefits the electric model brings for not a huge extra spend, I think this is worth opting for.
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
- Electric sells for approx $29.99
- Manual sells for approx $14.99
- Replacement brush heads cost $5 each – 2 pack for $9.99
- Manual brushes cost $5 each – 2 pack for $9.99
- Need to cost in replacement AAA batteries for the electric variant
- Electric costs approx $96 over 3 years, or $0.09 per day
- The manual brush works out at $70 or $0.06 per day
- Electric is comparably priced to competition
Reliability & long term use
Any electronic product is more prone to failure and damage than a manual toothbrush.
The likelihood of failure is heightened when the brush is in the hands of a child. They are typically are not quite as careful with things as us adults.
It isn’t possible for me to easily comment on the long term reliability given the limited time I am able to use and test this for.
That said, I have no real cause for concern.
This kids variant of the hum toothbrush is based on the adult version which has been on the market for some time ahead of this model being produced.
Manufactured by a leading brand, Colgate has many years of experience in making such products.
The batteries could potentially be exposed to water but there is a solid screw mechanism and seal to keep them protected, so this is unlikely to be an issue.
It comes with a 2 year warranty that covers the workmanship and product quality (not user damage). 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.
There is a lot to like about this toothbrush, and I can honestly say I can’t really criticize it all that heavily.
It is good value and it encourages a good oral care routine by making toothbrushing for your little one fun.
I am somewhat disappointed that the timer is a 2 minute timer only and there is no pacer built into the handle itself.
It does rely fairly heavily on the smartphone app. Some parents might not be happy with this. Particularly when things like smartphones are more vulnerable when in a bathroom setting.
The tracking isn’t 100% perfect, but few are. The best results will only be achieved by the most committed of children.
It takes the challenge to the Sonicare kids connected brush. It is slightly more price competitive and in some areas, the app is better.
The hum for kids smart toothbrush is a solid toothbrush choice.
- Height (without head) – 18cm/7.09 inches
- Height (with head) – 21.5cm/8.46 inches
- Width – 2~3.5cm/0.79~1.38 inches
- Thickness – 2~3.5cm/0.79~1.38 inches
- Weight (without head) – 66g/2.34oz
- Weight (with head) – 71g/2.49oz
All are approximates
- Is the hum kids an oscillating brush?
- No, it is not. It is a sonic toothbrush.
- What brushing/cleaning modes are available?
- The hum kids has 2 cleaning modes. Colgate is not explicit about what each mode does and how they differ. The first mode is slower and less intense, whilst the second mode is more powerful.
- What brush head does hum kids come with and what alternative ones can be used?
- There is just 1 style of brush head for the hum kids toothbrush. It comes supplied with 1 in the box. This is the only compatible head for the hum.
- This head is available in 2 different colors to match the handle color.
- Does the hum kids 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 kids have Bluetooth?
- No, it does not.
- Does it come with a travel case?
- No, a travel case is not included in the box.
- Does it come with a charger?
- No. It is powered by user replaceable AAA batteries, 2 of them.
- How long does the battery last?
- There is no specific usage time quoted. Our testing suggests they should easily last 3 months.
- Does the hum kids come with a warranty & how long is it?
- If purchased new from an approved retailer or Colgate themselves the brush will come with a 2 year warranty.
Do you own or have you used the hum kids smart toothbrush?
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.