Quieter than other Oral-B brushes, the iO9 cleans the teeth really well.
You can track your brushing in real-time and gain educational insight into how you can take better care of your teeth.
The handle has a minimal look and includes a colour display.
It has the essential features you need and much more to achieve a great clean of the teeth.
The Oral-B iO Series 9 is the best Oral-B electric toothbrush available today, but it comes at a price.
- A premium looking handle with a built-in colour display
- The small round brush head cleans the teeth really well
- Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
- Visible pressure sensor – alerts you when you are brushing with the correct & incorrect force
- Quieter than other Oral-B brushes
- Rapid recharging with the magnetic charging stand
- Bluetooth and AI can be valuable to the most committed users
- Comprehensive real-time tracking
- iO specific heads required which are more expensive
- Travel case comes with a separate power adapter rather than a built-in USB cable & accepts only 1 brush head
- Bluetooth connectivity isn’t essential and adds to cost
- Better value options exist (see other choices)
Consider these other brushes
The iO9 is hands down the best Oral-B powered toothbrush. It is very expensive though and offers far more than most of us need.
Unless you are prepared to pay the premium you can likely get better deals if you consider other models in the range.
You could do a lot worse than considering the ‘best overall’ choice from our best electric toothbrush article:
Having tested hundreds of electric toothbrushes, here are our top choices as of September 2022:
Sonicare Prestige 9900 — Most features
It won’t clean the teeth any better, and it has more features than you need, but it is the ultimate choice if a smart toothbrush is what you want.(Shaver Shop NZ, Amazon AU)
How does the iO9 compare to other brushes?
You can’t get a more feature rich toothbrush from Braun Oral-B than the iO9 at the time of writing.
The Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige is arguably a better all round brush to use on a daily basis. But, it isn’t perfect and offers a sonic cleaning action as opposed to the oscillating and rotating action that is clinically proven to be superior.
Models such as the iO4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are all lacking features in comparison to the Series 9.
For many, it is definitely worth considering the iO6. The primary reason being it is a lot cheaper.
There are advantages to the 9 over the 6. Notably, the 6 doesn’t have the magnetic charger, it tracks just 6 rather than 16 zones and doesn’t come with a premium travel case. But you could be about NZ $150 better off.
Whilst the design of the brush handle is a bit different, fundamentally there are a lot of similarities between the iO9 and the Genius AI.
The AI is still very good, but it does look a little dated compared to the iO Series.
And models like the Genius 9000 just don’t compete on smart features.
But I will be the first to say you don’t need a premium model like this to achieve a good clean of the teeth. There are much more affordable models that will do a fantastic job.
Oral-B iO in depth review
The iO9 was introduced in 2020 alongside the Series 7 and 8.
It was the top of the line model with never before seen features.
It marked a significant change in the Oral-B range of powered brushes. It brought with it a number of innovations that make this range stand out from the competition.
Since then more iO models have been released with fewer features to help bring the overall cost down. But, they all retain some of the core features that make the iO Series so desirable.
Keeping reading for my full Oral-B iO Series 9 review.
Variants of this toothbrush
The iO Series 9 is available in a choice of 3 different colours in certain parts of the world. Those options are:
- White Alabaster
- Black Onyx
- Rose Quartz
Technically each brush handle is the same, the difference is the colour of the brush handle itself.
All should come with a travel case that holds the handle and 1 brush head as well as a brush head refill holder.
The case and charging stand colour is black or white subject to the variant.
However, as it stands it is currently just the black onyx that is available in New Zealand.
What’s in the box?
- 1 x Black Onyx iO Series 9 toothbrush handle
- 2 x Black Ultimate Clean brush head
- 1 x Black magnetic charging stand
- 1 x Black power2go travel case
- 1 x Black travel case power adapter
- 1 x Black brush head refill holder
- 7 cleaning modes
- Colour in handle display
- Built-in timer and pacer
- Smart pressure sensor
- Quiet brushless motor
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Real-time position detection with 16 zone tracking
- Magnetic fast charger
- Power2go travel case
How the iO9 looks, feels and works
To fit in with the redesign of the iO, the typical Oral-B packaging has also been updated. It fits the same theme and looks smart.
The image on the box is colour matched to that inside and the key features and functions are highlighted.
It is refreshing to see the use of less plastic. Gone is the inner polystyrene tray in preference for cardboard. The travel case and brush head refill holder are wrapped in plastic, which is a shame. But, I suspect this is to prevent damage.
A stylish and premium looking handle
If you have ever seen or handled an Oral-B electric toothbrush, you will soon see the difference in the design that the iO offers.
The handle still has the typical cylindrical design, but the whole handle looks much more refined.
On the front of the handle, in the upper half, is an oval panel, within which the power button, display and mode button reside.
The circular buttons have a very slight concave design and a rubber coating/texture to them. The power button has a power icon on it, whilst the mode button has a solid dot.
In the lower half of the handle sits a silver/grey Bluetooth logo along with the Oral-B and iO logo in a silver grey colour too.
The side and back of the handle are all smooth to the touch with no notable features.
There is a lack of rubber gripping points that were useful on previous models. Some of the practicalities have been sacrificed for design.
That said the handle has a smooth, but resistive coating to the plastic. That might sound odd, but basically, it isn’t as slippery to the touch as you expect.
However, a positive consequence of less grip is that the handle is easier to keep clean. It can easily be rinsed and wiped. You don’t get a buildup of toothpaste residue and grime within the textured surfaces of the rubber, as is the case with other models.
With few exceptions, electric toothbrushes are of plastic construction.
This is because plastic is easily moulded, is very resistant to moisture, and is durable and lightweight.
Although there are no notches on the handle to stop this rolling if laid flat on a countertop, the design and weighting is such that the handle simply does not roll like most other brushes.
Around the bottom edge of the handle is a silver coloured ring that adds a nice design element to the handle.
There is another, slimmer silver coloured ring at the top of the handle, just below where the brush head attaches. It adds a nice stylish touch.
Below this upper silver ring, sits a thin clear panel that runs a full 360 degrees around the top of the handle. This panel is the pressure sensor/light ring. More on this shortly.
On the base of the toothbrush is a continuation of the silver panel that runs around the edge. The base has a slight concave design to it but no recess for the charging stand like most other Oral-B brushes.
The iO9 like the other iO Series handle does feel robust and well built when in the hand in addition to looking great.
A colour display is built into the brush handle
Built into the front of the handle is an OLED colour screen.
It will catch your eye and is one of the main differentiators of the iO Series compared to other models.
It isn’t a touchscreen, but that is a good thing as it is more reliable and easier to interact with this way.
It should activate as you pick up the brush, but sometimes you may need to press the power button to wake it up.
Having a display is, without a doubt, a luxury and it is not something that you need. But, it certainly fits with the heir of premium and quality that the iO9 exudes.
What I particularly like about the screen is that you can easily move between and select the different cleaning modes on the brush. But, unlike most Oral-B brushes where you get just an icon, you actually get a name/label for the mode. This makes it really clear what you are selecting.
I have gotten to learn the icons, but I can assure you that someone like my mum would find this frustrating and unnecessary. The icons can be hard to decipher.
As an added bonus there are small customisations that can be made via the display, that would usually be reserved for the app, if there was no screen. You can change the colour of the smart pressure sensor cum light ring around the neck of the brush handle for example. You have 12 different colours to choose from.
The display does not allow you to change the order of the cleaning modes, or how long they last for. You can’t see how long the brush head has been attached for or even the current date and time.
Maybe I am asking too much, but it would be nice if the screen offered a bit more functionality.
When the brush is active, there is a timer shown on the screen that ties in with the built-in pacer and a nice graphic of a circle that gradually turns blue as you complete the clean.
It’s water resistant, but not submergible
Most toothbrushes, including the Series 9 are designed to withstand the rigours of twice daily use.
Water, wet hands, toothpaste and saliva are all in store for your handle.
Whilst I don’t suggest trying to submerge the iO9 unnecessarily, the handle is water resistant so a good rinse under the tap and even use in the shower are perfectly acceptable things to do.
7 cleaning modes — the most of any Oral-B brush
If you like choice, the iO9 gives you just this. It offers the most brushing modes of any Oral-B powered toothbrush.
Your 7 different options are:
- Daily Clean – Standard mode for daily cleaning
- Sensitive – Gentle, yet thorough cleaning for sensitive areas
- Whiten – Polishing for occasional or everyday use
- Gum Care – Gentle massage of the gums
- Intense – For an extraordinary clean feeling (operated with a higher speed)
- Super Sensitive – Super gentle cleaning for extra sensitive areas
- Tongue Clean – Tongue cleaning for occasional or everyday use
Simply press the mode button, below the display, repeatedly to cycle through the modes and then the power button to select the one you want.
The brush will remain set to the chosen cleaning mode during your brushing session and it will default to that the next time you turn the brush on.
You can change the mode prior to turning the brush on. This is something not possible on all Oral-B brushes.
You can also change the order and even enable and disable modes from the smartphone application that this brush can pair with if you so desire.
7 modes are more than you or I need.
For the vast majority of users, and I include myself in this, the Daily Clean and Sensitive modes are more than sufficient. Modes like whitening and intense don’t provide any significant benefit to you and there is little to no evidence to really confirm the need for them.
But, nonetheless, you have the choice.
If you want to learn more about the different brushing modes on Oral-B handles, do check out our guide to Oral-B cleaning modes.
The timer and pacer help you to brush for the right amount of time
An essential feature of any good toothbrush is a 2 minute timer and pacer. It is something our in-house dentists recommend.
You will be pleased to know that these are built into the iO9 as standard.
As the brush is turned on the pacer and timer are activated.
At 30 second intervals the pacer kicks in. You will note a pause in the bristle motion, a change in sound and brushing sensation and a vibration in the handle. This is your cue to move from one section of the mouth to another.
This then repeats every 30 seconds, until the brush gets to 120 seconds (2 minutes).
The idea is that you break the mouth up into 4 sections:
- upper right
- upper left
- lower right
- lower left
You spend 30 seconds cleaning each section. As you do, you try to give equal attention to the front, back and biting surfaces of the teeth.
If you do, come the 120 seconds of brushing time, you should have achieved an even clean to the teeth and gums.
You will need to press the power button to turn the toothbrush off, as it does not power off automatically as some other brushes do. Well, it would if you left the brush running for 5 minutes, but I don’t recommend doing so.
As you power the brush off, no matter how long you have been brushing for, you will get an emoji style face appear on the screen. What face it is depends on your brushing time.
Brush for an insufficient amount of time and you will get a sad face. Brush for 2 minutes and you get a smiley face. If you brush for much longer than required you will see a starry eyed smile.
You don’t get alerts or warnings that you haven’t brushed a specific zone sufficiently in the mouth via the display. It seems like an opportunity missed given it is tracking 16 zones as you brush.
Around the world, dental professionals are in almost unanimous agreement that you should be brushing your teeth twice a day 2 minutes at a time. And cleaning in between the teeth at least once a day.
The reality is far too few do, with the average brushing time being just 45-70 seconds in total per day.
If you are guilty of this, you are putting your oral health at risk.
The smart pressure sensor alerts you when you brush with the correct and incorrect amount of pressure
This is probably one of the best pressure sensor implementations in any electric toothbrush on the market today.
Around the neck of the brush handle is a light ring that changes colour depending on the pressure applied.
This is another dentist recommended feature.
The colours and what they mean are as follows:
- White – Low pressure – not enough force is being applied. This is the default setting.
- Green – The right amount of pressure is being used.
- Red – High or excessive pressure is being applied and the force should be reduced.
As best as possible you want the light ring to be lit green for the entirety of the brushing session.
Too much pressure can in time cause damage to the teeth and gums, so you want to pay attention to this. The iO will automatically reduce the number of brush head movements in Daily Clean, Sensitive and Intense modes to avoid and help reduce the risk of damage to the teeth.
Rather frustratingly, when you do activate the sensor, by brushing too hard, there is no warning other than a red light. You don’t get a change in the handles vibration pattern like you might if you were using a Philips Sonicare toothbrush.
I have used brushes that even emit a beeping sound when the pressure sensor is activated, this is a fantastic idea I would love Oral-B to implement.
Whilst you should be able to see the coloured light out of the corner of your eye as you brush, if you are using the smartphone application when brushing you will be alerted via the on-screen graphics only when too much force is being applied.
If you can, brush your teeth in front of a mirror. Not only does this help you clearly see your teeth and how you are brushing them, but it helps you to monitor the light from the pressure sensor.
The standard white light can be customised to an alternative colour via the smartphone app.
If this pressure sensor is lit blue it indicates Bluetooth pairing and if it is orange, it indicates an error and you should follow the messages on the display.
This smart sensor isn’t exclusive to the iO9. It is available on all Oral-B iO series handles.
I would love to see this on all Oral-B brushes in the future.
The iO’s motor is a bit quieter
Introduced with the iO9 is a new brush motor that is now used exclusively within the iO range of brushes.
The brushless magnetic drive system directs the cleaning energy to the bristle tips along with what is known as micro vibrations. This offers a really smooth and soft cleaning experience. And the difference is noticeable compared to existing brushes without the magnetic motor.
But a beneficial consequence of the new motor is that it is quieter than existing Oral-B brushes, well a little bit quieter anyway.
A common complaint of many Oral-B brushes is that they are loud.
I concur with this, particularly when you compare it to sonic brushes.
To put it into perspective, if someone was talking to you when using a sonic toothbrush, you would hear them clearly. With an Oral-B brush running it would be a bit more of a challenge.
The iO9 produces up to about 74 decibels of sound or less. That is in the region of 5 decibels less than other Oral-B brushes.
The noise reduction puts the iO9 closer to its sonic counterparts.
The newer iO4, 5 and 6 are quieter still at less than 64 decibels.
You will be hard pushed to find a brush that cleans better
Even though I have tested hundreds of different toothbrushes, I tend to always come back to Oral-B.
This is because the cleaning results are just so good from the oscillating and rotating brush head.
It is cliche and sounds like an ad for Oral-B, this really isn’t. But, I get that dentist clean feeling after each brushing session.
My at home plaque disclosing tests have shown how well the brush removes the bacteria. And I do like how the cleaning action is a little more intense and invigorating. This might not be to everyone’s liking, but it works for me.
Clinical research has shown how the evidence tends to stack up in favour of Oral-B.
Oral-B has posted impressive clinical results with their iO brushes and in the US, the iO Series has been awarded the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, confirming it meets the claims made by the manufacturer.
But, for full disclosure, it isn’t an open and shut case. Sonic brushes are still very good.
The different cleaning modes have some bearing on the intensity of the clean, so if you prefer something a little more gentle, the sensitive mode might be for you.
Irrespective of the mode, use the correct techniques and you will get a good clean of the teeth and gums.
Replacement brush heads are ridiculously expensive for the iO Series
With the introduction of the iO came a new range of iO exclusive brush heads.
These heads fit only iO brush handles and are not compatible with other Oral-B brushes such as the Vitality, Pro, Smart and Genius Series.
And the heads that fit those models don’t fit the iO Series.
The iO heads push onto and pull off of the shaft that extends from the top of the brush handle
There is no need to twist them to lock them into place. They only fit one way. And it is normal to have a gap of about 1mm around the bottom.
The 9 Series comes with 2 of the iO Ultimate Clean brush heads included.
To buy more, which you will need to do, you are going to be paying on average $18 per head.
A typical set of genuine manufacturer original bristles for most Oral-B brushes costs around $7 each.
Dare I suggest there is some profiteering going on here?
This re-design may well have been necessary, but I am not sure that the additional cost is.
I don’t understand what justifies such a significant extra spend.
And for anyone looking to upgrade from an existing Oral-B brush, the new heads are frustrating because you won’t be able to use up any older ones you may have.
4 different brush head styles for the iO Series
The Ultimate Clean brush head that is provided with the iO9 is one of the reasons it cleans so well.
It has slightly firmer bristles that are angled at 16 degrees to effectively remove plaque from the teeth and along the gumline.
It is not the only style of head available though.
You can choose between:
- Ultimate Clean
- Gentle Care
- Radiant White
- Specialised Clean
The ultimate clean and gentle care are our top choices.
You can choose the one you prefer, you don’t have to stick with the style that comes included in the box.
You can learn more about the specific differences between each head and why we select each by reading our Oral-B brush heads article.
Be reminded when it is time to replace your brush head
Using a brush head for longer than is intended can potentially be damaging to your teeth and gums, not to mention less effective in the clean that it offers.
This is because with repeated use, the rounded tips of the bristles can become uneven and rough, abrading the tooth surface.
3 months is the recommended time to replace them, assuming you brush for 2 minutes twice a day.
Whilst it is unlikely that you are going to do any significant damage if you were to use the head for 4 months, it is best to avoid using it for this long if you can.
You can access the Oral-B app at any time to see how long you have been using the head. It logs when it was replaced and counts the number of days used as well as the number of brushing minutes that have elapsed.
When the recommended usage time is passed, the iO9 will actually remind you to replace the head via the app and on-screen. This only works if you log within the app when you last replaced the head.
These reminders are really helpful as the brush heads themselves don’t always have fading indicator bristles to remind you.
If your brush head shows obvious signs of wear sooner than this, you want to replace it sooner. It might also be a sign you are brushing incorrectly, perhaps with too much force.
Once you have replaced the head, you should reset the reminder within the app.
The reminder system works on a number of assumptions and isn’t tracking the head via a unique tracking chip like Sonicare does with their BrushSync enabled heads.
So the iO9 wouldn’t know if you replaced the head after 1 month unless you specifically told it.
Track your brushing habits via your smartphone using Bluetooth
All of the iO Series brush handles offer Bluetooth connectivity.
This means you can connect the iO9 to your smartphone, using the free Oral-B app for Android and iOS, and get insights into your oral care routine.
It is what some might call a ‘smart toothbrush’.
As a general rule, we don’t recommend smart brushes. This is because you don’t need them to achieve a good clean.
Not to mention they use more resources and can be more expensive.
But, some people, maybe yourself, might like the idea of getting more information on how you are brushing and being alerted to insights and patterns within your routine.
If you are going to pick a smart brush, this is one of the best, without question.
The principle of the app is to educate and encourage people like you and me to take more control and ownership of our oral health.
If we can learn what we are doing well and where there are areas for improvement, we can make the appropriate corrections before problems arise.
Changes and improvements to the app are being made all of the time, this is the beauty of such a toothbrush. But as it stands you can customise the order of the cleaning modes, set specific oral care journeys, see the battery status, change the colour of the light ring and track how long you have been using a particular brush head, amongst other things.
As you brush you are able to see which cleaning mode you have selected. The screen will change when you are applying too much pressure and more.
16 zone tracking – the best real-time 3D teeth tracking of the iO Series brushes
All brushes within the iO range except for the Series 4 have the ability to track the position of the toothbrush whilst in your mouth.
Sensors in the handle relay the orientation of the brush back to the app in real-time, which turns the data into on-screen visuals.
The idea being it helps you to learn what areas of the mouth you are and are not brushing well, so that you can take corrective action, either immediately or the next time you brush.
Based on how well you brush, you are given a score.
This score, along with other bits of brushing data are presented in a dashboard that you can take learnings from.
The app looks to build up an average score and understanding of your habits, but you can drill down into individual brushing sessions.
Even if you use the brush at times without the app, the handle will store some of the data and sync this with the app next time.
Without getting into too much minute detail, the whole system is very clever. Conceptually it is a very good idea and with serious commitment, some will gain a real benefit.
However, the big benefit here with the iO9 over and above the other brushes is the level of detail the tracking offers.
The Series 9 tracks 16 different zones in the mouth. These zones are all the tooth surfaces. So this looks as follows:
- Upper rear right
- Front surface
- Biting surface
- Inside surface
- Upper font
- Front surface
- Inside surface
- Upper rear left
- Front surface
- Biting surface
- Inside surface
- Lower rear right
- Front surface
- Biting surface
- Inside surface
- Lower front
- Front surface
- Inside surface
- Lower rear right
- Front surface
- Biting surface
- Inside surface
Whereas the other iO brushes that offer real-time tracking, monitor just 6 zones. Those 6 zones are:
- Upper rear right
- Upper front
- Upper rear left
- Lower rear right
- Lower front
- Lower rear right
The Series 9 app screen is configured in such a way that you can clearly see which of the 16 zones you have and have not brushed.
16 dotted zones sit in the centre of the on-screen display in a circular formation. As each zone is brushed correctly, that dotted zone disappears until no dotted zones remain and all the teeth on the large visualisation turn white.
When only 6 zones are tracked, you can essentially spend all the time cleaning only 1 of the surfaces within that zone and the brush will still consider the zone brushed. That isn’t the case with the premium iO9.
The extra detail in the tracking can pick up on more specific, but important improvements needed in your brushing routine.
Of course, with any toothbrush, iO series or not, you want to be giving fair attention to all of the 16 zones so you have an even clean to the teeth and gums.
Thus, to master your technique the Series 9 does have that bit extra to push you to make sure you are making the correct contact with all surfaces.
But, how much difference this really makes in everyday use, is a bit subjective.
The real-time tracking and app aren’t perfect
I would be lying to you if I said everything was perfect with the app and the tracking.
I do genuinely stand by the fact that it is better than the 6 zone tracking, because it is more meaningful in the data it offers.
But here are some of the key problems.
- You need to be committed to making improvements
To get the improvements you want, you really have to work hard at making the necessary changes. We need to train ourselves and potentially break habits of a lifetime.
Essentially you have to be prepared to correct your mistakes. This might sound obvious, but it is easy to acknowledge your error, but not actually correct it. This requires a lot of commitment and perseverance.
Sadly, I think many will struggle and will give up, potentially at the detriment of their oral health.
If you have brushed for over 2 minutes already in an attempt to get the on-screen visuals to turn bright white, but you don’t manage it. Will you continue to brush for longer to get that perfect coverage score?
Not wishing to sound arrogant, but perhaps it comes as no surprise that I have a pretty good brushing technique. It would be bad if I didn’t, right?
But, even as someone who tests such products, I don’t regularly use the apps outside my testing.
Yes, in part because I know my brushing is good, but we can all falter and it is when you get too confident things can go wrong.
I know at times I could brush better, but I don’t for one reason or another.
If I struggle to be committed and I preach the importance of such, can you?
I don’t want to be negative. I genuinely think the idea here is admirable, but you can likely see why I think it is clunky and difficult to use.
- Best results are achieved when using the app at the same time
The brush can be used with or without the phone. You don’t have to use the app at all if you don’t want to. It would be overkill to have a brush like this and not make use of it though.
Inevitably there will be times when you don’t have your phone with you or it is not practical. This is fine.
But, to get the benefit you really need to commit to using the app as it shows more data that you can act upon.
Data will be retained by the brush and synced to the app next time you use it, if you don’t use the brush and app at the same time. It will store a lot of data, but it just isn’t the same digging into it and trying to make corrections later.
- The tracking isn’t that accurate
The tracking works, but it isn’t perfect.
Some sessions seem better than others, but I will often have the app registering a different zone to the one I am actually brushing, which is far from ideal when you are trying to get a perfect coverage score.
There can also be a noticeable lag/delay in the visuals. You expect a little bit, but at times it is much more pronounced and makes the whole user experience a little more jarring and less fluid.
On quite a few occasions I was having to brush for 2 minutes and 30 seconds plus to achieve a full set of white teeth on the app.
- The on-screen visuals are based on 6 main sections, but your pacer is based on 4 – it’s confusing
OK, so this is quite difficult to explain, but it makes sense.
For years Oral-B has had 2 minute timers and 30 second pacers built into their brush handles. The iO included.
This works on brushing all the teeth in the 4 quadrants (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left) each for 30 seconds. Great.
As you brush these quadrants, the iO9 is tracking all 16 surfaces and reporting back to the app. Lovely. Makes sense.
But, the main tooth visual within the app is based on 6 zones (sextants – upper back right, upper back left, upper front, bottom back right, bottom back left, bottom front) rather than the quadrants.
So where you may have trained yourself to 30 second intervals and cleaned a quadrant, on the app it looks like you have tried to brush 2 sections, but haven’t successfully completed either.
Really you want the brush configured to 20 second, sextant pacing rather than the 30 second quadrant.
The intention is right with the app for sure. I really like what it is trying to do, but there seems to be a lack of consistency. Why 6 sections on the graphic rather than 4?
It’s just a bit jarring and another reason to be put off and give up.
- No guided brushing
This is not a massive issue, but one I think would help users get a more consistent result.
You can brush your teeth in any order you like for as long as you like. Great.
But, if you had to follow a set pattern for a set time and the app didn’t essentially move on until such time as that section was complete then I suspect coverage scores and brushing times would be better than the less strict configuration available presently.
- It doesn’t show when you are using insufficient pressure
The app, as well as the pressure sensor will alert you when you are using too much pressure.
But, given the iO9 is clever enough to also highlight when you are using insufficient pressure, you would think that the app would alert you to this too. No such luck. This seems a bit of an oversight in my opinion.
- Once you have made the improvements, you probably won’t want to track
If you have a terrible routine and habits this brush can aid improvement. But what about when you have mastered it?
Let’s assume you have got a pretty accurate brushing score every time for the last 3 months. The motivation to use the app inevitably wears off.
Yes, you can periodically log a few sessions to ensure you are still doing the right thing, but have the value and benefit gone?
Or have you had your value by this point because you have now mastered your technique?
- You can achieve similar results for a fraction of the price
You don’t need a smart toothbrush to perfect your routine.
Yes, it could help, but you could save a lot of money by buying a more affordable toothbrush without the tech and instead learning the correct approaches from other sources.
Get personalised recommendations and tutorials from your dental hygienist or watch some of our oral care videos that show you how to brush correctly.
With a few minutes of your time and several brushing sessions where you really put into practice what you have learnt, you can achieve the same results.
And lastly, this is more of a notable inconvenience rather than an issue, but what do you do with your phone when you are brushing your teeth?
It is of course personal preference, but when using the app in real-time I felt like I should hold it in front of my face so I could see it properly. This meant holding it in my hand.
It would be nice if Oral-B included some form of phone stand to hold your smartphone securely when you are brushing. This way you don’t have to hold your phone for the full 2 minutes. It is likely more secure and less likely to come in harm’s way. For $750, is it too much to ask?
Power2go travel case – charge your toothbrush inside
Included with the Series 9 is the Oral-B power2go travel case.
Hinged on the left side, it is a hard plastic case that holds a single iO handle and a single brush head.
I don’t know why this case takes just 1 brush head when every other travel case from Oral-B has accepted 2! It even looks like there would have been space to add a second, but there is no moulding for it to fit into. I guess this has something to do with the electronics inside and in the vast majority of instances you only need 1.
As the name sort of implies, the power2go case means you can actually charge the brush inside. As I explain in the battery life section, it requires a proprietary power cable (supplied) for this to work.
The need for an extra power adapter is clunky and not all that practical.
Oral-B have overlooked (possibly intentionally) the more convenient USB connectivity that would have made this travel case considerably more practical. It is such a shame. This is an issue that has existed for the last 2 generations of premium Oral-B brushes. So many other things have been done so well here, could they have not improved the case?!
The case is pretty durable and better quality than the standard cases you get with many brushes.
Alongside the travel case, you get a brush head storage compartment/refill holder included.
It consists of a rubber/silicone base which is flat so it sits on a countertop. On top are 2 raised nodules onto which iO brush heads can be placed.
An opaque plastic lid or cap if you prefer can then be fitted over the top to hold and protect the heads. It is ideal for storing on a countertop or as a way of transporting heads.
There is a vent in the holder to allow air to circulate so the heads can dry.
This actually overcomes the travel case issue of extra brush heads to some extent, even if it is another item to carry.
- Minimal look to the brush handle which is easy to keep clean
- Colour display
- Separate power and cleaning mode buttons
- 7 different cleaning modes
- Defaults to the last cleaning mode used
- It has a built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer
- Excellent visible smart pressure sensor helps reduce the chance of doing damage
- Quiet, brushless magnetic motor
- Great cleaning results from the small round brush head
- 2 x Ultimate Clean brush head supplied
- Additional brush head styles are available separately
- Brush head replacement reminder system
- Connects to a free smartphone application via Bluetooth
- 16 zone real-time tracking is available to encourage better oral care routines
- Options to customise the brush handle
- Premium power2go travel case and brush head holder included
The battery lasts about 14 days on a full charge
The importance that you place on the battery life of an electric toothbrush might well be different to me.
Those who rarely travel may feel it is less important than those always on the go.
Whilst I don’t need a toothbrush to last for months on end between charges, I would like it to last at least 2 weeks.
I see 2 weeks as a minimum benchmark really as this would likely cover the time you might go on a holiday for example.
The battery life of Oral-B toothbrushes has generally been inferior to most of the competition.
Seeing as the iO represents a new era for Oral-B, it is fair to think that the Series 9 might absolutely crush it in terms of battery life. Sadly not.
The claimed battery life is 2+ weeks, and this is precisely what you get (or thereabouts).
In my hands-on testing, I achieved 28 brushing sessions, each 2 minutes in length.
That is equivalent to 14 days of use or the advertised 2 weeks.
It is passable overall, but it isn’t great. Not quite Sonicare’s 3 weeks+.
This 2 week time frame is pretty standard now across the Oral-B range, iO series brush handle or not. Although some of the cheaper Pro models can achieve up to 20 days.
And whilst it won’t bother many, the battery life can be a bit temperamental.
Sometimes I get just 11 days of battery life
This is going to sound a bit odd, but bear with me.
Sometimes when using the iO9 I achieve 14 days from it on a full charge.
Other times I get about 11 days.
I can’t confidently say I have really gotten more than 14 days from it.
But, as an average it does achieve the claimed 2 weeks.
I can’t figure out what goes on or what I am doing differently.
I am not running highly scientific tests at a bench in a lab. I am using the brush twice a day like you would at home.
Brushing time, and pressure are going to have a bearing. As will how quickly I turn the brush off post brushing.
But I always brush for 2 minutes and any extra pressure tends to be limited and consistent overall.
I am unable to say conclusively, but I do wonder whether the Bluetooth connectivity and the display have a part to play at times draining a little more power.
The iO detects motion and can often result in the screen being lit at times when I am not even going near the brush. Maybe a vibration through the countertop the brush is on or I get close to it. Sometimes it will appear to activate randomly.
Newer models such as the iO6 seem to outperform the 9. Perhaps the battery or configuration has changed in some way since I purchased this iO9, when it first launched.
The battery is sealed inside the handle and isn’t user replaceable
Inside the handle is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery.
It is similar to that built into your smartphone and other mobile gadgets.
Water can really hamper electronics. Therefore the handle has been designed to limit the likelihood of any moisture getting inside.
As a consequence, the battery is not accessible to you or me at home. It is firmly sealed inside the plastic brush handle.
Removing the battery or attempting to do so will basically render the brush useless.
This approach is common across the industry and needs to change, in the interest of the environment.
A battery will often last 5+ years, but it is very handy to have the option of at least replacing it if you need to.
Premium magnetic charging stand
As part of the new design the iO offers, I have to give Oral-B some real credit for their new magnetic charging stand that can charge the toothbrush in around 3 hours.
This is much faster than the majority of electric toothbrushes. Most existing Oral-B brushes take 12-16 hours and Sonicare models can take up to 24.
Although able to charge in 3 hours, I am not sure how necessary this really is for the vast majority of users.
Most of us leave the brush on charge overnight, so whether it takes, 1, 3, 5, 9 or 12 isn’t a big deal. That said, is there a need for brushes to take 12 hours to charge nowadays?!
The Series 7, 8 and 9 all come with a premium magnetic charger.
Wider, deeper and heavier than a standard Oral-B charging stand, the magnetic charger is circular in its design.
There is a very small convex area in the middle that highlights where to line up the base of the brush handle. It fits into the convex base of the iO’s handle. There is no prong on the top onto which the brush handle sits.
Instead, the stand itself has magnets inside which attract and hold the iO9 brush handle when placed on it. The magnets are not quite as strong as I had imagined. It would still be relatively easy to knock the brush off, but it certainly does the job.
The stand itself has a power cable hardwired into it. This has a 2 pin AU plug.
The power cord is approx 4ft (1.2 meters) in length.
The stand supports 100-240V unlike the 220-240 volts of the standard charger Oral-B provides with most brushes.
Battery charge status feedback
Unlike other models that have an LED on the brush handle to give an indication of the remaining power in the battery, the iO9 does not have such.
As you might well have guessed, feedback is given via the LED display.
Shown about 15 seconds after you turn the brush off, you get an animated graphic of a battery and a percentage number above on the screen.
The battery icon has a differing number of bars within it, subject to the charge level. More bars equals more charge remaining.
The percentage is a precise number such as 73% rather than in increments of 10 for example*.
You can also view the amount of charge in the battery via the smartphone application.
The app will store the last known charge status until such time data is synced again and an updated reading given.
When the battery is low (around 10 percent remaining) the icon on the screen will turn red. The motor will reduce its speed and the smart pressure sensor will blink red too.
Once the battery is empty, the motor stops; it will need at least a 5-minute charge for one use.
When placed on the charging stand, the charge level is shown on the screen and the smart pressure sensor ring light will slowly pulse with a white light to confirm it is charging.
It is perfectly safe to leave the brush handle on the charging stand and plugged in. Battery overcharging is prevented by the device.
Once fully charged the light will go out.
*It should be noted some older iO9 models (including ours) show the percentage in 10 percent increments on screen, but as a precise percentage within the app. Hardware updates since initial launch have changed this as far as we understand.
Separate power adapter for charging travel case
Also provided with the iO Series 9 is what Oral-B calls the power2go charging travel case.
This is a travel case that holds and protects the iO handle and a single brush head.
However, you can also recharge the iO handle inside the case.
To do this you must connect the provided power adapter. There is no rechargeable battery in the case itself.
It takes about 6 hours to fully recharge inside the case.
There is a flashing light on the outside of the case to indicate charging. This will turn off when the charge is complete.
This is an Oral-B specific (proprietary) power adapter and is not a USB cable like Sonicare offers.
This setup works, but quite frankly it feels a bit of a bulky and awkward affair for such a premium brush. A USB cable either hardwired into the case or at least detachable would have been a much more convenient solution.
Sonicare and others have offered such for years. Oral-B you redesigned the brush, why not the travel case too?!
Unlike the charging travel case provided with the Genius 9000 and Genius X, this does not have a USB port to provide passthrough power for other devices. This means you can’t charge your toothbrush and smartphone at the same time.
It is worth noting that the power adapter for the travel case does support 100-240v, so if you are travelling internationally, you will likely need a plug adapter only and do not need to worry about a voltage adapter.
*A previous version of this review stated a battery life of 6+ weeks for the iO. As part of our testing process, it is necessary to simulate battery use for consistency. We do this by charging the brush fully and running the toothbrush through brushing cycles until it discharges completely. The iO continues to offer a battery life of 6+ weeks in these tests. However, repeated in hand testing has shown the battery life to only be 2 weeks. This is a discrepancy we have never previously experienced. All other brushes have to date performed almost identically during in hand test to those simulated.
Summary of battery life
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery built-in
- Expected to last 2+ weeks on a full charge
- Achieved 14 days in hands-on testing
- Battery life can be a bit temperamental
- The battery is sealed inside and is not replaceable.
- Premium magnetic charging stand included
- Can be recharged in just 3 hours
- 2 pin power adapter hardwired into the stand
- The charging stand supports 100-240v
- The battery charge level is shown on the display and within the app
- A pulsing red light ring means the battery could do with being recharged
- A pulsing white light when on the stand means the battery is being recharged
- No light when on the stand means the battery is fully charged
- The brush can be charged inside the power2go case
- A separate proprietary power adapter is provided for the travel case – supporting 100-240V.
- No USB charging
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 iO Series 9 sets a new record for toothbrush prices
As everyday toothbrush prices go, the iO9 storms to the top of the charts for being the most expensive.
The retail price is an astonishing NZ $749.
Yes, $750 for a brush to clean your teeth.
Don’t ever pay this price.
You could buy Oral-B’s Pro 500 brush 10 times over for this amount of money.
Thankfully in reality actual selling prices are a little more acceptable.
Buy the Series 9 with 50% discount or more
The manufacturer might argue otherwise but the retail prices of brushes like the Series 9 are set artificially high.
This is so that discounts can be offered most of the time.
I don’t advise paying anywhere close to the retail price for this brush.
You won’t need to be a wizard of the web to be able to find this for at least 50% less than its recommended selling price. Heck, you can probably even find it at 60% less at times.
That makes the typical selling price in the region of NZ $375
Prices do inevitably vary from one retailer to another. And you can even find sometimes one colour is better value than another. But, however you cut it, NZ $375 is a fair saving.
How it compares to other Oral-B prices
The iO9 is the most expensive brush at the time of review, so in comparison, any other brush is cheaper.
But, the pricing approach is the same across the board.
Discount values and percentages will vary, but as a general rule, 50% is an achievable target for most brushes.
For example, the iO6, which I recommend as a more affordable iO model has a retail price of NZ $549 but sells for around $275.
The Pro 2 2000 that we recommend as our best overall Oral-B electric toothbrush can be generally purchased for around NZ $90 despite an RRP of NZ $180.
iO brush heads are twice as expensive
In keeping with the high price of the brush, the heads compatible with the iO9 are too expensive.
Profiteering might well be a word some would use to describe the situation.
A genuine iO brush head will cost on average NZ $18 per head.
They can cost a lot more, but most retailers are selling them lower than their retail price.
Compare this to the NZ $7, or thereabouts, you would pay for an Oral-B head for any other powered toothbrush that isn’t within the iO Series.
That is an $11 price difference. It really is quite staggering.
How the long term ownership costs work out
At Electric Teeth we like to price a brush over a 3 year period to give a bit of a benchmark by which to compare it to other models.
According to our research and feedback, affordability and value for money are important to people when buying a toothbrush.
The iO9 is going to cost about NZ $375 to purchase.
You then need to factor in replacement heads every 3 months, at $18 per head.
Over 3 years that is an additional cost of $180 (you get 2 supplied).
Your total ownership cost is then about NZ $555.
It is expensive whichever way you look at it.
The Pro 2 2000 is one of the best value brushes on the market, costing $167 over 3 years. This is over 3x cheaper.
And for the saving, you are certainly not getting a clean 3 times as bad. In fact, there is little to distinguish between the 2.
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.
My thoughts on reliability and repairability
Oral-B is an established player within the oral care sector and their electric toothbrushes are on the whole very reliable.
I have toothbrushes that are 5+ years old and they are still performing well and many readers have toothbrushes 10 years or older.
By the very nature of an electric toothbrush, they are not faultless, some will fail.
The iO does potentially challenge this reliability. The new design and technology used don’t have the same tried and tested history, particularly when you add in a display to the handle.
But, having been using the iO Series handles for a couple of years at the time of review, I have not heard of screen failure being a real issue.
As standard, you get a 2 year warranty.
Like many brushes today, I anticipate that in 5 or more years, this could still easily be your daily toothbrush, there isn’t a need for regular replacement.
Unfortunately, no parts on the brush are designed to be user serviceable. This isn’t uncommon for an electric toothbrush. With a need to move to more sustainable approaches this is
Electric toothbrushes don’t fare well in their impact on the environment.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use one. You need to balance effective cleaning and disease prevention against the environmental impact.
Electric toothbrushes can reduce the need for dental treatment. And avoid the need for planetary impacts that come from procedures such as fillings.
There is a lack of detailed evidence to confirm that a filling is worse than use of an electric toothbrush. But, with the data available, dentist Gemma Wheeler believes that a single filling is worse than an electric brush with a usable life of 5 years.
There is no perfect solution as yet. We want to see manufacturers doing more to tackle this issue and achieve significant improvements.
Schemes to recycle brush heads only scratch the surface of what needs to be done.
Related to the iO9 specifically:
- Recyclable cardboard box and inner tray.
- The in handle display isn’t a necessary feature, particularly in colour.
- The travel cases come wrapped in plastic, which isn’t necessary.
- The brush head refill will be surplus to requirements for some.
- The Bluetooth technology isn’t necessary either, requiring additional components.
- The travel case doesn’t use USB charging, requiring a specific, separate power adapter.
- No user serviceable parts.
- Removing the battery breaks the brush.
There is absolutely no denying that the Oral-B iO9 is a very good toothbrush and one that many will be very happy using on a daily basis.
The improved mechanical and physical design is a massive bonus compared to other existing electric brushes from the company.
The OLED display and quick charging are not commonly found on toothbrushes and it gives the iO a certain uniqueness and is fitting of the technological era we are in.
Included smart features such as the AI and 3D tracking are clever although far from essential. They are not perfect and require significant habit change to make them a part of your routine. I think this is something many, myself included, struggle to change.
That said, it does offer the best and most useful tracking of all the iO brush handles.
As good as all this is, for perfectionists, there are still frustrating elements. The travel case and the lack of quality feedback via the display are a couple of examples.
The Series 9 is the best of Oral-B today, but you are paying a price premium for it.
Or consider our recommended better value model within our best electric toothbrush post.
- Height (without head) – 18.3cm / 7.2 inches
- Height (with head) – 24cm / 9.45 inches
- Width – 2.8cm / 1.1 inches
- Thickness – 2.8cm / 1.1 inches
- Weight (without head) – 131g / 4.6 ounces
- Weight (with head) – 140g / 4.9 ounces
All are approximates
- Is the iO 9 an oscillating brush?
- Yes, the circular brush head moves side to side and is supported by micro vibrations for extra deep cleaning.
- What brushing/cleaning modes are available?
- The iO9 has 7 cleaning modes. They are:
- Daily Clean
- Super Sensitive
- Gum Care
- Tongue clean
- Learn more about Oral-B electric toothbrush cleaning modes.
- The iO9 has 7 cleaning modes. They are:
- What brush head does the Series 9 come with and what alternative ones can be used?
- 2 x Ultimate Clean brush head is supplied with the Series 9.
- Oral-B primarily offers a total of 4 different brush head styles for the iO range. Each can be purchased separately and used with this toothbrush. Those options are:
- Ultimate Clean
- Gentle Care
- Radiant White
- Specialised Clean
- You can find out about each in our guide to Oral-B brush heads.
- Does the iO9 have a pressure sensor?
- Yes, it does.
- Does the iO9 have Bluetooth?
- Yes, it does.
- Does the iO9 have real-time tracking & position detection?
- Yes, it does.
- Does it come with a travel case?
- Yes, a ‘power2go’ travel case is included in the box.
- Does it come with a charger?
- Yes, a magnetic charging stand is included in the box, as is a power adapter for the travel case.
- How long does the battery last?
- The battery lasts up to 56 minutes, which if used on the standard daily clean mode is 14 days based on 2 cleans per day.
- Can I use the iO Series 9 in the shower?
- Yes. The iO9 is water resistant so if you choose you can use it in the shower. Avoid submerging it in water.
- Does the iO9 come with a warranty & how long is it?
- If purchased new from an approved retailer the brush will come with a 2 year warranty.
- How do I turn on or off Bluetooth on the iO9?
- Disable Bluetooth by entering the «Settings» menu on the interactive display-> Bluetooth -> disable. Follow the same procedure to enable Bluetooth again.
- How do I change the language on the iO9?
- Press the lower mode/function button (under the display) multiple times until you see the settings icon. Looks like a cog icon.
- Press the power button once to enter the settings menu.
- Press the mode button twice to get to Language.
- Press the power button once.
- Press the mode button multiple times until the language you desire is shown on the display.
- Press the power button to confirm the language choice.
Do you own or have you used the iO Series 9 from Oral-B?
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.