The iO is the best looking and performing Oral-B toothbrush I have ever used. And as you would expect, it cleans the teeth really well.
It has a quieter motor than existing Oral-B toothbrushes.
A color display in the handle, pressure sensor and 3D teeth tracking make the iO very appealing. But it is not without faults.
The iO is a top of the line toothbrush and the price tag reflects this.
If you want the very best of Oral-B today, this is it.
- Premium looking handle with built-in display
- The small round brush head cleans the teeth really well
- Visible pressure sensor – alerts you when you are brushing with the correct & incorrect force
- Rapid recharging with the magnetic charging stand
- Bluetooth & AI technology works well
- Quieter than other Oral-B brushes
- Better value options exist (see other choices)
- 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
Consider these other brushes
If I were buying a brush today, the Oral-B Smart 1500 would be my choice.
It’s affordable with the features you need. It is our number 1 choice for the best electric toothbrush.
Choose the iO instead, if you are interested in the most capable Oral-B electric toothbrush with lots of additional features including real-time brush position tracking and multiple cleaning modes. They are not required, but they may appeal to you.
In our post on the best Oral-B electric toothbrush, we rate the iO as the best top of the range choice.
Sonicare’s Prestige 9900 is packed with features like the iO, but addresses some of the shortcomings. Most significant is the travel case and battery life.
But honestly, the Smart 1500 cleans your teeth just as well. All brushes require you to use the correct technique.
Our guide to taking care of your teeth shows you all of the important things you need to know, irrespective of the toothbrush you use.
Oral-B iO in depth review
For many years Oral-B has been a major player in the electric toothbrush market producing solid and strong performing brushes.
As good as they have been, they have always looked a little cheaper and felt a little less premium to the popular Sonicare alternatives.
Introduced in 2020, the iO Series has been totally redesigned and is a considerable refinement on what Oral-B have been offering.
Changes both technically and aesthetically set a new bar, and to some extent pushes the two leading brands into a new chapter of product competition.
Variants of this toothbrush
Oral-B have never made their line up of electric toothbrushes particularly simple to understand, and the iO is no exception.
At the time of review, the iO is a name that is applied to a range of electric toothbrushes.
Within that range are the Series 7, Series 8 and Series 9 electric toothbrushes.
The fundamental design, performance and features are almost the same amongst all 3 series.
The differences are pretty subtle. The cleaning modes available, handle colors, the box contents and the price tag are the main differentiators. That said, the 6, 7 and 8 series do not have the 3D tracking available.
The Series 6 has a standard, non-magnetic charging stand.
The differences are summarized below, but a more detailed explanation of the differences, can be found in my written Oral-B iO Series 6, Series 7 vs Series 8 vs Series 9 comparison.
- iO 6 Series – (Introduced Summer 2021 – 1 year after 7, 8 & 9)
- 2 color options
- 5 cleaning modes
- 1 x brush head
- Basic travel case
- $149.99 price tag
- iO 7 Series
- 2 color options
- 5 cleaning modes
- 2 x brush heads
- Magnetic charger
- Basic travel case
- $199.99 price tag
- iO 7C Series
- 2 x brush handles (1 x black & 1 x white)
- 5 cleaning modes
- 3 x brush heads (2 x black & 1 x white)
- 2 x Magnetic charger (1 x black & 1 x white)
- 2 x Zip-up premium travel cases (1 x black & 1 x white)
- $299.99 price tag
- iO 7G Series
- 2 color options
- 5 cleaning modes
- 1 x brush head
- Magnetic travel pouch
- Brush head refill holder
- $219.99 price tag
- iO 7S Series
- 2 x brush handles (1 x black & 1 x white)
- 5 cleaning modes
- 3 x brush heads (2 x black & 1 x white)
- 2 x Magnetic charger (1 x black & 1 x white)
- 2 x Basic travel case (1 x black & 1 x white)
- $299.99 price tag
- iO 8 Series
- 3 color options
- 6 cleaning modes
- 3 x brush heads
- Basic travel case
- $249.99 price tag
- iO 9 Series
- 3D tracking
- 3 color options
- 7 cleaning modes
- 4 x brush heads
- Power2go charging travel case
- $299.99 price tag
The toothbrush featured and tested for this review is the top of the line Oral-B iO Series 9 electric toothbrush.
There are 3 versions of the Series 9. They are all the same with the exception of the handle and accessory color.
The 3 options are:
- iO Series 9 black onyx
- iO Series 9 white alabaster
- iO Series 9 rose quartz
Pictured and in the hands on video is the black onyx variant where you will see that the handle, brush heads, charging stand, travel case etc are all black in color to match.
With the white alabaster variant, all items are white in color.
With the rose quartz variant, the handle itself is the rose quartz color, but the accessories are white.
What’s in the box?
- 1 x Oral-B iO Series 9 toothbrush handle
- 4 x iO Ultimate Clean brush heads
- 1 x Power2go charging travel case
- 1 x Travel case power adapter
- 1 x Magnetic charging stand
- 7 cleaning modes
- Built-in timer and pacer
- Pressure sensor
- OLED display
- Magnetic charging stand
- 14+ battery life
- Quiet brushless motor
- Real-time 3D tracking with AI technology
Design, usability, clean & general use
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 of the handle on the front of the box is the color of the brush inside. And the key features and functions are highlighted.
It is refreshing to see the use of less plastic (although some is included). An arguably slightly more environmentally conscious effort from Oral-B.
What you get in the box is listed earlier in the review. I have here the black onyx color option, which is 1 of 3 choices you have for the Series 9.
The first thing to strike me is that it is not quite as deep a black as you might expect, there is almost a grey/blue tone to the color.
If you have ever seen or handled an Oral-B electric toothbrush, you will soon see the difference in the design.
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 is the power button, color OLED display and mode button. The circular buttons have a very slight concave design and sit above and below the display.
The power button has a power icon on it, whilst the mode button has a solid dot. Both have a rubber coating/texture to them.
Below the oval sits a silver/grey Bluetooth logo.
Then in the bottom third of the handle is the Oral-B and iO logo in a silver grey color.
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, but this is to be expected.
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 colored ring that adds a nice design element to the handle.
There is another, slimmer silver colored 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 toothbrush will stand upright on a countertop.
Extending from the top of the handle is a shaft that the brush head connects to.
The brush heads push onto and pull off of the shaft. There is no need to twist them to lock them into place. They only fit one way.
It is normal to have a small gap between the handle and brush head.
The 9 Series comes with 4 of the iO Ultimate Clean brush heads included. All of these are black in color to match the handle.
An important thing to note here is that the brush heads to be used on the iO are different to all the brush heads Oral-B are known for.
Whilst the iO brush heads are still small and round, the actual plastic shaft that fits to the handle is different.
What this means is that you have to buy brush heads specifically designed for the iO Series.
Existing heads such as CrossAction, FlossAction, Sensi UltraThin and more do not fit.
At the time of writing there are 2 types of iO specific heads, these are known as the Ultimate Clean and Gentle Care.
When you look at the design of the heads you can see why Oral-B have created these new ones. It is a bit frustrating though for existing Oral-B users that the heads are not interchangeable.
Gone too are the colored rings that fit to the heads. Instead each head has different symbols printed on them as a way of differentiating between them. This is necessary if you have multiple users of one brush handle.
Like the older brush heads, these do have the indicator bristles to help you monitor when you need to replace the brush head.
With thorough brushing, twice a day for two minutes, the blue color will fade away from the bristles within approximately 3 months, indicating the need to exchange your brush head. If the bristles splay before the color recedes, you may exert too much pressure on teeth and gums.
For those who want something a bit more technologically advanced, there is an in app reminder too.
You can learn more about the Oral-B brush heads in our brush head guide.
Like the brush heads, the internal workings of the iO are different to previous Oral-B toothbrushes. Fundamentally they achieve the same results.
Whilst I won’t get too technical, the main thing to note here is that the brushing experience is just as good with the iO as it is any other Oral-B toothbrush, in fact, dare I say better?!
The brushing experience feels a little different. The cleaning action feels softer but still effective.
The iO and the Ultimate Clean brush head left my teeth and gums feeling super clean and I was certainly more than satisfied with the results.
Using what is known as a frictionless magnetic drive system the result is a toothbrush that is considerably quieter in use than any other Oral-B toothbrush I have used previously. It is more akin to the sound a sonic toothbrush would make.
In fact the iO is about 10 decibels quieter, than previous models, at around 70 decibels. This is almost identical to a sonic toothbrush from Sonicare. The pitch of the sound is a little different, in favor of Sonicare in my opinion.
The 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. It feels less jittery with a very consistent cleaning action.
This system is powered by the built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, more on that in the battery life section of the review.
Like many other toothbrushes, the iO has some essential features built into it. The most important of which I believe is the 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
The principle behind this professional timer is to ensure you clean the teeth in your mouth evenly.
It’s all very well brushing for 2 minutes, but no good if you only brush your front teeth for all that time.
The idea is you break the mouth up into 4 quadrants, upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left. You spend 30 seconds cleaning each.
You move the brush head from tooth to tooth, cleaning the front, back and biting surfaces. Our article will allow you to learn how to brush your teeth properly with an electric toothbrush.
As the 30 second pacer kicks in you move from 1 quadrant to the next, until you have brushed all 4 during the 2 minute cycle. You will hear a short stuttering sound and a slightly different brushing sensation as the packer activates. A long stuttering sound indicated the end of the recommended 2 minute brushing time.
The iO timer memorizes the elapsed brushing time, even when the handle is briefly switched off during brushing. Anything longer than 30 seconds paused and the timer resets.
Do be aware, during the use of the Oral-B app, the timer may be deactivated for some features and you may also customize the timer settings via the Oral-B app.
Sensors in the iO actually track up to 16 zones within the mouth. These zones are the front, top and back surface of the teeth on both the upper and lower jaw.
This is all part of the 3D tracking and AI recognition system that is supposed to help us clean our teeth better each time we use it.
The real-time data it obtains can be transferred back to a smartphone application so you can see just how well you are brushing. I will go into more detail on this shortly.
At the end of a clean, you get an emoji style graphic. A smiley, sad face or even a starry eyed smile depending on the time and the pressure applied etc.
However, I had thought that more of this data would be displayed on the OLED screen of the brush handle, rather than just an emoji face.
I presumed it may indicate which areas of the mouth needed more brushing or giving more educational messages right on the display. But it does not. You need to be using the app for this.
Imagine getting a message right on that screen that says, try using less pressure next time, or pay attention to the back teeth or brush for another 20 seconds for better results?!
The OLED display is innovative. There are few brushes that offer such. It is a better implementation of a display I have tested on the Oclean X.
It is a color screen on the Series 9 and 8, but black and white on the Series 7.
It is not touch sensitive. You use the power and mode button to control functions. This feels somewhat counter intuitive given how many touchscreens we now interact with. But, it is appropriate here.
It should activate as you pick up the brush, but sometimes you may need to press the power button to wake it up.
Through the screen you can switch between the cleaning modes and change key settings such as the language, color of the LED ring and turn Bluetooth on or off.
The display will show the battery life in 10% increments after the cleaning mode has finished. There is no way to see the battery life within the settings of the handle which I think is an oversight.
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 I just expected the screen to be a bit more functional.
When the brush is active, there is a timer shown on 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.
There are no icons for cleaning modes or battery on the brush handle, instead you only see them on the screen.
Thankfully Oral-B are now accompanying their cleaning mode icons with a text name, so when you do switch between modes it is very clear which mode you are using.
On models like the Genius X you have to rely on an icon of a feather to know that is Sensitive mode. Sonicare have always made things simpler, by simply printing the mode name on the handle.
The iO 9 Series has 7 cleaning modes in total. They are:
- Daily Clean – Standard mode for daily cleaning
- Sensitive – Gentle, yet thorough cleaning for sensitive areas
- Gum Care – Gentle massage of the gums
- Whiten – Polishing for occasional or everyday use
- 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
Let me be clear, you don’t need all of these modes and I suspect very few users would ever regularly use any more than about 3 of these consistently.
As the names essentially imply, each differs slightly in the amount of power from the motor that they use to achieve different results.
Most people will be quite content with the daily clean mode.
Intense works well for those wanting that really deep clean whilst you guessed it, super sensitive is one of the more gentle modes for delicate teeth and gum tissues.
On many other Oral-B models each cleaning mode had a predetermined time you should use it for. For example, Deep Clean (now intense) would last for 3 minutes. The pacer would then have been adjusted to suit.
With the iO this is not the case. You decide how long you want to brush for. The pacer is by default set to 2 minutes, but the brush continues to function past this time. It does not automatically turn itself off.
The exception to this rule, if the Tongue Clean mode that runs for 30 seconds and the brush does automatically power off.
I am not sure why there is automatic power off for this and not other modes.
You can change the brushing time within the app.
The iO has a pressure sensor built-in, like many other models they offer. But the configuration here is a little different.
With other Oral-B models the pressure sensor is constantly monitoring when too much pressure is applied. With the iO, it is assessing for too much as well as not enough. This is a ‘smart pressure sensor’.
By default the light from this sensor is white. You can actually customize the color, to something you prefer via the app. This is lit white or your chosen color when not enough pressure (low pressure) is being applied.
A green light will be emitted from the LED ring when the right amount of pressure is applied and a red light when too much pressure is used.
You want to see the green light as you brush.
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 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.
Other Oral-B models change the sound, so you had an audible warning. Sonicare brushes vibrate the handle differently.
With the iO, unless you are looking for the red light, you could easily miss that you are brushing too hard. Why has this been changed?! This is not a good thing. I want more alerts, not less!
A problem shared by many brushes is that it is easiest to see that light if you brush your teeth in front of a mirror. If you don’t, you can see it out the corner of your eye, but it’s not always that easy.
I think the need to brush in front of a mirror is made more obvious here because you want the green light to be showing. So, to be able to see the green light the majority of the time you need to brush in front of the mirror. If you don’t you can’t be so sure you are brushing right.
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.
Right, to one of the ways the iO really aims to differentiate, Bluetooth connectivity and it’s smart features.
The handle transfers key information to the app for review in real-time or at a later date.
Upon initial setup you will be guided through the pairing process on the screen of your phone. It takes less than a minute to complete and you can change Bluetooth settings at any time via the display on your handle.
For the best performance you need to keep the phone within a 16 foot (5 meter) range of the brush.
Oral-B have made smart toothbrushes for a long time, and the fundamental functions of this iO remain the same. However, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and tracking ability first introduced on the Genius X has been improved.
Previous users of the app will see how the app has been updated to ensure you get the most out of the iO.
The recommended approach is to use the app at the same time as you brush, so you get the real-time data shown on your phone screen.
With the Series 9, you will see a graphic of a mouth. As you brush the teeth in your own mouth those same teeth on the phone screen turn from a blue to a bright white color as you successfully brush for the right amount of time.
The iO Series 9 is tracking your brushing of 16 different zones in the mouth.
The graphic makes it clear if you have not brushed the certain teeth/areas of the mouth for long enough.
Such a visual clue makes it really easy to adapt your technique and correct the mistake immediately.
The iO 5, 6, 7, and 8 track just 6 zones as opposed to 16. It essentially tries to do the same job but relies more heavily on you actually brushing all surfaces in that area rather than highlighting each surface to be cleaned.
Based on the data the app receives and collates it then offers personalized coaching to help each of us improve.
You get a score for how well you did after each session.
It might be overkill for some. You don’t have to use the smart features at all if you really don’t want to. Ideally, use it daily to get full value from the brush, but even infrequent use can help you review performance and perfect your technique. We all have good and bad days, myself included.
Statistics show that the average American brushes their teeth for just 45-70 seconds compared to the dentist recommended 2 minutes.
And, according to Oral-B, up to 80% of people spend an insufficient amount of time brushing in at least one zone of their mouth. Another 60% of people either don’t brush their back molars at all or don’t spend enough time when they do.
The smart features of the iO are, in theory at least, designed to help us brush our teeth better and for longer. If we can get in the habit of making use of the app, it is possible we could slow or stop the chances of some common issues, such as cavities occurring.
It naturally profits Oral-B to create such systems. If we buy into them, we spend out on replacement brush heads and new toothbrushes in the future.
The app mimics some of the suggestions and advice your dentist would likely give you at your checkup. Whilst it cannot replace a trained professional, it can give us those gentle nudges between appointments to possible risks and issues in our routines.
Within the app you have many other customizations you can make too. From changing the color of the light ring to setting specific oral healthcare journeys there is little it does not have.
In fact, some might find the app a bit too comprehensive and overbearing with data.
On the whole the intention of the app and the way it works is pretty good.
But there are a number of issues and inconveniences. Which I feel may put users off, unless they have a real commitment and perseverance.
The real-time feedback can lag and be a little inaccurate.
I found at times it implied I had not brushed an area sufficiently, when I felt I had.
At other times, the app seemed to think I had brushed all surfaces in a section of the mouth, but I had only cleaned the outside surfaces.
It also seems to struggle a little with defining the boundaries between zones it is tracking. It often showed as if I was brushing my front teeth but I would have suggested I was cleaning teeth towards the back of my mouth.
Part of the problem here is the way the zones are configured.
For years Oral-B has had 2 minute timers and 30 second pacers built into their brush handles. The iO included.
This all works on the principle of 4 key sections of the mouth to brush (upper right, upper left, lower right & lower left).
When using the app, although a timer is shown on screen, the pacing is disbaled, so you get no alert to move from one quadrant to another.
But, here is where things get complicated. The 3D tracking of the mouth shown on screen works on the basis of there being 6 key sections of the mouth (upper back right, upper back left, upper front, bottom back right, bottom back left, bottom front).
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.
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 is the pacing disabled? Why 6 sections on the graphic rather than 4?
A 6 section setup is fine, Sonicare does this. But, their pacing is at 20 seconds, not 30.
With Sonicare, their app identifies for you to brush certain areas and follow a sequence. It appears to track and log these specific areas with more accuracy.
I think Oral-B could improve things by guiding us as we brush. Instead it reacts to where we place the brush rather than encouraging a more consistent and seamless routine.
The app did too feel like it was encouraging me to brush certain areas longer than were necessary. I would have said I had successfully cleaned a section of the mouth, but in order to achieve the white teeth, I was having to spend 10-20 seconds longer.
Given so few brush their teeth for the recommended time, this is potentially a positive. But, it just seems a bit odd and could be off putting.
I would suggest my brushing technique is above average, and I certainly managed to achieve 100% coverage many times. However, 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.
I think the app and position detection improved over time, but it is hard to say for sure or whether I just adjusted a bit. After a week, I certainly felt the percentage covered had increased by the 2 minute mark compared to when I first started. However, I would have thought I would have achieved a higher score from the outset. Was it me? Was it the app and the reliability of the detection?! I am inclined to say the latter.
Something else to consider is the app and the way it shows pressure when brushing. The app will display a warning on screen if you are using too much pressure.
However, part of the iO systems design is to encourage you to use the right pressure.
There is no reference to this within the app.
You may not have the green light lit on the handle, but the app doesn’t suggest to try brushing with a little more pressure to activate it. Given the pressure sensor is so clever, why not link it to the app.
This ultimately leads to another point, trying to brush correctly, with the correct technique and the right pressure.
For me and even more so for a new electric toothbrush user, using the iO with the app is a juggling act.
In one hand I hold the brush and try to brush my teeth correctly. In the other I have my phone with the app open to monitor my brushing. Meanwhile 1 eye is focused on the mirror in front of me to check the green light activated and the other is looking at the phone. It all feels a bit cumbersome.
You don’t have to use the app every time. The handle does store some data and will sync the next time it is within range of a smartphone, but you are not getting maximum value if you don’t.
This leads me to the biggest issue with the whole setup. You and me as humans. We need to train ourselves and potentially break habits of a lifetime to achieve the real value from the iO and what it offers. To do 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.
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.
Perhaps what is most telling is I have all the best toothbrushes available to me and I rarely use the real-time data facilities offered. I recommend most just perfect a basic reliable toothbrushing technique. It is cheaper and can be as effective.
Having the display on the iO does perhaps give extra encouragement a typical electric toothbrush or even smart toothbrush would not. Getting a sad face might just encourage you to switch the brush back on again.
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 $300 is it too much to ask?
Irrespective of my thoughts, the iO has gained a vote of confidence from the American Dental Association (ADA), as this has been granted their Seal of Acceptance. This means it has undergone testing and approval by a body of professionals to be awarded such, giving you the confidence of knowing that this is a product that performs.
Included with the Series 9 only 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 molding 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, for me at least, 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 functional for sure, but it is not as solid or premium feeling as previous charging cases the company has made. But, it is lighter.
It would have been nice to have had a brush head storage compartment had been provided in the box too. It is advertised as an accessory by Oral-B in places, but it is not included in the box.
The iO is water resistant, meaning you can happily give it a rinse under the tap and it will survive exposure to water and toothpaste, but don’t let it spend any time at the bottom of the bath.
It does too come with a 2 year warranty should something go wrong.
So, all things considered, there is a great deal to like about the iO and it is a very nice toothbrush to use on a daily basis. I much prefer the overall user experience to the like of the Genius X. You shouldn’t decide to switch just because of this, but it is a nice perk if you do.
But, the iO is not without some small niggly frustrations. A couple of which could have been fairly easily rectified prior to manufacture. Perhaps some others can be resolved in future software updates?
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- The new design comes at the expense of rubber grips.
- Dedicated power and cleaning mode buttons.
- 4 x Ultimate Clean brush heads included in the box.
- New brush head style exclusive to iO series.
- The OLED display in brush handle.
- The display is a nice touch but limits on what it offers – expected more.
- 7 different cleaning modes available.
- Built-in timer and pacer.
- Visible pressure sensor built-in – alerts to both correct and incorrect pressure.
- Pressure sensor only shows a red light when brushing too hard, no change in sound like other Oral-B models.
- The light ring can be lit one a select number of colors.
- Cleans the teeth really well.
- Bluetooth connectivity to record your brushing history via the app for Android and iOS.
- The app is very comprehensive but perhaps too much for some.
- Real-time 3D tracking option with the app when used at the same time as the brush
- The app has the right intentions, but reliability and inconsistencies mean real commitment is needed to use it regularly.
- A smartphone holder would have been useful.
- Travel case holds the handle and 1 brush head only. Feels a bit cheap.
- The case allows the toothbrush to be charged inside – separate proprietary power cable required.
- No brush head storage compartment.
- Water resistant handle.
- 2 year warranty provided.
- American Dental Association approved.
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 vacation for example.
The battery life of Oral-B toothbrushes has always been inferior to most of the competition.
For many years, and in fact, many models still offer 1 weeks battery life.
Newer models like the Genius Pro 8000 and the Genius X achieve around 2 weeks. Yet Sonicare have consistently offered 2-3 weeks if not more from their brushes, including their entry level models.
Seeing as the iO is the latest and greatest Oral-B toothbrush it competes well with Sonicare then?
The claimed battery life is 2+ weeks, and this is precisely what you get.
I have been unable to achieve anything more than 14 days from the brush on Daily Clean mode*.
On some occasions, I achieved as little as 11 days brushing for about 2 minutes each time. I am not sure what is causing the inconsistency in battery life.
I have been using the brush primarily on the Daily Clean mode, but it is possible that the battery life can vary, depending on the cleaning mode and amount of pressure used, but it should be around the 14 days.
14 days use is equivalent to 28 brushing sessions or 56 minutes of usage time on a single charge.
So all in all the battery is ok, but not as good as I would hope for.
It is a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery that is built inside the handle. The battery is not user removable.
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.
Circular in shape there is a very small convexed area in the middle that highlights where to line up the base of the brush handle. It fits into the convexed base of the iO’s handle.
Magnets in the stand hold the brush securely and the charge is delivered wirelessly to the brush handle. There is no physical wire connection.
Whilst the stand is magnetic, the magnets are not quite as strong as I had imagined. It would still be relatively easy to knock the brush off.
The brush can sit at any position on the stand though. There isn’t a right or wrong way.
The stand itself has a power cable hardwired into it. This has a 2 pin power adapter on it for you to connect to the socket.
The power cord is approx 4ft (1.2 meters) in length and supports 100-240V.
Displayed on the OLED screen after each brushing session is the remaining battery life.
This is displayed as a battery icon, with bars inside it and as a text percentage (%).
This percentage is set to 10% increments. It does the job, but it won’t tell you it is 36% full for example. The Oral-B app does report the exact percentage.
There is no way to get battery status in the settings menu of the handle either which is a shame.
When the battery power is at 10% the battery icon turns red and the light ring pulses red. When the battery power is basically at 0% the light ring pulses red more frequently.
Once the battery is empty, the motor stops; it will need at least a 5-minute charge for one use.
When on charge, the light ring pulses slowly, illuminating with a white light every 5 seconds or so, until it is fully charged.
It is perfectly safe to leave the brush handle on the charging stand and plugged in. Battery overcharging is prevented by the device.
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 Pro 8000 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 traveling 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
- A claimed 2+ weeks of battery life.
- Achieved around 2 weeks in hands-on testing.
- A rechargeable lithium-ion battery built-in.
- Comes with a magnetic charging stand.
- A 2 pin power cable is hardwired into the stand.
- The charging stands supports 100-240V.
- The brush charges in 3 hours on the stand.
- The display shows battery charge in 10% increments.
- The battery power is shown in the app.
- The power2go charging case allows the toothbrush to be charged inside.
- A separate Oral-B proprietary US power adapter provided.
- The power2go case power adapter supports 100-240V.
- Takes 6 hours to charge in case
- 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.
$299.99 is the retail price of the iO Series 9. This is the price I paid for the unit I am using.
You are probably thinking that this is fairly expensive for a toothbrush, and you would be right.
But, it is the top of the line model with all the features you could possibly want. So, it will command a premium price.
The Genius X that came before the iO has a retail price of $220-$250, subject to the variant, so another $50 isn’t all that great is it?
The Series 7 iO has a more acceptable $199.99 and as I explain in my iO Series comparison, in theory it is the better value purchase.
However, the electric toothbrush market is well known for selling brushes with a reasonable discount.
This discount does vary, but it is not at all uncommon for premium brushes like the iO Series 9 to have an average selling price some 20-25% below the suggested price.
25% of $300 is $75. Subtract this from $300 and the typical selling price is now $225. This is just $25 more than the iO Series 7. Given the extras, this seems a fair premium to pay.
But, won’t the Series 7 be discounted too? Yes, possibly. However, it is unlikely the discount will be so great. Meaning that the price difference between the 7 and 9 series is such that the 9 suddenly becomes the better value purchase.
Call it a marketing/promotional tactic. The Series 7 and 8 essentially exist to show there are ‘cheaper’ options. But, the availability and pricing will be such that the Series 9 will be the most accessible and promoted model.
Essentially, the product range is positioned and promoted in such a way that it is almost silly not to go for the top of the line model.
Prices along with availability will vary.
There isn’t necessarily a best place to purchase it from. Prices are likely to be higher if you buy directly from Oral-B or from your dental office.
Retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more tend to be a little more competitive and typically offer the best value products.
So just how much will the iO cost to own?
To give you an idea of what it might cost, here at Electric Teeth we work out the cost over a 3 year period. We factor in the cost of the toothbrush itself and the cost of replacement brush heads.
Oral-B models, even their premium ones, have generally worked out quite good value in comparison to the likes of Sonicare.
However, the iO pushes the price up more than we have seen before.
In addition, the iO has new brush heads. Where a typical replacement brush head used to cost on average $5, it looks to be that this average price is going to settle around $10 per head.
The actual suggested price is $29.99 for a 2 pack of iO heads. This makes each head $15, but I do expect this price will quickly fall or be discounted.
Being that I am reviewing this brush very soon after launch I offer up 2 prices for the cost of ownership.
The first is the actual cost based on full retail price and the second based on where I predict prices will average out at.
At full retail price:
- $300 for the handle
- $120 for the replacement brush heads (4 provided in the box, 8 additional required at $15 each)
This brings the total cost to $420 or $0.38 per day.
Based on a likely average price:
- $225 for the handle
- $80 for the replacement brush heads (4 provided in the box, 8 additional required at $10 each)
This brings the total cost to $305 or $0.28 per day.
Ultimately, please only pick the model that is right for you and that you are happy to buy. You do not need this premium model. The Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 or the Oral-B Pro 1000 which are a quarter of the price is more than good enough for most of us. The iO does not clean the teeth 4x better than these models!
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
- A recommended retail price of $300 for iO Series 9.
- The typical selling price is usually 20-25% less than retail.
- The typical selling price to be around $225.
- Replacement brush heads to cost $10-15 each.
- Ownership over 3 years to be in the range of $0.28-0.38 per day.
Reliability & long term use
For me, Oral-B toothbrushes have always been 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.
However, with many years of production history, Oral-B has been able to perfect the reliability of their products.
The iO does potentially challenge this reliability. The new design and technology used doesn’t have the same tried and tested history.
I have no reason to suggest that the brush is more likely to fail. In the few weeks I have been testing the iO, it has not had any issues or given me cause for concern.
Ultimately, the likelihood of the toothbrush failing is very low. A 2 year manufacturer warranty is provided should it fail.
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.
There is absolutely no denying that the Oral-B iO 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.
I can honestly say that I have not enjoyed reviewing an Oral-B product as much as I have this one.
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 it a part of your routine. I think this is something many, myself included, struggle to change.
As good as all this is, for the perfectionists, there are still frustrating elements. The travel case and the lack of quality feedback via the display are a couple of examples.
The iO is very good, but for most, the likes of the Smart 1500 are much better value options that can clean the teeth just as well.
- Height (without head) – 18.5cm / 7.2 inches
- Height (with head) – 23.7cm / 9.3 inches
- Width – 2.8cm / 1.1 inches
- Thickness – 3cm / 1.1 inches
- Weight (without head) – 131g / 4.6oz
- Weight (with head) – 139g / 4.9oz
All are approximates
- Is the Oral-B iO 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 iO Series 9 has 7 cleaning modes. They are:
- Daily Clean
- Super Sensitive
- Gum Care
- Tongue Cleaner
- Learn more about Oral-B electric toothbrush cleaning modes.
- The iO Series 9 has 7 cleaning modes. They are:
- What brush head does the iO come with and what alternative ones can be used?
- 4 x iO ultimate clean brush heads are supplied with the Series 9 toothbrush.
- You can purchase gentle care brush heads for the iO too.
- You can find out more about them and the standard Oral-B brush heads here.
- Does the Oral-B iO have a pressure sensor?
- Yes, it does.
- Does the iO Series 9 have Bluetooth?
- Yes, it does.
- How do I turn on or off Bluetooth on the iO?
- Disable Bluetooth by entering the «Settings» menu on the interactive display-> Bluetooth -> disable. Follow the same procedure to enable Bluetooth again.
- 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?
- Claimed battery life of 2+ weeks.
- Inconsistent battery performance but averaging around 14 days on Daily Clean mode.
- Can I use the iO from Oral-B in the shower?
- Yes. The iO is water resistant so if you choose you can use it in the shower. Avoid submerging it in water.
- Does the Oral-B iO Series come with a warranty & how long is it?
- If purchased new from an approved retailer the brush will come with a 2 year.
- Find out more about the Oral-B warranty.
- What are the part numbers of the iO Series 9?
- Handle colors
- Onyx Black (IO9 M9.4B2.2A BK) / EAN: 069055128909
- White Alabaster (IO9 M9.4B2.2A BK) / EAN: 069055128893
- Rose Quartz (IO9 M9.4A1.1A RQ) / EAN: 069055128916
- Charger Type 3768
- Handle Type 3758
- Travel Case Type 3759
- Smart Plug Type 492-xxxx
- Handle colors
Do you own or have you used the iO 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.