A premium looking handle with a built-in display
Requires iO specific heads which are more expensive
Quieter than other Oral-B brushes
Bluetooth connectivity isn’t essential and adds to the cost
Reminds you when to replace the brush head
Real-time tracking via Bluetooth can be valuable for the most committed users
Ditch the real-time tracking and save money
If the last thing you want to do is connect your toothbrush to a smartphone and have it with you in the bathroom, you would benefit from the more affordable Smart 1500.
You get excellent cleaning results, none of the smart tech and benefit from a lower ownership cost as you don’t need to pay for the more expensive iO specific brush heads.
The display looks impressive but has limited functionality
Built into the iO Series 6’s handle is a black and white display. It has a certain wow factor, being one of a very limited number of toothbrushes to have such.
It’s not a touchscreen. You use the function buttons to control the extra settings you have available.
Compared to other Oral-B brushes with icons only or none at all, it certainly makes selecting brushing modes easier. The addition of a text name label is great.
A timer is displayed when in use and you get emoji feedback on your brushing too. Unlike other brushes with just an LED to give feedback on the battery, the iO6 has an icon and percentage shown on the screen.
You will also get a visual reminder when it is time to replace the brush head, and the app will remind you too.
It’s nice, but the reality is that it doesn’t do that much and I feel there is some opportunity missed. The screen doesn’t give any feedback on your coverage like the Oclean X Pro Elite.
Clever, yet imperfect real-time tracking
Sensors in the iO6 can wirelessly transfer multiple bits of data to your smartphone in real-time, using a Bluetooth connection. This information is presented on screen clearly and engagingly.
6 zones of the mouth are tracked at any one time. As you brush each zone, the teeth shown on screen fade from a pale blue to white. Those zones with incomplete white teeth haven’t received the attention they should. Because you can see this, as your brushing, you can take immediate corrective action.
The accuracy of the tracking varies, with some days seemingly better than others. And because it tracks only 6 zones, rather than each tooth surface, you don’t get as detailed insights as you might expect. You can for example brush just the outside tooth surface in a zone and the app will suggest good coverage for that zone, which isn’t strictly true.
The iO Series 9 does have 16 zone tracking, 1 zone per tooth surface, this much more detailed feedback. But, the iO9 is considerably more expensive and even then the tracking is not really any more reliable. Unless you are set on buying ‘the best’ it's not worth it for most.
If you are motivated by numbers then the Oral-B app will score your brushing and show patterns in your brushing history. It logs brushing time, pressure and more, even if you don’t use the app each time you brush. Over time you can get insights you might not have otherwise known about. It is, without doubt, a useful tool, but it requires commitment and even then the feedback isn’t perfect.
As a general rule, we don’t recommend smart brushes. This is because you don’t need them to achieve a good clean.
A quieter and softer brushing experience with a dentist clean feeling
Truthfully few toothbrushes do a bad job of cleaning the teeth when used correctly, but some deliver an experience you just want to repeat and I think the iO6 falls firmly into this category.
Less aggressive on the teeth than non-iO models
I often use the words aggressive and intense when describing the sensation you get from the use of most Oral-B brushes. It might not sound appealing, but the result is the somewhat cliche ‘dentist clean’ feeling.
It certainly isn’t something that is to everyone's preference and I know many like the softer sensation that sonic toothbrushes deliver.
With the introduction of the iO Series came a completely new motor design that has ultimately affected the feeling you get when brushing your teeth. It is now much softer and less harsh on the soft tissues in the mouth. There is a noticeable difference between the iO and non iO brushes.
I don’t believe it is a reason to ditch a perfectly functional brush in preference of the iO6, but it is a benefit should you make the switch.
It goes without saying the cleaning results are still superb. I can’t say the iO6 cleans the teeth any better than other brushes. Overall I’ve no complaints.
It has been awarded the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, confirming it meets the claims made by the manufacturer.
The brush heads have gotten bigger
iO Series brush handles have their own range of brush heads. The iO Series is not compatible with the existing range of refills Oral-B offers.
Whether it was intentional or not, I do not know, but the 4 styles of iO specific heads are marginally bigger. It is most notable in the depth. I would suggest about 10% larger.
For the vast majority, it won’t pose an issue, but it is something to be aware of particularly if you have a small mouth.
It’s quieter than the Oral-B brushes you might be used to
Another positive consequence of the redesigned motor is the noise the brush makes.
Oral-B brushes have always been amongst the loudest with quite a harsh mechanical sound compared to the softer humm of other sonic brushes.
It is now about 10 decibels quieter compared to an Oral-B brush that isn’t part of the iO Series.
It registers at up to 64 decibels in our testing.
The sound seems a little higher pitched and less mechanical, call it a halfway point between the gentle sonic hum and the grumble of the other Oral-B brushes.
Dentist-recommended features are built in
Used correctly, a manual toothbrush is perfectly satisfactory, but electric brushes have several benefits that no manual brush can match.
Our in-house team has a couple that they feel are really beneficial: a pressure sensor, timer and pacer. The iO6 has them.
A smarter pressure sensor than most
One of the iO6’s best features is the smarter than average pressure sensor. It alerts you to more than just too much pressure. It tells you when you are not using enough and when you are applying just the right amount.
If you have no idea if you are using the right amount of pressure, the iO6 will let you know. It’s going to help prevent you from doing unnecessary damage to the teeth and gums if you brush too hard. Or get you applying more force if you are a bit too soft.
The light ring around the top of the brush handle changes color based on the applied pressure.
- White – low pressure – not enough force is being applied.
- Green – the right amount of pressure is being used.
- Red – high - excessive pressure is being applied and the force should be reduced.
If lit red, the motor will slow the bristle movements to further protect the teeth until such time the pressure is relieved. In a relatively short period of time, you will learn the correct force you need to use.
If using the app, it will show on the screen if you are using the correct pressure or not.
Brush for longer with the help of the timer and pacer
An essential feature of an electric toothbrush is a timer and pacer.
Brushing for the recommended minimum of 2 minutes twice a day achieves maximum plaque removal. Yet many people brush for as little as 45-70 seconds per day.
You do too want to ensure you brush all your teeth fairly evenly to limit the chances of problems now and in the future. The timer encourages you to do just this.
It’s activated as soon as you power the brush on, then at 30 second intervals, the brush motor momentarily pauses. The sound and brushing sensation change. This is your notification to move to the next section of your mouth. At 2 minutes, the alert comes in the form of 3 momentary pauses. Hear this and you’ve brushed for the recommended minimum time.
If you're used to a sonic toothbrush, you might expect the iO6 to power offer automatically. It won’t.
The pacing is different when using the app
Of course, the real-time tracking of the iO6 helps work toward even brushing of the different zones.
But something you should be aware of is that the pacer is deactivated when using the app. You don’t get the pauses in the brush motor.
This is because you have an onscreen timer to guide you. The idea is you spend 20 seconds per zone, to realize the even clean.
This is different to the 4 zone (quadrant), 30 second pacing the brush uses when not being used in real-time with the app.
A lack of textured grips gives a cleaner, premium look
Like the other iO brush handles, the iO6 has a rounded handle design with no harsh edges.
Plastic is the material of choice for good reason, but commonly used gloss finishes have been replaced with a matte finish that looks more refined.
Textured grips that are present on other models are not here. It gives a much cleaner look and doesn’t give small areas for grime and residual toothpaste to build up upon.
Despite the different design approach, it doesn’t feel slippery to the touch and you can easily retain a good grasp of it.
In the hand, the brush is nicely balanced and comfortable to use.
The 2 concave function buttons stand out to the fingertip and provide reassuring feedback upon pressing.
The buttons are always black no matter if you opt for the white, black or gray coloured handle options for the iO6. There are no technical differences, just colors separate them.
All iO6’s usually come with a basic, but functional travel case that holds the handle and up to 2 heads.
With less textured surfaces, the handle itself is a bit easier to keep clean. It’s water resistant so it can be cleaned under running water or used in the shower.
Do pay particular attention to the brush head itself and the attachment point. The design does potentially lead to mold building up if not regularly cleaned.
Despite heads being twice as expensive, the iO6 is the best value iO model
The Oral-B Smart 1500 is one of our all time favorite brushes and costs around $120 to own over 3 years. It has the essentials you need and nothing more.
Given that it lacks Bluetooth, the smart pressure sensor and display you would probably expect to pay a little more for the premium tech that comes as standard with the iO6.
$150 or a penny shy is the retail price of the iO6, but $120 is a much more realistic selling price given Oral-B brushes are sold with a 20% discount most of the year.
Unfortunately, the overall ownership costs are impacted negatively by the iO specific brush heads. They command a price of around $12 per head compared to around $5 of those for non-iO models.
Over 3 years, the iO6 will cost around $252.
It’s not cheap at 2 times the cost of the Smart 1500. But it’s only $50 more expensive than the iO Series 3. The iO3 has no Bluetooth, real-time tracking, travel case, in handle display and 3 less brushing modes.
It’s also $80 cheaper than the iO9 which offers enhanced tracking, quicker charging and a charging travel case.
All things considered, the iO6 does a pretty decent job of striking the balance between features and price.
The 16 day battery life is satisfactory but could be better
Oral-B iO brushes typically offer around 2 weeks of use on a full charge The iO6 achieved an average of 16 days in my testing.
This is an average though as I’ve experienced both better and worse from the iO6. Performance does seem to be a bit more consistent than the premium iO Series 9 and 10. But it isn’t as good as the likes of the iO Series 4 and 5 which offer a couple more days of use. Probably because they don’t have an in-handle display.
In reality, the Series 6 falls quite a bit short of the typical 3-4 weeks achieved by most toothbrushes today, including those half the price. It isn’t a deal breaker, unless you travel a lot and are away from power.
A full charge will take up to about 12 hours.
Included is a standard Oral-B charging stand. White in color it has a prong on the top which fits into the base of the brush handle. The stand has voltage support of 110-130 and has a 2 pin adapter. The cable measures approximately 1.2 meter (4 foot).
The display will give feedback on the battery charge level and the light ring at the top of the brush handle will flash red when low or pulse white when on charge.
It’s got at least 3 more brushing modes than you need
I’ve yet to find any solid justification for having 5 different brushing modes on a toothbrush, given that the cleaning results are comparable, but the iO6 has just this.
Your options are:
- Daily Clean
- Gum Care
Daily Clean is the mode you’re generally best off using and is all you need. It provides a good overall clean. It can help remove surface stains and whiten teeth for some too.
That said, having the option of Sensitive mode is nice, for those times your teeth and gums might be feeling a bit more tender and you want something a little less intense.
It will default to your last used mode and you can change the order via the app if you like as well as disabling those you won’t ever use.
An industry average 2 year warranty
Where more affordable brushes from lesser known brands typically come with a 1 year warranty, the iO6 is supplied with a 2 year guarantee. This is pretty typical for an Oral-B brush and those from other leading brands like Philips Sonicare.
It’s not impossible, but not all that common for a brush to fail during this time. Oral-B has had years to perfect the design and manufacturing to limit such.
A number of iO brushes I have been using for several years remain functional with no issues.
Regretfully the iO6 or any of the iO models have not been designed to be repaired yourself. It is common practice for electric brushes not to be user serviceable. It’s a shame more environmentally considerate approaches are not being factored in by leading brands.
Make no mistake, an electric toothbrush isn’t great environmentally. The electric brush's environmental impact is on average 11 times greater than a manual brush.
We don’t have detailed data specific to the iO6, but based on what we know the impact is even greater with the LED display and other smart features available on the iO6.
While Oral-B has partnered with schemes such as TerraCycle, it does not yet have its own recycling scheme for used brush heads or faulty products.
Its brush heads are made from petroleum-based plastic, which uses the planet's finite resources compared to using plant-based plastics.
Conclusion: striking a balance between price and features
The iO6 offers more than you and I need, but isn’t as capable as the likes of the Series 9.
It isn’t the cheapest, nor is it the most expensive.
It cleans the teeth comparably to more affordable models, but the brushing experience is better.
Ultimately it’s a brush that is priced just about right given what it offers, for those who feel they will make use of such.
- Toothbrush height with head - 24cm / 9.5 inches
- Toothbrush height without head - 18.3cm / 7.2 inches
- Width - 2.8cm / 1.1 inches
- Depth/thickness - 2.8cm / 1.1 inches
- Weight with head - 134g / 4.7oz
- Weight without head - 126g / 4.4oz
- Travel case size - 21cm / 8.3 inches (L) x 6.2cm / 2.4 inches (W) x 3.4cm / 1.3 inches (D)
- Travel case weight - 61g / 2.2oz (withouth brush) or 195g / 6.9oz (with brush)
- Package weight - 499g / 17.6oz
Country of manufacture
More Oral-B iO content
In case you hadn't noticed, the Oral-B iO range now includes several models.
We explain the differences in our Oral-B iO comparison.
We've also reviewed each brush individually: