Everything you need at an affordable price point – just buy it
The 1500 has the essential features you want and not lots of unnecessary extras. This is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to achieve clean and healthy teeth.
We rate the Oral-B Smart 1500 is the best Oral-B electric toothbrush available today.
- Easy to keep clean
- Multiple cleaning modes
- American Dental Association (ADA) approved
- No icons on the handle to show which cleaning mode is selected
- Despite the name, it is not a ‘smart’ toothbrush
- Defaults to the daily clean mode
Dentist recommended features are built-in and perform as expected
We don’t have an extensive list of must-have features, but there are a few that our in-house dentists feel are really worthwhile: a 2 minute timer, a pacer and a pressure sensor. These are included in all but the cheapest of brushes these days.
The 2 minute timer and pacer help you clean your teeth evenly
The pacer momentarily pauses the brushing action every 30 seconds to tell you to move on to the next part of the mouth. After 2 minutes the alert changes slightly to tell you that you have brushed for long enough.
Unlike some brushes, the Smart 1500 doesn’t power off automatically. This may be a disappointment to some, but it’s not a big issue.
The visible pressure sensor will alert you when you are brushing too hard
Scrubbing and using lots of force as you brush will damage the teeth and gums over the long term. Oral-B has for many years built pressure sensors into their toothbrushes and the 1500 is no exception.
When the handle detects you are brushing with excess force the motor will slow the brush head and the light ring at the top of the handle will illuminate red. When it does, you need to relieve the pressure until the light goes out.
It is relatively easy to spot out of the corner of the eye or in the mirror if you brush in front of one. You don’t get any vibration or alert through the handle like you do with the Sonicare 4100 Series.
If you know you have a habit of brushing with too much force, the Smart 1500 will help you rectify this.
A minor irk, in which no way affects daily use, is that the light is strongest on the backside of the ring, where the LED is located. It is not a consistently strong ring of red light as you might expect.
The small round brush head reaches tight spaces and gives good cleaning results
Included in the box is a single brush head. Oral-B’s oscillating-rotating brush heads are smaller than the sonic ones from the likes of Sonicare and can feel quite aggressive in comparison. They do make it easy to reach the tightest of spaces, though.
If you like an invigorating clean, the Smart 1500 certainly doesn’t disappoint. It sounds cliche, but a ‘dentist clean feeling’ really does apply here. Approved by the American Dental Association and backed by clinical evidence. Used correctly, the 1500 will remove plaque effectively.
If you are sensitive and don’t like such a powerful clean, the softer Pro GumCare brush head and the lower powered cleaning mode can be beneficial.
Whilst power is far from the most important factor in achieving good cleaning results, I am often asked how many oscillations and pulsations models offer.
The Smart 1500 series motor generates up to 8,800 oscillations and 40,000 pulsations per minute. The exact number depends on the brushing mode selected.
There are a number of differently styled, yet compatible Oral-B brush heads, but the key thing to know is that all things considered each head cleans comparably. Our preference is the softer Pro GumCare or the slightly firmer bristled CrossAction. Most dentists will advise a soft bristled brush, hence the Pro GumCare being a great option.
The brush handle won’t alert you when it’s time for a new brush head
On average you want to be replacing the head every 3 months. This ensures worn bristles are not being used for longer than they should and you therefore get the most effective and safest clean over this time.
Unlike the iO Series 3, 4 and 5 which have LEDs on the handle that light up when it is time to replace the brush head, the 1500 doesn’t.
If using the supplied CrossAction head the green bristles will gradually turn yellow over 3 months. Known as CleanMaximizer bristles, they are a visual clue it might be time to switch the head you are using.
If the head looks like it has seen better days, replace it. And even if it’s still not in bad shape after 3 months, it should still be swapped out.
Below average, but a reliable 2 weeks battery life from a full charge
2+ weeks is the claimed usable life of the Lithium-Ion battery sealed inside the brush handle, based on 2 cleans per day each 2 minutes in length. I achieved 19-20 days and have noticed much more consistent battery performance than the iO Series brushes.
But, at 2+ weeks it falls short of the industry average which is really at 3-4 weeks. By no means is this a deal breaker when considering the 1500.
When low, the battery notification LED will flash red and you may notice the motor slow. A full recharge takes up to 12 hours. The battery LED will flash green whilst charging, before turning off once complete.
The supplied white charging stand has a 3 foot/90cm power cable with a 2 pin power adapter. It supports 110-130v.
Electronics in the handle mean you can leave the brush on the stand at all times. Grime can build up on the stand, but it’s easily wiped clean.
Good value for the features and performance
Although the retail price is $80, as a general rule, Oral-B brushes are discounted by around 10-20%, thus a purchase price of $65 is certainly achievable.
Factor in replacement brush heads which cost around $5 each and over 3 years, you will have a total ownership cost in the region of $120.
This is a fantastic price given the cleaning performance and dentist recommended features it boasts. It really is a must buy.
There are cheaper alternatives from Oral-B and other lesser known brands but these come with compromises.
Oral-B’s iO Series 3 is a very likeable alternative. Quieter, with a premium design and a smart pressure sensor, it costs around the same as the 1500 to buy. But, replacement brush heads are 2x the cost. Taking the ownership costs over $200.
Philips Sonicare has been and will continue to be a reputable alternative. Their 2100 Series costs about the same but lacks a pressure sensor. Opt for the better 4100 Series and it works out about $30 more expensive.
If you want a peaceful brushing experience this isn’t for you — it’s loud
Oral-B brushes are amongst the loudest available today, with the Smart 1500 registering 75 decibels.
It’s quite a mechanical noise that it makes, not a gentle humming sound like most sonic toothbrushes.
If you worry about waking others when you brush your teeth, then this isn’t going to alleviate your concerns. And you will struggle to hear what others are saying should they speak to you as you brush.
The iO Series 3 from Oral-B produces 64 decibels, whilst SURI’s S1 sonic toothbrush is quieter still at 54.
3 cleaning modes to suit different preferences but it defaults to Daily Clean
For the vast majority of us, 1 cleaning mode is all we need. I don’t use all 7 modes on my iO Series 9.
According to the Oral-B website, you get 2 different modes on all variants of the Smart 1500.
- Daily Clean
However, the model we purchased and tested had a third mode:
Daily Clean is my preference and the one I recommend most people use. But, the option of Sensitive is great for those who want to enjoy a less intense cleaning action, or for those days your teeth or gums might feel a little more tender.
Sensitive is also a great choice for first time electric toothbrush users. It makes for a more pleasing introduction to the increased power such brushes offer.
Don’t worry too much about which mode you use. Although differences exist, they are minimal, as our article on Oral-B brushing modes explains. Fundamentally, if used correctly, you will achieve a good clean with any.
No icons or labels to tell you which mode you’re using
Irrespective of your preference, the 1500 always defaults to Daily Clean.
You need to press the power button 3 times, each and every time you use it, if you want whitening mode.
The button is a little firmer than some might like, but this does mean it’s not so easy to press it accidentally. You do get feedback from the button to confirm your press has been registered.
There are no icons, LEDs or labels to show or confirm what mode you have selected. You will learn them in time based on the sound and sensation, but they are ordered as above.
It’s frustrating, as many competing brushes do have labels, but it’s just the way Oral-B design their mid-tier models. It’s an inconvenience and doesn’t stop me from using or recommending it.
There is no Bluetooth connectivity, despite ‘Smart’ being in the name
The word ‘smart’ is typically associated with Bluetooth enabled toothbrushes or those handles that really offer some groundbreaking technology built-in.
Whilst there is valuable technology built-in, the 1500 is not a Bluetooth enabled device. This is particularly confusing when the next toothbrush in the range, the Oral-B Smart 3000, does offer Bluetooth technology.
As clever as some of the Bluetooth technology and associated smart features are. You don’t need them. Few actually continue to use them months after getting their new toothbrush.
You’ve got color choices but competitors’ products look and feel better
Like most other electric brushes the Oral-B Smart 1500 has a cylindrical handle. Actually, it is not perfectly round, it’s slightly thicker than it is wide, but we are talking millimeters of difference.
It will stand upright on a countertop and strategically placed raised dots on the rear of the handle prevent the brush from rolling along a flat countertop.
Unlike older models from Oral-B, the 1500 doesn’t have any large rubber panels on the handle to aid with grip. There’s a small section around the power button, but the result is a much cleaner look to the handle.
A softer, dimpled texture to the plastic body also replaces the raised lines that have adorned the rear of brush handles such as the Pro 1500.
The brush isn’t slippy in hand by any means. It feels solid and generally secure. But, some might not be quite so enamored with the more minimal look.
A positive consequence is the water resistant handle can be rinsed under the tap and easily cleaned off. You don’t get grime building up as it did in the contoured rubber grips.
Of plastic construction, there is a gloss finish to the handle, which is available primarily in white, black, pink and blue colors. It is primarily cosmetic, but the matte finish of most Philips Sonicare and even Oral-B’s iO Series handles do look and feel better to the touch.
For lack of a better expression, it just makes the Smart 1500 look and feel a bit ‘cheap’ in comparison. But, then again, it does cost a lot less.
You can’t repair it yourself but have an industry average 2 year warranty included
Compared to previous Oral-B models, the 1500 has a revised design. It is less proven, but the design limits wear and possible failure points. Internally the same tried and tested mechanics are used. Thus, a long usable life is expected.
By the very nature of the product they are not immune to failure, but on the whole reliability and durability is solid. I’ve not had any reason to question the build quality and the finish of the handle.
If for whatever reason you aren’t satisfied, Braun offers a 60 day money back guarantee.
2 years of manufacturer support is provided as standard, but you should be hopeful of 5+ years of service from the brush.
Sadly there is no option to complete a repair yourself at home. It hasn’t been designed to be easily repaired. Opening the brush invalidates the warranty and typically renders the brush unusable.
Dr. Gemma Wheeler has looked in detail at the environmental impact of electric toothbrushes.
They are never going to be good for the planet, but there are ways to minimise their impact.
With regards to the Smart 1500 specifically; you get the essentials in the box and not lots of unnecessary extras which reduces its shipping weight. Unfortunately, the box is a little bigger than it needs to be.
Thankfully, Oral-B now uses all cardboard packaging, whereas polystyrene was previously used.
It is not a smart brush, thus reducing component usage and e-waste at the end of its life.
This is common amongst electric toothbrushes, but it has not been designed to be easily repaired by yourself. Trying to replace parts like the battery will likely break the brush. This makes it more likely to be discarded rather than repaired if broken.
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 up the planet’s finite resources compared to using plant-based plastics.
Our guide to eco-friendly dental health offers advice on steps you can take to reduce your own impact.
Conclusion: Dentist approved, you’ll struggle to find something better for less money
It offers the most essential features of an electric brush and not lots of unwanted and unnecessary additional extras.
Of course, it cleans the teeth well and the choice of cleaning modes means it suits a variety of users.
It is a shame you can’t easily tell which mode you have selected and that it always defaults to the daily clean mode, but that is how Oral-B configures its mid-range models and it isn’t a deal breaker.
- Height (without head) – 7.68 inches/19.5cm
- Height (with head) – 9.13 inches/23.2cm
- Width – 0.98 inches/2.5cm
- Thickness – 1.14 inches/2.9cm
- Weight (without head) – 4.2oz/119g
- Weight (with head) – 4.4oz/124g
All are approximates