A budget option, but there are better alternatives
The Oral-B Vitality serves a purpose, it does what it needs to do. It is functional, fairly robust and practical.
In truth, it is hard to argue with what you get for the money. But, spend a little bit more and you get an all round better product.
Simple to use – 1 cleaning mode
No battery notification LED
A small round brush head reaches tighter spaces
No 30 second pacer
No pressure sensor
It's probably worth spending more
If I was buying a new toothbrush today, my top pick would be the 'Best Overall' choice listed in our best electric toothbrush article, the Oral-B Smart 1500.
It offers a superb clean, the essential dentist recommended features and a battery life better than the Vitality.
The 1500 does cost more though, so the Oral-B Pro 500 is worth considering if you are on a budget, but want to get a bit more value from your spend.
Design, usability, clean & general use
The Vitality is available in a few different variants/package options.
As a consequence what you get in the box varies slightly.
Aside from the brush head itself and the color of the grip on the handle, the toothbrush and its performance is the same.
It usually comes packaged in a cardbord box, with a simple box contents.
There is the brush handle, the brush head, a charging stand, and documentation.
It would be nice if there was an extra brush head in the box, but for the price, you can't really complain. You get what you need.
The brush is relatively easy to hold. It has a tapered design where it is thicker at the top of the handle and thinner towards the bottom. Oral-B’s more premium models tend to have a more uniform shape down the length of the handle, which I prefer personally.
The body of the handle is made from plastic, which is gloss white in color. There is a rubber grip that is wrapped around the majority of the brush handle, which not only makes the brush look smart and easy to hold, it reduces the very clinical look of the white plastic.
The color of the grip does depend on the variant you purchase. White (or arguably a very light grey) is the most common option, but pink and black grips do exist too.
It is a 360 degree grip with small dimples all over it that really give the fingers something to grip onto.
You might think how hard can it be to grip onto a toothbrush handle, but if you have limited dexterity or small hands, it can make a big difference.
The gloss white plastic is visible in the lower third of the brush handle and at the neck of the brush, where the brush head attaches.
In the lower third, on the front is the Braun Oral-B logo and on the back is some regulatory information.
Easily missed, but a potentially useful feature is found on the rear of the brush handle. A small raised piece of rubber extends very slightly just below the neck of the handle. This stops the toothbrush rolling if laid on a countertop.
On the base of the Vitality is a recess into which fits the charging prong on the charging stand.
The Vitality toothbrush handle is sealed, meaning it is water resistant, ideal when it will be exposed to moisture in the mouth. You can happily rinse it under the tap to give it a clean, avoid complete submersion in water though.
The charging stand will resist a few splashes but avoid getting that wet, it is not designed to be water resistant.
Inside the handle is the battery and motor that makes the brush work.
The motor inside this handle is good enough. It provides significantly more movements to the brush head than a manual toothbrush to help you achieve a greater standard of clean.
However, do be aware that the motor is a little less powerful than the more premium models you can buy from Oral-B.
Now, to be honest, unless using side by side, you probably would not tell the difference, but it is a subtle difference between the Vitality and models within Oral-B's Pro series.
The whole unit is powered on by the one and only button on the front of the brush handle. In the upper third of the brush handle, the button, complete with a power icon, needs to be pressed to turn the brush on and off.
I should mention the button has a nice resistance. Not too soft that the brush is turned on very easily, but not too stiff that it feels hard work to use it.
This button stands out, because it is a small convex circular button, inside an oval shaped panel, framed with a white plastic oval ring.
When powered on, the brush will launch into the one and only cleaning mode available on the brush.
Unlike many toothbrushes that offer multiple cleaning modes, having 1 mode makes things nice and simple.
You don't necessarily need multiple modes, so points to the Vitality for simplicity.
Of course, to make use of the brush you need to have the brush head attached.
The detachable brush heads slide on and off the metal prong on the top of the handle. This prong feeds down inside the handle to the motor.
With the brush head attached and the brush powered on, the timer built into the brush begins to start counting down.
You don’t get any clue of this until 2 minutes have passed, at which point the brush motor will pause briefly 3 times causing a change in the sound and motion. This is the timer that tells you the recommended 2 minute cleaning time has passed.
Now, more expensive brushes have something called a quadpacer (30 second timer) built-in, which in my mind is more useful as it encourages even brushing across the mouth.
Brushing for the full 2 minutes is very important, but just as important if not more so, is the right technique. Make sure you learn how to clean your teeth properly, you don’t use an electric brush in the same way you do a manual toothbrush.
Another downside here is that the Vitality only uses the 2D oscillating and rotating movement of the brush head, compared to the heavily advertised 3D movements that more premium models offer. The Vitality misses out on pulsations.
Whilst the clean is good, you can potentially achieve a better clean from a more premium model.
You get 16 cleaning sessions of 2 minutes from the battery built into the Vitality.
Unfortunately, there is no warning from the brush when the battery is low. There is no battery icon, so it's up to you to recharge it regularly if you want to avoid it going flat mid clean.
Whether you opt for the Dual Clean or FlossAction variant of the Vitality, both brush heads are designed to clean the teeth well, cleaning the tooth surface, including in between teeth and along the gumline where bacteria likes to reside.
The FlossAction head is better for getting deep between the teeth, like dental floss might, whereas the Dual Clean heads are a little less focused on this interdental cleaning.
In fact, the Dual Clean head is a slightly older style of brush head and one that is not provided or typically used on the premium brushes, the Floss Action head is.
There is a range of brush heads available from Oral-B. They include:
- 3D White
- Precision Clean
- Pro GumCare
- Deep Sweep
Any of these can be used on the Vitality brush handle if you choose.
Remember to replace your brush head at least once every 3 months or 90 days, if not sooner.
An Oral-B brush head will actually fade in color as it ages giving you another visual indicator that it is time to replace the brush head.
The waterproof handle needs little in the way of maintenance, but to prolong the life of the brush you should make sure that it is given a good wipe every so often to remove any grime and dirt build-up and it will continue running well.
If for any reason the toothbrush does stop working, there is a standard 24 month guarantee that comes with it.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
Given the price point, I nor you should expect an exceptional battery life from this brush.
Oral-B claims that the Vitality will offer 8 days of use.
That is 16 brushing sessions.
Each brushing session should last 2 minutes, so that gives a total running time of 32 minutes.
During my hands-on testing, I actually managed an extra day (2 brushing sessions), so that is 9 days on a full charge compared to the suggested 8.
If you brush for longer than 2 minutes or you share the brush handle with another user, you will get the same usage time, but you may need to recharge more frequently.
It would be nice if it lasted a little longer, many competing brushes offer at least 2 weeks, if not longer. Sadly Oral-B does lack compared to a lot of the competition.
Even their more premium models like the Smart 1500 and 3000 only offer a weeks battery life.
When it comes to battery life, Sonicare does make Oral-B look inferior, with its brushes lasting 2 if not 3 weeks or in many cases even longer than that.
Part of the reason is the battery technology. Oral-B still uses in many brushes Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. This is the case in the Vitality.
Functional they are, but many now use the better, Lithium-Ion batteries which give some of these performance improvements. It is a shame this latest variant of the Vitality did not gain a new battery. I imagine price has something to do with why it was excluded.
The other big issue here is that you get no feedback from the brush in terms of how much power is left. There is no battery or charging icon.
It is a bit of a guessing game.
It is a bit of a first world problem, but it is also very frustrating.
If you leave the brush on the charging stand all the time it is not in use, then no problem, but for some, this isn't an option.
We can probably all remember roughly when the brush was last charged, but when using the Vitality, there is a real danger it runs flat during use because you actually last charged it 7 or 8 days ago rather than the 5 days you thought it was.
A battery icon with a flashing reminder when the battery is low would be nice. This is one of the appeals for sure of the premium models Oral-B offers.
When you do need to replenish the battery, you can recharge the Vitality on the provided charging stand.
It will generally recharge in full if left overnight.
The stand is a fairly typical Oral-B charger with a 2 pin power adapter hardwired into it.
The stand itself supports voltages of 110-130, so fine for the USA and Canada, but you will need voltage and potentially plug adapters if you travel overseas to Europe for example.
Summary of battery life
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.
If it was not already clear from what I have outlined already, the Vitality is by no means an expensive brush, but it still commands a retail price of about $30.
It shouldn't be too difficult to pick this brush up for around $25, roughly a 15% discount. Most retailers do sell it somewhere between $25 and $30, but I have seen it sold for as little as $15.
Given that the average price is nearer the $30 price point, whilst I don't think the Vitality is a bad purchase, I think spending a bit more on other options would be a wise investment.
For this extra spend, you do get a slimmer handle, a slightly better clean, and a pacer built-in.
Sadly the battery life is worse, but you do too get a battery status light, which is really useful, so you know when the battery power is low.
The Vitality, like any electric toothbrush, requires replacement brush heads, on average every 3 months.
A single replacement brush head costs on average $5.
If you buy a smaller pack of heads, 2 or 3, the price may well be higher. Pick up a 5-10 pack and that $5 is easily achievable.
Assuming a price of $25 for the Vitality brush handle, plus the cost of brush heads, over a 3 year period, this brush will cost $80 or $0.07 per day to own.
This price does exclude the cost of water, toothpaste and electric to charge it and prices do change, but you get a rough idea at how much you will be paying for it over the whole 3 years.
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
Reliability & long term use
Backed by a 2 year manufacturer warranty you can be assured that the Oral-B Vitality will be covered if anything goes wrong within the first 24 months of ownership.
Typically we find that brushes will last at least 3 years, generally 5 or more, so all being well you will get more value from the brush.
Whilst the Vitality is not the best brush we have seen or handled, made by one of the leading brands, a thorough hands-on gives us no immediate causes for concern.
It is fairly solid and it is a sealed handle protecting you and the internals from water which it will, of course, be exposed to.
The weakest point tends to be the battery. After repeated charges and discharges it can fail and should it, they are not easy to replace. This is because the Vitality has an older battery technology. It still works, but more prone to failure. If it fails during the warranty period it would be replaced. Just something to be aware of.
To prolong the life of any brush giving it a rinse and a wipe down to remove grime that builds up is a must.
The Oral-B Vitality is a budget electric toothbrush.
It will bring you some clear advantages over and above a manual brush.
A consistent cleaning motion and power delivery, as well as the built-in timer, are the most notable advantages.
Whilst cheap, realistically if you are looking to invest in your oral health it is worth spending a few dollars more to pick up a brush which I believe you will enjoy using a little more.
Seriously consider the Oral-B Smart 1500, you will likely be thankful that you did.
The Vitality is ok, but nothing more.
- Toothbrush height with head - 22cm / 8.7 inches
- Toothbrush height without head - 18cm / 7.1 inches
- Width - 3.2~2.5cm / 1.3-1 inches
- Depth/thickness - 3.2~2.5cm / 1.3-1 inches
- Weight with head - 105g / 3.7oz
- Weight without head - 99g / 3.5oz
- Package weight - 249g / 8.8oz
Country of manufacture