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Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series

Sonicare Series

Which one would we choose?

Our choice: Philips Sonicare 4100 Series (view on Amazon)
2nd choice: Philips Sonicare 1100 Series (view on Amazon)

The 4100 Series has all of the features our dentists recommended.  

It provides the most thorough and satisfying clean of all the models compared here.

Although it provides the same number of brush strokes, the motor has been tuned differently for better results.

It is our main recommendation for the best Sonicare toothbrush.

As a more affordable option, the 1100 Series is our 2nd choice.  It does lack the pressure sensor, though, so don’t brush with too much force if you opt for this.

All models within the 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series have a lot of similarities, including the same handle size, weight and battery. There is, in reality, little difference between them. 

Our Choice
Philips Sonicare 4100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Pressure Sensor, White HX3681/23
Philips Sonicare 1100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White Grey HX3641/02
Philips Sonicare 2100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White Mint, HX3661/04
Brush Name
Sonicare 4100 Series
Sonicare 1100 Series
Sonicare 2100 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
4/5
4/5
Price
$49.96
$24.97
$34.97
Buy from Philips
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Our Choice
Philips Sonicare 4100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Pressure Sensor, White HX3681/23
Brush Name
Sonicare 4100 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
Price
$49.96
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Philips
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Philips Sonicare 1100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White Grey HX3641/02
Brush Name
Sonicare 1100 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
4/5
Price
$24.97
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Philips
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Philips Sonicare 2100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White Mint, HX3661/04
Brush Name
Sonicare 2100 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
4/5
Price
$34.97
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Philips
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1

Video Comparison

Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series

Key Differences

1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series are the broader product range/family names for a number of toothbrushes produced by Philips Sonicare.

Under each of these families might well be a few different models.

For example, within the 4000 Series family of brushes, there are a further 3 versions.  There is the 4100, 4300 and 4900 brushes.  And each of these is available in different colors!

The differences between the 4100, 4300 and 4900 are more subtle.  For example, a different handle color or brush head is included.

More significant differences, such as cleaning modes or the availability of a pressure sensor exist between the 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 ranges.  

It should also be noted that within each range it is the x100 (e.g the 4100) that tends to be most widely stocked and sold.

The 4100 is the most promoted model within the 4000 Series, over and above the 4300 or 4900.

Pretty confusing isn’t it?!

The following table lists the key differences between each of the 4 Series.

In all reality, the brushes are more similar than they are different.

The following table lists the key differences between each brush.

A more detailed list and explanation of the differences can be found beneath the comparison table.

1100 Series2100 Series3100 Series4100 Series
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 7Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 8Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 9Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 10
Recommended Retail Price (RRP)$24.99$34.96$44.95$49.96
Number of Cleaning Modes1111
Number of Brushing Intensities1222
2 Minute TimerYesYesYesYes
30 Second PacerYesYesYesYes
Pressure SensorNoNoYes
(not visible)
Yes
(not visible)
Brush Head Replacement ReminderNoNoYesYes
Battery Life (Days – Manufacturer claimed)14141414
Battery TypeLi-IonLi-IonLi-IonLi-Ion
Brush Head Included1 x SimplyClean1 x SimplyClean1 x C1 ProResults1 x C2 Optimal Plaque Control
Travel CaseNoNoNoNo
BluetoothNoNoNoNo
Handle Color(s)White GrayWhite MintWhite
Black
Deep Pink
White
Black
Sugar Rose
Deep Pink
Azure Blue
Dark Forest
Other Key InformationUSB charging stand. USB charging stand. USB charging stand.Motor tuned to provide higher amplitude.
USB charging stand.
Review1100 Series review2100 Series review3100 Series review
4100 Series review

1100 vs 2100 Series

  • The 2100 has 2 brushing intensities compared to the 1 intensity/mode of the 1100.
  • The 1100 comes in white gray color compared to the white mint of the 2100.
  • The 1100 has a retail price of $24.99 compared to the $34.96 of the 2100.

1100 vs 3100 Series

  • The 3100 has 2 brushing intensities compared to the 1 intensity/mode of the 1100.
  • The 3100 has a pressure sensor.
  • The 3100 has a brush head replacement reminder system (part of BrushSync technology).
  • The 3100 comes with 1 x C1 ProResults brush head compared to the 1 x SimplyClean of the 1100.
  • The 3100 is available in 3 color options, white, black and deep pink compared to the 1, white gray color option of the 1100.
  • The 1100 has a retail price of $24.99 compared to the $44.95 of the 3100.
Sonicare 1100 and 3100

1100 vs 4100 Series

Philips Sonicare 1100 Series vs 4100 Series [USA/CA]
  • The 4100 has 2 brushing intensities compared to the 1 intensity/mode of the 1100.
  • The amplitude of 4100’s motor has been tuned to provide a more intense cleaning action, despite the same number of brush strokes.
  • The 4100 has a pressure sensor.
  • The 4100  has a brush head replacement reminder system (part of BrushSync technology).
  • The 4100 comes with 1 x C2 Optimal Plaque Control brush head compared to the 1 x SimplyClean of the 1100.
  • The 4100 is available in 6 color options, white, black, sugar rose, deep pink, azure blue and dark forest compared to the 1, white gray color option of the 1100.
  • The 1100 has a retail price of $24.99 compared to the $49.96 of the 4100.

2100 vs 3100 Series

  • The 3100 has a pressure sensor.
  • The 3100  has a brush head replacement reminder system (part of BrushSync technology).
  • The 3100 comes with 1 x C1 ProResults brush head compared to the 1 x SimplyClean of the 2100.
  • The 3100 is available in 3 color options, white, black and deep pink compared to the 1, white mint color option of the 2100.
  • The 2100 has a retail price of $34.96 compared to the $44.95 of the 3100.

2100 vs 4100 Series

  • The amplitude of 4100’s motor has been tuned to provide a more intense cleaning action, despite the same number of brush strokes.
  • The 4100 has a pressure sensor.
  • The 4100 has a brush head replacement reminder system (part of BrushSync technology).
  • The 4100 comes with 1 x C2 Optimal Plaque Control brush head compared to the 1 x SimplyClean of the 2100.
  • The 4100 is available in 6 color options, white, black, sugar rose, deep pink, azure blue and dark forest, compared to the 1, white mint color option of the 2100.
  • The 2100 has a retail price of $34.96 compared to the $49.96 of the 4100.
Philips 2100 vs 4100 Series

3100 vs 4100 Series

Philips Sonicare 3100 Series vs 4100 Series [USA/CA]
  • The amplitude of 4100’s motor has been tuned to provide a more intense cleaning action, despite the same number of brush strokes.
  • The 4100 comes with 1 x C2 Optimal Plaque Control brush head compared to the 1 x C1 ProResults of the 3100.
  • The 4100 is available in 6 color options, white, black, sugar rose, deep pink, azure blue and dark forest, compared to the 3 color options, white, black and deep pink of the 3100.
  • The 3100 has a retail price of $44.95 compared to the $49.96 of the 4100.

These differences are explained at length later in this article. However, you might wish to learn more about each brush being compared. To do so, check out our hands-on reviews:

Please note. Every effort is made to ensure the key differences listed are correct, but these differences are subject to change without notice. Products and the box contents can be changed without notice and different variants can exist.

Detailed comparison: what’s the difference between the 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series Sonicare toothbrushes?

As the table and bullet point lists above have shown, the real differences between each of these models are fairly limited.

Each brush is most certainly more similar than it is different.

Here is a list of ways in which they are similar:

  • Built-in 2 minute timer
  • Built-in 30 second pacer
  • Battery charge notification LED
  • USB charging stand
  • Handle size
  • Handle weight
  • Handle materials
  • Clicky power button
  • Push on, pull off brush heads
  • Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery sealed inside
  • Water resistant brush handle
  • 2 minute timer

The differences between each model relate more to everyday use and helping you to get the best from your oral care routine.

Sonicare 1100, 2100, 3100 & 4100

The 4100 Series does provide the best overall cleaning experience, as I explain in the section below.  Its brush motor has been tuned for a more satisfying clean.

Although all 4 models have 1 cleaning mode, known as clean, the  2100, 3100 and 4100 do offer different brushing intensities though.

You have the choice of 2 settings, high and low.

As the names imply, low is a more gentle and less vigorous brushing sensation.  This option is ideally suited for new electric brush users or those with sensitivity in the teeth or gums.

The higher of the 2 intensities will theoretically provide the best cleaning results.

You need to press the power button multiple times to switch between the modes.  The handle will remember the last intensity used and default to this next time.

Due to the tuning of the 4100’s motor, its high intensity setting is more powerful than that of the 1-3000 Series.

I don’t have the data to specify exactly, but, in my opinion, the low setting of the 4100 feels more like the high setting on the 1100, 2100 and 3100.

Philips 1100 toothbrush with retail box

The 3100 and 4100 have the pressure sensor that the other models lack.

A pressure sensor alerts you when you apply too much force to the teeth and gums as you brush.  It is a feature that our dentists prefer to be present in an electric brush.

When the sensor detects too much force, the handle vibrates with a pattern quite different from the normal vibration in the handle.  It is difficult to ignore this.

At the same time, the brush head replacement light will flash, although this is nigh on impossible to actually see.

You will likely notice a change in the sound of the brush too.

Once any pressure is relieved, the vibration will stop.

The sensor is running all the time and will activate every time you apply too much force, unless it is disabled.

Another feature of both the 3100 and 4100 is the brush head replacement reminder light.

Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 11

This is 1 part of BrushSync technology.

The handle reads and tracks an RFID chip built into a compatible brush head.  Once the recommended usage time for that head has been exceeded, the reminder light will flash.

The light is a way of signalling to you and me as a user that it is time to replace the bristles.  Failing to do so can compromise the cleaning results and our teeth and gums.

When a new head is fitted, the reminder light is essentially reset.

The heads supplied do differ.  

Whilst technically these have been designed with slightly different goals in mind, they all do a good job of cleaning the teeth and removing plaque.

The greatest difference exists with the C2 Optimal Plaque Control head.  It doesn’t have the W profile like the SimplyClean/ProResults.  The clusters of bristles are configured differently.

I can’t really say 1 is much better or worse than the other, just slightly different.

Sonicare 1100 held in hand

The only other way in which the brushes really differ is the color of the handle and accessories.

The default color for these is white.

Some white handles have a colored power button that gives an accent to the handle.  Others have colored handles with white brush heads.

It is only the black colored handles that tend to come provided with a color matched charging stand.  The brush head still tends to be white though.

Does one clean better than the other?

The short answer is no.

Use any of these brushes twice a day, for 2 minutes each time, along with the correct brushing technique and you are going to get very good cleaning results.

However, there is a difference between the configuration of the brush motor in the 4100 Series.

Sonicare claims that the 4100 Series removes 5 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush, whereas the likes of the 1100 removes only 3 times more plaque.

Let me explain why.

Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 12

The 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series all have brush motors that offer 31,000 brush strokes per minute.

But, the 4000 Series motor has been tuned so that the ‘amplitude’ (the distance covered or the sweep angle of the bristles) is higher.

In daily use, this means the brush feels more powerful and the cleaning more thorough.

You might not desire more power and a deeper cleaning, but based on Sonicares data this does make somewhat of a meaningful difference to your oral health.

Plaque is the very reason we brush our teeth, so the more of it we can disrupt and remove the better.

Our hands-on testing is not scientific and we don’t verify the claims Sonicare makes. But, we can speak firsthand when we say the difference is noticeable, particularly when used side by side.

Of course, few will ever use side by side. And in reality, the cleaning offered by the 1000, 2000 and 3000 Series is more than sufficient. 

If you have not used a power toothbrush before, the brushing sensation and experience you get will still feel more powerful than a manual toothbrush.

Existing electric brush users, notably Sonicare users might well be able to feel the difference in the brushing sensation, if you pick the 1100, 2100 or 3100

Do also be aware that many existing Sonicare toothbrushes actually offer up to 62,000 movements.  None of these models do.  

Movements are only 1 part of the equation in achieving clean teeth.  And due to the way the 4100 Series has been tuned, it is very difficult to notice the difference, even though it does exist.

Of the models compared here, the 4000 Series can potentially provide the best cleaning results.

Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 13

But complicating things further are the different brush heads and brushing intensities on offer across the range of models.

How much difference this makes is up for debate and there is a lack of reliable evidence.  For most, it is not worth worrying about.  More important is to brush regularly, for the right time and with the correct technique.

Is one better priced than the other?

Yes, but the price difference isn’t as great as you might expect.

The retail prices are as follows:

  • 1100 – $24.99
  • 2100 -$34.96
  • 3100 – $49.95
  • 4100 – $49.96

As you can see, the 1100 is the most affordable.  This isn’t too surprising given it has the least features.

Whilst the 4100 is best, it is only $25 more.

Admittedly that is twice the price of the 1100 Series, but given Sonicares most expensive model is $400, that isn’t much of a price difference.

Philips Sonicare 1, 2, 3 & 4000 Series

Within the power toothbrush market, it is quite common for the actual selling price to be a bit less than retail.

It does vary from one seller to another and prices change at different times of the year.  But, it is quite a discount of around 20% is often achievable.

The only exception to this is the 1100 because it is so competitively priced already. You may save a 1 or 2 dollars, but not much

The discounted sales prices look as follows

  • 1100 – $24.99
  • 2100 -$30
  • 3100 – $35-40
  • 4100 – $40

Taking this into consideration the 4100 is now only $15 more expensive than the 1100, which really isn’t that great when you consider the extras you are getting.

Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 14

As you might have expected by now, there are added complications.

The 1000 can make use of Sonicares standard brush heads that do not have the RFID chip required for the BrushSync technology to work.  These heads typically cost $8 per head.

The 2000, 3000 and 4000 can though use the BrushSync enabled head which often command a premium of $2 per head, so $10 in total.

Each can use the standard head, but you in turn lose the benefits of the brush head replacement reminder.

To give a benchmark, over 3 years of ownership (based on 1 user) the costs are as follows:

  • 1100 – $113
  • 2100 -$118
  • 3100 – $150
  • 4100 – $150

Therefore if you are on a budget, the 1100 proves itself to be best value.  Over 3 years, however, the premium for the 4100 isn’t that significant.

Try not to let price be the primary factor in your decision.  It could be worth waiting a little while longer to save the money, if you feel a more expensive brush will suit you better.  

But, as I have stated before, any of these brushes can clean the teeth well.

Conclusion

All things considered, any of these brushes can clean the teeth better than a manual toothbrush.

But, when selecting between these 4 different series, it is the 4000/4100 Series that is my top choice.

It has the essential features that our in-house dentists recommend.

It gives the most satisfying cleaning results, even if the actual cleaning differences between each are hard to determine.

It is a good all round brush that blends performance with functionality and price.

For those with a tighter budget, the 1100 Series is a great 2nd choice and will still provide benefits to your oral health.

Our Choice
Philips Sonicare 4100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Pressure Sensor, White HX3681/23
Philips Sonicare 1100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White Grey HX3641/02
Philips Sonicare 2100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White Mint, HX3661/04
Brush Name
Sonicare 4100 Series
Sonicare 1100 Series
Sonicare 2100 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
4/5
4/5
Price
$49.96
$24.97
$34.97
Buy from Philips
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Our Choice
Philips Sonicare 4100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Pressure Sensor, White HX3681/23
Brush Name
Sonicare 4100 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
Price
$49.96
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Philips
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Philips Sonicare 1100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White Grey HX3641/02
Brush Name
Sonicare 1100 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
4/5
Price
$24.97
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Philips
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1
Philips Sonicare 2100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, White Mint, HX3661/04
Brush Name
Sonicare 2100 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
4/5
Price
$34.97
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Philips
Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series 1

Your Opinions

Do you own or have you used any of these brushes?

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.

About Jon Love

Jon is a leading voice on electric toothbrushes and has been quoted by mainstream media publications for his opinions and expertise.

Having handled & tested hundreds of products there really is very little he does not know about them.

Passionate about business and helping others, Jon has been involved in various online enterprises since the early 2000s.

After spending 12 years in consumer technology, it was in 2014 that he focused his attention on dental health, having experienced first-hand the challenge of choosing a new toothbrush.

Read More

Leave a comment or question

7 thoughts on “Philips Sonicare 1000 vs 2000 vs 3000 vs 4000 Series”

  1. I’m curious about the motor being different in only the 4000 series.
    Is this being based on the advertised 3x vs 5x plaque removal?
    On packaging and website, I see the:
    1100 3x plaque removal (not on packaging)
    2100 3x (not on packaging)
    3100 3x
    4100 5x (C2 brush)
    4300 7x (C2 brush)
    Does this also suggest the 4300 is a third different motor variation?
    Or since the brushes and their cleaning is advertised differently, might that play a role in the overall number also?
    Or is this primarily marketing (the 3x, 5x, 7x correlates to progressively priced product) ?

    Reply
    • Hi.
      As far as I am aware the 3x, 5x, 7x plaque removal is related more to studies about the brush heads, but the brush handles will/do have some bearing.
      I don’t have links to each of these studies where the scores have been taken from.
      That said, it is odd how the claims for the 4100 and 4300 are different. It is my understanding that the motor is the same.
      Some of it may well be clever marketing.
      Based on what I know the motors in the 4100 & 4300 are better, but all will clean the teeth comparably, if used correctly.

      Reply
  2. Truly excellent review Jon. Just the right amount of technical data mixed with easily comprehensible straight facts (like, “Does one clean better than another? The short answer is no.”)
    As a teacher of technical subjects to both experts and new users for 40 years, I congratulate you on this, and other reviews and the style, both verbal and written, used to convey your content.

    Reply
    • Thank you Chris. This feedback is lovely and I am so pleased you found the approach used to be just right. Which brush are you opting for?

      Reply
      • Jon,
        I purchased the Philips Sonicare 4100 based on your excellent review especially the difference between the 1100 and the 4100.
        Thanks again,
        Craig Mesenbring
        Minnesota, USA

        Reply
        • Thanks Craig for letting me know.

          Please, do let me know what you think once you have used it for a while. Feedback, good or bad, I love to hear about it, it helps me and others.

          All being well you agree with my thoughts, even if you haven’t gone hands on with the other models.

          Reply
          • Jon,
            I received my Sonicare 4100 and it works great.
            I bought it to replace my previous Sonicare FlexCare+ 900+ series (HX6950) which included the UV sanitizer.
            My old Sonicare shaft vibrated just fine but sometimes the vibration did not transfer to the brush unless I pressed on the brush in a certain way. Most YouTube fixit videos for the Sonicare had to do with the shaft being loose. Mine was not. I couldn’t figure out the problem so I just bought the newer 4100.
            Thanks again for your help in making my decision about this purchase.

            Reply
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