Which one would we choose?
There are a few subtle differences between these 2 electric toothbrushes that make the 2 Series from Sonicare the better all-round buy in my opinion.
The cheaper initial purchase price of the Essence is outweighed by the typically higher purchase price of the replacement brush heads.
- The Sonicare 2 Series is the better looking brush whilst being slimmer and lighter in hand.
- There are 6 different color options available with the Series 2 (Sky Blue, Black, Ultra Coral, White on Guacamole, White on Coral and White on Steel Blue) compared to the 2 of the Essence (Blue and Pink).
- The 2 Series comes with 1 x Pro Results Plaque Control brush head, whilst the Essence comes with e-series standard brush head.
- The 2 Series comes with a built-in 30 second pacer.
- They have different charging stands.
- The Essence is the cheaper of the 2 brushes.
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 Philips Sonicare 2 Series and the Essence?
The number of differences between these 2 electric toothbrushes are fairly low and might not be that significant on the face of it.
However, I do believe that the slightly pricier 2 Series is the better buy for you and your oral health.
Beginning with the design, the 2 brushes are quite a bit different in their size and weight.
Here are how the 2 stack up.
- Height (with head) – 24.5cm
- Width – 3.5cm
- Thickness – 3.3cm
- Weight (with head) – 205g
- Height (with head) – 25cm
- Width – 3.3cm
- Thickness – 3.3cm
- Weight (with head) – 140g
The width and thickness difference might not be all that great but the weight is.
Compared to many electric toothbrushes, the Essence is heavy and noticeably so if you compare the 2 side by side.
Lighter in hand the 2 Series feels like you have more control over the handle and the head.
Of course, the Essence is usable, but from an everyday use case scenario, the 2 Series feels the better brush to use.
The Essence is much more chunky, it feels like it could sustain a hard life!
It looks a little dated too.
It is fairly easy to grip onto with a large handle and the squared off sections to the handle give angular edges which make for easier grip, even if the handle is all smooth plastic to the touch.
Primarily White in color, the Essence comes in 2 color options, Blue and Pink.
The Blue are strips of color on the angled edges of the brush handle.
With the Pink color option, the angled edges are Pink in color, but there is too what I can only describe as a ‘bubble’ pattern printed onto the White color portion of the lower half of the brush handle.
The 2 Series comes in more color options, 6 to be precise.
Those options are Sky Blue, Black, Ultra Coral, White on Guacamole, White on Coral and White on Steel Blue.
Such choice allows you to pick a brush that you prefer.
All 6 color variants of the 2 Series come with 1 x Pro Results Plaque Control brush head in the box.
There is a variant of the 2 Series, model number HX6218/10 that I have not mentioned up until now. This comes with 1 x Tongue brush included too. The availability of this model is not so great and there is limited extra value.
The 2 Series brush head is one of the most popular within the range of brush heads available.
Sonicare offer different styles of heads that have different bristle configurations to help achieve different oral healthcare goals.
The plaque control head overs a good overall clean.
The heads just pull off and slide onto the top of the brush handle.
Those that come on the Essence are a bit different.
Rather than pulling on and off, the E-Series brush heads as they are known screw on and off the brush handle.
An older style of brush head, the Essence is the only brush handle within the range to use these now.
Whilst you can get different versions, be that compact, standard and sensitive, the availability is not as great as the new styles of the other brush handles have become more popular.
You can get them, but it is something to consider between these 2 models.
The design does mean that the brush head has more of an angle from the brush handle and this helps reach the back teeth when brushing.
Performance of these heads are good, but you just do not have the same level of choice.
Built into the brush handle is a timer on both models.
What this does, is begins counting down 2 minutes, from the time the brush is powered on.
2 minutes (120 seconds) is the recommended cleaning time.
At the end of 2 minutes, both brushes turn off automatically, because the built in timer knows the brush has been used for the correct amount of time.
However, a feature the 2 Series has that the Essence does not, is what as referred to as a pacer, 30 second timer or quadpacer.
One of the approaches for cleaning the teeth is to break the mouth up into 4 sections.
That 120 second (2 minute) cleaning time, split into 4 equals 30 seconds.
The idea is you spend 30 seconds cleaning your top right teeth, then 30 on your top left, 30 on the bottom right and 30 on the bottom left.
The pacer/timer create a brief pause in the brush head motion that alerts you that 30 seconds has passed.
This allows you to in theory give equal time to the different areas of the mouth.
It can be easy to think you have brushed one section for longer than you have, but the pacer helps with this even cleaning and is particularly useful in improving your routine.
For those who know they don’t brush for the right amount of time or brush evenly, then this can really help.
The final key difference in how these 2 brushes differ is the charging stand.
On the base of the 2 Series is a recess into which a charging pin fits into. This charging pin is found on top of the supplied charging stand. When the brush sits upright on the stand, the pin on the stand fits into the base of the brush and transfers the charge.
The Essence, however, has a flat base to the handle.
It’s charging stand has a frame that holds the brush upright within it, but the base of the handle sits flat on top of a flat plate within the stand.
The charge is delivered in the same way as the 2 Series, via wireless inductive charging, but the Essence does not have the recess.
Both charging stands have a cable of approximately 40 inches that has a 2 pin US plug adapter.
However, the charging stand of the Essence supports only 110-130v compared to the 110-240v of the 2 Series. This means when traveling the 2 Series charger needs only a plug adapter, whereas the Essence needs a plug and voltage adapter potentially.
As a result of these differences, the 2 Series is more expensive than the Essence and is worth the spend in my opinion.
I explain in a bit more detail the cost of these brushes, in the section ‘is one priced better than the other’.
With the differences covered, it is probably worthwhile to reconfirm some of the features that both brushes have.
Full detailed written reviews and videos are available for both of these models, see the links at the end of the article.
So, what features do these 2 brushes share?
- Built-in user rechargeable NiMH battery that lasts 14 days between charges.
- A motor that delivers 31,000 movements per minute.
- One cleaning mode
- A 2 minute timer
- EasyStart – Increases the power of the brush over a 2 week period
- Automatic power off – Turns the brush off after 2 minutes
- Water resistance
- 2 year warranty
- Charging stand in box
Does one clean better than the other?
My hands-on testing has not been carried out in any way that could be considered scientific of clinically accurate, so I have no evidence to suggest that one cleans better than the other.
My teeth and gums felt clean after brushing with both and I had no concerns.
The lighter 2 Series made moving the brush about the mouth a little easier in my opinion.
The built-in pacer could also help you brush more evenly, because you have the warning.
However, assuming that you used both toothbrushes in the same way there are no reasons that I am aware of that one should offer up better results than the other.
It could be argued that the greater variety in brush head choice could play a part, but in reality, for most people, adopting the right brushing technique and brushing for the right amount of time will achieve the best cleaning results over the type of brush head used.
Is one better priced than the other?
Yes, the Essence is the cheaper model, to buy at least.
It has a recommended retail price of $25 compared to the $70 of the 2 Series.
Prices are always subject to change, but as a general rule the selling price of the Essence varies much more, with prices between $20-35, whilst the 2 Series is available for around $40 price point.
Bigger discounts are then available on the 2 Series which for many is good, because as the technically better brush, it helps make it more affordable.
It might be $15+ more expensive, but you need to think about the lifetime ownership to make a more accurate calculation.
Factoring in replacement brush heads, over a 3 year period, the 2 Series works out to be the same price as the Essence.
Despite having a lower purchase price, the replacement brush head cost tends to be nearer $10 per head.
With the 2 Series, brush heads can be found a little cheaper at around $8 each.
So although you need to pay more in the outset, with a little bit of investment, over time the better brush is no more expensive, which I see to be a big win.
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.
If you really want an electric toothbrush and are on a budget, the Essence will initially be the cheaper of the 2 brushes to buy.
However, it’s not the best nor the cheapest long term.
The extra features the 2 Series offers will help make you better at looking after your teeth and gums.
Whilst it requires an extra bit of upfront spending, over the life of the brush, the lower cost of replacement heads makes the 2 Series as cheap as the Essence and you get the benefits as a result.
Do yourself and your teeth a favor, invest in the 2 Series from Sonicare.
Ultimately, whatever brush you decide upon, it is you who needs to make the decision; but do so based on which is best for your needs or that of the end user.
Only pay the price you are happy with and do not be led into buying something if it is not right.
Hopefully, I have presented the facts and made the whole decision process that little bit easier.
If you found this useful, have any questions, thoughts or opinions, please leave them in the comments below.