Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 1

Our Verdict

Great, excellent, superb, spot on and terrific are all words I can use to describe this toothbrush.  It has the basic electric toothbrush needs covered and then some.

Clean teeth and a fresh healthy mouth are a guaranteed result of regular use of this brush.

All positive, but the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 is a better buy in today’s market in most instances.

Pros

  • 1 cleaning mode
  • Built-in timer
  • Travel case included

Cons

  • No pressure sensor to alert you when brushing to hard
  • Better value options exist (see other choices)
Preview Product Rating Price
Philips Sonicare 3 Series Philips Sonicare 3 Series 1,139 Reviews $129.98

The 3 BIG questions about the Philips Sonicare 3 Series electric toothbrush

If you are short of time, the answers to the following 3 questions should let you know all you need to about the Sonicare 3 Series.  If I have missed something, let me know in the comments.

If you want more detail, you can read my full Sonicare 3 Series review further down the page or watch my video review.

1. Is there anything drastically wrong with this toothbrush?

Sonicare know how to make a great electric toothbrush and the 3 Series is a great example of what is possible.

Newer models represent better value.

2. Which other brushes should I consider?

The 3 Series is a great brush, when picked up at the right price.

More often than not, the newer Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 is cheaper.

Whilst it lacks a travel case, it makes up for it with innovative features such as brush head replacement reminder technology and a built-in pressure sensor.

Another alternative, with a small round brush head rather than the larger Sonicare head is the Oral-B Pro 1000.  It is fairly light on features and battery life is inferior, but it cleans well.

We’d also recommend considering our recommendation for best overall electric toothbrush.

Our Choice
Philips Sonicare HX6810/50 ProtectiveClean 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, Black
Oral-B 1000 CrossAction Electric Toothbrush, Black, Powered by Braun
Philips Sonicare 3 Series Gum Health Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush, HX6610-01
Brush Name
Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
Oral-B Pro 1000
Sonicare 3 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
5/5
4/5
Price
$36.75
$69.00
$129.98
Prime
-
-
Our Choice
Philips Sonicare HX6810/50 ProtectiveClean 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, Black
Brush Name
Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
Price
$36.75
Prime
Oral-B 1000 CrossAction Electric Toothbrush, Black, Powered by Braun
Brush Name
Oral-B Pro 1000
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
Price
$69.00
Prime
-
Philips Sonicare 3 Series Gum Health Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush, HX6610-01
Brush Name
Sonicare 3 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
4/5
Price
$129.98
Prime
-

3. Where is the best place to buy the Sonicare 3 Series?

CVS Pharmacy, Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, Philips Online store and many more, you can pick this brush up from many leading retailers who stock oral healthcare products.

Our recommendation is to buy from Amazon as more often than not their price is the best out there and their service is excellent too.

However, buy from a store you are happy shopping with and pay a price you are comfortable with.

Why should you listen to us?

Electric Teeth is an independent organization with a mission to simplify dental health.

Our team is a mixture of consumers and dental professionals.

We strive to create honest, informative content, telling you the facts, good or bad.

We are not sponsored by big brands or healthcare companies. Our site is funded by affiliate revenue and ads, but we only recommend products that we have tested and truly believe to be worth your money.

Why not watch this short video to find out all about us?

Video Review

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Electric Toothbrush Review - USA

And now for a bit more detail….

The Series 3 electric toothbrush from Sonicare builds on the 1 and 2 Series that come before it, addresses some potential shortcomings whilst adding some extra value to the package.

A great brush it is, more than capable of meeting the expectations most of us have of an electric toothbrush, but it starts to verge into a dangerous territory of more premium brushes that offer more and in turn have a higher ticket price.

What’s in the box

  • Philips Sonicare 2 Series electric toothbrush HX6631/02
  • Charging station
  • ProResults gum health brush head
  • Travel case
  • Documentation
Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 2

Key Features

  • Removes up to six times more plaque than a manual toothbrush
  • Sonic technology cleans with up to 31,000 brush strokes per minute
  • 3 intensity settings
  • Easy-start eases you into the Sonicare experience
  • Smartimer and quadpacer
  • Up to three weeks of power from one charge
  • Two-year warranty

Pros & Cons

What are the benefits and drawbacks of the HX6631 Gum Health toothbrush?

The Positives

  • Clean – It offers up a really good clean that can deliver up to 6x more effective plaque removal and this is made more enjoyable with the adjustable pressure settings.
  • Battery life – With up to 3 weeks battery life it sets the bar high and exceeds almost all other brushes available today.
  • Timer – Built in quadpacer and 2 minute timer.
  • Features – Automatic power off and the easy-start program are premium features.
  • Travel case – Protect the brush heads and handle when on the move.

The Negatives

  • Pressure sensor – No pressure sensor to alert you when brushing too hard.
  • Price – Commands a higher price for the features, but has stiff competition

Design, usability, clean & general use

Unconventional the design of the Series 3 is not.

It has a very typical, clinical look to it.  A cylindrical shaped brush handle with detachable brush head.

Sadly you do not get the nice variety of color options that are available with the 2 Series.

It is far from a big issue, the White and Persian Green color combination here is not exactly offensive, but it is not the most appealing for the design and fashion conscious.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 3

The prominent color is White as you might expect, with the Green being the color of an inset within the front of the brush.  Located pretty much halfway down the front of the brush handle, inside this is the power button which is more of a Mint Green and then 3 LED’s that relate to the brushing intensity.

Above the panel is the Philips Sonicare logo in a grey text and below it, the battery indicator bar.  The indicator lights up different colors based on the condition.  More about this and the 3 week battery life, in the battery section of this review.

The smooth touch White plastic offers a certain level of grip, but the back of the handle does have a series of raised dots to which the fingers naturally fall, offering a good resistance to allow the brush to be gripped, even when wet.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 4

Oral-B’s brushes might sacrifice the battery, but the likes of the Pro 3000 are a bit slimmer in hands and the rubber grip in my mind is nice to the touch.

On the bottom of the brush handle is a Grey base plate which accents the White body slightly.

In the center is a small recess into which the charging prong found on the charging stand fits.

The brush will stand upright when not on the stand.

At the top of the brush handle is the metal shaft that is connected to the motor inside the brush handle.  It is to this that the interchangeable brush heads clip onto.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 5

Provided in the box is the ProResults Gum Health brush head.

One of a range of different brush head styles on offer from Sonicare, you can pick these up in varying pack sizes as well as choosing between standard or compact sized heads.

Compact heads can be particularly useful for Children or reaching the very back of the mouth if you are restricted for space.

All the heads offer different benefits, but all provide a better clean normally than a manual brush.

Studies have found you can remove up to 6x more plaque at the gumline than a manual brush, which is a significant improvement.

You should replace the brush head every 3 months, for the sake of your teeth and oral health.  If you notice that the bristles have frayed or split then you should do it sooner.

It is easy to forget when you changed the brush head last, so to help, the heads themselves have something called indicator bristles.  Blue in color over approximately 3 months the bristles fade to a pale Blue almost White color.  Take a look at these and if they are pale it is likely time to replace that head.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 6

With the brush head fitted, press the single power button to turn the brush on.  The button itself has a resistance and its not easily activated, but its not too stiff that the young or old will struggle to use it.

The brush begins in the one and only mode available,  ‘Clean’.

As soon as the brush is powered on the handle begins timing the clean.

You know you should brush for 2 minutes, so the handle keeps track of this and will at the end of the 2 minutes automatically turns the brush off for your convenience and to signal the time is up.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 7

As part of this timer though there is a much desired quadpacer, something that is missing on the cheaper Sonicare Essence.

The quadpacer kicks in at 30 second intervals.  A slight pause in the motor causes the bristles to stop moving and the sound of the brush to change.  This is an alert to move the brush from one quadrant to another.

There are 4 quadrants to the mouth, top right, top left, bottom right and bottom left.  The idea is you spend 30 seconds cleaning each quadrant to give a roughly equal clean around the mouth over a 2 minute time period.

I believe this is massively underrated and can really help you improve how good you are at cleaning your teeth.

The automatic power off is a nice touch and helps conserve battery life, to ensure it can achieve the 2 weeks usage time.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 8

An extra touch on the 3 Series compared to the 2 Series is the addition of intensities.

You can choose from Low, Medium or High.

As you might expect the higher the intensity the more movements per minute the brush head makes.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 9

The Sonicare 3 Series delivery up to 31,000 movements per minute at full power.

If you have sensitive or sore teeth and gums you might find reducing the intensity will be more enjoyable to you.  It is not essential to use it on full power because the brush will still help you clean more effectively.  However, you should if you can to operate on full power.

The beauty here is that you have the choice.

Within the Green panel on the front of the brush are 3 LED’s, 1 for each intensity.

Power the brush on and then press the button again to change the intensity.  The LED’s will change accordingly.  Keep pressing to change the intensity to that you desire.  Press and hold to turn the brush off.

The different intensity settings in some respects is like having a different cleaning mode.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 10

Some Oral-B models for example offer a gum health or sensitive mode.  These are modes that are less powerful than the standard daily clean mode.  A similar effect is achieved here.

So, taking the Pro 3000 for example, you could argue that 3 Series offers equivalent, albeit the different intensities are not advertised as cleaning modes.

If you were not already impressed by this feature another innovative touch is Sonicare Easy-start mode.  As electric toothbrushes are more powerful than manual brushes they can take some getting used to.  Sonicare helps with that.

Essentially, for the first 14 cleans, the speed of the brush motor gradually increases until it reaches full power.  This means that in the first few uses where you are not used to the power, you are actually enjoying less movements per minute to ease you in.

It is a small touch but it can make all the difference

The clean offered by the brush is very good, you will notice the difference and I suspect your dentist will too.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 11

One thing that is missing from the brush for me is a pressure sensor.  Now to be honest I am being a it picky here, but a common issue is people brushing too hard.  Brushing too hard wears away at the soft gum tissue and in time leads to gum recession.

A pressure sensor is tool that can help alert you if you are brushing too hard and help avoid this happening. Sadly the Sonicare 3 Series does not have this.

The handle itself is water-resistant and can withstand toothpaste, saliva etc.  It can be rinsed under the tap, get wet in the shower but do avoid submerging the handle.

It is also quieter than Oral-B equivalents.  They tend to have a more mechanical sound when running, whilst the 3 Series produces a strong humming sound and vibration in hand.  What I like about the Sonicare is that it the better brand to use if you often have to clean your teeth when others are asleep in your home.

In hand, the brush feels solid and is testament to the quality you would expect of a Sonicare brush.  Peace of mind is achieved via a 2 year warranty that can be extended by a further 6 months at no extra cost if you desire, by registering it online.

A last and final extra to talk about here is the included travel case.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 12

White in color it is a solid plastic shell that has a clip that keeps it closed.

Inside is a space for the brush handle and up to 2 brush heads.

It is fairly robust and will certainly protect the handle and heads when traveling.  It is of a better quality than most of the competition at this price.

Practical, it will stop any embarrassing activations of the brush when in the bag and it has vents to allow the heads to dry and breath.  You cannot charge the brush in the case like you can with the Sonicare DiamondClean family.

Summary of design, usability, clean & general use

  • Typical design and look to the handle
  • 1 color option
  • 1 cleaning mode
  • 3 different intensity settings identified by individual LEDs
  • 2 minute timer and quadpacer
  • Automatic power off
  • Interchangeable brush heads
  • Cleans well
  • EasyStart feature great for first time electric toothbrush users
  • No pressure sensor
  • Water resistant handle
  • Travel case included to protect the handle and 2 heads
  • 3 week battery life
  • 2 year warranty with 6 month extension if registered online

Battery life

For many of us, the type of battery within the brush handle does not matter all that much as long as it does the job to the standard we expect.

For years, few really questioned it, because manufacturers did not use the technology as a selling point.

However, more recently there has been more focus on promoting the use of Lithium-Ion batteries within models.

Li-ion is the newer and better alternative to Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries that have and still are used in many brushes.

Technically Li-ion are more reliable and do not degrade as quickly.

As a result, the Essence and 2 Series that come before this 3 Series model are at somewhat of a disadvantage.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 13

This 3 Series has the sought after lithium battery and the resulting battery life is an impressive 3 weeks or more..

Particularly good this is, because the brush handle is no bigger than the model before it.

Having a lithium battery is a bonus, but it should not really be the deciding factor.

My personal view is that a battery within a brush should last at least a week, preferably 2 or more.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 14

The 3 Series here wins points for lasting so long.

My own hands-on testing, with the intensity set to high, a fully charged brush managed to achieve 108 minutes of usage time.  That equates to 27 days based on 1 user cleaning their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes.

That is a further 6 days over and above the suggested battery life.  So it is safe to say 3 weeks is achievable.

I am convinced that the automatic power off feature helps conserve the battery life as power is not wasted post clean.

When the brush does require charging, you can connect the charging stand, that is provided in the box to the socket and leave it to be recharged.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 15

It can take up to 48 hours to charge the brush handle fully, but you can use it sooner.

The handle sits upright on the charging stand, with the prong on the top, fitting nicely into the recess on the base of the brush handle.

The charging stand itself is white in color has a 2 pin US plug but works on voltages of 110-220v.

The battery indicator on the brush handle lights up different colors to give different feedback on the condition/status of the battery.

Flash green the battery indicator will whilst it is on charge.

When not on the charger if there is a yellow battery level indicator on the brush handle, this means there is a low charge.  A green light indicates a high charge.

The battery indicator turns off when the battery is between a high and low charge.

When you hear 3 beeps and the battery indicator flashes yellow, this means the battery level is at 10% and should be recharged.  2 sets of 5 beeps will mean the power is too low and needs to be charged before it can be used.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 16

Summary of battery life

  • Uses a Lithium-Ion battery
  • 108  minutes of usage time or 27 days usage based on 2 cleans a day
  • Takes up to 48 hours to charge fully
  • A charger included in the box
  • Works on 110-220 volts
  • Green battery indicator indicates high charge
  • Yellow battery indicator indicates low charge
  • 3 beeps and flashing yellow light indicates less than 10% power
  • 2 sets of 5 beeps, recharge it to use the brush

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.

Manufacturers can suggest a price at which the brush should be sold at.  Retailers then have the choice at which they do actually sell it.

However, these have to align what you feel the brush is really worth.

The suggested selling price is $89.99 and this is not excessive for the feature set and performance of this brush.  I would say from my experience this is about right.

Reality is though, there are often savings to be had and with little effort you can purchase this for around the $60 price point.  You see, it is quite typical for electric toothbrushes to be discounted.

At $60 it becomes an even more attractive proposition.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 17

It is roughly $20 more than the Series 2 brush that comes before it and or that you get a travel case in the box, better battery technology and the ability to change the power of the brush to one of three intensities.

But, with adding this to the price it brings the brush within the territory of some of the Oral-B models, which are more expensive, but maybe justifiably so.

The Pro 3000 from Oral-B for example offers for about $20 more, 3 cleaning modes as opposed to Sonicares 1.  It has a pressure sensor, Bluetooth connectivity and brush head storage compartment as well as being thinner in hand.  It does sacrifice battery life and the travel case though.

Spend another $30-40 and you can buy the Oral-B Pro 5000.  The battery life is half that of the Sonicare, but 5 cleaning modes, pressure sensor, Bluetooth, travel case and brush head storage compartment are compelling reasons to consider it.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 18

This decision is personal and I would not suggest easy.

What the Sonicare has is a focus on 1 cleaning mode and is not burdened with what some might consider unnecessary features.

Using the $60 cost for the brush handle and factoring in $88 for replacement brush heads, the Sonicare 3 Series costs $148 over 3 years or $0.14 cents per day to own.

This does not include the water, toothpaste, and electricity required to use this brush.

This is up 2 cents per day on the Series 2.

One thing not helping the Sonicare long term is the higher average cost of brush heads.

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 19

A Sonicare brush head varies from about $6-10 subject to the head, pack size, and retailer.  This gives an average cost of around $8 per head.

Oral-B’s tend to work out at $5 per head.

Therefore compared this to the Pro 3000 from Oral-B and that comes in at around $135 or $0.12 per day. The Pro 5000 is $155 or $0.14 per day.

An electric toothbrush has a typical working life of 3-5 years, hence we work the price out based on 3 years.  You can then see how the initially more expensive brush over a 3 year period is actually the same price or cheaper.

Sharing the brush handle (but changing the brush head) will help extend the value from the handle and of course, if it lasts for more than 3 years, the cost goes down too.

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

  • Recommended retail price of $89.99
  • Generally available from this price but can quite often by at $60
  • Live price comparison here
  • Brush heads are about $6-10 each
  • Works out at around $0.14 per day over 3 years
  • Oral-B alternatives more feature rich but work out cheaper or same price over 3 years

Reliability & long term use

Sonicare are manufactured by one of the biggest brands worldwide.  Philips tends to fall into most users ‘premium’ brands list.

As a result, on the whole, you can be assured of a high level of quality, craftsmanship, and reliability.

To date, we would side with this, as Sonicare models tend to be the more reliable of the brands we have been exposed to.

Of course, being an electrical product things can go wrong, but then again that is what the warranty is for no?

Philips Sonicare 3 Series Review 20

A 2 year/24 month warranty is provided as standard with the brush, but go online, enter a few details and within a couple of minutes you can extend that by a further 6 months for free.

Here at Electric Teeth we go hands on with the brushes and look for possible defects and weaknesses.  We are not scientists, product designers or have expensive testing equipment to hand.

Regular individuals like you, we just have the added experience of having handled hundreds of different toothbrushes to come to the conclusions we do.

The 3 Series poses no cause for concern and expect you to have many years of happy brushing from this.

Conclusion

Great, excellent, superb, spot on and terrific are all words I can use to describe this toothbrush.  It has the basic electric toothbrush needs covered and then some.

Clean teeth and a fresh healthy mouth are a guaranteed result of regular use of this brush and the adjustable power settings makes it more enjoyable for users of all ages and preferences.

The battery life is stellar and the inclusion of the travel case is a welcome addition.

However, this comes at a price and herein lies a challenge.  What is it really worth?

In truth, few really offer so much for the price you can pay, but the new Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 is a better value purchase all things considered.

Our Choice
Philips Sonicare HX6810/50 ProtectiveClean 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, Black
Oral-B 1000 CrossAction Electric Toothbrush, Black, Powered by Braun
Philips Sonicare 3 Series Gum Health Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush, HX6610-01
Brush Name
Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
Oral-B Pro 1000
Sonicare 3 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
5/5
4/5
Price
$36.75
$69.00
$129.98
Prime
-
-
Our Choice
Philips Sonicare HX6810/50 ProtectiveClean 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, Black
Brush Name
Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
Price
$36.75
Prime
Oral-B 1000 CrossAction Electric Toothbrush, Black, Powered by Braun
Brush Name
Oral-B Pro 1000
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
5/5
Price
$69.00
Prime
-
Philips Sonicare 3 Series Gum Health Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush, HX6610-01
Brush Name
Sonicare 3 Series
Customer Rating
Electric Teeth Rating
4/5
Price
$129.98
Prime
-

Electric Teeth Rating

Electric Teeth 4 Star Rating

Size Guide

  • Height (without head) – 19cm
  • Height (with head) – 25cm
  • Width – 3.2cm
  • Thickness – 3.2cm
  • Weight (without head) – 127g
  • Weight (with head) – 132g

All are approximates

FAQ

  • Is the Sonicare 3 Series an oscillating brush?
    • No, it is not.
  • What cleaning modes does the 3 Series have?
    • It has just 1 cleaning mode, referred to a ‘Clean’.
  • What brush head does it come with and what alternative ones can be used?
    • The Sonicare 3 Series comes with a ProResults Gum Health brush head.  1 is supplied in the box.  There are a variety of other head styles you can chose from including DiamondClean, InterCare and ProResults Plaque Control.  Many of which come in either a standard or compact size.
  • Does the 3 Series have a pressure sensor?
    • No, it does not.
  • Does the 3 Series have Bluetooth?
    • No, it does not.
  • Does the Sonicare 3 Series come with a warranty & how long is it?
    • If purchased new from an approved retailer the 3 series will come with a 2 year warranty which can be extended by a further 6 months in total if you register the brush online at Sonicares website.
  • Does the 3 Series have a built in timer?
    • Yes.  At the end of a 2 minute cycle, the brush automatically turns off signalling the end of the cleaning time.  If you want to extend your clean, you will have to power the brush back on. It does also have a 30 second pacer also referred to as a quadpacer.  At 30 second intervals a slight pause in the brushing mode to tell you to change quadrants.  There are 4 quadrants to the mouth.
  • How long does the battery last?
    • The battery lasts up to 84 minutes, which if used on the standard clean mode, this is 21 days based on 2 cleans per day.
  • Does it come with a charger?
    • Yes, a charging station is included with the Sonicare 3 Series.
  • Can this be fixed to a wall?
    • The charging station has not been designed to be fixed to a wall.
  • Can I use the 3 Series in the shower?
    • Yes. The brush is water resistant so if you choose you can use it in the shower.
  • Does it come with a travel case?
    • Yes, a travel case is included in the box.

Your Opinions

Do you own or have you used the Philips Sonicare 3 Series?

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.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Philips Sonicare 3 Series
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray

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.

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