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Medically Reviewed
Published: February 10, 2024

Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained

Author: Jon Love (58 Comments)
Medical reviewer: Dr Gemma Wheeler, BDS
Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 1

Choosing an electric toothbrush is far from simple.

Some brushes come with just 1 cleaning mode, but the most premium models come with as many as 5!

Here at Electric Teeth, we try to simplify the process of deciphering the range and choosing one.

In this article, I explain the different cleaning modes available on Sonicare electric toothbrushes.

Just which ones do you need and why are they important? Let me explain.

The cleaning modes available on sonicare toothbrushes

At the time of writing, there are up to 8 different cleaning modes offered on different Sonicare electric toothbrushes.

These available modes are:

  1. Clean Mode
  2. White/White+ Mode
  3. Deep Clean/Deep Clean+ Mode
  4. Gum Health/Gum Care Mode
  5. Sensitive Mode
  6. Tongue Care Mode
  7. Refresh Mode
  8. Massage Mode

Whilst we have listed 8, of these, 2 (Refresh and Massage) are being phased out by Sonicare and you tend to see these only on older models.

Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 2

The names of particular modes have also changed or updated over the years.

For example, on some models, you have White as a cleaning mode, whilst on others, it is labeled as White+.  They are the same mode, just with a different name as far as we understand.

Why the new or different names for the same mode?  Your guess is as good as ours!

Which modes should you opt for?

Any electric toothbrush is going to come with at least 1 cleaning mode, and the default is ‘Clean’.

For the vast majority, this 1 mode is perfectly adequate and you will not need extra modes.

Cleaning modes are not something that we particularly take into account when choosing our best electric toothbrush recommendation.

Yes, as strange as this might sound in reality there is little actual need for all of these extra modes.

Each of these extra cleaning modes does offer something different and can potentially have benefits for you. But, don’t strive to buy a brush that might be outside of your budget, just because it has White mode for example.

Out of all the other modes available, it is the gum health and/or sensitive mode that in our opinion will be the most beneficial.

Therefore, if you can get a brush that fits your budget and requirements and has this mode, then it is a bonus.

If you are in the process of choosing a brush, check out our best electric toothbrush recommendations — we take the same approach of telling you which features we recommend and which aren't so important.

Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 3

What each cleaning mode does

Philips Sonicare themselves seem to alter the description and explanation behind each cleaning mode, depending on what documentation or user manual you are reading.

The explanation of the mode can be quite brief or not particularly clear on what it does, how it works and why you would want to use it.

For example on the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart product page, ‘Clean’ mode is described as ‘for exceptional everyday cleaning’, whilst ‘Deep Clean+’ is described as ‘For an invigorating deep clean an invigorating deep clean’.

Therefore I hope the following is a little more useful.

Clean mode

  • This is the standard mode for daily teeth cleaning.
  • The cleaning cycle lasts for 2 minutes.
  • Ideally suited to most users, to use on a daily basis any time of the day or night.

White/white+ mode

  • The cleaning mode lasts for 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • During the first 2 minutes, the brush alternates the speed of the motor from a low to high power as you complete regular brushing.
  • The additional 40 seconds is to be spent polishing the outer surface of upper and lower teeth. Spend 20 seconds cleaning each.
  • The polishing motion used in the last 40 seconds of this mode will feel and sound different from the first 2 minutes.
  • Ideal for those wanting to get the best shine and really do away with any surface staining.
  • Some models refer to this mode as just White, whilst on others it is labeled as White+.  It is the same cleaning action, just with a different name.

Deep Clean/Deep Clean+ mode

  • The cleaning mode usually lasts for 3 minutes.
  • If the brush handle has Bluetooth connectivity and is connected to a smartphone the mode will last for just 2 minutes.  If there is no active Bluetooth connection, the mode will run for the longer 3 minutes.
  • The motion and speed is adjusted to really massage the teeth and gum tissues and push the cleaning motion through bacteria and stubborn stains that may exist
  • Ideal to use when you want to spend a bit of extra time on your teeth and really make sure you are doing the best you can to keep them clean and healthy.
  • Some models refer to this mode as just Deep Clean, whilst on others, it is labeled as Deep Clean+.  It is the same cleaning action, just with a different name.

Gum Health/Gum Care mode

  • The cleaning mode usually lasts for 3 minutes.
  • On some models, notably DiamondClean Smart, the mode runs for an additional 20 seconds.
  • During the first 2 minutes, the brush runs the standard clean mode.
  • The remaining minute uses a slower and less powerful sensitive/massage mode to stimulate and massage the gums, to improve their health.
  • It is a bit of a crossover mode between Clean and Sensitive.
  • Ideally suited to those who have mild sensitivity in their gums, with occasional bleeding and are getting or recovering from gum disease treatment.
  • A useful mode to also use fairly regularly to give your gums a little extra attention and keep them in good shape.
  • Some models refer to this mode as just Gum Health, whilst on others it is labeled as Gum Care.  It is the same cleaning action, just with a different name.

Sensitive Mode

  • This cleaning modes lasts for 2 minutes.
  • It uses a lot less of the brush motors power to be more gentle on the teeth and gums.
  • Ideally suited to those with very sensitive teeth and gums, but want to benefit from the additional cleaning power and efficacy of an electric toothbrush.
  • Those experiencing gum disease or gum recession will likely find this mode most useful.

Tongue Care mode

  • This cleaning mode lasts for 20 seconds.
  • Designed to provide adequate time to brush the tongue.

Refresh mode

  • This cleaning mode lasts for 1 minute.
  • Touch-up for a quick clean.
  • Ideally suited for those who want to freshen up and are cleaning their teeth at additional times during the day.
  • This mode is being phased out.

Massage mode

  • This cleaning mode lasts for 2 minutes.
  • It uses a lot less of the brush motors power to be more gentle on and to stimulate the gums.
  • This mode has essentially been replaced with the Sensitive mode.
  • Ideally suited to those with very sensitive teeth and gums, but want to benefit from the additional cleaning power and efficacy of an electric toothbrush.
  • Those experiencing gum disease or gum recession will likely find this mode most useful.

You should note, that with most Sonicare electric toothbrushes the brush will turn itself off automatically at the end of the cleaning cycle.

The vast majority of brushes also have a quadpacer/30 second timer built in that works in conjunction with the 2 minute timer to encourage you to brush evenly around the mouth.  For longer cleaning modes, this pacer may kick in at different times.

Most Sonicare brushes will, when turned on default to the last cleaning mode used on the brush unless you manually change it or the fitting of a BrushSync compatible head forces a mode change.

Sonicare cleaning mode comparison chart

The following chart summarizes the information provided above.

CleanWhite/White+Deep Clean/Deep Clean+Gum Health/Gum CareSensitiveTongue CareRefreshMassage
PurposeGreat overall teeth cleaning.Great overall teeth cleaning with added time to help polish.Deep massaging of teeth and gums for a thorough clean.General overall teeth cleaning with additional brushing time for improving gum health.A gentle, yet thorough cleaning for sensitive areas of the mouth.Used for cleaning the tongue or inside of the cheeks.A quick clean mode when short of time and need to freshen up.A gentle yet thorough cleaning for sensitive areas of the mouth.
Cleaning Time2 minutes2 minutes 40 seconds3 minutes3 minutes2 minutes20 seconds1 minute2 minutes
Brush Strokes31,000*Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**
Movements62,000*Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**Unknown**
*The maximum number of brush strokes or movements depends on the model. **Despite requests, this is not information Sonicare wish to disclose. All information is subject to change without notice.

An explanation of power delivery: the number of brush strokes and movements

Sonicare electric toothbrushes use a ‘sonic’ cleaning action, which is slightly different to the oscillating-rotating technology that the likes of Oral-B use.

This kind of toothbrush uses 2 methods to clean the teeth.

The first is a mechanical side-to-side cleaning motion of the bristles to remove plaque by essentially sweeping and scrubbing the surfaces, like a manual brush (although the motor moves the bristles, not you).

The second is a non-contact approach that uses the sonic technology to disrupt plaque beyond the tips of the bristles.

To be a sonic toothbrush, the motion or vibration from the brush has to be quick enough to produce a ‘humming’  sound that is within the audible range of the human ear (20 Hz to 20,000 Hz).

This intense vibration agitates fluids that surround the teeth and can loosen and remove dental plaque in locations that are beyond the physical touch of the toothbrush.

Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 4

It was Philips, under the Sonicare brand, that first brought this to market in 1992, although others like Colgate & Omron now use this technology too.

In theory, the more speed the motor has the more effective the clean is, because the bristles move more frequently over the tooth and gum surfaces.

However, it is not all about speed, the technique has a big part to play, but that is a different topic, for another article.

The vast majority of Sonicare models offer 31,000 brush strokes and 62,000 movements. There are some exceptions to this though.

31,000 brush strokes/62,000 movements

A really important point to pick up on and explain is the 31,000 brush strokes and 62,000 movements. Sonicare often refers to these when they talk about the speed and performance of their brushes.

For many years Sonicare stated 31,000 brush strokes, this has changed in more recent times to instead quoting 62,000 movements within their sales documentation.

62,000 sounds better than 31,000 doesn’t it?

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking it was better and maybe a newer technology.

As we understand it, they are essentially the same thing. 1 brush stroke is equal to 2 movements. (31,000 x 2 = 62,000).

But, there is a bit of a catch.

Some newer brushes, such as the 1100, 2100, 3100 and 4100 Series are listed as having 31,000 brush strokes only. They don't achieve the 62,000 movements.

This is because the motors are configured differently.

Sonicare doesn't share the technical explanation, but premium Sonicare models are programmed with an extra dimension to the brushing experience that allows the 62,000 movements to be achieved.

As a result, certain models, do give a brushing sensation that feels less intense compared to some other Sonicare toothbrushes.

Technically, more power or movements does mean better cleaning results.  But, it isn’t quite as simple as this, there are more factors at play.

The lesser power on offer here isn’t immediately obvious. Even for me and I have tested hundreds of brushes. The brushing sensation is slightly different. It is most noticeable if you have used other premium Sonicare toothbrushes before

It is easy to get led by the numbers. Whilst they can have a bearing, for most it isn't that significant.

Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 5

Power delivery and cleaning modes

From my very own hands-on testing, it is clear that the 'power' of the brush differs, depending on what mode you have selected.

Sonicare themselves acknowledge that the Sensitive cleaning mode, for example, is more gentle than the clean mode.  

I was therefore keen to know if the clean mode makes use of all the power from the brush motor (31,000 brush strokes per minute/62,000 movements), how much power do all of the other cleaning modes use?

To me, it seems like the Sensitive mode operates at about 15,000 strokes per minute.

Naturally, Sonicare deems a lot of this information to be confidential and getting a clear answer hasn't been possible.

However, I have gained some useful insights to better understand how the 'power' differs with each mode.

What I call 'power' is actually made up of 2 different variables. They are amplitude and frequency.

  • Amplitude is the maximum distance covered (or the sweep angle) by the power toothbrush bristles during their cycle of movement. This is usually defined in terms of mm (distance) or degrees (angle).
  • Frequency is defined as the number of cycles the power toothbrush bristles move within a unit of time (i.e. 1 Hz: 120 strokes per minute)

Sonicare technology is based on the unique movement (disclosed in the famous original Sonicare patent) thanks to an optimal combination of high frequency and high amplitude.

By changing either the amplitude or the frequency; or varying one or both of them during the brushing cycle, the different cleaning/brushing modes are achieved. E.g. Gentle/Sensitive modes will operate at a lower amplitude than Clean mode.

Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 6

Brushing intensity

It should be noted that some Sonicare models have the option to change the intensity of the brushing motion.

Depending on the model this can vary between 2 or 3 different power intensity settings.

You will either have a low and high setting or a low, medium and high.

Many models will have an LED indicator to help clearly show what intensity has been selected.

  • Low: 1 LED indicator light.
  • Medium: 2 LED indicator lights.
  • High: 3 LED indicator lights.
Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 7

The user manual will advise what intensity achieves the best effect on each cleaning mode and in the case of BrushSync handles and heads, the intensity will automatically be set for you.

However, you have the ability to change the intensity allows you to find a brushing sensation that is best for you.  Depending on the model, depends on how exactly this is done. There is often a separate intensity button, or the power button is used to change this, once powered on.

Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 8

Easy-Start

A very neat feature, that appeals to new electric toothbrush users, is the Easy-Start technology that Sonicare builds into brushed.

The Easy-start feature gently increases the power over the first 14 brushings to help you get used to the brushing with the Philips Sonicare toothbrush.

Providing each of the 14 brushing sessions last for at least 1 minute, the brush will properly advance through the Easy-start ramp-up cycle.

At the end of the 14 days, the brush will operate at full intensity, unless you alter this, or switch off the easy-start feature sooner.

Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 9

You don't need to use special brush heads

Theoretically, you can use any Sonicare brush head on any of the cleaning modes.

Technically there is nothing stopping you using the Tongue Care+ brush on the Deep Clean mode or a DiamondClean brush head when using the Tongue cleaning mode.

Most brush heads on any mode are going to deliver a good standard of cleaning and be far better than a manual brush or nothing at all!

However, certain brush heads are better suited to certain modes.

For example, the W3 Premium White brush head will deliver the best results when used on the White/White+ cleaning mode.

You should be aware that if you are using a Sonicare toothbrush that has BrushSync technology depending on which brush head is fitted, the brush will automatically select the ‘best’ mode, unless overridden by you as the user.

A3 Premium All-in-OneI InterCareS SensitiveSimplyCleanC1 Pro ResultsC2 Plaque ControlG2 Optimal Gum CareW DiamondCleanC3 Premium Plaque ControlG3 Premium Gum CareW3 Premium WhiteT1 TongueCare+
ImagePhilips Sonicare brushing modes explained 10Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 11Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 12Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 13Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 14Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 15Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 16Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 17Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 18Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 19Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 20Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 21
AboutThe only brush head you need. 20x more plaque removal than a manual brush. Triangular tipped bristles whiten teeth and side bristles encourage healthier gums.Within 2 weeks bleeding and inflammation at the gumline will be reduced. Long bristles read deep between teeth to dislodge more plaque and bacteria within interdental spaces.Ultra-soft bristles for gentle, effective cleaning. Also features special trim profile to cushion teeth for a gentler brushing experience.Click on brush head with the authentic Sonicare cleaning experience. Bristles cut and shaped to differing lengths gives a thorough clean.All round cleaning with contoured profile to naturally fit the profile of the teeth and improve overall plaque removal.Optimal plaque removal, 7 times more effective than a manual brush the specially curved power tip makes reaching the teeth at the back of your mouth a breeze.Densely-packed, high-quality tufts easily reach teeth at the back of the mouth. Also features a gentle trim profile to cushion teeth for an extra gentle brushing experience.Effective surface stain removal to achieve up to a 100% whiter smile in just 7 days thanks to the Diamond shaped bristles.Deepest clean with flexible sides and unique bristle pattern. 4 times more surface contact. Automatically selects optimal cleaning mode for the best results.Absorbs excess cleaning pressure to protect the gums. 2 times more surface contact. Automatically selects optimal cleaning mode for the best results.Helps whiten teeth in just 3 days by removing plaque and surface stains. 4 times more surface contact.240 microbristles for a gentle deep clean of the soft and porous surface of the tongue.
Best suited cleaning mode
CleanClean
Deep Clean/DeepClean+
Gum Health/Gum Care
Sensitive
Clean
Deep Clean/DeepClean+
Clean
Deep Clean/DeepClean+
Clean
Deep Clean/DeepClean+
Gum Health/Gum Care
Sensitive
White/White+Clean
Deep Clean/DeepClean+
Gum Health/Gum Care
Sensitive
White/White+TongueClean
Clean
BrushSync compatible*
YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Compatible with all handles**
YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
*Must be used with BrushSync enabled handle to gain benefits. Can be used on handles that are not BrushSync enabled, but BrushSync benefits will be lost. **All handles with push-on & pull-off brush heads. All information subject to change without notice.

Sonicare brushes are labeled with the cleaning modes they have

Unlike Oral-B who use a series of icons on their brush handle as labels for their cleaning modes, Sonicare brush handles usually have the name, written in text on the brush handle.

As the mode is selected, it is normally lit up/illuminated by a light within the handle, so it is very clear and easy to see exactly what mode you have switched on.

Philips Sonicare brushing modes explained 22

Comparing Sonicare electric toothbrushes and the modes they come with

The following Sonicare electric toothbrush comparison chart shows the main brushes available and how they compare. 

You can see which brushing modes each toothbrush has as well as checking whether or not it has a two minute timer and pacer.

Our Sonicare toothbrush comparisons page also features in depth articles comparing popular brushes to one another.

Number of cleaning modes
Clean
Sensitive
Gum
White
Deep Clean
Tongue
Other modes
Brushing intensities
Timer
Pacer
Pressure Sensor
Pressure Sensor Additional information
BrushSync
Battery life
Travel case included
Charging travel case
Bluetooth connectivity
Position tracking
Find out more
Philips Sonicare 1100 Series
Philips Sonicare 1100 Series
Philips Sonicare 2100 Series
Philips Sonicare 2100 Series
Philips Sonicare 3100 Series
Philips Sonicare 3100 Series
Philips Sonicare 4100 Series
Philips Sonicare 4100 Series
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100
Philips Sonicare ExpertClean 7500
Philips Sonicare ExpertClean 7500
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9700
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9700
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
1 1 1 1 3 3 4 4 5 5
yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
- - - - - - - - - yes
- - - - yes yes yes yes yes yes
- - - - yes yes yes yes yes yes
- - - - - - yes yes yes yes
- - - - - - - - yes -
- - - - - - - - - -
- 2 2 2 - 3 3 3 3 3
yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
30 second quadpacer 30 second quadpacer 30 second quadpacer 30 second quadpacer 30 second quadpacer 30 second quadpacer 30 second quadpacer 20 second sextants 20 second sextants 20 second sextants
- - yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
- - - - - - - - - Scrubbing sensor.
- - Brush head replacement reminder Brush head replacement reminder Brush head replacement reminder Brush head replacement reminder & brush head mode pairing Brush head replacement reminder & brush head mode pairing Brush head replacement reminder & brush head mode pairing Brush head replacement reminder & brush head mode pairing Brush head replacement reminder
14 days 14 days 14 days 14 days 14 days 14 days 14 days 14 days 14 days 14 days
- - - - yes yes yes yes yes yes
- - - - - - yes - yes yes
- - - - - - yes yes yes yes
- - - - - - - - yes yes
Review Review Review Review Review Review Review - Review Review

The most popular models have been included in the table above — other variants exist.

Author: Jon Love
Medical reviewer: Dr Gemma Wheeler, BDS

Related Topics

Leave a comment

C
Charles
April 10, 2024

Why is it that power tooth brushes do not hold enough tooth paste for cleaning and stain removal?

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
April 11, 2024

To my knowlege Chargles tha amount of toothpaste has little to do with effective stain removal. If you have heavy staining have you considered a whitening toothpaste or a cleaning from a dental hygienist?

WR
William Russell
July 9, 2023

A question: my Sonicare brush MX686P, has two modes: clean and white, but no gum health mode. Since I like to massage my gums, what mode and intensity (low or high) would you recommend using for massaging, or does it make any difference what settings I use? Thanks.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
July 9, 2023

I would generally suggest opt for clean mode on low intensity. But, it isn't going to make a signficant different. Find what is comofrtable for you.

s
saundra
June 15, 2023

Jon, first thank you so much for your explanations!!! I hang on every word your say. You explain in layman terminology! I want to know what Philip Sonicare “MODELS" have the 31,000 strokes/ 62,000 bristle movements per min.? I purchased from Costco, a 2pk Optimal Clean $99. (not on sale yet) and a Perfect Clean $169.99 (now on sale for $129.99). I am searching to find out if they both have the 62,000 bristle movements per min. We had Diamond Clean twice and both times 1 handle would get so loud and then something inside started rattling. The brushhead did not feal secure on the handle. They worked fine for approximately 1 yr and we both liked them when they worked, but now we are done with that model also due to its very short longevity! Also with Diamond Clean, we did not notice there was a change in speed/sound from one mode to another. So now we don’t want all the bells and whistles. I just want a good Clean and Whitening mode that operate at the highest level of strokes and movement 62,000. So Jon if you are aware and able to share the names of the models or code number on the bottom of the handles, that are at the 62,000 bristle movements per minute, that would safe me a ton of more time searching on the web., which is not my favorite thing to do!!!! Haaa haaaa haaaaaaa.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
June 16, 2023

Hey. So it is probably easier for me to list out which brushes to avoid than all the ones that do have 31,000 brush strokes/62,000 movements. The main brushes that don't have thigh high number of momvenets are: Essence, Daily Clean, 2 Series EasyClean (much older model now) PowerUp Advance (much older model now) Elite (much older model now) Philips One 1100/1000 Series, 3100/3000 Series 4100/4000 Series The Optimal Clean and Perfect Clean do have 31,000/62,000 as far as I am aware. And truthfully that Optimal Clean at $99 for 2 brush handles is a fantastic price. You'r not likely to find much better. As for the DiamondClean models that are no longer working, have you contacted Philips to check if they are under warranty and could be reapried?

S
Saundra
June 20, 2023

Thank you Jon… you are an excellent, conscientious communicator and this world needs more people like you! So yes initially I contacted Philips Sonicare and their customer service was terrible! 🤮They did not send the same model and bla bla bla. I returned it to Costco and got another one much, much simpler than dealing with Philips Sonicare❣️However, recently I was in touch with 2 folks in the “Oral Health Care” department at Philips Sonicare. They knew info on just certain models that I guess dentist use, and really they said they were not to be dealing with customers like me, only professionals! They did not know the specs. about Optimum Clean. Thank you for all your time and knowledge that you shared with me and others! Keep up the good work and I know who to contact if I have other questions about electric toothbrushes.

NM
Nora M.
April 16, 2023

I am looking for the Phillip's Sonicare 4700 but cannot find it. Please help

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
April 17, 2023

You are looking to buy it? If so, I don't think this is available any longer. Or are you looking for something else in relation to it?

NM
Nora M.
April 17, 2023

My dentist recommended and offered to sell the 4700. Is there anything comparable to this one and if so, where it the best place to buy it? I really don't want to spend much over $100 for a toothbrush. Thanks for your help.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
April 17, 2023

Hi Nora. OK, so I 'think' this is a dentist only version, hence it is not seen on store shelves/the internet much. The closest equivalent is the ProtectiveClean 5100 . It's a solid toothbrush. Limited complaints about this one. Amazon is usually one of the most competitively priced outlets for it. The Sonicare 4100 Series is a bit cheaper, but there are a few sacrifices.

J
Julie
October 18, 2022

They make it confusing don’t they!! Your opinion, would you say the Diamond Clean series, the Expert and the 9900 Prestige have the stronger frequencies of the sonicares

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
October 19, 2022

Hi Julie. Yes, they do make it confusing. Yes, these models do tends to have more movements (the feeling of more power) compared to some of the cheaper models. It doesn't necessarily mean they are 'better' there are a number of factors to consider.

P
Peter
December 7, 2022

Hi John, what are the other factors to consider? Do you think that these more expensive models clean more effectively or its mostly marketing (e.g. paying for the sleeker toothbrush, wireless charging, etc.)?

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
December 7, 2022

The main factors to consider are your brushing time and technique. You can have the best toothbrush available, but if you don't brush for long enough or with the right technique then you won't gain the benefits. If you are brushing for 2 minutes twice a day and using the correct technique, the extra movements of these models, compared to some others may be beneficial, but the gains will be marginal. Your dentist wouldn't generally be able to tell if you were brushing with a £50 or £250 brush. You are generally paying for extra features, you might not used.

LK
Liam Kelleher
September 26, 2022

Hi John hope you are well! My question is of which models you mentioned above can actually reach the 62,000 movements (as well as the 31,000 brush strokes)? Only expert, diamond and prestige? I’m happy to spend around 100/150 but didn’t want to stretch much more. But I do like the sound of 62,000 movements…

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
September 27, 2022

Hi Liam. Can I be so bold as to suggest you opt for the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100. It is basically the best value model to offer the movements/strokes you want. Despite technically not offering what you want the 4100 Series is my top pick of all the Sonicare brushes for most users. With that said here are the brushes that offer the 62,000 movements/31,000 brush strokes. ProtectiveClean 5100 ProtectiveClean 6100 ExpertClean DiamondClean DiamondClean Smart 9300 DiamondClean Smart 9500 DiamondClean Smart 9700 DiamondClean Smart 9750 9900 Prestige

S
Susan
April 17, 2022

I have 2 Sonicare bases. How often should I should I rotate them?

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
April 19, 2022

There isn't necessarily a need to rotate them unless you particularly want to. It would be advisable every now and again to keep the battery topped up on the one you are not using to make sure it continues to function.

C
Chris
September 13, 2021

Hi I have a diamond clean that doesn’t use brush sync technology but I have lots of brush sync tooth brush heads from my other protective clean brush, can I use the brush sync brushes on the standard diamond clean, will they still fit and work or do I need to buy standard brush heads?

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
September 13, 2021

You can use them Chris, no problem. They will work. You just won't get any of the BrushSync benefits.

N
Nana
March 16, 2021

Is it bad to leave toothbrush plugged in all of the time?

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
March 16, 2021

Most toothbrushes have technology that prevents the battery from overcharging if they are left on the stand and constantly plugged in. In most instances, it is fine to leave them constantly plugged in. That said, if you can unplug so it is not always on charge this will be better for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the battery is not constantly being 'topped up' so theoretically at least you will preserve the battery a little longer. So if you use the toothbrush, don't just plug it back in, let it discharge over a few days or weeks (subject to your model) until the battery is nearly depleted, then recharge it. Secondly, the charger is always trying to deliver power to the toothbrush, even if it doesn't need it. By unplugging it you can prevent any wastage of power and reduce the chance of the charger getting warm etc.

L
Lynn
March 14, 2021

my brush heads don't fit snuggly on the handle head, there is a small gap - is there a reason why? I am using the philips sonicare brushes

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
March 15, 2021

Hi Lynn, If the gap you are referring too is small, approx 1-2mm then this is normal.

L
Laura
February 11, 2021

Do you know how the Sensitive mode compares with the low intensity on the standard Clean mode? Basically, I'm wondering if the Sonicare 6100's low-intensity setting will be more gentle than the Sensitive mode on a different brush.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
February 11, 2021

Hi Laura. It is very difficult to say conclusively. I would say it was comparable. So, the lowest intensity Clean mode would be about the same intensity as sensitive mode on a different brush.

L
Laura
February 12, 2021

Would you happen to know if the Oral B "Sensitive" mode is more gentle than Sonicare's Sensitive (or low) mode? Wondering if Sonicare tends to be more gentle even on the same setting as Oral B.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
February 14, 2021

Hi Laura. It is difficult to make a direct comparison because the cleaning action is different. Therefore the way the brush head moves, the power and feeling in use are not the same. The brush head attached can have a bearing too. As a general rule, I think people find Sonicare the more gentle of the 2 brands. It can feel a little less intense.

MP
Michael Pinckney
November 22, 2020

This article is very helpful. Thanks!!

ST
Susan T
October 19, 2020

Thanks for your response Jon! I did not set up the app with the brush. I did consider that the new brush heads I bought were causing an error-proofing function to engage by not allowing for the gum care option. Then I read somewhere that the brush head did not matter. I’ll look for the gum care brush head in the future. Susan T

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
October 20, 2020

Thanks for further confirmation. Clearly, my suggestion was not correct! 😕 If you have not already, I would get in contact with Sonicare, because it should be the case of being fixed to using 1 type of brush head.

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Susan T
October 19, 2020

I have the 9300 DiamondClean Smart Philips Sonicare system. In addition to clean, the options are white+, gum health and deep clean+. I have always used the gum health option. When I take the brush head off, the gum health option is highlighted. As soon as I put the brush head back on, only the clean option highlights. No matter what I do, I can’t get the options to change. I have never had this problem before as I have changed the brush head in the past. Thank you for your help! Susan T

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
October 19, 2020

Hello again Susan. Thanks for the additional information. This is really helpful. I have to admit this sounds a little odd. But, I think I know what is possibly causing it. Before I go into detail on this, just for your info, if you were not already aware: Certain brush heads are configured to work with certain brush handles to select the most appropriate cleaning mode. For example if you fit a 'whitening' brush head, it will select the 'whitening' brushing mode automatically. However, this can usually be overridden. As a result, I don't think this is what is causing this issue. What I am more inclined to think the problem might be is linked to the smartphone application with this brush. Have you connected the brush to the smartphone app and set a specific goal? If so, I think by setting this mode, may have disabled the cleaning modes. You should be able to edit/cancel the goal to restore the settings. If you have not set this goal, but have connected to the app, the next step would be to reset the handle via the settings of the smartphone app. Failing that a call into Sonicare is going to be required as I can't think what else it would be. Please do let me know the outcome.

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Susan T
October 18, 2020

I recently replaced the brush head on my DiamondCare brush. Up to this point I’ve been using the gum health mode successfully, however, after changing the brush this time I can’t move from the “clean” option to the “gum health” option as though the button is frozen.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
October 19, 2020

Hi Susan. Do you know specifically what model of brush you have? Are there more modes on your brush than just clean and gum health? Can you use any of those? If you remove the brush head and turn the brush on are you able to access the different cleaning modes? Please do not put the toothbrush in the mouth with the brush head detached. 👍

KT
Kathy T
June 10, 2020

Got it! Thank you so much!

KT
Kathy T
June 10, 2020

I have a brand new Diamond Clean brush and changing modes is different than my previous model. It seems that I need to have the toothbrush on to change from clean mode to another mode. But if I have toothpaste on my brush, I have to have the brush in my mouth or the toothpaste splatters everywhere. So how do I know, then, which mode I am moving into other than by pushing the on-off and counting to for example, the 5th mode? Is there a way to choose the mode before turning on the toothbrush without it defaulting to clean mode?

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
June 10, 2020

Hi Kathy. Great question. It is not ideal is it, particularly when some Sonicare models have a dedicated cleaning mode button that allows you to change the mode before turning the brush on. There is no way to change the mode prior to turning the brush on. However, the brush will remember and should default to the last mode used, providing it finished the cleaning cycle. So, if for example you want it to default to the 5th cleaning mode I would do as follows. The best thing to do, is with no water or toothpaste on the brush is to turn the brush on with a single press on the power button, then press it quite quickly a further 4 times. This will take you to the 5th cleaning mode. Let it finish the cleaning cycle and it should then default here in future. Alternatively, you could put paste on the brush and use it whilst doing this, just make sure to pop it in the mouth before doing so.

MC
Manuel Cruz
May 27, 2020

I have the white Sonicare diamondclean model# HX993 W. I've been trying to purchase a charging base for it, since the original has gone missing. I purchased one online only to have returned it, as this model is NOT interchangeable with any similar charging bases.. Now, your listing for this base indicates it IS compatible with the HX993 X model.. My question is, the model numbers listed in your campatability and my unit are the same WITH THE EXCEPTOIN of the very last character of the model #. Yours lists HX***X as mine ends in HX***W.. what do the "X" or the "W" represent?? And would that difference in letters render my handle INcompatible with your charging base.. ???

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
May 29, 2020

Manuel. Thank you for the reply. This article you are commenting on makes no reference to charging bases for any Sonicare toothbrush. I do not know where you have purchased it from etc. Let me also be clear, that we are not Sonicare here at Electric Teeth, so I have no control over their listings. 😀 Nonetheless, you have a DiamondClean model that does require a different charging base compared to the vast majority of other Sonicare models. There is no recess in the base of your brush handle, like most other handles. This means that the more typical/common stand with the prong on the top is not suitable. The 2 parts I believe you need are available on the following links: https://philips.encompass.com/item/9665492/Sonicare/423509003180/Charging_Base_Diamond_Clean,_White https://philips.encompass.com/item/9665489/Sonicare/423509003100/Charging_Cover_stand_Diamondcl I am not aware of any reason why there should be any compatibility issues if your model has a 'W' at the end compared to the 'x' quoted. I am not sure what the X actually stands for but the W I think it for White as I believe this is the color of your brush handle. I really do hope the above links help.

MC
Manuel Cruz
May 26, 2020

Please confirm if this unit is compatible with Sonicare Diamondclean HX993 W. I do see that it is compatible with HX993 X. Not sure what the difference is between X and W. I do know that this model handle is NOT interchangeable with similar chargers. Tried it and failed..

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
May 27, 2020

Manuel. I am more than happy to help you, but I am not sure what precisely you are referring to. You say 'Please confirm if this unit is compatible with Sonicare Diamondclean HX993 W', what unit are you referring to? It sounds like you may well be asking about some form of charging solution for the brush, but I am not entirely sure.

TH
Tony Hudson
March 6, 2020

My DiamondClean Classic died after 2 years. I didn't want to spend a lot of money and went with the ProtectiveClean. It feels much less intense using the standard mode than the Diamond did, but my teeth still feel clean. I am not sure why the intensity is different if the brush strokes are the same, but it seems to be doing its job.

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jon jones
January 15, 2020

Thank you so much for putting this chart together! My 10 year old Sonicare finally died when the cast metal in the head finally broke. I've repaired/rebuilt the toothbrush several times but it was overdue for replacement. The Sonicare site is awful and confusing but your charts and descriptions helped me narrow my choice down to the DiamondClean Classic.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
January 15, 2020

Hi Jon. It sounds like the Sonicare has served you well. Always disappointing when they finally fail, even if you probably knew it was coming. Pleased that I have been able to help.

JC
John Carman
January 11, 2020

I am so frustrated with Sonicare's, and now your, information. As an aside, I'm a dentist and my wife a hygienist. I can tell you all of the different modes are utter nonsense. Truly incredible marketing madness. You only need one mode and it is the mode at the highest intensity. The highest intensity mode is the mode best at removing plaque and it will not harm your teeth. Gums don't benefit from "stimulation"--they benefit from plaque removal from the teeth. And one's tongue doesn't need a special setting (and most people don't even need to have their tongues brushed at all). The frustration is that at least one of the low-cost models has a lower "intensity" or "power" than the high power setting on the more expensive 3 power models ("power" or "intensity" not to be confused with "mode" of which there can be 5-8). i.e. it simply is not as strong as the high power setting on the more expensive models that have the 3 power level choices. I recently bought their least expensive model assuming the intensity would be the same as my previous Sonicare. I thought I would be getting the same intensity (power) minus all of the useless "modes". Wrong. This particular Sonicare single-power model was not nearly as powerful as the high setting on my wife's 3 power setting model. My question--which is not answered on your site or theirs--is, is there a single-power low-cost model for which the intensity/power is the same as the high setting on the more expensive 3 power models? It is just kind of mind-boggling that with all of their models, modes, and prices, one cannot find this most basic and important piece of information. The only significant difference between any of the modes, models, and prices is the intensity. Sorry, but everything else is just marketing nonsense gone crazy.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
January 12, 2020

Hi John. Thanks for the comment. I can understand your frustration and for the most part agree with what you are saying. The average user does not need all of these extra cleaning modes. I am sure Sonicare would dispute the extra modes as marketing nonsense, but they do not help their case by failing to clearly explain the different modes and the power levels they use. I am no scientist or product engineer and can only go by my use and personal testing of the products to compare the power and brushing ability. I am not sure which low end model you have recently purchased that you believe has a lower intensity in comparison to the other brush you have compared it against. As far as I am aware the standard clean mode has the same intensity in all models, but perhaps not. Maybe differences do exist. Sadly I have no superior knowledge and Sonicare are not very forthcoming with such information. Do you believe, that the extra intensity/power really makes that much difference? Clinical studies have of course shown the benefit of going electric, but many professions, yourself included perhaps, say a manual brush is fine, if used correctly?! Is the power of the model you bought not sufficient enough to give a good standard of clean, in your opinion?

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Angel
November 9, 2019

I just bought the Sonicare 9300. After using it, I went online to watch videos about it and found out that the 9500 and up had the tonguecare option. Is there a mode that is comparable for me to use on my 9300? Also, I didn’t realize mine didn’t have the portable charging case. I thought I could order it from the company and also make sure it’s comparable but it didn’t have the option for me to order just the case. Is there a place to order the case and is mine compatible to charge in the travel case? Mine does charge in the glass. Thank you for any info help you could give on either of these questions or both.

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
November 10, 2019

Hi Angel. The tonguecare mode is a shorter brushing mode compared to most others. None of the modes on the 9300 are set to the short 20 second cycle of the tonguecare mode on the 9500, but you can manually turn the brush off sooner if you wish. I would suggest the gum health mode would be ideal. By no means essential, you can buy the TongueCare brush head if you want and use it on any mode available on the 9300, but a standard brush head can be used also, it will do a comparable job. In terms of the case, yes you can buy the USB charging case.

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BRITT SHEA
August 19, 2019

I am trying to figure out which brush to buy. My current Sonicare, which I've used for a number of years, has bit the dust. I have always used the sensitive setting, but since am upgrading would like the app and these two features don't seem to be an option on one brush. A diamond clean with a glass charger is not an option since I have a toddler that is interested in my toothbrush. So I'm wondering on the toothbrushes with 3 modes and 3 intensities what would be the equivalent to my beloved sensitive mode? Any input is appreciated!

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
August 19, 2019

Hi Britt. In answer to your question, the product you want is coming very soon. It is called the Sonicare ExpertClean 7500. It doesn't have a sensitive mode, but you can change the intensity, to make it more gentle, which will achieve the same thing. It has just launched and the first stock has yet to ship, but you can order it here on amazon. Full information on the Sonicare website here. I will review it once it launches, but I expect it to be a good option.

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BRITT SHEA
August 19, 2019

Funny you should say that, I currently have they model in my cart on Amazon! Assuming all brush heads will work on it? Thanks for the info!!

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
August 20, 2019

Hi Britt! Good work on finding that this new ExpertClean is what you need. All the Sonicare brush heads work on with this toothbrush, but if you want to take advantage of the BrushSync features, make sure you are buying the BrushSync enabled heads.

J
Jeff
June 17, 2019

In the past there was a single intensity that was fine. Later I noticed a low end sonicare lacked the intensity of a three intensity handle that was set to high. One thing I never learn from these online comparisons, is there a standard intensity level and is that equivalent to low/medium/high on the toothbrushes with multiple intensity settings...

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
June 18, 2019

Hi Jeff. As far as I am aware, the high intensity is 31,000 brush stokes (62,000 movements). This intensity is the default on all brushes that do not have the option to change the intensity. The medium and low intensity settings found on some brushes are slower/less movements, but the exact number I have not been able to get confirmation of. I hope this helps.

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Brandon
September 27, 2022

This was the question I was looking for, thank you for the ask and the answer. If the high intensity is standard, I can't quite see a reason to go beyond the 4100. Thank you for this site and all the videos. Philips should be the one doing it!

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
September 28, 2022

Hi Brandon. It is worth clarifying, whilst I generally agree that the Sonicare 4100 is the best overall option within the Sonicare range, the newest 4100, the 4100 Series, doesn't offer 31,000 brush strokes & 62,000 movements. The older 4100 ProtectiveCLean did. The 4100 motor does offer up to 31,000 brush strokes, but it doesn’t achieve the 62,000 movements often quoted with the more expensive models. It is configured differently. As a result, the 4100 can feel less powerful/intense compared to some other Sonicare toothbrushes. Truthfully I don't think it makes a big difference, but I explain it here in my 4100 Series review.

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