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Medically Reviewed
Published: May 29, 2024

Best Philips Sonicare brush head 2024

Author: Jon Love (94 Comments)
Medical reviewer: Dr Gemma Wheeler, BDS
Our top recommended Philips Sonicare brush heads

All models

Best all-round: C1 SimplyClean / Amazon, Philips / ~$19.96

Best for a gentler clean: S Sensitive / Amazon, Philips / ~$31.96

BrushSync enabled models

Best all-round: C2 Optimal Plaque Control / Amazon, Philips / ~$31.96

Best for a gentler clean: A3 Premium All-In-One (Until S2 Sensitive launches) / Amazon, Philips / ~$32.96

Why we picked them

We've tested lots of different Sonicare brush handles with all of the various heads that Philips has to offer. All did a decent job of lifting plaque from our teeth. We can't say our testing has ever revealed a brush head we recommend avoiding.

The C1 SimplyClean, also known as ProResults, is the best for just getting the job done, in our opinion. It is also one of the most affordable options.

With medium firmness bristles, the large oval head generally covers a couple of teeth at a time. Plaque and debris caught on the teeth and gum line are efficiently brushed away as the bristles sweep back and forth over the tooth surface.

Philips Sonicare C1 SimplyClean Brush Heads – 2pk – White
Philips Sonicare C1 SimplyClean Brush Heads – 2pk – White
Sonicare brush heads in use in the mouth
Sonicare heads tend to cover a couple of teeth at a time. The back and forth sweeping sensation is often less aggressive on the gums.

The S Sensitive is our other top recommendation.

In our testing we've found that the feeling after brushing isn't quite as invigorating, but it was far gentler on our teeth and soft gum tissue. We've got no complaints with the cleaning results given the less intense and more delicate sensation it offers.

We've found that the ultra soft bristles are far more considerate of inflamed and tender gum tissue compared with the medium firmness bristles that the majority of Philips brush heads have. If you have sensitivity or gum recession this head is a must-pick.

The S Sensitive head is compatible with virtually all Sonicare brush handles. However, this head does not have BrushSync technology.

Philips Sonicare S Sensitive Brush Heads – 3pk – White
Philips Sonicare S Sensitive Brush Heads – 3pk – White

If your toothbrush has BrushSync and you want to ensure you get timely reminders on brush head replacement, the C2 Optimal Plaque Control/Defence brush head is our recommendation.

It is a little smaller (approximately 15-20%) than the C1 SimplyClean. We know some people prefer this as it can help with positioning the brush head into certain parts of the mouth.

We have found cleaning results are comparable.

Philips Sonicare C2 Optimal Plaque Control Brush Heads – 3pk – White
Philips Sonicare C2 Optimal Plaque Control Brush Heads – 3pk – White

Key things to know

Your brushing time and technique are more important than the brush head you choose
It's not worth agonizing over which brush head to use - pick one and begin brushing
No one brush head is going to provide signficantly better results
They are safe to use on crowns, veneers, bridges, implants and braces
Buying larger pack sizes will typically save you money
All heads are available with a white plastic body, but only select heads are available in black
Each head is designed to last for 3 months on average
Most heads have color changing bristles to act as a reminder to replace the head
BrushSync enabled heads alert you via a light on the handle when a head requires replacement

Video explanation

In this video we explain what each brush head does and why we picked our top recommendations.

Best Sonicare brush head video thumbnail

Do the specialized heads work?

Yes, Sonicare's specialized heads can be useful for some people. In the sections below we've said a bit about our experience with two of the most popular ones – sensitive and whitening.

Sensitive heads

Regular tooth brushing can help reduce gum inflammation, bleeding and sensitivity. However, for some of us, no matter what we do our teeth and gums are still delicate and require the lightest of touches.

Despite being optimized for sensitivity, these heads can be used by anyone daily.

The ultra soft bristles move over the teeth and gum surfaces with a motion that feels less abrasive than some other brush heads. Dentists typically recommend soft bristles over firm, making this a more sensible choice.

The long oval-like shape typically covers a couple of teeth at a time. Unlike the W profile of the C1 SimplyClean, the head has more of a wave formation to it that creates a C-like shape that cups the rounded profile of the teeth as you brush.

The head is densely packed with bristles, but the outer clusters are shorter in length than those in the middle. Our team found that with regular use this head helped reduce bleeding and inflammation of the gum tissue, restoring red and puffy gums to a healthy light pink color.

The S Sensitive brush head is suitable for use with any of the modes and intensities available on a Sonicare brush. That said, we have found the head provides the softest brushing sensation when the intensity is set to low and a mode like sensitive or gum health is selected.

Philips Sonicare S Sensitive Brush Heads – 3pk – White
Philips Sonicare S Sensitive Brush Heads – 3pk – White
Our recommended brush heads for those with sensitive teeth
Ultra soft bristles result in a very gentle brushing experience compared to firmer medium bristles

The S Sensitive head is not BrushSync-enabled. If you do want a BrushSync head with soft bristles, your current best option is the A3 Premium All-In-One.

However, it is expected that the S2 Sensitive head will soon be available to buy in the USA. It is currently available in Europe and is the updated equivalent to the S Sensitive.

The S2 Sensitive is the only other brush head to have 'ultra soft' bristles and be equipped with the RFID chip. Unlike the A3 head, it's not backed with the soft touch silicone.

It has 3,000 bristles each 0.01mm thick and a profile that is not as wide or long as other head styles. This can help with reaching in the mouth but does limit the coverage it can offer at any one time.

Whitening heads

Optimized for whitening the Diamond shaped bristle tips in this densely packed brush head help remove surface stains from the teeth more effectively than some other heads.

We have seen first hand how it can make visible improvements to a user's teeth. However, one must be aware that you can't expect sensational results in most situations. If you are a heavy smoker, red wine, tea or coffee drinker, using this head will likely deliver some positive results.

But, if you are an oral care aficionado and regularly whiten your teeth or get a professional cleaning, you are unlikely to notice any difference.

Close up of the W DiamondClean brush head
Diamond shaped tips to each bristle help buff away stains from the external surface of the teeth

To enhance the effect of the whitening head it is best, although not essential, to use it with a whitening mode or higher intensity setting that Sonicare handles offer. It can also be beneficial to use a whitening toothpaste with it. Such pastes are usually more abrasive in order to help lift stains, but we don't advise long term use of them as it can result in more wear of the tooth surface.

The W DiamondClean or W2 Optimal White head is BrushSync-enabled. There is no equivalent without an RFID chip.

Regular heads like the C1 SimplyClean can achieve similar results to the DiamondClean, it just might take longer.

Philips Sonicare W DiamondClean Brush Heads – 2pk – White
Philips Sonicare W DiamondClean Brush Heads – 2pk – White

Other specialized brush heads

Philips has reduced the number of specialized brush heads it offers in recent years.

Where they once made a compact and standard sized version of many heads now, in most instances, they only make the standard sized option. The compact variant can be useful for crowded teeth and smaller mouths.

Other specialized options like the T1 TongueCare+ head, which had 240 microbristles, are no longer sold. We generally prefer tongue scrapers, although brushing the tongue with a normal head is still far better than nothing.

The main alternatives are adaptations of existing heads. The key differentiator is the soft silicone back and sides of the head. This makes them more pleasant on the teeth and gums when in use. It reduces the chattering sound and effect should the vibrating head come into contact with the tooth. Unfortunately, we've found these heads are often more expensive. Subsequently, it becomes harder to justify their value.

The brush head to replace them all

As the name suggests the A3 Premium All-In-One is the brush head for those wanting a bit of everything.

Philips Sonicare A3 Premium All-in-One Brush Heads – 2pk – White
Philips Sonicare A3 Premium All-in-One Brush Heads – 2pk – White

It has softer bristles compared to the medium ones found on many Sonicare heads. It makes for a more pleasant experience if your teeth and gums are tender. Given many dentists recommend soft bristles, it is arguably a better choice.

The triangular shaped tips to the bristles are designed to effectively clean the tooth surface and buff away discolouration and stains, replicating the whitening effect of the W DiamondClean head.

And of course, the tufts of bristles are positioned and shaped to maximize plaque removal.

We can vouch for the A3's performance — it has achieved excellent results during the times we have used it and is a delight to brush with.

It is arguably worthy of being a top pick, but although it is softer and more effective in plaque and stain removal, we can't say it is noticeably better. Using the A3 head will (for most) not result in radical shifts in your cleaning compared to one of the other brush head styles.

The A3 is typically more expensive than other brush heads and therefore, like other premium options, it is hard to justify above the cheaper alternatives.

A3 Premium brush head explained with images and text
This do-it-all brush head is a delight to use but comes at a cost premium

Genuine vs generic

From our use and testing, we believe that Philips Sonicare's original brush heads, often known as "genuine heads", are the best. They will always be our primary recommendation.

However, there are a large number of generic or aftermarket options. These heads often look very similar to and perform comparably to the originals. The big advantage of these is that they are considerably cheaper.

For example, an off-brand head can cost $2 or less compared to the $10 per manufacturer original brush head. You could save around $100 over 3 years.

Best Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 1
Aftermarket brush head (left) next to Sonicare original (right)

But, as it stands, no third party brush heads support BrushSync, so you are forced to stick with Sonicare's own heads if you wish to make use of this technology.

And as you might well imagine, not all brush heads are the same. The very cheapest and most affordable (under $2) are that cheap for a reason. It certainly isn't applicable to all, but I have heard of bristles coming loose, heads breaking and bristles wearing faster.

The cheapest third-party Sonicare heads will not have rounded tips to the bristles. We've found that this results in a sharper and harsher feeling on the teeth and gums. It can make for an unpleasant brushing experience, particularly if you have sensitive gums.

Paying around $2.50-3 per head has, in our testing, resulted in a better experience. In fact, many of these heads are very good and in a blindfolded test, it has proven hard to tell the difference to the manufacturer's.

We've also found that some have the symbols to identify whose brush head is whose, which the manufacturer originals lack.

If you would like to save a few dollars without too much compromise on quality, these heads are a good option:

Best Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 2
Brushmo Sonicare compatible replacement brush heads

BrushSync heads are useful but not essential

The majority of Sonicare brush heads are BrushSync enabled. This means a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) microchip has been built into the brush head.

When fitted to a compatible brush handle, the use of the head is tracked. Once the recommended usage time is exceeded, an alert is presented on the handle. It's an obvious alert that your brush head needs replacing.

On select models the technology goes one step further. The handle will automatically change the cleaning mode, based on the style of the attached head. A detailed explanation of how it works can be found in our BrushSync explained article.

It is a useful feature if you have a habit of forgetting to replace your brush head regularly. You don't need it though.

We have found having the chip makes recycling the heads more difficult. The cost of each head tends to be higher than those without.

BrushSync-enabled heads will fit and work with handles that don't have BrushSync, but the "smart" technology does not work. Similarly handles with BrushSync technology can use those heads without the chip, but you won't be alerted when a replacement head is due.

Best Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 3
RFID chip built into the base of the brush head (top left). BrushSync reminder light on the handle (middle left). An icon on the head to symbolize BrushSync enabled (bottom left). Sonicare app alert to an overdue brush head (right).

Compatibility: which heads fit and work with my brush handle?

The following table shows which brush heads fit and are compatible with which brush handles:

Bursh Head StyleBrush Head ImageHandle CompatibilityBrushSync Enabled**
C1 SimplyClean/ProResultsBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 4All Sonicare handles*No
C2 Optimal Plaque Control/Plaque DefenceBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 5All Sonicare handles*Yes
C3 Premium Plaque Control/Plaque DefenceBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 6All Sonicare handles*Yes
G2 Optimal Gum CareBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 7All Sonicare handles*Yes
G3 Premium Gum CareBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 8All Sonicare handles*Yes
W DiamondClean/W2 Optimal WhiteBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 9All Sonicare handles*Yes
W3 Premium WhiteBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 10All Sonicare handles*Yes
S SensitiveBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 11All Sonicare handles*No
S2 SensitiveBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 12All Sonicare handles*Yes
A3 Premium All-In-OneBest Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 13All Sonicare handles*Yes
*Excluding E-Series & Philips One
**Must be used with BrushSync enabled handle to gain benefits

How do I know when it's time to replace a head?

With most Sonicare heads, blue 'reminder bristles' within the head will fade in color over a period of about 3 months.

If your brush handle is BrushSync enabled, the light and icon on the toothbrush handle will illuminate Amber to alert you when a replacement is due. Bluetooth-enabled brushes may offer an alert within the Philips Sonicare smartphone app too.

If the head shows obvious signs of wear it is recommended to replace the head sooner rather than later.

Dental professionals generally advise replacing your brush head every 3 months because bristles wear with use. Using it for longer than recommended can lead to less effective cleaning results and damage to the teeth and gums.

Fading indicator bristles on a Sonicare brush head

How to fit Philips brush heads

To replace a Sonicare brush head, you pull (with a small amount of force) the existing head off the handle and push the replacement on in its place. There is no need to twist or lock the head into place.

The only exception is a much older E-Series brush handle which screws on and off. Such handles are not that common anymore.

We demonstrate the method in the video below.

Best Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 14

Are Sonicare brush heads interchangeable? 

Yes, Philips Sonicare brush heads are fully interchangeable.

Whether your brush came with a SimplyClean or A3 Premium All-In-One brush head you can easily clip on a W DiamondClean or C2 Plaque Control head if that is your preference.

The only catch is that if you have a BrushSync-enabled handle and fit a brush head that does not support it, you will not get any alerts when it is time to replace the head.

Similarly, a BrushSync-enabled head, fitted to a handle without BrushSync compatibility, does not enable any reminder feature because the handle does not have the necessary hardware built in.

The interchangeable nature of the brush heads are explained in the following video:

Best Philips Sonicare brush head 2024 15

There's no way to identify whose head is whose

Philips does not print icons or offer colored rings on brush heads to help you differentiate between your brush head and that of another family member.

It is a point of frustration for many.

Our best advice is to mark them yourself with a piece of colored tape, nail varnish or similar.

As mentioned above, some third-party heads do include an icon or similar to help you to distinguish between brush heads.

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

Related Topics

Leave a comment

November 5, 2023

Thanks for the comprehensive explanations about brush heads. Who knew! I purchased my FlexCare+ 900+ Series toothbrush in 2014 and love it. I've always relied on the loss of bristle color to cue me to replace the brush head. I recently purchased replacement heads from Amazon and was using a G2. At midnight last night my toothbrush started a relentless beeping (1 then 2). I replaced the G2 with a C3. I managed to brush my teeth but about 3am the brush started beeping again. At some point it stopped then started again at about 3pm. Can you please help with this crazy-making problem?

Jon Love - Chief tester
November 6, 2023

Hi. I am afraid I don't know what the cause of this noise is. It's highly unlikely to be linked to the brush head and more likely some sort of fault with the toothbrush itself. It could be worth contacting Sonicare to see if they have any suggestions, but given the brush is nigh on 10 years old, I suspect the outcome is unfortunately going to be replacing it.

Karin Sypura
October 14, 2023

Thoughts on the A3 All-in-One brush head?

Jon Love - Chief tester
October 16, 2023

Hi Karin. Yes, it's a good head. As the name implies it is an all-in-one do it all that I like. The bristles are soft which is great. I've generally found this head to cost a bit more on average than some others. I can't say the benefits necessarily make it worth the premium, but it depends on where you are buying it and what the current prices are. IN real world testing the cleaning results are not really any better from what I can tell. Ultimately comparable to most.

L Han
October 5, 2022

How should one dispose of the Sonicare toothbrush heads?

Jon Love - Chief tester
October 7, 2022

You can recycle them. Details of electric toothbrush head recycling schemes can be found here.

August 15, 2022

Do you know if the brushsync feature will be confused and/or worthless if two people are sharing the same base, but using different brush heads?

Jon Love - Chief tester
August 18, 2022

It 'should' track 2 heads just fine Morgan. each head has a unique identifier so it knows the difference.

June 26, 2022

Hi, thanks for your reviews! Found nobody better to ask this to: imagine I'm on a budget and I can afford either a premium 9xxx handle and C2 heads for 2 years, or a cheaper, lower Hz/RPM handle and A3 heads. Which is more important to have for the best cleaning and healthy gums: the best heads or the fastest brushes? Thanks!

Jon Love - Chief tester
June 26, 2022

Hi Mike. Great question with potentially different answers, depending on who you ask the question. The honest answer is that I don't know. I have no evidence to really support me and say one is better than the other. As far as I am aware, there is no clinical evidence that has looked at such. Probably not what you wanted to read. But... Based on what I know and have learned over the years from speaking to manufacturers and dental professionals, I would say go with the cheaper, lower speed handles and the better head, instead of batter handle and c2 heads. The number of movements doesn't make a significant difference. With either, in many respects, your brushing time and technique are more important. In a real world scenario, a cheaper handle and the cheaper brush heads are still more than adequate. We are likely talking about very small differences between the different configurations. I doubt the differences would be clinically significant. I hope that helps somewhat.

February 20, 2022

Thank you for all your work in figuring this out. Why Philips does not understand the confusion here is beyond me. I have spent hours looking for replacement heads for my Philips Sonicare Dailyclean 2100 series. Model #HX3211/17 Best I could come up with was, ESeries and PowerUP will not fit my series. And all others will, except if one keeps reading Philips One won't fit. Which doesn't give me confidence to buy any.

Jon Love - Chief tester
February 22, 2022

Jeanette. The Philips One by Sonicare brush heads won't fit your model. Nor will the E-Series brush heads because they are screw on heads. All the other styles of push-on heads will fit.

January 8, 2022

Hello, I know this post has been 'up for a while' so I am not expecting a reply, however, my question is this. If I buy a cheaper 'handle' and a more expensive brush-head would I get the same result as if I had bought the handle with the brush-head. That is to say I am thinking of purchasing the DiamondClean 9000, however, a thought struck, that if I buy a cheaper handle and the Diamondclean brush-head/s would I not get the same results that are being claimed by buying both handle and brush-head together?

Jon Love - Chief tester
January 8, 2022

Hi Adele. The results should be the same. With a few exceptions, the majority of Sonicare brush handles offer the same number of brush/bristle movements irrespective of the head attached. The cleaning modes available do differ, so the exact number of bristle movements and the angle of the bristle swing can vary. But for example, if you used the 'clean' mode on either the cheaper Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 or the more expensive Sonicare DiamondClean 9000, if you use the same brush head, the cleaning results will be the same. Thus, if you can save money by buying a cheaper handle and the brush head separately than together go for it. I hope that makes sense and helps.

Rick Holloway
December 12, 2021

W3 Premium White - would you recommend using the W3 on a daily basis?

Jon Love - Chief tester
December 13, 2021

It can be used daily if a whitening head is your preference, but it is not our first choice.

The Cool Anti Furry
November 25, 2021

C2 and C3 are the exact same.

Jon Love - Chief tester
November 26, 2021

How are they?

October 4, 2021

Great info! Please help me with the following: I bought a pack of 5 Sonicare C1 SimplyClean Brush Heads (HX6015/03). On the package, it says, "Extra-soft rounded bristles; gentle on sensitive teeth & gums." Nowhere does it say whether the heads are "soft," "medium," or "hard." I called, live-chatted, emailed to Philips, but no one could tell me whether the brush heads are "soft" "medium" etc. A pharmacist said that he would consider it, "soft." I did see "medium" somewhere when I Googled about this package. So, are the brush heads HX6015/03 "soft" (printed on the package, "extra-soft") or "medium" (buried somewhere on Google)?

Jon Love - Chief tester
October 5, 2021

Thanks for the question. I would say they are soft. Personally, I would not class them as extra soft. To me, Sonicare's own S Sensitive head feels a little softer, but this is in part due to the cut/profile of the bristles. I think it could be argued that they verge into the medium territory, because of the cut/profile. I should also state that it is possible revisions have been made to the head compared to the ones I have. What makes a bristle soft/medium/firm I think it is open to interpretation a little. It is not something that is referred to a great deal with electric toothbrush heads. I think this is because with few exceptions most fall into the soft/medium category rather than firm. Ultimately if anyone can give you the information, it should be Philips themselves, but it seems like they can't for whatever reason. I know this answer might not be conclusive, but I do hope it helps somewhat.

July 21, 2021

I am new to the electric toothbrush game and I have noticed that the icons no longer come on the toothbrush heads. I see other people saying icons like a circle square diamond triangle etc. Did sonicare discontinue this feature on their replacement heads? Would they be bringing this feature back? What shapes were there when they did this?

Jon Love - Chief tester
July 22, 2021

Hi Stephanie. This does appear to have been a feature that has slowly disappeared from the Sonicare range of toothbrushes. The icon seems to have been replaced with the 'BrushSync' head icon now seen on the vast majority of heads available. I can't say whether it will be coming back or not, I am inclined to say no, given current heads don't have it. Typical shapes were circles, triangles and squares.

Cheryl Ferguson
February 27, 2021

This comprehensive information is done WELL-I appreciate the work and specific details that are given. I have a small mouth with some crooked teeth, and it sounds like I'd benefit from a c2 or A3/2021with compact/dense bristles. I have looked at the suggested on-line websites and retail stores but unable to find the compact bristles on the regular brush head. Please advise. Thank you, Cheryl

Jon Love - Chief tester
February 28, 2021

Hi Cheryl. I am pleased you have found it helpful. Compact heads are much harder to come by now. I have seen no official announcement, but I do suspect that these are being phased out due to the lack of availability.

February 17, 2021

Thank you for the post! I found really useful to have the summary chart.

Mehul Patel
February 13, 2021

Can you tell me which ones come with larger head sizes? I can’t find any information that sorts by the brush head size. I’m looking for something larger.

Jon Love - Chief tester
February 14, 2021

Hi Mehul. Pretty much all Sonicare toothbrushes come with their larger sized heads. It is quite rare to have a toothbrush with a 'compact' head included. Or are you looking for something larger than the Philips 'standard' brush heads?

Mehul Patel
February 14, 2021

Something larger. Not that I have oversized teeth lol but it just feels like I’m using a kids size.

Jon Love - Chief tester
February 15, 2021

To be honest Mehul, in terms of electric toothbrushes, you don't tend to get much larger. There might be exceptions but I can't think of any particularly large brush heads I have seen or used. The larger head can actually make brushing more difficult. There are manual brushes that have larger heads. Radius are one company that make such.

Mehul Patel
February 15, 2021

Thank you so much for the guidance. Great information here.

February 2, 2021

Thank you for such a detailed explanation of Sonic's various brushes. This was very helpful. Do you think that the UV Sanitizer (HX 6907) is worth purchasing?

Jon Love - Chief tester
February 2, 2021

Honestly Donna I don't think it is a must have. Some, rightly so place a great deal of value on this item and I am not going to argue with that. However millions of people around the world use electric toothbrushes daily without a sanitizer. As long as you follow some fairy simple principles about keeping the brush head clean you don't need it.

Xxxxxxxx. Cxxxx
December 21, 2020

You have got to be kidding me. It's like trying to get a masters degree in sonicare toothbrushes. I think I'll go back to a manual

Alexandra Earle
October 14, 2020

I havrhave several different models of Sonicare electric toothbrushes. HX9140 141122, HX 681A, HX(140 I 'm looking for the smaller sized brush head I think it's called "compact" but I can't find any reference to that when I look online for new brushes. I don't want a softer brush, just a smaller one. Can you advise me?

Jon Love - Chief tester
October 14, 2020

Hi Alexandra. Compact brush heads have been phased out by Sonicare and are difficult to source now. There are third party manufacturers that sell compact heads, but they are not made by Sonicare. A search online on the likes of Amazon will show you your options.

Marko Djordjic
October 6, 2020

Someone said: "Brush heads dosent matter, what matters is the toothpaste and how you brush your teeth, diffrent brush heads are just commercials." Are brush heads actually that important?

Jon Love - Chief tester
October 6, 2020

There is limited data Marko to suggest 1 brush head is really any better than the other. This is why we advise just picking 1 and focusing on brushing. How you brush your teeth (technique, time & routine) are far more important and will have more beneficial impact than a specific style of brush head or toothpaste.

Marko Djordjic
October 4, 2020

What is diffrence between the C3 Prenium Plaque Control vs C2 Optimal Plaque Control and the G2 Optimal Gum Care vs G3 Prenium Gum Care

Jon Love - Chief tester
October 4, 2020

Marko, I have done my best to explain these differences on the page already. Ultimately, very little. Most important is to pick a brush head style and stick with it.

Marko Djordjic
September 25, 2020

What is the diffrence between the Phillips Sonicare AdapitiveClean Head vs the C3 Prenium Plauge Control brush heads?

Jon Love - Chief tester
September 28, 2020

Marko. Very little! The main difference is that the C3 Premium Plaque Control brush head has a built-in RFID chip, to allow it to work with Sonicare's BrushSync technology. The AdaptiveClean head has essentially been discontinued now. The C3 is arguable a replacement to it with the same bristle configuration.

Rob Eckhardt
July 1, 2020

Just wanted to say thank you for such a detailed and comprehensive guide. Very impressive and helpful in selecting new replacement heads (I've been using Sonicare since the late 90's when the choices were, shall we say, "limited" :-) )

Jon Love - Chief tester
July 2, 2020

No problem Rob. Very pleased to read that you found it helpful.

June 20, 2020

i noticed that some of the brush heads are made with a gel/silicon coating. is this the C3, W3, and G3? is this why the brushes are damaged by toothpastes that include coconut oil or essential oils? do all the BrushSync heads have the same problem? are there any heads that will not be hurt by using natural, herbal toothpastes? also, what's the best way to sterilise the brush heads between uses? would soaking the bristles in hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol be safe or would that shorten the life of the brush heads?

Jon Love - Chief tester
June 20, 2020

Hey. Yes, it is the C3, W3 and G3 brush heads that have a gel/silicon coating to them. As far as I am aware, the coconut oil can affect the bristles rather than the coating. I understand the bristles can become loose, thus affecting potentially all Sonicare brush heads. This question might be better answered by Sonicare themselves, but I believe I am correct. There is a chance you might not be affected, but the fact that the warning is now included with the brushes means the likelihood is probably relatively high. I can't say that soaking the brush heads in such substances would shorten the life of them. I have not done any extensive testing or seen any evidence to suggest doing so would. UV light is most commonly used for helping kill off the bacteria on the brush heads, however, soaking them in the liquids you mention is something I know some people do.

June 5, 2020

Great information article and videos! I highly recommend anyone who is considering buying a Phillips Sonic toothbrush or is trying to replace a toothbrush head to view the videos at a minimum. The article reinforces the video in detail and is a good affirmation of what you viewed. Thank you for helping me wade through the overwhelming options. I now feel confident making replacement purchases.

Jon Love - Chief tester
June 7, 2020

Thanks Kirsty for the kind words. Overwhelming is a good word to use to explain the range of Sonicare heads. I am pleased you found it all useful 😊

May 15, 2020

I have a 4 pack of DiamondClean. Is it okay to use this brushhead for a year? You haven't marked it as "Everyday Brushing Solution". Thanks for clarification.

Jon Love - Chief tester
May 16, 2020

Yes it is ok. It has been designed with a more specific goal in mind, teeth whitening but it can be used on a daily basis. We just believe there are brush heads that are better suited to daily use if you don't have a particular need or goal in mind.

May 11, 2020

Ye Gods and little fishes, I never thought it to be possible to write such a huge raft of material about tooth brush heads. You must be sponsored by Philips, yes? Unfortunately the only possible result of trying to absorb this mammoth compendium is confusion. I expect that the ultimate blame is on Philips for making such a unnecessarily huge and confusing product range. Perhaps I can help simplify things a little. In my experience:: The InterCare head is the best because it is best at removing food debris, and hence decay, from all the nooks and crannies, and it prompts good blood flow into the gums. The Optimal Plaque Control is the worst because the head automatically ejects (spins off) and is rendered useless when only about two thirds worn. With these brush heads being so expensive, it must be the USER, not Philips, who decides when a brush head is trashed. I strongly suspect that this revenue-accelerating ploy is used on other Philips brush heads - be warned! Fortunately this nasty little trick is NOT used on the InterCare heads.

Jon Love - Chief tester
May 12, 2020

Thanks for your comment. Full disclosure, we are NOT sponsored by Phillips. All information has been sourced through extensive research with the intention of serving site visitors like yourself. There is a lot of information, there is no denying and I would agree that the range from Philips is confusing and does not need to be as large as it is. I have not come across evidence to support your claim that the Optimal Plaque Control automatically ejects and do not understand how this could even happen unless there is a faulty batch where the attachment fails after some time. Have you spoken to Philips about this issue? Nonetheless, pleased to read you have a head that you find works well for yourself.

March 1, 2020

Great info! Thank you. Do you know if the C1 and Sensitive have the imprint on the metal part where they attach to the handle? The W type and others do. Do they have numbers imprinted in the front of the brush instead on the plastic under their type: C1 then a row of numbers vertical under for example?

Jon Love - Chief tester
March 2, 2020

I can confirm, from looking at the brush heads I have myself, that the C1 Pro Results and S Sensitive brush head do not have any numbers printed on the metal ring on the base of the brush head. Both have numbers printed on the front of the brush head shaft (towards the very bottom). These numbers are in place of the C1 etc that is printed on other brush heads.

February 28, 2020

Which brush heads are compatible with the hx6730(2series plaque defense)? The Chinese customer service told me only C2 fit. Thank you.

Jon Love - Chief tester
February 28, 2020

Liyu, The following heads are compatible with the HX6730 (2 series plaque defense) toothbrush. C1 Pro Results C2 Optimal Plaque Control C3 Premium Plaque Control G2 Optimal Gum Care G3 Premium Gum Care I InterCare S Sensitive W DiamondClean W3 Premium White T1 TongueCare+ SimplyClean Whilst all will technically fit & work with this toothbrush, many have BrushSync technology built-in which you will not benefit from when used on the HX6730 brush handle. They tend to be more expensive. Therefore the best value options are: C1 Pro Results S Sensitive SimplyClean

Nancy Franck
February 22, 2020

I purchased C 2 replacement brush for my Flex and it doesn't fit causes the unit to vibrate and is very loud.

Jon Love - Chief tester
February 24, 2020

Hi Nancy. Thanks for the comment. This is a little odd as it should fit just fine and perform like any other brush head you have used in the past. If it doesn't fit correctly, then this is likely the cause of the loud vibrations. It could be worth going back to the seller to see if it can be replaced.

Joan Leong
January 5, 2020

I have a Sonicare G2 electric toothbrush and cannot find replacements for the head only. Costco, Walgreens and Target do not sell this particular model. I don't see it on your website, either. Is there any more of these available through you on line. If so, which one is compatible to mine? the bottom of the holder says HX682P 181211-2A PLEASE REPLY

Jon Love - Chief tester
January 6, 2020

Hi Joan. From the part numbers you give, any of the brush heads listed in this article, with the exception of E-Series, PowerUp and Kids heads will fit.

jerry karpel
December 15, 2019

you certainly seem to know all about Sonicare toothbrushes. i just bought an Essence model which is inexpensive. should i have bought a "higher end" model for my dental care? Is so which one? also do you happen to know the the model number of the replacement head that fits the Essence in case you recommend i keep it? it doesn't say on the box or in the brochure (strange). thanks in advance if you can help me.

Jon Love - Chief tester
December 16, 2019

Hi Jerry. The Essence is perfectly functional. Other brushes from Sonicare tend to be a bit more expensive, but the benefit can be the slimmer and lighter handle, battery life and some other features. However, at the core the Essence does what it needs to and you don't have to change it. The list below contains the part numbers of the compatible heads for your toothbrush Jerry. Standard E Series heads 3 pack – HX7023/64 2 pack – HX7022/66 Sensitive standard size 2 pack – HX7053/64 Compact size 2 pack – HX7012/64

August 23, 2019

Hi Jon, Before I order brush heads, the chart shows both the G2 optimal gum care head and the G3 premium gum care head have a 'Y' under 'special brushing solution' instead of under 'everyday brushing solution.' I didn't see this explained, so does this mean you can't use regular toothpaste with these brush heads? Thanks

August 21, 2019

This may be a dumb question, but whenever a new brush head is put on, does it go through the easystart cycle again, or does that function come from the handle and not the brush itself? Otherwise, seems like every a new brush is put on, you'd have to deactivate that feature.

Jon Love - Chief tester
August 21, 2019

Hi Mark, The Easy-Start is linked to the brush handle used and not the brush head. Fitting a new head will not launch the easy start mode again. It is configured so that out of the box, the brush begins in the easy start mode. Once the mode has run, it will not run again unless you re-activate it.

August 17, 2019

I got a variety pack of the G3/C3/P3. When comparing them, the only difference seems to be the color. Same number of bristles. Same size. Same feel. I was expecting something other than color to be different.

Jon Love - Chief tester
August 19, 2019

Dave, Are you sure the bristles are the same on these heads? They are designed to be different. They look similar but there are subtle differences.

Paul J. Ste. Marie
August 13, 2019

I'm still a bit confused. There are two seemingly identical series of brush heads with one entry for each special function: W/G2/C2 (I'll call these the twos) W3/G3/C3 (I'll call these the threes) What's the difference between the twos and the threes? The twos seem to be slightly cheaper, about $26 for a 3 pack of the twos versus about $25 for a two pack of the threes (prices from Amazon). Other than that, they seem to have identical features and purpose. Any ideas on why they have these two different lines of brushes?

Jon Love - Chief tester
August 14, 2019

Hi Paul. Sonicare doesn't make things easy to understand. Whilst I have tried to make things clear, apologies if I have not been clear enough. I have to try and wade through all the information and pick out the differences. Essentially the W/G2/C2 are 'standard' brush heads. The W3/G3/C3 are the 'premium' range of brush heads. The standard range is perfectly functional and does the job. There are 2 key differences. The 'premium' range have a silicone/rubber wrapped around the back of the brush head. As this rubber material comes into contact with your gums and ofter soft surfaces of the mouth it is a little softer with more flex than the standard plastic backs found on the standard brush heads. The bristles are also arranged slightly differently. In theory, this means they do an even better job of cleaning, but I am not sure technically/clinically how much difference it really makes. I hope this helps.

Dee Allmond
July 29, 2019

Thanks for the comprehensive review of these brush heads. Your site has the most clear toothbrush replacement info, and it's been extremely helpful. I can only find the C3 Premium Plaque Control Heads online. Have they been discontinued? If so, what's the next best deep cleaning brush you'd recommend? Thanks

Jon Love - Chief tester
July 30, 2019

Hi Dee. I am glad you have found the article helpful. It was my aim when writing this. Sadly the manufacturers don't always make it simple. You said:

I can only find the C3 Premium Plaque Control Heads online. Have they been discontinued? If so, what’s the next best deep cleaning brush you’d recommend?
I think you may mean you can't find the C3 Premium Plaque Control heads? Here they are on the Sonicare website with links to where you can purchase them.

John Lane
May 10, 2019

On Amazon, many user comments report poor quality, obviously counterfeit, Sonicare toothbrush heads of various models. There are so many such reports that you should caution your readers to avoid buying these heads from Amazon.

Jon Love - Chief tester
May 13, 2019

Thanks for the comment John. You are correct there are many counterfeit brush heads on the market. We only link to the manufacturer original ones to help reduce the chance of people buying the 'copies/fakes'. We will soon have a piece on the site that goes into more detail about counterfeit brush heads and will link readers to it when it is available.

James Arthur
April 10, 2019

hi, i notice the w diamondclean and the w3 is quite similar? what are the differences and which one do you recommend ?

Jon Love - Chief tester
April 10, 2019

Hi James. Yes they are very similar. I see little benefit in going for what tend to be the more expensive W3 option. There is a soft gel/silicon coating to the back and sides of the head which can be a touch softer on the cheeks and gums etc if they touch, but from a cleaning ability there is no real difference. All the claims of potential x times better plaque removal etc are virtually impossible to replicate and tell as every individual and situation is different. Most claims are based when comparing to a manual brush etc.

Susan Hood
March 30, 2019

Beware of the C3 plaque removing heads if you use natural toothpaste. The oils in many brands of natural toothpaste make the bristles fall out while brushing. I contacted Sonicare about it and they said that Coconut oil, peppermint oil and clove oil damage the heads. There is no warning to this effect on the packaging.

Jon Love - Chief tester
April 1, 2019

Hi Susan. This is interesting information, it is the first time I have heard such, thanks for making us aware. What is it about the oils that make the bristles fall out, do you know?

April 30, 2019

Hi Jon, I was at Costco yesterday and they actually DID have a sticker on the Plaque Control and DiamondClean packages with the warning "Avoid direct contact with products that contain essential oils or coconut oil. Use may result in bristle tufts dislodging." You can read that warning if you scroll down a bit to the last line in the Product Description at this Amazon link:

Jon Love - Chief tester
May 1, 2019

Thanks for letting me know Ted.

February 6, 2019

We have a kids one, but was wondering if I can use an adult replacement head now. It doesn't say any where if the adult ones will work as they get older. It still works great, so I hate to replace it just because she's older. The adult heads are so much easier to find.

Jon Love - Chief tester
February 7, 2019

Hi Heather. You can use an adults brush head on a kids brush handle. It may not look great, the white brush head on the bold coloured handle, but if you are not worried (I wouldn't be too concerned) then it is fine.

January 17, 2019

If a family are all using the same device how can we stop getting our brush heads muddled up. Our Oral B brush heads had little coloured rings so we could differentiate which one belonged to whom. My new Sonicare came with 2 brush heads but no coloured rings. This is going to cause a major problem in my home so I want to find a way of labelling our own brush heads. I need to buy a pack of four C3 heads so any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks

Jon Love - Chief tester
January 17, 2019

Hi Anette. You are not the first to voice this problem. Some put a marker on the brush head using things like colored nail polish or some sort of marker pen. A piece of colored tape could work too. Whilst the manufacturer own brush heads are generally best, there are some third party brush heads compatible with Sonicare brush handles that offer the colored rings. These brush heads do not support BrushSync technology though if your brush handle has this built in.

Ben Harold
January 7, 2019

Hi, Thanks for all the useful info. I have a question: are Sonicare heads interchangeable among different brands? Is it safe to use a Sonicare head from a different manufacturer? For example, I recently bought OVONNI BH-126 and was not able to find replacement heads, I was advised to use replacement heads from ISELECTOR. Thanks :)

Jon Love - Chief tester
January 8, 2019

Hi Ben, I have not heard of this brush brand and model that you mention. If the companies advice is to use heads from ISELECTOR then I would suggest you can follow this. As a general rule, most brands alter their fittings in some way so that you can use only their brush heads or those specifically designed for their brushes. For example you can't use and Oral-B brush head on a Phipips Sonicare or the vice versa. There are other companies who specifically make compatible brush heads for many different brands of toothbrush. This means these head fit and work with ranges such as Sonicare brush handles, but are not identical to the Philips Sonicare original brush heads. 99.9% of the time these are perfectly fine, fitting perfectly and cleaning the teeth without issue. Strictly speaking the use of third party brush heads like this goes against the manufacturers recommendation and you cannot necessarily be assured of the quality in the same way. I hope this helps.

Annisa Kriekenbeek
December 28, 2018

Are all the sonicare heads soft bristled? I noticed recently on some of the replacement head packaging a picture of a feather with Medium written below it.

Jon Love - Chief tester
December 29, 2018

Hi Annisa, I can't comment on the exact softness rating for each brush head, but all between soft-medium stiffness/firmness. None of the brush heads bristles, are to my knowledge, firm or really stiff. Dentists generally recommend soft an/or medium bristles, so this is what Sonicare offer.

December 2, 2018

What's the difference between the C3 and W3 (other than their advertised purposes)? Their bristle layouts appear to be identical--is there a difference between the bristles themselves on the two heads?

Jon Love - Chief tester
December 4, 2018

Kristen, You are right. The bristle layout is the same. The colour of the bristles is different, but to our knowledge everything else appears to be identical.

November 24, 2018

Is the Essence+ plus different than the essence? iI has a snap on head and a curvy metal attachment. Which brush heads are compatible with the Essence Plus? Thank you

Jon Love - Chief tester
November 25, 2018

Hi. Yes, rather confusingly the Essence and Essence+ are different when it comes to brush heads. The Essence has a specific style of brush head that screws on and off, whilst the Essence+ uses the push on and pull off style brush head that is most common across the Sonicare range. If you own the Essence Plus (+) you can use any of the following brush head styles: DiamondClean W DiamondClean C3 Premium Plaque Control G3 Premium Gum Care W3 Premium White AdaptiveClean I InterCare InterCare Pro Results ProResults Gum Health G2 Optimal Gum Care C2 Optimal Plaque Control ProResults Plaque Control Sensitive SimplyClean Sonicare tend to sell the Essence+ with 1 of these style heads: DiamondClean ProResults SimplyClean Sensitive brush If you need further help, just let me know.

Melodee Brady
September 4, 2018

The information here does not include what the icons on the brushes mean! Circle, square and diamond icons are on the individual brushes. What do they mean?!!! I have a Phillips Diamond Clean Sonicare.

Jon Love - Chief tester
September 5, 2018

Hi Melodee, It is my belief that the icons, be that circle, square, diamond etc are ways in which you can tell which brush head is yours, if the same style of brush head is being used. In a family environment for example, if all users were using an Adaptive Clean brush head: Parent 1 - Square Parent 2 - Circle Child - Diamond There might be another reason, but not one I am aware of.

Douglas Pais
August 12, 2018

Thanks for the article. I would have thought the diamond clean was the best as it has the word diamond in it. Silly me. I like to purchase my heads at Costco as you can get 6 for like $40 when they’re on sale. As they only have the diamond clean and the premium plaque control I’ll take the latter. Here is the link in case you would like to let others know. Another reason for me purchasing them at Costco is I am nearly certain that they are authentic which seems to be an issue when purchasing them online especially. Thanks again!

Jon Love - Chief tester
August 13, 2018

Hi Douglas, Thanks for the comment. The range of brush heads are confusing for sure. When it comes down to it, they are all going to help you maintain good oral health, but as this article explains, some might be a bit better than others for certain things. Costco should only sell the genuine brush heads. Whilst the majority of online sellers do to sell genuine parts, there are some who produce replicas/fakes rather than the real thing.

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