Great cleaning results with a balance of usable features
The 4700 ProtectiveClean is an excellent electric toothbrush, providing you can find it for an agreeable price.
It offers something a little more than the most basic toothbrushes. It isn’t loaded with unnecessary extras.
- 2 cleaning modes
- Different brushing intensities
- Reminds you when to replace the brush head
- Long battery life
- American Dental Association approved
- BrushSync compatible brush heads command a premium price
- Limited availability
The 4700 is one of the more difficult brushes to source. It is sold primarily through dental offices and stores that don’t sell their products online. Although, it is worth checking out eBay.
Consider these other brushes
All things considered, the 4700 is a really solid electric toothbrush, even if it doesn’t quite make our list of best electric toothbrush.
I wouldn’t fault you for buying it, at the right price.
Oral-B’s Smart 1500 is our top choice when you factor in price and features, but, do consider the Sonicare 4100 Series. It is very similar to the 4700 and will deliver the essential features you need for what is likely a lower cost.
|Sonicare 4100 Series - White||26,523 Reviews||$47.99||View on Amazon|
Design, usability, clean & general use
There is no denying that there is a consistent design theme across the ProtectiveClean range of brushes and I like what Sonicare have done here. From the box to the handle itself, everything has been fairly well thought out.
It comes in a fairly typical cardboard box that highlights the key features and functions of the brush. On the outer box is printed an image of the box and that image is the same color as the handle inside so you know just what you are getting.
I don’t wish to get too ‘environmentally friendly’ but it is nice to see that the inner tray that holds the brush handle and head is made from cardboard rather than polystyrene that still seems to be the material of choice in the boxes of many Oral-B toothbrushes.
The items you get are listed above, in the ‘What’s in the box’ section of this review.
First impressions of the toothbrush are good. Yes, there is nothing revolutionary here, with a fairly typical look, but it doesn’t look cheap or nasty. Quality and classy are certainly words that come to mind.
At the time of review, the 4700 is available in 3 different color options, white and mint, white and light blue and pastel pink.
Color aside, technically they are all the same.
Like most Sonicare models this feels great in hand and the cylindrical body is large enough you can get a good grip to hold onto it.
When compared to Oral-B, there is an obvious lack of rubber grips or raised plastic ridges on the handle that can help with retaining the brush in hand. If you or the end user struggles to hold things, the ProtectiveClean might not be the best solution. Although the matt finish of the plastic is more grippy than you might imagine.
Taking a closer look at the handle of the 4700.
On the front of the handle, at the top, is the Philips Sonicare logo.
Placed somewhere between a third of the way and halfway down the brush handle are 2 buttons.
The upper button is the power button, this turns the brush on and off.
The lower button is the cleaning mode/intensity button.
A power symbol is embossed onto the concave rubber button and makes for a natural place to rest the thumb.
The cleaning mode/intensity button has no icon on it and is smooth to the touch.
The buttons are relatively easy to press with a bit of feedback.
In between each button are 3 LEDs, horizontally aligned. They get slightly bigger from left to right.
These are the LEDs that show the intensity (or power) of the motor. I will explain more about these very shortly.
Surrounding these buttons is a plastic panel that gives a color accent to the brush handle
The panel and the button color is determined by the variant you opt for.
Sitting below those buttons and silver panel are the LEDs and names of the 2 cleaning modes available on the 4700.
You have Clean and Gum Care
The LED sits above the cleaning mode name.
Right towards the bottom of the brush handle are a further 2 LEDs and icons.
First sits the BrushSync LED and symbol, below that, the battery LED and symbol.
The LED for the battery lights up and flashes in a few different ways. Check out the ‘battery life’ section of this review for more information on that.
The back of the handle is smooth to the touch. No ridges or extra grips, with the exception of a little protrusion at the bottom of the handle.
It seems a bit out of place and not immediately obvious what it is for. But, lay the brush on a flat surface, and this raised molding stops the brush rolling about. Genius!
On the base of the brush handle is a recess into which the prong on the charging stand fits.
The brush will sit upright on a flat surface and does too sit upright on the charging stand.
At the very top of the brush handle extends a metal shaft that feeds out from the motor inside. This is only visible when no brush head is attached.
It is this shaft that passes the movements from the brush motor to the bristles of the attached brush head. The motor offers up to 31,000 brush strokes (62,000) movements per minute.
Take a look at the handle from the side and you can see how the brush head fits on at a very slight angle. It is designed like this and does not sit perfectly perpendicular as might be expected.
What does this do?
It actually helps angle the brush head, so that you can reach the teeth right at the back of the mouth with a little more ease.
To fit a brush head to the handle, you simply push it on over the metal shaft. Pull it off to remove it. There is no need to twist or lock the head into position. As it is pushed into position, there is normally a small click sound or you feel the sensation of the head fitting perfectly into place.
In the box is just 1 brush head, it is the C3 Premium Plaque Control head, which is BrushSync enabled.
What this means, is that the head can communicate with the 4700 brush handle.
There are 2 parts to this ‘BrushSync’ technology. The 4700 has only 1 part, the brush head replacement reminder system. It does not have the mode pairing technology.
As the BrushSync mode pairing name kind of implies, the brush automatically selects the appropriate cleaning mode and intensity based on the brush head attached.
This means that if you fit the Optimal Gum Care head to the handle, it will automatically select the Gum Care cleaning mode. To benefit from this feature, you will need to opt for the ProtectiveClean 6100 or other Sonicare toothbrush ranges such as the DiamondClean Smart.
How it works is that both the brush handle and brush head have to be BrushSync compatible.
Inside a BrushSync compatible brush head, is a small microchip.
When a brush head is fitted to the brush handle for the first time, the chip is detected and the warning light will flash 3 times. This acts as confirmation that the handle has detected the head and that the electronics inside the handle will now keep track of it.
As you use the brush head, the handle continues to track how often it has been used.
The handle knows that the brush head should be replaced every 3 months. So, once the handle detects that the brush head has been used for this amount of time, the ‘BrushSync’ LED on the brush handle will light up an amber/orange color. It is at this point you should fit a new head.
But, the brush is cleverer still.
If it detects you have brushed 3 times a day every day or brushed with more pressure, it will activate the BrushSync alert sooner, as the bristles will have worn out sooner than the typical 3 month time period.
It will too delay alerting you to replace the brush head if you used that head just once a day over 3 months. It would not tell you to replace it until it had been used for an equivalent to 4 minutes a day for 3 months.
Ultimately it is built into the brush to help you achieve the best standards of oral healthcare.
Now, if you were not already aware, there is a confusing range of Sonicare brush heads. There isn’t just 1 style, but multiple. Not all have this microchip built-in either.
If you want to have BrushSync work, you need to use a compatible brush head.
At the time of writing the heads that have the chips built-in and are BrushSync compatible are:
- I Intercare
- C2 Optimal Plaque Control
- G2 Optimal Gum Care
- W DiamondClean
- C3 Premium Plaque Control
- G3 Premium Gum Care
- W3 Premium White
- T1 Tongue Care
Heads without the microchip can be used with the 4700, but you will not get the benefit of the brush head replacement reminder. It will be up to you to remember when you last replaced the brush head.
If you know you don’t change your brush head all that often, this technology can be really useful. However, if you regularly replace your brush head, then you could buy the standard heads and save a few dollars, as they tend to be cheaper.
Like all new technology, it comes at a premium.
To be fair, the prices have dropped since the tech was first introduced in 2017, but it would be nice to see further drops to help keep running costs down.
Prices vary from one store to another. I have found them as low as $8 per head, but as high as $15 if being sold at full retail price.
An average price is around $12 per head.
A normal brush head, that is not BrushSync compatible is on average $8.
We cover brush heads in more detail in our guide to Sonicare brush heads.
The 4700 offers 2 cleaning modes, Clean and Gum Care.
Clean, is a 2 minute mode for a thorough everyday clean, whilst gum care lasts for 3 minutes, 2 minutes of normal cleaning and 1 minute to clean and stimulate the gums.
I have written more about all of Sonicare’s brushing modes here.
To choose the mode you want, you first need to press the cleaning mode button on the brush handle until the LED above the desired cleaning mode is lit. You can continue to cycle through the modes by pressing that button.
Once selected, power the brush on and the cleaning mode is set.
Once powered on, you can use that same button to control the intensity of the clean that the brush offers.
The 4700 offers 3 different brushing intensities. Low, medium and high.
You can press it multiple times to cycle through, low, medium and high.
The LEDs below the power button will light up.
- 1 LED lit means low power
- 2 LEDs lit means medium power
- 3 LEDs lit means full power
Depending on the mode selected and the intensity, well depend on how many of the maximum 62,000 movements (31,000 brush strokes) per minute are used.
There is a clear difference between each intensity. You can hear it in the sound emitted from the motor and in the cleaning sensation.
In many respects, you could suggest you have a total of 6 different cleaning options on the 4700, more than enough for most people.
Whilst Clean is the default, go to option, the Gum Care mode works well for those suffering with or recovering from gum disease or those who are generally more sensitive to the power the electric toothbrush delivers.
Both a 2 minute timer and quadpacer are built into the 4700.
Dentists recommend a 2 minute cleaning cycle, this is offered by the Clean mode.
However, whilst cleaning your teeth for 2 minutes is important, it is also important to pay equal attention to the areas of your mouth. Not much good cleaning just the front teeth if you want good oral health.
During the standard cleaning cycle, at 30 second intervals, the brush motor pauses briefly.
This stops the cleaning action and pauses the humming sound and vibration from the handle.
It is this pause that alerts you to the fact that it is time to change quadrant.
The idea is that you break the mouth up into 4 sections. Upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left.
You spend 30 seconds cleaning each section, that way over the 120 seconds (2 minutes) of brushing time, you will give a relatively even clean to the teeth and gums.
At the end of the cleaning cycle, the brush automatically turns itself off to signal the end of the clean and conserve power.
The Gum Care mode lasts for 3 minutes, so what happens here is that that pacer functions for the first 2 minutes then stope. The 4700 will then automatically turn itself off after 3 minutes.
If you have not used an electric toothbrush before, the extra power and functions can be daunting. Of course, the ability to control the brushing intensity is present on the 4700, but there is too another feature that first time users may find particularly helpful.
EasyStart is a system that gently increases the power over the first 14 brushings to help you get used to brushing with the ProtectiveClean 4700.
Another feature that is aimed at all, but particularly useful for new users is the built-in pressure sensor.
Brushing too hard can damage the teeth and gums, not to mention wear out the brush heads sooner.
Bristles need only skim the tooth surface to remove plaque and debris.
The sensor will kick in every time it detects the excessive force being used.
The handle vibrates to alert you when too much pressure is being applied, the brushing sensation and sound changes too.
I particularly like the visible pressure sensor available on the DiamondClean Smart and Oral-B’s model range. I think the light it more obvious, particularly when most of us tend to brush in front of a mirror.
The BrushSync replacement reminder LED flashes amber when the sensor is activated. Given its position, it is not the easiest to see. Although you should notice the vibration and different brushing sensation.
Within a few days, you will likely get used to how much pressure is appropriate.
Something I wish was included with the slightly cheaper 4100 toothbrush is a travel case. Thankfully the 4700 comes with a case in the box as standard.
Whilst not everyone may need one, it is a really handy accessory if you are traveling or going away, even for just 1 night.
Made from durable plastic, the case is hinged on the left side with a clip on the right to securely fasten it shut.
The case holds the 4700 brush handle and up to 2 brush heads.
Not only will it stop the handle or heads getting damaged, but it also stops any accidental activation of the brush.
Aside from the travel case and some documentation you get nothing else in the box.
As I explain a little later in the reliability section the 4700 comes with a 2 year Sonicare warranty.
Last and by no means least, it is worth mentioning that the 4700 is approved by the American Dental Association.
Overall I have nothing but positive comments about the 4700, it is a superb toothbrush.
It cleans the teeth really well, it is nice and quiet in operation and just generally does what it needs to well.
The cheaper 4100 ProtectiveClean (now replaced with 4100 Series) serves most people perfectly well, but the intensity control is a nice touch and can make daily use a bit more pleasurable.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Slim and comfortable brush handle
- Different color options
- Sonic cleaning action with up to 62,000 movements (31,000 brush strokes) per minute
- 2 cleaning modes (Clean and Gum Care)
- 3 brushing intensities (Low, Medium and High)
- Dedicated cleaning mode button
- LEDs show which cleaning mode is selected
- 1 brush head included
- Various styles of brush heads available separately
- Brush head replacement reminder
- EasyStart program
- Built-in timer and 30 second pacer
- Pressure sensor to stop you brushing too hard
- Travel case included
- 2+ week battery life
- Water resistant handle
- American Dental Association approved
Sealed inside the handle of the 4700 ProtectiveClean is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery. The battery is not user removable as some might wish for.
Being sealed inside means the brush is water resistant and considerably less likely to be damaged by water than a brush with a removable battery.
Sonicare have always performed pretty well in the battery department and certainly leaves Oral-B’s battery life looking very weak.
It is suggested that the 4700 has a battery life of 2 weeks.
Being quite frank, this is the absolute minimum you are going to get out of it, based on a full charge.
The fact of the matter is, my hands-on testing achieved 20 days, just shy of 3 weeks on the most power hungry Gum Care mode.
Change to the shorter Clean mode and I achieved a staggering 5 weeks between charges.
The different cleaning modes and intensities all have a bearing on how long the battery will last for, therefore your usage time may vary.
Given that the vast majority will stick with the standard clean mode, a battery life of around 5 weeks is incredible.
The flagship Oral-B Genius X just about scrapes 2 weeks!
It can take up to 24 hours to recharge the battery fully, which is quite a long time, but not an issue for most.
Place the toothbrush on the provided charging stand, plug it into the power outlet and just leave it.
The charging stand is white in color. It has a 2 pin power adapter hard wired into it and it supports 100-240v.
Whilst the higher end voltage support is not needed in the USA, should you travel and need to take the charging stand, you will need only a plug adapter and not a voltage adapter too.
This is great if you find yourself in countries in Europe for example.
Depending on how long you travel for will depend upon whether you need to take the charging stand at all.
Some wonder how the toothbrush actually charges as there is no cable to physically connect to the toothbrush, just a prong on the top of the charging stand, that fits into the recess on the base of the brush handle.
It is a technology called inductive charging. The electric current is transferred between two tightly wound coil cables that are positioned in the base of the brush handle and in the charging stand.
On the brush handle is an LED indicator that provides useful feedback to let you know when the brush is charged and when it needs charging.
When first placed on the charging stand, the charger will emit 2 short beeps to confirm that the handle is placed properly. The flashing light of the battery level indicator shows that the toothbrush is charging. When the handle is fully charged, the battery light goes a solid green for 30 seconds and switches off.
Feedback from the charging icon on the front of the brush handle looks as follows:
- A solid green LED means a full battery.
- A flashing green LED means a medium battery.
- A flashing amber LED and three beeps mean a low battery.
- A flashing amber LED and five beeps mean no brushing sessions left, you need to charge the toothbrush.
Summary of battery life
- Lithium-Ion battery technology built-in
- Sonicare claim 2 weeks usage
- Hands-on testing achieved 3-5 weeks
- Takes up to 24 hours to charge fully
- 2 pin US charging stand with 100-240v support
- A solid green LED means a full battery
- A flashing green LED means a medium battery
- A flashing amber LED and three beeps mean a low battery
- A flashing amber LED and five beeps means no brushing sessions left
Price & where to buy
The 4700 is a little different from some of the other brushes within the ProtectiveClean range, in that as far as I am aware it is not supposed to be sold online.
This is a model that has been packaged to sell via dental offices and select retail outlets.
What this can mean, is that the sale price might be higher than you would expect, particularly when you compare it to the online prices for models like the 4100, 5100 and 6100.
The suggested selling price for this brush then is open to interpretation a little, but I believe you will find it typically marketed at around $90.
Now, actually this isn’t too bad, but many electric toothbrushes will sell in the region of 20% below retail, meaning a price closer to $70 is perhaps fairer.
Given the quality of the product and what it offers, I wouldn’t say that at $70 it was a bad price. But, be a little savvy and head to the likes of eBay and you should be able to get it for $40-60.
If you are able to buy this for $60 or less I would say, just do it.
The ProtectiveClean 4100, which lacks a cleaning mode, does not have the brushing intensities nor does it come with a travel case, and this typically sells at $50. Therefore an extra $10 is worth it in my opinion for the travel case alone.
In the box is a single brush head.
Given that brush heads should be replaced every 3 months, you will need to factor this into the cost of ownership.
The technology required for the brush head replacement reminder system that the 4700 has, does mean the brush head price is effected.
A single ‘BrushSync’ compatible head can cost as much as $15 each or as little as $8 per head.
As an average, you can expect to pay $10.
Be a savvy shopper. If you buy the 4700 from the dental office, I can almost guarantee, you will get a much better deal on the heads by shopping online.
For the sake of a few clicks, you could save yourself a good few $.
You can buy and use the standard Sonicare brush heads, that are not compatible with BrushSync. Whilst they work, they do mean the BrushSync element of the toothbrush won’t work. So, using the cheaper brush heads, kind of defeats the point. Of course, ultimately it is up to you.
Electric toothbrushes tend to have a working like of 5+ years, but can last a lot longer, with good care.
To try and give some sort of gauge for overall ownership cost, here at Electric Teeth, we like to price the brush over a 3 year period to give a benchmark and allow comparison to other brushes.
Because there is some volatility in the price of the 4700, I am erring on the side of caution and suggesting the typical sale price will be around $70 (but I know you can get it for less).
Add to this $70 the cost of 11 additional brush heads over the 3 year period and there is an additional cost of $110.
The total cost, therefore, comes to $180 or $0.16 per day.
Manage to score a bargain at $40 or $50 and this price changes to $150 or $182 over 3 years or $0.14 cents per day approximately.
If you are able to pick up a deal on the brush heads at the lower cost of $8 per head, the cost reduces quite significantly.
Share the handle with another user (just change the brush head) and you can extend the value sooner.
By comparison, the ProtectiveClean 4100, works out at $0.13 per day or Oral-B’s Smart 1500, just $0.11.
Please note that all prices quoted are approximates and will vary based on location, supplier and time of purchase. These figures were correct at the time of writing and should not be relied upon as hard fact, but used as a guide during your decision process.
Summary of price & where to buy
- Recommended selling price of around $90
- Will likely sell in the region of $70-90
- Savvy shopping could allow you to get this for $40-60
- BrushSync compatible brush heads are more expensive
- Brush head prices range from $8-15 each, with an average of around $10
- Works out at $0.14-0.16 per day to own
- Share the brush handle to get greater value from the brush
Reliability & long term use
The 4700, like the other ProtectiveClean toothbrushes I have used looks and feels great.
From having now spent many weeks using the different models I have no major cause for concern in the build quality or reliability.
Do be aware, that I test this brush just like you might at home. The brush is not being put through scientific durability tests or similar.
Over the years I have seen some brushes that are not so well designed and feel a bit more fragile, but the 4700 does not fall into this camp.
Inevitably, there is always a chance that something could go wrong with the brush, nothing is faultless.
As standard, it comes with a 2 year manufacturer warranty which should cover you in these instances where the fault encountered is no fault of your own.
I truly believe you can buy this brush in confidence that it will serve you well for many years.
The Oral-B Smart 1500 is our top recommendation because of the clean it offers and the features for the price.
It does have a different cleaning action to Sonicare. So, if sonic cleaning is your preference, the 4100 Series is the best alternative.
But, in many ways, the 4700 perfects what is on offer with the 4100 ProtectiveClean did offer; and could arguably be the better toothbrush.
There is so much to like about it.
It cleans the teeth really well. The 2 minute timer and pacer help brush for the right amount of time. The pressure sensor helps stop excessive force being used and the brush even reminds us when to replace the brush head.
Plus, you get the extra benefit of a travel case having been included.
Going somewhat against the 4700, is the limited availability and potentially the price.
If you can source this for anything between $40-60, just go for it, I really don’t think you will be disappointed.
Unless you particularly need or want the travel case or extra cleaning mode this offers, the 4100 Series (replacement to the ProtectiveClean 4100) might be a more cost effective purchase.
eBay is probably your best best to pick up a deal on this brush.
- Height (without head) — 19cm/7.4 inches
- Height (with head) — 25cm/9.8 inches
- Width — 2.8cm/1.1 inches
- Thickness — 3cm/1.1 inches
- Weight (without head) — 126g/0.27lb
- Weight (with head) — 132g/0.29lb
All are approximates