Which one would we choose?
Two virtually faultless toothbrushes, both do a great job of cleaning the teeth, but it is the ProtectiveClean 4100 that is our choice.
It is essentially the replacement to the 2 series with the benefit of a few ‘extra’ features that make it a more sensible purchase, without the additional cost you might have expected.
We actually rate the 4100 as the best overall electric toothbrush you can buy, once price and other factors are considered.
- The 2 Series comes in 6 different color options (black, ultra coral, sky blue, white on guacamole, white on coral and white on steel blue). The ProtectiveClean 4100, on the other hand, comes in 2 color options (white & mint or black & white).
- Aesthetically the 2 brushes, look similar, but there are subtle differences.
- The 2 Series comes with 1 x ProResults brush head whilst the 4100 comes with 1 x C2 Optimal Plaque Control brush head.
- The ProtectiveClean 4100 comes with a built-in pressure sensor.
- The ProtectiveClean 4100 has BrushSync brush head replacement reminder technology.
- The ProtectiveClean 4100 has a Lithium-Ion battery compared to the Nickel Metal Hydride battery in the 2 Series.
These differences are explained at length later in this article. However, you might wish to learn more about each brush being compared. To do so, check out our hands-on reviews:
Please note. Every effort is made to ensure the key differences listed are correct, but these differences are subject to change without notice. Products and the box contents can be changed without notice and different variants can exist.
Detailed comparison: what’s the difference between the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 and 2 Series?
The ProtectiveClean is a newer range of electric toothbrushes from Philips Sonicare that has essentially been introduced to replace the 2 Series that came before it.
Superseding the 2 Series in terms of features, the brush embraces newer technology for the benefit of you and me.
The 2 brushes on the face of it look fairly similar.
Both are of a cylindrical(ish) design, although the older 2 Series is a touch thicker and fractionally squarer.
The newer 4100 has a smoother flow to the brush handle and does away with the raised dots that acted as grips on the back of the 2 Series handle.
Both have a single power button to turn the brush on and off as well as a battery status icon.
The 4100 does have 1 additional LED on the handle, more on that in a moment.
Not that you would really notice unless you compared in hand side by side, but the 4100 has a slightly slimmer profile and is about 0.3oz/10g lighter.
You have no less than 6 color options when buying the 2 Series. Those choices are
- Ultra coral
- Sky blue
- White on guacamole
- White on coral
- Steel blue
The 4100, on the other hand, is available in 2 color options:
- White & mint
- Black and white
Supplied in the box is an individual brush head with each toothbrush.
The 2 Series is supplied with 1 x ProResults brush head whilst the 4100 comes with 1 x C2 Optimal Plaque Control brush head.
Both brush heads are interchangeable and can essentially be used on any brush handle within the Sonicare range (e-series being the exception).
We’ve written more about Philips Sonicare heads here.
The C2 Optimal Plaque Control head is essentially an upgraded version of the ProResults head.
Both will provide an equivalent clean in day to day use.
The C2 head does, however, have an RFID microchip built into it so that it is compatible with the BrushSync technology that the 4100 boasts.
BrushSync is another differentiating feature between these 2 brushes.
There are 2 elements to BrushSync, which is explained in detail here, but the 4100 has the most desirable element, the brush head reminder system.
Each time a compatible brush head is fitted to the handle it is tracked thanks to the unique RFID chip.
After approximately 3 months, the second LED found on the handle of the 4100 will light up.
This is a visual indicator that it is time to replace the head for a new one.
Once a new one is fitted, the LED will go out, until such time the brush determines the head needs replacing again.
To make use of the BrushSync feature, you must use the compatible heads. They cost a couple of dollars more than the standard heads.
If you prefer you can use a head that is not BrushSync enabled on the 4100, but you won’t benefit from this feature.
Another really useful aid in the 4100 is the built-in pressure sensor.
This is a system that detects when too much force is being applied to the teeth and gums when you brush.
When this pressure is detected, the brush motor will slow down until such time the force it is relieved. A vibration is also sent through the brush handle. You should feel this as well as hear the difference in sound and brushing sensation.
Brushing too hard can damage the teeth and gums in the long term, so this is a nice benefit over and above the 2 Series.
The last difference is the batteries built into the brush handle.
Both brushes have fixed internal batteries that are recharged by sitting the brush on the provided charging stand.
The older 2 series uses a Nickel Metal Hydride battery, whereas the 4100 has a newer Lithium-Ion cell.
Sonicare claim that both brushes have a 2 week battery life, but my own hands-on testing got much longer from the 4100, 5 weeks in fact.
So these are the few differences that set these 2 brushes apart, but there are also many similarities. I will not explain all of these now, but in summary these are:
- Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second quadpacer
- Automatic power off feature
- 31,000 brush strokes per minute/62,000 movements per minute
- Easy-Start technology
- Water resistance
- 90 day money back guarantee
- 2 year warranty
To learn more about either brush, check out the written reviews available, linked at the end of this article.
Does one clean better than the other?
The cleaning capability from each brush is like for like.
They both use the same type of motor that delivers the movement to the brush head.
Sonicare suggests that each brush can remove up to 7 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush.
Each brush is capable of offering up to 31,000 brush strokes or 62,000 movements per minute.
Both models come supplied with different brush heads in the box, but these heads are interchangeable and either handle can use any of the range of Sonicare heads.
One can argue that the brush head replacement reminder on the 4100 could result in better cleaning as the head will be replaced in a more timely manner, rather than being used for longer than it should.
However, assuming diligent 3 monthly replacement and the argument can’t easily be upheld.
Ultimately both deliver a super clean to your teeth and gums when used correctly.
Is one better priced than the other?
Officially there is no price difference between these 2 models.
Sonicare suggests the selling price as $69.99.
Seeing as the 4100 has been designed as the successor to the 2 Series, this makes sense.
At the time of comparison it is still possible to buy both models, with the price of each around about $40.
Replacement brush heads are a little cheaper for the 2 Series.
This is because the 2 Series does not require BrushSync compatible heads, like the 4100 does, that are generally $10 each.
Most brush heads compatible with the 2 Series are around $8, making the lifetime ownership cost a little lower.
That said, the 4100 can use the regular heads, without BrushSync compatibility, but this will disable the brush head replacement reminder system.
The 2 Series can also use the BrushSync compatible heads, but will not benefit from them as the handle is not equipped to read the microchip.
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.
The ProtectiveClean 4100 is the brush to buy when deciding between these 2 models.
Designed to be a successor to the 2 Series, the 4100 has a number of features that are beneficial to you without commanding a higher price.
A great electric toothbrush and one that gets the approval of myself and the team here at Electric Teeth.
Ultimately, whatever brush you decide upon, it is you who needs to make the decision; but do so based on which is best for your needs or that of the end user.
Only pay the price you are happy with and do not be led into buying something if it is not right.
Hopefully, I have presented the facts and made the whole decision process that little bit easier.
If you found this useful, have any questions, thoughts or opinions, please leave them in the comments below.