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Sonicare Electric Toothbrush Comparisons

If you think the range of modern electric toothbrushes available is somewhat overwhelming, you are not alone.

We’ve spent hundreds of hours figuring out the differences, and still there are small details that are difficult to distinguish between.

To keep things simple (for ourselves and for readers!) , on this page we’ve included some resources that make it easy to tell the differences between the various Sonicare models available.

You can therefore find below:

For a broader comparison of things such as brushing modes and replacement brush heads, check out our comparisons hub page.

You can also find video comparisons on our YouTube channel.

And if there’s anything you’d like to ask, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

Our overall Sonicare recommendation

If you want a good Sonicare toothbrush that will get the job done without breaking the bank, we recommend the Sonicare 4100 Series.

It is our main recommendation in our Best Sonicare Toothbrush post.

Preview Product Rating Price
Sonicare 4100 Series Sonicare 4100 Series 85,965 Reviews $49.99

Naturally, as you move up the pricing range the number of brush features increases, but for us the 4100 more than covers the basics.

Sonicare Comparison Chart

Below is a graphic that highlights and compares key features and functions of the current range of Sonicare brushes.

Click the image to enlarge it.

If you need more detail on any of the brushes, read on or leave a comment.

Sonicare Electric Toothbrush Comparisons 1

Sonicare brush vs brush comparisons

Below you can find similar Sonicare brushes that we have compared to one another, plus some that we have compared to their Oral-B equivalents.

We’ve also included some broader comparisons on our electric toothbrush comparisons hub page.

Overview of the Sonicare range

Within the Sonicare range are a number of sub-categories or series into which particular models fit.

Below we detail the names of each series and the key ways in which each differs.

This applies to most models, although odd models/exceptions may exist.

  • Essence Series ($)
    • The essential features you require and no more.
    • Satisfactory, but better options exist.
    • 1 cleaning mode.
    • Built-in 2 minute.
    • The most cost effective models.
  • DailyClean Series ($)
    • The essential features you require and no more.
    • Satisfactory, but better options exist.
    • 1 cleaning mode.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • The most cost effective models.
  • 1100 Series ($)
    • The essential features you require and no more.
    • Satisfactory, but better options exist.
    • 1 cleaning mode.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • The most cost effective models.
  • 2100 Series ($)
    • The essential features you require and no more.
    • Satisfactory, but better options exist.
    • 2 brushing intensities.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • The most cost effective models.
  • 3100 Series ($$)
    • The essential features, plus a little more.
    • Good, but better options exist.
    • 2 brushing intensities.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • Pressure sensor built-in (not visible).
    • Affordable brushes.
  • 4100 Series ($$)
    • The essential features, plus a little more.
    • 2 brushing intensities.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • Pressure sensor built-in (not visible).
    • Affordable brushes.
  • ProtectiveClean Series ($$)
    • The essential features, plus a little more.
    • Multiple cleaning modes.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • Pressure sensor built-in (not visible).
    • Affordable brushes.
  • Optimal Clean ($$)
    • The essential features, plus a little more.
    • Multiple cleaning modes.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • Pressure sensor built-in (not visible).
    • Often a package of 2 handles
    • Affordable brushes.
  • Perfect Clean ($$$)
    • Premium handles with more features and accessories
    • Multiple cleaning modes.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • Pressure sensor built-in (not visible).
    • Often a package of 2 handles
    • Higher mid-range prices.
  • ExpertClean Series ($$$)
    • Premium handles with more features and accessories
    • Multiple cleaning modes.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • Pressure sensor built-in (not visible).
    • Smart toothbrushes with Bluetooth connectivity.
    • Higher mid-range prices.
  • DiamondClean Series ($$$$)
    • Top of the lin handles.
    • Multiple cleaning modes.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • Pressure sensor built-in (not visible (with exceptions of DiamondClean Smart)).
    • Smart toothbrushes with Bluetooth connectivity (select models).
    • The most expensive of toothbrushes.
  • Prestige Series ($$$$)
    • Top of the line handles.
    • Multiple cleaning modes.
    • Built-in 2 minute timer and 30 second pacer.
    • Visible pressure and scrubbing sensor built-in.
    • Smart toothbrushes with Bluetooth connectivity.
    • Encourages a simple and effective approach to oral care.
    • Adapts based on your toothbrushing.
    • The most expensive of toothbrushes.

As you can see, as you go up through the range the features and the prices increase.

Whilst each has its place within the market, it is the lower mid range models ($$) such as the 4100 Series and ProtectiveClean series that are the most logical options for the majority.

As a consequence, the 4100 Series is our toothbrush of choice.

It offers a blend of features and functions that benefit us as users at a price that most will find affordable.

4100 Series in hand

Hopefully, the list of points above gives you a good overview of where the various ranges fit within the Sonicare lineup of products both in terms of features and prices.

We are often asked for a more detailed explanation of the differences between ranges. To help, the following paragraphs give a little more insight, which we believe you will find useful.

1000 vs 3000 Series

The differences between these 2 ranges are very subtle.

The handle size and shape are the same as are the brush motors. Both have a 2 minute timer and pacer built-in, along with a battery life of 2 weeks.

What differs here, is that the 3000 Series has BrushSync technology and a pressure sensor built-in.

Using the RFID chip in the compatible brush heads, the handle tracks the usage of each brush and illuminates the brush head replacement light when the bristles have exceeded their recommended life.

That same LED will be lit, and the handle vibration pattern altered when you apply too much force as you brush.

The 3000 Series commands a small premium as do the compatible brush heads.

The 1000 Series is a great budget choice.

4000 Series vs ProtectiveClean

A number of different models exist within the 4000 Series, but it is the 4100 that is the most widely stocked model.

The obvious difference with the 4000 Series is the handle is slimmer and lighter than the ProtectiveClean family of toothbrushes.

This does impact the usable battery life with most models offering just 2 weeks on a full charge, whereby the ProtectiveClean can offer a good couple of weeks extra life from the standard cleaning mode.

Another notable difference is that the brush motor offers 31,000 brush movements per minute, compared to the 62,000 of the ProtectiveClean. However, the tuning of the 4000’s motor doesn’t result in the lack of cleaning power you might expect and cleaning results are still very good.

Brushes within the ProtectiveClean range have 1, 2 or 3 modes and in some instances different cleaning intensities too. The 4000 Series offers a little less choice, with just 1 brushing mode, but 2 different brushing intensities.

There isn’t a significant difference in the price of these ranges, but there is a slight cost saving with the 4000 series in most instances.

Sonicare Optimal Clean vs ProtectiveClean

Where the ProtectiveClean range of toothbrushes is widely stocked across the USA, the Optimal Clean toothbrushes are not. 

Rather than multiple retailers selling these, Optimal Clean brushes are normally only available in select stockists.  Costco is one example and these brushes are exclusive to their members.

There is a great deal of similarity between these ranges of brushes, with the Optimal Clean really having been based on the ProtectiveClean series in terms of design and features.

Arguably, they are like for like but the advantage of the Optimal Clean range is that they can often work out better value financially.  

More often than not, you get a package that includes 2 brush handles, rather than the more typical 1.  

For example, the Optimal Clean HX6829/27 from a feature and performance point of view, is almost identical to the ProtectiveClean 5100.  

The 5100 does have an extra cleaning mode, but, the Optimal Clean comes with 2 brush handles in the box rather than 1.  It does too come with 3 brush heads rather than 1.  A  travel case and charging stand are supplied for each handle. 

Prices are subject to change, but the dual handled OptimalClean comes in at $100 compared to the $80 of the single handled ProetectiveClean 5100. For ~$20 you are getting another complete toothbrush.

Sonicare Optimal Clean vs Perfect Clean

Both of these ranges are sold only via select retailers, notably Costco.

You will not find the Optimal and Perfect Clean toothbrushes on the shelves of all the major grocers and pharmacies in the USA.

There is quite a bit of similarity between these two ranges. Typically, they will include 2 brush handles, 3+ brush heads and each handle will come with its own travel case and charging stand.

The Perfect Clean models do tend to be fractionally more capable and feature rich.

For example, where the Optimal Clean will come with 2 cleaning modes, the PerfectClean will likely come with 3 or more cleaning modes.  It may too have the ability to control the intensity of the clean, thus giving more finite control over the brushing experience.  

As a result of these little extras, the Perfect Clean will often command a slight price premium.

Sonicare Electric Toothbrush Comparisons 2

Sonicare Optimal Clean vs DiamondClean

The OptimalClean is a mid-range series ($$) whereas DiamondClean is the premium range ($$$$).

What this means is that the DiamondClean brushes will typically have almost, if not all of the features that Sonicare offer on their toothbrushes.

Rather than just 1 or 2 cleaning modes you will get 4 to 5 modes.

You still get the basic 2 minute timer and pacer, but any pressure sensor may now include a visible sensor to help alert you when brushing too hard.

The DiamondClean models do tend to have Bluetooth connectivity and smart features built-in, so these naturally give more capability to the toothbrush but add to the price.

And whilst an Optimal Clean brush may come with a travel case, it is very rare not to have one supplied with the DiamondClean. That case will likely to allow the brush to be charged inside, something that is not normally possible with the Optimal Clean range.

In the box with DiamondClean, you will usually get 1 brush handle, multiple brush heads and some other accessories.  WIth Optimal Clean you often get 2 brush handles, multiple brush heads and accessories.

DiamondClean models tend to be widely stocked and sold via a wide array of sellers, whereas the Optimal Clean models are sold through select channels and retailers.

Sonicare Perfect Clean vs DiamondClean

The PerfectClean brushes are the higher mid-range brushes ($$$) whilst the DiamondClean models are the premium range ($$$$).

Expect to benefit from even more features and functions from DiamondClean than you get with Perfect Clean.  More ‘bells and whistle’ if you like.  

The extras with the DiamondClean are far from essential but add to the overall user experience. 

For example, you will likely get a travel case included that allows the toothbrush to be charged whilst inside.  This is not something you will get with the Perfect Clean.

However, the PerfectClean is usually offered as a package of 2 brush handles and multiple accessories, whereas the DiamondClean is normally just 1 handle.

Despite this, the DiamondClean will still command the premium price.  This is in part because you do typically get extra technology such as Bluetooth connectivity, position detection and tracking technology.

DiamondClean models tend to be widely stocked and sold via a wide array of sellers, whereas the Optimal Clean models are sold through select channels and retailers.

Sonicare Electric Toothbrush Comparisons 3

In the sections below we compare Sonicare brushes that are close to each other in price and features. 

Conclusion

The range of brushes on offer from Sonicare, as well as the slight variations between models, can make it a daunting task to choose the right brush.

For this reason, we try to keep our recommendations straightforward and recommend brushes based on overall value for money.

Ultimately, all of the brushes will provide a very good clean to the teeth and gums if used correctly.

Perfecting your brushing routine, including the brushing time, technique and frequency will bring more positive benefit than any particular toothbrush.

Premium models may bring benefits for some. However, for the vast majority, the prices are prohibitive and the benefits for every dollar ($) spent certainly reduces.

For the majority of people, myself included, the 4100 Series is the toothbrush to go for. It offers a balance of cleaning performance and features at a price most will find affordable.

If you really do desire the absolute best, irrespective of price, then it has to be the 9900 Prestige.

Preview Product Rating Price
Philips Sonicare 4100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Pressure Sensor, White HX3681/23 Philips Sonicare 4100 Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Pressure Sensor, White... 85,965 Reviews $49.99
Philips Sonicare Prestige 9900, Rechargeable Electric Power Toothbrush with SenseIQ, Champagne, HX9990/11 Philips Sonicare Prestige 9900, Rechargeable Electric Power Toothbrush with SenseIQ, Champagne,... 532 Reviews $379.96 $329.99