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Medically Reviewed
Published: June 24, 2024

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head

Author: Jon Love (9 Comments)
Medical reviewer: Dr Gemma Wheeler, BDS
Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 1

Our verdict

My choice for the best overall brush, all things considered, is the Oral-B Smart 1500. For the best top of the line pick, my recommendation is the Sonicare Prestige 9900. I explain these choices in more detail throughout the article, but it's worth mentioning that neither brand is the best in every category. Oral-B is generally cheaper, but Sonicare excels at other things like overall design and travel. I've therefore created sections to explain which brand I rate as the best in specific categories. 

Best overall

Our choice: Oral-B Smart 1500 / Amazon, Oral B / ~$73.19

Runner up: Philips Sonicare 4100 Series / Amazon, Philips / ~$49.49

Top of the range

Our choice: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige / Amazon, Philips / ~$379.96

Runner up: Oral-B iO Series 9 (iO9) / Amazon, Oral-B / ~$249.94

Why we picked them

Having used and thoroughly tested all the current Oral-B and Sonicare models, the Oral-B Smart 1500 stands out as the best option for most people.

It cleans the teeth well and has the essential features I look for in a toothbrush (2 minute timer, 30 second pacer & pressure sensor). It's affordable, striking the balance between performance and price.

Oral-B brushes use oscillating-rotating technology that closely mimics the motion of a manual toothbrush and provides a deep clean. The multiple cleaning modes offer me the choice of a powerful cleaning action, or a more gentle mode for those times my teeth and gums are a little more sensitive.

The 1500 is my choice for the best electric toothbrush.

Our Choice
Oral-B Smart 1500
Oral-B Smart 1500
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Sonicare brushes are comparable in performance and features, but their brush heads are twice the price of Oral-B's. This negatively impacts ownership costs, which I consider an important factor in choosing a toothbrush.

Sonicare's cleaning action isn't quite so intense, which some prefer. The high frequency vibrations achieve a similar cleaning result to an Oral-B brush.

The Sonicare equivalent to the Smart 1500 is the 4100 Series. It does compete well and is a good alternative.

Regardless of which brand you choose, the most important thing is to ensure you use the correct brushing technique. 

Philips Sonicare 4100 Series
Philips Sonicare 4100 Series
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For those wanting the most capable and feature-rich models, both brands offer a number of strong choices.

Oral-B's iO9 offers more detailed real-time tracking and more customization than the Philips equivalent, the 9900 Prestige. The iO9's handle has a built-in color screen which makes for an engaging user experience.

However, it is the Sonicare 9900 Prestige that is the all round better package in my opinion. It feels more premium and has a better battery life and far more compact and user-friendly travel case. It's the brush I would recommend for those that want it all and are prepared to pay for it.

Our Choice
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
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Does one clean better than the other?

The short answer is no.

Clinical evidence and peer reviews would suggest that Oral-B has the edge, but researchers have noted that more research is needed.

My hands-on testing has shown that when used correctly, both can deliver excellent cleaning results and improve your oral health. It's also worth pointing out that buying top of the line models, as opposed to the more affordable models that we recommend, doesn't mean better cleaning results.

Arguably more important than picking between one brand or another is ensuring that you have mastered your brushing technique, brushing for the right amount of time and doing so twice a day. These things will normally have a far more positive impact on your oral health than picking an Oral-B brush over Sonicare.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 2

Key things to know

Oral-B brushes tend to be better value for money & come with more accessories.
The Oral-B Smart 1500 is our top chocie all things considered.
The Sonicare 4100 Series is a good alternative, but doesn't offer the same value for money.
The Sonicare 9900 Prestige is the best premium smart toothbrush with small touches that make it the better package all things considered.
There's little real-world difference between the cleaning results either brand achieves when the brush is used correctly. The evidence does favor Oral-B slightly.
Your brushing technique, time and frequency have a more positive impact on your oral health than any one brand of brush
Sonicare brushes have the best design.
Sonicare brushes are quieter.
Sonicare brushes tend to offer the best battery life.
Sonicare's pressure sensor and battery charge alerts are better for blind and deaf users
Philips travel cases are better, particularly the premium charging travel cases.

Like-for-like models

The following table shows what I consider to be the approximate equivalent models from the respective brands.

The different features, price points, and specifications of each brush rarely mean there is an exact like-for-like. However, this should give you a good place to start if you're looking at a particular model and want to know the rough equivalent from the other brand.

Oral-BPhilips Sonicare
iO Series 9/10DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
iO Series 5/6/7/8DiamondClean 9700
iO Series 3/4DiamondClean 9000
iO Series 2ProtectiveClean 5100
Genius 8000/9000/XExpertClean 7300/7500
Smart 4/5000/6000ProtectiveClean 6100 or ExpertClean 7300/7500
Smart 15004100 Series
Pro 10003100 Series
Pro 500/Vitality1100 Series

Model comparisons

In the posts below we have directly compared close equivalents from Oral-B and Sonicare:

Video explanation

In this video, I summarize my experience of using both brands, share what company is better at which things and give my recommendations of models to pick.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 3

Sonicare vs Oral-B: the short answers

I know you might be short of time and want quick answers, so I've included them in the table below.

You'll see that Sonicare is my top pick in many categories, yet the Oral-B Smart 1500 is my overall choice. This is because of the weighting I apply to each category, influenced by feedback I've received from users. Price and brushing technology are of most importance in most instances and subsequently influence the recommendations made.

If you click on one of the questions it will jump you to a more detailed explanation.

CategoryWinner
Which is the cheapest?Oral-B
Which is quietest?Sonicare
Which has the best battery life?Sonicare
Which is best for travel?Sonicare
Which has the best brushing technology?Oral-B
Which is the best smart toothbrush?Sonicare
Which offers the most features/best innovation?Sonicare
Which has the most accessories?Oral-B
Which is best for families?Oral-B
Which has the best design?Sonicare
Which is the best quality?Sonicare

And the long answers

In the following sections, I look more closely at the headline answers I've given above. For some of the categories it is not quite as simple as selecting just one better brand, so I explain the nuances in more detail.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 4

Oral-B is cheapest and best value for money

It depends of course, but in most instances, Oral-B is far better value for money.

Based on a typical user's needs and wants, an Oral-B brush will be about $30 cheaper over 3 years.

In some instances, the Oral-B brush is initially more expensive to buy. But, with brush heads being half the cost of Sonicare, big savings can be made over the years of ownership.

Feedback from site visitors has highlighted value for money is an important consideration, alongside how well it cleans, when selecting a new brush, hence the Smart 1500 is my top pick.

The gap is closing here and the difference is not as great as it once was, particularly since the iO Series was introduced. The heads for these models are about twice the price of a Pro/Smart/Genius compatible head.

A cost saving is useful, but do consider whether the lesser battery life, design and small touches Sonicare offer is worth the cost saving.

Oral-B Pro 500
Philips Sonicare 1100 Series
Oral-B Smart 1500
Philips Sonicare 4100 Series
Oral-B iO Series 9 (iO9)
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
Typical selling price Brush head cost Approximate 3 year cost Buying options
$30 Approx $5 each (Oral-B) $85
Product Array Pro 500

Oral-B Pro 500

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$34.97 Buy
Oral B
$39.99 Buy
$34.97
$25 Approx $8 each (Philips Sonicare) $113
Product Array 1100 Series

Philips Sonicare 1100 Series

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$24.96 Buy
Philips
Buy
$24.96
$65 Approx $5 each (Oral-B) $120
Product Array Smart 1500

Oral-B Smart 1500

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$73.19 Buy
Oral B
$79.99 Buy
$73.19
$40 Approx $10 each (Philips Sonicare) $150
Product Array 4100 Series

Philips Sonicare 4100 Series

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$49.49 Buy
Philips
Buy
$49.49
$240 Approx $12 each (Oral-B iO Series) $335
Product Array iO Series 9 (iO9)

Oral-B iO Series 9 (iO9)

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$249.94 Buy
Oral-B
$249.99 Buy
$249.94
$320 Approx $10 each (Philips Sonicare) $430
Product Array DiamondClean 9900 Prestige

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige

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Sonicare brushes are quietest

The majority of Oral-B brushes are loud, measuring at well over 70 decibels.

Quite a few Sonicare brushes do achieve similar readings, but as a general rule, Sonicare brushes are quieter.

Oral-B Pro 500
Philips Sonicare 1100 Series
Oral-B Smart 1500
Philips Sonicare 4100 Series
Oral-B iO Series 5 (iO5)
Philips Sonicare ExpertClean 7300
Oral-B iO Series 9 (iO9)
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
Noise
73dB
57dB
73dB
60dB
64dB
63dB
72dB
71dB

The iO Series has brought the typical average down for Oral-B as most iO models top out at 64dB.

However, what ultimately sets them apart is not just the loudness but the frequency of the sound.

I've seen some say Oral-B's brushes sound (and feel) like a jackhammer.

I can't typically hear my wife talking to me when using an Oral-B, but I can when using Philips.

Sonicare models produce a noticeable audible hum, whereas many Oral-B brushes have a more mechanical sound. Play the following clip to hear the difference for yourself.

Listen to the different sounds brushes make when in use

Our article, what's the quietest electric toothbrush is well worth reading if you are particularly conscious of the noise your toothbrush makes. We've listed decibel readings for a wide variety of models and share our top recommendations.

Sonicare offers the best battery life

Oral-B falls a long way short of the mark set by Sonicare.

The manufacturer claimed battery life and my own hands-on testing figures confirm this. The table below shows the battery life stated by the manufacturer, compared to the battery life achieved in my hands-on testing:

Oral-B Pro 500
Philips Sonicare 1100 Series
Oral-B Smart 1500
Philips Sonicare 4100 Series
Oral-B iO Series 9 (iO9)
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
Battery life Hands-on battery life
10 days 17 days
14 days 17 days
14+ (plus) days 20 days
14 days 17 days
14 days 14 days
14 days 28 days

It varies by model, but Oral-B doesn't suggest more than 2 weeks battery life for any of its models. Despite this, I have found from my hands-on testing that some last a few days more than this. With Sonicare, though, I have found that the battery sometimes lasts a week or more longer than stated.

How important this is will depend on your routine and how convenient it is for you to charge your brush. If you charge it every night, it makes little difference.

Sonicare brushes do take longer to charge on average. Many need up to 24 hours, whereas some Oral-B models can be charged in just 3. Most take about 12.

Where Oral-B fails to include a battery LED on their Vitality and Pro 500 models, Sonicare has one on all their models to alert you to the battery charge status.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 5

Regular travelers should pick Sonicare

I don't travel regularly, but when I do, Sonicare is my first choice.

Firstly, the average battery life of an Oral-B brush doesn't extend past 2 weeks. Many Sonicare brushes achieve 3+ weeks, meaning a 2 week vacation is nothing to worry about and no charging stand is required.

There isn't an Oral-B brush that is as light and compact as the Philips One. This is a great option for backpackers or those desiring the most minimal of luggage.

Not all brushes come with cases, notably the cheapest models. Where they do, the cases are comparable. But if I were picky, Sonicare cases are marginally slimmer.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 6
Oral-B (top) requires a specific power adapter. Sonicare (bottom) uses USB type c

It's the premium travel cases that make Sonicare the clear winner.

More models come with travel cases that allow the brush to be charged inside.

Those cases either have a USB cable hardwired into them, or have a microUSB connection. The newest model, the Prestige 9900 has a USB type-C connector. For many, this means your toothbrush can use the same power cable as your smartphone.

Oral-B on the other hand insists on a bulky, proprietary power adapter. This is not something I would expect on brushes with selling prices of several hundred dollars.

At the start of this video you can see a USB-C cable being plugged into the slimmer Sonicare case and in the second half, the bulkier Oral-B iO charger being used:

It's also worth noting that most Sonicare charging stands have international voltage support, whereas Oral-B's typically support 110-130v.

Philips are now also supplying charging stands with USB cables, rather than 2 pin power adapters. It makes them more versatile and travel friendly. The 1100, 2100, 3100 and 4100 Series are some examples, alongside the DiamondClean Prestige. Oral-B has yet to manufacture any charging stand with a USB connector for power.

Oral-B Vitality
Philips Sonicare 2100 Series
Oral-B Pro 1000
Philips Sonicare 3100 Series
Oral-B iO Series 4 (iO4)
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100
Oral-B Genius X
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300
Oral-B iO Series 9 (iO9)
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
Charging stand connector
2 pin US
USB Type A
2 pin US
USB Type A
2 pin US
2 pin US
2 pin US
2 pin US
2 pin US
USB Type A

According to studies, Oral-B cleans slightly better

Both brands advertise that their brushes are dentist approved and X is better than Y. As a result, it's hard to know what to believe.

In the toggle section below, I have linked to research showing that Oral-B has performed slightly better in clinical studies. However, the researchers have noted that more clinical studies are needed to draw definitive conclusions.

The reality is that both brands' brushes work well and remove sufficient plaque.

While choosing Oral-B over Sonicare may offer certain benefits, for most people, this won't make a noticeable difference. This is especially true when considering that lab test results don't always translate directly to real-world conditions.

The following slideshow has before and after images of my teeth having disclosed the plaque and brushes with both Sonicare and Oral-B. Judge for yourself, but I think there's very little in it. These should be the kind of results you get when using any electric toothbrush correctly.

Further explanation of the clinical research

Pitchika et al published the results of an 11 year study in 2019 that proved powered toothbrushes are more effective in improving gum health and helping users retain more teeth.

Knowing electric has benefits over manual brushes inevitably brings up the question of whether Oral-B's oscillating rotating action is better than the back and forth sweeping action of Philips Sonicare.

This study finds Oral-B's round brush head to be better, whilst a 2019 study in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry finds in favour of Sonicare.

The problem is that the studies have been funded by P&G (parent company of Oral-B) and Philips Sonicare so there is a potential bias. Thorough studies require a large amount of funding. Inevitably, it is the larger organizations that can afford this, hence much of the data comes from research financed by the likes of Oral-B and Sonicare.

Thankfully, independent research and analyses do exist. These typically come in the form of reviews of all available papers and are considered better quality evidence than individual studies. Cochrane's study has found Oral-B to be more effective. In a more recent review, Thomassen et al and El-Chami et al agreed that the oscillating-rotating technology removes more plaque than sonic technology.

The key takeaway from these studies and reviews is that the benefits of Oral-B are minor, and it's uncertain whether they will have a significant impact on oral health.

Premium brushes don't clean the teeth any better

My testing hasn't revealed any significant differences in the cleaning results a Sonicare or Oral-B toothbrush offers, and I have tested a lot of different models.

I couldn't say one model is considerably better than another or removes notably more plaque.

Certain models like the Oral-B Pro 500 and Sonicare 1100 Series don't give quite the same intense 'clean' feeling as more expensive models. This is because the motors are configured differently. Yet, the cleaning results are still perfectly adequate.

The most expensive models in the range do have the most powerful motors, but I haven't any evidence from my use to say they clean the teeth better.

Instead, these premium options tend to have more cleaning modes or intensity controls to allow me to dial in the brushing experience to my liking. The options are nice, but often overwhelming with no meaningful difference between them. I've yet to see any clinical evidence that using a whitening mode or intense mode delivers clinically better results.

I personally like the deep and invigorating 'dentist clean' feeling I get from using an Oral-B toothbrush, but I am aware that some people find the vigour of Oral-B's cleaning sensation to be too intense. Sonicare models feel softer and more delicate yet still leave my teeth clean and fresh.

Delivering the best of both worlds is the iO Series handles from Oral-B. With a different motor to the Pro, Smart and Genius models, the intensity of the cleaning action isn't quite as strong. That said, there is still a notable difference compared to Sonicare.

This brushing sensation is a sizeable influencing factor in deciding which to pick. I'd never suggest picking Oral-B to benefit from marginally better cleaning results if it feels too intense. Those with sensitivity and gum recession will likely prefer Sonicare.

Learn how the different brushing approaches from Oral-B & Sonicare work

Technically, both Oral-B and Sonicare are 'sonic' toothbrushes but the technology has been implemented slightly differently, with the intention of achieving the same goal.

Philips uses sonic technology whilst Oral-B uses an oscillating-rotating approach.

Sonicare brushes rely on two methods to clean the teeth. There is a mechanical and a non-contact method.

The mechanical cleaning uses physical contact between the bristles and the tooth surface. The motor causes the head to vibrate. This vibration causes the bristles to move side-to-side and remove plaque by scrubbing the surfaces.

The second, non-contact approach uses "hydrodynamic forces" generated by the high vibration frequencies the handle generates. Fluids in the mouth are agitated creating micro-bubbles which damage the plaque layer in hard to reach areas, beyond the bristle tips (1).

Many brushes in the Sonicare range offer up to 31,000 brush strokes/62,000 movements per minute. The exact number of movements depends on the model, cleaning mode and intensity selected.

A close up look at the movements of a Philips Sonicare brush head

Oral-B brushes have small, round brush heads. These turn 45 degrees to the right and then 45 degrees to the left. This back and forth movement of the circular heads is referred to as oscillating-rotating or a '2D' cleaning action. This is equivalent to the contact movement of Sonicare brush heads, to loosen and remove plaque and debris from the teeth and gums.

The vast majority of Oral-B brushes have another dimension of movement. Known as pulsations (or micro vibrations on iO Series handles) the head moves towards and then back away from the tooth surface repeatedly, many thousands of times per minute.

Pulsations offer a more sophisticated motion that somewhat mimics the non-contact approach of Sonicare brushes. This added motion becomes '3D' cleaning.

A close up look at the movements of an Oral-B brush head

Brush heads shape and size

I have found Oral-B's round brush heads slightly easier to move around in the mouth and reach tighter spaces with. Those with small or cramped mouths may benefit most from Oral-B. However, it's worth noting that the heads on Oral-B iO models are fractionally larger, meaning some of that benefit is lost.

The longer Sonicare heads tend to cover more teeth at one time. And if you invest in the premium silicone backed heads they are softer on the teeth and gums and don't create the same, often unpleasant, chattering sound should they make contact with the teeth.

Oral-B and Sonicare produce a variety of brush head styles, far more than most of us need. Although different, the options are comparable. We explain the differences and give our recommendations in the following articles:

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 7

Sonicare offers the most features & innovation

I believe Oral-B is the company that has pushed forward faster and harder in this category. They were the first to introduce Bluetooth and pressure sensors, for example.

But, being slower and more thoughtful has played to Sonicare's advantage. Oral-B might have had some features first, but Sonicare has executed better in many areas.

Brush head replacement reminders

One of the most recent innovations is BrushSync. There are a couple of elements to the technology, but the most useful to me is the brush head replacement reminder. It activates an on handle LED when the bristles need replacing. If you have a tendency to forget when you last replaced your brush head, you'll love this.

Sonicare tracks the head usage via an RFID chip built into the head. It's very accurate and can track multiple heads.

Oral-B has followed suit with a similar feature, but it's not tracking the head with the same accuracy. Oral-B relies on tracking the total brushing time since the reminder system was last reset. I could replace the head every week, but unless I reset the tracking feature, it would still alert me in 3 months that I am due a new set of bristles.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 8
Select Sonicare models offer a visual reminder that the brush head requires replacement

Pressure sensors

A pressure sensor is my most recommended feature after the timer and pacer. It provides an alert when you brush with too much force.

There is quite a degree of variation in the way Oral-B and Sonicare implement their pressure sensors. Oral-B uses a visual sensor that lights up when you brush too hard, whereas Sonicare uses a vibration alert.

With Oral-B, in most instances a red light illuminates around the neck of the brush handle. The visual alert is fairly easy to see if brushing in front of a mirror. Our main recommendation, the Smart 1500, has this.

Oral-B Pro 500
Philips Sonicare 1100 Series
Oral-B Pro 1000
Philips Sonicare 3100 Series
Oral-B Smart 1500
Philips Sonicare 4100 Series
Oral-B Genius 6000
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100
Oral-B iO Series 7 (iO7)
Philips Sonicare ExpertClean 7300
Oral-B iO Series 9 (iO9)
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
Pressure Sensor Visible alert Vibration alert
- - -
- - -
yes - -
yes - yes
yes yes -
yes - yes
yes yes -
yes - yes
yes yes -
yes - yes
yes yes -
yes yes yes

Far fewer Sonicare brushes have visible pressure sensors, which is a shame. However, what they do have, which Oral-B does not, is a differing vibration pattern when the pressure sensor is activated. I think this might be a better approach than Oral-B's. It is very noticeable and allows a blind person to benefit, which can't be said for Oral-B's visual sensor.

With its iO brushes (apart from the iO2), I like how Oral-B has implemented different lights for different amounts of pressure. I am alerted if I am using insufficient, the correct, or excessive force as I brush. The different colored lights make it very clear for me. Unfortunately, the light ring can be tricky to see from the corner of your eye. Brushing in front of a mirror does make things easier. And I do wish Oral-B would copy Philips in causing the handle to vibrate differently for those not able to see the lights.

Different sensory alerts

Philips brush handles vibrate and beep when the battery is low. They do the same thing when placed on a charging stand. I've not come across an Oral-B brush (or many other brands) that have this sort of vibration alert. 

In my opinion, these small innovations are far more powerful than some of the other headline features a toothbrush might offer, like Bluetooth technology or extra cleaning modes.  

I have genuinely found that it improves my daily user experience. The audible and haptic feedback alerts and confirmations are reassuring. And for a blind or partially-sighted person who may not see an LED, this must be game-changing compared to using Oral-B brushes.

You don't have to pay more to get these features either - all of Sonicare's rechargeable brushes have them, including our main recommendation, the 4100 Series. 

The simple addition of vibration and sound transforms the user experience with Sonicare brushes

Easing the transition for new electric toothbrush users

The power of an electric toothbrush can feel a bit too intense the first few times you use a brush, particularly if switching from a manual.

I recall my first time switching to electric, it took me at least a week to desensitize and become accustomed to the increased stimulation my gums were getting. Even today, having tested countless models, the power of some can take a while to get used to.

A top tip here is to use a sensitive mode, if the brush has one, and once accustomed, switch to more powerful brushing modes. But, with Sonicare you don't need to do this. It helps ease that transition with EasyStart.

Over the first 14 brushing sessions, the power is gradually increased for a gradual and smooth switch.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 9

Sonicare is my pick for a top of the line smart toothbrush

If you’re looking for a top of the line smart toothbrush, the iO9 or iO10 and the Sonicare 9900 Prestige are the brushes to choose from. I do compare these brushes more thoroughly in this post, but below is a briefer summary. 

All three brushes offer real-time position tracking.

I do think the tracking is marginally better with the iO as it is monitoring 16 zones of the mouth, compared to the 12 of the Prestige. Oral-B tracks brushing of the front, back and top of the tooth surfaces. Whereas Sonicare doesn’t currently track the brushing of the top (biting) surfaces.

If you want the very best position tracking, go for Oral-B. Otherwise, the tracking of the Prestige is more than good enough. 

I would pick the Prestige over an iO model because it is the better all round package. The other features such as the nicer design, compact charging travel case and longer battery life outweigh the slightly better position tracking of the iO models. 

2 images of the Oral-B and Sonicare smartphone apps for smart toothbrushes
The smartphone applications rely heavily on visuals to provide detailed feedback on my brushing habits

For a slightly cheaper smart toothbrush, Oral-B is my pick

If you go lower in the range of smart toothbrushes, the brushing feedback isn’t quite as detailed.

Oral-B's real-time tracking drops to 6 zones rather than 16. Individual tooth surfaces are grouped into zones, limiting the usefulness of the feedback. Therefore I can continue to miss brushing a particular surface and the tech won't make me aware.

More affordable Sonicare models like the DiamondClan 9000 and ExpertClean 7300 offer no real-time tracking at all. Instead, what data is tracked to highlight trends and patterns in my oral care routine. This approach is more than sufficient and can still highlight errors such as failing to brush for long enough or not brushing twice a day, as dental professionals would advise.

The Oral-B iO Series 6 is my more affordable smart toothbrush recommendation. Like my top choice, the Smart 1500, it strikes the balance between price and performance. Excellent cleaning results are easily achieved and the 6 zone tracking does enable more insight than if you were to opt for the ExpertClean from Sonicare, which is similarly priced.

Oral-B iO Series 6 (iO6)
Oral-B iO Series 6 (iO6)
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The cheapest Oral-B Bluetooth enabled toothbrushes are very limited

The iO Series 4 is a great toothbrush but its Bluetooth capabilities will fail to excite many, in my opinion.

If you want nothing more than a digital log of when you brushed and for how long, then the iO4 ticks that box, but it can't give me the detailed feedback and insights I would want if I were trying to significantly improve my oral care routine.

Unlike the iO Series 5 and Genius X, this is not equipped to give any real-time feedback.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 10
Oral-B app - No zone tracking (left) 6 zones (centre) 16 zones (right)

Philips offers fewer smart toothbrushes, with well defined differences

Sonicare offers fewer Bluetooth enabled toothbrushes than Oral-B, but the distinction between each is clearer. The brush either has real-time tracking or it does not. I feel the choices are less confusing than Oral-B.

The following table shows the Bluetooth capabilities of popular models from both brands.

Oral-B Smart 3000
Oral-B Smart 5000
Oral-B Genius 6000
Oral-B Genius Pro 8000
Oral-B Genius X
Oral-B iO Series 4 (iO4)
Oral-B iO Series 5 (iO5)
Oral-B iO Series 6 (iO6)
Oral-B iO Series 7 (iO7)
Oral-B iO Series 8 (iO8)
Oral-B iO Series 9 (iO9)
Oral-B iO Series 10 (iO10)
Philips Sonicare ExpertClean 7300
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9750
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9900 Prestige
Bluetooth connectivity Position tracking Smart Features Additional information
yes - -
yes - -
yes yes 6 zone tracking
yes yes 6 zone real-time tracking. Requires use of smartphone front facing camera.
yes yes 6 zone real-time tracking
yes - -
yes yes 6 zone real-time tracking
yes yes 6 zone real-time tracking
yes yes 6 zone real-time tracking
yes yes 6 zone real-time tracking
yes yes 16 zone real-time (3D Teeth Tracking)
yes yes 16 zone real-time (3D Teeth Tracking). iO Sense charging stand gives feedback via LEDs.
yes - -
yes - -
yes yes Real time position tracking.
yes yes Real time position tracking. Cleaning modes can be changed via the app only.

In my opinion Philips makes better use of colors inside the app to highlight good and less than ideal habits. Green is used for positive data whilst orange is used for areas of improvement.

Oral-B has similar data, but some of the trends and most useful pieces of information can feel harder to detect amongst all the content within the app.

Oral-B offers greater customization, but Sonicare allows control of what matters most

From enabling and disabling specific cleaning modes, to changing the color of the light around the neck of the brush handle, Oral-B gives me and other users of their smart brushes far more control. The options with Philips brushes are more limited.

I like the ability to control some features, but I don't think all are necessary. Many settings are hidden and I am not forced or encouraged to change them unless I want to.

But, I think the few settings Sonicare offers are more useful and focus on better oral care routines.

Philips allows up to 3 focus zones to be set to remind and encourage me to pay more attention to those areas that need it. I can change the order of the guided brushing routine to work to my preference. I'd rather this than being able to change the color of the light on my handle.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 11
Option to change the order of the guided brushing on Sonicare (left) Setting for Oral-B light ring color and cleaning modes disabled (center) Sonicare focus area settings (right)

You get the most accessories with Oral-B brushes

It varies by model, but Oral-B typically offers more in the box, particularly with more expensive models.

Additional brush heads, travel cases, and brush head storage compartments are fairly common.

Philips does offer extra brush heads and travel cases but on fewer models.

It is all ultimately built into the price. So, you get what you pay for.

I have noticed in recent years that not quite as many accessories are offered. But, for many, these are surplus to requirements anyhow.

I would prefer if both companies made it easier to source accessories, at an affordable price rather than include them in the box. But accessing travel cases and other accessories other than brush heads is tricky.

Take for example the iO Sense charging stand. It is currently only supplied with the iO10, despite working with the iO7, 8 and 9. It is an accessory some would like. But, it makes no sense to ditch one iO model to upgrade to the 10. Costing around $80 to buy separately it is too expensive for what it offers and unjustifiable for most who might like it.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 12

Oral-B brushes are better equipped for families

Sonicare nor Oral-B are perfectly suited to families in my opinion. In most instances, the companies are focused on selling 1 handle per user rather than encouraging the sharing of brush handles.

There are pros and cons, however, Oral-B caters to families better.

I've typically found Oral-B offers more dual handled packages, at better prices. This makes it cheaper to buy multiple brushes with the essential features.

Their 'Pro Series' brush heads are typically half the cost of Sonicare heads. This has a significant impact on the long term ownership costs.

In addition, heads have colored rings or icons on the heads to help identify whose brush head is whose. No rings or icons exist on Sonicare heads.

Some models come with multiple heads in the box when you buy them, rather than just one. And, it has become less common, but some models from Oral-B still come with (or it can be purchased separately) a storage tray that can accommodate up to 4 brush heads.

Neither brand's smart toothbrushes are designed to be shared. Oral-B's can be with a bit more ease, but both are far from ideal.

Sonicare has the best design

This is arguably the most personal and subjective category of them all. What I like might be different to you.

However, having handled so many brushes, I believe Sonicare models look and feel more refined.

How the handle looks and feels

Philips tends to use matte plastics rather than the gloss finish found on many Oral-B models. The Oral-B Smart 1500 I recommend has a gloss finish, irrespective of color choice, whereas the Sonicare 4100 is the opposite. I think the 4100 looks smarter. The gloss finish looks a bit cheaper in my opinion, when the Sonicare is the cheaper handle to buy.

I've found that Sonicare offers less choice of handle colors and the options available are softer, more pastel shades rather than bolder and brighter options Oral-B offers. You can't necessarily exhibit your personality through a Sonicare toothbrush like you might be able to with Oral-B.

Even though the gloss Oral-B handles might look more slippery, there isn't a great deal of difference between these and the Sonicare handles, when wet. Occasionally I might think the Oral-B would slip in my fingers a little more than Sonicare. For most, this shouldn't be a concern.

If you have dexterity issues and would benefit from more textured surfaces, there is no competition here. The Oral-B handles are much better. The Pro 500 is the best example. The thicker handle size and the large expanse of rubber that wraps around the handle make it much easier to grip than the slim handled 3100 Series for example.

The downside is that the grip does catch debris more easily, making it harder to clean. It's a potential tradeoff worth making.

Unfortunately, the iO Series seems to have gone the Sonicare route. These handles offer little in the way of texture compared to the Smart and Genius models Oral-B manufactures.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 13
Handle design varies quite considerably between models. Note the different colors, buttons and materials.

Charging stands

It will mean more to regular travelers, but all Sonicare's charging stands support global voltages. 100-240v.

This means if you travel to a region of the world where the voltage is different, you need only a plug/power adapter for your Sonicare toothbrush.

Whereas, if you travel with an Oral-B brush, you typically need a voltage adapter too.

The Oral-B Smart 1500 comes with a stand that supports 110-130v, meaning that using it in Europe would require 2 accessories; a voltage adapter as well as a plug adapter.

Sonicare's newest USB charging stands, supplied with select models alleviate some of the headaches of voltage and plug adapters with using a charger overseas.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 14
Original charging stand with 2 pin US power adapter (left) vs the newer USB charging stand (right)

Sonicare brushes feel the best quality

Sonicare handles, to me at least, feel more robust and premium. The plastics appear stronger and my overall experience and feeling is that more effort has been put into the product. 

That being said, whilst Oral-B brushes can feel poorer quality because of the cheaper plastics used, typically they are still reliable. 

I have an Oral-B electric toothbrush which is 5 years old and still works just fine. 

I've had many people reach out to say their Oral-B and Sonicare brushes have lasted 10+ years. On the other hand, I’ve had many say their brush failed in less than a year. This is typical of any product, though – there are always examples at both ends of the spectrum. 

Both brands provide a warranty of 2 years.

Feedback from readers on our site suggests that Sonicare can be the more challenging company to deal with when a problem occurs. However, they tend to send new handles rather than wanting the faulty unit to be returned for repair like Oral-B.

Sonicare vs Oral-B: 2024 head-to-head 15
The ExpertClean looks good, feels well built and is pleasant to use when in the hand

Other tools to help you make a decision

If you are unsure and want to do more research in the process of choosing a brush from one of these brands, you may like to see the following pages:

And of course, if you are confused or need more assistance, please leave a comment below, I will be happy to help.

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

Related Topics

Leave a comment

S
Susan
January 13, 2024

Wow. What a wonderfully thorough article. I think the part about which models most closely match between the 2 brands was the cherry on top and also very helpful. Just, WOW, and thank you.

B
Bob
September 14, 2022

Many people should be interested in the comparison of the technologies. I've done some research and the two topics that seem to stand out is the proper technique in using each brush and water leaking into the handles. There is a difference when sonic brushing in that less pressure is better. Let the bristles do the teeth polishing and lightly guide the brush around the teeth. While mechanical brushing needs slightly more focus on guiding the brush around the conformity of each tooth surface. Water seepage through the microscopic openings around the buttons and shaft can occur during brushing and rinsing the handle. I've taken apart a two year old water resistant sonic handle and found rust, dampness, and corrosion. Viewed a viral video showing an owner claiming to maintain a five year old handle: he habitually removes the brush, towel dries the handle, softly taps the buttons and shaft dry on a towel ), and stores the handle upside down - the whole process may only take 3 seconds. Additional tip from a dentist: if using fluoride toothpaste, spit out after brushing and do not rinse/ eat for 30 minutes. This would be the same as rinsing with fluoride rinse. You'd have to eat 2 tubes of fluoride toothpaste at one time before worrying about toxicity.

D
Dee
June 29, 2021

Replacement brushes?
Sonic
061208
HX 7500
Got any replacement # for brushes?
OR where do I order them?

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
June 30, 2021

Hi Dee.

Are you looking for replacement brush heads? If so this Sonicare brush head guide has lots of info & links to buy.

S
Sherei
November 24, 2019

Oral B brushes are very loud and the intense , rough vibrations are annoying. If an inanimate object can have finesse, Sonicare has it. Also the battery life, brush head covers, packable chargers and storage cases make it a winner.

RG
Rusty Gesner
October 26, 2019

The NIH actually compared them in a 6-month clinical trial, concluding: "Overall, this study demonstrates that long-term use of these two electric toothbrushes improves periodontal health in adult periodontitis patients, and that the Sonicare brush is superior to the Braun brush in reducing gingival inflammation and probing depth. Moreover, 6 months' use of Sonicare led to actual improvement in probing attachment levels of periodontal pockets."
If you read the full abstract, you'll see the Sonicare was significantly better in every aspect. See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9487838

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
October 26, 2019

Thanks for sharing this study Rusty.

In this particular study, Sonicare has come out on top. In others, it might be the other way around.

However, as this abstract does confirm, both have benefits.

LR
Laura Roybal Holman
May 31, 2019

In the extremely long article, I still never learned which one actually cleans better. Isn't that the ultimate thing vs. the colors it comes in?

JL
Jon Love - Chief tester
May 31, 2019

Hi Laura.

Thanks for the comment.

I am sorry you did not feel the article actually gave the answer to which is better.

If you look at this purely from the ability to clean the teeth, then Oral-B is the best at cleaning the teeth. I covered this in the brushing technology section of the article.

The reality of the situation is that although technically, when you look at the clinical data, Oral-B is best, both are excellent and help provide a better cleaning than a manual toothbrush. In day to day use, not under clinical trial conditions, it is not quite as black and white and either are very good options.

Some people have more specific needs or desires as part of their purchasing decision, so this is why I have broken it down into other sections and consider things like color etc.

I hope this helps. If you have any further queries, please let me know.

O
Oz
March 14, 2019

Thanks. My dentist says it doesn't matter what I get, but Sonicare's his choice even though he sells Oral b as well. I've always been weary about dentists, but I like these new smart brushes. My first electric brush was a Sonicare and I'll probably go that route after your review.

I'll keep smiling!

Sincerely,
Oz

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