The SURI toothbrush is possibly the most environmentally considerate electric brush available today.
It certainly isn’t perfect, and SURI doesn’t claim to be. But, the brush is more considerate than most. It has been designed to be repairable, something few other brushes can boast.
The handle is slim, stylish and durable. The magnetic wall mount that doubles up as a charging stand is clever. So many parts of this brush and travel case have been well designed with user experience in mind.
Cleaning results are good and you get most of the dentist recommended features. The most notable downsides are the lack of a pressure sensor and a 1 year warranty (many other manufacturers offer 2 years).
It isn’t the cheapest, but you gain more for the premium.
SURI sets a new benchmark for electric toothbrushes that I am excited about.
- Environmentally considerate premium materials
- Slim handle design – stylish & easy to keep clean
- The timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
- USB charging stand makes it more convenient for some
- A magnetic wall mount allows for storage away from the countertop
- USB C powered travel charging case with UV-C cleaning
- Brush head recycling program
- No pressure sensor to alert you when brushing too hard
- The cleaning action isn’t as satisfying as other electric brushes
- USB charger makes it less convenient for some
- Expensive – better value options exist
- Availability – Not widely stocked
Where to buy the SURI toothbrush
The SURI electric toothbrush is currently available direct from www.trysuri.com.
You can’t yet purchase from your local pharmacy or grocery store.
Use voucher code ‘ET10’ to save $12.
Consider these other brushes
You get a good clean of the teeth from the Smart 1500 and you also gain the dentist recommended features at an affordable price.
However, Oral-B (and other leading manufacturers) don’t come anywhere near as close in terms of environmental pledges and actions.
In this respect, SURI is in a class and category of its own. There isn’t a brush that competes in terms of the environmental promises it is making.
If being environmentally considerate is your aim, then the best possible alternative is not to use an electric brush at all. Instead, you want to use our recommended best eco-friendly toothbrush.
SURI sustainable sonic toothbrush in-depth review
Sustainable Rituals (SURI) is breaking with convention. They are trying to challenge the market by creating a more environmentally considerate electric toothbrush.
By their very nature, electric brushes have a significantly greater impact on the environment than a manual brush. But, there are plenty of opportunities to improve on what we already have and make a brush that is less impactful. This is where SURI sits.
They don’t claim they are perfect, but they are doing a lot of things right.
As an independent organization, they are not part of any existing major oral care provider.
SURI is a brush that has been designed from the ground up to be better for the planet.
Variants of this toothbrush
At the time of review, there are 3 different variants of the SURI sonic toothbrush.
Technically, all 3 are the same. The only difference is the color of the brush handle and brush head.
Your choices are:
- Winter Fern (soft green color)
- Midnight black
- Sea Mist (white/grey color)
The brush head is designed to match the brush handle color. Although you should be aware there is a slight color difference due to the different materials used for the head and the handle.
What’s in the box?
- 1 x SURI sonic electric toothbrush
- 1 x Suri plant based brush head
- 1 x UV-C travel charge case
- 1 x Charging stand (doubles up as a wall/mirror mount)
- 1 x USB-C cable
- 1 x Pre-paid brush head recycling mailer bag
- Slim metal handle
- Sonic cleaning action
- 2 cleaning modes (everyday clean & polish)
- 2 minute timer and pacer
- 30 day battery life
- Plant based brush head
- Waterproof design
- Magnetic wall mount
- USB-c charging stand
- Travel case with in the case charging and UV-C cleaning light
How SURI looks, feels and works
The SURI toothbrush comes packaged in one of the slimmest and most environmentally considerate retail boxes I have seen. This is of course intentional given the focus of the company.
An outer sleeve encases the box that contains the toothbrush, documentation and accessories.
I like that the sleeve has lots of information about the brush, and what it offers as well as a large color matched image of the toothbrush too. It stands out and you know what you are getting.
There are no unnecessary plastics as you might expect and even the brush head and USB cable are sealed inside a compostable wrapper.
The brush handle looks and feels great
This is one of the slimmest and best looking electric toothbrushes I have handled.
It is an aluminum handle, with an inner steel core.
Being metal it feels solid and gives off a premium vibe.
It is wider than it is deep. The handle isn’t a perfect cylinder.
The front and back surfaces are rounded, but the sides are squared off a little. Not only does it give the brush a unique, slightly more industrial look, it actually helps make it feel comfortable and secure in the hand.
Some might find this a little more difficult to hold due to the smaller size. It isn’t as grippy as some brushes with textured surfaces and rubber grips, but it isn’t slippy in hand either. There is a certain resistance to the finish of the aluminum that makes it feel more grippy.
One of the benefits of this approach is that the brush is easier to keep clean. Although toothpaste residue etc does build up on the handle and under the head, it is far less awkward to remove than on brushes with lots of textured surfaces.
It’s available in 3 different colors at the time of review. Your choices are midnight black, sea mist (grey/white color) and winter fern (soft green color). I like these choices, the green is particularly unique.
Although the brush head is colour matched, none of the other accessories are.
The toothbrush lays quite happily on a countertop and isn’t prone to rolling. It will also stand upright too.
The overall design is minimal. There is just one button on the front of the brush handle. This turns the brush on and off and changes between the 2 cleaning modes. It is quite a firm button, with limited feedback and no clicking upon being pressed. It does the job.
Above it is a very small LED which will illuminate different colors depending on the cleaning mode and the status of the charge of the battery.
Towards the bottom of the handle is the SURI logo
The base of the brush is flat, no recess for the charging stand like many other brushes. Instead, there are 2 gold pins that align with the magnetic charging stand. More on that shortly.
There is the smallest of screws that is placed between the 2 charging pins. This allows access to the rechargeable battery inside the handle as well as the motor and other components.
You don’t get this access normally. SURI has been designed intentionally to be repairable. Although as it stands those repairs do have to be completed by SURI. You can’t yet do a DIY fix without invalidating the warranty.
Extending from the top of the handle is a metal shaft that delivers vibrations to the bristles on the brush head. Around this is a chrome metal plate with the following words printed on it, ‘keep smiling’, I like this.
Plant based brush heads
The plant based brush heads push onto and pull off the metal shaft.
They look just like any other regular sonic toothbrush head. You wouldn’t know that the head and the bristles are made from plant-based material (corn starch and castor oil) rather than petroleum-based plastic. As a consequence, they are better for the planet.
Whilst corn starch PLA is still plastic, it is different to other toothbrush heads in that it is made from a renewable material and is industrially compostable.
The majority of electric toothbrush heads are made from petroleum-based plastic, which is a finite resource.
The bristles on SURI’s brush head are made from castor oil, which is also a bio-based plastic.
Again, it is still plastic but is made from a renewable resource rather than a finite one.
The 14 clusters of bristles have a W profile to them. SURI calls this 3DWave. This means longer bristles at the top, middle and bottom of the head. This is to help cup the teeth, reach the interdental spaces and give a good overall clean.
The 10 outer clusters are white in color and the 4 inner clusters are a light grey color.
They are a soft/medium firmness and from what I can tell they have been rounded at the tip to provide a soft brushing experience. I have found them very pleasant to use.
Just like a regular toothbrush or brush head with nylon bristles, the head should be replaced every 3 months.
Unfortunately, there are no fading bristles built into SURI. It will be up to you to remember when to replace them, rather than the head giving some form of visual clue.
That is unless the bristles look obviously worn or frayed.
Where most toothbrush heads get thrown into your regular rubbish bin, SURI has a recycling program available.
Included with the toothbrush is a prepaid biodegradable bag. This can be used to return the heads for recycling (preferably 3 or more at a time).
Theoretically, the cornstarch PLA can be industrially composted. However, there is a lack of facilities that can offer this at the moment, so SURI will send used brush heads to a specialist recycling partner.
In defense of other brands, more recycling schemes are being introduced. The reality is, however, that at the time of review, they are not as effortless as the SURI scheme. That said, some do accept more waste streams, such as floss and interdental brushes.
It is worth noting that the heads (not the bristles) are color matched to the brush handle. Considering they are both made from different materials the match is very good.
There is too a handy tongue scraper on the back. A series of raised lines of different lengths and angles can be pulled over the tongue’s surface to rid it of bacteria. The tongue is a common cause of bad breath, so it is well worth making use of this.
The brushing results are pleasing
SURI is a sonic toothbrush, which means it works in a similar way to brushes from the likes of Philips Sonicare.
The bristles move in a side to side, sweeping motion to clean the plaque off the teeth.
The MicroSonic magnetic motor offers up to 33,000 vibrations per minute. This creates an effect called ‘fluid dynamics’ which helps disrupt and lift the plaque off the teeth.
This motor is also about one third of the size of a regular sonic motor, allowing for the handle to be as slim as it is.
You have 2 cleaning modes or speeds available on the brush. Your choices are:
- Everyday clean
Everyday clean is the more gentle of the 2 modes offering 25,000 vibrations and is ideal for first time brush users.
Polish mode offers a stronger clean and works well for more experienced users as it offers the 33,000 vibrations per minute.
Upon first turning on the brush, it will activate the everyday clean mode. A white light will be emitted from the LED above the power button.
A quick press of the button will change the mode to polish and the light will change to blue.
Thankfully the brush remembers the last mode used and will default to that. So, you don’t have to cycle through the 2 modes each time.
The light color is the way you identify which mode you have selected. There are no labels on the handle that get lit to identify the mode, like you do on some Sonicare models for example.
I personally preferred the polish mode. It is more intense and felt to me like it was giving the better clean.
There was a noticeable difference between each.
I am not aware of exactly how the motor has been tuned, but the cleaning experience was comparable to most other sonic brushes. The most premium Sonicare brushes do feel like they are cleaning slightly better. They feel more intense and powerful, in part because they offer up to 62,000 movements, but this is only noticeable if you have used such or comparing side by side.
And to be fair to SURI, I have tested no other sonic toothbrush with a form factor as slim as this that delivers a more powerful cleaning sensation. Most are weaker.
The cleaning results with SURI were more than satisfactory. My own plaque disclosing tests confirm that with the correct brushing technique it removes the plaque well. The plant based bristles appear to have no negative impact. I am more than happy.
As it stands there has been no clinical testing conducted with SURI to give confirmation of the efficacy of the brush. I am led to believe that this is coming in the near future.
Based on my testing, the results will likely be positive. It may well achieve certifications such as the Oral Health Foundation approval and the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance if put forward.
The timer and pacer help you to brush for the right amount of time
Most dental professionals and health bodies recommend brushing the teeth twice a day, and to do so for at least 2 minutes each time.
This advice has existed for decades, yet too few brush for the right amount of time, if they even brush twice a day at all.
Let’s be honest, there are more fun things to do than brushing your teeth. Even when you do, it is easy to get distracted or think you have been brushing for longer than you have.
With SURI you shouldn’t be able to get it wrong.
Firstly, the 2 minute timer is activated from the moment you turn the brush on.
In fact, the brush turns itself off automatically after a 2 minute brushing session. So, if you turn the brush off, you know you haven’t brushed for long enough.
It is all well and good brushing for 2 minutes, but no good if you only clean the front teeth.
The quadpacer or 30 second timer is designed to help you clean the teeth more evenly.
At 30 second intervals, the pacer kicks in. You will note a pause in the bristle motion, a change in sound and brushing sensation as well as the haptic feedback in the handle. This is your cue to move from one section of the mouth to another.
This then repeats every 30 seconds, until the brush gets to 120 seconds (2 minutes) at which point it will turn itself off.
The idea is that you break the mouth up into 4 sections:
- upper right
- upper left
- lower right
- lower left
You spend 30 seconds cleaning each section. As you do, you try to give equal attention to the front, back and biting surfaces of the teeth.
If you do, come the 120 seconds (2 minutes) of brushing time, you should have achieved an even clean to the teeth and gums.
Of course, you don’t have to follow it, but it is good practice.
A small noteworthy point here. In the vast majority of toothbrushes, if you press the power button mid cycle, it will pause the brushing and the timer. If you resume brushing again within 30 seconds, it picks up from where you left off.
However, with SURI, this isn’t implemented. Pressing the power button stops the timer and it is essentially reset when you power it on again. It isn’t a deal breaker but it is so common in other brushes I am surprised it isn’t present here too.
If only it had a pressure sensor
Ideally, the brushes we recommend here at Electric Teeth have a pressure sensor built-in.
This is to alert you and help prevent you from doing unnecessary damage to the teeth and gums should you brush too hard. Sadly SURI has no such sensor.
When brushing your teeth, the bristles need only really skim the surface. You need just a little bit of pressure, not lots.
Quite a lot of people scrub their teeth under the impression hard and fast brushing is more effective, sadly it isn’t.
One thing going in SURI’s favor a little, is that often, the lighter the brush, the less pressure that is applied. And because SURI is lighter in hand you will feel less inclined to apply the extra, unnecessary force.
It’s quiet in use
Like other sonic toothbrushes, the handle does vibrate when switched on and noise is produced. Whilst it isn’t as quiet as the Oclean X Pro Elite, it isn’t far behind producing about 54 decibels when in use.
This was notably quieter than many other sonic toothbrushes I have used.
To put this into context, I can hear my wife talking to me when I brush, something that can’t be said when using Oral-B.
The handle is waterproof
Despite being metal and having a battery inside, the brush is IPX7 rated meaning it is waterproof.
This means a rinse under the tap and use in the shower is fine if you choose to.
The charging stand doubles up as a magnetic wall mount
I love this accessory, and I am sure many others will too.
I will explain the charging stand in a bit more detail in the battery life section of this review, but there are 2 parts to the stand.
Clipping to the base of the charger is a plate that can be adhered to a flat surface in the bathroom, using the pre-fitted adhesive pad. A mirror or tiled wall is ideal.
The plate serves no real purpose when the charger is disconnected from it. But, place the charger back onto the plate and it will allow the SURI brush to be held against it using magnets.
The magnets offer a strong hold and the brush can’t be knocked all that easily.
It is a fantastically simple, but effective solution for storing the brush when not in use. It means it can be kept away from the sink and toilet for example and does not need to be sat in a container on a countertop.
This is particularly useful when countertop or shelf space is at a premium.
Only when it needs charging do you need to remove the charger from the adhered plate and place this on the countertop to replenish the battery.
The best travel case?
Supplied in the box with the SURI toothbrush is a travel case.
Cases are very useful even for the most infrequent of travelers. They allow the handle and head to be protected from damage, dirt and accidental activation.
Given the green credentials of SURI I am somewhat surprised they even chose to include one, particularly a case with electronics in.
Not including one would have reduced the cost and the total shipping weight and of course the impact of the brush on the environment.
But, as much as I think it could potentially have been omitted, I am so pleased it wasn’t. It is one of the best travel cases I have used.
The case supplied holds the handle and 1 brush head.
Where often you remove the head and sit this separately in the case, you don’t here. The head remains attached to the handle.
As such the case is longer than some, but it is not as wide. It is of plastic construction. It is not made from bioplastics like the heads.
It has a 2 tone color design and is not color matched to the brush handle.
The lower half of the case is a mottled grey color, with the top or lid of the case being solid white.
It hinges on the left side to open like a book. It opens and closes very nicely with a magnet being used to help keep the case closed.
In the base of the case are 2 holes for ventilation and allowing moisture to escape. These are more important than you might think.
On the top of the case is the SURI logo in grey and then a single button, to activate the built-in UV-C light.
SURI says the light cleans the bristles of the brush head, killing off 99.9% of bacteria in 1 minute.
I can’t say this is a necessary feature to have, but I am aware many like such. I certainly see the benefit and given the implementation of such has no impact on the usability of the case, I am on board with it.
A single press of the button activates the cleaning cycle that lasts for just 60 seconds.
Having assessed the clinical data in our best sanitizer article, 1 minute might not really be enough time to be effective. Although you can always run the cycle multiple times if you like. Something is certainly better than nothing.
When running there is a blue LED on the top to show this. There are also 3 small holes in the edge of the case that the light shines through, again confirming that it is functioning. The light automatically powers off when complete.
The big negative to this feature is that for it to work, you need to have the case connected to power. There is no battery within the case itself to run the cleaning cycle.
On the shorter edge of the case is a USB type c connector. Attach the included USB cable to the port and the other end of the USB cable to a power source and it will then work.
SURI suggest the lack of battery is for environmental issues, but I think a very small rechargeable would have been worth including. It just makes running the sanitizing cycle a bit more awkward without it.
With the USB cable connected, it will too recharge the toothbrush inside the case.
This is a very neat and useful feature. It means you don’t have to take the charging stand with you and can charge from the case rather than the stand if you prefer, even when at home.
There are very few brushes of this price that offer such features. It is quite rare for USB charging, even rarer to offer UV-C cleaning too. It is another feature that makes SURI stand out.
It does counter the eco-credentials a bit for sure. But what has been created is a more complete and useful ecosystem for the toothbrush that I think promotes longer term use and better integration into the lifestyles we now lead.
There is no place to stow the USB cable inside the case. A similar issue exists with the top of the line Sonicare 9900 Prestige. Although being USB type c, even if you forget the cable it should be easy to access another.
It comes with a 100 day money back guarantee
Known as ‘The SURI Promise’ you can return the brush within the first 100 days should you not be satisfied for a full refund.
This is something we see more and more brands doing now and it is a nice touch as not all of us will get on with a product, despite our best intentions.
You do too have a 1 year (365 day) warranty, which gives extra peace of mind, but it isn’t as good as the more common 2 year warranty the vast majority of competitors offer.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Slim, stylish and durable handle – aluminum and steel construction
- 3 different color options
- Sonic cleaning action – offers up to 33,000 vibrations per minute
- Cleans the teeth well
- 2 cleaning modes – everyday clean and polish
- 1 brush head included made from plant based materials
- Brush heads can be recycled
- Single power and mode button – not the best button feedback
- No pressure sensor
- Built-in timer and 30 second pacer
- Quiet in use
- Comes with a premium charging travel case
- The travel case has UV-C cleaner for the bristles
- No battery in the travel case
- Waterproof design
- 100 day money back guarantee
- 1 year warranty
The battery lasts 30 days on a full charge
How important the battery life of a toothbrush is, differs from one person to the next.
For someone always on the go and traveling frequently, often the longer the usage time between charges the better. Whereas someone who isn’t on the go will likely be happy to recharge a brush more frequently.
Most modern toothbrushes last a good couple of weeks on a full charge. 14 days/2 weeks is really my ideal minimum.
Thankfully SURI has a claimed battery life of double that.
They suggest that the built-in 800mAh Lithium-Ion battery will last 30 days on a full charge.
That is equivalent to 60 brushing sessions, each 2 minutes in length.
I am pleased to say that in my hands-on testing, I achieved 42 days or 84 brushing sessions when using the more powerful polish mode.
This exceeds the claimed life of 30 days, which is excellent. No complaints.
Just 3-4 hours to recharge SURI
When the SURI toothbrush does require recharging, you will be notified by a flashing red LED on the handle.
If you are brushing your teeth when the battery is low, you will hear 3 beeps at 30 second intervals (same time as the pacer). This is another alert that the battery needs recharging.
It can then be replenished in just 3-4 hours, using the charging stand or charging travel case.
Whilst fast charging isn’t always necessary, it is certainly welcomed.
It is somewhat surprising that many brushes still take upwards of 12 hours to charge.
The USB c charging stand is stylish and doubles up as a wall mount
The charging stand is an ovalish shaped plate that is about 6cm long, 3cm wide by about 1.5cm deep.
It is made from the same plastic material (not plant based plastic) as the travel case and is mottled grey in color.
There are no rubber feet on the bottom, so it can potentially slip on a countertop a bit.
To either the right or left side, subject to where you have it positioned, is a recess the same shape as the base of the brush handle. Inside this are 2 gold pins that protrude slightly. They align with the pins on the base of the brush handle when it is set in place.
The charging stand magnetizes to the base of the handle which is a nice touch. Whilst it can wobble a bit when stood upright on the stand it doesn’t feel particularly vulnerable to toppling over.
On one edge of the charger is a female USB type c port for powering the stand and recharging the toothbrush.
A white USB cable is provided in the box. It is a flat style cable which helps keep things nice and compact. There is a male type c connector at one end and a male type A at the other.
Connect the type c connector to the stand and the type A to a power source and begin charging the brush.
Once charging, a blue LED will flash on the handle. Once fully charged it turns a solid white.
A removable plate on the base of the charger also allows this to double up as a magnetic wall mount if you so desire.
SURI doesn’t as standard provide a USB to plug adapter in the box. This is to cut down on potential e-waste. And they work on the basis of you owning one already. Many smartphones and other electronic products come with these.
Some will find this a little inconvenient compared to having a power adapter hardwired into the charging stand, but if you align with SURI’s sustainability approach, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
The travel case charges via USB
As mentioned earlier in the review, the provided travel case allows the SURI brush to be charged inside.
There is no battery in the case itself. The brush will only be recharged when the USB cable is connected.
You use the same USB cable for the charging stand as you do the case.
When charging the LED on the brush handle will flash.
There is no LED on the outside of the case to confirm it is charging, so you will need to have the case open to see the LED.
Do be aware the case and stand are a bit picky on what cables/power sources will power it. The manual recommends a 5v USB 2.0 or 3.0 wall charger.
The battery is replaceable
The relatively unique feature of SURI is that the battery has been designed to be replaceable.
With many electric toothbrushes, it is not possible to replace the battery. Often trying to do so will cause the brush to break in a way that makes it no longer functional.
Sadly, for too long these products have been designed to be disposable.
Economics has meant that it is cheaper and more convenient to buy a new brush than get it repaired.
SURI is changing things.
Now to be clear, the ability to change the battery isn’t a sign of a weakness with the brush. The provided battery should last many years. But, it is a common failure point.
Thus, being able to replace it is appealing and doing so ultimately extends the overall life of the brush. For how long? Only time will tell.
Whilst the battery is the primary replaceable component, other parts can be swapped out too.
The replacement still has to be conducted by SURI themselves as it does require specific tools and competency. However, SURI is assuring us that the repairs will be affordable with a UK & US based service center.
It may well be possible that you can do it at home yourself in time. But currently, attempting to do so will invalidate the warranty.
Summary of battery life
- A rechargeable lithium-Ion battery is built-in
- SURI suggests 30 days/4 week battery life
- Achieved 42 days of use on polish mode
- Comes with a USB type-c charging stand
- No 2 pin USB plug adapter provided
- Takes about 3-4 hours to charge fully
- Battery status indicator on the brush handle
- A white LED means a full battery
- A flashing blue LED means a partially full battery
- A flashing red LED means a low battery.
- Pacer will bleep when the battery is low and brush in use
- Comes with a travel case in which the brush can be charged – when the power cable connected
- The battery is replaceable by SURI – designed to be repaired
Price & where to buy
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good electric toothbrush.
Our top recommendations are usually around $50-70 or less.
But, that is based on the typical selling price and not the retail prices that manufacturers give them.
More often than not toothbrushes from Philips Sonicare and Braun Oral-B are discounted by about 20%.
This means a toothbrush selling for $50 usually has a retail price of around $60-70.
Take the Oral-B Smart 1500 for example, its retail price is $79.99 and the actual selling price is normally $65.
Doing the right thing costs more
The retail price of the SURI sustainable sonic toothbrush is approximately $150.
This is obviously significantly more expensive than the $50-70 or less that most good electric toothbrushes sell for.
But, as you will have learned by now SURI is a bit different.
And you probably well know doing the right thing often means paying more.
SURI is carbon neutral, via offsetting. They are B corporation certified pending. They say they are using more sustainable components and have designed a brush that is repairable.
As a new company, SURI doesn’t have the purchasing power of your major brands. Designing a more environmentally-conscious toothbrush from the ground up doesn’t come cheap.
That said, they also don’t have the extra weight of being a massive company that often entails extra costs. Thus, because SURI is primarily a direct to consumer brand, there is an opportunity to keep some costs lower.
I am reviewing this brush several weeks after the first brushes began shipping.
Early backers like us, did gain a reasonable discount for investing in SURI. And even a couple of weeks after launch, promotional pricing of around $110 has been offered, resulting in a 25% saving.
I can’t say for sure, but I do suspect the average selling price of SURI will be around $125.
It’s only available direct from SURI
Unfortunately at the time of review, SURI is available direct from www.trysuri.com.
The positive here is that the costs are controlled and you know you are buying a genuine product.
However, in time it would be nice and certainly advantageous to see this available in more places be that other online retailers or high street stores, or even your local dental practice.
For some accessibility to the brush is more challenging when available only via one particular outlet.
Save money with a voucher code
Enter the code ‘ET10’ during the checkout process when buying the brush from www.trysuri.com and you will save $12 on the advertised price.
You do get more in the box for the higher price
You don’t normally get a lot in the box with the best value electric brushes.
Normally it is the handle, head and charger. Desirable accessories like a travel case are often overlooked to keep costs down, despite them being such a useful tool for many.
SURI includes a travel case. The case is far more capable than most and arguably comparable to those cases supplied with brushes twice the price.
Factor in the unique design, materials and the premium for doing the right thing and I do believe the price asked for this brush is fair.
The brush heads are good value
Sold in packs of 3, the brush heads cost $19.
That is a cost of $6.33 per head.
I don’t think this is a bad price all things considered.
For the sake of comparison, an Oral-B head costs $5 on average and Sonicare heads $8+.
Do bear in mind that the price of SURI heads includes a prepaid mailer to send replacement heads back for recycling.
This is not a cost the major brands have to factor in. At the time of writing, Philips does have a recycling scheme, but it isn’t that well promoted or known about so it is of limited financial cost to the company.
How the long term ownership costs work out
At Electric Teeth we like to price a brush over a 3 year period to give a bit of a benchmark by which to compare it to other models.
A toothbrush might be very affordable to buy initially, but expensive replacement brush heads can make the long term ownership costs very high. Or, it could be the other way around.
Assuming 1 user, you will need to purchase a further 11 brush heads at a cost of $69.63.
Add this to the average selling price of $125 and this will cost $194.63 over 3 years.
Our most recommended brush, the Oral-B Smart 1500 costs $120.
Thus, SURI is half the price again. But you are not getting the premium charging travel case, wall mount and environmental consideration.
The Sonicare equivalent to the Oral-B, the 4100 Series is more expensive, but not quite as pricey as SURI.
All things considered, the premium for SURI isn’t that great.
SURI is designed to be repaired affordably
Of course, only time will really tell how this plays out, but SURI is designed to be more sustainable for the long term.
It has been engineered so it can be repaired rather than just thrown away.
The company claim they will offer repairs for a very fair price.
Let’s assume both SURI and another brush fail after 5 years of use. Where you would need to buy a whole new brush from the other brand, with SURI, the idea is you can get it repaired.
What the cost will be will depend. But, you might be faced with a $20 repair fee as opposed to the $50 for a new brush for example.
There is little in the way of direct competition to really compare it to. The only competing products are more impactful on the planet, unless you opt for a manual brush.
As it stands, SURI will probably likely be the more expensive option. This is because a quality product and doing the right thing command a premium. In time I hope prices will fall or at least align a little more.
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
- List of buying options included here
- Retail price of $150
- An average selling price of approximately $125
- Save $12 by using voucher code ‘ET10’ at www.trysuri.com
- Replacement heads cost $19 for a 3 pack – $6.33 each
- Replacement heads include pre-paid mailer for recycling
- Costs $195.63 over 3 years
- Repairs are set to be possible and affordable
- Doing the right thing costs more
- There are cheaper alternatives
- Fair price all things considered
My thoughts on reliability and repairability
Myself and the team here have handled hundred of electric toothbrushes. We look carefully for any obvious signs of weakness or possible compromises in the design and construction.
We are not running scientific tests. Nor are we conducting lab based investigations into durability and reliability. We don’t have machines stress testing materials and components.
Therefore we comment from the perspective of a slightly more informed electric toothbrush user.
SURI is a new company and the toothbrush is a new design, so there isn’t a history to go by.
The brush does come with a 1 year warranty, which covers you against faulty parts and workmanship etc. You are not covered for user damage.
1 year is stingy and less than I would expect given the ethos and price of this brush. Buy Oral-B and Sonicare and you get a minimum of 2 years warranty.
I do believe this is something that needs to be addressed to give extra peace of mind.
It is clear that a lot of thought has gone into the materials and construction and it certainly appears to be well built. It is solid in hand with a lack of breaks in the body that could for example allow moisture to seep into the internals of the handle.
Unlike the vast majority of brushes that are designed not to be serviceable, SURI has specifically engineered this to be possible.
It does have to be sent back to them for this to happen. As yet, they don’t offer DIY tools and instructions. This is because specific tools, training and competency is required. However, they haven’t ruled out allowing DIY repairs in the future.
The founders assure us that even though these repairs are chargeable, they are designed to be economical, in a world where this isn’t usually the case.
And in the worst case scenario where it can’t be repaired, SURI will accept the brush back and do their utmost to recycle as much of the brush as possible.
SURI refer to their brush as the Sustainable Sonic Toothbrush.
As Dr. Gemma Wheeler puts it in our post on eco terminology:
Sustainable is another very general term, often overused and without explaining exactly what is meant. It is used interchangeably with eco-friendly.
Referring back to the “Green Guides” again, “Unqualified general environmental benefit claims are difficult to interpret and likely convey a wide range of meanings. In many cases, such claims likely convey that the product, package, or service has specific and far-reaching environmental benefits and may convey that the item or service has no negative environmental impact.”
In the case of SURI, their brush is arguably more sustainable than other electric toothbrushes, but that does not necessarily mean the brush itself is sustainable, so to speak. As an electric toothbrush it still has a significant impact on the planet.
That being said, terms like sustainable are increasingly used by consumers to search for products that are less impactful, so there isn’t a perfect solution when it comes to describing these products.
SURI also makes it clear why its brush is more sustainable than others, and provides specifics about the actions it is taking to reduce its impact.
Electric toothbrushes don’t fare well in their impact on the environment.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use one. You need to balance effective cleaning and disease prevention against the environmental impact.
Particularly if you suffer from gum disease or tooth decay, you should prioritize effective cleaning. We cover this in more detail in this post.
Electric toothbrushes can reduce the need for dental treatment. And avoid the need for planetary impacts that come from procedures such as fillings.
There is a lack of detailed evidence to confirm that a filling is worse than the use of an electric toothbrush. But, with the data available, dentist Gemma Wheeler believes that a single filling is worse than an electric brush with a usable life of 5 years.
SURI are one of the first companies to really challenge the market and attempt to make the electric toothbrush less impactful.
There is no perfect solution as yet and SURI doesn’t claim to be this.
Their brushes are made in and shipped from China. It would be preferable if they were made elsewhere, but the reality is China is one of the most equipped countries to produce these products. Not only the manufacturing lines but the components that go into the brushes. It will take time before SURI can establish their own manufacturing in other, arguably better places. They acknowledge this.
They achieve carbon neutrality by offsetting. It would be ideal if they didn’t have to use this approach. But, the reality is an electric toothbrush is never going to be that low in its carbon footprint and offsetting is the best alternative at this time.
SURI do put forward a strong case as to why they are better than the vast majority of other electric toothbrush manufacturers.
They are pending B Corporation certification, I am aware of no other electric toothbrush manufacturer striving for this. They are doing more than most to make positive strides in reducing the damage such dental care products have on our environment.
Noteworthy are the following:
- Using plant based brush heads
- A recycling scheme for brush heads
- Including a pre-paid bio-based mailing bag to send used heads back
- Using metal for the handle (aluminum outer, steel inner) for durability and recyclability
- Not including a power adapter
- The brush is designed to be repaired, affordably
It’s worth stating that to truly compare the planetary impact of one product to another, a life cycle assessment needs to be completed.
Perhaps in time, a life cycle assessment will be completed to give more insight as to how a SURI toothbrush compares to the market leading brands. Only with this sort of analysis can we really acquire quantifiable measures into the benefit of opting for SURI over the competition.
We want to see manufacturers doing more to tackle this issue and achieve significant improvements. It is without question that SURI are setting a new bar to be reached and exceeded by others.
Schemes by the leading brands to recycle brush heads only scratch the surface of what needs to be done.
Related to Sustainable Rituals S1 brush specifically:
- The handle is slimmer and lighter than most
- This reduces the box size and shipping weight.
- Limited box contents – not lots of unnecessary extras.
- This reduces the size of the box and the weight for transportation.
- Brush heads are made from plant based plastic rather than petroleum based plastic.
- Even though they are still plastic, they are being made from a renewable resource rather than a finite one.
- Recycle scheme for used brush heads.
- Few others provide such.
- Pre-paid mailer included in the box.
- The mailing bag is biodegradable.
- Designed to be repairable
- The battery and other key components are easily replaced with the correct tools and knowledge.
- SURI offer a repair/replacement service at an affordable price.
- USB type c power connector – a common standard amongst power cables.
- Accessing and sourcing power cables is easier.
- Internationally accepted standard.
- No USB plug adapter is provided.
- This reduces plastic and electronic component use.
- Including a UV-C light in the case as well as a USB c connector for in the case charging
- Increases the environmental impact
- These features are not essential.
- The travel case is potentially unnecessary.
- A USB c cable is not necessarily required.
- Many people have one of these already. They are commonly supplied or used for smartphones and similar devices.
- The toothbrush is manufactured in China.
- This means it is still shipped long distances. Could it have been made in Europe or the USA?
- Additional cardboard sleeve around the box.
- It comes in a box, that is wrapped in another cardboard sleeve which seems a little unnecessary. The inner cardboard box could have been printed with all the brush information on it.
SURI is a very good electric toothbrush, even without taking into consideration its environmental pledges.
The aluminum handle looks great, feels strong and is easy to keep clean.
SURI has the dentist recommended 2 minute timer and pacer built-in, but unfortunately, it does lack a pressure sensor, which is a shame.
Even though you don’t get the same post clean satisfaction as you do with other brushes, the cleaning results are more than good enough.
The travel case and magnetic charger cum wall mount are well thought out extras that add to the overall package on offer.
Using an electric toothbrush undoubtedly has a greater impact on the planet than using a manual one. Whether you opt for electric over manual is a personal choice. We explain the nuances of this in our post on how to make your dental health more eco-friendly.
If you do want to opt for an electric toothbrush, SURI is the leading product when it comes to environmental pledges. It has set a standard that should encourage other manufacturers to improve their own offerings.
- Height (without head) – 19.5cm / 7.68 inches
- Height (with head) – 22cm / 8.66 inches
- Width – 2cm / 0.79 inches
- Thickness – 1.6cm / 0.63 inches
- Weight (without head) – 78g / 2.75 oz
- Weight (with head) – 84g / 2.96 oz
- Length – 24.2cm / 3.02 inches
- Width – 3.2cm / 1.26 inches
- Depth – 3.2cm / 1.26 inches
- Weight (without brush) – 103g / 3.63 oz
- Weight (with brush) – 187g / 6.59 oz
Retail box (includes brush & all accessories)
- Weight – 460g / 16.23oz
All are approximates
- Is SURI an oscillating brush?
- No, it is a sonic toothbrush where the bristles move side to side in a sweeping motion.
- What brushing/cleaning modes are available?
- The Sustainable Rituals toothbrush comes with 2 cleaning modes. They are everyday clean and polish.
- Polish is the higher powered and more intense mode.
- What brush head does SURI come with and what alternative ones can be used?
- The SURI toothbrush comes with 1 plant based brush head included in the box.
- Additional or replacement heads can be purchased in packs of 3.
- Heads are provided in the same colors as the brush handle, so that they match.
- There is just 1 style of brush head, no different bristle configurations or cuts exist.
- Only SURI branded heads fit and work with the SURI handle.
- Does SURI have a pressure sensor?
- No, it does not.
- Does SURI have Bluetooth?
- No, it does no
- Does it come with a travel case?
- Yes, a travel case is included in the box.
- Does it come with a charger?
- Yes, a charging stand is included in the box.
- You get a travel case that also allows the toothbrush to be charged, when inside. The provided USB c charging cable must be connected for this to happen. There is no battery in the case.
- How long does the battery last?
- The battery lasts up to 168 minutes, which if used on the polish mode is 42 days based on 2 cleans per day.
- Can I use the SURI sonic toothbrush in the shower?
- Yes. SURI is IPX7 rated and is in their words, waterproof so if you choose you can use it in the shower. Avoid submerging it in water.
- Does SURI come with a warranty & how long is it?
- If purchased new from an approved retailer the brush will come with a 1 year/360 day warranty.
- You do also get a 100 day smile guarantee, also known as the SURI promise.
Do you own or have you used the Sustainable Rituals electric toothbrush?
Are there certain features that you really like or dislike?
Let us know what you think about this brush and let others who may well be considering purchasing one know your opinions before they do.