Our recommendations are independently selected and dentist-approved. We may earn a commission if you buy something. Why trust us?

The best cheap & budget friendly electric toothbrushes

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Gemma Wheeler

(GDC Number: 259369)

Oral-B Vitality stood upright

Our recommendations

Best budget electric toothbrush: Oral-B Vitality (Amazon, Ebay)

Runner up: Philips Sonicare 2100 (Amazon, Ebay)

Best if you can spend a bit more: Oral-B Pro 3 3500 (Amazon, Oral-B)

What we regard as a ‘budget’ electric toothbrush

When it comes to categorising ‘budget’, ‘cheap’ or ‘affordable’ the boundaries and expectations are different from one person to another. For the sake of simplicity, we roughly group prices into five brackets based on their selling price: 

  • £0-15: Too Cheap — these products should be avoided. 
  • £15-30: Budget — they do the job, but it’s worth spending slightly more if you can. 
  • £30-50: Optimal — these products have the essential features, but no extra bells and whistles.
  • £50-150: Mid-range — extra features that may be nice to have, but aren’t strictly necessary
  • £150+: Premium — the most capable if you want the very best, but overkill for most

These are not hard and fast rules and there are always exceptions. Years of testing and insight has given us a deep understanding of what makes a good brush and what you can realistically expect at different price points. As a result, we consider the best budget electric toothbrush to be one that is available for £30 or less. You can often buy our recommended budget model for nearer £20.

It’s worth spending a bit more if you can

If your budget allows, we strongly recommend that you spend a little more and choose the brush that is our overall best pick for an electric toothbrush today, the Oral-B Pro 3 3500 (Amazon, Ebay). It falls within the optimal price range that we recommend shopping in, typically costing around £45.

Compared to the Vitality (our choice for the best budget toothbrush), it offers a deeper and more invigorating clean thanks to additional movements from the brush motor. It has a visible pressure sensor that will alert you if you are brushing with too much force. A pressure sensor is particularly important if you have any gum recession.

The Pro 3 3500 uses the same type of brush heads as the Vitality, so there is no price difference in that respect. It has a battery life about twice that of the Vitality and you get feedback from the LED built into the handle on how much charge remains. It is also easier to keep clean and comes with a travel case. The Vitality is good, but the Pro 3 3500 is great.

Best budget electric toothbrush

Oral-B Vitality

~£22.99 on eBay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

You just can’t argue with what you get for the price. 

This is a no-nonsense, simple to use, get the job done kind of toothbrush.

The Vitality 100 is suitable for so many different users but is particularly appealing because of the very affordable price at which it is sold.

The handle is one of the most grippy on the market today.  The tapered design works well for smaller and larger hands as well as those with dexterity issues.

Because the textured grip wraps 360 degrees around the brush handle it certainly won’t slip from your hand. The only downside here is that it isn’t the easiest to keep clean.  Toothpaste residue easily builds up within the textured surface.

You have 2 out of the 3 features we recommend a brush have.  The 2 minute timer along with a 30 second pacer are present,  it just lacks the pressure sensor. This means that you can be encouraged to brush the teeth evenly and for the recommended time.  You won’t get alerts when you brush too hard.  Just remember bristles need only skim the teeth.

Oral-B are well known for their small oscillating and rotating brush heads. The Vitality boasts this.  The size makes it easier to reach more crowded or restricted areas of the mouth.

The cleaning action is more than good enough, doing a good job of removing plaque and debris from the teeth and gums. But, because the Vitality has a 2D cleaning action it isn’t quite as intense and thorough as those that offer 3D cleaning. 

Sealed inside the handle is a rechargeable battery which offers 8+ days of use on a full charge.  Satisfactory for many, the negative here is the lack of feedback on the remaining charge.  You don’t get an LED notification light to warn you the battery is almost flat.

There is a Plus and a Pro version of the Vitality available too. Despite the differences, it is the standard Vitality that is out pick.

Read our Oral-B Vitality Review.

What we like

  • Easy to use single cleaning mode
  • The grip on the handle helps to securely hold the brush
  • The timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time

What we dislike

  • No pressure sensor
  • No battery status feedback
  • Battery life
  • 2D cleaning action rather than 3D found in other models
Oral-B Vitality 100 on charging stand

Runner up

Philips Sonicare 2100

~£35 From Ebay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The Sonicare 2100 doesn’t quite deliver the same astonishing value as the Vitality, but you can see where the few extra pounds go when you handle this model.

It looks and feels like a more premium model, despite the cheap price.

The handle is very slim and comfortable to use. It doesn’t have textured grips on the handle, instead, it has a smooth, but somehow resistive finish to the plastic.  The big benefit here is that it is easier to keep clean, whilst also looking more minimal too.

It has a 2 minute timer and a 30 second pacer to help keep you on track when brushing. But as you might well have expected, because of the price, a pressure sensor is lacking.

As is the case with other brushes that don’t have a pressure sensor, be sure to brush the teeth with only a little force, the bristles need really only skim the tooth’s surface.

Compared to Oral-B the sonic cleaning action the 2100 offers is different, but all things considered, the results are comparable.

The motor in the brush handle does only offer 31,000 brush strokes per minute compared to the 62,000 movements of the most powerful Sonicare brushes. But, used correctly the brush still provides a more than satisfactory clean. You just don’t get quite the same intensity with each brushing session.

Sealed inside the handle is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery which offers about 2 weeks of use on a full charge. You do gain the LED on the handle for feedback on the charge levels.

For some, the USB charging stand will be a more modern and convenient option. But for those wishing to recharge to brush in their bathroom from a shaver socket, you can’t.

And one fairly big factor as to why the Sonicare 2100 won’t become our top choice, is the cost of replacement brush heads.

On average a Sonicare head will cost £6, twice the price of the equivalent Oral-B.  This really impacts those on a budget.

Read our Philips Sonicare 2100 Review.

What we like

  • Easy to use – 1 cleaning mode
  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
  • Slim handle design – stylish & easy to keep clean
  • USB charging stand makes it more convenient for some
  • Good value – get what you need at an affordable price

What we dislike

  • No pressure sensor to alert you when brushing too hard
  • Cleaning action not as good as premium models – brush motor configured differently
  • USB charger makes it less convenient for some
  • Replacement brush heads are expensive
2100 Series Sonicare on charging stand

Best if you can spend a bit more

Oral-B Pro 3 3500

£58 From Oral-B*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The Pro 3 3500 contains all of the essential features our in-house dentists recommend.

We rate it as the best Oral-B electric toothbrush, all things considered.

The small round brush head is easy to move around the mouth and get into the tightest of spaces.

The oscillating, rotating and pulsating head does a great job of cleaning the teeth. It sounds clichéd, but you do really get that dentist clean feeling. 

The 3500 comes with 3 cleaning modes. Daily Clean is your everyday option whilst sensitive is good if you want a more gentle brushing experience. There is also whitening mode.

All the modes last for 2 minutes, during which time the 30 second pacer is active to encourage you to brush all the teeth in the mouth evenly.

There are no rubber grips like some other Oral-B models. It might not feel quite as secure in hand for some, but the lack of rubber grip does make it easier to wipe clean.

You also get a travel case included which isn’t all that common for brushes at this price.

There is little not to like about the Pro 3 3500. It has the essential features you need, whilst being affordable.

The Pro 3 3000 is an equally good choice. The 3500 is a variant of the Pro 3 Technically they are the same. The 3500 comes with the travel case included. They are usually about the same price making the 3500 a better buy.

In case you are interested in the Philips equivalent, the ProtectiveClean 4300 is what we rate as the best Sonicare toothbrush.

Read our Oral-B Pro 3 3500 Review.

What we like

  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
  • Visible pressure sensor – alerts you when brushing too hard
  • 2 weeks use on a single charge
  • Travel case included
  • Good value for money

What we dislike

  • No icons on the handle to show which cleaning mode is selected
  • Defaults to the daily clean mode
Oral-B Pro 3 3000 & 3 3500

Other brushes we considered

There are many brushes that cost less than £30 and the vast majority are not at all bad. The Colgate ProClincal 250R is one such example. It sells on average for around £20 and the replacement brush heads are only a fraction dearer than those from Oral-B.

It is one of the slimmest and lightest models in its class and there is no denying that the design is a big leap in the right direction compared to times past. But for reasons we can’t really comprehend, the battery life is worse than its predecessor, the ProClinical 250+. It also lacks the very handy cap that went over it to provide protection for travel.

The 250R has a sonic cleaning action like the Sonicare 2100. The cleaning results are satisfactory, but it doesn’t give the same intensity and depth of cleaning that Philips brushes do. Simply put, we expect better from Colgate.

Colgate ProClinical 250R on its charging stand
The battery life of the Colgate 250R isn’t great

We of course considered the Vitality Pro, the slightly more capable variant of the Vitality. It is a bit more expensive, but you do arguably get a few more features, as our Oral-B Vitality comparison shows. But, the cleaning results are no better and the original Vitality just feels a bit more no-nonsense, get the job done.

The Oral-B Pro 600 overcomes at least one of the issues we have raised about the Vitality. It has an LED notification light on the front to show the remaining charge in the battery. It also offers a 3D cleaning action, which means in addition to the oscillating and rotating cleaning action there is the benefit of pulsations. This extra dimension to the clean gives a more invigorating post brushing feeling, in our opinion.

It is slimmer too, which for some will be a bonus. You are typically asked to pay £25-30 for this brush, which is without a doubt fair. But, for us, it doesn’t quite do enough to stand out between the Vitality and our highly recommended premium models in the Pro 3 Series. You really are better off spending another £20 over the price of the Vitality than spending £5-10 to get the Pro 600.

It is a similar story for models like the Pro 1 680, Pro 1 750 etc.

Oral-B Pro 600 Electric Toothbrush
The Pro 600 is a good toothbrush but we recommend opting for either the Vitality or the 3500.

Supermarket chain Lidl is well known for offering budget friendly products and they haven’t excluded toothbrushes. The Nevadent sonic toothbrush they range is their main offering. If you would rather buy it online rather than going in one of their shops, you may be able to pick up a bargain on Ebay. It has 6 brush heads in the box, offers 3 cleaning modes, and has a 2 minute timer and a 30 second pacer. Oh and yes, it comes with a 3 year warranty.

When sold for around £20, this is, without doubt, a genuine bargain. But, replacement brush head availability doesn’t seem to be great. Rarely do I actually see the heads only on sale in store and when being sold online they tend to be quite expensive and difficult to source.

Tesco and Asda both offer their own brushes too. Asda’s is simply named the ‘Asda rechargeable power toothbrush’ whilst Tesco’s is the ‘Pro Formula electric toothbrush’. They are nigh on identical, with both looking very similar to the older generation Oral-B Vitality. Where a lot of brushes are sonic, these have round brush heads like Oral-B and both grocers do offer replacement brush heads which is good to see. I do believe generic round brush heads fit too if required.

Third party brush head
Oral-B brush heads and generic equivalents fit brushes from Lidl, Tesco and Asda.

At £15 they are very cheap and this continues to the replacement brush heads too. You are looking at a cost of about £2 per head. Although comparable to Oral-B we feel the slight premium is evident in the design and material quality of the Vitality.

Technically, electric toothbrushes include those powered by built-in rechargeable and removable batteries such as AA or AAA. However, we tend to separate those with removable batteries into their own category.  In most instances, those with removable batteries don’t compete quite as well as those with rechargeable batteries sealed in the handle. Our best battery toothbrush article gives our top recommendations if a removable power source is important to you. 

The Philips One is one of the best options. Compact, lightweight and simple to use it is a very likeable toothbrush. Unfortunately, the cleaning power of the motor is weak and it relies on using a brushing technique the same as a manual toothbrush, rather than the easier techniques required with most other electric brushes.

The biggest benefit of using removable batteries for most is you are not reliant on a power outlet. This is particularly appealing to travellers. Then again, there are some other criteria travellers have and subsequently we have an article with a number of travel friendly electric toothbrushes, if this is what you are after.

Don’t go too cheap

There is such a thing as going too cheap with an electric toothbrush. In the years we have been testing brushes, we have yet to test an electric toothbrush that is less than £15 that really captures our attention in any serious way. Yes, inevitably there are some that are impressive options for the price, but there is always a compromise. What that compromise is depends on the brand and the particular model in question.

The big question that needs to be asked is how can something be produced this cheap; are cheap labour sources being exploited? What quality of materials are being used? Are the appropriate taxes being paid to sell such a product?

It does vary from one product to another, but our experience is that quality and reliability are often the biggest compromises. The product looks and feels cheap and rarely lasts longer than the 1 year warranty, if that long.

Toothbrush in parts

And because it is so cheap, it is easier and more convenient to throw away the faulty one and replace it with a new one, rather than repair it. Manufacturers know this and exploit this opportunity. Many work on the basis of making a profit by selling much higher volumes than their more expensive counterparts. The saying ‘pile it high and sell it cheap’ comes to mind.

We are not saying this is a dishonourable tactic, but it is one that doesn’t sit particularly well with us considering the environmental impact electric toothbrushes have. Selling a product really cheap isn’t typically sustainable long term. Keeping a high sales volume is particularly challenging and given the levels of competition in the market today it is far from easy.

This is something that the Chinese brand Fairywill has experienced. They did and still do make some exceptionally cheap products. But where they were once selling thousands through the likes of Amazon, they are now selling very few. We don’t recommend Fairywill products because of high rates of the product failing, and the company’s abuse of reviews leading to a ban from selling on Amazon (we talk about that more here).

Fairywill Pro P11 Power Button
Fairywill was a popular cheap brand, but it’s products broke easily and its response to warranty claims was poor

Ignoring the shady tactics and what it takes to sell on Amazon, the biggest losers are the existing owners of Fairywill products. With their main sales outlet now closed, Fairywill has been unable to sustain support for customers. It has gotten a bit better since, but for many months after being kicked off the platform Fairywill brush owners couldn’t get replacement brush heads or spare parts.

We have had many complaints of poor or no response to warranty claims. We can comment from first-hand experience on how communications with representatives from the company went unanswered. There is a cost to offering something cheap and that cost often is more impactful long term than paying a few extra pounds initially to get a better quality product.

Smaller companies and new brands don’t have the overhead costs of the major players like Oral-B, Philips and Colgate. They can bring better value products to market more rapidly. But the vast majority don’t have the same reputation, reliability and infrastructure in place.

You may well get an absolutely fantastic deal on a brush from a relatively unknown brand online, but when you need replacement brush heads where are you going to go?  How can you be assured the replacement heads will be there in the future? And what if the brush goes wrong?

Useful things to know before buying

In our best electric toothbrush article we include an extensive buyer’s guide, but we have condensed the main points into the sections below. There are three main bits of advice we share with anyone considering a new electric toothbrush, irrespective of their budget:

  1. You don’t need to buy an expensive toothbrush
  2. Smart toothbrushes are generally not worth it
  3. Routine and technique are important

Your toothbrushing technique and routine have more impact on your oral health than the toothbrush itself. It’s no use having an electric toothbrush if you don’t use it properly.

The most important features

There are 3 features we strongly recommend are present in any electric toothbrush that you decide to purchase: a 2 minute timer, pacer and pressure sensor.

Unfortunately, you won’t get all of these with the main recommendations featured in this article, nor other cheap brushes.  It is the pressure sensor that is often lacking. The cheapest brush that we recommend that has all of these features is the Pro 3 3500.

Below is a short description of what each feature does:

  • 2 minute timer: this helps to ensure that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes each time, which is recommended by dentists and governing bodies around the world.
  • Pacer: this helps you to spread your brushing time evenly across all parts of the mouth.
  • Pressure sensor: frequently brushing too hard will severely damage your teeth. A pressure sensor alerts you when you are brushing too hard so you can adjust your technique.

About Jon Love

Jon is a leading voice on electric toothbrushes and has been quoted by mainstream media publications for his opinions and expertise. Having handled & tested hundreds of products there really is very little he does not know about them. Passionate about business and helping others, Jon has been involved in various online enterprises since the early 2000s. After spending 12 years in consumer technology, it was in 2014 that he focused his attention on dental health, having experienced first-hand the challenge of choosing a new toothbrush.

Read More

Leave a comment or question

I accept the Privacy Policy