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The Best Electric Toothbrush: 3 Recommendations For 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Gemma Wheeler

(GDC Number: 259369)

Prestige 9900 Pressure Sensor

Editor’s Note

Promotional pricing for black Friday & the festive season means the Pro 3 3000/Pro 3 3500 becomes our recommendation for the best electric toothbrush.

The Pro 2 2500 is our normal choice. But the minor price difference that currently exists makes the Pro 3 series a better buy.

You get an extra cleaning mode & a larger visible pressure sensor.

Pick the Pro 3 3500 in particular as this comes with a travel case, like the 2500. The Pro 3 3000 does not.

Our recommendations at a glance

Best overall: Oral-B Pro 3 3500 (Amazon, eBay)

Most features: Sonicare Prestige 9900 (Sonicare, Amazon, Boots)

Best budget: Fairywill D7 / FW-507 (eBay)

In this post

Evidence

Dr. Gemma Wheeler, BDS (Hons)

Best Cordless Water Flosser Rework V2 2

Can an electric toothbrush replace a manual toothbrush?

Yes.

Studies (1,2,3) show that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque. They make it easier to completely remove plaque.

Plaque contains the bacteria that cause dental decay and gum disease.

That being said, a manual toothbrush is adequate if used correctly.

Can an electric toothbrush improve your oral health?

Yes, it can.

An 11 year study found that electric toothbrush usage has a long-term protective effect on oral health. 

A 2014 review of many different studies found that an electric toothbrush removes more plaque than a manual toothbrush. 

Electric toothbrushes improve gum disease and reduce the progression to more severe gum disease (periodontitis).

People who use electric toothbrushes keep more teeth in the long term.

Do dentists recommend electric toothbrushes?

Whilst not everyone needs an electric toothbrush, many will benefit from using one.

Electric toothbrushes make good plaque removal easier for you to achieve at home. They improve your technique.

I have also found that patients are more likely to clean their teeth for longer because the timers built into the brushes encourage this.  

And because they are proven to remove more plaque they help keep the gums and teeth healthy.

It would seem I am not alone, with 27% of people switching to electric, based on advice from their dentist.

Is Oral-B better than Sonicare?

No.  

There is some evidence (1 & 2) that Oral-B’s oscillating-rotating technology is better in lab tests. 

Whether this will make much difference in the mouth is unclear and the most recent review by El-Chami et al suggests you won’t see more benefits with one type over the other. 

In reality, more research is needed. Our Sonicare vs Oral-B article explores this in more detail.

Buying Advice

Useful things to know before buying

Below are the three main bits of advice we would give to someone considering a new electric toothbrush.

1. You don’t need to buy an expensive toothbrush

Spending more on a toothbrush doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting a better product. Often you are paying for extra features and functions you will not use. An expensive toothbrush does not clean the teeth better. Many of the best electric toothbrushes come in at under £50.

2. Smart toothbrushes are generally not worth it

They can help to encourage better technique and habit formation, but they are not more effective at cleaning your teeth.

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 the best electric toothbrush if you don’t use it properly.

What to look for in an electric toothbrush

Toothbrushes can come with all manner of features at different prices.

From our testing, the most essential features to look for in an electric toothbrush are:

2 minute timer

A timer helps to ensure that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes each time, which is recommended by dentist and governing bodies around the world.

Pacer

A pacer 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.

How we chose

Our selection process

Our team is made up of dental professionals and experienced product testers.  We specialise in oral health and abide by a strong code of ethics

We buy and test every product we recommend.  In most instances, we have detailed written and video reviews for each product.

We consult the clinical evidence, the feedback from consumers and industry leaders.

Together, we ensure our recommendations include only the very best choices.

We regularly review our recommendations based on newly released products and clinical evidence.

More on how we test products >>

Best electric toothbrush 2021 — our recommendations

In the sections below we go into detail about the brushes we have tested and explain our recommendations.

Dr. Gemma Wheeler answers common pre-purchase questions and explains the evidence for electric toothbrushes.

Best Overall

Oral-B Pro 2 2500

£35.99 on eBay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

📣 Editor’s Note: We have currently recommend the Oral-B Pro 3 3000 / 3500 instead of the Pro 2 2500, as explained here at the start of the article.

Why we chose it: 

The Pro 2 2500 has the essential features we recommend for an electric toothbrush.

The small round brush head cleans the teeth well. It is easy to manoeuvre into some of the tightest spots in the mouth. If you brush too hard the visible pressure sensor lights up red to warn you.

You can choose between the standard clean mode or the more gentle sensitive mode. There are no icons to let you know which mode is active, but it’s easy enough to distinguish between the two.

It has a slim and grippy handle. Be aware that toothpaste residue does build up on the rubber if you don’t run it under the tap after use.

The Pro 2 2500 has been independently approved by the Oral Health Foundation, which means it is safe to use, and that it has the benefits advertised.

If you prefer Philips Sonicare, the ProtectiveClean 4300 is equivalent to the Pro 2 2500.

What we like

  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
  • Slim, grippy handle
  • 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
  • Limited feedback on remaining battery power
The Best Electric Toothbrush: 3 Recommendations For 2021 1

Most Features

Sonicare 9900 Prestige

£299.99 From Sonicare*

£299.99 From Boots*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The Prestige has more features than you need, but it is the best smart toothbrush on the market today.

It looks fantastic and feels great in hand.  The smooth touch materials are good quality and easy to keep clean.

The A3 brush head included in the box gives a really thorough clean — there’s no need to switch out different heads for different modes. 

The Sonicare app can tell you precisely where you have and haven’t brushed. It will tell you if you brushed with too much pressure and if you scrubbed the teeth. You get visible alerts for these things too.

Despite the complex technology, Sonicare has simplified daily use. During our testing, we didn’t find the smart features to be annoying, but we stopped checking the app for feedback after a while.   

The compact USB-C enabled charging case is every bit as stylish as the toothbrush itself. The strap on the case is a little impractical though.

One downside is that the power and intensity buttons require a firm push. They don’t give a lot of feedback.

You do pay a premium price for this brush.

If you prefer Oral-B, the iO Series is the equivalent to the 9900 Prestige.

What we like

  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
  • Visible pressure sensor alerts you when brushing too hard
  • 4 weeks use on a single charge
  • Premium charging travel case included
  • Premium materials & design
  • Reminds you when to replace the brush head
  • Tracks & monitors your brushing

What we dislike

  • Expensive
  • No place to store the detachable USB cable
  • Bluetooth isn’t essential
Prestige 9900 under running water

Best budget

Fairywill D7 / FW-507

The Best Electric Toothbrush: 3 Recommendations For 2021 2

~£18.89 on eBay*

*Prices correct at time of writing

Why we chose it: 

The 507 has the essential features we look for in an electric toothbrush and more. It is one of the best value options on the market today.

It is a slim and lightweight toothbrush that lasts an impressive 30 days on a full charge.

The sonic cleaning action doesn’t feel quite as intense as a Sonicare toothbrush, but it still cleans the teeth well.

It has been awarded the American Dental Association ‘Seal of Acceptance’. This means that the toothbrush has been assessed by an independent panel of experts. It has been confirmed as safe and that it has the benefits it says it does.

The compromises are the material quality and 1 year warranty. It feels cheaper and more plasticy in hand, but it is perfectly functional.

What we like

  • Timer and pacer encourage brushing for the recommended time
  • Travel case included
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight
  • Value for money

What we dislike

  • Build quality isn’t as good
  • Only has a 1 year warranty
Fairywill FW-507

Our choices explained

The range of electric toothbrushes available is so vast that it can be overwhelming to choose one. To keep things simple, we have narrowed down the options to the choices you see listed above, and will now explain why we recommend them.

Our choice for the best electric toothbrush, the Oral-B Pro 2 2500, is based on the best value for money. It has the features we regard as essential, as well as a few more. It strikes a good balance between features and cost.

The very best brush you can buy is the Sonicare Prestige 9900, which is a top of the line smart toothbrush. We don’t recommend this as the top choice because it has far more features than the average user needs. Additional features inflate the price, and you can clean your teeth just as well with the Pro 2 2500 and other cheaper models.

The Sonicare equivalent to the Pro 2 2500 is the ProtectiveClean 4300. Both models do a great job, but we do find Oral-B’s small round brush heads a little easier to move around the teeth and reach the tighter spaces at the back of the mouth.

Oral-B Pro 2 2500
The small brush head on the Oral-B Pro 2 2500 is easy to move around the mouth.

The cost of replacing Oral-B heads is also cheaper compared to Sonicare.

The rubber grip on the front of the Pro 2 2500 handle makes it feel secure in the hand.  The downside is that toothpaste residue can be harder to clean off the textured grip compared to smoother handles like the ProtectiveClean 4300.

The built-in timer and pacer encourage you to brush for the right amount of time, evenly across the mouth. 

The pressure sensor alerts you if you are brushing too hard, which is a cause of gum recession.

The Pro 2 2500 also comes with a travel case included, which is useful for protecting the toothbrush during transport.

All in all the Pro 2 2500 has everything you need in an electric toothbrush and is approved by the Oral Health Foundation. We explain this certification in more detail below.

In terms of design, the 2500 isn’t as refined as top of the line models like the Sonicare 9900 Prestige and the Oral-B iO, but it is far cheaper.

You don’t need a smart toothbrush. But, if you want the most advanced and interesting toothbrush, then this is the 9900 Prestige.

Sonicare 9900 Prestige vs Oral-B iO
The Oral-B iO and Sonicare Prestige are the two very best electric toothbrushes you can buy.

It is very expensive, but you do get some nice extras. For example, the travel case is slimmer and more stylish than the basic plastic case Oral-B offers. You can even charge the toothbrush inside it.

Sensors in the handle track your brushing and find areas for improvement. It relays this information to charts and other visuals within the application.  

In certain circumstances the brush automatically adapts to prevent you from doing damage to your teeth.

None of these extras are necessary.  And nothing about this brush actually cleans your teeth better.

What the Prestige can potentially do is educate and encourage you to take better care of your teeth.

If your preference is Oral-B, the iO is the most feature rich model they offer. It isn’t as refined as the 9900, but it offers some unique elements. These include a colour display and sensor that confirms when you are using the correct pressure. We compare them to one another in our Oral-B iO vs Sonicare Prestige 9900 comparison.

There is little difference between them, but the Prestige just edges the Oral-B iO in our opinion.     

The Fairywill FW-507 is the most affordable option.  

The initial buy price isn’t that much different to the Pro 2 2500, but the extra value comes from all the extra brush heads that are included in the box. You get an extra 7.

From our testing the sonic cleaning action is more than good enough, although there have not been any clinical tests as of yet.

Another compromise is the 1 year warranty and the fact that it looks and feels a bit cheaper than the other choices. But overall, it is a perfectly satisfactory brush.

The Fairywill FW-507 in its travel case
The Fairywill FW-507 in its travel case

Newly tested products + those we are currently testing

We have recently completed testing of the Philips Sonicare 3100 Series.

This is a more than satisfactory brush, but our advice is to go for the Pro 2 2500 or Sonicare 4300 instead.

Other electric toothbrushes we have tested

While only a handful of brushes make it into our list of the best electric toothbrushes, we’ve put many more to the test.

Over the last few years we have tested well over 130 different models. The majority of these are featured in our reviews and comparisons.

We’ve explained our recommendations in detail above. That being said, we know there will be interest in the other brushes we have tested, so we’ve included a quick overview of them below.

Recent years have seen an increase in the appeal and offering of smart toothbrushes.  As you will have learnt, we don’t typically recommend them.  They are expensive, and you don’t need one to clean your teeth well.  But, inevitably, the top of the line models come with smart features built-in, out of the box.  

The Oral-B iO and the Sonicare 9900 Prestige are the two leading smart toothbrushes. We have included them above as the best Oral-B and best Sonicare brushes. They are truly the best in terms of technology. But, we encourage our readers to consider the cheaper options, such as the Pro 2 2500, as these can do the job as well. 

The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000 is another one of the premium options.  It is an upgrade over the DiamondClean 3rd generation.  You now have a pressure sensor. This is not a visible sensor, but the handle vibrates when it is activated to alert you.

The Sonicare DiamondClean 9000
The Sonicare DiamondClean 9000

It has a brush head replacement reminder system. An orange light shines on the brush handle when it is time to change your brush head. This is very useful. The negative consequence is the higher price of the brush heads.

The brush also has 3 different pressure settings and 4 cleaning modes. They don’t clean the teeth any better. Nor are they essential, but they offer choice.

The 9000 has Bluetooth Smart features. It does not have the position detection and tracking facilities like the 9900 Prestige or DiamondClean Smart.  If the app is used in real-time, you get an on-screen timer only.  Data is synced post brushing. It is displayed on the screen in the form of coloured charts.  This data shows performance for the last 7 days only.  It doesn’t allow brushing history and learning as you might expect.

It is a similar story for the ExpertClean from Sonicare.  It cleans the teeth well and has a good box contents.  But, unless you can commit to using the smart features, there are better value options.  Otherwise it feels similar to the 9000, but cheaper.

The 9900 Prestige is the latest addition to the Sonicare lineup of brushes. It offers Bluetooth connectivity. Like the DiamondClean Smart, this does actually offer real-time tracking.  

They fundamentally work the same. But the unique element to the Prestige is that even if you don’t use the app in real-time, the handle stores and syncs this data in the background.  You get a mouth map for cleaning, pressure, and scrubbing, something the DiamondClean Smart does not offer. This means you get more meaningful data over time, irrespective of real-time app use or not.

The 9900 is also focused on simplification.  It sounds odd given the brush offers so many features. It’s more about getting the job done.  Learning good habits will help you and your oral health in the long term.

It was Oral-B that really pushed smart technology into the toothbrush some years ago. The iO is the latest iteration with even more tech, including a display in the handle, previously only seen on the Oclean X before now.

With the Oclean X, the cleaning performance was great. The display was touch-sensitive and horrible to use.  The iO’s display is not touch-sensitive.  Despite this, the X has a lot going for it.  It has a magnetic wall mount, great colour choices and it is affordable.

With the introduction of the Oclean X Pro Elite there is little reason to opt for the older X variant.  The touchscreen has been radically improved and is a delight to use.  It might not be essential, but it adds something to the experience.  The Elite is also super quiet.  In fact, it is the quietest electric toothbrush that we have ever tested, by quite some margin. Oh, and it is a smart toothbrush too. It sends data back to your smartphone to help you track and improve your oral care habits.

Brushing teeth with X Pro Elite from Oclean
The Oclean X Pro Elite is the quietest electric toothbrush we have tested

Oclean is affiliated with Chinese technology giant Xiaomi. Their Mi toothbrush is another good value option.  It comes complete with, yes you guessed it, Bluetooth technology.  Yet again the implementation of this tech was not great. You need to be quite forgiving to get the value from it.  The Mi and Oclean models are not widely stocked, giving favour to those household names when it comes to availability. 

Older models like the Oral-B Genius X are extremely capable.  It has more features than you need, but it is more affordable than the iO.  It does away with the clunky position detection technology used by the Genius 9000. The sensors are built into the handle of the Genius X so there is no need to stand in front of a smartphone camera to track the movements, unlike with the Genius 9000.

Oral-B’s app has evolved over the years. But it can be a little confusing. Particularly when there are different configurations for different models.

The Oral-B Smart 6 6000 is a solid mid-range toothbrush.  It cleans the teeth well, has extra cleaning modes, a pressure sensor and 2 weeks battery life. It is neither cheap, nor extortionately expensive.  It is somewhat lost in the range though. Particularly when you consider the slimmer handled Smart 4 4000.  The 4 4000 offers multiple modes, nigh on identical cleaning performance and comparable battery life.  All for less money.

The Pro 3 3000 is another example of a brush lost within the wide array of models the company offers. Technically it cleans as well as any other Oral-B toothbrush. But, with just a single extra brushing mode over the Pro 2 2000 it isn’t a must buy. The only real differentiators are the new, cleaner look to the handle and the 360 degree pressure sensor. But neither are deal breakers.

Oral-B has always underperformed in the battery department.  Sacrifices might be expected for entry-level models.  But, around 1 week on a single charge isn’t good enough from the Pro 1 680 and Pro 1 750.  For a little extra, you can own the more capable Pro 2 2500.  It comes with twice the battery life, 2 cleaning does and a visible pressure sensor.

Oral-B Pro 1 680 in hand
The battery life on the Pro 1 680 isn’t great compared to other brushes

Even then, the 2 week battery life is no match for the budget-busting brand that is Fairywill. They have constantly over-delivered.  A month is the minimum you will get from their brushes.  The E11 is one such example. When the battery does need recharging, you use the detachable USB cable.  This is compact and convenient for some.  The drawback here is the design of the cable and the position of the charging port on the base. Otherwise, the brush is lightweight and comes with 8 brush heads included in the box. Based on value for money alone, it is simply sensational.

Colgate has offered good value brushes for many years.  They haven’t been must-buy products, but they do what they need to.  Oral-B and Sonicare have been better in product quality and cleaning power.  The sonic cleaning action has always felt weaker in the Colgate brushes, and this still applies to the Colgate 250R.  It is cheap, but the battery life and box contents are worse than the 250+ it replaced.  The design is a bit more stylish though.

The Colgate Connect E1 was made in partnership with Kolibree. It was the first toothbrush to be stocked in Apple stores.  But, much of what we know and love about Colgate has been lost and the software experience is substandard.  It simply isn’t a great brush for daily use.  A little more work on the software would have resulted in significant improvements.

No electric toothbrush, cheap or expensive, can ultimately clean your teeth perfectly unless you use it correctly. Proper technique and enough brushing time are key to good oral health.

Mouthpiece style toothbrushes like AutoBrush are trying to help with this.  They have a brush head that positions the bristles at the perfect 45 degree angle.  But, in addition, it attempts to clean all tooth surfaces at the same time.  Conceptually it is a great idea.  However, in practice, it does not work.  It fails to reach all the tooth and gum surfaces, leaving lots of plaque behind.  And despite being designed to correct technique issues, there is still a technique to use it.  Worryingly, there is a kids version.  The engaging characters on the brush handle are fun. But it is no replacement to regular toothbrushing.

Unobrush Toothbrush In Hand
We don’t recommend mouthpiece toothbrushes

Y-Brush is better, but only by a little bit.  It still isn’t a suitable replacement for a regular toothbrush. It’s the first of this type to show real promise.  Using nylon bristles found on regular toothbrushes, it manages to lift more plaque from the teeth and gums compared to other mouthpiece brushes.  It is easy to use and has a good battery life.  But revisions are needed.  It looks and feels a bit homemade at the moment. Refinement in the materials and production process is needed. As are different sized mouthpieces. The one size fits all approach means brushing can feel awkward and uncomfortable.

SymplBrush, is a newer automatic toothbrush that is arguably better than Y-Brush. It is more refined and well thought out. Interestingly though, there is a lot of similarity between them. SymplBrush uses nylon bristles and focuses on just one arch of teeth at a time. The cleaning results are the most impressive we have seen to date. Still not perfect, but it is most definitely the best mouthpiece toothbrush we have tested to date. Unfortunately, it is currently exclusive to the USA.

We are all for innovation if done well. On paper the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion reads like a great idea. It is a combination of water flosser and sonic toothbrush. 2 in 1 products can take up less countertop space, whilst delivering multiple benefits. In reality, it is expensive and impractical. You don’t get the choice of different tips like you do with a normal water flosser. Water is fed through the brush head, making angling and positioning more difficult. The battery life of the toothbrush itself is poor. And the noise it makes is quite irritating. It is a shame as Waterpik’s Complete Care range is pretty good. It’s also proof that a separate water flosser and toothbrush is the answer.

We rate the Ordo Sonic+ as the UK’s best toothbrush subscription toothbrush. You can buy it outright or subscribe. It is pretty good value. Although it is a little more expensive than our best electric toothbrush. We recommend you opt for our best choice, unless you want the convenience of regular brush head deliveries.

New products coming soon

There are always new products coming through.  Manufacturers regularly update their models.

Adding smart technology is popular at the moment. There are now various smart toothbrushes, which we run through in our guide here.

However, there is no product we would recommend waiting for.

There are some interesting developments happening around toothbrush technology. “Automatic” or “mouthpiece” toothbrushes are one such example.

We don’t deem any to be a suitable replacement for the traditional manual or electric toothbrush. That said, SymplBrush is the best mouthpiece toothbrush we have tested so far. 

A few companies are attempting to perfect the approach. Some new models due in the coming months include:

This technology and approach is very new and has limited clinical testing.

Based on the products we have tested, don’t delay the purchase of a regular toothbrush. It is far more important to pick a brush and use it correctly than to find that perfect toothbrush.

If you are interested in new toothbrush technology, you can stay up to date with this by viewing our toothbrush technology page or signing up for our email alerts.

Buyer’s Guide

Useful pre-purchase advice

Dr. Gemma Wheeler, BDS (Hons)

Best Cordless Water Flosser Rework V2 2

With the help of our in-house dentist Dr. Gemma Wheeler, we’ve added useful notes and tips from our research and testing.

No doubt you’ll have one or two particular questions before buying, as did we.

Browse the sections below, and if you can’t find the information you need, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page and we’ll get back to you.

Key tips for looking after your teeth

When it comes to looking after your teeth, the most important thing is to create a regular cleaning habit, following the steps below.

Doing so will have the biggest impact, over and above the toothbrush you choose:

How much should you spend on an electric toothbrush?

There are a number of types of electric toothbrush, including side to side movements, sonic, and rotation oscillation.

Oral-B brushes use rotation oscillation technology, whereas Sonicare brushes use sonic technology.

There is a small amount of evidence showing that rotation oscillation brushes are better than other types. They reduce levels of plaque and gum disease.

But one review rightly points out that the difference is small. It is unknown whether these clinical trials actually translate into day to day use.

The good news is that rotation oscillation toothbrushes tend to be cheaper.

Apart from this, there is almost no evidence supporting one type of brush over the others. 

However, key characteristics which may benefit you in an electric toothbrush are:

  • a pressure sensor to prevent scrub brushing.
  • a timer to help ensure you are brushing for the full two minutes.
  • a good quality toothbrush head which is changed every three months or when you can see them fraying.

Our number 1 pick in the list above, the Oral-B Pro 2 2500, includes all of these. Many of the best electric toothbrushes come in at under £50.

Spending more money on a toothbrush may provide things like travel cases and better battery life, but these aren’t going to actually help brush your teeth better!

Is a smart toothbrush worth the money?

No, not in my opinion.

A smart toothbrush is one with Bluetooth technology, which is developing all the time. In the last few years it has evolved from just connecting to a timer to being able to connect to an app on your phone.

Some smart toothbrushes also send reminders when you should change your toothbrush head.

There is no evidence currently available to support the use of a smart toothbrush over a normal electric toothbrush.

As a dentist, I would point out that many of the benefits advertised by a smart toothbrush can be gained more affordably elsewhere, such as by setting a calendar reminder on your phone, or by learning proper techniques from our videos and your own dental professional.

This topic is discussed in more detail in our article: is a smart toothbrush worth it?

What are the pros and cons of an electric toothbrush?

We have already explained the evidence about how an electric toothbrush can improve your dental health. We have explained why they can replace a manual toothbrush.

But what are the other pros and cons of using an electric toothbrush? This list is a combination of evidence we have already discussed and the professional experience of our in house dentists.

ProsCons
Less technique sensitiveMore expensive than a manual toothbrush
Remove more plaque Need a power supply to recharge (or access to new batteries)
Easier if you have limited hand movementsNeed to buy matching replacement brush heads
Easier for people with bracesNot as travel friendly because they are bigger and can turn on in transit
More likely to brush for 2 minutesMore susceptible to damage
Tracking technology guides you in real-time to ensure you cover all teethSome people don’t like the intensity and sensation of the cleaning action they provide
Bluetooth technology teaches better habits and help track brushing progressNegative impact on the environment
Gadgets and apps give brushing reminders every dayNeed to be disposed of as electrical waste
Smart toothbrush heads give digital reminders to replace your brush head.
Variety of modes can adapt for sore teeth and gums
Pressure sensors prevent brushing too hard and potentially damaging teeth and gums

Is it better to choose an electric toothbrush instead of a manual toothbrush?

Some people will see benefits when using an electric toothbrush instead of a manual toothbrush.

The purpose to toothbrushing is to:

  • remove plaque, which contributes to dental decay and gum disease.
  • remove food debris from the teeth to reduce the risk of dental decay.
  • introduce a fluoride containing toothpaste to reduce the risk of decay.

When asking whether an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush is better, the question is really “which one removes more plaque and food debris, without harming the teeth and gums”.

Studies (reviewed by Niederman and Yaacob et al ) show that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque. They also show that electric toothbrushes help with gum disease.

Despite the clear evidence in reducing plaque, there is no evidence to support the use of electric toothbrushes when it comes to reducing decay.

For people wearing braces, a review of the evidence concluded that there is no reason to support the use of electric toothbrushes for reducing plaque on teeth and avoiding gum disease (although this evidence only covered a period of 8 weeks).

When thinking about the safety of your brush, know that both manual and electric toothbrushes have the potential to cause harm when used incorrectly. An example is causing wear on the outside of the tooth by scrubbing too hard. Evidence has shown that electric toothbrushes are of no greater concern to teeth and gums than a manual toothbrush, and some studies even support the use of electric toothbrushes to prevent worsening tooth wear caused by over brushing.

One other consideration is which one are you more likely to use? A toothbrush that encourages you to brush twice a day for two minutes each time, is always going to be better than one you can’t use.

Finally, when thinking about whether an electric toothbrush is better than a manual toothbrush, you will also want to think about the environment. This recent study discussed the greater impact of electric toothbrushes on the environment.

The take home message?

It is a personal choice.

If you are good at cleaning with a manual toothbrush and have no gum disease or tooth wear, then a manual toothbrush is satisfactory. It also has less impact on the environment.

If you struggle getting your teeth clean enough with a manual toothbrush, or if you suffer from gum disease, then an electric toothbrush is a better option for you.

Will an electric toothbrush help with gum disease?

Yes, electric toothbrushes help with gum disease.

Managing gum disease is all about reducing the amount of plaque on the teeth and under the gums. An important part of this is physical removal by toothbrushing and interdental cleaning.

Multiple reviews  (Van der Weijden Niederman and Yaacob et al) support the fact that electric toothbrushes help with gum disease. More recently, an 11 year long study by Pitchika et al has examined long term successes of electric toothbrush users. These papers have found:

  • electric toothbrushes remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes, in both the short and long term.
  • electric toothbrushes provide a benefit in reducing levels of gum disease (compared to manual toothbrushes) both in the short term (6%) and long term (11%).
  • electric toothbrushes reduce the progression of advanced gum disease, with users having less bone loss.
  • users of electric toothbrushes, and who have gum disease, are less likely to lose teeth.

Can I use an electric brush with braces, crowns, veneers, bridges or an implant?

Yes.

It is safe to use electric toothbrushes with dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, bridges and implants.  

You can also use an electric toothbrush with fixed braces — we cover this in more detail in our post on the best toothbrush for braces.

An explanation of the different toothbrush features

There are lots of features that can be built into electric toothbrushes today.

Not all of them are necessary.

We have grouped the most common features by their importance.

For the high and medium importance features, we have included a brief description. We explain what they do and why they might be helpful.

High importance — essential in any electric toothbrush

2 minute timer

We cannot stress the importance of a timer enough.

Dentists, hygienists and governing dental bodies around the world are in unison that brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes is important.

When brushing your teeth, it is all too easy to get distracted and misjudge time. You can think you have been brushing for longer than you have.

A timer keeps track of how long the toothbrush has been switched on for.

At the end of 2 minutes (120) seconds, the toothbrush will power off or briefly pause the brush motor.

If the timer hasn’t gone off, you haven’t brushed for long enough.

Quadpacer

2 minutes spent cleaning your front or back teeth is no good.  To maintain good oral hygiene you need to clean all the teeth.

A pacer is linked to the 2 minute timer.  

It is designed to encourage you to brush the teeth in the mouth evenly during the 2 minute brushing cycle.

Most pacers work by pausing the brush motor at 30 second intervals.  The pause in the sound and motion of the toothbrush is your cue to move from 1 section of the mouth to another.

Imagine your mouth split up into 4 sections:

  1. Upper right
  2. Upper left
  3. Lower right
  4. Lower left

Spend 30 seconds cleaning the surfaces of the teeth in each quadrant. By the end of the 2 minute cleaning cycle all teeth will have had equal attention.

Some brushes (notably Sonicare) have a pacer set to 20 second intervals.  This results in 6 sections of the mouth. They are as follows: 

  1. Upper right back teeth
  2. Upper front teeth
  3. Upper left back teeth
  4. Lower left back teeth
  5. Lower front teeth
  6. Lower right back teeth
Pressure sensor

We believe a pressure sensor is an underrated feature, particularly for a first time user.

Brushing too hard can damage the gums. Bristles of the brush need only skim the surface of the teeth and gums.

Brushing too hard will also wear away the outermost surface of the tooth. This is what dentists call abrasion. Abrasion itself can cause sensitivity to hot and cold.

Scrubbing harder is not an effective way to remove plaque and debris from the teeth. You and many others may not have known this, because you have never been told or shown how to brush correctly.

A pressure sensor alerts you when you are applying too much force as you brush.

It is a gentle reminder to use a little less force and help you maintain a healthy smile.

Sensors are implemented differently.  

In many instances when pressure is detected, the motor will slow down. This limits the bristle movement and potential damage.

A visible pressure sensor will illuminate to act as a visual alert.  This is common in Oral-B brushes.  Usually, a red light is emitted around the neck of the toothbrush.

Some models, notably Sonicare, will vibrate the brush handle to alert you.

Avoid activating the pressure sensor if you can.

Once the pressure is relieved, the sensor is deactivated and normal brushing resumes.

Medium importance — worth considering, but not critical 

Good battery life

Most electric brushes have built-in rechargeable batteries.  

Over recent years performance and usage time of batteries have gotten better. Most brushes are on par with each other, with an average of around 2-3 weeks use between charges.

The vast majority of batteries in toothbrushes use Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion). Some are Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH).  

Some brushes will have removable AA or AAA. They can last months. They are not that common and tend to be the cheaper models at less than £20. 

Rechargeable toothbrushes typically perform better and are more cost effective.

Travel case

Even if you are not a regular traveller, a case makes it much easier to transport the toothbrush and brush heads.

When in the case, the likelihood of damage, particularly to the bristles on the brush head is reduced. There is also less chance of the brush accidentally being switched on. Any excess moisture and toothpaste remains in the case and not on anything else that might be in your bag. Nobody likes toothpaste stains on their clothes!

There are certain models that come with travel cases that allow charging whilst in the case. They do not need to be placed on a separate charging stand.

Price

Only ever spend what you are comfortable with.

For some spending £30 will be a lot whilst to others £200 will be cheap.

You do not have to spend a fortune.

A more expensive brush does not mean it is any better at cleaning your teeth.

For less than £50 you can buy an excellent electric toothbrush.

The act of regular brushing, with the correct technique, is more important than what you pay.

Additional cleaning modes

There is little need for extra cleaning modes. The default cleaning mode on a toothbrush is suitable for most users.

If we were to pick an additional mode it would be sensitive.

A sensitive cleaning mode uses less power from the brush motor.  It is more gentle on the teeth and gums.

Model dependent, there can be up to 6 or 7 different brushing modes.

What differs is the power/intensity of the mode and the brushing time.  Very often the likes of a ‘deep clean’ mode will last for 3 minutes.

For more information, read our Sonicare brushing modes or Oral-B cleaning modes article.

Brushing intensity

Being able to control the amount of power the motor delivers can be useful.

Some models offer the choice of low, medium and high power settings.

If the brush has 1 cleaning mode, it may default to the high setting.

You could change it to the low setting for a less intense clean.

Although the brush motion does not change, the speed of the motion does.

These act as alternatives to cleaning modes.

A brush with 1 mode but 3 intensity settings is in many respects equivalent to a brush with 3 modes.

Cost of replacement brush heads

The cost of replacement heads affects the long term ownership cost. It is worth factoring into your decision. Oral-B brush heads are cheaper than Sonicare.

It’s recommended that you replace your brush head every 3 months. If you follow that advice you’ll need 4 brush heads a year.

Official brush heads cost anywhere from about £3-10+ per brush head. This can be a lot of money when they will only be thrown away 3 months later. 

You can save money by buying when there’s a deal on or by buying in bulk.

In most instances, you have the choice of opting for a third party brush head. There may not be the same range and the quality may be different. But there are some great options at very good prices.

Do be aware of fakes/counterfeit brush heads which pose as genuine but are often not the real deal. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

Low importance — not a big consideration

  • Brush handle shape, size and colour
  • Brush head shape and size
  • Cleaning mode notification lights
  • Battery charging/status icon
  • Smart features
  • Bluetooth
  • Motion tracking
  • Smart guides
  • UV sanitisers
  • Automatic power off
  • Charging stands/USB charging
  • Water resistance
  • Noise
  • LEDs/cleaning mode display
  • Storage compartments
  • Dual handles

An explanation of the different brush heads

The brush heads available vary depending on the brand of toothbrush and the model that you choose.

Oral-B, Sonicare and Colgate all offer a range of different types of brush heads.

Each head is, in theory, designed to do a different job.

Sonic brush heads tend to be larger than the small round brush heads found on oscillating-rotating toothbrushes. Sonic heads have an oval shape to them.

The ranges are unnecessarily complicated. There is no definitive evidence to say one head is better than another.

It is best to pick and stick to one style of brush head and use it, rather than to worry about the particular type.

We have dedicated guides for brush heads:

How does dental association approval work?

There are many dental bodies and organisations around the globe.

In fact, each country will usually have a  panel of leading experts. They usually guide oral health within that country. 

These organisations have similar goals and approaches. For example, producing advice for the general public on how to look after their teeth and gums. Or the recommended fluoride doses.

People look to these for advice on what products they should and should not be using.

The American Dental Association (USA) and the Oral Health Foundation (UK) are 2 examples.

Each has programmes that verify the safety and effectiveness of consumer products.

Consumer oral health care products are independently evaluated. This is to ensure they are safe and that the claims made are proven and not exaggerated.  Reliable scientific evidence is usually required. 

The programmes are designed to give consumers peace of mind and reassurance.

Each programme is run independently.  A manufacturer must apply and submit the relevant data to each organisation. Only once this process has been completed will a product be awarded the ‘approved’ status of the relevant body.

The ADA issues a ‘Seal of Acceptance’. The Oral Health Foundation labels products as ‘Approved’.

Although they are separate programmes, they operate with similar policies.  A product awarded the ADA seal would likely be approved by the Oral Health Foundation.

Warranty & Guarantee

2 years (24 months) tends to be the standard warranty period from the manufacturers.

Products that stop working as a result of poor workmanship or failure of parts are covered.

Manufacturer warranties do not cover damage and faults that are a result of user damage.

Some brands do offer warranty extensions of anywhere between 3-12 months.  These are usually promoted at the time of sale, or in the box. 

If the brush does develop a fault, you can send the brush in for a free of charge for assessment and repair or replacement as necessary.

Watch

Video explainer

In the video below our chief product tester Jon Love explains the advice from our buyer’s guide and runs through our choices for the best electric toothbrush.

Best Electric Toothbrush 2021

FAQ

Below you can find some other common questions about electric toothbrushes. We’ve answered them briefly and then linked off to our dedicated articles on the topic.

  • Do electric toothbrushes damage teeth?
    • No.
    • When used correctly, an electric toothbrush does not damage the teeth or gums.
  • Do electric toothbrushes cause gum recession?
    • No, the toothbrush itself does not cause gum recession.
    • It can exaggerate or accelerate recession. But this is as a result of user (human) error rather than the action of the brush.
  • Do electric toothbrushes whiten teeth?
    • No, electric toothbrushes do not whiten teeth.
    • Electric toothbrushes can help with stain removal from the tooth surface.
  • How long do electric toothbrushes last?
    • The average lifespan of an electric toothbrush is around 5 years.
    • Manufacturers normally offer a 2 year warranty should the brush fail sooner.
    • Some brushes will last a lot longer. We know of people still using electric toothbrushes that are 10+ years old.
  • Can you share an electric toothbrush?
    • Yes, you can share a toothbrush handle.
    • But do not share a toothbrush head.
    • It is not advised. Yet, almost one in ten (9.7 percent) said they had shared a toothbrush (Oral Health Foundation, 2014).
    • Bristles of the brush head can harbour bacteria and germs. These can have a negative consequence on your health when shared.
    • The interchangeable heads do allow for brush handles to be shared.
  • Can electric toothbrushes get wet?
    • Yes.
    • With few exceptions, electric toothbrushes are designed to be water resistant.
    • Vulnerable electronics are sealed inside the brush handle.
    • Different manufacturers have different guidelines on using in the shower. At no point should the brush be submerged in water.

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

59 thoughts on “The Best Electric Toothbrush: 3 Recommendations For 2021”

  1. How does the Pro 2 2500 compare with a Oral-B Pro 3 3000 listed here:
    https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Electric-Toothbrush-Rechargeable-Technology-Replacement/dp/B096SVL986?currency=EUR

    I’m in the EU, and for me its effectively the same price.
    From what I can tell the new one has no travel case, but the motor is slightly better, using the Smart 1500 from the US market as a reference. Also I think the pressure sensor might light up differently, but not sure about, and could not find a lot either.

    I assume there is not a review yet, because it seems it released about a month ago, but I’d appreciate any response you can provide. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Tharen.

      Thanks for the question. We are actually due to review the Pro 3 3000 this week. It has been updated to the style you have linked to.

      There isn’t much difference to be honest.

      They key difference is there is an extra cleaning mode & the pressure sensor now wraps a full 360 degrees around the brush handle.

      You are correct that this is the same as the Smart 1500 in the USA.

      The Pro 3 3000 does not come with a travel case, but there is a Pro 3 3500 that does.

      I hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. Thanks for this review! Now I’m convinced to get Oclean X Pro Elite. I’m gonna head out to their website now ’cause I heard they have it on promo. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Hello, i wanted to ask which mid-range
    Sonicare is the best in your opinion? Something more expensive than ProtectiveClean 4300, I live in EU.

    Reply
    • Hi Casper.

      For what reason do you want a more expensive model? This will help me give a better recommendation.

      Reply
  4. Hi , I have an Omron HP-B201 toothbrush ,but I can’t find new head brushes .Is the brush of pro clinical Colgate-Omron compatible with my brush ?
    Thank you for this article .

    Reply
    • Hi Irene.

      I have to be honest and say this is not a brush I have come across before, used or know much about. It is possible that Colgate brush heads may work, but a quick web search turns up nothing conclusive.

      I think the best action to take is contact Omron themselves for advice.

      Reply
  5. Hi,

    I’m looking forward to buy an electric toothbrush, after researching I’m trying to decide between 2. Both are from Oral-b, one it the Pro 2 for 35€ or the Genius 8000 for 85€. Does the Genius 8000 worth the 50€ more then the Pro 2??

    Reply
    • For most people no. The Pro 2 series gives what you need.

      The Genius 8000 has more features that some may like, but are by no means essential. If you want to connect the brush to a smartphone for example, then this is a brush to consider, but assuming not, I would advise the Pro 2.

      Reply
  6. Hi Jon
    Looking for an Oral-B & would appreciate your opinion as undecided. Have problem with ‘pockets’ and receding gums (years of hard brushing manually!) so hygienist every 3 months. 2000/2500 is option for good basic clean, 4000 is reviewed as best for gums, G9000 has the app for best brushing but not sure if I would use that all the time? But then all the others, so your advice please, thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Elaine,

      Thanks for your question.

      The main features to make sure you have are a pressure sensor and sensitive cleaning mode, which are both included with the Smart 4 4000. It’s then worth giving Oral-B’s sensitive brush heads a try — we have written about them in our guide to Oral-B brush heads.

      Our take on the app that is included with the Genius 9000 is that it takes a good degree of commitment to really make the most of it. If you are already confident with your brushing technique you are unlikely to gain much from it. An initial step could be to get your hygienist to check your brushing technique. We also have our own guide and videos that demonstrate the correct technique here.

      So in summary it is probably worth spending on the Smart 4 to get the sensitive cleaning mode, but the extra expense of one of the smart toothbrushes may not be worth it.

      Reply
  7. I always use this toothbrush I feel the battery life is not 2 weeks after a few weeks it only lasts a couple of days this has happened with all oral b brushes I would also ask that it comes with head cover not very hygenic when storing on charger

    Reply
    • Hi Isabella.

      I presume you are referring to our top pick, the Pro 2 2500. If the fully charged battery is not lasting more than a few days, there might well be an issue with it and I would suggest you speak to Oral-B about potentially have it repaired.

      Understood about the cover, but not having a cover on it, also allows the air to get to and around the bristles with more ease. A cover on a brush head can actually help bacteria grow because the bristles do not dry.

      Reply
  8. You wrote that the smart 4 4000 is the most recommended toothbrush for receding gums and sensitive teeth because it is the cheapest Oral-B brush to offer a sensitive cleaning mode.
    But as I read in other articles in your sit there are many “oral b pro” models that also has sensitive mode (like the pro 2 2500)
    Wil be happy if you could explain in more details why the smart 4 4000 is the best for sensitive teeth (as you also wrote in separate article…) and why the pro 2 2500 isn’t suitable for this need?
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • Hi Shay,

      Thanks for the comment and question, it is indeed very valid.

      The honest answer is it is not so much the case that the Pro 2 2500 is not suitable, it certainly is an option. There are many possible choices and picking a ‘best’ brush isn’t always the easiest.

      Whilst it will not be for everyone, the smart features of the 4 4000 does too give tracking options and the ability to log cleaning routines which can act as encouragement and proof for some that they are working towards improving their oral health.

      Exacerbating the situation somewhat is that for some time we were understood that the Oral-B Pro 2 2500 had 2 modes, Daily Clean & Gum Care. However, we have recently had confirmation that the modes are actually Daily Clean & Sensitive. A small but subtle difference. This confusion came as a result of misleading information across various marketing materials and descriptions that exist for this product.

      There is very little difference between these modes and both do a similar job, but you can perhaps see why the Smart 4 4000 became the recommendation as it was our understanding that the Pro 2 2500 did not have the slowest and most gentle gum care mode.

      Since having confirmation of this cleaning mode error, we have updated the majority of content across our site to reflect this, but haven’t yet completed every change. This includes reviewing recommendations like the Smart 4 4000 as the best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth. IN truth, there is a very high likelihood we will switch the recommendation to the Pro 2 2500 for the value it delivers.

      So, in short the Pro 2 2500 is an option and this is why the Smart 4 is currently our pick.

      Reply
  9. Thank you very much for your consideration…i appreciate your advice, I believe I’ll go towards a Sonicare.
    One last thing: do you believe the Protectiveclean 4500 HX6830/44 is a better buy than the Hx6511/50, considering that in my region the price difference is only 13€ between the two?

    Reply
  10. Thank you, you truly are a benchmark in this argument. I’m trying to decide which to buy today between the Sonicare Hx6511/50 and the Oral-B PRO 2 2500…
    I value quietness and overall cleaning capability; any advice?

    Reply
    • Juan.

      I would go with the Sonicare Hx6511/50.

      There is some clinical evidence that the Oral-B cleans better overall. However, the differences are minimal and is not an issue to be too worried about. The Sonicare is much quieter than Oral-B. So based on this, I think Sonicare.

      Reply
  11. Thanks so much for cutting through all the twaddle!
    I read nearly everything and it was very useful.
    I have a preference for Sonicate but I can’t afford the all singing and dancing one in your current list. I particularly want to look after my gums – previously they were in a dreadful state and I don’t want to go back there. And I have TMJD and have just cracked a molar.
    If you have time would you mind giving me be a recommendation for a Sonicare un to £100? I think it’s worth investing in a good toothbrush (and using it properly) but I don’t want to chuck money away for the sake of it..
    I will tell my dentist how useful your site is.

    Reply
  12. Hello! Thanks for the great information there!
    I’d like to ask, the retail store here is selling Oral-B Smart 4 4000 (with 3 refills) and Oral-B Smart 7 7000 (with 1 refill) at the same price, which is AUD99. I couldn’t find any video or review on the Smart 7, therefore I’m having quite a hard time to decide on which one to get? I hope that you’d spare me some suggestions, thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • Hi Jason. Thanks for the question.

      I think you asked this question on our Facebook page also, so I am sharing the reply here too.

      Being based in the UK, I have not gone hands-on with the Smart 7 7000, but having looked it appears to be very similar to a model we have in the UK called the Smart 6 6000.

      Truthfully there isn’t much between these 2 models they both clean well, have built-in pressure sensors, timer and 2 week battery life.

      The key differences are:

      The Smart 4 4000 is a little slimmer in hand and has 3 cleaning modes.
      The Smart 7 7000 has 6 modes.
      The Smart 7 7000 comes with a travel case and the Smart 4 4000 does not.
      The Smart 4 4000 comes with a brush head storage compartment, that the Pro 7 does not.

      Either are good brushes, but seeing as they are the same price I would pick the Smart 7.

      I hope this helps.

      Reply
  13. Thanks for a great summary. I have decided to buy oral b genius x, but I wonder if you know the difference between genius x 20000, 20100 and 20200? I can’t find information about it.

    Reply
    • Hi Kari,

      Thanks for the question.

      The key differences between these models are what countries they are available in and what is included in the box.

      At the time of writing, the 20100 and 20200 are not available in the UK, but are models available in other European countries.

      The key differences as far as I can tell are:

      The 20000 comes with:
      – 1 x Oral-B Genius X toothbrush handle
      – 4 x brush heads
      – 1 x 2 pin charging stand
      – 1 x Charging travel case
      – 1 x 2 pin power adapter for the travel case
      – User manual/warranty documentation

      The 20100 comes with:
      – 1 x Oral-B Genius X toothbrush handle
      – 1 x brush heads
      – 1 x 2 pin charging stand
      – 1 x Charging travel case
      – 1 x 2 pin power adapter for the travel case
      – 1 x Brush head stand (fits around charging stand)
      – User manual/warranty documentation

      The 20200 comes with:
      – 1 x Oral-B Genius X toothbrush handle
      – 2 x brush heads
      – 1 x 2 pin charging stand
      – 1 x Charging travel case
      – 1 x 2 pin power adapter for the travel case
      – 1 x Brush head stand (fits around charging stand)
      – User manual/warranty documentation

      Reply
  14. Thanks very much for the exceptional detail as always.

    Our children have always had electric brushes and are now 8. We are looking at buying either the Sonicare for Kids, or the Pro 2 2500 with sensitive brush heads. Both children are very used to using electric brushes and so we are thinking that the ‘adult’ version with soft heads may be the preferred option.

    Would be most grateful for your thoughts, and my thanks again for all the great info!

    Reply
    • Hi Peter.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      I would agree with your thinking.

      8 years old is about the earliest you can or would want to switch children over to an ‘adult’ toothbrush.

      The Pro 2 2500 would be ideal. The small round brush head. The built in 2 minute timer, 30 second pacer and pressure sensor. The soft bristles of the brush head (assuming you pick the sensitive style brush head).

      If you have any other questions, let me know.

      Reply
    • Hi Hongxin,

      The battery life data is compiled by ourselves.

      With all the brushes we review, we test the battery life.

      Once a brush is fully charged, we run the toothbrush through their standard cleaning cycle until the battery is discharged.

      We have taken the data we have and placed it in the chart shown.

      Reply
  15. hello,
    I would like to buy 4 electric toothbrushes for my family members for regular daily oral hygiene. Could you possibly suggest the best possible budget-friendly item in the market regarding technology and efficiency?

    Reply
    • Hi.

      My first question would be do you need 4 separate electric toothbrushes or could the members of the family share 1 brush handle, but each have their own brush head?

      In either situation, the Oral-B Pro 2 2500 is a good option, but I appreciate it is not the cheapest. Therefore, the Fairywill FW-917 or the Oral-B Pro 600 would be brushes to consider as these costs £20-25 on average.

      If the family members could share a brush handle and you want to keep the costs down, go for the Oral-B Pro 2 2500 and then buy brush heads for each user. You may then want to buy this accessory, that clips to the charging stand and gives a place to store the brush heads when not in use.

      I hope this helps. If you need more info or assistance, let me know.

      Reply
  16. Hi Jon, love the reviews!

    I live in Australia and the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N and the Smart 5 5000 are the same price (£40). The Genius 9000 is on sale for £63. Do these brushes all provide the same clean (i.e. same oscillations/strokes/movements)? If so, the best brush to get if I do not want the bluetooth functions would be the Smart 5 5000 (as it is newer than the Pro 2 2500)?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Merrideth,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The power of the Pro 2 2500 and Smart 5 5000 are the same, although the Genius 9000 is a little more powerful.

      Whilst the brushes have different cleaning modes, the basic cleaning action is the same on all models. Although the Genius 9000 is more powerful and can technically clean the teeth more effectively in reality the difference is very small given the Pro/Smart Series are already powerful.

      If you don’t want Bluetooth then there is little point going for the Smart or Genius Series really, despite them being at a very good price.

      Although the Smart 5 5000 did launch fractionally after the Pro 2 2500, it wasn’t long after, so the Pro 2 2500 is the brush to go for.

      I hope that helps, any questions, let me know.

      Reply
  17. What are the advantages of a sonic toothbrush over a standard electric one. I’ve been told by my dentist to use a sonic one to help prevent plaque…. true or false?

    Reply
    • Hi Colin.

      I am not sure what you/your dentist mean by a ‘standard electric toothbrush’. I suspect this is a referral to a more tried and tested (recognised brand) electric toothbrush in comparison to a unknown, cheap electric brush.

      A toothbrush in itself does not prevent plaque.

      A toothbrush helps removes plaque more effectively. Sonic electric toothbrushes like those from Philips Sonicare and Oral-B are proven to be better at removing plaque than a manual brush, when used correctly.

      I hope this helps. If you need more information, please let me know.

      Reply
  18. HI Jon, do you know if my Oral B pro 2000 brush heads will fit the new 2.2500 i am thinking of buying?

    Great website and videos many thanks for all your hard work and research you have put in. good luck for the future.

    Tom

    Reply
    • Hi Tom,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      I can confirm that the brush heads that fit to the Oral-B Pro 2000 will work with the new Pro 2 2500.

      All Oral-B brush heads are interchangeable. This means you can use any Oral-B head on any Oral-B brush handle.

      To find out more, you could take a look at our Oral-B brush heads explained article.

      Reply
  19. I have a small hand and small mouth, and I find the cylindrical shape of electric brush handles very hard to manage. As it gets wet from toothpaste, saliva etc, it slips in my hand and I’ve bruised my mouth a couple of times. It must be possible to shape the handle a bit to make it easier to grip, but I’m not aware of any manufacturer who has addressed this problem yet. Surely I can’t be the only person with this problem?

    Reply
    • Hi Clare,

      Some models like the Oral-B Vitality have a more tapered design to the handle (wider at top and slimmer at the bottom) which means they are not all slim and perfectly cylindrical.

      We will be in the future looking at toothbrushes that have different designs and cater to different user needs, particularly those with disabilities.

      Far from an elegant solution some wrap tape or elastic bands around the handles to thicken them up and make them more grippy and less rounded.

      Reply
  20. The Oral-B 2000/2500 do sound like good value but Amazon reviews suggest quality control issues with the battery. Even excluding some reviews of possible defects, there are quite a few people suggesting that it will not hold a charge well after only a few months (needs recharging every day or two).

    Do you ever look at long-term battery capacity? Some people presumably look to replace their 5-10-year-old brush because the battery is getting annoying, and ending up in the same situation after only a couple of months would be very frustrating.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment.

      Battery defects can occur but they are rare in the scheme of things now.

      You need to pay attention to when the review was placed on Amazon because they do something silly when updating brushes which means the reviews are not wholly accurate.

      Before the Pro 2 2500 was the Pro 2500. However when the Pro 2 2500 launched they just updated the older Pro 2500 product page. This means a large number of reviews actually relate to the older brush.

      The newer Pro 2 2500 has a new battery which uses a different technology and lasts twice as long between charges.

      As best as possible we test brushes over long periods. We have 3 people using the Pro 2 2500 for several months now without issue. We don’t run detailed scientific tests though.

      I hope this helps

      Reply
      • I’m aware of that strange policy they have. However, I’m not talking about how long it lasts between charges, but how long it continues meet that standard as it ages: e.g. it lasts two weeks between charges, but after the first couple of months this stops being the case and it needs charging every day. You would want and expect a lithium ion battery to continue to hold capacity for several years as it does in other consumer electronics.

        Both that complaint and total duds (needs charging every time from near the start, discharges itself dramatically whilst not being used, fails to recognise it is charge etc.) appear to be common reports, even in recent and verified reviews.

        Reply
        • Hi Sambe,

          I can’t speak first hand of having had any issues with the battery life failing/worsening withing a few months. I am sure some have, but the nature of electronic goods is some will sadly fail.

          All of our users are reporting good battery life.

          I personally have had an Oral-B Genius 9000 since the day it was launched and it continues to perform as well as it did the day it came out the box, it only ever goes on the charging stand when the brush is basically out of power.

          Should you buy a brush and notice an issue, the battery should be covered under warranty, which as standard is 2 years, but can be extended to 3 if you register the brush online after purchase.

          Reply
  21. It would be interesting to see a “best ultrasonic” toothbrush (not a sonic toothbrush – see Wikipedia) since these are becoming quite popular.

    Reply
    • Hi Hugo.

      You are quite correct that there is a different type of brush, called ultrasonic, which we are aware of ourselves.

      We have not yet compiled a list of the ‘best ultrasonic brushes’ like we have for sonic brushes, because whilst popularity has increased in recent years, public awareness is actually relatively low.

      There is also the issue of availability. In the UK, few are available, whereas in some other markets, such as Germany, Russia and USA they are more commonplace.

      That said, we do highlight a few notable examples here, so hopefully this helps.

      Reply
  22. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for all the detailed info and reviews available in the website.
    Initially I was thinking about buying a Sonicare toothbrush, especially because most of them are less noisy than the Oral-B ones (they seem to be really noisy), however given that it’s my first buy and the Philips products are quite expensive I decided to go for an Oral-B.

    As I have very sensitive teeth and gums I narrowed down my search to two cheaper models, the Pro 3000 and the Pro 2 2500.
    I can see basically two main differences between them (not considering cases or extra brushes):
    1) The Pro 2 2500 like the other newer models has a Lithium Ion battery and so it’s lasting longer.
    2) The Pro 3000 has an additional cleaning mode for sensitive teeth.
    However looking at your reviews (and cleaning mode guide) the difference between the “Gum Care” and “Sensitive” modes is quite unclear, they seem to be very similar. Do you know more about that?

    Reply
    • Marco.

      The options you have chosen seem sensible.

      Sonicare are much quieter, but as you say tend to command a premium price, so going for an Oral-B is perhaps a good option for your first brush.

      Gum care and sensitive cleaning modes are very similar in the speed of the brush head.

      To be honest, I cannot provide much more information aside from the speed. In my personal opinion they achieve a similar result. Both are more gentle than the standard cleaning mode.

      I do not suffer with sensitive teeth or have and gum conditions that would ultimately influence me to need the softer mode on a regular basis.

      There is little information that I am aware of that tells a deeper story about how they differ and achieve different results. I have not seen evidence (clinical studies) to show how significantly different they are in achieving different results from different users.

      If I were to make a sweeping generalisation, the sensitive mode is better for those who really do not like the extra power of the standard mode or are finding it harder to transition from manual to electric toothbrush. Because it is slower, everything is a bit softer.

      The gum cleaning mode is going to be the best at promoting better oral health, particularly as during the cleaning the speed of the brush head is changing, helping stimulate the gum tissues.

      If you have generally healthy teeth and gums, I would not worry too much and would of for the Pro 2 2500.

      I hope this helps.

      Reply
  23. If a sonic toothbrush uses sound vibrations to clean plaque from teeth, why doesn’t that happen already when you talk? After all, the sound of your voice hits your teeth before it even leaves your mouth. How about if you talk louder, does that work? Should we spend extra time talking as well as brushing? Genuine scientific questions.

    Reply
    • I am no scientist Robert, but its all to do with the frequency of sound waves, the human voice does not create fast enough moving sound waves as I understand it to make such possible.

      Reply
  24. Hello 🙂
    Earlier in your article you mentioned about fake toothbrushes and that they can cause various injuries. Can’t even imagine what kind of a hurt can fake electric toothbrush cause. Can you please shed some light on this, Much thanks.

    Cheers

    Reply
    • Viktor,

      It tends to be brush heads that are the problem. Fakes are made often from cheaper grade plastic with less strength and testing going into them.

      The plastics can snap/break and cut the gums and cheeks in some instances.

      Also poorly cut or formed bristles can do damage to the gum line.

      More information is available here on what to look for between real and fake heads.

      Reply
    • Hi Ivy.

      Thanks for the question, it is a good one.

      The short answer is yes, they can whiten teeth, as can Oral-B. However, its not quite that simple.

      For the sake of example, an extreme example, if you were a smoker, who loved a glass of red wine, currently used a manual toothbrush and were perhaps not too regimented at cleaning twice a day then yes you would see improvement. If on the other hand you religiously brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with an electric toothbrush already and floss then the likelihood of seeing noticeable improvement is less, if at all.

      Whitening is certainly possible but you may need to consider the toothpaste used, your approach and more.

      Both will remove more plaque and bacteria than a manual brush.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply.
        I use a Pro 2000, and Oral -B sensitive whitening.
        Can I improve on that? My natural teeth are about half a shade darker than my bridge work and I would like them whiter.
        Thanks.

        Reply
        • Hi Ivy,

          If you already follow a good cleaning routine and they haven’t whitened, using a brush and off the shelf whitening may not be enough. You may need to use whitening trays or get a professional whiten at the dentist.

          Reply
  25. Are all electric toothbrushes the same power. Does one spin faster better than the other,if so how do you identify them and is there any benefit from having a more powerful motor?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Ralph.

      In short they do have different power delivery from the brush motors. However in the scheme of things this does not make a massive difference.

      The more powerful motor can deliver more brush strokes/movements than a less powerful motor.

      The most powerful motors are found on the more premium brush models. To some degree the more you spend the better the motor power.

      Those that vary most are the Oral-B range. The Pro 2000 has a more powerful motor than the Pro 600 for example. The Pro 3000, 4000 & 5000 share the same motor.

      The Pro 2000 is one of the most popular brushes.

      Reply
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