It should be better given its manufactured by Oral-B
It is not the best example of a cordless water flosser, the Aquacare 4 just about does the job.
I have used equivalent products from lesser-known brands that have delivered a better overall experience.
The build quality is questionable. The design and button placement isn’t ideal. The power of the water jet isn’t the most intense and the number of advertised modes is a bit misleading.
- Different water streams
- Build quality & design
- Nozzle design & rotation
- Modes/intensity settings
- Chunky charging stand
Consider these other water flossers
I strongly urge you to consider another cordless water flosser. There are many better options available.
My pick is the Waterpik Advanced. It is one of the best examples of a cordless flosser available today and doesn’t have quite the same number of negatives that this Oral-B irrigator does.
The Sonicare Cordless Power Flosser 3000 is also a very good option. It offers an X shaped water stream and has a built-in timer as well as a larger water tank for longer flossing times.
|Waterpik Cordless Advanced||£94.99 £59.99||View on Amazon|
Design, usability, clean & general use
The packaging of the Aquacare is very much aligned to other Oral-B packaging.
Lots of blue and white colours. The main features and benefits are highlighted.
What is refreshing to see is that inside the box, the water flosser is within a cardboard lining and there are much less plastics and no polystyrene.
The box contents (listed above) gives what you need, but is not exactly that impressive.
A travel pouch to put the water flosser and nozzle in would have been a nice inclusion for when travelling, but no such luck.
Your initial impression might be like mine, in that this cordless unit is quite large and chunky. Whilst I think there is scope for innovation to reduce the size, in part it has to be fairly large to hold the water tank and the pump to draw the water through.
The overall size and shape is fairly typical of this type of product.
It is primarily an all plastic construction with soft touch rubber around the power/controls section of the unit and at the top where the OxyJet nozzle attaches. The nozzle is removable/replaceable.
The front of the unit is finished in a matt white plastic, with a grey Oral-B & Braun logo in the lower third.
In the upper third are the main power and mode controls.
All of the buttons and controls sit within a soft touch pale blue rubber area.
Nicely recessed at the top is the power button. It has what looks like a grey power icon, but it is only grey when not powered on. When switched on it is backlit with a blue light. There is too a small raised nodule here that confirms for the fingertip that is is the power button.
You press this power button to activate a continuous jet of water.
Below this sits a smaller ‘on-demand’ button. It has a dotted circle printed on it but is not backlit.
You use this on-demand button for bursts or shorter jets. Press and hold for as long as you want that burst to last. It offers more granular control than the default power on.
Below this button the different intensity levels, or modes are listed.
On this Aquacare 4 model you have regular and sensitive.
There is a large gap in between the 2 mode/intensity names which looks a bit odd.
This is essentially down to cost (as far as I can tell) because it allows Oral-B to change the number of modes in the future without having to alter the overall design/build of the flosser too much.
On the Aquacare 6, there are 3 intensity levels/modes, with the 3rd mode essentially filling this gap.
These selected mode name is backlit when the flosser is turned on.
Below this is another recessed button. This is the intensity/mode selection button, although the dot in the middle, doesn’t necessarily make this obvious. Press this to cycle through the different modes.
The buttons all provide an ok level of feedback. They are a bit spongy and require a fairly accurate and firm push. They could be better. Accidental activation should not really be an issue here. That said there is no way to lock the buttons.
Spin the irrigator to the side and this is where you see the adjoining of the water tank/reservoir. Sitting mainly on the back side of the unit, the water tank is an opaque blue colour.
There are no controls on the right or left side, a few dimples in the upper half of the handle are present as they extend round from the back side of the unit.
Looking at the unit from the back, the shape it best explained via the hands on images throughout this review.
Essentially, the top of the unit is a bit deeper, thinning marginally in the mid section of the unit before getting thicker at the base where the water is held.
The upper half of the rear has a number of dimples in the body to give a surface to grip onto a little better.
The reservoir door is in the top part of the removable tank and hinges at the bottom.
The base of the unit is essentially flat, so it can stand upright on a countertop.
There is a round recess into which the pin on the charging stand fits to recharge the built-in battery.
A couple of screws are present and the remainder is the bottom of the water tank.
At the top of the unit is the point at where the user replaceable Oxyjet nozzle attaches. The nozzle pushes in, clipping into place and is released by pressing the eject button that is labelled on the top.
The button is made up of a soft touch rubber, like the power button, but feels more spongy and a bit awkward to press to release the nozzle.
Having talked through the overall design of the unit, let me explain in a bit more detail about the daily use.
Using a water flosser is quite different to string floss or interdental brushes.
This is not the place for saying what is good and bad about each; other than saying that really a water flosser is a good additional product or an alternative if you really won’t or can’t get on with floss or brushes.
Many people find them a more convenient way of cleaning between the teeth.
The idea is that the water is shot at pressure between the teeth and along the gumline dislodging and washing away the plaque and debris that exists.
The process is different and requires some practice. The first few attempts can be messy and result in water ending up in more places than just the interdental spaces.
Being cordless is one advantage as you are not tied to the power supply or restricted by the hose length as you are with countertop water flossers.
However, after a few seconds of use you normally need to release water from the mouth, so you are essentially confinded to being bent over the sink.
The cordless really comes into its own with travel and for those who don’t have power supplies in the bathroom.
Taking a very black and white view of what the Aquacare 4 does, you can’t argue with the fact that it does provide a jet of water to help with cleaning those hard to reach areas. My teeth/interdental spaces felt cleaner after use.
This will work for those who have braces, crowns, implants etc too, if you were wondering.
But, there is quite some scope for improvement.
Waterpik have become popular in providing water flossers due to the level of control they offer. You can rotate the nozzle a full 360 degrees in most cases. The tips are also slim and are angled in such a way that they allow a fine level of control.
On the Aquacare, the Oxyjet nozzle can be rotated a full 360 degrees with some effort. You can’t do this whilst in use though.
The top of the nozzle is a bit larger than Waterpiks the shape makes it a little harder to accurately position in the mouth.
You do too have just 1 nozzle type, unlike the wide array available with Waterpik.
I think you probably only really appreciate this level of control and even choice of nozzle if you have used something else like this before.
But, I would not be serving you if I didn’t tell you this.
Add to this, many cheaper brands/models offer such features too, it is not just a Waterpik thing.
The Aquacare nozzle does have a little grey slider switch which can be moved to control the water flow.
Position it to the top position for a focused stream and move it down for a rotational stream.
The rotational stream has air injected into the water flow and creates a spiraling motion in the water flow as it exists the nozzle to give a different cleaning effect.
It is hard to explain the difference. The focused jet feels best suited to getting in particular gaps.
The rotational stream, to me at least, feels like it gives a good all-over clean. The rotational stream feels more invigorating on the gums.
It is up to you to select which you feel is most appropriate. You can change it at any time you like.
Now, Oral-B advertise this with 4 cleaning modes.
I think this is actually a little confusing.
The Aquacare has 2 intensity settings and 2 different water stream choices.
Combine these and you get the 4 modes.
- Regular intensity + focused water stream
- Regular intensity + rotational water stream
- Sensitive intensity + focused water stream
- Sensitive intensity + rotational water stream
It is very easy to think that the labelled regular and sensitive options are the modes, implying 2 and not 4.
The following graphic, taken from the Amazon sales page best demonstrates how it can be confused or misunderstood. Modes and streams are listed separately. You could argue someone might think it has 8 possible combinations.
Different people will have different opinions, but to me, although there is a difference in the strength of the water stream between regular and sensitive, it was not as pronounced as I had expected.
Cordless units like this tend to have less pressure/intensity settings, but Waterpik models in my opinion tend to offer a more noticeable difference between the intensities offered.
Other brands often just call these intensities, high, medium and low which all seem a bit more, well logical.
Oral-B have not stated the PSI or Bar for each mode like Waterpik does to make a comparison, but to me, the Aquacare did not feel as powerful or as gentle as Waterpik models.
I found it comfortable to use, but I have used many of these before. New users may find it too powerful or indeed a bit weak, expecting a bit more punch.
Experienced water flosser users will likely notice the difference both in power and experience as I have.
All of the modes continue to run for as long as you choose. There are no timers or automatic cut-offs built in.
The water flosser will continue to try and pump out water for as long as you leave it switched on, even if there is no water in the water tank.
It will stop when you turn it off, of the battery runs flat.
The tank has a capacity of 150ml, which equates to approximately 40-45 seconds of water flossing time.
This is just about enough time to clean, if you are used to it. New users may need to refill the tank.
Selecting the sensitive mode did not really appear to reduce the amount of water used, just the pressure at which it was delivered.
Using the on-demand button allows a bit more control and feels like you can extend the cleaning time as less water is wasted compared to the continuous stream.
The position of the on-demand button in particular means it can be a bit awkward to use when the nozzle is in the mouth.
It takes a bit of practice and I found on occasions I was pressing the power button rather than on-demand and vice versa.
Practise and muscle memory certainly comes into play.
You can change the intensity/mode mid clean if you like. The selected intensity is backlit with a blue light and can be changed prior to turning the unit on.
In use it is not all that quiet emitting up to 68 decibels. However this is similar to the competition.
You can fill the water tank with cold or warm water or mouthwash or a diluted mix, it is your choice.
Warm water can feel a little more pleasureable on the gums, whilst a shot of mouthwash in the water can add a certain freshness.
I would suggest against a complete tank of mouthwash as this is excessive and an expensive approach.
To fill the reservoir you open the hinged door on it. You open it by pulling it away from the body. Your fingertip will grip onto it. The seal around the opening seems fairly solid and I noticed no leaking.
Unfortunately the build quality isn’t actually that great on the Aquacare 4.
The tank is actually removable for refilling or cleaning. To do so, you need to unclip a small plastic clip essentially on the base of the unit.
It is small and fragile and it broke off on my unit, essentially meaning the tank no longer securely clipped into the main handle.
I try to be quite careful with items and don’t recall having broken a product I have tested before. I merely tried unclipping and replacing the tank a few times as I thought this looks prone to breaking and with no force, crack and off it came.
I have not challenged Oral-B on this, but I suspect this would be classed as user damage, unless they are willing to accept that it is a design flaw/weakness.
So, to conclude this section….
The Aquacare does fire water at the teeth and gums, and does what it should.
But, it lacks the refinement that even cheaper models offer.
It is a bit clunky to use and ultimately could be better.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Chunky unit, but typical for this type of product
- All plastic construction with questionable durability in places
- Soft touch rubber buttons, but spongy, but the blue colour adds a design accent
- Dimples on back help with grip
- Continuous stream and on demand options
- 2 intensity settings, regular and sensitive
- 2 water stream settings, focused stream and rotational stream
- Advertised 4 cleaning modes is confusing
- Difference in intensity settings not that noticeable
- 150ml tank should last about 40-45 seconds in use
- It does what it needs to do, teeth and interdental spaces felt clean
- Feels a bit clunky at times to use
- No built-in timer or automatic power off
- 1 nozzle style only
- Nozzle can be rotated, but not with ease or during use
- Built-in rechargeable battery
- Better options exist
Built into the Aquacare 4 is a rechargeable battery. It is not user removable.
This is a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery.
I had expected a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery given that this produced was launched in 2019, but I am not going to worry too much.
Oral-B appear not to state it’s suggested running time on the box, in the manual or on their website or any promotional materials I could find, so I am not sure what life they suggest you should get from it.
I put it to the test and the total usage time I managed from a fully charged battery was 32 minutes.
My test was based on using the regular mode, with the focused stream of water.
Assuming it is possible to get a complete clean in approximately 45 seconds (the time it takes to empty the tank), you can get 42 sessions or 42 days of use on a single charge, assuming 1 water flossing session per day.
The power icon/button will flash red when the battery is low and in need of a recharge.
When sat on the charging stand, that comes provided, the power icon will pulse with a white light to show it is charging. Once fully charged that light will stop pulsing.
A full charge can tak up to 14 hours.
The stand provided in the box looks like a larger version of what you would get with an electric toothbrush. It works in exactly the same way.
There is only 1 way the irrigator will sit on the stand, the charging pin on the stand aligning with the recess in the bottom of the cordless water flosser itself.
Maybe I am being a bit picky, but the white coloured stand feels a bit heavier and chunkier than it needs to be, I didn’t expect it to be quite so thick. That said, it keeps it securely in place on a countertop.
Hardwired into it is the 2 pin power cable designed to be connected to UK bathroom power sockets. It does support 100-240v, so if taking it with you when travelling internationally you would require a plug adapter only and not a voltage adapter.
Summary of battery life
- Built-in rechargeable battery
- Nickel Metal Hydride battery
- Charging stand included
- Stand supports 100-240v
- Stand has a 2 pin UK plug for UK bathrooms
- Stand is larger than expected
- Aquacare will take up to 14 hours to charge fully
- Red flashing light on power button when a charge is required
- Power button pulses white when on charge
- Battery life of 32 minutes – 42 days of use
Price & where to buy
I have included links to buying options here at the start of the review.
In the section below, I discuss the price more generally and in relation to similar products.
The recommended retail price of the Aquacare 4 is £99.99.
As is commonplace with this type of product, the actual selling price tends to be a bit lower.
Where toothbrushes sell for around 50% less than their retail price, the discount is not quite as severe with the water flossers.
At the time of writing, the average selling price is around £60, so still a healthy 40% discount.
It is not widely stocked, which doesn’t help with getting the price down lower as there is no competition to encourage this to happen.
Irrespective, I do not feel that the Aquacare is worth this price.
For a similar price, you can get an equivalent product, such as the WP-450 from market leader Waterpik.
They do also offer a newer WP-560 model but that is a bit more expensive.
Now if you can get the Aquacare 4 for a decent price, it is not to say that you shouldn’t buy it, but I just think based on my testing it is not the best value purchase.
To give a benchmark of the cost of ownership, we like to price things here at Electric Teeth over a 3 year period.
Assuming a purchase cost of £60, you need to then factor in the cost of replacement Oxyjet nozzles every 3 months.
Priced at about £3 each, that is a further £33.
Over 3 years the Aquacare 4 will cost £93 or 8 pence per day.
This is not the cheapest, nor the most expensive water flosser, but it is about 8 times the price of string floss!
Please note that all prices quoted are approximates and will vary based on location, supplier and time of purchase. These figures were correct at the time of writing and should not be relied upon as hard fact, but used as a guide during your decision process.
Summary of price & where to buy
- List of buying options included here
- Recommended retail price of £99.99
- Selling on average for £60
- Replacement nozzles cost £3 each
- Cost of 8p per day over 3 years
- Not the cheapest or most expensive irrigator
- Better value options exist
Reliability & long term use
Generally speaking, I have always found the quality and reliability of Oral-B products to be fairly good.
I can’t say that they are perfect, no company is, but there are better than many of the cheaper and lesser known brands in my experience.
The provision of a 2 year warranty provides peace of mind and being an established company like they are they have the network in place to manage support issues efficiently.
Using the Aquacare 4 has been the first product to really have me question my viewpoint. The fact that the plastic clip that holds in the water reservoir broke off on my unit wonders if standards have slipped.
Maybe it is a one-off, I have just been unlucky, but I am not sure. Other reports suggest I may not be alone.
I have not challenged Oral-B over whether such a breakage would be covered, usually, it would not be, but perhaps they would be prepared to acknowledge this as a weakness and replace it, but I am not hopeful.
Despite this, I don’t think the Aquacare range is an example of their best work or what their product quality is really like. I don’t know what has changed or why it is like this, but their toothbrushes feel better.
There are certain subtleties like the soft touch buttons which are nice, but the spongy feedback isn’t ideal. I, therefore, don’t have the utmost confidence in the reliability of this product.
The Aquacare 4 is ultimately a disappointing product from Oral-B.
I have been surprised that such a prominent brand could really produce a product that fails to deliver in so many areas.
It does just about do what it is essentially designed for, but the way in which it does it all feels clunky and awkward.
Perhaps I am being overly harsh, but they had the opportunity here to rethink things and differentiate, but they haven’t
You are best off avoiding this and opt for one of those offered by Waterpik, such as the WP-550 or lesser-known brands offer better performing and value options.
- Height (with nozzle) – 28cm
- Height (without nozzle) – 21cm
- Width – 6cm
- Depth – 7.5cm
- Weight (without water) – 300g
All are approximates