A no-nonsense toothbrush that performs well for a very fair price
The Oral-B Pro 1 Series is a good electric toothbrush with most of the dentist-recommended features at a reasonable price.
Battery life and the lack of a visible pressure sensor let it down.
If available for no more than £5 extra, opt for the variant with the travel case.
- Minimal design
- Easy to keep clean
- Multiple cleaning modes
- Travel case supplied (select variants)
- No visible pressure sensor
- 10-12 day battery life
- No icons on the handle to show which cleaning mode is selected
It’s worth considering the Pro 3 3500 if you can afford to spend a little more
Very similar to the Pro 1, the Pro 3 has the same cleaning modes and handle design but benefits from a better battery life and the visible pressure sensor that will alert you when brushing too hard.
|Oral-B Pro 3 - 3500||19,365 Reviews||£100.00 £44.99||View on Amazon|
The small round brush head produces good cleaning results
The size of Oral-B’s round brush head is something many users come to really like. Smaller than most, it is able to reach tighter spaces in the mouth and gives a satisfying clean. It can feel more intense and almost aggressive compared to the softer brushing sensation you might get with the likes of a Philips Sonicare toothbrush.
The Pro 1 is the cheapest model in the Oral-B range to have a 3D cleaning motion rather than 2D. This means that in addition to the oscillating and rotating action, there are pulsations, which add a 3rd dimension to the cleaning effect for better results.
If your toothbrush of choice is currently a manual brush you will really see and feel the difference should you switch.
The Pro 1 will typically come supplied with the CrossAction head. It is one of a number of different brush head styles that are compatible with the handle. You can choose and fit the style of head you prefer, but my recommendation is the softer bristled Sensi UltraThin or the slightly firmer bristled CrossAction head. Don’t worry too much though, they all do a good job.
The timer and pacer help you brush your teeth evenly
It’s all well and good brushing your teeth, but if you don’t give them equal attention, your oral health will suffer. You need to brush the front, back and biting surfaces of all the teeth, not just the ones you show as you smile.
The pacer helps achieve this. It momentarily pauses the brushing action every 30 seconds to tell you to move on to the next part of the mouth. After 2 minutes the alert changes slightly to tell you that you have brushed for long enough.
Unlike some brushes, the Pro 1 doesn’t power off automatically. This may be a disappointment to some, but it’s not a big issue.
The pressure sensor doesn’t work as you would expect: you won’t know when you are brushing too hard
A pressure sensor is one of the features our dentists recommend is present in a good electric toothbrush. This is because many people have a tendency to scrub their teeth and brush with more force than is necessary. Doing so will damage the teeth and gums over the long term and isn’t as effective at cleaning the teeth in the short term either.
Oral-B has for many years built pressure sensors into their toothbrushes and the Pro 1 is no exception, but the configuration here isn’t optimum.
Unlike other Oral-B brushes, the pressure sensor is not visible on the handle. Nor is it audible. This means that if you apply too much pressure as you brush, you don’t know about it. Technically the sound and brushing sensation do change when the sensor is active, but you have to be paying attention to notice, it’s easy to miss or ignore.
When too much pressure is applied, the Pro 1 will automatically reduce the number of bristle movements to limit potential damage. But if you don’t know whether the sensor is active or not you can’t learn when you are brushing with too much force and make the necessary improvements.
The Pro 3 3500 on the other hand has a visible sensor, which notifies you when it is activated. This helps you to learn and adjust your technique accordingly.
The lack of a visible pressure sensor isn’t a reason to avoid the Pro 1 but should be something to think about as you consider your options.
By way of another example, the Philips Sonicare 3100 doesn’t have a visible sensor, but the handle will vibrate when you brush too hard.
Substandard battery life at around 12 days
Sealed inside the water resistant handle of the Pro 1 is a rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery with a claimed battery life of around 10 days. I achieved 12 in my hands-on testing, so I can’t really complain.
Most Oral-B brushes actually last 14+ days when charged. You’ll need to spend a bit more to get a brush that offers this. However, the vast majority of electric brushes from other brands offer in the region of 3-4 weeks of use on a single charge. Many even last far longer.
Few of us actually need our brush to last all that long. It’s unlikely to be a major inconvenience if we have to recharge. In fact, many just leave their brush on the stand when not in use, this is fine.
But, it comes down to versatility. Not all of us have a power outlet in our bathroom for frequent recharging. If you go away on holiday for a week or 2, you don’t really want to have to take the charging stand or worry that your brush will run out of power.
Opt for the Pro 1 and you will have to think about this. If you travel frequently and pack light, the Pro 1 isn’t ideally suited for you.
Unlike more affordable alternatives, the Pro 1 does have a battery notification LED on the handle. It will flash red when the power is running out. A full recharge takes up to 12 hours. The battery LED will flash green whilst charging, before turning off once complete.
The supplied white charging stand has a 90cm power cable with a 2 pin plug suitable for UK bathrooms attached. You will need to purchase a plug adapter to connect to a 3 pin socket. It supports 220-240v. You would need a plug adapter should you go on holiday to France or Germany for example
I recommend the version with the travel case
The Pro 1 Series electric brush is supplied in 3 different colour options. Your choices are:
As standard in the box you get the handle, a single brush head, a charging stand and documentation.
However, there are also variants that include a basic, but perfectly functional travel case that holds the handle and up to 2 brush heads.
It is the version with the case that I recommend, providing you are paying no more than about £5, over the variant without the case.
Weirdly, in many instances, the variant with the case is the same price, or cheaper.
Technically all Pro 1 Series toothbrushes are the same, it is just the handle colour and box contents that is different.
Very good value for little compromise
You can expect to pay around £30-35 for the Pro 1 Series, despite the suggested retail price of £70.
This is because Oral-B brushes typically sell at 50% less than retail, so you appear to be getting a ‘deal’.
For £30+ you are getting a decent toothbrush and it is far from a bad buy. I wouldn’t recommend paying much more for this brush, though.
The premium featured Pro 3 series costs £5-10 more and addresses a couple of the shortcomings of the Pro 1. Shop wisely and pick up the Pro 3 3500 and you will get a useful travel case included.
Oral-B brushes are amongst the most affordable when it comes to ongoing ownership costs.
Replacement brush heads cost around £3 each, so over 3 years you will need to spend about £33 on them. This gives a total ownership cost of £68 for the Pro 1.
Philips Sonicare’s 2100 Series is similarly featured and costs about the same to buy. However, replacement brush heads are 2x the cost and take the total ownership cost up to about £96.
Oral-B’s Vitality 100 is cheaper and is our pick for an Oral-B brush on a budget, but you do get a better cleaning action from the Pro 1, which I believe is worth paying the extra for when you think about the long term benefits.
It’s louder than expected
The Pro 1, like the majority of Oral-B brushes, makes a fair bit of noise. It is far from silent when in use.
We registered 72 decibels on our noise level meter.
It isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but it does produce a louder and more mechanical sound than the humming noise that a quiet sonic toothbrush produces. Most sonic toothbrushes register at 60-70dB.
If someone tried talking to you whilst you were brushing your teeth it would be more difficult to hear them clearly when using the Pro 1.
The iO Series 3 is one of the quietest Oral-B brushes at 64 decibels, but something like SURI’s toothbrush is another 10 decibels quieter still at 54dB.
You’ll need to remember to replace the brush head every 3 months
Quite a few toothbrushes today have electronic mechanisms built into the handle that give visual alerts when it is time to replace the brush head. This can be helpful, but brushes that offer this are more expensive. You don’t get such alerts from the Pro 1. If you’re trying not to spend too much it’s not a feature worth worrying about
But, you will find that the colour of the bristles on the provided CrossAction brush head will change. Known as CleanMaximiser bristles, over 3 months they will gradually fade from green to yellow. They are a visual clue that it might be time to switch the head you are using.
If the head looks like it has seen better days, replace it. And even if it’s still not in bad shape after 3 months, it should still be swapped out.
It won’t tell you which of the 3 modes you have selected
3 different brushing modes are available on the Pro 1.
Your choices are:
- Daily Clean
Daily Clean is my preference and the one I recommend most people use.
Sensitive is great for those who want to enjoy a less intense cleaning action, or for those days your teeth or gums might feel a little more tender. It pairs really well with the softer bristled Sensi UltraThin brush head. In fact, if you are a new electric brush user, you might like to begin using the Pro 1 with this mode to ease yourself into the additional power on offer.
I don’t think whitening does all that much. Yes, it uses the power of the brush motor differently, but truth be told the cleaning results over all 3 modes are comparable if you master your brushing technique. Don’t think you are going to use whitening mode and any dull yellow teeth will shine like a diamond within a few days. At best it’s going to lift some external stains on the tooth surface, but any mode can do this.
Irrespective of your preference, the Pro 1 always defaults to Daily Clean.
You can switch between them by pressing the firm, but responsive power button on the front of the handle multiple times. For example, 3 times if you want whitening mode.
As there are no icons, LEDs or labels on the handle, you don’t get the confirmation you might desire that you have selected the appropriate mode. You have to learn the order (as above) and trust yourself. In time you will learn the difference between each based on the sound and sensation.
Whilst competing brushes often have icons, you have to spend a considerable amount more within the Oral-B range of brushes to get such. It’s just the way they have designed their handles.
It’s easier to keep clean than other budget models
In daily use saliva, toothpaste and debris from your mouth will inevitably come into contact with the Pro 1 brush handle. This isn’t really a problem though, because as a primarily plastic handle, it is really easy to keep clean. A rinse under the tap or shower gets rid of most stuff, whilst a little wipe with a cloth will help remove more stubborn grime.
Models like the Vitality 100 or Smart 4000 have large rubber grips that do make the brush feel a little more secure in the hand. But consequently have more points for dirt to build up and make it much harder to clean.
The back of the handle does have a series of small dimples, which do provide a bit of additional grip to the fingertip. They are quite subtle and run the length of the handle. There is also a panel of rubber around the power button that adds a little texture.
The rounded handle isn’t a perfect cylinder, it is a touch thicker than it is wide, but it stands upright on a worktop. It also doesn’t roll when laid flat due to 2 perfectly placed nodules.
There is more of a gloss finish to the plastic which I think makes the Pro 1 look a little less refined than those with a matt finish.
You can’t repair it yourself but you can extend the warranty from 2 to 3 years if you register
The Pro 1 has a handle design pretty much identical to the Pro 3 which has been available for at least a year prior.
Both handles have a newer design compared to older models from Oral-B, so there isn’t quite the same proven history and reliability with this particular brush.
That doesn’t mean there are any reasons for concern. Oral-B have a longstanding history of toothbrush production and know the areas of weakness and have done what they can to mitigate issues.
My own hands-on use has confirmed that the handle is solid and well constructed with limited gaps or weak points. Thus, a long usable life is expected.
By the very nature of the product, they are not immune to failure. 2 years of manufacturer support is provided as standard, but this can be extended for free to a pretty generous 3 years, if you register the brush. You should be hopeful of 5+ years of service from the Pro 1.
If for whatever reason you aren’t satisfied from the moment you get the brush Braun offers a 30 day money back guarantee.
Dr. Gemma Wheeler has looked in detail at the wider environmental impact of electric toothbrushes.
With regards to the Oral-B 1 series specifically; it has limited box contents which reduces its weight during transportation compared to others that come with more items. The box could be made a bit smaller, saving space and resources.
Positively, it is all paper based and does not have a polystyrene inner tray like Oral-B have used in the past.
Not being a smart toothbrush the total number of components used are less, thus less waste is created when the brush no longer works.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly it has not been designed to be easily repaired by yourself. Trying to replace parts like the battery will likely break the brush. This makes it more likely to be discarded rather than repaired if broken.
While Oral-B has partnered with schemes such as TerraCycle in some countries, it does not yet have its own recycling scheme for used brush heads or faulty products.
Its brush heads are made from petroleum-based plastic, which uses up the planet’s finite resources compared to using plant-based plastics.
Our guide to eco-friendly dental health offers advice on steps you can take to reduce your own impact.
Conclusion: great cleaning results for a good price
The lack of a visible pressure sensor and the lesser battery life do go against the Pro 1, especially when you consider that the Pro 3 does have these features and isn’t that much more expensive.
With that said, the Pro 1 does have the dentist recommended 2 minute timer and pacer. It cleans the teeth really well and gives you a choice of 3 different cleaning modes.
Given the cleaning results, minimal design, 3 year warranty and long term value for money, you could do a lot worse.
- Height (without head) – 19.5cm/7.68 inches
- Height (with head) – 23.2cm/9.13 inches
- Width – 2.5cm/0.98 inches
- Thickness – 2.9cm/1.14 inches
- Weight (without head) – 117g/4.1oz
- Weight (with head) – 123g/4.3oz
All are approximates