It’s the most affordable Oral-B brush with Bluetooth, not that you need it
The grippy and slim Smart 4 4000 is a solid brush. It has the features dentists recommend, cleans the teeth well and lasts 2 weeks on a full charge.
Although you can pair with an app to log your brushing data, you only get limited insight into how well you are brushing.
- Slim grippy handle
- 2 week battery life
- Use Bluetooth to log brushing habits in the app
- No cleaning mode icons/labels
Also worth considering
Oral-B’s iO Series 6 has real-time tracking which provides more useful feedback on your brushing habits, allowing meaningful improvements to be made quicker.
Alternatively, forgo the non-essential Bluetooth features and opt for the more affordable Pro 3 3500.
|Oral-B iO Series 6 - Grey||£299.99 £146.99||View on Amazon|
Design, usability, clean & general use
Between brands and even different ranges from the same brand, the design and feel of a brush in hand can differ, however, most have a fairly slim, rounded profile to them.
Oral-B has always done, in my mind, a pretty decent job when it comes to the look and feel of the brushes.
Could they do away with some of the plastic construction? Yes, they probably they could. However, I think the look of the Pro and Smart models are actually a nice blend of design and everyday practicality.
The Oral-B 4000 is an all white design. A gloss white plastic body is finished with a soft touch rubber grip that runs down the front of the brush handle. On many other models this a bolder colour to give it a bit more character and more eye catching, the Smart 4 4000 looks quite clinical.
Despite this, it is grippy and has a series of ridges around the power button that help hold and guide you to the controls of the brush. On the back of the handle is a harsher but still practical series of grips. Raised plastic notches give the fingers sticking points on the upper half of the handle.
For me, these are small practicalities that make a big difference in everyday life.
Virtually at the top of the brush handle in between the contoured grips is the power button that is white in colour with a grey/black power icon on it. The contrasting colour of the icon helps it stand out against all the white body.
You don’t want a button that is too easily activated or too firm, thankfully that is not the case on the 4000. It has a nice resistance when pressed. Not too soft that it can be accidentally activated, but not too firm it is difficult to press. Good even for those with limited dexterity in my opinion.
The lower third of the brush handle has the Bluetooth, Oral-B and Braun logo in grey/black as well as a battery and charging icon below them.
These icons are transparent and have an LED light behind them that illuminate at certain times.
There are 2 parts to the brush, the handle I have been describing. This has all the clever bits of technology in.
Sealed inside, these parts are protected from water and moisture. This means that the brush is water resistant and can be rinsed under a tap and used in a shower.
The likelihood is that it would survive, but I strongly advise you avoid submerging the brush below water, for example in a bath or sink. A rinse is fine, but the brush does not need to sink to the bottom of a bowl of water.
The second is the detachable brush head, I will explain a lot more about this shortly.
If you take a look at the very bottom of the brush handle, there is a recess, into which the pin on the charging stand connects to. A charging stand is provided.
The brush is able to stand upright without the stand.
Right at the top of the brush handle is a metal prong, this is what the brush head connects to and feeds the power from the brush motor.
Just below this metal prong on the rear side of the handle is the pressure sensor.
Are you familiar with a pressure sensor?
If not, in this case, it is a plastic panel that is a red/orange colour, it sweeps up over and down the neck of the handle.
When you brush, sensors within the brush detect if you are applying too much force to your teeth. When it detects this, it activates the pressure sensor.
This means that the LED sat behind the panel lights up. You get a bright red light that you won’t fail to notice.
At the same time as the LED pressure sensor illuminates, you should also notice that the speed of the brush head will decrease and the sound of the motor will change. This is nothing to worry about. It is programmed to do this, until such time as the pressure is relieved.
You see, applying too much pressure when brushing is a big issue and it causes more damage than you might think. Excessive pressure can damage the gums and cause wear on your teeth. A brush need only skim the surface of the tooth and gums. So, the brush reduces the power to protect your teeth.
Just relieve the pressure and the light will go out and the motor power up again. Just remember to let the bristles essentially glide across the tooth surfaces.
If you activate it often, don’t worry all that much, over time you will learn and avoid doing lasting damage to your teeth. Just imagine if you didn’t have it…
The Oral-B Pro 2 2000 has 2 cleaning modes, the Pro 3 3000 has 3 cleaning modes, the Smart 5 5000 has 5 cleaning modes, so as you would imagine the Smart 4 has 3 cleaning modes….Yes, I know, I can’t quite figure that out either.
The 3 cleaning modes are:
- Daily Clean
Remember the order of these, you will need to refer to this in a moment.
Unlike the Pro 3 3000 the Smart 4 is a bit smarter, as the name implies. More on this shortly.
Each of the 3 cleaning modes work slightly differently, with differing levels of oscillations, rotations and pulsations to achieve different cleaning effects on the teeth.
For example, Sensitive mode reduces the number of movements to be softer on the teeth and gums.
A point to note here is the different versions of the Oral-B Smart 4 that I mentioned earlier. Whilst both models comes with the same cleaning modes, the Smart 4 4000S comes with the 2 x Sensitive brush heads, most fitting to the Sensitive cleaning mode offered on the brush.
You can find much more detail on each mode and how they compare in our article, Oral-B cleaning modes explained.
To activate each cleaning mode, you have to use the power button on the front of the brush.
Remember the list above, this is the order of the cleaning modes.
Press the power button once to turn it on. Daily Clean mode will launch.
Press it again to change the mode to Sensitive.
Press it a third time to activate Whitening mode.
A fourth time will turn the brush off.
You can press and hold the button for 2 seconds at any point to power it off.
This makes sense, but there are 2 issues in particular that I have with the way in which this has been configured.
The first is that to change to any of the cleaning modes, you first have to power the brush on and the second is you need to remember the order.
I suspect over time you will learn this, but wouldn’t some icons or LED’s be helpful to show the mode. The more premium Smart 6 and Genius range offer them.
Ideally, a way of selecting the mode prior to actually turning the brush on would be the solution. This is not available, not even on the premium Genius 9000 model.
Most Sonicare brushes allow you to do this though.
Another small but significant thing to remember is; put the brush in your mouth before powering on and changing modes otherwise the toothpaste might go flying across the room.
Buy the Genius 9000 and although you have to power the brush on to change the cleaning mode, if you have changed the mode, it will remember it. Next time you power the brush on, it will begin in that mode. The Oral-B Smart 4000 CrossAction electric toothbrush does not do this.
I understand why though. If it did, there is no way of showing what mode it is on, unless you use the app.
When using the Bluetooth connectivity, the app will show the cleaning mode. I will explain the connectivity option in more detail shortly.
Despite the criticisms of the way in which the cleaning modes are presented, I do love the clean that an Oral-B brush offers. Studies have suggested Oral-B’s oscillating and rotating technology is superior, but there are studies that side with Sonicare.
It is a little harsher/aggressive feeling than a Sonicare or Colgate brush. Whilst this is not exactly the best way of rating a clean of the teeth, it really feels like it has done something.
In comparison to the Kolibree Ara that I recently tested the two are worlds apart. After using that I didn’t feel all that clean in the mouth, no such problem with the Oral-B 4000.
The handle offers some 16 days of battery life and is lightweight.
When the battery built into the brush begins to deplete, the charging icon will flash Red.
You do not get anything more detailed from the handle.
It would be nice if you had a green light to suggest a good amount of remaining charge or yellow for less than 50% for example, but no such luck.
Even better would be a little LED display that showed the exact battery percentage (%). Or in the case of the Smart 4, the app picked up the information. The Kolibree Ara does report the battery life as a percentage in its smartphone app.
The battery icon will flash green when the brush is on charge.
In the box with the Smart 4 you get 1 style of brush head either CrossAction or Sensitive/SensiClean, subject to the package you buy. With either, you then get 2 of the same brush head included.
There is a range of more than 6 different styles of brush heads you could use on the Smart 4.
The heads are interchangeable, so you can select your preferred head and use it with any of the cleaning modes, although some work best with particular modes.
To fit or remove the brush head simply align the metal with the hole in the shaft of the brush head and push the two together until you hear and feel them clip into place.
Pull the two apart to release them.
It is important for your oral health to replace your toothbrush head every 3 months or sooner if your bristles are frayed.
Official Oral-B brush heads are recommended and they all have something known as indicator bristles. These are Blue coloured bristles that will over a 3 month period gradually discolour.
When they are a very pale blue or white it is time to change. It is a clever reminder system.
Most cleaning modes on this brush run for 2 minutes.
If you did not already know, this is generally the recommended brushing time. 2 minutes, twice a day.
If you didn’t know this or are guilty of not brushing for as long as you should, the Smart 4 can help in 2 ways.
The first is the built-in timer and quadpacer.
Imagine your mouth broken up into 4 sections. Upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left.
You should spend 30 seconds cleaning each section. The pacer helps you keep an even brushing time on these 4 sections.
At 30 second intervals, the brush will provide an audible warning via a slight pause in the brush motor at to tell you to change quadrant. Once the 2 minutes are up 3 brief pauses in the brush motor will be heard and felt.
Brushing for the full 2 minutes is very important, but just as important if not more so is the right technique. Make sure you learn how to clean your teeth properly.
The second was in which it helps is through the more powerful Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone app.
The idea behind this connectivity is to essentially be a little like having a dentist or hygienist looking over your shoulder saying good, bad, brush for longer, you missed a bit. It is about education for better cleaning rather than telling you that you have got it all wrong.
To take advantage of this, you need an Android or iOS smartphone and Bluetooth 4.0 on your phone.
Download the appropriate app and install it on your phone.
As good as the app is, I feel this may also be one of the negatives as some will not see the point of using it or find it more hassle than it’s worth. You don’t have to if you don’t want to.
If you feel you won’t use it, you may want to consider if the Pro 3 3000 is for you, you will be paying for a feature you won’t necessarily use otherwise.
It takes a bit of practice to get in a routine of having your phone with you when brushing. If you forget it or don’t have it to hand, don’t worry. The handle will store the data for the last 20 cleans and sync this to the app, the next time it connects.
It is also worth knowing that the Bluetooth connectivity works only for one user. If you share the brush handle with a partner, this will mess up the data. If you and other family members all want to track with the app, you need your own brush handle.
The app is very comprehensive with lots of options. It gives you all you need though to not only effectively brush your teeth, but to log the cleans and motivate you.
There are features like integration with your calendar so you can see your days’ agenda, news, tips and tricks, so you stay interested when cleaning your teeth.
At times I have found these distracting, you may want to customise the settings to avoid some notifications.
You can also set personalised modes which can disable cleaning modes on the brush handle too.
Sadly the app does not show the battery power of the brush handle.
The main feature of the app is the on screen timer and guide that shows you where to brush and how well you have brushed.
Now, this leads me to one of the biggest problems with the Oral-B Smart 4000 and that is the box contents.
The Smart 5 and above (more expensive models) come with a smartphone stand included in the box.
Not quite like the stand you might have on your desk, this is like a rubber/silicone thing, that looks like an oversized hockey puck, but the design has a cutout that allows a smartphone to sit in either portrait or landscape orientation.
The idea being, launch the Oral-B app, site the phone in the stand and you can now see the timer and how well you are cleaning, plus all the useful advice.
Sadly with this Oral-B smart toothbrush, you will need to hold the smartphone or come up with your own mounting solution in the bathroom.
Whilst not all choose to or like you use their phone in the bathroom (water & electrics) the dock gives somewhat of a more suitable home to the phone and encouraged use of the smart element of the brush.
I think this is a big oversight and even if it meant a few extra pounds being added to the price, I think it would have been a worthwhile addition.
With this said, maybe this is what encourages you to look at the Smart 5 5000, which is very similar but has the better box contents, including a travel case which is not included with the Smart 4000.
Aside from the aforementioned 2 brush heads, the Smart 4 comes with a brush head stand included in the box. This is a moulded piece of plastic that clips around the charging stand that is also provided.
On it are 2 plastic prongs, one either side of the centrally mounted charging stand that will hold a brush head upright. It is a nice touch for holding a spare or alternative head and stops the heads getting knocked about and overall protected.
The charging stand is fairly self explanatory, but I explain more about this in the battery section of the review.
In the unlikely event, something goes wrong, there is as standard a 24 month warranty is provided with the 4000. This covers the battery too. Register the brush online and you get an extra 12 months at no extra cost, so 36 months or 3 years in total.
There are potentially several different variations of this brush:
- Smart 4 4000N – This is the Smart 4 4000 with CrossAction brush head
- Smart 4 4000S – This is the Smart 4 4000 with a Sensi UltraThin brush head
- Smart 4 4000W – This is the Smart 4 4000 with 3D White brush head
The brush handle is normally white in colour but a pink coloured handle is available too.
You also have:
- Smart 4 4500N – This is the Smart 4 4000 with a CrossAction brush head and a travel case. The brush handle is usually black in colour.
- Smart 4 4900 – This is a dual handle package containing 2 x Smart 4 4000N toothbrushes with CrossAction brush heads. A brush head storage compartment is provided. 1 brush handle is black, whilst the other is pink in colour.
One final thing to be aware of is that there is a money back guarantee on offer from Oral-B. It is essentially like a trial, whereby you can buy and try the brush. Should you not like it you can return it for a refund. This is particularly useful if you are unsure whether an electric toothbrush is for you. Find out more about it here.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Slim and comfortable brush to hold and use
- Looks good
- 3 cleaning modes (Daily Clean, Whitening and Sensitive)
- 2 brush heads included (2 x CrossAction (4000N) or 2 x Sensitive/SensiClean (4000S))
- Alternative brush heads available
- Brush head stand for 2 heads included
- Overall inferior package to the older SmartSeries 4000
- Need to switch the brush on to change cleaning modes
- No way to easily tell which mode is being used
- Built-in quad pacer and 2 minute timer tells you when to change quadrant and finish brushing
- 16 day battery life, but no percentage indicator for clear feedback of remaining power
- Bluetooth connectivity with an app for logging and coaching
- Not all will find the app useful
- Can support tracking for only 1 user per brush handle
- No smartphone stand or travel case included
- Water resistant and can be used in the shower
- 2 year warranty as standard, register online for a free additional year
- Money back guarantee option for 30 days
The key reason that the SmartSeries 4000 has been updated to this, the Smart 4 4000 is battery life.
Up until now, Oral-B has been producing brushes that have offered far inferior battery life when compared to the competition.
However, they have managed to remain strong and essentially get away with it, because the price has often been more favourable.
There is the reality that most of us don’t need over a weeks battery life, but there is something to be said for having the ability to take a brush away on holiday and not having to worry about charging it!
To date, with the exception of the Genius brushes, all others used a battery type known as Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). Although okay, this battery technology has really been superseded by Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries. These are the types of batteries we find in our smartphones.
As a result of this change, the Smart 4 and other models now have a battery life more fitting of the current climate.
The older SmartSeries 4000 offers 7 days use or 28 minutes of actual usage time.
With the Oral-B Smart 4, this has more than doubled.
In our testing, we were able to get 66 minutes of usage time from the rush, which equates to 16 days use.
The 16 days we measured is based on one user brushing twice a day for 2 minutes.
Various conditions may affect this quoted usage time, but safe to say you are getting at least double the performance, yet despite the battery change the physical size of the brush handle has not altered.
Some Sonicare and Colgate models do actually achieve up to 3 weeks, but Oral-B are now much much closer in their capabilities.
On the brush handle are 2 icons that light up, a battery icon and a charger icon.
When the battery is low, it is the charging icon that will flash red.
Sit the brush on the provided charging stand and the battery icon will flash green.
Made of plastic, the charging stand has a prong on the top, on which the Smart 4 will sit to be recharged. This aligns with the recess in the base of the Smart 4 brush handle.
This charger has a power cable that will typically connect to a power socket found in a bathroom. The 2 pin connector works on 220-240v and can be connected to a 3 pin UK socket with use of an adapter.
It usually takes up to 15 hours to recharge the brush fully. It is a relatively slow charge that is pushed to the brush via the charging stand, so it is perfectly safe to leave the brush on here at all times when not in use.
Summary of battery life
- Newer Lithium-Ion battery technology used
- 66 minutes of usage time or 16 days usage based on 2 cleans a day
- Can be left on the charger
- Takes up to 15 hours to charge fully
- A charger is included in the box
- The status icon flashes green when charging and red when the battery is low
- Works on 220-240 volts
- Competition still offer up to 3 weeks usage
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.
Most products are given a recommended retail price (RRP) by the manufacturer, the Smart 4 4000 is no exception.
The RRP here is £120.
This is not the most ludicrous given some of the RRP’s for other brushes, but it is still more than you should pay.
To put it into perspective, you can quite often purchase Oral-B’s most premium electric toothbrush the Genius 9000 (4 models up from the Smart 4) for less than this £120.
Typically with Oral-B brushes, the actual selling price is around half the RRP.
Thus a price from £50-£70 is pretty fair here.
I paid exactly half, £60 to get my hands on this brush.
Prices will vary from store to store. Quite often online retailers will have the best price, but promotions run by high street stores at certain times of the year will see them come inline or cheaper than other retailers.
Often high street retailers like Superdrug and Boots run promotions which result in much lower ticket prices.
Ultimately, pay a price you deem fair and are happy to pay, but spending over £70 you should question, given the other brushes available for the price.
This brush like every other requires replacement brush heads for each user every 3 months. Replacement heads can be purchased in packs of 4 and are priced on average between £11 and £14.
One of the benefits with the Smart 4 is that you do get 2 of the same brush heads included, so if you like that style of brush head you do save yourself a little on the cost.
Using the average cost (based on one user) and ownership over 3 years (the same as the warranty period (if registered online)), the Smart 4 4000 will cost £90 or 8p per day to own.
This price does exclude the cost of water, toothpaste and electric to charge it. This price also works on some assumptions, but you get a rough idea.
You can bring the cost down further if you were to share it with other members of your household. All you need do is invest in extra brush heads.
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
- Recommended retail price of £120
- Generally available with 50% or more off RRP; circa £60.
- Works out at around 8p per day over 3 years
- Share brush handle with another user to extend the value
Reliability & long term use
We would all love the products we buy to last forever.
Sadly, this is not the case, but many products do last for a reasonable amount of time and we have read many stories of users enjoying 5+ years from their Oral-B electric toothbrush.
Every brush that we test, we check over for obvious signs of weakness or defects.
The very nature of being an electronic item with moving parts does indeed make the brush susceptible to failure. However, the reliability of Oral-B products tend to be very good.
With the Smart 4 4000, a 2 year/24 month warranty is included as standard from the time you buy the brush.
Go online, register the brush and you get a further 12 months absolutely free. That is 3 years of warranty.
Therefore should the brush fail within the first 3 years of ownership you are covered.
For 99.9% of users there will be years of hassle free brushing, but should you be one of the 0.01% where inevitably something does go wrong, Oral-B do not leave you high and dry.
You can get full details of the warranty and the associated process here.
The Smart 4 uses a handle design that has been tried, tested and perfected over many years and I really can’t find any obvious faults with it. It is well built and solid in hand.
I know from past experience that most Oral-B models will survive a few falls to the bathroom floor, in most instances.
I give the Smart 4 4000 a rating of just 3 out of 5.
On one hand, I feel this is a little harsh, on another I believe it is justified.
There is no denying that this brush cleans the teeth and mouth well. It offers a pretty decent battery life, whilst also looking fairly good and feeling solid and slim in hand.
At the time of writing, it is one of the cheapest Oral-B brushes to offer Bluetooth connectivity and for that, I should not knock it as much as I have.
But, the box contents lacks, there should be some form of smartphone stand included and ideally a travel case.
Even if the price had been a further £10 it would have rounded off the package and made this a really solid buy and convinced me to give a 4* rating.
If you are going to offer smart features you need to encourage use and a smartphone stand would have been helpful in this case, to give the phone a home rather than the user having to hold it or place it on a work surface.
If you are particularly interested in the feature set of the Smart 4 4000, the Oral-B Teen has identical technical specs, but can be snapped up cheaper. The only differences are the design and box contents.
Typically we don’t recommend smart toothbrushes, and therefore advise looking at the Pro 3 3500 instead. It is a cheaper brush that gets the job done.
- Height (without head) – 19.5cm
- Height (with head) – 23.5cm
- Width – 2.3cm
- Thickness – 2.9cm
- Weight (without head) – 123g
- Weight (with head) – 129g
All are approximates