Cleans the teeth well & offers more advanced features
The Smart 6 is solid and if you want or need the extra cleaning modes and features it offers, then I doubt you will be disappointed.
Most importantly it cleans well, offers choice and a reasonable box contents.
- Grippy handle
- Multiple cleaning modes (if desired)
- Dentist recommended features
- Icons for only 4 of the 5 cleaning modes on the brush handle
- Bluetooth connectivity isn’t essential and adds to cost
Consider an alternative smart brush
If I were buying an electric toothbrush, the Pro 3 3500 from Oral-B would be my choice. It doesn’t have Bluetooth.
The minimal design looks smart and it’s easy to keep clean. It has the dentist recommended features and is affordable. As a consequence, it is our best electric toothbrush top pick.
But, assuming you are looking for something a bit more capable, the iO Series 6 delivers a bit more value for money than the Smart 6. This is because it solves some of the shortcomings and can actually track the brush’s position in real-time allowing you to take immediate corrective action.
|Oral-B iO Series 6 - Grey||£299.99 £146.99||View on Amazon|
Design, usability, clean & general use
If I have a clean fresh feeling mouth, then I tend to find I feel better, more confident and motivated.
It might sound silly, but think about it, if you take care of your body, it will often take care of you.
The mouth is a massive gateway to your body. All sorts of bacteria and germs can be picked up so spending just a few minutes a day taking care of your teeth and mouth is important. It can keep you healthier.
From a young age, you have likely been encouraged to brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. If you haven’t then you need to think about doing this, and the Smart 6 6000 can help you.
A more premium electric toothbrush, this is not your budget option.
The Smart 6 has the same design and many of the same features as the ‘best’ Oral-B brush the Genius X. However, it is missing a few, making it cheaper as a result. In truth there is not a lot of difference, I will cover these in more detail later.
Out of the box, it looks very smart.
The body of the handle is primarily white in colour with the main colour accent being the front of the brush with the silver/blue insert.
This gives a perception of quality and an appeal that is not directed to men or women, it is a universally acceptable colour choice that will look at home in any bathroom.
The brush handle is not perfectly round, sort of more like a rounded rectangle, but a final profile that feels good in the hand, even if the plastics are a little on the glossy side.
It is completely sealed, meaning that it is water resistant and could be used in the shower if you chose.
It is also fine to rinse off under a tap without issue. Don’t go submerging the brush though. It is on the front of the brush where most of the action happens with the power button, brushing modes and more.
The sides of the handle are a gloss white plastic, with the full rear of the brush being covered in a soft touch white rubber with circular impressions which helps the hand and fingers grip the handle. It looks and feels good.
Within the front silver/blue panel is the power button, that turns the brush on and off, the cleaning mode button which when pressed changes the cleaning option you have selected.
Both of these buttons are made of white rubber inset into the panel and both buttons are raised, making them easy to find.
The power button is illuminated whilst the cleaning mode has a grey coloured arrow that points down.
Both give good feedback and are not too easily activated in error.
To switch cleaning modes you must have the brush powered on. You cannot press the cleaning mode button to cycle through them before powering the brush on. I do think this is a poor design choice, as preferably you would select the cleaning mode before applying toothpaste and water to the brush head.
With the Smart 6, you need to apply the paste, pop it in your mouth and remember how many presses of the cleaning mode button you need to get the right mode, to avoid toothpaste being thrown across the room.
Models from other brands allow the cleaning mode to be selected and then the brush powered on.
Below these buttons are 4 icons which are almost impossible to see until they are illuminated. These icons represent the cleaning modes. Press the cleaning mode button to cycle through the different modes and watch the icon illuminate on the handle.
It is a stylish addition, but something that bugs me is that only 4 icons are on the handle, yet there are 5 cleaning modes.
The default ‘Daily Clean’ mode is the first mode that will begin when you power on the brush and no icon is available or illuminates for this. Only when you select one of the others does this change.
The 5 cleaning modes available on the 6000 are:
- Daily Clean
- Gum Care
The SmartSeries 6000 and 6500 is essentially replaced by this Smart 6. Gone is the blue light as seen on these models, it is now a white light.
In the lower third of this front panel is a Bluetooth icon, a battery icon made up of 3 bars and then finally the Oral-B and Braun logos.
The base of the brush is sealed but has a recess into which the prong on the charging stand fits to charge the brush.
A design feature that was introduced on the Genius range was something called the LED SmartRing.
On the neck of the brush is where you find this.
This too acts as a pressure sensor, illuminating red when activated and will at other times (when powered on) shine one of 12 different colours set by you through the Oral-B app.
You can learn more about it in this video.
If using the app at the same time as brushing, the screen on the app will also illuminate red and tell you to reduce the pressure should you apply too much to the teeth.
The idea behind the sensor is to avoid you or me doing damage to our teeth and gums by brushing too hard, an issue which dentists see regularly. A gentle glide across the tooth surfaces is all that is needed.
So when the red light shines, you know to reduce the pressure you are applying and can avoid doing too much damage.
Cleverly, the brush will too automatically reduce the head speed and stop the pulsation until the pressure is reduced.
The observant will also hear the change in the sound emitted from the brush as this happens.
Built into any of the premium Oral-B brushes is a timer, this is the bit of technology that makes sure you brush for the right amount of time, the required 2 minutes.
The idea is that you spend 30 seconds cleaning each quadrant of the mouth.
What is known as a quad-pacer that is built into the Smart 6, will at 30 second intervals pause the motion of the brush head briefly to give you the notification you need to change quadrant. The LED smart Ring also flashes. This happens at 30 second intervals, up until the 2 minutes where you get 3 brief pauses in the brush head motion and 3 LED flashes, to tell you to stop.
Dental professionals usually break the mouth up into 4 sections, upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left. Spend 30 seconds cleaning the front, back and tops of the teeth in each section and you should be taking the right steps to achieve a good routine.
Make sure you use the right technique though when brushing! Click here for tips on how to clean your teeth properly.
It is by no means a new addition, but one reason why Oral-B is one of the market leaders is that research has shown that their rounded, oscillating and rotating brush heads are very effective at cleaning the teeth.
Small and compact you can generally get the brush head into all the hard to reach areas of the mouth. The motion of the brush head on the Smart 6, looks like this.
The dynamic 3D movement helps adapt to your teeth as it oscillates, rotates and pulsates to break up and remove up to 100% more plaque than a manual toothbrush.
In the box with the Smart 6000 are 3 brush heads, a CrossAction, Sensitive and 3D/ProWhite.
These are 3 of a range of different styled heads that all work slightly differently to achieve different oral hygiene goals.
The CrossAction head is the most popular and best for all round good cleaning performance.
Designed to be interchangeable you can swap them out every 3 months or when you want to use a specific head for a specific cleaning mode. Just pull the brush head off or push it back on, it is a click on and off style mechanism.
You can find out more about all the different brush heads by reading our Oral-B brush head comparison.
All brush heads made by Oral-B feature something known as fading/indicator bristles. Blue in colour, over the 3 month period in which a brush should be used, they fade in colour to a white/translucent colour, acting as a reminder to replace the head.
So, time to talk about one of the biggest features and selling points for this brush, the app and Bluetooth connectivity.
It has been on Oral-B SmartSeries for some time but has been given more focus when the Genius range was introduced.
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.
The app will run on most Android or iOS devices. And uses Bluetooth on your phone and the Smart 6 brush to pair. Your smartphone must have Bluetooth 4.0 as a minimum for compatibility. You can download from iTunes here and Google Play Store here.
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 don’t have to use the app at all if you don’t want to. Even if you do, you don’t have to use it all the time; the brush itself can store the data for up to 20 cleans.
Whilst a toothbrush plays a vital role in oral hygiene the routine and way in which you clean does too. This app makes it easy to see and represent in real-time just how good, or bad you are doing.
Challenges are presented to you allowing you to obtain a score based on how well you brush and improve your habits. Brush better and for longer and you are on the road to success. Gain badges for achievements and share socially if you chose.
If you have perfected your technique you may have less to gain than others, but I was impressed at just how well the app works and monitors you clean.
That LED smart ring I mentioned previously, you can customise this from the app one of 12 colour options and you can also set personalised goals, to get more suitable tips and advice.
There is a Professional Guidance feature allows you and your dental professional to work together. Actually, share and discuss improvement areas and have your dentist actually program into the app extra brushing time and adjustments to your cleaning modes.
If you are very friendly with your dentist then I am sure they will help, although I suspect not all will be too worried about seeing your cleaning history as they can often tell, just by looking.
Online backup is another new feature. With an Oral-B account, you can never lose data and even share with compatible services for additional insights and benefits. As the app logs data over the days and weeks, it is impressive to see through the logs how your habits and brushing time changes.
The connection and transfer are fairly reliable and I have yet to run into any real problems.
The Genius range does have one added feature, which is not available with the Smart 6 and that is enhanced tracking/position detection. Essentially it used the front facing camera on your smartphone to track the actual position of the Genius brush inside your mouth when in use. It takes this data and displays this on the smartphone screen, giving instant feedback to highlight and direct you to where you have missed and where you need to clean next.
Good, but not without its faults.
In my opinion, the fact that the Smart 6 does not offer this is no big deal.
It is also worth noting, whilst it is perfectly possible to share a brush handle, the handle can not differentiate between 2 users, so your data synced to the app will be wrong.
If you both want to take advantage of Bluetooth connectivity, you need your own brush. Consider something like the Oral-B Smart 5 5950, a dual handle pack which delivers some cost saving.
If you are not a big smartphone user it might be difficult for you to get in a routine of using the app. If your smartphone is always attached to you, no doubt you will find it easier.
I tend not to have my smartphone with me in the bathroom. Even though Oral-B provide a smartphone stand. I probably now sync the brush once a week as I have my technique perfected.
I fear though, as good as the app is, unless you really invest time and effort into getting into the routine of using it, it’s all too easy to forget about. Other additions in the box include the brush charging stand.
Made of plastic, there is a prong on the top, on which the Smart 6 will sit to be recharged. 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 12 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.
Fitting around the charging stand is a small moulded piece of white plastic with another 2 prongs on it. This is the brush head stand. Essentially, the brush heads that are not in use on the brush itself can be placed on these to keep them upright and within reach. It is a nice little addition.
A smartphone stand that on first glance looks like an oversized hockey puck is included too. White in colour and made from a silicone rubber material, it is virtually circular with a wedge cut out of the front section to hold a smartphone in either portrait or landscape orientation.
The idea here is that it provides a home for your phone when using the app with the brush.
Its design should accommodate most smartphones, big and small, I like it.
The final in box addition is the travel case. Fairly basic it is made of plastic and is relatively thin.
White in colour, inside the case you can hold the brush handle and up to 2 brush heads.
It is ideal for giving an extra bit of protection when travelling and avoiding an accidental activation of the brush, whilst also stopping the brush head bristles from becoming dirty or frayed.
Branded with the Oral-B log, it can sit upright or be laid down and holes in one end of the case allow for airflow to ensure the brush is dry and the air inside does not become stagnant.
If you want to be able to charge the brush in the case, look at the Genius X which has the ultimate in smart travel cases.
An accessory I loved that comes provided with the older SmartSeries 6000 and 6500, but not the Smart 6 is the Smart Wireless Guide.
Essentially a portable clock and timer that shows your cleaning mode, how well you are brushing (via a smiley or sad face and star rating) and how long you have been brushing for.
Powered by 2 AA batteries it could sit on a shelf or attach to a wall with an adhesive pad and was a small unobtrusive addition to the kit that worked well. It does nothing more than what the app does, but I believe a very convenient solution to encourage better cleaning when the app is not in use. Sadly it is not included.
A point to note is if you owned one of the older models that included a smart guide, the Smart 6 does work with it. I tried the Smart 6 from the guide that came with the SmartSeries 6000, it worked straight away.
The brush should need no real ongoing maintenance. As a moulded brush with a virtually all in one design, a rinse and a wipe down is all that is needed. Should something go wrong, there is as standard a 24 month warranty; this covers the battery too.
All told there is a lot to like about the Smart 6 and what criticisms I have are, to be honest limited.
My biggest complaint really is more around Oral-B and where the Smart 6 sits within the range. It is different from all the other brushes in a way, but in another, it is so very similar. Choosing whether the 6000 is right for you is not that easy when you have such similar models in the range that are fractionally cheaper or more expensive.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Primarily white in colour with a silver/blue inset
- Comfortable to hold
- Grippy rubber on the rear ensures the brush remains in hand
- White illumination for cleaning modes, power indicator etc.
- Dedicated power and cleaning mode buttons
- 5 cleaning modes – Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening and Pro-Clean
- Icons for only 4 of the 5 modes
- Need to switch the brush on to change mode
- 3 brush heads included (more available to purchase separately)
- Brush head holder for 2 brush heads
- Built-in quadpacer and 2 minute timer
- The pressure sensor that illuminates red
- LED SmartRing that can be customised 1 of 12 colour options
- Bluetooth connectivity to record your brushing history via app for Android and iOS
- An intelligent app that tracks, records and suggests improvements to your cleaning and can be customised and programmed to your needs and goals
- The app is a good idea but will require a commitment to keep using it
- Travel case that holds the Smart 6 and 2 brush heads
- Smartphone holder/stand provided
- Missing the popular wireless smart guide
- Water resistant and can be used in the shower
- 2 year warranty as standard
If I had to make one sweeping criticism of Oral-B brushes to date, it has to be battery life.
Given the company’s size, history and experience the battery life has generally been inferior to the competition, with many models only boasting a 7 day life.
This has changed more recently as the brand switches from NiMH to Lithium-ion. Lithium batteries are the same technology as used in your smartphone and boast an extended battery life compared to the NiMH batteries.
The Smart 6 managed some 74 minutes of usage time on test with us. This equates to approx 18 days of real world use.
Oral-B themselves say over 2 weeks, but it would seem (subject to usage) that you could be well on your way to 3 weeks.
Even 2 weeks of battery life is good, but at 18 days of 74 minutes, I am quite impressed with how the Smart 6 has performed.
Personally, I see battery life to be an important factor when it comes to choosing a toothbrush.
Preferably I want it to last as long as possible without needing a charge. However, 95% of the time my brush lives at home within close range of the charging stand and there is no reason why it could not be charged more frequently.
You may have a different opinion, but there is an added convenience of knowing the battery will last.
Some Philips Sonicare models can last a full 3 weeks, but with just a few days usage between them, the large gap that once existed has been considerably reduced.
What I particularly like is you can go on holiday for as long as 2 weeks and not even need to worry about re-charging the brush.
Interestingly, the Genius modes, the theoretically more premium and expensive, only manage 12 days.
This is likely to do with all the sensors and extra tech for the position detection, but interesting to see a cheaper brush with better battery life.
A clever feature which does save power and potentially assists with the cleaning time is that on a Philips or Colgate brush, the brush motor will switch itself off at the end of the clean. A simple feature that just works, no such feature exists on the Smart 6.
Included in the box is a charging stand that you can leave the 6000 sat on when not in use if you want.
The charging dock itself is white in colour and has a small prong on the top which aligns with a recess in the bottom of the brush handle and will charge the brush fully in about 8-12 hours. I tend to leave it on charge overnight. When charging the battery charging icon pulses with a white light.
Supporting 220-240v it will connect to a 2 pin bathroom socket, or with an adapter (not provided) can connect to a 3 pin socket.
When power is low the battery status icon will flash and you will likely feel the decrease in brush power. When depleted completely the motor will power down and the battery icon flash red.
Another minor criticism is that you never know quite how much power is left, is it 20%, 15%, you just have to gauge it off of the 3 bar indicator. It would be great it the battery status showed in the app like it does on the Kolibree Ara.
Summary of battery life
- 74 minutes of usage time or 18 days usage based on 2 cleans a day
- Oral-B brush with longest battery life
- The battery is built-in and not user replaceable
- Can be left on the charger
- Takes about 12 hours to charge fully
- When completely flat at least 30 minutes of charge is required
- Recommended to discharge battery fully every 6 months
- The charging stand included in the box supports 220-240v
- Battery status icon flashes with a white light when charging and red when the battery is very low
- Would be good if you got a percentage (%) of the remaining battery
- No auto-power off to conserve the battery
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 Smart 6 is one feature rich brush that you believe would command a premium price right?
Well, the official recommended retail price is some £219.99.
However, that is considerably more than what you should be expected to pay.
Do not pay anywhere near this price, it is simply not worth it.
From the day the brush first launched it was available for half this price!
So, whilst the advertised headline price might well be £219.99 you should look to pay around the £100 mark – we have included a live price comparison of retailers here.
Sitting below the Genius line, this model should generally be a little bit cheaper, so be sure to shop around if the price looks a little high.
In fact at certain times of the year, when special deals are running you can even get the Genius 9000 at the same price as the Smart 6.
Whilst prices are always fluctuating, it is good to see and know that the Smart 6 is similarly priced to the brush it essentially replaces.
More recently the prices of this brush have dropped, with the price sitting below £70 on many popular online stores.
Its features do command the premium price.
There are cheaper alternatives if you can forgo some of the options the 6000 offers.
The Smart 6 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.
We like to offer up a figure for what we believe to be an average cost of ownership of this toothbrush. So I present an example here based on the more typical ‘average’ price. Be aware this will fluctuate, but it at least gives you an idea.
Using the average cost (based on one user) and ownership over 3 years (the same as the warranty period), the Smart 6 will cost £134.32 (£100 + (11 x £3.12)) 12p per day to own.
This price does exclude the cost of water, toothpaste and electric to charge it, but you get a rough idea and is one of if not the cheapest decent electric toothbrushes available at the moment.
There is a good chance the brush will last longer than the 3 year period and using the same brush handle but switching heads with other users in your household will only help bring the cost down and drive more value from it.
If cost is a big factor, whilst the Smart 6 6000 brings some benefits, you may wish to consider the Smart 5 5000 for a reasonable cost saving.
At the end of the day, the decision is personal and different people will have different perceptions of value. Pay a price you are happy to pay and can afford.
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 £219.99
- Typically able to purchase for £100
- Live price comparison here
- Will cost around £0.12p per day to own, based on 3 years of usage by one user
- Share brush handle to extend the value
- Consider Smart 5 5000 as a potentially better value alternative.
Reliability & long term use
Reliability is something that we expect in products, but the fast moving consumer goods are often prone to cost saving measures and putting out ‘cheap’ products to maximise profits.
Personally, I feel that Philips Sonicare offer the more premium looking and feeling products, the good news is the overall build quality and reliability of Oral-B products are very good.
Whilst things can still inevitably go wrong the returns rate is low and to date, with Oral-B, I have yet to find evidence of any significant weakness in their products, the new Smart 6 is no exception.
With a long history of the production of electric brushes, the workmanship is high.
Generally speaking, the weakest point is the battery. After repeated charges and discharges it can fail and should it, they are not easy to replace. Thankfully the lithium-ion battery technology now used in the 6000 is a step up over the old battery technology and should further improve long term reliability from the internal power source.
There is peace of mind in that the Smart 6 comes as standard with a 2 year warranty from the date of purchase, but this can be extended to 3 years, by simply registering the brush online.
To prolong the life of any brush giving it a rinse and a wipe down to remove grime that builds up is a must.
To be frank, it is unusual for an electric toothbrush to be bad. Particularly when it is being made by one of the market leaders.
The Smart 6 is solid and if you want or need the extra cleaning modes and features it offers, then I doubt you will be disappointed.
Most importantly it cleans well, offers choice and reasonable box contents.
It is affordable with the features you need.
- Height (without head) – 20.5cm
- Height (with head) – 24cm
- Width – 2.7cm Thickness – 3.2cm
- Weight (without head) – 132g
- Weight (with head) – 138g
All are approximates