At the time of writing, the 4000/4100 Series has not launched in the UK.
It is a model that is however available in other regions.
It has been referenced here for the sake of completeness and preparation should it become available in the UK.
Assuming the specifications were the same as other regions, the 4100 would be our top choice and recommended model.
That said, our current top choice the 3100, isn’t much different front the 4100. The main difference is that the cleaning power is a little less intense.
Should availability change, our comparison will be updated accordingly.
Which one would we choose?
Our choice: Philips Sonicare 3100 Series
2nd choice: Philips Sonicare 2100 Series
The 3100 Series has all of the features our dentists recommended.
It is a slim handled unit that looks good and cleans the teeth well.
Unfortunately, the sonic motor isn’t configured to be quite as intense/powerful as other Sonicare models, such as the ProtectiveClean 4300 (our top rated Sonicare toothbrush) or the 4100 Series (not currently available in the UK).
Although it provides the same number of bristle movements, the motor has been tuned differently for better results.
That said, the cleaning action and performance are perfectly satisfactory.
As a more affordable option, the 2100 Series is our 2nd choice. It does lack the pressure sensor though, so don’t brush with too much force if you opt for this.
All models within the 1, 2, 3 and 4000 Series have a lot of similarities, including the same handle size, weight and battery. There is in reality, little to choose between them.
1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series are the broader product range/family names for a number of toothbrushes produced by Philips Sonicare.
Under each of these families might well be a few different models.
For example, within the US market, under the 4000 Series family of brushes, there are a further 3 versions. There are the 4100, 4300 and 4900 brushes. And each of these is available in different colours!
The differences between the 41, 43 and 4900 are more subtle. For example, a different handle colour or brush head is included.
More significant differences, such as cleaning modes or the availability of a pressure sensor exist between the 1, 2, 3 and 4000 ranges.
It should also be noted that within each range it is the x100 that tends to be most widely stocked and sold.
Pretty confusing isn’t it?!
The following table lists the key differences between each of the 4 Series.
|1100 Series||2100 Series||3100 Series||4100 Series|
(Not currently available in the UK)
|Recommended Retail Price (RRP)||£59.99||£69.99||£89.99||£TBC|
|Number of Cleaning Modes||1||1||1||1|
|Number of Brushing Intensities||1||1||1||2|
|2 Minute Timer||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|30 Second Pacer||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pressure Sensor||No||No||Yes |
|Brush Head Replacement Reminder||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Battery Life (Days – Manufacturer claimed)||14||14||14||14|
|Brush Head Included||1 x SimplyClean or 1 x S Sensitive||1 x C1 ProResults||1 x C1 ProResults||1 x C2 Optimal Plaque Control|
|Travel Case||No||No||Selected variants||No|
|Handle Color(s)||White Grey|
|Other Key Information||USB charging stand.||USB charging stand.||USB charging stand.||Motor tuned to provide higher amplitude.|
USB charging stand.
|Review||1100 Series review||2100 Series review||3100 Series review||4100 Series review|
1100 vs 2100 Series
- The 2100 comes in 3 colour options (white, sugar rose & light blue) compared to the 2 of the 1100 (white grey & mint green).
- The 1100 comes with either 1 x Simply Clean or 1 x S Sensitive brush head compared to the 1 x ProResutls of the 2100.
- The 1100 has a retail price of £59.99 compared to the £69.99 of the 2100 – but the 2100 is normally cheaper based on average selling prices.
1100 vs 3100 Series
- The 3100 has a pressure sensor.
- The 3100 has a brush head replacement reminder system (part of BrushSync technology).
- The 3100 comes with 1 x C1 ProResults brush head compared to the 1 x SimplyClean or 1 x S Sensitive of the 1100.
- The 3100 is available in 3 colour options, (white, black & sugar rose) compared to the 2, of the 1100 (white grey & mint green).
- The 1100 has a retail price of £59.99 compared to the £89.99 of the 3100.
2100 vs 3100 Series
- The 3100 has a pressure sensor.
- The 3100 has a brush head replacement reminder system (part of BrushSync technology).
- Both are available in 3 different colour options. The 3100 is available in white, black & sugar rose. Whilst the 2100 is available in white, sugar rose & light blue.
- The 2100 has a retail price of £69.99 compared to the £89.99 of the 3100.
These differences are explained at length later in this article. However, you might wish to learn more about each brush being compared. To do so, check out our hands-on reviews:
Please note. Every effort is made to ensure the key differences listed are correct, but these differences are subject to change without notice. Products and the box contents can be changed without notice and different variants can exist.
Images used for illustration purposes.
Detailed comparison: what’s the difference between the 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series Sonicare toothbrushes?
As the table and bullet point lists above have shown, the real differences between each of these models are fairly limited.
Each brush is most certainly more similar than it is different.
Here is a list of ways in which they are similar:
- Built-in 2 minute timer
- Built-in 30 second pacer
- 1 cleaning mode
- Battery charge notification LED
- USB charging stand
- Handle size
- Handle weight
- Handle materials
- Clicky power button
- Push on, pull off brush heads
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery sealed inside
- Water resistant brush handle
- 2 minute timer
The differences between each model relates more to everyday use and helping you to get the best from your oral care routine.
The 4100 Series does provide the best overall cleaning experience, as I explain in the section below. Its brush motor has been tuned for a more satisfying clean.
The 3100 and 4100 have the pressure sensor that the other models lack.
A pressure sensor alerts you when you apply too much force to the teeth and gums as you brush. It is a feature that our dentists prefer to be present in an electric brush.
When the sensor detects too much force, the handle vibrates with a pattern quite different from the normal vibration in the handle. It is difficult to ignore this.
At the same time, the brush head replacement light will flash, although this is nigh on impossible to actually see.
You will likely notice a change in the sound of the brush too.
Once any pressure is relieved, the vibration will stop.
The sensor is running all the time and will activate every time you apply too much force, unless it is disabled.
Another feature of both the 3100 and 4100 is the brush head replacement reminder light.
This is 1 part of BrushSync technology.
The handle reads and tracks an RFID chip built into a compatible brush head. Once the recommended usage time for that head has been exceeded, the reminder light will flash.
The light is a way of signalling to you and me as a user that it is time to replace the bristles. Failing to do so can compromise the cleaning results and our teeth and gums.
When a new head is fitted, the reminder light is essentially reset.
The heads supplied does differ.
Whilst technically these have been designed with slightly different goals in mind, they all do a good job of cleaning the teeth and removing plaque.
I can’t really say 1 is much better or worse than the other, just slightly different.
The only other way in which the brushes really differ is the colour of the handle and accessories.
The default colour for these is white.
Some white handles have a coloured power button that gives an accent to the handle. Others have coloured handles with white brush heads.
It is only the black coloured handles that tend to come provided with a colour matched charging stand. The brush head still tends to be white though.
Does one clean better than the other?
The short answer is no.
Use any of these brushes twice a day, for 2 minutes each time, along with the correct brushing technique and you are going to get very good cleaning results.
However, there is a difference between the configuration of the brush motor in the 4100 Series.
Sonicare claims that the 4100 Series removes 5 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush, whereas the likes of the 1100 removes only 3 times more plaque.
Let me explain why.
The 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series all have brush motors that offer 31,000 movements (15,500 brush strokes) per minute.
But, the 4000 Series motor has been tuned so that the ‘amplitude’ (the distance covered or the sweep angle of the bristles) is higher.
In daily use, this means the brush feels more powerful and the cleaning more thorough.
You might not desire more power and a deeper cleaning, but based on Sonicares data this does make somewhat of a meaningful difference to your oral health.
Plaque is the very reason we brush our teeth, so the more of it we can disrupt and remove the better.
Our hands-on testing is not scientific and we don’t verify the claims Sonicare makes. But, we can speak firsthand when we say the difference is noticeable, particularly when used side by side.
Of course, few will ever use side by side. And in reality, the cleaning offered by the 1, 2 and 3000 Series is more than sufficient.
If you have not used a power toothbrush before, the brushing sensation and experience you get will still feel more powerful than a manual toothbrush.
Existing electric brush users, notably Sonicare users might well be able to feel the difference in the brushing sensation, if you pick the 1100, 2100 or 3100
Do also be aware that many existing Sonicare toothbrushes actually offer up to 62,000 movements. None of these models do.
Movements are only 1 part of the equation in achieving clean teeth. And due to the way the 4100 Series has been tuned, it is very difficult to notice the difference, even though it does exist.
Of the models compared here, the 4000 Series can potentially provide the best cleaning results.
But complicating things further are the different brush heads on offer across the range of models.
How much difference this makes is up for debate and there is a lack of reliable evidence. For most, it is not worth worrying about. More important is to brush regularly, for the right time and with the correct technique.
Is one better priced than the other?
Yes, but the price difference isn’t as great as you might expect.
The retail prices are as follows:
- 1100 – £59.99
- 2100 – £69.99
- 3100 -£89.99
- 4100 – UNAVAILABLE
As you can see, the 1100 is the most affordable. This isn’t too surprising given it has the least features.
The 3100 has the highest retail price and the highest average selling price of the models being compared.
Within the power toothbrush market, it is quite common for the actual selling price to be a bit less than retail.
It does vary from one seller to another and prices change at different times of the year. But, it is quite a discount of around 20-50% is often achievable.
As it stands, although the 1100 is based on the retail price the cheapest. In reality, the average discount on the 2100 Series is higher, making the average selling price lower than the 1100.
The 2100 sells for around £30, with the 1100 selling close to £50.
The 2100 is nigh on identical to the 1100 anyhow, so it is typically going to be the better option to buy because it is cheaper than the 1100.
Expect to pay around £40+ for the 3100 Series.
It might seem like buying the 3100 Series is the better option, it is only around £10 more.
But, as you might have expected by now, there are added complications.
The 1000 & 2000 can make use of Sonicares standard brush heads that do not have the RFID chip required for the BrushSync technology to work. These heads typically cost £6 per head.
The 3000 and 4000 can though use the BrushSync enabled head which often commands a premium of £1 per head, so £7 in total.
Each can use the standard head, but you in turn lose the benefits of the brush head replacement reminder.
You will therefore be paying £11+ extra (over 3 years) for heads compatible with the 3100 Series.
Therefore if you are on a budget, the 2100 proves itself to be best value.
All things considered, any of these brushes can clean the teeth better than a manual toothbrush.
But, when selecting between these different series, it is the 3000/3100 Series that is my top choice.
It has the essential features that our in-house dentists recommend.
It is a good all round brush that blends performance with functionality and price.
For those with a tighter budget, the 2100 Series is a great 2nd choice and will still provide benefits to your oral health.
Do you own or have you used any of these brushes?
Are there certain features that you really like or dislike?
Let us know what you think about this brush and let others who may well be considering purchasing one know your opinions before they do.