Waterpik vs Sonicare Toothbrush: How Do They Compare?

Waterpik vs Sonicare - Header Image

You don’t need me to tell you the importance of taking care of your oral health, you get that from the dentist each time you visit.

Seeing as you have arrived at this article, you must have some interest in understanding whether well known healthcare brand Sonicare or Waterpik is right for you.

This is a common query and ultimately you are probably looking for a clear answer to the question of which is best?

This is not the simplest question to answer, as will become apparent in this article.

Whilst individual circumstances and needs can affect the answer, for most people, I would suggest you buy a Sonicare electric toothbrush AND a Waterpik water flosser.

The two that I recommend the most are the Sonicare EasyClean and the Waterpik WP-660UK:

Preview Product Rating Price
Philips Sonicare EasyClean Electric Toothbrush with Pro-Results Brush Head - HX6511/50 (UK 2-Pin Bathroom Plug) Philips Sonicare EasyClean Electric Toothbrush with Pro-Results Brush Head - HX6511/50 (UK 2-Pin... 4,780 Reviews £39.98 £38.50
Waterpik WP-660UK Ultra Professional Water Flosser, White Edition (UK 2-Pin Bathroom Plug) Waterpik WP-660UK Ultra Professional Water Flosser, White Edition (UK 2-Pin Bathroom Plug) 1,153 Reviews £79.99 £65.72

But, there is a bit more to it than this.  For those who want to understand the complications and know why I have come to the conclusions I have, please read on.

What is it you want – water flosser or electric toothbrush?

These 2 healthcare companies might be well known, but in some respects by their own doing they are best known for particular types of products.

Waterpik are best known for their range of water flossers, whilst Sonicare are best known for their electric toothbrushes.

To reiterate, whilst there are exceptions to the rule (as I will explain shortly), Sonicare makes toothbrushes, whilst Waterpik manufacture water flossers.

Waterpik vs Sonicare Toothbrush: How Do They Compare? 1

Should you not be familiar with the term water flosser, it is a name of a type of product that is often used interchangeably with the brand name Waterpik, that is how synonymous the company is with such products.

This hygiene product pushes water (or mouthwash) into the mouth at pressure through a nozzle.

When aimed at the teeth and interdental spaces, the pressure of the water dislodges and washes away plaque, bacteria and food debris.  They are designed primarily to assist with interdental cleaning, the gaps in between your teeth, where regular toothbrushes don’t reach or clean as well

Dental professionals will generally advise that they are used in addition to string floss or interdental brushes.  Where mobility is an issue, they can be used as an alternative to.

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However, as the products have advanced and the public as a whole continue to fail at achieving regular flossing routines, water flossers have become a modern convenience that encourages those who would otherwise avoid the task to do so.

An electric toothbrush, on the other hand, is an electrically powered toothbrush that makes rapid, automated movements of bristles and primarily relies on physical contact between the bristles and the teeth to clean them.  It is an alternative to the manual toothbrush.

When considering which is better, it is then about understanding what it is you actually need or want first.  Are you looking to clean the tooth surfaces or get those gaps in between. Or do you have a desire to achieve both?

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Perhaps you need both

Ask your dentist for advice on looking after your teeth and the first suggestion will likely be, brush twice a day for 2 minutes and floss at least once.

Such a routine requires tools for both.

A manual toothbrush and string floss certainly do the job, but the electrically powered toothbrush and water flossers could be great additions to that routine.

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There are many pros (listed shortly) as well as clinical evidence to support how effective they are.  Those who know they have a poor oral health care routine already, with irregular cleaning patterns will most certainly benefit most from adopting both.

However, to make things slightly more complicated, Waterpik does make electric toothbrushes and Sonicare also produce a product called the Airfloss that aims to achieve similar results to a water flosser.

Waterpik even make products that contain a water flosser and electric toothbrush.  They are a combination of both products. They refer to these as ‘Complete Care’.

Therefore ultimately, you could opt for a flosser or electric toothbrush from either company.

Complete Care units – a toothbrush & water flosser combo

A ‘Complete Care’ unit is the name given to a type of product that Waterpik manufacture and sells.  These include both an electric toothbrush and a water flosser.

Although they essentially act independently (you use one at a time), the toothbrush tends to dock and charge on the base of the water flosser.

This means that you have just 1 unit sat on your countertop and connecting to a power supply.  This is instead of 2 individual units taking up more space on the countertop and connecting to 2 plugs on the wall.

At the time of writing, Waterpik offers 4 Complete Care units, the Complete Care 9.0 and 9.5 being the latest models (view on Amazon).

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If I had to pick one as the best electric toothbrush and water flosser combo, it would be the Complete Care 9.5 (view on Amazon).  It has a smart design, with 10 pressure settings, a decent water tank size and you have a small round brush head on the toothbrush.

It should be noted that Waterpik also manufactures the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion which literally does combine toothbrush and water flosser into 1 product.  I will cover this in more detail later in this article, but unfortunately, this combination of water flosser and toothbrush does not perform as well as it should. 

Water flossers have toothbrush attachments

Few things are simple in life, and the decision between a water flosser and electric toothbrush is complicated further when you learn that one of the interchangeable tips available on a water flosser is a toothbrush!

Yes, I know what you are thinking.

Water flosser brands, including Waterpik produce a number of differently styled tips that aid different users, to achieve the best results based on their dental health requirements.

Whilst the Classic Jet Tip is suitable for most, the orthodontic tip is better suited to those with braces and the Pik Pocket Tip for those with periodontal pockets.

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The toothbrush tip is not the most common inclusion and one of the least used, or so it would seem.  But, this typically round headed attachment has a large number of bristles that can sweep over the teeth and gums to dislodge and lift the more stubborn plaque and food debris.

Unlike an electric toothbrush, the bristles are not powered by a motor and rely upon the manual approach to brushing.

The reservoir capacities on water flossers do not typically allow for the traditional 2 minute brushing, complete with water jet, the water is depleted in 60-90 seconds on average.

Therefore, although the toothbrush tip exists, the way it works means it is unfair to compare or judge it in the same way you would an electric brush.

Waterpik vs Sonicare Toothbrush: How Do They Compare? 7

Water flosser vs electric toothbrush

Clinical research clearly shows how both an electric toothbrush and a water flosser can remove plaque, the primary reason we clean our teeth.

Although some water flossers may have toothbrush attachments, you might be wondering whether you could use a water flosser instead of an electric toothbrush.

The technique used with a water flosser, even with a toothbrush tip attachment is different to a regular electric toothbrush technique.  Technically there is nothing stopping you from doing just this, but it really goes against the advice that dental professionals would offer and your oral health would likely suffer as a result.

Brushing and flossing are considered 2 separate, but necessary acts and not something that can all that easily be combined or replaced by just using 1 of these 2 tools.

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Electric toothbrush pros and cons

Here is a quick summary of what I consider to be the positives and negatives of an electric toothbrush.

Pros

  • Consistent power
    • It does the hard work so you don’t have to
  • Greater plaque removal
    • Cleans with more efficiency due to consistent power and motion
  • Reduces tooth decay and improves gum health
    • The improved cleaning ability has a knock-on effect to encourage better health in the mouth.
  • Timers and pacers to encourage a 2 minute clean
    • Additional technology allows for extra features that encourage better oral health.
  • Various cleaning modes
    • Achieve specific goals and meet your needs with different modes.
  • Different brush heads
    • Differing styles to achieve different results
  • Value added features
    • Travel cases, pressure sensors, apps and smart features for a more enjoyable user experience.
  • The relatively low lifetime cost
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Cons

  • Initial cost
    • More expensive than a manual brush
  • Battery life
    • Require recharging fairly frequently
  • Cost of replacement heads
    • Required every 3 months, 1 head is equivalent to the cost of a manual brush
Waterpik vs Sonicare Toothbrush: How Do They Compare? 10

Water flosser pros and cons

Here is a quick summary of what I consider to be the positives and negatives of a water flosser.

Pros

  • Ease of use
    • Easier to use than string floss, particularly for those with limited dexterity.
  • Comfort
    • Softer, less aggressive and harsh on the gums.
  • Speed
    • Once perfected in the technique it is often quicker than regular flossing.
  • Effectiveness
    • The water gets into the smallest of gaps and under the gum where floss can’t.  Also great for braces.
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Cons

  • Cost
    • Much more expensive to buy than string floss.
  • Size/Portability
    • Even the cordless options are bulky and don’t fit in a pocket.
  • Power
    • Require mains power or batteries to function.
  • Technique
    • Take some getting used to.
  • Effectiveness
    • Can’t scrape the plaque away like floss and interdental brushes do.
Waterpik vs Sonicare Toothbrush: How Do They Compare? 12

Water flosser and electric toothbrush combo pros and cons

Here is a quick summary of what I consider to be the positives and negatives of the combining of water flossers and toothbrushes.

Pros

  • Space saving 
    • Normally takes up less space on the countertop as there is 1 combined charing stand rather than 2.
  • Convenience
    • Buy 1 product that has the 2 items you need, less hassle shopping around, etc.
  • Price
    • A potential to be a bit more cost effective than buying 2 separate items.

Cons

  • Choice
    • Limited options.
  • Quality/performance
    • The combo offering doesn’t necessarily offer you the best toothbrush or the best water flosser.
  • Reliability
    • Should 1 of the 2 parts fail, it could have a knock-on effect on the other.
  • Price
    • Not actually always cheaper than buying 2 separate items.

I need a water flosser – Waterpik vs Sonicare

Should you have decided based on the information above and your prior knowledge that a water flosser is for you, then both these 2 brands have something on offer.

You could do a lot worse than reading our comprehensive article, Waterpik vs Airfloss, that compares, complete with clinical data the difference between the 2.

Waterpik is ultimately the best option, the clinical evidence favours their approach, but day to day convenience of the Sonicare approach is hard to beat.

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I need an electric toothbrush – Waterpik vs Sonicare

Whilst Sonicare is actually better known for their electric toothbrushes, with a much more comprehensive range, Waterpik are not as behind as one might imagine.

Waterpik sonic toothbrushes exist, in fact, they are often sold as a package containing an electric toothbrush and water flosser.  You will find them labeled as Waterpik Complete Care units.

Of all the features we have seen and experienced on electric toothbrushes, we rank them into high, medium and low priority.

Despite not being best known for toothbrushes, the Waterpik sonic toothbrushes have those high priority features built-in.

When comparing a Waterpik sonic toothbrush vs Sonicare, Sonicare still ultimately wins.

I do believe overall Sonicare brushes are better from a design, clean, innovation and general experience point of view.  They include more of the features users desire of a product, but the Waterpik electric toothbrushes are still very good.

Waterpik vs Sonicare Toothbrush: How Do They Compare? 14

A good choice for a Sonicare brush is the EasyClean HX6511/50.  It is a fantastic example of what is available today, without the need to spend all that much money.

Both brands offer built-in timers and pacers that encourage a 2 minute clean, as well as doing a good job of cleaning the teeth and gumline.

In each case, they rely on the physical contact of the bristles to clean the teeth and gums as well as a non-contact approach that uses the sonic technology to disrupt plaque beyond the tips of the bristles.

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Both firms have undertaken extensive research to show how effective their products are.

Waterpik, in particular, have been shown in one study to remove 80% of biofilm without the use of physical contact, compared to the 69% of Sonicare.  Another study suggested a 29% improvement in plaque removal over Sonicare FlexCare brushes.

Despite some studies having been conducted, more are needed to suggest whether 1 brand is ultimately better than another.  Given that most studies look in detail at 1 specific aspect of tooth cleaning, or 1 specific brush model, it is unlikely to ever come about.

Both do offer benefits over manual brushing.

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Personally, I believe that Sonicare’s focus on electric toothbrushes gives them an advantage in the brushing department equivalent to that of what Waterpik have in the water flosser market.

Sonicare bring small touches and enhancements to their models that add to the overall user experience that Waterpik have chosen not to challenge at this time.

I need both

If you need or want both an electric toothbrush and a water flosser, then you could buy the previously mentioned Complete Care unit from Waterpik, as this solution pretty much combines water flosser and toothbrush.

However, if you are happy to buy and own 2 completely separate items you have the best choices and options available to you.

You can purchase each as separate items, from either brand.

By buying separates, you have the advantage of getting the best from each product category.

Our list of best electric toothbrushes and best water flossers will surely be of interest to you.

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The Sonicare EasyClean HX6511/50 electric toothbrush and the Waterpik Ultra Professional water flosser would be 2 fantastic choices.

Preview Product Rating Price
Philips Sonicare EasyClean Electric Toothbrush with Pro-Results Brush Head - HX6511/50 (UK 2-Pin Bathroom Plug) Philips Sonicare EasyClean Electric Toothbrush with Pro-Results Brush Head - HX6511/50 (UK 2-Pin... 4,780 Reviews £39.98 £38.50
Waterpik WP-660UK Ultra Professional Water Flosser, White Edition (UK 2-Pin Bathroom Plug) Waterpik WP-660UK Ultra Professional Water Flosser, White Edition (UK 2-Pin Bathroom Plug) 1,153 Reviews £79.99 £65.72

Waterpik Sonic-Fusion – A toothbrush & water flosser combined

For those that wish to be on the cutting edge of innovation, the new Sonic-Fusion flossing toothbrush from Waterpik innovatively combines both into just 1 product.

Unlike the Complete Care units, the Sonic-Fusion is the actual combination of water flosser and electric toothbrush.

Rather than 2 separate handles, the water is fed into and up the brush handle of the Sonic-Fusion, before being pumped out of a small nozzle situated amongst bristles of what otherwise looks like a conventional toothbrush head.

Innovative it is, I have to award Waterpik points for trying something new.  However, what sounds like a great idea, in reality, isn’t. The daily use and performance is inferior to the use of 2 separate items.

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Waterpik Sonic-Fusion vs Sonicare

A number of site visitors have asked what is the Sonic-Fusion like in comparison to the Sonicare range of electric toothbrushes.

The way in which the brush head moves is the biggest similarity between these products.  It uses the same cleaning technique, which isn’t all that bad, but this is where the similarity ends.

My hands-on review of the Sonic-Fusion goes into more detail, but in reality, there is no competition.

I actually conclude, that rather than buying the Sonic-Fusion, you are better off purchasing a Sonicare EasyClean electric toothbrush, alongside a Waterpik water flosser, as together these are a cheaper and better combination for your dental health than the Sonic-Fusion.

Whilst the Sonic-Fusion works as a toothbrush and works as a water flosser, it falls short of the alternative choices, hence my feeling towards this product.

Your comments

Have you or do you use either of these brands?

If you have something you want to add to the discussion that can help others, or maybe you have a question I have not answered, please comment below.

About Jon Love

Jon is a leading voice on electric toothbrushes and has been quoted by mainstream media publications for his opinions and expertise.

Having handled & tested hundreds of products there really is very little he does not know about them.

Passionate about business and helping others, Jon has been involved in various online enterprises since the early 2000s.

After spending 12 years in consumer technology, it was in 2014 that he focused his attention on dental health, having experienced first-hand the challenge of choosing a new toothbrush.

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