The Mi electric toothbrush is far from a bad toothbrush and is certainly not bad value.
But, it isn’t as great.
Having spent several weeks testing it, I prefer the alternatives.
The Bluetooth connectivity and data transfer can be buggy and the data received from the brush isn’t all that useful.
It also lacks some of the added value that I have come to expect of the far eastern brands, that often challenge the dominant brands.
Not easy to tell which cleaning mode is selected
Good cleaning action
App and tracking data are not great
Battery life is worse than expected
Cleaning mode customisation via smartphone app
Consider these other brushes
If I were buying a new electric toothbrush today, my choice would be the Oral-B Pro 3 3500.
It’s affordable with the features you need. It is our number 1 choice for the best electric toothbrush.
As smart toothbrushes go, a better investment than the Xiaomi would be the Oclean X Pro Elite.
It has a more reliable and functional smartphone app. The tracking is better and more useful.
The cleaning action is slightly different, but the clean is just as good, if not better.
Design, usability, clean & general use
The Xiaomi Mi toothbrush comes in quite simplistic packaging and to me, it feels like this reflects the brush.
The box is not full of bold colours or bold sales messages.
About A5 paper size (height and width, not depth), the off-white box has a picture of the brush on the front, with some key features highlighted on the left and right sides.
The back of the box is home to some basic specifications of the brush and details of the manufacturer along with a couple of barcodes.
Inside the box, the brush is sat to the left side, with the front of the brush facing you. The cardboard inlay that lays to the right, has printed a few words that point out key elements of the toothbrush, so you can quickly know what is what.
With the brush handle removed, another smaller box inside houses the brush head, charging stand, coloured rings and documentation.
As a far eastern brand, I was expecting more in the box than is supplied.
What is offered is perfectly sufficient, but commonplace from the likes of Fairywill, Liaboe and many other Asian brands is to offer extra items and really demonstrate incredible value for money.
A typical size and shape for an electric toothbrush, the white brush handle is rounded in its design. There are no square edges.
In the upper third of the brush handle is the power on/off button. This button also changes the cleaning mode selected.
Oval in its shape, it is a muted grey colour and contrasts a little against the white body of the handle.
Running down the centre of the handle is a number of small icons. These are the cleaning modes and then the battery icon.
There are three cleaning modes available on this brush handle. I will provide more detail on each shortly. However, the icons on the handle light up when selected.
The first is a small circle, this is the standard cleaning mode.
Below that is a smaller circle, this is the gentle/sensitive cleaning mode.
A heart icon is the third cleaning mode, also known as favourite.
I do think, the actual name of the mode would be more sensible than small unclear icons.
Under the cleaning mode icons sits a more obvious icon, this is the battery status icon, which also doubles up as a Bluetooth indicator.
In the lower third of the brush handle is the Xiaomi logo. In a very muted grey, it is just about visible but very subtle.
On the back of the handle are four rows of very slightly raised dots. Running almost the length of the handle, they are very subtle but just prominent enough that they give the fingertips something to grip onto.
Although the handle is made from a smooth touch plastic, in hand it does not actually feel slippery as some brushes do.
I don’t ever recall dropping a brush, but it didn’t feel like it would slip out the hand if you do struggle to grip to a brush handle. That said, the large amounts of rubber grip found on most Oral-B handles is certainly more grippy.
At the very bottom edge of the brush, just a few millimetres in thickness is a coloured ring.
This ring is user removable and replaceable.
In the box, you are supplied with three in total. One is pre-fitted and the others in a small pouch.
This coloured ring is used as an identifier for whose brush is whose. So for example, if in your house there were three people, each with a Xiaomi Mi electric toothbrush, you would each fit a different coloured ring, so you know which brush belongs to which person.
It is handy, but I think Oral-B have a better implementation of this, as their rings fit to the brush head rather than the handle.
The very base of the brush is primarily flat, so the brush handle can stand upright on a flat surface. There is however a recess that the protuberance on the charging stand fits into.
At the top of the handle, as is common with electric toothbrushes extends a metal shaft. This is connected to the motor inside the handle and is the piece that the brush head fits to.
The provided head simply pushes on and pulls off. There is no need to twist or turn it to lock it in place.
Ovalish in design the brush head is similar to that you find on most sonic toothbrushes and is not the small round style head found on oscillating-rotating toothbrushes.
15 tufts on the brush head contain hundreds of DuPont StaClean high quality bristles. Unlike many brush heads, the ends of these bristles have been polished to give the tip of each a rounded edge.
Many brush heads have what some might refer to rough cut bristles.
You really need to look under a microscope to see this, but with rough cut bristles, each bristle tip is less even and often sharper and can potentially aggravate the gum tissue more. Polished bristles are softer because there are no harsher edges.
In addition, the bristles are fitted into the head using heat, where metal staples are quite often the choice. You won’t normally see these staples if using a brush head made with this technique, but removing them makes it safer and ensures there is no chance of corrosion.
Essentially, what this means, is that this is a better quality brush head.
Just like all other toothbrush heads, you should replace this every three months.
Where some brush heads have fading bristles to act as a reminder, I have not noticed the bristles fading in the few weeks I have been testing this brush. However, there is a reminder in the app, if you set it up.
Replacement heads are usually available in packs of three and cost about £10 per pack.
Unlike the Oral-B and Sonicare brands, there appear not to be lots of different styles to complicate your purchasing decision. However, the brush head availability is not as good, you will need to order these from an online supplier.
The cleaning experience of this brush is very good and I was more than satisfied.
It uses the same brushing technology as Philips Sonicare and Colgate, amongst others, and at no point did I feel it was doing a bad job.
The motor inside offers 31,000 vibrations/brush strokes per minute.
The high speed of the motor causes the bristles to move really quickly and this causes the plaque and bacteria to be disturbed when brushing, whilst pushing the toothpaste around the teeth to aid with cleaning and protection.
When in operation, the brush is fairly quiet, producing an audible hum like other similar brushes. The vibration can be felt through the handle also, but this does not affect your grip.
A core feature of any good electric toothbrush is a built-in timer and pacer. Together these make sure you brush for the right amount of time and evenly.
2 minutes is the dentist recommended cleaning time.
However, to ensure you clean the teeth evenly, you want to spend 30 seconds cleaning each quadrant (upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left).
To help, the Xiaomi toothbrush essentially tracks the time for you. At 30 second intervals, a very brief pause in the motor causes a change in sound and brushing sensation. This is your cue to move from one quadrant to another.
At the end of the 2 minute cleaning cycle, the brush will automatically turn off.
You turn the brush on via a single press of the power button.
When you press this, it will launch into the standard cleaning mode.
A second press will move to the gentle mode and a third the favourite mode.
Press it a fourth time and the brush will turn off.
The brush will remember the last cleaning mode used. So, if you used the gentle mode and the brush completed the cycle, turning itself off automatically, the next time you turn it on, the brush will be set to the gentle mode.
To change the mode, you will need to press the power button the appropriate number of times to get back to this.
The modes can be changed at any time whilst the brush is switched on.
A longer press and hold of the button will turn the brush off.
You are not able to change the cleaning mode before turning the brush on like you can on some models. I think this is a bit of an oversight, but market leading brand Oral-B have this problem also.
It does not take long to remember the modes and how many presses etc, but at first it might be confusing.
Most users will opt for the more powerful, standard cleaning mode. This is the first mode on the brush.
The second mode is a more gentle cleaning mode. I am not sure how the power differs exactly I would suggest it is around half or two thirds of the power of the standard mode.
The final mode is favourite, this is essentially the mode you customise via the smartphone application. You make this mode what you want it to be. Although the customisation isn’t quite what I imagined. You don’t get quite get the granular level of control I thought you might.
I thought you might be able to control the brushing intensity and time, for example, only 10,000 movements per minute and a brushing duration of 3 minutes.
However, instead, you get to select from a number of predetermined settings.
These options are the duration of the mode (2 or 2.5 minutes), choose between 4 brushing modes (beginner, gentle, standard, enhanced) whilst also being able to add 1 of 3 different features onto the end of your cleaning mode (30s extra whitening, 30s gum care, 10s tongue cleaning).
A little more detail on the app and the smart Bluetooth connectivity that this brush offers then.
The application is free and can be downloaded for Apple iOS and Android devices from the relevant app store.
The app is designed for a variety of Xaiomi’s smart products, of which the toothbrush is one.
You have to run through an initial pairing process explained in the manual and shown on the screen of your smartphone. It is fairly straightforward.
I will say it took a few attempts for me to connect to the brush as for whatever reason my smartphone and brush did not connect. This continued throughout my time using the brush.
When I tried to connect to see my brushing data, it would work first time only about 60-70% of the time, despite me having a very modern smartphone with the latest Bluetooth technology. Not a massive issue but an annoyance I would rather not have experienced.
Xaiomi say this brush has position detection technology along with tracking and reporting.
What this means is built into the brush handle are a number of sensors. These work out the brush position and this data is then interpreted and logged in the smartphone app.
For each brushing session, you are then given a score/rating based on how well you brushed.
The main 3 items it looks at is brushing duration, coverage and evenness.
The idea is you want to get a score of 100 for perfect brushing.
It is almost impossible to get 100. I managed 92 as my best score and I think I brush well on the whole.
Don’t get too worried about this though, it is designed to be a helpful guide and the sensors are not perfect.
If you are generally scoring 80+ you are doing a good job.
If you want an old school tried and tested method for checking how well you cleaned, use plaque disclosing tablets.
All of this data is logged by each brushing session and over time you can go back and review your data by day, week and month. This is handy for your own records or to show your dental professional how regularly you brush and what improvements you are making.
The app also has a brush head reminder system built-in.
Essentially you tap a button each time you replace a head and it resets the 90 day countdown. The app updates as each day passes to show how long it is until you need to replace the brush head.
The app and countdown is not smart enough to alter the number of days, should you not have brushed. For example, if you didn’t use the brush for 7 days, the countdown for the replacement will still reduce by 7 days, even if there is no wear and tear on the brush head.
There is an option to share some data to Facebook and instant communications network, Line if you so desired. I have no desire to share my brushing data to Facebook!
In the app are some quick guides, some health facts, FAQ’s and an electronic version of the user manual provided in the box.
You can update the toothbrush software from the app as well as rename it.
It is not required to have a smartphone with you each time you brush, it will transfer some of the data to the app next time you connect.
Within the app, there is the ability to share the toothbrush with other Xiaomi accounts. I believe this is so multiple users can share the brush handle and record the data to their own accounts. I did not test this feature, I used only 1 account for myself.
Lastly, the app shows the remaining battery power as a percentage (%), something very few smart brushes do. I like this a lot.
On the whole, it has all the basic things you would need and want from an app. However, I do think the app is inferior to the Sonicare and Oral-B alternatives.
I did not feel all that encouraged to use the app regularly, for a number of reasons.
You cannot use the app at the same time as you brush. Although the brush collects the data in real-time, it does not display it in real time in the app. Sonicare and Oral-B products do.
With real-time data collection and presentation, you can act quicker and deliver greater improvements sooner, which I believe is what most people want.
For example, Oral-B and Sonicare brushes will tell you if you are brushing too hard as well as areas you have missed. You can then adjust your brushing there and then to address the issue. Xiaomi’s app does not do this.
With Xiaomi, you connect to the brush after the brushing session is complete and sync the data.
This means you have to look at the data, learn and remember that next time you must brush for longer for example.
Whilst I don’t think any smart toothbrush is perfect, I could leave the brush running for 2 minutes stood on the countertop and never even put it near my mouth and it would score in the 40’s. Lay it down and it scored in the 50’s.
I know I might have been intentionally trying to fool the brush, but a score in the 40’s that seems quite high, just for letting the brush run for a full 2 minutes?!
I also think I should have scored higher than my highest score, 92. I don’t think I am perfect, but I think my brushing technique, for the most part, is spot on. Most of my scores were in the 80’s and I would have expected more in the 90’s.
That said, there was consistency for the most part to the scoring. If the data was up and down all the time it would cause more concern, but when I brushed properly the scores were within a few points of each other on most occasions.
As I mentioned earlier, when I did want to connect to the brush, I found it to be a bit picky and not work about 30-40% of the time, which stopped me from wanting to use it as it felt more effort than it was worth. Tech like this needs to just work. If I as a reviewer felt fed up, what are those with even less motivation going to think and feel like?
There are no particularly special features in the app. Sonicare and Oral-B help with conditions like gum disease, allow for more customisation of brushing time, even down to particular areas of the mouth.
The competition also offers the ability to buy products through the app or at least recommend suitable items.
Ultimately, I feel the data was just about beneficial, but by no means as useful as the data obtained from other smart brushes. I don’t think, sadly, that the smart elements here really deliver or show off the true potential of what a smart brush can offer.
With a bit of development, I am sure the app could be better. To be fair to Xaiomi, the big brands have been doing this for longer and are focused on toothbrushes, whereas Xaoimi have a much bigger portfolio of products. That said, is this an excuse?!
Sonicare, in my opinion, have the most polished and complete smartphone app, but Oral-B is by no means far behind and they actually have more smart enabled toothbrushes.
The Oral-B Teen or the Oclean X Pro Elite is the closest equivalent to this Xiaomi brush. They look a little different, but when comparing features and price they are very closely matched.
A feature I would have like to have seen here is a pressure sensor.
A pressure sensor alerts the user when too much force is being used during the brushing routine. Too much pressure can damage the teeth and gums in the long term. Sadly this does not come with such. Just remember, the bristles need only skim the surface of the teeth and you don’t need to scrub the teeth clean with lots of force.
The handle of the brush is water resistant, IPX7 rated. This means it can be rinsed under the tap and used in the shower if you choose.
Built-in is a rechargeable 700mAh lithium-ion battery. This is not user removable and should be charged on the provided charging stand that comes in the box. More on the battery and charging in the ‘battery life’ section of this review.
Lastly, there is no travel case to protect the brush handle and head. A small plastic cap is provided with the brush head, which can be fitted to protect the bristles in transit. However, there is nothing to stop the toothbrush from getting accidentally activated when in a bag etc.
All in all, from a design and usability point of view the Xiaomi Mi electric toothbrush is satisfactory, but the smart features lack polish and finesse that makes me really want to use it, which is a shame.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
18 days is the suggested battery life of the Xiaomi Mi smart electric toothbrush.
Sadly, the best I achieved was 16 days (32 brushing sessions) between each full charge.
My battery tests were based on using the standard cleaning mode, not the gentle or favourite.
Perhaps I would have achieved the claimed 18 days had I used the gentle mode, but with every brush tested here at Electric Teeth, we base it on the standard cleaning mode.
At 2 days short of the claimed 18 days it is not the worst thing, but a little disappointing.
There are still brushes available today that only offer 5-7 days if battery life, but the vast majority now offer a minimum of 2 weeks.
This means Xiaomi is about average as I see it when it comes to battery life.
Xiaomi quite proudly state on their website that built into the handle is a rechargeable 700mAh lithium-ion battery and how this is better than the NiMH batteries found in some brushes (normally those with inferior battery life).
Maybe my battery was faulty?!
Perhaps a software update could improve the usable time?
Whilst the battery life is less than ideal, to be fair to Xiaomi there are some plus points when it comes to this area of the brush.
The provided charging stand has a USB connector on it.
What this means is that it is more universally acceptable than some charging stands that are region or country specific. You can travel with more ease with this brush.
To recharge the battery, you can plug it into a battery bank, a USB port on your laptop, computer or Mac. Connect it to a USB socket if you have one.
Whilst it does not come supplied with a plug/wall adapter, most of us have one, so you can use that to charge the brush from mains power if you prefer.
The stand itself is white like the brush handle.
Oval shaped, it is a fraction larger than I would have imagined. It is 65mm wide, 40mm deep and 25mm in height.
On the top of the stand, to the left side of the stand is the proterbrunce that the brush handle sits on. To the right side is the Xiaomi logo in grey.
Unlike some brushes you don’t have to be too specific about how you sit the brush on the stand. You can sit the brush in 3 different positions, making it a bit easier to seat the brush on the stand each time.
Although there is a physical connection for the stand to receive power, you are not actually plugging a cable physically into the brush handle.
The actual charge is transferred wirelessly, via a technology called inductive charging.
Tightly wound coils of wire in the stand and the brush handle transfer the charge. It is the same technology many smartphones now have.
It takes more than 12 hours to fully recharge the battery when it is low, but thanks to a battery status icon on the handle, it is easy to see how much power is in the battery.
There are different coloured lights to depict the different battery levels, they are:
- Steady blue-green - 100%
- Blinking blue-green - 100-60%
- Blinking orange - 60-20%
- Blinking red - 20-0%
A steady blue light means Bluetooth is on and connected to a smartphone.
You can get the battery status from the app, but to get the precise percentage, you do have to take the brush off the charging stand.
Summary of battery life
Price & where to buy
Most products will come with a recommended retail price (RRP) and then as is very commonplace in the electric toothbrush market, be significantly discounted.
Based on my research, I would suggest the retail price is about £50, but the average selling price is normally around £30-35.
Some sellers do advertise the brush for less than £30, but then bolt on a higher shipping fee.
I paid £33 for the unit I have been testing.
Replacement brush heads will, of course, be required.
Like the brush handle itself, the prices vary a little, but typically £10 for a pack of 3 brush heads is what you can expect to pay, making them £3.33 each.
It should be noted, that these heads can also be a little tricky to get hold of, as they are not stocked on shop shelves like the Oral-B, Sonicare and Colgate brush heads are.
Here at Electric Teeth, we like to calculate a rough benchmark of the cost of ownership, for the sake of comparison.
Using the average cost (based on one user) and ownership over 3 years, the Xiaomi Mi smart electric toothbrush will cost £69 or 6p 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.
As I have already mentioned, the best alternatives are the Oral-B Teen or Oclean X Pro Elite in my opinion.
Similarly featured, most notably the Bluetooth connection and smart tracking of the cleaning, the Teen works out at the same cost, 6p per day.
Considering the Oral-B is the more tried and tested option and more readily available in the UK, it is really the better buy.
The X Pro Elite works out at 10p per day, but it is quiet, has a colour touchscreen and more advanced tracking features.
Or if you want to skip the smart features, consider the Oral-B Pro 3 3500, that costs just 7p per day.
You could share the brush handle with other users in your home to extend the value a little further should you desire.
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
Reliability & long term use
This is the first Xiaomi electric toothbrush that I have gotten hands on with and used.
I have used it for a few weeks to be able to write this review, but I am not in a position to use it for an extended period of time to say how well it will stand up against daily life after many weeks and months.
Judging by the feedback from other brush owners around the world, it is as reliable as you would hope and expect of a product like this.
In hand, it certainly does not feel cheap or give any real reason for concern about its long term reliability.
It felt solid, well built and despite a thorough check over I could not find any obvious weaknesses in the design and construction of the toothbrush.
Most electric toothbrushes do last 3-5 years on average, so I would expect this to be the same.
The brush, like most electrical products, does come with a manufacturer's warranty.
Somewhat concerning is the warranty wording though.
If you were to follow Xiaomi’s warranty page on their website, it claims just a 15 day warranty period for an electric toothbrush.
However, they do also state that you may have other rights conveyed by the laws of your country.
As I understand it, by UK/EU law, you should, therefore, be covered for 2 years (24 months).
Hopefully, should the need to return it arise, the warranty process will be effortless and no need to argue this point with them.
It would, however, be nice to see them update their warranty information, based on the region they are selling the product in. I took this information from their UK website support and warranty pages.
I honestly had higher hopes for the Xiaomi Mi smart toothbrush.
It is by no means a bad toothbrush, in fact, it cleans the teeth very well.
However, the overall box contents and the smart features are in my opinion, not as good or as useful as that from Oral-B or Sonicare.
It is a good value toothbrush for what it offers, but the Oral-B Teen, in particular, is a more robust ‘smart’ toothbrush and is a better buy if you want smart features on a budget.
The foundations for something great are present. With a bit more work it could be a much better toothbrush.
- Toothbrush height with head - 25cm / 9.8 inches
- Toothbrush height without head - 19cm / 7.5 inches
- Width - 2.9cm / 1.1 inches
- Depth/thickness - 2.9cm / 1.1 inches
- Weight with head - 119g / 4.2oz
- Weight without head - 114g / 4oz
Country of manufacture