Expensive approach to teeth whitening that won’t work for all
An excellent water flosser it really is.
However, the ‘whitening’ element is a bit overhyped, will not work for all and is an expensive route to go if you want whiter teeth.
- Good sized water reservoir
- 10 different pressure settings
- Various tips included for individual specific needs
- Relatively quiet
- Whitening benefits are limited
- Expensive whitening tablets
- No ability to rotate tips
- Model specific tips
|Waterpik WF-05 Professional Whitening Water Flosser||5,866 Reviews||$119.99 $89.99||View on Amazon|
A better choice
Save yourself a good few dollars by opting for the best water flosser on the market today, the Aquarius.
It performs just as well as this whitening variant but doesn’t make use of the whitening tablets.
|Waterpik WP-660 Aquarius||125,952 Reviews||$99.99 $70.48||View on Amazon|
Design, usability, clean & general use
This water flosser comes packaged in a cardboard box. This box promotes all of the key features it offers, including the whitening as well as pointing out key function buttons found on the device.
Inside the box, you get all of the items listed above in ‘what’s in the box’.
You get all you need to, plus a few extra tips which may or may not be suitable for you.
By the very nature of the product, it will be a bit bulky because it has a water tank/reservoir on board to allow the flossing action to take place.
However, as water flossers go, I have to say Waterpik have done a good job with the overall design, look and feel of the product. It feels good quality and not particularly ‘cheap’.
Both the WF-06 and WF-05 come in what Waterpik call ‘white and satin chrome finish’.
The hands-on images shown throughout this review demonstrate best how the unit looks, but the main body and flossing handle are all a matte white with the satin chrome really accenting the top of the flossing handle and around the control dial for the pressure settings.
On the more premium WF-05 professional unit, the power and mode button are chrome also.
The main controls are found to the lower left side of the units.
The flosser handle sits within a holder on the front of the unit, with the pipe that runs between the pump and the handle coiling away nicely to the lower right side. At full stretch, there is about 1 meter here.
The upper half of the water flosser is made up of a 22oz (650ml) clear plastic reservoir in which the water sits.
User removable the tank is, in the base is a valve which seals closed until the tank is firmly pressed back into the unit, at which point the seal opens to allows water to flow into the pipework below ready for pumping out of the nozzle.
A white plastic lid hinges to the left side covering the top of the water tank. On the WF-05 model the design is a bit different, it does not hinge to the left side, instead, you lift the lid, that also doubles as a storage case for the tips.
Around the back there is little to speak of aside from the power cable which reaches out from the unit.
Hard wired into the electronics inside, the power cable is not user removable. At full stretch it is about 55 inches (4.5ft/140cm) long.
The power adapter on the end is a 2 pin US adapter, suitable for standard US power supply sockets.
The unit supports 120VAC (North America) only. It cannot be be used with power supplies around the world without using also a voltage and power adapter converter.
All the electronics, such as the motor/pump are sealed in the unit and are not accessible to you and me, unless we begin actively dismantling it.
Where some models come in an array of different color options at the time of review there are no alternative choices. Perhaps this is strategic, the white color of the unit to match the white color of your teeth?!
Whilst it will take up some space on the bathroom countertop or shelf, the footprint is relatively small all things considered and I do believe Waterpik have worked hard to reduce the overall size. The unit isn’t all that tall either.
Supplied in the box are 4 tips or nozzles if you prefer, that fit to the handle of the flosser.
You need to fit one of these tips, otherwise, things are not going to work properly.
Those supplied are:
- 2 x WJT-2E Waterpik whitening water flosser classic jet tips
- 1 x WPS-2E Waterpik whitening water flosser plaque seeker tip
- 1 x WOD-2E Waterpik whitening water flosser orthodontic tip
The classic jet tip is the one that most users will opt for, assuming no complex dental needs.
The plaque seeker tip is ideal for those with crowns, bridges and other restorations, whilst the orthodontic tip is ideally suited to brace wearers.
It is nice to see a few included to get you up and running, although they do feel a waste if you won’t ever use a particular tip.
Also included is a tip storage case. A small plastic box there is nothing particularly special about the box itself. It has the Waterpik logo on it as well as a good number of vents on it, to allow airflow through for drying the tips.
The provided 4 tips sit comfortably inside, but you could probably get as many as 6-8 inside, when organized correctly.
This is useful if you need to travel, although the main unit itself is not the most portable if you are away for a couple of nights or a week, it will take up quite a bit of space in any luggage.
If you are considering the WF-06 model, the case is different. It is larger, white in color and doubles as the lid to the unit.
Although Waterpik don’t themselves actually promote this (that I can see) if you lift the lid and remove the water tank, on the left side are two holes in which you can place two tips, albeit upside down, store them there without impeding the tank or performance in any way.
This internal storage option if you like is potentially more convenient than the case if you are sharing the water flosser with another person.
This is not an option on the WF-06 model.
If you can share the flosser with another person, be that a husband, wife, partner or the kids, you will get more value from it.
When you buy the replacement tips, they usually come in packs of two.
One tip usually has a grey plastic band around it, whilst the other will have a white plastic band. These colored bands act as the identifiers between whose tip is whose because each user should have their own tip for hygiene reasons.
Sadly, there are no additional color options that I am aware of. A family of four may need to find another way of distinguishing whose tip is whose.
The classic jet tip should be replaced on average every 6 months, whilst the plaque seeker and orthodontic tip should ideally be replaced every 3 months.
The design of each tip provided with the WF-06 whitening water flosser and this WF-05 professional version are for the most part the same as any other Waterpik model. But, slightly different is the way they fit into the handle of the water flosser itself.
This means, that this whitening model has a new way of fitting the heads and a design that means tips suitable with most other Waterpik flossers simply will not work here.
Previously the tips clipped in and out of the handle, much like a brush head does on an electric toothbrush.
However, with this whitening water flosser, you open the handle, by pressing the button on the front and insert the tip from within, pushing it through a hole at the top. A dot on the tip aligns with a dot on the handle.
It is not a massive issue, but a small frustration, particularly for existing Waterpik users who may be thinking of upgrading.
It does mean that existing tips like the toothbrush, tongue cleaner, and pik pocket tips do not fit.
The button that opens up the very top of the flosser handle is the same button that needs to be pressed to insert the whitening tablets, that I will speak about shortly.
The tablet fits into a recess inside the handle, below the hinged joint at which the tip is installed. The hands-on images best demonstrate what I mean here.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the tips do not rotate 360 degrees on this unit like they do on many others.
The rotation allowed for more accurate positioning of the tip within the mouth. Typically you would use the index finger to rotate the top of the flosser handle, which in turn rotated the tip.
Whilst useful, I don’t think all that many used it as actually manipulating the position and rotation of the handle in the hand that holds it, is often as effective.
However, this model has what Waterpik call a ‘swivel handle’.
What this means is that the tube that runs from the handle to the main flosser unit rotates at the connection point. So essentially you can swivel the handle 360 degrees in hand instead of rotating the tip. Similar, just different.
The handle in which the tips and whitening tablets fit is of a cylindrical design, which is smooth and comfortable to hold in the hand. It tapers at the bottom where the hose feeds the water supply in.
Whilst grips on the handle are limited, the slider on off button is the point at which the index finger naturally rests and allows for a comfortable in hand hold.
The slider is useful for controlling the flow of water whilst flossing. It is nice and simple to switch on and off, without the need to reach over to the main unit mid floss.
Do be aware though, this controls the water flow only and does not turn the pump on or off, you need to press the power button on the main unit for that.
You have about 3.2ft (100cm) of length from the tip of the nozzle to the hose running into the flosser. That is enough length for most.
The hose is color matched white to the rest of the unit.
A plastic frame attached to the main unit offers a place to sit the handle upright when not in use.
On the WF-05 model I am reviewing here, you have a satin chrome button to turn the unit on and off. The WF-06 has a large white on/off flick switch.
Below that is the mode button which switches between the floss or hydro-pulse massage mode.
Whilst the sound and way in which the water is pumped out differs slightly between the two modes, a blue LED will be lit to show which mode is selected.
The massage mode has much more of a pulsing sensation to stimulate the gums, whereas the standard flossing mode is a constant stream of water.
Principally, you should use the massage mode after a regular floss, focusing on the gums.
With either mode, you can control the pressure of the water jet by turning the large and easy control dial to one of ten different settings.
The pressure ranges from 10 to 100 PSI, or in other words from gentle through to the really powerful. Most are going to find the setting 6-8 most comfortable. 10 will likely be too intense for new or inexperienced flossers.
The exact steps required to complete the flossing are outlined earlier in this review, however, there are some things to note and be aware of that help you and improve your use.
It is not essential but recommended to use lukewarm water. This is because it is more pleasant on your gums when flossing.
You can use mouthwash but it would be expensive and wasteful. If you want to add an extra shot of freshness or flavor to the flossing add a capful or two to the water tank.
For the best whitening results, you should start with the front teeth and work towards the back.
Direct the jet at a 90 degree angle, working along the gumline with a brief pause between teeth.
The idea is that you spend 1 minute flossing, 30 seconds on the lower arch of teeth and 30 seconds on the upper arch.
On this WF-05 professional model a timer is included. What this means is that at 30 and 60 second intervals, a slight pause in pump stops the flow of water. This changes the sound and the flossing sensation. This is your cue to move to the other arch of teeth.
Far from essential, it is useful but the cheaper WF-06 model does not have this.
You can turn the timer feature off if you do not want it.
Now make no mistakes if you are new to this, it is more messy than regular flossing and it will take some getting used to. Don’t be surprised by a lot of dribbling and maybe a bit of spray (it’s only water). But soon it will be easier and more enjoyable.
Many people suffer with red, swollen or bleeding gums, which is often a sign of gum disease and that is believe it or not as a result of not cleaning correctly. It is the bacteria buildup that causes the gums to react.
Regular use will lead to healthier gums as the bacteria is removed and the gums begin to recover.
How often you use this is up to you. Once a day is the minimum you should use it really, but twice a day would be ideal to help with any red gums you may have.
Depending on what pressure setting you have selected will depend how much of the 22oz tank is used.
You can on average get about 90 seconds or more of usage time from it, so many will need to replenish the tank, probably between each flossing session.
It is a fair sized reservoir on here and I cannot complain. Even for slightly extended flossing, there is generally going to be enough water.
It is certainly worth noting that the flosser is pretty quiet.
Compared to some older models I have tested, this is nowhere near as loud. There is definitely an audible ‘pumping’ sound that comes from it, but it is not too loud and similar volume to an Oral-B electric toothbrush. It is not quite as quiet as a Sonicare brush.
So, the last thing to cover is the ‘whitening’ aspect of this flosser.
Both this professional variant and the standard model come with one months supply of whitening tablets in the box.
A months supply is 30 tablets.
Each tablet has the following ingredients.
Glycine, xylitol, sucralose, flavor (aroma), copovidone (VP/VA copolymer), sodium lauryl sulfate, dextrin, magnesium stearate, and silica,
A single tablet should be placed inside the handle of the water flosser.
The tablet dissolves as the water is pushed out the tip. The water jet is a little more frothy but it delivers a refreshingly sweet flossing sensation that gives the impression at least of a longer lasting freshness.
You can get approximately 2 flossing sessions from each tablet.
Sometimes you will be left with a small remnant that has not fully dissolved. Either floss for longer until it disappears, or you can just dispose of.
You should know you can use the flosser without a tablet, it is not essential, but of course, it is one of the key selling points to the product.
A pack of tablets cost $10, which is quite pricey considering they last only a month and there are no options that I have seen to bulk buy several months worth to get a discount.
It would be nice to see a larger pack size not only to help reduce the cost but reduce the packaging as each supply comes in a plastic tub.
Waterpik suggest use of this flosser restores your natural whiteness in just 4 weeks by removing hard-to-reach stains that other products miss. It’s proven to remove an additional 25% more stains than brushing alone, provides all the clinical benefits of water flossing and is as gentle as regular toothpaste.
It is this study that has confirmed that an additional 25% of stains can be removed than brushing alone.
Now, I am not here to bash Waterpik and their claims. The research has been done and found these results, which they are entitled to promote.
However, there are a few things I would like to point out, so that you can fully understand these ‘whitening’ claims.
- Stain removal is different to tooth whitening.
- The term whitening is confusing and is often applied to stain removal and teeth bleaching, which are 2 different procedures.
- Waterpik do state stain removal but many do not truly understand the difference between stain removal and whitening.
- Stain removal will not change the natural color of the tooth, it will only remove any discoloration to the exterior surface of the tooth that may have been caused by lifestyle choices such as smoking and consuming particular food and drink.
- The study details are not clear or not necessarily fair.
- It is not clear from the study how many people took part.
- It is not clear whether participants had the same diet or not as this could have impacted the results.
- The study compared toothbrushing alone against what appears to be tooth brushing and the use of this Waterpik device.
- Had the tooth brushing only group used interdental brushes or floss in addition, the results may have been different, in other words not as great.
- It is not clear whether longer term use of the whitening tablets is necessary to achieve greater and or maintain results.
- You need to use the whitening tablets
- The whitening tablets are required to achieve the results suggested.
- The whitening tablets contain silica which is an abrasive and helps with removing stubborn stains.
- The whitening tablets are expensive and add to the ongoing cost.
Stain removal is a better terminology, but it doesn’t sound as good does it.
Having spent many years trying different products and learning about dental procedures including extensive consultation with our in-house dentists, notably Chhaya Chauhan, tooth whitening is much more complex.
Everyone’s teeth are different. Diets, lifestyles, medical history and genetics all play a role.
I believe many are going to be underwhelmed by the so-called whitening that this product will offer, particularly as many do not have stains on their teeth.
Investing in a good oral tooth brushing routine, including interdental cleaning can remove surface stains as effectively.
Products like this and whitening toothpastes can help, but they are not essential.
You are probably much better spending the premium you would pay for this ‘whitening’ model and the subsequent tablets on a dental hygienist appointment, that will deliver results that far excel that of a water flosser.
With all this said, overall the WF-05 and 06 are great water flossers, they do complete the interdental cleaning to a high standard, as has come to be expected of Waterpik units.
Their performance is backed by clinical studies and the unit is generally a pleasure to use, converting even ardent ‘I won’t floss’ people to those who will do so, much more regularly.
Extra peace of mind can be gotten from knowing that Waterpiks flossers are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Ultimately for me, it comes down to the fact that the ‘whitening’ sales pitch for this product is a little heavy and plays a little on the consumer’s naivety to tooth whitening and how it works.
I like Waterpik, but a cheaper model like the WP-660 is a much better investment for most.
Summary of design, usability, clean & general use
- Smart looking unit
- Available in just 1 color
- 22oz (650ml) water tank
- 4 nozzles/tips provided
- Tips have a different design to other Waterpik models
- Storage space for 2 nozzles in the unit
- Storage case for the tips provided
- 10 adjustable pressure settings
- On/off slider switch on the flosser handle
- Hydro-pulse massage mode
- Whitening tablets are expensive
- Whitening effects are going to be limited for some
- Provides a good clean
- American Dental Association approved
- 3 year warranty
Price & where to buy
What you think a product might be worth and what the manufacturer thinks it is worth can sometimes be quite different.
Anyone who has bought or used a water flosser before will know that generally, they are not ‘cheap’, although there are some very cost effective options out there, but quality and reliability can be the compromise.
As a general rule, water flosser units last many years, just like an electric toothbrush and require little in the way of ongoing maintenance, just a few replacement tips each year.
I think it would be unfair to suggest that Waterpik are commanding over the odds for the whitening water flosser, but as I have already suggested, there is a premium added because of the benefits it brings.
Sadly, I think these benefits are somewhat overrated and that for the vast majority, the Waterpik Aquarius is a much better value purchase.
The WF-05 whitening professional model that I have been reviewing here retails at $99.99
The WF-06 whitening flosser is at the time of review $20 less at $79.99, but lacks the Hydro-Pulse massage mode and built-in timer.
Where some oral healthcare products are subject to quite significant discounts this model appears to date, to have achieve around 10-20% discount on average, with prices being in and around the $80 mark.
That approximate saving of about $20 fits in with pricing of other Waterpik units I have bought and tested over the last few years.
Whilst you have the upfront cost of purchasing the flosser, there are some ongoing costs to be accounted for.
The recommendation is to replace the tips/nozzles that fit into the flosser every 3-6 months, subject to which is used. If you make use of the most common jet tip, you should only need to replace this every 6 months.
A pack of 2 replacement tips costs approximately $10 or $5 each.
There is then the ongoing cost of the whitening tablets that are designed to be used with this flosser.
The WT-30 refill tablets cost $10 per pack, with 30 in each pack. This makes each tablet 33 cents. Over the course of a year, that is $120 in tablets alone.
Assuming one user, using this over a 3 year period, using the jet tips and the whitening tablets the cost of ownership would work out at approximately $450 which is 41 cents per day.
There is no argument this is expensive.
For the sake of comparison, let’s assume you use just the 1 months supply of whitening tablets that come in the box and you don’t replenish these again.
The cost drops to a much more reasonable $100 or 9 cents per day.
Opt for my recommendation and the cost drops to around £85 or 8 cents per day for the Waterpik Aquarius.
For those already accustomed to good old string floss, it is clear that a powered water flosser like this will be 8-10 times more expensive but what price do you pay for convenience?!
Extra value can certainly be achieved there are multiple users of the water flosser.
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 $99.99
- An average selling price of approx $80
- Replacement nozzles retail for $5each
- Cost of whitening tablets are $10per month
- Daily cost as much as 41 cents per day over 3 years
- Daily cost can reduce to 9 cents per day if you don’t use the tablets
- Better value achievable from the Waterpik Aquarius
Reliability & long term use
Having used many Waterpik products over the last few years I have little concern over the reliability of their products.
I have yet to have a product fail on me to date, but the reality is they could.
I can only personally test each item for a few weeks and it is generally long term test of years that really highlight product reliability.
Having been making water flossers for many years, most lessons will have been learnt, to ensure the whitening water flosser is as reliable as it possibly can be.
Naturally, products come with a warranty and this is no exception.
You get 2 years (36 months) from the date of purchase.
This is similar, if not longer than many other companies who typically offer just 1 year (12 months).
There is no denying that this is an excellent water flosser.
Even for someone like myself who tries to ensure regular interdental cleaning, there is a definite convenience to the use of such a product.
By no means do you look glamorous when using this flosser, but the relative ease and effectiveness is a massive draw.
It does take up some space in the bathroom, but it is relatively compact all things considered and I know for those who really dislike interdental cleaning and do all they can to avoid flossing, this is a great option.
However, my real gripe (if I can call it that) is with this so-called ‘whitening’ element. It is, in my opinion, a bit something and nothing.
The clinical research shows that it can help remove surface stains on the teeth, more effectively than brushing alone, but to achieve this comes at a relatively high cost.
Over a 12 month period, you can spend $120 on the whitening tablets alone.
The results can in theory, be achieved in just a few weeks, so should you continue ongoing to use the whitening tablets?!
The whitening results won’t apply for those that already have no teeth staining and in reality, a good brushing technique and use of a good toothpaste can achieve the same results.
Therefore, overall you are better off buying the Waterpik Aquarius WP-660/662/663 model that doesn’t have the ‘whitening’ features and instead of spending out on this premium model divert the funds to pay for a trip to your dental hygienist, who will be able to achieve greater whitening results than any water flosser can.
- Height – 20cm / 8 inches
- Width – 13.5cm / 5.3 inches
- Thickness – 12cm / 4.7 inches
- Weight (excluding water) – 665g / 1.46 Lbs
All are approximates