Best Electric Toothbrush Reviews: An Objective Guide

Reviews

Sep 16

Best Electric Toothbrush ReviewsSo you’re looking for the best electric toothbrush and you don’t know where to start? Well, you have come to the right place. You see, I have a little bit of an odd hobby that I picked up being a product tester at Testing Team. Yes, you read that right. My job is to review all sort products for a living and evaluate them in every which way you could imagine. The problem is that every time I’m considering to make a purchase of an item which most people wouldn’t think twice about, I start drawing up memories on how well these products performed in our tests and make a decision based on that. Electric toothbrushes are no different and they probably fascinated me most because of the simple fact that you use them every day, and they just make your life that little bit easier.

PictureNameSettingsBrush HeadsRatingPrice
PictureNameSettingsBrush HeadsRatingPrice
Oral B Healthy Clean Oral-B Professional Precision 5000 Healthy Clean 514.5$$$$
Philips Sonicare Easy Clean Philips Sonicare Easy Clean Rechargeable 114.6$$$
Oral B Pro 5000 Smart Series Oral-B Pro 5000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth 514.3$$$$
Philips Sonicare Essence Philips Sonicare Essence 5600 114.4$
Philips Sonicare Flexcare Philips Sonicare FlexCare 514.5$$$$$
Health-HP Health HP-STX Ultra High Powered Sonic Electric Toothbrush3104.2$$

Our Review Process

As product testers, before launching a new electric toothbrush, large companies would come to us to conduct a thorough review of their products before launch asking us to put together a number of consumer reports. We would stress test them in every way you could imagine – drop them from stairs, keep them running for weeks at a time, submerge them in water over 30 ft deep, and brush them against sandpaper to see how well the bristles would hold up. Let me tell you, after running those couple of tests you get a pretty good idea of which toothbrushes are high quality, and which ones aren’t. You get a pretty good idea of which is best, and choosing an electric toothbrush suddenly becomes a lot easier.

Of course our review didn’t stop there. Aside from ensuring the product was high quality, we also had to ensure that they performed in the task that they’re ultimately made for – brushing your teeth. We’re good at trying to break stuff, but testing the cleaning abilities of a toothbrush was admittedly not one of our strong points. That’s where we hired a panel of external dentists to come in and conduct an evaluation on these toothbrushes. They would typically look at how well the brushes performed at removing plaque, which is key to keeping the gums clean and healthy. They would evaluate the before and after levels of plaque on approximately 300 teeth-cleans, and come up with a determination of how that particular toothbrush performed against the rest in terms of its ability to remove plaque, and therefore clean the teeth. It doesn’t get much more thorough than that, and that’s how I arrived at some of the ratings for the toothbrushes below.

Why Buy an Electric Toothbrush over a Regular Toothbrush?

If you have gotten here you’ve probably already decided that you want to buy an electric toothbrush, but for those that haven’t, let’s have a quick look at some of the advantages that an electric toothbrush can bring. This is what we found through much of our research while doing product testing on different types of toothbrushes.

  • Cleaner teeth, gums, and tongue. Most of us have been taught to brush thoroughly since we were little. The problem with a regular toothbrush is that the bristles simply can’t reach those hard-to-reach places and remove the plaque that has built up. This is because when brushing your teeth manually, you tend to follow a back-and-forwards motion. The circular motion that most electric toothbrushes have, give your teeth a much more thorough cleaning and allows you to get into those harder to reach areas. This helps prevent cavities, and gingivitis.
  • Brushing with equal pressure. You would hardly notice it, but when brushing your teeth manually you’re more than likely applying varying amounts of pressure to each side and in some cases too much pressure because you are trying to get your teeth nice and clean. With an electric toothbrush, it’s much more difficult to do this, because instead of brushing yourself, you’ll be guiding the brush along and letting the bristles to the heavy lifting.
  • Brushing the proper amount of time. Some electric toothbrushes have built in timers, which makes sure that you brush the proper amount of time. With a regular toothbrush it’s easy to rush the process before you have thoroughly cleaned your teeth, but with a built in timer that many electric toothbrushes have, you won’t run that risk.
  • Some say they’re greener. Some people say that using electric toothbrushes is better for the environment. Their argument is that when you dispose of a regular toothbrush it amounts to much more plastic than that of the standard head of an electric toothbrush. In some cases, it can take between 14 to 42 electric toothbrush heads to equal the same amount of plastic that you would find in a normal toothbrush.
  • They’re easier to use for those with dexterity issues. Due to the fact that they have significantly larger handles than regular toothbrushes, they are generally much easier to handle for people who suffer from dexterity issues (such as arthritis or others). The powered brushes also do most of the cleaning for you, meaning that you only have to apply a limited amount of pressure yourself.

What Types of Electric Toothbrushes Are There?

When it comes to electric brushes, there are basically two types of categories with respect to the type of action the devices employ.

  1. Vibration – This type of electric toothbrush employs a pulsating back-and-forwards motion which is not too dissimilar from the motion you would employ using a manual toothbrush. When using this type of brush, a technique similar to that of when using a manual brush is recommended.
  2. Rotation-oscillation – This type of electric toothbrush employs a circular motion and probably most common. The recommendation with this type of brush is to simply move the brush from tooth to tooth which will generally give you the best results.

The other main functionality that experts talk about is the speed of their movements, which allows you to further put the varying types of electric toothbrushes into three different categories

  1. Standard power toothbrushes – These are typically lower end models of electric toothbrushes. They generally operate at a frequency of less than 20 Hz meaning that they have between 3,000 to 7,500 brush strokes per minute. They generally do an average job in terms of cleaning your teeth, but if you’re serious about investing in an electric toothbrush, you’re probably better off in investing in either of the options below.
  2. Sonic toothbrushes – The main difference between sonic toothbrushes and standard power toothbrushes is that their movements are a lot faster. Their vibrations are typically fast enough to produce a humming noise (between 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz to be exact), and you can certainly feel it when brushing your teeth! They typically produce around 35,000 to 40,000 brush strokes per minute. Research shows that these are also more effective at cleaning your teeth as compared to standard power toothbrushes. That’s certainly what we found in much of our product testing as well.
  3. Ultrasonic toothbrushes – These brushes vibrate even faster than sonic toothbrushes with a frequency of higher than 20,000 Hz which equates to almost 2,400,000 movements per minute! From a cleaning standpoint, these are probably best because their ultra-high vibrating movements can break up bacterial chains that make up plaque that the other two types of toothbrushes may have difficulty to break up.

What factors should you consider when buying an electric toothbrush?

  1. Your budget. Firstly, it’s important to consider how much you’re willing to spend on your electric toothbrush. There are some great models out there for reasonable prices, so a decent brush doesn’t have to cost you an arm a leg. Ultimately, however, you should see the purchase of your brush as an investment. Rather than throwing away the entire brush months like you would with a regular old toothbrush, you’ll only have to dispose of the head with an electric toothbrush. As such, you’re much better off investing in a model that will stand the test of time and not break down as soon as you have used it for a number of times.
  2. Type of brush head. Like I mentioned above, there are primarily two types of brush heads available for electric toothbrushes: a vibrating head that pulsates in a backwards-and-forwards motion, and a rotary brush head that moves in a circular motion. For those hard-to-get to areas, a rotary brush head is generally preferable and will allow you to clean with greater precision. Some, however, prefer the pulsating nature of a vibrating head. Then there are toothbrushes that have other features included on their brush heads to meet specific needs such flossing, whitening, braces, and sensitive teeth. Other factors to consider are the stiffness or softness of the bristles. If you are someone that has sensitive gums, you’re best option is to go for one of the softer alternatives.
  3. Who will be using it? Will you be using the brush yourself or will your kids be using it? When selecting an electric toothbrush for todders, it’s advisable to select a brush that has a small, soft head. This gives the most protection for their teeth, and prevents their gums from potentially getting hurt. The great thing about electric toothbrushes for kids is that they teach them how to brush their teeth properly, thereby promoting good brushing technique. Nowadays, they also produce them in a large variety of colors that will no doubt excite the kids – or who knows, maybe also yourself!
  4. Battery Life-Span and Type. You will generally have two types of options when it comes to the power source of the electric toothbrush: rechargeable, or disposable batteries. Although most electric brushes these days feature a built-in rechargeable battery, there are still some models available with disposable batteries. For convenience, I would recommend one that has a built-in battery that is rechargeable, but if you are on a really tight budget, a brush with disposable batteries may be a good option as well. The advantage is that these are generally slightly more portable as well.
  5. Last, but certainly not least, you’ll want to weigh up the types of warranties and guarantees that are given when you purchase a certain brush. Most of the better quality brushes will include a warranty of at least 12 months or more these days in case the unit breaks down. A number of brushes also include a money back guarantee between 14 to 30 days, which is a comforting thought if you end up being unhappy with your purchase.

Advanced Features of Some of the Best Electric Toothbrushes Out There

  1. Built-In Timers. I think I alluded to this earlier, but a fair amount of electric toothbrushes on the market these days will include built-in timers. These signal when you have brushed your teeth for an adequate amount of time to ensure maximum cleanliness. Most frequently this will be around 2 minutes, which studies have shown is the minimum time required to ensure that your teeth get an adequate amount of cleaning. As soon as you turn the device on, the clock will start ticking, and when the threshold is reached the device will typically start pulsating to signal that you have brushed your teeth for long enough. No more taking shortcuts!
  2. Quadrant Timers – To get even more advanced, some of the best electric toothbrushes include quadrant timers. They perform a similar function in that they not only ensure that you brush your teeth for an adequate amount of time, but they also signal when you should move onto a different part of your mouth. These types of toothbrushes might beep or buzz after 30 seconds, at which point you know that you have spent enough time on a certain part of your mouth and are ready to move onto the next.
  3. UV Sanitizer. Certain electric toothbrush models include what is called a UV Sanitizer. What this does is shine a UV light once the device is in use that is said to help kill bacteria as you brush. There’s a number of dental journals that have demonstrated that this technique does indeed work, and is able to kill a significant amount of the bacteria present in your gums. All in all, if this within your budget, it is definitely a neat feature to have.
  4. Pressure Sensors. Another advanced feature included in some electric toothbrushes is a pressure sensor. In essence this does exactly what it says it does. It senses whether you are putting too much pressure on your teeth and gums by brushing too hard. This can not only result in damaging the enamel on your teeth, but can also lead to oversensitive gums. Who knew that brushing your teeth could be such a science, huh?

Show Us the Best Rated Electric Toothbrushes Already!

Oral-B Professional Precision 5,000 Healthy Clean + Floss Action

Oral-B Healthy CleanThis is definitely the best electric toothbrush that I have come across as a product tester, and I’m confident in saying that this is the best on the market right now. It is also known as Oral-B’s most advanced rechargeable electric toothbrush – and that is for good reason given that it’s packed with a ton of features. I have used this particular unit myself for about a year now, and it’s still going strong.

What features does it have?

  • Quadrant timer
  • Pressure Sensor
  • Pulsating Brush Head (designed to break up plaque)
  • 5 Brushing Modes (Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, and Deep Clean)
  • Smart Guide (digital clock with a quadrant display)

What is good about it?

When I tried this product, the thing that stood out to me is how durable this device is. You can feel the quality when you hold it, and it withstood many of our stress tests much better than some of the other brushes. The recharging base is also relatively compact, so that it only takes a limited amount of space next to your sink. Most importantly, however, is the sensation you feel after brushing your teeth. I haven’t quite used a toothbrush that makes my teeth, and mouth in general, feel as clean as it does after using this toothbrush from Oral-B.

What could be improved?

The only downside of this product is that it doesn’t come with a UV Sanitizer like some of the other electric toothbrushes, which could have been a cool added feature. In my opinion, however, that doesn’t really detract from the overall quality of this toothbrush. I have also heard some say that they don’t really value the “Smart Guide” timer display, in the sense that it’s a bit gimmicky. I can see where they are coming from, but ultimately I felt that it actually did help my brushing technique by forcing me to pay more attention to it.

Philips Sonicare HX6511/50 Easy Clean Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare Easy CleanThis is the first of the three Philips models that made it to my top electric toothbrushes. The reason it is top of the Philips products, is because it strikes the best balance between quality, functionality, and price in my opinion. It’s affordable but at the same time still boasts a good amount of features that most will be looking for in an electric toothbrush.

What features does it have?

  • Sonic technology
  • Quadrant timer
  • Contoured bristles for removing plaque in hard-to-reach areas

What is good about it?

This brush strikes the right balance between the amount of features and price. The handle of this brush is nice and slim which makes it easy to maneuver and gives it a sleek appearance. It also includes a quadrant timer, which is a feature that I’m personally a big fan of. The brush is also easy to install and it has a clean attachment leaving limited space for gunk, toothpaste, and saliva to build up which is sometimes a problem that I experience with some of the other models out there. All in all, it’s a very good option if you’re looking for a relatively simple electric toothbrush that does the job.

What could be improved?

If I could improve one feature on this model it would be for it to have a teeny tiny bit more power. Don’t get me wrong, the power is more than enough to get a good cleaning. The problem is that I have a bit of a bad habit of using too much pressure at times when brushing my teeth (that’s why I personally use the Oral-B Precision 5000 which includes a pressure sensor). When applying this type of pressure to the toothbrush, the oscillation of the brush may slow down a little. Having said that, if you brush properly and apply a normal amount of pressure to the brush, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Oral-B Pro 5000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Electric Rechargeable Power Toothbrush

Oral B Pro 5000 Smart SeriesAs the second Oral-B product on the list, this particular toothbrush features Bluetooth connectivity. How cool is that? An electric toothbrush that has Bluetooth installed. The toothbrush communicates with your mobile phone and tracks your habits over time, senses when you brush too hard, and helps you focus on brushing your most important areas. Some think it’s a bit gimmicky, but it’s pretty cool if you ask me – and it’s still relatively affordable.

What features does it have?

  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Pressure Sensor
  • Quadrant timer
  • 5 brush modes (Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, and Deep Clean)

What is good about it?

Well, what is unique about this toothbrush is that it has Bluetooth connectivity that communicates directly with your smart phone. It gives you an overview of the last 6 months of your brushing history, and therefore allows you to make adjustments in your brushing technique to make sure you get maximum results. Initially I thought it was a bit of a gimmick, but it’s quite interesting to see your habits. It tracks things like how long you have brushed, flossed, and cleaned your tongue – while being able to read up on the daily news at the same time!

What could be improved?

The problem with the Bluetooth technology is that the app on your phone needs to be manually turned on each time that you brush your teeth. This means that you’ll need to have your phone ready and take it into the bathroom to take advantage of these features. In reality, this is something that I would probably not always remember in practice and I’d suspect that for a lot of people that would be similar.

Philips Sonicare HX5610/30 Essence 5600 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare EssenceNext on the list is the Philips Sonicare Essence 5600. The reason why I chose this particular brush is because it’s probably the best value for money electric toothbrush out there. It has some of the more basic features, but doesn’t have some of the advanced features of some of the other toothbrushes. If you’re looking for a more simply electric toothbrush at an affordable price that is very good at doing what it’s meant to do – brushing your teeth – this is a great option that won’t bust your budget.

What features does it have?

  • Sonic technology
  • Built-in 2 minute timer
  • Angled neck to brush hard-to-reach areas

What is good about it?

As I mentioned above, the best thing about this particular brush is the value for money that you get. You can’t beat the price. It’s a pretty no-nonsense toothbrush that may be perfect for you if you’re not looking for the bells and whistles of some of the other models out there. I was also surprised how durable the brush is. In fact, my friend bought this particular brush over 2 years ago now, and it’s still going strong.

What could be improved?

You can’t really go too wrong with an electric toothbrush at this price. Some customers complain of molding after use, but this happens with any toothbrush if you don’t clean it properly after use. If I did have to give at least one improvement, I would opt for adding a quadrant timer. Call me lazy, but I simply like it when my toothbrush signals me to move onto the next part of my mouth to ensure. Being so used to a quadrant timer now, I find that I simply end up brushing one part of my mouth without moving onto the next.

Philips Sonicare HX6972 FlexCare+ Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare FlexcareIf you’re really serious about your electric toothbrush, this is probably one of the most advanced units out there. It has all the bells and whistles if you’re willing to spend the money, it is a great option. Having said that, it’s a little bit on the pricier side as compared to other models.

What features does it have?

  • Ultrasonic Movement
  • Built-in 2 minute timer
  • UV Sanitizer
  • 5 Brushing Modes (Cleaning, Gum Care, Quick Refresh, Sensitive Teeth, and Massage)
  • Contoured brush heads (designed to remove plaque near the gum line)

What is good about it?

If you’re looking for a toothbrush that is jam-packed full of features, this is definitely the brush to go for. It also comes with a great deal of accessories beyond just the brush itself, such as a travel case, travel charger, and two travel caps. The battery life on this unit is very good as well, with it lasting around three weeks after a 24-hour charge. This is assuming that you brush your teeth twice daily, for around 2 minutes each time.

What could be improved?

The single biggest factor that could be improved is the price. Yes, I know that’s something that could be improved with pretty much every electronic toothbrush out there (or every product for that matter – who doesn’t like a cheaper price?), but I feel that that’s even more the case with this one. This one comes in at close to $200, and even though the quality is extremely high, I think that you would be better off spending it on the Oral-B Healthy Clean 5000.

Health HP-STX Ultra High Powered Sonic Electric Toothbrush with Dock Charger & 10 Brush Heads (Value Pack)

Health HPAlthough Philips Sonicare and Oral-B absolutely dominate the market when it comes to electric toothbrushes, but the Health HP-STX also deserves a mention. Similar to the Philips Sonicare HX5610/30 Essence 5600, this toothbrush gives you a good bang for your buck as well as it is very affordable. It also comes with 10 brush heads upon purchase, so you don’t have to worry about buying those for a while after you get your brush.

What features does it have?

  • Sonic technology
  • 3 Modes (Power Clean, Soft and Gentle, and Massage)
  • Quadrant timer

What is good about it?

This toothbrush is great value and still gives you a good amount of features to go along with it. Unlike the Philips Sonicare HX5610/30 Essence 5600, this unit features a quadrant timer and has a number of different modes to choose from, yet it is approximately the same price. If you’re looking to stay within budget, but don’t want to give up any of the features mentioned, this is a good choice. The brush heads for the Health HP-STX also tend to be a lot cheaper than their Oral-B and Philips Sonicare counterparts.

What could be improved?

There are a number of people that have experienced the unit to fail after around 6 months of use. When testing this product, I personally didn’t experience that, but it may not be as reliable as some of the bigger brands out there. If you’re just starting to experiment with electric toothbrushes to see if they’re right for you, this could be an affordable option. Once you are convinced, you can move onto one of the more expensive and durable models.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_toothbrush