best toothbrush 2017
Toothbrushes come in all sizes and colors—some spin and others pulsate. But a toothbrush is worthless if you brush incorrectly.
Are you still using a manual toothbrush? You really should reconsider. The best electric toothbrushes are way more effective when it comes to reducing plaque, freshening breath and they’re better for whitening by a considerable margin.
Electric toothbrushes are an essential not a luxury, in my opinion. Like moving from doing the washing up to owning a dishwasher, once you switch, you never want to go back.
I’m not amazingly judicious about cleaning my teeth, I hardly ever go to the dentist, nor is my diet exemplary, yet I’ve had no cavities or other dental issues since starting to use electric brushes 10 years ago. That must prove something, right?
The best electric toothbrushes to consider are coming right up but those seeking some background may want to leap to our ‘what you need to know’ e-brush guide.
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WHAT IS THE BEST ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH?
Assuming you want a really good clean and are willing to pay a little more for it, what brush should you choose?
is outrageously good. The RRP was originally buttock-clenchingly expensive, but it’s generally now to be found around £130.If you prefer a rotary action,
is fantastic, although again I really didn’t think much of the app-enabled ‘smart’ brushing that gives it its ‘Genius’ monicker. ‘Genius’ shoppers might want to consider the
, a brush that is all but identical to the 9000 (there’s one less brushing mode) but usually a handy bit cheaper.A cheaper, more recent Sonicare brush that’s well worth considering is
. Arguably it’s the best electric toothbrush at the moment on a scientific scale of cost-to-effectiveness, but I prefer the older DiamondClean’s longer battery life and better build quality.
THE BEST ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSHES TO BUY, IN ORDER
1. PHILIPS SONICARE DIAMONDCLEAN SONIC
Best electric toothbrush
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
This slightly older, still excellent Sonicare sheds any of those largely pointless ‘smart’ elements found in newer brushes and cleans (literally) brilliantly. Having now been using the same one for nearly three years, I can also vouch for its longevity.
This was always an excellent electric toothbrush, which justified its premium price thanks to the quality of its cleaning and the elegance of its design. Nowadays it’s nearly always to be found for around £100-£150 – still not cheap as such but far more affordable than when at launch.
This particular model sometimes comes with a wireless charger in the shape of a drinking glass, for your bathroom. I personally prefer the more traditional stand chargers, but the glass is quite attractive. There’s also the option of a USB travel case for on-the-move storage and charging.
With five cleaning modes and the power of sonic waves, it feels great and gives really superb results. The DiamondClean also has a better battery life than any other brush I’ve tried and seems to continue to hold charge well after years of use.
This DiamondClean is perhaps not quite as good overall as the more recent, more expensive DiamondClean Smart, but it doesn’t muddy the waters with a pointless app, and its lower price makes it a better bet for all but the truly minted.
Read the full review: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic
2. ORAL-B GENIUS 9000
Best Oral-B rotary electric toothbrush
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Due to the eccentric way toothbrushes are discounted, this can now frequently be had for the same price or lower than Oral B’s last flagship brush the 7000 Series (down at #5). No, we don’t understand it either.
This offers cleaning performance comparable to the Sonicare ProtectiveClean and DiamondClean brushes, but with a rotary motion rather than the Philips’ sonic buzzing. We prefer the mouth feel of the Philips, and find the Oral B is more prone to getting clagged up with a delightful mixture of saliva and toothpaste than its rival, but the choice is yours.
The USP of this at launch was that it uses an advanced smartphone app that actually watches you brush via the phone’s camera, and tells you when you’ve cleaned each quarter of your mouth, and where you’re going wrong – pressing too hard and such.
This is a complete waste of time in my opinion – you have to stick your phone to the bathroom mirror, then stand still in exactly the right spot… and still it frequently thinks you’re brushing the top row of teeth when you’re actually on the bottom, which ultimately makes you severely question its ‘smartness’.
However, with a generous four brush heads included, all for different types of cleaning and whitening, multiple cleaning modes including a tongue cleaner and generally excellent performance, you can safely ignore the ‘smart’ stuff and still have a superb, if you will, ‘oral experience’.
Battery life is noticeably poorer than the premium Philips brushes though, so keep that charger to hand…
• Also worth considering. The
has almost all the cool functions of the 9000 for, in theory at least, less money. Because of the way brushes are endlessly being discounted, it may actually be more expensive, so pick your moment carefully.
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3. PHILIPS SONICARE 6100 PROTECTIVECLEAN
Best cheaper electric toothbrush you can get, pound for pound
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
By all accounts, Oral-B’s rotary brushes outsell Philips’ vibrating, ‘sonic’ ones quite comfortably, but I prefer the Sonicare range as the brushes tend to feel better in the hand, and look better. There’s also something about the design that means they need less cleaning – Oral-B brushes always seem to rapidly form a layer of dried toothpaste around the base of the brush head that is decidedly uncool.
Cleaning performance is excellent on both systems, however. I have no quibble with Oral-B on that front.
This Philips brush offers the current best blend of features and price in the Sonicare range. It doesn’t pile on too many pointless cleaning modes – just the self explanatory ‘clean’ and ‘white’ plus a ‘gum care’ mode that might be useful if you have problems in that area (I never use it, admittedly).
There’s also a choice of three intensity settings, a timer that buzzes after you have spent long enough on each quarter of your mouth.
Like all these brushes this one will reduce intensity if it senses you are pressing too hard – this can damage gums and even, supposedly, your teeth.
A new feature is BrushSync. This has one slightly dubious function: it modifies the intensity and mode used according to the type of ‘smart’ brush head attached (Philips makes a number of options). This supposedly optimises brushing.
Now, I’m sure this is very clever but it’s hard to say whether it improves cleaning at all. You can use this brush with older, non-‘smart’ Sonicare brush heads, if you wish.
More handily, BrushSync also lets you know when to replace the head. Although given how pricey the heads can be, perhaps you’d rather not know.
For everything from cleaning performance to style to mouth-feel, this is a great electric toothbrush, and finally knowing when you should change your head – as opposed to just leaving it on until it’s gone green and moulted – is the icing on the cake. Even if it does mean you end up spending more on heads, your mouth will thank you for it.
• Also worth considering: Philips’ next model down, Sonicare 5100 ProtectiveClean lacks only the BrushSync ‘optimisation’, which I’m a bit dubious about anyway, and has only one intensity setting. It’s otherwise identical to the 6100, so if you can live without those two features and the price is right…
3. PHILIPS SONICARE DIAMONDCLEAN SMART SONIC
Sonicare range topper offers premium brushing at a premium price
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
This is possibly the very best brush you can buy, but it does tend to be pricey as hell as a result. Part of the reason for that, I assume, is the inclusion, as with the Genius 9000 and 8000 above, of a smartphone app and ‘smart’ features that supposedly analyse your brushing. Again, I just don’t feel like this is accurate enough to be worth bothering with – it often doesn’t register you’re doing any brushing at all, when you are, and can also fail to correctly detect which part of your mouth you’re currently cleaning.
That doesn’t necessarily matter, as you can just ignore the app entirely and use the old-fashioned approach of just brushing your teeth. As with all these, it buzzes if you’re pressing too hard, and lets you know when to move on to the next ‘quadrant’ of your mouth. Actually, arguably the greatest innovation here is that the timer on this Sonicare divides your mouth into six ‘zones’ rather than four. That is a big improvement if your attention span is as short as mine.
The Smart Sonic has 3 power/speed levels and five cleaning settings and does a really fantastic job of plaque removal, day-to-day cleaning, and whitening. You can even get a model of this that comes with an ultra-violet chamber to sterilise your brush heads.
5. ORAL-B PRO 7000 BLACK SMARTSERIES
Older Oral-B flagship, now going cheap (er)
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Another very fine electric toothbrush that’s worth its high price – although obviously, NEVER pay RRP for it when you can usually get it for less than half that. The Oral-B Pro 7000 Black SmartSeries is not a sexy bit of design, but your mouth will still thank you for buying it.
The little timer that comes with the 7000 is, ironically, more useful than the high-tech phone app that the 9000 (above) employs. Not only does it tell you when you’ve done each quadrant of your mouth, it also smiles and winks at you when you brush for the full two minutes that dentists recommend.
Bluetooth means you can use a more primitive version of the Oral B app as well, letting you track your brushing history. I have literally no idea why you’d want to look back and see how long you cleaned your teeth for on any given day, but hey, it’s a free country.
Read the full review: Oral-B Pro 7000 Black SmartSeries
6. ORAL B PRO 6500 SMARTSERIES
Very slightly downscaled version of Oral B Pro 7000
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
This shares most of the attributes of the excellent Pro 7000, above. As such it gives an excellent clean for several years, comes with 4 brush heads – which is very reasonable indeed given the cost of replacement ones – and has a number of modes which you may or may not find useful.
I just use the ‘clean’ and occasionally the handy ‘tongue clean’ mode, to be honest. I’ve not detected much whitening effect from the ‘whitening’ mode, though some users may find the ‘sensitive’ one handy.
As with the 7000, you get a little screen with a timer, a four-part schematic of your mouth and a cartoon face, which becomes increasingly smiley, the longer you brush. You can also see your ‘brushing stats’ via a smartphone app and Bluetooth, although I do feel like something’s probably gone wrong with your life if you want to spend time doing that.
All this seems to lack from the 7000 is the ‘deep clean’ mode – which is not a problem. And, despite what the promo photograph above suggests, no, you do not get two toothbrushes for your money here.
My only issue is that, like all rotary toothbrushes, this one does tend to get a bit mucky over time. A mixture of saliva and toothpaste runs down the side of the brush head and forms what I can only ‘clag’.
7. EMMI DENTAL
Admittedly hideous German electric toothbrush cleans up a treat
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
A curious product that looks cheap and awful, but makes some big claims about its tooth and gum cleaning prowess. We can’t necessarily verify those claims, but it does seem to work well. Its looks and fact that it claims to require special toothpaste do count against it a tad, however.
Presumably, you can use any toothpaste with the Emmi Dental really, but they insist in their literature that you must use Emmi Dental own-brand paste, so that is worth bearing in mind.
Read the full review: Emmi Dental
8. COLGATE PROCLINICAL A1500
Now way cheaper than at launch, this electric toothbrush is over complicated but worth considering.
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
The Colgate ProClinical A1500 is scarily noisy and, with its different speeds depending on which way up you hold it, arguably over-complicated. On the other hand, for around £60 it’s not a bad electric toothbrush and its cleaning performance is good, once you get used to its quirks.
Read the full review: Colgate ProClinical A1500
ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSHES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Rule one of electric toothbrush buying club: never pay full price for an electric toothbrush. With discounting rampant in the powered oral hygiene market, our general advice is always to shop around, or wait for the brush you want to inevitably plunge to half its RRP or less.
The best advice here is look at our price widgets and see what’s cheapest on any given day. Oral-B in particular has models called Smart Series 4000 to Smart Series 7000 that are all incredibly similar – they just come with different accessories, and the cheapest ones lack certain modes like ‘Deep Clean’ and ‘Tongue Clean’, but then, do you really need your tongue cleaned, or a mode that’s blatantly aimed at people who only brush once every few days, ie: skanks? Maybe not.
I tested brushes from Philips and Oral-B – the two top brands by miles – then added a few token selections from other brands just for politeness. These are all top or near-top of the range model in most cases. As a result, most of them aren’t cheap, but then I refer you back to RULE ONE at the top of this guide.
Testing was done via general use over a period of weeks and months. I ate food, drank coffee, even had the occasional social cigarette. I didn’t deliberately subject my teeth to anything unusual, I just, you know, lived normally and brushed my teeth once or twice per day.
I also did some testing with disclosing tablets to try to get a slightly more scientific view of how well each brush cleaned.
In that particular test, I found Philips’ brushes and Oral-B’s Genius 9000 SmartSeries performed best, with the Emmi Dental giving very similar results and the Panasonic and Colgate ones (perhaps not coincidentally the cheapest brushes) being the worst. That’s not to say either of them was bad, however. They’re decent value for money.
With electric brushes, you don’t scrub at your teeth and gums. In fact that can be bad news, dentally speaking. All you need to do is press the brush lightly to your gob, hold it in place and manipulate gently, then move on to your next tooth.
Most of these brushes signal after every 30 seconds of brushing; the idea being that you spend 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth, giving a dentist-recommended two minutes in total.
Although replacement brush heads may seem overpriced, in fact, they do last a long time. A pack of four should last most people for nine months or so, and you could probably eke it out to a year, if you’re a skank.
What’s arguably more an issue is the availability of said brush heads and Philips and Oral-B win out here as well. We’ve only ever seen Panasonic and Emmi Dental heads online, and please note that the latter brand also requires you to buy a specific brand of premium-priced toothpaste for it to work properly. Which seems a bit cheeky, to be honest.
We found things to like about all of these eight electric toothbrushes and depending on your requirements. There can only be one winner though, and by a the breadth of dental floss, it’s Philips’ slightly older range topper.
The newer ‘smart’ brushes from Philips and Oral B claim to track your brushing, using sensors or the camera on your phone, but I found they didn’t deliver on this promise. However, if you ignore the tracking and smart functions entirely they are still hugely effective at cleaning teeth.
The very kid-friendly Oral-B Pro 7000 is best if you have children (although not toddlers; keep them on a manual brush).
What We Found – An Oral History
Who Should Buy a Power Toothbrush?
All you really need is a good soft-bristled manual toothbrush if you take the time and effort. But if you have arthritis, lack dexterity, or would like some extra power, powered toothbrushes can help.
What’s the Biggest Brushing Mistake People Make?
Just swishing the toothbrush around without making sure to reach all areas of the mouth. People tend to brush their teeth too fast, and end up missing spots, especially in the back of their mouth. And that’s a problem because plaque is full of harmful bacteria and it can lead to gum disease and cavities.
Are There any Steps You can Skip if You’re in a Rush?
It’s OK to occasionally skip a brushing, since it takes about 24 hours for plaque and bacteria to form on your teeth. But you should try to brush twice a day, and floss once.
What About Those Y-Shaped Floss Picks now Available?
They might make it easier to reach those hard-to-reach spots between teeth. And if they make it more likely to floss, they might be worth it. But we did the math, and floss picks cost about 4 cents apiece, about twice as much as regular dental floss costs per use.
Manual vs. Electric
Manual and electric toothbrushes can be equally effective if used right, research suggests. To brush manually: Put the brush at a 45-degree angle against gums; move it back and forth gently in toothwide strokes over all teeth; move the “toe” of the brush up and down to clean inside front teeth; and brush your tongue gently to remove bacteria and freshen breath. With an electric brush, be sure to cover all surfaces, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Electric toothbrushes don’t just sit there; they do everything but shake, rattle, and roll. Brush heads tend to be either sonic (they vibrate side to side) or spinning (they rotate very fast in one direction, then the other, and bristles may pulsate in and out).
We tested electric toothbrushes that cost from $15 to $140. Most had rechargeable bases; one used AA batteries. Most had built-in 2-minute timers that either signaled or shut the toothbrush off after 2 minutes, plus “quadpacers” that signaled every 30 seconds so that you spend an equal time on each quadrant of your mouth. A higher price is likely to get you settings such as sensitive (gentler cleaning) or massage (gum stimulation), a charge-level display, or a travel case.
(Note: Consumer Reports does not currently test toothbrushes. The testing details included here reflect findings from our past tests.)
How We Tested
Fifteen staffers used each electric toothbrush for one week and evaluated its comfort, convenience, and ease of use. We hid brand names and asked panelists to follow any manufacturers’ instructions for brushing technique and time (usually two minutes). At the end of each week, each panelist didn’t brush for at least 24 hours; then a dentist used a dye to reveal plaque before and after they’d brushed once more for 2 minutes. Plaque removal is important in gum health.
What We Found
Some brushes are more comfortable to hold and manipulate than others. Two toothbrushes got relatively low ease-of-use scores because some panelists said their brush heads were too big.
Check for a return policy: Some brushes offer a money-back guarantee. Most makers suggest replacing brush heads every three months, which boosts the cost. Whatever you buy, brush thoroughly: With all brushes, panelists removed more plaque from the cheek side of their teeth than from the tongue side, and more from front teeth than back.
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Tooth Smarts – Tips for Cleaner Teeth
Whichever brand of toothbrush, toothpaste, or floss you choose, using proper brushing and flossing techniques is critical for adequately removing plaque, which causes cavities and gum disease.
Brush Up on Brushing
What to use: Choose a brush with soft or medium bristles, which are gentler on the gums and may clean better because they’re more flexible. The brush design does not appear to influence effectiveness, so choose any one you like.
How often: Brush twice a day, 2 minutes each time. And rinse your mouth after sugary or starchy snacks.
How to brush: Hold the brush with the bristles angled 45 degrees toward the gum line, so one row of bristle tips can slip slightly under the gums. Jiggle the brush head with a short, vibrating motion, then move on to the next spot. Finally, scrub the chewing surfaces.
Brush gently to avoid harming the gums; removing plaque doesn’t require much pressure. Brush both the outer and inner surfaces of your teeth and the tops of molars. Brush your tongue, too, to remove bacteria and freshen breath (or use a tongue scraper, sold at drugstores for about $1 each).
What to use: All flosses clean effectively. But if you find flossing uncomfortable, consider a slippery one like Glide.
How often: Floss once a day to remove plaque and food particles your brush can’t reach.
How to floss: Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around a finger; wind the rest around the same finger on your other hand. Use a careful sawing motion to slide the floss between your teeth down or up to the gum line; then gently move the thread slightly under the gums. Next, curve it into a “C” shape against the side of one tooth and sweep it up and down. Repeat for both sides of each tooth, unwinding clean floss from the first hand.
best toothbrush 2017
If you brush your teeth regularly and properly you could live longer. That’s no exaggeration. The research is overwhelming: our oral hygiene has the ability to affect our general health, and having the best electric toothbrush is crucial.
In 2016, for example, scientists discovered that brushing your teeth regularly could slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The research found that gum disease can speed up mental decline six times.
How do you go about upping your oral hygiene game (short of becoming best friends with a dentist)? Many would recommend an electric toothbrush and, over the past fifty years or so, they have become staples in bathrooms all over the world. But is an electric model really what’s best for you?
To answer that question, we spoke with dentists and tested a range of models, from cheap, basic electric toothbrushes to high-tech smart ones. Here are our favourites, starting with our top three.
(Please note: Many electric toothbrushes are sold with two-pronged power plugs. With shaving sockets something of an ancient relic in the UK, it’s worth checking if you need an adapter before buying.)
1. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Deep Clean
Why we like it: an all-rounder with a smart look
There’s a lot to like about this toothbrush, starting with the promise on the box: “Removes up to 10 X more plaque” (I assume the “up to” means my brushing technique is still important). It’s about as stylish as an electric toothbrush can be, and it comes with a travel USB charging case that looks more like a Bluetooth speaker.
Then there are the variety of settings: Gum Health, which adds an extra minute for low-powered gum brushing; Deep Clean, a three-minute power wash; and White, which supposedly works harder to remove those coffee and tea stains you’re likely to get in the morning.
My setting of choice is Sensitive, which goes easy on the precious gums. Even so, it’s far more potent than what I’m used to (a manual brush). During my first use, the toothpaste slides off the vibrating bristles. When I reload, and successfully get it to my mouth, I quickly learn the golden rule: don’t open your mouth while brushing, or it will splatter everywhere.
The brushing itself is good, and I like the extra features – if not the undersized accompanying cup. Essentially, it’s a very good electric toothbrush, charges quickly, and stays powerful for a long time. But a glance at the price will show that those features do come at a premium.
When we asked dentist Dr Toby Edwards-Lunn what the best electric toothbrush was, his answer was unequivocal: the Oral-B Pro 2000 is “reasonably priced” at £30, he said, and it performs brilliantly for that money. Without costing an arm and a leg (or a tooth), its round heads provide an excellent clean.
All the usual features are there–- the two-minute timer for example – and it tells you when you brush too hard, which is handy.
Why’s the Oral-B Pro 2000 so much cheaper than the Philips Sonicare? Well, with the Sonicare you get a bunch of extra features: the various brush settings; the glass holder; the funky travel case. While we liked these additions, if you’re not looking to spend too much, the Oral-B is a good option, and there’s very little in it in terms of actual brushing.
This toothbrush has a really simple design and minimal features. It promises 5 X more plaque removal (compared to Philips’ 10) – and very little faff.
The Colgate Pro Clinical 250+ essentially doubles down on the essentials: soft bristles, a handy travel case, and the all-important timer. If toothbrushes were massages, this Colgate would be calming aromatherapy rather than a back-cracking session. The soft bristles would be ideal for those with sensitive gums. It’s also one of the quickest to fully charge, at just 10 hours.
And, most importantly, it can be yours for under £20.
The does-what-it-says-on-the-tin option.
The best of the rest
1. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Black HX9924/14
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Black HX9924/14 was tested by Olivia Walmsley. This is her verdict.
I’d previously used an Oral-B Pro 2000, and had been fairly satisfied. I was curious about the Phillips model, mainly because of the enormous price difference. The matte black toothbrush, with its fancy glass holder-come-charger certainly looked smart. The action of the brush took a little getting used to – it seemed to vibrate a lot faster (31000 pulsations per minute, according to the leaflet) than the Oral-B, and as a result did have a tendency to splatter toothpaste around the bathroom. On the plus side, my teeth did feel squeaky clean after brushing.
I experimented with various modes (there are five: clean, for everyday cleaning; white, to remove surface stains; deep clean and gum health) and the three speeds, before settling on a medium speed, gum health setting. The brush was able to remove stubborn strips of plaque along the gum line on my back molars that I’d struggled to tackle with the Oral-B.
I downloaded the app, which tracks where you’ve brushed, highlights where you haven’t and alerts you if you’re pressing too hard – useful if you have problem gums like me (early stages of gum disease according to my dentist), as too much pressure can be more harmful than too little. I have to admit that I gave up using it pretty quickly though. There’s only so much time I can devote to my teeth, much to my dentist’s dismay.
The glass holder got jettisoned quite quickly too, as the brush often fell over in it, and stopped charging. But the sleek travel case with built-in charger is a particularly useful addition, as was the special tongue cleaning brush head. All in all, this is an impressive toothbrush but it should be, at this price.
2. Sonic Chic Urban travel toothbrush
These are very chic – more like lipsticks than toothbrushes. “They look like jazzed-up e-cigarettes” says a colleague.
The Sonic comes in several designs, with names like “Tribal Quest”, “Proud Peacock” and the somewhat startling “Loud Leopard”.
With soft bristles it doesn’t attack the teeth, but I had a couple of issues with this electric toothbrush. Firstly, most options have grooves on the back of the head to aid gum cleaning; the Sonic Chic Urban didn’t.
It also comes with a regular, non-rechargeable battery. This makes sense for a travel toothbrush as you don’t want to be charging on the go. But it also makes it harder to tell if the power is still at its peak, which the experts say is crucial for an effective brush.
It was just too dainty and petite for my hands, making it slightly uncomfortable to hold. Nevertheless, it’s probably good as a second option, for travelling light but keeping your teeth extra clean, and at under £30 you don’t have to break the bank to get one.