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How to buy the best electric toothbrush By Patrick Gallagher Expert tips on how to buy the very best electric toothbrush for your budget. Brushing with an electric toothbrush can help you keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, but with models costing from around £10 to upwards of £200, it can be hard to know which to buy. We look at the various types of electric toothbrush available to help you decide, along with what features you should look for and how to maintain one. Already know what you’re looking for? Browse our best electric toothbrush recommendations. In this article: How much should I spend on an electric toothbrush? Which type of electric toothbrush should I buy? How long will the electric toothbrush battery last for? How often do I need to replace the electric toothbrush brush head? Top electric toothbrush features to look out for Which are the best electric toothbrushes? How much should I spend on an electric toothbrush? With such a wide range of toothbrushes available at different prices, it can be difficult to decide how much to spend. But don’t be fooled into thinking a higher price means better cleaning. Our reviews reveal that there’s no direct link between price and quality – you can pay less than £50 for a Best Buy, or over £100 for an electric toothbrush that doesn’t reach that level. Unless you find these brushes on offer, the price can be eye watering. But what benefits are there to paying more? Brushing modes and heads – varied modes and heads can give you a tailored brushing experience. From those designed for whitening or sensitive teeth, to those aimed at people wearing braces, high-end brushes often come with a choice. Smart functionality – connect the toothbrush with a smartphone app that allows you to see exactly where you’re brushing, and get real-time guidance to achieve better brushing results. Accessories – travel cases or glass tumblers that double as chargers are just two of the fancy accessories available when you pay more. If you’re not interested in these sorts of features, and just want something simple but effective, we’ve found plenty of good toothbrushes for £40 or less. Which type of electric toothbrush should I buy? Rotating, sonic, pulsating, oscillating, counter-rotating… there are all sorts of electric toothbrushes available and they all work in slightly different ways. Rotating – These have a set of bristles that turn. Bristles can be arranged in a circle that rotates, or individual tufts of bristles can spin. Rotating-only brushes are usually the cheapest type of brush you can buy. Rotating-oscillating – These electric toothbrushes have small, round heads and are one of the most popular brushes in the Oral B range. The head oscillates – rotates in one direction and then the other – around one tooth at a time to sweep away plaque. Pulsing – Some rotating and rotating-oscillating electric toothbrushes pulsate to make the head move backwards and forwards against teeth while it’s spinning. This helps dislodge plaque and is a technology that’s typically found on pricier rotating brushes. Counter-oscillating – These electric toothbrushes have the same head shape as oscillating brushes, but the tufts of bristles rotate in different directions simultaneously – with each tuft rotating in the opposite direction to those next to it. Dual head – As the name implies, these electric toothbrushes combine two heads in one – one part rotates and the other sweeps from side to side. Side to side – Rather than spinning, these toothbrushes sweep from side to side at such high speeds that they vibrate against your teeth. Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes clean in this way. Sonic and ultrasonic – These are brushes that vibrate at certain high speeds and frequencies to help break down plaque. Manufacturers of sonic brushes claim that they also drive cleaning fluid (a mixture of toothpaste, water and saliva) between teeth to help dislodge plaque. Vibrating brushes are generally more expensive than rotating models. How long will the electric toothbrush battery last for? There’s a big difference in how long rechargeable batteries last. In our tests we found the best lasted for more than 184 minutes – that’s about six and a half weeks of brushing twice a day for two minutes before you’d need to top up the power. But others won’t last as long – we found the least powerful brush needed recharging after just 16 brushes. Before you buy your electric toothbrush it’s worth considering how often you’re likely to charge it. If you plan to keep the charger readily to hand and the battery constantly topped up then it’s less important to choose a model with a powerful battery. But if you prefer to keep the charger packed away, or you want to take your brush with you on long trips without the charger, look for a toothbrush with a long-lasting battery. Find a toothbrush that excelled in our battery performance tests by heading to our expert and independent electric toothbrush reviews. How often do I need to replace the electric toothbrush brush head? You will need to replace electric toothbrush heads once the bristles are worn. Replacements are pricey and worth buying in multi-packs to keep the cost down. Most Oral B and Philips Sonicare brushes can be used with a range of different brush heads. These are designed to give a more specific clean, ie. whitening, flossing or multi-directional cleaning. They’re almost always more expensive than a standard brush head. You can read more about the various brush heads available in our guide to electric toothbrush brush heads. Top electric toothbrush features to look out for Basic models have a standard brush head and one cleaning programme. Higher-spec models, on the other hand, often come with a raft of features and accessories that tot up the price. Here are the features we think are worth paying more for: Brushing timer – This helps ensure you brush for a full two minutes, which is the amount of time dentists recommend we spend cleaning our teeth. Some are auto-programmed to only brush for two minutes so you don’t need to think about the time. Others will beep or stutter when it’s time to stop. Pressure sensors – Harsh scrubbing to remove plaque is not necessary – in fact, pushing too hard against your teeth can do more harm than good. Pressure sensors let you know if you’re pressing too hard, with either a light or beeping sound. Some Oral B models will stop pulsing and just rotate if you’re putting too much pressure on your teeth. Soft-grip handles – The best electric toothbrushes have a soft grip which can make them more comfy to hold and use. Soft-grip handles also lessen the vibrations you feel in your hand while brushing. Find out more about the various features available by heading to our page on the top electric toothbrush features. Which are the best electric toothbrushes? We’ve tested a range of electric toothbrushes from some of the biggest brands, including Oral B and Philips, to uncover the models that are best at sweeping away plaque to help keep your teeth clean and gums healthy. Here are a selection of the very best. Best Electric Toothbrushes 87% £63.43 REVIEWED DEC 2018 This is the best performing toothbrush we’ve tested, and while it’s not exactly cheap, there are far more expensive models out there that perform worse. It’s excellent at removing plaque and lasts a long time between charges. Sign up to reveal product Already a member? Log in 85% £36.99 REVIEWED OCT 2014 We described this brush as ‘exceptional’, which is some result for the price. It’s a Best Buy, removed plaque very effectively and the battery lasts a long time – you should only need to recharge every six weeks or so. Sign up to reveal product Already a member? Log in 84% £74.99 REVIEWED DEC 2018 If you’re considering a ‘smart’ electric toothbrush but don’t want to spend a fortune, this could be a great place to start. It cleans well, offers a range of modes and heads, and the supplied app has a number of useful features to help improve your brushing. Sign up to reveal product Already a member? Log in 82% £209.99 REVIEWED JAN 2018 If your home is already decked out with ‘smart’ tech, you might like to accessorise with a toothbrush. The model is pricey, but offers tailored brushing guidance on your phone through the included app. Plus, it’s great at cleaning. Sign up to reveal product Already a member? Log in 72% £19.98 REVIEWED JAN 2018 This easy-to-use toothbrush matches the plaque removal abilities of much higher-scoring rivals, and also has a couple of useful features that should help ensure you’re brushing for long enough. The battery isn’t the best – you’ll need to fully recharge it every week or so – but all in all this is a good electric toothbrush for a bargain price.
Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/electric-toothbrushes/article/how-to-buy-the-best-electric-toothbrush – Which?
This is the most comprehensive guide to electric toothbrushes you will find on the internet today. It supplements the suggestions and abbreviated buyer’s guide in our best electric toothbrush post.
The following article gives thorough, yet concise explanations of all the features and functions available on electric toothbrushes today.
Once you have read this guide, you will better understand all of the options you have available, and will be able to make a more informed purchasing decision.
Should you have any questions, contact us or leave a comment below and we will gladly answer them for you.
What’s in this post?
Why should you listen to us?
Electric Teeth is an independent organization with a mission to simplify dental health.
Our team is a mixture of consumers and dental professionals.
We strive to create honest, informative content, telling you the facts, good or bad.
We are not sponsored by big brands or healthcare companies. Our site is funded by affiliate revenue and ads, but we only recommend products that we have tested and truly believe to be worth your money.
Why not watch this short video to find out all about us?
Do I need an electric toothbrush?
No, you do not need an electric toothbrush.
Used correctly, a manual toothbrush is perfectly adequate.
They can clean well and you will get a thumbs up from the dentist.
However, many dental professionals agree that an electric toothbrush is worth the investment as they bring a number of benefits.
Benefits of an electric toothbrush
- Consistent power delivery for a dentist like clean
- Can remove up to 100% more plaque than a manual brush
- Reduces tooth decay and improves gum health
- Can help eliminate bad breath
- Timers and pacers to encourage a 2 minute clean
- Various cleaning modes
- Different brush heads — Differing styles to achieve different results
- Fading bristles — Reminding you when to change your brush head
- A relatively low lifetime cost
Negatives of an electric brush
- Initial cost — More expensive than a manual brush
- Short battery life and need to re-charge
- Cost of replacement heads — Equivalent to the cost of a manual brush
- Not travel friendly — Varying support for voltages and protection to handles and heads when travelling
Is an electric toothbrush worth the investment?
Yes, we believe so.
The increased efficiency with which they clean, the convenience they offer and how they encourage us to brush for the right amount of time, can certainly pay off.
Whilst there is an initial purchase price, this is offset over time as you could have fewer or cheaper dental bills, not to mention healthier teeth and gums.
Independent research group Cochrane found that an electric toothbrush can bring benefits over a manual brush after analysing 56 different studies.
Ultimately, what a brush is worth is personal opinion.
We do feel that if you take note of our suggestions, you will consider it to be a worthwhile investment.
Potential exceptions might be if you buy a particularly cheap or expensive toothbrush, whereby they fail to offer the core benefits or deliver more than you need.
What makes a good electric toothbrush?
What makes a good electric toothbrush for one person will be different to another. Desires and personal circumstances all play a part.
Taking into account reader feedback, customer reviews and our own hands-on use, we do believe there are some core (high importance) factors that make a good electric toothbrush.
There are then those that are nice to have, but not essential. And finally, there are those that are least essential but add to the overall experience.
The features we consider essential on any electric toothbrush
- 2 minute timer
These factors are worth considering, but not of critical importance.
- Pressure sensor
- Good battery life
- Travel case
- Additional cleaning modes
- Brushing intensity
- Cost of replacement brush heads
These are the least important features and functions, but, can play an important role in adding to the overall experience and usability of a toothbrush.
- Brush handle shape, size and colour
- Brush head shape and size
- Battery charging/status icon
- Smart features
- Motion tracking
- Smart guides
- UV sanitisers
- Automatic power off
- Charging stands
- Water resistance
- LEDs/cleaning mode display
- Storage compartments
- Dual handles
We are typically looking for the criteria in the ‘high’ and ‘medium’ importance category to be covered, with a number from the ‘low’ importance.
Although there are many great electric brushes, there is no one ‘perfect’ toothbrush.
Ensure you find the best electric toothbrush for you.
In the following sections, we outline the various aspects of an electric toothbrush and comment on how important we regard them as part of the buying decision.
Cleaning technology & brands
The ultimate job of a toothbrush is to effectively clean plaque, bacteria and debris from the teeth and gums.
All leading brands do a good job in achieving this and from our point of view, and clinical studies support this.
Given the equivalent results the different cleaning technologies provide, the way in which they go about it holds a low importance when choosing an electric toothbrush.
You may have a preference for one brand or particular cleaning action, but don’t let it rule the decision making process.
Primarily, the decision is between Sonic and Oscillating-Rotating toothbrushes, but there is a newer, less common type of toothbrush, known as ultrasonic.
This kind of toothbrush uses 2 methods to clean the teeth.
The first is a mechanical side-to-side cleaning motion of the bristles to remove plaque by essentially sweeping and scrubbing the surfaces, like a manual brush (although the motor moves the bristles, not you).
The second is a non-contact approach that uses the sonic technology to disrupt plaque beyond the tips of the bristles.
To achieve this secondary cleaning motion, the brush head must vibrate at a speed that falls within the range of frequencies that humans hear (20-20,000hz). This intense vibration agitates fluids that surround the teeth and can loosen and remove dental plaque in locations that are beyond the physical touch of the toothbrush.
The brush head on a sonic brush is typically a lot like a manual toothbrush in its size and shape.
It was Philips, under the Sonicare brand, that first brought this to market in 1992 and even today remains the leading brand of sonic toothbrush, although others like Colgate & Omron also use such technology.
This kind of toothbrush has a small, round brush head that moves back and forth (side to side movements) in a circular motion to help remove plaque and dental debris.
It is Oral-B who have championed such and developed it to be as popular as it is.
This oscillating-rotating movement is referred to as ‘2D’ cleaning by the brand.
Add in Pulsations (essentially vibrations) and this now becomes ‘3D’ cleaning.
Pulsations offer a more sophisticated motion and gives another dimension to the brushing.
Whereas the 2D cleaning requires the physical movement of the brush head against the teeth, pulsations are essentially a ‘non contact’ form of brushing.
It is a non contact brushing as the high frequency pulsations generated by the brush agitate fluids that surround the teeth and can loosen and remove dental plaque in locations that are beyond the physical touch of the toothbrush.
Pulsations are essentially Oral-B’s description for sonic technology, but they do not refer to it as such, as it was a competitor that brought this approach to market.
The newest approach to teeth cleaning, this technology does not rely on a psychical motion to clean the teeth.
Instead, the vibration of the brush head is so intense that achieves ‘ultrasound’ classification, emitting a wave of 20,000Hz or 2,400,000 movements per minute; considerably more than the very popular sonic technology.
The high frequency, but low in amplitude waves means that the bacterial chains found in the mouth, that make up plaque are broken up by the vibration. This can work as far as 5mm below the gumline. Essentially speaking the brush can clean the teeth simply by resting the brush on it.
Although an ultrasonic brush does not need a traditional brush head, many brushes do also provide additional sonic vibration ranging from 9,000 to 40,000 movements per minute, in order to provide additional sweeping motion which removes food particles and bacterial chain remnants.
An independent study, by the School of Dentistry at the University of Kansas concluded after 30 days of testing, that Ultrasonic brushes do have a marked improvement over a manual brush.
The Megasonex range of brushes are the most notable within this category.
3 types of electric toothbrush technology there may well be, but the reality is that whilst ultrasonic brushes have a place, they have a tough battle to compete against the leading toothbrush brands, notably Philips Sonicare and Braun Oral-B that promote the other cleaning technologies.
Lots of brands exist within the electric toothbrush space, but ultimately there are 2 market leaders, Philips Sonicare and Braun Oral-B.
It, therefore, is almost a choice between brands as it is technology.
Brands like Colgate, Fairywill, Seago, Quip, Uber Sonic and many more exist. The smaller brands tend to adopt the sonic technology (pioneered by Sonicare) rather than the oscillating rotating cleaning action on offer by Oral-B.
Features & functions explained
Having listed what we believe to be most important considerations when choosing an electric toothbrush, the following explanations should give better insight as to why we feel this way and have categorised them to be the high, medium and low.
2 minute timer
How long and how often should you brush your teeth is a common question amongst the public.
You should brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time.
This is the advice of dentists, hygienists, governing and medical bodies.
Whether you are in the UK, France, the USA, Australia or South Africa, the recommendation is pretty consistent.
When brushing your teeth, it is all too easy to get distracted. After all it is not the most exciting task is it.
You can then misjudge the time and think you have been brushing for longer than you really have.
Therefore, a brush with a built-in timer encourages you to brush for the right amount of time. It lets you know when the 2 minutes are up.
A change in the brushing sensation, the sound and vibration in hand is your cue as to when the cleaning mode is complete. Then and only then, should stop brushing.
Almost all electric toothbrushes have this built-in.
A quadpacer can seriously impact how well you clean all the teeth in your mouth.
Imagine breaking your mouth up into 4 sections or quadrants (hence the name).
In section 1 you have your upper right teeth, section 2 your upper left, section 3 your lower right and section 4 your lower left.
You have 4 periods of 30 seconds within the average 2 minute cleaning cycle. The idea is that you spend 30 seconds cleaning each section.
As you reach a 30 second interval, a change in the brushing sensation and sound will be you alert to change the section you are cleaning.
By then end of the 2 minute clean, you should have cleaned all 4 sections and given a pretty even clean to the teeth in your mouth.
2 minutes spent cleaning just your front or back teeth is no good. In order to maintain good oral hygiene you need to clean all the teeth, the pacer helps encourage this.
Most electric toothbrushes will have a pacer built-in, but there are exceptions, particularly in the cheaper models.
More premium models with Bluetooth connectivity and supporting apps will alert you on screen too.
Bristles of the brush need only skim the surface of the teeth and gums.
Scrubbing harder, is not an effective way to remove plaque and debris from the teeth.
You and many others may not have known this, because you have never been told or shown how to brush correctly, few of us have.
A common cause of gum recession is as a result of brushing too hard.
“Too much pressure and too frequent brushing can abrade enamel, or the root if the gum has receded.” This abrasion, he says, can cause teeth to become hypersensitive to hot and/or cold”. — Jay W. Friedman — Consumer Reports
A brush with a pressure sensor built-in can help reduce the chances of you suffering from such.
Subtle changes in brushing sensation, a noticeable change in sound or the illumination of a light are methods used by brush manufacturers to alert you to the fact that you are brushing too hard.
In many instances as the increased pressure is detected by the brush, the motor will slow down, to limit potential damage.
When the sensor is activated, all you need do is relieve the force you are applying and the alerts will stop.
The sensor is a gentle reminder to use a little less force and help you maintain a healthy smile. It is particularly useful for new users to electric toothbrushes.
Pressure sensors are common on the Oral-B range of electric toothbrushes with almost all models benefitting from such.
Sonicare have recently increased the number of models that support this feature to, the ProtectiveClean 4300, 5100 and 6100 being the newest brushes to support such.
Refer to our post ‘Which electric toothbrushes have a pressure sensor’ for more information.
Electric toothbrushes are cordless. They are powered by batteries placed inside the brush handle.
These batteries can be user removable (AA or AAA), or most commonly fixed internally.
The size, shape and capacity of the battery will differ between brands.
Whist each internal battery has what is known as a milliampere (mAh) rating, this is not well documented by manufacturers and most brush batteries are rated by the number of days they will last, be that 5, 7, 14 or 21, etc.
The most common battery life is about 14 days.
Philips Sonicare brushes generally have the longest battery life. They claim at 2-3 weeks (subject to model), but they often last longer. Oral-B does not perform as well here, with their newer brushes lasting about 16 days.
Affecting the battery and its life is the technical makeup of the battery. For many years Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries have been used but now Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) is the more popular choice as it is better for constant charging and longer usage times.
AA or AAA powered toothbrushes exist and these are generally cheaper ranging from £1-£20, compared to the £15-£250 of the built-in options.
Whilst they serve a purpose and can actually last a very long time (months, rather than days), the power delivered to the brush head and the overall performance tends to be weaker. You also get little in the way of warning about the remaining power, unlike those with built-in batteries that usually have an indicator to alert you to low power.
It can be a cheap way to try an electric toothbrush and most certainly is an option if away from power for a long time or you don’t want to carry a charger.
However, long term, they do not offer the best value and may rarely represent what an electric brush can do for you.
Even if you are not a regular traveller, having a case makes it much easier to transport the toothbrush.
Normally of plastic construction, when in the case, the likelihood of damage, particularly to the bristles on the brush head are reduced. There is too less chance of the brush accidently being switched on. Any excess moisture in the heads does to remain in the case and not on anything else that might be in your bag.
Most travel cases are made from fairly thin plastic, but do the job. More premium travel cases are often supplied with the more expensive brushes or are available as an optional accessory.
There are even certain models that allow the brush to be charged whilst inside the case, the best of which charge using a USB cable. Therefore, there is no need to mount on a charging stand, like you might expect. Ideal for regular travellers.
Only ever spend what you are comfortable with.
For some spending £30 will be a lot whilst to others £200 will be cheap.
You do not have to spend a fortune.
The more expensive the brush is, does not mean it is necessarily any better at cleaning your teeth.
For less than £50 you can purchase an excellent electric toothbrush.
More important than what you pay, is the act of regular brushing, with the correct technique for the right amount of time.
Get these things right and even a £3 manual toothbrush will do a good job, but there are of course many more benefits to using an electric toothbrush.
Decide what features you want and need and make an informed purchasing decision.
Additional cleaning modes
All toothbrushes come with at least 1 cleaning mode.
Often referred to as ‘Clean’ or ‘Daily Clean, this is the default mode, that for the most part is perfectly acceptable for all.
This is normally the first mode that is accessed on the brush, even if it offers additional cleaning modes.
Often the more you pay, the more modes you get.
Modes offered, include:
- Clean/Daily Clean
- Gum Care
- Deep/Pro Clean
- Tongue Cleaner
How each cleaning mode differs is generally though the power delivered to thee brush head and the amount of time you brush for.
Deep clean and whitening modes often last for longer (3 minutes), as spending more time cleaning will often help get a better overall clean.
Sensitive and gum cleaning modes are normally lower powered modes, with less bristle movements. These offer a more gentle experience for those with sensitivity or looking to encourage better gum health.
The most commonly offered and desired are:
- Clean/Daily Clean
- Gum Care
Only buy the brush with multiple cleaning modes if you intend to use such or it makes sense to buy that model.
That said, having the additional sensitive or gum care mode can be beneficial when you desire the more gentle clean.
A tongue cleaning mode is just a shorter and lower powered mode that is more convenient than others available on the brush, but it is far from essential.
Remembering to clean your tongue is more important than a dedicated mode.
The tongue is home to lots of bacteria and is often one of the major causes behind bad breath. Cleaning the tongue after brushing, simply by dragging the brush head across it several times can really help freshen up the mouth.
Being able to control the amount of power the motor delivers can be useful.
Some models offer the choice of low, medium and high power settings.
If the brush has 1 cleaning mode, it may default to the high setting.
You could change it to the low setting for a less intense clean.
Although the brush motion does not change, the speed of the motion does.
These kind of act as alternatives to cleaning modes.
This, therefore, means that a brush with 1 mode but 3 intensity settings could be in many respects equivalent to a brush with 2 modes, clean and sensitive.
Cost of replacement brush heads
The cost of replacement heads can affect the long term ownership cost, but can also be much cheaper than the dental care required if you cut corners.
Manufacturer original brush heads typically cost anywhere from about £3.50-£8 per brush head. This can be a lot of money when they will only be thrown away 3 months later.
In most instances, you have the choice of opting for a third party brush head. There may not be the same range of choice and the quality may well be inferior, but there are some great options at very good prices. Saving £45 on a pack of Sonicare original brush heads, for a third party equivalent is very much an option.
Do be aware of fakes/counterfeit brush heads which pose as genuine but are often not the real deal. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
Oral-B’s manufacturer original heads tend to be more cost effective than Sonicare.
With any of the major brands, buying larger packs, reduces the individual brush head cost.
Brush handle shape, size and colour
Most electric toothbrushes are similar in their shape and design.
The handle tends to be cylindrical in shape or a slight variation of this, and are generally a couple of centimetres thick and wide, up to about 25 cm tall (including brush head).
Few are uncomfortable to hold with most being easily usable by all, even if you have limited hand and finger movement. Some, like those designed for children, do have more grips on them, be that rubber or plastic, these can really help if the brush is wet.
Some brushes are smaller. These often have smaller batteries or less features, designed for a specific purpose, like travel.
More premium models do often boast subtle but noticeable design cues, more fitting of their price tag.
White is a popular colour option for brushes, with some design accents coming from soft pastel shades. Many have a fairly neutral or clinical look to them.
Colour variety has improved in recent years across all brands and price brackets.
Brush head shape and size
All toothbrushes come with at least 1 brush head supplied, usually the standard ‘go to’ brush head that a brand offers.
With few exceptions, these heads are interchangeable. This not only allows for replacement of the provided head at 3 month intervals, as dentists recommend. But, it does too potentially allow you to take advantage of the range of brush head styles manufacturers offer.
Each head is designed to achieve different results. One may be geared to general cleaning and plaque removal, whilst another may be focused on whitening or improving gum health.
The different heads will work on any cleaning mode, but certain heads are likely to achieve better results when used with specific cleaning modes. More premium models tend to come with extra heads in the box to encourage this.
Certain brush heads and handles can now even automatically select the appropriate cleaning mode.
The availability and variety of brush heads depends on the brand. The interchangeable design is specific to each brand to, so an Oral-B head will not work on a Colgate brush.
Most do too have something known as fading indicator or reminder bristles.
When new, certain bristles on the brush head will be a more vivid colour (often blue or green). Over time (3 months) these fade and when they are a very pale compared to when you started; at this point, it’s time to change.
It is a smart way of reminding you when it is time to change your brush head.
Different sized brush heads exist. Most notable is the difference between Oral-B’s round brush head and Sonicares larger rectangular/oval heads.
There has and will continue to be debate as to which is best. Studies have been presented by both brands to show their cleaning effectiveness.
Independent research by Cochrane suggests that there is some evidence oscillating technology used by Oral-B is more effective. However, the admission here is that the differences are small and clinically unclear with further studies required.
So, whilst you may have a preference, the reality is that the clean delivered is going to be great with no noticeable difference in results.
You can learn a lot more about brush heads, including the range available from each brand and the counterfeit heads that exist, by reading our toothbrush head buying guide.
Battery charging/status icon
On the front of the brush handle you will often have a colour changing LED or a series of colour changing LEDs to signal to you how much power is remaining in the internal batteries, be that 100, 60 or 30%.
Cheaper models tend to lack an indicator to keep costs down, but this means you can’t easily tell when it may need charging, meaning the brush suddenly stops or slows down.
As technology has advanced it has allowed brands to bring new innovative touches, to these already useful tools.
Sonicare’s BrushSync technology is perhaps one of the best examples of this. Their brush head replacement reminder system reminds you exactly when you need to replace the brush head by actually tracking the usage time of individual brush heads.
Oral-B have introduced a user controlled SmartRing that can be controlled via an app and set to 1 of 12 different colours.
There are too tracking technologies that make use of sensors within the brush handle to track the clean. Kolibree have been pioneers in this pace with their Artificial Intelligence (AI) brush, the Ara.
These features can add a certain level of convenience and can allow you to become better at cleaning your teeth and improve your oral healthcare routine.
Many brushes do command a slight premium for such. As the innovation continues, more brushes get such features and the cost of implementation is lower.
In 5 years time many of the smart features will be standard in a brush.
Useful, they are currently far from essential.
Bluetooth allows your toothbrush to communicate with your smartphone or tablet via an app.
It is a newer technology that is slowly making its way to more and more models.
Philips and Oral-B are leading the way here.
What features are available depends on the model of brush, but all Bluetooth enabled brushes will give a basic on-screen timer and diarised logging of your teeth cleaning habits.
Special sensors in the brush can fairly accurately understand your brushing approach and help you handle possible complications before they arise.
It is a bit like having a dentist by your side, encouraging and educating you.
It is not essential and we would not encourage you to spend a lot more to get a brush with Bluetooth technology.
You need to invest a little time to get the most from Bluetooth and that may include changing habits of a lifetime.
However, Bluetooth can be very helpful, particularly as an educational tool for adapting and improving a routine and your approach to looking after your teeth. Particularly when you can tailor the brush and cleaning modes to your personal needs. You or your dentist can programme in areas where you need to spend more time brushing.
Over weeks and months you can build up a profile of your cleaning and how you have improved. You can even share this with your dentist.
Those who know they are poor at keeping their teeth clean will benefit most from Bluetooth.
Motion tracking is found on the premium models like the Oral-B Genius 9000, Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected and DiamondClean Smart.
Using sensors built into the brush handle and for some models such as the Genius 9000 the front facing camera of your smartphone, the exact location of the brush in your mouth, during your clean is tracked and pictured on screen.
This, in turn, allows you to be shown where you need to pay more attention to your cleaning and improve over time your oral hygiene regime.
Predominantly seen with older Oral-B models, the Smart Wireless Guide is essentially a small clock like device that is designed to be positioned near you when cleaning your teeth.
When not in use it shows the time, but when you activate your brush, it begins showing on screen the time you have been cleaning for.
It rates your clean via a star system and an emotive face.
A sad face will show with maybe a 2 star rating if you clean for just 1 minute whilst a happy face with 4 stars will show if a full 2 minute clean has been achieved.
If you apply too much pressure when brushing, you may also get an angry face on-screen.
It does also have a guide as to what quadrant of the mouth you should be brushing as the timer counts too.
Designed to be an aid, it keeps you focused and motivated to achieve a good clean.
If you wish to read more about smart guides you can do so here.
A rarer find, some models (normally Philips Sonicare) come with an UltraViolet (UV) sanitiser.
The sanitiser itself is usually a small compartment on the charging stand that holds one or two brush heads and runs through a cycle by emitting UV light from a special bulb inside, killing off germs and bacteria.
It is not an essential when buying an electric toothbrush but certainly helps keep things clinical.
Automatic power off
As the name suggests, at the end of a cleaning cycle the brush will automatically power itself off.
This alerts you the clean is over and can save battery power.
Some models come with this option switched on as standard and you can turn it off if you like, whilst some models do not offer this auto power off at all.
If a brush does auto power off, you can restart the brush or end the clean early at any time if you choose.
Unless powered by AA or AAA batteries a brush will come with a charging stand or in some cases a charging cable.
The stand usually has a prong on it which fits into a recess in the base of the handle. The brush then charges over a period from 8-24 using a technology called inductive charging.
This technology offers a safe and convenient way or recharging the battery internally whilst helping maintain the water resistance of the handle. You can read our article how does an electric toothbrush work to learn more.
Most brushes can be left on charge permanently, but for optimum performance it is best to deplete the battery from time to time.
Select brushes are charged by plugging a cable directly into the brush handle. This has become more common as water resistance and sealing of electronic parts has improved. These brushes tend to connect to a universal USB port, rather than a country specific power adapter.
In the UK most charging stands have a 2 pin connector to be used with shaver sockets found in bathrooms. You can purchase adapters to use with 3 pin mains sockets in the UK.
Different stands will too support different voltages, something you need to be considerate of if you travel, particularly internationally. Read our 2 pin plug guide to learn more.
Whilst any brush is susceptible to failure, the removable caps required on a removable battery brush can be a weak point and affect the water resistance of the brush. Over time the seals can perish. This is not an issue on those with internal batteries.
Most electric toothbrushes be that Sonicare, Oral-B, Colgate etc with fixed internal or removable AA batteries tend to be water resistant.
By their very nature, they will come into contact with water and moisture. Therefore running the brush under a tap is fine.
Many choose to use their electric toothbrush in the shower, this is often fine too.*
Brushes are not designed to be submerged, so avoid this.
Those brushes with removable batteries tend to be more susceptible to failure as the seal will become worn over time.
It is also good practice to towel dry the brush off to prolong its life.
*Always check with the manufacturer or consult documentation before doing so to ensure it is safe.
An electric toothbrush needs an electric motor inside to be able to drive the cogs and gears to actually make the brush head move. A byproduct of this, is noise.
All electric toothbrushes we have seen and handled make some noise, but some are quieter than others.
Oral-B brushes tend to be the loudest in our opinion. It is a more mechanical sound. You can hear them when they are running and if you do not want to disturb others when cleaning your teeth, shutting the door is a must.
Philips Sonicare and Colgate brushes are much quieter. They tend to produce a different type of sound, a more prominent humming noise with a stronger and more obvious vibration through the handle.
LEDs/cleaning mode display
The best electric toothbrushes have LEDs or icons that light up to make it clear which of the cleaning modes available, is selected or is in use.
Sonicare and Colgate tend to offer such on their brushes, whilst Oral-B tend to reserve this for their more premium models.
Sonicare and Colgate do to have an LED above the name of the cleaning mode, whilst Oral-B have graphics that represent the mode. The name of the mode, rather than a graphic tends to be easier to comprehend.
When additional cleaning modes are available, a separate button that controls the cleaning mode is useful. Sonicare tend to offer this on most models, but Oral-B on a large number actually require the power button to be pressed multiple times to select the cleaning mode you desire. It is not a big issue, but a small difference that can really enhance your user experience.
Coming in a few different forms, we refer to a storage compartment as a tray or stand where spare/additional heads can be stored when not in use.
Some of the more premium models often come with spare or alternative heads and the storage compartment can be used to house them.
Some storage compartments have covers over them whilst others leave the heads exposed.
Particularly useful these are if you intend to make best use of the different cleaning modes on a brush and use a more suitable brush head, or if you wish to share the brush handle with another user.
If not supplied in the box, these can be purchased separately.
Becoming increasingly popular is the option of buying an electric toothbrush package that contains 2, rather than 1 brush handle in the box.
This is great for families or groups that require multiple handles and want to benefit from the cost savings that come with such.
Sonicare and Oral-B tend to lead in their product offerings, although they often take a different approach to what is included (subject to model).
Oral-B tends to offer an extra brush handle and brush head in the box with only 1 charging stand and travel case, to be shared by the handles.
Sonicare, on the other hand, provide 2 of everything. Thus each handle has a charging stand and travel case.
How does an electric toothbrush work?
You might well be wondering how all this technology comes together and what does an electric toothbrush really look like on the inside.
There is a lot of science and technological engineering that goes into making a brush.
Fundamentally, it is based on a power source (the battery) delivering current to a motor which uses a series of gears to turn and move the brush head.
We have taken a brush apart and explained (with no complicated science) how it works here.
Trial Periods/Try Before You Buy
Done your research and found the brush you want or at least think you want?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could now use it and actually get some time to decide whether it is the right brush for you?
Sadly, none really at this time have try in-store or at home before you buy scheme, but having the option of actually returning a brush a few weeks after buying and testing it would be great right?
The good news is leading brands like Oral-B and Colgate offer trial periods that last up to 30 days.
Sadly these are not marketed all that well.
Use the brush as much as you like within this time period and if you are then not satisfied and do not want to keep it, send the brush back for a refund.
This trial period is often marked on the side of the box and/or in the documentation that comes with the brush. Whilst the process will vary for each manufacturer, generally speaking an address will be provided for you to send the fully boxed brush back along with your proof of purchase. Once returned to them, they will issue a payment to you for the full price you paid for the brush.
Whilst the trial/test period will generally apply to all brushes within the Colgate and Oral-B range it is always worth double checking first if you feel this is an essential factor in your decision making process.
The electric toothbrush is not like a car, it does not need annual maintenance or servicing but there are small things you can do to prolong the life of the brush.
Keep your brush clean. Dental matter, water and residue toothpaste can build up on the toothbrush handle over time. Try and wipe this off and keep the brush in top condition. This post gives a bit more information on how to achieve that.
Optimise the battery. If the electric toothbrush has a built-in battery, it is good practice to put it through charging cycles that encourage the battery to perform at its best for longest. Always consult your instruction manual for you particular brush model for directions on how best to do this.
Warranty & Guarantee
2 years or 24 months tends to be the standard time that electric toothbrushes are covered under warranty.
This warranty or guarantee covers products that should stop working or functioning correctly as a result of poor workmanship or failure of parts.
Warranties do not cover damage and faults that are a result of user damage.
For example, if the brush no longer powers on or off, or the battery is lasting only one day rather than 7, such faults would normally be covered. However, if the brush was faulty because it had been dropped and the plastic housing shattered, this would not be.
Some brands, particularly Oral-B do offer extended guarantees. In Oral-B’s case this is a free extension that lasts a further 12 months, to take the total to 3 years or 36 months.
To obtain this all you need do is complete a registration process, within 24 months of purchasing your electric toothbrush.
If the inevitable happens and the brush fails thus requiring repair by the manufacturer, you can send the brush in for a free of charge assessment and repair.
As important as your electric toothbrush
Whether you have decided on your electric toothbrush or not, there are other factors that are almost, if not as important as the brush itself and the act of cleaning your teeth.
- Brush your teeth regularly and properly
- “The way you use your toothbrush is just as important as the one you choose” — British Dental Association spokeswoman — BBC
- Whether its a £5 or £500 toothbrush, just 4 minutes a day, or regular brushing, with the correct technique is a massive step forward in better oral hygiene.
- Floss once a day, it reaches the 40% of tooth surfaces that regular brushing doesn’t.
- Use a fluoride based paste and you are on the right track.
- Change your brush head/toothbrush every 3 months
- The use of the brush wears the bristles down and reduces the effectiveness, to the point the bristles may do more damage than good
Comments & Questions
If there’s anything you would like to ask our opinion on, or you have any questions, please leave a comments below and we’ll be happy to help.
Cheap electric toothbrush
An electric toothbrush is a great substitute for a manual toothbrush. It does a deep-cleaning job, ensuring that the oscillating bristles reach hidden areas in just two minutes.
Electric toothbrushes come with pressure sensors to alert you when you are brushing your teeth in a forceful manner.Additionally, they offer timers that can automatically stop the brushing action when the recommended time is up.
The best cheap electric toothbrush is classified based on the sort of power technology they use and the action they use to move bristles—vibration or oscillation/rotation.
To get a power toothbrush that uses the same brushing technique as your manual, choose the vibrating type.
Oscillating or rotating electric toothbrushes clean each tooth at a time. They can be gentle and fun to use if moved slowly along the gum line and teeth.
Both types of toothbrushes are reliable as they use rechargeable batteries and are great for plaque removal. Some can remove up to two times more plaque than manual toothbrushes.
To help you choose the best, we have discussed four great electric toothbrushes. If you’ve a healthy budget then check out our top electric toothbrush list.
Top 10 cheap electric toothbrush comparison chart
|Image||Brand and name||Brushing movements||Brushing modes||Battery life|
|Philips Essence 5600 Editor’s choice||31000 stokes||1||upto 2 weeks|
|Philips Sonicare 2 Series||31000 stokes||1||upto 2 weeks|
|Wellness HP-STX||36000 stokes||3||upto 2 weeks|
|Panasonic EW-DL90QW||28500 stokes||2||upto 3 weeks|
|Xtech XHST-100||40000 stokes||5||upto 2 weeks|
|Pursonic S500||40000 stokes||3||upto 10 days|
|Pursonic Rechargeable Rotary Toothbrush||40000 stokes||3||upto 10 days|
|Ivation Electric Toothbrush||41000 stokes||3||N/a|
|CUH Ultrasonic Toothbrush||40000 stokes||5||upto 2 weeks|
|Oral-B PRO 1000||40,000 pulsations and 8,800 oscillations||1||upto 7 days|
Our pick top 4 cheap electric toothbrushes
1. Philips Sonicare HX5610/30 Essence 5600 Rechargeable
Philips is a large international company that manufactures electric toothbrushes among other household appliances. Its Sonicare HX5610/30 5600 is a rechargeable electric toothbrush that boasts millions of users so far.
Compared with the manual toothbrush, the Sonicare HX5610/30 removes two times more plaque. Its distinctive dynamic cleaning action will gently drive fluids between your teeth and gumline, ensuring that you achieve the freshest breath.
The product offers a superior clean, of course, mainly with its angled brush head neck that facilitates the bristles’ cleaning action. The product is so far proven to enhance oral health and is continuallyrecommended by dentists.
I bought my Sonicare HX5610/30 5600 because my dentist recommended it to me. And so far I could never stop smiling at people as my teeth are whiter and my breath is constantly fresh.
The fact that this powerful toothbrush is recommend by doctors shows that it is clinically safe and gentle. While most electric brushes lack a timer, this Sonicare Essence 5600 power brush offers you a Smartimer that limits brushing to two minutes only.
What is more, the product is designed with you in mind in the sense that you get an easy start program to acclimate you to the Sonicare electric toothbrushexperience. Above all you hold a soft grip handle that lets you have better handling experience.
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- Uses Sonic technology that propels the bristles along the gum line and deeper between your teeth to remove hidden plaque.
- Angled brush head neck to access the back of teeth.
- Safe, gentle, affordable and attractive.
- Usable with all dental restorations.
- It is the best electric toothbrush I have come across so far but I wish it has a quadpacer.
2. Oral-B Professional Deep Sweep Triaction 1000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Oral-B is among the top manufacturers of electric toothbrushes and they have many products. One of the leading designs is the Deep Sweep Triaction 1000.
A rechargeable battery power toothbrush, the Deep Sweep offers a triple action deep cleaning job. According to Oral-B, the brush is able to remove up to one hundred percent more plaque that has lodged between your teeth.
Featuring an ultra-modern brush head, with three cleaning zones, this powerful toothbrush is ideal for those who need cleaner teeth and healthier gum lines.
These zones include: the moving power tip; designed for the hidden back teeth, the shorter dormant bristles; for careful surface cleaning, and longer bristles for deep cleaning.
The Triaction 1000 offers a visual pressure sensor that warns you when the brushing speed is harmfully high. There is no doubt that Oral-B offers superior plaque removal through their Deep Sweep electric toothbrush.
It is the item you require to get rid of gingivitis or even to reverse it. Offering up to 20,000 pulsations per minute and 8,800 sweeps per minute, you can see where the uniqueness of this item comes from.
Rather than continuing to use your manual toothbrush, get your Oral-B’s electric style. Once you get it, just like me, you will not be sorry. It does a great job.
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- Offers triple action deep cleaning technology that ensures top plaque removal.
- High oscillation and sweeping speed
- Battery that can last seven days when brushing twice a day for two minutes.
- A quad pacer or timer that offers 3-second cleaning intervals.
- It is not as quick as Oral-B’s other expensive models
- Lacks a sensitive setting and a travel case.
3. Health HP-STX Ultra High Powered Sonic Electric Toothbrush with Dock Charger & 10 Brushes Heads
Have you tried to floss with a piece of string? It is not enjoyable at all and does not reach your hidden back teeth as effectively as an electric brush would.
This is why we are introducing the Health HP-STX Ultra High Powered Sonic, an electric toothbrush from Wellness HealthPro.
It uses the highly popular Sonic Technology that triggers thirty-thousand powerful strokes per minute in order to remove plaque and bacteria that manual toothbrushes do not reach. The product offers this:
- Offers an ergonomic rubber handle to facilitate hand movement and control.
- Battery life is up to two weeks and it can be recharged when the indicator light starts to blink.
- Uses an angled neck to ensure that even the teeth at the back are thoroughly cleaned.
- Uses Sonic Technology that offers 31,000 strokes per minute, removing double the amount of plaque removed by the manual toothbrush.
- Three cleaning modes including Soft/Gentle, Massage and Power/clean.
- A Timer/Alert that automatically shuts off the toothbrush after every thirty seconds to warn you of over-brushing and after two minutes to stop you from brushing some more.
- Three pulse modes: normal; 3000pulses, soft; 1600pulses and pulse.
- One unit can be used by everyone as the product offers 10 brush heads in different colors for easier identification. Brush heads are easy to remove after use to allow the next person to use the main unit.
- A cordless slim build, hence allowing easier travel.
- Clinically designed for people who are sick of flossing.
Less from normal price >> Health HP-STX Ultra High Powered Sonic Electric Toothbrush
- Offers a very high cleaning speed which allows quick plaque and bacterial removal than flossing ever would.
- Offers a timer that guides you through the two-minute process of brushing.
- Provides you with many brush heads.
- Comes with a docking station offering storage space for 4 brush heads.
- Though I have this brush, and I like it, there does not seem to be many reviews about it online.
4. Wellness 48,000 Ultra High Powered Sonic Electric Toothbrush and Charging Dock with 6 Heads
This is another electric toothbrush from Wellness. The 48000, Ultra High Speed toothbrush is ideal for anyone who wants to remove plaque and bacteria with ease.
Offering 48000 strokes per minute, this Wellness toothbrush is the quickest they have produced so far. It uses the popular sonic wave technology to clean your teeth.
As a result of the many strokes it offers, fluids are driven deeper and deeper into the spaces between your teeth as well as gumline.
Hence you end up with a healthier mouth. The product is made for everyone, even those who have braces, implants, sensitive teeth, and veneers.
A massage setting is integrated into the toothbrush, allowing it to brush your teeth soothingly and safely. It is being used often by people who have halitosis and other oral issues.
As it has contoured bristles that look like the shape of your teeth, the Wellness 48000 UHS toothbrush’s neck is able to reach the teeth in the back of your mouth.
Additionally, simply brushing over your teeth with light, minimal pressure is enough to make them spotless. The product offers you a timer that will automatically stop the brushing action after two minutes and as you move from a quadrant to another it will stop the brush every thirty seconds.