You’re looking to upgrade your toothbrush. You’ve done your research and understand the importance of your oral health, so you want the best, but gone are the days of using just a simple manual toothbrush! Toothbrush technology has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years, with features such as alerting you when you need to change heads or when you are brushing too hard. You can even connect your toothbrush to your phone to optimize your brushing! So now we want to help you to find the best electric toothbrush for you.
Why trust us? As a diagnostic radiographer, I have worked alongside dentists and orthodontists, producing high-quality images that showcase the effects of long-term poor oral hygiene and oral/maxillofacial trauma. I have seen many cases of the devastating effects of not looking after your teeth.
To write this article, I worked with Susan, our resident dental expert who has 35 years’ experience as a dental hygienist. We spent over 60 hours thoroughly researching, testing and reviewing hundreds of different models of electric toothbrushes.
Table Of Contents
- 1 List Of The Best Electric Toothbrushes
- 2 Best Overall Electric Toothbrush: Oral-B Genius Pro 8000
- 3 Best Sonic Electric Toothbrush: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100
- 4 Best Oscillating-Rotating Electric Toothbrush: Oral-B 7000 SmartSeries
- 5 Best Value Electric Toothbrush: Oral-B Pro 1000
- 6 Best For Travel: Fairywill Sonic Electric Toothbrush
- 7 Best For Starting Out With Sonic: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
- 8 We Don’t Recommend: Colgate 360 Advanced Whitening
- 9 Buyer’s Guide
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions
- 11 Final Verdict
List Of The Best Electric Toothbrushes
Best Overall Electric Toothbrush: Oral-B Genius Pro 8000
Editor’s Choice: The Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 is an electric toothbrush full of bells and whistles! It boasts the most brushing modes out of all the models we tested and adds in smart connectivity, different timer options and even a charging travel case. We are confident that this oscillating-rotating toothbrush is the best electric toothbrush around.
Boasting 6 different brushing modes, this Oral B toothbrush gives you a deep, thorough scrub for your whole mouth. The settings include:
- Daily cleaning
- Pro clean
- 3D whiten
- Gum care
- Tongue clean
They are designed to give you optimal cleaning throughout your mouth. They all feel completely different on your teeth, and the handle displays the setting you have chosen.
Rather than just a quad pacer function, the Genius Pro 8000 has position detection, which helps you to ensure you cover every area of your mouth thoroughly. It pairs with your smartphone, using a free app that you can download, and to improve the accuracy you can give it access to your camera, which uses facial recognition to improve the readings. It also gives you a smartphone holder to attach to your mirror. Although not absolutely necessary for an electric toothbrush, we found the position detection was very accurate, and it can be a great way to ensure your kids brush thoroughly each time!
To prevent you from brushing too hard and potentially damaging your gums, the Genius 8000 also has a pressure sensor, and if you press too hard the smart ring will turn red and the vibration will change, to alert you to relax your brushing. We found this visual reminder in the bathroom mirror was more effective than models that offer just vibration alerts.
Best Sonic Electric Toothbrush: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100
Editor’s Choice: Boasting the ability to whiten your teeth in a week, compared to manual toothbrushes, the Philips Sonicare 6100 is a gentle, yet highly effective toothbrush. It is lightweight, intuitive and extremely quiet. We believe it is the best sonic toothbrush.
It may have half the brushing modes of the other Editor’s Choice toothbrush, but the Philips Sonicare 6100 makes up for it in technology. As well as the desirable quad pacer and pressure sensor, it offers Easy Start settings and replacement reminders. The toothbrush is lightweight but feels well-built, and we love the handle’s soft, tactile finish! It includes a DiamondClean toothbrush head, but it is also compatible with other Philips Sonicare brush heads. The DiamondClean heads are ideal for stain removal and maintaining your dental color after whitening treatments.
The Easy Start setting is initiated when you first start using the new toothbrush. It is designed to gradually increase the brushing power over the first 14 uses, to help you get used to it. We think this is a brilliant feature because some people may experience bleeding or sensitive gums when they first move over to an electric toothbrush, and this setting aims to reduce the discomfort you feel and give your gums the chance to build resilience to the new brushing experience. However, if you are already used to an electric toothbrush, you can disable this setting.
We love that you have so much control over this toothbrush. You can select between the three modes: Clean, White and Gum Care, but you can also select one of three intensity levels for each setting, so if you have a particular area that is sensitive, you can drop down the intensity and still deliver a thorough clean, without causing discomfort.
Best Oscillating-Rotating Electric Toothbrush: Oral-B 7000 SmartSeries
The 7000 SmartSeries performed extremely well. Just like its Genius Pro 8000 counterpart, it is part of the same group of electric toothbrushes that were awarded the ADA Seal of Acceptance. It has 6 brushing modes and pairs with your smartphone app to give you real-time brushing feedback. It also works with the same variety of Oral-B heads, of which there is something for everyone.
The Best Travel Case
Of all the toothbrushes we considered, this was the smartest-looking, most protective case for travelling. Its tactile cover snaps open to hold the toothbrush handle and two heads. The toothbrush also felt very solid and well made, and we love the silver and black design. However, we would have preferred to have black brush heads, as the white heads slightly reduced the sleekness!
We really like that this toothbrush set includes a Smart Guide, a water-resistant timer that connects to your toothbrush via Bluetooth and works with the two-minute timer to ensure you have brushed each quadrant of your mouth. We really liked its display of how long you have left to go each time you brush and which brushing mode you have selected. However, we didn’t like that without the Smart Guide you cannot see which setting you have selected, as it isn’t displayed on the handle at all. Unless you have a good ear for telling which mode is which, you will need to look at the Smart Guide, which is fine at home, but a little frustrating if you are away; it is another thing to remember to pack and potentially lose or leave behind on a trip!
Best Value Electric Toothbrush: Oral-B Pro 1000
If you’re looking for a well-built toothbrush without the bells and whistles, which still performs well, look no further than the Oral-B Pro 1000. It doesn’t have the smart capabilities of the previous Oral-B toothbrushes, but it does have the most important features; a pressure sensor and a two-minute timer with a 30-second pacer, and we believe it is the best budget electric toothbrush.
One Brushing Mode
Our model came without instructions, however, unlike the other toothbrushes we tested, the Oral-B Pro 1000 only has one brushing mode, Daily Clean, and it is very easy to set up, so it didn’t matter. Despite only having a single brushing setting, it can remove 300% more plaque along your gum lines than a regular toothbrush. It is an oscillating, rotating, pulsating toothbrush and comes with a CrossACtion head, but it works with all of the same Oral-B replacement toothbrush heads that you can use with the higher-tech models:
- 3D White
- Sensitive Clean
- Precision Clean
- Deep Sweep
- Dual Clean
Compared to the other Oral-B toothbrushes, this one does feel a bit more basic. Nevertheless, it gives your teeth a fantastic clean, and it is still backed by the ADA to reduce plaque and prevent and reduce gingivitis.
Best For Travel: Fairywill Sonic Electric Toothbrush
The Fairywill Sonic Electric Toothbrush is the best option for travelling because it takes up such a small amount of space and has fantastic battery life. It comes with three heads and a protective cap to ensure the bristles aren’t damaged in transit! It also has three brushing settings: clean, sensitive and massage.
Up To 30 Hours Of Charge
This Fairywill Toothbrush gave us the longest battery life out of all the models we tested: 30 days of use. It means that you can completely forget about charging it for the duration of most trips, and if you are going for longer, you needn’t take a chunky charger as it charges from a slim, lightweight USB cable! You can also charge it from a battery pack or maybe even a laptop, but this means that the toothbrush and charger need to be completely dry when charging.
“W” Shaped Brush Heads
These heads were completely different from the other models. They have soft bristles that are good for sensitive teeth. The W design is intended to reach deeper for more thorough cleaning, but it still feels gentle.
Best For Starting Out With Sonic: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 is a more basic version of the 6100. It gives you just one brushing mode and you cannot change the intensity. Despite that, it gives you a very gentle, yet effective clean, and can improve your gum health up to 100% more than a manual toothbrush. It is compatible with Philips Sonicare replacement heads, including the DiamondClean heads.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends changing your toothbrush (head) every three to four months, however, depending on how often or how hard you brush, you may need to replace it more often. The Philips Sonicare 4100, just like the 6100, tracks the usage of a head, including the pressure you apply and the time you use it, to determine the optimal time to replace your brush head. When it’s time to change, it illuminates a light on the handle to alert you. We think this is a great feature, but it may not work if you are sharing the handle with family members, with each person having their own brush head.
We Don’t Recommend: Colgate 360 Advanced Whitening
Colgate is one of the best-known brands for oral care in the world, standing alongside Oral-B for toothpaste and mouthwashes, and many of their products have the ADA’s Seal Of Acceptance. However, this electric toothbrush was a disappointment. It is very lightweight, but feels cheap. It is powered by 2 AA batteries, so it isn’t rechargeable. It only has one mode and it turns itself off after two minutes. It is very gentle, but we didn’t feel we were getting as high quality cleaning with this brush.
Having said that, it is a very cheap option, considerably cheaper than any of the models we have mentioned here, and it is easy to use. The batteries are also easy to install and replace. So if you are looking for a small, cheap electric toothbrush to keep in your handbag or your desk at work, or for a temporary toothbrush while you are traveling, then it may be worth a look.
Why You Need to Upgrade To An Electric Toothbrush
Your oral hygiene is one of the most important aspects of your daily routine, because your oral health affects your overall health. Poor oral health is linked with cardiovascular disease and lung disease, so it is important to look after your teeth and gums. That’s why when you are searching for a new toothbrush, electric is the best way forward.
Electric toothbrushes deliver a better brushing action that is superior for removing plaque and controlling gingivitis, and when used properly, they are gentler on your dental tissues. For example, studies have found that people brush harder when using a manual toothbrush in comparison with both oscillating-rotating and sonic electric toothbrushes.
How We Picked And Tested These Toothbrushes
To decide which electric toothbrushes we should test, we spent may hours researching different models and reading clinical studies on dental care. We read consumer experiences and considered popular and less well-known electric toothbrushes. We then narrowed down our list of electric toothbrushes to test in-house.
We considered all elements of the electric toothbrushes from start to finish, from the cost, ease of setup, features, replacement parts and practicality. We tested each toothbrush independently, considering comfort, versatility and cleaning ability. We compared the manufacturers’ independent studies along with our own results and finally decided on the list we have here.
Sonic Vs Oscillating
There are two main types of electric toothbrush available to buy: sonic toothbrushes and oscillating-rotating toothbrushes. It is widely known and proven that both types are more effective than manual toothbrushes, particularly at removing plaque.
A sonic toothbrush typically has a brush head that is shaped similarly to a regular manual brush. The brush head vibrates at around 260 times per second, which means it gives 31,000 or more brush strokes per minute. This gently brushes the surfaces of your teeth and gums, in a similar way to the ‘Proper Technique’ of using a manual toothbrush, just at a much faster rate.
It is thought that as well as brushing away food debris and plaque, sonic toothbrushes create waves in the toothpaste and water in your mouth. This creates tiny bubbles that help to get into the tight spaces in your mouth, therefore shifting even more plaque.
An oscillating-rotating toothbrush works to clean your teeth in a different way. Firstly, the brush heads are a different style. Instead of being shaped similarly to manual toothbrushes, oscillating-rotating toothbrush heads are typically a stalk with a round tip.
The round tip is the part that holds the bristles – which come in different styles and configurations. Instead of the whole brush head vibrating, just the tip with the bristles moves.
So Which Is Better, Sonic Or Oscillating-Rotating?
Many studies have looked into comparing the two different types of toothbrush. The general consensus is that oscillating-rotating toothbrushes produce superior results with equal use. For example, take a look at these studies published in 2007, 2009 and 2012. But it is also agreed that both options are significantly better than using a manual toothbrush alone; see these studies published in the British Dental Journal and American Journal of Dentistry.
As well as the actual brushing motion, it is worth considering the other features, which can increase the efficacy of electric toothbrushes – some of which may not have been available at the time of these studies. For example, the 2-minute timer and 30-second pacer features help you to ensure you achieve the full 2-minute optimum brushing time.
More recent technological advances have enabled features such as motion tracking with real-time feedback from smartphone apps, which helps you realize the areas where you are falling short. No manual toothbrush will give you these features, so it is hardly surprising that you will see an improvement in your oral condition when you make the switch to an electric toothbrush, regardless of which type you choose.
In the end, it really does come down to your personal preference, but for a personalized recommendation, speak to your dentist.
Features You Need And Those You Don’t
- Pressure Sensors: although tooth brushing can cause gingival abrasions, it is not known how they relate to gingival recession, so while brushing too hard may not cause long-term damage to your dental tissues, brushing too hard can cause discomfort. Therefore, dentists and hygienists advise choosing an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor.
- 2 minute timer: although the suggested 2 minutes of brushing isn’t a long time, studies such as that by Beals et. Al found that people spend an average of 46 seconds brushing their teeth each time – less than half the time that dentists recommend, so a 2 minute timer is essential, to ensure you are achieving that optimum brushing time, regularly!
- 30 second pacer: a step up from the 2-minute timer! A pacer helps you to ensure that you are cleaning each quadrant of your mouth evenly, so you are not overdoing one area, or insufficiently cleaning another. Some electric toothbrushes even give you the ability to turn it into a 20-second pacer, for even more specific brushing. We thoroughly recommend getting an electric toothbrush with a 30-second pacer.
- App connectivity: while not absolutely essential, app connectivity, such as that from Oral-B, can give you detailed information about your dental routine. Apps connect your toothbrush to your phone, and can help you to set targets, improve how you brush your teeth and ensure you are hitting your dental targets, including giving you flossing reminders. This is also a great way to get kids interested in tooth brushing!
- Replacement reminders: it isn’t essential, as most people know to replace their toothbrush head every 3 months (on average). However, if you’re forgetful, this may be a good feature to have.
Frequently Asked Questions
In our opinion, the best electric toothbrush on the market is the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000. It boasts 6 brushing modes, each giving you a fantastic clean, and it connects to your phone to help you to optimise how you clean your teeth. The second-best electric toothbrush on the market is the Philips Sonicare 6100, which lets you control the brushing setting, intensity level and even reminds you to change the toothbrush head!
No, when used properly, an electric toothbrush should not damage teeth, or dislodge full veneer crowns. They have many benefits for your overall oral health.
In our opinion, an Oral-B toothbrush is better because studies have found oscillating-rotating toothbrushes are thought to produce superior results with equal use, however both types of electric toothbrush are significantly better than manual brushing, so it is down to your personal preference. The best Oral-B model is the Genius Pro 8000, while the best Sonicare toothbrush is the 6100.
You should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, as recommended by both the American Dental Association and the NHS. This helps you to maintain a good oral condition between dentist visits. However, you should also ensure you are flossing your teeth daily, as flossing helps to reach the areas that your toothbrush cannot.
No, only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar. Attempting to remove tartar at home can cause serious damage to your teeth and gums. However, brushing and flossing your teeth regularly between dentist visits can help reduce plaque buildup, which also reduces tartar.
Overall, the best electric toothbrush is the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000, and the second best is the Philips Sonicare 6100. We hope we have helped you to choose the best model for you. Please visit our blog if you would like to find out more about dental care.