Electric toothbrushes are an increasingly common sight in the bathroom. Dental health is important and of course we want to do the best we can to make sure we have a fresh mouth and a gleaming smile. An electric toothbrush is more effective than a manual toothbrush, and promotes good oral hygiene. This means that it effectively counteracts caries, plaque and gum inflammation. Compared with manual toothbrushes, the teeth are also whiter after discolouration and spots from coffee and tobacco. Often it feels like you have to stand there for an age when you're brushing your teeth, although that’s not really true. But the majority of electric toothbrushes have some form of built-in timer which helps you brush your teeth long enough to get them really clean.
Cheaper variants often have fewer refinements and accessories. Do you really need all these modern features? Of course it's an individual choice, but if you've decided to invest in better dental health, a higher price multi-function model can be a wise choice to make brushing your teeth both more enjoyable and more effective.
Clinical findings show that battery-powered electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual toothbrushes. We have only tested electric toothbrushes from the biggest brands; Oral-B, which is manufactured by Braun, and Philips. Both claim to be the most recommended by dentists and dental hygienists. There are a number of differences in the techniques used by these electric toothbrushes. Oral-B toothbrushes pulse and rotate in an oscillating movement, while Philips toothbrushes vibrate in a sonic, pulsing movement which stimulates the saliva. The brushing feel is different and which you prefer is a personal choice. Both techniques are gentle and effective at removing plaque and bacterial film. They also produce a cleaner and fresher feeling in the mouth than a manual toothbrush.
Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes. Move the electrical toothbrush gently and slowly from tooth to tooth. Don't scrub, but allow the toothbrush to do the work for you. Pause for a little while on each tooth before moving on. First brush the outside of the teeth, then the inside. Be extra careful at the gum line where plaque and bacterial film often build up. End with the biting surfaces of the side teeth. All electric toothbrushes in the test can guarantee the right brushing pressure. You should change the brush head every three months according to the manufacturer's instructions. Supplement with dental floss or toothpicks and a tongue scraper to counteract caries, periodontitis and bad breath.
We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. A dental hygienist was responsible for the test structure and decided which test parameters should be reviewed. A number of different users took part in the test; both experienced and inexperienced electric toothbrush users. Children from 2 to 7 years used children’s toothbrushes. We have focused on examining the following parameters:
Function: Type of brushing technique (oscillations, rotations, pulses). Motor power, brush mode and design of brush head. Relevant accessories and app support. Charging and any travel kit.
Use and ergonomics: What is the electric toothbrush like to use – grip, control and accuracy? How well does the handle fit larger, medium or child’s hands? Does the electric toothbrush have useful functions to motivate the user to brush their teeth better?
The electric toothbrushes' value for money is based on how well the models fulfil expectations for the above parameters in relation to price. We retain the electric toothbrushes that perform well for longer-term testing, in many cases several years, and continuously add updates to the reviews.
The Oral-B Pro 2000 is a basic model in Braun’s Pro series. Models with a higher serial number have more accessories, brush heads, app support, timers and brush modes, but ultimately it's the same electric toothbrush with the same very effective motor. This makes the Oral-B Pro 2000 incredibly good value for money as the “normal” brush mode oscillates, rotates and feels exactly like the significantly more expensive models in the 4000, 5000 and 7000 series. Of course it's fun to experiment with apps and different functions, but our view is that it's the “normal” brush mode that most people use on a daily basis. Apart from this mode, you can activate the “Gum Care” mode by pressing the button once more for a type of massage that pulses in intensity.
The small round brush head makes it easy to carry out accurate brushing in areas where there is a lot of bacterial build up, for example on the teeth closest to the gum line and the molars. The handle is comfortable for both large and small hands and a warning lamp flashes if you press too hard. This is a useful function, particularly for new users. If you have a lot of problems with plaque or need extra motivation in your toothbrushing, however, it can be worth buying a more expensive model with more brush modes, brush heads and app support. But if you feel that you simply want a really good electric toothbrush, the Oral-B Pro 2000 delivers exactly that, and for an unbeatable price.
The Oral-B Genius 9000 is the next-generation electric toothbrush, equipped with its own app. This is really well designed and engaging, and after a while you realise that it has actually become more enjoyable to brush your teeth. The app shows exactly where in the mouth you should brush, how clean your teeth are and when it’s time to move your brush to another position. Brushing can be tailor-made to your own personal oral health, which you can either do yourself or in consultation with a dental hygienist or dentist. The Genius 9000 includes a holder for your mobile phone, so that you can attach it to the wall or on a mirror and see it properly as you brush. And if you really want to make brushing your teeth personalised, you can also change the colour of the lamp built into the brush.
And if you’re not interested in gadgets, the Oral-B Genius 9000 also has plenty of practical properties that justify its substantial price. The brush has a number of different programmes which you can easily change simply by pressing a button. The most usable are the normal brushing and the mode for cleaning between the teeth. The modes for polishing and brushing the tongue don’t have as noticeable an effect. The motor in the Genius 9000 is strong, with a highly effective 10,500 oscillations/rotations and 40,000 pulses per minute. Even people who have previous long experience of using an electric toothbrush get the wow factor with the Oral-B Genius 9000. Our testers said that their mouths had never felt cleaner and that brushing their teeth had never been more entertaining. The price is high, but if you have a substantial budget for your electric toothbrush, the Genius 9000 is an excellent choice.
The first time you brush your teeth with the Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean, your mouth tingles. It’s interesting rather than uncomfortable; something you have to experience to understand. 31,000 pulsing rotations per minute stimulate the production of saliva, and you have to keep your mouth shut otherwise you’re likely to splash all over the bathroom mirror. The sonic brushing technique propels the liquid in between the teeth and along the gum line. After a few days you learn to enjoy Philips’ brushing technique, and your mouth will feel clean and fresh.
We think that Philips make the most attractive electric toothbrushes on the market. The battery life is excellent, and the toothbrush includes a glass that functions as a wireless charging station – a stylish and practical solution that works on both 110 and 230 volt supplies. It also includes a travel case that can be charged via USB which is also practical as you don’t have to take a special charger with you. The brush is relatively light while the grip is slim and ergonomically designed, which makes it easier to reach your molars. There are five brushing programmes and a built-in timer tells you when you have finished each quarter of your mouth. The timer isn’t as educational as Oral-B’s more expensive models, but still works well. If you have learned to love Philips’ brushing technique, you’ll absolutely want to carry on with it.
The Oral-B SmartSeries 5000 is an update of the incredibly popular and competent Oral-B Pro 5000 Triumph. Essentially it’s the same electric toothbrush with the same high quality impression, but with a few interesting improvements. One major new feature is that the electric toothbrush can be paired with your smartphone via Bluetooth. An app guides you as you brush your teeth and tells you when it’s time to change to the next quarter. The app also provides you with data and statistics, which is excellent for anyone who needs a little extra motivation to achieve better dental health. The handle has also been updated and is now considerably easier to grip and manoeuvre, even for small children’s hands.
The brushing speed is the same as before; it rotates, oscillates and pulses thousands of times a minute, which is very effective against spots and plaque. The feeling of cleanliness is very good, and compared with a normal manual toothbrush it’s like night and day. The different brushing programmes make it easy to find a personal favourite. Three different brush heads that match the programmes are included with the toothbrush. The brush automatically reduces speed if you press too hard. The Oral-B SmartSeries 5000 is better than its predecessor but the price is relatively high.
Philips’ previous top model has a narrow rubberised grip with tastefully chromed details. The model is so attractive that you could even have it on display in the most exclusive bathroom environments. The low weight and handle design make it easy to reach difficult to access areas of the mouth, even for children. The brush is also effective against both plaque and spots. When the brushing programme is finished, a timer automatically turns off the electric toothbrush. It takes a little while to get used to Philips’ sonic pulsing technique, but in the end you start to enjoy the feeling more and more. The battery lasts a long time and the charger works on both 110 and 230 volt supplies.
Philips Sonicare For Kids is a children’s electric toothbrush which has succeeded in impressing in practically all areas, but unfortunately falls short right on the finishing line. It’s the design of the actual brush head that we can’t quite get to grips with. It’s always a challenge to get right to the back of the mouth and into the spaces between the teeth, but it’s extra complicated in a small child's mouth. And yet Philips have chosen to make their brush head rectangular and relatively large. For the smallest children it’s doubtful whether they’ll be able to reach everywhere, although it works better for bigger children. We would have preferred to see a small, round brush head.
Otherwise, however, the Philips Sonicare For Kids feels very well designed for its target group. The toothbrush includes a number of stickers so that the child can choose the appearance of the toothbrush. The colours are bright and cheerful, and the chargeable handle works well with different hand sizes. The motor is both strong and effective. The electric toothbrush has a fun music loop that signals when it’s time to change side in the mouth and when to change from the lower to upper teeth. There’s also a “Kid timer” that over 90 days gradually increases brushing time to the recommended length of 2.5 minutes. The child unconsciously gets used to brushing for longer and longer. With the Philips Sonicare For Kids, toothbrushing has undoubtedly become both simpler and more enjoyable. With a more easy to manage brush head it would have got top marks.
The Pro 7000 is the most advanced electric toothbrush from Oral-B. It's also the most intelligent, and apparently its processor has greater calculation capacity than in the Apollo 12 moon rocket. Externally, the toothbrush is very similar to the Oral-B PC 5500 Triumph - the previous top model. Much of the functionality is also the same, such as the brush speed and the wireless smart guide. However, there are some interesting new functions; for example an extra brushing programme for scraping the tongue.
The major new aspect is that the Oral-B Pro 7000 has Bluetooth technology. This may sound like a gimmick, but for statistics nerds it takes brushing your teeth into the future. With an app for iPhone and Android, you get real-time information about your toothbrushing with brushing tips and advice straight to your phone. You also get statistics and analysis of your brushing sessions. The app also tells you when it's time to change brushing head. The integrated pressure sensor automatically reduces the brushing speed if you press too hard. The Oral-B Pro 7000 is a premium product with a premium price. However, we feel that as it stands its predecessor, the Oral-B Professional Care 5500 Triumph, gave more for the money.
The Oral-B Pro 600 is an electric toothbrush that will quickly become a faithful companion in your everyday bathroom routine. If you’re primarily interested in good, thorough brushing and place less value on extra functions, the Pro 600 is a good budget alternative. The electric toothbrush includes a chargeable handle, a charging station and a brush head. The Pro 600 can also be supplemented with other brush heads and is compatible with heads including Cross Action, Sensitive Clean, Floss Action, 3D White and Trizone. The toothbrush has one brush mode, Daily Clean, which works at 8800 oscillations/rotations and 20,000 pulses per minute.
The Pro 600 has a light indicator showing the battery charge. The use period for a full charge is around 30 minutes, which corresponds to around 6-7 days if you brush for 2 minutes both morning and evening. The toothbrush also has a mechanical pressure sensor to ensure gentle brushing, together with a two-minute timer to make sure you use it for the recommended brushing time. In comparison with the Oral-B Pro 2000, the Pro 600 feels like it’s running on low batteries. There simply isn’t the same power in the motor. But it’s still better than a normal manual toothbrush and does its job faithfully for long periods without losing effectiveness. The Oral-B Pro 600 is therefore recommended to anyone who wants a good electric toothbrush without spending much on buying one.
The Oral-B Stages Power is Oral-B’s children’s toothbrush, which is primarily obvious from the bright colours and the fact that the toothbrush is available in designs based on a number of different cartoon characters. The electric toothbrush includes a charging station, a chargeable handle and a soft toothbrush head. The head is round and feels very suitable for the target group, and according to Oral-B the toothbrush can be used by children from three years and upwards. But even in slightly smaller mouths it’s easy to get in between teeth and right to the back of the mouth. The Oral-B Stages Power has a melody that plays after a minute’s brushing, which is a signal that it's time to change from upper to lower teeth or vice versa.
The packaging promises more enjoyable teeth brushing and that children will brush their teeth for up to 90% longer. This may sound like marketing spiel from the manufacturer, but our experience is that children actually find electric toothbrushes fun and are more patient about opening wide. This makes an electric toothbrush for children a good buy if you want to invest in dental health. However, the actual toothbrush itself isn’t so impressive. The motor sounds tired and slow from the start – about like a normal Oral-B toothbrush was in terms of efficiency several years ago. The wow factor that you get from using an Oral-B electric toothbrush for adults is unfortunately completely absent, and it feels like it’s time for an update so that the Oral-B Stages Power is as good value for money as the brand’s other models.
The Oral-B Pro 700 and the slightly cheaper Pro 600 model are confusingly similar. The fact that the price also only differs marginally makes it difficult for a layman to understand what it is that distinguishes one electric toothbrush from the other. Ultimately it turns out that the Oral-B Pro 700 has a slightly more updated design. On the inside, however, they are both the same. The Pro 700 includes a charging station, chargeable handle and a brush head. The electric toothbrush is compatible with all types of brush heads from Oral-B, which includes Cross Action, Sensi Clean, 3D White, Floss Action and TriZone.
When the Pro 700 is fully charged, the battery lasts for around a week's use assuming that you brush for about two minutes a time twice a day. The electric toothbrush has a built-in mechanical pressure sensor, one brush mode and a battery indicator on the handle. With 8800 oscillations/rotations and 20,000 pulses a minute, the Pro 700 does a reasonable job, but compared with the Pro 2000 from Oral-B this motor feels both old and tired. The difference can be heard immediately. If you’re looking for a good value for money budget model electric toothbrush, the Pro 600 is a better choice; we don't recommend paying the extra for the design of the Pro 700. If your budget is a little bigger, we think you should instead go for Oral-B’s 2000 series to really get good value for money.