Any good electric toothbrush is easy to use, comes with extra bristle heads, improves your brushing technique, and is somewhat inexpensive. But, finding a model that is gentle on the teeth and gums, while eliminating plaque and food debris, is no easy task.
We spent 10 weeks reading through medical journals, researching online and speaking to manufacturers and dental professionals. As a result, we made up a solid list of rotary and sonic toothbrushes to test, rate and review in this complete buying guide.
Last Updated: August 20th, 2018
In order to stay up to date with manufacturing trends and technology, we have revamped our list of top performing electric toothbrushes in order to better reflect the current market. A market that is estimated to have grown to $4.1 billion in annual sales and is expected to double that number by 2021.
Our testing methodology has also changed a little bit, as we now give less preference to smartphone features and more weight to the oscillating and rotatory performance of the toothbrush. Having said that, the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 remains our top choice for people who are looking to get the most feature-packed model.
At Dental Dorks we stand strongly behind our choice of the Sonicare 2 Series. It doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, but it has an elegant minimalist design and it comes equipped with all necessary features, such as the two-minute timer.
In addition, it is very gentle on the gum line and teeth, while completely obliterating plaque and food debris with its sonic speed. Being a part of the Sonicare family, it comes with 31,000 brush strokes in 60 seconds, which is more than enough to achieve a better oral hygiene right off the bat!
At around $40, you cannot go wrong with this model if you are not looking for a feature-packed electric toothbrush.
The Oral-B Pro 1000 Electric oscillating toothbrush is many consumers’ first choice of an electric toothbrush. It is inexpensive, it cleans well, and it is easier to use when compared to most high-end models that come with smartphone apps and Bluetooth connections. As all other Oral-B models, it is oscillating, so that makes it a bit slower when compared to our top Sonicare choice – the 2 Series. When tested, we found the Pro 1000 is also not as gentle on the gums. We believe that to be due to the harder bristles on the brush head.
This model offers the standard quad pacer feature that breaks down your brushing routine into four 30-second cycles. This is to help you achieve even and well-controlled brushing. At a price point of around $30, this is the most effective and affordable toothbrush available that will definitely help break up plaque.
If you are on the market for a high-end, feature-packed electric toothbrush, then you should definitely check out the Pro 8000 by Oral-B. This model comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a user-friendly smartphone app that is designed to improve your brushing habits and experience. When combined with 48,000 oscillating strokes per minutes, this toothbrush is not just fancy, but also extremely effective at reaching the inner depths of your mouth and destroying plaque completely.
Pro 8000 allows for a 16-degree tooth cleaning and it comes with 6 different brushing functions to accommodate users with more sensitive teeth and gums. The greatest downside is that the price tag is at around $120.
In total, we reviewed 52 electric and rechargeable toothbrushes from 12 different manufacturers. We compared the big brands as well as the small industry underdogs. But, do not worry, we narrowed down that list to seven superior models!
The 7 Best Electric Toothbrushes Ranked & Reviewed
Philips Sonicare 2 Series Plaque Control
The 2 Series Sonicare is without a doubt consumers’ top pick. With over 4,000 positive reviews on Amazon and a 4.3 rating, this older model will not be extinct anytime soon. Especially now that it is available in 5 different colors, including a “white on ultra-coral” that I am itching to simply call “pink”. But, let’s leave color definitions to Philips.
Having up to 31,000 brush strokes per minute, this model is slower than the diamond clean. But, do not fool yourself. If you have never used an ultrasonic toothbrush before, you will feel the vigorous power of this elegantly designed teeth cleaning gadget. Despite being slower, the 2 Series Sonicare is also considerably cheaper and it works wonders for removing plaque and eliminating destructive bacteria in your mouth.
Being equipped with a NiMH battery, the overall life expectancy of this toothbrush is over 2 years. In case it breaks down within that period of time, Philips will replace it. When we tested this model with its battery fully charged, it lasted 15 days. We used it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. On the 15th day, the battery died during the evening brush. It still performed quite alright during the morning brushing activity.
Oral-B Genius Pro 8000
This is one of Oral-B’s high-end level electric toothbrushes. As such it comes with a lot of shiny and gadget-like options that are meant to make brushing your teeth a fun activity. As a matter of fact, this model is so advanced, it comes with its own app available for iOS and Android. Bluetooth connectivity allows the user to track their daily usage and get real-time feedback. The Focused Care feature, as Oral-B call it, is meant to aid users to implement the specific brushing instructions given by their dentist.
The Genius Pro 8000 comes equipped with a travel case that also serves as a charging stand. It can charge your smartphone as well as your toothbrush using only one outlet. We found that when fully charged, the Lithium battery lasts 12 days when brushing twice a day.
We tested this particular model by switching between the five available modes. It is likely that the battery could last a bit longer if you only use the daily clean mode. Other available modes include gum care, sensitive, whitening, and pro-clean.
The Genius Pro 8000 is preceded by the 6000 model and followed by the 9000 model. The reason we chose to feature this particular model in our list, is because it has the most positive customer reviews. Additionally, the 8000 series offers many improvements compared to the 6000 model. While the Genius Pro 9000 did not improve much when compared to the Pro 8000.
NOTE: Even though you can greatly regulate the speed of this model, it is not recommended for people with sensitive teeth.
Oral-B Pro 1000
Simple, relatively cheap and clinically proven to bring about superior clean results. This is the Pro 1000 model by Oral-B in a nutshell.
This is by no stretch of the imagination the most technological electric toothbrush on the market. As a matter of fact, it is quite the opposite. While it does have the patented 3D cleaning action (oscillating, pulsating and vibrating), a functioning pressure sensor and a two-minute timer, the 1000 series comes only with one cleaning setting. Despite being short on functionality, we found this toothbrush to be quite effective in removing plaque, especially for people with sensitive teeth.
In order to fully charge, the Pro 1000 took about 16 hours. This is 8 hours less than the Pro 7000 took. It also lasted longer than the Pro 7000 by 2 days (10 days total). Since there is only one brushing mode available, we were not able to play around and conduct different time-based tests.
This older Oral-B model is still available and still being manufactured. Thus, it comes with a two-year warranty and is about 4 times cheaper than Oral-B’s high tech 7000, 8000 and 9000 series. If you are looking to stay under $60, but still want an electric toothbrush, we highly recommend the Pro 1000 series.
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
With a speed of up to 62,000 brush strokes per minute, the DiamondClean is certainly the Speedy Gonzales of electric toothbrushes. Beautifully designed, this model is available in a variety of colors, such as black, white, dark purple, amethyst and pink. Yes, that is correct ladies, you can have this toothbrush match the rest of your bathroom accessories. Gentleman, do not be jealous! There is plenty of choice for you as well.
This and other Philips models come with a one of a kind charging glass. All you have to do is drop your DiamondClean toothbrush into the glass to begin charging. In addition, you can still use the glass to rinse your mouth once you are done brushing.
This Sonicare model comes equipped with 5 modes: clean, white, sensitive, gum care and deep clean. This makes this toothbrush practically perfect for all everyday uses and purposes. The slim ergonomic design of the handle makes it extremely easy to hold, operate, and switch between settings. Once you adopt a good brushing technique, even sensitive teeth will get adjusted to the speed of the brush head.
In addition, the illuminated display and battery indicator make this model even more attractive and futuristic looking.
Like most electric toothbrushes by Philips, this one also comes with a rechargeable Lithium battery. Once fully charged, the battery should be able to last you 3 weeks if you brush twice a day using the “clean” setting. The “deep clean” setting is likely to exhaust the battery faster because it is operating at a higher speed and producing more brush head movements per minute.
- Up to 62,000 BSM
- 5 brushing modes
- 3 brush heads included
- 2 years warranty
- Rechargeable Lithium ION battery
Oral-B Pro 7000
Available in black and white, the Pro 7000 is one sleek looking electric toothbrush!
This piece of German technology is engineered by Braun and claims to remove 300% more plaque from along the gum line when compared to a manual toothbrush. We cannot verify this claim, nor deny it. Statistics that assert to remove 10 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush are quite hard to study and prove.
However, we can assert that the 7000 series comes equipped with a variety of options that will help you develop a better brushing technique. For instance, sensitivity sensors will stop you from brushing too hard, while the 6 independent functions will help you clean your teeth more efficiently.
The Oral-B smartphone app is also available for the Pro 7000 model. At first, we were a bit skeptical about the effect that the app would have on brushing habits. But, after using the toothbrush for a week, we got really motivated to pursue that perfect score! In addition, the app is really easy to use, loads fast, and it appears to be bug-free.
We found the downfall of the 7000 model in its NiMH battery. When brushing twice a day, while connected to the app, the battery only lasted for 8 days. Compared to other similar toothbrushes, this is not cool, to say the least. Especially when it takes 24 hours to fully charge the battery.
Brio SmartClean Sonic Toothbrush
Brio is still considered a novice within the oral health industry. But, that has not halted the company from experiencing a quick growth and amassing a serious and loyal base of followers. Their responsive and hassle-free customer service, as well as their competitive product, have also earned them a place in our top 7 list.
Unlike most sonic models, this one will cost you less than $100. In most cases, when manufacturers cut the cost, the available features and modes are simultaneously cut. So, we end up having a basic electronic toothbrush. What we admire most about Brio, is their innovative ability to keep the price low, but still, offer some advanced features.
Being a sonic toothbrush, the SmartClean model produces up to 31,000 brush movements per minute. This makes it very comparable to the higher Philips modes.
When fully charged, the Lithium ION batted lasted a whole 5 weeks. This is more than any other battery we have tested. Do keep in mind, however, that Brio’s battery is much larger (900 mah) than other competing electric toothbrushes. This does make the toothbrush a bit heavy, but it also means that the battery will last for years to come.
- 2 years limited warranty
- 31,000 BSM
- Subscription brush head replacement program
Waterpik Sensonic Professional Plus SR 3000
Waterpik is the undisputed champion when it comes to water flossers. But, not too many people know that they also make a very solid electric toothbrush. Perhaps, they got tired of the never-ending argument about flossing vs brushing and decided to dominate both sides.
Being able to reach 31,000 brush movements per minute, the Sensonic Professional Plus has earned its place among the big boys. Namely, Philips and Oral-B. In fact, this Waterpik model is about 25% faster than Philips’ Sonicare FlexCare model.
The advanced ergonomic handle gives the Sensonic a smooth and sleek look. The blue rubber grip that runs down horizontally is perfectly positioned. Whether you are left or right handed, your fingers will always rest on the grip. This is perhaps the most comfortable toothbrush that we have tested.
Priced under $100, the Sensonic comes with 3 brush heads and a travel case. Considering that it also has the QuadPacer and EasyStart modes, together with a 2-speed setting, this Waterpik electric toothbrush is a bargain.
This rechargeable electric toothbrush by Waterpik is highly recommended! Even though, it would have been nice if this model had a floss action setting. Just saying.
The Best Electric Toothbrush – How We Decided
There are many manufacturers and hundreds of different models of electric toothbrushes available on the market. In order to pick the best seven, we had to come up with an inclusive as well as exclusive criteria and stick to it. So, even though our list of top picks is short, we can assure you that it is complete! Having said that, there are two key factors that we considered before we even begun to rank the toothbrushes.
First, the models had to be available to the North American consumer. There are various brands that manufacture products above the average standard, but for various reasons, do not make them available in the United States. We have not included such brands and models because they would not be of use to our readers.
In addition to this, we have excluded internationally made and shipped models. We found that such models often lack appropriate warranty and guarantees for the American consumers. They also tend to be quite scarce in replacement brush heads. Not to mention that it would take 3-4 weeks to get the desired replacements.
Second, we only reviewed toothbrushes that are using rechargeable batteries. We have come to the conclusion that the rechargeable battery models are far better investments then the ones that use disposable batteries. They also offer a superior brushing experience for consumers. Following this, we were able to lower the number of toothbrushes we wanted to review to 52.
Our elimination process continued…
Privately labeled models – China has begun to manufacture knockoffs of the better-known toothbrush brands. A lot of sellers have begun importing these generic products and give them private labels, such as Joe’s Super Brush. Okay, this is a bad example, but you do get what I mean. Such products are untested and most definitely not ADA approved. As such, they are usually cheaper, come with fewer warranties and guarantees, if any, and could even be dangerous to use.
Outdated models – We avoided these not because they are out of fashion, but because they are mostly out of support. It is quite hard to find replacement heads and parts and actual local support for models that the brands no longer manufacture.
Now, that we had excluded a solid number of products, it was time to focus on the positive features. Those included:
- Product availability in the United States.
- Customer support – How responsive and helpful was support regarding our inquiries. Also, what channels were supported available on (phone, email, etc…). We also considered availability days and hours.
- Online reviews – We looked at other peoples’ reviews for two reasons. First, to determine more or less what consumers think about the product. Second, to determine how many of the Amazon reviewers were genuine and how many received a product in return. This is important to us because it speaks about the integrity of the brand and the product. There are Amazon reviewers who make a living by leaving positive reviews for a variety of brands and products and we know how to spot them. Such reviews are not based on real and personal experience with the toothbrush.
We also looked at reviews from popular American stores, such as Target and Walmart. These stores are good because they allow consumers to freely express their opinion and return merchandise if it is not up to their standards.
Lastly, we read a lot of articles from the American Dental Association and other independent oral health organizations, such as the Cochrane Collaboration. This helped us trim down our initial list of 107 electric toothbrushes and 38 manufacturers, down to 52 models from 16 different brands. Out of that number, we were able to pick 7.
Why You Should Go Electric
Correct teeth brushing remains essential to a good oral health. Unfortunately, many of us rush through this exercise in order to get it done. This way a lot of destructive bacteria remains and slowly causes the formation of plaque and eventually tooth decay.
Electric toothbrushes offer a good solution to this. They are not only fun to use, but they also employ the correct brush movements that our hands often tend to disregard when we clean our teeth manually.
Studies, such as the one conducted by the Cochrane Oral Health Group have consistently demonstrated that electric brushing is superior to manual brushing. The above-mentioned research shows a 21% reduction in plaque after only 3 months of using a motor-powered toothbrush. It further claims a 6% reduction of gingivitis within a 3 month period.
By far, there is undeniable evidence that electric toothbrushes should be the preferred method. However, that does not mean you should also not floss. Using a water flosser, together with an electric toothbrush is the best combination to achieve maximum oral health.
Now, let’s look at some basics.
Electric Toothbrush Features
So, you are set on buying your first vibrating toothbrush, but you are not sure what to look for. That’s fine, we all need to start somewhere. But, be advised, often times a $60 electric toothbrush can have the same core features as a $200 one. It is also quite possible that the cheaper one will outperform the more expensive one. So, let’s review some of the core elements to look for when purchasing a sonic or a rotary toothbrush.
Feature One: The Need For Speed
It does not matter how fast and coordinated your hand movement is, it will not outperform 31,000 brush head vibrations per minute. In this regard, manual toothbrushes are becoming obsolete. The truth is that faster movements make cleaning teeth more effective and efficient. There is less time wasted while more plaque and bacteria are being eliminated.
The speed of the toothbrush has proven to be essential in terms of performance. Faster rotation and oscillation movements can cover larger areas of the mouth and remove more destructive bacteria. However, the speed has also proven to be an important factor in the price of the toothbrush. For this reason, sonic and ultrasonic brushes are more expensive when compared to other motor powered toothbrushes.
Feature Two: The Power Source
As I mentioned earlier, electric toothbrushes do not run on dark magic and Jedi crystals, they run on electricity. The very first vibrating brushes were unavoidably designed to be used only when directly plugged into the outlet. This is not only dangerous but also inconvenient. For this reason, batteries have now become the preferred method of charging these devices.
Early models consisted of disposable batteries because the technology was not advanced enough. Nowadays, rechargeable batteries are the standard. However, manufacturers are now competing to design longer lasting batteries.
The war on battery life is important because there are still some big gaps between leading manufacturers. There are certain toothbrushes that take 24 hours to charge fully, while others take 12 hours. Once fully charged some devices can last up to six weeks when used twice a day. In comparison, there are still devices that will not last half of that time.
In addition, some electric toothbrushes, like the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean, offer more than one way of charging. One is through the easy use of a USB, and the other through a standard charging stand. The convenience of charging may not be a big deal to everyone, but it is a diverse functionality nevertheless.
Feature Three: The Cleaning Method
The variety and diversity of rechargeable toothbrushes on the market can be overwhelmingly annoying. Especially, when you have decided to buy and use one. Besides the numerous differences in design, color and battery life, motor-powered toothbrushes also differ in the manner in which they clean teeth. In fact, there are five different ways to choose from.
Vibrating – this technique creates a rapid buzz against the teeth. Interestingly enough, some Philips toothbrushes offer this feature in addition to their oscillating attribute. The two movements can be triggered to perform simultaneously and remove plaque that even Chuck Norris could not get to.
Dual Head – refers to electric toothbrushes that have incorporated the rotating function, as well as the side-to-side movement function. As you can see in the image below, each toothbrush head is responsible for a different motion. This design is advertised as more efficient in terms of plaque removal. However, users have complained that the size of the head makes cleaning more difficult.
Rotating – Refers to a circular motion that the motor powered toothbrush makes. This movement closely resembles that of people who choose to brush their teeth manually.
Rotating oscillating – Occurs when the entire toothbrush head oscillates. This back-and-forth motion makes it easier to focus on a single tooth.
Counter oscillating – Is the last type of electric cleaning motion that toothbrushes come equipped with. The idea of this design is to allow each tuft of soft bristles to rotate in the opposite way of its neighbor. For instance, while one tuft may be rotating clockwise, its neighboring tufts could be going in a counter-clockwise direction.
Feature Four: Different Settings & Modes
Sometimes a higher price tag is justified by the number of modes the electric toothbrush comes equipped with. There are models that allow users to adjust a variety of settings based on their current needs. For instance, some of those settings include deep cleaning setting, sensitive gums mode, whitening mode
Currently, there is no research that supports the notion that more settings and modes provide a better cleaning. However, it is a good enough reason for manufacturers to raise the price on such toothbrushes.
Feature Five: Timing Is Everything
“Do not rush” is one of the first advises dentists give their patients in regards to flossing or brushing their teeth. Having a two-minute timer attached to the toothbrush is not essential for performance. But, it is very helpful in developing a healthy habit that will lead to having healthy teeth.
Feature Six: The Pressure Sensor
This is a pretty cool feature. A pressure sensor is meant to remind us that we should not press too hard when we brush. Often times over-brushing can be rough on the gum and cause them to bleed. The pressure sensor makes an alarming sound when it senses that too much pressure is being employed. In some cases, the warning can take the form of a flash. It depends on the model and makes of the toothbrush.
Feature Seven: Accessories
There are certain accessories, such as charging stations and power cords, which all electric toothbrushes come with. Some models come with extra brush heads, which could be useful because eventually, you will have to replace them. But, other accessories, such as travel cases, can prove to be quite expensive and end up never being used.
There are some bonus features that you can look for when choosing your brushing companion. For example, look for the American Dentist Association (ADA) seal of approval. This is always a good sign that you are buying a trusted and tested product.
Another option that not all sellers and manufacturers like to give is a “money back guarantee”. In case they do offer it, make sure it is at least 1 month after purchase. Also, make sure the shipping and delivery dates are reasonable. You do not want to receive your toothbrush on the 30th day and not have time to claim your money back, in case it does not work or it is not up to your standards.
Most research that we did and came across suggests that electric toothbrushes can most certainly improve brushing rituals. As a result, this will inevitably improve your overall oral hygiene rituals and gum health making you less prone to oral diseases. Dental professionals are united around the notion that anything with 28,000 or more brush movements in a single minute considerably increases the cleanliness of your entire mouth while decreasing the effort.
You also do not need to spend in excess of $100 in order to get a really good toothbrush. Our top recommendation, the Sonicare 2 by Philips is completely capable of delivering amazing results.
Hope you have enjoyed this buying guide. If you have any comments on suggestions on how to improve it, do not hesitate to leave them below or send us a message.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.