No one has ever regretted taking good care of their teeth and now the summer sales are on, it’s a good time to buy.
A number of studies have shown that electric toothbrushes are better than manual brushes when it comes to removing plaque and keeping gums in good health. But it’s hard to find a scientific consensus on which electric toothbrush works the best. Because of the wide variety of features and brushing mechanisms, the chances are that the best brush for you won’t be the best for everyone.
That’s why it’s a good idea to read reviews and find out which features are most important to you.
There are key features that’ll be useful to most people. Some brushes have a timer to let you know that you’ve brushed a section of your teeth for long enough and that it’s time to move on, as well as a sensor that lets you know if you’re pressing down too hard and could damage your tooth enamel or gums.
Others will give you a number of brushing modes and optimised heads for polishing, tongue brushing or gentle cleaning.
Do you need a brush with an app? If you want to overhaul the way you brush your teeth, app-connected brushes will monitor your technique and feed back tips.
We test out and write full reviews of products, so you know what each brush has to offer and can buy the brush that’s right for you. We’ve tried out electric toothbrushes from the market leaders Oral-B and Philips Sonicare, as well as smaller and independent brands.
We’ll also provide information on battery life, charging times and methods (some brushes will charge via USB), as well as accessories and the price of replacement heads.
Investing in an electric toothbrush will be well worth if if it helps to prevent expensive dental work. But that doesn’t mean you should pay more than you need to. For the best prices available, have a look at our round-up of the best electric toothbrush deals. All deals we find will reflect the actual prices that brushes are sold at, rather than the (often inflated) RRPs that retailers like to quote.
And if you want more information on features, read our buying advice after our best-of list.
Best Electric Toothbrush Reviews
1. Oral-B iO6 – Best overall
Excellent cleaning performance
Shorter battery life
Replacement heads expensive
The iO Series 6 (AKA the iO6) is the latest iO brush from Oral-B and the most budget-friendly of the series. It has a monochrome rather than a colour screen and instead of a magnetic charging puck, it comes with a standard two-pin charger.
But for a less wallet-beating price, you’ll still get the top-notch iO cleaning performance, as well as genuinely good brushing guidance from the accompanying app.
One note on the price: there are regular deals on this brush, so if you bide your time, you should be able to avoid paying the full RRP.
2. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000 – Most brushing options
Huge number of brushing options
Good case & charger
Average battery life
Can be harsh on gums & teeth
This is one of the best brushes around for cleaning performance. It’s extremely powerful and provides a number of different brushing options and intensities.
In terms of features, it has a pressure sensor on the handle, as well as a timer to let you know when to move between sections of your mouth and when you’ve reached the end of the recommended brushing period.
Accessories-wise, it comes with a charging puck for a two-pin bathroom plug and a sleek travel case with a concealed USB lead.
It’s app-connected and, while the app can help you to keep your brushing schedule organised (keeping track of your brushing routine, scheduling dental appointments and re-ordering brush heads), it won’t offer advice on improving your technique.
The iO Series 9 delivers impressive cleaning performance, using micro-vibrations to remove plaque and polish teeth. It has seven brushing settings, a countdown timer and a pressure sensor.
It’s also app-connected, and you can get real-time feedback on how much coverage you’re achieving as you brush. The rest of the app’s features are much less useful, amounting to a series of different ways of logging your brushing sessions.
Of course, with the iO, it’s all about the full-colour OLED screen, which is both useful and unnecessary, in roughly equal measures. But what you gain in display information, you lose in battery life, which lasts less than two weeks.
4. Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 – Best non-connected brush
Brush head alert
Solid battery life
No app, but not everyone wants one
The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 is a toothbrush built and designed for people who are happy to spend a decent amount of money on a top of the line brush, but aren’t sold on the need for connected features and app support.
So it won’t connect to your phone, but it’ll do just about everything else, with three brushing modes and another three intensity settings, which pair with the new BrushSynctechso that the brush will automatically adjust to the optimum setting for any given brush head.
It’ll also use the same technology to give an assessment based on your usage of when it’s time to swap to a new brush head.
Beyond that, the design is slick and modern, there’s a good choice of colours and brush heads available, and it comes with a sturdy travel case. Plus the battery life actually exceedsPhilips‘ claim of 14 days – ours ran for over three weeks before it ran out of juice.
5. Oral-B Genius X – Best mid-range smart features
Great brushing feedback
Variety of brushing modes
Smart features can’t be personalised for couples/ families
Smart toothbrushes tend to over-promise and under-deliver, and to some extent the same is true with the Genius X. To bill this as AI-driven is really pushing it, especially since it doesn’t learn as it goes.
Still, tracking is pretty accurate, with feedback at the end that really is useful – all in the sort of premium package you’d expect from a brush at this level. We just wish that syncing the brush to the app was easier, and that there was better support for couples or families sharing the same brush handle.
The average user may well stop using the smart features eventually anyway – but even if you do, you’re still getting a topqualityelectric brush with a range of options and modes.
6. Oral-B Genius 9000/8000 – Best value mid-price brush
Good brushing performance
Variety of brushing modes
We were impressed with the Oral-B Genius 8000 and 9000 for many reasons: excellent plaque cleaning, comfortable brush and handle, brush-head options, travel case, and long battery life.
However, we found the app’s functionality didn’t live up to its promise. The Position Detection is a great idea, but we found it tricky to get right. When used just to advise and monitor mouth-quadrant brushing it was more successful but not as sophisticated as it thinks it is.
But as a premium electric toothbrush both the Genius 8000 and 9000 certainly live up to the hype. Neither is cheap but compared to the cost of a visit to the dentist, using a quality toothbrush is a wise financial decision as well as a healthy one.
Bigger brands have more options for cheap compatible brush heads
A combination of Japanese technology and German design, the ION-Sei certainly looks good. There are two colour options but we reckon that LakeBlue is the more striking. Still, either will make a stylish addition to your bathroom.
Fashion is, of course, secondary to actual teeth cleaning and it’s here that the innovation lies. Unlike other sonic toothbrushes, this one generates a stream of ions and a weak electric charge which aims to stop bacteria growing in your mouth.
You pay a steep price for the tech: not only is the ION-Sei expensive but it doesn’t come with a travel case. It also lacks features you’d expect to see on a high-end brush, such as pressure detection and a head-replacement indication.
It is rechargeable via USB though, which is handy.
For a relatively wallet-friendly price, the Pro 3000 will provide everything you need in an electric toothbrush.
Most importantly, its cleaning performance is very good. It also has all the features that are really important. Its timer will alert you to move on to a new section of your mouth every 30 seconds and let you know when your two-minute brushing time has expired.
It also has a bright red pressure sensor that illuminates when you press too hard.
The only real design flaw is that its shiny on/off button can get a bit slippery when wet and you’ll have to press it hard to switch it off without scrolling through its other brushing modes.
There’s no USB charging option but the two-week battery life means that it should last you through a holiday, although by the time the battery warning light comes on, the brush’s operation will start to slow down.
9. Oral-B Pro 6000 SmartSeries – Best value smart brush
App helps with brushing performance
Newer rival brushes are beginning to come down in price
The Oral-B Pro 6000 and Pro 6500 SmartSeries electric toothbrushes use wireless technology to sync with a handy smartphone app. The most important thing is to brush each section of your mouth without too much pressure and for the right length of time.
The brushes are top quality, and now that the price has come down they represent good value.
We’d also love to see the app get a bit smarter about brushing techniques, as opposed to just duration and frequency of brushing.
If you’re buying an electric toothbrush, there are certain features you should look out for.
It’s all too easy to forget how long you’ve been brushing, which is why the best electric toothbrushes will have a brushing timer. Dentists recommend two minutes, which feels much longer than it sounds. These brushes will do the hard work for you by letting you know when you can (finally) stop.
They’ll also alert you to move onto a new section of your mouth every 30 seconds. Most people spend longer on certain parts of their mouth and neglect other areas. Typically, they’ll focus on the front of their teeth and the easier-to-reach sections of their mouths. This can lead to gum disease and tooth decay in other areas.
A timer may be the most important feature on your electric toothbrush, except perhaps for a pressure sensor.
A good electric toothbrush should also feature a pressure sensor to prevent you pushing too hard against your teeth. This bad brushing habit can damage teeth and gums.
Over-brushing is often a substitute for brushing well. It can wear down the enamel on the teeth, leading to sensitive teeth and receding gums.
If you check your toothbrush and find that the bristles part in the middle, palm tree-style, it’s a sign that you’re brushing too hard. To protect your teeth, buy a brush with a pressure sensor.
You might also find that being able to switch between cleaning modes makes you more aware of your brushing technique.
More sophisticated electric toothbrushes feature different modes. They’ll have a button on the handle that’ll allow you to toggle between deep cleaning, whitening, tongue care, polishing and gum care.
Some may have a setting for sensitive teeth, while others may have a range of intensity levels that can be used in the same way.
If you suffer from sensitive teeth or bleeding gums, a brush with different options could make a real difference to how comfortable and effective your brushing is.
Brush head replacement
How often do you change your toothbrush head? The answer is probably: not often enough. Both the Oral-B and Philips Sonicare smart brushes will alert you when you need to switch to a new brush head.
Some app-connected brushes, including the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000, will go one stage further, giving you the option to automatically reorder via the website when the handle detects that the head is wearing out.
Being able to charge your brush easily is really important, particularly if you travel often. Some brushes, including the the Sonicare DiamondClean 9000, will include a USB charger as well as a standard two-pin bathroom plug connector. The DiamondClean 9000 combines USB charging with a travel case, which is ideal.
An average battery life is one to two weeks, so bear that in mind when you read our reviews.
Most brushes feature standard nylon bristles but a few are coming on to the market with silicone brushing heads. Silicone is naturally bacteria-resistant and is much gentler on gums than nylon, so it could be a good option for people with gum sensitivity.
There have been promising studies on the virtues of silicone bristles but it’s really too early to say. Some dentists have cautioned that as the bristles are wider, they won’t have the same reach as nylon bristles.
Sonic, oscillating or ionic?
Different electric toothbrush brands opt for different cleaning techniques. Sonic brushes work by producing vibrations to remove plaque, while oscillating brushes rotate to produce the same effect. Ionic toothbrushes (we have one in our top ten: the Sanyei ION-Sei) make your teeth temporarily repel, rather than attract, plaque.
What’s more important is that you find one you’re comfortable with and use a good brushing technique.
Smart brushes connect with a smartphone app to collect data on each brushing session. Depending on the app, they may also discover and flag errors in your technique and help to change your brushing habits.
The best app we’ve found for overhauling your brushing technique is the one used in conjunction with the Colgate E1, which is easy to use and effective. The Oral-B app is slightly harder to use and gives less detailed feedback. Meanwhile, the Philips Sonicare app is really focused on monitoring your brushing schedule and ensuring you brush for long enough.
Apps are improving all the time and new functionality is being added. But for now, the majority of apps are best used to help you to sort out your routine, remind you to change your brush head and re-order dental products.