Best Electric Toothbrushes
Do you have trouble keeping your teeth white and shiny with a manual toothbrush? Or maybe you already own an electric brush, but you’re looking for an upgrade.
With this many toothbrushes on the market, how do you know which one is best for you?
Whether you’re buying your first electric toothbrush or you’re looking for an upgrade to your existing device, we’ve got you covered.
We’re about to look at the ten best electric toothbrushes on the market. These range from budget brushes up to premium machines, so there’s something here for people with all budgets.
Are you ready to get cleaner, whiter teeth? Let’s begin.
The 10 Best Electric Toothbrushes For 2019
Best Starter Model
Oral-B Pro 1000 White or Black
The Oral-B Pro 1000 is Oral-B’s entry level electric toothbrush. It’s very reasonably priced, comes in white or black, and the kit includes one brush head and the charging base. There’s no travel case with this unit, and no rack for storing extra heads.
This brush has a round head that oscillates 8,800 times per minute, which is fast enough to get the job done without irritating your gums. There’s an integrated timer that beeps after two minutes to let you know when you’re finished. It also pulses the motor every 30 seconds to let you know when to move to the next quadrant of your mouth.
The battery on the Oral-B Pro 1000 has enough juice for seven brushings when it’s fully charged. This makes it great for taking on the road, although you’ll have to buy your own travel case. A drained battery will take 22 hours to fully charge, so make sure to plan on leaving it on the charger overnight when you get home.
If you’re getting your first electric toothbrush, this is a great place to get started. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and it’s an Oral-B, so it comes from a trusted brand. It’s also compatible with all of Oral-B’s brush heads, so you can experiment with several different brush designs without breaking the bank. That said, while it’s an upgrade over many electric brushes, you’ll probably want something with more features if you’re looking for an upgrade.
Oral-B Pro 6000 Smart Series
Moving higher up Oral-B’s product line, we come to the Pro 6000. This is a significantly nicer toothbrush that comes at a significantly higher price – more than twice the price of the Pro 1000. As soon as you open the box, you’ll see where some of that went; the Pro 6000 ships with a hard travel case and a charging station that has slots for four brush heads.
The Pro 6000 ships with a single, round brush head, but you can swap it out with any Oral-B head. It has five different speeds, ranging from the gentle Gum Care and Sensitive modes to the standard, Daily Clean mode up to the Whitening and Pro Clean modes. On the highest settings, the Pro 6000 oscillates 22,000 times per minute.
The Oral-B Pro 6000 has a 2-minute timer which pulses every 30 seconds. There’s also a pressure sensor that shuts the motor off if you’re pressing too hard, and a helpful indicator light ring on the top of the handle that will change colors to warn you if you’re applying too much pressure.
Best Travel Toothbrush
The Oral-B 7000 is a step up from the Pro 6000. It’s only slightly more expensive, but the improvements are significant. To begin with, it ships with a tough, durable travel case. It also has more power; this beast oscillates at a blazing fast 48,000 times per minute. The charging station is nice and beefy, with slots for storing up to four brush heads at a time.
Like Oral-B’s other electric toothbrushes, the 7000 will accept all Oral-B brush heads. It ships with a standard round head, as well as two alternate heads you can try out. It has six different motor intensities: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, Deep Clean, and Tongue Cleaner. Daily clean is your standard everyday setting, while Gum Care and Sensitive modes are gentle. If you crank the brush up to Whitening or Deep Clean modes, you’ll get maximum power. The Tongue Cleaner mode is the gentlest of all.
The Oral-B 7000 has a 2-minute timer, with pulses every 30 seconds so you can pace yourself properly. There’s no automatic shutoff on this unit, but there is an indicator light on the handle that will turn orange or red if you’re pressing too hard. Like the Pro 6000, it will connect to your smartphone, where you can track your brushing habits via the Oral-B app.
This toothbrush has the same Lithium-ion battery as the Pro 6000, and similar battery life. Between that and the durable travel case, this is easily the best traveling brush we’ve looked at.
Oral-B Pro 7500
The Pro 7500 is a gorgeous, premium electric toothbrush that’s one of Oral-B’s highest-end tools. It’s available in three colors: black, orchid and rose gold. It’s also the most expensive toothbrush on our list, but we think the overall quality is well worth the price. The Pro 7500 ships with the same tough travel case as the 7000, and a similar large base with room for four brush heads.
This toothbrush also ships with three heads. There’s a standard round head, the FlossAction head, which has longer bristles that are supposed to get in between your teeth, and the 3D White head, which scrubs harder than the standard head. The Pro 7500 has the same five settings as the Pro 6000. In order of intensity: Gum Care, Sensitive, Daily Clean, Whitening, and Pro Clean.
Like all the Oral-B toothbrushes we’ve reviewed, the Pro 7500 has a 2-minute timer which pulses every 30 seconds. It’s also compatible with the Oral-B app. A customizable LED on the handle will change colors to warn you if you’re applying too much pressure. The Pro 7500 has a Lithium-ion battery that lasts for up to 14 brushes, and the charger is lightning fast – you’ll go from a dead battery to a full charge in 4-6 hours.
What really sets the Pro 7500 apart is the quality. It’s just nice. The brushing action is smoother than Oral-B’s other models, even though we were using the same heads at the same speeds. Everything inside this toothbrush is very well machined, for the smoothest brushing experience we’ve experienced.
Best Motor Power
The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100 is a sonic toothbrush that oscillates the entire head, rather than just the brush. It’s sleek, black, and comes with a charger that takes up less counter space than a bar of soap. There’s also a travel case included, as well as a brush head to get you started. The price is reasonable, around what you’ll pay for one of Oral-B’s budget toothbrushes.
There are three settings on the ProtectiveClean 5100: Clean, White and Gum Care. These settings have no effect on the intensity. The brush will oscillate 62,000 times a minute regardless of which setting you’re on. Instead, they change the length of time the toothbrush runs for. On Clean, it runs a 2-minute cycle, while it runs a 2 ½-minute cycle for White and a 3-minute cycle for Clean.
This toothbrush has a Lithium-ion battery that’s good for two weeks of daily brushing on the standard, Clean setting. Keep in mind, though, that it takes 24 hours to fully charge. Best practice is just to leave it on the charger when you’re not using it.
We’re a bit torn on this one. On the one hand, it’s insanely powerful. Nothing else we’ve reviewed is even close. On the other hand, a lot of people buy electric toothbrushes because they have sensitive gums. Would it be too much to ask for Philips to let us tone things down a bit?
Best Sonic Brush
Philips Sonicare 2 Series
Let’s start with the obvious: the Philips Sonicare 2 Series isn’t just one toothbrush. It’s a pair of brushes and chargers, complete with heads and travel cases, all for the price of a single mid-range electric toothbrush. The charging stations are small, about the diameter of a poker chip. These brushes aren’t fancy – they actually look pretty bland – but they’re deceptively impressive on the inside.
To begin with, the Sonicare 2 Series has two intensity settings: a standard Clean setting that oscillates 31,000 times per minute, and a gentler Gum setting that feels like a massage. Would we have liked to see 62,000 oscillations per minute, like the 5100? Sure we would, but we liked the versatility of this model better.
There’s a 2-minute timer on this brush that will shut it off automatically when the cycle is finished. There’s no pulse function to let you know when to move the brush, but after a few brushes you’ll get a sense for how long you should be taking. The Sonicare 2 Series has a Lithium-ion battery that’s good for two weeks of daily brushing. That said, it can take up to 24 hours to charge.
Based on the reasonable price, the performance, the versatility, and the battery, this is the best sonic brush we reviewed. There are other brushes that are better in one or two of these categories, but none of them has the complete package that the Sonicare 2 offers.
Best Whitening Toothbrush
The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 is an improved version of the ProtectiveClean 5100. It ships in three colors: blue, pink or white, and includes a matching travel case and charger. As with the previous Philips toothbrushes we’ve looked at, the charging station is very small. The ProtectiveClean 6100 costs as much as many premium brushes.
This electric toothbrush has three intensity settings: Gum, Clean and White in order of intensity. The lowest setting is a pleasant massage. On the highest setting, the brush oscillates 60,000 times per minute. That’s slightly slower than the 5100, but it feels much smoother. Regardless of your intensity setting, the motor will automatically shut off after 2 minutes.
The Lithium-ion battery on this unit is comparable to Philips’ other units. It lasts for two weeks of daily brushes, but requires 24 hours to fully recharge. Unless you’re taking it on the road, the smartest thing to do is leave it on the charger all the time.
While the ProtectiveClean 6100 is designed to work with all Sonicare brand snap-on brush heads, it’s specially optimized to work with their DiamondClean brush head, which they conveniently include in the package. This brush is extra tough, and is specifically designed for scraping your teeth clean. If you have a sensitive mouth, you’re probably better off buying a different brush, but it’s worth giving this one a shot to see how you like it. Because it’s specialized to work with a special whitening brush head, the ProtectiveClean is clearly the best electric toothbrush on the market if whitening is your main concern.
Best Quality For The Price
Mueller Sonic Ultra 5
The Mueller Sonic Ultra 5 is a German-engineered electric toothbrush that performs as well as some higher-end brushes for the price of a budget brush. The kit includes two brush heads and a charging station with a USB charger. The charging station is small, and because it uses a USB charger you can plug it into an outlet or just use your laptop to charge it if you’re on the road.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to buy a travel case, since it doesn’t ship with one. And you’ll definitely want to bring the charger. The battery life on this unit is pretty bad. It’s good for two or three brushes before it starts losing power. Of course, there’s no reason not to just leave it plugged in, which makes this a non-issue.
There are five settings on the Mueller Sonic Ultra 5, but they only change the duration of the brushing cycle. All settings have the same intensity, 66,000 cycles per minute, which is the fastest we’ve seen. That’s pretty rough on sensitive gums, but it’s still gentler than the ProtectiveClean 5100, probably because it runs so much more smoothly.
Mueller includes coupons for two free brush heads, so if you like the ones they sent you can get your first two replacements for free. If you’re indifferent, the Sonic Ultra 5 is also compatible with most generic brush heads. Just don’t use a Sonicare brush head on it. While they look like generics, Sonicare heads mount slightly differently and won’t work on the Mueller brush.
Best Budget Option
Best For Families
If you’re looking for a good set to share with your significant other, the AquaSonic DUO was made for you. This is a pair of toothbrushes, one black and one white, that share a two-toned charger and come with matching travel cases. Got kids? No problem. There are two slots on the base for additional brush heads, so up to four people can share this set easily.
The AquaSonic DUO oscillates 40,000 times per minute, making it one of the faster toothbrushes we’ve reviewed. Unfortunately, there’s no way to scale back the intensity. This makes it a poor option for anyone with sensitive gums. While it ships with a total of 10 brush heads, you’ll eventually run out. When you do, you’ll be stuck ordering replacement heads from AquaSonic, which are far more expensive than generic heads.
That said, this really is a nice toothbrush. It’s powerful, it’s easy to take on the road, and it charges wirelessly. With a charging setup this easy, there’s no reason not to leave your toothbrushes on the charger, especially since the batteries are only good for a few brushing sessions between charges.
If you’re only looking for an electric toothbrush for yourself, there are much better options available in this price range. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that the whole family can use, the AquaSonic DUO is hard to beat. That said, you could easily spend four times this much outfitting your family with individual toothbrushes. There’s a lot of value in this package.
Now that we’ve reviewed the most popular electric toothbrushes out there, let’s go over the basics of these machines. We’ll talk about how they work, the pros and cons of electric versus manual toothbrushes, and discuss a few other basic things you’ll need to know to get the most out of your new brush.
How Do Electric Toothbrushes Work?
Like all electrical devices, electric toothbrushes have a small electric motor inside. This motor consists of a magnetic rod that sits in the middle of a wound copper coil. When an electrical current runs through the coil, the rod spins and turns a gear.
The real genius of an electric toothbrush lies in converting the motor’s circular motion into the oscillating motion of the head. A simple gear connection would just make the head spin in circles, which isn’t as good at loosening up plaque as an oscillating motion. If you look inside a disposable brush head, you’ll see a gear that connects to a small cam. When the gear spins, the cam moves back and forth, creating those familiar vibrations
What Makes Sonic Toothbrushes Special?
Sonic toothbrushes are specially-designed electric toothbrushes that run much faster than a standard brush – typically 31,000 strokes per minute or more. The head on a sonic brush feels looser than a standard brush, because it is. Standard brush heads lock in place on the handle, and the only thing that actually moves is the very tip with the brushes on it. On a sonic brush, the entire head vibrates back and forth.
This complex, rapid motion is what gives sonic toothbrushes their name. By moving this quickly, the bristles produce tons of tiny bubbles, similar to an ultrasonic cleaner. According to a 2004 study by British researchers, these bubbles aren’t agitated enough to actually collapse and generate a true ultrasonic cleaning effect. Basically, a sonic toothbrush is a really fast electric toothbrush that makes little bubbles that tickle your gums.
Note that sonic toothbrushes are not the same as ultrasonic toothbrushes. We haven’t reviewed any true ultrasonic brushes because they’re much more expensive, and are really a specialty market. To qualify as ultrasonic, the FDA requires a brush to vibrate at least 192 million times per minute. At these speeds, the brushes create cavitation, a physical process where water bubbles collapse under pressure and generate enough impact to remove plaque and other debris from your teeth
What Are The Pros And Cons of Electric Toothbrushes?
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably already decided to buy an electric toothbrush. Nonetheless, there are still some things you know. If you’re still on the fence, hopefully this helps you make a more informed decision.
The Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes
- They’re better at removing plaque. A 2014 study by Cochrane showed that electric toothbrushes reduced plaque by 24 percent compared to a manual toothbrush. The same study also showed an 11 percent lower rate of gingivitis among electric toothbrush users. Nobody likes plaque, and it’s pretty clear that electric brushes are better on this front.
- They’re easier to use. For people who are physically abled, using a manual toothbrush is easy enough to do at six in the morning when you’re half awake. For people with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease or developmental disabilities, it can be difficult or impossible to use a manual brush properly. Electric brushes have larger handles, so they’re easier to hold. They also don’t require any vigorous scrubbing, so they’re gentler on your knuckles and tendons.
- They improve your concentration. According to a 2015 study published by the National Institutes of Health, people who use electric brushes tend to focus more on brushing their teeth than people with manual brushes. The same study showed that these users enjoyed brushing their teeth more than manual brushers. It goes without saying that you’ll do a better job of anything if you’re having fun and concentrating on it, and the same goes for brushing your teeth.
- They’re better at cleaning around braces. Braces and other orthodontic work can make it hard to brush well. They have all kinds of angles and wires that get in the way, and the simple side-to-side or up-and-down motion of a manual brush can leave a lot of debris in your mouth, leading to bad breath or even cavities. The oscillating motion of an electric brush is better at getting into all the crevices between your brace wires, so you’ll have cleaner teeth and better breath.
- They’re gentler on your gums. Remember how electric brushes are better at preventing gingivitis? A big part of this is the fact that they’re very gentle along the gum line, so you’re not going to miss spots while you’re avoiding your gums.
- Kids love them. Electric toothbrushes are fun to use. If you’re having trouble getting your kid to brush their teeth regularly, an electric brush might encourage them.
The Disadvantages of Electric Toothbrushes
- They cost more. To begin with, you need to buy the basic unit. This can range from tens of dollars to hundreds, depending on how fancy you want to get. After that, you’ll still need to buy replacement heads, which cost about five times as much as replacing a manual brush.
- They’re harder to travel with. If you’re taking a weekend trip to your mom’s house, it’s easy enough to just toss your electric brush your toiletry bag. But if you’re taking a long trip, you’ll also need to bring the charging station. If you’re going overseas, you’ll also need to buy a power adapter to plug it in. In these cases, a manual brush is a lot more convenient.
- They’re harder to replace. Let’s say your manual toothbrush breaks or gets dropped somewhere gross. You can just buy a new one at any grocery store, convenience store, drug store, gas station, bodega, etc. Everyone sells them. Now let’s say the same thing happens to your electric brush head. You’ll need to go to a specific store to replace it, or buy one online. This isn’t a big deal for planned replacements, but it can be a headache in an emergency.
Great! What Else Do I Need To Know?
Now that we know how electric toothbrushes work, and what their strengths and weaknesses are, let’s take a look at what you can do to get the best performance possible from your brush.
How Often Should I Replace My Brush?
Over time, toothbrushes wear down. Some bristles get pulled out. Others get frayed or lose their stiffness. These loose, frayed bristles can harbor bacteria, and significantly reduce the effectiveness of your brush. To avoid this, the American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months. This is true whether you’re using a manual brush or an electric one.
What Kind of Head Should I Use?
Medium or soft bristles are ideal for most people. They’re powerful enough to scrub away plaque without irritating your gums too much. If you have very sensitive gums or are recovering from oral surgery, it can be a good idea to use an extra-soft brush for maximum comfort.
For kids, it’s a good idea to use a smaller brush head, just like you’d give your kid a child-sized manual brush instead of an adult-sized one. They’re available in a variety of sizes and styles, for ages ranging from toddlers to tweens.
What Special Features Should I Look Out For?
When you’re buying a brush, there are some extra features that can make all the difference in the world. Here are a few of them:
- Timers and pacers. Brushes with integrated timers help you make sure you’re brushing your teeth enough without over brushing. Many of these timers include pacers, which beep or pulse when it’s time to switch from one quadrant of your mouth to another.
- Brush sanitizers. A wet toothbrush sitting in a warm bathroom can be a harbor for all kinds of nasty bugs. To combat this, some electric toothbrush charging stations include a brush sanitizer.
- Different power modes. Maybe you want to brush aggressively on the biting surface of your molars, but brush more gently along your gums or on your tongue. Many electric brushes have different power settings to fine-tune your experience.
- Ease of travel. If you travel a lot, look for a brush that has a long battery life and comes with a travel case. With some brushes, you can go on the road for a week without having to plug your toothbrush in.
There’s a lot that goes into choosing the best electric toothbrushes. From the speed to the head style to the charging station, there are a lot of options available. A frequent flyer with adult braces and a large budget is going to want a different brush than a senior citizen who stays at home and lives on a fixed income.
No matter what your needs, we hope you found the best electric toothbrush for your needs. Even if you’re still looking for that perfect brush, we hope you learned something today.