You know the phrase work smarter, not harder? This is brush smarter, not harder with the best electric toothbrush for your needs.
We all know how important it is to brush your teeth twice a day, but it becomes one of those mindless, routine things and we don’t always pay attention to if we’re doing it correctly. Hint–shaking your head on a stationary brush is not it.
In a time when lots of folks can’t get to the dentist regularly, home care is even more important than ever. If you’re a dedicated electric toothbrush convert and are here to find out which one is right for you, feel free to skip ahead a few paragraphs while I hash this out.
Do you really need an electric toothbrush?
The straight answer is: maybe. Consumer reports show that electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes achieve similar results when used correctly.
“When used correctly” is the key phrase here. With a manual toothbrush, the correct brushing technique is to brush in quick back and forth strokes about a tooth’s width long as you move the brush along your teeth.
You know how narrow a tooth is? Those are really short little brushes. I don’t know about you, but I get lazy with a manual toothbrush and do long sweeps brushing the length of my mouth from my molars to the front and back again.
And with any toothbrush, dentists recommend brushing for two minutes, with 30 seconds spent on each quadrant of your mouth. With a manual, that’s too much counting for me. It’s late and I’m tired.
It comes down to this: a manual and electric brush perform nearly equally when used with top technique. But when you’re going through the motions waiting for your caffeine to kick in instead of concentrating on your dental training, an electric toothbrush blows your old manual out of the water.
So if you’re the type who is already ticking all the boxes on manual technique with no problems, then you may not need an electric toothbrush if you’re willing to keep up all that work. And serious kudos to you, friend, because that is not me.
The best electric toothbrush does the hard work for you and you only need to guide it along your teeth.
Most come with built in timers that alert you when you’ve reached the goal of two minutes. They also mark off every 30 seconds, signaling you to move on to the next quadrant so each section of your mouth gets equal attention.
Some of us tend to overcompensate for lack of concentration with increased brushing pressure to really get those teeth clean, which can be doing more harm than good. Brushing too hard can wear the enamel off your teeth and cause gum erosion. Many electric brushes have sensors that prevent you from brushing so hard that you hurt your teeth.
Then there’s the health benefits to the rest of your body. I made the switch to electric after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that caused pain in the joints of my hands. People who have hand, wrist, or shoulder issues will see invaluable benefits from an electric brush.
Do you spend three-quarters of your day on a computer? Carpal tunnel and repetitive stress injuries are probably a part of your life. Manual tooth-brushing is the epitome of repetitive stress.
Electric brushes pick up the heavy lifting for you and save your hands that extra work. This is especially great for those with medical conditions and older folks who have difficulty or pain grasping small objects.
Electric brush handles tend to be thicker and more ergonomic than the traditional brushes at your drugstore. I didn’t think it would make a big difference, but it was a huge decrease in my hand pain and made my teeth feel squeaky clean.
One last reason why I will always recommend an electric brush is this: Does your dentist clean your teeth with a manual brush?
If they do, get a new dentist.
When you’re picking out which electric toothbrush is right for your needs, there are two main types (and two big brand names) to decide between–sonic and oscillating. One doesn’t necessarily work better than the other.
It’s more a matter of what you and your mouth prefer the feel of. Some brushes are battery-powered, but anything that’s going to make the top 10 is rechargeable. It’s also important to check what style of replacement heads are available for each model as you’ll want to replace those every three months or so, the same as with a manual brush.
Sonic. Electric toothbrushes that are labeled sonic move back and forth in tiny brushstrokes by vibrating to the tune of over 30,000 strokes a minute.
You’ll find sonic-based tools in your dentist’s office because not only do those tiny movements scrub your teeth clean, but all that energy moving toothpaste around often reaches areas between teeth the brush can’t get to.
The bristle portion is shaped similarly to a traditional brush but is replaceable. The biggest name in sonic brushes is Phillips and their Sonicare line.
Oscillating. These are brushes that rotate back and forth about 45 degrees and oscillate side to side like a fan. They’re running on less power with closer to 8000 strokes a minute, but they are also moving father back and forth.
Think of these as a home version of that polishing tool at the dentist that they use with that gritty toothpaste right before you leave. The heads of these are rounded so they can spin and fit into smaller, tighter spaces. Oral-B is the top brand in oscillating brushes.
Let’s go over the best brushes currently on the market and see which may be the best fit for you.
1. Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush in Rose Gold
I don’t care who you are, you have got to think this looks classy. This customized glass is actually a charging station and fitted to lock onto the rose gold base which is discretely plugged in.
When you set the brush down in the glass, it charges by being close to the charging base without touching it. No more having to line the notch on the bottom of your brush onto the little peg on the dock or almost, or actually, knocking your brush and docking station over because it’s so flimsy.
This is a heavy, sturdy, charging station disguised as a really fancy glass. I should note, it’s still a glass so if you wanted to use it to rinse with, you could.
Enough about how gorgeous it is–does it work? Yes, and very well. It has the same reliable sonic power you expect from Philips and vibrates at 31,000 brushstrokes a minute. To break that down even more, that comes out to 516 strokes every single second.
With a full charge and average use, this one will last you over two weeks before needing to be plugged in again. You can keep the charging glass plugged in all the time, but over-charging the brush will wear down the longevity of the battery over time.
The Philips Sonicare Diamond has an automatic timer for two minutes and a quad-pacer, but doesn’t have a pressure sensor alarm. The Diamond Clean offers 5 modes: clean for standard, whitening with an extra 30 seconds for polishing your front teeth, sensitive for a gentler buzz, gum care for an extra minute of massage, and deep clean for a high intensity pulse.
As far as replacement heads, this comes with one DiamondClean head, one AdaptiveClean head, and one InterCare head. You also get this really great travel case that has its own USB charging port so you can charge your brush right in its case–if you’re away long enough to run the two week battery down.
The Diamond Clean comes in six colors including this rose gold. It also comes in amethyst, black, pink, white, and Qi which is a black model that comes with a more traditional base instead of a glass.
- Almost too classy to be a toothbrush
- Five brushing modes
- Six color options
- Chargeable travel case
- Comes with three brush heads
- Two week battery life
- No pressure sensor
2. Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries Rechargeable Toothbrush
This is one of the most top notch brushes around. It’s a sleek model that comes in this black or white and is bluetooth 4.0 connective.
Why would you ever need a bluetooth toothbrush? Well, this comes with an app that will track your brushing history, storing up to six months of data and presenting it as easy to read graphs, and will help you pass the two minute brushing window with two minutes of local weather reports, news, and oral care tips.
If getting a condensed two minute current events newscast doesn’t interest you, you can use the app to visually guide you through the quadrants of your mouth or watch the real-time pressure sensor which alerts your phone when you press too hard.
The pressure sensor will also light up red on your brush and has an internal timer and quad-spacer so you don’t need to have the app for those features.
This brush offers six different cleaning modes. You have a choice of daily clean which is standard, gum care for massaging, sensitive for a gentler buzz, whitening for alternating polishing speeds, deep clean for a longer brush time, and tongue cleaner. The charging dock has covered storage for four replacement heads.
As part of the SmartSeries, this brush comes with a mountable LED display which automatically starts a two minute timer when you turn your brush on. It shows you how long you’ve been brushing, which quadrant you’re on, and gives you a smiley face when you go the full two minutes.
The lights on the base indicate when it is fully charged and one charge should last around 10 days. The Pro 7000 comes with a hard travel case and three brush heads, one CrossAction, one ProWhite, and one Sensitive.
One thing I really like about Oral-B is that their brushes are compatible with so many of their different types of replacement brush heads.
- Six brushing modes
- Synced SmartSeries LED display
- Bluetooth capable
- Comes with three replacement heads
- Might be intimidating to the less technology literate
- You’ll need an adapter for 220 volts if you travel internationally
3. Philips Sonicare 3-Series Gum Health Toothbrush
I would say the Sonicare 3-Series is a happy medium of quality electric toothbrushes. It’s not full up on bells and whistles like some other top tier brushes, but still has enough useful features to beat out more basic models.
As a sonic brush, it vibrates at a high frequency of 31,000 brushstrokes a minute. If that sounds intimidating, it comes with three intensity options so you can try it out on low, medium, or high and see which one works best for you.
This comes with one ProResults Gum Health brush heads which are a little narrower than other brushes so you have control over the contact it has with your gums. The 3-Series has an automatic two minute timer with a quad-pacer that momentarily pauses the vibration every 30 seconds so you can evenly clean your whole mouth.
It comes with a compact charging dock and, with average use, a full charge will last you over two weeks. If brushing strength is an issue for you, this one doesn’t come with a pressure sensor, but that’s its biggest flaw.
You also get a travel case so you’re ready to travel.
Price: $62.26 (31 percent off MSRP)
- Three power settings
- Comes with one brush heads and case
- Battery life over two weeks
- Two minute timer and quad-pacer
- No pressure sensor
- No choice of color
- No bells and whistles
4. Iselector Rechargeable Sonic Toothbrush With UV Sanitizer
This is a sonic brush from a lesser known brand and is a good choice if you’re on a budget and don’t want to spring for the Philip’s brand. For the price, the Iselector RLT236 has amazing extras beyond vibrating at 30,000 strokes a minute.
It has a two minute timer and quad-pacer as well as five brushing modes: clean, white, polish, massage, and sensitive. It has some of the longest battery life of the best on the market with a full charge lasting up to six weeks.
You get a total of four replacement heads with tongue cleaners in this box and additional replacement heads are very affordable.
The best thing about this one for the price is that it comes with a UV sanitizer. The charging base has slots to store your brush heads when you aren’t using them and a tinted cover that can also be used as a rinsing cup.
Once you have put brush head away and covered the holder with the cup, a UV light kicks on, killing 99 percent of all bacteria on your brush heads. I do my best not the think about how gross my electric toothbrush heads look like under a microscope and this sanitizer is exactly what would put those worries to bed.
The UV light will stay on for six to seven minutes until the brushes are sanitized then will automatically shut off. The tinted cover acts as a shield to keep the light from filtering out too much into your bathroom, but it’s fairly dim to begin with.
With this feature you know that every time you pick up your brush, your bristles are clean and you’re not adding more germs to your mouth. Since it isn’t one of the main brands, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to replace this one sooner than the others. Philips and Oral-B brush handles are expected to last years, but the Iselector isn’t as durable.
Price: $69.99 (15 percent off MSRP)
- UV sanitizer
- More affordable
- Five brushing modes
- Comes with four brush heads
- Extremely long battery life
- More likely to break down before bigger brands
- No pressure sensor
- Sanitizer base takes up more room than most
- Only one type of brush head to choose from
5. Oral-B Pro 6000 SmartSeries Rechargeable Toothbrush With Bluetooth
This oscillating brush by Oral-B is one generation behind my pick for number two. This one also connects to the Oral-B app but instead of a little mountable LED screen, this brush has a ring of LED lights around the top of the handle that counts down your two minutes so you can visually see how much time you have left without standing in front of a little clock.
This ring of light will also turn red if the pressure sensor shows you are pressing too hard on your teeth. If blue isn’t your favorite color, you can log onto the app and customize it with 12 colors to choose from.
You have five brush modes to choose from: daily clean, whitening, sensitive, gum care, and pro-clean. The bluetooth connection allows you to choose a “Dental Care Journey” path from options like “Fresh Breath” or “Whitening” and the app will guide your mode selections according to what will best fit your needs.
You’re looking at a 10 to 12 day battery life and it comes with a hard travel case that is great for taking on the road. This comes with only one replacement head, but with the Oral-B brand you have so many different types of replacement heads to choose from.
As a side note, I have to say that the fact that bluetooth enabled toothbrushes are not called “bluetoothbrushes” is basically a crime in my opinion. Come on, Oral-B.
- Five brushing modes
- Bluetooth connected
- Customizable timer and pressure alert light ring
- The Dental Care Journeys are better in theory than in practice
- Travel case isn’t a USB charger
Find more Oral-B Pro 6000 SmartSeries Rechargeable Toothbrush With Bluetooth information and reviews here.
6. Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush With Bluetooth
This is about as high tech as you’re going to get. The futuristic Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 has bluetooth connectivity and a specialized app to make sure you are getting the absolute most out of your toothbrush.
It has the usual two minute timer with quad-pacer and a battery that should last you just under two weeks. An LED ring of light sits at the top of the handle and lights up to visually mark your two minute timer.
The light also turns bright red when the pressure sensor detects you’re pressing too hard. When you log into the Oral-B app, you can customize the color of your ring light with a choice of 12 different colors.
The app is where things get really advanced. Like the other Oral-B models, you can track your brushing history, set an oral health care course, and visually view your two minute timer.
The Genius Pro 8000 also comes with a smart phone cradle which attaches to your mirror with a suction cup. This is to put the app in the perfect spot to watch you brush.
Yes, it will watch you brush. The brush handle has position detection technology and works in concert with the app’s facial recognition to sense where you are brushing in real time.
The app displays a blue pie graph to represent your mouth and as you brush sections of it, the corresponding pieces of the graph will fade to white.
Your goal is to erase all the blue and have a fully clean mouth. Since it can actually tell where in your mouth the brush is, you can find out what spots you regularly miss. I can’t think of another way to ensure you are brushing the entirety of your mouth.
The brush itself has five modes: clean, gum care, sensitive, whitening, pro-clean, and tongue cleaner. You get three replacement heads, and being Oral-B, you know that compatible heads are easy to come by.
The travel case is really fantastic. It’s an organized hard case that has charging ports for both the Genius Pro 8000 and your cell phone as well as an angled slot to prop your smartphone up for easy use of the app while brushing without the phone cradle.
The brush itself works great with lots of oscillating power. All the high tech features might be a little much for some people who don’t like the idea of their toothbrush knowing where it is in their mouth.
There are lots of less advanced models that have all the other features besides this bluetooth connectivity. For those who are loving this futuristic technology, the Genius Pro 8000 is the brush you want.
- High tech and high quality
- Confidence that you haven’t missed a spot
- Six brush modes
- Advanced hard travel case
- Comes with three brush heads
- Too high tech for some
Find more Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush With Bluetooth information and reviews here.
7. Philips Sonicare Flexcare Plus Sonic Rechargeable Toothbrush
The Flexcare Plus vibrates at the Philips standard of 31,000 strokes a minute but is a little thinner in design. This is great if you’re looking to save space in your bathroom, but if you’re looking for a brush that will help you deal with trouble gripping small objects, while it’s clearly larger than a manual brush, there are thicker, more ergonomic brushes out there.
It comes with one brush head, an automatic timer, quad-spacer, and five brushing modes. The names of the modes are back-lit on the handle so they are easy to select and see.
The modes are clean, sensitive, massage, gum care, and refresh which is a shorter cycle if you just want a quick brush after lunch. On a full charge, this brush should last you over two weeks of average use.
You also get a hard travel case and a little plastic hat to cover and keep your brush head clean. The Flexcare Plus is a straight forward brush with lots of great features without being overwhelmed with bells and whistles. If you’re into gadgets though, this one might not satisfy.
- Over two weeks of battery life
- Five brushing modes
- Hard travel case
- You only get one brush head
- Thinner handle than others
Find more Philips Sonicare Flexcare Plus Sonic Rechargeable Toothbrush information and reviews here.
8. Oral-B Black Pro 1000
This is about as basic as an electric toothbrush model can be before I stop saying it’s one of the best overall and more like one of the best cheap electric brushes. It has the same Oral-B oscillating action but only has one mode so there are no settings for you to play with.
It does have an automatic two minute timer, quad-pacer, and pressure sensor. When its pressure sensor detects that you are pressing too hard, it will respond by stopping the brushes oscillations to prevent you from damaging your teeth and gums.
A full charge on this brush will last you about a week and it runs a little louder than the higher end models. It comes with one CrossAction brush head and compatible replacements are easy to find.
A note–the scale photo shows the brush as being 4.8 inches tall, which is not correct. This isn’t a miniature brush and is the standard electric toothbrush size.
- No frills
- Pressure sensor
- Two minute timer and quad-pacer
- Only one mode
- No case included
- Louder than others
9. Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
This Sonicare brush has a unique approach to its brushing modes. It has three intensity settings controlled by the button with the plus and minus signs and it has a separate button for its three modes: clean, whitening, and deep clean.
With this, you’re able to have nine different combinations so if you like the deep clean setting but need it gentler, you can adjust it to the lowest intensity. I find this to be intuitive and the most customizeable of all the models.
The Flexcare Platinum has a two minute timer, quad-pacer, and pressure sensor. A charged battery should last you over two weeks of regular use.
The included hard travel case will protect your brush from being tossed around in your bag and the multi-voltage travel charger makes this one a great choice for international travelers.
My only problem is the prominent buttons are right where you’re going to be holding your brush. If you have big hands or are clumsy, it’s easy to accidentally hit these buttons while you’re brushing.
- Travel friendly with hard case and multi-voltage charger
- Unique nine combination brush modes
- Easy to accidentally hit buttons
- No bluetooth
Find more Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush information and reviews here.
10. Supersmile Sonic Pulse Series II Rechargeable Waterproof Toothbrush
This sonic toothbrush runs at 30,000 strokes each minute and is the brush most recommended by cosmetic dentists. It has an automatic two minute timer and quad-pacer so you’re getting the best cleaning possible.
The Sonic Pulse offers three brushing modes: clean, gentle, and pulse for massaging your gums. This brush is fully waterproof so if you’re a multitasker and love to brush your teeth in the shower, this one is a good fit for your lifestyle.
The Sonic Pulse runs very smoothly and doesn’t feel like it’s rattling around in your mouth like some cheaper models can. The bristles are especially shaped to optimize whitening so if you’re looking to avoid chemical whiteners, this might be worth a try.
It’s biggest downside is that the replacement heads are pricey.
- Recommended by cosmetic dentists
- Three brushing modes
- Pricey replacement heads
- No pressure sensor