Electric Toothbrush Guide: What to Consider, Best Brands, and Where to Buy Them
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Table of Contents
- Things to Consider
- How to Choose
- Best Brands
- Frequently Asked Questions
Things to Consider When Buying an Electric Toothbrush
Each brand has its strengths and weaknesses. To find the right brush, you will want to consider size, cleaning power, battery life and cost.
Bristles and Heads
Almost all electric toothbrushes come equipped with a detachable head. This allows you to easily swap a new head in when the bristles on your old one wear down.
Replacement heads come in a variety of styles, many of which are designed for specific applications. For instance, many brands offer heads with extra-soft bristles for people with sensitive teeth and gums.
How It Cleans
Manufacturers build two types of electric toothbrushes: oscillating and sonic.
- Oscillating toothbrushes clean your teeth by automatically rotating the toothbrush head at very high speeds. Some electric toothbrush models also include pulsing or rotating action during oscillation to improve cleaning performance.
- Sonic toothbrushes use extremely fast sonic pulses to disrupt the plaque on your teeth and sweep it away. The brush head does not move very much during the cleaning process, but it does produce a gentle vibrating sensation.
Years of test results show both cleaning to be effective. Choose whichever type you prefer.
Brushes with high-tech features like smart brushing technology usually cost several hundred dollars, but basic brushes can be purchased for $25 or less. The more you are willing to spend, the more features you will get.
Do not forget to include the cost of disposable brush heads into your budget. Many electric toothbrush brands sell replacement heads for around $5, but some brands charge significantly more. Read the fine print about what is included with the brush you buy and then investigate the prices of replacement parts.
Many electric toothbrushes offer additional features to improve your brushing experience. Among the features:
- Built-in timers to let you know when it is time to switch quadrants
- A selection of different brushing modes, such as deep clean or sensitive modes
- A connected app to manage your brushing data
- The ability to customize the color of the flashing lights on the brush
How to Choose
To choose the electric toothbrush that is best for you, consider the following questions:
- How do you use your toothbrush now? Does your current brush have any features that you want to keep? Are there any features you wish it had?
- What are your dental hygiene goals? Whether you are trying to brush more consistently or cover all the surfaces of your teeth more evenly, identifying your dental goals will help you determine what you need in your brush.
- What is your budget? How much are you willing to spend for the features you need? Do you need to keep the price as low as possible, or can you afford to spend a little more to make your brushing experience better?
Oral-B is one of the two biggest electric toothbrush brands on the market. Oral-B brushes offer plenty of cleaning power and a range of additional features for custom cleaning routines.
It is also one of the few toothbrush companies to use rotating-oscillating cleaning mechanisms.
- Size: Oral-B’s brushes are approximately 9 to 10 inches tall, depending on the model.
- Brushes and Heads: Oral-B’s signature round brush heads feature soft, flexible bristles. Those with specific needs can purchase specially designed brush heads, including FlossAction, CrossAction and Sensitive versions. Certain brush heads are only compatible with iO brushes. Replacement heads are available on the company's website for around $10 a head with a slightly discounted price available through a subscription plan. Some third-party retailers also carry these heads at a similar price point.
- How It Cleans: Rotating-oscillating motion.
- ADA Approval: Yes.
- Battery Life: Approximately five days. Higher-end models can last a little longer if you turn off some of the extra features while you brush.
- Cost: Prices range from $25 for the Pro 500 brush to $300 for the iO Series 9.
- Features: Low-end models offer one brushing mode and a built-in timer. Higher-end ones add features such as pressure sensitivity, additional brushing modes, and Bluetooth functionality. Models that connect to Oral-B’s smartphone app also offer targeted feedback based on your brushing performance.
- Where to Buy: You can purchase Oral-B brushes online through the company’s website or through major online retailers like Amazon. You can also purchase them in big box stores like Walmart as well as many grocery stores and drug stores.
Sonicare is the other major electric toothbrush brand. This line was the first to use sonic cleaning and is still considered one of the best examples of this type of brush.
- Size: Most Sonicare models are around 10 inches tall.
- Bristles and Heads: Sonicare brush heads are topped with soft bristles and come in many different varieties, including heads for sensitive teeth, deep cleaning, and gum care. Small-sized kids' brush heads are also available. New heads cost $10 to $15 each and can be purchased in multipacks or through a subscription service on the company website.
- How It Cleans: Powerful sonic cleaning technology.
- ADA Approval: Yes.
- Battery Life: Up to 14 days
- Cost: You can purchase a basic Sonicare DailyClean 1100 for just $25. Prices increase as you add more features. The most expensive brush in this line is the Sonicare 9900 Prestige, a deluxe smart model that retails for $400.
- Features: The basic DailyClean 1000 model includes a vibrating timer and a single cleaning mode. Other models include additional cleaning modes, pressure-sensing technology, Bluetooth Connectivity, and more. High-end models connect to an app to collect data on your brushing habits and offer you feedback and coaching to improve your skills.
- Where to Buy: Sonicare electric toothbrushes are available on the company’s website, through online retailers like Amazon, or in most drug stores and big box stores. Some models are unavailable through the Phillips website and must be purchased from an outside retailer.
Quip electric toothbrushes are known for their simplistic design philosophy and relatively low price.
- Size: Quip brushes are the shortest electric toothbrushes on the market, standing just 7.5 inches tall with a 0.5-inch handle diameter.
- Bristles and Heads: Quip offers a single standard brush head with round-tipped nylon bristles and a built-in tongue scraper on the back. Replacement heads can be used on all Quip brushes and are sold individually or through convenient recurring subscriptions through the company’s website. Either option costs $5 per head and includes a free AAA battery with every brush head.
- How It Cleans: Gentle sonic pulses.
- ADA Approval: Yes.
- Battery Life: Quip brushes are non-rechargeable and run on one AAA battery. A fresh battery can power the brush for around 3 months.
- Cost: You can get Quip’s basic electric toothbrush model for $25 or upgrade to a smart model with a built-in timer and Bluetooth functionality for $45.
- Features: The Quip toothbrush offers timed pulses to let you know to switch quadrants after 30 seconds. You can also connect your brush to a rewards app that allows you to accumulate points for good brushing habits, then trade them in for free or discounted Quip products.
- Where to Buy: Quip toothbrushes are only available through the company website.
Hum by Colgate
The Hum toothbrush is a relatively new addition to the electric toothbrush market. It offers many of the same features that make Oral-B and Sonicare toothbrushes so popular, but it lacks the familiarity of those brands.
- Size: The Hum toothbrush stands 8 inches tall with an easy-to-grasp ergonomic handle.
- Bristles and Heads: Soft-bristled replacement heads are available in four different colors and cost $5 if ordered through the company’s quarterly subscription plan ($10 if purchased individually). Each head includes a tongue scraper on the back and a built-in rubber cup for extra polishing action.
- How It Cleans: Sonic pulses with two settings — normal and sensitive.
- ADA Approval: Not yet. Colgate reports that it has done extensive testing to ensure their toothbrush is both safe and effective, but it is considering whether it wants to submit the brush to the ADA for approval.
- Battery life: Up to 10 days.
- Cost: $70.
- Additional features: The Hum toothbrush offers three brushing modes (normal, sensitive, and deep clean). The brush uses Bluetooth connectivity to link to an app with position-sensing technology to analyze your brushing habits and suggest areas for improvement. The app also offers you reward points that can be exchanged for free Colgate products.
- Where to buy: The Hum toothbrush is available on Colgate’s website. The brush is also currently carried by Amazon, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Meijer. It is likely to become more widely available over time.
The Shyn toothbrush’s recent debut has made a splash on social media (especially Instagram). This brush is popular with younger consumers and offers a good selection of features for its mid-range price point.
- Size: The Shyn brush stands 9.5 inches tall with a slender handle.
- Bristles and heads: The Shyn toothbrush uses small soft-bristled heads available in four different varieties: Whitening, Anti-Plaque, Gum Care, or Ultra Flex 10. Each brush comes with one head of your choice. You can purchase more through a quarterly subscription plan that costs $5 for three months.
- How It Cleans: Sonic technology with an estimated 31,000 vibrations per minute.
- ADA Approval: Yes.
- Battery Life: Up to 14 days.
- Cost: $100.
- Additional Features: Shyn’s electric toothbrush offers four unique brushing modes: clean, whitening, sensitive and massage. The brush also features Bluetooth connectivity and can be linked to an app that rewards consistent brushing with points you can put toward free products.
- Where to Buy: The Shyn toothbrush is currently only available through the company’s website.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I look for when buying an electric toothbrush?
What makes a good electric toothbrush?
Which is the most effective electric toothbrush?
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