Your teeth are important.

Buying an electric toothbrush shouldn't be complicated. I mean, it's a toothbrush, right? How hard can it be? Well, have I got bad news for you. This site dives into consumer feedback and frustrating sales pages to dig out the information you need to find the toothbrush that's right for you.

Don't know where to start? Click here!
  • Toothbrush Spotlight: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean. Bringing the sexy back.

    Toothbrush Spotlight: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean. Bringing the sexy back.

  • The Oral-B Professional Series. Power (toothbrushes) to the people.

    The Oral-B Professional Series. Power (toothbrushes) to the people.

Philips Sonicare

Philips Sonicare

The Philips Sonicare line has been releasing best-selling rechargeable electric toothbrushes for more than a decade. Unsurprisingly, they know what they're doing.
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Oral-B

Oral-B

Oral-B has been selling toothbrushes for more than 50 years. Hopefully it won't take me that long to review their products. Watch this space for future updates.
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Recs and Resources

Recs and Resources

Want to know which of the approximately 18 billion brush heads available fit your toothbrush? Who doesn't. This section (once it's up and running, anyway) should help with all your basic electric toothbrush questions.
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Toothbrush Spotlight

Toothbrush Spotlight

Today's featured brush is the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean. Recommended by dentists and beloved by the sort of people who make "Top 10 Electric Toothbrushes" lists, it's both a functional tool and a fashionable accessory. Still, watch out for that price tag.
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Philips Sonicare 3 Series Gum Health Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush: A Review

The next step up from the Sonicare 2 Series, the Sonicare 3 Series offers a cost-effective brush with multiple intensity settings. The only problem? Uh, bring your earplugs.

Buy it on Amazon.

Introducing the Philips Sonicare 3 Series Gum Health

With the introduction of the 3 Series, Sonicare has created a welcome bridge between the slim pickings of the entry-level 2 Series and the highly specialized objectives of the HealthyWhite. Despite its stated focus on your gums — for example, it comes with a ProResults brush head designed to encourage gum health — the most appealing facet of the 3 Series is its three intensity settings. Gone are the somewhat archaic setting names that characterized earlier models (Clean and White? Gum Health? What does that even mean?); with the Sonicare 3 Series your intensity setting modes are 1, 2, and 3. It’s intuitive and straightforward and a welcome change for folks who want more control over the strength of their brush.

In terms of functionality, the basics are all there. Smartimer keeps your brushing session to the dentist-recommended two minutes, while Quadpacer helps keep your brushing even by breaking that two-minutes into 30 second allotments for each quadrant of your mouth. Its modern Li-Ion battery should last up to three weeks on a full charge, while its two-colour battery charge indicator keeps you updated on its progress. For those of you on the go, it comes with a travel charger and travel case. Good stuff.

Things to Consider…

  • Plug your ears.There have been repeated user reports that, like the Sonicare 2 Series, the 3 Series is louder than some of the line’s higher-end models. Like I’ve said elsewhere, when there’s a tiny motor involved noise comes with the territory, but customer feedback suggests there’s something different going on here than your usual bzz bzz bzz. Given that the same issues don’t seem to be cropping up with the higher-end models, if you’ve got the money and want to avoid the rattling and excess vibration I’d opt for a different brush like the HealthyWhite or the FlexCare.
  • Don’t like that brush head? You can change it.As I mentioned earlier, the 3 Series comes bundled with a ProResults Gum Health brush head. Though it has its fans, some users have described the Gum Health brush head as too small for their purposes. That’s okay, though — while the noise and vibration issue has no easy fix, this one does. The 3 Series brush is compatible with all six modern Sonicare snap-on brush heads and they can be ordered separately.
  • That darned button.The intensity settings and the on/off functionality are all built into the same button. Turning it on to rinse the bristles after use can accidentally change the intensity level for later. Whoops.

What does everyone else think?

As of right now, you’re looking at a 4.5 out of 5 rating at Amazon.com, with some 897 verified reporting in on their experiences. Not too shabby.

Read the customer reviews for yourself.

Conclusion

This is one of those toothbrushes where, like the 2 Series, you get what you pay for. It’s cheaper than the more expensive brushes in the Sonicare line and it works and that’s enough for most people. But personally? If you think the noise is going to bother you and you have the money, I’d strongly encourage dropping a little more money on the HealthyWhite or one of its brethren. The better quality brush could well be worth the investment.

And whatever you do, remember to fill out your warranty card and keep your receipts. You’ll thank me later.

Buy it on Amazon.

Obligatory note on packaging

If you do decide to buy this product on Amazon.com it’s important to understand what “Amazon Frustration-Free” packaging means. You will receive your Sonicare 3 Series in a cardboard Amazon box, with none of the original packaging. This makes it considerably easier to open (and recyclable), but much harder to wrap. If you’re buying this toothbrush as a gift, be sure to select the “Retail” option instead.

Snapshot: Philips Sonicare Essence Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush — but this time it’s pink!

Ugh, you’re killing me, smalls. The continued popularity of the Sonicare Essence line (when I hopped over to Amazon this morning it was sitting pretty as the #1 Best Seller in Electric Toothbrushes) continues to baffle me.

Yes, they’re cheap, and yes, they work, but they’re built on outdated technology that can result in mold issues if not properly maintained. They use older Ni-MH batteries, they’re bulkier, and they use an older brush head design that isn’t compatible with any more modern Sonicares that might already be in your household.

But hey, now at least they’re pink, right?

Okay, I won’t lie, the little bubbles are sweet and that bargain basement price tag is tough to refuse, but given the choice I’d spend a little extra money and grab the Philips Sonicare 2 Series model any day of the week.

Oh, and a warning — the Amazon site for the pink model of the Sonicare Essence says they use the ProResults brush head. That’s not true. ProResults brush heads are only available for more modern Sonicare models. For your Essence, you’re going to want to pick up e-Series replacement heads like these instead.

Philips Sonicare 2 Series Plaque Control Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush: A Review

Sonicare 2-Series Plaque ControlThis new entry-level toothbrush from Sonicare is the first feature-free model they’ve released that uses modern snap-on brush head technology. For those of us who remember the hygiene issues with the Sonicare E-series, that’s exciting, but is it enough?

Buy it on Amazon.

Introducing the Sonicare 2 Series Plaque Control

The 2 Series Plaque Control is the spiritual successor to the Sonicare Essence. It includes the Smartimer two-minute run time to ensure your brushing session meets dentist-approved standards, but otherwise that’s it. It doesn’t even feature the popular QuadPacer setting that breaks the two minutes down into thirty second increments, ensuring each quadrant of your mouth gets an equal amount of brushing time. Like its fellow low-budget brushes, this is what can be said for it: it brushes your teeth, it brushes them well, and doesn’t do much more than that.

So, if in terms of modes and settings, it’s almost identical to the Sonicare Essence and the Sonicare Elite Premium Edition (though that has QuadPacer, by the way), what’s the point?

The point — and the 2 Series’s biggest selling feature — is its modern design and snap-on brush head compatibility. The older models, like the Essence and the Elite Premium Edition, feature a screw-on brush head which worked fine from a brushing standpoint but had some drawbacks in practice. Screwing on the brush head often didn’t create a watertight seal. That meant water and other gunk would often build up beneath the brush and create an unpleasant mess for anyone who wasn’t unscrewing and cleaning beneath the brush head on a regular basis. Sonicare’s more modern brushes use a snap-on brush head design that eliminates this risk. The fact the 2 Series uses the snap-on brush head design means the majority of the Sonicare brush heads (such as the ProResults and the DiamondClean) are compatible with it. That’s handy if you’ve got another Sonicare user in the house or if you’re looking to sidestep the extra cleaning needed to keep an older Sonicare Essence fresh and functional.

Things to Consider…

  • Bring the noise

One comment that always seems to crop up when people talk about this product is the noise level. Every electric toothbrush is going to make some noise — there’s a tiny motor vibrating in there, after all — but from customer comments the amount of noise the 2 Series churns out is unusually high.

  • Mind the gap

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen users lamenting the fact the brush head doesn’t sit flush against the brush’s handle. That seems to be a trait shared by all of Sonicare’s more modern brushes. If there’s a small gap between the brush’s color code ring and the handle, don’t stress it. It’s all working as intended.

  • Watch your elbows.

Though it’s a little chunkier than the svelte Sonicare EasyClean, the brush and its charging station are both slim and lightweight. Convenient, sure, in that it takes up little space, but if you’re clumsy or you’ve got a couple of curious cats prowling around, you’re going to want to either be careful or buy a brush with a sturdier stand.

What does everyone else think?

As of right now, it’s holding steady with a 4.3 out of 5 rating at Amazon.com. With more than 1,400 customers reporting in so far, that’s not bad.

Read the customer reviews yourself.

Conclusion

As is always the case, the brush you choose is going to be a reflection of your priorities. That said, both on the basis of budget and functionality, I’d probably chose a slightly more expensive brush — either the EasyClean or the Sonicare HealthyWhite (which comes with a sensitive mode and a hard travel case) — over the 2 Series. As always, whatever you buy, keep your receipts and warranty information, but I’m betting from that increased noise that the higher end brushes are better built.

Buy it on Amazon.

Obligatory note on packaging

If you do decide to buy this product on Amazon.com it’s important to understand what “Amazon Frustration-Free” packaging means. You will receive your Sonicare Essence 5600 in a cardboard Amazon box, with none of the original packaging. This makes it considerably easier to open (and recyclable), but much harder to wrap. If you’re buying this toothbrush as a gift, be sure to select the “Retail” option instead.

Snapshot: Sonicare Elite Premium Edition Toothbrush

311Pv8BHZ-LDespite the name, the Sonicare Elite Premium Edition electric toothbrush is a return to an earlier age of Sonicare brushes. Built on older technology, it gambles that users will care more about a lower sticker price than fancy settings and modern conveniences.

If that all sounds familiar, it should. The Elite Premium Edition, at least at first glance, is virtually identical to the Sonicare Essence I’ve reviewed before.

There’s not much point in conducting a full review, so here’s the short version:

Amazon is offering a two-pack of these brushes for around $75 USD. That price is bound to change, but expect to see this product regularly on sale. That’s a great discount on the usual electric toothbrush sticker shock, but is it worth the effort?

It’s an old model.

I alluded to this earlier, but the brush is old technology. That means an older Ni-MH battery, a bulkier design, and an older brush head model that takes some maintenance to keep clean. Be sure to unscrew the brush head and wash it regularly.

ProResults brush heads and DiamondClean brush heads will not work with this toothbrush model. When you’re buying replacement brush heads, be sure to buy the right kind.

Keeping it simple.

Like the Sonicare Essence, the Sonicare Elite Premium Edition sticks to the basics: it brushes your teeth and it does it well, but it won’t do much else. Like with other Sonicare brushes, it features Quadpacer and Smartimer technology to let you know where and when to stop brushing, and eases you into using an electric toothbrush by gently increasing the power over your first weeks of use.

Unlike the Essence, however, it does have one special flourish. Like many of the newer brushes, it has a second “Massage mode” to stimulate the gums. That’s good to see on a budget brush.

World travelling.

The set includes two travel cases and their chargers are refreshingly compact, but the news isn’t all sunshine and roses. If you’re travelling in Europe, you’ll need a converter: the charger is rated 110/120v.

So, is it worth it?

Ultimately, that’s a question of personal preference. The older E-series brushes have been the workhorses of the Sonicare line for years. However, I like the convenience of the newer brush head design, so unless money was a serious factor my choice for a budget brush would be the Sonicare EasyClean.

Buy it on Amazon.

Still want to know more? Check out my Q&A Cage Match: Sonicare EasyClean vs. Sonicare Essence for a blow-by-blow of Sonicare’s two most popular budget options.

Phillips Sonicare EasyClean Toothbrush: A Review

Sonicare EasyClean review

The EasyClean is the cheapest of the newer models in the Sonicare line. It’s slimmer, sleeker and uses Sonicare’s new, snap-on ProResults brush heads, eliminating some of the older models’ hygiene issues. Otherwise, however, its functions are basic — its built-in two-minute SmartTimer keeps your brushing session on track, while its Quadpacer technology makes sure each of the four quadrants of your mouth receive equal attention.

Yeah, that’s it.

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced sonic toothbrush and don’t care about fancy settings or largely superfluous accessories, then this is the brush for you.

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