Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush: A Review

Philips Sonicare DiamiondClean rechargeable electric toothbrush

The happy family.

I don’t like to think of myself as a shallow person, but, man, this is an gorgeous toothbrush. It’s all clean white and bright apple green, with an attractive backlit LED display that’s invisible until it turns on and a cool ceramic finish.

It might seem an odd choice to lead with the DiamondClean’s looks but, sitting pretty at the top of the Sonicare line, that’s largely what you’re buying.

EDIT FROM THE SPECTACULAR FUTURE THAT IS 2017: This article was first written in June 2013, but since then not much has changed for the Sonicare DiamondClean. Functionally it’s still the same toothbrush described in detail below (so please, read on). That said, in recent years Sonicare has been pushing the envelope with its top-of-the-line model in one highly specific way — colour variations. In addition to the classic white and green of the original model, the Sonicare DiamondClean is now also available in black-and-green, black-and-purple, white-and-pink, black-and-yet-more-black, white-and-rose-gold, and white. Your bathroom counter has never looked so classy.

Introducing the Sonicare DiamondClean

This is normally the part where I walk you through the basics of the brush — what it includes, what it doesn’t, and what all those pesky settings mean. But the truth of the matter is, Sonicare’s product description does a pretty good job of breaking that down.

Check out Amazon.com’s Philips Sonicare DiamondClean product page for a full rundown.

Here’s the short version:

  • Speed: Up to 31,000 brush strokes per minute.
  • Timer: Smartimer (two minute brush session) and quadpacer (pauses motor every thirty seconds to encourage thorough brushing)
  • Brush HeadUses new, improved DiamondClean brush heads. Compatible with older ProResults brush heads.
  • Brushing Time: Lasts up to 3 weeks between charges, depending on frequency of brush use. Uses a Lithium ION rechargeable battery.
  • Settings: Clean, Gum Care, Polish, Sensitive, White
  • Handle: Slim ergonomic design, with built-in battery icon (this one changes color!) and an illuminated backlit display that indicates the selected mode when turned on and disappears completely when turned off.
  • Charger: Multi-voltage. Includes a drinking glass that serves as a charger and a charging travel case that connects to your laptop via USB or can be charged by wall outlet. (The travel case doesn’t have built-in vents, so don’t seal a damp toothbrush in there. That will end in tears.)

And, of course, it removes lots of plaque, improves the health of your gums and whitens your teeth.

… Remember when this was going to be short? I do, too.

Is it worth it?

One of the biggest questions about the DiamondClean is whether it deserves its hefty price tag.

The DiamondClean is a cool toothbrush. It comes with a drinking glass that doubles as a charger. Its travel case plugs into your computer’s USB port. Yeah, it’s an electric toothbrush, but it’s cool — if I owned one, and I don’t, unfortunately, it would probably even be cooler than I am.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Pictured: Swag.

(To be fair, that wouldn’t be hard. I don’t even come with built-in LED backlighting.)

So yeah, it’s the sort of toothbrush that cuts a fine figure on your bathroom counter. If you associate with the sort of people who respect fine toothbrush design, it may even impress your friends.

But does it actually clean?

Well, yes, it does — and very well, at that. But there’s more to the story.

One Amazon reviewer, on comparing the specs and the size, shape and weight of the toothbrushes in person, concluded that the DiamondClean and its cheaper cousin, the Flexcare+, are virtually identical.

It’s a sleek, gorgeous skin, with a ceramic feel and a sense of almost Apple engineering, but if it’s true there’s little fundamental difference in the two brushes’ base cleaning ability.

Philips Sonicare FlexCare Plus rechargeable electric toothbrush

The contender.

Looking at the DiamondClean’s specs — and its settings — I see few significant differences between them. The FlexCare+ and the DiamondClean have five power settings each. These settings are essentially identical — Clean, Sensitive, and Gum Care share the same name, while the FlexCare+’s Refresh mode (a brief one minute session intended for touch-ups between brushings) has been rechristened “Polish”. 

The only outlier is the DiamondClean’s “White” mode, which replaces the FlexCare+’s “Massage” mode. “White,” like its equivalent on the HealthyWhite 710, consists of an extra 30 seconds of brushing time divided into 15 second increments, allowing the user to focus a little more effort on their front teeth. Does the setting work? Some users swear by it, while others remain skeptical.

If you’re in the market for a high-end toothbrush and all you care about’s the clean, it’s up to you to decide if the extra 30 seconds make the difference.

 Things to Consider…

  • There’s just one button.

The one thing everyone complains about.

Okay, so the DiamondClean’s one button serves two functions — to toggle the toothbrush on and off and to allow the user to cycle through the brush’s five cleaning modes. Of course, you can’t tell from the buzz of the brush which of the settings you’ve chosen, so Sonicare has helpfully built a backlit display into the handle that tells you the name of the mode you’ve selected.

That’s all well and good, but because the mode selection button doubles as an on/off switch, there’s no way to set the cleaning mode without turning the brush on. That means that, if you’ve already slopped on the toothpaste and realize too late that it’s not the setting you want, you’re going to have to stick the toothbrush in your mouth, turn it on and squint uncomfortably at the display reflected in the bathroom mirror.

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to avoid this issue. If you like to use multiple settings or have multiple family members using the same brush handle, turn on the toothbrush and select the correct cleaning mode before applying any toothpaste. When you turn it off again, the toothbrush will remember your selection and, when you start it up again ready to brush a few moments later, it will resume in the setting of your choice.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean rechargeable electric toothbrush

  •  Wait, which one’s mine?

Of course, if you’re sharing the brush handle with other people, you’re going to be faced with a different problem. Unlike the cheaper ProResults brush heads, DiamondClean brush heads don’t come with colored rings or other identifiers to help users tell their brushes apart. There’s also no place to store additional brush heads (well, apart from inside the travel case).

If you’re lucky enough to have a bottle of nail polish lying around, a dab of color can help in a pinch. Still, for the top of the Sonicare line, the absence of a built-in solution is a noticeable one.

  • Won’t charge? Keep it away from metal.

One known issue with this brush is that storing it on a surface made of metal (be that a counter, shelf or medicine cabinet) will prevent the handle from charging. Before calling in the electricians or turfing your toothbrush as defective, check to make sure it’s being charged on a non-metallic surface.

  • No UV Brush Head Sanitizer

The Sonicare DiamondClean comes with a lot of bells and whistles but, for some reason, the UV Brush Head Sanitizer included in the FlexCare package isn’t one of them. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, consider the FlexCare RS930 (note: the basic FlexCare doesn’t have a UV Sanitizer either) or the FlexCare+ instead.

What does everyone else think?

As of writing, the DiamondClean has received a 4.4 out of 5 stars rating at Amazon.com.

Conclusion

This toothbrush appeals to the tech geek in me, but personally I don’t need the bells and whistles. Still, if you love being able to customize your brushing experience and are willing to pay more for form over function, the DiamondClean makes for an effective and fashionable bathroom accessory.

Just remember to submit your warranty card. If the worst happens, you’ll thank me later.

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