(Pocket-lint) - Whether you're graduating from an old-school manual brush or want to upgrade your current electric toothbrush, it never hurts to put some money where your mouth is.
Discovering which electric toothbrush is best for you is hardly an easy task, though. Most of the top options now come with a litter of speed settings, travel cases, pressure sensitivity warnings and timers, with some even giving you a breakdown of each clean in a companion app.
And with this array of features now a very prominent part of the electric toothbrush package, it's easy to forget about the most important factor: cleaning performance.
To try and discover the top offerings, then, the Pocket-lint has been hard at work testing the latest and greatest electric toothbrushes. We've considered a range of models from Philips Sonicare, Oral-B and more, with our grading based on the overall clean and feel, the usefulness of extraneous features and value for money. Not all made our final recommendations.
There's also likely to be plenty of questions about electric toothbrushes you'd like answered before taking the plunge. Are electric toothbrushes better than manual ones? How much do you need to spend on an electric toothbrush? We've tried to do our best to answer these queries in the section below our picks. For now, though, let's go through our findings.
Quick view: After testing the top electric toothbrushes, our current Top Pick is the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean. However, we also recommend checking out the Oral-B iO 9 Series, Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100, Oral-B Genius 9000 and Quip Electric Toothbrush.
Our Top Pick
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
- Outstanding cleaning performance
- Beautiful design
- Battery life could be better for the price
- App smarts are limited
The margins are tight at the very top-end of electric toothbrushes, but, after spending a fair bit of time with Philips' DiamondClean, we believe it sits slightly above the rest.
It features a bounty of cleaning modes - clean, white, gum care, deep clean and sensitive - 14 days of battery life and a very sleek design.
Unlike some other models, it does feel like these cleaning modes actually offer a difference, too, which encourages you to actually cycle through them, rather than just finding one and sticking with it.
We won't pretend to put too much stock into toothbrush design, but the DiamondClean is pretty much as sleek it gets.
The travel case is compact and smart-looking, the charging puck is slick (and one we prefer to other Sonicare models) and it's available in white, black, pink or black/rose gold.
Electric toothbrushes we also recommend
The following models may not take top spot, but they're still firmly within our recommended pile.
Oral-B iO Series 9
- Next-level cleaning
- Advanced smart features
- Very expensive
- Battery life is average
Oral-B has gone all out with the iO Series 9, which is one of the most advanced we've ever tested.
The downside is that this flagship has the price tag to match, but, for your trouble, you do get an outstanding clean.
This comes complete with 3D tracking within the Oral-B app that analyses your brush. We're not overly confident this is something we'd stick with for the long-term, but it is helpful for understanding your cleaning habits and creating better ones.
There are a variety of modes to make sure you're comfortable while cleaning, naturally, and it all comes together to feel a bit like a glimpse of the toothbrush's future.
Due to the astronomical price tag, and the 10-11 days of battery life, it's hard to recommend the Series 9 to everyone. If money is no object, though, you should certainly explore it further.
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100
- Sleek design
- Quiet, complete cleaning
- Basic travel case
- Limited smarts
One of the middle children in the Sonicare range, the 6100 offers three cleaning modes, and, in our view, is only just superseded by its DiamondClean sibling.
In our testing, we found little-to-no drop-off in terms of actual cleaning performance against the flagship DiamondClean, despite a fair jump in price.
There are compromises to face here, however, even if the toothbrush's value is very good.
With a less premium travel case, fewer cleaning modes and a chunkier charger, it just isn't quite as premium as more expensive models.
For those who just want to spend a medium amount, rather than breaking the bank, we really like the ProtectiveClean 6100, though.
Oral-B Genius 9000
- Pushes innovative features
- Great cleaning
- Inconsistent app
- Noticeably loud
Oral-B's Genius 9000 brings some excellent smart features to the fore, confirming its place on this list of elite toothbrushes.
Not only does it feature a pressure sensor, but there's also a 'Gum Guard Assistant' - this works with the Oral-B app over Bluetooth and shows you the areas you are applying too much pressure on your gums. It's a bit gimmicky and inconsistent, but it's still useful for those who want to gain some mild insight into their brushing.
Position Detection, too, ensures you brush your entire mouth. By attaching your phone to the bathroom mirror using the holder and tapping the camera, this can analyse each clean indivudually.
Again, it's slightly on the gimmicky side and doesn't always work as you'd like, but that isn't to say there are folks out there who could find it very useful.
Quip Electric Toothbrush
- Budget-friendly, subscription model
- Built-in timer is great
- Not a comprehensive clean
- Design isn't overly functional
Quip is a bit of a left-field addition to this list, but we felt it worthwhile to include something more on the budget end of the electric toothbrush spectrum.
For a fraction of the price of regular elite toothbrushes, Quip (available in plastic, as well as the metal option we tested) keeps things very slim, very sleek and delivers new heads on a subscription basis.
It's an intriguing model, and one te design is one that really can't be beaten for those who travel frequently.
Our issue during testing, though, was this basic premise extends to the actual cleaning performance. It's just not as easy to get into the tighter spaces of your mouth and receive a comprehensive clean, even if the built-in timer is great for letting you know when two minutes is up.
It's a really great entry point into the world of electric toothbrushes, or for those who just want something a little different from the usual Philips and Oral-B models, but it's not without the odd downside.
Other electric toothbrushes we tested
The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.
These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5:
- AquaSmart Black Series Toothbrush
- Oral-B Pro 1000
- ION-Sei Sonic Toothbrush
- Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100
How to choose an electric toothbrush
As we've already alluded to up top, there's now plenty to consider when choosing an electric toothbrush. Gone are the days of cheap, manual toothbrushes multi-packs that you would wear down the bristles on in a few weeks - we now have hundreds of more advanced models that do the hard work for you.
There's still plenty to understand about electric toothbrushes before you convert or upgrade, however, which is why we've gathered the most frequently asked questions and tried our best to help you feel comfortable before you buy.
What type of electric toothbrush is best - oscillating vs. sonic?
Oscillating models - like the ones you'd typically find from Oral-B - work exactly how the name suggests; the head will rotate thousands of times per minute in order to wipe away plaque from your teeth.
Sonic brushes, on the other hand, stray away from the rotating, round heads and instead vibrate at high levels in order to rid your teeth of plaque build-up.
Thankfully, you can't really lose with either one of these dominant electric toothbrush designs, so it's all down to personal preference.
Is it necessary to spend more on an electric toothbrush?
Value is always hard to ascertain, since, as with other areas, electric toothbrushes have plenty of different price points to pick from. At least in our experience of testing with disclosing tablets to reveal plaque build-up, cleaning performance often doesn't differentiate too much between models. What does change, however, is the other features.
So, if you like having post-brush graphs, plenty of cleaning modes and potentially longer battery life, you're likely going to have to pay a bit more. Don't necessarily think you're paying for a better clean if you do get a flagship model, though.
How often do you need to change toothbrush heads?
This is personal to every user, since worn bristles often occur due to the pressure applied when cleaning, but changing roughly every 12 weeks is a good estimate. Since the power behind electric toothbrushes allows you to apply much less pressure, you'll likely find that electric toothbrush heads last much longer than their manual counterparts.
As a bonus, being able to swap these heads out also means electric toothbrushes can be shared.
How often do you need to charge an electric toothbrush?
Like with changing out the heads, this differs greatly between users - as well obviously being different between certain models of brushes. Typically, though, you'll find that they can hold their charge from anywhere between 1 - 3 weeks, and perhaps longer. This means they can be taken on holidays and trips without you having to worry about taking the charger.
Charging times, too, are actually quite friendly - we find that most models can charge from flat to full in around 12 - 24 hours.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
In the case of electric toothbrushes, we selected from a large number of devices and tested their capabilities over a few weeks. This included factoring them into our twice-daily brushing, with each model judged on its cleaning performance, design, smart features, battery life and price.
Since cleaning performance is largely unscientific, we used a disclosing tablet before and after brushing in order to gain a rough idea of how effectively each performed within a two-minute period.
From there, we were able to compare the other areas each model provided and begin ranking them.
As with all our buyer's guides, we aren't overly interested in providing complicated specs, performing unnecessary tests or feeding back marketing jargon. The mini-reviews provided in this guide are concise for a reason; we just want to give you a feel of what to expect if you do decide to pick up one of these models.
After all, we’ve been covering tech since 2003, and have been able to review multiple generations of the same product line from the likes of Philips and Oral-B.