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Choosing the best electric toothbrush for your needs is somewhat subjective, but there are some factors that benefit nearly everyone. A toothbrush that is easy to use, charges well or has a long-lasting battery, and is equipped with convenient features like variable speeds can help you get the best possible cleaned teeth without discomfort.
What's more, for those of us who want to improve our oral hygiene, new smart toothbrushes can help you brush more thoroughly for the right amount of time using guidance from a smartphone application that is tied to your brush.
While we'll definitely mention some smart brushes and cool designs, our top winner wins because, well, it's a toothbrush. We wanted to pick the most affordable option that has everything you need to get a clean, healthy smile according to the American Dental Association. The ADA's main recommendations for an electric toothbrush is that it may be more comfortable or easier to use. The Pro 1000 scores there. With its mountains of reviews, it's seen as an easy to use brush that only has one button, which turns on and off. However, the ADA also recommends brushing for two full minutes twice daily, so the Oral-B Pro 1000 takes out the guesswork and cuts off after its simple timer reaches two minutes.
One underrated issue with some sleek and trendy brushes is that because they are newer there are fewer off-brand options for replacement brush heads. The Pro 1000 isn't a new model, and many grocery stores will have a cheaper brush head available, helping you to change the brush head the recommended once every three months. For sheer practicality, price, and consistency, the Pro 1000 takes our top spot.
Colgate is a respected brand name in the industry and brings a lot to the table with its smart toothbrush. The Hum is small and beautiful, which should appeal to a wide variety of brushers. In contrast to the slower oscillating technology used in older toothbrushes, this sonic toothbrush uses a higher-frequency pulse that is purported to get toothpaste and water deeper into the areas around the teeth, making for a better clean without the loud buzzing that came with rotating-oscillating toothbrushes.
What's more is that the toothbrush transmits to a readout on your phone, documenting the areas where you brushed well and where you should spend more time and attention. It can be effective for those who are a little helter-skelter with their teeth, and it makes brushing a pleasure rather than a chore.
While you can now buy Quip brushes in stores, the original direct-to-consumer concept was a smart one. Most of us don't intend to let our brush heads get old but we forget to buy a new one every three months. Quip's simple brush design combined with its system of sending a brush head to your doorstep right on schedule made it a game changer in the battery-powered toothbrush market.
It includes 30-second pulses that remind you to move your brush around your mouth at those intervals, and it comes at a price point lower than many of the rechargeable types. The travel cover is slim but secretly lets you mount the brush to your mirror, giving it a place to stay and making it easy to remember to brush.
Sonicare's ProtectiveClean brush has a price to rival the mid-range brushes we've considered today while bringing the name and background of the high-end Sonicare systems. We chose this brush because it has many of the best teeth-cleaning-related features that Sonicare often boasts -- from the timer to the pressure sensor -- without some of the newer features like the proprietary IntelliClean liquid toothpaste dispensing brushes. Think of it as providing the core features without any of the fluff.
While not as well known as the other brands we looked at, Brightline's Sonic Toothbrush stands out for its model that has five different modes. The modes are called clean, white, polish, massage, and sensitive, making this brush both helpful for those who want a higher-intensity pulse when brushing and those whose sensitive teeth or gums might benefit from a more gentle pulsation. The design is simple and the contoured bristles are effective, all for a low price point.
While sonic technology has produced great results, and some people prefer it, there are very strong signs that you can brush effectively with a thoughtfully designed rotating/oscillating brush. In our case, the best brush award went to an older style Oral-B Pro 1000 with the more intense, slower-frequency rotating, oscillating and pulsating brush head. This was partially due to overall reliability in product reviews and partially due to the widespread availability of both branded and off-brand brush heads, making this an inexpensive brush to use for a very long time.
That being said, the best electric toothbrush may vary based on your personal preference. Be aware that while both Sonicare's and Oral-B's brush heads have widespread availability, both also have some brush heads that aren't cross-compatible. So make sure your specific brush is listed as compatible on the brush head packaging.
Brush head availability
Oral-B Pro 1000
Sonicare 4100 ProtectiveClean
If you're looking to choose a mid-price-range electric toothbrush with strong features like a pulse timer that keeps you moving your toothbrush around your mouth and a strong battery life, you can't go wrong with our top five options. However, you may find that you have a better brushing experience if you choose your brand and model based on your priorities based on the chart below.
Choose this electric toothbrush…
If you want…
Oral-B Pro 1000
Affordability and key features for clean teeth
Frequent travel or to gamify your brushing
Easy use, affordability, and subscription to brush heads
Sonicare 4100 ProtectiveClean
High-end smart features without high-end smart price
Variable modes alongside reliability in other features
For each toothbrush we considered, we looked at a combination of product specifications and reviews. For instance, smaller, lighter toothbrushes are more portable and easier for a wide variety of people to hold comfortably, so we took that into account when choosing brushes, and product specifications also helped us learn what kinds of batteries were needed or whether a recharging station or case was included.
Whether a brush came with multiple types of brush heads or was cross-compatible with widely available brush heads was also a factor in affordability. We worked to find the best options that were in the most common price range, $25-$75, rather than focusing on brushes that had mountains of features but also cost hundreds of dollars.
We used product reviews from customers to identify products that had a strong reputation for helping people feel they were getting their teeth very clean, were comfortable to use, didn't have annoying lights or excessively loud buzzing sounds, and held a charge as expected.
Generally, an electric toothbrush simply has some type of oscillation, vibration, or movement generated by electricity to remove more plaque from teeth during brushing. A smart toothbrush can have a variety of features, but one of the most common in modern brushes is to have the toothbrush integrated with an application on your phone that helps you brush effectively, track your brushing, or otherwise use your brush toward better oral hygiene.
A stronger battery technology, more durable materials, and integration with a smartphone app that assesses how well your teeth were cleaned all tend to drive up the price of a toothbrush. While we aimed mostly for mid-range or inexpensive toothbrushes, many of the higher-end toothbrushes may have other features, such as a water flosser in the case of the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion 2.0.
While our best overall pick, the Oral-B Pro 1000, can be used on sensitive teeth, Oral-B also has a product specifically for sensitive teeth, the Oral-B Gum and Sensitive Care Electric Toothbrush. Brushes like the Brightline Sonic also have adjustable intensity, and this feature can be helpful for people who have found single-speed toothbrushes to be too intense.
There are a variety of other electric toothbrushes from the major Oral-B and Sonicare brands at both lower and higher price points. Here is a short list of other electric toothbrushes that I thought were great choices: