The Best Electric Toothbrush
Power up your smile.
We spent several weeks reviewing the latest research from the American Dental Association (as well as independent organizations like the Cochrane Collaboration), scouring customer reviews from trusted consumer sites as well as manufacturers’ websites, and personally brushing our teeth with the top contenders.
Oral-B’s most advanced rechargeable toothbrush possesses high-tech features like a Wireless SmartGuide, a pressure sensor to provide real-time feedback on your brushing, and six different modes for a customized clean.
Brushing your teeth is part of your daily routine, but — be honest, now — how often do you brush as thoroughly and as long as you’re supposed to? According to a 2014 survey by Delta Dental, over 30 percent of people don’t brush twice a day. The average brushing time remains below the two minutes recommended by the American Dental Association.
Investing in an electric toothbrush is an easy way to step up your oral hygiene game. These gadgets power away plaque better than manual brushes, and that two-minute timer keeps you brushing as long as you should. But with so many models on the market (and a wide range of prices), finding the right one is a challenge.
After weeks of research, side-by-side comparisons, and hands-on testing, the top choice was clear — the best electric toothbrush of 2016 is the Oral-B Black 7000. This toothbrush not only keeps your teeth clean, but also includes six different modes and advanced features, like a pressure sensor, to give you a truly customized brushing experience. If you aren’t willing to pay up for the best, I’ve included some alternatives for you as well.
The 7 Overall Best Electric Toothbrushes of 2016
Choosing the Best Electric Toothbrush for You
The best electric toothbrush for you depends on your unique preferences and budget. Certain health conditions may also influence the type of brush you choose, so if you’re unsure what kind of toothbrush you need, you should start by consulting your dentist.
Is an electric toothbrush worth the investment?
Sure, electric toothbrushes look flashy, but do they really do a better job of cleaning your teeth? According to a recent study by Cochrane, an independent organization that gathers and summarizes health research for consumers, power toothbrushes have been linked to greater reductions in plaque and gingivitis, compared to manual brushes. These benefits appear to increase with consistent use, so there may be something to the idea that power toothbrushes do a better job.
This isn’t to say your oral hygiene is suffering if you use a manual toothbrush. Every source I consulted made one thing very clear: How you brush is more important than what you brush with. If you carefully brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and floss regularly, an electric toothbrush may not be worth the investment.
But let’s be honest — most people don’t brush for two whole minutes, and flossing isn’t usually high on the priority list. In that case, a little extra help from an electric toothbrush goes a long way in maintaining your oral health. Most rechargeable toothbrushes have built-in timers to ensure you’re brushing for the full two minutes. Some also have quadpacers, which notify you every 30 seconds, so you spend equal time on all areas of your mouth.
If you struggle with arthritis or limited mobility, a power toothbrush is probably a better choice. The toothbrush provides much of the brushing action for you, so you get a better clean with a lot less movement on your part.
People who have a tendency to brush too hard with a manual brush may prefer a power toothbrush with a pressure sensor. Brushing too hard can damage the gums and erode tooth enamel, and a pressure sensor’s feedback helps you avoid this.
Beyond that, if you believe you’re getting along fine with your regular toothbrush, you don’t need to run out and buy an electric one. But if you think your brushing habits could use improvement, a power toothbrush is a smart investment.
Battery-Powered Versus Rechargeable Electric Toothbrushes
In most cases, rechargeable electric toothbrushes are the way to go. They require a bigger upfront investment, but you get a lot more for your money. Plus, timers, brushing modes, pressure sensors, UV sanitizers — you won’t find any of them in your average battery-powered toothbrush, which is essentially just a manual toothbrush that vibrates.
Price is the main reason most users choose a battery-powered brush over their rechargeable counterparts. A battery-powered brush costs just a few dollars more than a manual brush, while rechargeable toothbrushes can cost upward of $200. Plus, there’s the additional cost of replacement heads. There are cheap rechargeable electric toothbrushes on the market as well, and these are usually basic models. They’re still more expensive than battery-powered brushes, but they’re a good option if your budget is limited.
Warranties & Guarantees
Warranties are another factor to consider. As a general rule, battery-powered toothbrushes don’t include them, while most rechargeable brushes do. If your rechargeable electric toothbrush breaks within the first two years after purchasing it, you can get it repaired or replaced at no additional cost. This may justify paying a little more upfront for a rechargeable model.
Kids’ rechargeable electric toothbrushes are rare, although both Oral-B and Philips Sonicare offer a rechargeable model for older children. If you’re looking for an option for a younger child, you’re limited to battery-powered or manual brushes.
Rotating-Oscillating Versus Sonic Electric Toothbrushes
Another way to phrase this would be: Oral-B vs. Philips Sonicare. These are the two major players in the rechargeable electric toothbrush market. These buzzwords are often thrown around the market, but what do they actually mean — and what difference do they make to you?
Oral-B’s rotating-oscillating toothbrushes come with smaller, round toothbrush heads that turn quickly in one direction and then in the other.
Philips Sonicare brushes are shaped like a regular toothbrush head and vibrate side to side at very high speeds, in some cases over 30,000 times per minute.
As mentioned above, Cochrane did a systematic review of the different types of power toothbrushes and concluded that the rotating-oscillating models proved more efficient at reducing plaque and gingivitis than other types of toothbrushes. But the difference was slight and the authors noted it was unclear what clinical significance it had.
Personal preference comes into play here. Until you try them out, it’s difficult to be sure which type you’ll prefer. Rotating-oscillating does seem to hold two distinct advantages, though. The smaller brush head is easier to maneuver into tight spaces in your mouth, enabling you to better cover all surfaces. In addition, rotation-oscillation toothbrushes require a lot less work on your part. Sonic toothbrushes require you to move the brush back and forth as you would with a regular toothbrush, but with the rotating-oscillating models, all you have to do is hold the brush against each tooth for a few moments.
How much should you spend?
Generally, the more expensive the electric toothbrush, the more features it has. So determining how much you ought to spend is about figuring out which features you can’t live without.
Basic battery toothbrushes cost under $15, but most of these don’t even have timers. If you’re looking for something rechargeable, $25 to $40 is the least you’re going to pay. These models don’t include any extras, like multiple cleaning modes or a pressure sensor, but you’ve got a timer and a rechargeable base.
If you’re thinking about extras — quadpacers, pressure sensors, sensitive and whitening modes — the price rises considerably, with the most expensive models maxing out around $200. These extra gadgets and a better battery life are some of the only differences between these high-end units and their less-expensive counterparts. You don’t need to spend half of your paycheck on an electric toothbrush if you’re not interested in all the fancy gadgetry — a basic model still gets the job done.
What makes a good electric toothbrush?
What constitutes a “good” electric toothbrush to you depends on what you’re looking for. For some, it’s a basic model, while others want all the bells and whistles. Here are some features to look out for when choosing an electric toothbrush.
6 Essential Features
These are some of the top features that the best electric toothbrushes all have:
- Two-minute timer — This feature is great for ensuring you’re brushing for the recommended length of time.
- Comfortable grip — The toothbrush should be easy for an adult to hold and grip.
- Long-lasting battery life — The toothbrush’s power should last for several days before needing a recharge.
- Small toothbrush head — Smaller toothbrush heads are easier to maneuver into hard-to-reach areas.
- Compatible with multiple toothbrush heads — Choose the type of bristles that best suit your individual health needs — sensitive, floss action, braces care, etc.
- Warranty — Most rechargeable electric toothbrushes include a two-year limited warranty with your purchase, so you’re covered if your toothbrush breaks unexpectedly.
8 Bonus Features
For those of you interested in extras, check these out:
- Quadpacer — This feature notifies you every 30 seconds so you brush all quadrants of your mouth equally.
- Pressure sensor — A pressure sensor stops you from brushing too hard.
- Travel case — A travel case keeps your toothbrush safe and clean while you travel.
- Charge-level display — This tells you how much charge the battery has left.
- Multiple brushing modes — The toothbrush comes with special modes designed for sensitive teeth, whitening, and other specific circumstances.
- Money-back guarantee — If you don’t like the toothbrush after you buy it, you can return it within the first month or two.
- UV sanitizer — UV sanitizers reduce the amount of germs on your toothbrush.
- ADA Seal of Acceptance — The American Dental Association (ADA) tests toothbrushes to ensure safety and effective cleaning.
Extra Considerations for Kids
- Smaller brush heads — Kids have smaller mouths, so they need a smaller toothbrush and smaller toothbrush heads.
- Smaller handles — The handle should fit easily into kids’ smaller hands.
- Targeted at appropriate age — Kids of different ages often require different toothbrush sizes.
How We Chose the Best Electric Toothbrush of 2016
I spent several weeks reading every article about electric toothbrushes I could find on the internet, reviewing the latest research from sources like the American Dental Association, independent organizations like the Cochrane Collaboration, and checking out customer reviews from Amazon, Target, Walmart, and manufacturers’ websites.
I started out with over 70 electric toothbrushes and narrowed them down to the top seven based on average customer rating from the sites above, the type of brush-movement used (rotating-oscillating versus sonic), and the features included. Built-in timers were a must, but I tended to favor the brushes that went beyond this, offering pressure sensors, quadpacers (which divide the recommended two minutes into four sections), and multiple brushing modes. Since I was focused on finding the best of the best, I didn’t let price factor into my decision. However, I looked at electric toothbrushes for all budgets.
It quickly became a competition between the two big names in electric toothbrushes: Oral-B and Philips Sonicare. I decided to get my hands on the flagship models from each brand — the Oral-B Black 7000 and the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean. I tested each one for a week, brushing right after meals, so I could really get a sense for how well they were working. I also took them with me on a weekend trip. After testing all the modes and features of each one, I made my final decision. I focused on:
- Travel convenience
- Battery longevity
- Feel of the brush on my teeth and gums
- How clean my mouth felt after consistent use
Other Electric Toothbrushes to Consider
The Best Electric Toothbrush for Kids
Oral-B Pro-Health For Me Rechargeable Toothbrush The Oral-B Pro-Health for Me Rechargeable Toothbrush is designed for kids ages eight to 12. The two-minute timer helps to teach how long to brush, and there are replacement brush heads to suit every child, even those with braces.
The Best Electric Toothbrush with Removable Batteries
Oral-B Pro-Health Precision Clean The Pro-Health Precision Clean toothbrush uses Oral-B’s rotating-oscillating technology to easily scrub away plaque and leftover food particles. It’s a great choice if you travel frequently and don’t want to mess with a charging base. It’s also one of the only removable battery-powered brushes to include a two-minute timer.
The Best Cheap Electric Toothbrush
Oral-B Vitality The Oral-B Vitality has some great features for an excellent value. The toothbrush comes with a built-in timer, a 60-day money-back guarantee, and a two-year limited warranty.
The Best Sonic Toothbrush
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean toothbrush powers away plaque with 31,000 brush strokes per minute. It comes with five brushing modes, a quadpacer, and one of the longest-lasting batteries on the market. But it is one of the most expensive toothbrushes out there.
A Full Review of the Best Electric Toothbrush
Oral-B’s most advanced rechargeable toothbrush, the Black 7000, possesses high-tech features, like a Wireless SmartGuide and a pressure sensor, to provide real-time feedback on your brushing, and six different modes for a customized clean. After comparing it to my manual toothbrush, I have to say, I definitely noticed a difference. The quadpacer and pressure sensor helped me do a better job of brushing, and my teeth felt a lot cleaner afterward.
I tested out all six brushing modes. Daily Clean is probably the one most people are going to use, but if you have a certain goal in mind (like whiter teeth) or a health issue (like sensitive teeth), one of the other modes is a better fit. The Black 7000 is unique among Oral-B electric toothbrushes in offering a tongue-cleaning mode, which helps remove even more bacteria from your mouth while freshening breath. Deep Clean and Gum Massage are your other two mode options. To switch among them, just press the “mode” button repeatedly until you get to the one you want.
The Black 7000 — like all of Oral-B’s electric toothbrushes — uses rotating-oscillating technology. The small, round brush head pulsates over 40,000 times and oscillates over 8,800 times per minute to remove plaque, food particles, and bacteria. In a 2011 study by Cochrane, this type of motion was proven to be the most effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis. This also makes brushing easier, taking care of a lot of the work so you don’t have to constantly move the brush head back and forth. The small brush head also gives you easier access to hard-to-reach areas, like the back of your molars.
The toothbrush has a two-minute timer built in and a quadpacer, which notifies you with a brief pause every 30 seconds, so you spend equal time brushing all quadrants of your mouth. This information is also displayed on the Wireless SmartGuide. The battery-powered SmartGuide gives you visual indicators of how well you’re brushing, so you don’t have to rely solely on the beeps from the toothbrush itself. Stars appear on the SmartGuide as you complete each quadrant, and a smiley face displays once the two minutes are up. Information about the brushing mode you’ve chosen also shows on the screen. When not in use, the SmartGuide doubles as a clock. And, if you’d like, you can mount it to the wall using the SmartGuide holder and adhesive included with your purchase.
The built-in pressure sensor prevents you from brushing too hard and damaging your gums or tooth enamel. If you press too hard, a sad face immediately appears on the SmartGuide. A red light also displays on the brush, and it automatically decelerates until you decrease the pressure.
The charging station is relatively compact, so it should fit on small bathroom counters just fine. The base has spaces to store additional brush heads, which is great if you have more than one person using the toothbrush.
The Oral-B Black 7000 is compatible with many Oral-B toothbrush heads, so you can choose the one you like best. The options are:
- 3D White (one included)
- Sensitive (one included)
- Floss Action (one included)
- Precision Clean
- Dual Clean
- Power Tip
You can pick up packs of these replacement brush heads online or in drugstores that sell Oral-B’s electric toothbrushes. They come with light-blue indicator bristles that fade after about three months, letting you know when you need to change your brush head.
The ability to choose your brush head and your brushing mode makes the Oral-B Black 7000 extremely versatile and well-suited to households where more than one person is using the brush. All you have to do is swap out the brush head. Little colored rings attach to the toothbrush heads, making them easy to identify. Given that you might only need one toothbrush purchase for the whole family, the cost is a little more justified.
A sleek, black travel case and a charger pouch come with the brush. Many electric toothbrushes don’t include these accessories, but they are extremely valuable if you do a lot of traveling and don’t want to leave your fancy toothbrush at home.
All of Oral-B’s rechargeable electric toothbrushes come with a money-back guarantee. You have 30 days to try out the Oral-B Black 7000 after you buy it. If you don’t like it, you can return it for a full refund, no questions asked. Just ship everything back to Oral-B along with your original receipt. There’s also a two-year limited warranty in case your toothbrush stops working.
And if you’re wondering what customers have to say about the Oral-B Black 7000, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. It currently has 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon from over 450 customers, and on Oral-B’s website, that rating is 4.9 out of 5 from over 400 customers.
Who is it best for?
The Oral-B Black 7000 is great for anyone who wants a long-lasting, durable electric toothbrush that’s easy to customize to their needs. Change the mode and the brush head, and it’s like you have an entirely different toothbrush — a trait making this the perfect pick for multiple users.
It’s also a great product if your brushing habits aren’t the best. The timer and quadpacer keep you from rushing, and the pressure sensor stops you from grinding away your gums and precious tooth enamel.
If you suffer from arthritis or another condition that limits your mobility, the Oral-B Black 7000 is a good choice. It provides much of the brushing action for you, enabling you to get a better clean with less movement.
Who should skip it?
If you’re on a budget, it’s best to look elsewhere. The Oral-B Black 7000 is one of the pricier options, and that’s before the cost of replacement heads once you run out.
If you’re not into bells and whistles, one of Oral-B’s cheaper models may be a better fit for you. The Oral-B ProfessionalCare 1000 comes with a single-brushing mode, a quadpacer, and a pressure sensor for a lot less than the Black 7000.
The one complaint I frequently came across when reading customer reviews of the Oral-B Black 7000 was that the brush took a long time to charge. If for some reason you can’t keep it on the charging base when you’re not using it, it may be worth investigating a different option with better battery life.
How to best use it?
According to the manual that comes with the toothbrush, it can take up to 24 hours to charge fully, and 40 minutes to charge enough for a two-minute brushing. But this problem is easily avoided by keeping the toothbrush on the charging base whenever you’re not using it. There’s a charge-level display, so you always know how much power the brush has.
To get the most out of the Oral-B Black 7000, you have to use it correctly. That means brushing for two minutes and making sure you cover all surfaces of your teeth. There’s no need to brush vigorously — just glide the brush over each tooth.
Brush heads typically need replacement every three months for optimal cleaning. Oral-B brush heads come with light-blue bristles that are designed to fade in color when they need to be replaced, so watch out for that reminder.
And one last thing: Owning the best electric toothbrush doesn’t give you an excuse to skip flossing or make it okay to eat a pound of sugar every day. Maintaining your oral health requires a lot more than just brushing well.
The Runners-Up for the Best Electric Toothbrush
Focusing on the most advanced models on the market inevitably means a number of equally good options didn’t make the cut. Some were similar, but lacked an important feature, like a pressure sensor or a money-back guarantee. But I understand my top pick isn’t for everyone, so I’ve suggested a few alternatives below.
Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide — Though similar to my top pick, the SmartSeries 5000 toothbrush didn’t get my vote as the best because it didn’t include some of the extra features the Black 7000 did. But the SmartSeries 5000 ended up quite a bit cheaper, so if you can live without a tongue-cleaning mode, a charger pouch, and some extra toothbrush heads included in your purchase, it’s a viable option. It comes with the same Wireless SmartGuide as the Black 7000, plus five brushing modes, a pressure sensor, and a charge-level display. It also employs Oral-B’s patented rotating-oscillating technology, which provides over 40,000 pulsations and 8,800 oscillations per minute, to really scrape that gunk off your teeth. Like all Oral-B rechargeable toothbrushes, a two-year warranty is included with your purchase.
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean — My pick for the best sonic toothbrush, the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean is a solid choice overall with five brushing modes, a convenient USB travel charger, and an impressive three-week battery life. It didn’t earn my vote as the best because it was missing useful features, like a pressure sensor to tell you when you’re brushing too hard. There’s also no money-back guarantee if you try the toothbrush and don’t like it. This brush isn’t for the budget-conscious, and its replacement heads are similarly expensive, in my price comparisons.
Oral-B ProfessionalCare 1000 — If shelling out $100 on an electric toothbrush seems a little extreme to you, try the Oral-B ProfessionalCare 1000. It’s similar to the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 — but with a lot fewer features. This is a good thing if you’re looking for something a little more basic (and affordable). There’s only one brushing mode and no Wireless SmartGuide, and if you intend to travel with it, you need to buy your own case. But it has a timer and quadpacer, plus a 60-day money-back guarantee and a two-year limited warranty. The ProfessionalCare 1000 also comes with a pressure sensor, which is relatively uncommon among toothbrushes of this price range.
Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum — Though more affordable than the DiamondClean model, the Flexcare Platinum electric toothbrush actually comes with more features, including a UV sanitizer and a pressure sensor. There are fewer brushing modes to choose from, but you also get to choose the intensity (low, medium, or high) for each of the three modes. There’s no money-back guarantee, and the replacement heads are more expensive than Oral-B’s. Customers seem to like it, though, since it’s earned 4.5 stars from nearly 200 customers on Amazon.
Philips Sonicare Essence — If you’re looking for a cheap, sonic toothbrush, I suggest the Philips Sonicare Essence. It’s the most affordable of the Sonicare line. Like the best cheap electric toothbrush listed above, this one’s pretty basic. You’ve got your standard clean mode, a two-minute timer, and a two-year warranty in case your toothbrush stops working. No fancy gadgets here — although if you’re after something simple, that’s exactly what you want to hear.
Oral-B Deep Sweep 5000 with SmartGuide — Oral-B’s Deep Sweep toothbrush series doesn’t employ its traditional rotating-oscillating brush action. Instead, it pulsates and sweeps back and forth across the teeth. The 5000 model possesses many qualities of the ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000, including five brushing modes, a pressure sensor, a charge-level display, and a Wireless SmartGuide. It costs almost as much as the SmartSeries 5000, but it doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee or a warranty, which is unusual for Oral-B’s rechargeable brushes. Still, if you’re not a fan of its rotating-oscillating brushes, this one may be worth checking out.
Best Electric Toothbrush: Summed Up
|Oral-B Black 7000 with SmartGuide||
|Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide||
|Oral-B Pro-Health For Me Rechargeable Toothbrush||
|Oral-B Pro-Health Precision Clean||
Cheap Electric Toothbrush
|Philips Sonicare DiamondClean||
An electric toothbrush is a big investment compared to a manual brush, but they also do a superior job of keeping your pearly whites, well, pearly and white. The right electric toothbrush for you depends on your budget and your preferences, but if you’re looking for the best of the best, I’d recommend the Oral-B Black 7000.
If you have a different opinion or a question about electric toothbrushes that I didn’t answer above, don’t hesitate to ask. I’d love to hear what you have to say!
Our Favorite Electric Toothbrush Reviews From Around the Web
The Sweethome — The Sweethome’s electric toothbrush review is geared at basic, rather than high-end, models.
DentalCareMatters — DentalCareMatters is run by a family dentist with over 10 years of experience. The site offers dental advice and in-depth product reviews of a number of the top electric toothbrushes.