The 30-Second Review

The best electric toothbrush is gentle on your teeth and gums, easy to maneuver, and actually improves your brushing technique. But highly advertised features, like different brushing modes, don’t necessarily lead to healthier teeth and gums. So we consulted dentists and dental research to identify the most effective features available — brushing timers and pressure sensors — and then gathered 16 toothbrushes to test ourselves. We ended up with four models that actually encourage better brushing habits for a healthy smile.

Best Overall

A minimalist model with core features, like a two-minute timer, that actually improve your brushing technique. Testers liked that it wasn’t harsh on gums.

Best Budget

Oral-B Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush
Another minimalist model that focuses on cleaning your teeth and improving basic technique. It’s a little loud, but gets the job done.

Best Feature-Packed Toothbrush

A feature-packed toothbrush that offers every tool imaginable for tracking your brushing habits. It’s expensive, but it’s the most advanced toothbrush on the market.

Best Kids' Toothbrush

Sonicare For Kids Sonic Electric Toothbrush
This toothbrush made our three-year-old tester excited about brushing her teeth. It offers an interactive app and is big enough to grow into while still being maneuverable.

The Best Electric Toothbrush

The Philips Sonicare 2 Series is our top pick for offering an effective clean without feeling gimmicky. As a sonic toothbrush, it’s brushing head vibrates rapidly to help remove plaque. Our testers reported that this style caused the least amount of irritation to their gums when compared to oscillating models from brands like Oral-B. It has a two-minute timer, divided into four 30-second segments, to ensure you brush long enough to effectively clean your teeth and gums but not so long that you damage them. At $70, the Sonicare 2 is a solid investment in improving your dental health.

The Oral-B Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush is also a great choice — it cleans just as well as the Sonicare 2 Series, but may be a little harsher for sensitive gums. As an oscillating model, it vibrates a bit slower than our top pick, which means the toothbrush will be less likely to tickle your teeth — a potentially uncomfortable sensation typical of sonic toothbrushes. The Oral-B also offers a built-in quad-pacer that breaks its two-minute timer into four 30 second intervals for even brushing throughout your mouth. At $40 the Oral-B 1000 is also incredibly affordable.

If you want an electric toothbrush with every top-of-the-line feature, the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Sonic Electric Toothbrush is an excellent choice. The toothbrush uses a simple two-button interface and includes some technique-improving features, like a pressure sensor that lets you know when you’re brushing too hard. In addition, it also has a compatible app that displays a 3D model of teeth to help track your brushing progress in real-time. It even displays an alert if your brushing strokes are too wide — a common technique flaw. The greatest downside is the $230 price tag. But if you’re looking for the most advanced toothbrush on the market, the DiamondClean is for you.

We love the Sonicare For Kids Sonic Electric Toothbrush electric toothbrush for taking the fuss out of brushing sessions. With bright colors, stickers, and a compatible phone app, it helps kids stay engaged while they brush. It even managed to make our young tester excited to brush again the next morning. A one-minute timer that gradually increases to two minutes will help your young ones get used to longer brushing periods, and we appreciate that the interactive features mean the brush teaches, rather than forces, better brushing habits. Kids will eventually outgrow it, but for $50 you can lay the groundwork for a future of healthy smiles.

Finalist for Electric Toothbrush

Our Picks for the Best Electric Toothbrush

Best Overall

Philips Sonicare 2 SeriesA straightforward toothbrush with some bonus nice-to-have features.

The Philips Sonicare 2 Series is our top pick for its minimalist design and comfortable cleaning power. It comes with one brushing mode, a two-minute timer, and a quad-pacer to guide you as you brush with 40,000 strokes per minute. While it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, we appreciated the simple design, because nothing felt unnecessary. Competitors like the Brio came with additional brushing modes, but our testers reported that the experience wasn’t much different and our experts reinforced that an electric toothbrush with the right technique will do more than any brushing mode can.

Sonicare handle comparison for Electric Toothbrush

Our testing showed that sensitive modes will reduce the speeds of the toothbrush, which may make them more comfortable for those with sensitive teeth. But the Sonicare is also compatible with brush heads offering softer bristles specifically designed for sensitive teeth. In fact, unlike many others, Sonicare offers a variety of brush heads to help you find the perfect comfort level. In addition, replacing brushing heads feels seamless with the Sonicare — removing and placing a new head took very little effort. Competitors like the Foreo Issa had heads that took a large amount of force to remove — so much so that one of our testers actually rocketed the brushing head across the room.

Brush heads for Electric Toothbrush

Our only issue with the Sonicare 2 Series is that we wish it came with a pressure sensor. The most advanced Sonicare (the Sonicare DiamondClean) includes one that quickly activates as soon as too much pressure is applied. But the Sonicare 2 Series didn’t have a pressure sensor, and we couldn’t find any around its price point with an accurate pressure sensor either. For example, the Oral-B 1000 has one, but it required an unreasonable amount of pressure before alerting us — think trying to snap the toothbrush head off vs. an overly firm press. Pressure is important for technique, and we’re disappointed that an accurate pressure sensor isn’t considered a standard feature yet.

The Sonicare 2 Series isn’t without perks, though. When you first start using it, the Sonicare starts off with lower vibrations in order to ease you through the adjustment experience. Our tester appreciated this and told us “the fact that it gently eases into cleaning at full force over 14 sessions makes the experience feel more thoughtful.” We agree, and appreciate that the Sonicare focuses on getting you more comfortable with a proper brushing experience.

Best Budget

Oral-B – Pro 1000 Electric ToothbrushBetter for sensitive teeth, better for your wallet.

For those who have sensitive teeth, we recommend the Oral-B 1000. Unlike its sonic counterparts, the Oral-B 1000 provides around 8,000 strokes per minute, meaning you won’t feel as much of a tickling sensation on your teeth. This sensation can be very uncomfortable to some, which makes the Oral-B an excellent choice. The Oral-B 1000’s bare-bones approach to features allows you to just focus on improving your dental care. In addition to our must-have two-minute timer, it simply offers a quad-pacer to ensure an even brush for all your teeth. We like this minimal approach, because it shifts your attention to what matters most: proper brushing technique. The Oral-B 1000 is also compatible with a variety of different brushing heads for your personal comfort needs.

Oral-B handle for Electric Toothbrush

Don’t forget your front teeth!One downside of the quad-pacer features, Dr. Lawlor explained, is that “people always miss the front teeth — they brush from left to right and forget to bring their brush across the front.” To get the most out of your quad-pacer, you’ll want to split your front teeth between quadrants.

There were a few things we didn’t like about it, though. First, it doesn’t switch off after two minutes — it simply pulses, meaning there’s a risk of missing the buzz and over-brushing. That said, if you like the chance to go over a tooth or two at the end of your clean, this may not bother you. It’s also pretty loud and, like oscillating brushes in general, can be harsh on the gums. One of our testers told us, “the Oral-B felt like a power tool while the Sonicare felt like a toothbrush.” The Oral-B also has a narrow handle which our small-handed tester didn’t mind, but if you have bigger hands or arthritis, you may find the larger handle of the Sonicare 2 Series easier to maneuver.

Aside from the differences between brushing heads and handles, choosing between the Oral-B 1000 and Sonicare 2 Series is more about the character of the toothbrushes, and possibly the price point, rather than anything else. At the end of the day, they’ll both offer a great clean. While the Sonicare is a better fit for most people, if you have sensitive teeth the Oral-B 1000 is definitely the way to go.

Best Feature-Packed Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare DiamondCleanFor those who want every feature a toothbrush can offer.

For those who want a toothbrush that will do everything but your taxes, the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean is our top pick. With an accurate pressure sensor, an indicator for replacing the toothbrush head, and a compatible brushing app, the DiamondClean is an excellent option for those who want access to all of the possible features that can help with mastering technique.

At $230, the DiamondClean is our most expensive toothbrush. But we think it earns its hefty price tag. One of the benefits is the inclusion of a pressure sensor that actually activates without needing an unreasonable amount of pressure. Although we didn’t make pressure sensors a must-have (due to the variability in the technology), the feature came highly recommended from our experts and the DiamondClean’s sensor is top-of-the-line. When even slightly too much pressure is applied, the handle vibrates and a purple light flashes until you ease up. The closest competitor was the Oral-B 8000 which also came with an accurate pressure sensor and app compatibility. However, the core difference between the DiamondClean and Oral-B 8000 came down to usability. In short, the DiamondClean’s features were much easier to use.

That difference was especially true for the compatible apps — the Sonicare app was much more intuitive and the real-time feedback was better. For instance, the Sonicare app displays a 3D model of your teeth and the toothbrush will recognize whether you are angling your brush properly. If brushing properly, the teeth on the display will progressively get whiter. However, if you use poor technique the teeth on the display won’t change, and if you use too much movement or pressure, an alert will display on your phone. The Oral-B app isn’t bad, but our tester reported navigating the menus was more difficult. In addition, the position detection for brushing angle was less accurate than the Sonicare’s app — our tester eventually found themselves flailing the Oral-B 8000 around to find the right position. While apps and brushing modes aren’t essential, they will make a toothbrush expensive. If we are paying extra for features, we want them to be easy to use, and for that reason the DiamondClean takes the crown.

Sonicare-vs-Oral-B-apps-for-Electric-Toothbrush

It’s important to note that the DiamondClean is a sonic model, which can tickle or be uncomfortable for sensitive teeth. If you have sensitive teeth, go for the Oral-B 8000 would be our recommendation, even though we didn't love its usability as much as the DiamondClean. (We actually prefer the rubber grip of the Oral-B 8000 over the smooth handle of the DiamondClean.) But the DiamondClean is definitely easier to hold and maneuver. In fact, our tester who found the DiamondClean ticklish reported that “actually for maneuverability the narrow head of the DiamondClean came in quite handy. It was easier to get around the back teeth than the bigger Oral-B head.”

Overall, the DiamondClean will give an effective clean and is compatible with a library of brushing heads. It’s an upgrade from the Sonicare 2 Series due to its added convenience of an effective pressure sensor and an app that displays your brushing progress for even easier brushing. It’ll cost an extra $160, but for feature-loving brushers the DiamondClean is a pick you won’t regret.

Best Kids' Toothbrush

Sonicare For Kids Sonic electric toothbrushFun and engaging for a future of healthy teeth.

The Sonicare for Kids is our top pick for this category because it both trains and encourages kids to brush properly. In addition, the handle is closer in size to adult models than the Oral-B Disney’s, which means it isn't too big now, and your kids won’t outgrow their toothbrush too quickly. Instead, they’ll be able to improve their technique and become familiar with using a traditionally-sized electric toothbrush as they develop more dexterity.

Childrens Brush Comparison for Electric Toothbrush

We realize that one minute of brushing time goes against the two-minute rule we set forth, but for kids’ toothbrushes, there’s good reason. The Sonicare’s gentle brushing mode starts off with a one minute timer which gradually increases to two minutes the more times your child brushes. So rather than suddenly asking kids to brush for two minutes, the toothbrush helps ease them into longer brushing sessions — an important feature when considering the call of Saturday morning cartoons. After all, a kids toothbrush is most effective when it helps them build better brushing habits at an impressionable age. If you want to skip the gradual timer and start out at two minutes, you can. The Sonicare for Kids give parents the option to choose the approach that best helps their child learn to brush properly.

Mode button for Sonicare for Electric Toothbrush

The main draw of an electric toothbrush for kids in a digital age is the ability to use a toothbrush with an app (read: game). The Sonicare app is our favorite because it actually pairs with the toothbrush. In contrast, the Oral-B app is simply a timer meaning kids can log brushing sessions even if they don’t have a toothbrush in hand. In addition, a parental pin code on the Sonicare allows you to access the parent’s dashboard where you can track the progress of your kids’ brushing and even set up additional rewards. For example, if they brush 10 days in a row, you can set a personalized reward. Our tester’s parent reported “the Oral-B was more engaging for her than the Sonicare — she looked at the app a lot more.” This may be because the Oral-B uses popular Disney characters and plays songs when it’s time to switch from the top teeth to the bottom.

Even so, the Sonicare is still engaging. The app comes with an interactive character named Sparkly and our tester’s parent “liked that it showed a teeth simulation my daughter could see while she brushed.” The Sonicare also managed to get our young tester excited about brushing her teeth the next morning. Her parent summed it up nicely: “I would recommend the Sonicare. It was just easier to use.”

App-Comparison-for-Electric-Toothbrush

Honorable Mention

Greater Goods BalanceA comfortable toothbrush from a company that pays it forward.

The Greater Goods Balance brushes teeth just as effectively as our other models. The actual model itself is a pretty standard sonic toothbrush with a two-minute timer, a quad-pacer, and four brushing modes. So why do we mention it? The benefits of buying a Greater Goods Balance extend past healthy teeth and gums. A third of the profits from Balance toothbrushes goes to the organization Love146 which combats child-trafficking. For every electric toothbrush sold, the company also donates a manual toothbrush to a child who can’t afford dental care.

We couldn’t give Greater Goods our top spot because it doesn’t really do a better job than the Sonicare 2 Series, which costs $30 less. But those who choose the Greater Goods Balance can expect a comfortable sonic toothbrush while giving back to those in need. For us, that’s worth a mention.

Did you Know?

Everyone can take steps to improve technique.

At first glance, brushing your teeth can seem like a simple activity. After all, most of us do it at least once every day. But brushing your teeth actually requires a bit of skill. Fortunately, brushing with proper technique isn’t difficult to learn — it’s more about reminding yourself to do so. We gathered the most important techniques to keep in mind for a healthy smile.

  • Angle your brush 45 degrees toward your gum line. Dr. Lawlor told us to “angle the brush down to the gum line just slightly to clean your gums and sweep plaque out.” A 45 degree angle is ideal.
  • Brush in small circular or tooth-wide motions. Many people brush across their teeth in large sweeping motions. However, Dr. Glassman explained “you can improve your brushing technique by using a circular motion.” Our other experts agreed, with Dr. Friedman adding, “gently move the brush back and forth in short tooth-wide strokes.” Note: the DiamondClean will actually alert you when you move past tooth-wide strokes.
  • Don’t forget any teeth. As strange as it sounds, our experts told us that people often forget to brush their front teeth. Dr. Friedman reminded us to aim for a complete brush and to “tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes” for our front teeth.
  • Brush for two minutes, and don’t use too much pressure. Brush lightly and for the recommended two minutes. Brushing for less time won’t remove plaque and brushing too hard or too much could damage your teeth or gums.

Use the right amount of toothpaste, and don’t rinse.

Ever wondered how much toothpaste you’re actually supposed to squeeze out? Our dentists explained that a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is all you need for a healthy brush and to prevent dental damage. But don’t rinse afterwards. Rinsing after brushing actually dilutes or washes away the fluoride from toothpaste that’s helping to prevent tooth decay. Instead of rinsing, dental experts recommend that you simply spit out any remaining toothpaste after brushing.

Soft bristles are best.

When it comes to finding the best toothbrush head, we learned that hard bristles is never the way to go. Dr. Ronald Rosenthal, a dentist with over 50 years of experience, explained “the softest bristles available are the best to use. You don’t need a hard bristle, you’re just going to tear up your gums.” All of our electric toothbrush models came with standard heads with soft bristles. But for those who are wondering about whether hard bristles will offer a better scrub, the answer is no.

As for the strange silicone bristles of the Foreo, Dr. Glassman revealed that “silicone is non-abrasive, which makes it impossible to put too much pressure on your teeth, thus preventing gum recession and sensitivity.” Our experts also explained that unlike standard nylon bristles, silicone is nonporous which leaves less room on the bristles for bacteria to grow. While this makes the Foreo sound perfect, Dr. Glassman warned us that “there is not a lot of literature or clinical studies on their effectiveness with removing bacteria” from teeth. Dr. Lawlor agreed and explained “the bristle size is too thick for the silicone at this point, it’ll be too bulky to slip under your gums. There’s hope for the future, but it’s important to not give up important designs.” For now, the regular bristles of our top picks are the most effective way to go.

Cleaning your toothbrush doesn’t require a cleaning station.

It’s a good idea to clean your toothbrush on a regular basis. Some models, like the TAO Aura Clean, come with cleaning stations that use UV light to clean your electric toothbrush. While these are convenient, they aren’t really necessary. Studies show that simply rinsing your toothbrush under hot water will do the job. In addition, experts suggest storing your toothbrush in an open-air holder — don’t cover your toothbrush head. For those who do want a deeper clean, soaking the toothbrush head in antibacterial mouthwash or peroxide will do the trick.

The Best Electric Toothbrush: Summed-Up