The 5 Best Electric Toothbrushes

Best Advanced Features
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
Philips
An advanced toothbrush designed to improve your technique
Pros
Responsive pressure sensor
Helpful app
Effective smart timers
Comfortable and intuitive design
Cons
Can tickle teeth
Expensive

Why we chose it

Responsive pressure sensor

The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean pressure sensor activates even when slightly too much pressure is applied, meaning it’s quick to protect your gums and teeth from excessively hard brushing. The handle vibrates and flashes a purple light until you ease up. This is a highly recommended feature by all of our experts — many competitors require excessive pressure to activate this feature, and we appreciate that the DiamondClean is so responsive.

Helpful app

The app displays a model of teeth that let you know if you're angling your brush properly — and if not, how to adjust it. When using the proper technique, the teeth on the display get progressively whiter. However, poor technique means the teeth don’t change, and alerts appear for too much movement or pressure. While an app isn’t essential, it encouraged us to consciously focus on our brushing for a more effective clean.

Effective smart timers

The DiamondClean’s accurate smart-timer automatically shuts off your brush at the pre-set time limit for each of the brushing modes, and the quad-pacer gives a gentle vibration that ensures you give each section of your mouth the same attention. We recommend sticking with the Clean and Sensitive modes that last the full dentist-recommended two-minutes — the other modes are longer or shorter "for specialized dental needs," but there’s little evidence to support brushing above or below two minutes. The DiamondClean also offers an adjustment feature to ease your initial transition period — starting with lower vibrations that gradually increase over 14 sessions.

Comfortable and intuitive design

The DiamondClean handle offers a comfortable fit and is easy to maneuver. A single button on the handle makes control a breeze, and built-in lights display the current mode and battery life. Brushing heads are simple to replace (it comes with three alternative heads) and the DiamondClean can be paired with a wide range of brush heads for even more customization.

Points to consider

Can tickle teeth

As a sonic toothbrush, the DiamondClean delivers up to 62,000 brush strokes per minute — great for cleaning teeth. However, the fast vibrations can cause an uncomfortable tickling sensation for those with sensitive teeth. If this sensation bothers you, you may be better off with the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000, which has slower vibrations.

Expensive

The DiamondClean is expensive for a toothbrush. There are certainly cheaper options available, minus some of the bells and whistles that make the DiamondClean so intuitive. That said, we think it's the best toothbrush on the market for helping you practice the ideal techniques for an effective clean. It should also last for several years, meaning your investment will continue to deliver good returns for many nights to come.

Best Advanced Features for Sensitive Teeth
Oral-B Genius Pro 8000
Oral-B
A close second to the DiamondClean, but better suited for sensitive teeth
Pros
Great for sensitive teeth
Accurate pressure sensor
Reliable timers and brush heads
Cons
Less intuitive app
Can be harsh on gums
Expensive

Why we chose it

Great for sensitive teeth

As an oscillating toothbrush, the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 delivers considerably slower movements than its sonic counterparts, around 10,000 oscillations and 45,000 pulsations per minute in standard cleaning mode. The benefit of a slower pace is that it decreases the likelihood of the tickling sensation characteristic of sonic models, like our top pick. But don’t worry, you’re not sacrificing a good clean — the pace of an oscillating toothbrush is still fast enough to provide the same results you get from sonic models (after all, with manual brushing you max out at about 300 strokes per minute).

Accurate pressure sensor

Like the DiamondClean, the Oral-B 8000 offers a responsive pressure sensor that activates with minimal force. Brushing too hard causes a light in the handle to flash, indicating you need to ease up. It’s a subtler notification than the DiamondClean, but it still helped us correct our technique.

Reliable timers and brush heads

The Oral-B 8000’s accurate two-minute timer and quad-pacer ensure you brush each quadrant of your mouth for the right amount of time. The toothbrush offers a total of six brushing modes, but, as with the DiamondClean, we only found the Standard and Sensitive cleaning modes to be useful, as the rest either went over or under the dentist-recommended two minutes. For those with more specialized dental needs, choose one of the many compatible brush heads rather than changing your brushing time. While the handle isn’t quite as comfortable as the DiamondClean’s, it still has a satisfying heft that feels good and is easy to maneuver.

Points to consider

Less intuitive app

The Oral-B Genius Pro 8000’s mobile app was more difficult to navigate and use than the DiamondClean’s. It has a less intuitive menu and less accurate position detection — our tester had to flail the Oral-B 8000 around to get the app to register the right position. While apps aren’t absolutely necessary for brushing your teeth, using one to build on the techniques that your dentist recommends will help you brush as effectively as possible.

Can be harsh on gums

The Oral-B is a great choice if you have sensitive teeth, but there is a tradeoff. Oscillating models are more likely to irritate gums than sonic models. If your gums are prone to bleeding or irritation, a sonic model like the DiamondClean may be a better match.

Expensive

As a premium toothbrush, the Oral-B 8000 has a hefty price tag. If you already have good brushing technique, opting for a budget toothbrush with fewer features may be the better choice for you. But as we saw with the DiamondClean, a higher price tag generally correlates to the best the industry has to offer.

Best Standard Features
Philips Sonicare 2 Series
Philips
A minimalist toothbrush for healthy teeth and gums
Pros
Straightforward design
Wide range of brush heads
Transition feature
Cons
No pressure sensor
Can tickle teeth

Why we chose it

Straightforward design

The Philips Sonicare 2 series is a minimalist model that comes with a single brushing mode, two-minute timer, and quad-pacer. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but we appreciate the simple design, because nothing feels unnecessary. Instead, the focus on simply providing an accurate two-minute timer and quad-pacer kept costs low while helping us improve our brushing technique — the most important goal of any toothbrush.

Wide range of brush heads

Like the DiamondClean, the 2 Series is compatible with a wide range of brush heads (it comes with one ProResults plaque control head). (it comes with one ProResults plaque control head). More importantly, you can get brush heads with softer bristles specifically designed for sensitive teeth. Replacing brush heads with the 2 Series also takes very little effort compared to competitors, a couple of which took so much force to remove that we actually rocketed them across the room during testing.

Transition feature

The minimalist design also comes with the same transition perk as the DiamondClean. When you first start using the 2 series, it starts off with lower vibrations to help you adjust to your new toothbrush. We appreciated this during testing, as it makes the whole experience feel more thoughtful. We agree — the 2 series made us feel more comfortable during the adjustment phase.

Points to consider

No pressure sensor

Our biggest issue with the Sonicare 2 Series is that it has no pressure sensor. A little extra thought and care will help you avoid brushing too hard, but those looking for more guidance may want to invest in the Sonicare DiamondClean.

Can tickle teeth

With up to 31,000 brush movements per minute, the 2 Series’ fast pace can be a bit uncomfortable for sensitive teeth. Swapping to a softer brush head can help, but for more sensitive teeth, consider an oscillating model like the Oral-B Pro 1000.

Best Standard Features for Sensitive Teeth
Oral-B - Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush
Oral-B
A great budget option with minimal features that's gentle on teeth
Pros
Great for sensitive teeth
Wide range of brush heads
Straightforward design
Cons
Inaccurate pressure sensor
Can be harsh on gums
No automatic shut-off

Why we chose it

Great for sensitive teeth

As an oscillating model, the Oral-B Pro 1000 provides around 8,800 rotations and 20,000 pulsations per minute, meaning those with sensitive teeth won’t feel quite as much “teeth tickling.” During testing, we noticed that the Oral-B’s vibration felt powerful, but not overly ticklish like the Sonicare.

Wide range of brush heads

The Oral-B 1000 also offers a variety of different brush heads to match your comfort level. Using a brush head with softer bristles can improve brushing for those with sensitive teeth — even more so than with sonicare heads (which still brush at higher speeds). As for replacing heads, it isn’t quite as smooth as with the 2 Series, but still quick and easy.

Straightforward design

The minimalist approach of the Oral-B Pro 1000 means its main features are a two-minute timer and quad-pacer, both of which helped us dedicate the right amount of attention to all of our teeth. Beyond that, you can expect a single button that activates the toothbrush and a light that notifies you when the battery is running low. We liked the no-nonsense design — it does everything a good budget electric toothbrush should — for those who’ve already got brushing technique down.

Points to consider

Inaccurate pressure sensor

We were surprised to see that the Oral-B Pro 1000 comes with a pressure sensor — an uncommon feature at this lower price point. But testing revealed that the sensor requires excessive force in order to activate. While the brush will slow down or shut off if you use an incredible amount of pressure, there is still a very real risk of brushing too hard without any warnings.

Can be harsh on gums

Oscillating models are great for those who find sonic toothbrushes too ticklish, but they’re not totally free from causing discomfort. While it doesn’t tickle the teeth, the Oral-B Pro 1000 can be more irritating for gums. According to one of our testers, “the Oral-B felt like a power tool while the Sonicare felt like a toothbrush.” For most, a Sonicare is a better fit, but if sensitive teeth are your main dental discomfort, the Oral-B is the way to go.

No automatic shut-off

While Oral-B toothbrushes have accurate timers, the toothbrushes don’t switch off by themselves after two minutes — they simply set off a series of pulses, meaning there’s a risk of missing the buzz and still over-brushing. There’s debate on whether this is a flaw, since it gives you the chance to go over a missed tooth or two at the end of your clean, which can actually be a benefit. That said, our take is that the automatic shut-off of Sonicare models is the best way to avoid over-brushing.

Best for Kids
Philips Sonicare For Kids Sonic Electric Toothbrush
Philips
A fun and engaging toothbrush for a future of healthy smiles
Pros
Fun mobile app
Transition feature
Good for small hands
Cons
Kids will eventually outgrow it
Can tickle teeth

Why we chose it

Fun mobile app

One of the main draws of the Sonicare for Kids is the ability to use the toothbrush with an app (read: game). The app comes with an interactive character, named Sparkly, and our tester’s parent liked that the app showed a teeth simulation her daughter could see while she brushed. More importantly, the app was fun and got our young tester excited about brushing her teeth the next morning — no small feat. Parents can also keep track of their kids’ brushing progress through the app if they want to offer rewards for consistent brushing.

The app has 3.6-stars out of 264 ratings in the Apple Store and 3.4 stars and over 1,800 reviews on Google Play. Users praise the app’s concept and ability to get kids engaged in brushing their teeth, although there are some complaints of glitching and less intuitive features.

Transition feature

When kids first start using the Sonicare, its gentle brushing mode starts off with a one-minute timer that gradually increases to two minutes over time. Kids’ toothbrushes have an important reason for flexibility with the two-minute rule — rather than suddenly asking kids to brush for two minutes, experts recommend easing them into longer brushing sessions.

Dr. Katia Friedman also pointed out that “an electric toothbrush is a great option due to the fact that young children don’t have the dexterity to brush with the right technique. The right technique can only be learned once the child has great dexterity.” In other words, kids will eventually be ready for more advanced techniques, but the focus should simply be on laying the foundation of regular brushing.

Good for small hands

We liked the handle size of the Sonicare because it’s closer in size to adult models. This means that while it’s a good size for small hands now, your child also won’t outgrow it 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.

Points to consider

Kids will eventually outgrow it

Kids will eventually need to upgrade to a regular electric toothbrush in order to satisfy their dental needs. In fact, traditional models like the Sonicare 2 Series and Oral-B 1000 will actually work fine for younger kids. However, the app and stickers that come with the Sonicare for Kids can encourage those who don’t like brushing to do so — an important consideration for developing healthy brushing habits.

Can tickle teeth

Like all other Sonicare toothbrushes, the Sonicare for Kids may tickle sensitive teeth. This can be uncomfortable and might discourage children with sensitive teeth from brushing. The Oral-B Disney toothbrush for kids is an oscillating model and a solid alternative, but the small handle size means kids will outgrow it faster.

Guide to Electric Toothbrushes

How to find the right electric toothbrush for you

Consider the sensitivity of your teeth and gums

Electric toothbrushes come in two different styles: oscillating or sonic. There’s debate about which type offers a better clean for your teeth — one study did find oscillating brushes to be more effective in reducing plaque and gingivitis, and another study showed both types to reduce plaque after a month or so. It largely depends on comfort and personal preference, and at the end of the day, both oscillating and sonic brushes will work well as long as they’re paired with proper brushing technique. Dr. Ben Lawlor of Maine Cosmetic Dentistry told us, “If you’re using an electric toothbrush that stimulates the gum, you’re good.”

Sonic
The Philips models, in particular, can vibrate for up to 62,000 movements per minute. According to Dr. Glassman, the fast vibrations incorporate “fluid dynamics, which is a secondary cleaning action that extends the brush’s reach” but is also what causes the uncomfortable tickling sensation. Translation: A sonic toothbrush’s scrubbing can reach more places than its oscillating counterpart’s, but it’ll tickle a bit along the way.

Oscillating
Oscillating toothbrushes, like our Oral-B models, have round heads that rotate back and forth about 8,800 times per minute (and pulsate at around 40,000). They are less likely to cause the “teeth-tickling” sensation of sonic models, but are generally louder and can cause discomfort for those with sensitive gums, possibly due to larger brush heads.

Evaluate your brushing technique

Choosing between a premium and a budget toothbrush can depend on your technique. In addition to brushing for two minutes with light pressure, our experts recommended brushing at a 45-degree angle toward your gum line using small circular or tooth-wide motions. If you’re confident you’ve got this technique down, a budget model is likely all you need — their two-minute timers and quad-pacers will simply help you stay on top of your timing. For those who need a few more reminders about proper brushing technique and are ready to make the investment, a premium model with a wide range of features is the way to go.

Opt for brands with accessible replacement heads

Philips’ Sonicare and Braun’s Oral-B are the most recognizable electric toothbrush brands on the market. Their dominance and longevity in the industry have allowed them to develop a wide library of brush heads along with easy-to-find replacements. Since toothbrush bristles wear out after 3-4 months of use, having accessible replacements is an important consideration.

Electric toothbrush FAQs

Why not use a regular toothbrush?

The dentists we spoke to all agreed that how you brush is more important than what you brush with. So it’s certainly possible to clean your teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush, and if you and your dentist are happy with these results, there’s probably no need to switch. But if your pearly whites have room to improve, an electric toothbrush’s oscillating or vibrating battery-powered bristles make it easier to remove even more plaque. Dr. Katia Friedman, explained, “One of the main benefits of the vibrations or oscillations is that it cleans your teeth more thoroughly — it eliminates plaque and bacteria better than a manual toothbrush due to the increased number of strokes that it provides.”

What about an electric toothbrush subscription?

Electric toothbrush subscription services are an increasingly popular trend. Basically, you buy a brush and they send you a replacement head each month. In terms of the brushes themselves, we tested the Goby and Quip models and were impressed with their straightforward, low-hassle designs. But neither seemed to offer anything that we couldn’t already get from our top picks, and as relative newcomers, they simply can’t match the reputations of the ADA-accepted Philips and Oral-B products (although Quip also recently earned the ADA's Seal of Acceptance). A subscription service offers a helpful reminder to actually change your brush head at the recommended interval, but we honestly didn’t see a huge benefit over an independent subscription service and simply subscribing to replacement brush heads on Amazon.

What type of bristles should I use?

When it comes to finding the best toothbrush head, soft bristles are 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. Hard bristle brush heads are available, but it's best to avoid them.

How often should I clean my toothbrush?

It’s a good idea to clean your toothbrush regularly. Some electric toothbrushes come with cleaning stations that use UV light to kill germs, but 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 a deeper clean of your brush, soak the head in antibacterial mouthwash or peroxide.

The best electric toothbrushes: Summed up

Sonicare Diamond Clean
Oral-B Genius Pro 8000
Sonicare 2 Series
Oral-B Pro 1000
Sonicare for Kids
Category
Best Advanced Features
Best Advanced Features for Sensitive Teeth
Best Standard Features
Best Standard Features for Sensitive Teeth
Best for Kids
Price
$180
$150
$30
$40
$40
Type
Sonic
Oscillating
Sonic
Oscillating
Sonic
Two-minute timer and quad-pacer
Pressure sensor
-
-
Battery life
Up to 3 weeks
Up to 2 weeks
Up to 2 weeks
Up to 1 week
Up to 2 weeks
Mobile app
-
-