The 5 Best Electric Toothbrushes

Best Overall
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
Philips
An advanced toothbrush that will improve your technique

Why we chose it

Responsive pressure sensor

The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean pressure sensor activated when even slightly too much pressure was applied, meaning it’s quick to protect your gums and teeth from excessively hard brushing. The handle vibrated and flashed a purple light until we eased up. Finding an accurate pressure sensor came highly recommended from our experts — many toothbrushes require excessive pressure to activate the feature and we appreciated that the DiamondClean was so responsive.

Useful app for improving technique

The app displays a model of teeth that let us know if we were angling our brush properly — and if not, how to adjust it. When using 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 apps like these aren’t essential, using it encouraged us to consciously focus on our brushing for a more effective clean.

Effective smart timers and vibrations

The DiamondClean’s accurate smart-timer automatically shut off our brush at the pre-set time limit on each of the brushing modes, and the quad-pacer gave a gentle vibration that ensured we gave each section of our 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 — it starts with lower vibrations that increase over 14 sessions.

Comfortable and intuitive design

The handle of the DiamondClean fit comfortably in our hands and was easy to maneuver. A single button on the handle made control a breeze, and built-in lights displayed the mode we were on as well as the battery life. Brushing heads were also simple to replace and the toothbrush can be paired with a wide range of brush heads for even more comfort (it comes with two standard DiamondClean heads).

Points to consider

Can tickle the teeth

As a sonic toothbrush, the DiamondClean delivers 31,000 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.

Price

The DiamondClean is expensive for a toothbrush. That said, it helps you practice the necessary techniques for a more effective clean. In addition, an electric toothbrush can last for years, which means the benefits will eventually outweigh the costs.

Best for Sensitive Teeth
Oral-B Genius Pro 8000
Braun
Features that aren’t quite as good as the DiamondClean's, but great for sensitive teeth

Why we chose it

Great for sensitive teeth

As an oscillating toothbrush, the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 delivers a much slower 8,000 strokes per minute than its sonic counterpart. The benefit of the 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, manual brushers 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 caused a light in the handle to flash indicating we needed to ease up. It’s a subtler notification than the one from the DiamondClean, but it still caught our eye in time to correct our technique.

Balanced design

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 we only found the sensitive and standard 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 opting in to fancy modes. 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

Not-as-smart features

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 the 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.

Price

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 investment. But as we saw with the Sonicare DiamondClean, a higher price tag generally correlates to the best the industry has to offer.

Best Budget Pick
Philips Sonicare 2 Series
Philips
A minimalist toothbrush for healthy teeth and gums

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 appreciated the simple design, because nothing felt 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 electric 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). 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 — removing the Foreo Issa’s brushing head took so much force that we actually rocketed it across the room.

Adjustment 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. 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 2 Series focused on making us 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 who need more guidance will want to invest in the Sonicare DiamondClean.

Can tickle the teeth

With 40,000 brush strokes 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 an oscillating model like the Oral-B Pro 1000 will be the better option.

Best Budget Pick for Sensitive Teeth
Oral-B - Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush
Braun
An affordable alternative for those with sensitive teeth

Why we chose it

Great for sensitive teeth

As an oscillating model, the Oral-B 1000 provides around 8,000 strokes per minute, meaning those with sensitive teeth won’t feel as much “teeth-tickling.” One of our testers who compared Sonicare and Oral-B models noted the Oral-B 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 add even more comfort 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 painless.

Straightforward Design

The minimalist approach of the Oral-B 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 1000 came 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 the 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 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 most foolproof way to avoid over-brushing and thus a better overall design choice.

Best for Kids
Sonicare For Kids Sonic electric toothbrush
Philips
A fun and engaging toothbrush for a future of healthy smiles

Why we chose it

Mobile App

The main draw 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.

Adjustment 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 explained, “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 handle size

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 with younger kids. However, the app and stickers that come with the Sonicare for Kids can encourage kids who don’t like brushing to do so — an important consideration for developing healthy brushing habits.

Can tickle the teeth

Like all other Sonicare toothbrushes, the Sonicare for Kids may tickle sensitive teeth. This can be uncomfortable and 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 quickly outgrow it.

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, but it largely depends on comfort and personal preference.

Sonic toothbrushes vibrate up to 40,000 strokes 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 are also what causes the uncomfortable tickling sensation. Translation? A sonic toothbrush’s scrubbing can reach farther than its oscillating counterpart's, but it’ll tickle a bit on the way.

Oscillating toothbrushes have round heads that rotate back and forth at up to 8,000 strokes per minute. 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.

Evaluate your brushing technique

Choosing between a premium and 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, a premium model with a wide range of features is likely the best fit.

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.”

Which is better: sonic or oscillating?

The truth is they’re both great. Our experts had differing opinions, and there’s evidence to be found for the superior effectiveness of both oscillating and sonic brushes. 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.”

What type of bristles should I use?

When it comes to finding the best toothbrush head, hard bristles are 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 wondering if hard bristles will offer a better scrub, the answer is no.

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 Overall
Best for Sensitive Teeth
Best Budget Pick
Best Budget Pick for Sensitive Teeth
Best for Kids
Price
$180
$150
$30
$40
$40
Type
Sonic
Oscillating
Sonic
Oscillating
Sonic
Two-minute timer and quad-pacer
X
X
X
X
X
Pressure sensor
X
X
-
X
-
Battery life
Up to 3 weeks
Up to 2 weeks
Up to 2 weeks
Up to 1 week
Up to 2 weeks
Mobile app
X
X
-
-
X