An electric toothbrush can improve your habits of brushing and remove more plaque as well as reduce gingivitis, a 2014 review shows.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the number one recommendation for good oral hygiene starts with brushing your teeth, using either an electric or manual toothbrush for 2 x 2 minutes every day. We believe the electric toothbrush is the best choice for most people, because it keeps track of your brushing time and alerts you if you press too hard. A German 2019-study assessing the long-term effects of powered toothbrushing concluded that it reduced the progression of periodontal diseases and increased the number of teeth retained over a period of 11 years.
You’ve probably found this page because you’re looking for the best electric toothbrush, and here’s the good news: You don’t need an expensive, app-controlled toothbrush if your end goal is to improve oral hygiene. A simple electric toothbrush with a timer and a solid range of brush heads is sufficient in most cases, while additional features could be considered if you find them beneficial for your personal preferences.
Our top pick is the affordable Oral-B Smart 1500. With thousands of happy users, great performance and a long-lasting lithium-ion battery, we believe it’s the best choice for most people.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Best overall: Oral-B Smart 1500
- Best on a budget: Oral-B Pro 1000
- Best splurge: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300
- Best for plaque: Oral-B Genius 7500
- Best for sensitive teeth and receding gums: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100
- Best quiet: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
- Best for travel: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6500
- Best with pressure sensor: Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries
- The best online subscription toothbrushes
- How we identified the best electric toothbrushes
- What does the “ADA Seal of Acceptance” mean?
- Are smart toothbrushes a smart idea?
- Sonic vs. rotating-oscillating toothbrushes
- Cleaning, care and maintenance
- Why are electric toothbrushes better than manual ones?
- Best practices for good oral health
Best overall: Oral-B Smart 1500
Oral-B Smart 1500
The Oral-B Smart 1500 has everything you need in an electric toothbrush, but its top selling point is the long-lasting lithium-ion battery.
Pros: Durable build quality, excellent grip for most people, battery lasts up to 14 days between charges, pressure sensor with a visible alarm, large range of brush heads for any purpose you can think of.
Cons: Quite noisy during use, the otherwise powerful vibrations can feel uncomfortable for some people, no battery level indicator.
There are multiple reasons why the electric Oral-B toothbrushes are generally considered among the best options for most people, but the most important reason is the compact rotating-oscillating brush heads that you can use with this one.
The Oral-B Smart 1500 is a basic, electric toothbrush that doesn’t cost a fortune yet still holds all the essential features you’d expect of a proper toothbrush.
Besides the 2-minute timer and pressure sensor that are both built into this toothbrush, it also comes with a durable lithium-ion battery that you can recharge over and over again without having to worry about issues arising from constantly being plugged in and recharging between each use.
A few things that do put us off about the Oral-B electric toothbrushes are the noise level and the vibrations they generate during use. Some people might not like this, and for them we recommend looking for other options that are more pleasant. It does however have a “Sensitive” mode that lowers the pulsation and rotation RPM, but if sensitivity is an issue we recommend opting for another model.
Best on a budget: Oral-B Pro 1000
Oral-B Pro 1000
Offering unbeatable value and great performance, it’s no wonder the Oral-B Pro 1000 is the best budget pick of them all.
Pros: Basic and very easy to use with no learning curve at all, no bells and whistles, great performance, features a timer that alerts you to switch quadrant every 30 seconds, available in multiple color options.
Cons: Seems a bit cheap in comparison with other electric toothbrushes, it has only one brushing mode, NiMH battery has only 20-25 minutes of run time, no holder included for brush heads.
If you’re shopping for a cheap yet reliable electric toothbrush, the Oral-B Pro 1000 is a great choice. A suitable choice for beginners, but also for kids and others who want a toothbrush with no unnecessary features. By cutting back on features you get a simple toothbrush that’s easy to use and works extremely well.
The handle has a NiMH battery built in, and like other toothbrushes it can’t be replaced. This gives you between 20 to 25 minutes of run time, and for the battery to last as long as possible Oral-B recommends that you deplete the battery completely before recharging it. What this means, is that the charging base should either be unplugged or unused until the battery is actually depleted. This is slightly inconvenient though, because there’s no actual battery level indicator and you simply don’t know exactly when it runs out of power.
However, in our household we’ve actually owned several electric toothbrushes that were powered by an NiMH battery, and they’ve always been recharging between each use with no problems arising for multiple years. So this doesn’t actually seem like a big issue unless you want the toothbrush to last for 10 years or more. Which, unfortunately, isn’t always realistic because of the internal friction between parts, exterior wear, and other circumstances.
If you like the idea of an affordable electric toothbrush that offers great value for money, opt for the Oral-B Pro 1000. Its biggest selling point is not only the performance, but also the fact that you get access to a large range of brush heads for almost any need and purpose.
Best splurge: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300
If you want to an electric toothbrush that looks good and performs well, the Philips Sonicare DiamonClean Smart 9300 is probably the best choice of them all.
Pros: Glass charger looks really good, very comfortable to use, great range of useful features that improve your brushing habits, 4 different brushing modes, adjustable speed, visible pressure alert at the bottom of the handle.
Cons: Very expensive, not as many original brush heads to choose from as with other brands, brush heads are a little bigger than round shaped ones, no brush head holder included.
The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 does a great job cleaning your teeth, while looking extremely good at the same time. Most of us want our bathroom to look good, especially if it’s the only bathroom in our entire house. With the DiamondClean Smart 9300 you get a stylish glass charger that your toothbrush sits in between uses – and charging is done wirelessly through the bottom part of the glass.
Besides the charging glass you get a nice travel case with room for the handle and two brush heads. Perfect for occasional travels. We also like the color options with this model, as you can either choose between a black model, a grey model, a pink model, a rose gold model, and last but not least a classic white model.
Sonicare toothbrushes work in a different way than Oral-B toothbrushes. Whereas Oral-B relies on a mix of vibrations and rotation-oscillation, the Sonicare handle sends out powerful vibrations at a very high frequency. So as you move the electric toothbrush around inside your mouth, the powerful vibrations cause friction between your teeth and the bristles.
We do actually think the Sonicare toothbrushes feel a little more comfortable to use than Oral-B toothbrushes, however it takes a while getting used to the buzzing against your teeth.
While the brush heads and the Sonicare toothbrush work extremely well, the range of brush heads is slightly limited in comparison with brands like Oral-B. They don’t have any small brush heads for precision cleaning around bridges, crowns and other dental work that require additional efforts due to hard-to-reach areas. This isn’t necessarily an issue though, but it’s worth considering if you have any special needs.
Best for plaque: Oral-B Genius 7500
Oral-B Genius 7500
The Oral-B Genius 7500 is packed with features, including a special “weapon” against plaque buildup: Pro-Clean, an intense 3-minute cycle.
Pros: Stylish and functional at the same time, covered storage compartment for 4 brush heads, travel case included, 5 useful cleaning modes, app connectivity, great battery runtime.
Cons: Slightly expensive for what you get, the brush head storage compartment is a little flimsy, travel case is made of thin plastic.
The Oral-B Genius 7500 is a powerful electric toothbrush, and one of the best options if you’re looking for one with a more intense cleaning cycle. Plaque is our main concern and reason why our teeth have to be properly brushed for at least 2 x 2 minutes every day, because otherwise plaque turns into tartar (also referred to as ‘dental calculus’) which causes irritation along the gumline and – ultimately – leads to gingivitis. If you’re curious to learn more, we recommend that you read this article about gingivitis from Mayo Clinic.
With this electric toothbrush you can activate the Pro-Clean mode (formerly known as Deep-Clean mode) for an additional one minute of brushing time as well as a higher speed than with other cycles.
While an electric toothbrush specifically designed for a deeper cleaning isn’t your only weapon against plaque, it might be worth the investment if recommended by your dentist. Proper interdental cleaning, such as flossing, is also needed in order to remove as much plaque as possible during your daily routine. And you shouldn’t skip the appointment at your dentist, because the regular checkups are extremely valuable and a great contribution to improved oral hygiene and health.
Now, back to the electric toothbrush. The Oral-B Genius 7500 doesn’t just come with a special mode for intense cleaning, but also 4 additional modes that could proof beneficial to other family members: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, and Whitening. The built-in timer makes sure that you’re reminded after each 30 seconds of brushing, and the pressure sensor alerts you with a bright red light if you apply too much pressure.
Besides the useful features, there’s a storage compartment for 4 brush heads included as well as a travel case. These accessories don’t really do much though, and in our opinion they seem a little flimsy in comparison with the brush handle which on the other hand feels quite solid and durable.
Best for sensitive teeth and receding gums: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100
The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 has three intensity settings, and works great for anyone with sensitive teeth and/or receding gums.
Pros: Three intensity settings, useful brush head replacement reminder, 2-minute timer with 30-second alarms improve your brushing habits, practical travel case included, multiple color options.
Cons: No storage area for brushes, buzzing requires a little time getting used to.
If you have sensitive teeth and/or receding gums, you might want to pay extra attention to not brushing too hard as it will feel uncomfortable and potentially worsen the condition.
First and foremost, if you suffer from receding gums and/or sensitive teeth, you need to book an appointment at your dentist and have him/her check your overall oral health situation. The dentist can tell you exactly how to properly care for your teeth and improve your oral health for a better quality of life.
We believe the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 is one step in the right direction, as it enables you to improve brushing habits while at the same time reducing discomfort by allowing you to adjust the intensity of the vibrations. The buzzing might feel slightly strange in the beginning though, but after a few weeks we got used to it ourselves.
The brush head replacement reminder is a useful feature, and we also liked the travel case that came with it. Unfortunately there’s no brush storage compartment, so you’ll have to come up with a solution yourself. Perhaps a small glass or an acrylic box.
Best quiet: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
If you want a quiet yet efficient electric toothbrush the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 is a great choice.
Pros: Quiet – doesn’t make as much noise as rotating-oscillating toothbrushes, very affordable, great value for money, different color options to choose from, useful brush head replacement reminder.
Cons: The buzzing might feel/sound relatively uncomfortable for some people, no brush head storage compartment included.
If you can live with a slightly smaller brush head selection in return for a handle that’s relatively quieter than other brands, the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 is a perfect choice. And it’s affordable too.
The biggest advantage of Sonicare toothbrushes is the noise level and comfort during use. If you’re curious as to how quiet it actually is, we recommend checking this comparison video that shows exactly how quiet it is.
Another great reason to choose this electric toothbrush is that it’s among few models that have been rewarded the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This seal confirms that the toothbrush does indeed work as expected, as it removes plaque at a satisfying level.
If you’re transitioning from Oral-B or other similar powered toothbrushes, you might need a few weeks getting adjusted to the sound and feel of the Sonicare toothbrush. The buzzing might feel a little uncomfortable in the beginning, but it does get better once you’re used to it.
Best for travel: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6500
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6500
With the portable charging case you can keep the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6500 fully charged and organized during travel.
Pros: Portable USB charging case included, 3 intensity levels and 3 modes, useful 2-minute timer, nice and stylish design, comfortable noise level, available in multiple colors.
Cons: The buzzing sound is a bit uncomfortable at first, travel case only works with a USB port.
The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6500 is identical to the 6100 model, but the 6500 has a portable charging case included that you can connect to a USB port. It’s a clever addition if you’re often traveling, especially if traveling abroad where wall outlets and voltage is usually different from what you’re used to.
Another great feature of this electric toothbrush is the intensity setting. You can choose between three levels of intensity, and you can choose between three different modes of cleaning as well. This gives you a nice range of cleanings modes suitable for every need, which makes it a great choice for a family with kids.
As we already mentioned, the brush head replacement reminder is a great feature as well. Brush heads are somewhat expensive, and you wouldn’t want to replace them too soon. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to wait for too long either, as an old brush head could potentially be less effective.
We do miss a brush head storage compartment for this model, which is usually included with Oral-B toothbrushes. However, you can easily find yourself a glass or small storage box yourself, as there are plenty available for purchase.
Best with pressure sensor: Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries
Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries
With the visible pressure alert found on the Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries, you’ll easily notice if you’re pressing too hard.
Pros: Very useful visible pressure alert, covered brush head compartment included, timer display included to improve good brushing habits, great line of brush heads available, 6 different cleaning modes.
Cons: Storage compartment seems a bit flimsy, timer display and app connectivity might not be useful for everyone, a bit noisy.
One of the key points made by the ADA is that you should only apply gentle pressure when brushing your teeth. Otherwise you might end up doing more harm than good because the thin top layer of gum could wear away over time and expose the neck where no hard enamel protects it.
If you want to focus on applying just the right amount of pressure, an electric toothbrush with a visible pressure alert could act as a helping hand. The Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries indicates too much pressure with a bright red light, so if you’re in front of a mirror you’ll easily notice of you press too hard by accident. The pressure sensor might not be as sensitive as you’d want it to be, but at least it keeps you focused on improving your brushing habits.
Besides having a great pressure sensor and visible pressure alert, the Pro 7000 SmartSeries toothbrush is also equipped with 6 different modes as well as a storage compartment for up to four brush heads. It comes with a timer display which could be useful for kids and beginners, but you can also connect it through an app for iOS or Android.
For cleaning between teeth you can also get special brush heads that fit most Oral-B toothbrushes, including the Pro 7000 SmartSeries. These are also great for bridges and crowns, but they cannot replace flossing.
The best online subscription toothbrushes
Multiple companies now offer electric toothbrushes with a subscription, which basically means that you can automatically get new brush heads and other accessories replenished regularly and on time.
While this kind of service does have its limitations, most importantly the availability of new brush heads (which you obviously cannot purchase in every grocery or drug store), it might also be a practical solution for those who want it as easy as possible.
There are a few electric online subscription toothbrush kits available, and at the time of writing we believe these options are the most interesting:
Holders of the ADA Seal of Acceptance:
Other great options:
How we identified the best electric toothbrushes
In order to identify the best electric toothbrushes on the market, we conducted thorough research and reviewed a large range of recent studies on their performance, the latest knowledge in oral hygiene, and analyzed thousands of user reviews to learn what most users wanted and expected of their toothbrush. We also checked ADA’s list of accepted powered toothbrushes, to learn what products have been awarded with the Seal of Acceptance for high standards and great performance.
During our research, we learned that these factors are of the highest importance when picking the best electric toothbrush:
Obviously, you want an electric toothbrush that actually cleans your teeth. And most of us want it to be comfortable as well.
Performance is measured in the toothbrush’ ability to clean teeth when used properly, and we also considered the comfort level.
The one important thing to consider regarding the battery, is whether you should choose the cheaper NiMH battery or the more expensive lithium-ion battery. We found that most people opt for the lithium-ion battery due to a better life-span, but also because it has a few advantages over the NiMH battery.
Battery runtime is an important factor too.
Ease of use
We want an electric toothbrush that’s easy to use and doesn’t require a manual to understand.
Some toothbrushes feature a myriad of adjustment options, which really isn’t necessary.
A proper electric toothbrush lasts for years, so it has to be build properly with a durable design that won’t break due to regular use.
You might not want to wake up everyone else when brushing your teeth, so noise level is considered when picking the best electric toothbrushes.
Replacement brush heads options
While some cheaper toothbrushes don’t offer a lot of options when it comes to brush heads, some brands like Philips and Oral-B offer more options and a better availability. Most drug stores in your area are very likely to carry an entire assortment of brush heads for these toothbrushes, whereas other brands might suffer from a lack of availability.
What does the “ADA Seal of Acceptance” mean?
The American Dental Association (ADA) began the Seal of Acceptance program back in 1931. The program has been designed to evaluate safety and efficacy of dental products, which means that accepted products are verified as safe and effective by industry professionals.
According to ADA, 2 out of 3 consumers trust the Seal of Acceptance and utilize the program to simplify purchasing decisions.
In short, consumers are generally more inclined to buy an accepted product over one that doesn’t have the Seal.
You can find all accepted products on the Seal Product Search page.
Are smart toothbrushes a smart idea?
If your end goal is to improve toothbrushing habits, a simple electric toothbrush with a timer is more than enough.
According to Wirecutter, the timer is the primary benefit of an electric toothbrush over a manual one. We do agree on this, because not only does the timer remind you to brush for at least two minutes, it also splits your teeth into quadrants so you spend an equal amount of time on every area.
In later years we’ve seen all kinds of features being added to electric toothbrushes, with the most noticeable feature being Bluetooth and app connectivity. These features claim to improve brushing habits by “mapping” the brushing pattern. We do acknowledge the potential of these features, however we don’t really find them necessary. Toothbrushing shouldn’t be rocket science after all, and the most important part of brushing the teeth is to actually brush them twice a day, for at least two minutes, with proper movements.
Some electric toothbrushes come with many different cleaning modes, and although these modes could potentially make toothbrushing easier on people with sensitive teeth and receding gums, most people wouldn’t find these features beneficial.
We do want to add one thing, however, that we think Wirecutter got wrong: Wirecutter claims that more expensive tooth brushes gives you a small boost in battery life, but that isn’t all. The cheapest electric toothbrushes have a NiMH battery, while the more expensive options have a lithium-ion battery. The most significant different between those are their longevity and requirements. NiMH must be depleted regularly to last as long as possible, whereas lithium-ion batteries can withstand frequent recharging with little to no loss of capacity. This means that NiMH batteries are recommended to NOT sit in a charge stand all the time, while lithium-ion batteries can in fact sit in the charge stand all the time, keeping the electric toothbrush ready to use at all times with no risk of running out of power in the middle of brushing your teeth. You can read more about the differences between NiMH and lithium-ion batteries on Battery University.
Sonic vs. rotating-oscillating toothbrushes
Back in 1998 when Philips began advertising their Sonicare toothbrushes, the video illustrated something that looked like sound waves as part of the actual cleaning process. However, we haven’t seen any research nor evidence that this was actually the case.
However, a 1997-study did actually find that the sonic vibrations of the Sonicare toothbrush could remove plaque at a distance of up to 3 millimeters beyond the bristles due to the fluid dynamic activity generated.
Today, Philips isn’t the only manufacturer of sonic toothbrushes, and what’s important to keep in mind is that the friction caused by bristles moving across the teeth and gums is still considered the primary way of removing plaque.
To sum it all up, there doesn’t seem to be any significant differences in efficacy between the sonic toothbrushes and the classic rotating-oscillating toothbrushes. They both move at high speeds to generate optimal friction against the surface, and this is the most important aspect of toothbrushing.
Cleaning, care and maintenance
American Dental Association recommends that you replace brush heads every three to four months, OR sooner if the bristles become matted or frayed. Once the bristles are worn, the effectiveness of your toothbrush is decreased.
Another important point to make is that you should refrain from sharing a single toothbrush, because this exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms between people could cause unwanted conditions.
Proper storage of your toothbrush
It’s very important that you store the toothbrush properly. Regardless of whether it’s a manual or electric toothbrush, the brush head must be stored in an upright position that leaves it exposed to the open air. Don’t store brush heads in a drawer or closed plastic box, as it will promote bacterial growth if unable to dry properly after use.
Most electric toothbrushes come with a storage compartment where brush heads can be stored properly. Otherwise we’d recommend that you simply use a glass or a cup where they can stand upright between use.
Don’t keep the brush head on the handle
Most electric toothbrushes require a rinsing after each use, to remove toothpaste residue. This applies to the brush head too, and we recommend that you remove it from the handle after use in order to clean it internally.
Brush heads have multiple cracks and crevices on all sides, which means that spit, toothpaste and water have easy access to internal parts. In order to rinse out all the gunk after each use, you need to detach it from the handle and rinse it under running water.
Luckily most toothbrush handles are waterproof too, so you can easily rinse them under running water as well.
Why are electric toothbrushes better than manual ones?
According to this German long-term study aimed at assessing the longitudinal effects of using an electric toothbrush, it shows that electric toothbrushes are superior to manual toothbrushes when it comes to improving oral hygiene and retaining teeth.
The most important reason why electric toothbrushes are generally considered better, is because of how easy they are to use correctly. The hardest part of brushing the teeth is the movements and accessibility. Manual toothbrushes are big and not always easy to fit in between the molars, while brushing with proper, circular motions and applying only a gentle pressure.
If your dentist believes that you need to improve toothbrushing in order to remove plaque, an electric toothbrush can proof very effective and your dentist would most likely recommend you to buy one.
However, if you use a manual toothbrush and your dentist concludes that your teeth are perfectly fine, there’s no need to make the switch and go electric.
Best practices for good oral health
In addition to brushing your teeth properly, there are a few additional things you can do to maintain a good oral health:
Get regular checkups at your dentist
This is important to regularly evaluate the overall oral health condition, but also to prevent any conditions from worsening over time. Your dentist can also remove any tartar (dental calculus) that has collected on your teeth since your last visit. You cannot remove tartar yourself by brushing the teeth, as it requires special equipment and techniques to do so.
Your dentist will know how often you need to get checkups, as it depends on your oral health.
Don’t forget to floss
Most toothbrushes cannot get in between your teeth, which is why the need of flossing arises. While most people don’t like to floss their teeth, there are actually multiple benefits of doing so. First and foremost it prevents plaque from building up in between your teeth, and secondly it can prevent bad breath as well, since it removes any plaque and food that would otherwise get stuck in between your teeth.
We all know that a healthy diet has many great benefits, and it has a large impact on oral health too.
Sugars and starches are common sinners when it comes to the forming of plaque on teeth, and we recommend that you cut back on foods that are high in sugars and starches to improve the overall oral hygiene.
Also read “11 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy” on Healthline, an article that has been medically reviewed by Christine Frank, DDS.