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Old habits die hard, we know. You’ve been grinding away with a manual toothbrush since you first grew teeth. But that technology has been nearly unchanged for decades, and the evidence that electric toothbrushes are vastly superior for your oral health has been piling up forever. And while your old manual toothbrush is nearly identical to the ones you started using decades ago, electric toothbrushes have come a long way. They’re smaller, more effective and more affordable than ever. So how do you choose the best electric toothbrush for your dental hygiene?
That’s a question where you’re a guaranteed winner — all of these electric toothbrushes are superior in their own way, so there are no wrong calls here. It all depends on what kind of toothbrush you’re looking for: rotating-oscillating vs. sonic, entry-level vs. high-tech, travel vs. countertop. The one thing you can be sure of is this: regardless of which electric toothbrush you choose, you’re about to take far better care of your teeth and gums than you currently are with that worn-down manual toothbrush.
What Is an Electric Toothbrush?
An electric toothbrush is one with a motor that powers bristle movement either back and forth or in circular motions to clean teeth. As you move the toothbrush over your teeth, the micro-movements of the bristles amplify your brushing power. In general, there are three categories of electronic toothbrushes:
- A standard electronic toothbrush uses vibrations to provide a deep clean. These models are often battery-powered and more affordable than sonic and rotating models. Some newer models provide a combination of vibration and rotation, but at a much lower level than the more advanced electronic toothbrushes available from brands like Philips Sonicare and Oral-B. For instance, this Arm & Hammer Pro Clean toothbrush vibrates at 3,700 strokes per minute.
- A sonic toothbrush uses sonic technology that allows the brush head to vibrate much more quickly. Sonic toothbrushes typically offer 20,000 to 40,000 strokes per minute, cleaning away food debris, plaque and germs that manual toothbrushes can’t reach. The best sonic electric toothbrushes typically come with an oval-shaped brush.
- A rotating toothbrush features a circular brush head and utilizes a spinning motion to clean your teeth. Rotating brushes typically boast 2,500 to 8,000 strokes per minute, but that doesn’t mean they’re less effective than sonic toothbrushes.
Are Electric Toothbrushes Healthier for You?
Multiple studies have shown that electric toothbrushes are more effective than manual toothbrushes at cleaning your teeth, controlling plaque and fighting gingivitis. Electric toothbrushes are also great for people with disabilities or limited mobility, and have built-in timers that motivate you to brush for the full recommended two minutes. However, the jury is still out on whether sonic or rotating toothbrushes are better.
How Expensive Are Electric Toothbrushes?
Electric toothbrushes are pretty much universally more expensive than manual ones because of the added functionality — but that could save you money on dental bills later. On average, electric toothbrushes range from $50 to $200 depending on how much power they have and how long they’re built to last.
How Often Should You Change Your Electric Toothbrush Head?
The changing of manual toothbrushes feels more straightforward because they’re made to be disposable. With electric toothbrushes, you don’t throw away the whole brush. Instead, you throw away the disposable toothbrush head. According to experts, you’re supposed to change it out every 12 weeks, so make sure you buy extra brush heads when you purchase your electric toothbrush. More advanced brushes include a feature that tells you when it’s time to change your brush head so you don’t have to keep track.
1. Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 Sonic Toothbrush
This Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush offers an impressive 31,000 brush strokes per minute, which takes down plaque with seven times greater efficiency than a manual toothbrush. It has the same 30-second and two-minute as the Oral-B Pro 1000, a 14-day battery life and BrushSync technology that alerts you when it’s time to replace the head.
2. Oral-B Pro 1000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Rotating-oscillating electric toothbrushes don’t pack the punch of their sonic counterparts, but they’re still plaque-busting wonders. Oral-B Pro 1000’s handle pulses every 30 seconds to remind you to move to another part of your mouth, and a longer pulse after two minutes to let you know you’ve done your dental duty. It also stops pulsing if you’re applying too much pressure. Oral-B also makes a variety of brush heads that fit the Pro 1000 and accomplish different oral hygiene goals.
3. Philips Sonicare 6100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
This gentle yet effective electric toothbrush from Philips is a bit more expensive than the No. 1 pick on our list, but it’s got built-in technology that whitens and protects your teeth. It has a pressure sensor that alerts you when you’re brushing too hard and will let you know when you should replace your brush head. It has three different intensities to choose from as well as three different modes to choose from: Clean, White and Gum Care.
4. Foreo Issa Electric Toothbrush
A year’s worth of uses from a single two-hour charge? That’s something to smile about. And that’s not the only cool thing about this very chic electric toothbrush: The Issa also includes a wide array of brush types, 16 speeds of sonic pulses and there’s a tongue and cheek cleaner on the back to do a really thorough job.
5. Waterpik Sonic-Fusion 2.0
Who doesn’t love a satisfying multitasking experience? And even better, with this electric toothbrush-Waterpik hybrid, you can doubly ensure that your dentist won’t give you that look during your next appointment. You can brush, floss or do both simultaneously, and it’s clinically proven to be up to twice as effective as traditional brushing and flossing for reducing plaque and improving gum health.
6. Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100 Gum Health Electric Toothbrush
BEST FOR GUM HEALTH
Gum health is crucial to your overall health and this electric toothbrush has the ability to improve yours up to 100%. It’s tough on plaque, debris and other potential gum hazards and also provides a safe and comforting experience. Choose between cleaning, whitening and gum care and this brush will clean for two minutes with a QuadPacer that alerts you to shift to the next part of your mouth. It also has a 14-day battery life on a single charge and comes with a sturdy, protective carrying case.
7. quip Metal Electric Toothbrush
BEST FOR TRAVEL
One AAA battery gives you three months of charge, and the hard metal body makes it drop-proof and able to take a jostling in your Dopp kit. The quip has a more-famous plastic model for slightly less, but we say spring for the metal version, which looks as good as it cleans. It’s also waterproof in case you want to multitask by brushing in the shower. And it allows you to sign up for auto-refill, ensuring you have a new toothbrush every three months without thinking about it.
8. Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries Electric Toothbrush
BEST MODE OPTIONS
This smart toothbrush connects to an app that gives you real-time feedback on your brushing and provides helpful oral care tips. Everything about this toothbrush is designed to be exact — it’s made of high-tech materials like silicone and has a round brush head with angled bristles that can easily reach every corner of your mouth. It has clinically proven 3D cleaning capabilities with a head that rotates, pulsates and removes 100% more plaque than manual toothbrushes. It has speeds up to 800 brush movements per second and syncs with Amazon Dash to automatically order new brush heads as soon as you need them.
9. hum Electric Toothbrush by Colgate
BEST SMART TOOTHBRUSH
What this electric toothbrush lacks in power it makes up for with a lightweight design, portability, comfortable handle and impressive smart technology. The hum toothbrush does more than just guide you and time your brushing: It also hooks up to an app that coaches you to improve on areas where you’re missing. The app also has rewards so you can celebrate your dental hygiene wins.
10. Fairywill Sonic Toothbrush for Adults
BEST FOR BRACES
This toothbrush cleans your teeth like a dentist would with W-shaped bristles and 40,000 micro brushes per minute. One four-hour charge gives you 30 days of use. The bristles also have a fading reminder for when they need to be replaced — blue will fade to white when it’s time to change out your brush head for one of the other three it comes with.
11. BURST Electric Toothbrush
BEST FOR SENSITIVE TEETH
Each toothbrush head on a BURST toothbrush has whitening charcoal PBT nylon bristles that are soft, cleansing and antimicrobial. This toothbrush generates 33,000 sonic vibrations per minute. It can also last for four weeks on a single charge and has three different brushing modes: whitening, sensitive and massage. The sensitive mode is useful for folks with sensitive teeth or weakened enamel.
Read More: Best Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
12. SmileDirectClub Electric Toothbrush
BEST SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
Quip is not the only subscription electric toothbrush in town. We previously touted the SmileDirectClub Electric Toothbrush, and we’re still loving it. The three-in-one case, which acts as a counter stand, magnetic mirror mount or travel cover, is a great innovation. The brush head is designed to work well around braces or retainers, and the subscription service provides an automatic brush head and battery replacement subscription service for $5 per refill.
13. Philips Sonicare HX6321 Electric Toothbrush for Kids
BEST FOR KIDS
This high-power electric toothbrush from Philips Sonicare is designed for kids’ mouths. What’s more, it’s designed to motivate them to take care of their teeth, with 98% of the parents who have used this brush saying it’s easier to get kids to brush their teeth better and for a longer period of time. It has an educational free app that will get your kids excited about brushing and gives them rewards after each successful session. It also has a “kidpacer” and “kidtimer” that alerts them to change quadrants of their mouth to ensure a thorough cleaning.
14. AquaSonic Black Series Ultra Whitening Electric Toothbrush
LONG BATTERY LIFE
This sleek black AquaSonic electric toothbrush has 40,000 VPM, four modes and a smart timer, plus wireless charging, a lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 30 days on a single charge, eight DuPont brush heads and bristles and a stylish travel case. It removes 10 times more gum plaque along the gum line than a manual toothbrush and up to three times as much as its competitors. The hardshell travel case is made of BPA-free plastic and the smart vibration timer will keep your brushing on track for a thorough clean in just two minutes.