The best electric toothbrushes are on the market today. The best sonic and oscillating electric toothbrushes to polish your gnashers are recommended by WIRED. Electric toothbrushes may clean your teeth more effectively than manual brushing, and healthy teeth may help you live longer, not just smile brighter.
Gum disease has been shown to hasten mental decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease progression, by up to six times, and poor oral health has also been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, dementia, and male sexual health issues (and we’re not just talking bad breath).
WIRED put a dozen electric toothbrushes from well-known companies and start-ups through their paces to find the ones that deliver the best bang for your buck. Many electric brushes also come with companion applications and Bluetooth connectivity, like anything else battery-powered these days, to help you track your brushing and uncover potential concerns.
The most important choice you’ll have to make is using an oscillating or sonic brush. A small, circular brush head on oscillating-rotating brushes targets individual teeth. In contrast, a Sonic toothbrush (Philips Sonicare is the main brand) has a brush head similar to a manual toothbrush.
Compared to roughly 300 brushes per minute manually, oscillating designs (read: Oral-B) rotate between 2,500 and 7,500 brushes per minute. On the other hand, Sonic electric toothbrushes can brush at a rate of up to 30,000 brushes per minute. So Sonic comes out on top by a long shot? In 2013, a study found that oscillating-rotating electric toothbrushes worked better.
However, a similar study in 2010 found that sonic versions performed better, even though several trials found them equally effective at removing plaque. However, dentists unanimously agree that using an electric toothbrush is far superior to using a manual toothbrush. WIRED recommends taking advantage of the numerous money-back guarantee trials – which normally last a month – to see which works best for your teeth and gums.
In 2021, What are the Best electric toothbrushes?
Philips’ Sonicare Diamond Clean Smart 9500 (£200) is a clear winner for the best electric toothbrush, from the build quality and battery life to the charging case, app-guided features, a large variety of brushing modes, pressure sensor, and how clean our teeth felt after just a few days of use. You can get the Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Smart 9500 on Amazon for £275. Colgate’s Pro Clinical 250+ (£25) is the greatest cheap electric toothbrush. Despite the lack of additional brush characteristics, it’s great value and small and includes a timer. WIRED Recommends is your one-stop shop for the latest and greatest in technology. WIRED editors have thoroughly evaluated every product on this list. Our top picks in each category are in our list of the best headphones.
WIRED Recommends Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Smart 9500
If money is no object, this is the greatest electric toothbrush on the market today. The Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Smart 9500 (£200) is pricey, but your mouth will thank you for the investment. We spent a long time brushing, whitening, polishing, and even cleaning our tongues thanks to the combination of five cleaning modes, three strength settings, and four brush heads.
That’s before we even get to the smart App features and thoughtful details like brush head replacement alerts. This is the brush to use if you want to learn more about brushing and how to improve your technique. Clean, for everyday use; white, to remove surface stains; deep clean, and gum health are the five modes and three intensity settings, with the idea being that you treat your teeth to some extra attention once in a while, rather than hammering at them every day with the most intense setting – not ideal for sensitive teeth.
The brush itself vibrates and lights up if you press too hard, and the app syncs over Bluetooth and tracks your brushing with the help of a mouth map, emphasizing whether and where you need to brush harder.
It will also show you which teeth you should return to for more thorough cleaning after completing the two-minute clean. The app, as you might guess, keeps track of your brushing habits so you can check back on your progress – think of it as a Fitbit for your first molars – as well as remind you when they need to be replaced and even purchase brush heads for a completely on-brand experience.
250+ Colgate ProClinical
The greatest electric toothbrush for the money. The ProClinical 250+ (from £25), available in three colors (black, white, and pink), is a slender, understated design from Colgate that hardly screams hi-tech. Still, with two sonic cleaning motions – up-down and side-to-side – and a frankly ridiculous £15.50 price tag, it cleans teeth and gums brilliantly.
It’s about the same size as a conventional manual toothbrush, which makes it ideal for travel or simply not cluttering up the bathroom, and after a few days of use, our teeth felt smoother than when we used an old spinning brush head type.
Any electric brush will outperform a manual brush, but this one nearly kept up with the market leaders without costing you a gold crown. It doesn’t have a lot of smart features, but it does have a useful two-minute timer with auto-off, and it vibrates after 30 seconds to remind you to move to another part of the mouth, as we’ve grown to anticipate.
It’s a breeze to use, and while the bristles are soft compared to a typical brush, they work well and are designed to avoid damaging delicate gums.
Brushes swiftly and thoroughly with this one-of-a-kind toothbrush. The Y-Brush (£106) may not look like your average electric toothbrush, but it promises to clean your teeth in 10 seconds. It’s for anyone who can’t spare two minutes of brushing time, advised in the morning and before bed.
The brush, which resembles a mouthguard, comprises 35,000 nylon filaments oriented to remove plaque effectively. There are three brushing modes to choose from, starting with soft,’ then ‘normal,’ and finally ‘intense,’ to assist you in getting used to the varied approach to brushing.
You must first master pressing the guard in and around your teeth while moving the brush from left to right via the detachable handle, which should fit on all tubes. You’ll notice immediately that it pays special attention to those problematic back teeth and successfully removes plaque from surrounding overcrowded teeth.
While you might not want to abandon your electric toothbrush completely, the Y-Brush is more comfortable and capable of scrubbing upper teeth, and it cleans remarkably well in that little brushing time.
However, you may add another fast brushing session – it never feels like you’re brushing too much. Overall, it’s a good way to brush twice a day, and the battery life is amazing at one month, so you won’t have to charge it all the time. The Y-Brush comes with a tiny bag to make it easy to take with you on your travels, but the expense of the new brushes (£26) that you’ll need every six months can mount up quickly.
iO Series 9 by Oral B
Which toothbrush is the smartest? This toothbrush cost £500 when released in late spring 2020, which is absurd. But, like buying perfume from a market stall, toothbrush prices rarely stay the same for long, so this fantastic brush has finally fallen into the ‘if it’s that excellent, I’ll invest’ category. The Oral B iO Series 9 (£250) has a color screen, countdown timer, effort-based emojis, and fast charging.
It also has 3D teeth tracking using AI – via the smartphone app – to monitor brushing, seven brushing modes including sensitive, ultra-sensitive, whitening, and tongue cleaning, and it knows when you’re pressing too hard and not exerting enough pressure.
Phew. This smart brush is a nice idea, but do you need it all? First, there’s the artificial intelligence. As you clean your teeth’ front, top, and back, this app-based option 3D tracks them.
There are 16 zones in total, and the app will lead you through them all, ensuring that each is thoroughly examined. You’ll probably do this a few times and be blown away by the results before forgetting about your phone and never using the app again.
Thankfully, it cleans teeth well even without the smart functions. The Daily Clean mode is quite aggressive; if your gums can handle it, it will leave your teeth squeaky clean. We liked the Sensitive mode for general use, which produced excellent results.
The Smart Pressure Sensor, which lights red when you brush too forcefully and white when you brush too softly, was also a big hit with us. When it turns green, you’re applying the right amount of pressure. It’s a straightforward and sensible addition to existing toothbrush technology that works well.
Foreo ISSA 2
It is an electric toothbrush that costs £100 and has a long battery life. Foreo’s ISSA 2 (£125) is a trendy alternative to the classic toothbrush, featuring bristles and a body constructed of sanitary silicone. It comes in blue, black, lavender, and mint. There is only one cleaning mode, but it has 16 power levels and two brush heads – one made entirely of silicone and the other combining silicone and soft bristles for a delicate clean.
Using a silicone brush head seems strange, and after an Oral B, you might feel a little shortchanged in the squeaky-clean department, but give it a chance, and the supersonic 11,000 brush strokes per minute to clean your teeth.
It won’t be suitable for everyone, but if you have sensitive skin can be charged through USB and will alert you when the battery is low, rather than just running out of steam in the middle of a brush, which shouldn’t be an issue too often because the battery can last a whole year on a single charge.
A chic toothbrush for on-the-go? Quip sought to design an electric toothbrush that functioned without ‘over complicated and confusing features’ as an antithesis to the app-controlled whizz-banger from manufacturers like Philips and Oral-B. Quip (from $25) is the outcome, and it’s a very simple brush with only one setting and a 2-minute timer with 30-second interval vibrations. It’s simple but elegant; the shape is slim, and the metal handle has a rich feel. (An alternative made of plastic is also available.)
The brush head is soft for gentle gum cleaning and contains silicone bristles around the edge. On the other side, there’s a small rubber surface for washing your tongue. The slender body and case make it great for travel; the rubber strip on the case lid clings to the mirror, and once in place, you can’t unintentionally turn the brush on, which means a) you won’t arrive with a flat battery, and b) you won’t be embarrassed at check-in because your luggage vibrates.
Quip is also unique because it is sold as a subscription service, with brushes starting at $25 (£20) and a replacement brush head and AAA battery being sent out every three months for $5 (£4).
They also have a kid’s version for the same price and their toothpaste to round out the package. So, you’ve finally mastered cleaning your teeth, but how effective is it? The sonic vibration is modest compared to the other brushes we tested, and we weren’t confident it was doing much at first, but after the two minutes, our teeth felt like they’d been well cleaned.
Given the price difference, it wasn’t quite as gratifying as the Philips, but we shouldn’t be shocked. We brushed manually in conjunction with the vibrations because it weighed only slightly more than a standard brush, which didn’t produce outstanding results. With this one, patience is a virtue since it will take some getting used to, especially if you prefer stronger bristles.
Genius X by Oral B
A fantastic electric toothbrush that oscillates. This Oral B Genius X (£132) has six different cleaning modes – Pro Clean, Daily Clean, Sensitive, Tongue Cleaning, Whitening, and Gum Care – as well as timers and pressure sensors to ensure you brush for the right time. The toothbrush connects to a companion app via Bluetooth, just as the iO Series 9 (above), and counts how much time you spend on each tooth. You are given a score of 100 at the end of each session for how well you brush.
Achieving a perfect score is a great motivation, and the app’s ability to track where and how much pressure you apply to each tooth is astounding. The whizz-bang features, like the Sonicare, are only useful if you can take your phone into the toilet, open the app, sync, and pay attention.
Maybe it’s just us, but we only made it four days before the app’s allure faded, and we resorted to using the toothbrush, especially late at night when all we wanted to do was fall asleep. However, as a single brush, it’s fantastic, with various cleaning modes and a high-quality case with USB charging, though you’ll have a hard time locating a USB to USB cable these days because one isn’t included.
The oscillating design cleans individual teeth more thoroughly than a sonic design, although our teeth were still well-cleaned. On the other hand, the Philips Sonicare model left a more polished impression.
When compared to the Philips Sonicare, the Oral-B feels less expensive. It’s quite light, which you could argue makes it more pleasant to use, but it lacks the same robustness and refinement. It has a wonderful brush performance and a useful app, but with an RRP of over £300, buying’s only worth it if you take advantage of the current special prices.
The best electric toothbrush for kids. Oral-Stages B’s (£20) is an adult electric brush developed for youngsters 3+, with a shrunken brush head and extra soft gum-friendly bristles, and was ably assisted in our testing by a five-year-old with a Disney fixation. Two power modes, a two-minute timer with 30-second vibrations to let you know when to move to a different part of the mouth, and a replaceable brush head are all included, which isn’t often the case with kids’ electric brushes.
It has a five-day battery life and, like a genuine brush, comes with a normal charging stand. It’s also lovely and light, with a strong grip that our young recruit had no problems with. But be warned: using an electric brush takes some getting used to, so you’ll be cleaning the mirror, walls, faces, and pajamas a lot until they get the hang of it.
Because it’s a Disney tie-in, you can choose from iconic characters such as Princesses, Cars, Star Wars, and The Incredibles, which will undoubtedly be popular. Still, the true draw here is a link to the free Disney Magic Timer App (iOS, Android). As the name implies, this simple two-minute countdown timer unveils a picture from your child’s “favorite” Disney film as they brush.
Each themed brush comes with four handle stickers that can be scanned in to gain access to unique photos — in our case, images from the Cars series – and the more they use the app, the more stickers they earn.
It’s a great idea and well-executed, and releasing the photographs does help pass the time, but if you have more than one youngster and just one phone or tablet, you’re out of luck because you can only use one at a time. It’s also worth noting that because the brush isn’t Bluetooth-enabled, you can use any brush with it, manual or electric. They’ll only be limited in what they can divulge regarding themed stuff.
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WP450 Cordless Plus Water Flosser by Waterpik
For healthier gums, we recommend flossing. This automatic flosser squirts high-pressure water to blast away food and help remove plaque with less effort than traditional string dental floss. Waterpik claims that the Cordless Plus Water Flosser (£51) removes up to 99.9% of plaque and is three times as effective as dental floss and that it will give you healthier gums in two weeks if used daily. It isn’t the most fashionable or well-made device, but it does the job with minimal bother and messes once you’ve perfected the method.
However, you’ll spray water everywhere and ruin the bathroom mirror, face, and top. Despite the splatter, it performs an excellent job of getting between teeth, and when used in conjunction with a good electric toothbrush, it will significantly enhance your dental health.
The tips spin 360 degrees, allowing you to go into any gap at any angle, which is useful. The flosser comes with four different tips to fit braces, veneers, or tightly packed teeth, and it is especially handy if you have braces, veneers, or tightly packed teeth.
The Plaque Seeker, intended for those with implants, bridges, and crowns, is a basic tip for everyday usage, while the Orthodontic Tip has been adjusted to combat braces. To round up the collection, there’s a tongue cleanser.
The battery life isn’t great, and there’s no indicator to let you know when it’s time to recharge, and it can feel cumbersome when compared to more expensive options like the Panasonic EW1511 or Philips Sonicare Air Floss Pro, but at half the price, we can’t complain.