The Philips Sonicare AirFloss can be a great addition to a dental routine for those who find themselves skipping the flossing step because of lack of time or trying to get mouthwash into those hard-to-reach places. It is easy to set up and use, and can promote good gum health. However, it's pricey and can be messy; because it isn't a true replacement for flossing, according to dentists, we chose the Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser WP-100 as our best-reviewed pick.
Not a replacement for flossing. While the Philips Sonicare AirFloss cleans plaque and food between teeth, dentists at DrCivils.com don't recommend it as a replacement for manual flossing. Sonicare's own website states the product is meant for those who find flossing too difficult or painful, not for those who already floss consistently. For people who don't always floss daily, dentists agree that the ease of use and quickness of the AirFloss can be helpful to those patients who avoid flossing as often as recommended.
Simple two-button operation. The Philips Sonicare AirFloss has two buttons: an on/off switch and a button that streams air and water, which users say makes it easier to use than competitors' products. The initial setup comes with instructions that both dental practitioners and reviewers found easy to follow. The water tank is easy to fill and holds enough water for two passes around the outside of teeth or one pass around both the outside and inside of teeth.
Simple, but effective. The Philips Sonicare AirFloss doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles, but it does the basics of what is expected of an electric flosser. At-home users appreciate the features of the tank: It not only fills easily, but also can hold either water or mouthwash, providing the option to add a fresh, clean feeling and help kill germs.
Little maintenance required. The Philips Sonicare AirFloss doesn't come cheap at $80, but it doesn't have many maintenance costs other than replacements heads. At $9 a pop, they are about average in price compared to others, and with daily use they only need to be replaced every six months. Owners complain that the tank feels cheap and could break, but editors say there aren't any reports of broken tanks or replacements needed by any reviewers or testers.
1. Which? magazine
The editors at Which? magazine give a full review of the Philips Sonicare AirFloss to examine whether it can actually replace dental floss effectively. They only use one tester who first cleans with the AirFloss and then follows it up with manual flossing to see if anything is left behind that the AirFloss couldn't get.
Review: Philips Sonicare AirFloss, Editors of Which? magazine, October 2011
Dr. Civils gave the Philips Sonicare AirFloss to four members of their staff, told them to use it for seven days without discussing it with each other, and then gathered their opinions after the trial period. There weren't any other specific controls used for the trials, and the staff members used it at varying rates, based on personal and patient preferences.
Review: The Sonicare AirFloss Product Review, Dr. Civils, Nov. 10, 2011
Over 230 contributors to Amazon.com give the Philips Sonicare AirFloss an average rating of 3.5 out of 5. Many reviewers give the AirFloss high marks for its ease of use and ability to get in every area of the mouth, but many think of it as a complement to manual flossing.
Review: Philips Sonicare HX8211 AirFloss Rechargeable Electric Flosser, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2014
Over 70 contributors to Walmart.com give the Philips Sonicare AirFloss an average rating of 3.7 out of 5, with many praising its convenience and ease of use to maintain oral hygiene when they forget to floss or don't have time to floss. However, many compared the product to manual floss and deemed the AirFloss as an addition to an oral health regimen, but not capable of completely replacing manual flossing.
Review: Sonicare AirFloss, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of March 2014