The Philips Sonicare FlexCare does an excellent job of cleaning teeth and is easy to use, easy to clean and travels well. It's loaded with bells and whistles that make it fun to use, but many reviewers say they aren't necessary and they add to the overall cost of the toothbrush. Experts say that the best toothbrush is largely a matter of personal preference, but we chose the Oral-B Professional Healthy Clean Precision 4000 (*Est. $100) as a Best Reviewed product because it costs less, is more durable and does slightly better in professional tests.
Excellent cleaning ability. The Philips Sonicare FlexCare uses sonic technology -- a rapid side-to-side motion -- to clean teeth. It provides up to 31,000 brush strokes per minute and drives fluid between teeth to remove food particles. It has three cleaning modes: clean, sensitive and massage.
The Sonicare FlexCare performs well in professional testing and is well liked by owners. In one professional test of 10 electric toothbrushes, the Sonicare came in second place -- just a smidge behind the Oral-B Professional Healthy Clean Precision 4000 (*Est. $100). Users say the toothbrush leaves their teeth feeling as clean as a visit to the dentist's office. One says it provides a "really good massage feeling in your mouth. You almost want to brush your teeth immediately after you're done. "
While some users appreciate the various brushing modes, several say they are unnecessary. Others say the toothbrush works well but doesn't carry enough value to justify the price. One user at Amazon.com explains that the features that matter most are available on several other brushes that cost at least $50 dollars less than this one.
Shorter lifespan than Oral-B. The FlexCare doesn't seem to be as durable as Oral-B models. While most reviewers don't comment directly on its durability, several note replacing them often. One owner at Walmart.com says she loves the toothbrush so much that she keeps going back to it. She has had three different models in the last eight years. While this is decent, we found several Oral-B owners who used the same model for six years or more.
One user says that the FlexCare succumbs easily when dropped. He says that his toothbrush got much louder and stopped vibrating after it fell on the floor. Most electronic equipment, however, is susceptible to damage from falling -- especially if it falls on hard surfaces like the tile on a bathroom floor.
Lots of features. The Sonicare FlexCare has several features that make it easy to use. It has an Easy Start mode that gradually increases power over the first 14 days of use to acclimate users to sonic cleaning. It also has a shorter one-minute cleaning mode for when you are in a hurry or need a quick cleaning after a snack. It has a longer cleaning mode, as well, that allows you to brush for three minutes instead of the standard two. Some users say that all of these extra modes are unnecessary, however, and add to the high cost of the toothbrush. After all, if you want to brush for longer than two minutes, you can simply push the power button again.
Owners are pleased with the portability of the FlexCare. It's lightweight and comes with a travel pouch and a multivolt charger that can be used internationally. Users also like the FlexCare's brush heads. They snap easily into place, unlike to the screw-on heads of older models. The newer heads are also easier to keep clean. A compact brush head is available for those with smaller mouths.
The Sonicare comes with one brush head, a travel pouch and a multivolt charger for international use. It has a two-year warranty.
Review Credibility: Excellent The Sonicare FlexCare is included in a test of 10 electric toothbrushes. Each model is tested for a week and evaluated for comfort, convenience, ease of use and overall plaque removal.
Review: Toothbrushes, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, July 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good About 600 reviewers at Walmart.com give the Sonicare FlexCare an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Users say their teeth feel as clean as after a professional cleaning. A few say that the toothbrush isn't very durable, however.
Review: Philips Sonicare Flexcare R900 Sonic Power Toothbrush HX6911/02, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The Sonicare FlexCare gets good ratings from about 450 Amazon.com reviewers, who, for the most part, say that it is an improvement over the older Sonicare Elite. Users praise the FlexCare's small brush head and excellent cleaning ability.
Review: Philips Sonicare FlexCare Rechargeable Sonic Toothbrush, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012
4. Journal of Clinical Dentistry
Review Credibility: Good This study compares the stain removal efficacy of the Oral-B Pulsonic and Sonicare FlexCare. Researchers find no significant difference in efficacy between the Pulsonic and the FlexCare. Both toothbrushes showed "highly effective stain removal efficacy."
Review: Clinical Assessment of Extrinsic Stain Removal Efficacy with a New Pulsonic Toothbrush, G.T. Terezhalmy, et al., 2009
Review Credibility: Good The Sonicare FlexCare gets good reviews from the majority of the 66 users posting reviews to Drugstore.com. The reviewers praise its cleaning ability and compact brush heads.
Review: Sonicare Flexcare Advanced Cleaning Rechargeable Sonic Toothbrush, Model HX6911, Contributors to Drugstore.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Fair In this YouTube video, Matthew Jeschke compares the Oral-B Triumph with SmartGuide (predecessor to the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide) to the Sonicare FlexCare. He says that all of the extra accessories aren't necessary. The most important features to him are a quadrant timer and the option to brush in a standard mode or a sensitive mode. Both toothbrushes offer these features, but he prefers the Sonicare.
Review: Electric Toothbrush Review - Oral B Versus Sonicare, Matthew Jeschke, Aug. 12, 2011