The Philips Sonicare FlexCare+ does an excellent job of cleaning teeth and is easy to use. It's loaded with lots of user-friendly features, but many reviewers question the need for all of them and say that they add to the overall cost of the unit. Furthermore, the toothbrush isn't as durable as other options in this price range. We chose to highlight the Oral-B Professional Healthy Clean Precision 4000 (*Est. $100) as a Best Reviewed product because it is a better overall value and also does an excellent job of cleaning teeth.
Accesses hard-to-reach areas with ease. Reviewers say the Sonicare FlexCare+ -- the step-up model to the Sonicare FlexCare (*Est. $120) -- does an excellent job of cleaning teeth. It relies on rapid side-to-side vibrations to clean teeth and provides up to 31,000 brush strokes per minute. The toothbrush has five brushing modes: clean, sensitive, massage, refresh and gum care. In addition to a standard two-minute timer, the FlexCare+ also has a one-minute and a three-minute timer. All modes also have interval timers that alert users when it's time to switch to another area of the mouth.
One user at Drugstore.com says, "I have noticed that my teeth are much cleaner than with a standard toothbrush." Dentists are also pleased with the Sonicare's performance. In a recent study, dental professionals prefer the Sonicare FlexCare+ over the Oral-B Triumph for its ability to access hard-to-reach areas. The study, however, was sponsored by Philips Oral Healthcare.
Most users acknowledge the high price of the toothbrush but say the FlexCare+ is worth the money. Others, however, say that it's loaded with fancy but unnecessary features and that Sonicare's basic models clean just as well. For example, some users appreciate the peace of mind that the UV brush head sanitizer provides, but others say they never use it and it takes up space. Most users are impressed with the long battery life -- the FlexCare+ can run for up to three weeks before needing to be recharged.
Short lifespan. Sonicare toothbrushes, in general, don't hold up to years of use as well as other electric toothbrushes. One user at Amazon.com says, "I have been a Sonicare user for over 10 years. Our original version lasted over 5 years. 3 [sic] of the last 4 brushes have stopped working properly. The first stopped vibrating properly within 2 years and the other 2 brushes stopped just after the 2 year warranty ended."
We also saw several complaints of product failure for the FlexCare+, but most of them occurred while the product was still under warranty. Owners say Philips has great customer service and replaces the defective toothbrushes quickly.
User-friendly. Owners say the FlexCare+ is easy to use and easy to clean. Users especially appreciate the slim handle and pop-on brush heads that don't harbor "gunk" like older Sonicare models with screw-on brush heads. The toothbrush is lightweight and comes with a travel case and multivoltage travel charger, making it easy to travel with.
Users also like the interval timer that lets you know when to switch to a different area of the mouth. One user warns, however, "...make sure the toothbrush is in your mouth before turning it on. As I found out, a toothbrush this powerful can and will spray toothpaste everywhere."
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 600 owners at Amazon.com give the Sonicare FlexCare+ an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. Users say it's expensive but worth the investment. It cleans well, has a long battery life and is easy to use.
Review: Philips Sonicare HX6972/10 FlexCare Plus Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Good The Sonicare FlexCare+ earns an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from more than 100 reviews posted on Amazon.com. Owners say it gets their teeth very clean, but some say that the unit isn't very durable.
Review: Sonicare Flexcare Plus Sonic Toothbrush with UV Sanitizer, Model HX6972/10, Contributors to Drugstore.com, As of November 2012
3. 89th General Session of the IADR
Review Credibility: Good In a study sponsored by Philips Oral Healthcare, the majority of 267 participating dental professionals prefer the Philips Sonicare FlexCare+ to the Oral-B Triumph (the predecessor to the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries and the Oral-B Professional Healthy Clean Precision series). Participants say the Sonicare is easy to use and accesses hard-to-reach areas.
Review: Evaluation of User Preferences for Power Toothbrushes in Dental Professionals, J. Defenbough, et al., March 17, 2011