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Best Electric Toothbrush

By: Kelly Burgess on September 08, 2017

The best rechargeable electric toothbrushes

In the world of electric toothbrushes two manufacturers absolutely stand out: Oral-B and Sonicare. Each uses a very distinct brush movement: Oral-B's brushes use rotating-oscillating strokes, while Sonicare models use high-velocity lateral vibrations.

However, while Sonicare is undoubtedly a popular maker, its comparable models are pricier, and the reality of the research says that a higher price does not a better electric toothbrush make. As a result, the Oral-B Pro 1000 (Est. $50) is a logical choice as our Best Reviewed rechargeable power toothbrush in this category. The Pro 1000 is the top pick at TheSweethome.com, with testers there saying it, "comes with all the features recommended by most of our experts for the lowest price." Owners also give it high ratings across thousands of reviews.

The Oral-B Pro 100 is a very basic manual toothbrush -- pretty much just off and on -- which most experts say is all most people need. It does have one great feature though: a built-in pressure sensor that stops bristle movement when it detects that you're brushing too hard, something that's usually not found in power toothbrushes at this price point. The in-handle timer pulses every 30 seconds to remind you to switch to cleaning another area of the mouth; however, it does not shut off after two minutes as most other electric toothbrushes do. Most owners love this feature, saying it allows them to brush longer if they choose to do so, or to move to other areas of the mouth, like the tongue, without having to turn the toothbrush back on. However, some say they lose track of how long they brushed and would prefer a two-minute shut-off time.

If you prefer that two minute limit, we suggest you take a look at the Philips Sonicare 2 Series (Est. $50). The Sonicare was a runner up in TheSweethome.com's testing, coming in second to the Oral-B Pro, but it has a couple of popular features that the Oral-B lacks. One, of course, is that two-minute shut off time. The other is an easy start mode that gradually increases the brushing power over the first 14 uses, helping you to ease into using an electric toothbrush -- a transition that some do find jarring. However, one feature that the Sonicare lacks is the 30-second pulse that reminds you to move to a new quadrant -- something that keeps the Series 2 out of our top spot. The quad timer is available on the Philips Sonicare 3 Series (Est. $90), but at a premium price compared to the Oral-B. Still, if you'd like to have a fully-featured electric toothbrush, the Sonicare 3 is a durable, dependable and very well-liked choice.

Both the Oral-B and the Sonicare include a charging base and one brush head. Sonicare says the charge on the 2 Series lasts for 14 days. Oral-B says the charge on the Pro 1000 lasts for seven days, but, in testing, TheSweethome.com found that both of these power toothbrushes held their charges longer -- the Oral-B 1000 for 11.5 days, the Sonicare 2 Series for 16 days.

If money is no object and you're all about total hygiene, we highly recommend the Philips Sonicare Flexcare (Est. $150). Users love its five modes -- gum care, daily clean, refresh, massage and sensitive. It can be a bit tricky to figure out which mode you're in at first, you have to learn to "read" the lights, but if you like a variety of brushing options, this is a great choice. It also includes two handles, two brush heads, a travel case and a travel charger.

However, the major selling point with the Flexcare is a UV sanitizer that kills the germs on your toothbrush between uses. A lot of owners say they don't even use it, but others say that the sanitizer offers them peace of mind, especially if they're recovering from a cold or another virus; they don't have to worry about re-infecting themselves and don't have to replace the brush head before its time. However, keep in mind that the sanitizing claims have not been backed up by any independent, scientific studies.

Cheap electric toothbrushes are a good introduction to power brushing

If you're skeptical about how well you'll like an electric toothbrush, or are leery of spending even $50, much less upwards of $150, we highly recommend picking up an Oral-B 3D White Battery Toothbrush (Est. $5) to see what you think. This basic toothbrush gets hundreds of owner reviews that match or exceed those of the much more expensive Oral-B and Sonicare rechargeable toothbrushes. In fact, we read a number of reviews from users who had owned those more expensive models in the past, replaced it with this to save some money, and are just as pleased.

Oral-B battery powered toothbrushes (there are several models with different names but similar operations) are not rechargeable; rather, they are power toothbrushes that operate on two replaceable AA batteries -- and the first two are included. Otherwise, they work much the same as a rechargeable toothbrush.

The Oral-B 3D is a fairly simple power toothbrush with a dual-action brush head. Like a rechargeable electric toothbrush, the brush heads are replaceable and should be changed every three months. Oral-B 3D Replacement Brush Heads (Est. $6 for two) are quite affordable compared to those for rechargeable brushes. A few note that this toothbrush is louder and seems to have a much rougher motion than the more expensive rechargeable toothbrushes, but most say they feel like it's a great value compared to rechargeable toothbrushes.

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