What To Look For When Buying An Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes are proven to improve brushing technique to help keep your teeth, tongue and gums healthy and give you that dentist feel cleaning at home. With studies proving that an electric toothbrush significantly reduces plaque and fights gingivitis and gum disease, it is no wonder more and more of us are switching from manual to electric.

There are so many electric toothbrushes on the market, all boasting different features and varying dramatically in price. So how do we choose the correct one for us? In this buyers guide, we have gathered all the information we feel you need to know to help you make a well-informed decision.

What do I need to know about electric toothbrushes?

A rechargeable battery powers an electric toothbrush, taking away the work of using a manual brush. The brush is powered by a motor and makes automatic rapid movements of bristles for a deep and thorough clean.

Electric toothbrushes provide superior cleaning to a manual brush, having been proven to remove more plaque, be more effective in fighting and preventing gingivitis and gum disease and improving bad breath.

Electric toothbrushes are also much simpler to use than a manual. The electric toothbrush takes away all the work for you. It takes care of the cleaning action for you whilst you simply guide it along the teeth and gums.

Dentists recommend an electric toothbrush as they make it much easier to follow the recommended dental hygiene guidelines.

As there are so many toothbrushes on the market that offer a variety of features, it is important to know what these features are to ensure you are buying the correct brush for you. This Buyer’s Guide will provide you with all that information.

Only got 5 minutes?

Electric toothbrushes have become more and more popular over recent years and when looking at comparisons to a manual brush it’s easy to see why.

Electric toothbrushes have been proven to significantly reduce plaque, gingivitis, gum disease. Taken the work of manual brushes away, an electric toothbrush provides a deep and thorough clean to give the best oral health care.

It is clearly evident that an electric toothbrush is a good investment, however, with so many on the market, how do we know what to look for when buying?

From our research, the most important thing to base your decision on is the offered features. It is important to choose the features that are best suited to your wants/ needs. So which features do we recommend?

  1. An electric toothbrush that both rotates and oscillates. Some toothbrushes just rotate but those that oscillate break up more plaque and reach further into crevices.
  2. Has a timer. The recommended time for brushing your teeth is 2 minutes. Seems simple enough, but with manual brushes, most of us do not reach this 2 minute time. The timer ensures you do meet this recommendation by alerting you when the time is complete.
  3. Has a Quad Pacer. The Quad Pacer gives you an alert every 30 seconds during the 2-minute timer, therefore, partitioning into four equal times. This alert reminds you to change area, for example, you could spend 30 seconds on the top row of teeth then change to the bottom etc. This feature is to help ensure an even clean as many of us are guilty of spending too much time on one area and missing others.
  4. Has a pressure sensor. Dentists suggest that many of us are applying too much pressure in our brushing which then causes damage to the enamel, which causes sensitivity and can cause gum disease.

Other things to look out for are a long guarantee, which we suggest the 1-year minimum and long battery life, suggested being 28 minutes, which allows for 1 weeks cleaning.

With prices varying from £10 to upwards of £200, you are essentially paying for more or superior features. Higher priced electric toothbrushes offer features such as self-cleaning, sensors that tell you which area of the mouth you are missing whilst brushing and Bluetooth which connects to your phone to provide you with knowledge of how to clean better, where you are missing, how to improve your technique etc.

However, many brushes on the market offer a good quality clean with our suggested features that are on the market for between £20-£40.

Why Trust Us?

The internet is full of review sites that claim they have bought and rigorously tested every product so they can give you the best buying advice, Tripadvisor has some fake reviews, who do you trust?

Let us be straight from the off, we provide the following, we get a product category or subject area, find out everything you could possibly want to know about it, find some of the best products for sale in the category and combine it all into a concise buyers guide.

If we were buying something that is exactly what we are looking for, we don’t care much for someone’s opinion, we want facts, the best products based on specifications and reviews and it all presented in one place. That is what we provide in our buyer’s guides.

Top features to look for in an electric toothbrush

The amount of features an electric toothbrush can provide can be quite overwhelming. Her is a list of what our research suggests are the top features to look for. The top three features we feel are important for the best oral health care are:

  1. A timer. (Makes the user aware when the recommended 2 minutes of brushing is complete)
  2. Quad pacer (Sections brushing time to allow even brushing)
  3. Pressure sensor (Makes user aware or slows movement if too much pressure is applied)

See ‘What type of electric toothbrush should I buy?’ for more features for those willing to splash a bit more cash.

How important is a timer?

Although not essential, an electric toothbrush with a timer is recommended. One of the concerns of using a manual brush is being able to adhere to the professional recommendation of brushing with the correct technique for two minutes.

Many electric toothbrushes have a two-minute timer to ensure every part of your mouth gets the necessary amount of cleaning time to maintain good oral health.

How important is a quad pacer?

Some toothbrush models come with a Quad Pacer feature, which helps with even brushing. A Quad Pacer works by dividing brushing into 4 timed sections indicated by a noise. The idea is that you spend 30 seconds on one area of the mouth, for example, the top row of teeth, a short noise will then be heard to indicate moving to another area. The Quad Pacer is recommended to ensure an even clean in all areas reducing plaque and the chance of gum disease.

How important is a pressure sensor?

A pressure sensor in an electric toothbrush detects when you are using too much force when brushing. All sensors give some form of alert when too much pressure from the user is detected, but the alert varies in different brushes. It seems strange to think we can brush too hard but it is true. Dentists say many of us are brushing too hard resulting in painful damage. Brushing with too much pressure can cause sensitivity due to the wearing down of enamel and can even go as far as causing gum disease and tooth loss due to receding gums. It’s difficult to know how much pressure if too much so these sensors are a perfect warning before we cause irreversible damage.

What are the benefits of an electric toothbrush?

There are numerous benefits to using an electric toothbrush. The oscillation (rotations) and vibrations of the brush provide much superior cleaning than that of a manual brush, breaking up any debris or bacteria, not just on the surface but in all those little crevices and underneath the gums.

Here are our top 10 key benefits of using an electronic toothbrush.

  1. An electronic toothbrush eliminates bad breath by reducing the causes.
  2. An electronic toothbrush does all the work for you. All you need to do is simply guide the brush.
  3. An electronic toothbrush reduces plaque.
  4. An electronic toothbrush is proven to keep teeth, gums and tongue cleaner and healthier than a manual.
  5. An electronic toothbrush helps fight gingivitis and gum disease.
  6. Features of an electronic toothbrush such as timers and Quad Pacers ensure longer, even teeth brushing for a more thorough clean.
  7. An electronic toothbrush gives you a dentist clean feeling at home.
  8. Electronic toothbrushes are highly recommended by dentists and dental hygienists.
  9. Many electronic toothbrushes come with various settings to suit all needs. This includes brushes or settings for sensitive teeth, gum massaging and whitening.
  10. Electronic toothbrushes get deep under the gums and between the teeth to reduce the need for flossing.

What type of electric toothbrush should I buy?

The type of electric toothbrush you should buy is dependent on your needs, personal preferences and budget. However, for the most effective results, we recommend you look for the following:

Basic Features to look out for:

  1. Has a timer.
  2. An electric toothbrush that both rotates and oscillates (may also pulsate).
  3. Has a Quad Pacer.
  4. Has a pressure sensor.
  5. Has a soft grip waterproof handle. This provides comfort and reduces the vibrations you feel.
  6. Good battery life. We suggest 28 minutes minimum time to ensure a week of brushing before charging.
  7. A long warranty. We suggest a minimum of 1 year though some go up to 3 years.
  8. Value for money. Compare the number of features when looking at toothbrushes of a similar price.
  9. A toothbrush that offers a variety of heads to suit your needs.
  10. Easy use. More buttons usually means more difficulty of use.

Have a little more money to spend?

Look out for our top bonus features.

  1. Bluetooth connection. Set your smartphone to connect with your toothbrush to access functions such as reminding you to brush, finding out where you are missing when brushing, advice on improving your brushing and much more.
  2. UV sanitiser. Peace of mind that your toothbrush is being cleaned of all the bacteria and viruses that live on a toothbrush.
  3. Position detection. Shows you the areas of the mouth you are missing whilst brushing to ensure all areas are cleaned.

How much should I spend on an electric toothbrush?

With prices ranging from £10 to over £200, deciding which brush and how much to spend can be a difficult decision. It’s easy to make the mistake of purchasing a higher priced toothbrush believing this will surely mean a higher quality toothbrush.

However, it is important to look at the features of each brush individually and choose accordingly to what best suits your needs. Some electric toothbrushes in the higher price range offer features such as smart functionality, which allows you to connect the brush to your smartphone to see exactly where you are brushing and give advice.

Some offer various modes and heads specific to particular needs such as whitening or specifically designed for those with braces. Others simply come with various accessories that build up the price.

However, if you are looking for something simpler but still effective there are plenty on the market for in the region of £20- £40 and lots of discounted deals too.

Brush head replacement

Just like manual toothbrushes, the Oral Health Foundation recommends that brush heads be replaced every 2-3 months. Dentists are in agreement recommending replacing brush heads every 3 months.

After this period of time, bristles become shorter and frayed which reduces their ability to clean and can actually cause more damage than good.

It’s difficult to keep track of when you last changed heads so many leading makes now have “Indicator bristles”. Usually blue, they start strong and dark in colour and gradually fade to white. It is this fade/change in colour that acts as an indicator that the brush head needs to be changed.

However, you should be able to see if your brush head needs replacing before 3 months simply by looking at the bristles. If the bristles appear generally worn, frayed and spread into different directions it indicates needing a new head.

Electric toothbrush heads can be expensive costing up to £8 for a replacement head.

One of the best methods to keep costs down is buying in multipacks. For replacements heads from some of the leading brands, a multipack can reduce the costs, the more in the pack the more the reduction of cost.

It is also worth keeping a look out for vouchers and promotions. Christmas is always a good time to look for offers on both brush heads and the actual toothbrush itself.

There are numerous types of brush heads on the market and many makes supply the reader with comparisons on their site. These include heads specifically designed for things such as for braces, for whitening, extra plaque removal, floss action and much more.

Most electric toothbrush designers offer a range of heads to fit their models, giving you the opportunity to try different heads to find the one that suits you best.

Which Electric Toothbrush Should I Buy?

We’ve scoured the internet, read the reviews and added that to the teams parenting experience and found a number of Electric Toothbrushes that stand out from the crowd..

Our Top Pick – Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Electric Toothbrush

We particularly liked the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean and it represents our top pick if you are looking at purchasing an electric toothbrush.

Great features such as the QuadPacer and SmartTimer help you to get the best all round clean for your teeth. Combine this with the 5 operating modes (Clean / Gum Care / Deep Clean / Sensitive & White) means you can really customise your teeth cleaning experience to suite you.

The excellent 14 day battery life combined with USB charging makes this an excellent travel companion all stored in a single neat case.

While being at the premium end of the market, we feel that the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean offers fantastic value overall.

Sale
Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Electric Toothbrush, 2019 Edition, Black (UK 2-pin Bathroom Plug with USB Travel Charger)
  • A whiter smile from day 1 vs a manual toothbrush and leading whitening toothpaste
  • Removes up to 10x more plaque vs a manual toothbrush, improves gum health in just two weeks
  • Choose from five modes: Clean, white, sensitive, gum care and deep clean
  • Philips Sonicare sonic technology pulses water between teeth, and its brush strokes break up plaque and sweep it away for an exceptional cleaning
  • One of the best recommended sonic toothbrush brand by dental professionals worldwide

Our Budget Pick – Colgate ProClinical Whitening

The ProClinical Whitening electric toothbrush from Colgate is a no-frills rechargeable electric toothbrush that simply gets the job done well.

The lightweight ergonomic design feels like you are using a manual toothbrush and gives you a greater degree of control, especially when cleaning hard to reach places.

The kit contains all you need to get started, the Colgate ProClinical 250+ toothbrush, 1 x brush head, a travel cap and a charger.

Sale
Colgate ProClinical Whitening Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush (UK 2-Pin Bathroom Plug, Packaging May Vary)
  • Toothbrush - The Colgate ProClinical Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush is tough on plaque but gentle on gums.
  • Deep Clean - Dentist clean feeling with 5x more plaque reduction at your gum line compared to manual flat-trim toothbrushes.
  • Soft - Specially designed soft bristles to be gentle on your gums and minimise damage to the soft tissue.
  • Slim & Lightweight - Designed to feel similar to a manual toothbrush with a slim, lightweight handle that's easy to control.
  • Removes 5 times more plaque at your gum line compared to a manual flat-trim toothbrushfor a healthy mouth

Runner Up – Fairywill Sonic Electric Toothbrush

Although not from a well known brand, the Fairywill Electric Toothbrush offers excellent value.

5 brushing modes and a selection of brush heads allow you to pick and choose which combination works for you, giving you the best all round clean.

Fairlywill claims that 4 hours charging will give you upto 30 days run time, although we’ve not yet had the opportunity to put this claim to the test. The only downside is that you need to provide your own USB style charger as one isn’t included with the product. This isn’t too much of an issue as you are likely to have at least one spare one hanging around.

We have found that the customer service is excellent – Fairywill seem to go to extraordinary lengths to make sure you are happy with their products.

Sonic Toothbrush, Fairywill Electric Toothbrush Clean Teeth Like a Dentist Rechargeable 4 Hours Charge Minimum 30 Days Use 5 Optional Modes Portable for Travelling,3 Brush Heads Black(FW-507)
  • POWERFUL DENTIST LIKE CLEANING - with 40,000 micro-brushes per minute. Enjoy clean and healthy teeth in 7 days and improve gum and oral health in 14 days. Get a thorough cleaning with reduced noise, an overall upgrade over other regular electric toothbrushes.
  • ONE 4-HOUR CHARGE LAST 30 DAYS - compatible with any power source with an auto shut off after a full charge and a low battery reminding. The 2 minutes smart timer with interval pausing every 30 seconds encourages a dentist-recommended clean.
  • 5 HIGH-PERFORMANCE BRUSHING MODES to suit different conditions of teeth and gums. 55 gram extra-light weight designed, less than half of regular electric toothbrush. Light in hand but thorough cleaning with reduced noise, upgraded brushing experience than a regular electric toothbrush. 3 brush heads included.
  • THE LONG BATTERY LIFE is supported by USB charging. This electric toothbrush is convenient to use at home or travel - bring it on any trip with the easy to use adapter and USB cable.
  • The bristles are made with dupont nylon, to suit teeth topography for thorough cleaning of gums and hard to reach areas. There is a rounded bristle top for safety and gentleness.

Runner Up – Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300

The Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300 is a mid range offering from Philips offering a range of premium features at a lower price point.

The inbuilt pressure sensor alerts you if you are brushing too hard and the brush head replacement reminder ensures you are not using a brush head that’s past its best.

Features like the QuadPacer and SmartTimer remind you to move on to a different part of your mouth every 30 seconds and are a nice addition.

The two week battery and included case make this an excellent travel companion.

Sale
Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300 Electric Toothbrush with Travel Case - Black (UK 2-pin Bathroom Plug) - HX6800/03
  • Removes up to 7x more plaque than a manual toothbrush
  • Pressure sensor alerts you when are brushing too hard. Speed - Up to 62,000 brush movements/min
  • Travel case enables you to take your Sonicare wherever you go
  • Smart brush head replacement reminder alerts you when to replace your brush head for effective cleaning, every time
  • 2 weeks battery life limiting the need for frequent charging

FAQs

Can you receive the same results with a manual toothbrush?

The same results are achievable with a manual brush and flossing if used correctly. However, to do so you would need to know all the correct techniques in doing so which are not as simple as you may think. Electric toothbrushes definitely provide an advantage and improve technique.

Are battery powered toothbrushes as good as electric toothbrushes?

The battery toothbrush, although supplying a little extra cleaning, is much more like a manual brush. It does not supply the power an electric toothbrush does. It also does not provide all the features that an electric toothbrush does such as timers and sensors.

Chris Sharples
About Chris Sharples 57 Articles
I love a good gadget! Whether it's something that makes my home smart, saves me time or just looks great. I blog about gadgets and technology in and around the home. Follow me on my journey to avoid the pitfalls and find the best.

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