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Hands-on Gear Review
Brio SmartClean Sonic Review
Price: $68 List
Pros: Great battery life, waterproof, inexpensive replacement brush heads
Cons: Only 1 type of brush head, less customization available
Bottom line: The best brush for most people with a great battery life and all the features you need without any fluff
The Brio SmartClean was the top scorer on our tests, netting it the Editor's Choice award. This model led the competition by a narrow margin, but had the highest score, with a 67 out of 100. This model had a phenomenal battery life making it a great option for someone who travels and doesn't want to bring the charger with them. This, coupled with a strong performance in every other metric that we looked at. This product also won't break the bank, with an MSRP of $68.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
This model of electric toothbrush scored above average in our cleaning test, earning a 6 out of 10. Some members of our panel missed a significant number of spots with this brush, while others did an exceptional job brushing with this model. It was this mixed performance that led to the lower score, compared with the top scoring models in this metric. Those top scoring models had a universally good performance among our users.
This particular model did about average when it came stain removal. To test this, we stained eggshells for 4 days in coffee to act as proxies for stained teeth, and then ran each brush for a full two minute cycle on a spot approximately the size of a tooth.
This model of toothbrush actually tied for the highest score in this category, earning a 7 out of 10. This metric is split between holding comfort, brushing comfort, and noise. This model actually was ranked below average when it came to holding comfort, as most our testers felt that the glossy finish felt sticky. This model weighed in at 3.7 ozs, with a handle diameter of 3.625".
The Brio had a much more favorable reception when it came to actual brushing comfort, earning the highest rank among our testers. This model operates at 31,000 movements per minute, and comes stock with a soft bristle brush. It also features a soft mode for sensitive teeth. Our testers felt that this model was comfortable while brushing, even when trying to get the hard to reach places around the back molars. Testers that had a history of sensitive gums felt that the soft mode on this toothbrush was extremely gentle, while still noting that there teeth felt very clean.
This model was one of the quietest models that we tested, both in tester ratings and by the SPL meter. Our panel of testers rated this as the second quietest brush when they were using it, and noted that the tone of the sound was not particularly vexing. This was also one of the quietest toothbrushes on the SPL meter, measuring in at 60 dBa from 2" away, definitely a product worth considering if you are worried about waking up your roommates, or bothering anyone else that you cohabitate with.
Ease of Use
The Brio scored well when it came to ease of use, tying for the second highest score with a 6 out of 10. We particularly liked the on-base stability of this model, and the simple interface to change between modes. This brush ranked on the lower side when it came to aesthetics, especially when compared to some other toothbrush models that appear to have substantially more time and energy put into their visual design.
This model is one of the more stable when it is resting on its inductive charging base, with the 100 gram base weighing it down nicely. This stability decreases dramatically when the brush is removed from the base, and was the third toothbrush to fall out of the seven that we tested.
This model has replacement brush heads that snap on easily, and cost about $12 for a pack of two, with the manufacturer recommending replacing the brush head every 3 months. To test the ease of cleaning each brush, we sprayed each one with a diluted toothpaste solution, and looked for problem spots that were difficult to reach. We found that it was a little more difficult to clean around the power button on the Brio, with some leftover "toothpaste gruel" remaining around the button, even after spending some time on it.
The Brio has 3 cleaning modes: Normal, Soft and Massage, with a one button interface to switch between them. Each mode has an LED indicator at the base of the brush, as well as a charge indicator. The brush has an integrated 2 minute timer that is divided into quadrants to improve the pacing and evenness of your brushing. The powered brushing will turn off for a brief moment every 30 seconds, alerting you that it is time to move on to the next section of your mouth. This model gives you five seconds to toggle between modes using this button, and will simply turn the toothbrush off after the five seconds have elapsed. We liked this feature more than we initially thought, as it was irritating to cycle through all brushing modes to turn off the toothbrush on other models.
This toothbrush had a phenomenal performance in our battery life test, lasting significantly longer than any other model and earning a solid 10 out of 10. For this test, we ran each toothbrush repeatedly on standard mode until they died, as well as making a note of when the low battery indicator would turn on, if there was one. The Brio lasted for 340 minutes in our test, equating to around 12 weeks of brushing the recommend amount. This is almost double the manufacturer's claimed battery life, but we weren't actually brushing our teeth for this time, so the battery life in practice will be less than the numbers we found. The Brio did not have a low battery indicator. This model has an exceptionally long battery life, close to double that of the next competitor.
This toothbrush has a great value, being the highest scoring toothbrush that we reviewed with the third lowest MSRP of $68. This model outscored toothbrushes that cost three times as much.
This was the top scoring model of electric toothbrush in our tests, and the one that we would recommend to a friend. The Brio isn't the fanciest toothbrush that you can purchase, but it has all the features that count, and an absolutely remarkable battery life.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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