Hands-on Gear Review

Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush E1 Review

The Colgate Smart E1 toothbrush.
Price:   $100 List
Pros:  Exceptional battery life, fully-featured app
Cons:  Only 1 cleaning mode, unimpressive cleaning performance in our test
Bottom line:  While this product may have an impressive set of smart, we found its performance on the whole to be quite unimpressive
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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Estimated Annual Cost:  $20 - $40
Waterproof/ Resistant:  No
# of Different Brush Heads:  1
Manufacturer:   Colgate

Our Verdict

While we were intrigued by the premise of using artificial intelligence to more efficiently brush your teeth, we discovered that, on the whole, the Colgate E1 failed to impress us. This product only performed slightly above average in our cleaning metric, paling in comparison to the rotation-oscillation toothbrushes that we have tested. It also didn't strike us as being particularly easy to use or exceptionally comfortable, though it did have an impressive battery life. The main thing that sets this brush apart is its companion app, which we didn't find to be enough to offset its overall lackluster showing.

Battery Life Problems?
While the Colgate did do very well in our battery life tests, we have noticed that this model seems to have an unusually high standby power consumption, finding it dead after a week with only intermittent use. We are going to continue to look into this and update the review accordingly.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
David Wise and Austin Palmer

Last Updated:
Tuesday
February 20, 2018

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This brush finished in the lower half of the group, tying with the Sonicare DiamondClean and the Waterpik 5.0. This trip all cleaned about the same, but the Colgate E1 had the best battery life, by far. However, the DiamondClean is a little easier to use and the Waterpik is slightly more comfortable.

The Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush with Artificial Intelligence.
The Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush with Artificial Intelligence.

Performance Comparison


To determine which brush is truly the best, we bought the top models that are currently available and tested them side-by-side. Our toothbrush showdown was divided into four weighted rating metrics: Ease of Use, Cleaning, Battery Life, and Comfort. The following sections describe exactly how the Colgate Smart Toothbrush stacked up against the rest of the group and why it scored what it did.

Average at cleaning  this brush felt more like a manual brush with a slight vibration than an electric toothbrush.
Average at cleaning, this brush felt more like a manual brush with a slight vibration than an electric toothbrush.

Cleaning


Responsible for the largest portion of the overall score at 45%, Cleaning is by far our most important metric. We tested this by having our testers skip brushing their teeth for a period of about 12 hours, then had them use a plaque-disclosing tablet to reveal the plaque accumulations. They then used the E1 to clean their teeth, with scores based on the before and after photos in addition to a close up visual inspection. To assess whitening performance, we stained eggshells in coffee, then scored the E1 on how closely it could return the eggshell to its original color. The Colgate did reasonably well, earning a 6 out of 10 for its performance.

For the plaque removal test, the Colgate Smart delivered a slightly above average performance, matching the showing of the Sonicare Essence or the Brio SmartClean. This brush got most of the visible plaque, but left plenty on the interior faces of our tester's teeth and in some of the more hard-to-reach places.

The E1's before and after cleaning performance of incisors.
The E1's before and after cleaning performance of incisors.

This model did about average in the whitening test, substantially lightening the color of the stained eggshell, but still leaving it noticeably tinted.

The E1 was very quiet.
The E1 was very quiet.

Comfort


Our Comfort metric, responsible for 30% of the total score, is based on both the ergonomics of the brush handle and how comfortable it felt to brush with, as well as the amount of noise each brush generated. The Colgate Smart performed a little above average, again earning a 6 out of 10.

Starting off, we looked at how it felt to hold each brush. The Colgate Smart is about average, putting in the middle of the pack. It has a glossy finish, but it isn't too slippery to hang on to.

This brush lacks a low power setting for sensitive gums, but we found this brush generally lacked intensity when it came to brushing. This allowed our testers with sensitive gums to utilize this brush on its normal setting without too much discomfort. Next, we looked at how loud each brush is. We used an SPL meter about 2" from each brush, with our results shown below.


As shown, this brush is one of the quieter models of the group and scored reasonably well.

The E1 was easy to clean except the area around the power button.
The E1 was easy to clean except the area around the power button.

Ease of Use


This metric is next in terms of importance, meriting 15% of the total score for each toothbrush. We ranked each product on how well it looked, how stable it was on and off its charging base, how easy the handle is to clean, and how intuitive the interface for each brush is, as well as the number of brushing modes each one had. The Colgate E1 continued its trend, earning a 6 out of 10 performance.

This toothbrush isn't particularly impressive in the aesthetics department, but it has an overall sleek design, putting it just above average in the style department. It only has a single cleaning mode, but it does have a 2-minute timer with quadrant pacing. We did note that it is a little more difficult to swap brush heads on this brush, as you have to twist them on and off, rather than simply snapping them into place like the Oral-B or Brio models.

It is very easy to clean the majority of the handle of this toothbrush, with the only problem area being around the button. This area is a bit of a pain to clean, so we would advise that you do your best to keep this area clean.

This brush is very stable on the base - it wobbles around a lot, but never toppled in our shake test. It's a little less stable off of the base, but still isn't very prone to being knocked over. Finally, this brush has one of the most simplistic interfaces of the entire group, only having a single button.

In addition to having a 1-button interface, this toothbrush is also a smart product, wirelessly connecting to your smartphone.

The start and finish screens of a coaching app. This coach shows which section is coming next and how well you did.
The start and finish screens of a coaching app. This coach shows which section is coming next and how well you did.

It has a companion mobile app that purportedly will use artificial intelligence to coach your brushing and improve your overall dental health. While we can't really speak to the actual effectiveness of this, we weren't huge fans of using the app while brushing, finding the whole process to be a bit inconvenient and cumbersome.

The E1 has awesome battery life.
The E1 has awesome battery life.

Battery Life


Our final metric, Battery Life, is responsible for the residual 10% of the total score for each brush. We ran each brush continuously, immediately starting another 2-minute cleaning cycle at the conclusion of the prior one and scored each product on how long it lasted. We also awarded a few points if the toothbrush had a battery indicator. The Colgate finished with a stellar performance in this set of tests, earning a 9 out of 10 — one of the top scores overall. This brush lasted for about 240 minutes, or the equivalent of 60 days for a single person when brushing twice a day, with the chart below showing how this compares to the rest of the group.


It also has a battery indicator that will change colors from green to yellow to red, informing you when it is time to finally charge this smart toothbrush.

Value


While there are definitely better overall value options than the Colgate, this product is the best value option if you are set on getting a smart toothbrush, with the smart offerings from Oral-B or Sonicare costing significantly more.

Conclusion


All in all, we found the Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush to be relatively underwhelming and quite lackluster in terms of performance. It does have an exceptional battery life, but failed to impress in our cleaning, comfort, or ease of use tests.
David Wise and Austin Palmer

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