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Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush E1 Review

While this product may have an impressive set of smarts, we found its performance on the whole to be quite unimpressive
The Colgate Smart E1 toothbrush.
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Price:   $100 List
Pros:  Exceptional easy to use, fully-featured app
Cons:  Only 1 cleaning mode, unimpressive cleaning performance, lackluster battery life
Manufacturer:   Colgate
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Oct 10, 2018
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 11
  • Comfort - 40% 5
  • Cleaning - 30% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Battery Life - 10% 4

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 comfortable and has a mediocre battery life, though it is very convenient and easy to use. The main thing that sets this brush apart is its companion app, which we didn't find to be enough to redeem its otherwise uninspiring performance.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

This brush finished in the lower half of the group, tying with the Oral-B Pro 5000 and the Waterpik Complete Care 9.5. The Colgate is about the same comfort level as the Pro 5000 and slightly less comfortable than the Waterpik 9.5, but scored much worse than the Pro 5000 when it came to cleaning power. However, it did do better than the Waterpik and is by far the easiest to use electric toothbrush of this trio.

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.

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

Comfort


Our Comfort metric, responsible for 40% of the total score, is based on how comfortable it felt to brush with, the amount of noise each brush generated, and if there is a pressure sensor. The Colgate Smart performed about average, earning a 5 out of 10.

This brush lacks a low power setting for sensitive gums, but we found overall that 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. None of our judges found this brush to be anything but comfortable, noting that the intensity of brushing is quite similar to using a regular, manual toothbrush.

This brush is also one of the quietest models — significantly quieter than the mechanically sounding rotation-oscillation models. Very few of our judges had any issues with the sounds made by this brush, regardless if they were the ones brushing or a bystander. However, one judge was not a fan of a higher-pitch whine they found this brush to emit.

This brush does lack a pressure sensor, losing it a few points.

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 next largest portion of the score at 30%, our cleaning test is next in terms of importance. We ranked and scored the cleaning performance of each brush 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. The Colgate did reasonably well, earning a 6 out of 10 for its performance.

The Colgate Smart delivered a slightly above average performance, matching the showing of the Sonicare Essence or the Brio SmartClean. This brush usually got the majority of the plaque of the outward facing — and easier to reach — surfaces of our testers' teeth without issue.

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

However, it did tend to do much worse on the hard to reach interior surfaces. The majority of our testers had multiple spots where the tinted plaque remained on either the inside surfaces of their front teeth or anywhere around their molars.

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 20% of the total score for each toothbrush. We ranked each product on how easy the handle is to clean, how intuitive the interface for each brush is, and if there is storage for additional brush heads, as well as if there is a 2-minute timer. The Colgate E1 did exceptionally well, earning an 8 out of 10.

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 almost any other toothbrush we have tested.

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. Colgate also states that the handle is waterproof, but you shouldn't rinse it under running water and use a damp cloth instead, so using it in the shower is definitely out.

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.

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. Unfortunately, there is not a handy place to store any additional brush heads on the charging base. 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.

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 for two minutes in the morning and two minutes in the evening each day, scoring each one off of how long it lasted. The E1 delivered a bit of a lackluster performance, earning it a 4 out of 10.


This brush lasted for 18 days in our test before calling it quits. It also has a battery indicator that will change colors from green to yellow to red, informing you when it is time to 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