Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Toothbrushes

Tuesday April 2, 2024

In recent years, we've acquired numerous electric toothbrushes worthy of consideration. With each new model release, we procure the most promising ones and put them to the test. Our evaluation criteria include cleaning effectiveness, brushing comfort, user-friendliness, and the customization of each model.

Preparing for the morning brushing session.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


While cleaning is a relatively straightforward testing affair, we went the extra mile to ensure that each brush could hold its own. Drawing on insights from our experts and thorough research, we devised a methodology to assess the cleaning efficacy of each toothbrush model. We concluded that while various cleaning modes were largely unnecessary, a gentle mode was essential for users with sensitive gums. We standardized the testing process by using the standard mode for testers comfortable with it and a gentler mode, if available, for those with more sensitive gums. To maintain consistency, we provided identical brush heads to each of our testers for every model tested. Each day, we rotated between different electric toothbrush models. Employing the stock brush head type provided with each toothbrush, we brushed for two minutes using a stopwatch to ensure uniform pacing and followed a quadrant method, as recommended by dentists.

Pictured above are before and after photos from our plaque cleaning tests.

In order to simulate built up plaque, we refrained from brushing our teeth for a full day, ate Oreos, and chewed up a Plaque Disclosing tablet for 30 seconds. We also took before and after photos with a cheek spreader in order to evaluate the results. To test removing tiny debris from hard-to-reach places, we spread coffee grounds over fake teeth and used the same method of brushing for two minutes to see how well each brush cleaned the grounds from the teeth.

We timed ourselves cleaning coffee grounds for two minutes.
Credit: Natalie Kafader


When evaluating comfort, we considered a few main aspects: overall brushing experience, noise level (for electric models), and the ergonomics of the handle. We rated the comfort of brushing after using each toothbrush multiple times over a two-week period, comparing the feel of each brush when used consecutively. We also assessed the level of irritation caused by the noise of each model. Additionally, we employed the use of a decibel reader. Finally, we scrutinized each handle to identify any textured surfaces designed to improve grip during use.

We thoroughly test the sound emitted from each device.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Ease of Use

Our subsequent series of tests centered around the usability and convenience of each product. We evaluated and rated the number of brushing modes available, the ease of switching between them, the simplicity of cleaning the brush, the presence of storage for additional brush heads on the charging base, and the inclusion of a timer. When assessing brushing modes, our focus was on an intuitive interface and the presence of indicator lights to signify the selected mode.

toothbrush - manual toothbrushes come in all shapes and sizes.
Manual toothbrushes come in all shapes and sizes.
Credit: Genaveve Bradshaw

To assess the ease of cleaning for each toothbrush, we evaluated their water resistance and the effort required for cleaning. Each model was sprayed with a solution of water and toothpaste, and we observed the time taken to clean them thoroughly, noting any missed spots or particularly challenging areas to reach. Furthermore, we recorded the capacity for storing extra brush heads on the charging base or travel case, along with the presence of a two-minute timer. Lastly, bonus points were awarded to products featuring interval spacing in the timer.

Several electric models were given extra points for an included timer. Namely the Oral-B iO Series 10, which comes with this built-in timer in its charging base.
Credit: Genaveve Bradshaw


Toothbrushes received higher scores for any additional features beyond the basic brush head and handle (and charger, in the case of electric models), as well as for offering multiple color options. These additional features could include tongue scrapers, teeth picks, compatible apps, built-in timers, or any other accessories.

toothbrush - we gave extra points to brushes that came in multiple colors.
We gave extra points to brushes that came in multiple colors.
Credit: Natalie Kafader