Searching for the best way to keep your pearly whites nice and shiny? We have looked at over 100 different electric toothbrushes, then selected the 11 most promising brushes to purchase and test head-to-head to see which is really the best. We ranked and scored how comfortable each brush is, how well it cleans, and their battery life, as well as any other features and functions that make them easier and more convenient to use. It can be really quite difficult to sort through all of the different types and marketing claims surrounding these products, but we are here to help you find the perfect toothbrush. Check out the full review below to see which electric toothbrush swept away the rest and which is the best bang for the buck.
The Best Electric Toothbrushes of 2018
For this autumnal update, we have both added a handful of new models, as well as entirely revamped our testing procedure to more accurately compare and contrast the performance of these products, based on over two years of testing experience and tons of research with expert sources. More and more of these toothbrushes have smart capabilities, so we modified our ease of use and battery testing procedures to capture the new features and always-on nature of these products. Additionally, we also refined our cleaning and comfort tests to make them more reliable, repeatable, and perceptive to smaller differences. Check out the complete review below to see how our new tests affected the scores and which brushes came out on top!
Best Overall and Most Comfortable
Brio SmartClean Sonic
Earning the top score overall, the SmartClean by Brio easily claimed the Editors' Choice Award and is our top recommendation. This toothbrush has an unparalleled battery life and is one of the most comfortable toothbrushes that we have tested to date. This makes it a perfect option for those with the most sensitive gums or for those that don't like the rougher feel of the rotation-oscillation brushes. This brush does an above average job of cleaning your teeth and is convenient and easy to use, lacking any unnecessary features that might make it a hassle to use.
However, this brush doesn't have the wide range of adjustment that other models have, with only three brush modes and three types of brush heads. This means you don't have the most room to adjust the brushing experience to match your personal preferences. The lack of smart features may also be a turn-off for some people, but if you want a solid, all-around electric toothbrush without a ton of fluff at a price that won't break the bank, then the Brio should be on your shortlist.
Read review: Brio SmartClean
Another Great Choice, Especially for Sensitive Gums
Philips Sonicare Series 2
For those with sensitive gums and are shopping on a budget, then the Sonicare Series 2 is another fantastic choice. This brush costs about the same as the Brio and scores almost identically, cleaning the same, but just being a little bit less comfortable and having a reduced battery life, all while being easier to use. Additionally, some of our testers with the most sensitive gums vastly preferred this model to any other. The Series 2 delivered a solid cleaning performance utilizing a side-to-side motion with a smaller brush head that is significantly more comfortable for those with sensitive gums or more petite mouths. The Series 2 also has a decent battery life and is very easy to use, including necessary features like a 2-minute timer and pacing intervals for quadrant brushing.
While it does only have a single brushing mode, the Series 2 gives you access to a much wider array of brush heads, allowing you to customize your brushing experience in different ways than the Brio, especially on the gentler end of the spectrum. It packs in a ton of features and functionality at a great price and is another great option if you want a comfortable toothbrush for sensitive gums without breaking the bank.
Read review: Philips Sonicare Series 2
Best Bang for the Buck
Oral-B Pro 1000
Want to keep your teeth white while keeping your budget in the black? The Oral-B Pro 1000 earned our Best Buy award for being the best value, perfectly balancing performance and price. While the list price on this brush is comparable to our other award winners, it can usually be found at a steeply discounted price at most major retailers. The Pro 1000 delivered some of the best performances in our cleaning tests, all while being one of the most convenient and easy to use brushes that we have tested to date.
Unfortunately, this brush's bulkier rotation-oscillation brush head and more aggressive cleaning style severely dissuaded some of our testers, rendering it practically unusable for those with sensitive gums. Even for those without sensitive gums, it's not our favorite in terms of comfort and doesn't really impress with its battery life. However, it's inexpensive and should keep your pearly whites perfectly happy and healthy when used properly — everything you want in a value toothbrush.
Read review: Oral-B Pro 1000
Analysis and Test Results
We've spent the past two years researching the features of these products, directly analyzing performance relative to each other, and comparing results to determine awards and overall scores. We have updated the review each time a promising new product has been released, comparing its performance against its peers.
We broke our testing process up into four weighted metrics: Cleaning, Comfort, Ease of Use, and Battery Life. We conducted over a dozen individual tests spread across these metrics, with each toothbrush receiving a subscore for each metric, with our results outlined below.
While you can't put a price on your periodontal health, you might balk at spending over $200+ on a toothbrush, regardless of what smart features it has. Luckily, plenty of lower cost toothbrushes delivered excellent performance, as shown by our Price vs. Value chart above. All of our award winners — the Brio SmartClean, the Oral-B Pro 1000 and the Sonicare Series 2 — scored quite well, all while remaining on the lower portion of the price axis. The Brio has the best battery life we have seen and is by far the most comfortable, usually retailing right at its $70 list price. The Pro 1000 even finished towards the top of the pack in our cleaning test, with the Series 2 not far behind. This pair usually retail for less than their list price, so it is worth to keep an eye out for sales and discounts if either of these are your chosen toothbrushes. All three of these brushes should be more than capable at keeping your teeth cavity-free, if used properly.
An electric brush is something you most likely will be using on a very regular basis, making the comfort of the brush its most important aspect. This rating metric comprised 40% of our overall score, as it makes it significantly more difficult to establish good brushing habits if the toothbrush is uncomfortable to use. The best toothbrush for you is one that will make it as easy as possible to maintain good habits and a model that is awkward to hold, annoyingly loud, or feels uncomfortable to use while brushing will definitely discourage them.
For this metric, we rated the brushing comfort of each product, as well as measured and scored the sound output. Additionally, we also awarded points for the presence of a pressure sensor, as this reminds you to not apply too much pressure while brushing, avoiding all of the detrimental gum and dental problems that can cause. The brushing comfort, as well as how loud the toothbrush felt while brushing was rated throughout the cleaning test, as well as with sequential, side-by-side comparisons with each brush, with our scores for each brush shown below.
The Brio SmartClean earned the top score in this set of evaluations, meriting a 7 out of 10 for its results. We especially liked that this brush felt very quiet while brushing, and is easily maneuverable to reach all of your teeth, even for people with smaller mouths.
When it came to comfort while brushing, the Brio is our absolute favorite, helping it earn the top score in this metric. It comes standard with a soft bristle brush head and clocks in at 31,000 movements per minute, and solely relied on vibrating bristles for cleaning action. This brush head measures about 0.5" deep, allowing you to reach your molars without too much issue. However, it does lack a pressure sensor.
Following the Brio, the Sonicare DiamondClean, the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart, the Sonicare Series 2, the HealthyWhite+, and the Waterpik Complete Care 9.5 all earned a 6 out of 10 when it came to comfort.
Both of the DiamondClean are just a little bit less comfortable to brush with than the Brio and are both a bit louder, with the DiamondClean Smart being even louder than the standard DiamondClean. The Series 2 and the HealthyWhite+ feel about the same to brush with and are quieter than the DiamondClean Smart, but louder than the DiamondClean.
The Waterpik Complete Care 9.5 isn't as comfortable to brush with as the Brio or the above quartet of Sonicare models, but is almost silent in operation, being by far the quietest toothbrush of the bunch. Again, none of these brushes except the DiamondClean Smart possess a pressure sensor to notify you that you are brushing too hard.
Next, the Colgate E1, the Oral-B Pro 5000, and the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 all earned a 5 out of 10 for their middle-of-the-road comfort levels. The Colgate E1 is the most comfortable to use out of this trip — and also is the only product of this group that utilizes a side-to-side motion.
It is also one of the quietest models we tested but again lacks a pressure sensor.
Both the Pro 5000 and the Pro 8000 are rotation-oscillation toothbrushes, so the brush heads are a bit larger and the brushing aggression is quite a bit more aggressive. All of the Oral-B models have a brush head measuring about 0.75" deep — about 0.25" deeper than the side-to-side models — contributing to the fact that they were the least liked when it came to brushing comfort. Consequently, our testers found these to be slightly below par in terms of brushing comfort. Additionally, they are also noticeably louder, a more mechanical noise, compared with the buzzing of the other models. However, they both do have a pressure sensor, slowing the brush down and lighting up red.
This is an important aspect to consider if you have a mouth on the smaller side, or have a limited range of jaw motion, as the deeper brush head can make it more difficult to reach the back molars. We also found that the deeper brush head made drooling much more likely, something to keep in mind if you will have an audience while brushing.
Rounding out the bottom of the group, the Sonicare Essence and the Oral-B Pro 1000 both earned a 4 out of 10 for comfort. The Sonicare Essence was average to brush with in terms of comfort but was a little on the loud side. The Pro 1000 is a little less comfortable to brush with than the Essence, but is a tiny bit quieter. However, the Pro 1000 does have a pressure sensor and will slow the brush down if triggered, whereas the Essence does not.
Making up 30% of the total score, cleaning performance is next in terms of overall significance for these products. While you could argue that cleaning is arguably the most important aspect of these products, as it is the entire point of them, all of them clean well enough to maintain proper oral health — if used correctly. Hence, we place comfort over cleaning as a comfortable toothbrush helps you maintain the correct brushing regimen. Most of us have had a twice-daily tooth brushing ingrained into us from as far back as we can remember, to promote good dental hygiene, prevent tooth decay and gum disease, to get that nice, clean feeling on your teeth, and to keep your pearly whites — well — white. We started off by doing extensive research, talking to dental hygienists, dentists and toothbrush experts to figure out what is really necessary to get the most out of your toothbrush and to find out what features and functions are important to have in an electric toothbrush.
Each tester would refrain from brushing for a period of 12-16 hours, eating as much sugary food and soft drinks as possible in that time period, and would then use a Butler GUM Red Cote Dental Disclosing Tablet, following the manufacturer's instructions. These tablets will turn any plaque on the surface of your teeth red and are usually used by dentists to show what parts of the teeth they are missing when you brush. Documenting the entire process with before and after photos — as well as in the mouth photos taken with a 360° camera — we compared the performance of each toothbrush across the board to determine our scores. You can see how each brush scored in the chart below.
The top performers in our cleaning test were the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000, the Pro 5000, the Pro 1000, the DiamondClean Smart, the Diamond Clean, and the Sonicare HealthyWhite+, all earning an 8 out of 10. The Pro 1000 and the Pro 8000 both come standard with the CrossAction head. For the majority of our testers, these brushes completely removed or removed the vast majority of the visible plaque in our test. As you can see in the photos below, there is a noticeable difference between the visible plaque, before and after brushing with the Pro 5000
The Pro 8000 also removed practically all of the visible plaque, as shown in the photo below.
We also got similar results with the Pro 1000. Most of the top scoring brushes in our cleaning tests use a rotation-oscillation method of cleaning scored the best throughout our test, and while our test was not a clinical trial, we did find some that aligned with our results. In 2009, the Cochrane Library published a review of Manual versus powered toothbrushing for oral health . This review found that:
The trial states that it was too short to determine if this would cause a reduction in destructive periodontal disease. However, we did find that a trio of side-to-side electric toothbrushes, the HealthyWhite+, the Sonicare DiamondClean, and the DiamondClean Smart held their own against the Oral-B models, removing a comparable amount of plaque.
Following the top group of toothbrushes, the Brio SmartClean, *the Philips Sonicare Essence, Colgate E1 and the Series 2 — all scored a 6 out of 10. These electric toothbrushes all use a side-to-side motion as their main cleaning mechanism, substantially more similar to a manual brush than the oscillation-rotation style. These brushes all tended to miss plaque in harder to reach places and there was noticeably more plaque remaining than when we used the rotation-oscillation toothbrushes. The manual toothbrush also easily matched the performance of this group, even exceeding them for a handful of our testers.
These results surprised us, as we initially thought the manual toothbrush would score much lower, but upon consulting the Cochrane Library review again, we found an interesting comparison:
Finally, the Waterpik 9.5 scored the worst in this metric, meriting a 5 out of 10. We found it to be very easy to miss spots when using this toothbrush, with almost none of our testers succeeding in removing all of the stained plaque.
One key thing to remember is that every toothbrush that we tested scored at least a 5 when it came to cleaning, and as we previously mentioned, all of these toothbrushes, when used correctly, can do an adequate job of maintaining good oral hygiene. As stated by the Cochrane Library:
Ease of Use
Next, we moved on to assessing and scoring how easy to use and convenient each electric toothbrush — another important trait, as a product that is a hassle to use correctly makes it much less likely that you will use correctly and dissuade you from making brushing your teeth a routine. For this metric, which accounts for 20% of the total score, we checked if the toothbrush has a 2-minute timer — bonus points for indicators every 30 seconds for quadrant brushing — if there is storage for additional toothbrush heads on the charging base, and how much work it is to swap between brushing modes, as well as how easy it is to clean away the toothpaste and water residue that inevitable with accumulate. Our final scoring of the brushes for this metric is shown below.
Claiming the top spot in this set of tests, the Oral-B Pro 1000 earned a 9 out of 10 for its stellar performance. This model doesn't have any additional modes, so it is essentially a one-button interface that turns it on and activated the timer. This timer will alert you when it is time to move the brush to a different zone of your mouth, as well as when two minutes have elapsed. This brush is also waterproof enough to use in the shower, making it very easy to clean. However, the charging stand doesn't have any storage for additional brush heads.
Following the Pro-1000, the Philips Sonicare Series 2 and the Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush E1 came next, both earning an 8 out of 10. Both of these brushes again only have a single cleaning mode, giving them a very simple and easy to use interface and both have a 2-minute timer with interval spacing. Neither have storage for additional brush heads on their charging base. However, we did like that the Series 2 is waterproof enough to use in the shower, whereas the Colgate is not, making the Series 2 much easier to clean.
The Sonicare Essence and the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 came next, both receiving a 7 out of 10 for their performance. These both have 2-minute timers, but the Essence doesn't have any indicators for quadrant spacing, leaving it up to you to regulate your pace.
These brushes are both relatively easy to clean, able to be used in the shower without issue, but there is a slight gap around the power button on the Essence, making it a bit more likely to accumulate toothpaste residue.
The Genius Pro 8000 has 6 different cleaning modes, but does have a mode select button, making it decently easy to switch between them — especially with the light up indicators. It also has storage for up to 4 brush heads on the charging base and for 2 in the travel case.
The Essence is a little easier to use, having only 1 brushing mode, but lacks any onboard brush head storage.
A trio of toothbrushes came next, with the Waterpik Complete Care 9.5, the DiamondClean Smart, and the Brio SmartClean all meriting a 6 out of 10. Both the Waterpik and the Brio have 3 separate cleaning modes, while the DiamondClean Smart has 5 modes and the option to switch between 3 different intensities for each mode. All of these brushes have indicators showing what mode you are in as you cycle through, while the DiamondClean and the Waterpik also have a secondary mode select button — the Brio uses a single button as an interface for both mode select and powering the brush on or off.
All three of these brushes are rated for use in the shower, with the Brio having the additional rating of being able to be totally submerged in water up to a meter in depth for 30 minutes, making it by far the easiest of these products to clean. The Brio is also the only one of this group that has storage for additional brush heads on the base, but all three of these products do have a timer with notifications for quadrant spacing.
Finishing at the back of the group, the Oral-B Pro 5000, Sonicare DiamondClean, and the HealthyWhite+ all earned a 5 out of 10 for their results. Both the DiamondClean and the HealthyWhite+ are about average to use to switch between modes, but it is actually a bit confusing to do so when using the Pro 5000, mainly due to its lack of indicator lights.
All three of these products can be used in the shower, but both the DiamondClean and the HealthyWhite+ have some small crevices that can be a bit difficult to clean — particularly with all the buttons on the HealthyWhite+.
Neither of the Sonicare models have space for extra brush heads on their base, but their travel cases can store up to two. The Pro 5000's travel case can also store two brush heads and its charging stand can store up to 4. All three of these brushes do have a timer with interval spacing.
To test the battery life, we ran each toothbrush for two minutes on a standard mode, both in the morning and in the evening, scoring each one on how many days it lasted. Due to the smart features causing some of these brushes to essentially be always on, we had to revamp our test from running each brush continuously to running them on a more realistic schedule, as the standby power draw of each brush is becoming more significant. You can see the results of our test in the chart below, with one toothbrush clearly standing out from the rest.
Delivering an unmatched performance, the Brio SmartClean earned a 10 out of 10. This toothbrush lasted for an astonishing 64 days — more than long enough to allow you to go on most vacations without bringing the charger.
This was followed by the Essence and the Waterpik Complete Care, which both earned a 7 out of 10 for lasting 29 and 30 days respectively. You can see how long the rest of the toothbrushes did in the chart below.
The Oral-B Pro 1000 earned the lowest score of 3 out of 10, lasting for only 11 days.
Hopefully, this review has helped highlight some of the difference in the huge selection of different electric toothbrushes out there and helped you pick out the perfect model. For more information on how we came to our conclusions, check out our comprehensive How We Test article for a thorough explanation of our testing procedures and protocols.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for tips.