Best electric toothbrush 2018 – The best models to keep teeth clean

If you want to keep your teeth in tip-top condition and help avoid any painful visits to the dentist, you need to buy the best electric toothbrush. In this guide, we have a full roundup of the best models, all of which have been put through their paces for cleaning performance, ease of use, and brushing quality.

We’ve reviewed nine electric toothbrushes, and have put together the list of the best six here. For the best performance, the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 is hard to beat, with its powerful cleaning performance and smart technology. If you’re on a tight budget and want a decent performer, the Colgate Omron ProClinical 250+ is also a superb choice.

How we pick the best electric toothbrushes

To find the best electric toothbrush we put all models through the same range of tests. First, we use our model test teeth, placing spinach and beetroot between the gaps. Using the brush and toothpaste we clean for two minutes, attempting to remove all food residue and signs of staining. If a toothbrush has 30-second interval timers, we use this as a pointer to move onto the next quadrant. At the end, we compare and view the results to see how much food residue has been removed.

To test ease of use and cleaning quality, we use the toothbrush for a period of one week. This allows us to get used to the toothbrush, and gives models that slowly increase power enough time to get up to full speed. We examine our teeth before and after cleaning, and note down any issues. To test noise we use a sound meter positioned at ear level, with the toothbrush turned on and the head pressed against a tooth. This lets us accurately compare each model.

Finally, we list the battery life as quoted by the manufacturer, noting any discrepancies. Remember, battery life can differ depending on how often you brush your teeth and the pressure you use.

Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 hero

1. Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 – The best overall toothbrush

Pros:

  • Excellent cleaning
  • Smart brush heads set toothbrush settings automatically
  • Very quiet

Cons:

  • Cheap accessories

The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 is the top sonic electric toothbrush we’ve reviewed. It uses Philips’ smart brush-head technology, which detect the type of brush head you’ve attached, adjusting the brush body to the optimal settings. You can override these options, if you prefer, choosing between three intensity settings and three brush modes: clean, white and gum care.

Performance is excellent, with the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 operating at a maximum of 62,000 brush movements per minute. Using the bundled W2 Optimal White brush heads, the toothbrush removed all debris from our test teeth. Using it ourselves, we ended up with very clean-feeling teeth and a refreshed mouth. A timer with 30-second intervals and a pressure sensor makes it easy to get good coverage.

Inside the box you get a wireless charging dock, with a charge designed to last for up to two weeks. There’s a travel case, too, but it’s rather cheap and doesn’t have a built-in charger – which is a shame, given the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100’s price. Nevertheless, this remains the best sonic toothbrush we’ve tested.

Buy Now: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 at Amazon from £118/$109

Colgate Omron ProClinical 250+ with brush attached

Colgate Omron ProClinical 250+ – The best budget sonic toothrbush

Pros:

  • Great price
  • Quiet operation
  • Cleans well

Cons:

  • Brush head a little soft

The Colgate Omron ProClinical 250+ proves that sonic electric toothbrushes don’t have to be expensive. Despite costing less than £50, it offers a wide range of features, plus it cleans well, too.

The clever design stands out immediately, with the Colgate Omron ProClinical 250+ having a clip-on travel cover that also prevents the power button from being depressed by accident. Colgate has also done a good job with the brush head, which has both a standard cleaning side and a silicone tongue cleaner on the reverse.

With 30,000 brush heads per minute, the Colgate Omron ProClinical 250+ isn’t the most powerful toothbrush around, plus we found its bristles a little soft. However, it coped well with our test teeth, cleaning out all food residue bar a couple of very tiny stains. Colgate has fitted a two-minute timer into the brush body, complete with 30-second interval timers. Charging is via the provided stand, with a single charge set to last up to two weeks.

Operating at just 61.6dB, this is one of the quietest toothbrushes we’ve tested. Given the price and cleaning ability, the Colgate Omron ProClinical 250+ is a great choice for those on a tight budget.

Buy Now: Colgate Omron ProClinical 250+ at Amazon from £21

Oral-B Genius 9000 hero

Oral-B Genius 9000 – The best oscillating toothbrush

Pros:

  • Excellent cleaning
  • Plenty of modes
  • Wide choice of brush heads

Cons:

  • Loud
  • App-tracking not effective

The Oral-B Genius 9000 is the top-of-the-line oscillating toothbrush from the well-known electric toothbrush manufacturer. As well as offering standard brushing features, this model can hook up to your phone via Bluetooth using an app to help you brush better.

We found the app and the toothbrush’s location-tracking a little fiddly to use – but, fortunately, the quality of the overall set more than makes up for this. Oral-B provides several brush heads in the box, including a whitening head and one for sensitive teeth. Added to this are a huge number of cleaning modes, designed to take care of everything from a daily clean to more in-depth intensive modes.

Cleaning performance is excellent, with 10,500 rotations and 48,000 pulsations proving to be incredibly powerful. On our test teeth, all food debris was removed easily. Testing on ourselves, we found the Oral-B Genius 9000 to be very powerful. The downside is that the brush is quite loud at 82.4dB.

As well as a charging dock, you get a charging travel case so you can charge on the move. Battery life comes in at around two weeks. Overall, the Oral-B Genius 9000 is great value and the best oscillating toothbrush we’ve tested.

Buy Now: Oral-B Genius 9000 at Amazon from £132/$179

Foreo ISSA 2 sensitive head and body

Foreo ISSA 2 – The best sonic toothbrush for battery life

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Excellent design
  • Long-lasting brush heads
  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Large brush heads can be hard to move around
  • Brush heads fairly expensive

Most electric toothbrushes look similar, but the Foreo ISSA 2 looks like it comes from the future. With its sleek silicone body and brush heads, this model is completely different to anything else we’ve tested.

As well as looking futuristic, the Foreo ISSA 2 offers pretty out of this world battery life, too: it’s claimed that you get up to one year’s use from a single charge. Certainly, we never had to charge the brush while using it. There are 16 intensity settings, but no visual clue as to which one’s selected, so you have to go by feel.

The brush we reviewed ships with a silicone sensitive brush head – which we found a little ineffective – and the standard cleaning head. The latter did well on our test teeth, pulling out all traces of food. Using it on ourselves, we found the brush a little large, and manoeuvering the Foreo ISSA 2 wasn’t that easy. As a sonic toothbrush, the Foreo ISSA 2 is very quiet: we measured it at just 62dB.

The big brush head won’t be for everyone, but if you want a cool-looking brush with plenty of battery life, the Foreo ISSA 2 is the model for you.

Buy Now: Foreo ISSA 2 at Amazon from £145/$169

Brush-Baby KidzSonic Electric Toothbrush 3-6 years lights

Brush-Baby KidzSonic Electric Toothbrush 3-6 years – The best for young children

Pros:

  • Fun disco lights
  • Very quiet
  • Great cleaning performance

Cons:

  • Needs a double-press to turn on

Getting kids interested in brushing their teeth is a battle, and one that the Brush-Baby KidzSonic Electric Toothbrush 3-6 years wins. Its colourful exterior and disco lights should make it a winner with most children – ours were certainly captivated by it.

Thoughtfully designed for younger children, the Brush-Baby KidzSonic Electric Toothbrush 3-6 years has a small brush head with soft bristles, making it easy for kids to use and hold. Operated by a single AAA battery, this sonic toothbrush should last six months before you have to replace the cell.

Testing on our adult test teeth, the Brush-Baby KidzSonic Electric Toothbrush 3-6 years did a great job. Operating at 18,000 strokes per minute, the toothbrush managed to pull out the majority of food, only leaving a tiny strand of spinach behind.

Our child tester found the brush easy to use, while the low operating volume of 52.5dB makes the toothbrush almost silent. A two-minute timer with 30-second intervals helps children clean evenly.

With the low price and great cleaning performance, the Brush-Baby KidzSonic Electric Toothbrush 3-6 years is a great brush for nippers.

Buy Now: Brush-Baby KidzSonic Electric Toothbrush 3-6 years at Amazon from £14/$27

Oral-B Junior Electric Toothbrush For Children Aged 6+

Oral-B Junior Electric Toothbrush For Children Aged 6+ – The best brush for older kids

Pros:

  • Powerful cleaning
  • Battery warning light
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Quite loud
  • Only one brush head provided

As kids grow up and move away from their entry-level electric toothbrushes, they’ll need something a little more powerful and grown up; the Oral-B Junior Electric Toothbrush For Children Aged 6+ fits the bill perfectly. Available in purple and green, this model eschews fancy cartoon animals for something a little more grown-up.

The internal battery is charged by the provided wireless charging dock, with each charge set to last up to 10 days. A battery indicator displays when it’s time to charge, so you shouldn’t have this model go flat.

The Oral-B Junior Electric Toothbrush For Children Aged 6+ has 8800 rotations and 20,000 pulsations per minute, making it a step up from basic children’s toothbrushes. With the provided sensitive head, the toothbrush cleaned every trace of food from our test teeth. Our test children found the brush easy to use, particularly with the two-minute timer with 30-second intervals helping them tackle each quadrant of the mouth. The only downside is that this oscillating brush is a little loud at 78.4dB.

Buy Now: Oral-B Junior Electric Toothbrush For Children Aged 6+ years at Amazon from £18.99

That was our choice of the best electric toothbrushes, for more on how to buy the right model keep reading.

Best electric toothbrush – Buying guide

Best electric toothbrush – Should I buy a sonic or an oscillating model?

In terms of cleaning performance, there’s little between sonic and oscillating models – and it really comes down to preference. Sonic toothbrushes vibrate at super-high speeds, cleaning with this high-speed movement. This level of movement is also designed to create powerful vibrations in fluids, such as toothpaste, pushing them into the gaps in your teeth. Sonic toothbrushes tend to be quieter, but the high vibration speed can be a little annoying for some.

Oscillating toothbrushes physical rotate and move the brush head. The head moves slower than that of a sonic toothbrush, but the rotating action helps dislodge plaque effectively; these brushes can feel powerful in the mouth. The downside tends to be that these brushes are a little louder than their sonic equivalents.

Best electric toothbrush – Is a timer essential?

A timer helps you brush your teeth for the correct amount of time: two minutes is recommended. Most electric toothbrushes also have 30-second interval timers, prompting you to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth for an even clean.

Best electric toothbrush – What cleaning modes should I look out for?

Cheap toothbrushes will have a single cleaning mode, but more expensive ones add in extra modes. If you have sensitive teeth then look for one with a suitable setting, or a toothbrush where you can control the power. A whitening mode is designed to be used with a compatible brush head for polishing your teeth and making them brighter. A gum mode dials down the power, so you can clean right up to your gums regularly. Finally, an in-depth clean mode will leave the brush on for longer, so you can give you teeth a thorough clean-up.

Best electric toothbrush – What about toothbrush heads

All toothbrushes ship with at least one standard brush head, but other options are available. Depending on your needs, a whitening brush may be useful, and a sensitive brush may be ideal if you have delicate teeth and it hurts to use a regular brush.

Best electric toothbrush – What else should I look out for?

If you travel often then a case is a good extra to have. Ideally, get one with a built-in charger, so you can plug your electric toothbrush in on the move and keep it topped up. All rechargeable toothbrushes should come with a charging dock with a standard two-pin connector on it.

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