The American Dental Association finds that electric and manual toothbrushes are pretty much equivalent when it comes to cleaning teeth and removing plaque. But an electric toothbrush can make it easier to brush your teeth for longer periods of time. It can also be better at hitting some of those hard-to-reach spots.
So how do you choose the best electric toothbrush? Well, the right toothbrush partly depends on your personal preference. Do you want to focus on plaque control, oral hygiene or teeth whitening? Do you have sensitive gums or teeth? Are you looking for a 2-minute timer? (Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day with a soft toothbrush head.)
You’ll also want to consider your budget. Would you prefer to spend a little more on a powerful model that does extra work for you, or stick to something simple and classic?
We get it, the choice can be overwhelming. Before you start shopping for the best electric toothbrush for oral care, check out this guide featuring our electric toothbrush reviews. Our electric toothbrush comparison walks you through nine high-end products for cleaning your teeth, gingivitis, teeth whitening and more. But regardless of which brush you choose, don’t forget to floss!
How to choose the best electric toothbrush
When looking for the best electric toothbrush, you’ll want to consider a few factors.
Cost: First things first: What’s your toothbrush budget? On the lower end, you can get a cheap electric toothbrush for $20 to $50, but the cons are that they won’t have certain features such as a lithium-ion battery, a water flosser or a sensor.
Many people won’t want to spend more than $40 or so on a toothbrush, but if you’ve got extra money to spend on your pearly whites, investing in a higher-ticket toothbrush in the $100 to $200 range with more features may be worth it in the long run, especially if it helps you have fewer cavities and dentist visits.
Capabilities: What do you need the toothbrush to do? Maybe you just need one mode for cleaning a little deeper than you can with a manual toothbrush.
If you need help brushing for the dentist-recommended two minutes, it’s a good idea to select one with a built-in smart timer. If you want to easily track your oral hygiene habits, go for a Bluetooth-enabled toothbrush with an app.
If you have sensitive teeth or sensitive gums, consider looking at the types of brush heads that you can get for your electric toothbrush. Some models, like those from Oral-B or Sonicare, offer many different types of brush heads for different needs, such as brush heads for whitening, gum care and cleaning around braces.
Convenience: Are you going to remember to replace your brush heads when it’s time? If not, maybe a subscription-based electric toothbrush is right for you. Don’t forget to look into how long a toothbrush holds its charge because the last thing you want is for your toothbrush to be dead when you grab it from the charging dock and you’re trying to get ready for bed.
Best simple electric toothbrush
I’ve been on the hunt for a very simple electric toothbrush for a long time. I’d scour the internet for my ideal toothbrush and end up overwhelmed with all of the high-tech, app-integrated options; eventually I’d buy one, but I always ended up reverting to a manual toothbrush because I never found an electric toothbrush that did exactly what I need and nothing more: cleaned my teeth better.
Quip is everything I’ve ever looked for in an electric toothbrush. For one thing — and a big thing to me — the brush head is actually close to the size of a manual toothbrush head. It’s not tiny like most other electric toothbrushes, which I know are designed to clean one tooth at a time like the ADA recommends, but I really like the full-size brush head on the Quip toothbrush. (CNET editor Sarah Mitroff felt the exact opposite about this, so be sure to read her Quip review if you’re considering a Quip brush).
Quip is super simple in every aspect: It has one speed and a 2-minute timer that buzzes every 30 seconds and turns off after 2 minutes is up. That’s it. There’s no app to fuss with and no chargers or wires to tote or store. Quip is powered by an AAA battery located in the head of the brush. The charge lasts three months, and at that point, you replace the brush head for a fresh brush and a fresh charge.
Since there’s no charger, Quip is super easy to travel with. The toothbrush holder it comes with also doubles as a protective travel case.
While I gave Quip the title of “best simple electric toothbrush,” I’d also dub it the best travel electric toothbrush and the “best feels-like-a-regular-toothbrush electric toothbrush”.
I will say that the Quip motor isn’t very powerful compared to other brands, such as Sonicare or Oral-B. To me, it felt like a manual clean with a little extra oomph, and while I actually liked that, many people will not. And if you’re looking for a smart electric toothbrush with Bluetooth or an app, Quip isn’t the one.
Best electric toothbrush with water flosser
Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 Water Flosser
Water flossing changed my life. No joke! I’ve always hated flossing — in fact, when I was a kid, my orthodontist wouldn’t let me get braces until I became proficient at flossing. Now I have a permanent retainer on top and bottom, and I still hate flossing.
Waterpik makes flossing incredibly easy and efficient. With hardly any effort and in about 5 minutes, the Waterpik water flosser removed food debris from in between my teeth (which are very tightly packed) and from underneath my permanent metal retainer, which is something that could take me up to 20 minutes to execute by myself.
This was like an otherworldly revelation for me: “Flossing can be this easy?! Why did I never know?”. My dental hygienist is going to be so proud of how clean my retainer looks when I go back for my next appointment.
Plus, the Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 is a bargain compared to buying an electric brush and a Waterpik separately: This two-in-one includes five water flosser tips, two Triple Sonic brush heads, 10 pressure settings, three brush modes and a two-minute timer with quadrant pacing.
The Waterpik does take some getting used to — when I first started using it, I was no match for the water dribble coming from my mouth. Eventually I learned to bend slightly so my mouth hovered above the sink, and now it’s one of my favorite dental health products I’ve ever used.
Be warned, though: If you have sensitive gums, start with your water flosser on a low setting. I made the mistake of arbitrarily setting mine to level seven for the first use and my gums bled. Next time, I dialed it down to level three, and I’ve been slowly working my way up to a more powerful setting as my gums become less sensitive.
Best electric toothbrush with app integration
Colgate E1 Smart Electric Toothbrush
Several electric toothbrushes have Bluetooth functionality and app integration these days, but Colgate’s app is the only one that didn’t give me a headache. Its simple interface gives you easy-to-understand visuals about the duration, frequency and surface coverage of your brushing.
I thought this was silly at first, because how hard is brushing your teeth, right? Well, I quickly went into denial when the app told me I only hit 68% of surface coverage during my first session with the E1 toothbrush. I no longer thought the toothbrush-app combo was silly when I found my percentage creeping up with each brushing session! The coaching really does work.
Aside from that, the brush itself is nice. It’s sleek, comfortable to hold and not as bulky as some other electric toothbrushes. When I first received the package, I thought, “Huh, this feels like Apple branding.” Call me a branding expert, because I later learned that the Colgate E1 is actually sold in the Apple Store as an Apple accessory.
With just 10 days of battery life, the E1 isn’t the longest-lasting rechargeable toothbrush on the market, but that shouldn’t be an end-all. Just don’t forget your charging base when you go on a trip.