Dental hygiene is a constant battle, no matter who you are. (Readily available processed foods and sugary coffee drinks don’t help, either.) Top-of-the-line electric toothbrushes offer a clear line of defense against predatory plaque and invasive gum disease, which we’ll discuss below. We picked through market research, ran down what users had to say, and even scrubbed our pearly whites with some of 2021’s best electrified bristles.
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know — from the best electric toothbrushes for orthodonture to the effectiveness of different bristle heads — is about to drop. Check out our top picks and learn a bit about what makes for the best electric toothbrushes!
- Best All-Around: Brio SmartClean Sonic Electric Toothbrush
- Crowd-Pleaser: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
- Most High-Tech: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
- Most Endorsed by Dentists: Oral-B Pro 1000 CrossAction Electric Toothbrush
- High-Tech (Runner Up): Oral-B Genius X-Limited Electric Toothbrush
- Best for Whitening: AquaSonic Black Series Ultra Whitening Toothbrush
- Best for Sensitive Teeth: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100 Electric Toothbrush
- Best Starter Kit: Colgate hum Electric Toothbrush Kit
- Best Upgrade: Waterpik Complete Care 9.0 Sonic Electric Toothbrush
- Best Budget (Runner Up): Fairywill Electric Toothbrush
The Best Electric Toothbrush Review
Brio solved my dental dread with their professional-level SmartClean Sonic Toothbrush. This rechargeable electric toothbrush offers five different modes, three different brush head designs and can last for more than six weeks of brushing without a recharge. (We’re talking three-times-a-day brushing, dentist-approved kind of dental care. One full charge has actually lasted me up to two full months.)
I lived in Alaska for three years with a dentist who visited once a summer, and the next closest dentist was in Canada. Needless to say, my toothbrushes needed to do their jobs well. I needed a toothbrush that could deep-clean without irritating my gums, and I found that in the Brio SmartClean. From the brush head options to the battery life to the easy-to-reference guide included with the toothbrush, Brio knocked dental care out of the water.
The Brio SmartClean toothbrush uses an optimum 31,000 brush oscillations per minute to clean every part of your mouth. That many oscillations create sonic vibrations that use the fluid in your mouth to create micro-bubbles. These micro-bubbles, along with the specially designed bristles, can clean your teeth and gums more effectively than using a manual toothbrush. Choose from Clean, White, Polish, Massage, or Sensitive modes to maximize your teeth cleaning time.
It should be noted — if you have a very sensitive mouth or gag reflex, this toothbrush may be too stimulating for you. I could absolutely feel the sonic vibrations, which can be tough to tolerate for those with sensitive mouths and faces. However, the Sensitive feature is the most gentle, while the Massage feature is the most powerful vibration, giving great options for everyone. Choose from one of three interchangeable brush heads — SmartClean, ProClean, and XClean — to help sensitive gums or address stiffness preferences. Read the in-depth review here.
3 interchangeable heads included
5 cleaning modes
- Weight10 oz
Removing up to seven times more plaque than a manual toothbrush is impressive; doing so without stripping your teeth of much-needed enamel or damaging your gums is even more so. The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush uses a pressure sensor to provide a gentle clean, leaving your mouth feeling invigorated and healthier. The densely packed bristles give even more effective brush strokes than a manual toothbrush, thanks to both the high quality of materials and the engineered design of the brush head. (Don’t worry; the toothbrush reminds you when to change out for a fresh brush head, too!)
This toothbrush stays charged for up to 14 days off its charging base, which easily recharges after use. That means no batteries to change out; plug in the charging base and forget about it. Turn on the “quadpacer” for the deepest and most effective brushing experience in each quadrant of your mouth — give equal love to the tops, bottoms, and sides of your teeth for a full-mouth cleaning. A two-minute timer allows you to brush for the recommended amount of time without guessing or ceasing early. The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean is designed to work safely with braces, fillings, crowns, and veneers, as well as younger mouths too. This is the deep-cleaning toothbrush suitable for the whole family.
Whitens teeth in 1 week
3 intensity modes
Brush head replacement reminder
14-day battery life
Sonic technology that works with braces and veneers
- Weight12.56 oz
Philips Sonicare took brushing your teeth to a tech lover’s heaven. Get real-time feedback on how you’re brushing each area of your mouth thanks to Bluetooth-enabled capabilities that sync with your phone via an app. The app will let you know which of the three included brush heads to use, ensuring that you get the best and deepest clean without damaging your enamel or gums.
Philips says their DiamondClean challenge gives you visibly healthier gums in just two weeks of use. By removing up to ten times more plaque than a manual toothbrush with a sensitivity-based pressure sensor, three intensities, and four different brushing modes, the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush can provide one of the best cleanings you can find outside of a dentist’s chair. Our guide on the best teeth whitening kits features more amazing products for dental care. Be sure to check them out.
Healthier gums in just 2 weeks
Smart sensors provide real-time feedback on brushing and pressure
Includes three different brush heads
Bluetooth connected app
- Weight1.2 lbs.
Did you know that the Oral-B Pro 1000 CrossAction Electric Toothbrush was the first electric toothbrush to be accepted and vetted by the American Dental Association? Its cross-action, rounded brush head is clinically positioned at a 16-degree angle to penetrate between the teeth and clean effectively without damaging gums or enamel.
Oral-B claims that their oscillating, rotating, and pulsating brush heads can break up and remove up to 300% more plaque along the gumline than a normal manual toothbrush can, easily. It has a powerful brush handle suitably crafted in a way to accommodate other Oral-B brush heads, as well – like the 3D brush head, guaranteed to give you cleaner and whiter teeth starting from the first day, or the floss-action brush head that provides a floss-like clean, as well as several other oscillating brush heads.
The Oral-B Pro 1000 CrossAction has a pressure sensor that stops the motion of the brush when you press down too hard, reminding you to brush gently and more effectively. This toothbrush also uses a 2-minute recommended timer for brushing, indicating to switch to different zones of the mouth after every 30 seconds. According to the September 2017 press release by the ADA, the Oral-B Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush is one toothbrush that has been proven to give outstanding results when it comes to teeth cleaning, just like some of these excellent mouthwashes from our list.
Removes 300 times more plaque than a regular brush
Indicates when to switch to other portions of the mouth
2-minute timer with 30-second zone timer
Compatible other Oral-B brush heads
Stops oscillating with too much pressure
- Weight12.17 oz
Oral-B’s at it again with the Best in Show for artificial intelligence. That’s right, the Oral-B Genius X-Limited Electric Toothbrush uses artificial intelligence and research gathered from thousands of teeth brushes to identify your brushing style and coach you through improving your brushing habits. Using Bluetooth connectivity and your smartphone, the Genius X-Limited identifies which zones of your mouth you concentrate on (or forget to reach), how long you spend in each area, and how much pressure you use on your toothbrush. Using that data, you’ll get visible notes on how to make the most of your two minutes of brush time for every tooth.
The Genius X-Limited uses six modes — including a sensitive setting and a whitening setting — to give you the best options for your mouth. The rounded brush head gives you better access to those hard-to-reach corners and removes up to 100% more plaque than a manual toothbrush can. One full charge can last for up to two weeks’ worth of daily brushing, and it comes with a charging stand, carrying case, and a single brush head. This brush is worth the money if you’re looking for the most accurate cleaning out there. Feel free to use it with some of the top-selling teeth whitening toothpastes for optimal results.
Uses AI to coach your brushing style
Bluetooth connectivity to smartphone
Lithium-ion battery – lasts more than 2 weeks
6 modes including whitening and sensitive
Travel case included
Removes 500 times more plaque than a regular brush
- Weight12.96 oz
If you’re not looking to blow your budget on a toothbrush but don’t want to sacrifice performance, stop looking. The AquaSonic Black Series Ultra Whitening toothbrush brings the magic of microbubbles created by 40,000 vibrations per minute to deep clean your teeth and gums — for under $40.
A wireless charger powers your toothbrush in a flash, while the eight included brush heads will keep you stocked for a long time to come. (We’re talking over two years’ worth of brush heads since each one is designed to last up to four months.) This ADA-accepted travel-ready electric toothbrush uses four modes to give you the ideal clean — Clean for your everyday brushing; Soft for a gentle touch; Whiten to remove those surface stains; and Massage, to keep your gums at their healthiest. Every 30 seconds, the smart chip timer will vibrate the toothbrush to let you know it’s time to move on to the next zone so that you can brush effectively without overbrushing. Be sure to also use dental floss regularly for better teeth and overall health.
40,000 vibrations per minute
8 brush heads included
Custom travel case
- Weight10.55 oz
This electric toothbrush is the #1 most recommended by dental professionals. The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100 Electric Toothbrush cleans more than seven times the amount of plaque than a manual toothbrush can conquer while offering features to aid sensitive tooth and gum users. This feature has a gauge that allows a gradual increase in speed over the first fourteen days, preventing the user from feeling any pain. This electric toothbrush can also detect if you’re brushing too hard, which results from applying too much pressure. It also detects the amount of time taken to brush each part of the mouth and measures if it’s adequate or too much. A two-minute timer, the standard amount of time for a complete mouth cleaning, lets you know when you’re done with your brushing.
It can also detect when the toothbrush head is due for a change with its advanced technology that gathers information on how long you’ve been using the toothbrush and how much pressure you’ve been applying. It uses that data to indicate when it’s time for a brush head change with a blinking light in the handle. The sonic technology guarantees effective and safe brushing. The Phillips Sonicare ProtectiveClean Electric Toothbrush is a great option for taking your dental care to a more efficient level.
Sonic technology for effective cleaning
Sensors to detect pressure level
A convenient start program for newbies
Reminder feature for brush-head replacement
- Weight1.04 lbs.
We all need reminders from time to time; Colgate knows that most of us miss 40% of our teeth in each brushing session and set out to improve that situation. Colgate hum Electric Toothbrush Kit uses Bluetooth connectivity to export information about your brushing habits (how long you brush, where you focus on brushing, and where you’re missing) to help coach you through a better brushing experience.
You can set up personalized programs and reminders to keep your oral health in tip-top shape, too. Three different vibration modes (normal, sensitive, and deep clean) give you customizable control over your teeth cleaning while delivering up to 30,000 vibrations per minute to get down deep. (That’s 10,000 VPM’s more than the battery-operated version of the hum!) This kit includes two brush heads, the sonic electric (and rechargeable) toothbrush handle, a charger, and a travel case for convenience, making it ideal for travelers. One full charge can last up to ten days, so no need to drag the charger along on business trips or week-long vacations!
3 modes: normal, sensitive, or deep clean
Rewards system for brushing
Battery lasts up to 10 days on one charge
Smart reordering with Alexa
Bluetooth-enabled app assistance
- Weight1.24 lbs
No tooth-care list is complete without a Waterpik. We’ve covered water flossers in the past, but their addition of a sonic electric toothbrush sold us once again. The Waterpik Complete Care 9.0 Sonic Electric Toothbrush gives you everything you need for total oral healthcare monitoring, all at an excellent price. You get a high-capacity, 90-second water flosser, and a sonic toothbrush that removes up to 50% more plaque than manual brushing.
Thanks to the 360 angle of the brush and 31,000 vibrations per minute, you’ll be able to access the toughest spots that you thought only the dentist could reach; what you can’t access with your high-powered toothbrush is flushed out with the high-tech water flosser. The Waterpik offers ten different settings from ten to 100 PSI for a pressure that suits your comfort level, while the sonic toothbrush offers three modes: Clean, Whiten, and Massage. This kit includes five water flosser tips, two brush heads, a travel case, and a two-year warranty to round out the deal.
Includes high-capacity water flosser system
Gives you 100% care over eliminating plaque, and washing bacteria down the drain
2-year warranty on the entire system
High-powered, sonic toothbrush
- Weight2.4 Pounds
The Fairywill electric toothbrush offers 40,000 vibrations per minute to take the brushing experience to a professional level. That would be a month’s worth of effort if you were scrubbing your teeth manually! Fairywill’s sonic technology penetrates through surface stains, cleaning your gums effectively and leaving your tongue feeling fresh and healthy.
The W-shaped brush head covers every surface of your mouth and reaches angles that flat brush heads struggle to access. With a simple 4-hour charge, the battery can last up to 30 days uninterrupted. The Fairywill Electric Toothbrush uses a USB cable charging feature, which is convenient for charging anywhere, at any time. Five modes give you options like massage, cleaning, polishing, stain removal, and a sensitivity check. This lightweight electric toothbrush is a great deal to get more effective cleaning.
Dupont nylon bristles
55g lightweight feature
USB charging feature
W-shaped brush head
Outstanding 30-day battery life
- Weight6.74 oz
Why You Can Trust Us
Because we, too, brush our teeth daily. I have limited access to dentists when I’m living and working in Alaska, so keeping my oral health up to par is vital.
I put toothbrushes through the ringer — from brushing my teeth on the side of the highway in the Yukon to backpacking with a toothbrush through the mountains of Colorado; my toothbrush has to work in some pretty extreme conditions.
I also want to clear away the stains left behind from countless mugs of coffee and from having worn braces for three years. I looked for toothbrushes that I would trust to bring on my travels, and the top contenders made it onto this list.
Who This Guide Is For
Anyone tired of their old manual toothbrush! Whether you’re looking for your first electric toothbrush or want more advanced features to upgrade to, we’re here for you.
How We Chose
We chose our winner list from the most popular, highest reviewed, and highly recommended products. We tested our favorites on our own pearly whites, and the results are listed above!
How We Tested
After an initial full charge, we brushed multiple times daily until the batteries ran dry.
We also switched out the brush heads to try every aspect and even took these toothbrushes on a few road trips to test their durability and packability.
Features to Look for in Electric Toothbrushes
Shape - Look for ergonomic handles to effectively grip your toothbrush, as well as the design of your brush heads. The shape of your brush heads affects how you use them and how each brush head effectively cleans, so keep an eye out for your desired features. Rounded brush heads, W-shaped brush heads, and rectangular brush heads are common in the electric toothbrush world. Most of the time, it’s up to your personal preference!
Bristle Material - The bristle material not only affects your texture reaction but also determines how deep your clean is — and how long your toothbrush lasts. Most modern-day toothbrushes, manual or electric, have nylon bristles. Look for rubber bristles on the perimeter of the brush head for extra help with gum health.
Types of Brush Heads - There are a few different types, from polishing heads to sensitive-friendly. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, make sure your toothbrush kit includes a sensitive-specific brush head!
Durability - Certain electric toothbrushes can cost you a pretty penny, so the last thing you want is to grab a non-durable model. Look for IP-rated waterproof bodies, high-quality travel cases, and longer-lasting batteries to keep your toothbrush working longer.
Electric Toothbrush FAQ
Q: How do you use an electric toothbrush?
A: You grew up on manual toothbrushes, but you’ve still been blindsided by a few cavities here and there and the possible diagnosis of gum disease. It happens to the best of us, which is when most of us decide to switch to an electric toothbrush for better results.
Apply toothpaste. Hold your brush at a simple 45-degree angle, pressed up against your gums to begin the process. Turn the brush on (generally with a button on the front side of the handle), and start where your gums and teeth meet. When you start from the bottom, you end up pushing bacteria and food particles up into your gum line, which only irritates them more.
Starting with the gum line, massage into the space between your gums and teeth to get rid of any food particles. Work down your entire gum line on the top. Slowly work your way down to your actual teeth, and vertically move down each tooth, and then the space in between each tooth.
Let the toothbrush do most of the work — that’s why you want an electric toothbrush! The vibrations and movement of the brush head do the majority of the work, while you’re simply the guide. Make sure you hit the front and back of each tooth and clean all four quadrants of your mouth — now you’re clean, refreshed, and ready to roll!
Q: How to clean an electric toothbrush?
A: Here are a few ways to clean your electric toothbrush. The most effective (and safest) method is to clean the brush heads in boiling water. This will eliminate food waste and particles while sanitizing any bacteria residing on your brush head.
There’s also the motorized shell/handle area to clean, and most people forget about that. Even though it’s just your hand that’s touching it, we’re willing to bet you don’t wash your hands and then immediately, exclusively handle your toothbrush. It needs to be wiped down with an anti-bacterial wipe, washed with soap and hot water, or dunked into a solution of one part water, one part white vinegar solution. These measures sanitize, reduce the residue on the handle, and helps keep any rubber grip components intact.
Q: Why do I need an electric toothbrush?
A: They provide a better cleaning than manual brushes (more on that in our next section), but more than that, they take a lot of human error out of the equation. They cover a lot of ground that manual brushes can’t, even if you’re detail-oriented when it comes to brushing your teeth.
Electric toothbrushes mainly help fight against plaque buildup in hard-to-reach areas and help prevent gum disease or gingivitis. Gum disease has recently been linked to numerous medical conditions; we’re talking about heart disease, cholesterol level increases, increased resistance against antibiotics, all through absorption through your gums and cheek tissue, leading directly into the rest of your body. It really is a gateway and combating gum disease is one of the best reasons to pay extra special attention to your brushing regimen.
Best-rated electric toothbrushes can also aid in eliminating bad breath. Not just talking about morning breath, but a consistent level of bad breath throughout the day that doesn't seem to go away. Over time, your cheek tissue collects bacteria that’s been resting on the outside of your teeth, and it creates an aroma that escapes when you talk. Since electric toothbrushes improve your overall oral health and cleanliness, they can help eliminate bad breath.
Q: Should I get a case to protect from bacteria?
A: Not necessarily. Unless you sanitize your toothbrush in between cleanings, these cases will actually trap leftover bacteria from your mouth and become a breeding ground. Avoid getting an additional plastic case unless it offers sanitizing measures, like UV light.
Q: Is an electric toothbrush more effective?
A: Yes. Due to oscillating rotation from an electric toothbrush, stubborn food particles and bacteria get swept away. While it may not make enough of a difference to prevent a cavity compared to manual brushing, it does aid in preventing the aforementioned gum disease and its disastrous consequences.
Electric toothbrushes also give you thousands of vibrations per minute, a more effective rate than brushing manually will give you — that means you’re effectively cleaning better every time you brush with an electric toothbrush.
Q: Are electric toothbrushes bad for your gums?
A: Just the opposite! When it comes to using an electric toothbrush, it’s near impossible to cause gum recession from use. However, they can cause damage to the enamel on your teeth, which is why some brands input a timer function built right into the handle.
Don’t get us wrong: leaving nylon bristles moving in a fast circle on your gums for extended periods of time will irritate your gums, but you can apply that same idea to just about anything. Stick to a timed regimen, don’t spend the whole clock on one or two teeth, and you’ll only be improving your oral healthcare instead of dragging it down.
Q: Are electric toothbrushes waterproof?
A: To a certain extent. If your electric toothbrush has a compartment for disposable batteries, there’s a good chance that it’s not waterproofed. Waterproofing is measured in IP or IPX ratings, and if there are too many removable plates, they can’t guarantee the device. It’s like having a single hole in a big tent. It’s not going to protect you from the rain anymore, right?
When it’s a lithium-ion or lithium-metal rechargeable battery, the enclosure where you plug in the AC adapter, as well as the access plate, is usually waterproofed. Don’t automatically assume this is the case; take the time to look for a waterproof rating before making the purchase.
That being said, the top part of your toothbrush is almost guaranteed to be waterproof. The brush and bristles obviously are, but so is the rotating oscillator that’s actually moving the brush, that little vibrating nub that’s located under the brush head attachment. Those have been being used in waterproof beard trimmers and men’s electric razors for well over a decade, and are completely waterproof. In short: the top half, almost guaranteed. In the bottom half, check for a rating.
Q: Can you use an electric toothbrush in the shower?
A: If it meets the requirements in the previous section, you should be all right. Keep in mind, waterproof and water submersion are two different ratings. We also understand brushing in the shower can be more efficient, but you should take the two minutes out of your morning routine to solely focus on oral hygiene instead of rushing through it.
Q: How often do you need to replace an electric toothbrush?
A: Most motors are rated for tens of thousands of hours of use. However, that doesn’t mean that the brush head will last for just as long. So long as you purchase a reputable, quality electric toothbrush from a brand that offers “refills” on the heads, you should be in good hands. We personally recommend stocking up on a bulk pack of them to save money.
Q: Can you use an electric toothbrush if you wear braces?
A: Absolutely. Either way, you have to brush your teeth a lot more closely when you’re wearing braces. It’s actually a lot easier to maintain your braces if you’re using an electric toothbrush, allowing you to vigorously attack debris and bacteria that hide behind the hundreds of unique angles. The same rule applies: don’t brush too hard. You’ll be brushing for longer with braces, but you should still be wary of aggravating your teeth and gums.
Q: How often should you change an electric toothbrush head?
A: Most companies sell replacement heads for their toothbrushes, usually coming in three or five packs. Stocking up on them is good because then you’ll be good to go for a few years. If you follow the cleaning protocol, you can squeeze about six months of life out of each head before you need to junk it and begin anew. However, the recommendation is to change your brush head every three months.
Q: What is an FDA-approved toothbrush?
A: The FDA likes to get into specifics, so they’ve regulated electric toothbrushes as medical devices. This means that they see them as viable options for improving or maintaining your personal health, putting them a cut above the rest.
Q: Can an electric toothbrush lift tooth stains?
A: There are a few different ways to classify stains on your teeth and their candidacy for being removed.
You most likely have extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related stains. Extrinsic stains are located in the center of your enamel, intrinsic lay in the dentin (the layer beneath enamel), and age-related stains also sit in your dentin, but those are practically impossible to remove. Everyone has some mixture of each stain type. Even if you can’t see it, there’s likely a little bit of each going on.
Electric toothbrushes can help to remove extrinsic stains. We talk about protecting your enamel in this guide by not brushing too hard or applying too much pressure to your gum line. After twice-daily brushing for a couple of weeks (average challenge criteria and length), those extrinsic stains are gently lifted without causing damage to your enamel. Other than that, brushing won’t remove other stains, but it’s still enough to give you a noticeably whiter smile.
- The Effectiveness of Manual Versus Powered Toothbrushes for Plaque Removal and Gingival Health: A Meta-Analysis - NCBI
- Is It Better to Use an Electric or a Manual Toothbrush? - Healthline
- Is an Electric Toothbrush Better Than a Manual Toothbrush? - Mayo Clinic
- Toothbrushes - American Dental Association (ADA)