10 best electric toothbrushes
For sparkling teeth and healthy gums, try one of these IndyBest-approved models
So you want an electric toothbrush. Maybe you’re ready to step up from the random powerless model you pick up at the store whenever you remember. Or maybe you’ve owned the same electric model for years and, until now, you’ve been unwilling or unable to break the power of routine. Well, you’ve got a lot to think about.
The electric toothbrush market has exploded in the last few years. A new wave of toothbrushes has arrived, with sleeker designs, new charging techniques, new modes, and new materials. And if your electric toothbrush doesn’t have a built-in two-minute timer in 30-second intervals—a handy reminder to help you focus on one quadrant of your mouth at a time—then you’re brushing in the past.
But be warned: For best results, every electric toothbrush requires a new brush head every three months or so. That’s a hidden expense worth pricing out when choosing the best brush for your budget.
Aside from budget, there’s plenty more to consider. What kind of bristles? How much brushing power? How many microsettings? Battery-powered or charger? Do you need a pressure sensor? Does size matter?
Plus, let’s face it, you’re going to be using this brush twice a day, (hopefully) every day of your life, so it could very well become a defining feature of your bathroom. It might as well look good.
With all that in mind, we dove headfirst into the electric toothbrush market to help you find out what you and your teeth need next.
1. TAO Aura Clean Sonic Toothbrush System: $88.99, Amazon
Back in the sonic realm, TAO takes sanitation to new heights. With notably soft bristles and, like the Goby, two intensity levels, the TAO Aura Clean doesn’t have the power or customizability of bulkier brushes. But the distinguishing factor here is the Aura’s novel self-cleaning system. When not in use, the brush is placed headfirst into the cleaning station, then, when needed, it’s pulled from the station like the sword in the stone. The plugged-in station (which doubles as a charger) conceals an ultraviolet lamp that dries the brush head, shields it from splashes and helps prevent bacteria growth. Though the base has a footprint about as big as a wine bottle, it’s still lightweight—perhaps too lightweight for how much room it takes up. And, as a note to the aesthetically minded toothbrusher, let it be known that the handle for the “supernova white” version is, in fact, slightly off-white, in case you’re going for the clinically sterilized look.
2. Quip electric brush in Copper Metal: $45.00, Get Quip
The Brooklyn-bound crowd has likely seen a few subway ads for Quip, a slim, sleek, battery-powered brush that would fit right in at the Apple Store. Like me, you might not like your toothbrush sitting on the bathroom vanity, where it’s too close to the countertop cliff and within splashing distance of unwelcome fluids or, god forbid, someone else’s toothbrush. So I appreciated the thin strip of adhesive that turns the Quip’s case into a small holster you can affix to nearly any surface. I attached mine to the shady side of the bathroom cabinet, out of harm’s way and beyond threat of any stray liquids. But with the Quip’s slight frame and AAA-battery-powered engine comes the feeling that there isn’t much horsepower under the hood. Some toothbrushers may need a little more oomph.
3. Sonic Toothbrush by Dr. Jim Ellis: $18.49, Amazon
If you’re looking for oomph, Dr. Jim Ellis has you covered. Ellis, a dentist, got tired of recommending various electric toothbrushes to his patients, so he decided to go straight to a manufacturer and design one himself. The result is a solid, pared-down electric brush at a very attractive price. While it doesn’t have the flourishes of more expensive brushes—no sensors or special bristles, and only three settings—its fastest mode clocks in at a whopping 40,000 oscillations per minute, or about 30 percent more than most brushes. This “whiten” mode proved a bit too intense for my sensitive gums, though the “massage” setting, which alternates between 31,000 and 40,000 pulses per minute, felt just right. It’s not the prettiest piece of hardware to behold, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck.
4. Foreo Issa: $89.40, Amazon
If you’re looking for chic, Swedish design could be the answer. Founded in Stockholm in 2013, Foreo dramatically redesigned the electric toothbrush with style and hygiene in mind. The curvaceous Issa model, available in a rainbow of modern tones, uses dozens of silicone bristles that dry faster than standard brush heads, thus deterring bacteria buildup. With its rubbery bristles and sexy form factor, you might think the Issa is meant for polishing a Jeff Koons sculpture. Nevertheless, my teeth and gums enjoyed the lower-power levels of the eight available, since the higher levels felt like overkill. In fact, although the Issa’s max speed is only 11,000 pulsations per minute, my hand rattled more with the Issa than with Dr. Ellis’ brush, which is capable of nearly four times as many pulsations. Perhaps that’s because with the Issa, it feels like the whole device is vibrating, not just the brush head. Regardless, after a few sessions, I felt like I was getting some serious cleaning done, even if my teeth were a little achy at first. Plus, for the power-conscious brusher, Foreo says a single hourlong USB charge will last six months.
5. Philips Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart: $212.60, Amazon
Sure, the new guys on the block have a lot to offer, but don’t think the big brands are going quietly. 9300 DiamondClean Smart, by Sonicare (a Philips brand), is the Cadillac Escalade of electric toothbrushes. It has four modes, with three speeds each; a pressure sensor that lights up when you brush too hard; a luxurious, lengthy handle (mine was pearly white and chrome); and an app to help you manage what could become a strict mouth-care schedule. Even the charging station looks like a rocks glass ready for a finger of fine scotch. The included wall plug goes into a coaster that’s topped with a short, heavy glass; to charge, simply place the toothbrush in the glass, and wireless charging will commence. Yet the toothbrush—the longest reviewed—has a square bottom, meaning the device sticks out of the glass with a Pisa-like lean. I couldn’t help but imagine how easily a stray hand or cat’s tail would knock the brush out of its charger like a spilt champagne flute. Still, the number of modes and speeds is top of the line, and the app, though a little clumsy, helped improve my mouth-care routine. I had no idea I was brushing too hard all these years.
6. Oral-B Genius 9000 by Braun: $149.99, oralb.com
Of course, the other big player in the electric toothbrush game is Oral-B, powered by Braun. Aside from the Genius 9000 model looking less elegant than the similarly priced Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean—Oral-B’s plastic looks and feels a little cheaper—the main difference is more substantial. The Sonicare (and most other models reviewed) has a sonic brush head, which vibrates rapidly to loosen plaque, whereas the Oral-B has an oscillating head that physically rotates back and forth, essentially automating the brushing movement. Which one works better for you will likely come down to personal preference. I found that brushing with an oscillating head felt more mechanical, since I could feel the motor chugging as I brushed. In fact, of the Genius 9000’s five speeds, its highest setting was the most teeth-rattling experience reviewed. Nevertheless, many toothbrushers prefer the feel of an oscillating head, and the ovoid Oral-B has plenty to recommend. For starters, the pressure sensor light is located further up on the brush handle, making it easier to monitor. And if you want a toothbrushing app, the Oral-B ecosystem is more robust—it even offers news clips, photos and a weather report, which you can read thanks to a complementary smartphone holder that can be suction-cupped to your vanity mirror. (The Bluetooth-enabled handle saves data from the last 30 sessions, so you don’t have to connect to the app every time you brush.) Also, if you’d like to give your toothbrush access to your phone’s camera, you can enter Position Detection mode, which gives a more detailed report on your brushing habits.
7. Goby Electric Toothbrush: $50.00, goby.co
Another entrant in the oscillator field is the Goby electric toothbrush, a recent addition with fewer bells and whistles but a better price. Having only two settings and no pressure sensor, the Goby can’t compete with higher-end brushes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s smaller than its competitors, though a full USB charge lasts about two weeks, making the Goby a solid entrée into the oscillating realm. Aside from the Quip, however, this was the only toothbrush reviewed that can’t stand upright on its own, so expect to use the flimsy base if you want your brush standing on a countertop.
8. Brio SmartClean: $68, Amazon
In a cluttered field with so much innovation and gadgetry, an electric toothbrush can now also be judged by what it doesn’t have. The Brio SmartClean doesn’t have a pressure gauge, an app, fancy bristles, or a distinguished design. But do you really need all those things? It’s a question worth asking, especially when the still-competent SmartClean costs about a third as much as the Sonicare DiamondClean and, Brio claims, its replacement heads come out to about half the price of the big guys.
9. Oral-B Pro 1500: $59.94, Amazon
The Pro 1500 hits the market standard for the price. 3D cleaning, decent oscillation, decent rotation, and pulsating technology ready and willing to destroy plaque, but it sets itself apart by hitting a very specific need. Those suffering from sensitive or receding gums and people with sensitive teeth will find relief with this brush at an affordable price. It gets the job done with minimal effort with a pressure sensor that goes above and beyond to protect those suffering from oral ailments.
10. Oral-B Vitality: $24.97, Amazon
For the health conscious who happen to be restrained by the smallest of budgets. This isn't premium, but it does offer everything you need for the basic electric toothbrush. It also comes with a neat automatic two-minute timer to remind you not to over brush. At any higher of a price point the oscillation and plaque removal would leave much to be desired, but at $25 you'll actually be surprised at the quality.
Do you want another Bluetooth-enabled device in your life? Do you need another app to manage and update and stare at? And how much power and customizability in a toothbrush do you really need? Most people won’t need all that extra horsepower, and the industry-standard built-in timer was enough to make me more conscious of my brushing routine, even in the haze of morning grogginess. Likewise, I’d rather not leave my toothbrush unprotected, naked in the crosshairs of unwanted contagions. So, with its sanitation system, soft bristles and easy charging, the TAO Aura Clean is the new brush you need.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.