Picking an electric toothbrush can be really tricky because there are so many different electric toothbrush brands and models. Oral B, Philips and Colgate are just some of the brands but each of them make loads of different brushes, each with different claims of how they protect your mouth. So how are you supposed to see past the marketing? That’s why we’ve asked our award winning dentist and ITV News expert, Andrew Wilson, to talk you through it and help you pick the best electric toothbrush for you and your family. This article was updated January 2019.
In this article, we’re going to tell you Andrew’s choice for the best electric toothbrush of 2019. We’ll tell you the pros and cons, the features and why we’re so impressed with this toothbrush. We’ll then give you a few brief summaries of the ‘best of the rest’ toothbrushes, considering the specific different needs that you may have. We’ll then give you a bit more information on electric toothbrushes; a brief buyers guide. There’s a lot of info on this page so if you’re in a rush, our key recommendations are at the top. Let’s go!
The best electric toothbrush 2019
The best electric toothbrush is not necessarily the most expensive one. As a dentist, I have tried most toothbrushes. I am a big fan of the Oral-B range and I have no hesitation in recommending this one to you. The best electric toothbrush on the market in 2019 is the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N.
- Brilliant 3D cleaning action
- Simple to use
- Built in timer
- Pressure control to protect gums
- Two week battery life
- Fantastic value
- Doesn’t have the ‘PRO Clean’ mode or ‘Smart’ features of the Oral-B Genius 9000
Would I use it? YES
This is just a fantastic electric toothbrush. It has everything that a good, solid, reliable electric toothbrush requires and you’re not paying a premium for all of the frills and gadgets. We’ll mention some of the more expensive brushes below because there are benefits with different models. However, if you just need a no-nonsense, effective toothbrush to protect your teeth against plaque, decay and gum disease, this is the toothbrush for you.
Let’s get technical for a moment. The Oral-B Pro 2 2500N has two brushing modes; a standard mode and a sensitive mode. The sensitive mode brushes your teeth with 6600 oscillations/rotations per minute. If you use this brush on the standard mode, it is cleaning at a whopping 9900 oscillations/rotations per minute and providing 45000 pulsations in that same minute. This is clinically proven by Oral-B (and verified by the good people of the Cochrane Group to make sure they didn’t just make it up) to give you a fantastic clean, remove more plaque (the soft build-up of bacteria that causes tooth decay, gingivitis and gum disease) so that your teeth and mouth is kept healthy. That was a very long sentence but the point is that this is the best electric toothbrush for the price by a million miles. At the time of writing, the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N is around £36 on Amazon and you will not beat that for value.
So we know that the brush itself is a winner. Let’s now consider some of the features of this model. The Pro 2 2500N comes with a built-in pressure sensor to prevent you from pressing too hard and damaging your gums. Many people, especially those who have used a manual toothbrush their whole lives, are used to scrubbing away at their teeth. Sometimes, this can have the effect of causing gum shrinkage (also known as recession). This leaves the roots of the teeth exposed which can ultimately weaken the teeth. The great thing about the Oral-B pressure sensor is that it prevents you pressing too hard with your new electric toothbrush, minimising the risk of gum recession.
The second very important feature of the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N is the built-in timer, also described as the ‘quad pacer’. What this means is that the toothbrush makes a noise every 30 seconds and after two minutes. The idea is that you spend 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth, moving on to the next quarter when the brush indicates. You then get a longer noise after two minutes of brushing. The electric toothbrush keeps going so you can carry on if you wish. I find that I cannot be as thorough as I would like to be when only brushing for two minutes so I keep going for a bit longer. But everyone should be brushing for a minimum of two minutes and that’s a surprisingly long time. An inbuilt timer is vital for any modern electric toothbrush.
The final feature of this toothbrush that I will mention is probably the least important but is a nice little bonus. The Oral-B Pro 2 2500N comes with a travel case included. No one wants to be the owner of the strange vibrating bag on the train or in the airport so this case prevents the brush being accidentally switched on while it’s packed away on the move. As I said, not essential but nice to have.
I mentioned above that it doesn’t have the ‘PRO Clean’ mode that the Oral-B Genius 9000 has. I like this higher power mode that is a feature of the Genius 9000 but it is certainly not essential. The important point is that all of the clinical trials conducted with Oral-B electric toothbrushes are carried out using the standard mode. This means that the standard mode of the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N has been tried and tested and will deliver a fantastic clean for your teeth and gums.
The number ‘2’ in the middle of Oral-B Pro 2 2500N indicates that this toothbrush has the new-and-improved lithium ion battery. Oral-B have discontinued the older models with the old battery so all of the Oral-B Pro range should have the better battery which can last for up to two weeks. In theory, mine never lasts that long but 10-12 days between charges is what you should expect. I have always found the batteries in Oral-B brushes to be very reliable, more so than with their main competitor, Philips Sonicare.
The ‘N’ at the end of Oral-B Pro 2 2500N indicates that this package contains the ‘Cross action’ electric toothbrush head. This is the best head in the Oral-B range in my opinion. It’s small so gets into those harder to reach places around the back of your teeth. I find it very comfortable to brush with and the angulated bristles are great for removing plaque around the gum line and between the teeth.
Please remember that whichever electric toothbrush you choose, it’s vital that you still clean between your teeth with either floss or interdental brushes. No toothbrush will get all the way in between your teeth so bacteria can still build up there if you don’t floss at least once a day (ideally before you go to bed).
What about the Oral-B Pro 2 2500W (3D White)?
The electric toothbrush handle itself is pink rather than black but otherwise is identical to the Pro 2 2500N. The other difference is that the Oral-B Pro 2 2500W comes with the 3D White head rather than the Cross action brush. The 3D white head has a polishing brush in the middle which is designed to remove surface stains from your teeth. The reason that I dislike this head is that it is bigger and bulkier than the cross action so it’s harder to clean around the back teeth. For me, the Cross action toothbrush head gives a better clean. If you’re after a pink toothbrush handle and travel case then this electric toothbrush is absolutely perfect for you. My only advice would be that when you next replace the toothbrush head, buy the Oral-B Cross action. You should be replacing your manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three months at least.
What about the Oral-B Pro 2 2000?
The Oral-B Pro 2 2000 is exactly the same electric toothbrush handle as with the Oral-B Pro 2 2000N. The difference is the packaging and what you get in the box. The Oral-B Pro 2 2000 does not contain the travel case but if you don’t want it and would like a different coloured toothbrush handle, take a look at this brush. The blue handle comes with either the Cross action or the Sensitive brush head. The pink handle comes with the 3D White. I think that the black brush handle of the Pro 2 2500N looks very smart but if you fancy a different colour, take a look at the Pro 2 2000. The price on Amazon is generally about the same so the choice is between a travel case or a different coloured handle.
For me, the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N is the best electric toothbrush on the market in 2019. It is a very high quality toothbrush at a fantastic price which is suitable for pretty much anyone. The Cross action head that comes in the box is the best Oral-B head available and the travel case is a bonus. If you’d prefer an electric brush with ‘smart’ features or you have receding gums, it may be worth taking a glance at the ‘Best of the rest’ electric toothbrushes below. However, you can’t really go wrong with the Pro 2 2500. I would highly recommend it as an investment in minimising bills from your dentist and protecting the health of your whole mouth.
- Up to 100 percent more plaque removal: Round head cleans better for healthier gums in 30 days vs a manual toothbrush
- Protect your gums: Pressure control reduces brushing speed and alerts you if you brush too hard
- Gently whitens your teeth starting from day 1 by removing surface stains
- Know you brush the right amount of time with the 2 minute professional timer
- Two brushing modes: Daily clean and gum care
Best of the rest
If you are not keen on the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N or just want to know the other options, here are my top picks of other electric toothbrushes you may wish to consider. Below this, I’ll also describe a few toothbrushes that I’d recommend that you avoid and my reasons why. I hope it helps.
This is the all-singing, all-dancing, top of the range Oral-B brush. Again, it is a fantastic bit of kit, very similar to the Pro 2 2500 described above. To be completely honest with you, there is not much difference in the performance of these two brushes when it comes to cleaning. At the time of writing, the Oral-B Genius 9000 is over twice the price of the Pro 2 2500 on Amazon. So why would you consider buying it?
The main extra benefits of the Genius 9000 are the ‘smart’ features. If you download the Oral-B app onto your phone, you can record how often you are brushing and for how long. If you are one of those people who maybe doesn’t spend enough time brushing their teeth, just giving them a quick brush in the evening because you’re tired, this might be a good motivator to brush for longer. When linked to your toothbrush, the app also records when you’re brushing too hard to help you to avoid damaging your gums.
The other feature that may be useful is the ‘position detection’. When you use the Oral-B Genius 9000 in combination with your phone, it can guide you around your mouth as you clean, making sure that you are brushing every area for long enough. I used to be very sceptical of this idea because when Oral-B introduced it a few years ago, it didn’t really work. It was inaccurate and meant that you were focusing on your phone rather than actually brushing your teeth. I’m pleased to say that they’ve improved the technology and when I tried my new Genius toothbrush recently, I was amazed at how accurate it had become.
As mentioned above, the Oral-B Genius 9000 includes the ‘PRO Clean’ mode which increases the speed that the head brushes your teeth. Most of the other modes are really not necessary in my opinion. The tongue brushing and whitening modes are a waste of time. You may like the sensitive mode (where the brush reduces to 6600 rotations per minute) but on the whole, I would recommend that you stick with the standard mode (or the ‘PRO Clean’ mode if you’re feeling brave!).
The travel case that comes with the Genius 9000 is actually really cool. It’s a very slick design and allows you to charge both your electric toothbrush and phone while on the move.
Why buy this toothbrush?
For me, the main benefit of the Oral-B Genius 9000 over the cheaper Oral-B toothbrushes is the ability to link to the app. The brushing timer, tracking your routine and position sensor are all huge motivators. If you’re someone who can get a bit lazy with brushing, this is an awesome bit of kit.
Or if you’re after a little bit more power and can afford the extra money, brushing with the ‘PRO Clean’ mode will rock your socks. The only reason that I haven’t recommended the Genius 9000 as the best electric toothbrush in 2019 is the extra cost compared to the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N or Oral-B Pro 2 2000.
The Oral-B Genius 9000 is undoubtedly a fantastic brush and highly recommended. I’ve stuck with the Midnight Black model since I tried it out. There are a few different Genius 9000 toothbrushes in the range but the only thing that changes is the colour of the handle and the toothbrush heads included. Each Oral-B Genius 9000 brush comes with four replacement toothbrush heads. In the Midnight Black package, all of the heads are my favourite CrossAction brush which is why it’s the one I’d go for.
- Brilliant Oral-B 3D cleaning action
- Standard and ‘PRO Clean’ mode
- Built in timer
- Pressure control to protect gums
- Two week battery life
- ‘Smart’ features that encourage brushing
- Relatively expensive
Would I use it? YES
Philips Sonicare EasyClean – Best sonic electric toothbrush and best for receding gums
Despite my top two electric toothbrushes being from Oral-B, I am a big fan of the Philips Sonicare range. The Sonicare works by vibrating/pulsing to remove plaque rather than the physical cleaning action of a manual brush or a rotating Oral-B model. The vibrations lift plaque away from the surface of your teeth and gums, keeping them healthy.
Philips claim that their brushes are able to clean further between the teeth than other electric toothbrushes because the vibrations given off are able to pass between teeth, disturbing bacteria in areas that no other toothbrush can reach. This may be partly true but even if you buy a Philips Sonicare toothbrush, you must still clean between your teeth once a day with either floss or interdental brushes.
My favourite electric toothbrush from Philips is the Philips Sonicare EasyClean. Similar to the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N, it is a high quality brush with everything you need and non of the extra frills. The head bends back and the tone of the brush changes if you are pushing too hard. It also has a built-in timer that lets you know every 30 seconds and when you have been brushing for two minutes. It has just one mode but, to me, that’s all you need.
The EasyClean is a great brush. You can pick it up on Amazon at the time of writing for around £36. This is very similar to the price of the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N and I consider them to be comparable; both are excellent brushes. The main downside to Philips is that over the years, their batteries have proved to be much less reliable than Oral-B.
You can buy the Philips Sonicare EasyClean with either the DiamondClean brush head or the Pro-Results brush head. I would recommend the DiamondClean head. It’s slightly smaller and more compact than the Pro-Results so is easier to move around your mouth and reach right to the backs of your molar teeth. (At the time of writing, the DiamondClean is also £4 cheaper on Amazon.)
Why buy this toothbrush?
The Philips Sonicare EasyClean will not let you down. I used it for many years and only swapped back to Oral-B because I preferred the feeling of the mechanical cleaning. Research suggests that both offer a fantastic way to maintain your dental health.
In my opinion, if you like sonic toothbrushes then this is a fantastic, reliable, good value option. The vibrating cleaning action of this toothbrush is much more gentle than that of the Oral-B brushes so if you have receding gums or thin, sensitive gums then consider the EasyClean.
- Gentle vibrating cleaning action
- Sonic action reaches between teeth
- Built in timer
- Two week battery life
- Philips Sonicare batteries have been historically unreliable
Would I use it? YES
- Removes up to 7x more plaque than a manual toothbrush
- Easy-start programme eases you into using an electric toothbrush
- 2 weeks battery life on a full charge
- Inbuilt smart-timer signals when your dentist recommended 2 minutes of brushing are up
- Our sonic technology is suitable for use with braces, fillings, crowns and veneers
Electric toothbrushes to avoid
Here’s a short list in no particular order of the electric toothbrushes that I would recommend that you avoid. These are not necessarily bad toothbrushes. There may be just one reason why I feel that there is a better option available to you.
Fairywill rotating toothbrush and Fairywill sonic toothbrush
On the face of it, these toothbrushes have all of the features to make them a great toothbrush. They have built in timers. They come with small, round heads to reach the back of your mouth. And they have decent rechargeable batteries. To top it off, they are offered on Amazon at a very fair price of around £20 at the time of writing.
My concern with these brushes is that there is no scientific research (or at least non that I am aware of) to show how effective these toothbrushes are at removing plaque and keeping you teeth and mouth healthy. Companies like Oral-B and Philips spend millions upon millions every year on researching their products and they also get their research verified by independent bodies like the Cochrane Group. We know that we can trust these big brands. Unfortunately, we don’t know how effective the Fairywill electric toothbrushes actually are at protecting your teeth and gums.
I know that it’s a lot of money but I would strongly recommend that if you are considering spending £20 on a Fairywill toothbrush, you try to find an extra £16 and spend £36 on an Oral-B Pro 2 2500N. To buy a product that you can rely on, it will be money well spent.
Oral-B Trizone 2000
Oral-B make great toothbrushes but the Trizone toothbrush head is far too big to be of any use to a human. If you re brushing your horse’s teeth, this may be the brush for you. However, if you need an electric toothbrush for a person, the Trizone will be far too big for you to reach the back of your mouth and effectively clean your molar teeth. I would strongly advise that you steer clear of any product that says Oral-B Trizone on it.
Oral-B Advance Power Battery Toothbrush
Another stinker from Oral-B. This is a very cheap toothbrush but the problem is the batteries. The Oral-B Advance Power requires AA batteries. When the batteries are running down, the quality of the clean it provides tends to decrease rapidly. For me, this toothbrush is one to be avoided. I would always recommend that if you are investing in an electric toothbrush, you buy one with a built-in, rechargeable battery.
Colgate ProClinical 250+ Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
I tried this toothbrush not too long ago and just didn’t like it. This is Colgate’s attempt to break into the electric toothbrush market and disrupt the main players, Oral-B and Philips. The ProClinical 250+ is a sonic electric toothbrush. It offers a gentle cleaning action, has an inbuilt timer and is sold at the very reasonable price of around £25 on Amazon at the time of writing.
My issue with this product may not be a big issue for you but, for me, the ProClinical 250+ toothbrush was too light. It had no weight in my hand. It felt flimsy and cheap.
I’m a big fan of sonic action electric toothbrushes but this would not be the one I would choose. If you’re after a good value sonic brush, I would recommend the Philips Sonicare EasyClean as described above.
If you would like to know more about electric toothbrushes, read on and I will explain the different features and what you should be looking for when buying an electric toothbrush.
Electric toothbrush buyer’s guide
Rotating head or sonic toothbrush?
This is the first choice that you will have to make when picking an electric toothbrush. There are two different types of electric toothbrush. The head of the toothbrush will either rotate or vibrate (often called sonic or ultrasonic). The evidence shows that there is not much between them. I used a sonic toothbrush for a couple of years but went back to a rotating head because my teeth felt cleaner. This isn’t very scientific but I much prefer the rotating head made by companies such as Oral-B.
Batteries or rechargeable?
Rechargeable, rechargeable, rechargeable. If you are buying an electric toothbrush, it has to be rechargeable. Never buy an electric toothbrush that takes single-use batteries. They lose power quickly and you might spend weeks with a toothbrush which is not working to remove plaque.
Toothbrushes with a rechargeable battery tend to last one or two weeks before you need to plug them back in. If you’re going on a long holiday, make sure it’s fully charged or you have a back up manual toothbrush.
What cleaning modes should it have?
You only need one cleaning mode. When you look at the top of the range electric toothbrushes from Oral-B or Sonicare, they have at least 5 different modes of cleaning and you don’t know where to start. They are there to give you choice but it’s completely unnecessary. Do not be persuaded to buy an electric toothbrush because it has a load of useless modes. You need a solid, reliable, electric toothbrush that does what it says on the tin.
That’s why the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N is the best electric toothbrush available at the moment. Here, we’ve found a bundle on Amazon which is fantastic value. It’s the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N and four of the best toothbrush heads that you can buy for an Oral-B toothbrush; the cross action head.
- Oral-B Pro 2500 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun - Black (Packaging May Vary)
- Oral-B CrossAction Electric Toothbrush Replacement Heads - Pack of 4
This is a must. It is vital that your new electric toothbrush warns you if you are pushing too hard. Pretty much every electric toothbrush these days has a sensor. The warning comes in the form of either a flashing light or a noise. If you are brushing too hard, whether it’s with a normal toothbrush or electric, you can do damage to your gums by scrubbing too hard. This can cause your gums to recede, exposing the soft, sensitive roots of your teeth. The great thing about most electric brushes is that they do the work for you and tell you when you are pressing too hard. This is a great way to protect your teeth and gums from damage.
This is really important. Your electric toothbrush must have a built-in timer to tell you how long you have been brushing for. As dentists, we recommend that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day, spending at least 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth. Most Oral-B and Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes contain a timer to help you. They buzz every 30 seconds to tell you to move onto the next quarter of your mouth. Annoyingly, the Philips Sonicare toothbrush actually turns off after 2 minutes. You can obviously turn it back on again but remember who’s the boss. You’re in charge, not your toothbrush.
Smart apps and gadgets
I’ve actually changed my mind on this recently. I used to really dislike all of the gadgets and apps, I thought they were gimmicks to get you to spend extra money where you didn’t need to. However, I gave them another chance recently when I tried the latest smart toothbrushes and I’m happy to say that I was actually quite impressed. The apps have become much more sophisticated at helping you brush by guiding you around your mouth, letting you know where you’re missing.
I certainly don’t think that these smart features are essential. Most people won’t need or want them. However, they can be really useful for people who need that extra bit of motivation. If you have the spare money, a smart brush like the Oral-B Genius 9000 is an excellent bit of kit. But the toothbrush itself is not very different from the others in the range such as my personal favourite the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N.
Where to buy your electric toothbrush?
Buy it on the internet. There is absolutely no point in going into a shop or pharmacy to buy an electric toothbrush. Even if they are on offer on the high street, it is unlikely that they won’t be cheaper on somewhere like Amazon.
The investment in an electric toothbrush today will save you time and money at the dentist tomorrow. And remember, you don’t need the most expensive brush. You need a great brush like the Oral-B Pro 2 2500N that is reliable, affordable and keeps your teeth healthy.
Why do we brush our teeth?
We recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day but do you know why? The two main diseases that damage your teeth and gums are both caused by bacteria. Tooth decay is when bacteria use sugar from your diet to make a hole in your tooth or teeth. Gum disease is when bacteria get underneath your gums and cause inflammation which leads to the loss of the bone support around your teeth.
Both of these diseases can lead to tooth loss. So the reason that we brush our teeth is to remove bacteria and debris that cause these diseases. Rather than spending time and money with your dentist to cure disease, it’s much better to spend time with your toothbrush to prevent disease.
About electric toothbrushes
In the last section, we explained why we brush our teeth. The main question we want to answer here is ‘should you be using an electric toothbrush?’
Electric toothbrushes in one form or another have existed for years and years. They have been around since the 1950’s but an electric toothbrush in 2019 is almost unrecognisable from the early devices that needed to be plugged into the mains.
The only thing that hasn’t changed is its function. An electric toothbrush is designed to do the job of automatically brushing your teeth. They work to remove bacteria and prevent disease, doing the hard work for you.
Scientific research has proven that an electric toothbrush is more effective than a manual brush at removing plaque (a soft build up of bacteria around teeth and gums). The research is pretty conclusive. The Cochrane Group (a very clever bunch of science boffins) brought all of the evidence together and showed that people using an electric toothbrush had less bacteria in their mouths and less gingivitis (bleeding gums).
In answer to our question, ‘should you be using an electric toothbrush?’ the answer is a definite ‘YES’.
Not convinced by electric toothbrushes? If you insist, here’s some info on our favourite manual toothbrush.
Best manual toothbrush
As mentioned above, current scientific evidence shows that electric toothbrushes remove more plaque and bacteria than manual toothbrushes. However, they aren’t for everyone and you may be one of those people who just doesn’t like the feel of an electric toothbrush.
If this is you and you’re going to stick with a manual brush, by far the best manual toothbrush available in 2018 is the Curaprox Ultra Soft toothbrush. Honestly, these toothbrushes are amazing. You would not believe how soft they are until you try them.
I don’t normally recommend soft bristled toothbrushes but these are fantastic. An average soft brush is not strong enough to remove plaque from around your teeth and gums but this one does the job amazingly. The bristles are made of polyester rather than the usual nylon filaments.
They are made in Switzerland to an incredibly high standard and they are so well made that Curaprox can fit 5,460 bristles onto this toothbrush head. This is amazing and gives the toothbrush a gentle yet dense cleaning surface that removes plaque with ease.
We must be clear that an electric toothbrush will usually give you a much better clean than even the best manual toothbrush but if you are only interested is using a manual toothbrush, this is the best you will find by a million miles. Most shops don’t sell the Curaprox range so we’ve put a link below to where you can buy them on Amazon.
- Make your gums fall in love with your CS5460 Ultra Soft Toothbrush. Octagonal handle helps users to brush at the correct angle
- 5,460 CUREN bristles
- Funky and Colourful
- This item is available in different colors. You will receive a randomly chosen product from the range shown.
- A pre-selection of a certain color by the customer is unfortunately not possible with the order
This article was written by our award winning dentist, Dr Andrew Wilson (GDC number 209563). Andrew was the winner of Young Dentist of the Year for the UK 2018. He helps BBC Radio and ITV News as an expert on everything dental. Andrew has no links to any toothbrush manufacturers. This article represents Andrew’s opinion on what is the best electric toothbrush on the market in 2019.