Written By
Published Oct. 10, 2021

Electric toothbrushes take the guesswork out of caring for your pearly whites. These battery-operated brushes vibrate or spin to clear plaque. All you have to do is hold the toothbrush at the right angle and apply gentle pressure. Most, include a built-in timer that runs for the American Dental Association (ADA) recommended two minutes. Your toothbrush’s timer may include notifications every 30 seconds, to let you know when it’s time to change brushing locations. 

The best electric toothbrushes may have a few extra features like power settings, pulse settings, or smart features that measure bristle pressure. Models that include a travel case can be taken on the road. We’ll guide you through electric toothbrush basics. Plus, we’ve got recommendations galore for the best on the market. 

How we picked the products

Methodology 

I’m a big fan of electric toothbrushes. I’ve used and tested a number over the years. When I pick an electric toothbrush I look for a combination of modes, bristle action, battery life, and performance. 

  • Modes: Does the brush have enough modes for adequate cleaning? A single mode could work as long as it’s strong enough for most users. However, extra modes could offer broader functionality for those who are focused on keeping great dental hygiene. We preferred brands that offered options.
  • Bristle action: Does the vibration or oscillation effectively maintain contact with the teeth and help remove plaque? This is an important consideration we factored into our picks.
  • Battery life: Most people need at least a few days’ worth of battery life between charges, especially if they travel. I looked for models that give users the freedom to brush away from a cord or extra batteries. 
  • Performance: Does the brush clean well? Do the settings work together with the brush head design to effectively remove plaque? I looked for brushes where the whole package sums to strong performance.

The best electric toothbrushes: Reviews and recommendations

Best electric toothbrush: Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 Electric Toothbrush

Why It Made The Cut: This Philips model has features that let you customize the brushing experience and protective features like a pressure sensor which collectively make it one of the best electric toothbrush models on the market.

Specs:

  • Speeds: 3
  • Intensities: 3
  • Power source: Built-in, rechargeable battery

Pros:

  • Built-in pressure gauge helps protect gums and enamel
  • Up to 3 weeks of battery life, depending on brush settings
  • Quadracer timer alerts you to move to different tooth quadrants

Cons: 

  • A few units have shown poor durability

The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 Electric Toothbrush strikes a balance between extra features and price. It includes three speed settings and three intensities, providing users with ways to customize their brushing experience. 

It also includes a built-in pressure gauge that triggers an orange light if you’re pressing too hard. This feature helps protect gums and enamel from damage. The Philips electric toothbrush’s built-in Quadracer timer runs for two minutes and includes thirty-second alerts, so you know when to change areas on the teeth. Finally, we love the long battery life this brush has. 

Sadly, this model does have a few reports citing units with poor durability. A few have had button durability issues, while others had problems with brush heads falling off. While these issues are uncommon, they are worth noting.

Best electric toothbrush and water flosser combo: Waterpik Sonic-Fusion Professional Flossing Electric Toothbrush

Why it made the cut: The SonicFusion saves space and time by employing a water flosser and electric toothbrush combo; the power of two devices rolled into one. 

Specs:  

  • Speeds: 3
  • Intensities: 10
  • Power source: Built-in, rechargeable battery

Pros:

  • 10 pressure settings to clean sensitive teeth
  • Built-in timer with 30-second pacer
  • Works on brush, floss, and combo modes

Cons:

  • May require a surge protector

The Waterpik Sonic-Fusion Professional Flossing Electric Toothbrush has a head that functions as a toothbrush, water flosser, or both at the same time. With ten pressure settings, even people with sensitive teeth can find a setting that water flosses without irritation. 

A bestseller for many years, the SonicFusion also includes many of the same high-end features found with other electric toothbrushes, like a two-minute timer, a 30-second pacer, and a travel case. You can even add mouthwash to the reservoir for extra dental treatment while you brush and floss. 

Watch out for power surges while you use this device. Surges have been known to cause this flosser to stop functioning. However, if this were to happen, a responsive customer service team can help fix this known issue. 

Best electric toothbrush for kids: quip Kids Electric Toothbrush

Why it made the cut: The quip electric toothbrush gets bonus points for a simple design that kids love and a decluttering holder that parents appreciate—definitely the best electric toothbrush for kids.

Specs:  

  • Speeds: 1
  • Intensities: 1
  • Power source: AAA batteries

Pros:

  • Rubberized handle grip for better control
  • Storage container declutters bathroom counters
  • Charge lasts 3 months

Cons: 

  • Relatively pricey replacement heads
  • Batteries not rechargeable

The quip Kids Electric Toothbrush excels at brushing with the basics. This kid-sized brush has only one setting and one intensity, providing kids with the very basics without any additional confusing features. A rubberized handle helps little hands stay in control as they learn good oral hygiene. 

As far as storage, the quip Electric Toothbrush includes a holder that attaches to the mirror to save counter space. It runs on three AAA batteries, with the potential to run up to three months. 

A downside of this brush is that the replacement heads get pricey fairly quickly, whether you get them by subscription or at an alternative seller. This means that this kid’s toothbrush might not be quite as affordable in the long run. 

Best electric toothbrush for braces: Oral-B Pro 1000 CrossAction Electric Toothbrush

Why it made the cut: The Pro 1000 made the cut for its ease of use and the effectiveness of its oscillating action when cleaning orthodontic braces.

Specs: 

  • Speeds: 1
  • Intensities: 1
  • Power source: Built-in, rechargeable battery

Pros:

  • Compatible with a wide range of Oral-B replacement toothbrush heads
  • Bristle and head design cup the tooth for better cleaning coverage
  • Built-in 2-minute timer

Cons: 

  • Timer doesn’t automatically shut off the toothbrush
  • Only one mode

The best electric toothbrush for braces, the Oral-B Pro 1000 CrossAction, uses an oscillating action with vibration. It’s a slightly different action from that used by most toothbrushes, but one that works well for moving under and around braces. This model is also compatible with many of Oral-B’s brush heads. 

The Oral-B Electric Toothbrush keeps things simple with one mode and a single intensity. A timer offers thirty-second warnings when it’s time to change the area of your mouth you’re brushing. However, the toothbrush doesn’t automatically turn off when 2 minutes are up.. A longer vibration signals the end of the cycle, but the toothbrush continues to vibrate, so you do have to remember to turn this toothbrush off manually.

Best affordable electric toothbrush: Gleem Battery Power Electric Toothbrush

Why It Made The Cut: The Gleem looks and functions like a more expensive electric toothbrush, yet it has just the right features to keep it at an affordable price. 

Specs: 

  • Speeds: 1
  • Intensities: 1 
  • Power source: Disposable AAA batteries 

Pros:

  • Simple, 1 speed design
  • Memory function lets you stop the cleaning and pick up where you left off
  • Compact traveling case

Cons: 

  • Strong vibrations in the handle

The Gleem Electric Toothbrush cuts brushing down to the basics. It has one speed, one intensity, and a built-in timer. The only extra feature is a memory function that remembers where you were in the last brushing cycle, so that you can pick up where you left off. It’s powered by disposable AAA batteries, making it a good option for travelers or those looking to save on counter space. The slim travel case is an appealing bonus. 

We love this affordable electric toothbrush, especially for travel. However, be warned that it has strong handle vibrations that may interfere with the vibrating head. 

Things to Consider Before Buying an Electric Toothbrush

Battery Type and Run Time

Electric toothbrushes usually have either a built-in, rechargeable battery, or use disposable batteries. The better battery type is largely a matter of personal preference. However, if you have an older bathroom that does not have an electrical outlet, a model with disposable batteries could be more practical.

Run times for either battery type vary from two days to several months. Battery life is affected by the settings used too. If you use a toothbrush at the highest vibration setting and brush three times a day, you’ll go through your battery faster than if you brush gently and only twice a day. Longer battery life and run times make brushing less of a hassle, especially when traveling. 

Smart Features

Smart electric toothbrushes connect to an app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. These toothbrushes use the app to time each brush session and may even place orders for replacement heads automatically. 

Some models track the areas of your mouth that have been brushed and make recommendations for areas that you consistently miss. There are also smart toothbrushes that include the ability to gauge the pressure applied to your teeth. These extra features can help you improve your brushing skills. However, they add dollars to the toothbrush’s price. 

Bristle Motion and Type

The bristles of an electric toothbrush come in the same varieties as manual toothbrushes: they vary by stiffnesses, shape, size, and configuration. Consider how the different bristle and head designs affect the performance. 

For example, electric toothbrushes with larger heads cover more area but might be too big for a child’s mouth. Others may include rubber components that buff while brushing. Consider what kind of cleaning you want the brush to do, and whether the extra features will help you with your oral health care.

Some designs, like electric toothbrush / water flosser combos, let you brush and floss with the same machine. If you’re considering a water flosser as part of your routine, these combos can save you time and money.

Cleaning Modes

Some people prefer to stick to the basics and focus on a single cleaning mode. Others prefer to customize their brushing experience. Electric toothbrushes with several speeds or pulse settings let users find brushing motions that feel good for them, and provide the best results for their specific oral hygiene needs.

FAQs

Q: How do I choose an electric toothbrush?

Start by deciding on your budget. Some people happily spend hundreds on a toothbrush that they’ll use for ten or more years. Others might want something that’s a little easier on the wallet. Afterward, consider the sensitivity of your teeth and gums. A model with a single speed and intensity might work well if your mouth isn’t overly sensitive. However, sensitive teeth and gums may require specialized lower settings that only come with more expensive brushes. Finally, consider the kind of action’s you want—oscillation, vibration, or both. Both work equally well, but some people prefer one over the other. 

Q: How can I remove tartar from my teeth without going to the dentist? 

The best way to remove and keep tartar from forming is to go to the dentist for regular cleanings. Then, brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Good oral hygiene prevents tartar from forming in the first place, so it doesn’t need removal by you or the dentist. Most home remedies for tartar removal will just as easily damage your gums and enamel as  remove tartar. We recommend regular dental visits paired with consistent tooth care at home.  

Q: Do electric toothbrushes damage teeth?

Electric toothbrushes can damage teeth in the same way a manual toothbrush can, though they are no more likely to damage teeth than their manual counterparts. Bristles that are too stiff can damage enamel or irritate the gums. Over-aggressive brushing with an electric toothbrush can also damage teeth and gums in just the same way that manual brushing can. However, the timers on many electric toothbrushes are designed to counteract this, by reminding you to move on to the next quadrant.

Final thoughts

The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 Electric Toothbrush offers one of the best mixes of features and functionality. It’s got just enough extras to give you options, but isn’t so loaded with features that you feel like you’re waving a magic wand in your mouth. If you want an upgrade that cuts down on bathroom appliances, the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion Professional Flossing Electric Toothbrush brushes, flosses, and applies mouthwash. It does have a higher price point and a storage commitment, but makes up for it by doing an excellent job at providing all-in-one home tooth care.

MORE TO READ