Review - The Sonicare Essence electric toothbrush.

The Essence line of toothbrushes is one of Sonicare's older, less full-featured series of sonic brushes. We don't currently see this line listed on Sonicare's website but we do still see these brushes listed as being available from web retailers.

We will state that due to the fact that the Essence brushes represent older, although effective, technology, buying one can make a very cost-effective choice.

» Model names and numbers.

The model names and numbers associated with this product line appear to be the Essence 5500 (HX5752) and 5300 (HX5351, HX5352). But, especially since this is an older product, you should be sure to evaluate the packaging on the specific brush you plan to purchase, so to insure that it has all of the features, options and accessories that you expect.

We'll also state that we see some somewhat irregular pricing associated with these toothbrushes, possibly because it is an older product line. Our advice would be, make sure you shop around. We expect that you can find some good deals on Essence brushes.

» What features does the Essence line offer?

As compared to other Sonicare powered toothbrushes, members of the Essence series only offer a single cleaning mode, they do have Sonicare's Smartimer and Easy-start features, and they utilize older-styled Elite-series (e-series) brush heads.

As compared to the model 5300, the Essence 5500 also features Sonicare's QuadPacer function and comes packaged with a second standard-sized brush head.

Philips and Sonicare are registered trademarks of Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Easy-start and QuadPacer are registered trademarks of Philips Oral HealthCare, Inc.

Features -

1) Brushing modes.

» The Essence brushes just offer a single brushing mode.

The Essence toothbrushes only have one brushing speed. It is, however, Sonicare's hallmark 31,000-brush-strokes-per-minute brushing action (the one we feel most people should be using).

That means, to us, this limitation is actually a product advantage. The Essence line provides a way by which a person can purchase a decent sonic toothbrush, without having to also buy those options and features typically loaded onto the higher-end Sonicare models (that we personally would not find ourselves using).

» The Essence series does not offer a Sensitive brushing mode.

It's important to note that the Essence line of brushes does not offer Sonicare's reduced-power Sensitive brushing mode. For some, but not most people, there can be situations where a person has a need for this setting. We discuss this issue in detail on the page linked to in this paragraph. You should review that information, just to make sure that this issue is not an important one for you.

» Other Essence features.

The Essence line does feature Sonicare's Smartimer and Easy-start functions. The 5500 also includes the QuadPacer function.

2) Brush heads.

» The Essence brushes use Sonicare's e-series brush heads.

[We discuss the comparative advantages and disadvantages of different Sonicare brush-head designs in greater detail here.]

The Essence 5300 uses Sonicare's older-styled e-series (Elite) brush heads. These brush heads are available in two sizes, the Standard and Compact (Mini). The model 5500 comes packaged with two Standard-sized brush heads.

Technically, e-series heads are less efficient, less convenient to switch and harder to keep clean than newer designs. We discuss these issues on our brush-heads page.

3) Recharging / batteries.

The body of an Essence brush houses a non-replaceable, rechargeable NiCad battery. The charging process can (depending on the initial status of the battery) take as long as 24 hours to fully recharge. For this reason, Philips Sonicare suggests that Essence brushes should be left in their stand when not otherwise in use.

The newer Sonicare toothbrushes have a lithium-ion battery, which does offer some advantages. We discuss the comparative advantages of all of the Sonicare power-features here.

4) Other Essence features.

The Essence toothbrushes do come with travel case, which is convenient. They do not, however, come with charger that is multi-voltage or compact-sized for traveling like newer Sonicare models do. We will say, however, that if you find you need to pack your Essence's charger stand, it really isn't all that big.

Model-specific problems.

We aren't aware of any model-specific problems with the Sonicare Essence toothbrushes. As a criticism, we will state that it is a disappointment that Sonicare has yet to create a design for this toothbrush that allows for replacing a failed battery.

Our conclusions about the Essence toothbrushes.

We personally think that if you know what Sonicare features are important to you, and if an Essence toothbrush has them, then it's a good cost-effective product to buy.

For us, the salient feature and attraction of the Essence line is simply that it generates Sonicare's characteristic 31,000-brush-strokes-per-minute brushing action. And although all other Sonicare models do too, this toothbrush is less expensive than most of them.

Some of the disadvantages of this brush are that it doesn't have a Sensitive brushing mode and it uses e-series brush heads. To us, however, this wouldn't be much of an issue. Additionally, you feel you have no real need for the model 5500's QuadPacer function, the Essence 5300 (which lacks this feature) is a less expensive alternative.

Sonicare Toothbrushes
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