A sonic toothbrush.

Sonicare Electric Brush

Which is the best Sonicare toothbrush? (Updated April 2016) -

a) Our take about which Sonicare brushes make the best choice (function and value).   b) Which options are the most important to have.   c) A comparison of models based on their features.

This page will take you through a comparison of the current Sonicare toothbrush models, in an attempt to single out those few that seem to make the best choice (make a "best-buy"). [We offer the same type of comparison for Oral-B models on this page.]

Our approach.

Our evaluation is features-based, utilizing details collected from Philips Sonicare websites, publications and service representatives.

What we've done is sort through this information so we can share with you which Sonicare features we feel provide service and offer value, as opposed to being mostly hype.

We then identify which toothbrush models have just those features, or at least as few unwanted extras as possible.

Who will benefit from this Best Sonicares list?

Our comparison is geared toward meeting the needs of the "average" powered toothbrush user (the 80% of people in the middle of the bell curve). And for those for whom cost is a reasonably important consideration.


Which models did we evaluate?

Here's the list of models we've included in our comparison:

  • DiamondClean - Models: HX9372/04 ($220), HX9362/68 ($220), HX9352/04 ($220), HX9332/05 ($220)
  • FlexCare Platinum - Models: HX9172/15 ($200), HX9112/13 ($180), HX9112/12 ($180), HX9110/02 ($180)
  • FlexCare+ (plus) - Models: HX6921/04 ($150), HX6921/02 ($150)
  • HealthyWhite - Models: HX8918/10 ($130), HX6731/02 ($120)
  • HealthyWhite+ - Models: HX8911/02 ($120), HX8918/10 ($130)
  • Sonicare 3 series gum health - Model: HX6631/02 ($90)
  • Sonicare 2 series plaque control - Models: HX6211/07 ($70), HX6211/28 ($70), HX6211/04 ($70)
  • Sonicare for Kids - Model: HX6321/02 ($50)
  • Essence+ - Model: HX3211/17 ($40)
  • Essence - Models: HX5610/04 ($115), HX5611/01 ($40)
  • PowerUp - Models: HX3631/06 ($15), HX3631/07 ($15)

How did we select these models?

At the time of this update (April 3, 2016), the above toothbrushes constituted all of the models that Sonicare (Phillips Electronics N.V.) displayed on their website as their "current" products.

Changes from previous updates.

Those who have utilized this page before may have noticed that some changes in the Sonicare line up have taken place over the past one or two years.

  • The biggest new news is the introduction of the Essence+ model (HX3211/17).

    The regular Essence has been on our Best list for some years now. However, one draw back of choosing it was that it used an older style (screw-on) brush head. As a big advancement, the Essence+ has been designed to work with Sonicare's line of click-on brushes.

  • Another new model, the HealthyWhite+ HX8918/10, has recently been introduced too. Unfortunately, it offers nothing new of any significance.
  • The FlexCare Platinum (HX9170/10) has been dropped from Sonicare's product line. This was one of only two models that offered their UV sanitizer (a feature we never cared for anyway).
  • Of past note, one of our Best Sonicare picks from 2014, the EasyClean (HX6511/50), was discontinued in 2015. The same year that the HealthyWhite+ and 3 Series Gum Health lines were first introduced.

About the prices we show.

As you can see, we found brushes priced from around $220 all the way down to $15. This information comes directly from the Phillips Electronics website (April 3, 2016).

We have to assume that these numbers represent the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). But on more than one occasion we found online retailers displaying a higher "listed" price (which makes their discounts look bigger).

Our only point here is that you should definitely compare prices a bit before making a purchase. And yes, we did find all of the models included in our comparison for sale online.


Setting the criteria for our evaluation.

For our comparison, we decided that identifying the "best" Sonicare toothbrushes meant choosing:

  • The least expensive models ...
  • that feature Sonicare's hallmark 31,000-brush-strokes-per-minute brushing action ...
  • and just have those additional features that the buyer either finds especially appealing or convenient.

We set our criteria up this way because we wanted our findings to be a balance between features and price. After all, why buy "more toothbrush" than you really need?


Brushing Action - The most important feature.

You may not be aware of this but the whole reason to buy a Sonicare is because of it's full-power 31,000 brushstrokes-per-minute brushing action.

The fluid-dynamics cleaning action of a Sonicare toothbrush.
  • Toothbrush bristles vibrating at this rate of speed are able to create a secondary cleansing action that extends beyond where the bristles actually touch. (Yes, beyond.)
  • This is something that only a sonic toothbrush can do. And this extra ability is why your dentist made their recommendation to you about buying one.

[This cleaning phenomenon is termed "fluid dynamics." If you'd like to read more about sonic toothbrushes and how they create it, use this link.]

Which models offer this setting?

As the most important criteria of our comparison, we took a look at all of the models in our list to make sure that each one offered it. (The 31,0000 strokes-per-minute setting is most commonly referred to as "Clean" mode in Sonicare manuals and literature.)

Our evaluation determined:

  • Yes, has it. - The DiamondClean, FlexCare Platinum, FlexCare+ (plus), HealthyWhite, HealthyWhite+ (plus), Sonicare 2 series, Sonicare 3 series gum health, Sonicare for Kids, Essence+ and Essence models all feature this mode.
  • No, doesn't have it. - The PowerUp model doesn't have this capability, so it's off our list. (The top speed on a PowerUp brush is only 15,000 strokes-per-minute.)

Additional Sonicare features.

Our website has always expressed a fairly strong opinion about which Sonicare features have value and which ones not so much.

We're probably too critical in many ways, but we have a high regard for sonic toothbrushes in general, and Sonicare in particular, and just feel that the features they offer should be more about substance than hype.

[If you want additional information about a particular feature (both pros and cons), use the buttons to the right.]

There are some features we just never liked.

We've noticed over the years that some of the features we thought held little value have not, in fact, been carried forward into newer product lines. Here's one example:

The UV brush-head sanitizer.

Just a few years ago this was one of Sonicare's newest options. Right now, it only comes on one of the FlexCare Platinum models (HX9172/15). And while these are some of Sonicare's highest-end brushes, this feature doesn't seem to have been carried over into the newer DiamondClean product line.

We'd take that as evidence that consumers generally didn't find it to be an especially important feature or good value. We had always stated on our pages that we saw no purpose for it. We based our opinion on that of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) whose website states that toothbrush sterilization holds little benefit.

So, two more models fall off our list.

Since one of our core comparison criteria was not to include brushes that featured unneeded options, we'll go ahead and scratch the two FlexCare Platinum models with UV Sanitizer off our list. But that still leaves us with 19 other Sonicares to choose from.

Brushing modes - What's the purpose?

You couldn't have found a website that has less faith in the importance of the various (and ever changing on each new model) Sonicare brushing modes.

Just one mode is what most people need.

We do think Sonicare toothbrushes are great and important products but just for one main reason, their full-power 31,0000 brush-strokes-per-minute brushing action. (This is labeled as "Clean" mode on almost all models.)

Yes, we'll concede that a few people may have special circumstances (like the need for a "sensitive" mode). But for the vast majority users, the best, most effective, most efficient brushing mode they can use is the full-power one.

  • This is the mode that was used to establish the benefits of using sonic toothbrushes in scientific research.
  • This is the mode that Sonicare invented and has built its reputation on.

(We spend a lot of time documenting the basis of this position here.)

Human nature.

We'd also suggest that 6 months or so out, even those people who originally enjoyed the novelty (yes, novelty) of having more than one brushing mode to choose from have long since forgotten that these options even exist, much less how to activate them.

In light of the above, it's pretty easy to dismiss the importance of buying a Sonicare model that features a lot of brushing modes.


What you need to know about the models in our Best-Sonicare list.

Model similarities.

The toothbrushes remaining in our comparison have some features in common. For example, per the Phillips website each of them have:

  • Charging units that can run on 110 - 220 volt electrical systems. This capability can be important if you're a world traveler. (You will, however, need plug adapters for the various types of outlets you may encounter.)
  • Smartimer (KidTimer) - This is a simple two-minute brushing timer. Some people like this feature because it helps them to achieve a higher level of brushing discipline. Others find it annoying. (This feature cannot be deactivated.)
  • Many Sonicare brushes feature the Quadpacer function. This is a quadrant timer that signals when you should advance to cleaning the next 1/4th of your mouth.

    Take note below about which of our selections do or don't have this feature. For those that do, only the Flexcare line offers an option where you can deactivate it.

  • The availability of both standard and compact-sized brush heads. Depending on your needs, this can be a very important option.
  • Excessive pressure sensor - Sonicare brushes don't have an excessive brushing pressure indicator per se (in comparison Oral-b models do). But their brushing motion will stall out when the user applies too much.
  • Easy-start - This feature helps you get used to using your Sonicare, gradually, by slowly ramping up its power over a period of several brushing sessions.
Sonicare brush heads.

DiamondClean and original ProResults brush heads.

Model differences.

Brush heads.

The toothbrushes in our list come packaged with a number of different styles of brush heads (different bristle configuration, design and size). We list the specific brush head(s) provided (type and quantity) with each brush's listing below.

Important - Most Sonicare models utilize click-on (snap-on) brush heads. And they are universally interchangeable among many different toothbrush models.

That means you have a lot of options to choose from when buying replacement heads. And for this reason, we don't place great emphasis on which type comes with which model.

The exception to the above are the Essence and PowerUp lines, which each use their own specific type of head. (We make note of all of this below. We explain Sonicare brush head options in general, on this page.)

Battery type.

The models in our list have one of two types of rechargeable batteries, either NiMH or lithium ion. We make note of this with each brush's listing below.

  • Lithium ion batteries offer some advantages. Due to their smaller size, the bodies of models that have them tend to be lighter and sleeker. Additionally, the nature of these batteries offers recharging and performance advantages.
  • Philips Sonicare seems to suggest that their models that have lithium ion batteries can go longer between charges (3 weeks vs. just 2).

To us, battery type wouldn't be an insignificant consideration. But if a particular model met our needs in all other ways, we'd let this one slip by. This page discusses the subject of battery options in greater detail.


Our Best-Sonicare list.

With the explanation of the criteria we've set for what makes the best type of Sonicare now out of the way, we can go ahead and just cut to the chase.

The brushes we've identified as good picks are listed below and arranged from least to most expensive.

Consider the cheapest and then work your way up.

In light of the criteria we've set, as you read through each brush's description it should be obvious to you why we've included it.

But more importantly, with each description we've also stated reasons why you might not like that brush. And if those reasons hold true for you, just skip past it and move on down the list to the next "best" model.

Got questions?

If you have a question about something you see on our page, or Sonicare models in particular, leave a comment at the bottom of this page and we'll see if we can get an answer for you.

You may have an out if you've made a poor choice.

Philips Sonicare has traditionally offered a 90-day money-back guarantee with their toothbrushes, allowing you to return yours if you're unsatisfied with it.

On the Philips website we see this guarantee worded as: "If within 90 days of your original retail purchase you are not satisfied with your product, we will refund your money."

Obviously, we don't speak for Philips. So if having this option is important to you, you should contact them or read the packaging of the product you're considering before making your purchase, just to make sure you have all of the details straight.

Double check brush features before you buy.

We've gone to a lot of effort in compiling this information to make sure we got everything right. But beyond our control, features and options can change.

Before you buy, do us a favor and just double check what we say against the packaging or description of the actual product you plan to buy. We don't want you to be disappointed.


The best Sonicare toothbrushes - From cheapest to more expensive.

Here are our choices, with comments about why you might or might not like each of them.

As explained above, the prices we show are based on Sonicare/Phillips MSRP information. We can't imagine that you won't be able to find these models for about the amount we show, or less.

A Sonicare Essence sonic toothbrush.

Sonicare Essence HX5611/01

#1 - The Sonicare Essence: HX5610/04 ($115), HX5611/01 ($40).

(Price Sonicares at Walmart.com.)

This is a bare-bones Sonicare. It's basically an old design that just happens to still be sold. It doesn't really have any options or features (other than a brushing timer and EasyStart). It just vibrates like a Sonicare should.

  • The HX5610/04 package contains two Essence toothbrushes, two brush heads and a travel case. The HX5611/01 contains one toothbrush and one brush head. If you do the math, the pricing difference ($115 vs. $40) doesn't make a lot of sense, at least to us.
  • In previous updates we've reported that the HX5611/01 came with a travel case too. Now it doesn't. So take note of what is included with the package you buy, it may vary (new vs. old stock).
Things to know about the Essence:
  • It's body is big to hold (probably in part due to the fact that it has the NiMH style of battery) and it's a little bit noisier than other models. As compared to the sleeker, more-modern Sonicare designs, this unit does seem a bit old fashioned.
  • Replacement brush heads: e-Series, which do come in Standard and Compact sizes. However, those are the only options you have.

    These heads screw-on rather than snap in place (the only model in our Best list to use this type). This design tends to accumulate gunk and makes the brush slightly less convenient to use if it's shared. [More details.]

    Possibly e-Series heads are less efficient brushers.

  • Operating time after charging: - "Up to" 2 weeks (NiMH battery).
  • More detailed information about the Essence.

Comments: The Essence isn't as glamorous a brush as the more modern Sonicares but it creates the same full-power brushing action as they do. And that means if you're looking for a way to spend as little money as possible, this brush can make an OK selection.

The main problem is that you're severely limited on style of replacement brush head. And for that reason, the Essence+ really makes the better choice (with no increase in cost).


Take note!

From this point on:

  • All of the models below use Sonicare's interchangeable, snap-on style brush heads.

The range of brush heads includes: DiamondClean (standard & compact sizes), Adaptive Clean (standard & compact sizes), Intercare (standard), ProResults (standard & compact sizes), ProResults Plaque Control (standard), ProResults Gum Health (standard), Sensitive (standard), Simply Clean (standard & compact sizes) and For Kids (standard & compact sizes).

!! This is an important point because despite what type your brush came with originally, you can switch to any other (style or size) head. That makes for a lot of options. (More information about brush heads.)


#2 - The Sonicare Essence+: HX3211/17 ($40).

(Price Sonicares at Walmart.com.)

This model is basically just the older Essence brush but redesigned so it can be used with click-on style brush heads.

Things to know about the Essence+:
  • Generally speaking, this brush has the same body design as its predecessor, meaning it's comparatively large and it vibrates and is noisier than the sleeker, more-modern Sonicares.
  • Replacement brush heads: This model can be used with the full line of Sonicare snap-on heads.

    That's a big deal. It gives you a much wider range of styles to choose from. And these heads are more convenient to change (a nice feature if you share a brush), and make it easier to keep things clean.

  • Operating time after charging: - "Up to" 10 days (NiMH battery). Curiously, the older Essence model provides more brushings between charges.
  • More detailed information about the Essence+.

Comments: The fact that the Essence+ uses click-on brush heads makes this model a very attractive choice. It's cheap, a full-fledged Sonicare, just not as stylish as the newer designs.

#3 - The Sonicare For Kids: (HX6321/02) - $50.

(Price Sonicares at Walmart.com.)

This is a "kids" toothbrush. But for people who can overlook that fact, this is a way of getting a modern, full-fledged (31,000 brush-strokes-per-minute) Sonicare at a low price.

A Sonicare For Kids sonic toothbrush.

Sonicare For Kids HX6321/02

Things to know about the Sonicare For Kids:
  • Everything about this brush is geared toward children, which tends to limit its appeal to most adults.

    That includes the way it looks (although you can just leave the decorative stickers off), and the way its brushing timer (which you can't turn off) functions and sounds. If you're an adult and considering this brush, you really must use the link below to learn more about it so to make sure you want to put up with these features.

  • It has a brushing timer (KidTimer) and features a QuadPacer-type function (KidPacer).
  • Syncs via Bluetooth to a brushing app on your smartphone.
  • Replacement brush heads: The full range of universally interchangeable snap-on heads listed above. (Confirmed by a phone call to Sonicare on 8/1/2016.)

    If an adult chooses to use this brush with either of its stock brush heads, they will find the For Kids Standard brush to be "smallish" (about the same size of the DiamondClean, which is one of the smaller adult brush heads). The For Kids Compact sized head in comparison would be significantly smaller. Both heads have softer bristles than their adult-sized counterparts.

  • More detailed information about the Sonicare For Kids.

#4 - The Sonicare 2 Series Plaque Control: HX6211/04, HX6211/07, HX6211/28 - $70.

A Sonicare 2 Series sonic toothbrush.

Sonicare 2 Series HX6211/04

(Price Sonicares at Walmart.com.)

This is a "sleeker," more refined alternative to the heftier Essence and Essence+ models. (The HX6211/04, HX6211/07 and HX6211/28 only vary by their respective colors Sky Blue, Black and Ultra Coral.)

Things to know about the Sonicare 2 Series:
  • Replacement brush heads: The full range of universally interchangeable snap-on heads listed above.
  • Features Sonicare's Smartimer but not their QuadPacer function.
  • Operating time after charging: - "Up to" 2 weeks. (NiMH battery.)
  • More detailed information about the Sonicare 2 Series.

Comments: When compared to the Essence and Essence+ above, you're basically buying a smaller, easier to hold brush, which is nice.

As compared to the regular Essence, you also get the advantage of more convenient, easier to clean around, snap-on brush heads. Not to mention the big range of brush head styles to choose from when buying replacements.

 

If you're willing to consider a non-Sonicare model, open these drop-down boxes.

A Sonicare 3 Series sonic toothbrush.

Sonicare 3 Series HX6631/02

#5 - The Sonicare 3 Series Gum Health (HX6631/02) - $90.

(Price Sonicares at Walmart.com.)

This is our Best list's "high-end" model.

Things to know about the 3 Series:
  • Replacement brush heads: The full range of universally interchangeable snap-on heads listed above for the Series 2.
  • Operating time after charging: - "Up to" 3 weeks. (Lithium-ion battery.)
  • It has Sonicare's QuadPacer and Smartimer features.
  • More detailed information about the Series 3.

Comments:

As compared to the 2 Series:

  • This one has a lithium-ion battery, which is generally a plus for us. (Note the more brushings per charge vs. the 2 Series.)
  • Just like the "2," it offers as much choice in brush head options as any Sonicare toothbrush.
  • It has the QuadPacer function whereas the 2 Series does not.
  • It offers the same single brushing mode as the 2 Series (Clean). But this brush also has 3 intensity settings (high, medium and low).

    We absolutely feel that almost all users should just use Clean mode (at the highest intensity setting). But for people who can't tolerate that much brushing activity (like elderly or debilitated person's), this brush gives the user additional options that the 2 Series doesn't.

  • This model comes with a travel case, which to some might be a plus.

What you don't get with these cheaper Sonicare models.

With the Sonicare line, buying a higher priced toothbrush doesn't equate with getting a more efficient/effective brushing action. But keep in mind that with the lower end models we list above, you're not buying a Rolls-Royce.

The more expensive Sonicares do offer some refinements that may be important to you. Here are two we have noticed:

  • Body style - The bodies/handles of the more expensive models tend to be thinner and sleeker, although not by much. We personally found the 2 and 3 Series models easier to hold. In part because they had some rubberized sections that gave a little grip.

    If you want to test for yourself we've noticed two retailers (Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target) who typically have different Sonicare models (as well as other brands of electrics) on display so you can pick them up and hold them (although the display items don't actually work.)

  • Noise level - With such a large range of products to compare, we contacted Sonicare support about this issue. They stated that "all Sonicare units have noise difference." Their recommendation was that the "newer" models like the DiamondClean and FlexCare Platinum are the quietest, and specifically as compared to the highest end model in our list (the 3 Series).

    (We take issue with the use of the term "newer" here. It seems that "more expensive" is really the proper comparison point for this particular group of brushes, and we're assuming all Sonicares in general. We say this because we're under the impression that the 3 Series is a more recent model than the DiamondClean.)

What about the other Sonicare models?

The other brushes in our original list were the HealthyWhite, HealthyWhite+, FlexCare+ (plus), FlexCare Platinum and DiamondClean models.

Why they didn't make our list.

With this group of models, the whole issue about multiple brushing modes comes into play (as explained above). And a fundamental criteria of our comparison was not to pick brushes that featured what we consider unneeded options.

That's why these models didn't make our Best Sonicares list. It wasn't because they're not good brushes, they are. They're just not, in our opinion, best buys.

You may feel differently.

Of course, you may have noticed some Sonicare feature that you feel is vital that's not offered on any of the brushes we've suggested. If so, you're obviously just going to have to buy one of the models that does.

Which one would you buy in that case? Just like above, we think that the least expensive model that has all of the features that you want and as few extras as possible, is always the best choice.

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

 

 
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Comments

This article approached the topic exactly as I would have and was so helpful! I had started to get confused about the subtle differences between models I was considering; your summary and all the related info was just the ticket. Thanks for taking the time to create it--a very valuable service.

I was searching all over the internet trying to find a real honest comparison of all the Sonicare models. This was so helpful,easy to understand and practical.

Glad it helped.

Thank you for the time you took to research and write this article. You answered every question I had and would have taken me hours to research on my own. I now know what I need and more importantly what I don't need. Thanks again for all your help.

>>know what I need and more importantly what I don't need That's exactly what we were hoping visitors would take away from this page.
Thanks for posting.

The best review I have read so far. This is the type of factual information I was looking for to make my buying decision. I am now a fan and will return to this site for further reference. Thank you.

Thank you for your information. The battery of my old (+7 years old) sonic care toothbrush is going fast. Do i get a new battery or replace it? Any comments please. If i replace it seems that the the Easy clean models features will do the job however quality control issues plague this model. Do you know how this model compares with other models in terms of durability, and consistent design flaws. Consistent comments on how the easy clean model does not seem to clean/ with a sense of low head output/power, also batteries not charging (base and handle issues and sonic are only sends out handles - taking 2 weeks and then if it still wont charge it take another two weeks to get a base. so 1 month out of action. Also after three non charging issues they will not honor the warranty. Also the metal insert breaking or rusting and sonicare telling customers not to push too hard when brushing and acknowledging there is a design flaw.

So, are the higher priced items more durable and stronger, not just more modes?
What to buy- any ideas.

We contacted a Sonicare representative and asked about two specific issues:

Question: Is the Clean mode setting on each brush the same? Is one brush's Clean mode better or more powerful than the other?
Answer: They are all the same.

Question: Are the more expensive Sonicare models better quality brushes (more durable/lasting) or just more expensive because they offer more features?
Answer: They are more expensive because they offer more features and are better quality.

At over twice the cost (EasyClean vs. DiamondClean or Flexcare), that's not a terribly unexpected answer.

Sonicare doesn't offer much information about the internals of their products but we did find service manuals for the EasyClean, HealthyWhite and FlexCare +.
The "technical information" section of each reports the exact same operating voltage and power consumption, implying that their internals are at least similar.

And we did notice that companies selling replacement batteries for Sonicares sold ones with the same specs for both the EasyClean and FlexCare.

And finally, we went to Amazon and looked at customer ratings of the more expensive Sonicares (Diamond Clean, FlexCare Platinum, FlexCare+, HealthyWhite) vs. the EasyClean.
Just a quick calculation on a basis of 5 star ratings vs. not 5 star, suggests that only the Flexcare Plus had a higher ratio of 5 stars than the EasyClean.

No one can know everything but to us the EasyClean still seems to make a reasonable choice. There is the option of returning it if you don't like it after you've tried it.

I really appreciated the clear logic of this comparison, but ultimately I decided I couldn't pay good money for a brush that shuts off automatically after two minutes. As someone who routinely brushes more than two minutes, I just know I would find the shutdown annoying every time it happened. I do favor the ultrasonic over rotating models, so I'm wondering - what is the best ultrasonic toothbrush (for <$100) that does not shut off automatically after two minutes?
Thanks!

JP, We agree, when it comes to usability Sonicare's auto-shut off feature is a real "turn off" (pun intended).
Basically, they're not encouraging you to brush for 2 minutes, they're encouraging you to brush for only two minutes.

One alternative toothbrush is mentioned on this page up above, open this drop down box. It discusses the Oral-B Pulsonic sonic toothbrush.

One thing to consider is the comfort level of the handle and grip. I had a FlexCare+ handle which has a slim profile and a rubber grip on the entire back. It broke so I replaced it with a Sonicare 2 Series, which is a larger unit with no rubber grip. I'm not sure what all models have the rubber grip, but it made controlling the handle easier and more comfortable.

I tend to brush my teeth when everyone else in the house is sleeping in the wee hours of the night, past midnight. I was wondering which electronic toothbrush is the most silent yet effective.

The more expensive Sonicare brushes are more refined.

So, you can expect that the DiamondClean and Flexcare models (both of these models at one time were Sonicare's "top" brush) run more quietly than brushes at the other end of the price scale like the Easy Clean or Sonicare 2.

We contacted a Sonicare rep and based on noise, they ranked the brushes in this order: DiamondClean, Flexcare, Sonicare 2, Easy Clean (we were surprised they listed Sonicare 2 before Easy Clean).

The Easy Clean and Sonicare 2 were introduced as "middle" range models, they were never "top" ones. The Essence above is Sonicare's older design (although a "top" model in its day) and we'd expect it to be the noisiest of all those listed on this page.

Keep in mind, our page is about buying Sonicare funtionality. Refinement is a different issue and certainly might be a reason to buy a higher-end brush.

I am not a gadget kind of person. I like things to be practical and valuable so I don't like bells and whistles necessary, especially when they will cost more and I won't get a lot of use from them. So thank you for making it so straightforward to understand the options that are truly valuable. I've ordered my sonicare and am really looking forward to receiving it. Thanks so much for your help!!

Thanks for a really excellent breakdown of a surprisingly confusing range of products. Your review was exactly what I was looking for to make my decision. Thanks for writing it!

An absolutely brilliant and very useful review. Be very proud of yourselves!

Really good review I love it .. your review is extremely useful ...

I've decided to go all-out and use a combination of electric (sonic) toothbrush and a Waterpik. I noticed that Waterpik sells a combo package that appears to be targeted at consumers like myself. Do you have any comments on the Waterpik brand sonic toothbrush?

Per your request, we've added information about the WaterPik above.
Use this link.

Thank you very much for the very quick reply and posting!

Thank you for the concise review. You've told me exactly what I needed to know.

Thank you for your helpful site. I appreciate it so much.
I was just checking Amazon for the HX6511/50. It has one left and says that this model has been discontinued and replaced by the HX6631/30 model. What do you think? Should I buy the 6631 model instead? Thanks so much

The HX6631/30 ( Sonicare 3 Series gum health) seems to have very similar characteristics as the Easy Clean.

Of course, it comes with different brush heads (a non-issue to us).

It has Clean mode (the one we feel is most important to have), and has the added flexibility of 3 brushing "intensities" (high intensity being the one we would use).

Seems like a good alternative choice.

Hi, thank you very much for this review. The web is full of chaos, because comments and reviews are not reasonable or someone paid for lots of them among the genuine ones. I appreciate your review very much.

We're glad our pages helped.

Thank you for this no nonsense comparison. I don't need toothbrushes with LCD readouts and 5 different settings. Simpler is better. Because of this article I am getting the EasyClean. After 10 years with my basic Essence model, I need an upgrade and the DiamondClean brush heads will be an improvement too. Again, thank you so much!

Thank you very much for the effort of compiling this concise and helpful buying guide.

On their website Phillips claim that the EasyClean removes 2 x plaque while more expensive models remove up to 7 x plaque. Do you think this claim stands up? If it does, then, although I much prefer not to have the extra modes it looks like I must!

We're under the impression that what you mention is a reference to Sonicare's rating of the brush head that comes with the Diamond Clean as compared to the Easy Clean's ProResults head. Those are the exact numbers (7x vs 2x) that are stated on the Sonicare website for those respective heads.

Both brushes offer Sonicare's best brushing action (31,000 brush strokes/min). And both brushes can utilize the Diamond Clean brush head.

We're not so convinced with the validity of Sonicare's rating system (7x, 2x, etc..) for heads. We discuss that issue here.

Thank you so much for compiling this information!!! SO IMMENSELY HELPFUL.

A fantastic article. Helped me choose the right model in minutes. Thanks!

which is rated higher Philips sonicare easyclean vs Philips essential clean

Our article above doesn't really "rate" Sonicares. We just point out which ones have the basic important features, and then as few extras as possible so to keep the cost of the brush down.

We're unfamiliar with the "Philips Essential Clean."
We don't see it mentioned on usa.philips.com. (Sonicare's website.)
We find very, very little mention of it on the web in general.
That might be a point of concern, you'll simply have to decide for yourself.

We saw graphics of the packaging for this model. And per what we consider needed and/or desirable features, those pictures suggested that the Essential Clean has:

Important features:
1) Sonicare's "Clean" 31,000 brush-stroke-per-minutes action. (It also has a lower-powered "Massage" mode.)
Desirable features:
1) Uses the snap-on style brush heads.
Sonicare standard features:
1) Has: Easystart, Quadpacer, Smartimer

The packaging states it runs for "2 weeks" of use on one charge, which suggests just a NiMH battery, not lithium.

If this is a real Sonicare product and not a knock off, we'd consider it a good choice.

I've been reviewing all of the various Philips Sonicare models to determine which features I think have value and are worth paying for and I agree with your assessment regarding the 3 series, however I have visited a retailer who has all of them on display. The one thing that jumped out at me was how noisy the 3 series is compared to the other higher end models. No mention of this was made in your assessment of the different models. Are you aware of this and if so, why would this model have a different motor that produces so much more noise. It's a significant difference and seemed annoying.
I've read comments on other sites and this seemed to be a complaint. I have tried contacting a representative of Philips but have had no luck yet reaching them.

At your suggestion, we've added a section to this page that possibly can help you or others make a decision about this issue. And of course, if you learn more please post that.

While we don't know precisely what you heard. We will say that simple things like wear and tear or the way the brush head is seated on the handle can affect the sound of a brush. These issues might be factors with a display model in a store.

You should do reviews for absolutely everything in life. absolutely everything!!

thank you for the review it was very helpful especially with all of the models to choose from.

Do you have anything on water piks? I've bought the same model and seemed to notice the pulsing action was weaker between the older and newer purchases. The newest seemed weak. If you've done anything on water piks, how do I find it? I love the water piks and electric tooth brushes.

We don't have any pages covering Waterpik water flossers.
We have some information about their Sensonic electric toothbrush up above on this page (open the drop-down box).

You have provided the exact information I have been looking for in a simple, user-friendly manner. Having already put some time into trying to compare some of these models on my own, I can easily tell you that you have saved me a great deal of time and trouble in laying things out as you have. I cannot thank you enough for being so clear, informative, and prompt (in regards to your post replies) with what you have done here. Finding this has just made my day better and I really value and appreciate that. Cheers, all. :)

I'm wondering whether the Essential Clean model that my husband just picked up from Costco is an off model, an outdated model, or whether it's new. It looks like it's one of the thick models. Has anyone seen it? I can't find a review of it anywhere, and I hate to open a box that might hold a lemon.

Thanks so much for doing this. I'm just read more carefully and found the Essential Clean question from an earlier response.

We're a little curious about this brush now, so if anyone has any information to share please do.

Also, we hooked up a link in the poster's comment above to the information they were referring to.

I have a suspicion that this is a brush made specially for Costco. That's where we got it. They carry the extra heads. They've always carried the extra heads for the very old one we have had.

Costco model: It seems to fit your review of the $70 model above. It cost $75 with a $25 off coupon from Costco. It's relatively sleek, compared to our (decade?) old model, but it's noisier. It's also a lot stronger. I didn't go with the two-week break-in period, thinking I'd be used to the electronic toothbrush, and maybe I should have! I begin to think that if a person can get a $90 model that is quieter and lasts longer directly from Philips, that is probably the best route.

Thank you for this no-nonsense report on Sonicare toothbrush. I get all the information I need on this webpage, that not even the online big shops care to provide. Brilliant !!!

I love the way you distilled the information down to those features that seem to matter most. I'm wondering which of the Sonicare models feature angled brush heads. I found on the Philips web site that some features may be present but not called out, and it is difficult to tell based on photos depending on which angle the picture is taken from. The reason I'm checking for this feature is because I think it will help reach the back teeth.

You might try the following to get the details you want:
---
Do a Google.com search for this exact combination of words -- sonicare toothbrush heads mea philips --
Then at the top of the page, below the word "Google," click the "Images" (image search) link.
For us, the first image shown is a picture of several of the current brush head models, all in a line, all positioned at the same angle.
Click on the picture to enlarge it.
The brush head in that picture that is most angled is for the older style Essence brush.
The other heads are for the more modern Sonicares.
---
Most larger department stores will have replacement brusheads on their racks, although in their packaging.
The way we remember these displays, the packaging was clear and you could see through it somewhat.

Some stores have mock ups of Sonicare models on display, where you can actually pick them up and touch them.
Since different models come with different heads, you'll possibly have an assortment of different ones to examine.
(Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond have models on display in our local stores.)

Thanks, I finally got clear answer

I was told by the dentist to look for the Sonicare Elite... What is this?

That's an older Sonicare model. It's no longer listed on the Philips Sonicare website (hasn't been for some years), which we interpret indicates that it's no longer made.

It's body style and brush head type (screw-on) was similar to the Sonicare Essence discussed above. (We remember the Elite as being the slimmer, more modern relative of the Essence).

In terms of buying an equivalent brush, we'd recommend reading through this page, keeping in mind that each of the brushes we point out share the same 31,000 strokes/minute brushing action that the Elite had. However, when picking, also keep in mind that if you purchase a brush that uses snap-on brush heads (not the screw-on design like used with the Essence and Elite) you'll have more options in terms of replacement brush styles to choose from.

Thanks! That was very helpful!!
Your presentation of the different types turned a complex problem into a more manageable one!

Hello guys! Thank you so much for all of the reviews about the Sonicares. However I still don´t know which one to buy. My main reason for buying a Sonicare is because it should whiten the teeth. Should I get the Healthy White or all the other similar ones will do the job?

When it comes to "whitening teeth" all any toothbrush can do is either: 1) Remove surface staining that has built up on the tooth's surface (accomplished by the actual scrubbing action of the brush on the teeth) or 2) Prevent surface staining from forming (prevent the build up of debris on the tooth's surface, which then stains - two separate events, that might occur concurrently).

As far as actually whitening teeth (changing the actual intrinsic color of the tooth's enamel) toothbrushes on their own do nothing.
--
Any toothbrush can prevent tooth surface build up that might then stain, if you use it in a manner that effectively cleans your teeth.

To accomplish this with a Sonicare, you simply need to: 1) Pick a brush that has Sonicare's best brushing action (as discussed above), so this task is as easy for you as possible. 2) Use the brush until that point when you have effective cleaned your teeth (stop when your teeth are clean, not necessarily once the two minute timer has signaled).
--
In terms of removing existing surface staining, Sonicare seems to imply (at least by the way they have named them) that some of their brushing modes have a superior ability to accomplish this task.

This discussion however relates how two Sonicare publications reported that two different models whitened teeth to the same degree, yet at that point in time when the separate studies were done, only one of the brushes actually featured a fancy whitening mode. The other just the standard 31,000 stroke/min mode.
---
We take a pretty dim view of any and every toothbrush manufacturer who hawks their products based on their ability to "whiten" teeth.

This was the most helpful website I've found so far to get information to help decide what sonic toothbrush to buy. It had exactly the information I was looking for to narrow down the choices.

My wife and I actually loved this feature. What we didn't like about it was that we couldn't get a replacement bulb for it when ours burnt out. We called Phillips, it was an awful experience. They told us they'd send us a replacement bulb, but we couldn't buy one (??!). They never sent one. We followed up again, they told us again they would send one, and the same thing, we never got one.

It's a shame there's not a consumer-friendly company making a decent toothbrush.

It seems like there is a new best buy.
@ $40 the essence+ aka hx3211 is at the same price as the essence but uses the new click on brush heads.

Thanks for the heads up.

We've updated this page to reflect the Essence+ and other recent changes in the Sonicare line up.

This is hands down the best review of a product I have ever seen/read online, I must thank you for this!

My flexcare finally died after 5 years of use (best brush ive ever owned, though the uv bulb cleaner died after only less than 2 years) , so ive been to both target and bbb and came home to compare the models, hoping i didnt need to get the top model anymore, and wow was this so informative, kinda sad the series 2 doesnt have the quadpacer or that would easily be the best buy, but i do need that option.

Looks like it will be the series 3 now for me instead!

Is the plaque control the same for both models or better for model 2 since that is listed specifically in that model?

Two of the basic premises of this page are:
1) Sonicare's best brushing action (31,000 brushstrokes-per-minute) is featured on a wide range of its brushes (including the 2 and 3).
2) Any Sonicare toothbrush head can be used with any of these models.

The Sonicare 3 Series comes with a "ProResults Gum Health" brush head.
The Sonicare 2 Series comes with a "ProResults Plaque Control" head.

If you want to make your own "Sonicare 3 Series Plaque Control" brush, just buy a Plaque Control brush head and snap it on your Series 3 brush.

This information was exactly what I was looking for and this site is probably the best product comparison website I have ever seen. Keep up the good work! I couldn't find any affiliate links so that I could order through the site however...but maybe I missed them?

Thanks for asking. We participate in the Walmart.com affiliate network. We've placed some links above.

The lithium ion batteries are not allowed on flights as they fall under the category of hazardous materials. So, if you travel a lot, you may want to stick with the old NiMH type.

They are allowed on flights with conditions
See information about "Pack Safe Lithium ion" at faa.gov

We had meant to research this subject but hadn't gotten back to it.
Now we have and we agree with you and are of the opinion that a conflict doesn't exist for Sonicares.
We discuss this topic at length (with a link to the FAA website that explains the rules) on this page.

Thanks for your very helpful articles on the Sonicare models. They were really useful for cutting through the fat so to speak. I ended up purchasing the series 3 gum health. Unfortunately I didn't realize that the user can't disable smart timer or quadpacer on this model if desired (others with mode button can disable quad pacer). I also didn't realize that the toothbrush shuts off after two minutes (smarttimer). Not sure if i just missed out on this, or if it needs to be added. Not a huge problem; i may actually need these timers to brush properly for at least two minutes.

If you had followed the link in our Smartimer paragraph above you would have stumbled across the fact that this feature can't be deactivated.

In regard to the Quadpacer, we were under the impression that it could not be deactivated on any model. Instead, Sonicare tells us that with the Flexcare line (only) the Quadpacer can be turned off.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge about sonicare brushes. It sure helped me decide what to buy.

Is there a relationship between "sensitive" mode on some brushes and low or medium "intensity" on Series 3. Fewer strokes/min? Also, please confirm that only "clean" mode, i.e. full bore 31,000 strokes /min, accomplishes the "fluid dynamic" cleaning - or does sensitive &/or med/low intensity just have less?? My concern centers around abrasive notching of the root surface. Does any particular brush head facilitate fluid dynamic cleaning? Intercare? Thanks

In regard to intensity settings, there's a similar question here that might shed some light on this issue for you.

Yes, the reduced power modes are a lower brushstrokes/minute brushing action.
As testament of this, over the years we noticed that every Sonicare manual we've seen clearly states something similar to: "When the Sonicare is used in clinical studies, the default 2-minute Clean mode must be selected."
To us this is evidence that this setting represents the most effective cleaning action the brush can make and non-31,000 strokes/min modes are inferior. (They also state the EasyStart must be deactivated, which is another lower-power setting.)

The non-contact cleaning action of a Sonicare is dependent on the way it agitates the fluids surrounding the teeth. As such, you'd have to assume that lower-power setting creates a lesser non-contact cleaning effect. But whether this relationship curve is linear or exponential in shape, we don't know.

Don't overlook the fact that the vast majority of cleaning accomplished by any type of electric is due to bristle-to-tooth contact. The effectiveness of non-contact brushing comes in at a very distant 2nd.

Also, take a look at this abstract (PubMed.com)
This paper is hardly new nor the definitive word on this subject, but notice how it states that the pressure applied when brushing is a significant factor in causing dentinal wear (which equates to root wear, abrasion). Opting for the most effective brushing mode and being extremely conscious of the amount of pressure you are using might make an acceptable compromise.

And finally, the Sonicare representative we online "chatted" with stated that no one brush head held an advantage over the others in terms of creating non-contact (dynamic fluid) cleaning.

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