Sonicare features - Types of batteries. / Multi-voltage chargers / Traveling cases.Philips and Sonicare are registered trademarks of Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Sonicare toothbrush batteries: Lithium-ion vs. Ni-Cad.
Some Sonicare toothbrushes feature a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (FlexCare, HealthyWhite) while older-styled Sonicare designs utilize a rechargeable nickel cadmium (Ni-Cad) one.
Lithium-ion batteries have advantages.
Lithium-ion batteries do offer an advantage. In general, these batteries have a superior energy-to-weight ratio and are not as affected by a memory effect or idle charge loss like Ni-Cad batteries are.
For the Sonicare owner, these advantages mean that a lithium-ion powered model will provide more brushings between charges and can be smaller and lighter. (FlexCare and HealthyWhite models are significantly smaller and lighter than other generations of Sonicare toothbrushes, and therefore more toothbrush-like.)
It's a shame that Sonicare batteries aren't replaceable.
In our opinion, it is a very valid criticism of Sonicare that the design of most of their toothbrushes does not allow for battery replacement. This element of "integrated obsolescence" means that battery failure equates with toothbrush death (of what is possibly otherwise a fully functional product).
At that point in time when your Sonicare toothbrush must be discarded, remember that battery-containing products should be disposed of appropriately (and hopefully the batteries recycled). The owner's manual of each Sonicare toothbrush model (as well as Sonicare's website) provides information about removing the battery from the toothbrush's body (a one-time, non-reversible process).
The Sonicare Xtreme runs on disposable batteries.
Different than all other Sonicare models, the Sonicare Xtreme e3000 runs on replaceable off-the-shelf batteries (disposable AA alkaline batteries). This feature offers a number of advantages and disadvantages. For a full discussion about these matters, we refer you to our Sonicare Xtreme review page.
Multi-voltage travel chargers.
Some Sonicare models (FlexCare, HealthyWhite) come with a charging apparatus that is both multi-voltage as well as compact for traveling. The multi-voltage aspect of the charger means that it can be used with power sources that range from 100 to 240 volts A/C. Despite the charger's compatibility with a variety of voltage ranges, however, you may need to purchase a plug adapter so the unit can physically be plugged into whatever type of outlet you encounter.
The compact nature of this charger has to do with the fact that the actual recharging apparatus can be removed from the toothbrush's stand and therefore taken with you when you go on trips. The advantage being that for long trips you won't have to pack your toothbrush's entire charging base. This is a nice feature and might be important to some.
Sonicare toothbrush travel cases.
Many Sonicare models do come with a travel case. But if this type of item is important to you then you need to specifically check the packaging of the product you plan to purchase so to insure that this item is included.
A travel case can be a convenience but a Sonicare can be packed easily enough without one. All Sonicare brush heads (original and replacement) come with a hard plastic protective brush head cap. In lieu of a case, these caps can satisfactorily protect the bristles of a brush head from damage.
If you don't have a travel case, it might be best to separate the brush head from the toothbrush body when you pack it so to minimize the chance for damage. Brush heads would be best stored in some type of container or location where they are allowed to thoroughly air dry between brushings.
Sonicare toothbrush body size and vibratory mechanism design.
The Sonicare FlexCare represents a significant physical and mechanical design change over the previous generations of Sonicare sonic toothbrushes. For the most part, the Sonicare HealthyWhite shares these same feature designs.
As a result of these improvements, the body of these brushes is smaller, lighter (thus more toothbrush-like) and is more refined, in the sense that it imparts less noise and vibratory effect to the user when the toothbrush is used. There are certain types of brush users, such as the medically debilitated or elderly, for whom these characteristics may prove especially advantageous. For these people the larger-sized, older-styled Sonicare brushes can be cumbersome and their vigorousness and hum can be a deterrent to their acceptance.