Picture of a Sonicare toothbrush.

Sonicare Electric Brush

Which is the best Sonicare toothbrush? (Updated September 2017) -

a) Our take about which Sonicare brushes make the best choice (function and value).   b) Which options are the most important to have?   c) Model comparisons based on features.

This page takes you through a comparison of the current Sonicare rechargeable electric toothbrush line up, in an attempt to single out those select models that tend to make a better choice in terms of function and value (are a "best-buy").

(If you're interested, we offer this same type of comparison for Oral-B electric brushes.)

How we conducted our evaluation.

a) We started off by performing a features-based comparison.

Our original goal for this page was one where our analysis would simply be based on a comparison of models according to their features, as documented by information collected from Philips Sonicare websites, publications, user manuals and support representatives.

This page does accomplish that goal, using those sources. And while performing our comparison process the information we collected allowed us to form a distinct opinion about which features are important to have versus those that seem to offer just limited value.

Based on these conclusions, on this page we've identified which models have the important Sonicare core features that are a must, and at the same time as few unneeded extras as possible.

b) Second, we factored in reputation and perceived performance.

As it turns out, just comparing features really isn't all that's needed when trying to pick out the better Sonicare models.

As you'll see below there's a giant price difference between the top and bottom-end Sonicares. And based on this single factor alone, it's easy enough to anticipate that while some models may share similar features and specifications, they're probably not really equals. (It's been our experience that some Sonicare representatives are pretty quick to harp this point when you call with questions.)

Unfortunately, our website doesn't have the resources of a big organization (like Consumer Reports for example) who might run dozens of each model for weeks on end to evaluate reliability. Or scientifically measure how the brushing action of one compares to another. So, actually quantifying model differences isn't really something we can do.

But what we can share is this: 1) Our opinion/impression of each of the models (admittedly however unscientific that is), 2) What people have posted in our comments section below (thank you to those who do) and 3) What seems to be the collective opinion of consumers who have posted comments on retailer websites.

So besides just a strict comparison of features, we've also incorporated these more subjective types of information throughout this page where we think it holds merit and therefore is important to do so.

Who can benefit from reading our Best Sonicares walk through?

Despite the title of this page, we don't really believe in monikers like the "best Sonicare." After all, what's best for one person may not satisfy the requirements or expectations of another at all. For example:

When you use any of our
referral links to products on
Amazon.com or Walmart.com
your purchases support this website
at no additional cost to you.
If you do, thank you!
a) Are you just looking for the best Sonicare possible?

Some people may feel that they just want the absolute best Sonicare made, no matter what the cost.

To them we would simply say, why bother reading this page and just buy a DiamondClean Smart, DiamondClean or FlexCare Platinum Connected model?

While we certainly don't feel that any of these brushes even remotely makes a "best value" buy, as the most expensive Sonicares they do offer these advantages ...

  • They come with an abundance of features, although we believe most of them are unneeded and many unlikely to be used once the newness of the brush has worn off (we explain our position below).

    All of these models come with superfluous brushing modes. Some offer convenient but redundant charging options. If you want the option of using a brushing app, that's available with some of them. One model even comes with an (unneeded, see below) UV brush head sanitizer.

  • These brushes give the impression of having a superior design and build. However while we do believe this is point is accurate, actually quantifying this difference in comparison to other models is difficult. (That's why we've sought out sources involving user/owner input when formulating this page.)
  • And as far as cost goes, if you shop around a little bit you can probably find the least expensive of these brushes at a price only half again as much as the most expensive model we tend to consider a good value (the HealthyWhite+), thus making an almost reasonable buy.

So if money is not a major concern, just getting a DiamondClean Smart, DiamondClean or Flexcare Platinum can make some sense.

b) Which brush has the best overall qualities, at a reasonable price?

This is the main focus of this page. Trying to determine which model seems to make a best (most reasonable) choice in terms of effectiveness, functionality, reliability and so forth, while also keeping cost to a minimum.

Electric toothbrushes on the whole aren't exactly known for their ruggedness and longevity (at least not nowadays). So in an era of lowest-possible-cost manufacturing and planned-obsolescence product design, both initial and replacement costs should be factors that are considered.

For this best-value type of choice, we used to lean toward the Sonicare 3 Series. Now it seems (especially in light of some of the comments posted below and on retailer websites) that buying the HealthyWhite+ makes the better choice (both in performance and reliability).

c) What are the best bargain Sonicares?

Other people who can benefit from reading this page include: 1) Those who are ready to get on board with purchasing a Sonicare (as an improvement over their current brushing situation, manual or electric) but aren't so committed that they're ready to spend a lot of money.  2) Those for whom cost is a major consideration and must be kept to a bare minimum.

In terms of price, Sonicare offers a significant range of options. But as mentioned above, some of the lower-end models don't seem as fully capable or quality-built as the higher-end ones.

That doesn't necessarily mean that all of the bargain models aren't good brushes or can't be effective when used. In fact, some of them represent the best Sonicares of yesteryear (the Essence and its updated version the Essence+ models).

Which models did we evaluate?

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

  • DiamondClean Smart - Models: HX9957/51 ($330), HX9924/41 ($270), HX9903/41 ($230)
  • DiamondClean - Models: HX9393/90 ($250), HX9392/05 ($220)
  • FlexCare Platinum Connected - Models: HX9192/02 ($220), HX9192/01 ($200)
  • FlexCare+ (plus) - Models: HX6921/04 ($150)
  • HealthyWhite+ - Models: HX8918/10 ($130), HX8911/02 ($120)
  • Sonicare 3 series gum health - Model: HX6631/02 ($90)
  • Sonicare 2 series plaque control - Models: HX6218/10 ($80), HX6211/07 ($70)
  • Sonicare for Kids - Models: HX6321/02 ($50)
  • Essence+ - Models: HX3211/33 ($40), HX3211/17 ($40), HX3211/02 ($40)
  • Essence - Model: HX5611/01 ($25)
  • PowerUp - Models: HX3631/06 ($15), HX3631/10 ($15)
Compare Sonicare prices and current deals on Amazon.com and Walmart.com
Using our referral links supports this website at no additional cost to you.

How did we select these models?

At the time of this update (September 5, 2017), the above toothbrushes constituted all of the models that Sonicare (Koninklijke Philips N.V) displayed on the USA version of their website as their "current" products.

Changes since our last update.

Those who have used this page before may have noticed some changes in the models evaluated since our last update about a half year ago.

  • The DiamondClean Smart line has been introduced. These brushes can be considered to be Sonicare's top-of-the-line models, with a hefty price to match. As you'd expect, they can be used with a Sonicare brushing app on your smartphone.
  • Some of the product lines have been pared down slightly. Although most of this just seems related to fewer color options being available.

About the prices we show.

As you can see, our list contains brushes priced from around $330 all the way down to $15. This information comes directly from the Phillips/Sonicare website (September 5, 2017).

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 "discounted" price look better).

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


Setting the criteria for our evaluation.

As the basis for our comparison process, we set the following criteria: The "best" Sonicare toothbrushes are those that ...

  • Feature Sonicare's hallmark 31,000-brush-strokes-per-minute brushing action (you'll learn why in our next section) ...
  • Have Sonicare's basic core functions but as few additional features as possible (as you read on below we explain why we feel many of Sonicare's most promoted features aren't necessities at all) ...
  • Cost as little as possible (we try to favor mid to low-end models if possible) ...
  • And seem to have a reputation for performance and reliability. (If you own a Sonicare and have an opinion about this, feel free to leave a comment below.)

We set our criteria up this way because we wanted our conclusions to be ...

  • A balance between features and price. After all, why buy more toothbrush than you really need?
  • A recommendation for brushes that should make a good choice, in the sense that people who own them seem to be satisfied enough that they're good products and do a good job.

Sonic brushes generate a cleaning effect beyond where their bristles actually touch.

Animation showing the fluid-dynamics cleaning action of a Sonicare toothbrush.

Brushing Action - The most important feature.

You may not be aware of this but the whole reason to buy a Sonicare is because of its full-power 31,000 brushstrokes-per-minute brushing action. (In some promotional materials this may be stated as the equivalent 62,000 brush movements/minute.)

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 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.

Our evaluation determined:

  • Yes, has it. - The DiamondClean Smart, DiamondClean, FlexCare Platinum Connected, FlexCare+ (plus), HealthyWhite+ (plus), Sonicare 3 series gum health, Sonicare 2 series plaque control, Sonicare for Kids, Essence+ and Essence models all feature this mode.

    (The 31,0000 strokes-per-minute setting is most commonly referred to as "Clean" mode in Sonicare manuals and literature.)

  • 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. And unless you have a specific reason why you would want a brush that can only operate at half speed, that's a big deficiency.)


Additional Sonicare features.

Our pages have always expressed a fairly strong opinion about which Sonicare features we feel have value and which ones not so much.

In many ways we're probably too critical. 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.]

Features we don't think hold a lot of importance.

a) The UV brush-head sanitizer - Hype not science.

A few years ago this was one of Sonicare's newest options. At this point in time it only comes on one of the FlexCare Platinum Connected models (HX9192/02). And while this is one of Sonicare's higher-end toothbrushes, this feature hasn't been carried over into the newer DiamondClean and DiamondClean Smart product lines.

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.

One more model falls off our list.

Since one of our core comparison criteria is not to include brushes that featured unneeded options, we'll go ahead and scratch the FlexCare Platinum Connected model that has the UV Sanitizer off our list. But that still leaves us with 17 other Sonicares to choose from.

b) The Sonicare smartphone app - We get it, but just don't need it.

We'll go ahead and mark the other FlexCare Platinum Connected model off our list as well, and the DiamondClean Smart brushes too. That's because they're teched-up to interact with Sonicare's smartphone brushing app.

We really think that Sonicare did a reasonable job with their app. But from the standpoint of the average person who just needs a good, effective electric toothbrush, it contributes too little at too much cost.

Its primary benefit seems to be one of user motivation. From just a technical standpoint, without question anyone could be just as effective in their brushing routine whether using the app or not.

c) Additional 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 all 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 words documenting the basis of this position here.)

Human nature.

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

In light of this opinion, it's pretty easy for us 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 an important one for world travelers. However, you will need plug adapters for the various types of outlets you encounter.

  • Brushing timers - Smartimer / KidTimer - All Sonicare models come with some type of brushing timer, which usually runs on the order of two minutes or longer. Some people like having a timer because it helps them achieve a higher level of brushing discipline. Others find them annoying. (This feature typically cannot be deactivated.)
  • Many Sonicare brushes feature Quadpacer or BrushPacer. These functions signal when you should advance to cleaning the next portion of your mouth. Not everyone values this type of indicator. We state below which models allow you to deactivate it.
  • Except PowerUp, all Sonicare models have the availability of standard or compact brush heads. Depending on your needs, this can be a very important option.
  • Excessive pressure indicator - All Sonicare models will tend to stall out or stutter when the user applies too much force. Beyond that, some models offer more sophisticated pressure and even scrubbing indicators.
  • Easy-start - The Easy-Start feature helps you get used to the vigorous nature of a Sonicare by gradually ramping up its power over a period of several brushing sessions.
Pictures of Sonicare brush heads.

Sonicare DiamondClean and original ProResults brush heads.

Model differences.

Brush heads.

Different Sonicare models come packaged with different styles of brush heads. We list the specific head(s) provided (type and quantity) with each brush's listing below.

Important! - Most Sonicare models use click-on (snap-on) brush heads. And they are universally interchangeable among most toothbrush models.

That gives you a lot of options to choose from when buying replacement heads (that alone is an important feature). 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 isn't 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.

Here's where we finally cut to the chase. Based on what's been stated above, the brushes below are those Sonicare models we consider to be good-value picks, arranged from least to most expensive.

Consider the cheapest and then work your way up.

As you'll see, we've listed each brush's general features. And provided a link to our model reviews page where you can learn more details about it.

Then, and just as important, we've also stated reasons why you might not like the brush. And if those reasons hold true for you, then just skip past it and on to the next "best" model in our list.

Have 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.

Double check brush features before you buy.

We've gone to a lot of effort in compiling this information, trying 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 purchase. We don't want you to be disappointed.

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.


The best Sonicare toothbrushes - From cheapest to more expensive.

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.


Note: When it comes to the EasyStart and QuadPacer functions, the information found on Sonicare's website doesn't always agree with what is found in the user manuals of individual models. On this page we've tended to side with what's shown on the website, assuming that it is the most up-to-date information.

If these are important features for you, you will simply need to examine the packaging of the specific product you are considering.


Picture of a Sonicare Essence sonic toothbrush.

Sonicare Essence HX5611/01

#1 - The Sonicare Essence: HX5611/01 ($25).

( Compare Essence prices and deals at Walmart.com and Amazon.com. )

This is a bare-bones Sonicare that doesn't really have any unique options or features. It's basically just an old design that happens to still be sold.

Things to know about the Essence:
  • Its 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).
  • EasyStart and Smartimer: Yes.
  • More specifications about the Essence.

Comments: The Essence isn't as glamorous a brush as the more modern Sonicares but it creates the same 31,000 brush-strokes-per-minute brushing action they do. However, as compared to higher-end models, this one's mechanism seems to be less powerful. And from what we've read in terms of user comments, people who have owned other models may not be satisfied with the brushing experience this one delivers.

Having said that, while never a "top" model itself the Essence represents the yesteryear Sonicare technology that this line built its reputation on (both in the marketplace and dental research). That means you can be effective with this brush. And for people stepping up from a manual one, the difference should be noticeable.

The biggest problem with the Essence is that you're severely limited on the style of replacement brush heads. And for that reason the Essence+, while newer and less tested but seemingly the same mechanism, to us seems to make the better choice.


Take note!

From this point on:

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

This 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), C3 Premium Plaque Control (standard), G3 Premium Gum Care (standard), W3 Premium White (standard).

!! 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+: HX3211/33, HX3211/17, HX3211/02 ($40).

( Compare Essence+ prices and deals at Walmart.com and Amazon.com. )

This model appears to be the older Essence brush (see above) but redesigned so it can accept 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.
  • EasyStart and Smartimer: Yes.
  • QuadPacer: Sonicare's website states that HX3211/33 alone has this feature.
  • More specifications about the Essence+.

Comments: For Sonicares at this end of the price range, the fact that the Essence+ can use the full line of Sonicare's click-on brush heads makes this brush a pretty attractive choice.

We'd also suggest (although it's just conjecture on our part) that Sonicare technology of yesteryear carried forward (which is what this brush represents) may offer design and build-quality advantages over newer "economy" models (2 Series, 3 Series) that seem to have only been designed as cheaper Sonicare alternatives.

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

( Compare Sonicare for Kids prices and deals at Walmart.com and Amazon.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. It also makes a reasonable option for parents that might want to share a brush with their children. Or test out the use of an electric before moving on to getting their own.

Picture of 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 KidTimer (a brushing timer) and features a QuadPacer-type function (KidPacer).
  • The Sonicare website says this model does not have the EasyStart function (but it does have a low-intensity setting).
  • 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 specifications about the Sonicare For Kids.

#4 - The Sonicare 2 Series Plaque Control: HX6218/10 ($80) | HX6211/07 ($70).

Picture of a Sonicare 2 Series sonic toothbrush.

Sonicare 2 Series HX6211/04

( Compare 2 Series prices and deals at Walmart.com and Amazon.com. )

This is a "sleeker," more refined alternative to the heftier Essence and Essence+ models.

The 2 Series models only differ by way of their color, except that the HX6218/10 is packaged as one of Sonicare's gimmicky tongue-cleaner brushes. (See specifications link below for more details.)

Things to know about the Sonicare 2 Series:
  • Replacement brush heads: The full range of universally interchangeable snap-on heads listed above.
  • Operating time after charging: - "Up to" 2 weeks. (NiMH battery.)
  • EasyStart, Smartimer and QuadPacer: Yes. (According to Sonicare website.)
  • More specifications about the Sonicare 2 Series.

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

As compared to just the regular Essence, you get the advantage of using the more convenient, wider selection and easier to clean around click-on brush heads. Each of these factors might be an advantage for a family trying to share the same brush.

2 Series disadvantages.

This brush seems to have been introduced into Sonicare's line up simply to fill a price point. And as such, some users seem to feel that its design, performance and durability tend to reflect that.

As compared to higher-end Sonicare's, this brush's mechanism seems noisy and less refined. Some commenters on this page have complained that they consider this brush under powered as compared to models they have used before. (We have more to say about these issues below.)

Overall (primarily based on what we've read in the comments found on large retailer websites) it's our impression that first-time Sonicare owners are generally satisfied with this brush (as an improvement over their manual one) but previous owners tend not to be.

 

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

Picture of a Sonicare 3 Series sonic toothbrush.

Sonicare 3 Series HX6631/02

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

( Compare 3 Series prices and deals at Walmart.com and Amazon.com. )

Things to know about the 3 Series:
  • Replacement brush heads: The full range of universally interchangeable snap-on.
  • Operating time after charging: - "Up to" 3 weeks. (Lithium-ion battery.)
  • It has Sonicare's QuadPacer and Smartimer features.
  • The Sonicare website says this model does not have the EasyStart function (but it does have a low-intensity setting).
  • More specifications 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.)
  • 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 for some might be a plus.
3 Series disadvantages.

Like with the 2 Series above, this model seems to have been introduced solely to fill a price point in Sonicare's line up. And as such its design, performance and durability seem to reflect that.

As examples, people seem to complain that this brush's mechanism is noisy and less refined than the higher-end models. And some commenters on this page have complain that they consider this brush under powered (they don't get the same "clean" as with more expensive Sonicares).

However, and once again like with the 2 Series, comments we've read on large retailer websites seem to suggest that first-time buyers tend to be relatively satisfied with this brush (as compared to using their manual one).

What you don't get with cheaper Sonicare models.

With the Sonicare line, buying a higher priced toothbrush doesn't equate with getting a different brushing action. But there are some design and performance differences that may make a noticeable difference in your overall brushing experience.

Evidently this is by design. The Sonicare representatives we've talked to readily state that there are differences between models (batteries, motors). Considering the price range involved with their product line ($25 to $330), one would have to be relatively naive to expect differently.

Probably the best way to explain things is to say that with the lower-end models you're not buying a Cadillac.

Differences in design and engineering.

To follow through with our car analogy, if you buy an economy car you can expect that it will get you to your destination. But your experiences during your trip (acceleration up hills, smoothness of ride) aren't going to be the same as if you had bought a Cadillac.

That's pretty much what you'll notice with the cheaper Sonicares. They will deliver the promised 31,000 brush-strokes-per-minute. But the power of the brush won't be the same as the higher-end models, nor will the smoothness of their brushing action.

This may be especially apparent to those who have had a higher-end model before and have replaced it with an economy model.

Do these differences matter in cleaning your teeth?

We'd suggest that they do and don't.

a) Brushing experience.

It's easy enough to say that using a brush that has a more refined design (less noise, less handle vibration) makes for a more pleasant brushing experience. But how important those characteristics are for you to accomplish the act of brushing your teeth would simply be up to you.

b) Brush power.

It's probably also easy enough to state that having a more powerful brush is generally a plus. But related to this issue, we think that many people don't understand how a Sonicare is meant to be used.

How to use a Sonicare.

The unique characteristic of a sonic toothbrush is the way it creates a secondary cleaning action (one that helps to clean beyond where the brush's bristles actually touch) due to the manner in which it agitates the fluids that surround your teeth. (Here's how this works.)

That action is created by the frequency (rate of vibration) of the brush. And the way that's best generated is by using a light touch of the brush against your teeth.

Here's a link to a video on Sonicare's website that explains how to use their brushes. (Look for the link titled "Philips Sonicare -- Top tips for getting the best clean.")

The two phrases in the video that standout to us are: "gently and lightly hold (the brush) for a few seconds on each tooth" and "the movement (of the brush) needs to be light".

Research.

To this point, we'll mention a research study (Lea 2007) published during the heyday of the Essence brush mentioned above. [Page references.]

The purpose of this study was to determine to what degree the vibratory action of powered toothbrushes was dampened when applying brushing force. The specific Sonicare tested was the Elite (a model similar in design to the Essence).

  • The study concluded that a load of 1 Newton didn't significantly effect the brushing amplitude of this model (the back and forth swing of its brush head), whereas a load of 2 Newtons did.
  • 1 Newton is roughly the amount of force that a object weighing 1/5 lbs. places on the surface it is resting on, such as the palm of your hand. (A smallish apple is often given as an example of something that weighs about one-fifth of a pound.)
What might you conclude from all of this?

A person could conclude that the best brush to buy is simply the one that can best overcome any damping effect. And due to the constant improvement of products, that's most likely to be the newest, latest model available.

It seems to us that you could make that case. But we'd also suggest that setting that requirement might indicate that the way the brush is being used isn't the manner for which it was designed. We'll also state that the purpose of our review is one of making reasonable choices, balancing cost and capabilities.

An example of what we mean.

As an example of what we consider to be a reasonable choice, take the Essence+ model mentioned above.

Is the Essence+ old and dated Sonicare technology? - Yes. In its era, wasn't this the technology that Sonicare continued to build its reputation on? - Yes. Considering that this brush only costs $40, plus the fact that it can use a wide array of current Sonicare brush heads, does this brush make a reasonable choice, especially as compared to brushing manually? - We think it does. Is this the absolute best Sonicare brush and a best choice for everyone? - No.

The grey area in the Sonicare line up. - The 2 and 3 Series.

Probably the biggest quandary in the Sonicare line is those models specifically introduced as "cheaper Sonicare alternatives."

Most of the current higher-end Sonicares either are or were top-of-the-line models, or at least introduced some new brushing feature. There seemed to be a natural migration of models on down the Sonicare line up as each successive newer one was introduced.

The Sonicare 2 and 3 Series toothbrushes don't fit that mold. These models were introduced as "cheaper alternatives," evidently to cover specific price points in the line up. And it seems that their design, as mentioned above, tends to reflect that.

We still think these brushes can make a reasonable choice, but the obvious way to sidestep this issue is simply to look a the next brush up the Sonicare line. That means the HealthyWhite+.

Picture of a Sonicare HealthyWhite+ sonic toothbrush.

Sonicare Healthy White+ HX8911/02

#6 - The Sonicare HealthyWhite+ (plus): HX8911/02 ($120).

( Compare HealthyWhite+ prices and deals at Walmart.com and Amazon.com. )

While we don't ever remember the HealthyWhite line as being Sonicare's top one, we do remember a big push about the original version of this brush being their "whitening" model.

Based on comments we've seen posted on our and retailer websites, it seems that there's a general consensus that this brush is a step above the Sonicare 3 in terms of power and refinement, and therefore currently occupies a transition point in the Sonicare line up.

Possibly this reflects this line's initial purpose, introducing newer features as opposed to cheaper ones.

Things to know about the HealthyWhite+:
  • Replacement brush heads: The full range of universally interchangeable snap-on.
  • Operating time after charging: - "Up to" 3 weeks. (Lithium-ion battery.)
  • It has Sonicare's EasyStart, QuadPacer and Smartimer features.
  • This brush has two brushing modes (Clean, White) and 3 brushing intensity settings (high, medium, low). (Clean mode at High intensity = 31,000 brush strokes/minute.)
  • More specifications about the HealthyWhite+ models.

Comments:

There are actually two HealthyWhite+ models, the other one is the HX8918/10 ($130). It comes with a tongue cleaner brush head. We don't consider that an important feature. Both models come with a travel case.

Purchasing the HealthyWhite+ clearly crosses the border into purchasing more toothbrush features than you really need. But in doing so you get a brush design, function, and refinement that seems more akin to Sonicare's higher-end models than the Sonicare 3 Series does.

What about the other Sonicare models?

The remaining brushes in our list were the FlexCare+ (plus), FlexCare Platinum Connected and the DiamondClean and DiamondClean Smart models.

We don't feel that you can go wrong with purchasing any of these brushes. But at the same time we don't think that we would go to the expense.

As discussed above, it's only realistic to assume that with increased cost comes a higher build quality. But considering the planned-obsolescence, disposable nature of this type of product (for example, battery failure generally equates with toothbrush death), we've decided that to us the line delineating what makes a reasonable purchase or not, lies below these models.

Also, if you're an adult and using a brush with a smartphone app is important to you, you'll need to choose either a DiamondClean Smart or FlexCare Platinum Connected model.

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

 

search

Topic Menu ▶  Powered Toothbrushes

  • Sonicare Toothbrushes Pages -
    • All Sonicare models - A comprehensive review of the features/prices of all of the current models of the Sonicare lineup. Some comparisons between each of the individual product lines are made.
    • The best Sonicare models - A narrative that outlines how to determine which Sonicare model makes the best choice for you. It discusses Sonicare features, which of these features we think are important to have, and which models seem to offer a reasonable manifestation of them.
    • How sonic toothbrushes work. / Effectiveness. - If you're wondering how sonic toothbrushes work and what's special about the brushing action they create, this page explains.
  • Sonicare Features Pages -
    • Brush Heads - Information about Sonicare brush heads, including: What styles of heads are available, in which sizes? Which heads can be used with which models? Comparative cleaning efficiency. How long does a brush head last? Screw-on vs. Click-on design. Standard vs. Compact sizes.
    • Sonicare brushing features - An outline of the various brushing modes different Sonicare models have, and what we think of each of them. It explains the importance of having the 31,000 strokes-per-minute brushing action.
      We also explain details about the Easy-start, Smartimer, KidTimer, QuadPacer, BrushPacer and Smartphone App functions (how they work, what we think of them).
    • Additional Sonicare features - We discuss Sonicare's UV brush head sanitizer in this section. We also explain features and issues associated with Sonicare battery types, charging units, working voltages, battery replacement and travel features.
  • Oral-b Toothbrushes Pages -
    • All Oral-B rechargeable models - A comprehensive review of the features/prices of all of the current Oral-b rechargeable models. Some comparisons between each of the individual toothbrush lines are made.
    • The best Oral-B models - Our narrative outlining how to figure out which model makes the best choice for you. It covers Oral-b features, which of them we think are important to have, and which models seem to offer a reasonable manifestation of them.
  • Oral-b Features Pages -
    • Brush heads - Details about Oral-B replacement brush heads: styles, options, differences. Which are the best ones?
    • Brushing modes - An explanation of the different Oral-B brushing modes found on various models. The importance of 3D vs. 2D brushing action.
    • Additional Oral-b features - Information about the Oral-b Bluetooth/Smartphone app and the wireless Smartguide, as well as what we think of them. Also details about Oral-b brushing timers, quadrant timers and brushing pressure indicators, as well as charging units, operating voltages and battery types.
  • More about electric toothbrushes Pages -
    • Powered vs. Manual toothbrushes - Do you really need an electric toothbrush? This page can help you to decide. Advantages and potential benefits of electrics. What does research say?
    • Rotary electric toothbrushes - Types and brands of rotary-brush head powered toothbrushes (Rota-dent, Interplak, Braun Oral B). Pros and cons of their design differences.
    • The best electric toothbrushes for Senior Citizens. - Elder persons in different age groups, with differing situations, need different features. This page discusses the pros and cons of various models in meeting those needs.
  • Page reference sources.
 
 
search

Comments

Sonicare model comparison - thanks!

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.

Thank You!

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.

Thank You !!!

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.

You're welcome Donna.

"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.

sonic care review

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.

Best ultrasonic brush with NO auto-shutoff timer?

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.

Rubber Backing

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.

Which is quietest

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.

Thanks for posting Ceiver,

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.

Thank you!!!

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!!

Thank you!

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!

SonicCare Review

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

Excellent Review

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

Waterpik Brand Sonic Toothbrush

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?

Barry, we've added info about that brush.

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

RE: Waterpik brand toothbrush

Thank you for adding the link about the waterpik toothbrush, above. I bought the Waterpik about two years ago because there was a 50% discount at the store... I really like it, and it is quieter than the the Sonicare I use for travelling. I do not use the Waterpik for travelling, because you need to pack the whole unit (waterpik, toothbrush, and holding container) which takes up a lot of space. Additionally, once the battery goes, you need to replace the whole unit if you want the toothbrush back—you cannot buy one separately—or you buy an independent sonic toothbrush anyway (or break into the unit and solder in new batteries, like I did...) Also, you may have difficulty finding the brush heads; I live in Canada and must order them through a US post-box, even though the units are sold in Canada! Would I do this again, I would buy an independent sonic toothbrush that has all parts available locally, and a compact waterpik unit. That said, my dentist thinks my teeth & gums are the best they have ever been.

Antony

Thank you for posting.

Thank you.

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

HX6511/50 discontinued

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

Nancy,

The HX6631/30 ( Sonicare 3 Series gum health) seems to have very similar characteristics as the Easy Clean, although 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). It seems likely that the 3 Series is intended to replace the EasyClean in the Sonicare line up.

thanks from Poland!

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.

Thank you!

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!

EasyClean v more expensive models.

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!

Mike,

We'd be of the impression that at least a part of 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), although we will concede that users seems to state that they get a better "clean" with Sonicare's higher-end brushes (we'd mainly just contest the 7x vs 2x comparison). Keep in mind that both brushes can utilize the Diamond Clean (7x) 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.

What an amazing resource...

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

A great help

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

Sonicare 3 Series

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.

Thanks for posting Ron,

At your suggestion, we've added a section to this page that should help to make other readers more aware of this issue. Reports like this are important to us so thank you for posting.

Bravo!

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

Sincere gratitude

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. :)

VERY helpful

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 !!!

Angled brush heads

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.

Laura

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.)

SonicCare difference.

Thanks, I finally got clear answer

Elite

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

Do all of them whiten the teeth?

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?

Juliana

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.

Incredibly Helpful

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.

Amazingly informative!

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!

Model 2 vs 3

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

Karen

What you're referring to is a marketing issue, not one based on the ability of the brush.

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.

Brilliant site

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?

Lena

Thanks for asking. We participate in both the Amazon.com and Walmart.com affiliate networks. Actually, the very bottom of every page on this site has a white box that contains our referral links. Using them supports this site at no additional cost to the shopper.

battery type may matter

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.

Lithium not allowed on flights not necessarilly true.

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

David, Thanks for posting.

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.

Sonicare Smart timer and quad pacer

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.

David

If you had followed the link in our Smartimer paragraph above you might have stumbled across our mention that this feature can't be deactivated. (We've add this info to this page now so it's easier to find.)

In regard to the Quadpacer, we were under the impression that you can only turn this off on the Flexcare line.

Sonicare purchase

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

brushing intensity

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

Gary,

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.

What a great site. All this

What a great site. All this time I was wondering if the brush heads for Philip brands were compatible with one another. You clearly explained that and saved me time! Great site!

HX6511/50

What would be the recommended replacement for the HX6511/50? Preferably using the same heads. Personally, I find it more confusing than helpful to have all these models.

Madrugada

Our #4 and #5 picks above would be similar in nature to the EasyClean. Just read through their respective features and make a decision. The brush heads you own will work with either of these brushes.

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

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

Quality?

If you had read a lot of reviews of Sonicare toothbrushes at Amazon,like I did,I don't think you would be recommending the Series 2 and 3.Apparently,from what I can tell,Philips came out with these,which are lower quality, much noisier,more vibration,to offer a lower price point.Seems like the best choices would be the older,proven Essence or higher end,like Healthy White,etc.Also,don't drop the Healthy White,or similar models,on the brush end or a metal piece will break(very common problem) and Philips won't sell you that part.So,my conclusion is that the older Essence with the screw on head would be the absolute most reliable,best choice.

jrj

We'd like to think that the information we present on this page does a fairly decent job of pointing out both brush strengths and deficiencies, and in a manner that helps the reader to then make a decision about what level of brush seems to best serve their needs.

We get your point about frailty but will also point out that you can break your Series 2 and replace it again for about the same cost as one HealthyWhite. And in an era of planned obsolescence (including the situation where battery failure = toothbrush death), investing as little as possible has advantages.

We'll also state that today when looking at the overall "star ratings" on Amazon for the Sonicare Series 2 and 3 as compared to the higher-priced models, the 2 and 3 (each having hundreds, if not thousands of reviews) have been rated just as positively, if not more so, than the higher-end brushes, so at least some users consider those brushes a reasonable choice.

In regard to the Essence, we follow your train of thought with the exception that the Essence+ (while a less-proven redesign of the old Essence) offers the big advantage of being able to use the fully array of Sonicare snap-op brush heads. With the regular Essence (screw-on heads) you only have the option of one style, in either Standard or Compact size.

Your website ...

Is awesome. Thank g-d for your website. It's gorgeous with clear, concise, accurate information. A consumer's dream. I did about 3 days worth of research on electric toothbrushes before I found your site, and I saw that your research and findings matched mine exactly. I cannot find a better reason to trust your information. Thank you so very much. Wow.

Best for elderly

What is the best electric toothbrush flr the elderly. My Mother is 90 years old. She has been
wanting an electric toothbrush. I want to get one for Christmas.

Judy

We have a page about issues and brushes to consider for elderly brushers.

As that page discusses, if your Mom is frail give some thought to if you may need a lower power setting.

Or that the cheaper Sonicare's will buzz and vibrate more than the more refined higher models.

If you are both getting a brush, buy one of the cheaper models on this page. If she can't tolerate it, keep it for yourself (or take advantage of the money back guarantee). Then go from there.

After using both Series 3 and

After using both Series 3 and Diamond Clean, I do no notice Diamond Clean's vibration is way more powerful. Thus easier cleaning.

Annonymous

Thanks for the input. Reports like yours are important to have. Both new for Christmas?

Yes. Both were new. However

Yes. Both were new. However being stronger might not be a good thing. My gum feels more comfortable when using Series 3.

Performance of Series 2

I bought myself a Series 2 during the holidays as my own treat. I love it. My teeth have never felt so clean.

However, I love it so much that I started to be tempted by other models such as HealthWhite+ or DiamondClean.

I love that your site points people towards the unit that has what they truly need. I only need the one mode in truth.

HOWEVER, if you read reviews at sites like Amazon, long time Sonicare users are fairly passionate in their opinion that the Series 2 and Series 3 do not have the performance of older models nor the HealthyWhite+ and above models. They seem very definitive in this opinion and yes they say they turn off the "easy start." Some even say the Essence makes their teeth feel cleaner than the Series 2.

Another reviewer stated that they contacted Philips and they admitted the change and swapped hers for an Easy Clean (older model).

Has your team compared a fully charged, pretty new Series 2 with one of the higher end models? You truly see no difference with the same brush head in equal modes?

Thanks!

Steve

We've revised the content of this page to point out yours and others concerns and to more fully elaborate our position about the position/usefulness of the lower-end Sonicares.

Essence+ : the best model for the buck

All essence+ models have same specifications. They only differ in color and included starter brush type. They all have QuadPacer and it beeps when battery is low. LED battery indicator is bit hard to see (too dim) but it's minor issue.

They are actually quieter and vibrates less than older models including DiamondClean. I do not know if they simply swapped connecting part or they did redesign entire upper half; but it is smooth. It may be that since it is bigger, it acts as a better counterbalance to vibration.

I noticed they changed design of rubber bushing on top from previous brushes (including DiamondClean). It is now easier to clean it (no black gunk anymore)

This is definitely the best brush for the buck since it uses new click style and have full cleaning power. I wouldn't consider older Essence model at all due to lack of brushhead choices and difficulty of cleaning. I'm surprised they are still selling them considering Essence+ is out.

Thank you!

This was very helpful, since I was just about to buy a new Sonicare toothbrush. I appreciate all the work that went into this evaluation of the different Sonicare models.

To - Dental Staff

Hi Dental Staff - I wanted to reply to your message as I have now tried out the other models after initially getting a 2 Series. The 2 Series was nice, but I got the feeling it was not the full experience.

Wow. I have now bought and own both a FlexCare and a DiamondClean model. The difference in vibration between these models and the 2 Series is many times over. My teeth feel much cleaner, the strength/power of the vibrations is much more intense with these higher end models.

You notice it immediately upon switching them on. You notice the difference in your hand, out of your mouth, and in your mouth.

They obviously took a step back in the 2 Series to have a stylish entry level product at a very attractive price. Many will still be happy with it considering the price and comparing it to a manual toothbrush. I also notice the 2 Series ships with the Plaque Control head. This head is small. I had noticed when I moved to the slightly larger DiamondClean head, the 2 Series felt even more underpowered. Therefore, if someone is going to use the 2 Series, I recommend sticking with the Plaque Control head, it makes the most out of the lower power 2 Series.

However, for the full experience I highly recommend one of the higher end models. I loved my 2 Series but I immediately gave it away to family once I had my FlexCare and DiamondClean. The performance difference is not even close. Honestly, not making it up, the difference is big.

This surprised me because when I bought the 2 Series I assumed the performance / cleaning ability was equal between all models, I can assure everyone, it's not.

To Steve (To Dental Staff) 02/02/2017

Hello Steve,

You are absolutely right.

These are my aditional comments.

The Flexcare+ and Diamond Clean are like a completely another world and could not be compared. I have used my Flexcare+ (HX6922) for more than 2 months and it is fantastic. I still look forward to brush my teeth with it and it is not to be compared with Oral B or lower end Sonicare. I had the Oral B Triumpf 5000 (Top model when I bought it) and it is not to be compared. It creates more noice, more vibrations in handle, is less sofisiticated and much lower efficiency (teeth does not feel silky smooth after brushing) and needs to be charged more frequently and have a clearly more noticeable difference in performance when newly charged.

As I also thought as some other here in the discussion, that it might be only design differences for the premium Sonicare models compared to lower level models, I got curious if you could get this excellent brushing experience for less money, to recommend friends and found the Sonicare 3 series gum health HX6631 with 3 intensity levels (for around half price of Flexcare+) where Philips claimed 7 times better plaque removal compared with a regular tooth brush for the gum health at maximum cleaning mode and the 6 times for the Flexcare+ that I first had bought.

I thought maybe it was just a design difference and not a performance difference, as the gum health is not very good looking compared to the Flexcare+ and that the 31000 vibrations were what counted, but the gum care model was a big disappointment. Unpleasant noise and lower amplitude at the strokes compared to the Flexcare+ and also the handle vibrated, so more an experience like the Oral B, though I think it is still cleaning better than the Oral B.

An advice to the Flecare+ is to also buy the diamond clean brush heads for even a smoother cleaning feeling or even the adaptive clean brush heads (The adaptive clean heads I think are very good but those I have not tried yet). The Flexcare brush head is very good to remove tartar, but the diamond clean makes your teeth even more silky and glossy and maybe slightly more comfortable to brush with, but already the Flexcare brush head is extremely good for the silky feeling.

The Flexcare+ model is expensive, but it is really worth the (extra) money. It is rarely I am so happy with a product. The only negative things about it is that the charging time is little long, but on the other hand the time between the charging is around the 3 weeks claimed from Philips, which is excellent. The dropping in performance is not disturbing at all. You will notice a powerup after charging, but it runs very good until you need to charge it and the brushing experience is at an extremely high level all the time.

Then you have another small negative thing is that if you open your mouth too much during brushing, it might splash out considerable amount of liquid from mouth at the mirror, but that is just a sign how efficiently the brush works and it is the same that if you touch your teeth with the plastic part of brush head it feels quite drastic in head, but that is also a proof of the good amplitude and high efficiency of the tooth brush.

Then there is another thing in the beginning, but not really negative, that you get a tickling feeling when you use the toothbrush. The feeling is really surprising, but after a while of using the brush it almost disappears completely. It is quite drastic in the beginning, but in a way I am missing the feeling a bit. After charging the feeling comes back a bit :-).

If you do not press the Flexcare+ to hard against your teeth it feels like a really professional cleaning tool at the dentist in a positive way, 2 times every day. Buy!! I will be very surprised if you ever regret it. Most probably you will think, why did I not buy this before and why does not more people know about it as it is such a difference. This product is crazy good I would say and I am picky about products and Philips have made me disappointed several times last 10 years, but not this time. It is an amazing product.

Daniel

Thank you for taking the time to write. Your input is much appreciated.

To Canucks

Hi
Canucks - I wanted to reply to you real quick too. That's an interesting model. I have never tried an Essence +. I will say that the 2 Series is also much quieter than the DiamondClean and FlexCare I own. You can use it not far from people sleeping and it does not awake them.

The DiamondClean and FlexCare are loud by comparison, but for them, the performance is truly there and that's the reason.

I truly recommend people try more than one model if they have any reservations/questions about what's best for them.

Essence+ is rated at 31,000

Essence+ is rated at 31,000 brushstrokes and I have no material reason to believe cleaning power is lesser than DiamondClean, which is also rated at 31,000 brushstrokes.

Even my several years old Flexcare has stronger vibration than both Diamondclean and Essence+. That is a mid range model and I can only assume they improved design to reduce this unwanted vibration. Some people may take this as having less cleaning power, however I do not agree on this view. Even old essence model is rated at 31,000 and only reason it gets negative points is due to lack of brushhead options.

I sold my DiamondClean and now using two Essence+. While material of DiamondClean (ceramic paint) is nice, as long as it gives same cleaning I could care less. I also love travelling with inexpensive full powered electric toothbrush than DiamondClean.

Good Model

Hi Canucks, I think you must be right that Essence+ is a good model. 2 Series came out after it, so Essence+ may still be the older system.

There must be a factor beyond the brush stokes per minute though because I can assure everyone the 2 Series 31,000 brush strokes per minute is weak, weak compared to the 31,000 DiamondClean and Flexcare I have.

It's very strange I agree.

I also agree traveling is better with a more affordable model, I even take manual toothbrushes traveling sometimes, my teeth feel so bad on trips.

I think it's a rare person who needs/wants DiamondClean. I will say on the newest DiamondClean, the "Deep Clean," mode uses a particular pattern of vibrations combined with the Adaptive Clean head that is the best clean I have ever had, but we're talking small details and not important to 99.9 percent of folks.

Until recently, I always used the lower or mid tier models and it still makes the most sense, I just don't recommend 2 Series. And I've had two of the 2 Series, so it's not that I got a bad unit. It's very tame.

Thank you!!!

Standing at bed and bath because my old sonicare died and so did he one my friend gave me so I could use up my old brush heads and I was overwhelmed by too many choices!! You helped me make up my mind so quickly and I really appreciate it. Healthy white for me!!!

Difference

Hi
What's the difference between sonicare hx9352 and hx9332? Thanks

AG

We're under the impression that the only difference between these two DiamondClean models is color.

HX9352/10 (black), HX9332/10 (white)

Great job of working thru the clutter about differences

Thanks for setting up sensible criteria and cutting thru the clutter!

Very helpful review

Thank you for this comparison. Very helpful for someone who is new to the world of electrical toothbrushes.

check with your dentist

Your website is a model for all such consumer product reviews. Thank you!

At my last teeth-cleaning the hygienist recommended use of a sonic toothbrush and showed me a Sonicare as an example. She also told me that the office had them for sale at a significant discount. I'll admit the cynic in me took over, so after I left I went online to check out what a toothbrush cost on the market. Bewildered by the range of models and their prices, I found this review and it helped me to decide on the Sonicare 3. I was just about to pull the trigger with Amazon when I thought I'd check back with my dentist's office and see which model they were offering and for how much. Turns out they were selling the top-o-the-line DiamondCare for $85. No-brainer there! The box it came in was marked as "Dentist's Promotional - Not for Resale" or something like that, so I'd guess that Phillips is providing these at this price for dentists' offices only. So if you're thinking of getting one, check with your dentist first. They may be offering this deal.

A Sonic Toothbrush not listed

The Sensonic® Professional Plus Toothbrush from Waterpik is also a very good toothbrush and cheaper than the Phillips.

Jcdew

We do cover the Sensonic on this page. It's information can be found in this drop-down box.

We agree that the Sensonic is a good brush, hence we have included it on this page. But we've given it a lesser positioning because this page is specifically about Sonicare toothbrushes and ciphering through their line up.

I was overwhelmed by all the choices

I finally decided to board the Sonicare train and thought I just have to go to Amazon, click on "Sonicare", and buy one. Who knew there were so many different models? I despaired of ever figuring out which ones had which features until I found this site. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Bookmarking the page so I can send other people to it when they have questions.

Ginger

Thank you for your comments.

Repeat Buyer

My dentist recommended a Sonicare to me after a horrendous cleaning back in late '99/early '00. It must have been the top-of-the-line at the time, as it was $90 his price to clients and he said that was heavily discounted. It lasted about 2 weeks between chargings (lithium ion) for years, but has slowly degenerated to requiring almost daily charging. So now I'm in the market for a replacement, and, like other commenters, can't believe the number of models available! Having gotten great value out of the last one, I'll definitely buy another Sonicare, probably the HealthyWhite+. Your research and approach are much appreciated, so a big thank you!

EssentialClean

I found your analysis really helpful. I was looking at the sonicate EssentialClean at Costco. Where does this fit in in your analysis since it was not on your list.

RM

Sonicare's website (USA) equates the Essential clean with the Sonicare 2 Series (HX6253).

As discussed above, this brush has the needed "Clean" brushing mode but there are concerns about brush power and build quality.

Thanks

Like many others, I just want to thank you for all your time in putting this together. Wish I'd found this before I spent the HOURS I did trying to research all these models on the web and in the stores. Needless to say I was pleased to see that the Healthy White+ which I ended up buying was your "best buy". Like another reviewer said, you should review everything in the world.

Jude

The compliment is appreciated.

Size

Many thanks for your helpful website. Out of the FlexCare+, FlexCare Platinum Connected, DiamondClean and DiamondClean Smart, which has the slimmest body?

Also, do you test battery recharge times?

BL

The DiamondClean and DiamondClean Smart lines are the slimmest/sleekest of the Sonicares. However, all of the more modern Sonicares (including the models you mention) are much slimmer than the models of yesteryear (some of which are still sold). Many retailers have "dummy" Sonicare models on display so you can hold them (Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc...).

We don't have information about charging times. Having a lithium ion battery would be an asset in that regard. All of the models you mention do.

Sonic Care toothbrush

One Concern I have with the high end toothbrush is that the small metal point that you snap the toothbrush on after awhile comes out. It is impossible to re-insert and therefore I have to throw the entire unit out.
Is this normal wear and tear?
I have had this one for a year.
The High cost of the Sonicare would make me think that it should last longer.
When reading the information I did not come across this problem.
Hope you can help me out.

Joanne

We're simply not going to have any information about repair. We Googled "sonicare metal shaft loose" and some YouTube videos came up. We're assuming they are discussing a problem similar to yours.

At minimum a concern involving the possibility of repair would be if the water-tight nature of the brush is compromised. If so, it's only a matter of time until internal problems develop. We would think Sonicare customer service would be the right place to start with your issue.

This entire page is about trying to identify the cheapest Sonicare that can meet the brusher's needs, in part precisely for the reason you state. In todays world of lowest-possible-cost construction and plannned obsolescence, spending hundreds of dollars for an electric toothbrush seems a questionable act (no matter the brand). And at least with a cheaper brush there's a chance you can replace it and still stay within the same budget.

Good luck.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Please answer the question so we know you're a human.
Feedback