Review of the Oral-B iO Series electric toothbrushes – iO Series 9 / 8 / 7G / 6.
The iO Series toothbrushes.
Oral-B’s newest brushes are their iO line, which is currently made up of the Series 9, Series 8 , Series 7G , and Series 6 models. This page explains the features that each of these toothbrushes has and points out the differences between them.
Of course, Oral-B offers many other toothbrush models and, if you’re interested, we review and compare them here. All Oral-B Toothbrush Lines. Or for a more focused approach, our Best Oral-B’s page explains a simple process that can be used to pick out this brand’s best-value models.
How our review of the iO Series brushes is set up.
The Series 9 is the top model.
Each section on this page starts off with a discussion that covers the iO Series 9. This toothbrush is the iO Series’ (and Oral-B’s) most advanced, full-featured toothbrush. And as such, it possesses all of this line’s bells and whistles. (When applicable, this discussion also explains how the iO Series’ features compare to those offered on other Oral-B toothbrush lines.)
The Series 8, 7G and, 6 toothbrushes.
After discussing the model 9, we then turn to the slightly less full-featured iO Series 8, 7G, and 6 models and explain how they differ, and how those differences might be important to you.
Our recommendation about which to buy.
We can’t imagine anyone who’s considering spending as much for a toothbrush as you do for most of the iO models wouldn’t want to read through this page to get an idea of the features they’re getting. But if you don’t, use this link to jump ahead to what we have to say about which iO model we’d choose.
The Oral-B iO Series electric toothbrushes –
The iO Series 9.
This is Oral-B’s newest, best, and most expensive toothbrush.
Initially introduced in 2020, the iO Series 9 holds the position of being Oral-B’s top model. And as such, it’s their most advanced, full-featured toothbrush. As you might expect, however, along with that comes Oral-B’s highest price tag.
On Oral-B’s website, we see the iO Series 9 priced at $300.00. The Series 8, 7G, and 6 are shown as being $250, $200, and $150 respectively. (We see similar prices on online retailer websites.)
To its credit, however, with the iO models, Oral-B does seem to have stepped up their game one notch in terms of upgraded toothbrush refinement (both in experience,design, and build), so maybe at least some of this mostly-too-expensive toothbrush line’s cost is justified.
Disclosure: Sales stemming from our affiliate links earn a commission for our website, although without any additional cost to you.
All you need to do is pick out a color.
When shopping for an iO Series 9 toothbrush, there’s not all that much that you need to keep track of. All of the Series 9 models have the exact same features, they just differ by way of color.
The Series 9 comes in three different colors: Black Onyx, White Alabaster, and Rose Quartz. (When shopping, the color of the toothbrush shown on the box is the same as the one inside.)
With the Black Onyx and White Alabaster versions, the brush head, charging stand, and travel case that you get all match the color of the toothbrush’s handle (the motorized part). With the Rose Quartz version, only the handle is pink, all of the included accessories are white.
The iO Series 8, 7G, and 6 toothbrushes.
The Series 7G toothbrush only comes in Black Onyx and White Alabaster. In addition to those colors, the Series 8 also comes in Violet Ametrine (all accessories are black). The Series 6 comes in two colors, Lava Black and Gray Opal (its accessories are white).
What do you get in the iO Series 9 box?
When you open things up, here’s what you’ll find:
- The Oral-B iO Series 9 toothbrush handle. (This is the motorized portion of the toothbrush.)
- 4 Oral-B Ultimate Clean brush heads. (This is a new brush head design.)
- Oral-B’s magnetic charging stand (100-240V) with attached cord.
- Charging travel case.
- Travel case cord/power adapter (100-240V).
Differences between the Series 6, 7G, and 8 models.
- The Series 8 comes with 3 brush heads. The Series 6 with 2 and the 7G only one. The 7G, however, comes with a container for additional brush head storage.
- All iO toothbrushes come with a travel case but only the Series 9’s provides charging capabilities. We will point out, however, that the standard iO charging stand is small in size and is easily packed.
- The Series 6 and 8 cases are hard plastic. The 7G case is a flexible pouch.
Getting acquainted with the iO Series 9 electric toothbrush.
If you’ve owned Oral-B electrics before, you’ll probably notice that the iO Series models have a sleeker (less clunky and hunched-over) look than other Oral-B toothbrushes.
The handle is generally cylindrical in shape. But because of the way its weight has been distributed inside, it stays in place pretty well when laid on its back. (Like if you put it down after applying toothpaste.)
Buttons and displays.
Most of the interaction you’ll have with this toothbrush takes place on the upper half of its handle.
- The all-important Power button is located near the top of the handle, right where it needs to be for easy access for your thumb when grasped for use.
- The less important Mode-selection button is located just above the mid-point of the handle, once again, a location that’s easily accessed by your thumb as you grasp the brush.
- Between the two buttons lies the iO 9’s color Interactive Display. This lighted (OLED) display is a feature that’s new with the iO Series of brushes. We describe its functions and uses below.
Differences – The Series 8 also features a color display, the 6 and 7G only a black and white one. This difference is a total non-issue.
As a last mention, the iO’s buttons are a little bit bigger than found on some other models, which is a plus.
At the top portion of the iO’s handle (right where an installed brush head fits against the handle’s body), is its Light Ring. This narrow-band LED light runs the full circumference of the handle and it illuminates different colors to signal various events and details to the brush user.
That includes brushing pressure status/alerts (white, red, or green, see below), low battery (red), Bluetooth pairing (blue), or system error (orange). Oral-B plays up the fact that the white color can be customized to another one if you want. (Talk about much ado about nothing.)
While the Light Ring does hold a prominent position on the handle, it’s not always so easy to see it as you brush. So, unless you make a habit of brushing in front of your bathroom mirror (which is not a bad idea), some signals like real-time brushing pressure alerts could be missed pretty easily.
The Power and Mode-selection buttons both have a rubberized surface, so they’re easy enough to locate with your thumb even without looking. Of course, this covering helps to seal out moisture too.
The surface of the handle of the iO Series brushes is matte-finish plastic. There are no added rubber grips or surfaces like is common with other Oral-B models. However, this isn’t necessarily a drawback because of the handle’s sleeker, more easily grasped shape and more refined (smoother running) handle vibrations.
This is a comparatively quiet toothbrush.
In passing, we’ll mention that as compared to other Oral-B electrics, the iO Series brushes are quieter. When running, these brushes produce more of a hum as opposed to a chattering noise, making using one more like a Sonicare rather than your traditional Oral-B.
This refinement is no doubt due to the fact that the mechanism that drives the brush heads has been revamped. Oral-B terms it their “frictionless, smooth magnetic drive system” (an issue whose consequences are discussed below in our brush heads section). One can only imagine that this will be the mechanism used for future Oral-B’s too.
The iO Interactive Display.
New to the iO Series of brushes is Oral-B’s new Interactive Display feature. Through a combination of text, icons and emojis, this lighted (OLED) display relays information to you about the current settings and status of your toothbrush, as well as some brushing session feedback.
- Information that’s conveyed to the user includes: 1) Brushing mode setting (including plain text so there’s no question about which mode you’ve selected). 2) Brushing timer progress. 3) Battery charge status (displayed at the end of a brushing session). 4) Charging progress. 5) Brush head replacement reminder.
- The Interactive Display can also be used to customize some toothbrush settings such as the default brushing mode, Light Ring color, language, performing a factory reset, and turning Bluetooth on and off.
- Also, at the end of your brushing session, the display provides feedback. An emoji-style graphic (either a smiley, sad, or star-eyed face) is displayed, based on the time and the pressure level you used when brushing. It also shows your elapsed brushing time.
While being something new that’s not a feature of other Oral-B toothbrush lines, there’s nothing especially earth-shattering about the Interactive Display. It’s just another way for your toothbrush to convey information to you, albeit all in one location.
It’s not a touchscreen. Instead, you use a combination of the Mode and Power buttons to work your way through its menu/options when making a selection is needed.
Differences between iO models.
The Series 8 and 9 models feature a color Interactive Display, the 6 and 7G only a black and white one. This difference is not important.
iO Series 9 brushing modes.
iO Series 9 features seven brushing modes: Daily Clean, Whitening, Gum Care, Sensitive, Intense, Super Sensitive, and Tongue Clean.
Differences with other iO models.
- The Series 8 features six modes – Daily Clean, Whitening, Gum Care, Sensitive, Intense, and Super Sensitive.
- The Series 6 and 7G has five modes – Daily Clean, Whitening, Gum Care, Sensitive, and Intense.
We’re very strong believers that almost all owners are best served by just using their toothbrush in Daily Clean mode Here’s why.
Brushing mode selection.
You can select/change the brushing mode you want to use either before or during your brushing session. To switch, you use the Mode button to toggle through the list of available options that show on the Interactive Display. You then press the power button to select the mode that’s currently shown.
The default brushing mode on iO brushes is Daily Clean. Oral-B considers this the “standard mode for daily cleaning.” We agree that it makes the right choice for almost all users.
However, if you like, you can change the default brushing mode to your personal preference via the toothbrush handle. You can also customize brushing mode settings using the Oral-B smartphone app.
The iO Series’ brushing action.
Above we mentioned that the iO Series brushes (all of them) feature Oral-B’s new “frictionless, smooth magnetic drive system” as the mechanism that drives the brush head’s motions.
The old terminology.
With previous generations of Oral-B toothbrushes, a primary distinction between models was whether they generated the company’s best, most effective 3D brushing action (40,000 pulses / 8,800 oscillations per minute or better) or not.
FYI: The term “3D” refers to the oscillating-rotating + pulsating motion the brush head makes as it runs. If you’re interested, here’s more information about Oral-B 3D vs. 2D brushing action.
How is the iO Series different?
With the new frictionless, smooth magnetic drive system that’s used with the iO Series brushes, the terminology Oral-B uses has changed. They still refer to the iO Series’ brushing motion to be oscillating and rotating. But instead of referring to pulsations, Oral-B has adopted the use of the term “microvibrations.”
Is the iO Series brushing action better?
Without qualification, we think it’s safe to say that due to the new drive system the effectiveness of the brushing action of the iO brushes must surely equal, and most likely exceeds (due to increased oscillations/minute), that of previous generations of Oral-B lines. But whether or not this upgrade provides a significant advantage in terms of real-life results, we don’t know and tend to assume that it does not.
This opinion is based on our search through published dental research where we found a handful of studies that had involved iO Series brushes. We didn’t find any that had compared the new frictionless, smooth magnetic drive system with Oral-B’s previous design. The studies we saw did make a presentation of data that they felt showed that iO brushes are superior to using a manual toothbrush and some Sonicare models.
▲ Section references – Adam, Goyal
Integration with Oral-B’s smartphone app.
While fundamentally similar to that used with other toothbrush models, the iO Series 9 integrates with Oral-B’s latest and greatest version of their smartphone app. And as a point of reference, it does have some improvements over the version utilized by all previous Oral-B models, including the Genius X.
Getting the app.
As you’d expect, the Oral-B smartphone app is free. You get it at your usual app store (iOS or Android). Your phone will need Bluetooth capabilities (4.2 or higher).
We’ll mention that the iO user manual says your phone needs to be within 16 feet of your brushing activities. That’s not much of a restriction. What’s most important is that your phone is in a location where it stays dry and you can see its screen easily. You may find it worth your while to buy a suction-cup phone holder so you have some options in where you position it.
3D mouth mapping
When it comes to the app, the iO Series 9 model (alone) offers Oral-B’s highest level of sophistication. As you brush, it collects information about your activity and progress in three dimensions (3D tracking). And using that data …
- In real time, the app’s mouth map turns from blue to white in those zones where you have spent time cleaning.
For tracking purposes, the app subdivides your mouth into 16 zones: Frontside of upper front teeth, Back (tongue side) surface of lower right back teeth, etc…)
- Also showing on the screen is the amount of brushing time that’s elapsed and the name of the brushing mode you’re using.
- During periods when you’re using too much brushing pressure, the words “Reduce Pressure” will show on-screen.
At the end of your brushing session, the app’s screen reports your overall “Session Score,” which seems to be based on:
- How long your brushing session has lasted.
- Your level of brushing coverage. (Did you brush all areas of your mouth for enough time?)
- The amount of time you used too much brushing pressure.
Past data is stored by the app and you can see how you’ve done with your brushing sessions during previous weeks, months, and years.
You can also use the app to customize various brush settings such as timer duration and brushing mode settings.
How the app experience with the iO Series 6, 7G, and 8 differs.
The app experience with the lesser iO models isn’t quite as technically sophisticated.
- All of the iO models (and also the Genius X model) feature Oral-B’s A.I. (artificial intelligence) feature where the app identifies areas where you need to brush better and gives you an overall rating on how well you have done.
- But only the iO 9 offers real-time 3D brushing tracking/mapping.
Just like with other Oral-B toothbrushes, all of the iO Series models feature both a (two minute) brushing timer and a 30-second quadrant timer, in an attempt to help you brush both for long enough and in each area of your mouth extensively enough.
The quadrant timer (which prompts you to move onto cleaning the next 1/4 of your mouth – i.e. upper right, lower right, etc…) signals every 30 seconds via a short stuttering sound. (You’ll feel a difference in the vibrations of the brush too.) A longer stutter is triggered by the brushing timer at the end of two minutes.
If you need to turn off your brush for a brief moment (less than 30 seconds), like to respond to a text, the brush will still keep accurate track of your session. (Longer than 30 seconds, however, the timers will reset.)
The current progress of the brushing timer can be viewed on the handle’s Interactive Display. The duration of the timer can be customized to run for longer via Oral-B’s smartphone app.
Another great thing about this brush is that it doesn’t automatically turn off just because the two-minute period has elapsed. You can just continue on with your session, spending extra time wherever you feel is needed.
The iO’s Smart Pressure Sensor
A new technology that comes with all of the iO Series of brushes is Oral-B’s Smart Pressure Sensor system. What’s unique about this feature is that it monitors and alerts both when you are using too much or not enough pressure. Other Oral-B lines just alert you when too much pressure is being used.
The Light Ring.
Above we mentioned the LED Light Ring that’s found at the top of the iO’s handle (right below where the base of an installed brush head fits). And this is the light that’s used to indicate the amount of brushing pressure you’re using as you brush.
- White (or whatever color you configure) – Low pressure indicator. The use of more pressure is recommended.
- Red – Excessive pressure indicator. If using Daily Clean, Intense Clean, or Sensitive modes, the Smart Pressure Sensor system will reduce brush head movement.
- Green – Proper pressure is being used. So as you brush, this is the color you want to see showing.
As a criticism of the iO’s new Smart Pressure Sensor system, it only provides visual Light Ring alerts, which can be difficult to see unless you’re watching in the mirror as you work. With other Oral-B lines, if you use excessive brushing pressure you’ll also hear an audible alert as the brush handle alters its brushing motion.
iO Series brush heads.
a) The Ultimate Clean head.
The iO Series 9 comes with four of Oral-B’s Ultimate Clean brush heads. The 8, 7G, and 6 models come with 3, 1, and 2 respectively.
Different but similar.
We don’t have a lot to say about the Ultimate Clean. To us, it’s just another circular-shaped Oral-B head. However, to them, it seems a big deal. They state it “maximizes tooth surface coverage and cleaning” due to:
- Increased bristle density.
- Bristle Tuft-in-Tuft technology. – Each tuft of bristles consists of a core of thinner, longer bristles surrounded by shorter, thicker ones.
- Bristle tufts that are angled at 16 degrees. – Reminiscent of the Cross Action head.
What we think about the Ultimate Clean.
▲ Section references – Adam
b) The Gentle Care head.
While you don’t get one of these with any of the iO Series toothbrushes, the Gentle Care is the only alternative brush head that can be used with them.
Oral-B promotional materials say that the bristles of the Gentle Care “adapt to the curves of the teeth and gums, but are extra soft for maximum comfort.” So, you have this option if you feel you need it.
Only two styles of brush heads.
An important point to note.
Entirely different than with most Oral-B toothbrush models that have a wide range of brush head styles to choose from, with the iO Series, you only have the choice of the two mentioned above.
They simply won’t fit.
If you’ve owned an Oral-B electric before, all you have to do is glance at the shaft sticking out of an iO’s handle to know that there’s something new going on. And in fact, Oral-B has redesigned the mechanism that operates the brush head.
They referred to this new setup as their “frictionless, smooth magnetic drive system.” And while the specifics of how it works is their business, at your end what you’ll notice is a more refined toothbrushing experience for an Oral-B (intense but smooth vibrations, reduced noise level).
Evidently, this is an era of change.
Over the years, first Oral-B and then Sonicare made great strides in establishing a line of brush heads that have universal interchangeability among most of their respective models.
Now, with the iO Series of brushes, Oral-B’s status quo has been disrupted and that’s disappointing. However, it’s also easy to see how their new mechanism is the way of the future. And no doubt, as years pass and new models come and old ones go, universal interchangeability will be established again.
By the way, the iO’s heads are more expensive.
In passing, we’ll mention that it seems that iO replacement heads cost more (we see 2 for $29) than Oral-B’s standard ones (generally 2 for $25), which raises the comparative cost of ownership. (Both types of heads are presumed to be able to give about 3 months of service.)
The iO Series of brushes feature the (preferred) lithium-ion type of battery. And Oral-B says you’ll get 2+ weeks of use on a full charge.
That, of course, can vary depending on how long you brush per session. (No doubt Oral-B bases their calculation on 2-minutes per use.) Other factors can include the brushing action you choose and whether or not Bluetooth is enabled.
Checking the iO’s remaining charge.
There are a number of ways you can check the status of your toothbrush’s battery. At the end of a brushing session, the iO’s Interactive Display will show the remaining charge. It also shows the handle’s charging progress when it sits on its charging base. When your charge level is extremely low, the brush’s Light Ring will flash red.
Charging an iO Series handle.
All iO Series brushes come with a magnetic quick-charge station. The iO Series 9 also comes with a charging travel case.
The magnetic Quick-charge Station.
This puck-shaped unit recharges your iO Series brush via induction (that means wirelessly) and holds your toothbrush in place magnetically as it charges. The station does not provide any extra brush head storage.
True to its name, Oral-B says the quick-charge station can recharge a depleted toothbrush in as little as 3 hours. (That’s 1/3 to 1/4 the time of traditional Oral-B charging stands.) Its attached cord also has an integrated power converter that can run on 100 – 240 volts.
When on its recharging stand, the handle’s Interactive Display shows the level of charging progress. Its Light Ring will slowly flash (white) until the charging process has been completed.
It’s OK to leave your toothbrush on its magnetic stand all of the time between uses. The handle’s electronics will keep its battery from overcharging.
The charging travel case.
Only the iO Series 9 model comes with a travel case that can also be used to charge your toothbrush. The case comes with its needed power cord with integrated power adapter (100 – 240 volts). Note: Unlike with some other electric toothbrushes, the connector that plugs into the iO 9’s case is not USB so you are limited to using your Oral-B supplied cable.
A flashing light on the case indicates that the charging process is in progress. Oral-B states that it takes 6 hours to recharge a fully depleted toothbrush handle.
Different than what you might be used to with other Oral-B travel cases, the iO line’s cases only provide storage for a single brush head.
Differences with other iO models.
The Series 6 and 8 brushes come with a hard (non-charging) case. The (non-charging) case that comes with the 7G is pouch-like.
Are the iO Series toothbrushes waterproof?
The iO’s handle is considered just water-resistant as opposed to waterproof. It’s OK to allow some moisture exposure and even to rinse it off under the tap. But don’t submerge it. It’s not built to withstand the pressure associated with that.
Conclusion: What do we think? / What’s our recommendation?
When it comes to the iO Series brushes, there are really two different issues that apply. The first is if you should buy an iO model at all. And then, if the answer to that is yes, specifically which model to get.
Should you buy an iO Series toothbrush?
Our general recommendation is no, probably not. As Oral-B’s top line, there is no question that the iO models are excellent brushes. But the overall philosophy of our website is one of choosing best-value products. And when that’s used as the criteria, the idea of purchasing an iO brush doesn’t make a lot of sense. You can get all you need in a much cheaper Oral-B.
FYI – We explain what features to look for in a best-value brush here. The best Oral-Bs.
Reasons to buy an iO brush.
If you’re not a value-oriented shopper, then there are some reasons why buying an iO Series brush could make the right choice. That’s because with this line you get:
- Oral-B’s best brushing app experience, with the model 9 and its real-time 3D mouth mapping feature being the most sophisticated. (Possibly important if you feel you will really use the app after the newness of your brush has worn off.)
- The new “frictionless, smooth magnetic drive system” that provides a smoother, quieter, and possibly more effective brushing action.
- The Ultimate Clean brush head (high bristle density, tuft-in-tuft design, angled bristles) that may provide for more effective brushing.
- The Smart Pressure Sensor system that includes telling you when you’re not using enough brushing pressure.
(Sure, brushing with the right amount of pressure, especially not too much, is important. But you can get by just fine with a toothbrush that has a standard excess pressure system.)
So if these features are important to you, then your only option is to get an iO brush because the other Oral-B lines don’t offer them.
What’s the best iO model to buy?
If you’ve decided that you’re going to buy an iO Series toothbrush, then our advice is either to go big and buy a Series 9 model (the top one). Or else, choose the least expensive one, which is the Series 6. Here’s why.
Advantages of buying the iO Series 9.
This is Oral-B’s top model and therefore comes with all of the bells and whistles their toothbrushes offer. And on top of this, the 9 offers these features that are not available with any other models.
- The most sophisticated brushing app experience. This includes the real-time 3D mouth mapping feature so you can watch your progress as you brush.
- A charging travel case, which is not available with the other iO models.
Advantages of buying the iO Series 6.
If instead you want an iO brush because of this line’s advantages mentioned above but you’re trying to stay within a budget, then go for the 6.
As a tradeoff for its lower cost, it doesn’t have a charging travel case, app real-time mouth mapping, or as many brushing modes. But when it comes to just brushing effectively, having those features really isn’t mandatory. You can do a good job without them.
Disclosure: Sales stemming from our affiliate links earn a commission for our website, although without any additional cost to you.
Page references sources:
Adam R. Introducing the Oral-B iO electric toothbrush: Next generation oscillating-rotating technology. Int Dent J. 2020 Apr;70 Suppl 1:S1-S6.
Goyal CR, et. al. A 6-month randomized controlled trial evaluating a novel smart-connected oscillating-rotating toothbrush versus a smart-connected sonic toothbrush for the reduction of plaque and gingivitis. Am J Dent. 2021 Feb;34(1):54-60.
All reference sources for topic Electric Toothbrushes.