When people search for electric toothbrushes, the majority of the results will show Sonicare and Oral-B brands. According to Industry Research, the top 5 players in the electric toothbrush market are: Philips Sonicare, P&G (Oral-B and Crest), Panasonic, Colgate and Wellness Oral Care. Here comes the question: which one is better?
Short answer: in terms of cleaning power, Sonicare and Oral-B are both great brushes. Whichever you choose, it will clean your teeth well (if use correctly). They have quite a few differences though. The Sonicare brushes have more features and are quieter, if that is a concern of yours. It all comes down to personal liking and preference. Before choosing one, you may want to look at the features, that is what we will explain here.
Best budget: Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 One cleaning mode + one intensity Comes with one brush head Timer, Quadpacer, pressure sensor, EasyStart 110-240V 14 Days battery life82,168 Reviews $72.14 at Amazon | Philips
Oral-B Pro 1000
Runner-up / budget:Oral-B Pro 1000 One cleaning mode +3D Cleaning Action Timer, Quadpacer, pressure sensor More budget friendly on replacement brush heads 7 Days battery life 110-130V only, needs 220V adapter Louder noise5,330 Reviews $60.00 at Amazon | Oral-B
Oral-B Genius 8000
Best $100-$200: Oral-B Genius 8000 6 cleaning modes +3D Cleaning Action Comes with 3 types of brush heads Timer, Quadpacer Visible pressure sensor ring Bluetooth connectivity Charger with brush head compartment Charging case with multi-voltage (100-240V) power adapter 14 Days battery life9,415 Reviews $179.94$125.68 at Amazon | Oral-B
Runner-up / $100-$200: Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6500 3 cleaning modes + 3 intensities Comes with one extra replacement brush head (total 2) Timer, Quadpacer, pressure sensor、EasyStart Charging travel case 14 Days battery life No bluetooth connectivity20,098 Reviews N/A at Amazon
DiamondClean Smart 9500
Best high-end: Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9500 Sleek and elegant design 5 cleaning modes + 3 intensities Comes with 4 types of brush heads Timer, Quadpacer, pressure sensor、EasyStart Bluetooth connectivity with real-time feedback Charging glass + charging travel case 14 Days battery life2,972 Reviews $269.96 at Amazon | Philips
Oral-B Genius X
Runner-up / high-end: Oral-B Genius X 6 cleaning modes +3D Cleaning Action Comes with 3 types of brush heads Timer, Quadpacer Visible pressure sensor ring AI recognition + 3D teeth tracking guide Charging travel case 14 Days battery life Not able to change brushing mode when the brush is off3,870 Reviews $219.94$174.31 at Amazon | Oral-B
Sonicare 9900 Prestige
Best top-tier: Sonicare 9900 Prestige 5 cleaning modes + 3 intensities Pressure sensor alerts and automatically reduces intensity Seamless button Premium All-in-One for all cleaning modes BrushPacer divides your mouth into 6 parts, 20 seconds for each part SenseIQ technology senses, adapts and cares for your teeth Premium leatherette charging travel case + charging stand Cleaning mode has to be changed via the app381 Reviews N/A at Amazon | Philips
Runner-up / top-tier: Oral-B iO9 7 cleaning modes +3D Cleaning Action Comes with 3 extra replacement brush heads (total 4) AI Tracking + 3D Teeth Tracking guides you through brushing Magnetic charging stand + charging travel case Quieter than previous models 110-240V Only compactible with iO replacement brush heads2,788 Reviews $329.99$299.79 at Amazon | Oral-B
How does Sonicare work
Sonicare brush heads have an oval shape like traditional manual brushes, but just smaller. There are different brush heads designated for cleaning, gum care or whitening, and each head has a pattern consisting of at least two types of bristles. All bristles come perpendicular (90 degrees) out of the head. To loosen dental plaque/tartar and to create a fluid dynamics to mimic flossing action, these bristles vibrate from side to side as fast as 31,000 times per minute, so they are called 「sonic vibration」. Depending on types of brush head, Sonicare electric toothbrushes can be 3-10 times more effective than manual brushes.
You may see Sonicare states 31,000 strokes per minute and 62,000 movements in recent models. This is a confusing wording and hence many people think the newer models are more advanced technology. They are, but not in vibration speed. These 2 wordings actually are the SAME THING. 1 complete stroke equals 2 movements. Most Sonicare electric toothbrushes offer 31,000 strokes per minute under max intensity.
How does Oral-B work
You will recognize Oral-B electric toothbrushes by their unique round brush heads. They are even smaller than Sonicare brush heads, covering only one tooth at a time. Oral-B brush head bristles consist of various patterns and come at an angle. Oral-B names it 「2D cleaning action」, meaning that they oscillates (i.e., rotates back and forth) 8,000 to 10,000 times per minute. Many models now comply with a 「3D cleaning action」, which combines oscillation and super fast pulsing motion.
Other features Sonicare and Oral-B share
Timer and Quadpacer
Sonicare and Oral-B both have a 2-min timer, which is essential for dental health. Sonicare stops after 2 minutes, whereas Oral-B does not. You have to press the on/off button to stop Oral-B toothbrushes, except for high-end iO series that stop after 5 minutes.
Most of the Sonicare and Oral-B electric brushes have pressure sensors, except for the very basic ones. They may have different designs, like LED rings, vibration or app notification. But they all have a way to alert you that you are brushing too hard. Definitely look for the models with pressure sensors.
Although it is not a new technology, Sonicare and Oral-B only have 2-3 series equipped with bluetooth connectivity. They are often mid to high end models. Budget models do not have this feature which keeps them affordable and less things to care for.
Brush head replacement reminder
Some Sonicare models have a feature called 「BrushSync」 to alert you when to change a new brush head. The built-in Micro chips calculate the time you use – based on 2 minutes use, twice a day – to determine when to change. If you always use sensitive cleaning mode, or the lowest intensity, the brush head may not wear out as quickly as normal. BrushSync will notify you every 3 months, anyway.
Oral-B brush head bristles simply fade its color to let you know for a replacement. So when you use sensitive mode, your brush head may last longer than 3 months. Oral-B brush heads are usually cheaper to get, saving you in the long run.
Cleaning modes and brushing intensities
Both brands offer multiple cleaning modes in their mid to high-end models. In addition to the daily cleaning mode, they also have sensitive, deep clean, whitening modes etc (names could be different). Despite different names, it is just a pre-set program of different vibration intensities/rotation speeds. For example, sensitive mode always operates at a lower rate of vibration or rotation.
Unlike Sonicare, which has 3 different intensities (low/middle/high) in its newer models, Oral-B electric toothbrushes have one intensity. You can opt for models with sensitive mode if you want a more gentle cleaning experience.
This is not a 「feature」 but can’t be unnoticeable. Sonicare is much quieter than Oral-B electric toothbrushes, no doubt. Sonicare is more like a humming sound, whereas Oral-B is a louder machanical sound. Some reviewers describe Oral-B as 「you have to close your bathroom door or else you will wake somebody up in the middle of the night」. Oral-B’s iO series is quieter than other models but it is still louder than Sonicare.
Sonicare and Oral-B at different price ranges
Best budget models
Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100
It may not seem a very low price (around $50), but it is still very affordable, considering it has all essential features you want an electric toothbrush to have. It operates at 31,000 strokes per minute. It has only one cleaning mode and one intensity, yet it includes the same pressure sensor as the higher model 6100. It supports 「smart」 brush heads, but only the replacement reminder function. It cannot match modes according to the head attached – it has only one cleaning mode.
31,000 brush strokes per minute. Removes up to 7x more plaque vs a manual toothbrush. Pressure sensor protects teeth and gums from excess brushing pressure. Always know when to replace your brush head with BrushSync replacement reminder. Quadpacer and Smart timer helps ensure dental professional recommended 2 minute brushing time and encourages brushing in each quadrant of the mouth. Battery charge indicator light lets you know when to recharge. 2 week battery life. Voltage: 110-220v
Only one cleaning mode + one intensity
Oral-B Pro 1000
Pro 1000 has one cleaning mode and 3D cleaning action. It has a pressure sensor too but has no visual alert. It merely slows down or stops when too much pressure is applied. Good thing is Oral-B replacement brush heads are widely available on the market and cost less than Sonicare heads.
Oscillates at 8,800 movements per minute and 20,000 pulsations per minute. Removes 3x more plaque along the gum line than a regular manual toothbrush. Senses when you brush too hard with pressure sensor. In-handle timer pulses every 30 seconds to let you know when to switch areas of the mouth. Rechargeable battery toothbrush. Compatible with Oral-B brush heads for every oral care need: CrossAction, FlossAction, Precision Clean, 3D White, Sensitive Gum Care, Deep sweep, Dual Clean.
Only one mode: Daily Clean. Does not work in 220v countries.
Best mid-range models
Sonicare ProtetiveClean 5100
Though the ProtetiveClean 5100 is about 1.5x the price of 4100, it is still relatively affordable. It has 3 modes: daily clean, white and gum care. Gum care is a one-minute cycle gently massaging your gum line. Yet it is still only one intensity. This model comes with a plastic travel case. All Sonicare models are multi-voltage, which makes it easier for travelers.
31,000 brush strokes per minute. Improve your gum health up to 100% with a safe and gentle experience vs a manual toothbrush. Protect your teeth with a pressure sensor that gently pulses to alert you when you’re brushing too hard. Always know when to replace your brush head for an effective clean with the brush head replacement reminder. Slim ergonomic handle design. Personalize your brushing experience with 3 modes: Clean, White and Gum Care. 2 minute Smartimer with QuadPacer helps ensure Dental Professional recommended brushing time and a consistent clean throughout your mouth. 2 week battery life. Voltage: 110-220v
One intensity only.
Sonicare ProtetiveClean 6500
The ProtetiveClean 6500 does everything 5100 does but now 3 intensities and an extra brush head. The BrushSync feature on this model not only sends reminders for head replacement, it also smartly recognizes which brush head you are attaching to, then switches to the mode accordingly. The ProtetiveClean 6500 does not support the Sonicare app. I don’t think it is too bad. Not having an app keeps it at mid-range pricing. This model is ideal for those who want to pamper themselves but don’t want to spend too much.
31,000 brush strokes per minute. Personalize your brushing experience with 3 intensities and 3 modes: Clean, White and Gum Care. Gentle yet effective to whiten teeth in just 1 week vs a manual toothbrush. 2 minute timer with QuadPacer helps ensure brushing time and a consistent clean throughout your mouth. Protect your teeth with a pressure sensor that gently pulses to alert you when you’re brushing too hard. Always know when to replace your brush head for an effective clean with the brush head replacement reminder.
Oral-B Smart 5000
The Smart 5000 have 5 cleaning modes: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, and Deep Clean. It also has a visual pressure sensor that lights up when you brush too hard. It is compatible with all Oral-B brush heads. A brush head storage compartment is attached to the charging stand and holds up to 4 brush heads. You can purchase different types of brush heads to use in different modes. Keeping them in the compartment so they won’t get contaminated.
Oscillates at 8,800 movements per minute and 40,000 pulsations per minute. 5 cleaning odes: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, and Deep Clean. Pressure sensor lights up on brush and smartph1 if you brush too hard. Built in 2-minute timer pulses every 30 seconds to let you know when to switch areas of the mouth. Bluetooth communication between brush and smartph1 provides real-time feedback on brushing habits, helping you achieve amazing results. Travel case (without charging function).
Charger does not work in 220v environment. You need a 220v charger (get it here).
Oral-B Genius 8000
If you prefer the Oral-B brand, the Genius 8000 is the best you can get below $200. It has 6 cleaning modes: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, Tongue Cleaning and Pro-Clean Mode. Customizable multicolor SmartRing provides real-time visual coaching on brushing time and pressure to help you brush like your dentist recommends. It is the first Oral-B model that uses the front camera of your phone to detect your brushing positions. Some people don’t bother. They either feel it is redundant or think the phone holder is an eye sore. One big improvement is that it now comes with a charging travel case that can be used on 220V power sockets.
Oscillates at 10,500 movements per minute and 48,000 pulsations per minute. 6 cleaning modes allow you to brush based on your needs: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, Tongue Cleaning and Pro-Clean Mode. Comes with 3 brush heads: CrossAction, 3D White, Sensitive. Pressure sensor technology automatically slows brush speed and visibly alerts you to protect gums from over-brushing. Pairs with your smartphone to enable Position Detection which uses facial recognition to help you know where you’ve brushed, so you never miss a zone. Customizable multicolor SmartRing provides real-time visual coaching on brushing time and pressure to help you brush like your dentist recommends. Smart Travel Case allows you to charge your toothbrush and your smartphone at the same time.
Best high-end models
Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9500
The DiamondClean Smart series is the most eye-catching model in my opinion. Just by looking at its sleek, elegant design you immediately can feel the luxury. The conventional charging stand is replaced by a glass sitting on a wireless charging stand. Yes you can put your toothbrush in the glass to charge, or if you are not ready to charge it, then just leave the glass on the countertop.
The DiamondClean Smart 9500 has 5 modes and 3 intensities: Clean, White, Gum Health, DeepClean and TongueCare. It comes with a total of 4 brush heads, one of which is designated for tongue cleaning. With the Sonicare app and 3D mouth map, you will never miss a spot.
Again the 9500 includes a charging travel case with USB input. You can plug it into your computer, powerbank or USB adaptor.
31,000 brush strokes per minute. Removes up to 10x more plaque and improves gum health up to 7x in just 2 weeks in Gum Health mode versus a manual toothbrush. Personalize your brushing with 3 intensities and 5 modes: Clean, White+, Gum Health, DeepClean+ and TongueCare+. Comes with 4 brush heads: C3 Premium Plaque Control, G3 Premium Gum Care, W3 Premium White, TongueCare+ tongue brush. Premium charging travel case lets you store and charge your toothbrush while on the go. Works on 110-220v.
Oral-B Genius X
As other Oral-B designs, the Genius X look less classy than the DiamondClean Smart, but it is no doubt a robust toothbrush. The Genius X has 6 cleaning modes: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, Pro-Clean, Tongue Cleaning. Despite 6 cleaning modes, there are only 5 icons on the handle. When no icon is lit up, it means the toothbrush is in daily clean mode.
While the cleaning modes and brush heads are the same as the 8000, the Genius X is improved with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to track the movement of the brushing instead of relying on your phone’s front camera. No suction cup is included thus the eye sore no longer exists. But if you already have the Genius 8000, there is no significant urge to upgrade to the X.
The Genius X does include a charging case. It only connects through a power adaptor, meaning that you have to find a wall socket to plug it in.
Oscillates at 10,500 movements per minute and 48,000 pulsations per minute. The artificial intelligence built-in has learned from thousands of human brushing behaviors and instantly recognizes your brushing style. 6 cleaning modes: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, Pro-Clean, Tongue Cleaning. comes with 3 brush heads: CrossAction, 3D White and FlossAction. The luxe version may have extra brush heads. Works on 110-220v.
No significant upgrade from the Genius 8000.
Top of top-tier models
Sonicare 9900 Prestige
Though 9900 Prestige has 5 cleaning modes – less than 7 modes in Oral-B iO9 – I still consider it the winner. You don’t really need a super-sensitive or super-intense cleaning mode. You just simply choose the low or medium intensity. Plus the fact that the look of 9900 Prestige feels more premium, with one seamless on/off button. Unlike the DiamondClean series, the Prestige does not have any cleaning mode labels on the handle. It does have 3 little dots to show which intensity is on. The Prestige has a pressure sensor that lights up to purple, and vibrates at the same time, when it is activated.
One noticeable change is that the Prestige uses only one type of brush head: Ultimate clean, for all cleaning modes. That means you don’t have to buy different brush head and switch them in different modes
However to achieve the simple look, the Prestige does not have a button to switch between cleaning modes – you have to do it in the App. Neither does it show on the handle. The only way to know which cleaning mode is chosen, is to check in the App.
Classy, minimal look with one seamless button. 31,000 brush strokes per minute. 5 cleaning modes: Clean, Deep Clean, Gum Health, Sensitive, White+. Comes with a one-type-fits-all brush head: A3 Premium All-in-One. SenseIQ technology senses your every move and adapting to your needs in real time. Pressure sensor lights up purple and vibrates when you brush too hard, and reduces the brushing intensity if you continue doing so. Capture your brushing session whether the App is open or not. Premium leatherette travel case with USB charging.
It can take up to 16 hours to fully charge the Prestige. You can’t switch modes on the handle.
The iO9 is the latest model of the Oral-B electric toothbrush line and overall cheaper than the Prestige. Oral-B’s signature 「3D oscillating + pulsing cleaning action」 is now upgraded to 「oscillating + micro-vibration」 in the iO series. The round brush head still moves back and forth in a circular motion. Now it also offers micro vibrations to create a fluid dynamic indirect contact like the Sonicare brushes. As such it uses angle and frequency instead of oscillation/pulsation per minute.
The iO9 has 7 cleaning modes: Daily Clean, Whitening, Gum Care, Sensitive, Intense, Super Sensitive and Tongue Clean. It also comes with 4 x Ultimate Clean brush heads, which is a one-type-fits-all style. The brush head turns at different angles in each mode but all vibrate at 145Hz. Below are the angles it turns under each mode:
Daily Clean: 28° (+/- 5°)
Whitening: 16-33° (+/- 5°)
Gum Care: 14-28° (+/- 5°)
Sensitive: 20° (+/- 5°)
Intense: 33° (+/- 5°)
Super Sensitive: 15° (+/- 5°)
Tongue Clean: 15° (+/- 5°)
iO9 has 2 buttons on the handle, on/off button and mode-switching button. You will know which mode is on by looking at the OLED screen between these 2 buttons. There is a light ring around the neck of the handle. It can be programmed to different colors. It also doubles as the pressure sensor alert. Interestingly, it shows green when you apply the correct pressure, and red if you brush too hard.
The charging stand is a round magnetic base that can charge fully in just 3 hours, much faster than the Prestige. The iO’s power adapter connects to a 2 pin socket and supports 100-240v like the Sonicare.
Oscillates at different angles and vibrates at 145Hz. 7 cleaning modes: Daily Clean, Whitening, Gum Care, Sensitive, Intense, Super Sensitive, Tongue Clean. Comes with 4 x Ultimate Clean brush heads. Brush handle lights up green when you are applying correct pressure, and red when you brush too hard. Sensors in the handle tracks up to 16 zones in the mouth and shows in the App. Turns off after 5 min (you don’t have to brush that long though). Travel case that can charge the brush when it sits inside. Supports 110-240v.
Some modes are rarely used unless you have special needs.