Pearly Whites: The 8 Best Electric Toothbrushes

Dental care isn’t fun or sexy, but if you think taking the time to brush and floss is tough; try living life with yellowed teeth that’s full of bridges, caps, and fillings. It won’t just make your smile look like the Elephant Man’s grimace, it also makes eating steak or sipping your favorite craft beer downright agonizing. To remove some of the pain and suffering that goes into the daily brushing ritual, you can acquire a nice electric toothbrush and let a machine do all the work.

These hi-tech toothbrushes aren’t new, but each year they are given enormous improvements. The best ones combine multiple settings for different parts of your mouth, vibration functions that break up plaque, and angled scrubbing vectors that get every pocket. By choosing the right one you can save yourself from bleeding gums, arduous dentist visits, surgery, and extractions. Choose a cheap imitation, and you’d better to be able to afford a new diamond grill. Now get lazy and check out the 8 best electric toothbrushes out there.

Panasonic EW-DS90-K Compact

Panasonic EW-DS90-K Compact

Pro: Works without recharging
Con: Limited improvement vs. manual toothbrush

For the Jetsetter: Since most electric powered toothbrushes use a base for recharging, they can take up unnecessary space in your travel backpack when you’re on the move. They also need an outlet to keep going. Not so with the Compact from Panasonic. With a lone AAA battery this offers up 16,000 sonic brushstrokes a minute. It has three bristle types for getting between teeth, massaging the gums, and scouring the surface of your teeth. Field tests didn’t necessarily show much improvement over using a manual brush, though that isn’t to say this slouched; it just didn’t blow us away. If you demand an on-the-go electric, this is your best bet, but it doesn’t astound. [Purchase: $15]

Oral-B Deep Sweep Triaction 1000

Oral-B Deep Sweep Triaction 1000

Pro: Manual brush feel
Con: No pressure sensor

Entry-Level: We confess: Most of the brushes on this list are significantly more expensive than you’d ever spend on a nice manual brush. However, spending $100+ now could save you thousands in the long run. With that out of the way, those that just can’t convince themselves that the cost is worth it can snap up the fully respectable Triaction 1000. This gives the general feel of a manual brush with markedly more cleaning power. Sweeping and pulsating action removes more tartar and buildup than you’ll get with just a good scrub. The American Journal of Dentistry found that it is even superior at plaque removal and gingivitis protection compared with sonic brushes. Comes with 4 cleaning modes. [Purchase: $36]

Waterpik Sensonic Pro Plus SR-3000

Waterpik Sensonic Pro Plus SR-3000

Pro: Pauses between quadrants
Con: High setting can irritate gums

Budget Sonic: Electric toothbrushes that use sonic technology to assist in the cleaning process are very nice. They also cost a bundle. This piece from Waterpik manages to cram in nearly all of the features you would find in a premium brush without the overloaded price tag. The Sensonic Pro runs at approximately 25,000-30,000 brush strokes a minute, though that is based on independent testing and should be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, it does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, stimulating gums, and clearing away plaque. Though the brush itself works well, a number of issues (only has two speeds, large handle, heavy body) make it imperfect, though none of it’s small flaws come anywhere close to breaking the deal. [Purchase: $74]

Oral-B Professional Precision 5000

Oral-B Professional Precision 5000

Pro: Long-lasting
Con: Settings are mostly superfluous

Most for the Money: Make a note that the Precision line from Oral-B comes in three major flavors (4000, 5000, 7000) which are all head and shoulders above average. The Precision 4000 is a slightly reduced option that comes in well under $100 while the Precision 7000 is for premium users and offers a few more features. The 5000 is the balance point between the two. For a mid-range price it kicks out 40,000 pulsations and 8,800 oscillations every minute, has an internal timer that alerts you every 30 seconds, and has an LCD display which guides you through the quadrants of your mouth for more apt brushing. Cheap, replaceable heads, polishing features, 5 settings, and a light, ergonomic handle make this an easy purchase. [Purchase: $122]

Philips Sonicare HX6921 30 Flexcare Plus

Philips Sonicare HX6921/30 Flexcare Plus

Pro: Small, comfortable handle
Con: Compact brush heads

Greater Gum Care: With a reasonable 31,000 brush strokes per minute, the Flexcare Plus works plenty hard to keep your teeth clean. Where it really shines is in helping care for sensitive gums. It reduces inflammation of the gums through gentle gentle stimulation and a specialized gum care setting geared specifically toward preventing bleeding and making the soft tissues of your mouth healthier. The head is contoured to sweep away debris around the gum line where detritus can build up, giving bacteria a happy hunting ground for setting up shop. A soft, compact handle makes it easy to use for those with smaller or weaker hands. The timer helps you stay on track for both standard brushing and the added gum cleaning. [Purchase: $130]

Smilex Original Ultrasonic

Smilex Original Ultrasonic Toothbrush

Pro: Short battery life
Con: Limited head movement

Dual Action: You’ll not only get 18,000 sonic bristle vibrations, you’ll also receive 96 million ultrasonic pulses that aid in destroying older plaque and tartar deposits. Claims to penetrate a full half inch below the gum line, though that’s difficult to prove. Bacteria dies a horrible death on the head without needing ultraviolet protection so you’ll never be using a tainted brush. Vibrations are caused by opposing magnets which eliminates the sense of jarring and shaking that comes along with most of these toothbrushes. Works gently on sensitive gums or those suffering from Gingivitis. If you prefer, you can forego the sonic setting altogether for a totally ultrasonic cleaning. [Purchase: $150]

Philips Sonicare HX9352 04 DiamondClean

Philips Sonicare HX9352/04 DiamondClean

Pro: Attractive charging base
Con: Overpriced

Make a Statement: We’d be lying if we said that this was truly a better toothbrush than the Flexcare Plus. It isn’t. Rather, this is a good engine put into a hot body that looks amazing sitting on your bathroom counter beside your aftershave. The black body adds a touch of class, though the handle style doesn’t improve over other Sonicare products in any way that isn’t aesthetic. The base has an induction charger set beneath a rinse cup that helps keep drips and splatters from leaking everywhere, and sure looks snazzy, but doesn’t do much else. Using sonice technology this uses fluid to push into areas that the bristles can’t reach for a slightly deeper clean. If you need to impress with your toothbrush and get a high-quality sonic cleaning, this can do it. If flash doesn’t matter to you, save your money. [Purchase: $176]

Emmi-dent 6 Ultrasonic

Emmi-dent 6 Ultrasonic

Pro: No brushing to cause irritation
Con: Takes much longer than standard brushes

Weird Science: Try using this like any other toothbrush on the list and you’ll be ready to throw it away in minutes. Read the instructions and you’ll discover that while other brushes are busy sweeping and scrubbing, the Emmi-dent 6 is using ultrasound technology to clean your teeth with nanobubbles. These tiny bubbles scrub away debris as gently as a spring rain, yet work as effectively as a belt sander. By just holding this up to your teeth – no scratching or movement needed – this lifts away all the scum that your mouth collects. Though the body feels cheap and a little clinical, a couple of rounds will make you a believer. This takes more than twice as long as standard electric toothbrushes meaning quick scrubs are out, but with almost 0 irritation this is a beautiful invention. [Purchase: $189]