Canstar Blue’s electric toothbrush review has seen Philips Sonicare, Oral-B (Braun), ALDI Dentitex and Colgate rated on their performance, ease of use, value for money, reliability, cost of accessories and overall customer satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Brushing your teeth is not only good for your oral hygiene, but also your confidence. How you go about scrubbing those pearly whites can impact how brightly you smile, and how good you feel about yourself. And like many other things in the 21st century, the humble toothbrush has undergone a technological upgrade, with a wide variety of electric toothbrushes now readily available to purchase. So, getting a great clean time after time has never been easier.
But with so many options available – each claiming the best clean – consumers may not be left smiling as the decision process can prove greater than first expected. So, to help narrow down the search for your next electric toothbrush, Canstar Blue has again surveyed hundreds of Australian adults to find out which brand is scrubbing up best in Australia. Brands were rated on factors including performance, reliability, ease of use and value for money. But most important of all, is ‘overall’ customer satisfaction.
Four major brands received the minimum sample size to be included in the results, but only one achieved a five-star review for overall satisfaction – Philips Sonicare. The brand also got top marks for performance, ease of use, reliability and cost of accessories, plus four stars for value for money.
The four brands included in our latest electric toothbrush review were rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
Last year’s winner, Oral B, had to settle for four stars for overall satisfaction this year, alongside ALDI Dentitex, while Coles was left on three stars. Five-star reviews were in fairly short supply this year with ALDI Dentitex being the only other brand to score top marks in one other category – value for money.
To help you decide which electric toothbrush might be the best bet for your brushing preferences and budget, here is an overview of the four brands in this year’s review.
A Dutch brand with appliances for all rooms of the house, Philips provides a number of electric toothbrushes for Aussies to pick from, including the modestly-named DiamondClean, FlexCare, ProtectiveClean, Healthy White, EasyClean, Elite + and Sonicare for Kids ranges.
The ‘DiamondClean’ Smart electric toothbrush even comes with a Bluetooth-compatible app, giving you real-time feedback on your brushing technique for an optimal clean, as well as a notice on any areas that you may have missed with the Location Sensor. It includes a variety of settings, including gum and tongue care, and whitening for a total mouth clean. Other features available within the range include Polish mode, a charging glass, travel cases, and reminder to let you know when it’s time to replace your brush heads.
While it may be one of the most expensive brands on the market – with the top of the line models setting you back close to $600 – the Philips Sonicare range also includes more affordable models for under $100 for those looking to stick to a budget.
The Philips line-up includes:
Rated five stars for overall customer satisfaction, Philips also scored top marks for performance, ease of use, reliability and cost of accessories, with a four-star rating for value for money.
One of the most recognisable brands in the dental industry, Oral-B offers plenty of products for all parts of your mouth, including whitening strips, toothpastes, and floss. Its electric toothbrush range is one of the largest around, helping consumers to find one to suit their needs and budget.
The top of the line ‘Genius 9000’ model includes features such as position detection for optimal cleaning, pressure control for a softer feel, as well as six brushing modes for all areas of your mouth. It comes with a range of accessories including three brush heads, a USB chargeable travel case and a smartphone holder.
Other models include the SmartSeries, Vitality Plus, Professional Care and Stages for young children, each including features like timers, travel cases, and even Bluetooth connectivity. Readily available at retailers and pharmacies, Oral-B’s electric toothbrushes will set you back between $50 and $400 depending on the retailer and model.
The Oral-B range includes:
Oral-B was rated four stars for overall satisfaction and all other categories, except for cost of accessories where it received three stars.
ALDI has a habit of disrupting markets with bargain appliances that turn out to be strong competitors against usually more established brands. The ALDI Dentitex electric toothbrush range is a case in point.
Unfortunately, it’s not always stocked in stores as it is part of the ALDI Special Buys cycle – so you’ll need to keep a close eye out for when it returns to shelves and stock up with replacement heads. ALDI offers two types of electric toothbrushes – the traditional rechargeable kind that plugs into the wall outlet for charging, and AAA battery powered sonic toothbrushes, including toothbrushes for kids.
The only brand to score five stars on value for money, ALDI was rated four stars for ease of use, cost of accessories and overall satisfaction, and three stars for performance and reliability.
Another heavyweight of the dental care industry, Colgate is one of the more affordable ranges within the market, with the majority of its electric toothbrushes costing between $50 and $200.
Colgate’s flagship model, the ProClinical, makes up the bulk of its range, and is available in a number of varieties, each with additional features and functions. These features include a charge indicator, a timer to ensure you’re meeting the 2-minute recommended brushing time, plus multiple cleaning functions for each part of your mouth.
The top of the line ProClinical models include smart sensors which change the speed of the toothbrush, as well as the option to revert to manual mode if you’re feeling old-school.
The Colgate range includes:
Rated three stars for overall satisfaction, Colgate was also rated three stars for all other variables.
Apart from finding out which brand Aussies love most, our review identified the key drivers of customer satisfaction when it comes to buying an electric toothbrush, listed in the following order of importance:
Our research found performance and ease of use to be the biggest drivers of customer satisfaction, so it’s worth keeping this in mind when you go shopping. Any electric toothbrush should be up to the basic job of keeping your teeth and gums healthy, but if you’ve ever experienced an electric toothbrush that won’t work properly in the morning – or generally just disappoints – then you’ll appreciate that spending a little extra on a top of the range toothbrush may be worth it in the long run.
Here’s what else our survey found:
Traditional electric toothbrushes have rotating brush heads but they don’t rotate in complete circles. They make partial rotations back and forth, so you can get that scrubbing motion at a speed far faster than the human hand can accomplish using a manual toothbrush.
‘Sonic toothbrushes’ vibrate faster and differently. The whole head vibrates rather than just the top part of the brush. And according to manufacturers, the faster vibration speed – when combined with lots of fluid around the mouth – forms tiny bubbles between the toothbrush and teeth to better shift plaque.
One of the biggest ongoing expenses of an electric toothbrush is replacing the brush heads, which can set you back between $10 and $20 depending on the brand, pack size and retailer. But just how often should you be replacing the head of your toothbrush?
Toothbrush manufacturers Philips, Oral-B and Colgate – in addition to the American Dental Association – recommend that toothbrush heads (as well as manual toothbrushes) be replaced every three months, or when the bristles begin to fray. Oral-B highlights that it’s best to change the head if you have recently come down with an illness, as the bacteria may still be present on the bristles.
When asked how often they change their brush heads, 35% of Canstar Blue’s survey respondents said they change at least once a month or more frequently. 42% change every few months, while 5% were leaving it for a year or longer, meaning they’re probably not getting the most out of their toothbrush.
Why do people use electric toothbrushes? Nearly half (48%) of respondents to our survey said their main reason for using electric toothbrushes is for a superior clean. One in four (25%) said they were advised by a dental professional to use an electric toothbrush, while 22% were simply curious to try. So, do electric toothbrushes really deliver healthier cleaning results?
Your specific dental advice could vary, but the Australian Society of Orthodontists says that you’re not missing out by only using a manual toothbrush, assuming good brushing technique. Electric brushes can, however, make brushing easier – and perhaps more pleasant – which is why many choose to go electric. But with a little effort you can achieve the same results with a manual toothbrush.
Our survey results suggest that – of those who do choose to buy electric – they’re quite happy with their choice and intend to stick with it. Almost three in five survey respondents (59%) stated that they would recommend an electric toothbrush to a friend, while 42% were in agreement that they’ll never go back to a normal toothbrush.
Philips has topped our electric toothbrush ratings, delivering on the performance and functionality that Aussies expect. However, with lots of different options out there, it’s important to do your research and choose a brand that ticks all your boxes.
While budget does have an impact on the product you buy, electric toothbrushes typically last you some time, so it would be wise to choose one that you’ll be able to use for years to come. Within each brand, there are plenty of options depending on the features you’re after. And be sure to compare the price of replacement heads because the costs can certainly add up over time.
Remember, you only get one set of adult teeth – so take good care of them! Whether you buy an electric toothbrush or prefer to keep it manual, the key to dental hygiene is regular and thorough brushing.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Vilgun/shutterstock.com, Artsplav/shutterstock.com, Lazy_Bear/shutterstock.com
*Prices taken from respective retailer websites, correct as of January 2020.
Our latest customer satisfaction research on electric toothbrushes saw a number of brands rated best in different areas:
Canstar Blue surveyed 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased an electric toothbrush in the last 3 years – in this case, 853 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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Clean more! Floss more! Rinse more! We’ve all heard these words spoken by our dentists and hygienists plenty of times before. And with so many things in our busy lives, you’re likely looking for the quickest way to do this is, right? Well you’ve probably heard of and been recommended to use an electric toothbrush before, whether by your dentist, a friend or family member.
You might even already use one yourself. But does the electric toothbrush really save you time and effort? And does it clean your teeth better than a regular toothbrush? Here are the facts, plain and simple for you.
There are of course some obvious benefits to using an electric toothbrush. The circular motion that the brush of the tooth makes mimics the circular motion your dentist has probably shown you to use before. With the toothbrush doing the circular motion, your wrist gets a break, saving you (a small amount!) of energy.
The circular motion is the best way to clean off difficult-to-remove plaque and bacteria caught on and between your teeth because it loosens the bacteria from all sides, rather than left and right if you’re brushing horizontally only. Due to the small size of the toothbrush head, the circular motions it makes are much smaller than the ones you probably make with a manual toothbrush, which also makes it potentially easier to cover more of the tooth surface more thoroughly.
Well actually yes you can. An electric toothbrush might save you some wrist energy, but aside from that, there really are no extraordinary benefits to using one over a manual toothbrush.
Regardless of the type of toothbrush you use, the most important thing is to brush for long enough. We, along with The Australian Dental Association, recommend brushing for at least two minutes, twice daily. Some electric toothbrushes actually can help with this as they come fitted with a timer that tells you when to move sections, and beep when you’ve been cleaning for long enough. Using a good brushing technique, and brushing for long enough, you should be able to thoroughly clean your teeth, with either a manual or electric toothbrush.
Cleaning your teeth properly is all in the technique, regularity and length of time. You should brush your teeth both morning and night after eating, for at least two minutes at a time.
Short, gentle circular strokes are best, concentrating on each section to clean thoroughly before moving along the teeth. It’s important to focus extra time and attention on brushing the gumline and gums, the difficult-to-reach teeth at the back of your mouth, and areas around any fillings, crowns or dental implants. Don’t forget to also give your tongue a good scrub when brushing your teeth, as bacteria tends to build up here, and is often the cause of bad breath.
Clean teeth aren’t achieved only by brushing. Anywhere where food can become lodged needs to be cleaned properly, usually by flossing. You should floss your teeth each night before brushing, being sure to floss between teeth, right up to the gums, and around the back of your teeth at the rear of your mouth.
Flossing dislodges any food caught, making it easier to clean the plaque and bacteria in and around your teeth and gums. Despite trying, this is something your electric toothbrush definitely can’t do for you!
All in all, electric toothbrushes can save you some energy and help ensure you brush for long enough, but they don’t necessarily clean your teeth any better than a manual toothbrush. So long as you have a quality toothbrush with strong, but flexible bristles, use the correct technique and brush regularly, your teeth should be kept clean and healthy.
Ben Wilcox is a dental expert from Shore Dental.