If pearly whites is what you’re after then the best Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes promise minimum effort for maximum results
Philips is the second-biggest brand for electric toothbrushes in the UK, being pipped at the post by Oral-B. The company is also Oral-B’s biggest rival when it comes to toothbrush technology, thanks to its advanced sonic design – which has inspired an army of clones and knock-offs. Whether you’re looking for a basic, budget toothbrush or a feature-packed, high-end smart toothbrush, there’s a Sonicare toothbrush for you. The only problem is making your choice.
As is the case with Oral-B electric toothbrushes, there’s plenty of potential for confusion. Philips offers several lines, each with several different brushes in the range. In some cases, the only real difference between one model and another is the accessories that come bundled in the package. What’s more, you’ll often see older versions on the shelves alongside the most recent models, making it tricky to come to a decision.
Well, there’s no need to despair. Below, we’ll guide you through the top Sonicare toothbrushes currently available, and help you find the right model for your needs and budget.
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Best Sonicare electric toothbrush: At a glance
- Best electric travel toothbrush: Philips One Electric Toothbrush | £30
- Best electric toothbrush for children: Philips Sonicare for Kids | £52
- Best high-end Sonicare toothbrush: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000 Special Edition | £180
How to choose the best Sonicare brush for you
Which Sonicare toothbrush is right for my teeth?
All Sonicare brushes work in basically the same way. Where the head on an Oral-B toothbrush rotates and oscillates at high speed to scrub your teeth clean, the head on a Sonicare brush vibrates at speeds of up to 62,000 movements per minute. Not only does this remove plaque and debris from the surface of your teeth, it creates a dynamic fluid action that cleans in between your teeth, too. The result is teeth that feel smoother and more polished, with a better clean along the gumline and in the hard-to -each corners of your mouth.
The entry-level Sonicare brushes operate at lower speeds, offer fewer settings and cleaning modes, and often use older battery technology, meaning they’re slower to charge and won’t last for so many brushing sessions without a recharge. As you move up the range, you’ll get higher speeds for a more intense clean, a greater number of brushing modes designed for different dental needs, along with more advanced battery technology and better accessories. You’ll also see sensors and smart features creeping in, with the brush connecting to an app so that you can track and improve your technique. The actual features and extras become more complex as you head towards Philips’ flagship brushes, but you can basically divide them into a handful of lines:
- The basic Sonicare 1000, 2000 and 3000 ranges deliver a basic toothbrush with just the essential features. These include a two-minute pulse timer and – with the 3000 series – a pressure sensor to ensure you’re not brushing too lightly or too hard.
- The step-up ProtectiveClean models come with a pressure sensor and timer as standard, along with some useful extra features; some will run at higher speeds and give you a choice of brushing modes.
- The mid-range ExpertClean brushes add smart features to the mix and may include even more brush modes and features. You’re also likely to get more advanced battery technology and better accessories, such as a charging stand or travel case.
- Finally, the DiamondClean models deliver the highest brush speeds, more settings and features, smart technology and – with the flagship Prestige brushes – premium accessories.
As you expect, the higher up the range you go, the more expensive the brushes become. Where the cheapest Sonicare brushes can be found for around £30 to £40, the premium DiamondClean Prestige brushes can cost £250 or more.
Philips also produces a Sonicare for Kids brush aimed at younger children, along with the Philips One electric toothbrush, which delivers basic Sonicare tech inside a slimmer, cheaper brush.
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Are all Sonicare brushes compatible with all heads?
Generally speaking, yes. As well as general-purpose, all-in-one brush heads, Philips makes a range of specialist heads designed for tooth whitening, plaque control and gum care. Any of these can be used on any Sonicare brush – except for Philips One brushes and Sonicare for Kids brushes, which use their own specific heads.
Which features are worth paying extra for?
We’d recommend looking out for the pressure sensor and quad-pace timer, since these can help ensure that you apply the right level of pressure for long enough without going overboard and damaging the enamel coating or your gums.
Other features may be more or less important for you. Philips Brush Sync is a technology that allows your toothbrush to identify which head you’ve attached, and switch the brushing mode to match. This will only be of use to those who plan to try out the different modes and heads and actively make use of them. Smart features, meanwhile, can be useful if you want to track your brushing and discover ways to improve your technique. However, this will require that you take your smartphone in with you while you brush.
How we test Sonicare toothbrushes
To test Sonicare toothbrushes we use them twice a day over a period of at least one week, making sure we get a feel for how they handle and perform when cleaning. During the test period we will try any specific brush modes and attachments, and install any apps required to get the most out of built-in smart features. For at least one of those brushes, we will use plaque disclosing tablets to check that all areas of the teeth are getting a proper clean (allowing for some user error).
To check battery life, we also leave the toothbrush running while standing up and time how long it takes for the battery to run down. We then divide this figure by the four minutes per day recommended by dentists to get an accurate idea of how many weeks and days a single charge should last.
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The best Sonicare toothbrushes you can buy in 2023
1. Philips One Electric Toothbrush: The best electric travel toothbrush
Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Amazon
The Philips One is a great entry-level toothbrush that doubles as a brilliant travel brush. Philips has effectively built its Sonicare tech into a brush that’s just 20cm long and weighs only 34g, with the grippy, moulded handle packing neatly into a minimalist travel case.
It’s basic, with just one setting, but you do get a timer, with the brush pulsing every 30 seconds and switching itself off after two minutes. We also like the unusual pink, blue and yellow colour options available. The One doesn’t have the brushing power of a larger Sonicare brush, but it’s ahead of other battery-powered electric toothbrushes, and does a great job of leaving your teeth feeling clean and looking shiny. The relatively gentle movement is also brilliant for massaging along the gumline.
The single AAA battery keeps the toothbrush going for up to 90 days, although Philips also sells a more expensive rechargeable version that boosts cleaning power and offers a 30-day battery life. We’d go for the latter if the One was your only toothbrush, but the battery-powered model is perfect for packing in your suitcase or weekend bag.
Read our full Philips One Electric Toothbrush review for details
Key specs – Cleaning modes: 1; Battery type: 1 x AAA NiMH; Accessories included: Travel case; Battery life: 6hrs; Warranty: 1yr
2. Philips Sonicare 3100: The best budget Sonicare toothbrush
Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at Amazon
The Sonicare 3100 is one of Philips’ entry-level Sonicare brushes, but in actual use you’d struggle to notice; the core technology works brilliantly and it’s compatible with all the brush heads. Philips sells it with a ProResults head attached, along with a USB charger.
In many ways, this would be your ideal first Sonicare brush; the chunky handle is comfortable to hold while brushing, and there’s an easy-start feature that sees the brush start off with a lower number of vibrations during the first week of use, steadily ramping up to its full 31,000 brush movements per minute.
You still have the usual subtle vibration alert to encourage you to brush each quarter of your mouth for 30 seconds, with a more noticeable alert when it’s time to stop. You don’t get the same cleaning power as with the mid-range Sonicare brushes, but there’s still more than enough here to keep your teeth feeling clean and smooth.
Earlier 3000-series models used an NiMH battery, but the newest Sonicare 3100 has switched to lithium-ion, delivering around 76 minutes of brushing; this translates to around 19 days between recharges, which is a little longer than the specified 14. More expensive Sonicare brushes feature more stamina, but this is a great budget option to keep your teeth and gums in shape.
Key specs – Cleaning modes: 1; Battery type: Li-ion; Accessories included: 1 x brush head, charger; Battery life (tested): 1hr 16mins; Warranty: 2yrs
3. Philips ExpertClean 7300: The best Sonicare toothbrush for value
Price when reviewed: £95 | Check price at Philips
Fancy the performance and app-enabled features of the DiamondClean series but not quite so keen on the price tag? Well, the ExpertClean 7300 delivers most of the good stuff for a bit less money.
Like the DiamondClean Smart, it works with Philips’ Sonicare app to track your brushing and provide reminders, guidance and tips. It can tell you whether you’re not brushing for long enough, or if you’re applying too much pressure, and with three different cleaning modes – Clean, Gum Health and Deep Clean+ – it’s easy to find the ideal mode for you.
It’s a well-designed brush and super-comfortable in the hand. In addition, pulse alerts help you keep track of your brushing if you’re not using the app, and a clear battery indicator makes you aware of when power is low. Not that this should be much of an issue: Philips states that the battery should last you three weeks of brushing, and our tests put that on the conservative side.
Plus, while you don’t get all the extra brushes or charging glass of the flagship model, it does still come with a handy USB charging case, which makes this a fantastic toothbrush both for home and for travel.
The 7300 still isn’t what you might call cheap, but it’s a premium brush at a price you might find easier to swallow.
Key specs – Cleaning modes: 3; Battery type: Li-ion; Accessories included: 2 x brush heads, charging travel case, charger; Battery life (tested): 1hr 33mins; Warranty: 2yrs
4. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000 Special Edition: The best high-end Sonicare toothbrush
Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at Amazon
The DiamondClean 9000 is a step up from the ExpertClean 7300, adding important features from Philips’ flagship Prestige series but without the gimmicky extras that add to the cost. The slim handle, clear indicators and easy-to-find tactile buttons make it a very easy brush to use, and while you don’t get the position sensing features of the Prestige brushes, you can still track your brushing habits through the companion smartphone app, receiving tips on how to improve them.
However, the top reason to get the DiamondClean 9000 is that you’ll be getting the best clean available in the Sonicare range. The Deep Clean + mode might even be too intense for some people, but you can turn down the intensity or switch to the regular Clean or White + mode that will leave your teeth feeling polished, and even get rid of much of the plaque and debris that can accumulate between your teeth. Meanwhile, the Gum Health mode is brilliant for treating and toughening up soft gums.
Throw in epic battery life and a neat charging cradle, and this is a fantastic package. If you’re looking for a quiet, comfortable but powerful toothbrush, this is the high-end model to buy.
Read our full Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000 review for details
Key specs – Cleaning modes: 4; Battery type: Li-ion; Accessories included: 4 x brush heads, travel case, charger; Battery life (tested): 1hr 52mins; Warranty: 2yrs
5. Philips Sonicare for Kids: The best electric toothbrush for children
Price when reviewed: £52 | Check price at Philips
Getting kids to clean their teeth well is rarely easy, but a decent electric brush can help – and this one will make it fun, too. The interactive Bluetooth app puts the character Sparkly, who loves nothing more than cleaning his teeth, at the centre of the action on your device. Not only can kids mimic Sparkly cleaning his teeth in real time, focusing on different sections of their mouth, but they can gain rewards including food, accessories and new skills for him by cleaning as they should and for the required two minutes.
Even if you don’t use the app, it’s a hit with kids thanks to the replaceable stickers and the built-in timer and jingle. It’s durable, lasts well and offers decent battery life. Looking for a way to develop good brushing habits in your child? Then this is it.
Key specs – Cleaning modes: 2; Battery type: Li-ion; Accessories included: 1 x brush head, charger, 8 customisation stickers; Battery life (tested): 56mins; Warranty: 2yrs
6. Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100: The best mid-range Sonicare toothbrush
Price when reviewed: £110 | Check price at John Lewis
Moving up to the ProtectiveClean range upgrades you to a better set of features, but without the smart app connectivity and premium accessories that make the ExpertClean and DiamondClean models more expensive. You still get the most important features, though, including a quad-pace timer, BrushSync tech and a pressure sensor – which alters the vibration to warn you if you’re brushing too hard. You also get a choice of Clean, White and Gum Care modes, plus three intensity settings per mode.
The ProtectiveClean 6100 still doesn’t offer the same cleaning performance as the higher-end models, but it doesn’t feel inferior in everyday use; teeth still feel sparkling-clean after brushing. Meanwhile, you get roughly 14 days of use from a single charge – although, in practice, it’s likely closer to 20 or more before your toothbrush runs out of juice.
If your budget allows, we’d opt for the ExpectClean 7300, which can often be found at a similar price to the ProtectiveClean in the sales. Nevertheless, this model still offers great value if you’re not fussed about the latest in toothbrush features and tech.
Key specs – Cleaning modes: 3; Battery type: Li-ion; Accessories included: 2 x brush heads, travel case, charger; Battery life (tested): 1hr 19mins; Warranty: 2yrs