Superb brushing and excellent battery life make this the best non-smart option in Oral-B’s current lineup, despite the price
- Quiet and effective cleaning
- Excellent pressure sensor
- Impressive battery life
- Expensive for a no-frills brush
Oral-B’s iO-Series toothbrush tech is arguably the best in the business right now, with only Philips’ high-end Sonicare brushes and a handful of smaller Chinese brands offering any serious competition. Yet, for some potential buyers, the iO Series has always presented a bit of a quandary; to get the superb magnetic drive and iO brush heads means investing in a bunch of smart app features you don’t necessarily want or need.
Not bothered about Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone apps, week-by-week monitoring or suggestions on how to improve your brushing technique? Well, the new iO Series 3 gives you all the benefits of the iO Series tech, but with the smart stuff taken out. In theory, this should mean a cheaper entry point into the iO Series and a brush you might want to buy instead of old stalwarts based on Oral-B’s last-generation tech. In practice, things are a little more complicated, but this is still a fantastic mid-range brush.
Oral-B iO Series 3 review: What do you get for the money?
As you might expect, the iO Series 3 is effectively the brilliant iO Series 4, only without the smart features and Bluetooth connectivity needed to work with Oral B’s iO app. It has the same iO-Series magnetic drive and supports the full range of iO brush heads. It has a smart pressure sensor that glows blue to red to track how hard you’re brushing, along with three brushing modes. It comes with Oral-B’s basic 2-pin charger plus an equally plain and basic plastic travel case. Only one brush head is supplied, so you’ll need to pay extra for spares or replacements.
In terms of design, it’s virtually identical to the iO Series 4. In my bathroom, I can only tell the two apart by the fact that my test sample has a two-tone black and grey handle, while the Series 4 we have here is off-white. The Series 4 is ever-so-slightly taller and thicker, but there’s only a couple of millimetres in it. It also has an extra brush mode – super sensitive – but I suspect most people will be fine with the Series 3’s trio of daily clean, sensitive and whitening. If you don’t like the matte black finish, it’s also available in a light blue and pale pink.
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Oral-B iO Series 3 review: What’s it like to use?
In a word, great. The slim, lightweight handle is easy to hold, with a graspable matte finish, and the iO drive doesn’t transmit as much vibration down the handle as some of Oral-B’s older tech. What’s more, it’s noticeably quieter, creating less of a racket in the bathroom, not to mention in your skull.
The glowing pressure sensor ring works as well here as it did on the Series 4, giving you instant and obvious feedback about whether you’re brushing too softly or too hard. Meanwhile, the 30-second double-pulse buzzes provide a clear indication of when it’s time to switch to a different quadrant of your mouth – with an extra pulse after two minutes to let you know that you can quit.
If you’re not worried about monitoring your brushing, but you want a little help with the mechanics, the Series 3 offers just what you need – no more, no less. It also has a useful indicator to let you know when it’s time to change the head.
Oral-B iO Series 3 review: How well does it clean?
When it comes to the actual clean, the iO Series 3 delivers much the same experience as pricier members of the iO-Series family. It’s great at getting into the corners of the mouth and dealing with those tricky back molars, but also brilliant at giving your front incisors that ultra-smooth, just back from the dentist feel. The combination of oscillation left and right with micro vibrations seem to do an excellent job of breaking up plaque and sweeping it away, giving you the sense of effective cleaning even in-between the teeth. Where Philips used to have a clear lead in this area, Oral-B has now caught up.
For my money, it’s also a better clean than you’ll get from Oral-B’s cheaper, non-IO-Series brushes, although the head is slightly larger, which might affect you if you have a small or tightly packed jaw. What’s more, the three brush modes offer a useful selection of intensities without going too far down the road of pointless stop/start patterns.
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Oral-B iO Series 3 review: How long does the battery last?
Battery life is one area where manufacturers tend to cut costs on their cheaper brushes, but here the iO Series 3 outperforms the iO Series 4, lasting for 2hrs 19mins of continuous operation, where the pricier model lasted one hour and 38 minutes. Brushing twice a day for two minutes, you should be good for 34 days without a recharge. I’d charge it a little more regularly, though, in part because you want to maintain the best performance, and also because with Oral-B’s bundled charger you’re looking at a slow-ish overnight charge.
Oral-B iO Series 3 review: Should I buy it?
This is where things get complicated. Right now, the iO Series 3 is selling for around £75. Were it £50 to £60, I’d say it was easily the best toothbrush in its class and urge you to buy it. However, £75 seems both a little steep and very close to the current sale price of the iO Series 4 and Series 5 brushes.
Of course, there’s no point in paying a penny extra if you don’t want the smart features included, but the minimal price difference leaves you feeling that the iO Series 3 isn’t quite as entry level as it could be. The price also isn’t quite low enough to tempt upgraders from Oral-B’s Pro Series brushes, especially given that the iO-Series heads are also more expensive, costing upwards of £15 for two or £27 for four.
Despite this, the iO Series 3 still offers decent value, especially when you consider that all iO-Series brushes cost well over £100 a year or so ago. However, if you don’t need to switch out your toothbrush right now, then you might want to see what reductions come with the usual winter sales.