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Oral-B iO Series 6 review: State-of-the-art cleaning from a more affordable toothbrush

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
300
inc. VAT

With high-end tech at a more mid-range price point, this is a superb electric toothbrush. Just watch and wait for that RRP to fall.

Pros 
Delivers a fantastic clean
Excellent smart app features
Useful feedback from the OLED screen
Cons 
No fast charging
Expensive at its RRP
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Ask us to pick out the most advanced, effective electric toothbrush of the moment, and we’d point you at Oral-B’s iO Series 9. Between its colour OLED screen, its magnetic drive system, its onboard sensors and its smart app connectivity, it’s a tooth-cleaning dream machine. However, there’s just one problem: it’s expensive, even by high-end electric toothbrush standards.

Since its launch, Oral-B has stepped in with some lower-priced variants, switching out some brush modes and accessories to hit a slightly lower price. Yet it’s with the new Series 6 that I think the iO line really hits the mainstream. Sure, there are some noticeable compromises, but it brings the same impressive core technology within reach of a much wider audience.

Oral-B iO Series 6 review: What do you get for the money?

The iO Series 6 comes in with a £300 RRP, which is already £100 less than the broadly similar iO Series 7. However, as with any electric toothbrush, we’d never recommend that you pay full price, as in sales and events you’re almost guaranteed to see it for significantly less. To put this in perspective, if you timed your purchase well you could have had the £400 iO Series 7 for £120 this year. The iO Series 6 should be around the same price or even cheaper as the sales kick in.

You’re still getting a built-in OLED display, albeit in monochrome rather than colour, along with the iO Series’ advanced brush head and smooth, power-efficient magnetic motor. The Series 6 also has the same five cleaning modes as the Series 7, the same pressure sensors and the same AI-powered smart tracking features. Neither has the full seven brushing modes or the more advanced full 3D tracking features of the Series 9, but these shouldn’t be thought of as dealbreakers.

In fact, the biggest difference between the Series 6 and Series 7 is that the latter has a more advanced magnetic charging stand. It’s useful, but I suspect that most of us could live without it.

Oral-B iO Series 6 review: What’s it like to use?

It might be the cheapest of the iO Series brushes, but the Series 6 is still a joy to use. It’s got the same slick, streamlined design language, with smooth plastics, a great, solid-feeling handle and two round, rubberised buttons, set above and below the OLED screen. The brush head clamps firmly on top of a sturdy plastic column in the centre of the angled mounting, where you’ll also find the pressure sensor indicator, which glows red when you brush too hard, a gentle white when you brush too lightly and green when you’ve got the pressure just right.

It’s a nicely balanced brush, easy to grip, and with a head that’s easy to get into the tightest corners of the mouth. What’s more, it cleans effectively with less vibration – and less noise – than previous Oral-B brushes and even most Philips Sonicare brushes. Move from a lower-end Pro or Smart series brush, and the iO6 feels like a real step up.

What’s the point of the OLED screen? Well, for a start it shows the current brushing mode, both with text and a chunky icon. You can switch between the five modes – Daily Clean, Sensitive, Whiten, Gum Care and Intense – by pressing the lower button. However, its more important role is to give you instant feedback, with a timer you can check to pace your brushing, a happy face when you’ve brushed for a whole two minutes, and a sad face when you cut your brush short. It sounds like a small thing, but you feel bad when you see the sad face. You, of course, may feel differently, but there’s a sense that you and the brush have made some kind of tooth-care team and that, through neglect, you’re letting the side down.

The other key feature is Bluetooth connectivity and the iO smart app. As we said, you don’t get the full range of performance-tracking options that you’ll find on the iO Series 9, but the app shows which section of the mouth you’re cleaning, with the teeth turning blue to white as you make your way around. Turn off the brush and you’re graded for your cleaning, and over time you’ll get tips that can help you improve your technique further. And if you’ve got specific issues, such as gum disease or stinky breath, the app can suggest brushing routines that Oral-B has designed to counter them.

To my mind, Oral-B has really nailed the smart brush experience. It’s not always practical to have your phone with you in the bathroom, and if you don’t you still get enough aural feedback (from the usual timed pulses) and visual feedback to help you maintain a routine. Yet when you do use the app, you get advice and information that can actually help. What’s more, setup is very easy, and connectivity during testing was rock solid.

Oral-B iO Series 6 review: How well does it clean?

Bar the absence of two brushing modes, the clean from the Series 6 is the same as you’d get from the Series 8. Basically, it’s fantastic. There’s more than enough action in the Daily Clean, Whitening and Intense modes to get the trickiest teeth feeling super-fresh and plaque-free, while the Sensitive and Gum Care modes are great for slightly painful areas or giving your gums a good massage. Follow a proper cleaning routine and your teeth should feel noticeably cleaner than if you’d used another brush – and that’s coming from someone who’s fairly cynical about the difference between affordable and high-end brushes.

Oral-B iO Series 6 review: How long does the battery last?

The battery is expected to last around two weeks between charges, and in my experience, you should be good for several days more. The OLED screen also gives the brush one further advantage in that you get a digital readout of the remaining battery, so you get plenty of warning when it’s about to run out. That’s a good thing, as the one thing the Series 6 lacks in comparison to the pricier models is Oral-B’s magnetic fast charger, which can charge the toothbrush in just two to three hours. Here you’re looking at a bog-standard charger and an overnight charge, but that’s something I can handle if it means a little money off.

READ NEXT: Best electric toothbrush deals

Oral-B iO Series 6 review: Should I buy it?

Right now, money is a slightly tricky issue, and Oral-B really needs to make sure that the iO Series 6 stays at a slightly lower price than the Series 7 or buyers will look at that charger and spend accordingly. But as long as it’s cheaper than the Series 7, and ideally, in the £120 to £150 price range, the Series 6 is an absolute winner. It gives you nearly all the best technology from the iO series, but in a brush that more of us might be able to afford, and that makes it one very easy brush to recommend.

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