Sonicare vs Oral-B – Choosing the Best Electric Toothbrush

If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably just been back from your dentist who has recommended you to buy an electric toothbrush. But why should you even by an electric toothbrush? In the first part of this article, I am going to outline all the advantages of using an electric toothbrush. But which one electric toothbrush should you choose to buy? The two leading brands that most dentists recommend buying an electric toothbrush from is Braun Oral-B and Philips Sonicare. In the second part of this article, I am going to compare both in a contest of Sonicare vs Oral-B so you can decide which brand may be best for you. I am going to go in depth on all the features both brands offer with their products so you are well educated when you choose to buy the best electric toothbrush for you.

Advantages of Using an Electric Toothbrush

1. Faster and Effective Brushing

The average persons hand can brush at a rate of 300 brush strokes per minute with a manual toothbrush. There isn’t anyone who can move their hands nearly as fast enough compared to the speed of an electric toothbrush. The best electric toothbrushes can brush over 100 times faster than a human hand at a rate of 30,000 to 40,000 brush strokes per minute. It is this reason that electric toothbrushes remove plaque at least 25 percent more effectively than a manual toothbrush. Braun Oral-B’s range of electric toothbrushes, claim to remove up to 100 percent more plaque than conventional toothbrushes. This is one of the main reasons as to why are electric toothbrushes better than manual toothbrushes.

2. Easier Brushing

Using an electric toothbrush makes brushing a more pleasant process. If you find your arms are tired after 2 minutes of brushing, buying electric toothbrush will be of benefit to you. A person who uses an electric toothbrush only has to apply the toothpaste, turn the toothbrush on, and move it over their teeth. For people with limited mobility and disabilities will find brushing their teeth with a manual toothbrush to be a constant challenge. The large handle of an electric will appeal to those with arthritis, as using a manual toothbrush may be difficult to hold on to when brushing. For children who find brushing their teeth a strenuous process, an electric toothbrush will encourage children to keeping to their brushing routine.

3. Deep Cleaning

The best electric toothbrushes are designed to enable a person to clean areas that are hard to reach using a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes have ergonomically designed brush heads that allow them to clean between and around teeth to remove tooth stains and harmful bacteria. Oral B’s Pro range offer toothbrush heads that are designed to be small and circular in shape to clean deeply. To add to that, the motion of the brush head enables it to effectively scrub away at plaque. This is one of the top reasons why dentists recommend using electric toothbrushes.

4. Painless Cleaning

Electric toothbrushes are designed to clean faster, easier, and deeper without causing pain to the user. An electric toothbrush should not cause any discomfort while maintaining good oral health. Its bristles are stiff enough to thoroughly clean teeth, but are soft enough to avoid harming them. Also, the pulsing motion of some electric toothbrushes are able to gently massage gums to stimulate healthy blood circulation. Additionally, many electric toothbrushes have a pressure sensor that automatically stalls or stops the brush to prevent damage to your gums if too much pressure is being applied. Some electric toothbrushes offer a toothbrush head specifically for those with sensitive teeth in addition to a brush mode to address this problem.

5. Stain Removal

For those who frequently consume drinks like coffee and tea, drinking these will eventually lead to the discoloration and staining of the teeth. The speed and pressure of an electric toothbrush makes it easier for users to remove stains and whiten their teeth. Using an electric toothbrush after teeth whitening treatment will be beneficial to keeping your teeth white. Some toothbrushes offer a toothbrush head and a whitening mode to whiten teeth.

6. Fresher Breath

Bad breath can be a problem for many people. It can be caused by the presence of bacteria deep within the mouth. The design of an electric toothbrush can make it easier to remove these bacteria, keeping your breath smelling fresher and your mouth cleaner. Also it more effectively cleans the tongue which is the main reason for bad breath.

7. Perfect usage

Many people brush their teeth incorrectly. Some toothbrushes have features to rectify incorrect brushing techniques, such as a two minute timer which is the recommended time needed to maintain good oral health and pressure sensors to avoid damaging teeth. To add to that, using an electric toothbrush does not require the rigor movement of your arms so usage of an electric toothbrush even without these features will be a major step to avoid damaging your mouth.

8. Proven Results

Studies have shown that people who both use an electric toothbrush and brush regularly will have an 11 percent reduction in plaque and are 6 percent less likely to get gingivitis (gum disease) when compared to users of manual toothbrushes. Over 80 percent of those that have switched from manual to electric toothbrushes are reported to show improved oral hygiene during visits to the dentist. Therefore, most dentists recommend electric toothbrushes to their patients to maintain their oral health.

9. Price (In the long term)

The major drawback to electric toothbrushes, in many people’s opinions, is the cost. In the long run, however, they may not cost much more than manual brushes, as they need to be replaced far less often and it can be cheaper to get replacement toothbrush heads. Not keeping your teeth clean can be the result of toothaches and other problems that are very expensive to treat at the dentist. It can end up being cheaper to buy a decent electric toothbrush to prevent these issues from occuring.

Sonicare vs Oral-B

Cleaning Technology


Sonicare produce what is called a sonic toothbrush. Ordinary electric toothbrushes vibrate at speeds from 2000 to 7000 strokes per minute. Sonicare models are capable of brush movements performing up to 31,000 brush strokes per minute. This sonic motion creates a dynamic fluid action that drives fluid deep between teeth and along the gumline for superior yet gentle cleaning every time. Sonicare’s optimal combination of high frequency and amplitude brushing movements is proven to remove plaque up to 7 times faster than a manual toothbrush. This cleaning action provides excellent cleaning efficiency and they claim to whiten teeth after only 2 weeks of usage.


Adversely, Oral-B brush heads are inspired by the round shape of professional dental cleaning tools as the toothbrush head can surround each tooth for individual cleaning. The brush head pulsates 40,000 times and rotates back and forth (oscillates) 8,800 every minute. Braun’s unique combination of these features is what they call their ‘3D technology’. The movement of the Oral-B toothbrushes combined with their small round brush heads ensure the bristles can clean deep between teeth allowing a person to remove plaque more efficiently than conventional toothbrushes. Oral-B also offers their ‘2D technology’ on their lower end models, but as we want the best for lowest price possible, these should be ignored.

It is important for you to know that some models with Oral-B’s 3D cleaning action can generate up to 40,000 pulses per minute, whereas others generate less than that. Oral B’s most powerful brushing movement that I have described in the previous paragraph is found on mid-priced to high-end models (3000 and upwards).

On the evidence of the cleaning results provided by both brands, there isn’t much of difference. They are both equally excellent at keeping your teeth and gums healthy. In this dispute between Sonicare vs Oral-B, there are both are one up.


Battery Indicator

This is a necessary feature on all electric toothbrushes. If there wasn’t a battery indicator you wouldn’t know when to charge it so it comes default on all toothbrushes. If it isn’t mentioned in a review, just know it is included.

Pressure Indicator

Vigorous brushing can lead to you damaging your gums causing soreness and inflammation. Over time, this can cause conditions such as gum recession. To prevent this happening, manufacturers have implemented a pressure sensor that notifies you when you’re brushing too hard. Commonly, the warning is in the form of a flashing light, a vibration or a sound but some electric toothbrushes have sensors that stops or reduces the power of the toothbrush when it senses you’re brushing too hard.

Brushing Timer

Many people who clean their teeth, brush for an inadequate amount of time. Ensuring you brush for a minimum of 2 minutes is important to keep good oral hygiene. Considering this, most electric toothbrushes have a built-in timer that indicates when two minutes have passed. This guarantees that you have brushed for the recommended amount of time. Sonicare call this feature their ‘Smartimer’ and on their children models it is called the ‘KidTimer’.

Interval Timer

Some electric toothbrushes feature a more sophisticated timer. An interval timer makes sure you clean every quadrant (the top right, bottom right, top left, and bottom left) of the mouth. The timer pulses every 30 seconds to remind users that it is time to move on to the next section of the mouth. An interval timer makes sure each part mouth receives equal cleaning. Sonicare call this feature their ‘QuadPacer’ and on their children models it is called the ‘KidPacer’. Oral-B refer to this as their ‘Quadrant Timer’ or ‘ProTimer’.

Sonicare – Easy Start Program

Mindful of those with sensitive teeth that aren’t used to an electric toothbrush Philips have included their Easy Start. It gently increases power over the first 14 uses to ease you into default usage.

Sonicare – UV Brush Head Sanitiser

On the charging dock of some of Sonicare’s FlexCare models is an integrated UV Brush Head Sanitiser. Sonicare state that their sanitiser kills up to 99% of the germs that are left on your toothbrush after you’re done brushing. I really don’t believe this feature is necessary. Sonicare also offers standalone version of the UV Brush Head Sanitiser.

Oral-B – SmartGuide Device

For some Oral-B electric toothbrush models, included is a unique SmartGuide device. The SmartGuide actually connects to the brush wirelessly and displays: the brushing timer, interval indicator, the current brush mode setting and the pressure indicator. The SmartGuide allows all the features that already come on the toothbrush to be visualised. I personally, don’t find this to be a useful feature but it could be to people who want visuals on this information.

Oral-B – Smartphone app

This app connects your toothbrush to your smartphone and provides the same functionality as the SmartGuide, plus more. The app allows you to customise your brushing and interval timers beyond what is programmed on the electric toothbrush handle. It displays your brushing history and can act as a reminder to replace your brush head, brush your tongue and floss. These are the useful features the app offers. This only works for models of Oral-B’s electric toothbrushes that have Bluetooth connectivity.

Electric Toothbrush Brushing Modes

The most expensive electric toothbrushes have various brushing modes. These modes allow users to manipulate the speed and motion of the brush head and its timers (brushing and interval timers) depending on their needs. Most of these modes aren’t worth the jump in price to buy a high end toothbrush and in my opinion most of them are quite gimmicky. Here are all the brushing modes I think may be useful that Oral-B and Sonicare have to offer in their electric toothbrushes:

Oral-B Sonicare
Setting Description Setting Description
Daily Clean The default mode for 2 minute brushing. This mode utilises the toothbrush at its most powerful setting Clean The standard mode for daily brushing – 2 minutes, 2 times a day. This mode utilises the brush at its most powerful setting
Whitening At this setting, the brush head alternates its speed, which Oral-B claims to be effective at reducing teeth stains Sensitive/Massage This mode offers a reduced-power brushing setting for sensitive gums and teeth
Sensitivity This mode operates at a lower speed compared to the default mode to provide a more gentle brushing experience for sensitive teeth and gums
Gum Care/Massage Similar to the ‘Whitening’ mode, this mode alternates the brushing speed which claims to effectively stimulate and massage gums

These aren’t all the brushing modes that these two brands have to offer but these are the only ones that I think offer any real difference in the toothbrushes cleaning action. Also some Sonicare models such as Sonicare FlexCare Platinum has 3 brushing intensities, High, Medium and Low which may prove to be effective to some people.

To add, both brands also offer a range of interchangeable toothbrush heads that produce different cleaning effects. I will go over all of these later in the article.

Judging by the features both Oral-B and Sonicare have to offer, in this debate of Sonicare vs Oral-B, I think Oral-B wins here, only because it offers useful additions. If you have the money to get the Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush, then go ahead, but it provides no cleaning superiority over cheaper models.

You might also want to choose a toothbrush that gives you the personal feel you want. Both brands provide a variety of features and designs to suit your preferences outside of its cleaning experience. In this match up of Sonicare vs Oral-B these are some other attributes you may want to consider.

Power Source and Battery Life

Electric toothbrushes must have a power source. An electric toothbrush may either run on a rechargeable battery or a replaceable one. Rechargeable batteries are more common in electric toothbrushes because recharging them are more convenient than to have to replace batteries constantly. A high-end electric toothbrush can last beyond 3 weeks of twice-daily brushing before it needs to be recharged. Low-end electric toothbrushes, on the other hand, require more frequent charges. It is probably the case that after you brush your teeth you will charge your toothbrush anyway, so this might be an irrelevant feature for you.

Product Appearance

Sonicare and Oral-B electric toothbrushes are each designed splendidly with their slim, handles and ergonomic brush heads. Sonicare toothbrushes feature the regular oval-shaped brush head found on manual brushes whereas Oral-B models have smaller, round heads which are shaped to clean each tooth individually. The conventional shape of the Sonicare brush head looks a lot better in my opinion and overall I think Sonicare toothbrushes have a more elegant and contemporary design than Oral-B electric toothbrushes.

Brushing Experience – Noise and Feel

Sonicare toothbrushes are quieter than Oral-B toothbrushes. Whilst brushing, the Oral-B feels more jerky in the hand than the Sonicare. Against your teeth, Philips feels more gentle than the Oral-B. Most models of Oral-B electric toothbrushes have a soft grip which can make them more comfortable to hold, however Sonicare models do not. Soft grip handles helps to nullify the vibrations you will feel while brushing. Overall, they both provide a similar cleaning result so if you are looking for a slightly more soothing and quieter toothbrush, I recommend the Sonicare.

Accessories for the Electric Toothbrush

If a buyer is willing to purchase an electric toothbrush, then he or she should be aware of what is included with the toothbrush. The most basic and necessary accessory is a charging station or power cord. Sonicare offer a Glass Charger with their DiamondClean toothbrushes that charges the toothbrush just by placing it in the glass cup. It’s important to know if your toothbrush handle comes with a brush head, and the type of brush head that comes with. Having multiple types allows you to change your cleaning routines depending on the brushing experience you want. A useful addition is to have a travel case or carrier bag to hold your toothbrush and its accessories.

Interchangeable Toothbrush Heads

Along with their brushing modes, both Oral-B and Sonicare offer interchangeable toothbrush heads each designed to achieve the cleaning goals of the user. We will now explore each brand’s range of toothbrush heads.

Oral-B Brush Heads

Oral-B, I think, have the most useful range of brush heads in order to give a different cleaning experience. After 3 months the blue bristles on the brush head will fade to indicate you have to change them. With the exception of Pulsonic models, all Oral-B brush heads are compatible with each toothbrush handle and can be interchanged depending on the cleaning action you want.


Oral-B Precision Clean Toothbrush Head

The Precision Clean Brush Head is the first and had come with the majority of new Oral-B toothbrushes. It has a small round brush head that rotates around each tooth to clean away plaque. Because of the small head, it gets into the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies more easily.

Oral-B Floss Action Toothbrush Head

The Oral-B Floss Action Brush Head features, amongst the bristles, four flat, rubber flossing strips called Micropulse bristles aimed to clean hard to reach areas similar to the function of dental floss. Due to the addition of these Micropulse bristles, the brush head is a bit larger than the Precision Clean brush head but it is still small enough clean constricted areas within the mouth. Oral-B state the Floss Action toothbrush head does not replace flossing, but would be beneficial to improving oral hygiene.

Oral-B 3D White Toothbrush Head

The Oral-B 3D White Brush Head aims to improve the appearance of annoying tooth stains caused by coffee, tea etc. This brush head implements a rubber polishing cup, inspired by dentists tools to whiten teeth. This brush head is most effective when used with a whitening toothpaste and, if available on your electric toothbrush, the whitening mode for best results.

Oral-B Dual Clean Toothbrush Head

The Oral-B Dual Clean Brush Head features two brush heads each with a separate cleaning action; one of them rotates and the other sweeps from side to side. This brush head covers a larger area than the other two brush heads however because of its size it will be difficult to reach cramped areas.

Oral-B Deep Sweep Toothbrush Head

The Deep Sweep Brush Head is shaped like a conventional toothbrush head and is designed to give its user a familiar brushing experience. The motion of this brush head is different from other brush heads. The dark blue bristles remain stationary while the white bristles sweep from side to side between the cracks, curves and crevices of our teeth.

Note: Oral-B now offer two electric toothbrush series’, its Pro series and TriZone series. The rechargeable handle for an ‘Oral-B TriZone 2000’ electric toothbrush is exactly the same as an ‘Oral-B Pro 2000’ electric toothbrush, but it comes with the Deep Sweep Brush Head that offers a different cleaning motion than other brush heads.

Oral-B CrossAction Toothbrush Head

The Oral-B CrossAction Brush Head is designed to clean deep between teeth and cover the surface of the tooth more effectively. Apt to the brush heads various bristle levels and its angled bristle tufts, it can reach and remove more plaque in constricted areas superior to other toothbrush heads.

Oral-B Sensi Ultrathin Toothbrush Head

The Oral-B Sensi Ultrathin Brush Head is recommended for those with sensitive teeth and gums. It provides a gentle cleaning action as its soft bristles gently clean sensitive and inflamed areas. When used with Massage and Sensitive Modes, it provides a pleasant clean for sensitive teeth and gums.

Oral-B Ortho Toothbrush Head and Power Tip Toothbrush Head

Due its small size and the arrangement of its bristles, the Oral-B Ortho Brush Head is beneficial to those with braces or other orthodontic appliances. When used in Deep Cleaning mode, the extended timer allows for thorough brushing despite the disturbance of braces. The Oral-B Power Tip Brush Head is recommended for cleaning constricted areas or around orthodontics. The Power tips bristles cover a small surface area and is beneficial for reaching into and cleaning tiny spaces.

Sonicare Brush Heads

Sonicare has the largest selection of brush heads compared to other competing electric toothbrush brands. Sonicare brush heads come in standard and compact sizes. Standard-sized heads clean a larger area in one go, while the compact heads are easier to manoeuvre into constricted areas of the mouth. Philips Sonicare Brush Heads also have blue bristles that fade and help remind you of when it’s time to replace the brush head. Like Oral-B, these brush heads are interchangeable, but only on the more popular models. Make sure you do your research so you don’t buy the wrong brush head.

Sonicare ProResults Toothbrush Head

This is the brush head that used to come with most Sonicare toothbrushes. It features an ergonomic shape that conforms around teeth and cleans the surface of each tooth better than a manual toothbrush; this allows it to remove up to 2 times more plaque. These brush heads are still sold even though there has been a replacement which you will see later.

Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush Head

Sonicare claims this toothbrush head to whiten teeth in as little as just 7 days. This Philips Sonicare toothbrush head implements a stain removable section in the centre of the brush head and is composed of densely packed bristles, to remove stains caused by food and drinks.

Sonicare InterCare Toothbrush Head

The Philips Sonicare InterCare Toothbrush Head is perfect for those who want to remove plaque buildup between teeth and relieve bleeding and inflamed gums. This is achieved because this Philips Sonicare toothbrush head features long, densely packed tufts of bristles, clinically proven to remove up to 7 times more plaque between teeth than a conventional toothbrush after only four weeks use.

Sonicare Sensitive Toothbrush Head

This Philips Sonicare toothbrush head implements the use of soft bristles for a gentle, but still effective clean. Sonicare Sensitive brush head bristles are 20 percent softer than Sonicare ProResults brush heads. Despite this, it is clinically proven to provide better plaque removal even compared with a manual toothbrush.

Sonicare ProResults Gum Health/Plaque Control Toothbrush Head

The Philips Sonicare ProResults Gum Health/Plaque Control Toothbrush Head is similar to the Sonicare Diamond Clean Brush Head as it implements densely-packed tufts of bristles to more effectively remove plaque. Also the curved profile make it easier to reach the teeth at the back of the mouth. The profile of the brush head also helps to cushion teeth for a less abrasive brushing experience. This is the replacement to the original ProResults brush head.

Sonicare AdaptiveClean Toothbrush Head

The Sonicare AdaptiveClean Toothbrush Head features tufts of bristles of different lengths that follow the shape of your teeth and gums and therefore cover a larger surface area of your teeth. The toothbrush heads soft, flexible rubber sides, absorb any excess pressure and the bristles on the brush head are able to adjust their position around of each tooth’s surface due to the rubber.

The shape of Sonicare brush heads means they don’t reach the gum line as effectively as an Oral-B. Accordingly, to prevent and treat gum disease I would recommend using an Oral-B electric toothbrush.

People should take the necessary steps to ensure that their teeth stay clean, and knowing why electric toothbrushes better than the conventional toothbrush is important to know as it gives an idea of how effective it can be to maintain your oral health. To conclude the heated battle of Sonicare vs Oral-B, I think in this debate between which brand is better I have to say it depends on what you value. On the basis of cleaning technology, it is hard to say which is better because they both provide excellent cleaning experiences. Be sure the read my reviews of the best electric toothbrushes and if you need the best electric toothbrush for a specific issue, click the tag: Best Electric Toothbrush for…. I hope you found this article very educating.