The best electric toothbrushes 2021: better cleaning for a brighter smile

Asia's Tech News Daily

We’ve tested and ranked the best electric toothbrushes available today, so you can be confident you’re choosing the right brush to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

© Provided by TechRadar Woman brushing her teeth with electric toothbrush while looking in mirror

Oral health is hugely important – not just for keeping your teeth and gums in good condition avoiding the need for fillings, root canals and extractions, but for your whole body. Gum disease (periodontitis) has been linked with diseases throughout the body, including heart failure, due to systemic inflammation that begins in the mouth and spreads through the blood.

You can get a good, thorough clean without an electric toothbrush, but electric brushes have been found to be more effective at removing sticky plaque and preventing gum disease, which makes them well worth considering.

Whichever toothbrush you choose, your brushing technique is also hugely important for making sure you remove plaque from all tooth surfaces. Many of the electric toothbrushes in this guide offer real-time guidance to help you brush more effectively, applying the right amount of pressure and not missing any areas.

Budget is an important consideration too, and electric toothbrushes vary hugely in price, with premium models costing several hundred dollars or pounds. It’s worth bearing in mind that prices drop dramatically a few months after launch though, and electric toothbrushes are often steeply discounted (particularly during sales events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday) so there’s a good chance of picking up a top-end brush for a bargain price.

The best electric toothbrushes

The Oral-B iO Series 9 takes our award for the best electric toothbrush of 2021, thanks to its smooth action that effectively removes sticky plaque while gliding from one tooth to the next, and its valuable real-time feedback that encourages you to improve your brushing technique, whether you use the Oral-B Bluetooth app on your smartphone or not.

The brush is very quiet (much more so than a typical oscillating brush) and feels smooth as you work your way around your mouth. The in-built pressure sensor not only warns you if you’re pressing too hard, but also if you’re not applying enough pressure to get a good clean, helping you achieve an optimum result.

Once you finish brushing (the timer will alert you), the iO Series 9’s bright color display will rate your brushing with an appropriate emoji. It’s a quick way to get feedback on your technique, and surprisingly motivating, but for more in-depth guidance you can turn to the Oral-B app.

This will detect which section of your mouth you’re currently brushing, with graphics that update in real time to show when you’ve thoroughly cleaned each surface. When you’re done, you’ll get a report on your performance, and you can earn badges and awards along the way.

The downside of the Oral-B iO Series 9 is that it’s one of the most expensive electric toothbrushes around. It cost $300 / £500 at launch, though its price has dropped significantly in the months since its release and you can now pick it up far more cheaply. Additional brush heads are also pricey, and the iO Series 9 isn’t compatible with heads from older models, so you won’t be able to use your spares if you’re upgrading from a different Oral-B brush.

If your budget can stand it, though, this is an extremely well designed electric toothbrush that will have a real impact on how you clean your teeth, and will help set you up with better habits that can have a long term effect on your oral health.

Read our full Oral-B iO Series 9 review

The Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige is another very impressive electric toothbrush designed to improve your technique long-term by monitoring your brushing and giving real-time feedback. If you make too much of a scrubbing action, the app will display an alert advising you to reduce your movements, and the handle will buzz gently. Press too hard, and the handle will pause, then resume with a lower intensity in reaction to your technique.

The Sonicare app monitors the brush’s position in your mouth, helping ensure you clean every surface thoroughly, with on-screen graphics and timers to ensure you don’t miss a spot. The app is less kid-friendly than the Oral-B equivalent, and won’t shower you with emojis and awards for a job well done, but it will give you personalized tips, track your brushing technique and allow you to monitor it over time.

It’s a seriously stylish electric toothbrush too, with a sleek, minimalist design and chic carry case to keep it charged on the go. It’s also the quietest electric toothbrush we’ve tested to date, emitting only a subtle hum.

The only downside is that there are no controls for adjusting modes or choosing an intensity setting on the brush itself. Instead, all the customization is done through the mobile app. That’s not an issue once you’ve set it to your exact preferences though, and provided you don’t like to switch modes on the fly, it’s a superb brush.

Read our full Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige review

The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 9000 is an extremely versatile electric toothbrush, with four brushing modes and three intensity settings for each one. All the essential controls are right on the sleek brush handle, and our tests with disclosing tablets showed that it did an excellent job at removing plaque, even at a lower intensity.

Like the Sonicare 9900 Prestige above, it connects to the Sonicare mobile app on your phone via Bluetooth, but there are far fewer options available. The DiamondClean 9000 doesn’t have directional sensors to track your brushing, so you won’t get real-time guidance as you work your way around your mouth.

The app will offer you handy brushing tips though, will alert you if you’re applying too much pressure, and will switch the brush off once you’ve been cleaning for two minutes. It can also track the condition of your brush head and order a replacement automatically from Amazon, if you want to be truly organized.

Not the smartest brush around, but a dependable all-rounder – particularly if you spot a good deal on the price.

Read our full Philips Sonicare DIamondClean 9000 review

The Oral-B iO Series 9 takes the prize as the best electric toothbrush of 2021, but if it’s a little beyond your budget, this is an excellent alternative. The Oral-B iO Series 6 is essentially the same as the top-end brush, but with a lower price tag thanks to less fancy accessories.

The iO Series 6 has the same near-frictionless magnetic motor as the Series 9, resulting in a quiet and effective cleaning action. The toothbrush also has the same smart pressure sensor, plus an accelerometer to detect its position as you brush. Install the Oral-B app on your phone, and you can get real-time feedback as you make your way around your mouth.

The main difference between the two is the travel case. While the Series 9 has a luxurious case that’ll keep your brush charged while you’re on the road, the Series 6 has a much more basic plastic holder. The charger is different as well; rather than a stylish magnetic puck, it’s a standard charger that holds the brush in place using a prong that fits into a recess in the handle.

It’s not quite as chic, but if you want a seriously smart toothbrush and aren’t a frequent traveller, it’s one of the best options around.

Read our full Oral-B iO Series 6 review

The Ordo Sonic+ works on the same principle as Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes, sending rapid pulses of water between teeth to dislodge sticky plaque, but in our tests we found it delivered a more gentle clean – something helped further by its soft bristles, which help avoid damage to your gums.

This isn’t a smart toothbrush – there’s no Bluetooth connectivity or smartphone app – but it’s very impressive for the price. Not only does it have a premium design that’s just as smart as a top-end brush from the likes or Oral-B, it also holds its charge for weeks, cleans thoroughly and can be supplemented by great value subscription packs containing mouthwash concentrate, toothpaste, replacement heads, and dental floss.

These packs also include three packages of interdental brushes that, combined with the gentle brushing action and small head, make the Ordo Sonic+ a particularly good choice for anyone with braces. There’s no need to worry about damaging wires or brackets.

Our only real complaint about the Ordo Sonic+ is that its charger has a USB connector, but no adapter for a standard shaver socket. There’s no pressure sensor either, but aside from that, it’s a superb option if you’re looking for an entry-level electric toothbrush that doesn’t skimp on features or performance.

Read our full Ordo Sonic+ review

If you’re not sure whether you’ll make full use of a ‘smart’ electric toothbrush, but you’re interested in the idea, the Oral-B Genius X could be the perfect choice for you. The Oral-B app tracks the brush’s location in your mouth with impressive accuracy, helping ensure you clean each surface thoroughly before moving onto the next, and once you’re done you’ll receive a score for your efforts. It’s a handy way to keep you motivated (or encourage kids to brush more thoroughly), but the Genius X also works extremely well without it.

Whether you’re using the app or not, the pressure sensor will alert you if you begin pressing too hard, helping avoid gum damage, the brush vibrates when it’s time to switch to the next part of your mouth, and powers off after two minutes by default. In our tests it gave a good, thorough clean on the everyday setting, though it’s quite vigorous so we’d recommend trying out the sensitive mode first to see how you find it; you might not need to try the more intense settings.

The brush’s well designed charging case is another highlight worth mentioning, and offers a choice of charging options to keep your brush powered up on the move.

The Oral-B Genius X doesn’t have the advanced frictionless magnetic motor of the iO Series 9, which means it’s a little noisier, but it’s still an excellent electric toothbrush. 

Read our full Oral-B Genius X review

The Oclean X Pro Elite is the quietest electric toothbrush we’ve tested to date. In fact, when you close your mouth it’s barely audible – but don’t let that fool you. This is still a powerful sonic toothbrush that delivers thorough cleaning on a par with much more expensive brushes.

It’s well designed, too. A bright touchscreen display built into the brush handle allows you to choose from various modes and intensity settings, with a timer that counts down as you brush. It works surprisingly well with wet hands, and is more intuitive than pushing a series of physical buttons.

The Oclean X Pro Elite might not come with a charging case (the simple carry case supplied with our review unit is sold separately), but at the extremely reasonable price of $99.99 / £75 / AU$141 for the handle and one head, it’s hard to complain.

Unfortunately, the brush doesn’t come with a charging cable or adapter for a regular shaver socket – only a USB connector – and the mobile app is excessively confusing. Whereas Philips and Oral-B have created apps that are as simple as possible, Oclean overwhelms the user with a barrage of options that should have been pared back.

The X Pro Elite is an excellent brush by itself (it really is astonishingly quiet) but in our opinion it’s best when used without its ‘smart’ functionality.

Read our full Oclean X Pro Elite review

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