Oral B vs Sonicare. Want to find out the answer quick?
In my view there is really only one clear winner between the question Oral B vs Sonicare. The Oral-B range offers better value for money, has a better cleaning action and has the better range of Brush heads. If I were to pick a range to go with, I would personally go for the Oral-B.
N.B. If you would like to find out my recommended electric toothbrush click here
This blog post was updated on the 8th February 2018 . I hope you enjoy the read :)!
SSSHHHH!! Keep it down over there. Today we are going to do something naughty. The two biggest electric toothbrush manufacturers aren’t going to like this. We are going to directly compare Oral B vs Sonicare. Winner takes all. No holds barred.
You may be wondering why should you listen to me? Well, I am a dentist so that means I have gone through five crushing years of university. I also blog about dentistry in my spare time and have done so for five years! Doesn’t time fly.
Did you know that almost all main dental diseases are self caused and can be easily prevented. My aim is to dispel the myths around dentistry and improve your oral health.
Anyway enough about me, let’s get down to it, Oral B vs Sonicare. What are the differences and which should you buy?
1) Which has the best Cleaning power? – Oral B vs Sonicare
Let’s start with the main reason you are considering buying an electric toothbrush. To get clean teeth and improve your oral health. Is there a difference between the cleaning power of Oral B and Sonicare or are they both the same?
One of the fundamental differences between Sonicare vs Oral B is the way that they brush your teeth. The Oral B electric toothbrush uses a rotary motion whereas the Philips Sonicare opts for a sonic motion. What does this actually mean?
Oral-B Rotary motion
Most Oral-B electric toothbrush use an oscillating, rotating and pulsating motion to break up plaque. The brush spins right, left and then pumps up and down.
Oral-B has a variety of cleaning modes, which alters the electric toothbrushes cleaning power. The “standard” one is daily clean, where the brush head oscillates at 8,800 and 40,000 pulsations per minute.
The oscillation motion (right and left spinning) cleans the teeth through simple mechanical cleaning. The high frequency pulsating causes an effect known as non-contact brushing. This is where the pulsations can remove plaque from beyond the brush heads bristles.
As the bristles have to rotate, most Oral-B Brush heads are circular and quite small. This means it cleans individual teeth well and is easy to maneuver around the mouth.
Philips Sonic Motion
All Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes use a Sonic motion. This is where the bristles rapidly vibrate side to side.
The Philips Sonicare on “clean” mode vibrates side to side at 31,000 brush strokes per minute. This rapid movement works in two ways. Firstly it has a mechanical cleaning effect. Secondly just like the pulsation on rotary motion, it can clean by non-contact brushing.
As the bristles move side to side, Philips have opted to go for an oval shaped brush head. The advantage is that it can clean multiple teeth at once, the disadvantage is that it lacks maneuverability.
So which one has more cleaning power Oral B vs Sonicare?
I will start by saying that both are better than manual tooth brushing. The most comprehensive piece of research on this subject is a systematic review by Cochrane in 2014. It included 56 studies published from 1964 to 2011 involving 5068 participants. It found that electric toothbrushes reduced plaque by 21% and gum disease by 11% over 3 months.
Between the Oral B and Sonicare electric toothbrushes the results are less clear. Again the Cochrane group in 2010 gives us the lowdown. In this systematic review, Cochrane included data from 17 trials which involved 1369 participants. They found that and I quote:
“Brushes with a rotation oscillation action reduced plaque and gingivitis more than those with a side to side action in the short term. However, the difference was small and it’s clinical importance unclear.”
Talk about sitting on the fence! Let’s see if we can find another study. A randomized clinical comparison by Klukowska M et al in 2014, compared Oral B vs Sonicare on 130 adults over six week period. The results was a clear win for Oral B, 32.6% less gum disease and 22% less plaque.
We cracked it! Or not…. The problem is, this research was probably sponsored by Oral-B. And there lies the inherent problem. Most research in this field are sponsored by manufacturers. Suprisingly, if Oral B pays for the research they tend to win and vice versa.
Reader: So would you please just answer the question which is better?
I would say very tentatively that the Oral-B rotary motion wins in terms of cleaning power. The result is by no means clear cut and it is really dependent on how you use the electric toothbrush.
2) Who has the best Electric Toothbrushes? – Oral B vs Sonicare
The best way to compare value for money is to directly compare the Oral-B and Sonicare electric toothbrushes. Please note that there are examples from the United States and United Kingdom.
US Electric toothbrush Comparisons
US – Top of the range electric toothbrushes – Oral B vs Sonicare
Oral-B Genius Pro 7500 vs Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9500 Series
The Oral-B Pro 7500 is one of Oral-B’s top of the range models. It is uber high tech and comes ram-packed with features. Bluetooth connectivity, position location, pressure sensors, it really contains the works.
It’s current RRP in the US is $199 but you can get it for around $130.84 from Amazon.
Philips makes a direct competitor, the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9500 Series. It is also super high tech and is a great electric toothbrush. It has most of the same features as the Oral-B Genius 8000 like bluetooth connectivity, yada yada yada. But can you guess it’s cost?
It’s current RRP in the US is $269 and the cheapest you can get it for is $219.90.
Hmmmm…. So the Philip Sonicare is $70 more for practically the same thing. I would chose the Oral-B Genius 7500 over the Philip Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9500 Series any day of the week.
US – Electric toothbrushes under $100 – Oral B vs Sonicare
Oral-B Pro 3000 vs Sonicare 3 Series
Now, let’s see if the trend continues in their mid-range offerings. The Oral-B Pro 3000 and Philips Sonicare 3 Series are both best in class electric toothbrushes. Which one offers better value for money?
The Oral-B Pro 3000 has many good points. It is the cheapest electric toothbrush to feature bluetooth connectivity, it has a visible pressure sensor and it also has 3 cleaning modes. Most cleaning modes are gimmicks. However the Daily clean mode and sensitive mode on the Oral-B Pro 3000 are actually good because they last for 2 minutes.
As with all “cheaper” Oral-B electric toothbrushes, the battery life is pretty abysmal at 1 week daily use (28 minutes continuous). This is more than made up by the features especially bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth allows the Oral-B Pro 3000 to connect with the Oral-B Smartphone app. The app is available on Android and Iphone. The RRP is $120.99 but on Amazon it currently retails for $79.94. This is a pretty sweet deal!
Philips Sonicare 3 Series
The Philips Sonicare 3 Series is pretty simple in comparison. It has one cleaning mode “clean” and three intensity settings. The intensity settings allow you to alter the cleaning power of the brush. This feature is useful for people with sensitive teeth or who press too hard. It doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity or a visible pressure sensor, which kinda sucks.
The one thing that really shines on the Philips Sonicare 3 Series is the fantastic battery life. No charging for 3 weeks! Count me in. On the other hand it is a shame it comes, devoid of features.
The RRP on the Philips Sonicare 3 Series is $89.99 but on Amazon it currently retails for Out of stock.
Since the two electric toothbrushes are basically the same price, the Oral-B Pro 3000 is the winner. It offers far better value for money than the Sonicare 3 Series. If only the Oral-B Pro 3000 could sort out it’s battery, it would be a perfect electric toothbrush.
US – Electric toothbrushes under $50 – Oral B vs Sonicare
Oral-B Pro 1000 vs Sonicare 2 Series
Now this is where it gets interesting. Both, Philips and Oral-B both have great offerings in the budget range category.
The Oral-B Pro 1000 is a solid, well functioning electric toothbrush. It has a two minute quadpacer timer and a pressure sensor that reduces power when pressing too hard. And let’s be honest, we all press too hard when brushing (myself included). It is let down by the small one week battery life, which is 28 minutes of continuous use. If you hate charging your electric toothbrush as much as I do, then this is a real bane. It’s current RRP is $65.99 however on Amazon it is currently sold for $39.94.
Philips Sonicare 2 Series
The Phillips Sonicare 2 Series is great entry level electric toothbrush. It has a two minute timer but sadly no pressure sensor. On the plus side it has a 2 week battery life, which is double what the Oral-B Pro 1000 gives. An extra week without having to charge the electric toothbrush! It’s current RRP is $69.99 however on Amazon it is currently $65.69.
This time things are much closer between the electric toothbrushes. It is a toss up between not having a pressure sensor (Sonicare 2 Series) or a poor battery life (Oral-B Pro 1000). A poor battery life is inconvenient. No pressure sensor could lead to damage to your teeth and gums.
In terms of value for money between the two, I am going to cop out and call it a tie. Oral B and Sonicare draw on this section.
US – Children’s Electric Toothbrushes- Oral B vs Sonicare
Oral-B Frozen Kids Electric Toothbrush vs Philips Sonicare for Kids Electric Toothbrush
I know what you are thinking. Are electric toothbrushes for kids really worth it? Yes they are as long as they have been specifically designed for kids. Oral-B and Sonicare both have electric toothbrushes for children but which one is better?
The Oral-B Frozen Kids Electric toothbrush is effectively an Oral-B Vitality with a pretty pattern on. It comes with two sensitive refills. The sensitive brush head has super soft bristles so that it is gentle on children’s teeth. It is also small allowing it to be easily moved around your child’s mouth. The battery life for this electric toothbrush is 20 minutes of continuous use or 5 days of brushing 2 minutes twice a day.
The Oral-B Frozen Kids Electric toothbrush also gives you access to the Disney magic timer app. This app is available on both iphone and android.The Disney magic timer app is the brushes biggest strength and weakness. When it works the app is fantastic, Kids enjoy interacting with the characters and children do brush longer. The downside is that in a recent update, many people lost their brushing history and extra unlockable characters. This has resulted in the current 2 star rating on itunes.
The Oral-B children’s electric toothbrush currently costs $49.99 which is really cheap.
Philips Sonicare for Kids Electric Toothbrush
The Philips Sonicare for Kids Electric Toothbrush is one of the most popular children’s electric toothbrushes on . Amazon. It has a 2 minute timer which I think is essential on any electric toothbrush. It is also has bluetooth connectivity to the Philips Sonicare App. The Philips app in my view is not as good as the Oral-B’s however it is a lot more reliable.
Currently the Philips retails for $39.95 which is pretty pricey. I would personally go for the Oral-B Frozen kids electric toothbrush purely for the price.
UK Electric toothbrush Comparisons
UK – Top of the Range – Oral B vs Sonicare
Oral-B Genius 8000 vs Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
Comparison of Features: Oral-B Genius 8000 vs Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
In terms of appearance and styling the Philips Sonicare Diamondclean is the clear winner. The Diamondclean electric toothbrush handle is sleek and stylish and the charging station is novel as it is shaped like a glass cup. Functionality wise the Oral-B Genius 8000 is the clear winner as it has more features.
Both Diamondclean and Oral-B Genius 8000 have quadpacer 2 minute timers. This helps you brush for the dentist recommended 2 minutes. One area where the Philips Sonicare Diamondclean is lacking is the visible pressure sensor. Philips sonicare do not seem to put emphasis on pressure sensors. I think this is a grave mistake as pressing too hard with a toothbrush can lead to toothbrush abrasion which wears down the teeth. The Oral-B genius 8000 comes with multiple pressure sensors. A visible pressure sensor that you can personalise the colour of using the 360 degree smartring. A tactile pressure sensor that slows the rate of ocillations and rotations when you press too hard and finally a pressure sensor that is linked to the Oral-B app via Bluetooth.
The Philips Sonicare Diamondclean does not come with Bluetooth connectivity which is surprising for the cost of the electric toothbrush.
Cleaning modes: Oral-B Genius 8000 vs Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
The Oral-B Genius 8000 and Philips Sonicare Diamondclean both come with five cleaning modes. The Oral-B Genius 8000 comes with:
- Daily Clean
- Gum Care
The Philips Sonicare Diamondclean on the other hand comes with:
- Gum Care
In the cleaning mode department there is very little to separate the Philips Sonicare Diamondclean from the Oral-B Genius 8000.
Travelling: Oral-B Genius 8000 vs Philips Sonicare Diamondclean
Both the Oral-B Genius 8000 and Philips Sonicare Diamondclean come with very nice travel cases. The Oral-B Genius 8000 travel case is a soft touch leather effect case which holds the electric toothbrush handle and two toothbrush heads. The Philips Sonicare Diamondclean travel case comes in a cushioned textured cloth which has the added benefit of being able to charge the electric toothbrush via USB. This feature is extremely handy when travelling. It is therefore slightly easier to travel with the Philips Sonicare Diamondclean than the Oral-B Genius 8000.
Battery Life: Oral-B Genius 8000 vs Philips Sonicare Diamondclean
The Philips Sonicare Diamondclean has a much longer battery life than the Oral-B Genius 8000. Even though Oral-B have extended the battery life of this model to one week, it is completely destroyed by the Philips Sonicare Diamondclean batterylife of upto three weeks. This is particularly handy if you are travelling as charging the Philips Sonicare Diamondclean before you go on holiday will most likely last you the whole holiday. The battery life on the Philips Sonicare Diamondclean is much better than the Oral-B Genius 8000.
Value for money: Oral-B Genius 8000 vs Philips Sonicare Diamondclean
The value for money between the Oral-B Genius 8000 or Philips Sonicare Diamondclean is quite close and really depends what you value. If you want functionality with more features and a better clean go for the Oral-B Genius 8000. On the other hand if you value style and a much longer battery life go for the Philips Sonicare Diamondclean. If I were to pick I would go for the Oral-B Genius 8000 because I love the Bluetooth connectivity and the Oral-B app.
UK – Electric toothbrushes under £80 – Oral-B vs Sonicare
Oral-B Smart 5 5000 vs Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + HX8911/04
Comparison of Features: Oral-B Smart 5 5000 vs Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + HX8911/04
In terms of number of features, the Oral-B Smart 5 5000 blows the Philips Sonicare out the water. Both electric toothbrushes come with a Quadpacer 2 minute timer that helps you brush your teeth for the dentist recommended 2 minutes. The Oral-B comes with a visible pressure sensor that flashes red when you press too firmly. In contrast the Philips Sonicare does not which is surprising for a £70-80 electric toothbrush.
The Oral-B Smart 5 5000 trump card is the Bluetooth connectivity, which allows it to link to the Oral-B app. This connectivity allows you to monitor when and how often you are brushing your teeth with ease and also allows you to share this information with your dentist. Some of the other benefits include:
- Sets up a system of badges and rewards that motivate you to brush your teeth twice a day
- Information to help you to brush your teeth correctly
- Tracks where you are brushing your teeth too firmly
- Reminds you to change your tooth brush head when it is getting worn
The Philips electric toothbrush simply does not come with Bluetooth connectivity.
Cleaning modes: Oral-B Smart 5 5000 vs Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + HX8911/04
The Philips sonicare only has 2 cleaning modes (Clean and white) but allows you to alter the intensity of the brushing between low, medium and high. This gives it a total of 6 customisable settings (2 x 3). In contrast the Oral-B Smart Series 5000 comes with 4 cleaning modes (Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive and Whitening). This gives the Philips Sonicare slightly more customisation although the advantages of intensity settings over cleaning modes is debatable.
Travelling: Oral-B Smart 5 5000 vs Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + HX8911/04
A travel case is an essential feature especially for an electric toothbrush of this price bracket. It is surprising that the Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + does not come with a travel case as standard. The Oral-B Smartseries however does come with one which makes it easier to take on holiday with you.
Battery Life: Oral-B Smart 5 5000 vs Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + HX8911/04
This is one area that the Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + beats the Oral-B opposition. The Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + battery life can last for up to 3 weeks of use whereas the Oral-B Smart 5 lasts for 2 weeks. There is nothing more annoying than reaching for your electric toothbrush and finding out there is no charge. The Philips electric toothbrush is the clear winner in this department.
Overall Value For Money: Oral-B Smart 5 5000 vs Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + HX8911/04
The Oral-B Smart 5 5000 is far more technologically advanced than the Philips Sonicare Healthywhite +. This is particularly so in the features it offers. The Philips Sonicare Healthywhite + does have a longer battery life than the Oral-B Smart 5 5000 however I reckon that the Oral-B Smart 5 5000 represents better value for money.
UK – Electric toothbrushes under £40 – Oral B vs Sonicare
Oral-B Pro 2 2500 vs Philips Sonicare HX3214/01 CleanCare +
Comparison of Features: Oral-B Pro 2 2500 vs Philips Sonicare HX3214/01 CleanCare +
The Oral-B Pro 2 2500 and Philips Sonicare are both good electric toothbrushes. The Oral-B Pro 2500 is the one with a larger range of features. Both the electric toothbrushes come with Quadpacer 2 minute timers. This is an on handle timer that “buzzes” every 30 seconds reminding you to change area of your mouth. This feature is essential for any good electric toothbrush.
Pressing too firmly with a toothbrush can lead to gum recession and sensitivity. To prevent this from happening the Oral-B Pro 2 2500 has a visible pressure sensor that flashes red when you press too hard. The Philips Sonicare HX3214 is completely missing this feature.
Cleaning modes: Oral-B Pro 2 2500 vs Philips Sonicare HX3214/01 CleanCare +
The Oral-B Pro 2 2500 also comes with 3 cleaning modes compared to the solitary one cleaning mode of the Philips Sonicare. The Oral-B Pro 2 2500 as standard comes with:
- Daily Clean Mode
- Gum Care Mode
- Sensitive Mode
The Philips Sonicare comes with the regular clean mode and an easy start programme. The easy start programme ramps up the intensity of the electric toothbrush over the first 2 weeks of using the brush. People transferring from using a manual toothbrush may find this useful to get used to the feeling of a sonic electric toothbrush. After that period, the easy start programme becomes useless.
Travelling: Oral-B Pro 2 2500 vs Philips Sonicare HX3214/01 CleanCare +
Travelling with an electric toothbrush can be tricky as the handle needs to be protected from heavy impacts. The Oral-B Pro 2 2500 comes with a travel case to protect it. The travel case although basic in design is a godsend as it protects the Oral-B Pro 2 2500 electric toothbrush handle and two brush heads. The Philips Sonicare HX3214/01 CleanCare + does not come with a travel case.
Battery Life: Oral-B Pro 2 2500 vs Philips Sonicare HX3214/01 CleanCare +
This is one area that the Philips Sonicare really does shine, the battery life is almost double that of the Oral-B Pro 2 2500. The battery life of the Philips Sonicare HX3214 is 10 days whereas the Oral-B Pro 2500 is sitting at a measly 5 days of charge.
Overall Value For Money: Oral-B Pro 2 2500 vs Philips Sonicare HX3214/01 CleanCare +
Although the Philips Sonicare has a better battery life, it is outclassed by the Oral-B Pro 2500 in all other departments. The Oral-B comes with many more features that the Philips Sonicare simply does not have. Therefore the better electric toothbrush under £40 is the Oral-B Pro 2 2500.
So overall who has the best electric toothbrushes for the money? – Oral B vs Sonicare
After comparing lots of electric toothbrushes, it turns out that Oral-B offers more features for your money. This is a general trend and with all trends there are exceptions. Notably in the US for electric toothbrushes under $50 there is virtually no difference between the two brands.
As a rule of thumb, you will tend to get more bang for your buck with Oral-B.
3) Who has the best Brush Heads? – Oral B vs Sonicare
Design and build quality
One of the most notable differences between Oral-B vs Sonicare is the shape of the brush head. The Oral-B is circular whereas the Sonicare is oval. The reason for this is the way the brushes clean your teeth. The Oral-B uses rotary action whereas the Philips uses sonic.
The Oral-B Brush heads for this reason tend to be smaller, which makes them more maneuverable. Also the neck of the Oral-B brush head tends to be smaller and thinner making it easier to use. If you don’t know what the neck of a brush head is check out the image below.
Both the Oral-B and Sonicare Brush Heads are “snap on” or push fit. To replace the brush heads simply pull off the brush and head and push on another one.
Build quality wise there is very little difference between the Oral-B and Sonicare. Both are well made and will easily last three months until it needs replacing. This is providing you go for the genuine brush heads and not the cheap rip offs.
Range of Brush Heads – Oral B vs Sonicare
Both Philips and Oral-B offer a ginormous range of brush heads, which can be confusing. I often recommend keeping it simple. If you want help choosing an Oral-B brush head click here.
What is really important is do Philips and Oral-B have brush heads that can clean your teeth effectively? The simple answer is yes. For Oral-B, I personally like the Crossaction brush head. If you prefer softer bristles, the Oral-B sensitive brush head is also good.
For Philips, the adaptive clean brush head is good for most people. If you want the latest technology in your brush head, then check out the Philips Premium plaque control brush head. It has a micro chip in it allowing, it to chose the best cleaning mode for you. This only works with the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart.
One area where Oral-B brush heads particularly shine is for people wearing orthodontic appliances (braces). The Oral-B ortho brush head is amazing for cleaning around brackets. This can be combined with the Oral-B interspace brush head to clean underneath the wire. Philips does not currently have any brush heads specifically designed for braces.
Cost of Brush heads – Oral B vs Sonicare
Brush heads are like the printer cartridges of the electric toothbrush world. It is no good if the electric toothbrush handle is cheap but the brush heads are expensive. This would completely defeat the point.
Oral-B brush heads tend to be cheaper than Philips Sonicare. To prove this let’s take the Oral-B Sensitive Brush head which currently retails for $16 for 3 brush heads. This would mean each brush head is $5.33.
In comparison the Philips Sonicare Adaptive Clean brush head retails for $25 for only two brush heads!! This means $12.50 each more than double the cost. Since you replace the brush heads once ever 3 months, this means over a 10 year period you would save $286.80 going for the Oral-B.
If you want to save those dollars go for the Oral-B
So who has the better brush heads? Oral B vs Sonicare
It comes as no surprise that Oral-B wins the best brush head award. It has better designed brush heads that are significantly cheaper. What more could you want?
Overall Conclusion: Oral B vs Sonicare
So we are at the big finale. In my view there is really only one clear winner between the question Oral B vs Sonicare. The Oral-B range offers better value for money, has a better cleaning action and has the better Brush heads. If I were to pick a range to go with, I would personally go for the Oral-B.
N.B. If you would like to find out our recommended electric toothbrush click here
What electric toothbrush range would you go with? What are your thoughts? Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below.