Hygienist Compares: Sonicare vs. Oral-B Electric Toothbrushes


As a dental hygienist, many of my patients, friends, and family ask me what electric toothbrush really is the best, Oral-B or Sonicare, and which electric toothbrush they should be buying?

Oral-B is the number one toothbrush brand recommended by dentists worldwide. Oral-B electric brushes use 3D brushing action providing a scientifically-proven, superior clean over Sonicare. Oral-B’s smaller brush head contours around the surfaces of the mouth, cleaning more effectively than Sonicare.

To recommend a toothbrush brand or specific toothbrush, I need to see and understand the scientific evidence to support my recommendation. And after the science, the next factor is user experience. I have used both Oral-B genius and Sonicare DiamondClean brushes.

In this post, I compare electric toothbrush brands, Oral-B and Sonicare and explain why Oral-B is my top choice of toothbrush brand! Because there are so many different models, I am going to pick 3 brushes from each brand, including budget-friendly, mid-range, and premium.

Budget-Friendly Electric Toothbrush Comparison

I don’t often recommend budget-friendly electric toothbrushes, mainly because of Oral-B’s lack of a pressure sensor and both brand’s lack of user experience.

However, they can be a great option for those who are switching to an electric toothbrush from a manual toothbrush, want a cheaper version to travel with or just want the basic functions.

In this budget-friendly face off we have;

Oral-B Vitality Sensitive Care vs. Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100

Oral-BSonicare
Battery life8 days2 weeks
Pressure sensornoyes (not visible, vibration only)
Travel Casenono
Brush Modes/Settings oneone
Bluetooth (for app) nono
Timer yesyes
Position detection technologynono
3D Trackingnono
Universal Brush heads
(fitting all same-brand
electric brushes)
yes, except iO brush headsyes

Mid-Range Electric Toothbrush Comparison

I think the mid-range electric toothbrushes have the best bang for your buck and the best value for money. I am personally using the Oral-B Genius brush right now, and I love it!

These electric brushes come will all the important functionalities that you want and need. They lack the bells and whistles of the premium brushes but still perform like the premium brushes.

In this mid-range face off we have;

Oral-B Genius 7500 vs. Sonicare ExpertClean 7300

Oral-BSonicare
Battery life2+ weeks2+ weeks
Pressure sensoryes (visible, and physical, the brush will lower power)yes (not visible, vibration only)
Travel Caseyesyes
Brush Modes/Settings multiple multiple
Bluetooth (for app) yesno
Timer yesyes
Position detection technologyyesno
3D Trackingnono
Universal Brush heads
(fitting all brand
electric brushes)
yes, except iO brush headsyes

Premium Electric Toothbrush Comparison

If you want to add on the bells and whistles and have the best user experience, then the premium electric brushes are for you. They are more aesthetically pleasing, offer faster charging, and provide 3D tracking in the mouth.

In this premium face off we have;

Oral-B iO series 9 vs. Sonicare DiamondClean 9750

Oral-BSonicare
Battery life2+ weeks2+ weeks
Pressure sensoryes (visible, and physical, the brush will lower power)yes (not visible, vibration only)
Travel Caseyesyes
Brush Modes/Settings multiple multiple
Bluetooth (for app) yesyes
Timer yesyes
Position detection technologyyesyes
3D Trackingyesyes
Universal Brush heads
(fitting all brand
electric brushes)
no, only iO brush heads fit iOyes

Should you buy an Oral-B or Sonicare? The choice is yours

After comparing the different brushes, and understanding the main features, I wanted to add in a few more points that I have noticed and experienced by using both Oral-B and Sonicare electric toothbrushes.

Read Now: 12 Benefits of Using an Electric Toothbrush

Oral-B Pros

  • Visible and physical pressure sensor where applicable (Oral-B Vitality does not have pressure sensor). The pressure sensor will flash red, but. the power of the toothbrush diminishes as well to protect the tissues in the mouth
  • Smaller head – more effective and easier to contour around the teeth and gums
  • Oscillating, rotating and pulsing motion
  • Cheaper replacement brush heads
  • Better ergonomic support (rubber grip, thicker handle)

Sonicare Pros

  • Quieter than Oral-B
  • More aesthetically pleasing
  • Only moves in one direction

Oral hygiene and the health status of my patient’s mouth is my career and love. I would only recommend something if I truly believe in it but also have all the science and data to back it up. I am very stubborn when it comes to data to support what I recommend to my patients.

Scientific Evidence

Oral-B and Sonicare are arguably the BIGGEST brand names out there for electric toothbrushes. And there are very good reasons for that. They have years of science, studies, and user feedback to create a superior product over other toothbrush companies.

In this study, the Oral-B was proved to be more effective than Sonicare!

The novel O‐R electric toothbrush with micro‐vibrations provided greater plaque and gingivitis reductions than the marketed premium sonic toothbrush over 8 weeks.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/idj.12569

As well in this study, Oral-B comes out as more effective than Sonicare!

An advanced oscillating-rotating power toothbrush produced substantial, statistically superior reductions in plaque and gingivitis via multiple outcome measures compared to a new sonic toothbrush after both four weeks and 12 weeks of tooth brushing.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24282870/

There is a reason why Oral-B is the number one toothbrush brand recommended by dentists worldwide.

In this 8 week study, they compared an entry-level (cheapest) round-head oscillating electric toothbrush (Oral-B) and a premium (more expensive) Sonicare toothbrush. 

After the study was completed, the entry-level round head toothbrush (Oral-B) showed a significant difference in plaque and gingivitis reduction vs. the premium sonic brush (Sonicare DiamondClean)

In the table below you can find the exact difference.

Measurements Oral-B® PRO 1000 with Oral-B® CrossAction brush head Vs. Philips Sonicare® DiamondClean Toothbrush with AdaptiveClean brush head
Gingival Bleeding IndexReduced 48.4% more than Sonicare
Modified Gingival IndexReduced 34.8% more than Sonicare
# of bleeding sites Reduced 42.6% more than Sonicare
Whole mouth plaque reductionReduced 26.2% more than Sonicare
Proximal (in between the teeth) Reduced 38.5% more than Sonicare

The chart above is showing us that the baseline Oral-B toothbrush reduced the plaque, bleeding and gingivitis much more than the Sonicare toothbrush.

The model matters

Even though the budget-friendly models can provide great oral care, for me, they are just not good enough. I really do believe in the saying “buy cheap you buy twice”. I’m not saying go buy the most expensive model, but just don’t buy the cheapest. They are the cheapest for a reason.

What about the other electric toothbrushes on the market?

I’m sure you have seen other electric toothbrushes on the market like Burst, Colgate HUM, and many others that are trying to win the spotlight. The fact is, some of those toothbrushes may work fine, but Sonicare and Oral-B are the front runner for safety, science/evidence, years of perfecting their product, and great customer service.

This is definitely one instance, where I would not cheap out on the product you are buying. Remember your smile is forever (if you take care of it properly). Is this where I should ask you if you are flossing? lol.

Why you should take my advice

Being a registered dental hygienist, not only do I know toothbrushes inside and out, but I also see the efficacy of them first hand on my patients, and I use them myself. Sonicare and Oral B do not endorse me or pay for me to make a review.

This post is 100% my unbiased opinion because I want you, the consumer, to know the facts, make an informed decision on what you think will work for you and improve your oral health!

Why is there Team Oral-B and Team Sonicare in the dental community?

Toothbrush companies try and win over dental professionals by being the first company to go and talk to new and aspiring dentists and dental hygienists who have just started school. And they often give them free toothbrushes. It’s an amazing marketing strategy.

The dentist/hygienist to be, will often stick with the toothbrush that was given to them for free (or whichever brand presented to them first in school), and continue to recommend that brand to their patients.

The companies will also continue to give them really good discounts, they do lunch and learns, and sometimes will give out free electric toothbrushes. This is usually where dental professionals decide on what model they will recommend to the patients, and I am sure you can see where I am going with this.

In every profession, there are people who will be bought, people who will recommend things because they have received a free “gift” of a toothbrush.

For me, I just do not operate like that. I am an evidence-based practitioner, and I need to see the evidence of why something is the best. Even though the Oral -B may be louder, the battery may not last as long, and it’s not as aesthetically pleasing, it’s the one I favour… because the evidence is there that it does a better job.

What if you have sensitive teeth and gums? Which electric toothbrush is better for those who have never used one?

If you have never used an electric toothbrush before, you will want to get one that has a sensitive setting. Why? Because the biggest complaint people have about using electric toothbrushes is the vibration and they feel like their whole head is vibrating, as well as they find it too sensitive (this is a red flag if your gums are too sensitive – it may indicate gingivitis or something else going on that should be looked at).

I would buy the Oral-B Genius (this is the toothbrush I am currently using) because it is not the most expensive one but comes with a sensitive setting. Also, I LOVE these Oral-B Sensi Ultrathin Replacement Electric Toothbrush Heads. They are the only brush heads I use now for my Oral-B Genius!


I really hope I have helped you make an informed decision on what electric toothbrush you would like to buy.

Happy brushing!

Holly 🙂

Holly Verran RDH

I am a Registered Dental Hygienist in Ontario, Canada. I hold registration and good standing with both the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario and the Canadian Dental Hygiene Association.

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