Sonicare vs. Oral B – Extensive electric toothbrush comparison

If you are looking to buy an electric toothbrush and you have done more than just a few minutes of research, there’s no doubt that you have already come across Oral B and Sonicare. These two brands are dominating the market by manufacturing some of the most popular electric toothbrushes in the world.

If you are like most people in the process of switching to an electric toothbrush, you are probably asking yourself which one of these two brands is better. This is a million dollar question we will try to answer in our extensive guide which will get updated on a regular basis.

But why should you trust us?

We talked to several dentists and dental hygienists who helped us understand every important difference between these two brands. In this guide we are going to answer these important questions about Sonicare and Oral B.

  • Which brand has better cleaning technology
  • Which brand offers better value for the money
  • Which toothbrushes are easier to use

If you are ready, grab a cup of coffee and dive into our extended analysis.

Price and value for the money

Both Oral B and Sonicare produce similarly priced toothbrushes that cost from less than $30 to about $200. It seems that for every Oral B brush there’s an equivalent in the Sonicare line of brushes and vice versa.

Oral B Genius PRO 8000 vs. Sonicare DiamondClean

The top-end Sonicare brush is the latest DiamondClean Smart 9500 (and 9700 which is essentially the same). It costs notably more than any Oral B brush which makes it irrelevant to this comparison because we want to compare brushes in similar price range.

The top-end Oral B brush is the latest Oral B 8000 version. It offers 6 cleaning modes, has a timer, a pressure sensor, smart technology, and comes equipped with everything one could ask from an electric toothbrush. The battery lasts for about 12 days with a single charge, and the package comes with three brush replacement heads.

The closest sonic equivalent to the Oral B 8000 is the DiamondClean 9300 which is a toothbrush from the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart series. It comes with 1 less cleaning mode than the 8000 (the “tongue cleaning mode” is out), but makes it up with three intensity levels users can choose to suit their needs. There’s a pressure sensor, quadpacer timer, and almost everything you get from the Oral B 8000.

The difference between these two top-end brushes is that the battery of the DiamondClean 9300 lasts for over two weeks with a single charge which is more than you get with the Oral B 8000. We also find the smart technology of the DiamondClean 9300 slightly better and easier to use. Another area where the DiamondClean (and most Sonicare brushes) outshine the Oral B is the design. The Oral B 8000 looks great and feels well-built by all means, but the design of the DiamondClean is a bit cleaner and more modern.

Oral B 8000DiamondClean 9300
6 cleaning modes (0 intensity levels) 5 cleaning modes (+3 intensity levely)
Smart technology Smart technology
12 days of battery life 14+ days of battery life
3 replacement brush heads 3 replacement brush heads
Timer, pressure sensor Timer, pressure sensor

Who wins?

  • Sonicare. A slightly better design, longer battery life and an option to choose different intensity levels are enough for us to pick it as a winner among the high-end Oral B and Sonicare brushes.

Oral B 7000 vs. Sonicare FlexCare Platinum

The Oral B 7000 has been the ultimate Oral B brush for a long time before the 8000 came into the market and it was the first toothbrush in the world with smart technology. It offers 6 different cleaning modes (Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, Deep Clean, and Tongue Cleaner) and a battery that lasts about 10 days once it’s fully charged. There are three brush replacement heads included in the package.

The closest sonic rival in the price range of the 7000 is the Sonicare Flexcare Platinum. Unlike the Oral B, the Flexcare has no smart technology, comes with only a single replacement brush head, and only three brushing modes to choose from. The battery life is a little bit better, but that’s pretty much it.

Oral B 7000Sonicare FlexCare Platinum
6 cleaning modes (0 intensity levels) 3 cleaning modes (3 intensity levels)
Smart technology -
10 days of battery life 14+ days of battery life
3 replacement brush heads 1 replacement brush head
Timer, pressure sensor Timer, pressure sensor

Who wins?

  • Oral B. It offers more cleaning modes and has 2 extra replacement brush heads in the package.

Oral B 3500 vs. Sonicare Series 3

Lower price range is where the difference between Oral B and Sonicare really starts to show. It seems that majority of low-priced Oral B brushes feature most of the important goodies such as pressure sensor and brushing timer while it’s rare to find a low-priced Sonicare that offers the same.

One of the most popular entry-level electric brushes is the Oral B 3500. It comes with visible pressure indicator that prevents brushing teeth too aggressively and has three brushing modes (Daily Clean, Sensitive, and Whitening),

The equivalent of the 3500 is the Sonicare Series 3. It offers a single brushing mode and doesn’t have the smart technology.

Oral B 3500Sonicare Series 3
3 cleaning modes 1 cleaning modes (+3 intensity levely)
Smart technology -
Timer, pressure sensor Timer, pressure sensor

Who wins?

  • Oral B. It has 2 extra replacement brush heads in the package and comes with smart technology.

Verdict:

We have analyzed about 20 different electric toothbrushes from both of these brands. The lower-priced Sonicare brushes often offer less than their price equivalents of Oral B. A few years ago a lot of the low-end Sonicare brushes didn’t even have pressure sensors which was already a standard for almost all Oral B brushes. It seems that the Sonicare is slowly catching up and things might change even more in favor of Sonicare in the near future.

Brushing technology

Although the purpose of both Sonicare and Oral B brushes is to get rid of the plaque and food leftovers that are nesting on the teeth, they use slightly different cleaning technology.

Which technology is better and more efficient? Let’s find out.

Oral B brushing technology

Oral B toothbrushes use oscillating-rotating motion. The brush head of Oral B toothbrushes looks nothing like a regular brush. It’s quite small, often round in shape and designed to rotate back and forth.

Using an Oral B brush requires moving the brush head from one tooth to another. The toothbrush does the cleaning by itself and there’s no need to move the brush back and forth or up and down.

Now here comes the fun part.

Some Oral B brush heads are designed to rotate only which is referred to as “2D cleaning technology” by the Oral B.

A few years ago Oral B decided to upgrade the 2D cleaning technology and add pulsating (vibrating) movements. This is how the 2D became 3D cleaning technology.

Brush heads with 2D and 3D cleaning technology are used the same way. The difference is that the 3D technology adds a little bit extra to brushing experience and feels more aggressive.

Sonicare brushing technology

Sonicare toothbrushes use sonic motion. The brush head of a Sonicare brush looks a lot like a traditional toothbrush in its shape and size.

The sonic technology makes the brush head vibrate which drives fluids between the teeth and along the gum line. Sonic vibrations in general reach speeds of about 31,000 vibrations per minute whilst the most advanced Sonicare brushes such as the DiamondClean 9500 produce over 60,000 brush strokes per minute. Just like with the Oral B, the speed of brush movements depends much on the cleaning mode and brush head that is being used.

Using a Sonicare toothbrush requires angling the brush along the gum line at 45 degrees and moving it along the gum line and surface of the teeth.

  • Oral B. Although Oral B brushing technology can feel more aggressive and a bit more unpleasant compared to gentle Sonicare brushes, it’s easier to use because you don’t need to hold it at 45 degrees angle.

Clinical studies

When it comes to comparing efficiency of traditional and electric toothbrushes, it’s no doubt that an electric toothbrush has the edge. It’s able to remove more plaque, reduce more gingivitis and improve dental health more than a manual toothbrush can.

However when it comes to clinical studies comparing Oral B and Sonicare, the results couldn’t be more mixed.

  • A 2018 clinical study concluded that there are minimal differences between new sonic and oscillating-rotating toothbrushes when it comes to reducing gingivitis while sonic technology reduces more plaque.
  • Another 2018 clinical study concluded that oscillating-rotating toothbrushes reduce more gingivitis and plaque than sonic brushes.

Perhaps the most relevant analysis was done by the Cochrane group back in 2008. They reviewed data from 17 trials with 1369 participants and concluded that the oscillating-rotating brushing technology has the edge over sonic in reduction of plaque and gingivitis.

Another thing worth mentioning is that many of the clinical studies aren’t sponsored by one of the brands. When a certain brand is sponsoring the clinical study, the results can be very biased because statistics are easy to manipulate.

Who wins?

  • Tie. Although it seems that the latest clinical studies are slightly more in favor of Oral B technology, the differences are usually barely notable and probably have a lot to do with the fact that it’s easier to use Oral B brushes the right way compared to Sonicare.

History of Sonicare and Oral B

The Sonicare story began in 1987 when an entrepreneur named David Giuliani met with a couple of professors from the University of Washington. Together they opened a company called GEMTech.

After several years of research, the GEMTech introduced their first Sonicare electric toothbrush at a periodontal convention in 1992. The toothbrush went on the market soon afterwards and slowly gained popularity.

After a few renames of the brand, the company was acquired by Phillips in 2000. After just one year and probably a few large marketing campaigns, the Sonicare became the best selling electric toothbrush in the United States.

Contrary to Sonicare, the Oral B story began with traditional toothbrushes back in late 30s. In 1984 the brand was acquired by the Gillete group and Oral-B was the brand that was printed on their electric toothbrushes. The Oral B was selling toothbrushes way before Sonicare came around, but Sonicare instantly became equal to the Oral B and both of these brands have been battling ever since.

Conclusion

The only thing that matters at the end of the day is what do you want from an electric toothbrush. Despite the fact that oscillating-rotating and sonic technology are quite different, very few people try out both of them.

If you decide to go for Sonicare, you will probably only buy Sonicare toothbrushes in the future and the same goes with Oral B. Although clinical studies often suggest that one cleaning technology has the edge over another, the differences are minor and definitely unnoticeable for an average user.

Further read:

Best water flossers – tested and reviewed in 2019.

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