The Sonicare vs Oral-B match-up really pits the top two market leaders against each other. Sonicare is presented by Philips, a company with a long history of making electronic gadgets. Oral-B gets their brand recognition for the excellent manual toothbrushes they make.
The Tale of the Tape
There’s plenty of room in the electric toothbrush industry for both of these brands to do a healthy business, but there’s only room for one on your bathroom counter. A quality electric can last years if you buy the replacement heads, so you want to make sure you get this decision right so you don’t have to switch out months from now and eat the initial cost.
Oral-B seems to have the advantage from the gate because they’ve already been designing manual toothbrushes for several years. It seems like it would be quite easy for them to take all of the innovations they’ve learned over the years, add some torque to it and have a very fine toothbrush indeed. What’s interesting is that they’ve managed to keep their electric prices reasonable, even though their manual toothbrushes are some of the most expensive compared to the competition. They’ve teamed up with Braun to get the electric abilities added to their toothbrushes.
But Sonicare is not going down without a fight, and with Philips backing them with the technology needed to make a small device work well, they’re a worthy opponent. They’re really pushing the whole sonic technology, even making it a part of their name. The idea is that the brush works on a sonic level, rotating so fast that it’s emitting a sonic frequency that helps to break up stuck on plague from your teeth. This not only gets them cleaner, but gets them whiter, if you go along with it.
For our major comparison we’re looking at the Oral-B Pulsonic at $50, and the Philips Sonicare HealthWhite at $120. Each manufacturer offers different price points, depending on how far down the electric toothbrush rabbit hole you want to go. We thought it best to find a sonic Oral-B model for the most fair comparison. Right away the price difference becomes obvious, with the Sonicare model being more than twice the price for essentially a vibrating toothbrush.
Replacement brush head costs: $5 each for Oral-B, $7 each for Sonicare on the models we looked at.
Where They’re Similar
They both come with replaceable heads so you can continue to use this for months and years to come. They both using sonic technology that is supposed to help loosen plaque from your teeth, they both have timers on them so you know how long to brush for, and they’re both supposed to help whiten your teeth as well as get them clean. One other thing that they share is similar feedback. Users of both express that their teeth feel like they just got them polished at the dentist.
Oral-B has even taken a page from the Sonicare notebook and switched from their traditional round headed brush to a more rectangular shape. This may be due to the round head taking longer to use, since you basically have to go tooth by tooth to get it to work properly.
Where They’re Different
Even though they might look similar at first glance, there are a few key differences that are worth noting. One is that the Sonicare goes one step further and says that their products also help with gum care. This is something that isn’t really mentioned by Oral-B, at least not with the model we evaluated for this comparison.
Final Sonicare vs. Oral-B Match-Up
Sonicare has found a way to break into the oral hygiene market and is doing their best to make ground on Oral-B, who from some estimates controls up to 70% of the electric toothbrush market. While Oral-B may sell more of their brushes due to a lower price, in a head to head contest they seem to be lagging behind just a bit.
What really puts the icing on this match-up is the clinical comparison between a Sonicare and Oral-B electric toothbrush by Northwestern University Dental School. While they concluded that both toothbrushes provided excellent results, they gave the victory to the Sonicare model, as it did a far better job in regards to periodontal health, or preventing gingivitis, than the Oral-B.
When you consider both the feedback coming in from verified users, and the reports coming in from clinical studies, the answer becomes clear that while you’re paying more for the Sonicare, you’re also getting more, and if it’s within your budget it’s the better brush to go with.
And the Winner Is…
The Sonicare by a nose! Yes, it’s more expensive but what’s notable is that there doesn’t seem to be any buyer’s remorse from those that get it. Usually on a higher end purchase you get a lot of naysayers chiming in because they regret spending so much. But with this model, and with other models that are even more expensive, all we’re seeing is overwhelming praise for how well it works, and how good the teeth look and feel after using it.
Don’t sweat this decision too much, because you’re going to get a great toothbrush no matter which way you go. Oral-B puts up fantastic products that also get rave reviews, and it’s easy to see why people are happy with them, with all of the great features at reasonable prices. If a Sonicare just isn’t in your budget, grab the Pulsonic or other Oral-B model and you’ll likely be happy just like the large majority of current owners.
Don’t Forget to Floss!
Even though these brushes will get your teeth squeaky clean, you’ll still need to remember to floss daily. Luckily there are options out there if you don’t really like to floss. For example we recently compared ordinary floss to Waterpik water flossing to see which works better. Be sure to check that out for a full consideration of your oral health.