Electric Toothbrush Buying Guide

BY: Groupon Editors |Mar 15, 2016

Electric Toothbrush Buying Guide

You’re not likely to be handed an electric toothbrush when you visit the dentist, but making an investment in one pays off in the long run. If you pick one that suits your needs, it can effectively clean your teeth for years. With the help of our guide, finding the best electric toothbrush for you will be as easy as pie, which dentists suggest you not eat too much of if you want to avoid tooth decay.

The Benefits

Brushing is the cornerstone of having healthy chompers. So how long should you brush? How fast? With what kind of force? Though you may not know, many of the best electric toothbrushes are built with these concerns in mind. Here are some benefits of all electric toothbrushes:

More Strokes per Minute

The world’s strongest wrists can’t compete with electric toothbrushes, which can yield up to 40,000 strokes per minute. That kind of pace devastates plaque and deeply cleans teeth. For comparison: manual brushing gives you about 600 strokes.

Ease of Use

Electric toothbrushes combine rotating heads with a longer reach to make brushing a breeze. They also include intuitive push-button controls on the handle.

They’re for Everyone

Kids and adults alike can enjoy the benefits of an electric toothbrush, as can those with braces or other types of dental work. 

Rechargeable Battery

Most electric toothbrushes have built-in rechargeable batteries, some of which can last up to three weeks on a full charge.

Sleek and Stylish

With modern designs and powerful motors, electric toothbrushes are like tiny sports cars for your bathroom counter.

Decision Time

To pick the right brush, consider the stroke motion of the brush, which brush head is best for you, and whether other special features may make your experience easier.

Stroke Motion

Electric toothbrushes rely on the movement of their heads to attack plaque in a variety of ways. Consider the following as you hone in on the proper brush:


Oscillating heads run circles around your teeth, attacking plaque from multiple angles. They produce up to 7,500 brush strokes per minute, a marked improvement over manual brushing. 3D brush heads add pulsation to the rotation for a more thorough clean.


These guys are fast—at least 5,000 strokes per minute, and as many as 40,000 strokes in some models. By vibrating the brush head back and forth, sonic and ultrasonic brush heads break down plaque and stimulate saliva.


Some brush heads combine two moving heads that scrub multiple teeth at once for an altogether more thorough cleaning. Tricky to master at first, but great for those seeking the ultimate clean.

Brush Heads

Since an electric toothbrush’s true power resides in the head, finding the right brush to top it is essential. Texture and size are key, as is the sensitivity of your gums.

Different Textures

The feel of the bristles for your electric toothbrush can vary. Most dentists recommend soft to medium bristles, which ably break down plaque while taking it on easy on your gums. Extra-soft bristles are ideal for extra-sensitive gums or for those recovering from getting a tooth pulled or other dental treatments.

Tiny Heads for Tiny Mouths

Brush heads designed specifically for kids include extra-soft bristles and a variety of sizes that cater to toddlers, tykes, and tweens.


Regardless of the style head you choose, keeping them clean is easy: simply rinse in water, and store it upright.

When to Replace

Most dentists recommend replacing brush heads every three months. Frayed heads may not remove plaque as effectively, and bacteria may build up over time.

Special Features

The unique, mechanized design of an electric toothbrush allows for numerous features that couldn’t be built into a traditional brush.

Timers and Quad Pacers

Dentists recommend two minutes of brushing twice a day, but it’s not easy to guess when two minutes have elapsed. To solve that, some electric toothbrushes include built-in timers that do the counting for you. Many models also include quad pacers that let you know when to switch between the upper, lower, left, and right quadrants of your mouth for an even clean.

Deep-Cleaning and Sensitivity Modes

Ate too much barbecue? Chugged too much cola? High-speed, whitening, and polishing modes are available in some models. Others include quick-clean options and settings that cater to sensitive gums.

Tongue Fresheners

Keeping a clean tongue helps to fight bad breath, and some specialty brush heads are designed exclusively for that purpose.

Brush Sanitizers

Built into the charger bases of some models, ultraviolet sanitizers work to eliminate bacteria and anything else hiding between bristles.


Couples and families can share a single brush. Individual brush heads can be marked with color-coded bands, and some charging bases include slots to store additional brush heads onboard.


Some brushes come with storage cases designed for toting the brush and head on the road.