Best Electric Toothbrushes of 2021

Some models can help make sure you brush for the right amount of time, with the right amount of pressure

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electric toothbrushes John Walsh/Consumer Reports

Regularly brushing your teeth does more than keep your breath fresh—experts say brushing twice a day for at least 2 minutes each time is one of the most important things you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

But to get the most benefit from regular brushing, you have to do it right. Most people don’t brush their teeth for long enough, averaging about 45 seconds a session, less than half the recommend amount of time. And many people press the brush against their teeth too hard while they brush, which can actually cause damage to gums and tooth enamel in the long run.

Getting things right is important. Good regular tooth brushing can help eliminate the sticky, germy film that can build up on teeth, known as plaque, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Severe gum disease has been linked to illnesses including heart problems and diabetes.

Depending on the model you select, an electric toothbrush can help you brush long enough and correctly. Many models come with a timer, and some also include features like pressure sensors to prevent you from brushing too aggressively.

More on Dental Health

You don’t necessarily need to switch from a manual toothbrush to an electric toothbrush if your dentist says you’re doing a fine job with your current setup. But there is some research indicating that electric toothbrushes might be slightly better at clearing away plaque and reducing gingivitis, early gum disease.

Some other studies indicate that people may wear away the tissue below tooth enamel with a powered brush faster than they might with a manual brush, though research suggests that manual brushing can do the same. Dental and periodontal experts say you can avoid this problem by using a gentle touch, no matter which toothbrush you use.

Prices for electric toothbrushes vary widely, ranging from less than $10 for a model with replaceable AA batteries to more than $200 for some models with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, multiple brushing modes, and other features. And while more manufacturers have been making electric toothbrushes these days, the brands Oral-B and Philips Sonicare remain mostly untouchable in terms of quality, according to our testers. But a couple of our newly tested brushes, including models made by Fairywill, Burst, and Quip, can clean as well as some of the models made by the top brands.

So what’s the best electric toothbrush for you? Consumer Reports can help you figure out which brushes have the most important features, do the best job cleaning, and are easy to use.

How We Tested Toothbrushes

CR evaluated the performance of powered toothbrushes using a panel of people between ages 18 and 65, all users of an electric toothbrush and in good dental health.

Cleaning performance: To see how well each brush cleaned, a dental hygienist measured plaque levels in volunteers after having them skip brushing and using other dental products for 24 hours. Each then brushed using one of the electric toothbrushes for 2 minutes. Before-and-after differences in plaque levels made up the cleaning performance score. If a toothbrush came with multiple brushing modes or brush heads, we scored it based on the mode and head combination that scored highest. This is the most important factor in the Overall Score of a toothbrush.

Ease of use: This was measured by asking testers questions about how easy it was to attach the brush head, how easy it was to recharge the device, and how comfortable the device felt to hold and use. We also factor in whether or not brushes have the most useful extra features, a timer and a pressure sensor.

Battery performance: This was measured by seeing how long it took for devices to charge (for the rechargeable brushes we tested) and how long it took for all models to run out of battery.

Noise: Testers were asked to evaluate the noise level for each device. Most devices are comparable on this measure, which is a small factor in the Overall Score.

Below, you’ll find four of the best top-rated electric toothbrushes, in alphabetical order. Members can see our full toothbrush ratings and reviews here.