Compared with the rechargeable electric toothbrushes Wirecutter recommends, the AAA-battery–powered Quip produces much weaker vibrations. For this and other reasons, we don’t recommend the Quip (that sleek, shiny brush, third from the right, above) as an everyday electric toothbrush for most adults. (We do, however, think the company’s smaller version is a great choice for kids.)
Still, lots of people love the Quip, particularly because of its streamlined handle, which makes it feel more like a manual brush to hold and store. And this brush could make sense for travel, should you wish to leave a bulkier Oral-B or Philips Sonicare (and its charger) at home. We decided to compare the trendy Quip with three similarly priced competitors (from Gleem, Smile Direct Club, and Philips Sonicare), as well as with three drugstore cheapies (from Arm & Hammer, Colgate, and Oral-B), to find the best of the AA- and AAA-battery–powered bunch.
The takeaway: Brushing with the $25+ Quip and a popular, $6 Colgate brush feels roughly the same. Yet there are some key differences between the $25 subscription brushes and the sub-$10 brushes, and not just in price. For one thing: looks. The AA- or AAA-battery–powered Colgate, Arm & Hammer, and Oral-B brushes found on nearly every drugstore shelf are garish and clunky. These bulky, brash brushes were already dated-looking when they were first sold, their neon plastic bodies clashing with tasteful bathroom backsplashes worldwide. By contrast, Quip, Gleem, Sonicare, and Smile Direct Club’s The AA- or AAA-battery–powered brushes are much sleeker. The $45 metal-handled Quip, in particular, is especially beautiful.
The other key difference between the pricier brushes and the cheapies is that only the former have onboard two-minute timers. According to our research and the experts we spoke with, a timer that helps ensure you brush for the right amount of time is the only non-negotiable feature of a quality electric toothbrush.
Over two years of ownership, the price difference between the fancy, $25 brushes and the gaudy, sub-$10 ones shrinks. That’s especially true in the case of the Colgate 360 Floss-Tip Sonic Power Toothbrush, for which there are no replacement brush heads. You can’t just change out the head when it’s worn—you have to toss the whole brush. Replacing the Colgate 360 every three months for two years totals roughly $64. By contrast, changing out the brush head and batteries on a $25 Quip handle four times a year for two years adds up to about $74, with the discount provided by a subscription. (Quip offers a lifetime warranty on the brush handle for customers who maintain a subscription.)
After two years of replacing brush heads and batteries, though, we found that the Quip and other $25 brushes still cost roughly double what the Oral-B Pro-Health Battery Power Toothbrush does, and a third more than the Arm & Hammer Spinbrush Pro Series.
Replacement heads for the Arm & Hammer and Oral-B drugstore brushes generally cost $4 to $6 each. Those for the Gleem, Smile Direct Club, and Quip brushes can run anywhere from $5 (with a subscription) to $10 or more each (without one).
|Toothbrush||Regular price||Two-minute timer||Battery type||Replaceable brush heads||Approximate two-year ownership cost*||Approximate three-year ownership cost*|
|Colgate 360º||$8||No||1 AAA||No||$64||$96|
|Arm & Hammer Spinbrush||$9||No||2 AA||Yes, multiple types||$44 + batteries||$64 + batteries|
|Oral-B Pro-Health||$16||No||1 AA||Yes, multiple types||$51 + batteries||$71 + batteries|
|Quip (plastic handle)||$25||Yes||1 AAA||Yes, one type||$74 with subscription, $95 without subscription||$102 with subscription, $135 without subscription|
|Gleem||$20||Yes||1 AAA||Yes, one type||$55 + batteries||$75 + batteries|
|Smile Direct Club||$19||Yes||1 AAA||Yes, one type||$54||$72|
|Philips One by Sonicare||$25||Yes||1 AAA||Yes, one type||$60||$80|
|Quip Smart||$45||Yes||1 AAA||Yes, one type||$94 with subscription, $115 without subscription||$112 with subscription, $155 without subscription|
*Factoring in a replacement brush head or a replacement brush every three months.
If you’re okay with maintaining a subscription for replacement brush heads, over time the fancier brushes don’t cost that much more than the drugstore ones.
The Arm & Hammer Spinbrush Pro Series, Quip, and Quip Kids have all earned the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, a voluntary designation companies can apply for. This—like powered toothbrushing in general—is nice but not necessary.
In the end, whether you choose to brush with a manual toothbrush, an AA- or AAA-battery–powered model, or one of our rechargeable picks, the most important thing in terms of dental hygiene is that you tend to your teeth for two full minutes twice per day.