The great toothbrush debate—which model will reign supreme? Everyone should be familiar with the manual toothbrush. They come in a variety of sizes, bristle stiffness, and styles, all powered by our human strength. A step above that is the battery powered toothbrush which boasts a little extra umph. Level up once more and you’re at the electric toothbrush, which, instead of relying on your own back and forth motion, does the heavy lifting for you.

But which one is truly the best option? How do you decide between the three? We’ve got you. We’re covering the pros and cons of each toothbrush type, along with some advice on how to choose the best model for your oral health needs.

Manual Toothbrush

When it comes to manual toothbrushes, there are some obvious benefits, as well as some obvious pitfalls. Let’s go through the main ones.

Manual Toothbrush Pros:

  • Incredibly cheap
  • Easy to find at pharmacies, supercenters, convenience stores, etc.
  • Your dental hygienist probably gives you a free one each visit
  • There’s a variety of choices in color, size, bristle hardness, and alike

Manual Toothbrush Cons:

  • Relies on your own power, making it not as friendly for people with dexterity limitations
  • Average of 200 brush strokes a minute only
  • Takes longer to remove plaque and surface stains
  • Contributes to significant plastic waste yearly, and growing (unless using a bamboo brush)

Battery Powered Toothbrush

A step above the manual brush is the battery powered toothbrush (sometimes referred to as a power toothbrush). These types of toothbrushes give a little extra motion to your oral health routine.

Battery Toothbrush Pros:

  • Gives you a bit of extra scrubbing power with the addition of vibrations in the brush head
  • They sell for only a slightly higher price than manual toothbrushes, making them fairly affordable
  • They’re easy enough to find in your local shops
  • It’s a good test-model if you are thinking about using an electric toothbrush, but don’t want to spend the money just yet

Battery Toothbrush Cons:

  • You have to keep replacing the batteries overtime, though some do not even have this option
  • Relies on your own power/back-and-forth brushing motion, meaning it doesn’t make brushing any easier
  • The extra vibrations don’t make that much of a difference in your teeth cleaning routine
  • You need to keep getting toothbrush head replacements (some models are so simple that this isn’t an option)

Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

And now we’re at the top—the Tesla of toothbrushes. Rechargeable/electric toothbrushes are the closest thing you can get to a dentist-level-clean from home.

Electric Toothbrush Pros:

  • They give you the best clean, and are proven to remove more plaque than a manual brush by quickly oscillating/rotating the brush head
  • They move really, really fast with an average of 30,000 brush strokes per minute
  • For people with mobility issues, they do all of the hard brushing work for you
  • Because of their superior cleaning abilities, they can actually prevent gingivitis and other teeth or gum diseases that are tied to poor oral hygiene
  • They can also save you money in the long run by reducing expensive dental visits
  • Overtime, they reduce your plastic waste compared to a standard toothbrush
  • Since most have built-in timers, they actually prevent overbrushing

Electric Toothbrush Cons:

  • They’re a bigger upfront cost
  • If used improperly, they can lead to gum recession (but so can brushing with a manual or power toothbrush)
  • You may not have a good selection in-store at your local pharmacy
  • If you’re ordering online, it can take a week or more to deliver, which may not be ideal if you need a new toothbrush that day

Which Toothbrush Should I Buy?

Before you make that decision, you need to really compare your options. There are so many different kinds of toothbrushes available, but they all have their pros and cons.

Below we walk you through some of the top toothbrush criteria, looking at all three models, to help you figure out which brush is best for your needs. For a more thorough comparison between electric toothbrushes and manual toothbrushes, check out our guide!

Overall Oral Health

When thinking about what toothbrush is best for you, one of the biggest things to consider is your overall oral health goals. Any toothbrush can do the job, but some offer more features and health benefits.

comparison of oral health for different types of toothbrush

Manual toothbrush:

  • Provides a solid, standard clean
  • Different types of bristles to choose form—such as hard to soft—to customize your toothbrush
Battery Powered Toothbrush:
  • Provides a better clean than a manual, but is not at the same level as a rechargeable electric toothbrush
  • You will still need to brush back and forth, but there’s added vibrations to help lift and remove stubborn plaque
Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush:
  • Provides a more efficient clean (3x faster than a manual toothbrush)
  • Removes 21% more plaque than a manual toothbrush
  • Can prevent gum damage by effectively removing bacteria that leads to gum disease

Usability

We’ll keep this one short. Some toothbrush models are more user friendly, but it really depends on what you’re looking for (and if you have any limitations).

Manual Toothbrush:

  • Requires quick, back-and-forth motion to lift off plaque and scrub the teeth clean

Battery Powered Toothbrush:

  • Gives a little extra motion to the toothbrush, but still requires the back-and-forth brushing motion

Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush:

  • Great for people who may not want (or be able) to quickly move a toothbrush back and forth
  • Recommended for children, people with arthritis, older adults, or people with disabilities

For Kids

Depending on the age of the child, not all toothbrushes are recommended. There are also some guidelines to follow, such as how much toothpaste to use, proper brushing technique, and until what age they should be brushing with adult supervision.

Manual Toothbrush:

  • Good for children of all ages
  • Adults should brush their child’s teeth for them until the age of 3—from ages 3-6, adult supervision while brushing is recommended
  • Many fun colors and styles to choose from, along different types of brush heads and handle sizes

Battery Powered Toothbrush:

  • Good for children ages 3 and up only
  • Supervision while brushing is recommended for children under the age of 6
  • Some have songs/music that will play to keep children engaged while brushing

Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush:

  • Good for children ages 3 and up only
  • Supervision while brushing is recommended for children under the age of 6
  • Provides the best clean, which can help to prevent cavities and other tooth decay

Brushing Technique

If you’re not using your toothbrush properly, you’re not fully cleaning your teeth. On top of that, the way you brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush will vary from a manual one. From the angle of the brush head, to the pressure on your teeth, to the brushing duration—follow the below recommendations for each toothbrush type to get the best results.

Manual Toothbrush:

  • Position the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, lightly touching gum line
  • Using a back and forth motion and light to medium pressure, glide the toothbrush over your teeth
  • Make sure to move the toothbrush around all areas of your mouth, including the inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth
  • For the best results, brush for 3 minutes

Battery Powered Toothbrush:

  • Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, and place the brush head on your teeth so that it’s just touching your gum line
  • Turn the toothbrush on only once it’s touching your teeth (otherwise you can expect a mess of toothpaste splatter from the vibrations)
  • Using a back-and-forth motion, brush all areas of your teeth equally for 2.5 - 3 minutes

Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush:

  • Position the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, lightly touching your gum line
  • Once in place, turn the toothbrush on
  • Since the electric toothbrush is doing all of the hard work for you, you’ll just need to glide it lightly over your teeth (no back and forth motion required)
  • Spend 30 seconds in one quadrant of your mouth before moving to the next, brushing for a total of 2 minutes

Toothbrush Replacements

Every toothbrush or brush head needs to be replaced on a regular basis. If not, bacteria can build up, bristles can get frayed, and you’re not able to clean your teeth as effectively.

comparison of toothbrush replacements for different types of toothbrush

Manual Toothbrush:

  • The entire toothbrush needs to be replaced every 3-4 months

Battery Powered Toothbrush:

  • Many battery power toothbrushes have replaceable brush heads, but not all
  • The brush head or entire toothbrush needs to be replaced every 3-4 months

Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush:

  • The brush head needs to be replaced every 3-4 months
  • If using a Brüush electric toothbrush, you can easily subscribe to our refill plan to get new, fresh brush heads sent straight to your door

Toothbrush Price

From $1 - $200+, the price of a toothbrush can vary dramatically depending on the type, technology, and brand. And when considering which toothbrush is best for you, price is a huge factor! Think about your budget early on to help eliminate any toothbrushes that don’t fit within it.

Manual Toothbrush:

  • If you’re looking for the cheapest option, this is it!
  • The average price is $1 - $5 USD

Battery Powered Toothbrush:

  • Often touted as the “electric toothbrush trial,” the battery powered toothbrush comes in at a mid range price
  • You can expect to find these brushes between $5 - $25 USD

Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush:

  • On the higher end, electric toothbrushes come in a really wide price range—but don’t be fooled by the price tag, more expensive doesn’t always mean better
  • The average cost of these brushes range from $20 - $200 USD
  • TIP: before shelling out hundreds of dollars for a fancy new electric toothbrush, do your research to see if it’s really worth the cost (verified online reviews are great for this)

What's the Best Toothbrush?

questions to ask yourself about your toothbrush

We’ve covered a lot in this post, and now it’s just about time for you to make a decision. When thinking about which toothbrush is best for you, there are a few things to consider. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What are your oral health goals?
  2. Are you seeking that fresh-from-the-dentist clean feeling?
  3. How much money are you happy to spend on a toothbrush?
  4. Do you need a new toothbrush TODAY, or can you wait for a shipment?
  5. Are you looking to reduce your plastic waste?

If you’re looking for the best dental cleaning (outside of the dentist office) at an affordable price, you need to go with the Brüush electric rechargeable toothbrush! We’re not just saying that—it’s true. At $95 USD ($75 if you subscribe to the brush head refill plan), and over 1,800 five star reviews, it’s the best electric toothbrush on the market.

Oh, and we also offer a ‘no-questions-asked’ 90-day return policy to give you peace of mind.

Are Electric Toothbrushes Worth the Cost?

Although buying an electric/sonic toothbrush is a larger upfront investment, it can actually save you money down the road. How? With a more effective clean, you can expect fewer trips to the dentist (which as we all know, can be hella expensive). They’re also the go-to choice for anyone who is looking to amp up their oral health routine, and have a brighter/whiter smile.

Here are just a few electric toothbrush features that you can’t get with a manual or battery powered brush:

  • Multiple cleaning modes (like white, gentle, and gums) to customize your teeth cleaning
  • Does the scrubbing work for you, all you have to do is glide the brush gently over your teeth
  • Easy brush head subscription/refill plan (when using a Brüush) so you’re never scrambling last minute to find a replacement
  • They can actually prevent over brushing due to the two-minute timers and quadrapacers

Whatever toothbrush model you end up choosing, we’re just happy that you’re exploring your options to better your dental health. Happy brushing!