Philips Sonicare HealthyWhite+ Review
Pros: Comfortable, exceptional cleaning power
Cons: Little less convenient to use, lackluster battery life
Our Analysis and Test Results
The HealthyWhite+ outmatched the performance of the Sonicare DiamondClean and scored just a little bit better than the Oral-B Pro 1000. The HealthyWhite+ and the DiamondClean are quite a bit more comfortable than the Oral-B, but all three of these brushes clean about the same. The HealthyWhite+ does have the best battery life of this group and has a list price of $120, which puts it right in the middle, costing about $80 less than the DiamondClean and about $50 more than the Pro 1000.
To pick our award winners and find out which toothbrushes really swept away the rest, we bought all the most promising models that have been available on the market in the last two years or so and ranked and scored their performance side-by-side in a comprehensive series of tests. We grouped these tests into four weighted metrics, with the HealthyWhite's results explained below.
Comfort is our most important testing metric, constituting 40% of the overall score for each electric toothbrush. The HealthyWhite+ scored well, earning a 6 out of 10 for this metric, which consisted of grading how comfortable it is to brush with, how loud it is, and if there is an over-pressure sensor.
The HealthyWhite+ was well liked among our panel. The majority of our judges found that the brush head is on the shallower side, making it quite maneuverable and relatively easy to reach even the hardest to clean spots in your mouth, without being uncomfortable at all.
This brush stood out from the rest as being one of the favorite options for those testers that have sensitive gums. The side-to-side cleaning motion is much less abrasive than the rotation-oscillation brushes and found that this brush had one of the gentlest brushing modes we have seen so far. While this brush doesn't have a dedicated sensitive mode, it does have plus and minus buttons to adjust the intensity of both of its cleaning modes — Clean and Whiten. Our testers with the most sensitive gums found that the Clean mode on the lowest intensity to be less abrasive than the sensitive modes on other models, making the HealthyWhite+ their preferred brush.
This brush was also one of the quieter models. Our sound meter recorded this at 58 dBa about 2" away from the mouth when the user was brushing. However, a few testers did feel that the tone is slightly annoying and loud enough to be distracting.
It also lacks a pressure sensor, leaving it up to you to regulate your brushing pressure and make sure you aren't pressing too hard.
Next on our testing docket, we moved on to evaluating the cleaning and plaque removal performance of each of these products. This accounts for 30% of the final score, with the HealthyWhite+ earning an 8 out of 10 — holding its own with the top toothbrushes.
For our cleaning tests, evaluation of the brushes was based on before and after brushing photos, when the user had used a plaque disclosing tablet to identify where there were significant accumulations of plaque.
These tablets would stain plaque a vivid red color, allowing us to clearly see which portions of the mouth had been cleaned effectively, and which portions had been missed.
The HealthyWhite+ did a great job, missing very few spots. This performance tied with the DiamondClean (making sense, as both brushes use the same brush head).
Ease of Use
Constituting one-fifth of the overall score, our ease of use tests are the next most important to the overall score. We compared the user-friendliness of the interface on each toothbrush, if there is an easy way to store additional brush heads, how hard it is to clean the toothbrush, and if there is a timer to make sure you hit that two minutes of brushing, twice a day goal. The HealthyWhite+ did a decent job, earning a 5 out of 10.
Using the same snap on/snap off attachment style as the majority of the brushes that we reviewed, it was easy to change out brush heads. While this model only has 2 different cleaning modes (clean, and whitening), you are able to adjust the intensity between 3 different levels, giving you 6 possible unique combinations to find the perfect feel for you. The interface is split between 2 buttons: power/ mode select, and a plus/minus rocker button to select the intensity. This was intuitive from the start, and gives you the option to adjust the intensity while brushing.
Unfortunately, this additional button and the presence of a large number of cracks and crevices around the handle do a fantastic job of trapping toothpaste grime, making this product much more difficult to clean. The charging base for this model is on the small side, making it somewhat prone to being accidentally knocked over. It also lacks any additional toothbrush head storage.
This model also comes with a travel case (non-charging), though there is space to store two toothbrush heads.
This brush does have a two-minute timer, with notifications every 30 seconds to help you pace out your brushing evenly. The visual appeal of the HealthyWhite+ doesn't quite stack up to the DiamondClean, with the latter coming in a wider variety of colors and having a much sleeker, more polished overall appearance.
For the leftover 10% of the final score, we evaluated and scored the battery life of each brush. To take both the brushing and standby power draw into account, we ran each toothbrush for a full cleaning cycle, morning and night, waiting until it completely died. The HealthyWhite+ did about average, earning a 5 out of 10.
It lasted for 22 days in out test — more than enough to take a short trip and not have to worry about bringing the charger with you.
This model performed well in our testing, but it isn't necessarily a great value. It has an MSRP that is about $50 higher than the top scorer.
While this brush seems to be primarily marketed at whitening your teeth, we would suggest consulting with your dentist before purchasing this model solely for that reason. Upon consulting with our dental experts, they stated that toothbrushes only will really remove surface stains, but to look at a dedicated whitening product when it comes to actually whitening your teeth. Aside from that, this brush might be a good bet if you have extremely sensitive gums, but at that point, you may also want to consult your dentist about whether or not you should even be using an electric toothbrush in the first place.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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