Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic review

Against hot, minty, plaque-removing competition, Philips just beats Oral-B to be King of the Electric Toothbrushes

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  • Excellent cleaning
  • Quite sexy for a toothbrush
  • Week-long life battery life


  • Expensive
  • Cumbersome glass charger

The range-topping Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic is, in our view, narrowly the best electric toothbrush you can buy.

Philips and Oral-B are like the iOS and Android of electric toothbrushes. There is almost nothing to tell between them, but in our view, Philips makes toothbrushes that clean as well as Oral B's, but look better and usually have slightly better battery life.

From £100 | Buy Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic

• Read our full Best Electric Toothbrush buyers' guide

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic: cleaning performance

Where Oral-B employs a traditional rotating head, Philips uses one that vibrates hundreds of times per second. The result is rather like having a swarm of bees in your mouth, but happily much less unpleasant than that description makes it sound.

We don't claim to verify the science of this, but long term use of the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic reveals consistently excellent cleaning with minimal effort. You just lightly press the brush to your tooth and gumline, moving it along every few seconds.

Every 30 seconds, the brush gives a long vibrate, telling you to move to the next "quadrant" of your gob. It removes the guesswork from cleaning, and ensures you 'brush' for long enough. Actually no 'brushing' in the traditional sense is involved, but you catch our drift.

As well as the basic cleaning mode there are settings for whitening, 'polishing', and sensitive teeth. We couldn't really vouch for the effectiveness of these as we've only ever used them to see what they were like.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic: price

The pricing of electric toothbrushes is bizarre, and there is one golden rule here: never ever pay full price.

The DiamondClean Sonic is supposedly £250, but shop around and you can usually find it for far less - £100 seems to be the current lowest price. If you can't, don't buy it; just wait for the next round of 'special offer' pricing. You won't have long to wait.

The DiamondClean heads used by this particular brush are presumably part of the reason that it cleans so well, but they ain't cheap: you're looking at £20-£25 for four (again, shop around).

However, at least in theory, four heads should be enough for a whole year. Although we generally find we need five or six to make it from January to December.

The pricing of Sonicare products used to be more problematic because, to be frank, their longevity was not great, but judging by our current brush, that issue has now been addressed.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic: battery life

Battery longevity is variable, but we generally get a week's worth of twice daily brushing, and the DiamondClean Sonic generally needs less charging than the Oral B Pro 7000 Series, which is its closes rival.

Charging is via a glass tumbler sat on an induction base, which is a nice try to be different but actually something of a pain to store. That's because it takes up a fair amount of cupboard space, and is made of glass.

You could always just leave the charger out at all times, to solve this problem, but it's kind of ugly looking.

Also worth noting: a full charge takes a long time: about 24 hours, in fact. Obviously, it's not necessary to fully juice it up before you can use it again, but it's still a tad irksome.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic: design

The main reason we recommend Philips over Oral-B is that its brushes look much better. The slim, elegant form of the DiamondClean Sonic is available in classic white, but also pink (for girls), black (for boys) and purple (for, er, the Queen?)

That's not to say the design is perfect. We don't like the glass charger, and the different cleaning settings are reached by repeatedly pressing a button. Obviously, if you're holding the brush in your mouth, you can't see what setting it's on, so you need to memorise the number of button presses required.

On the other hand, since we wouldn't recommend using any setting other than the basic 'clean', maybe that's not such a big deal.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic: verdict

£100 might seem like a lot for a toothbrush, but once you've used one of these, you won't want to go back to a standard brush, or even a cheaper electric one.

If you're buying for both you and the kids to use, arguably the Oral B Pro 7000 is better, thanks to its app and visual display of where you've cleaned.

However for adults, the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic's blend of stylish looks and gentle but effective cleaning make it the best electric toothbrush currently available to humanity.