Best water flosser 2021: oral irrigators to remove plaque

This collection of the best water flossers will remove food debris, plaque and bacteria from between your teeth

A man leaning over a sink using the Waterpik cordless model, one of the best water flossers you can buy.
(Image credit: Waterpik)

One nifty gadget that has taken the dental hygiene world by storm of late is the water flosser. If you’re not acquitted yet, the best water flossers - also known as oral irrigators - are devices that shoot a powerful stream of water between your teeth and gums in a bid to remove any food debris, bacteria and plaque.

So why use a water flosser over regular floss? Well, the idea is that they can reach the areas in your mouth that are usually hard to get to through traditional means. Not only do dentists and hygienists recommend water flossers, but most people find they’re, generally, a lot easier (and more fun) to use than the string variety. This might explain their recent spurt in popularity.

When it comes to oral care, we think they're as essential as one of the best electric toothbrushes.

But, with a growing number of these devices on the market now, each varying in design and with their own set of features, it’s not always easy to know where to start when shopping for one of these mouth-loving gadgets. Thankfully, our guide below takes out the hard work for you. Here are the best water flossers you can buy right now…

How to choose the best water flosser for you

Although most water flossers are straightforward in how they operate, blasting a fast-moving stream of water into your gob, there are some differences in features and design between different makes and models. Here are a few things to look out for and consider when water flosser shopping:

Countertop and cordless

Water flossers come in different shapes and sizes depending on the brand. However, there are two main different types: countertop, which sits on your counter and plugs into a nearby socket, or battery operated, which you charge up like an electric toothbrush. The latter are preferred by those who travel frequently or don't have a plug socket in their bathroom and want the flexibility of a cordless option. 

There are also shower and tap flossers available, which attach directly to your water pipes although these are less common and not as easy to purchase or install as your general countertop or cordless options that you’d buy off the shelf.

Variable pressure settings 

Most water flossers, whether they’re countertop or cordless, offer varying levels of pressure. This is because everyone has different gum sensitivity. Opting for a water pressure that’s too powerful can make sensitive gums bleed, and in some instances, be quite painful. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to buy a water flosser with as many different pressure levels as possible. Then, if you are sensitive, you can start on the low end of the spectrum and work your way up as sensitivity decreases over time.

Interchangeable jet tips

Some water flossers come with different jet tips, with each offering a different way for the water to be projected into your mouth to suit different needs. Some have brushes on the end for cleaning around braces, for example, and some offer a finer stream of water for better precision when you want to blast away food that’s stubbornly lodged in between teeth. Usually, more expensive water flossers that are bundled with a wider range of jet tips. 

Price

You can expect to pay anywhere from £40 up to £120 for a water flosser, this will depend on the company and the feature set. However, there’s never really any need to go past the £80 mark. Most water flossers, no matter how expensive, do a very similar job. The only difference with an £80 model over a £40 is that it’s likely to be better made and thus last you longer.

The best water flossers you can buy today:

Waterpik Whitening Professional Water Flosser

(Image credit: Waterpik)

1. Waterpik Whitening Professional Water Flosser

A unique water flosser that boasts bonus stain-removing qualities

Specifications
Type:: Corded
Water capacity:: 600ml
Pressure levels:: 10
Reasons to buy
+Good sized water reservoir+10 pressure settings+Various tips included
Reasons to avoid
-Limited whitening effect-Whitening tablets are expensive

This countertop water flosser by industry-leading brand Waterpik is by far one of our favourites, mainly due to its large water reservoir and wider 10 pressure settings. However, what really makes it stand out in the crowd is its bonus stain-removal feature. 

Delivering whitening while you water floss, the Whitening Professional Water Flosser helps to whiten your gnashers through an infuser tech that mixes water with a stain removal agent that comes in the form of a tablet you place in the flosser handle. This stain removal agent aims to restore natural whiteness by removing hard-to-reach stains. While the extent to this whitening is limited, it’s a bonus feature we welcome with open arms. As an advanced model, the water flosser also has something Waterpik calls pulse-modulation technology for better plaque removal.

Philips AirFloss Ultra

(Image credit: Philips)

2. Philips AirFloss Ultra

A beautiful cordless water flosser with an impressive battery life

Specifications
Type:: Cordless
Water capacity:: 60ml
Pressure levels:: 3
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Great battery life 
Reasons to avoid
-Large in size-Small reservoir

This handheld device by Philips is one of your favourite cordless water flossers. It’s beautifully designed, simple to use and ergonomic, with its slim jet tip being super easy to manoeuvre around the mouth and teeth. 

Cleaning is effective and fast, so much so that it’s an actual joy to use, leaving you feeling super fresh afterwards. This is backed up by excellent battery life, which should last two whole weeks between charges. 

The only downside with this water flosser is that the reservoir is relatively small at ust 60ml, meaning you can only complete two full flossing sessions before it needs refilling. This can get annoying. It’s overall size is also a little bulky when compared to other cordless models, so might not be the best option for travel.

Waterpik Cordless Select Water Flosser

(Image credit: Waterpik)

3. Waterpik Cordless Select Water Flosser

Another (cordless) entry from the world’s most popular water flosser brand

Specifications
Type:: Cordless
Water capacity:: 207ml
Pressure levels:: 2
Reasons to buy
+Well designed and smart +Easy-to-use USB magnetic charging cable
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey -Only two pressure settings

While the Waterpik Whitening Professional Water Flosser is our favourite by the brand, we couldn't not include its cordless cousin, the Cordless Select. Offering the same high quality design as its countertop sibling, this water flosser boasts a range of smart features not seen in most other cordless options. For starters, there’s a magnetic USB charging system, which makes it much easier to rejuice. This will get you back up and running in just four hours.

We also found it super quiet during operation, which is great if you’re sharing an en suite. It’s completely waterproof, too, meaning you can use it in the shower, if you really want to. 

The only niggles we had with this oral gadget was that it lacks the grip found on other water flossers, and because it’s quite bulky, it can slip out of the hands easily - especially if used in wet environments.

Spotlight Oral Care Water Flosser

(Image credit: Spotlight)

4. Spotlight Oral Care Water Flosser

A great all-round cordless alternative to Waterpik

Specifications
Type:: Cordless
Water capacity:: 190ml
Pressure levels:: 3
Reasons to buy
+Attractive, minimal design+Easy-to-manoeuvre 360-degree nozzle+USB-chargeable +Four different jet tips included 
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively small water reservoir tank -Quite expensive 

The Spotlight Oral Care water flosser not only has one of the most attractive designs we’ve ever seen in this domain of oral gadgets, but it proves to be pretty ergonomic, too. It touts an easy-to-manoeuvre 360-degree nozzle so you can get to all those hard-to-reach places, like behind wisdom teeth, and is charged via USB, which makes it especially convenient. 

The 190ml water capacity might not be the best, but it does come bundled with four different jet tips, making it suitable for a whole host of different oral needs, especially those who wear braces. It’s not the most expensive on our list but not the cheapest either. A great allrounder, nonetheless

Panasonic Portable Oral Irrigator

(Image credit: Panasonic)

5. Panasonic Portable Oral Irrigator

The least conventional but most travel-convenient water flosser

Specifications
Type:: Cordless
Water capacity:: 160ml
Pressure levels:: 2
Reasons to buy
+Super compact +Great value for money 
Reasons to avoid
-Runs off AA batteries

It might not be the most high tech or innovative water flosser out there, but that’s not what this gadget is about. Boasting a neat, collapsible design - it can easily slot in a wash bag should you want to take it on a weekend away with you. Okay, so it’s not as stylish as some of its competitors, but it does the job, giving your mouth a fresh, clean feeling after eating, all for a very low price tag.

Overall, this water flosser is a great option for those who are always on the go and need a compact and lightweight device to refresh their mouths, blitzing away that annoying food that easily gets lodged in between teeth.

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Lee Bell
Lee Bell

Lee Bell is a freelance journalist & copywriter specialising in technology, health, grooming and how the latest innovations are shaking up the lifestyle space. From national newspapers to specialist-interest magazines and digital titles, Lee has written for some of the world’s most respected publications during his 11 years as a journalist.