Best Sonicare brush heads: which is the best replacement head for your Philips electric toothbrush?

We explain the differences between Philips’ vast range of Sonicare toothbrush heads so you can find the best for your mouth

Best electric toothbrush
(Image credit: Philips)

Recently gone through the painstakingly long process of reading our best electric toothbrush guide and deciding which Philips Sonicare toothbrush you should go for out of the brand's extensive offering? You’ll be displeased to know that you’re not out of the woods yet. Soon enough, some decisions will have to be made in regards to what you’re going to shove on top of your brush handle when it comes to replacing the head.

There’s a pretty broad range of Sonicare brush head designs on offer from Philips, all designed with different user preferences and oral issues in mind. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry - we’ve got you. In this Sonicare brush heads comparison, we’ll tell you all you need to know for choosing the best brush head for you and your mouth.

How Sonicare brush heads work

Before we delve into the different brush heads and what makes them unique, it’s best to understand how they function and the technology involved. 

Philips’ Sonicare range of brush heads (opens in new tab) works via side-to-side motion. This might not sound that impressive but how about we tell you that this happens at ridiculous speeds; a kind of vibration sensation referred to as sonic motion (hence the name). With the latest models reaching 31,000 strokes per minute, these sonic vibrations do a great job cleaning your teeth, leaving you with a fresh-feeling mouth for most of the day.

This is different to the technology employed by Philips’ main rival, Oral-B, who makes use of an oscillating-rotating power mechanism in its electric toothbrushes. These brush heads pulsate to loosen plaque and then oscillate to sweep it away. The only exception in its line-up is the brand’s flagship iO toothbrush, which boasts a frictionless magnetic drive system that transfers energy towards the tips of the bristles. This feels sonic like a Philips Sonicare device but isn’t quite the same as it employs more energy.

Check out our 'Philips Sonicare vs Oral-B: what's the difference and which is better?' Article - which goes into more detail about this - if you’re unsure which brand to go for. 

What is BrushSync tech?

 Before we go into the different Philips brush heads available for your Sonicare toothbrush, we should explain what is meant by BrushSync technology.

BrushSync is a radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that is built into newer Sonicare brush heads. These tags record when you attach the brush head for the first time and keep track of how long you’ve been using it so the toothbrush can then give you a warning when it’s time to switch it out for a new one. Some Sonicare heads feature this and some don’t, so it’s worth making a note of. 

How to find the best Sonicare brush head for you

 When looking to replace the head on your Philips electric toothbrush you should know that there are nine different Sonicare brush head designs to choose from. Here we’ll tell you what each is designed to do and what type of user they are best for. Most of the heads are labelled with a letter and number, which is designed to make it easier to know which is best to go for but, if anything, probably makes it more complicated. Nevertheless, here they are, each of which is available in black or white colour options to match your toothbrush handle: 

Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush heads

(Image credit: Philips)

ProResults (opens in new tab) 

As one of Philips’ flagship toothbrush heads, ProResults is the standard Sonicare head that will fit all models. It provides simple, all-around cleaning thanks to a contoured profile that naturally fits the profile of the teeth and looks to improve overall plaque removal over traditional manual toothbrushes. A good one when you’re not quite sure which head to go for and don’t have any specific needs.

Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush heads

(Image credit: Philips)

C2 Optimal Plaque Defence (opens in new tab) 

If plaque is your biggest concern, then this is the Sonicare head for you. Philips claims it is seven times more effective than a manual brush at getting rid of plaque thanks to a specially curved power tip, which makes it much easier to reach those teeth that sit right at the back of your mouth. 

Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush heads

(Image credit: Philips)

W2 Optimal White (opens in new tab) 

Eat a lot of stain-causing foods and want whiter teeth? Have a gander at the W2 brush head, which Philips says can achieve up to a 100% whiter smile in just seven days thanks to this brush head’s Diamond-shaped bristles. It’s also great for maintaining brightness between professional whitening treatments.

Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush heads

(Image credit: Philips)

C3 Premium Plaque Defence (opens in new tab) 

This is what Philips calls its “deepest cleaning” brush head, claiming to remove up to 10 times more plaque than your regular manual toothbrush. This is due to its flexible sides and unique bristle pattern, which offers four times more surface contact. This head is best suited to those with BrushSync-compatible handles as when paired up, it can automatically select optimal cleaning mode for the best results for your gob. 

Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush heads

(Image credit: Philips)

G3 Premium Gum Care (opens in new tab) 

Sensitive gums? The G3 Premium Gum Care head might be worth a punt as it works to absorb excess cleaning pressure and protect while providing plaque removal at the gum line. And with a BrushSync handle, it can automatically select the optimal cleaning mode to give you the best results. 

Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush heads

(Image credit: Philips)

A3 Premium All-in-One (opens in new tab) 

This multipurpose brush head is great for those who aren’t really sure what they want from a toothbrush. It’s an all-in-one option that is said to remove 20x more plaque than a manual toothbrush while eliminating stains and caring for the gums. This BrushSync-compatible head is a jack of all trades master of none, doing away with the need to switch brush heads for specific user needs. One of our personal faves.  

Rebrands making things even more confusing

One last thing to note is that many of the Sonicare brush head models have recently undergone a rebrand, so you might come across some different names to the above when shopping online. To make things easier, here’s a quick list of the brush heads that have recently had a name change:

  •  Sonicare W2 Optimal White was formally DiamondClean 
  •  Sonicare G2 Optimal Gum Care was formerly ProResults Gum Health 
  •  Sonicare C2 Optimal Plaque Defence was formerly ProResults Plaque Control 

And for anyone wondering, the W3 Premium White (opens in new tab) and G2 Optimal Gum Care (opens in new tab) brush heads have been discontinued. Phew.

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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.