Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes

October 16, 2019

Manual and electric toothbrushesThe manual vs. electric toothbrush debate has been going on since the beginning of electric toothbrush sales. However, you may be surprised to hear that there is no real answer or consensus among the dental community. Each type of brush has its pros and cons, but it really comes down to how much you like using it and if you brush for the recommended amount of time. The American Dental Association says at minimum we should be brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day.

Still not sure which type of brush is your favorite? We have some benefits and downsides to each to help make the choice a little easier.

Electric Toothbrushes


Ease of Use: Just like other machines designed to help clean our things—think dishwashers or washing machines—electric toothbrushes get the job done with a push of a button. You will also need to hold it at a 45-degree angle with your gums, but other than that, brushing with an electric brush is a piece of cake! Children, elderly and disabled people may find this especially useful.

Better at Getting Rid of Plaque: Electric brushes are actually 21% better according to this study published in 2015. The oscillating and vibrating motions of the bristles really get into every nook and cranny around you teeth, providing a more thorough clean that would take much more effort to achieve with a manual brush.

Braces Friendly: Those who have traditional braces may find it much easier to use an electric toothbrush. The moving bristles are able to get in between the wires more effectively so that plaque doesn’t build up.


Cost: Understandably, electric toothbrushes are more expensive than manual brushes. They can range between $20 to $200 and require replacement brush heads every 3-4 months. Some models may also need new batteries when the old ones die.

Fragile: Manual toothbrushes can take a beating, but electric ones have more moving parts and are easier to break. Repairing or replacing them can be costly, not to mention inconvenient.

Bulky: Electric toothbrushes take up more space, making them more difficult to travel with. There’s the batteries, charger and replacement heads to consider if you’re on-the-go a lot.

Manual Toothbrushes


Manual toothbrushesCost-Effective: Even the most expensive manual toothbrushes don’t come close to the price of an electric one. You can find them for as little as a dollar or for free at your dental checkups!

Portable: Manual brushes are great for travel, plus it would be very hard to break one. This makes them great for avid travelers and clumsy kids.

Same Cleaning Power: As long as you follow the dentist’s orders of brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day, your teeth will get just as clean with a manual toothbrush.


More of a Workout: In order to get the same results as an electric toothbrush, you’ll have to work much harder. Using circular and back and forth motions is necessary for getting the best clean.

Too Many Options: There are so many different varieties, that it can make it difficult to find a manual toothbrush that works for you.

DIY Timer: Unlike many electric models that come with built-in timers, you’ll have to time yourself to make sure you brush for long enough.

It’s Up to You!

At the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference. We hope this information helps make the choice easier.