Who would have thought toothbrushes would become such a competitive industry. It used to be we used what we got for free at the dentist, but not any more, now dentists want us to use vibrating, electric and ultrasonic toothbrushes too… but we’re not getting those for free after a cleaning! One of the newer brushes on the shelves at your local drug store is the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100. In this review I’ll try the toothbrush out here in my home over several weeks. I’ll tell you what special features it has, what it’s like to use, and I’ll wrap things up with the pros and the cons and if I think it’s a good sonic electric toothbrush for you.
As far as toothbrushes go, there has been a steady increase in the number of electric toothbrushes littering your local CVS. It started with vibrations and simple rotations and slowly spawned a high-tech industry. At the top of the line, electric toothbrushes boast AI-based adaptiveness, pressure sensitivity adjustments, tracking and coaching apps, and self-learning algorithms that ensure you get a perfect clean every single time. Sitting solidly towards the top of the line-up is the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100.
Philips Sonicare 6100
The Sonicare 6100 is a solid and effective toothbrush in my opinion, albeit slightly overpriced compared to its predecessors.
- Intensity levels and brushing modes offer versatility
- Smart timer and quadpacer
- Many settings can be turned off if they bug you
- A bit expensive
- Travel charging case costs more
- Comes with only one brush head
What you get
When you unpack the box there’s a few things inside; you’ll get your new toothbrush handle, a single brush head, a charging base with AC cord, and some type of travel case (depending which model you choose the travel case will either be strictly for transport, or for charging also).
The ProtectiveClean 6100 comes in four subtle colours: pastel pink (my choice), white silver, navy blue, and deep purple. A practical design, usage of metal, and an ergonomic feel give the toothbrush a durable and premium feeling. The buttons are easily findable and, after some time, become part of your muscle memory.
The toothbrush has two buttons and a handful of lights. The power button is obvious, then the second button allows you to switch between cleaning modes and intensity level, which we’ll get to. Other lights on the device will show you the power or intensity as well as the overall battery level and when it’s time to change your brush head.
Performance and Technology
When you turn on the ProtectiveClean 6100, it’s quiet; significantly quieter than its predecessors. Philips, however, did not trade off quietness for power. With three levels of intensity and three modes you’ve got options, but what Philips markets as “special modes” are really just different durations; Clean Mode is a 2-minute cycle, White Mode runs 2.5 minutes and Gum Care Mode is a 3-minute option. Whichever mode you choose, you can dial the intensity of the vibrations up or down among three settings, so it’s possible to really dial in your preferences.
There’s also a setting on this brush that will give you a warning of sorts if you’re using too much pressure. Essentially, it alters the vibration pattern and will chatter a little bit more if you’re using too much pressure, as a gentle reminder to ease off. If you find this disconcerting or annoying you can turn this off.
The Philips 6100 runs automatically for the dentist-recommended two minutes and is equipped with a quad pacer timer to ensure you brush evenly (although it’s not intelligent enough to figure out if you have brushed unevenly) which simply changes the vibration pattern every 30 seconds of so as a nudge to move on to another area of your mouth.
Based on your frequency of brushing duration, pressure, and time, it’ll also tell you when to change the brush head. These features are now standard in the Sonicare product line and rely on microchips within the brush and the device to talk to each other. While a useful feature, it likely also contributes to the replacement brushes being pricier.
Using Philips Sonicare 6100
Actual brushing is thorough and doesn’t leave you wanting more. The patented ‘Sonic’
technology Philips has perfected over the years uses a combination of your toothpaste, water and high-frequency oscillations to break up plaque or debris, even in difficult-to-reach areas.
Sixty-two thousand brush movements/minute do a fine job of removing stains, clearing up plaque, and showing noticeable improvement compared to an ordinary toothbrush over a few weeks.
A neat feature for new users is that over the first few uses, the toothbrush builds up its intensity to build familiarity and comfort, since plenty of folks find these brushes head-numbing.
There is no tongue cleaner on the back of the brush, a feature often appreciated. However, this also means that when brushing those difficult-to-reach areas, the back of the brush will hit some teeth, and the clattering ‘sonic’ vibration technology might irritate.
You can find the brush heads quite easily because Philips has been selling these toothbrushes and commands a significant market share. Some non-proprietary brush heads can also be found for a fraction of the cost (if you’re willing to compromise on BrushSync technology). If you choose to stick to Philips, you can find a number of different brush heads that vary in purpose, from intense teeth whitening to plaque removal and gum care.
How does Sonicare 6100 compare to other brushes?
There is an issue with the 6100 when you consider the value it delivers compared to Philips own and cheaper 5100 or the 4100. Minus the extra intensity settings, the Sonicare 5100 also offers generally the same feature set and can often be bought for less, especially during seasonal sales.
Remember that the 6100 also has no app connectivity, something that toothbrushes around this range, (like the Sonicare 7300) do have. This companion app provides weekly reports and user-specific tips, but I often find that after the initial excitement of requiring your smartphone to analyze your tooth brushing twice each day, for the most part people stop using the app.
Philips promises weeks of battery life, and I found I was getting about 2-3 weeks, depending if I brushed for a full 2 minutes or not. I have reviewed toothbrushes that last a lot longer, but it’s also not a huge hassle to place the toothbrush on its charging base overnight once a week to keep it full.
The Sonicare 6100 can be picked up for around $145 and lower if on sale. And this is why the 6100 seems a bit lost in the product line. The 4100 would set you back by $70, and barring the intelligent modes, three intensity settings, and the travel case, it is virtually the same toothbrush. So, I guess the question is: Are these features worth $75 to you?
Overall review: Philips Sonicare 6100
Like many people who preferred manual hand-operated brushing experiences to their electric solutions, I never looked back after getting my first Sonicare many years ago. However, only so much technology can be crammed into a toothbrush. The Sonicare 6100 is a solid and effective toothbrush in my opinion, albeit slightly overpriced compared to its predecessors.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your dental routine; some people do want companion apps and real-time feedback, while others just want a thorough cleaning they don’t have to think too much about. The Sonicare 6100 hits right in the middle of those wants by offering enough technology to satisfy the enthusiast while delivering a robust cleaning capability that’s easy to use even if you like to zone out.
Shop the Philips Sonicare 6100 Toothbrush on Amazon
**A note about Affiliate Links: TechGadgetsCanada & TechGadgetsInternational is supported by our readers. Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase, but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you choose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.