The Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected ($199.99) is an electric toothbrush that uses motion sensors to track your brushing technique and a companion app on your phone to identify problem areas as you brush. It shows you where to focus and reminds you to floss, use mousewash, and set hygiene goals, among other dental tips. And the brush itself has soft bristles, a built-in timer, and long battery life, all of which add up to the best smart tootbrush I've tested. There's no getting around the high price, but if you put a similar premium on clean teeth, the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected is worth the investment, and our Editors' Choice.
Pricing, Design, and Features
The Platinum Connected is available on its own for $199.99, or with a UV sanitizer for $219.99. In the box you get the brush itself, two brush heads, plastic travel caps, a carrying case, and a charging base. If you opt for the UV sanitizer, it doubles as a second charging base.
The brush measures 9.8 by 1.0 by 1.5 inches (HWD). It's larger than the Kolibree Connected Toothbrush and the Philips Sonicare for Kids, but that makes sense, since those brushes are geared toward children. The textured handle allows for a good grip. At the top you can attach one of two included brush heads; one is longer, with rubbery, pointy bristles, though in general the bristles are exceptionally soft on both. Philips says the brush heads vibrate 31,000 times per minute.
A large power button sits in the middle of the handle. Located below are three small green LEDs that indicate different levels of vibration intensity (low, medium, high), which are controlled by a rocker below. Continuing down, there's another set of LED indicators for the three brushing modes. Clean is the default two-minute mode; White is meant to remove surface stains and polish up teeth; and Deep Clean is for, well, really deep cleaning. Lastly, there's a button to switch between brushing modes, and three battery life LED indicators. Philips says the rechargeable lithium ion battery can last up to two weeks between charges. The Sonicare for Kids also lasts up to two weeks, while the Kolibree only lasts one.
Setup and App
Like the Sonicare for Kids, the Platinum Connected comes disassembled. First, you need to attach a brush head. Align the head so the bristles point in the same direction as the front of the handle. Then press the brush head down on the metal shaft until it clicks into place.
Once assembled, you need to download the free Philips Sonicare app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. To connect the brush to the app, simply press the power button or the brushing mode button, open the app, and follow the on-screen instructions. I paired the Platinum Connected with a Samsung Galaxy S6 in a few seconds. The brush can store data for up two weeks, and once you open the app in Bluetooth range, the collected information will show up in the app.
The app itself is incredibly useful. The main screen has a 2D representation of your teeth, advice for how to reach your brushing goal, and an icon you can tap to view how long you have until your brush head needs to be replaced (brush heads last about 200 brushing sessions, or three months). You can also order various new brush heads from this screen.
At the top of the screen, there are tabs for Brush, Progress, Goals, and Tools. Brush returns you to the main screen. Progress shows you well- and under-brushed areas as indicated by yellow or white teeth on a 2D or 3D graphic, based on your last brushing session. Above that, you can scroll back and forth through your logged sessions. Scroll down and you'll see dental hygiene advice, like "Get rid of bacteria that causes cavities by cleaning your tongue every day." Below that, you can view a list of your goals that you're actively achieving. Tapping on goals like "Brush two mins twice a day" will take you to a calendar view where you see when you've performed those activities. You can select which of these goals you want to focus on in the Goals tab. Tools lets you keep track of dental appointments and order additional Philips products, including brush heads, floss, mouthwash, and toothpaste.
Rounding out the app, a pull-out menu gives you shortcuts to the home screen, brush head lifespan, battery life info, a settings screen where you can toggle brushing session reminders on or off, and a support page.
Performance and Conclusions
I used the FlexCare Platinum Connected for a week. It works similarly to the Kolibree and the Sonicare for Kids. With your free hand, you hold your smartphone and follow a 2D or 3D representation of your teeth that highlights where you should focus and for how long. I got used to holding my phone in one hand and the toothbrush in the other, but you may want to think about investing in a waterproof phone case before you start brushing, especially with the vibration set to high.
Both the app and the brush's built-in timer track your brushing sessions to ensure you hit the dentist-recommended two minutes, at least when you have the default Clean mode activated. When set to White mode, two additional 20-second intervals are added to your session to further polish your front teeth. The Deep Clean mode simply increases vibration intensity and lasts three minutes, with the aim to improve gum health. There are pressure sensors inside the brush to alert you via vibration and sound when you're scrubbing too hard or too soft, which is helpful, though you can deactivate the sensors when you get the hang of it.
From left to right: Kolibree Connected Toothbrush, Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected, Philips Sonicare for Kids
My teeth felt immaculate after each brushing session. The vibrations are stronger than both the Kolibree and the Sonicare for Kids, so I kept the intensity set to medium. The brush head is just the right size to really clean each tooth front and back, and I never felt like I had to brush again afterwards, like I did with the Kolibree.
The Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected is the best smart toothbrush you can buy, thanks to its high-quality build and companion app that genuinely helps you improve your brushing habits. If its high price give you pause, keep in mind that it isn't much more expensive than similar non-connected electric tootbrushes, like the standard Sonicare FlexCare Platinum ($179.99). The $50 Sonicare for Kids, meanwhile, is a perfectly capable alternative with similar features for adults and children alike, though you won't get quite as deep a cleaning. But if you're looking for a top-end smart toothbrush geared toward adults, the Platinum Connected will not disappoint, and earns our Editors' Choice.