When I evaluate an electric toothbrush, I like to wait up to six months, for the time of my next teeth cleaning and dental checkup, before writing my comments. In the case of this Philips Sonicare Flexcare RS930 with Sanitizer, I am more than reasonably confident of the outcome, so I’m writing it up early! I’ll update you if my impressions change before or after my next dental checkup.
Brushing with this, the flagship model in the Sonicare line, one theme permeates my thoughts – the feel of clean. And so it goes on a daily basis with my test unit. My teeth have that just-visited-the-dentist feeling all day long.
Now, let’s get into this powerhouse of a device. At a retail price of $170, it’s awfully expensive, but, hey, we’re on the Internet, so do some shopping courtesy of the link on the Sonicare Website. The best deal I found was at Costco, but you’d better check on your own as things change quickly at Costco. That deal is $160 and includes TWO handles, two of the ProResults brush heads, two soft cases and a travel charger! Other deals found are in the $140-ish range. Is it worth the money? I say YES, so please continue reading.
This model ships with two ProResults brush heads – one Compact and one Standard. The Compact brush is designed to get into hard-to-reach areas. I have not found it to be necessary, but everyone’s mouth is different! Also included with the brushes are three additional color code rings. These snap-on/off rings attach at the bottom of the brush head and allow for the likelihood that others in the family may be sharing a single handle. These color rings will identify the user of that particular brush head.
The slim handle will be comfy in any hand. True to manufacturer claims, vibration felt through the handle is minor and should not present an issue for any user in my view.
This model features multiple settings, which, to me, are almost too many choices. These settings are easily and simply accessed with the Personalized brushing button located below the power button and identified by its elongated design. The user selects a routine by pressing the button repeatedly to toggle through the choices as indicated in LEDs by each routine name. Once the desired routine is selected, release that button and then press the power button to start the routine.
There are three two-minute brushing cycles consisting of:
- Clean mode: standard default mode for a complete teeth cleaning
- Sensitive mode: gentle, yet thorough cleaning for sensitive gums and teeth
- Massage mode: pulsates for a gentle gum stimulation
Then, there are two pre-programmed routines for your individual oral care schedule:
- Go Care – Use it when you’re in a hurry, a one-minute brushing cycle in the clean mode for a quick clean.
- Max Care routine – three-minute brushing cycle that combines the Clean and Massage modes in one routine for a thoroughly clean mouth feel.
I generally choose Max Care. It’s three minutes well spent!
Each part of every cycle ends with a little blip of difference to let the user know of the transition from one timed segment to the next. This is part of the unit’s Quadpacer feature.
Think of it this way – Your mouth is divided into four sections (the “quad” in Quadpacer) consisting of upper and lower left and upper and lower right. The Sonicare alerts the user with a momentary interruption of operation to the completion of the allotted time for that portion of the cycle. The alert prompts the user to move on to another part of the mouth so that, by the end of the routine or cycle, the entire mouth is covered.
Directions also call for placing the bristles against the teeth at a slight angle towards the gum line. This is true for any power toothbrush I’ve tried. It just makes sense. This is a good time to remind consumers to always, ALWAYS read the directions, even though a product’s use might appear totally intuitive. You’ll learn something otherwise unknown.
The Quick Start Guide, a 5×7-ish double-sided card provides most of the instructional info, but do read the full manual, please.
This model also includes a UV Sanitizer, seen in the photo at the top of the article. Attached to the same base as the inductive charger nodule, this “locker” contains two mounting pins for brushes and a UV light source that is activated only with the door closed and after pressing the large, top-mounted button that activates the process. This green power button begins a 10-minute cleaning cycle. The UV light is a recognized sanitizing method that kills bacteria and viruses on the brush head. I did not take any measurements before or after cleaning. I’ll take their word for it! It’s like starting with a fresh and clean brush daily. The UV bulb is user replaceable and its lifespan is unknown to me. I like this feature. It can’t hurt and can only help.
On other Sonicare models tested in the past that use screw-down brush heads (NOT the brush heads used on this model), I have been disappointed by the accumulation of black mold under the bottom of the brush head base. Imagine unscrewing the head, looking underneath and seeing a growing accumulation of this material adhering to the part of the mechanism that might otherwise be hidden from view. I know my experience was not isolated because I asked others to check theirs. The mold was quite commonly there. I am pleased to report that this snap-on brush head design appears that it might be less likely to breed such growth. Regardless, I will follow the instructions to rinse with warm water weekly and keep an eye on this area. The UV light will most certainly kill any organisms on the bristles and for a distance below, but it cannot “see” the underside of the brush head’s bottom. This brush head design is an important reason to select this or other Sonicare models that use the same ProResults Standard or Compact head.
On my wish list is that Sonicare would include recognized antibacterial material in the compound that makes up the brush head material, the “stem,” exclusive of the brushes themselves. This may be a cost issue or something else. This material might negate the possibility for any mold growth under the head. Two leaders in this industry are Agion and Microban, should you wish to bone up on the technology. These properties built into the brush head would be complementary to the UV Sanitizer that would primarily protect the bristles and their immediate area under the light. I don’t know, but maybe after the company reads my review they will be kind enough to respond, and I will add their comments as an addendum to the article.
I cannot tell you how many brushings are possible between its Lithium ion battery charging because this would depend upon which cycle is used. The Website indicates that it should last for up to two weeks of normal brushing, whatever that is, due to so many choices of routines and cycles. Philips was also smart with this model in the area of charging. The large base that includes the UV Sanitizer is too big to pack along for travel. Philips has included a very simple and compact travel charger designed for worldwide voltage. When traveling where plugs and voltages differ from the US, all that is needed is a different plug adapter. Voltage changes are handled internally, transparently to the user. Thanks, Philips Sonicare! That little charger, the soft travel case and included travel caps that snap on over the brush heads are all that are needed for any travel assignment. That is, unless travel extends beyond three months, the recommended time after which a new brush head is recommended. In that case, users might wish to consider taking along extras!
Brush head prices range from full-hit direct from Sonicare, a three-pack for $35, to an online low of about $24 through the links on the company’s where-to-buy page.
It is not uncommon for newbies to experience some sensitivity to the vibrations from one of these contraptions. Any sensitivity issues usually subside within two to three weeks. Some of you may wish to begin use with Easy-start, the default startup routine programmed into all models. With the Easy-start feature activated, each of the first 14 brushings over one minute in length gently ramps up power so that after those first 14, the handle’s routines are at full strength. This feature can also be de-activated as per the instruction manual. I de-activated it on mine. I want maximum care from day one!
Chronic tooth sensitivity that exists before trying an electric toothbrush is something to be discussed with your dentist before starting to use this or any other power toothbrush. As for me, I switched many years ago to Sensodyne toothpaste to mitigate any tooth sensitivity. About a year ago another family member and I moved to their ProNamel product.
Why not stick with a plain old toothbrush, the old school way? I know they’re fine, too. HOWEVER, many of us are often lazy when it comes to oral care. We get just one set of choppers in this life, so I prefer to not take chances. Using this Sonicare affords me the opportunity to most assuredly care well for my teeth so long as I just follow its lead daily. Press the button and just follow along. No stress. No shortcutting. Clean, thoroughly clean every time. As should any user, I let the handle do all the work while I move the brush head slowly and deliberately, with mild pressure at the proper angle, across the surfaces of my teeth and gums. It is effortless and I know that by allowing the device to do its work, I have covered my mouth with the care it needs, plus flossing, of course. Do as you wish, but for me, this removes out all possibility for failure and assures likelihood of success toward keeping my own teeth until it doesn’t matter any more.
Ask your dental professional about Sonicare. Chances are good that she or he is a fan and recommends the brand. Just be sure you shop for the best deal on yours. The company backs the product with a two-year warranty. Build quality seems flawless. I have no doubt that users rarely experience issues relating to quality. Sonicare has been at this for many, many years. There are competitors, to be sure, but one must consider Sonicare the go-to brand, in my view. I’ve tested other brands that use reciprocating and vibrating brushes. This model, for all the reasons mentioned, is what I recommend. Also, be mindful of claims you may hear in commercials or read in ads for this kind of product. It has been my experience that none claim better results than competitors’ products. Their claims are for better results than when brushing the conventional way, often with their own brand of standard toothbrush. Pay attention to this when you see a commercial or magazine ad.
For those who feel no need for the UV Sanitizer or the multiple modes, consider the Sonicare Healthy White line, which use the same brush heads and can be found online for under $100! These models indicate a battery life per charge of 24 consecutive brushings with no info as to battery type.
I think that about covers it. Clean teeth that feel clean all day long after brushing is what I am experiencing with my new Sonicare toothbrush. I’ve also started one of the young members of the Gadget Family using her own Philips Sonicare Flexcare RS930 with Sanitizer. The two of us are expecting perfect checkups the next time we visit the dentist, and thereafter. It’s Sonicare easy! I’ll keep you posted.