Depending on who you ask, subscriptions are either the new normal, or they hit their saturation point 18 months ago. Either way, you probably don’t change your toothbrush heads often enough (or ever?), so here are the pros and cons of the services that will take care of that for you.
Toothbrush heads for the Sonicare Essence have gone as low as $17 for a 2-pack in the past, before including any coupons. But we’re talking about subscriptions here, so we can’t ignore Amazon Subscribe and Save, which takes another 15% off. That leaves us with a price of a little over $7 per brush head, assuming no coupons are available at the time. We’re also ignoring the 5% back you could get with your Amazon Store Card or Amazon Visa.
On the Oral-B side, their Vitality drops as low as $17 with the expected features and one head included.
Brush head pricing is trickier to nail down here because of how many options there are, even before taking into account generics, but a 2-pack of Precision Clean heads can drop as low as $9.50, or ~$4/head factoring in Subscribe and Save, but not coupons or credit card rewards.
With a subscription discount, you can pick up Goby’s toothbrush for $50 with one included brush head, and get replacements for as low as $4/head if you buy at least four at once. Shipping is free, and the Goby brush features a rechargeable battery with two weeks of life, a timer, a sensitive mode, and rotating Oral-B-style brush heads.
In practice, brushing with Goby feels the same as using an Oral-B, but without compatibility with the Oral-B brush head ecosystem or its related, cheaper, generic knockoffs.
If you always brush near the Goby’s cradle, this won’t be a problem you’ll share, but as someone who regularly brushes their teeth in the shower, the fact that the Goby can’t stand up on its own can be very annoying. You’ll also have to account for the fact that new brush heads are only available through their site.
Quip is the best-looking and most compact electric toothbrush on the market. With a subscription discount, a brush will run you $45, with replacement heads coming in at $5 each, though you can save a lot more by buying sets or multipacks. Quip also sells toothpaste and manual brushes, and offers a travel cover as well.
Quip’s fatal flaw, and the reason I’ve never used one, is their reliance on disposable batteries. We’re hard on any product that isn’t rechargeable at this point, and I’ve personally had terrible luck with products that use rechargeable batteries getting anywhere near water on a regular basis.
If you like the idea of Quip, but want a stronger brush with a built-in battery, Burst is worth a look. It’s a bit more expensive up front at $70 (or $40 if you buy it through a participating dentist), and replacement heads are $6 every three months instead of $5. That said, its 33,000 pulses per minute are more than double Quip’s, and you get three different brushing modes, though it is a larger and undeniably less sexy product overall.
Sonicare and Oral-B’s bottom tier brushes are probably still better at cleaning your teeth than Quip or Goby, but how good a brusher you are is far and away the more important factor there. Good subscriptions solve problems, and if you’re not changing out your toothbrush heads on the regular, you should get one, whether it’s through Quip, Goby, or Amazon.