The electric toothbrush market is a crazy thing. RRPs are sky-high, prices swing wildly from month to month, models are confusingly named and flagship products are launched with ever-more over-the-top features, such as app compatibility, AI and – in the case of
Oral-B’s iO9 – a full-colour OLED screen that flashes you an animated smile when you brush well.
Amid all this, it’s quite hard to decide how much you should actually spend on an electric toothbrush. If what you want is good brushing performance, I think the answer could be less than £40.
The Pro 3 is a recently released mid-range electric toothbrush from Oral-B. With its launch, the brand has found a sweet spot at which you can get all the features you need, plus great brushing performance, for a very reasonable price. Still, it’s not a flawless product and you’ll have to make a couple of compromises.
Design and appearance
- Pressure sensor light ring
- Battery/ charging light
- Comes with a 2-pin bathroom charger
The Pro 3 has a familiar handle shape and Oral-B’s characteristic round brushing head. Its first main point of difference from other, similar brushes is that it has a shiny, rather than a rubbery finish. I’ve seen customer reviews in which people complained that this made the brush less easy to get a grip on – but that wasn’t my experience. The handle is textured and I found it easy to hold. Nonetheless, you may want to bear this in mind.
The other visible point of difference is the light ring, which glows bright red when you press too hard during brushing. It’s impossible to miss.
The Pro 3 comes with a standard two-pin bathroom charger. All of the Oral-B brushes we’ve tested – even the flagship iO series – come with these shaving socket chargers. We’d love to see one with a USB charging option. You can buy third-party, compatible USB chargers but we don’t know how well they work and can’t vouch for them.
How the Pro 3 compares to other Oral-B brushes
It’s very difficult to give a rundown of how the Pro 3 compares to other Oral-B brushes, partly because there are so many models with similar feature sets. Quite apart from the iO and Genius series, there are a number of Oral-B brushes available from £20-£70: the Vitality, the Pro 1, the Pro 600, the Pro 2000, the Smart 4 4000 and more. Some of these have different features (pressure sensor, timer, different brushing modes, smart functionality), others come with different accessories, such as a charging case.
What we can say is that if you have an older Oral-B brush and are looking for a replacement, the motor and battery are likely to be more powerful and efficient in a new brush.
Plus, the Pro 3 has Oral-B’s 3D brushing action. That means it oscillates, rotates and pulses together to clean. It makes a huge difference to brush performance when compared to the Vitality, Oral-B’s more budget-friendly model.
We also think that, in terms of features that ensure good brushing performance, the Pro 3 has what you need: the pressure sensor will alert you if you press too hard and are likely to damage teeth and gums; and the timer will let you know if you’re brushing for long enough in each part of your mouth.
- 2 week battery life
- 12 hour charging time
- 2 minute timer, with 30 second alerts
- 3 brushing modes
I test a lot of electric toothbrushes and, in between new reviews, I tend to continue using the last one I tested. On first using the Pro 3, I was struck by how effective it felt and how clean my teeth felt after using it. That doesn’t always happen.
One thing to note, however: it’s not the quietest toothbrush to use – in fact, it’s pretty noisy (around 65dB).
The Pro 3 has a brushing timer that alerts you with a change in vibration every thirty seconds to move onto the next quadrant of your mouth. After two minutes, a longer buzz lets you know to finish. If you’re interrupted while brushing and have to switch it off for a moment, the brush will remember its timer settings for up to 30 seconds, so you can continue where you left off.
As well as the pressure sensor light, if you brush too hard, the vibrations will slow to give you a second indication that you should take care.
The Pro 3 has three brushing modes: sensitive, daily clean and whitening. As the handle only features one button, it’s used for both on/off and for cycling between the different modes.
The button itself doesn’t protrude. In fact, it’s slightly inset. This makes it a bit harder to press. You’ll have to press quite hard to switch it off without cycling through other modes.
Its longer battery life is a big advantage. The two weeks between charges – and it did last that long in our test – means you could take the Pro 3 on holiday and not worry about bringing along the cumbersome shaving point charger. But if you use the toothbrush for longer than the daily four minutes, you might run out of juice before it’s time to come home.
You should also note that by the time the battery warning light comes on, the brush is already slowing down.
I’ve read customer reviews on major retailers complaining of battery issues, but I’ve been using it for several months without any charging problems beyond the fact that its 12-hour charging time does feel long.
Price and availability
In the UK, the Pro 3 3000 has an RRP of £90 but you shouldn’t buy it at this price. Realistically, most retailers are selling it for around £40, and at this price, it’s good value. It comes in black, white, pale pink and pale blue, depending on the version you get.
Within the Pro 3 series, you can buy the Pro 3 3000, which is just the standard brush; the
3500, which comes with a travel case; and
the 3800, which has a charcoal black head and comes with charcoal toothpaste. Mostly, these models are available for around the same price.
All models-come with the CrossAction brush head and are compatible with all standard Oral-B brush heads, which are probably the best priced on the market. You can usually find a deal on when you need to buy and if not, you can opt for generic, compatible brush heads – although these might not always be of the same quality.
The Oral-B Pro 3 series is not available in the US. There is
a Pro 3000, which has similar features (pressure sensor light; three brushing modes) but its design is slightly different.
This is a good brush with solid brushing performance and all the features you need to look after your teeth. Personally, I liked it. However, small compromises like the less grippy handle, single button operation and its noisiness may leave some buyers less than perfectly satisfied.
For more electric toothbrush options, have a look at our round-up of
the best electric toothbrushes we’ve tested.