If you've been considering making the leap from a manual brush to an electric toothbrush, price may have been holding you back. But you don't have to spend hundreds to reap the benefits. If you're willing to do without a few frills, you can get a high-quality brush, often with a surprising number of features.
More and more, studies confirm the benefits of using an electric toothbrush over brushing manually, so if you've recently received a ticking-off from your dentist, it might be time to go for it.
The most important parts of an electric toothbrush are a decent motor and a well designed cleaning head. We've tested all of the brushes we recommend below, to make sure that - even though their prices are lower - their performance is solid.
Beyond that, there are factors like battery life and charging options, as well as more advanced features such as brushing modes, a timer and pressure sensor. Not all of the budget-friendly brushes below will have all of these features, so to find out which ones are important to you, check out our buying advice after the chart.
If you decide you want to spend a bit more, have a look at our round up of the best electric toothbrushes we've tested at all price ranges. Otherwise, see our best budget options below.
Oral-B Pro 2 2000 - With a pressure sensor
The Oral-B Pro 2 2000 is a straightforward brush.
Its features are simple: there are only two brushing modes and a pressure sensor, with no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth features, and no app support. However it works well, is comfortable to use, and boasts a two-week battery life - not bad for the price.
A spare brush head or two in the pack would have been welcome, along with a more detailed battery indicator, but these are small complaints about a brush that does a very good job for a very low price.
Read our full Oral-B Pro 2 2000 review
Ordo Sonic+ - Subscription option available
The Ordo Sonic+ is good value, especially if you buy (for £5 more) the starter kit, which comes with toothpaste, floss, interdental brushes and mouthwash.
It brushes well and has a brilliantly designed head that gives great coverage. And you can choose from four brushing modes. Battery life is good as well, with comfortably over the promised three weeks if you brush twice a day for two minutes.
However, there's no pressure sensor and no battery warning light, which are features we missed while using it.
Read our full Ordo Sonic+ toothbrush review
Fairywill E11 - Value pack
The Fairywill E11 comes in a big value pack. For £21.99, you'll get a sonic handle and eight brush heads - enough for two years of brushing.
The brush has three brushing modes: clean (for everyday use), soft (for sensitive teeth - although we didn't find it to be particularly gentle) and massage (with a changing level of vibration, suitable for keeping gums healthy). It feels impressively powerful and provides 40,000 sonic movements a minute.
It will pause every 30 seconds to let you know it's time to move on to the next section of your mouth and stop after the dentist-recommended two minutes.
It charges via USB and promises a battery life of up to one month. We didn't test it for quite that long but it was still going strong after three weeks.
Design-wise, it's a bit chunky but easy to hold and very much a bargain at this price.
Fairywill D7 - Good for sensitive teeth
The D7 has similar specs to the E11 but it's smaller, slimmer, lighter and has five brushing modes: whiten, clean, sensitive, polish and massage.
The Fairywill brushes are more powerful than you'd expect, given their price, and the sensitive setting on this brush is noticeably more gentle than the soft option on the E11, so we'd recommend this one for people with sensitive teeth or those who want a gentler option for gum brushing.
It provides 40,000 sonic movements a minute and feels effective. It will pause every 30 seconds to remind you to move on to the next section of your mouth and it'll stop after two minutes.
It charges via a USB cable and has a promised a battery life of up to one month, which seems in line with our experience while testing.
Oclean Air 2 - Quietest electric toothbrush
The Oclean Air 2 is a small, slender electric toothbrush with an attractive appearance. It's light, pleasant to hold and quiet when switched on, which is one of its selling points.
It comes in white, pink, purple and dark green (pictured) and on some sites, the price varies depending on the colour.
The Air 2 is quite basic in terms of functionality. There is no pressure sensor or battery light and it only has two brushing modes: gentle and clean - and both are very gentle indeed. I found them to be too gentle, but people with sensitive teeth and gums might find them ideal.
However, it does pause to let you know when you've brushed for long enough in one section of your mouth and stops after two minutes.
It charges in 2.5 hours on a tiny, very portable magnetic disc with a USB lead. Its battery is promised to last for 40 days. We can't confirm that but when we tested it, we used it for over a month and it was still going.
Electric toothbrush buying advice
If you're buying a budget electric toothbrush, there are certain features to look out for – and some that you’re unlikely to find in a brush under £50, such as app-compatibility.
The most important features are battery life, different brushing programmes (or at least a way to change the brushing intensity), a timer and a pressure sensor. You might not find every feature in every budget brush, so it’s a good idea to decide what’s important to you before you buy.
All of the brushes we’ve recommended have a battery life of two weeks to a month. Some of them (the Ordo, the Oclean, and the Fairywill brushes) have a USB charger, rather than the traditional two-pin plug. This makes them easier to charge if you’re travelling – and if you don’t have a dedicated socket in your bathroom at home, so may make a shorter battery life less of a deal breaker.
A timer is very important. You should brush your teeth for two minutes, twice daily, but it’s easy to lose track of time and think you’ve brushed long enough. The brushes we’ve recommended will switch off after two minutes, so you always know when you’ve brushed for long enough.
Some will also pause every thirty seconds to let you know to move on to the next section of your mouth, so you don’t brush one area for too long or neglect another part of your mouth.
A pressure sensor will alert you if you’re brushing too hard. Of all the most important features on an electric toothbrush, this is the one most likely to be absent from a budget brush. The Oral-B Pro 2 2000 does have one, however.