You’ve Got to be Wondering – Electric Toothbrush or Manual?

With all the bells and whistles and different varieties of toothbrushes on the market, you’ve got to be wondering, which is better – electric or manual?

While both electric and manual toothbrushes have pros and cons, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, the best toothbrush is the one that will you will actually use. Thus, deciding between a manual and electric toothbrush ultimately comes down to personal preference. In other words, your brushing technique and frequency is much more important than what you brush with.

The wide variety of manual and electric toothbrushes can make choosing a toothbrush seem overwhelming and overly complicated. To lighten the burden and help you decide which toothbrush is right for you, we’ve highlighted some of the pros and cons of both manual and electric toothbrushes.

We’ve been using manual toothbrushes for a long time and they have a proven track record; let’s start there.

Manual toothbrushes


Cheap and convenient
Manual toothbrushes are usually somewhere between $2 and $8, depending on the brand and design, making them ideal for most budgets.  And since they can be found at any corner drugstore or supermarket, they’re easy to replace.

Great for traveling
Unlike a bulky electric toothbrush that may require a charging dock, manual toothbrushes can easily be slipped into your bag and ready for a weekend of traveling with no added weight to your luggage.

Better tongue cleaning capability
Circular headed electric toothbrushes have a difficult time effectively cleaning your tongue but manual toothbrushes will thoroughly clean your teeth, tongue, and inside of cheeks.

Good for kids
Proper brushing is important for people of all ages, especially children learning to brush their teeth. Even young children can use manual toothbrushes safely and effectively once they’ve learned how.


No built in timer
Many electric toothbrushes are designed with a built in timer to let users know when their two-minute brushing session is complete. However, the same luxury won’t be found in a manual toothbrush.

Can be difficult for some people to use
Those who suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other conditions that may restrict movement may have difficulty comfortably holding a manual toothbrush.

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes have gained popularity in recent years, but how do they really stack up to manual brushing?


The smaller head found on many electric toothbrushes make it easier to reach the sides of the teeth and other small crevices in the mouth.

Easy to use
Electric toothbrushes do the manual work for you, so those with manual dexterity problems or other physical limitations like arthritis may find electric toothbrushes to be much easier to use.

Automatic timer
Many advanced electric toothbrushes include an automatic timer in their design, which makes it easier for users to know when their two-minute brush is complete. This helps to ensure a proper clean is achieved


The price tag on many electric toothbrushes ranges between $20 and $200, especially when you start adding features like times and display panels, making them much less affordable than a manual toothbrush.

Battery replacement
On top of the initial price of an electric toothbrush, additional brush heads can be quite expensive, ranging in price from $5 to $10.

All toothbrushes are designed to remove plaque and stimulate the gums to maintain a healthy mouth. So, whether you decide to buy a manual or electric toothbrush, remember that using it at least twice a day for two minutes is what’s really important. Need help improving your brushing technique? Learn how to brush your teeth like a dentist in 120 seconds.

Do you use an electric toothbrush or manual?

Let us know which kind of toothbrush you prefer in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter.

POSTED IN: Dental Hygiene, Dental Tips


  1.   Dr. Joe Tagliarini

    The nice thing about electronic toothbrushes is you can set them to go for 2 minutes and just run down the clock. No one brushes for long enough, and having that timer that keeps the brush running might be the key.

    •   RFD Staff

      We agree! It’s much easier to keep track of how long you are brushing when you have an automatic time to help you out! Thanks for your thoughts.

    •   RFD Staff

      Great question. Yes, you can rinse an electric toothbrush after brushing and then place it back on it’s charger for the bristles to dry. Good luck!

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