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My wife bought two things last week: a toothbrush and a treadmill. Guess which one cost more. Yea, the toothbrush. Crazy, isn’t it? Granted we got a cheapo treadmill (which I’m hoping we won’t regret…) but the idea that toothbrushes can cost upwards of $200 is insane to me. That’s over half our monthly food budget!
On a toothbrush.
The Oral B Vitality takes a different approach to this though. Instead of including Bluetooth capability, adjustable timers, different brushing modes and an uplink to Mars (okay, maybe not that one) the focus here is on the bare bones basics. Nothing spiffy, nothing fancy. Just a toothbrush that cleans teeth. Who woulda thought, huh?
As a result though, one big question comes to mind: does it actually work? We’ve all been burned by getting ‘bare bones basics’ before and the unkind truth is that sometimes the cheap stuff just sucks.
That’s what we’re looking to find out in our Oral B Vitality Review.
Oral B Vitality Features
First, let’s take a look at the few features this product has. The list here certainly isn’t as long as other models, but again, the price is the big draw here.
The brush heads on this sucker will get up to 7600 rotations per minute. That’s about twice as fast as an aircraft engine for those wondering. The big thing here is that even at a cheapo cost, you’re getting speeds similar to other brushes. The core mechanics of this brush are similar to much more expensive ones.
If you’re not using a timer to brush your teeth, you’re simply not brushing long enough. Take a look at this study here for more proof. The timer will notify you at the two minute mark to let you know when to stop brushing. While not as advanced as other timers on the market (some will notify you every 30 seconds or even auto-stop after two minutes) it gets the job done.
The battery on the Vitality is another big draw. It’ll last you about a week or so, which is pretty nice. There are some drawbacks (see below) but all in all, it’s a good batter that’ll do you well. A quick note, this particular model no longer accepts AA batteries. We looked around a bit and it looks like they discontinued that feature. It’s a shame really, that would be pretty awesome. Regardless, unless you’re travelling for more than a week, you’ll not likely run into any issues with your battery dying on you.
Extra Brush Head
Finally, you get an extra brush head included FO’ FREE! Life-changing, isn’t it? Yea, I know, an extra brush head isn’t the hugest deal in the world and depending on which higher end model you get, you’ll likely receive even more. But even still, it’s a nice gesture. Generally packs of 2-3 brush heads will cost you around $10-15, so the total added value is around $5 or so. Still, free is free, right?
So does this thing actually work? Short answer: yes. It’s a pretty effective toothbrush all around and it’ll give you a fantastic clean feeling after you’re done brushing. The Floss Action brush head actually does a great job of getting below the gum line and giving your gums a good scrubbin’. It wasn’t too harsh though, so there’s not a big concern about irritation. Even those of you with weaker-than-average gums should be in good shape.
The battery life was as expected and it held up pretty well, so no issues there. A big plus that I didn’t expect was the rubber grip handle. It made holding the toothbrush pretty comfortable and easy.
Others have complained that the slippery plastic was difficult to hold (especially when gobs of toothpaste and spit are running down the handle). It looks like Oral B took that feedback into consideration and added a nice comfy grip to help things out.
Overall, this toothbrush performed about as well as I would have liked. You get the core brushing power of an electric toothbrush. That’s a big deal, and while you won’t get the crazy-super-mega-ultra-extreme cleaning power of a $200 brush, paying around $25 for something that gets you 85% of the way there is pretty sweet. Of course, like anything though, I found things to complain about.
As someone who went to college for Electrical Engineering, it pains me to no end when a product doesn’t provide any feedback to the user. Ugh. Oral B gets two strikes for that. There’s no charging light on the charger to show that the darned thing is working and there’s no indicator light on the brush itself to show when the battery is getting low. Neither of these things are deal-breakers (and I suppose I should expect stuff like this on a brush that costs around $25) but it’s still annoying. The only way to tell that the brush has a low charge is to listen to the lamentations of the motor as it struggles to get enough juice. The simple solution is just to charge on a regular schedule. It’s not ideal, but it works.
Another big complaint is the packaging. Again, nothing major but when opening the Oral B Vitality for the first time expect your experience to be akin to slaughtering a ferocious bull in the wild with your bare hands as opposed to opening a plastic enclosed toothbrush. I’m not sure who at Oral B decided a cheapo electric toothbrush was deserving of maximum-security packaging, but they should be fired. Holy cow was it hard to open. Good thing you’ll only need to do that once!
Finally, the brush is a tad bit loud. I you happen to be brushing your teeth next to a room of quietly sleeping babies, you should rethink this purchase. Otherwise you might annoy your significant other if they’re sleeping in, but honestly that might even be a bonus.
Vitality Replacement Heads
If you’ve looked through the replacement head options on Oral B’s website you might have flashbacks to studying for exams in college. It’s seriously complicated and certain brush heads only work with certain versions of certain models.
Don’t sweat it though, below is all you need. The five listed replacement heads will work for the Oral B Vitality. Stick with these and you’ll be fine. If you’re looking to get a bit more info on all of these, check out our full article on Oral B Replacement Heads.
And, if you’re wondering, the best value is the Sensitive brush head.
Oral B Vitality Review Wrap Up
It’s refreshing to see an honest, real product on the market. This doesn’t claim to do anything insane, crazy or otherwise unreasonable. As we found out through this Oral B Vitality review, it’s a simple, down-to-earth toothbrush that does one thing: clean teeth. And it does that pretty well.
You don’t get any of the fancy shmancy features that you’ll get on more expensive brush and that’s fine. This toothbrush doesn’t pretend to be anything that it isn’t.
If you’ve been having issues keeping plaque away, are trying to encourage someone to brush more/better (I’m looking at you, kids), or just want something that’s a bit more robust but doesn’t make you sad when you look at your monthly statement, the Oral B Vitality is a good pick. It’s about half the price of some of the other lower level models and performs equally as well. Not too shabby!