Since 2001, Sonicare has been a leader in high quality, affordable electric toothbrushes. With so many to choose from, it may be hard to figure out which one is best for your oral hygiene needs. In this review, we will compare all three ProtectiveClean models from Sonicare.
Sonicare introduced the ProtectiveClean line for consumers who are worried that their current toothbrushes are causing damage to their teeth and gums. The line features some slick safeguards in all three of their models.
The ProtectiveClean line ranges from around $70 for the basic 4100 model to about $100 for the feature rich 6100 model. Each model features a specifically designed brush head to deliver specialized results, like gentle care, plaque control and gum care, according to what brush you choose. These heads can be changed, though, and are compatible with all the models.
Let’s take a look at all three of Sonicare’s brushes from the ProtectiveClean line.
Reviews of the 4100
The 4100 is the basic model in the ProtectiveClean lineup. This version is focused on plaque removal. It comes with a C2 Optimal Plaque Control head, and its brushing action is designed to work below the gumline and between the teeth. The 4100 is significantly more effective at battling plaque; it is 7 times more effective than manual toothbrushes for plaque removal.
The 4100 features one brushing mode, “clean,” which is timed for two minutes of brushing. While this model doesn’t have any options to change the brush’s cleaning modes, like the 5100 and 6100 versions, the 4100 still offers more features than many other brands in its class.
The 4100 will look like most other basic electric toothbrushes on the surface. It has only the standard on/off button; no other LED lights or buttons are needed because the brush only has one brushing mode. The distinguishing features of the 4100 set it far above its competition, though.223
The 4100 features Sonicare’s advanced technology, delivering 31,000 brushstrokes a minute. The brush is designed to create deep reaching microbubbles and a sweeping motion that will leave the user’s mouth feeling exceptionally clean.
Sonicare’s ProtectiveClean 4100 is a great choice for those transitioning from a manual to an electric brush. It features Sonicare’s Easy Start, which focuses on a gradual build up to full power over twelve brushings.
Other benefits of Sonicare’s ProtectiveClean 4100 model are:
- Long battery life: Up to two full weeks of battery life per charge.
- Pacer: Alerts the user every thirty seconds so they can move the brush to the next area to be cleaned.
- Smartimer: Encourages you to brush for the “clean” recommended time of two minutes, as recommended by dentists.
- Pressure Sensor: Keeps the user from applying too much harmful pressure to teeth and gums.
- Brush Sync: Keeps track of wear and tear to the brush head, such as the pressure you use when you brush and how long you’ve been using the brush head. Brush Sync will alert you when it’s time to replace the head. Brush heads should be replaced every three to four months.
- Automatic Shut Off: Shuts down the brush after the timer is finished to save battery life.
At this time, the 4100 model is only available in two colors, white and black, on Amazon. The 4100 doesn’t come with a travel case. The intensity and cleaning modes of the 4100 can’t be changed.
Reviews of the 5100
Sonicare’s middle version of the ProtectiveClean family is the 5100. This model focuses its benefits on gum health and is equipped with the G2 Optimal Gum Care head. The Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100 improves gum health for its users by 100%.
The 5100 features three brushing modes:
- Clean: This mode lasts for two minutes
- White: This mode lasts for two minutes and 30 seconds, with the extra thirty seconds to be focused on the front teeth
- Gum Care: This mode lasts three full minutes, with the extra minute ideally focused on the cleaning and stimulating the gumline
The additional cleaning choices will change the appearance and grip of the 5100 compared to the 4100. There is an additional selector button with the brushing modes listed, and a white LED light will activate next to the mode you have selected, taking the guess work out of your choices.
Normally, you would use the toothbrush in the “clean” setting but remember that the focus of the 5100 is gum health. This means it can go beyond “clean” and provide gentle and effective gum benefits as well as whiter teeth.
Other benefits of Sonicare’s ProtectiveClean 5100 include:
- Smartimer: Smartimer keeps track of how long you’ve been brushing so you don’t have to. It will alert you when you have reached your limit, according to the cleaning mode you have selected.
- Quad Pacer: This is an alert that you have completed the area you are brushing, and that it’s time to move to the next.
- Brush Sync: The technology that tracks your usage and alerts you when it’s time to replace the brush head, usually after three to four months of use.
- Automatic Shut Off: Turns the brush off after the timer is finished.
- Extended battery life: Up to two weeks on a single charge.
- Easy Start: The brush will start gently and gradually increase its power after each use.
- Pressure Sensor: The pressure sensor will alert the user when too much pressure is being applied to the teeth and gums.
The pressure sensor is a very handy feature of this line of brushes. Too often, people using electric toothbrushes feel the need to press hard on their teeth and gums, which can be harmful to both. The sonic action of the ProtectiveClean line of brushes gives the equivalent of 31,000 brush strokes per minute, eliminating the need to press hard against sensitive gums and teeth. The 5100 gives optimal cleaning results safely, without harming any dental work such as fillings, braces or veneers. The 5100 features Sonicare’s unique microbubbles and sweeping action to give you a great, clean feeling. The only downside to the pressure sensor is that it doesn’t alert you visually.
The 5100 comes ready to use out of the package with one handle and an Optimal Gum Care brush head, designed for focusing on gum health. The 5100 also comes equipped with its own travel pouch and bits to make carrying your toothbrush easy. The charging base is also quite compact, meaning you will never need to leave your toothbrush behind when travelling.
The handle is more decorative and attractive on the 5100 than the 4100, with an extra panel around the power and cleaning indicator buttons. Still, it’s only available in two colors so far, and the 5100 doesn’t allow the user to change the intensity of the toothbrush’s cleaning action.
Reviews of the 6100
The 6100 is the elite offering in Sonicare’s ProtectiveClean line. This model features the DiamondClean brush head, which focuses on whitening your teeth and brightening your smile. It has been shown to have 100% more stain removal power than its competition and can lead to whiter teeth after only a week’s use.
The 6100 has all three cleaning modes, like the 5100:
- Clean: Two minutes, generalized brushing
- Whitening: Two minutes and thirty seconds, with the additional time spent on the front teeth to whiten them
- Gum Care: Three minutes, with the extra time spent focusing on the gum line
The 6100 model goes a step beyond that, however, and also allows users to choose between three intensity settings: low, medium and high. The handle will feature the familiar on/off button as well as the cleaning mode selection and an intensity selection, with white LED lights indicating your selections in each category.
While the added feature of an intensity selection is not entirely a necessary one, it can definitely add to the brushing experience and make each cleaning mode more individualized for the user. This gives the user the power to optimize every session with the 6100 to whatever is needed and can provide a much cleaner feeling overall. If a user is experiencing soreness at the gumline, for instance, a lower intensity setting will provide a gentler brushing experience. Intensity settings are also useful in households where the handle is shared with children who require a gentler touch on their developing teeth and gums.
Sonicare’s ProtectiveClean 6100 is the go-to brush for a cleaner, whiter, brighter smile. It’s DiamondClean head is specialized to work with the cleaning and whitening modes and remove more plaque and stains, the most common causes of teeth that appear to be dull or yellowed.
The Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100 features:
- Three Cleaning Modes: Clean, whiten and gum care.
- Intensity options: High, low and medium to personalize each user’s brushing needs. It’s the only one in this line to offer this feature.
- Pressure Sensor: To make sure the user isn’t using too much pressure that could be harmful to teeth and gums.
- Battery Charge Indicator: The 6100 features a light that will alert you when it’s time to place the brush on charger again with a light located on the handle.
- Long Life Battery: Up to two weeks of usage per charge.
- Smartimer: Keeps track of how long you are brushing and alerts you when you’ve reached the recommended time limits.
- Pacer: The quad pacer beeps after 30 seconds to let you know it’s time to move on to a different area of your mouth.
- Brush Sync technology: Tracks the frequency, intensity and duration of use for replacing the brush head, generally between three and four months of use. The patented Sonicare Brush Sync will automatically match the new brush head with the proper cleaning mode when it’s attached to the 6100 handle.
- Easy Start Mode: The toothbrush will start gently and will gradually build up to full power after it is used a certain amount of times.
- Automatic Shut Off: More than just alerting you when you’ve reached your recommended brushing time, the 6100 will turn the brush off for you, saving battery life.
It’s important to remember when using the 6100 that it comes equipped with Sonicare’s technology, giving the brush 31,000 brush strokes per minute without exerting any pressure while brightening and whitening your smile. Sonicare uses its sweeping motions and gentle microbubble creation to reach even hard to brush areas, like the gum line or between teeth.
The 6100 handle is a bit bulkier than the 4100 or 5100 to accommodate its features, but like the 5100 it has a more designer feel to it because of its sleek decorative panel surrounding the buttons.
The 6100 comes with a DiamondClean brush head, a charger, and a carrying case and is available in three colors: pink, navy blue and silver.
The biggest difference between the 6100 and the other two brushes in this line seems to be the intensity setting and its ability to automatically pair with a replacement head; while these are unique and handy features, they may not be worth the extra money for the average consumer.
What is Sonicare’s Patented Brush Sync?
Brush Sync is a very handy feature included in the ProtectiveClean line of brushes.
Each Brush Sync compatible head is equipped with a microchip. The chip is activated immediately when you fit it onto the handle, and a series of three light flashes will alert you that the brush chip has been sensed and is ready to do its job.
Brush Sync will keep track of your brush head’s use and knows that the head needs to be changed after three months of average wear and tear. At the end of this time frame, an orange LED warning light on the brush will alert you that it’s time to replace the head with a new one.
Brush Sync is much smarter than that, though; it also tracks the frequency, duration and pressure of your brushing habits. If you brush three times a day and use pressure when brushing, your head will wear out at a faster pace. If you only brush once a day, though, the head will last longer. Brush Sync keeps track of these changes as well, so you are only replacing the head as needed. This will ultimately save you money.
The 6100 model comes equipped with an additional Brush Sync feature that automatically changes the setting of the toothbrush to match the brush head when it is connected. The brush will set itself to the setting most appropriate for the head to make sure you get the best, most thorough cleaning experience for the head you’ve chosen. If you’ve chosen the DiamondClean head, for example, the 6100 will automatically match the brush’s setting to “whitening” when the brush is turned on.
The Brush Sync is a great feature of the Sonicare brushes, but unfortunately the “smart” heads are more expensive to replace.
Which Brush is Right for You?
On the one extreme is Sonicare’s 4100 model, which is really just the bare bones of necessity. While this model will appeal to cost-conscious consumers and has a fair number of features, it is still simply a one-setting fits all brush.
On the other hand is the 6100 model. It is comparable to the HealthyWhite+ brush and falls in the bottom half of Sonicare’s high-end electric toothbrush model selections. The 6100 doesn’t have a huge number of reviews under its belt yet to justify its higher price tag, but the 6100 does have all the bells and whistles; in fact, maybe a little too many bells and whistles. Many of its features aren’t entirely necessary for the thorough cleaning and healthy oral care that we have come to expect from Sonicare’s brand of less complicated electric toothbrushes.
It is always better to have more features than less when it comes to choosing a premium electric toothbrush, though, and Sonicare gives great value with its 5100 model. This choice gives consumers more cleaning options than the 4100 at a more affordable price than the 6100.