What makes the Spinbrush Pro Whitening different to other electric toothbrushes?
Editor's note: If you're considering the Spinbrush you may like to see our 'best budget electric toothbrush' choice in our Best Electric Toothbrush Roundup.
Many electrical products, electric toothbrushes included, have proprietary charging connectors. A Philips electric toothbrush uses a different charging station to a Braun and an Apple iPhone has a different connector to a Samsung Galaxy.
With the Spinbrush Pro Whitening (official image from Arm & Hammer to the left) this need not be a concern as there is no special charging connector, just 2 x AA batteries.
To provide the best possible insight, we review a wide range of brushes and frequently update our recommendations, which you can find on our best electric toothbrush page.
Unlike many electric toothbrushes the Arm & Hammer Spinbrush is powered by just 2 conventional alkaline batteries that many of us have at home or can source easily and cost effectively.
Offering functional tooth cleaning at a fraction of the price of many electric brushes, the Spinbrush Pro Whitening is quite unique in the market of electric brushes and offers a solution to those away from fixed power sources and those who want a better clean than a manual brush.
What's in the Box?
- Arm & Hammer Spinbrush Pro Whitening Battery Powered Toothbrush
- Pro Whitening dual-action brush head
- 2 x AA batteries
Spinbrush Pro Whitening Key Features
- Powered by 2 x AA batteries
- Dual-action brush head
- Whiter teeth in just 7 days
- Cost effective
- Ergonomic handle for comfort and control
Design, Usability, Clean & General Use
The Spinbrush is a functional looking brush with nothing that really catches your eye. They are available in a range of colours and there are also an array of different Spinbrush models with different heads that are set to achieve different things.
Tested in this review is the Pro Whitening model.
In hand the brush feels solid and the single up down button to power the brush on and off is simple and functional, with a grooved design making it relatively simple to grip onto.
The power button feels robust and gives a solid feedback.
Just above the power button is a thumb rest, that works well in practice and the main body of the brush is contoured for grip and design.
The front of the brush in this instance has a metallic silver blue colour to it, whilst the rear is a glossy white.
With the exception of the power button, the body of the brush is made from a smooth plastic which is a little slippy, particularly so when in use.
Whilst we all try to restrain from getting the brush wet, inevitably a toothbrush will get wet be it with saliva, water or residual toothpaste.
When this happens with the Spinbrush, it becomes more difficult to hold and could really do with some rubber or more grippy material at strategic points around the brush to aid with grip.
In particular cases, even reaching for the power switch can be tricky as depending on the size of your hands, the length of travel from the natural resting place could be greater with more chance of it slipping in hand.
The base of the brush is removable, and it is within this that the 2 x AA batteries sit. A small rubber seal then stops moisture ingress into the compartment.
The sides of the removable section offer contoured grips to assist in removing the compartment, but it is not particularly easy even with two hands, when the brush is dry. You need a good grip and a bit of force.
Applying such force does not appear to damage the brush, but it is not the simplest process and weaker or more frail members of society, particularly the elderly may struggle with this.
Replacing the part is much easier. It may just have be that my particular brush that is more difficult to open.
The good news here is it leaves me feeling the brush is of a good quality, all be it, moisture and grime still builds up very quickly and easily in the small gap that inevitably exists between the two compartments.
It is worth noting that whilst running of simple AA batteries, there is no battery status icon, so you have no idea as to how long the batteries have left until you begin feeling the brush power to become weaker.
The brush head itself is quite large in comparison to heads I have seen and used on Braun and Philips brushes: it is more reminiscent of a manual brush head. It is dual action head does in part have some bearing on this.
The bristles on the brush are of a medium rating, but feel a little stiff and hard for me. Whilst it has caused no long term irritation it has taken a little getting used to and feels at times a little harsher on the gums than I am used to.
The head requires a turn of 90 degrees to unlock it from its fastening. This actually feels more secure than some of the more premium brands where they just pull off with a little force. It does make it ever so slightly more fiddly to fit a new head.
The brush is a fraction noisier than I had expected but I am being a little critical here.
The dual action brush head offers side to side spinning on the upper part of the head, whilst the lower offers up and down cycles of motion.
No mention of how many times this action happens per minute is given and regretfully it is not possible for me to count!
My teeth feel clean after each use, although in the mouth, I do not find the brush to give the same sensation as I am used to from my daily Oral-B brush. It almost feels underpowered, but I do like how it gives the feeling of a better clean than a manual brush.
Arm & Hammer make no mention of the effectiveness of cleaning plaque, which is one of the biggest issues in teeth cleaning. I am sure there are improvements over manual brushing, but no scientific tests have been run in this review to compare to a manual or other electric brushes.
In just 7 days I was supposed to have whiter teeth from using the Spinbrush. I am afraid to say after this time and longer I noticed no obvious visible differences.
Just how the brush is supposed to do this I am not entirely sure. I would imagine it is from just offering a better clean than a manual brush and the varying angles and heights of bristles on the brush head would lead me to believe this is the case; but Arm & Hammers website, the retailers nor the product packaging give any indications on how this is achieved.
One thing I have gotten used to on other brushes is a timer be it visual or audible to indicate to me a 2 minute cycle that is recommended by dentists. Many notify you every 30 seconds up until the end of the cleaning cycle to get you to change quadrants. The Spinbrush does not do this.
Yes you can rely on a watch or a clock, but many of us clean our teeth at times when we are not wearing one or do not have one in the bathroom. Thus timing becomes more difficult and the possibility of a consistent clean in all quadrants of the mouth is more difficult. I would say I over compensate and clean for longer than 2 minutes, but I could not be sure unless I time it. I believe many could spend less than 2 as a result of this.
Battery life on any product is always a guide as there are so many variables, but from my testing I managed to achieve an incredible 540 minutes of usage time.
This is equivalent to 270 teeth cleaning sessions. Enough to last 135 days or approx 4 months based on two cleans a day each lasting 2 minutes.
I should point out that whilst I used this brush for a month, the remaining battery life was calculated by leaving it to run and timing it, whilst subjecting the brush head to extra pressure at stages throughout.
Different brands of batteries will perform differently. Arm & Hammer provide no official guidelines on expected battery life or recommendations on how to achieve the best battery life.
Opting for premium batteries I believe is worthwhile.
Using rechargeable batteries could be an option, but this is another expense, but one that could prove more cost effective long term.
I mentioned earlier, but I will re-confirm that there is no power status icon for the battery, so you are left in the dark as to how much cleaning time you really have with the brush.
The price of this brush varies, but as a general rule it will cost somewhere between £5 and £10 and will include at least 1 brush head and a set of AA batteries.
I purchased mine for just £5, which is excellent value.
As with any brush, replacements heads are required and in this case spare batteries are too.
The availability of the heads and the price will vary considerably depending on your location and what deals are about. At the time of writing, to get 2 replacement heads, the cost is anywhere between £10 and £15. For this price I could purchase 2 or 3 replacement brushes.
The cost of the brush heads is slightly higher than the cost of those from Braun, although considerably more difficult to source.
General availability and prices do appear to be better within the United States of America, where these brushes appear to be more popular and more readily available.
On top of this cost you do have that of the replacement batteries. Whilst our usage would suggest a battery life of 4 months, let's err on the side of caution for the moment and say a set of batteries last 3 months, then you would need to replace them 4 times in the course of a year, resulting in a cost of up to £6 per year.
Thus the cost of ownership (using average prices) of this brush over the course of a year will equate to:
The brush - £8
3 Replacement heads - £18
3 Sets batteries - £6
Total - £32
Assuming the brush still functions after 1 year, the ongoing cost will equate to roughly £32 per year. (4 brush heads (2 x £12) and 4 sets of batteries £8)
Over 3 years the cost would be approximately £96 or 10p per day.
A Braun equivalent would work out at £66 or 6p per day (not including the electric to charge the brush).
All told I believe even with the cost of charging the brush any electric brush with a fixed internal battery will provide better value for money, standard of clean and satisfaction than the Spinbrush.
Please note that all costs quoted are approximates and prices will vary based on location, supplier, time of purchase. These figures should not be relied on as hard fact but as a guide, based on real information at the time of writing.
Reliability & Long Term Use
At the time of writing I have had the Spinbrush on test for a number of few weeks. So far the brush is proving reliable, no faults have occurred, it still functions and it feels solid in hand.
It is noticeable that moisture and grime builds up in the very small split in the chassis of the brush where the battery compartment adjoins to it.
Whilst I rinse the brush and dry it reasonably well, within only a matter of days there is a build up that needs cleaning.
This could go on for months, or the very small seal inside could give up quite easily, I fear the latter. I would like to give you a definitive time frame, but it will depend on how thoroughly you clean and look after your brush.
Many have complained about this and shown their dissatisfaction at the brush breaking within a matter of weeks.
There is no doubt that the Spinbrush provides a more consistent power delivery and offers a clean that will exceed that experienced by most people using a manual brush.
Being powered by conventional AA batteries is a real win should you be away from fixed power for a long time or simply do not want the hassle of having a charging dock.
This brush would be great if you were going trekking, camping or simply even wanted a brush for that business trip or weekend away. The battery life far exceeded what I expected.
Personally. for me this brush has too many weaknesses to make this a viable alternative to the more expensive, but better engineered electric brushes from brands such as Braun and Philips if you intend to use it on a daily basis.
Whilst the initial purchase price will be somewhere in the region of £20 more for an entry level brush from these brands, the long term reliability, science and engineering behind them and the peace of mind offered by these will shine through.
There is a place in the market for the Spinbrush. It offers excellent initial value for money and a better clean than a manual brush, but just be aware of its weaknesses and ongoing costs if you opt for one. Find the best deal out there, preferably one that includes spare brush heads.
Electric Teeth Rating
Height (without head) - 15cm
Height (with head) - 21cm
Width - 2.7cm
Thickness - 3.5cm
Weight (without head) - 108g
Weight (with head) - 115g
Weight (with head/without batteries) - 69g
All are approximates