Cheap Aftermarket or Alternative Oral-B & Sonicare Brush Heads

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Gemma Wheeler

(GDC Number: 83940)

A guide to aftermarket brush heads

Do you find the manufacturer original brush heads for your toothbrush too expensive?

Are you looking for cheaper brush heads for your Sonicare or Oral-B toothbrush?

Would you like to pay £1 or £2 per head rather than the £5-10 often asked for the genuine brush heads?

If so, this article is for you.

I tell you what options you have and things you should be aware of when buying cheaper brush heads for your toothbrush.

Cheap electric toothbrush heads

The price of brush heads for an electric toothbrush can vary quite considerably.

Whilst prices are always subject to change, on average an Oral-B or Colgate official brush head is cheaper than a Sonicare.

£3-5 per head is what you can expect to pay, whereas prices can often be £6-10 per head from Sonicare.

With the advice being to replace a brush head every 3 months, this cost can add up.

I totally understand why you would want to look for a cheaper alternatives.

The good news is that they exist.

But, you must be aware of the pros and cons of these cheaper alternatives.

Manufacturer disclaimers – be aware

This article highlights the more cost effective alternatives to the manufacturer original brush heads.

I am not saying you should or should not buy them.  However, you need to be aware of the following.

Manufacturers such as Oral-B, Colgate and Philips Sonicare do not endorse the user of brush heads made by other companies.

In fact, in the user manual, it often states that you should not use them.

Here is the exact wording taken from an Oral-B user manual.

Oral-B warranty will be voided if electric rechargeable handle damage is found to be attributed to the use of a non-Oral-B replacement brush heads.

Oral-B does not recommend the use of non-Oral-B replacement brush heads.

Oral-B has no control over the quality of non-Oral-b replacement brush heads. Therefore, we cannot ensure the cleaning performance of non-Oral-B brush heads, as communicated with the electric rechargeable handle at the time of initial purchase.

Oral-B cannot ensure a good fit or non-Oral-B replacement brush head.

Oral-B cannot predict the long-term effect of non-Oral-B replacement brush heads on handle wear.

All Oral-B replacement brush heads carry the Oral-B logo and meet Oral-B’s high quality standards. Oral-B does not sell replacement brush heads or handle parts under any other brand name.

As you can tell this is quite a clear message to say that you should not use them with your toothbrush handle.

I have used aftermarket brush heads without any issue.  The quality does differ.

None have damaged my Oral-B toothbrush to my knowledge.

I have not heard of others being declined warranty support because they used non-Oral-B brush heads.

However, the choice is yours.

Oral-B – Cheap Brush Heads

Buying Oral-B’s own original brush heads will ensure you get the best quality, fit and performance.  Positives these may be, but a negative is the cost.

This then is one of, if not the biggest benefit to purchasing brush heads that have not manufactured by Oral-B.

In fact, it is quite scary just how much difference there is in the price.

We are not talking about pennies here, there can be tens of pounds to be saved.

Just look at the price difference here between the Oral-B originals and those made by Molarclean.

Preview Product Rating Price
Oral-B Genuine CrossAction Replacement White Toothbrush Heads, Refills for Electric Toothbrush, Angled Bristles for up to 100 Percent More Plaque Removal, Pack of 4 Oral-B Genuine CrossAction Replacement White Toothbrush Heads, Refills for Electric Toothbrush,... 4,074 Reviews £17.99 £10.79
12 Pack Molarclean Toothbrush Heads Compatible with Oral-B 12 Pack Molarclean Toothbrush Heads Compatible with Oral-B 29 Reviews £10.00

The brush heads I refer to are replacement brush heads similar to the originals offered by Oral-B, but are made by other companies.

Aftermarket or third party brush heads as they are often known are not designed to be replicas of the originals.  They will not carry the Oral-B logo or branding.  They will have their own brand name or no name in many instances.

There are countless companies making brush heads for Oral-B brushes and some will be better than others in terms of quality and features they offer.

Although they can act and look very similar to originals and some may think that they are fakes or counterfeit, they are not.  In our article, fake Oral-B brush heads, we explain all we know about counterfeit brush heads.

The main drawbacks of aftermarket brush heads, that I have noticed are: 

  • No indicator bristles – The bristles do not change colour to tell you when to replace your brush head.
  • Tight bristle formation – The bristles are not always as tight in their formation with a few ‘loose’ bristles.
  • Range of options – There tends to be 1 style of brush head from a company and not the many different styles offered by Oral-B.
  • Colour rings – Not all have interchangeable coloured rings.
  • Quality – The strength and quality in the head is not as good as the original.  They do not fit right, last as long and tend to break easier.
  • Package language – The packaging is not always in English.

Please be aware that not all of these drawbacks will apply to all of the cheaper alternatives.

I have no evidence to suggest these aftermarket heads are as good as the originals.

User opinion tends to be that the originals are still the best, but many of the aftermarket options are rated highly.

One of the biggest concerns is the cleaning performance and the bristle quality.

Although you would need a magnifying glass to see it, the tip of each bristle is rounded off.

The rounding of the bristle tip does less damage to the teeth and gums as there are no sharp edges.

One of the ways that some companies are able to make cheaper brush heads, is because they skip this process.

Instead, their bristles are just cut by a blade, to the desired length.  This can mean the tips of the bristles are rougher and more abrasive to the teeth and gums in your mouth.

When it comes to aftermarket brush heads, it could be argued that you get what you pay for.

Whilst buying 4 brush heads for a £1  (25 pence each) is perhaps possible, is this a little too cheap?

4 brush heads for £3-4 is more expensive, but for this price but for this you may get a bit better quality.

The cheapest and best alternatives to the originals?

I do not have 1 favourite option, but there are a couple of strong contenders.

Molarclean are one of the best known branded alternative to the originals.

They come in packs of 12.

Preview Product Rating Price
Molarclean Brush Head Molarclean Brush Head 29 Reviews £10.00

The quality is very good, but they do not have indicator bristles like the originals.

Coloured rings are included, but these are pre-fitted and not interchangeable.

You can read what I have to say about Molarclean in my hands on review.

At the time of writing (prices are always subject to change) a pack of 4 x Oral-B Cross Action replacement brush heads costs anywhere from £11.99.   This makes the price of each head at least £3.

Molarcleans equivalent works out at about £1 per head, that is a whole £2 per brush head cheaper.

However, there are cheaper options still and they have rave reviews with an average rating of 4.5/5.

Opt for these brush heads available on Amazon and the prices are quite simply amazing.

A pack of 4 at the time or writing is just £2.75 and a pack of 20 £6.99.

Compared to Oral-B originals that is £9.24 cheaper on a pack of 4 and for 20 that is a saving of around £43!

At the end of the day, which you opt for is your decision.  

I have laid out the pros and cons. The prices of these third party products are very appealing and I would not be surprised if you opted for these.  Whatever you choose, make sure you keep up a good cleaning routine.

Sonicare – Cheap Brush Heads

If you asked me which brush heads to buy, my immediate recommendation would be the official Sonicare heads from Philips.

You can be assured of the quality and reliability of these heads.

However, even I agree that the prices of the heads from Sonicare are on the high side and are more expensive than their main competitor Oral-B.

Thankfully there are alternative options with the primary benefit being the cost.

You can actually buy a pack of 4 for the cost of a single official brush head!

The brush heads I refer to are replacement brush heads similar to the originals offered by Oral-B, but are made by other companies.

Aftermarket or third party brush heads as they are often known are not designed to be replicas of the originals.  They will not carry the Philips Sonicare logo or branding.  They will have their own brand name or no name at all.

For all intents and purposes though they can act and look very similar to originals and could be interpreted as fakes, but they are not fakes.  My guide to fake Philips Sonicare brush heads goes into all the detail you need to know.

Naturally, aftermarket or cheaper options have drawbacks.

The main drawbacks I have noticed, although this does not apply to all, are as follows:

  • No indicator bristles – The bristles do not change colour to tell you when to replace your brush head.
  • Tight bristle formation – The bristles are not always as tight in their formation, you can get a few stray bristles.
  • Range of options – There tends to be 1 style of brush head from a company and not the range offered by Sonicare.
  • Quality – The strength and quality in the head is not as good as the original.  They do not fit right, last as long and break easier.
  • Package language – The packaging is not always in English.

There is a very fair argument in that you get what you pay for with these brush heads, but even so these aftermarket options have a lot going for them and few can really argue with the quality or reliability and the risks associated when you see the cost benefits.

The cheapest and best alternatives to the originals?

We were very impressed with the heads available from Tillvex.

For £23 you get 8 heads.  That is £2.88 per brush head.

Preview Product Rating Price
Sonicare Compatible Brush Heads Sonicare Compatible Brush Heads 312 Reviews

The Sonicare originals would cost over £50 and work out at £6.38 per brush head.  £3.50 per head more expensive and virtually £28 more for a pack of 8!

With an average rating of 4.5/5 the compact brush heads by Oliver James come in at just £15 for 20. 

Preview Product Rating Price
Oliver James Sonicare Compatible Brush Heads Oliver James Sonicare Compatible Brush Heads 249 Reviews

These brush heads come in at £0.75 each, whilst the originals would cost £5.09 per head more. That is £102 more to buy the official brush heads.  

Whilst these do have some drawbacks, that is enough spare change to buy a couple of new electric toothbrushes.

At the end of the day, which you opt for is your decision.  

I have laid out the pros and cons, but the prices of these third party products are very appealing and we would not be surprised if you opted for these.  Whatever you choose, make sure you keep up a good cleaning routine.

Jon Love

About Jon Love

Jon is a leading voice on electric toothbrushes and has been quoted by mainstream media publications for his opinions and expertise.

Having handled & tested hundreds of products there really is very little he does not know about them.

Passionate about business and helping others, Jon has been involved in various online enterprises since the early 2000s.

After spending 12 years in consumer technology, it was in 2014 that he focused his attention on dental health, having experienced first-hand the challenge of choosing a new toothbrush.

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3 thoughts on “Cheap Aftermarket or Alternative Oral-B & Sonicare Brush Heads”

  1. I’ve been looking into buying a ProtectiveClean unit, but the prohibitive costs of the sensitive brush-heads kind of stopped me until now. (They only come in packs of 2 for the “usual” high price, so they essentially cost double)

    This article gave me some help for finding some more reasonably priced alternatives. So just for the record:

    Unfortunately the sensitive ones by Oliver James ones seem to be discontinued.

    Tillvex seems to be sold by “Dkosi” now on amazon. However, I found the original manufacturer to be “demirdental”, some German company; you can order the heads directly from them. Didn’t try them yet, but they might be worth a look.

    Reply
  2. Thanks so much, Jon; those screw-on replacement brush heads look exactly what I am accustomed to. I must say the the two I purchased at Target a year or so ago must be by other manufacturers, for I am already looking to replace the one I’ve been using for only a few weeks because it leaks H2O. I finally figured out last night that the top of the handle was retaining water from rinsing the brush and handle assembled and then it is now leaking.

    Reply
    • Hi Ann,

      Great, glad the link helped. They are Sonicare originals.

      There are many equivalents from other brands, the primary benefit being a lower price, but as you have just explained, the quality might not be quite as good.

      I hope if you do get them and buy them that they are just what you need.

      This is too somewhat of a compliment to Philips Sonicare for just how long the brush has lasted.

      Reply
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