- 2 cleaning modes
- 3 different brushing intensities
- Built in timer
- Long battery life
- Quality materials
- No pressure sensor to alert you when brushing too hard
- Box contents
- Better value options exist (see other choices)
The 3 BIG Questions about the Philips Sonicare 5 Series Gum Health
If you are short of time, the answers to the following 3 questions should let you know all you need to about the Sonicare 5 Series Gum Health. If we have missed something, let us know in the comments.
If you want more detail, you can read our full Sonicare Series 5 review further down the page.
1. Is there anything drastically wrong with this toothbrush?
Sonicare have a reputation for producing quality products and the 5 Series is no exception.
It looks and feels great and most importantly it delivers an excellent clean to your teeth and gums and can within just a matter of weeks seriously improve your oral health.
2. Which other brushes should I consider?
As good as the 5 Series is the ProtectiveClean 4300 is in our opinion the all round better buy.
It offers a pressure sensor as well as a brush head replacement reminder.
Oral-B’s Pro 2 2500 is also worth serious consideration given the value it represents.
3. Where is the best place to buy the Sonicare 5 Series Gum Health?
Stocked in a number of different outlets, there is no 1 best place to buy the 5 Series, but there does seem to be, certainly at the time of writing, quite some variance in the price at which this brush is offered at.
If you think this is the brush for you then be sure to shop around, but for the price you can get it at, you could do a lot worse.
Why should you listen to us?
Electric Teeth is an independent organisation with a mission to simplify dental health.
Our team is a mixture of consumers and dental professionals.
We strive to create honest, informative content, telling you the facts, good or bad.
We are not sponsored by big brands or healthcare companies. Our site is funded by affiliate revenue and ads, but we only recommend products that we have tested and truly believe to be worth your money.
Why not watch this short video to find out all about us?
And now for a bit more detail….
Gum disease or gingivitis as it is otherwise known is a a problem for a lot of people, it can cause significant discomfort with sore and tender gums and bleeding too.
It is a common plight and for many suffers, it can be easily fought and cured.
The answer is focused brushing that removes the bacteria on and beneath the gumline that causes the inflammation and sensitivity suffered.
Whilst many electric toothbrushes can help, the 5 Series Gum Health is particularly well featured to achieve this.
What’s in the box
- Philips Sonicare 5 Series Gum Health electric toothbrush HX8931/10
- Charging station
- ProResults Gum Health brush head
- Sonic cleaning action
- 2 different cleaning modes
- 3 different intensity power settings
- Built in rechargeable battery
- 3 week battery life
- 2 minute timer
- 30 second pacer
- Automatic power off
- Healthier gums in only 2 weeks
- Up to 6 times more plaque removal than a manual brush
Pros & Cons
Here are what I consider to be the main plus and minus points for the 5 Series toothbrush.
- Cleaning – Offering up 2 cleaning modes the brush is very effective at removing plaque and delivering a fantastic fresh feeling to the mouth.
- Intensity levels – Change between 3 different power settings to find the one that is most comfortable for you as you brush your teeth and gums. Perfect if you are suffering from sensitivity.
- Battery life – An impressive 3 weeks of battery life is available from the fully charged Lithium-Ion battery and it is simple and easy to charge.
- Timer – A much underrated feature, the built in timer and quadpacer ensure you are brushing for the right amount of time with a degree of equality to different areas of the mouth.
- Quality – The brush feels solid, robust and well built in hand.
- Added extras – The Easy-start and automatic power off features are small but significant in the way in which you use and come to love the brush.
- Pressure sensor – No pressure sensor included. A great tool for new electric toothbrush users to avoid doing too much damage to their teeth and gums.
- Box contents – Basic and functional an extra brush head or two, plus a travel case would be a nice addition, particularly if paying full price.
- Price – The brush is relatively expensive when you consider the alternatives, particularly when the cost of replacement brush heads are factored in.
Design, Usability, Clean & General Use
From the moment this brush hits the palm of the hand and fingertips it is apparent that is is not some cheap basic electric toothbrush.
It is a tad thicker in hand than some of the Oral-B options but that is easily excused when you know that this brush delivers a battery life of 3 or more weeks.
It is of plastic construction and the White body is accented with the pale Frost Blue colour panel around the power and intensity button and the ring around the neck of the brush handle.
The shape of the brush handle is not quite a perfect cylinder, there is a slight squaring to it that gives a bit of strength and grip to the handle.
Obvious grips like strips of rubber or raised contours to the body there are not on this handle.
However, on the back of the handle and really only visible in certain lights, are a series of very lightly textured strips woven into the body. Barely noticeable, yet the most subtle change in texture as you run a finger over them, just enough to offer a little extra grip, but not affecting the aesthetics of the brush.
The base of the brush is home to a centrally placed recess into which fits the prong on the charging stand. The brush stands upright when placed on a work surface and need not be laid down.
At the opposite end is the metal shaft that feeds inside the brush handle. It is to this that the brush head connects and the power is delivered to the bristles.
On the front of the brush handle is where there is lots more going on.
The Sonicare logo sits proudly in place right up towards the neck of the brush. It’s printed on in a grey font.
Below this, inset in a Frost Blue plastic frame is the recessed power button, 3 LEDs and what looks like a volume control in White.
This control is to increase or decrease the intensity level of the brush and in turn changes how many of the LED’s above it are illuminated.
Towards the base of the brush, outside of the Frost Blue frame is a ‘Clean’ and ‘Gum Plus’ cleaning mode name, with a single LED above each.
Virtually at the bottom of the brush handle is the battery status icon which lights up either Green or Yellow to indicate the condition of the battery. Full details about this and how the battery performs can be found in the battery section of this review.
Both the power and power intensity key provide a reassuring level of feedback and do require a small amount of force to be activated, but are not too soft that they could be pressed too easily.
The HX8931/10 has been designed to appeal to a broad audience and looks smart.
Built into the brush handle is the Lithium-Ion battery and the motor as well as the other technology that controls this brush.
You cannot access the internals, the battery in particular is not designed to be user removable.
The handle is water resistant and will withstand exposure to water and moisture such as toothpaste and saliva. Do rinse and dry the brush off if you can after use. Do avoid total submersion within water as this could damage the brush.
Quality is as I mentioned part and parcel of this brush and being a Philips product it is built to a high standard.
Should something go wrong, there is a manufacturer supplied warranty that lasts for 2 years. I have heard very few complaints about Sonicare brushes.
In addition to the brush handle, in the box is a brush head, charging stand. A second brush head would have given a bit more value to the box contents as would a travel case, particularly at the price you can pay for this brush; more about that in the price section of the review..
The charging stand, as the name implies is used to recharge the battery. I explain this and how it works a bit more in the battery section of the review.
So to actually using the brush then.
Slide the provided ProResults Gum Health brush head onto the top of the brush and you are ready to go.
You have 2 cleaning modes to choose from, they are ‘Clean’ and ‘Gum Plus’.
The cleaning modes run in this order:
- Clean (Press power button once)
- Gum Plus (Press power button twice, once to turn on and then again to change the mode)
The brush will remember the cleaning mode used, so if you chose the Gum Plus mode, next time the brush is powered on Gum Plus mode will be activated.
Clean is the go to mode if you like for most people. Lasting 2 minutes it does all you need to remove plaque, bacteria and debris to leave you with a clean and fresh mouth.
Gum Plus does too last for 2 minutes. This is a softer and more gentle cleaning mode that stimulates gum health and blood flow for stronger and healthier gums. It does not use the full power of the brush motor.
Any Sonicare brush head can be used on any cleaning mode, but the provided ProResults Gum Health head is the one better suited to reversing any gum disease.
Using this brush head, it is possible to remove up to 6 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush and within 2 weeks you can have healthier gums with less redness, swelling and bleeding.
Specially curved power tufts easily reach teeth at the back of the mouth, whilst the gentle trim profile cushions teeth for an extra gentle brushing experience.
The bristles are nice and soft too, so when you use this brush head, on the Gum Plus mode and with the lowest intensity setting, even the most tender of gums can be brushed comfortably.
All the Sonicare brush heads are fully interchangeable with their brush handles, so you can chose the one you like most from the options available and fit it to this 5 Series handle.
For example a few months after having cured or improved your gum disease, maybe you might want to switch to the standard ProResults head rather than the specialised gum health one. No problem, you can nice and easy.
No doubt you are aware that it is important to replace the brush head regularly. Every 3 months is the general recommendation, sooner if the bristles are worn.
Every head has a set of reminder bristles that fade from a Blue to a pale Blue/White colour over time. You can use these as a visual reminder as to when you need to replace your brush head, if you don’t remember when you last did.
When the toothbrush is running in either cleaning mode you have some extra controls and features than can transform the brushing experience for you.
There are the three levels of brushing intensity. You can chose what is right for you.
Use the + or – buttons on the handle to change the intensity. As you press the buttons the LED’s will change on the brush handle too.
Low intensity will have 1 LED lit, Medium will have 2 and High all 3.
With the 3 intensity settings and 2 cleaning modes, you have up to 6 different brushing options.
There is a noticeable difference in the power delivery to the brush head and also the sound emitted from the brush, with high being the most powerful and loudest.
Even on the most intense setting the rush is still quieter than an Oral-B equivalent. Sonicare brushes tend to humm whilst Oral-B brushes have a more mechanical sound.
Finding the right intensity for you is important. The more powerful you have it, the greater the potential for more plaque removal; but if you find this uncomfortable do not continue and reduce the power. You can change this intensity mid clean by simply pressing the + or – button in the centre of the brush handle.
Power is one of the reasons people go for an electric toothbrush but are also put-off. New users can find it too intense.
A great feature for electric toothbrush newbies is the the ‘Easy-Start’ option.
Designed specifically for first time users, it helps ease you into using such a powerful electric toothbrush. The Easy-start feature gradually increases the sonic power over the first 14 brushing sessions.
Brushing must last at least 1 minute to properly advance through this ramp-up cycle.
The brush delivers up to 31,000 strokes per minute to the teeth and gums once out of the easy-start mode and has been shown to remove as much as 6x more plaque than a manual brush.
Such a feature is great for new users but those suffering with gum health issues too. As you gain control over the disease you can adjust and increase the power to your liking.
The 5 Series does a great job of cleaning and at no point did I feel the brush had done a poor job, my teeth felt clean and refreshed after each clean.
A very important feature is the built in timer/pacer. With either mode the built in pacer and timer begins working from the moment you turn the brush on. At 30 second intervals there is a slight pause in the brush head motion which changes the sound emitted from the brush and stops bristle movement, signaling to you to change quadrant of the mouth when cleaning.
When the 2 minutes is complete, the brush automatically powers off, signalling the end of the clean.
Automatic power off is a simple but great touch that conserves battery life and offers convenience.
A feature that in my opinion is missing, is a pressure sensor.
A pressure sensor is not really found on Sonicare brushes, but is on Oral-B. As the name implies if too much pressure is applied during cleaning a light is illuminated to alert you and you can reduce this so as not to do damage to the teeth. You soon learn, and it comes somewhat redundant. It is not an essential but would be a nice inclusion that would help new users I think.
This said, brush too hard with the brush and you notice a change in motor sound which should act as a sign to reduce the pressure. The bristles of the brush need only skim the tooth surface.
Summary of Design, Usability, Clean & General Use
- Solid well built brush handle that looks smart
- 2 cleaning modes – clean and gum plus
- 1 brush head included, an extra would have been nice as would a travel case
- Alternative brush heads available
- Cleans the teeth and gums well
- Built in quad pacer and timer tells you when to change quadrant and finish brushing
- Intensity levels for a more or less powerful clean
- Lacks a pressure sensor
- Easy-start feature is really compelling
- Automatic power off really helps achieve an excellent battery life
- 2 year warranty as standard
As far as decent battery life goes in an electric toothbrush, Sonicare are the winners here.
When compared to their biggest competitor Oral-B there is really no competition. An Oral-B brush lasts some 16 days compared to over 21 days of Sonicare.
The importance you place on battery life might be different, but I like the idea of going away on a trip for a week or two and not having to worry about taking a charger with me.
With the 5 Series you really need not worry.
Sonicare advertise a 3 week (21 day) battery life from the Lithium-Ion battery built into the handle. This is based on one user brushing twice a day for 2 minutes.
The battery is not user removable.
My very own hands on testing (using ‘clean’ mode) managed to achieve 27 days from a fully charged brush! That is a total of 108 minutes run-time and nearly a month without having to re-charge.
This was with the intensity set to high, so it might be even greater if it’s set to low.
Impressive it most certainly is, considering the overall size and weight of the brush handle. I would be happy with 2 weeks battery life, but with 3+, that certainly puts a smile on my face.
If you share the brush handle, you will get the same usage time, but will need to recharge more frequently.
As you would expect a charging stand is included in the box.
The White plastic stand has a prong on the top, that fits into the recess on the bottom of the brush handle. It is this prong that keeps the brush upright on the stand and delivers the charge.
The power cord is about a meter or so in length and connects to the power socket. It actually supports voltages from 110-220v, making it great for travelling although as it comes with a 2 pin plug suitable for UK bathrooms, you may need an adapter to work with other sockets internationally.
The automatic power-off feature found on this and many other Sonicare brushes is very useful to you and I as users in not only notifying us of the end of the cleaning cycle but conserving power.
To fully recharge the brush will need to be left on the charging stand for up to 48 hours. You need not always fully recharge it and you can always pop it back on the charger when you are done with it.
A battery status icon on the handle does indicate the condition of the battery.
A flashing Yellow indicators means low charger, with a flashing Green indicating moderate charge. A solid Green indicator and the brush has a full charge.
When charging it will flash Green.
When you hear 5 beeps and the battery indicator is flashing Yellow, this will mean the power is too low and needs to be charged before it can be used.
Summary of Battery Life
- Lithium-Ion battery built in
- Up to 108 minutes of usage time or 27 days usage based on 2 cleans a day
- Takes up to 24 hours to charge fully
- A charger included in the box that works on 110-220v
- Flashing yellow LED means low battery
- Flashing green LED means moderate battery
- Solid green LED means fully charged battery
I mentioned towards the start of this review that there is some variance in price.
Although Sonicare products are less known for being heavily discounted, most toothbrushes irrespective of brand have the suggested retail price and then the actual price they sell for. Oral-B products are typically up to 50% less.
The pricing of the Series 5 has one of the biggest variances between stores that I have ever seen for a Sonicare product. This may well be in part because at the time of review it is a slightly older model.
The recommended retail price is £150.
Personally considering its features and how it compares to other models in the Sonicare, Oral-B and Colgate ranges I would suggest a selling price nearer to £60, which I appreciate is more than 50% less than the suggested price.
But, what’s good for you and I as consumers is that the price is as low at £37.50!
This is pretty amazing value and puts it in the running against other models available today. In fact I would have a hard time picking which I would go for, but this 5 Series just edges it at this price.
This low price was available from at least 2 reputable stores, with another being in the high £60’s and then one store at full price.
As you can quite imagine full price would be paying over the odds.
However, this is in theory what Sonicare feel it is worth. I can assure you it is not. You can get a lot more value elsewhere for this money.
On average, the expected life of an electric toothbrush is 3-5 years although many do last longer.
At Electric Teeth, we like to price the models over a 3 year period to get a rough idea of what the total ownership cost is and how they compare to other brushes on the market.
Factored in within this costing are replacement brush heads that are priced at around £5 per head. Your brush head should be replaced every 3 months.
At the full price this would take the cost of ownership to £205 or £0.19 per day.
When purchased at the much more wallet friendly £37.50 the cost comes down to £92.50 or £0.08 per day.
With any brush you can extend the value by sharing the brush handle with another user. Of course change the brush head and be aware that you will need to recharge more frequently, but this can help keep the cost of ownership down.
When it comes to making the purchase, if this is the brush for you, be sure to shop around and pay the price you are comfortable with and from a retailer you trust.
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.
Summary of Price
- Recommended retail price of £150
- Massive price variance, available for as little at £37.50
- Works out at around £0.08 per day over 3 years
- Lots of equally capable options at this price
- Share brush handle with another user to extend value
Reliability & Long Term Use
When you are looking to spend your hard earned money on something you generally want to get value from that item.
I have always personally held Philips products in high regard, be that toothbrushes, lights or other household products.
Even Sonicare’s cheapest electric toothbrushes have a level of quality that appears to surpass the competition.
The 5 Series is solid in hand and feels good. Plastic the construction is, but cheap and flimsy are not words you would really associate with here.
As best as possible with our hands on here at Electric Teeth we really test them, look for failings and possible weaknesses long term. Can we find any here? No, there is nothing to cause any concern.
Of course by the very nature of the product there is always a chance it could fail, but the standards set by Philips aim to reduce this.
Should something go awry then you can fall back on the 2 year/24 month warranty that they offer, but the likelihood of having to use this is slim.
The 5 Series is a great toothbrush.
It cleans the teeth and gums really well and in a way that is comfortable thanks to the 6 different cleaning options.
Working to achieve improved gum health anyone suffering with the early stages of gum disease will see improvements as a result of use.
The battery life is top notch, the build quality is superb and built in features like the timer, pacer and EasyStart are highly regarded.
The 5 Series lacks a decent box contents though and despite offering a good clean the wild pricing makes it really difficult to compare this brush to those on the market today.
Paying anything up to about £50 and your not going to have been cheated, but if considering paying more than this, I strongly encourage you to consider the alternatives, you may just get a bit more bang for your buck.
Electric Teeth Rating
- Is the Sonicare 5 Series Gum Health an oscillating brush?
- No, it is not.
- How many brushing modes does the Sonicare 5 Series HX8931/10 have?
- This brush offers 2 different cleaning modes, Clean and Gum Plus. Press the power button to switch the brush on, then again to be taken to the next cleaning mode available. It does have 3 power intensity settings, meaning the brush can essentially be set to 1 of 6 customisable modes.
- What brush head does it come with and what alternative ones can be used?
- The HealthyWhite comes provided with one ProResults Gum Health brush head. Sonicare do have a range of alternative brush heads that are compatible including, DiamondClean, ProResults, ProResults Gum Health, Sensitive and InterCare.
- Does the Sonicare 5 Series have a pressure sensor?
- No, it does not.
- Does the Sonicare 5 Series have Bluetooth?
- No it does not.
- Does the Sonicare 5 Series Gum Health come with a warranty & how long is it?
- Yes, it does. The warranty is 2 years.
- Does the Sonicare 5 Series have a built in timer?
- Yes. At the end of a 2 minute cycle, the brush automatically turns off signalling the end of the cleaning time. If you want to extend your clean, you will have to power the brush back on. It does also have a 30 second pacer also referred to as a quadpacer. At 30 second intervals a slight pause in the brushing mode to tell you to change quadrants. There are 4 quadrants to the mouth.
- How long does the battery last?
- Officially the the battery lasts up to 84 minutes, which is equivalent to 3 weeks or 21 days of usage based on 2 x 2 minute cleans per day..
- Does it come with a charger?
- Yes, a charging station is included with the toothbrush.
- Can this be fixed to a wall?
- The charging station has not been designed to be fixed to a wall.
- Can I use the Sonicare 5 Series in the shower?
- We would advise avoid it. The brush is water resistant and designed to withstand exposure to water but the prolonged exposure to water in a shower is not ideal for the brush.
- Does it come with a travel case?
- No, it does not come with a travel case.
Do you own or have you used the Philips Sonicare 5 Series Gum Health?
Are there certain features that you really like or dislike?
Let us know what you think about this brush and let others who may well be considering purchasing one know your opinions before they do.