By dentist Dr. Richard Mitchell
The Sonicare PowerUp toothbrush is the entry-level toothbrush from Sonicare, and it replaces the Sonicare Xtreme. The Xtreme has been discontinued by Sonicare, but was still available from Amazon while stocks last. The new PowerUp is the cheapest toothbrush in the Sonicare range, because it uses replaceable AA batteries. It is NOT rechargeable, and so does not have a charger or docking station.
The Sonicare PowerUp still offers the unique Sonicare 31,000 vibrations per minute. Actually, that's about all it DOES offer - it only has the ONE cleaning mode, but that's OK! The sonic cleaning action and 31,000 vibrations per minute are whole reason to use a Sonicare toothbrush.
Remember, the Xtreme toothbrush has been discontinued, and there are only limited stocks left.
Here is a link to the new Philips Sonicare Powerup Toothbrush - click on it to go straight to your best deal at Amazon!
Because the PowerUp does not have the rechargeable battery of the other Sonicare models, it is lighter in weight than all of them.
This can be a useful feature if you find other electric toothbrushes rather heavy to use. But the handle is still quite chunky, because there has to be enough room to get 2 AA batteries inside. This is not a slim-line brush!
The other main advantage of running off replaceable batteries is that there is no charging unit. If you are traveling overseas, that means you don't have to find space in your bags for the charger, AND you don't need to worry about an adapter for the plug!
The main disadvantage to using replaceable batteries is that of course, over time, you will end up spending a bit more money to get new batteries.
BUT, you get into the Sonicare Club at a bargain price!
The PowerUp is sometimes marketed towards the teen age group, but in my experience the advantages I've talked about can make it attractive to folk of any age.
The one feature that this toothbrush DOES have is the 2-minute timer, called Smart Timer.
The Smart Timer feature lets you know when the brush has been running for 2 minutes. This is the recommended minimum time that you should spend on brushing your teeth, according to surveys of American dentists. After 2 minutes, the brush turns itself off.
I'm not too sure about that 2 minute advice! Personally, I think it's a bit too short for most people. I would recommend ignoring the timer, and aiming for 6 - 8 minutes of slow, careful brushing, to get the best from this brush.
The PowerUp uses slightly different brush heads than the other Sonicare models - it uses either the Hx3023/64 brushes, which are soft, OR the Hx3013/96 brushes, which are the standard brush heads.
The brush heads are available in only ONE size. They take a little longer to change than the brushes for other Sonicare models, and are a tad more expensive, but only slightly.
I always used to recommend the Compact size of brush head for the Xtreme model, because its smaller size made it easier to get around those back teeth. AND it encouraged people to slow down a bit when brushing!
Remember to replace your brush head every 3 months, at the outside! Although the brush head may look OK after 8 to 10 weeks use, the bristles begin to lose flexibility and do not work as well as they get older. Also, bacteria can start to build up on the head.
As always, you have to make sure that you are holding the bristles on the edges of your gums as you brush. Move the brush head very slowly along the gum edges, and let the vibrating brush head do all the work. You just have to concentrate on holding the bristles in the right spot!
In my experience, most folk concentrate too much on scrubbing the tooth surfaces, and avoiding the gums. This is a mistake, because the plaque that you are trying to remove always builds up at the edge of the gum around each tooth!
I can recommend the PowerUp as a very good entry level Sonicare brush. It comes with a one-year warranty from Sonicare. However, because this brush is so cheap to buy, most people would probably choose NOT to mail the brush back for repair or replacement - if there was an issue, it's simpler to just get a new one.
I think it is just perfect for frequent travelers - BUT just remember to replace the batteries every 6 weeks. AND MAKE SURE that the battery cover is tightly closed! It is possible for water to leak in if the cover is not correctly fitted, or if you leave the brush sitting in a pool of water.
When you buy it, the Sonicare PowerUp comes with 2 batteries but no case, and with only one brush head, a standard size. So when you go to order it, remember to order some extra brush heads at the same time!
Disadvantages of the Sonicare Powerup?
Because this is brush has 2 AA batteries instead of a rechargeable (and more energy-dense) battery, it is not quite as powerful as the standard Sonicare brushes. It may still vibrate at Sonicare's signature 31,000 Hz frequency, but there's less power behind it.
Also, the battery compartment can leak water into the delicate electronics if the cover is not fitted carefully and correctly. Naturally, water damage like this would void the warranty.
Finally, the cost of replacing the 2 AA batteries can add up over time. It's also less environmentally friendly.