It has some points in its favour but buying the LED whitening electric toothbrush is probably not the best use of your money, or the best way to get whiter teeth.
There are plenty of reasons you might be searching for teeth-whitening products. Maybe you’re a tea, coffee or red wine drinker. Maybe you’re a little self-conscious where your teeth are concerned. Maybe you want to be able to smile and blind every living being in a one-mile radius.
In any case, Snow’s electric toothbrush has an unusual selling point. It emits a blue light that the brand claims will whiten your teeth as you brush.
But does it work? And is it a good electric toothbrush beyond that? I tested it for a couple of months and here’s what I thought.
Design and features
Single button operation
Brush heads show scratches over time
Snow is an oral care brand that focuses on whitening products. It sells a teeth-whitening kit, whitening strips, teeth whitening powder, a water flosser and more.
It produces a couple of models of electric toothbrush as well, although these are not the brand’s main focus. In this review, we’re testing Snow’s LED whitening electric toothbrush. The brush has a two-tone blue plastic build and a single operation button, which is decorated with the brand’s signature snowflake design.
Altogether, it’s a fairly attractive design but it doesn’t have the premium feel of the higher-end brushes from Oral-B and Philips Sonicare.
Worryingly, I found that the shiny finish of the brush head tended to show signs of wear after a period of use, with obvious scratch marks appearing. This made me paranoid that I was ingesting tiny bits of toothbrush as I cleaned my teeth.
Having examined a number of toothbrushes I’ve used regularly, I couldn’t see scratches on any other models. Even if it’s nothing to be concerned about, when factored into our daily dose of microplastics, it doesn’t suggest that the highest quality materials were used in its construction.
The brush is light in the hand, weighing 114g, against the Oral-B iO3’s 136g. It’s around the same height and circumference (24 x 9cm). On the handle, there are four easy to read indicator lights for the four brushing modes and a red/green battery indicator light.
The brushing head is a long oval and the nylon bristles are soft, so it would be a possibility for anyone looking for gentle cleaning.
In the box, along with a spare brush head, you’ll get a USB charger – again featuring the signature snowflake. USB charging is my personal preference so I was happy to see it here and wish all other brands offered the option. However, if you have a convenient shaver plug set-up, it may not be as welcome.
The charger has adhesive pads on the base but as there’s a drainage hole in its base, I’d only suggest using these if you’re going to be rigorous about wiping down the brush before you dock it. Otherwise, you’re going to create a puddle of toothpasty goo that you can’t clean up.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
The brush comes attractively packaged in a presentation box with a magnetic closure.
Performance and features
4 cleaning modes
Month-long battery life
The whitening brush has four cleaning modes: clean, white, polish and sensitive. Unusually, you can easily tell them apart by the difference in their vibrations alone. You use the single button to toggle through the modes and long press it to switch it off.
If you use the sensitive mode, though, be warned: it has a very distinctive and annoying sound – like a police siren set to vibrate.
You switch it on via the snowflake button and use the same button to toggle through the brushing modes.
There are two key features we look for in an electric toothbrush: a pressure sensor and a timer. The Snow brush doesn’t feature a pressure sensor, so we wouldn’t recommend it for people who are aware of a tendency to brush too hard. You’ll probably know if you do this because the bristles on your brush will begin to part, palm-tree style, after you’ve used it for a while.
But there is a timer. There’s a pause in vibration every thirty seconds to alert you to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth. After the dentist-recommended two-minute brushing time, it switches off altogether. I’m not a big fan of this as I tend to want to brush a little longer but it’s certainly better for battery life.
Speaking of which, the brush has an impressive month-long battery life, which was borne out in our test. When it’s time to recharge, however, it takes an unimpressive 12 hours.
The brush is quiet in use, with no mechanical rattling and it’s pleasant to use, although I found that I often banged it against my teeth when manoeuvring, which probably explains the scratches on the back of the brush head.
Altogether, I found it to be a pretty effective cleaner.
Still, the key selling point of this brush is the arrangement of blue LEDs set into the brush head, behind the bristles. There are six LEDs that project a bright blue light over your teeth. The idea is that it’ll aid whitening as you brush.
So, does it noticeably whiten your teeth? I tested it for a couple of months and here’s the answer I came to during that time: No, it doesn’t.
But perhaps that’s not surprising. While there are mixed results from studies on whether blue light helps to whiten teeth in conjunction with a whitening gel, it won’t do much without it. More to the point, as you’re moving the brush around your mouth, it’s not shining for long enough in any one spot to have an effect. It’s a bit like those UV-C wands that are supposed to kill all the bacteria on your desk if you just wave the wand around for a bit. At best, you’re going to give them a suntan.
Unlike UV-C light, however, blue light from LEDs is not dangerous. So at least it has that going for it.
If you’re looking for a more effective way to whiten your teeth, I also tried Snow’s Advanced Wireless Whitening Kit (buy in the US for $169; buy in the UK for £240). This does make a noticeable difference to the whiteness of your teeth, although it’s still not going to give you the irradiated, Tipp-Ex whiteness beloved by reality TV contestants.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
The kit contains a rechargeable mouth insert that lights up in blue (for whitening), red (for gum health), or both. It comes with a charging stand and three pens loaded with whitening serum. Brush the whitening serum onto your teeth and use the mouth insert for 10-30 minutes a day and you will start to see a positive change in your teeth. It’s not painful and it’s easy to use.
Price and availability
In the US, you can buy the LED brush direct from Snow or from Amazon. At the time of writing, there’s no price advantage at either retailer.
If you’re in the UK, it’s again from Snow or Amazon – but Amazon has the better price by far.
The problem is that, while the brush itself is fairly reasonably priced, the replacement heads are expensive. In the US, a twin-pack from Snow costs $22.80 at the time of writing. In the UK, however, two replacement brush heads from Snow will cost you an absolutely wild £43 – and that’s the sale price.
The better option is the wireless whitening kits, which are available from Snow in the US and the UK. Still, they are expensive. The brand also sells a wired model that’s much more cost-effective.
Overall, this is a decent enough brush but there are a few things that make it difficult to recommend, including its questionable coating, its lack of a pressure sensor and the price of replacement brush heads.
But if you’re planning to buy it, it’s probably for its whitening properties, in which case we’d say: save your money and spend it on the teeth whitening kit instead.
For more electric toothbrush buying options, have a look at our round-up of the best electric toothbrushes we’ve tested. The round-up features quick buying links, pros and cons for each model and links to in-depth reviews. We’ve also got a dedicated best Oral-B brush round-up.