The Sonicare Essence toothbrush is the entry-level rechargeable model in the Sonicare range, with a Nickel-metal-hydride battery and a stand that doubles as the charging station. This is the next step up from the Sonicare PowerUp, which uses 2 disposable AA batteries instead of being rechargeable.
While the PowerUp is a good basic brush, you DO have to replace those AA batteries every few weeks. Getting new batteries obviously adds to the cost of ownership over time, and of course the old batteries are thrown out and are not planet-friendly!
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With the Sonicare Essence, the built-in rechargeable battery can hold a charge for TWO weeks use, which is remarkable. It makes this brush very handy if you are traveling - you can leave the charger at home!
On the negative side, the battery is "older" technology, which means that it is cheaper than more modern battery technology, BUT it is also bulkier and heavier.
All in all, the battery works well, and holds a good charge for a LONG time. Just remember to leave the brush on charge for a full (uninterrupted) 24 hours. If you don't do this, the battery performance will not last as long as it should do. That initial 24-hour charging cycle is VERY important, to condition the battery.
The Essence is a step up from the PowerUp in a couple of other areas, too: the Essence has a visible gauge to show how much charge the battery is holding. This is very useful, as you can see quickly and easily if the brush needs recharging! I really like this feature.
It also has the 2 minute timer, (called Smart Timer), and the Easy Start software.
The Smart Timer lets you know when the brush has been running for 2 minutes. Basically, the toothbrush turns itself off! Apparently, surveys of dentists in the U.S.A. show that 2 minutes is the most-often recommended minimum brushing time.
Personally, as a dentist, I think that 2 minutes is too short; I recommend AT LEAST double that time! So you will need to start up the brush for another 2 minute cycle. No problem.
The Easy Start software is a clever way of introducing first-time Sonicare users to the new sensation that you get with Sonicare brushes.
This lets a first-time Sonicare user start off on a lower power setting. The Easy Start software then automatically increases the power slightly over each of the next 13 uses, until reaching Full Power on the 12th use.
The more expensive Sonicare brushes have an extra feature in the timing software which is given the grand name "Quadpacer". It's actually just a timer that alerts youevery 30 seconds during the 2-minute brushing cycle. This is intended to encourage you to move on to the next quarter of your mouth every 30 seconds, until you have completed all 4 quarters in the 2 minutes that the brush runs for.
After 2 minutes the brush turns itself off.
Phillips have built this Easy Start feature into the Sonicare range because the sensation you get the first time you use one is very different to a normal electric toothbrush. The brush head works at a much higher rate, (31,000 vibrations a minute),which Phillips say is more effective at removing plaque, even in areas not actually touched by the bristle tips!
GET YOUR SONICARE ESSENCE AT THE BEST PRICE BY CLICKING ON THE LINK! It's available right now from Amazon at $24.99, which is basically half the normal price.
The Sonicare Essence is available in 2 colors - red or blue. There is no difference otherwise between the colors - I guess Sonicare was thinking "blue for boys and pink for girls", although they don't actually say that!
However the Essence DOES share some features with the Sonicare PowerUp;
The "e-series" screw-on brush heads take a little longer to change over than the newer ProResults heads on the more expensive Sonicare brushes. They are also slightly more expensive, but not by much!
I'm not too sure about the Smart Timer feature, as I think that the timings they use are too short. I would always advise patients to aim for 6 - 8 minutes of brushing, carefully going around the gum edges of all their teeth.
Here's a link to a great deal at Amazon for replacement e-series brush heads - Philips Sonicare E-Series replacement toothbrush heads
I ALWAYS recommend getting the Mini size replacement brush heads - if you can get them - (every 3 months). This is because the bristles become worn out over time, and also harbor bacteria. YUK! The bristles may LOOK OK, but after a coule of months they lose their elasticity and just don't work as well as they should. So replacing the brush head every 3 months is definitely recommended.
The Sonicare Essence offers the basic Sonicare experience WITH a rechargeable battery and charging station, which is the main difference to the PowerUp. I think it's a great sonic toothbrush at a great price, ($24.99) and I recommend it - it's a good choice!