Waterpik Sonic-Fusion flossing toothbrush review
Quick verdict: The Waterpik Sonic-Fusion is an innovative electric flossing toothbrush that does a great job keeping your dentist happy, with room for improvement.
- World-first floss and brush device
- Smart design
- Great clean and post-brush feeling
- Connecting cable is a little limiting
- Replacement heads expensive
- Sensitive teeth will struggle
How many of you floss? And how many of you have been told to floss by your dentist? I'd wager that the numbers in the latter far outweigh the former. Most of us are battling just to clean our teeth as thoroughly as our dentist desires, let alone to go the extra step of flossing as well. And we're adults; it's even worse for the kids.
Waterpik, specialist in innovative dental care technology, provides a solution with the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion flossing toothbrush. The device is aimed to not just be a time-saver, but a facilitator of proper teeth care. It provides the benefits of an electric toothbrush, but will also fire water between your teeth.
The result is a singular device that can floss and brush at the same time. A little spout built into the toothbrush head can push water from the base station into your mouth at anywhere from 10PSI to 100PSI. It dislodges food in the process that your toothbrush can't reach.
It sounds great on paper, but is it any good in practice? Let me run my tongue over my teeth a few more times and get back to you.
- 10 pressure settings
- 2-year warranty
- 3 cleaning modes
- Low battery life
Waterpik touts the Sonic-Fusion as a world-first, providing a water-based flossing solution to go with its more traditional electric toothbrushing offering. The electric toothbrush side of the experience is as you might expect. The 30,000 brush strikes per minute is lightning fast and the brush heads offer small, soft bristles that cause me no concerns on teeth, gums or even tongue.
Two heads come with the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion, with more available at $29.95 per two-pack – a bit on the expensive side.
It's with the water flossing that the Sonic-Fusion gets exciting. There are 10 different pressure settings to switch between, and I found myself typically around the 5 to 6 mark. I would turn it down a bit if my teeth were feeling a little sensitive, but never found a needed to go anywhere near 10.
The Sonic-Fusion can be used in three modes: just as a brush or to floss, or both together. I tended to start with a good brush and then added the flossing in for the second half of the process. This way I didn't wash the toothpaste straight out of my mouth.
The in-built timer helps with that approach, pausing every 30 seconds to indicate it's time to shift to a new corner of your mouth, then turning off altogether at the two-minute mark to indicate you're done.
The water capacity is small and how long it lasts ultimately depends on the pressure you use and how long you brush. I found I got two teeth cleans out of one water canister, which was a little annoying. Even though refilling the canister is a breeze, I just get lazy late at night when tiredness makes such a simple task a real chore.
The inclusion of a premium toothbrush case is a nice touch as is the two-year warranty.
- Discrete and functional design
- Solidly built
- Must be placed near sink and power point
- Tall people may struggle
When I first saw the pictures of the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion, I was worried it was going to be a tough ask to fit it on my bathroom benchtop. However, I needn't have worried. The footprint is much smaller than I had first anticipated. Yes, it does take up a lot more space than a straightforward electric toothbrush, but it's not overwhelming.
Perhaps more of an issue is the need to have a power point nearby. It comes with a 1m-long power cable, but since building code states power points need to be at least 800mm from a body of water – as in your basin – that doesn't leave you with much leeway. And the base needs to be close to the basin in order to water floss.
As mentioned, the water canister doesn't hold as much water as I would have liked, but taking it off and placing it on the Sonic-Fusion base couldn't be easier. It's well aerated, too, and I've noticed no build-up of mould or other gunky substances in the many months I've used the device.
The toothbrush itself is connected to the water canister via a coiled hose. Initially I was impressed by how well this hose would return all nice and circular to its resting spot after use, but over time it needed more help being tucked back into place.
My main beef with the connecting hose is its length. I'm a tall bloke at 194cm and I have a pretty high benchtop, yet I still needed to bend over to use it. Is that a big issue? It is if you have a bad back, but for the majority of Australians who are under the 190cm (or so) height range, it won't be an issue anyway.
A button at the base of the electric toothbrush can be used to disconnect the water hose, giving the Sonic-Fusion much-needed portability. With the included toothbrush case, you can take the Sonic-Fusion with you while travelling and use it simply as a brush. This was a much-needed design choice, although the relatively short 28-minute battery life won't make the distance on trips much longer than a week (assuming you brush twice a day, at least).
It's clear Waterpik has thought hard about the design of the Sonic-Fusion and it certainly hits a lot more than it misses. There's a sturdiness and a premium feel to the device, encapsulated by the great water pressure dial, that you'd expect from a product in this price range.
- Dislodges plenty of food
- Pressure flexibility works well
- Easy to use
- Toothbrush heads small
I noticed an immediate difference in the cleanliness of my teeth and gums when I began using the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion. As an electric toothbrush on its own, it's workmanlike without excelling. I found the brush heads too small to get an efficient contact ratio with my teeth. The extraordinarily fast movements of the heads feel less like a brush and more like a vibration, making me second guess their effectiveness.
However, adding the water-powered flossing changes everything. Comparing the amount of debris that came out of my mouth after using just the brush mode with what appeared after using the brush and floss mode, was startling. It really does get a lot more out. While the sensation of having water blasting into your mouth as you brush keeps the toothpaste from becoming overpowering, as a result, you walk away with a much fresher feel in your mouth.
It's worth noting that it doesn't have to be water as you can use mouthwash, or a solution containing mouthwash, in the canister. The aforementioned built-in timing feature, with slight pauses every 30 seconds and a hard shutdown at two minutes, also helps keep you in the groove with your dental care.
I do wonder what it would be like to have overly sensitive teeth, something I have had off and on over the years. The water pressure itself didn't cause me any great concern unless I pushed it right up to 10, but the cold water did have me anxious on occasion. This could be corrected, or course, by using warm water, if you're willing to refill the water canister each time.
After five months of use, I've encountered no issues with the Sonic-Fusion, which continues to behave just as it did when I first pulled it from its package. It noticeably hasn't built up much mould, either, a problem I've encountered with other electric toothbrushes.
Should you buy the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion flossing toothbrush?
- Buy it if: You find flossing a chore and you're looking for an innovative way of giving your teeth a proper clean in half the time.
- Don't buy it if: You're unusually tall and don't like bending over a bench, travel for long periods of time or have very sensitive teeth and gums.
Designed and built with quality, the Sonic-Fusion is recommended for Australians who just can't be stuffed flossing no matter what their dentist says. People like me. It's likely a bit full-on for those suffering from sensitive teeth, but with its additional detach-and-travel functionality, it will suit most people perfectly.
Pricing and availability
The Sonic-Fusion is available at The Shaver Shop, on eBay and through Amazon. The Waterpik Sonic-Fusion retails for $354.95 in Australia, but at the time of writing it can be picked up on special for $299.90. Two additional heads can be purchased for $29.95, with each lasting a good three to four months depending on how hard and often you brush. Unfortunately, you can't get third-party heads due to the unique – and patented – water flossing nozzle housed within.
Where to buy
Images: Chris Stead