At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsGreat brushing performanceiO brush designReal-time brushing coachCons12 hour charging timeMax 2-week battery lifeApp use essential for brush settingsOur Verdict
This is one of the most budget-friendly ways to get an Oral-B iO brush. It has fewer features than the pricier models but everything you need – except fast charging. Still, we think you’ll probably ditch the real-time coaching before long.
Oral-B’s iO range represents a big change for the brand. There’s an all-new design and an improved brushing system. But most models also come with a hefty price tag and tons of features you can happily live without.
Take the full colour screen on the Oral-B iO9, for example. We really enjoyed it when we tested it but it won’t help to get your teeth any cleaner.
But if you want the iO brushing performance and can forgo the bells and whistles, the iO5 could be for you. It has the same foundational design as the more expensive models, but it’s a pared-back version. There’s no OLED screen with its attendant winky face, fewer brushing modes, and no fast charging.
But here’s what it does have.
Design and features
The Series 5 has a smooth, matt finish and the iO’s distinctive, flowing design. It’s a much more cohesive shape than the original Oral-B brush, where the brush head just feels plonked on top of the handle.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
There’s no grip on the iO5’s handle which may be an issue for some people, but I didn’t find it to be slippery in use, even when wet.
It comes in three colour options: black, white and pink – although as there aren’t pink brush heads, if you go for this colour, you’ll have a two-tone iO.
On the handle, in lieu of the screen on the more expensive models, is a rubber-coated panel that houses the On/Off button (which doubles as a battery light), brushing modes and an indicator light to let you know when your brush head needs to be replaced. The buttons are inset but I didn’t find that they needed as much force to depress as those on the more budget-friendly Oral-B Pro 3.
Around the neck of the brush is the light ring. In the app (more on this later), you can choose a signature colour from ten day-glo options. And, when you’ve completed your standard two-minute brushing time, the handle cycles through the rainbow of colours in a sort of celebratory mode.
Accessories-wise, it comes with a basic white plastic travel case and a charging stand that’s the same as non-iO models. If you buy in the US, it has a standard two-pin plug. UK models have a shaver plug.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
We would love to see Oral-B brushes charge via USB – especially as the long charging time is possibly the biggest issue we have with the iO5. It needs around 12 hours to charge fully. The Series 7 and above have magnetic fast charging in three hours, and this is one feature that might make you decide to opt for a pricier model.
There are some functions we think are essential to an effective electric toothbrush: good cleaning performance, a timer and a pressure sensor. The iO5 ticks all of these boxes.
There are five brushing modes: daily clean, intense clean, whitening, sensitive and super sensitive. That will be plenty for most users but some may miss a massaging setting for gums and the tongue brushing mode that more expensive models have. But it cleans effectively and feels like a big step up from the traditional Oral-B models.
It’s quiet in use as well – considerably more so than one of the standard models like the Oral-B Pro 3, which makes a loud, rattly noise in comparison. It also lets you know (via a change in vibration) to move onto the next quadrant of your mouth every 30 seconds, and after two minutes it’ll give you a longer alert to let you know you can stop.
Its light ring doubles as a very visible pressure sensor that not only tells you if you’re pressing too hard but if you’re not pressing hard enough. That again is something new to the iO range.
You’ll need to use the app to get your iO set up and to make the most of it after that. Essentially, Oral-B has shunted some of the settings and functionality away from the handle to the app and this could prove to be an annoyance for people who want to ditch the smart features. Bad news though – even if you opt for the cheaper iO4, you’ll still need to use the app to customise your brush beyond factory settings.
The app is available for Apple and Android and is free to download and use. And when you download it, you’ll see that you can adjust almost all of the settings mentioned above. For example, you can remove brushing programmes, change your brushing time goal from two minutes, to one or three or 2 minutes 30 – or any amount of time you like. You can also choose the brushing modes that are available and shown on the handle.
You can also start a “Dental Care Journey’. There are options for whitening, gum health, fresh breath, plaque fighting and taking care of your braces. Embark on one of these and the app will automatically adjust the brush’s settings for the duration to optimise it for your needs.
It also offers a real-time coaching mode, and it’s this feature that the cheaper iO Series 4 doesn’t have. Open the app as you brush and it’ll show when you’ve finished cleaning a section of your mouth (to the app’s satisfaction, at least) and where you’re pressing too hard.
The sensor seems reasonably accurate at determining where in your mouth the brush is, although it doesn’t always get the angle right. That means that it may not help you to identify and correct neglected areas of your mouth. I also found that I had to brush for longer than the standard two minutes to achieve full coverage.
There are also badges to collect for different brushing achievements but this just feels like filler.
Overall, if you have a dental care problem, the app could help you to focus on fixing it but I’m sceptical as to whether the average person will continue to use the brushing coaching for long.
Price and availability
If you’re in the US, you can just buy the iO5 normally, from a normal shop for a normal amount of money. Its usual price is around $119.99 (buy it from Target), which makes it around $25 cheaper than the iO6, and $75 less than the iO7 – which makes sense as you’re paying for more or fewer features. However, it’s already on offer: Amazon is currently selling it for $95.99 and it’s $109.99 from BestBuy
If you’re in the UK, things are slightly weirder. It has launched with a staggering price tag of £280 direct from the Oral-B site. We have to emphasise that although it is a very good electric toothbrush, it’s very much not worth it for this amount. However, you can currently buy it from Amazon for £109.99 and we think this is about right.
You also need to factor in the cost of iO brush heads. Oral-B has two types of brushes: its original range, and the new iO models. All of the original brushes, from the budget-friendly Vitality to the pricey Genius, have the same type of brush heads. Buy a big value pack and you’re sorted, whichever one you go for.
But the iO brush heads cost more – around $30 for four in the US or £25 for four in the UK. We’d recommend waiting until they’re on offer and stocking up.
The iO5 is a great brush in terms of performance but we wish that it was faster to charge, even if that meant ditching some of the smart features to meet this price point.
If you don’t think you’ll make use of the real-time brushing coaching, we’d suggest saving some money and buying the iO4 instead. And if the lack of fast charging is a sticking point, look for an offer on the iO7 or above. None of the iO brushes has a USB charging option, however. That’s the one thing that the iO range is missing, for all its fantastic features.
For more electric toothbrush buying options, have a look at our round-up of the best electric toothbrushes we’ve tested.