Review: Oral-B Triumph 9400 Electric Power Toothbrush and Research

by Khalid Hosein on October 7, 2006

Review: Oral-B Triumph 9400 Power Toothbrush and Research Buy Now!

Here’s my in-depth review of my latest gadget acquisition: an Oral-B Triumph 9400 electric power toothbrush, as well as my research leading up to my final choice. The time had come to replace my first electric toothbrush, a first generation sonic toothbrush, the Cybersonic, and I knew the replacement had to be a sonic or similarly powerful electric toothbrush.

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My minimum requirements for the new toothbrush were: quad timer (an alert every 30 seconds telling you to switch to a different quadrant in your mouth), a decent warranty, sonic or similar technology that pulsates the bristles at high frequencies, rechargeable, and a battery life indicator gauge. I also considered to a lesser degree: the price (I was willing to spend up to $150), whether it had multiple speeds, and a travel case.

I narrowed my vendor choices down to the 2 major power toothbrush makers: Sonicare (a Philips brand) and Oral-B (a Gillette brand). Although I had previously owned a Cybersonic model, I eliminated them as a quick comparative scan showed that their latest model choice did not meet all of my minimum requirements.

My research started off on the websites of Sonicare and Oral-B where I quickly narrowed my choices down to Sonicare’s Elite 9500 (flagship model), Elite 7300, and Essence 35500; and Oral-B’s Triumph 9400. I briefly considered Oral-B’s ProCare 8000, but it did not have a quad timer and was the same price as the 9400. Incidentally, both companies have previously made quite a number of models that are still being sold, but I decided to stick the current models only.

I then decided to toss out the Sonicare e5500 and Elite 7300 as they did not have multiple speeds and were near the $100 mark anyway. I also eliminated the Oral-B Sonic Complete models as they were not as feature-rich as the Oral-B 9000 line and also in the $100 area. Now down to 2 models, the Oral-B 9400 ($100) and the Sonicare 9500 ($120), I turned to the Web again to read up on other users’ experiences. I discovered that the Sonicare line has had some battery life issues and that customer service has also had some questionable moments. However, I was still torn – do I get the Sonicare model that sported the sonic technology or the Oral-B model that didn’t? I checked and although not explicitly a sonic brush, the Oral-B 9400 pulsates (the brushhead moves in-and-out) at 40,000 times per minute and side to side at 8,800 times per min. The Sonicare 9500 produces 31,000 bristle sweeps per minute. Advantage Oral-B. I also thought it advantageous that the Oral-B also moved the brushhead side to side. Of course, clinical research may not bear this out, but it certainly seems to make sense to me!

Replacement brush heads for the Oral-B power toothbrush were also marginally cheaper than those for the Sonicare. The flagship Sonicare model was also $20 more than the Oral-B 9400.

Brush head

As of this writing, I’ve now had my Oral-B professional toothbrush for over 3 weeks and I love it. [Update Nov 2009: I've now had this toothbrush over 3 years and not a single issue!] There is no question that my teeth feel cleaner – more so than with my Cybersonic, which was in turn a huge improvement over manual brushing. Some folks and even the manual warn of possible bleeding of the gums when you first start using it, but I simply used the ‘Soft’ mode for the first few days and voila – no bleeding. Speaking of modes, the 9400 also has ‘Polish’ and ‘Massage’ modes. I am yet to try those out, but will add comments to this article if I do. I am including a picture of the main brush head, which is stylized, but extremely close to what it really looks like. You can see that it has multiple types of bristles which accomplish different functions. It’s also worth it to take a look at the Flash demo on Oral-B’s website.

The travel case turned out to be a really useful feature, and the charger itself can be undocked from the rest of the stand/brush head holder for easy transport. The toothbrush itself feels solid in your hand, but not too heavy or unwieldy. Battery life is rated at approximately 2 weeks. That is assuming only 2 minute brushings, so if you’re like me and brush longer, then you may be down to fewer days between recharging, but even 1 week between charges is great.

The cue to switch quadrants is a very obvious sequence of rapid brush speed changes, not a beep that some folks have complained is hard to hear on some other toothbrush models. The motor, while certainly not quiet, is not obnoxiously loud and does not vibrate too much; I will gladly take a bit of noise in exchange for having clean teeth. Incidentally, if you’re still waffling over whether to get a powered toothbrush of any kind, just try cleaning behind your teeth effectively with a manual one.

In case you’re thinking that $100 is a lot to spend on a toothbrush, consider this: if it lasts 3 years, and you also spend $60 in replacement brush heads during that time, you will have spent about $4 a month for clean teeth and potentially saved a great deal of time in a dentist’s chair and money in dental bills (insurance notwithstanding).

What’s Groovy and What’s Sucky

What’s Groovy: Clean teeth! Quad timer, rechargeable, LCD display, small brushhead that is small enough to clean behind your teeth.

What’s Sucky: Probably a bit more than most people think to spend on a toothbrush or for that matter the replacement brushheads, but well worth the money.

Features Performance Quality Value
5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars
Great collection of features, including as mentioned, the quad timer, it’s rechargeable, travel case, LCD display, multiple modes and more. The main thing this need to do is clean my teeth well and my teeth definitely feel cleaner. So far, so good. The unit feels solid and sturdy and one nice feature not mentioned above is that it’s electrically neutral, so you can rinse if off under running water. Since some folks are going to disagree that $100 is ok to spend on a toothbrush, I’ll give the Value Rating a 4, but I really think it’s worth it to have good oral health.
Overall
5 Stars
Obviously, I really like this product, and recommend it highly. However, if you don’t like this model or even this brand, I still encourage you to go out and snag yourself a powered toothbrush of some kind if you don’t already have one.

You can pick up the 9400 or other Oral-B Triumph toothbrushes at Amazon.com. [Keep in mind that Oral-B has not done a great job with their model numbering. The package I picked up had a model # of Oral-B Triumph 9400. However, you can get other combination packages that contain the same exact Oral-B Triumph toothbrush, but varying numbers of brush heads, etc.]

{ 11 comments }

Robert Sep 17, 2007 at 10:30 AM

You know I am in the same position. I have a sonicare that finally died on me, and am considering the same two options for replacement. I really liked the sonicare, it seems the pulsating motion did a good job, the oralb is more mechanical, but yo umentioned it moves in various directions. How do you like it after a sometime, would you go back to sonic option?? There is a ultrasound option these days, what do you think??

Chief Gadgeteer Sep 17, 2007 at 5:51 PM

Hi Robert,

I had a cybersonic toothbrush (yeah… the ones they sell on TV!) prior to getting this Oral-B, and while that was a huge improvement over the traditional manual toothbrush, I found that I liked the Oral-B Triumph even more. I feel like my teeth are cleaner than with the cybersonic. Of course, one of the huge factors is probably the 30-second timer on the Triumph.

At this point, a new sonic or ultrasound model would just about have to do my laundry too for me to consider heading to that technology for my next toothbrush. Ideally, I’d like to see Oral-B incorporate some sonic tech into this model.

Hope this helps!

Robert Sep 17, 2007 at 6:59 PM

Hey,
Thank you very much for an expert opinion! I will definetly purchase the oral-b 9400 line, I actually bought one just now online! I think it would be a next step incoperating the soni technology into oral-b products, I guess with the copyright it might ake few years, or merge the two companies together, we all can only benefit from it! Thanks again, I appriciate your time!!
Robert L Pennsylvania

Bill Kipling Nov 8, 2007 at 3:41 PM

The Oral B Triumph 9425 sells at Sam’s Club for $99 for a DUEL pack. Two to a package!
I’m going today to pick that up!

Mike Nov 16, 2007 at 8:09 PM

I had an issue with Sonicare, mine just died. I hardly even used it, the battery just died.ng it’s dead, not even 100 charges yet. I am not too happy $120 plus tax on that junk. So I’ll go and have to look what’s available locally to me, I’m going to get Oral B of course just don’t know which model since I don’t want to wait to get one through the mail.

I also do the olive oil and coconut oil after I brush with the toothpaste. You can get coconut oil pretty cheap you just need a small bit of it with a little bit of olive oil. These oil will kill extra bactera on your teeth. You just need to simply brush with it so it gets on your teeth. Leaave it on for a few minutes. The oil will make you teeth look real shiney. Coconut oil is antibacterial and antifungal.

Please anyone thinking of buying Sonicare stay away you’re better off.

William Nov 24, 2007 at 5:34 PM

To start, i’d like to thank you for your review, and you’re right about how good it is, i’ve used it for 3 days and for the 1st time ever saw my teeth so white, even my dentist usually doesnt give me the same results!!!

Now for the question, do you have any idea to how it should be used, like i’m got the Triumph 9450, which comes with:
1 Oral-B FlossAction brushhead
1 Oral-B PowerPolisher brushhead
1 Power Tip brushhead
1 Tongue Freshener

I know i’m supposed to spend 2 mins using the flossaction brushhead twice to 3 times daily, but how about the 3 other heads? i’ve asked my dentist and shes got no clue, i looked over the net and couldnt find any answers.

Thanks

Chief Gadgeteer Nov 26, 2007 at 12:04 AM

Thx for your comments William.
I should start off by saying that I’m not a dentist! I am surprised that your dentist doesn’t see the value in a tongue freshener/cleaner. From all that I know/read, there are a lot of bacteria that sits on your tongue, so killing those off from time to time is not a bad idea.

The FlossAction head is for everyday brushing.
The PowerPolisher is for occassional polishing (for example if you wanted to work on some coffee stains)
The Power Tip head is smaller for getting in between the spaces or hard-to-reach places. I didn’t even get this tip with my older Triumph model.

So essentially the other 3 are for specific uses, and if you’re lucky, you may not need to use them at all.

Rhonda Rogers Dec 30, 2007 at 9:29 PM

Thanks for helping my decision a little easier. I received the sonicare elite 7300 for Xmas.
I don’t care for it. I have previously had the cheaper Oral B version. I am going to exchange
the sonicare for the Triumph 9400. I like the round heads. The sonicare has made such a
mess of my clothing and mirror. Thanks again.

Dissatisfied Consumer Mar 27, 2008 at 1:15 AM

Purchased the Oral-B Triumph Professional Care 9400 Power Toothbrush just three months ago and already the battery is weakening on me. Going to contact Oral-B tomorrow to find out if they will replace my toothbrush as this is an investment as it came with a rather hefty price tag. If they are unwilling to work with me then they have lost my business!

power toothbrush Dec 12, 2009 at 7:15 PM

great review, i have this toothbrush and it is really great. I prefer the oral b to the sonicare and i have tried both

Dave Burton Jun 10, 2010 at 7:18 AM

I have had the similar Oral-B/Braun ProfessionalCare 7850 DLX for a few years, and I am extremely pleased with it.

Functionally, I think mine is very similar to this one: 40,000 in-out/sec + 8800 side-to-side/sec, 30sec/2min timer, pressure-sensor to tell you if you're pressing too hard. Mine has no LCD screen, and only two speeds (rather than three), but I always just use the high speed, anyhow.

For many years I'd get scolded about my gum health every time I went to the dentist. "Floss more, floss more," was the constant refrain. He even started talking about "conservative oral surgery." <shudder!>

But since I switched from a manual toothbrush to the Oral-B/Braun electric, it is a completely different story. My gum health is hugely improved. They used to measure many 4 and 5 mm "pockets" along the rear teeth, but the last time I went there was just one 4 mm measurement and the rest were 2s and 3s — even though my brushing & flossing habits are otherwise unchanged.

I've had zero problems with the toothbrush, too. The battery life is great: I've not tried to run it for 2 weeks w/o charging, but I've taken it on 3-day trips w/o the charger, and it works fine.

I bought a batch of replacement brushes at Sam's Club recently, and they were the new "Floss Action" type, instead of the older "FlexiSoft" brushes. They look and feel different, but as far as I can tell both types work great. I can't tell whether the new kind is any better than the old ones.

I don't remember exactly what I paid for this thing, I think about $100 (I bought it from my dentist). But even if it had been several times that price it would have been a bargain.

What a wonderful, wonderful product!