Everybody, including Baz Luhrmann, thinks you should floss more, but whether you’re using dental floss, dental tape, or interdental brushes it’s an awkward, uncomfortable and downright boring process. This is where the water flosser, or oral irrigator if you prefer, comes in.
Now I wouldn’t go as far as to say water flossers make flossing the most exciting thing in the world, but let’s be honest, anything has to be better than trying to get a bit of thread between your teeth right? Plus, water flossers are perfect if you have braces, getting between teeth and wires with no trouble at all.
They work by shooting a narrow high-pressure jet of water which you can then direct between your teeth using something that looks pretty much like an electric toothbrush with the head snapped off.
How to choose a water flosser?
All water flossers fall into two camps: handheld rechargeable models and counter-top plug in models with each having its own advantages. Handheld models give you more freedom of movement (although trying to use a water flosser any distance from a sink will be very messy) so you won’t be restricted by the lead attaching the head to the body of the flosser.
The disadvantage of handheld models is they generally provide less powerful jets of water and you will need to recharge them. They also have smaller water tanks and often you will find that you need to refill them at least once when flossing.
Counter-top models are more powerful although will need somewhere close to a sink to plug in (most use shaver sockets although be sure it will be compatible with UK sockets). More powerful also generally means louder, a particular concern if you are planning on using it in an en-suite bathroom.
Best Water Flossers
Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser WP-120
If you’re new to water flossing you may have never heard of Waterpik, but in the water flossing circles, they’re kind of a big deal. The WP-120 is the first model designed specifically for UK bathrooms and is fully compatible with our shaver sockets, making it easy to plug in and use.
As it is powered through the mains the Ultra Water Flossser is able to work at a decent water pressure (up to 90psi with 1200 pulses per minute), but the dial on the front allows you to adjust the power down to 10psi if it’s all a bit much. The large reservoir also means you don’t have to keep filling it up with water as you do with some rechargeable water flossers.
The Waterpik W-120 also comes with 6 different heads for various tasks including a tongue cleaner. The other tips included are the classic jet tip, plaque seeker tip, orthodontic tip and a Pik-Pocket tip.
The main downside to the Ultra Water Flosser is its size, as you will need a considerable bathroom shelf to fit it on. It is also pretty loud, so if you’re using it in an en-suite at night be prepared that you may wake people up when using it.
Read our full review of the Waterpik WP120.
Hangsun HOC200 Water Flosser
This flosser is very similar to the WP-120 from Waterpik but is normally available a fair bit cheaper. It is a little lightweight in comparison – some reviewers have reported needing to hold it stable with one hand while they floss with the other – but it still does a very good job.
The pressure level isn’t specified but it provides more than enough for most people and you can adjust the power to a level that suits you. The water tank is 600ml so it should last through more than a whole use without needing refilling.
Philips Sonicare AirFloss Rechargeable Power Flosser
For those with less space to play with in their bathrooms you could try the Philips Sonicare AirFloss Rechargeable Power Flosser. Despite it’s name, it also uses water to floss your teeth but without a main unit you are free to turn it in all directions to hit those harder to reach areas.
Coming with an angled head, the AirFloss is easy to use, although as will all models you will still need to make some contortions to get all the way around your mouth. The AirFloss only comes with one head, although how much you will use the different heads for the other models is debatable so this may not be a problem for you.
While Phillips doesn’t list what pressure the AirFloss works at, it does feel a little less powerful than the mains models and you also don’t have the option to vary the pressure. The reservoir is also quite small and despite the fact the AirFloss uses less water you may find you will have to refill it more than once for each use.
Waterpik Waterflosser Cordless Plus WP-450
The WP-450 is a rechargeable model from Waterpik. It doesn’t quite reach the same level of pressure as the WP-120 (75psi rather than 95psi) and only has two pressure settings, but it is a lot smaller and you won’t be tied to a cable while using the water flosser.
It does have a reasonably sized water reservoir for a cordless water flosser, although you may still have to refill it during use. You will also need to be careful that you dry off the charging contacts to make sure they don’t rust.
Despite this, it is still an excellent flosser and a good choice if you have a smaller bathroom.
Panasonic EW1211W Dental Care Cordless Rechargeable Oral Irrigator
The EW1211W is another cordless water flosser, this time from Panasonic. Unusually for a cordless model it manages to match the performance of the Waterpik mains powered unit with 90psi at its highest pressure setting, although a small reservoir means at this power you will definitely need to refill the water tank for a full mouth clean.
One great feature over some other rechargeable models is contactless charging, rather than having exposed contacts like the WP-450. This means it’s easier to clean and you won’t have to worry about rusting – a particular concern for something you’re keeping in a bathroom.
The smaller water tank may be a little annoying to have to keep refilling, although it does detach so is easy to empty and clean when you are done.
Oral-B Water Jet Oral Irrigator
Known for their electric toothbrushes, this is Oral B’s version of a water flosser. A countertop flosser with a decent sized water tank, the Water Jet Oral Irrigator performs well although it is a tad more expensive than some of its rivals.
It comes with 5 power settings ranging from gentle to very powerful so you can find the right power to suit you and is powered from the mains using a 115V shaving socket. It only comes with one head type, although you do get 4 of them either to share around the family or delay the need to buy replacements.
While you may think the lack of other head types is a disadvantage, the water jet is the equivalent to the standard head you would use 90% of the time with any of the other flossers, although considering this is one of the more expensive options it is still a little disappointing.
Overall we’d still be tempted to recommend the Waterpik WP-120 over this model, especially if it is available cheaper, but it is a good alternative.
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