The Philips Sonicare HX5610 Essence 5600 electric toothbrush makes the daily habit of keeping your teeth clean even easier with its Sonic technology, and will make your dentist proud of you. It comes in at a low-to-mid range priced electric toothbrush giving you all the functions you need to keep your teeth clean and healthy, although it does not have all the features and refinements of a more expensive model.
Philips claim the Essence 5600 removes two times as much plaque as manual brushing, and a huge majority of user reviews testify to the efficiency of its cleaning.
Rechargeable or Battery Powered?
The Essence 5600 is a rechargeable toothbrush and sits on its own freestanding charger base for recharging.
It is recommended to charge the batteries for 24 hours during the first few days of use and to store the toothbrush on the charger when not in use. After fully charging the battery will last for two weeks of brushing twice a day which is perfect if you’re going away as you won’t need to take the charger with you. Just remember to fully charge it before you go. Oh, and don’t forget to remove the travel cap before you start brushing!
The toothbrush has a “Smartimer” 2-minute timer (two minutes is the time recommended by dentists as the optimum brushing time). After turning on the brush it will automatically turn off after two minutes. If you decide to pause your brushing during your two minutes it will automatically carry on from where you left off. However, if you leave it for longer than 30 seconds or put the brush back on its charger base, the Smartimer will reset to the beginning of the two-minute cycle.
There is no “quadpacer” on this model (the 30-second interval timer which reminds you to move from upper to lower, and inner to outside of the teeth), and it doesn’t have a sensor to tell you if you’re brushing too hard.
The Essence 5600 utilises the patented Philips’ “sonic” technology which basically means the toothbrush is operating up to 31,000 strokes per minute whilst reaching between the teeth and along the gum line. The result is that the sonic cleaning action is really effective but also incredibly gentle. To begin with if you’ve never used an electric toothbrush before you may be aware of the humming noise as it’s vibrating, but it’s not noisy or obtrusive.
The toothbrush also has a feature called “easy-start brushing power ramp-up” – this helps you get used to brushing with Sonicare by gently increasing the brushing power during the first 12 brushing sessions. What happens is the brushing power gradually increases over the first 12 brushings up to full power. When you turn the brush on you will hear two beeps, but when you’ve reached full power at the 12th session you’ll no longer here this. The toothbrush must be switched on for at least 1 minute during each session to properly move through the easy-start ramp-up cycle.
How Do You Use the Essence 5600?
Brushing your teeth couldn’t be easier – hold the brush at 45° to your gums and gently holding the handle move the brush in a circular motion. After a few seconds, move the brush to the next section of your mouth. Use a gentle pressure on your teeth and don’t use any sort of scrubbing action. Continue to work systematically round your mouth, for example starting with your outside top teeth, inside top, outside bottom and inside bottom.
If you want to clean your tongue then just place the brush on it and move it gently around. Also, if you want you can spend a little more time brushing areas that are more prone to staining, or if you have braces or fillings or areas where you have periodontal pockets. Just turn the toothbrush on and off again as necessary.
In my opinion this would not be the best electric toothbrush for very young children (I would buy them the Philips Sonicare HX6311/02 Sonicare for Kids), but my children are 10 and 11 years old and they would have no problem using it after a brief explanation and practice session. Also, I think the fact that it has less features than the more expensive models would make it easier for them to use.
Travelling With Your Toothbrush
The toothbrush comes with a soft travel case. Although the charger won’t fit into the case with the brush, providing your trip is no more than two weeks and it’s fully charged before you go you shouldn’t need it anyway.
Dimensions / Power / What’s In the Box?
- Dimensions and weight: 0.3 x 0.3 x 7 inches ; 7.4 ounces
- Voltage: 110-120 V, 50-60 Hz
- Sonicare Essence brush handle
- e-Series Standard brush head
- Charger base
- Soft travel case
- Travel cap
When you first get it out of the box you will need to assemble it, which is very easy – align the front of the brush head with the toothbrush handle, match the bars that are on the inside top of the removable nut with the notches inside the top of the handle and slide the brush head onto the handle. Screw the brush head nut clockwise until it’s firmly tight, and if the brush head rattles when you’re using is, tighten the nut a bit more.
- The Essence 5600 has an angled brush head neck which makes reaching and cleaning the back teeth easier.
- Dynamic cleaning action drives fluid between teeth
- Two-minute timer helps ensure recommended brushing time
- Soft grip helps provide better hand control & added comfort
- Easy-start to acclimatize to the Sonicare experience
- Battery indicator – light in power unit flashes to show when it needs recharging
- Cord wrap in bottom of charger to store excess cord
Only one brush head is included and it is recommended you change heads every three months. Replacements can easily be purchased from stores selling the toothbrush and all Essence brushes are compatible eSeries brush heads. You can buy thestandard eSeries brush head or the Sensitive brush head.
The Essence 5600 is safe to use on braces, dental restorations (fillings, crowns, veneers) and periodontal pockets. The price makes this electric toothbrush easily affordable and the effectiveness of its brushing action makes it comparable with more expensive models.
Older brush heads are compatible with the newer toothbrush model but this isn’t really an issue as they are consumable products which will need replacing every three months on average, as recommended by Philips.
The Essence 5600 would definitely suit people who just want to get on with the business of cleaning their teeth rather than worry about beepers going off and lights flashing for one thing and another.
The latest version of the Essence 5600 was released in July 2012 and a huge majority of reviews state that the users have been more than pleased with their electric toothbrushes which were still going strong. So at this stage it’s not really possible to say how long the toothbrush will last, but Philips Sonicare have an excellent reputation in the market. Many of these users were also previous Essence / Sonicare users, upgrading their old electric toothbrushes who already had a lot of confidence in the Sonicare range.
Replacement brush heads are quite expensive and it’s more economical to buy a multi-pack. You can buy a pack of 6 Philips Sonicare Toothbrush eSeries Heads for around $55 which will last you 18 months, or alternatively a pack of 2 will set you back around $17 which works out at $102 for 12 month’s of brushing.
There is no 30-second interval timer, only a 2-minute timer to help you stick to dentists’ recommended brushing time, also there is no pressure sensor. Water and toothpaste have a tendency to leak through the joints and need periodic cleaning, however, the toothbrush handle is dishwasher safe (after removing the brush head and charger).
One review reported that the toothbrush is very loud and vibrates hard when it’s turned on and this could be because the brush head nut needs tightening – if it carries on then you may need to replace the brush head. It could also be that many people are simply not used to an electric toothbrush compared with a manual brush.
If you have an older model, users have commented that the chargers are no longer compatible with the newer model, however, I contacted Philips who said the older versions of the Essence 5600 chargers are compatible with the latest model. The chargers are a lot smaller on the latest model and users have complained they don’t hold the brush so well.
Philips Sonicare HX5610/01 Essence 5600 Consumer Ratings & Reviews
The average rating comes in at 4.4 out of 5 for this toothbrush with an overwhelming number of reviews saying how clean the users’ teeth felt after using it.
The Philips Essence 5600 is one of the cheaper electric toothbrushes on the market at around the $40 mark, but it does its job and does it well. It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of more expensive models, but it has excellent brushing performance and a two-year warranty. Amazon usually have pretty good deals which you can check out below: