When you get ready to buy a manual toothbrush, do you feel overwhelmed by the choices on offer?

Do you wonder whether it’s worthwhile to pay extra for certain features, or does a cheaper toothbrush get the job done just as well?

What criteria really matter when selecting the best manual toothbrush?

If you are concerned about your dental health and want to make sure that you have the best product possible to care for your mouth and gums, then keep reading.

I am going to review the most important factors you should consider when buying a non-rechargeable toothbrush as well as look at the products that get the top review.

By the time you have finished reading this, you should feel confident that you are making a purchase that will keep you and your teeth happy and healthy.

Top 5 Manual toothbrush comparison chart

ImageName & brandPerfect forEditor's rating
Nimbus Microfineplaque removal, gum recession, sensitive teeth4.8 / 5
Dr. Collins Perio sensitive teeth, gum recession & braces4.8 / 5
Colgate 360 Adultremove plaque & stains, tongue cleaning4.6 / 5
Colgate Slim Soft Charcoal remove bacteria, deep clean4.4 / 5
GUM Travel FoldingTravel friendly4.1 / 5

Three Things You Should Consider When Buying a Manual Toothbrush

Both personal preference and recommendations from experts should be considered in evaluating a manual toothbrush. Keep reading for pointers on what to look for.

  • All Bristles Are Not Created Equal

There is a nearly unanimous consensus among dental professionals that the bristles of a toothbrush should be soft. With harder bristles, there is a greater likelihood of gum damage. According to the American Dental Association, brushes with angled or multi-level bristles are more effective than brushes with bristles that are all the same length.

  • When Size Matters

The size of a toothbrush and its head can vary according to your comfort and the size of your mouth. The toothbrush must be long enough to reach the back teeth. Some dentists think small heads are better because it is easier to maneuver them and reach hard-to-clean places compared to a larger head.

  • Hold on Tight

As with the other parts of the toothbrush, the handle should be one that is comfortable and easy for you to hold firmly. You may prefer one with a no-slip grip handle. Slightly curved handles or flexible handles may be better than straight ones at getting to difficult-to-reach places.

Top Five Manual Toothbrush Reviews

Our impressionNimbus Microfine Toothbrush

Due to its extra-soft bristles, this seems to be the toothbrush of choice if you have very sensitive teeth and gums including sensitivity from gum disease as a result of dental work or because of chemotherapy.

However, you won’t have to sacrifice a thorough cleaning for these extra-soft bristles. The toothbrush uses both longer, extra-fine bristles for getting to hard-to-reach areas and shorter bristles that help with plaque removal, so overall, the toothbrush is very gentle while cleaning satisfactorily.

This toothbrush is frequently endorsed by dental professionals, and its loyal users often first learn about it when they are given a sample at a dental visit.

Some people alternate the Nimbus with an electric toothbrush particularly when they feel the electric toothbrush is too harsh for everyday use. In fact, many users report that the Nimbus cleans as effectively or almost as effectively as an electric toothbrush.

  • Among the softest bristles available
  • Shorter bristles remove plaque
  • Longer bristles clean areas that are difficult to reach
  • Endorsed by many dental professionals
  • The head may be too large for some users
  • A few users said the bristles irritated their gums

Final verdict

The response to this toothbrush is overwhelmingly positive. In particular, if you have found ordinary soft-bristled toothbrushes still to be too harsh on your mouth, I think the Nimbus may be the right product for you.

Our impressionDr. Collins Perio Toothbrush

The Dr. Collins Perio Toothbrush is a slightly angled toothbrush with a grip handle. This toothbrush has a couple of particularly attractive features that are not commonly found on other toothbrushes.

One is its use of polyester instead of nylon bristles that are less likely to harbor bacteria and make for a more hygienic brushing experience. These bristles are also longer-lasting than nylon bristles.

The other is the tapered design of the bristles that allow the toothbrush to get into areas that are difficult to reach including around braces and other orthodontic work.

This is another soft brush that is good for those with a sensitive mouth or issues with bleeding gums. Its head is not too big and is angled in a way that makes it easier for users to reach molars. It also has wear indicators that lets users know when to replace it.

  • Polyester bristles discourage bacterial growth
  • Bristles last longer than on ordinary toothbrushes
  • Tapered bristles allow ease of cleaning between teeth
  • Good for people undergoing orthodontic work
  • Its softness means it may not be good for brushing the tongue
  • A few users reported issues with bristles falling out

Final verdict

I think this toothbrush is a good choice for people who want a smaller head or who have braces that they struggle to clean around. People also report that it massages the gums nicely. If you are concerned about the hygiene of your brush, this is definitely the product for you.

Our impressionColgate 360

The Colgate 360 Adult Full Head Soft Toothbrush is soft-bristled but firmer than the two previous ones described. It has a unique feature which is the tongue and cheek scraper.

This can significantly reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth by as much as 150 percent. If you struggle with bad breath, this can help cut back on that too.

Many people report that the firmness of the bristles combined with the scraper made their mouths feel extra clean.

The head on this toothbrush is large. This toothbrush also has an ergonomic handle, so your hand won't get sore while you are using it. The bristles are different lengths with some intended for cleaning and others for polishing.

  • Firmer bristles give a clean feeling
  • Includes tongue and cheek scraper
  • May reduce bad breath
  • Large head is good for larger mouth
  • Firm bristles were not soft enough for some users
  • The full head was too large for some users with small mouths

Final verdict

I recommend this toothbrush if you still want soft bristles but find some toothbrushes too soft. This is also a great toothbrush for you if you suffer from bad breath.

Our impressionColgate

This Colgate Charcoal Toothbrush is another soft-bristled toothbrush. It has a very slim head. There is a good grip on the handle, and the head is angled slightly.

The bristles have two special features. One is that they are tapered into a slim end that makes it easier to get into smaller areas. The other is that they are infused with charcoal.

Activated charcoal is a popular substance for cleaning and whitening teeth although it is more commonly found in powder or capsule form than in toothbrush bristles.

You might be able to combine this toothbrush with charcoal toothpaste for extra whitening action. Some people reported using this as an alternate toothbrush for the times when they brushed with charcoal to keep their regular toothbrush from becoming discolored.

  • Very soft bristles do not irritate gums
  • Charcoal bristles may whiten teeth
  • Tapered bristles make it easier to get at tight areas in the mouth
  • Smaller, slimmer head can be good for smaller mouths
  • Some users reported bristles falling out
  • Head was too slim for some users

Final verdict

If you've wanted to get in on the charcoal tooth-cleaning craze for a while, this toothbrush might be a way to ease into that. I would also recommend this toothbrush if you have had problems with the head of other toothbrushes being too big.

Our impressionTravel Folding

Just like its name suggests, this is a great handy toothbrush for when you are traveling. It's also easier and more compact than lugging a toothbrush holder around, which you may lose along the way or which may not even fit many types of toothbrushes.

I think a lot of people only think of travel toothbrushes as something they take on vacation, but you could also make this the toothbrush you take to work so you can brush your teeth during the day.

Keeping your toothbrush dry between uses is essential to cutting back on bacterial growth and even mold inside of toothbrush holders, so the antibacterial bristles on this toothbrush are particularly useful.

There are also air holes that allow water to drain out so the toothbrush can dry. The bristles on this are soft but firm, and it includes a tongue cleaner. Although it folds into itself, the brush isn't flimsy and seems to last as long as regular toothbrushes.

  • Anti-bacterial bristles and holes for drainage discourage growth of bacteria and mold
  • Tongue scraper cleans tongue and freshens breath
  • More compact for travel than using a regular toothbrush and conventional toothbrush holder
  • Sturdy and lasts as long as a conventional toothbrush
  • Appropriate for travel but not for daily use
  • Some users reported bristles caught when closing

Final verdict

I think this toothbrush needs to be evaluated with the understanding that you are looking for different features with a travel toothbrush versus one that you use every day. With that in mind, the easy-to-use and compact nature of this makes it great for a vacation or as a portable toothbrush for freshening your breath up during the day.

How Does a Manual Toothbrush Work?

When you brush your teeth, the bristles of the toothbrush act as an abrasive to dislodge and scrape away plaque and traces of food that remain after you have eaten. This is most effectively done by brushing your teeth gently with an angle of 45 degrees to the gum.

The toothbrush also helps distribute toothpaste with fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, throughout your mouth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I prefer firm or medium bristles?

You might feel like your teeth get cleaner if you brush hard with very firm bristles, but this is just not the case. You risk doing real damage to the enamel of your teeth and to your gums. For this reason, I have only reviewed brushes with soft bristles here.

How often should I replace my toothbrush?

Dentists recommend that you replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles start to fray, whichever happens first.

What is the best way to care for my toothbrush?

Your toothbrush should be rinsed of any food or toothpaste after use. You should then store it upright and allow it to air dry. If you are concerned about the sanitation of your toothbrush, you can soak it in mouthwash or a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution.

How often should I brush my teeth and for how long?

Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice each day for two minutes at a time. You should also floss daily and get regular dental cleanings and checkups.

Can I still get my teeth clean if I use a non-electric toothbrush?

According to the American Dental Association, a manual toothbrush is an effective way to get your teeth clean. They effectively remove plaque and food particles just as an electric toothbrush will.


I think if you are looking for a cheap manual toothbrush, whether your main criteria is soft bristles, a tongue scraper or a narrow head, you will be able to find one that suits your needs in this list.

You might want to choose one among the top four as your regular toothbrush and then buy the travel toothbrush to use when you go on vacation or at work.

I feel comfortable recommending all of the above as excellent choices.

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