Health & Beauty

Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean Comparison – 4100 vs 5100

Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean is the top-recommended toothbrush brand by leading dentists and oral hygiene experts.

The brand has released several series of its most popular electric toothbrushes in the last years, all of which are designed to help improve your dental hygiene, remove the plaque, improve the health of your gums and whiten the teeth.

The question is – how to choose between these products,  and how to find out whether the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 or the ProtectiveClean 5100 is better for your needs?

Both of the electric toothbrushes from this series are advertised as providing gentle and yet efficient care and protection for your teeth and gums.

There are some differences in the pricing and the features of these two models, which are worth mentioning, and each of these products has its pros and cons.

Here is a detailed review that compares the two versions of this bestselling brand, and which will hopefully help you find the best option for your budget and your dental hygiene needs.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Sonicare 4100 vs. 5100.

Philips Sonicare 4100 vs. 5100 – what are the differences?

Philips Sonicare 4100 appeared on the market and is advertised with the catchy slogan – “Cleaner teeth. Gently does it.”

The Sonicare 5100 is more focused on gum health, and its slogan is “Healthier gums. Gently does it.”

In general, the Sonicare 4100 is designed and made to enable effective plaque control and cleaner teeth. The electric brush has high-quality bristles which are thickly and firmly packed, which help remove up to 7 times more germs from the teeth than traditional toothbrushes.

The 5100 is designed to efficiently remove the plaque from the gums, and especially around the gum line, and is advertised as being 100% more effective than traditional toothbrushes.

As for the different cleaning modes, the 4100 has one single cleaning mode, and the Protective Clean 5100 has three brushing modes, including clean, gum care, and white.

Another difference between these two electric toothbrushes by Philips is their travel friendliness. While the Sonicare 4100 comes with a charger only, the Sonicare 5100 comes with a charger as well as a handy travel box to store your toothbrush hygienically when you are on a business trip or a vacation.

Neither of the two has the latest BrushSync mode, which the newer models have, though. This nifty feature will alert you which of the brush heads is in use at any given time. Then again, both the 4100 and 5100 will alert you when it is time to replace the brush head.

The ProtectiveClean 4100 has a program that allows you to gradually increase the brushing power of a new brush, while the latter model doesn’t offer this option.

The similarities

Both help reduce the cavities, but the 4100 is more efficient in removing the plaque, while the 5100 is a better choice for improving the gum health in just 2 weeks.

Both have brush head speeds of up to 62,000 brush movements per minute, and both have QuadPacer reminders, which will alert you how long you should be brushing the different quarters of your mouth.

Both of the models from the ProtectiveClean series utilize the patented Philips Sonic cleaning technology, which pulses water in between the teeth, for plaque and germ removal, and better cleaning of the teeth.

They also have pressure sensors that will prevent you from brushing your teeth and gums too hard.

The design of the Philips Sonicare 4100 vs. 5100

Both toothbrushes from the Philips Sonicare line are sleek and slender, which not only looks quite nice but also makes holding them and using them more comfortable and easy, even by children or people with weak hands.

The Sonicare 4100 has a single on and off switch on the handle and comes in white, pink, deep pink, or black color options.

The Sonicare 5100 has an extra button that allows for switching among the three available brushing options – clean, gum care, and whitening. It is available in black and white color options.

Their battery life

Both of these models from the Sonicare ProtectiveClean series run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which will last for about 2 weeks with normal use, which includes brushing twice a day for the recommended time of 2 minutes.

They come with dual voltage chargers, so you can take either on a trip abroad with you to ensure that your teeth are clean, no matter where you happen to be.

Both appliances need to be charged for 24 hours before being used for the first time. After that, you can safely leave them on the charger base after use.

As with most battery-operated appliances, it is recommended that you let the li-ion battery wear off completely at least once in every three months, in order to prolong the longevity of the battery.

Both toothbrushes have LED indicators on the front, which will alert you when the appliance needs to be charged.

The added accessories

Both the Sonicare 4100 and 5100 come with useful charging stands, which you can use for storing your toothbrushes as well as charging them. They have small footprints, so they will not take up too much space in your bathroom, and will keep your toothbrush standing upright for space-saving and hygienic purposes.

The charger bases are interchangeable with the other Philips electric toothbrushes, so you can use the same charger if you have more than one at home.

The Sonicare 5100 is sold with a compact and useful travel case, so you can safely store your electric toothbrush when traveling, or carry it with you wherever you want.

ProtectiveClean 4100

The Sonicare 4100 toothbrush is an affordable basic model from the ProtectiveClean series, which has the same sleek design as the higher-end models from the series, and the main features which will ensure that your teeth are clean from plaque and microbes.

The 4100 toothbrush costs about $50 and has an easy start feature, which will let you get used to high-speed tooth cleaning if you are not used to using electric toothbrushes. This electric toothbrush will gently introduce it to the new feeling by gradually increasing the speed of the brush for the first 14 days of use.

This makes it a perfect choice for first-time electric brush users, kids, and others.

It is a model that is the number 1 recommended one by dental professionals and will help remove 7 times and more plaque from your teeth than a regular manual toothbrush.

It has integrated pressure control, which will alert you if you are pressing against your teeth and gums too hard.

There is also a BrushSynch reminder, which will let you know when it is time to replace the brush head with gentle vibrations of the handle.

Plus, it has a SmartTimer and a QuadPacer, which will ensure that you clean all of your teeth and areas of your mouth properly. Thanks to these features, you will remember to brush your teeth for 2 minutes per time, which is what the dentists around the world recommend as the optimal time for brushing.

Overall, the Sonicare 4100 is an excellent option for people looking for a budget-friendly option for a good quality and efficient electric brush which will help them maintain better hygiene and thus reduce the risks of cavities, bad breath, and stained teeth.

It is also a perfect choice if you have no experience with electric toothbrushes, as it has a 14 day Easy Start mode, which will gradually increase the speed and intensity of the brushing every day during the two weeks of use. This will help you get used to the sensation, and to the high speed of the brush when used in full capacity.

Like the more expensive models from this series, the Sonicare 4100 has a brushing speed of 62,000 movements per minute. Plus, it features the patented and recommended sonic technology, which gently cleans and sweeps away the plaque.

Its battery life is as long as that of the more expensive versions of the ProtectiveClean series and will last for about 2 weeks with normal use. It comes with a charger base, which can be used as a toothbrush stand as well.

The 4100 is suitable for use by people with braces, veneers, fillings, and crowns.

The 4100 works on dual voltage, so you can take it with you when traveling abroad as well.

The toothbrush can be purchase in white, black, pink, or deep pink color options.

It may not have the bells and whistles of the later models, but it is reasonably priced and does what a good toothbrush is meant to do – it will help clean your teeth and will remove 7 times more plaque than a regular toothbrush will.


The Sonicare 4100 has just a few cons. One is that the brush head lasts for just about as long as a regular toothbrush will, so it will need frequent replacements. The other potential problem is that its vibrations can be a tad too strong and painful for people with sensitive or painful gums and teeth.

ProtectiveClean 5100

The ProtectiveClean 5100 Sonicare electric toothbrush costs about $30 more than the 4100, and has all the basic features of the latter, but with some added extras.

The Sonicare 5100 comes with a Gum Car Brush instead of the Plaque Control brush of the 4100. Plus, the 5100 has 3 brushing modes you can choose from – clean, gum care, and white.

The Sonicare 5100 also has the Pressure Control sensor for protecting the teeth and gums and the BrushSync reminder for brush head replacement of the 4100 version.  The BrushSync will also inform you if you are applying too much pressure on your gums or teeth.

Thanks to the Quadpacer, you will be reminded to pay attention to every single tooth, gum, and part of your mouth every time you brush your teeth.

The main difference between the two is that the ProtectiveClean 5100 is mainly focused on improving the gum health, while the 4100 has the main objective of removing the plaque and cleaning the teeth.

In fact, the manufacturer of the Sonicare 5100, claims that this electric toothbrush is capable of improving the gum health by 100% as compared to manual toothbrushes.

The toothbrush itself is slip and easy to use as the 4100, and has curved power tips which will allow you to reach all of your teeth, even the ones in the back of your mouth.

The Sonicare 5100 comes with a charger stand, as well as a travel storage case for portability and hygiene. The battery life is about 2 weeks per charge.

It is available in black and white color options.

The Sonicare 5100 is a perfect choice if you have problematic gums. This electric toothbrush by Philips is specially designed to resolve such problems, gently and efficiently. It will not only help promote your gum health, but it will also clean and whiten your teeth as well.


The cons of the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 5100 are that you cannot adjust the intensity level of the brushing, which means that the vibrations and speed may be too intense for people with sensitive or painful gums.

How to pick which one is better for you – the Sonicare 4100 or 5100?

There are some main features which you need to keep in mind when picking the one which is more suitable for your needs. These include:

Your dental health

If your main goal is to clean the plaque off of your teeth and gums, remove the microbes from your mouth, and to keep your teeth protected from cavities, then you may want to opt for the basic Sonicare 4100 version.

The 5100 will clean your teeth as well, but its basic function is to keep the gums healthy and well.

This means that if you want a toothbrush that will help strengthen your gums, and make them healthier, then you may want to opt for the 5100, which comes with a gum care mode and a gum care brush head.

The 5100 is also more suitable for those of you looking for a more versatile electric toothbrush because it has 3 separate brushing modes – clean, gum care, and white.

For people with sensitive gums, getting a high-speed electric toothbrush may be challenging, as some people are more sensitive to the high vibrations than others.

Both these toothbrushes have the same 62,000 movement or 31,000 brushstroke speed per minute, and the same vibrations, but the 5100 has three different brushing programs which you can choose from, so you can adjust the intensity. On the other hand, the 4100 has an Easy Start program, which will help you get used to the process of high speed brushing gradually.

Your experience with electric toothbrushes

If you have been using electric toothbrushes for a long time, you can just jump in and get the one which you like the most, but in case this is going to be your first one, you should opt for the Sonicare 4100 because of its unique Easy-Start program.

This program will allow you to get used to the vibrations and the sensations of using a fast-speed electric brush on your teeth and in your mouth. When you use this program, the brush will gently and gradually introduce you to these new sensations by starting with low intensity, and then by increasing its level only slightly every day for 14 consecutive days.

Your budget

If you want a good quality electric brush which doesn’t have multiple smart or other features which you probably will never use anyway, then the best choice is the Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100. It costs quite a bit less than the 5100 and still has the main features which make the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes stand out from the rest – including a protective pressure sensor, a QuadPacer which prompts you to clean all areas of the mouth thoroughly every time, the 62,000 brush movements per minute, the sonic technology for removing 7 times more plaque gently, the BrushSync which will remind you when it is time to replace the brush head, and the smart timer.

If you want to spend more for a more versatile toothbrush with several brushing modes, a gum care brush, and with a complimentary travel case, then you should opt for the Sonicare 5100.

Of course, if you are ready to splurge out, you can opt for some of the newer and smarter models from the Sonicare ProtectiveClean series, like the Sonicare 6100 or the 6500 which come with two smart BrushSync functions, have variable intensity modes and other added features, but costs quite a lot more than the 4100 and the 5100.

Final words

When comparing the Sonicare 4100 vs. 5100 and deciding which one is better of the two, there are multiple factors that you need to keep in mind.

The main difference between the two electric toothbrushes by Philips is the brush head type, as well as the brushing modes they offer.

Otherwise, these toothbrushes have pretty much the same features which have made the Sonicare products so popular and highly recommended by dentists around the world. Both feature the sonic technology, pressure control, a QuadPacer, a timer, a BrushSync reminder for replacing the brush head, 14-day battery life, and a sleek, space-saving, and ergonomic designs.

Also, the 4100, being a more basic appliance, costs about $30 less than the 5100, which is another essential factor to take into consideration.

So, take a closer look at the different features which the two toothbrushes offer in order to make an informed decision when choosing between the Philips Sonicare 4100 and the Sonicare 5100.

Last update on 2020-03-30 at 05:55 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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