Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100, 5100, 6100 Review and comparison

Sonicare tech of ProtectiveClean series

The Protective Clean is a brand-new line in the Philips Sonicare family, launched at the beginning of 2018! The name of this new addition to the Sonicare range suggests that Phillips is looking to attract brushers who are conscious about the effective combination of their tooth cleaning and protective caring. If this is a market that the company is consciously targeting then it’s fair to assume that they’ve done their homework, and have identified a need. It certainly meets the needs of improving the gum health and reducing the cavities that I have myself, so I’m glad they did.

The series comprises of 3 different models, the 4100, 5100 and 6100, and each of the slogans attached to them on the Philips website is a variation on “Gently does it”. Pricing is higher than entry-level, more towards the middle of the market, with suggested retail prices of from about $70 to $130.

ProtectiveClean series a brand-new line of Sonicare

Appearance and Designing

All of the Protective Clean models have the typical Philips slender profile that sets them apart from other brands, I like the fact that the handle has a sleek and slim design. It looks nice when it’s sitting on its charger in the bathroom, and it feels light in your hand. It’s not heavy at all, so I would think that even small children or older people with arthritis would be happy to use it.

  • The basic model 4100 has only one distinctive button – on/off switch in the middle of the handle and comes in 2 colors on Amazon, white and black.
    ProtectiveClean 4100(white)
    ProtectiveClean 4100(black)
    ProtectiveClean 4100(white)
    ProtectiveClean 4100(black)
    ProtectiveClean 4100(white)
    ProtectiveClean 4100(white)
    ProtectiveClean 4100(black)
    ProtectiveClean 4100(black)
  • The 5100 offers the 2 color choices and with an extra button which changes the brushing mode between its 3 options – Clean, White and Gum Care.
    ProtectiveClean 5100(white)
    ProtectiveClean 5100(black)
    ProtectiveClean 5100(White)
    ProtectiveClean 5100(black)
    ProtectiveClean 5100(white)
    ProtectiveClean 5100(White)
    ProtectiveClean 5100(black)
    ProtectiveClean 5100(black)
  • The 6100 is the top model of the ProtectiveClean series, it comes in 3 colors, navy blue, pink and white silver, and also has the extra mode button to control the brushing modes.
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(Navy Blue)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(Pink)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(White)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(Navy Blue)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(Pink)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(White)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(Navy Blue)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(Navy Blue)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(Pink)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(Pink)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(White)
    Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100(White)
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Key Features & Technologies

I was keen to try the ProtectiveClean 6100 because I’m something of a coffee addict and also someone with gums that occasionally get sensitive and even bleed. I have a coffee grinder and an espresso machine with a milk steamer in my kitchen, so it’s pretty much impossible for me not to drink 4 tasty espressos every day. All of that coffee stains my teeth of course, so I was pleased to be testing and see how it would manage with the grime.

The ProtectiveClean 6100 (along with some whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth) was a pleasure to use and it definitely made my teeth look and feel cleaner. They’ve never been perfectly white, but it looked to me that this brush was able to do a good job of reducing the coffee staining.

All models feature a lithium-ion rechargeable battery which lasts for up to 2 weeks in normal use, i.e. brushing twice a day for the recommended 2 minutes, so it was no trouble at all to use on a daily basis.

The built-in pressure sensor of ProtectiveCleanSince the series is dedicated to gum health, all models feature a built-in pressure sensor, as you would expect, as keeping your gums healthy means not pressing down on them too much. This feature vibrates the handle and illuminates a light to alert the user that they are pressing too hard. I found this very useful because I do have a tendency to over brush. I’m so aware of the fact that my teeth are crowded that I sometimes overdo it, because I don’t particularly like to floss. I only floss now and again, because I know I have to, so the rest of the time I try to make up for this by applying too much pressure on the brush to really burrow into the tight spaces. The pressure sensor alert was slightly annoying to start with because it feels as if you’re being told off by a vibrating handle, but it’s something I quickly got used to. After a while, I knew how hard to press without thinking about it, so I suppose the 6100 ‘trained’ me to brush better!

Another handy feature that has made its way from the more expensive models down to these mid-range brushes is the BrushSync mode-pairing system (only 6100 offers this feature). When you click the brush head in place, the embedded microchip will “communicate” with the handle, and then the handle will synchronize the optimal brushing mode and pairs with the suitable intensity automatically.

The BrushSync mode-pairing system of ProtectiveClean

Also, the BrushSync feature means that the handle can tell you when to replace your brush heads. While the brush heads are very durable, they naturally wear out over time. This technology can tell how long you’ve been using a brush head for, and even how hard you’ve been pressing over time. When you hear a short beep and a light on the handle goes on, it’s time to switch. It’s best not to ignore it, as worn out brush heads are less effective.

The brush head replacement reminder light of ProtectiveClean

I found BrushSync feature useful first thing in the morning because I prefer not to have to think about anything taxing before I have had my first coffee! In the evening, I sometimes like to select the brushing mode myself, and that is something that you can do before you start to brush on the Protective Clean 5100 and 6100 models.

The 5100 and 6100 have 3 brushing modes called Clean, Gum Care, and White. The 4100 just offers Clean mode. The 6100 also has 3 intensities – low, medium, and high, to give you a bit of extra choice.

The 3 brushing modes of ProtectiveClean 5100 and 6100

Phillips describes the way that the brush head moves as its “sonic sweeping motion” and says that this creates gentle micro bubbles which penetrate deeply between your teeth. I will believe that. It can feel quite ticklish in your mouth, but it’s a perfectly okay feeling. The Brush head speeds are listed as being up to 62,000 movements per minute, which is quick to say the least, considering that a hummingbird can only manage 13,800! This explains that tickling feeling then!

The protective clean family also has the QuadPacer feature which tells you when to brush a different section of your mouth for the best cleaning effect. I like this because, to be honest, who stands there counting? I certainly don’t. This is one of the reasons why my dentist recommended this type of brush to me, because people generally don’t spend long enough brushing their teeth. It should be 2 minutes, with 30 seconds devoted to each quarter of your mouth. This feature takes away the need to think about it, so all you have to focus on is moving the brush head around gently until it tells you to stop. You don’t need to scrub the brush up and down by the way, just move it from one tooth to the next and let the Protective Clean do the work.

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Difference between Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100, 5100 and 6100

From the key features of these 3 models, the base model 4100 is differentiated by the slogan, “Cleaner teeth” while the advanced 5100 focuses on healthier gums, and the top one 6100 is for whitening your teeth.

Key FeaturesProtectiveClean 4100ProtectiveClean
5100
ProtectiveClean
6100
Brushing modes1 Mode: Clean3 Modes: Clean, Gum Care, White3 Modes: Clean, Gum Care, White
3 intensities setting
Up to 62,000 brush strokes/min
Removes up to 7x more plaque
Improves gum health in only 2 weeks
Helps reduce cavities
Pressure sensor & feedbackVibrates handle to alert userVibrates handle to alert userVibrates handle to alert user
Smartimer and Quadpacer
BrushSync brushing modes pairingAuto pair with the
brush heads including
Plaque Control, Gum Care,
DiamondClean
BrushSync brush head replacement reminder
Faceplate illuminated displayLight shows battery statusLight shows battery status,
Brush head replace reminder
Light shows battery status,
Brush head replace reminder
Lithium ION rechargeable battery14 days operating14 days operating14 days operating
Optimal Plaque Control1 x
Optimal Gum Care brush head1 x
ProtectiveClean brush head1 x
DiamondClean brush head1 x
Travel case1 x1 x
Base charger1 x1 x1 x
PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
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Accessories & Packages

Each of the Protective Clean Series models comes with a simple charging stand (HX6000/01). Nothing fancy, just a plastic base for the handle to sit on while it powers up. It looks fine but not flashy so there isn’t really much to say about it. It does the job. The good news is that this standard charge can be adept with most Sonicare electric toothbrushes, You can share a charger even if you have two different Philips electric toothbrushes in your home.

Base charger model HX6000/01

The 4100 comes with a C2 Optimal Plaque Control head. The 5100 comes with one G2 Optimal Gum Care brush head, and the 6100 comes with a ProtectiveClean head and a DiamondClean head. The handle has a little light on which tells you when you should change each head. Somehow it knows when they are wearing out.

All models come with a travel case (HX1000/01) which is handy. Again, it isn’t fancy, but it does an adequate job of protecting the unit when you’re traveling.

Travel case model HX1000/01

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Pros & Cons


PROS:

  • All the models in this range feature the same slim and attractive design as the more expensive versions higher up in the range. For people who want to keep the essential features at a reasonable price (for 4100 and 5100) and ditch all the ones that they probably won’t use anyway, these are a great buy.
  • It has the Philips easy start feature which begins with the gentle intensity that gradually ramps up over the next 14 days so that you get used to high-speed cleaning.
  • I’ve used Oral-B’s in the past, and I must say that I do like the circular motion of their brushes. Sonicare brushes use an up-and-down motion, which I don’t like quite as much, but which does get between my teeth better. My dentist commented that I had less tartar and plaque, so even though I’m not quite so in love with the motion, it is a plus.

CONS:

  • There is no rubber grip on the handle. You just get smooth plastic, which makes it easy to clean, but if you’re a sloppy brusher like I occasionally am then it can turn in your hand as you try to manoeuvre it.
  • 62000 stroke/min is twice as high as that of the most previous products, although it can improve the cleaning effect, for people who first use the Sonicare electric toothbrushes for a time, they may not be able to get used to such a high brush head speed.
  • I don’t think the current suggest retail price of 6100 is reasonable – if you comparing with the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected or the Oral-B 6000, because I can’t find the Bluetooth and smart App support on the ProtectiveClean 6100, even if its price has exceeded $100!!

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Conclusions

Choosing the model which is right for you should not be too difficult. All of them are good value and offer the same basic features. If you want a single speed brush than the ProtectiveClean 4100 will do a good job of cleaning your teeth, getting rid of stains in a gentle way. It’s only an extra $20 for the 5100 and for that you get 2 extra modes. If gum care and whitening are important to you and it may be worth considering. Another $30 jump gets you the 6100 and for the extra money you get a choice of 3 intensities and brush sync mode. If this is something that appeals to you then it’s not much more to pay for it. These features used to be available only on brushes that cost a lot more money.

Whichever one you choose I think you will be as delighted as I was. It’s a solid performer the treats your gums better than some of the other brushes out there while still delivering an exceptional clean.

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