In case you missed this week’s Wallop of the Week on Channel 5’s Gadget Show, November 3rd, here are some details about Uber Sonic toothbrushes.
Subscription services are becoming a big thing. Coffee, beer, printer ink, razor heads — these are just some of the things you can pay to get delivered directly to your home. Of course, this is not a new idea. Milkmen and newspaper boys and girls have been doing this for over a century. But the new kids on the block promise to ‘disrupt’ established industries, to use the jargon.
One of the more interesting is electric toothbrushes. Remembering to buy a replacement toothbrush head is a pain. And it’s often quite expensive. In America, a handful of companies have stepped in, promising to automatically send you replacement heads and save you money at the same time. Quip is the main US firm — and it does ship to the UK.
The only dedicated UK service is Uber Sonic. This is the one we took a look at. First off, it’s an elegant, lightweight toothbrush made of aluminium, with an efficient and small recharging station. I tried it out for a week or two and found it okay, though not as satisfying as my normal brush. It just didn’t feel as if it was getting in between my teeth to dislodge bits of bacon. Apologies, if that’s too much information.
But does the maths stack up? The initial cost is £19. For that you get the brush, plus a further two heads and some teeth whitening stuff. That’s good value. Most standard brushes cost £25 or so and there are plenty on the market costing more than £50.
Then there’s the replacement heads. You get sent two new heads every other month and you are charged £9 a time — or £4.50 a head.
This just isn’t very good value. You can buy replacement Oral B heads — the market leader — for about £3.75 each from Boots, if you buy a pack of 8. And they are frequently on special offer in Superdrug, costing the equivalent of £3.20 or so each. If you are prepared to sign up to Wowcher and be sent endless spam emails, you can find 24 Oral-B compatible heads (not the real thing, admittedly) for a mere £11 or 45p each.
So, Uber Sonic doesn’t represent very good value. But it’s a clever idea. I just hope that it spurs a bit more competition in the toothbrush market.