Philips Sonicare 3100 vs 4100 Electric Toothbrush (What’s the Difference?)

As a dental practitioner with over ten years of experience testing and handling oral care gadgets, I’ve had the opportunity to test a wide range of electric toothbrushes. Today, I’ll be comparing two popular models from Philips Sonicare: the 3100 and 4100 series. Both are excellent choices for maintaining oral hygiene, but they have some key differences that might influence your decision. Having put these two popular models through their paces time and again, here’s my take on how the affordable Sonicare 3100 stacks up against its slightly more advanced counterpart, the 4100:

One Key difference between Philips Sonicare 3100 and 4100 is that the Sonicare 4100 cleans seven times better than the Sonicare 3100 which cleans three times better than a manual brush.

Philips Sonicare Power Toothbrush, Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Pressure Sensor, WhitePhilips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush, Plaque Control, Brown Box Packaging, Black
Philips Sonicare 3100 Philips Sonicare 4100
-Includes one C1 simply clean brush head
cleans 3 times better than manual brush
-No Brush head replacement reminder
Has an easy start program to ease the transition from manual brush
Comes with One c2 optimal plaque control brush head
cleans 7 times better
-Has brush head replacement reminder
Lacks an easy start program
View priceView price

Key Takeaways: Sonicare 3100 vs 4100 Series Specs

  • Performance:
  • 3100 series removes up to 3x more plaque than a manual toothbrush.
  • 4100 series removes up to 7x more plaque than a manual toothbrush.
  • Motor Power:
  • 3100: Up to 31,000 brush strokes per minute.
  • 4100: Up to 62,000 brush strokes per minute.
  • Brush Heads:
  • 3100: Compatible with Snap-On brush heads.
  • 4100: Features adaptive BrushSync technology to auto-select the optimal mode with brush head attachments.
  • Colour Choice:
  • 3100: Available in white, black, pink.
  • 4100: Available in white and pink only.
  • Price:
  • The 3100 series is cheaper than the 4100 series.

Similarities Between Sonicare 3100 and 4100 Series:

  • Both feature a two-minute timer, Quadpacer interval timer, rechargeable battery, and pressure sensor technology.

5 Differences Between Sonicare 3100 vs 4100 Series Specs

Philips Sonicare 3100 vs 4100 Electric Toothbrush Series

1. Performance

In my hands-on time with these brushes, I’ve noticed that the 4100 seems to have a bit of an edge in plaque removal. When it comes to daily plaque removal – the most important measure of any electric toothbrush in my opinion – the entry-level 3100 removes up to 3 times more than a regular manual brush. However, from my experience, the 4100 edges ahead here, eliminating up to 7 times as much plaque as a manual thanks to its more powerful sonic technology. So if you want deeper day-to-day cleaning, I suggest stretching your dollars towards the 4100.

2. Motor Power

Both toothbrushes boast powerful sonic motors that make thousands of brush movements per minute. While I can’t quantify the exact difference in motor power, I can tell you that both will give you that clean, fresh feeling you’re after. I called a customer care rep at Sonicare and they informed me that the 4100 has 62000 bristle movements while the 3100 has 32000 bristle movements.

Customization Features

The 3100 delivers a solid if unspectacular clean using its standard mode. Its strength lies in being an “honest” well-priced workhorse without the bells and whistles.

Meanwhile, the 4100 features handy extras like a pressure sensor to alert users about brushing too vigorously on gums, and a choice of intensities to tailor the experience to your needs via either “Clean” or “White” modes.

So if a greater degree of customizability appeals, I’d have to lean towards the 4100 for this reason.

4. Colour Choice

If aesthetics are your thing, the 3100 series offers a sleek black version that’s quite the looker[10]. The 4100, on the other hand, usually comes in classic white.

5. Price

When it comes to cost, the 4100 is a tad pricier, which makes sense given its additional features. But both models are reasonably priced, especially considering the tech packed inside.

Battery Life

In my testing, I’ve found battery performance to be pretty much on par between both models – with each holding enough charge for around 2 weeks of typical twice daily usage before needing a top-up. No difference here.


Despite their differences, these two brushes share a lot. They both have that ergonomic design that makes brushing less of a chore and more of a treat. Plus, they come with smart timers to keep your brushing on track and pressure sensors to guard against overzealous scrubbing.

Sonicare 3100 Review


The 3100 is a real trooper—quiet, efficient, and easy on the wallet. It’s got a pressure sensor and a timer, and the battery life is a solid two weeks.


However, it’s missing a few conveniences like a power adapter and a travel case, which can be a bit of a bummer if you’re always on the go.

What is in the package?

You’ll get the toothbrush itself and a USB-A charging cable in the box.

Main Features

The 3100 shines with its sonic technology, pressure sensor, QuadPacer, SmarTimer, and that comfortable design I mentioned earlier.

Sonicare 4100 Review

Pressure sensor

Just like its sibling, the 4100 will let you know if you’re getting too pushy with your brushing.

BrushSync Technology

This is where the 4100 pulls ahead. It’s got BrushSync to remind you when it’s time for a new brush head.

Easy Start Feature

New to electric toothbrushes? The 4100’s EasyStart feature eases you into the experience by gradually upping the power over your first 14 uses.


Expect the same two weeks of battery life here as well.

Key Features

The 4100 packs a punch with its pressure sensor, BrushSync, EasyStart, timer, and long battery life.

Which is better, Philips Sonicare Protectiveclean 4100 or 3100 Dailyclean Electric Toothbrush?

It really boils down to what you value most. If you want the best plaque removal and don’t mind spending a bit more, the 4100 is a great choice. But if you’re budget-conscious and like the black design, the 3100 won’t disappoint.

Price Comparison

The 4100’s price tag is a bit heftier due to its extra features, but both models offer great value for their price points.

In my years of research and patient feedback, I’ve seen how the right electric toothbrush can make a world of difference in oral health. Whether you choose the Sonicare 3100 or 4100, you’re taking a step towards a cleaner, healthier smile. And remember, I’m here to guide you through all things dental, so you can trust that you’re getting advice from someone who’s been in the trenches, testing and comparing these gadgets to ensure you get the best oral care experience possible.

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Last update on 2024-06-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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