Today, just about everybody has an electric toothbrush. Dentists have been pushing them for years, often expensive models like Philips Sonicare’s DiamondClean line. While these brushes aren’t really, well, brushes–you hold them over the teeth, no back and forth–the benefits of the new approach are well-known: superior cleaning of teeth and gums. Oral-B and Sonicare have subsequently introduced quality brushes below $50 and the category is expected to continue to grow.
Into this highly competitive space enters the curiously named Quip.
Quip has its own brush of course, but it is about more than a new product— “We created quip to help you maintain a healthy mouth–the gateway to a healthy body. Using good design without gimmicks, quip makes a better brushing routine simple and enjoyable.” By all accounts, the business is off to a great starting, growing rapidly and marketing aggressively. But does Quip actually go beyond being just another brush?
Let’s start with opening up the clever-looking Quip package. Inside, you find a clear plastic case covering the brush as if it’s a futuristic lab instrument. When you open it, you discover a smaller plastic tube to hold the brush. The tube sticks to your medicine cabinet or any smooth surface. The brush itself has a conventional bristle head, nothing like Sonicare or Oral-B. It also doesn’t need to be charged. Instead, if you’re a Quip subscriber, you receive a new brush every three months. So you never have to worry about changing the brush head, charging it or getting a new one.
It all just happens as long as you keep paying Quip, plus checkup reminders every six months and online 24/7 support. The lowest cost starter kit is $25 upfront, plus $5 per month for refills, and other options include a $40 upfront for a silver metal electric toothbrush, plus $15 a month for brush head and battery, floss refill, and toothpaste.
All this sounds great—although $15 per month starts to add up. Unfortunately, the experience of brushing with Quip is anti-climactic. The brush has very little power, and rather than hold it over your teeth and let the sound waves do their work (Sonicare) or the rotors turn (Oral-B), you have to work it. Just like an old-fashioned toothbrush. Yes, it buzzes a little, but it’s not clear to me what benefit the electric aspect provides with Quip. True, every 30 seconds it buzzes to inform you to move to another area of your teeth, part of Quip’s system toward a healthier mouth, but plenty of other brushes do the same thing including Sonicare.
One nice feature is worth noting. On the back side of the brush head, Quip has a tongue brush. It very effectively scraps off build up on your tongue, revealing the pink below.
The Quip case with outer adhesive is less of a winner. When stuck to your vanity, the case and brush look cool to be sure. But what about the next day when you notice toothpaste streaks on the mirror? Sure, meticulous care and cleaning of the brush might have prevented the toothpaste residue buildup…but for the impatient majority, we’re never going to be quite meticulous enough. Call it a good idea but flawed in execution. (Note: it does hold both its stick and come off the mirror quite easily.)
There’s also Quip’s toothpaste. It comes in a distinctive silver tube and has a mild mint flavor. However, after only a handful of uses, I found it hard to get the paste out—even after cleaning any residue off the top of the tube. Yes, by providing the paste with the brush, Quip is providing a full dentalcare solution, but other toothpastes, from Crest to Sensodyne, strike me as superior.
Quip’s ambitious plans for improving dental care and its clever subscription model is an admirable and an imaginatively styled and constructed offer to disrupt the category, and it has earned respect. For this reviewer, however, Quip is unfortunately more of curiosity than a viable alternative to maintain a healthy mouth.