Comparing the cost of kids’ electric toothbrushes

I’m a big stickler for oral health and my kids (including the one year old with his eight teeth) must brush their teeth daily (morning and night) no matter how tired or grumpy they are. They’re surprisingly good about it all though. I think it’s the swooshing and spitting activity that’s particularly entertaining for them when it comes to brushing their teeth.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had my fair share of tantrums and tears. I’ve had the eldest try and run away, cry in the corner, writhe in my arms and shake his head from side to side like an angry television viewer watching Wimbledon tennis on fast forward.

But a recent trip to the dentist for my three year old, Hayden, came back with a recommendation to buy an electric toothbrush. Keen on following doctor’s orders I went to the local pharmacy. The Oral B Kids Mickey Mouse electric toothbrush seemed like a funky and friendly enough option. It was the only option there.

But it was the price that made me quickly stack it back on the shelf. It was at an eye watering price of R645.95 ($47.96). The visit to the dentist was an unexpected one as was the price of this simple gadget, so I gingerly put the item back, smiled at the assistant who showed me where it was and scurried out of there like a fox that had been caught in the henhouse. I vowed to do a comparison though to see if I could get it for cheaper electric toothbrush elsewhere and I thought I’d share my online exercise right here:

Takealot 

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so dismissive of my local pharmacy for charging what it did for the Mickey Mouse Oral B toothbrush. Because on Takealot because the exact same product is sold for R799 – R153.04 more!

Alternatively, there’s the Philips Sonicare for Kids Toothbrush for R659. This is still more expensive than what the pharmacy would’ve charged me – albeit not by much. I’ve also got to add that this product has been discounted to R819.

Clicks
Clicks never used to allow you to buy their products online, but this is a recent development and a welcome one too.

The Mickey Mouse Oral B toothbrush is cheaper than Takealot’s price at R695, so it clearly pays to shop around to see what’s out there.

But it doesn’t mean other brands on offer are cheaper. Clicks sells the exact same Philips Sonicare for kids but at a more impressive R880.  So even without the discount, Takalot were selling for cheaper.

Finally, some sense prevails. I spot the Colgate Spiderman Kids Powered toothbrush for a very reasonable R115. My hopes of my son not suffering from tooth decay have now now been restored.

Dischem

I’m not sure if this is the same product that Clicks and Takelot’s, but Dischem is selling something called the Oral B Power Toothbrush Mickey D10 for R649.95. So if it is the same product it’s slightly cheaper than competitor, Clicks.
Dischem also sells the Oral B Power Toothbrush D2 Kids for R279.95.

Bid or Buy

If you are hellbent on buying an electric toothbrush with Frozen branding on it be prepared to pay. It’s available on Bid or Buy at a whopping R1,400.

The Vitality Cars Electric Toothbrush and Oral B Disney Princess Electric brush are also priced at R1,400.

The Phlips Sonicare for Kids Rechargable Toothbrush is being sold for R1099 on Bid or Buy, making it the most expensive so far when it comes to this brand.

Meanwhile, a brand I am not familiar with called the High Quality ShuNing Children’s Cartoon Electric Toothbrush will set you back R789.36.

If your kids are Star Wars fans then you can buy them a branded electric toothbrush for R699 – may the force be strong with your money management skills if you do buy this because in my mind it’s still too pricey for my liking. If you prefer an Avengers label for your child aged 3+, it also sets you back at R699.

Another unfamiliar brand called the Prooral 2206 IPX6 Waterproof Battery Powered Kids Music Sonic Pulse Electric Toothbrush (US Plug – Blue), is slightly cheaper at R436.99. It’s also available in pink for the same price.

The Brush Baby BabySonic Electric Toothbrush is for younger kids (aged 18 – 36 months) and is sold at a more reasonable R360 on Bid or Buy.

The most cost effective toothbrush I could find on Bid or Buy was the Colgate Kids Powered Toothbrush – Barbie, which sells for R140.

Things to consider

When comparing products, I find myself drawn to the ones I am familiar with. I’m not saying by any means that the other brands are of inferior quality. If you are prepared to try something new – go for it.

And while some of the rechargeable toothbrushes are more expensive I realize that you’d also save money on replacing the batteries.

If you are switching your kids onto electric toothbrushes be sure to compare the cost of the components that you need to replace (like the heads) as these can also be an expensive add on. For example, the Frozen toothbrush heads (4 pack) at Bid or Buy will set you back R640. Probably best then, not to always go for the fancy branding.

So what are the alternatives?

Save money by using your reward schemes to pay for your items. With Dischem, for example, you can pay with your Benefit Points or Discovery Miles.

The alternative appears to be to buy an adult electric toothbrush that your kids can use as some of them definitely retail for less, such as the Oral B White Rechargeable Power Toothbrush, which is selling at Clicks for a more reasonable R490.

While I am no dentist or oral expert I’d say buying a toothbrush that’s not designed specifically for kids seems to me to be a counterintuitive move. Why would companies design toothbrushes specifically for kids if there was no need – unless it was just a commercial ploy to dupe parents into coughing up more money. It’s perhaps a worthy question to ask a specialist and when I get the chance and share my findings here.

If you’re strapped for cash the obvious answer is to buy a conventional kids toothbrush that doesn’t  vibrate. They are far cheaper, but when it comes to the quality and effectiveness it might not be the right product for your child.

One area where this post fails is that it’s only compared the cost of toothbrushes. Obviously without having the products to hand I haven’t been able to say anything about the quality of each product. But I think it’s fair to say that most parents would be on a tight budget in South Africa and cost would be a huge consideration when buying electric toothbrushes. Ultimately, though, just from this basic exercise it clearly pays (read: saves) to shop around!

There’s nothing wrong with offering your kids the best product you can within your budget. If in doubt, ask your child’s dentist about the best product in your price range.

Notes: All products were found by typing ‘Kids electric toothbrushes Cape Town’, into Google. Only providers which featured on the first page of the results were covered. Prices correct as of 17 January 2017. 

Brushing teeth

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