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Foreo’s issa 2 electric toothbrush looks like something out of a sci-fi film, but does it do the job?

It’ll certainly brighten up your bathroom, but can it do the same for your your smile?

Jon Axworthy
Tuesday 06 April 2021 13:34
<p>The latest toothbrush has a whopping 16 intensity settings</p>

The latest toothbrush has a whopping 16 intensity settings

The Foreo issa 2 certainly stands out from the other electric toothbrushes that line the shelves at the moment, as the Swedish beauty-tech brand continues its mission to bring a little modernism and minimalism to every bathroom. The brand’s name stands for “for everyone” so we were keen to see if its latest tool delivers on that claim.

Replacing the original issa brush, the next incarnation keeps the original’s silicone brush head and adds some polymer bristles, while battery life has doubled from an already impressive six months to a quite remarkable 12.

And that’s not the only thing that has doubled, as the Issa 2 now has 16 intensity settings, compared to the original eight.

The shape and size is the same as the original brush, although it’s slightly heavier, thanks to the beefed up motor and battery.

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But how does it fare when put to the test? To find out how these changes affect performance, results and whether the issa could tempt you to switch from your current dental scrubber, read on.

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Foreo issa 2

Cleaning technology? Sonic

Warranty? Two years

30-second pacer? Yes

2 minute timer? Yes

Pressure sensor? No 

Travel pouch? Yes 

Operating time? 52 weeks

Charge time? 1 hour

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The design

With its eye-catching looks it’s no surprise that the issa 2’s biggest claim to fame is that it was chosen by the makers of the Star Trek Discovery TV series. They wanted it to be the toothbrush used by the characters on screen because it wouldn’t look out of place in 2255. 

In terms of its design, the manufacturers have certainly boldly gone where no toothbrush has before (or at least so far). And it certainly does look like someone has teleported it back to 2021 from Captain Kirk’s bathroom to show other manufacturers how unsightly their brushes are.

So, if you’re after a statement for your bathroom you need look no further. There’s a choice of black, pink, blue and mint hues and there’s nothing to interrupt the stylish lines of the brush, as are all the buttons, which are all recessed into the silicone that encases the product.

The brush’s LED indicator in the base is encased in plastic, which makes it easy to see mid-brush when the light flashes. Plus, the brush briefly pauses to indicate the 30 second intervals which prompt you to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth. The light also flashes to tell you that you’ve been cleaning for two minutes and it stays lit for the, final, third minute of brushing before automatically cutting out. The flat base and weighting of the handle also means that the brush is easily stored upright once you’re done.

Features

Form doesn’t trump function we’re glad to say. The issa 2 is also very ergonomic in the hand and the bulbous handle encased in silicone makes it the most comfortable toothbrush we’ve ever held. It also avoids being unwieldy and you’ll be able to avoid the drama of having the brush slip out of your hand and clatter into the sink, thanks to the silicone that retains its good grip qualities even when wet. In fact, for any one who struggles with strength in the fingers and hands, the brush could offer a much more comfortable two minutes of recommended brushing, compared to other models.

The plus and minus buttons allow you to adjust the sonic pulsations of the brush up to the maximum 11,000 pulses per minute. Similar to Philips Sonicare brushes, the issa 2’s frantically vibrating bristles pulse the fluids in the mouth in and around the teeth to break up plaque.

Maybe, Foreo was trying to make up for the fact that the brush doesn’t have any specific cleaning modes (whitening, gum care etc) by going overboard on the intensities with which the brush head can vibrate. But, this does mean that you can really fine tune the brush and personalise its operation to your levels of sensitivity and cleaning power. There’s no way of knowing what intensity you’re at unless you count along with the pressing of the button as you cycle through, but the brush is intelligent enough to start with whatever intensity you finished your last brushing session with so you don’t have to spend time finding it again.

Cleaning

It’s not just the handle that utilises silicone to good effect, but the brush head and bristles too. They’re nonporous and so, resistant to bacteria build up and much softer than you’re probably used to.

One of the big updates are the materials that Foreo has used to make up the bristles, combining rounded PBT polymer bristles at the centre of the head, surrounded by domino-shaped, soft, medical grade silicone bristles.

The combination certainly felt less abrasive on the teeth and much kinder on sensitive gums. And when placed on the surface of the tooth the blunter silicone bristles added to the massaging feeling during brushing, especially at the gum line.

If the ISSA didn’t rely on sonic cleaning and instead had an oscillating head the sheer size of the brush head and the bristles would probably do more harm than good, but the vibrations seemed to translate well through the head and bristles so it really felt like the brush was doing a good job of dismantling plaque and removing debris, while being gentle enough on tooth enamel.

The brush head itself is big, but there is enough flex in the stem to ensure getting it into the deeper recesses of the mouth isn’t a problem. Plus, the medical grade silicone has a much longer life than traditional heads and so only needs replacing every 12 months, which is something to be factored into the overall value of the brush.

There’s no pressure sensor, but the silicone has got so much give in it and is so tactile that even the harshest brushers should be able to feel when they’re brushing too hard, so it’s not something that we missed.

Battery life

One of the biggest selling points that will attract buyers to the issa 2 is its battery life – which Foreo claims lasts for a year from a single charge. We haven’t been able to test this fully, but almost nine months since we started using the brush we haven’t noticed any dips in performance, or slowing of the intensity settings, which is astonishing. Even if the brush suddenly ran out of juice tomorrow, we’d still be impressed.

It charges via a proprietary cable, which is a little annoying as we have a drawer full of these already and if the claims of 365 days usage on a single charge are borne out then we’ll probably have lost it by the time we come to need the cable again anyway – something a little more standardised might have been more useful. A feature we did like was the lock. We could rest easy knowing that it can’t be activated by accident and drain the battery when it’s in its travel pouch, or knocking around in our bag.

The verdict: Foreo issa 2

The price bump from the issa to the issa 2 is around £32, and for this you’ll be getting double the intensity settings and double the battery life, which might be justification for many. You’ll also be getting the hybrid brush head that uses the PBT polymer bristles, as well as silicone.

This addition of the polymer bristle bundles in the centre of the brush head means that the tooth’s surface really feels like it’s being properly worked on. While the silicone bristles are naturally placed closer to the gum-line where they are more forgiving during cleaning. All this helped give us that deep clean feeling both morning and evening that was missing from its predecessor.

Once you’ve found the perfect brush, why not check out the best teeth whitening kits which are ideal for brightening your smile at home

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