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Why Isn’t It Easier to Replace a Toothbrush Battery?

Why do manufacturers make it difficult to replace the battery in your electric toothbrush?

Braun Oral-B, Philips Sonicare, Colgate (the new player in the market) and others could make it a lot easier to change the rechargeable battery in your electric toothbrush once it stops holding a charge for more than a day. A simple, sealed flap retaining a single drop-out battery would make life so much easier for willing DIY fixers like ourselves to keep our brush handle going for a few more years. After all, you can pay hundreds of Pounds/Euros/Dollars to replace your current brush with the latest model!

Well, I’ll let you into the dirty little secret that manufacturers like to keep to themselves – planned obsolescence. Yes, most manufacturers intentionally design their products to fail after a period of time, forcing you either to repair it or throw away the product and purchase a whole new one. Of course they would prefer the latter as it means more profit for the manufacturer, so repair is made more difficult. At times in history manufacturers have even conspired together to reduce the lifespan of their products, thereby forcing early re-purchasing. See the Light Bulb Conspiracy for more information. Other companies deliberately withhold repair instructions and service manuals and actively prevent their distribution, such as Toshiba and their laptop manuals. Makes you angry doesn’t it?

At Ionic Industries our mission is to reduce the economic and ecological disaster that is planned obsolescence by providing repair guides for electric toothbrushes and supplying the hard-to-find industrial batteries to repair them with.

Happy repairing!

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8 thoughts on “Why Isn’t It Easier to Replace a Toothbrush Battery?

  1. Just completed battery replacement of an Oral B/ Braun Triumph toothbrush I have had for several years using your guide. It is excellent. I am used to work on electronics as an amateur and experienced with repair techniques as you describe. However, it is rare to find such a well put together step by step guide with such well lit and clear images. The job was sorted in well under half an hour and the toothbrush is now on charge. Thank you for the website and the mail order service. Like you I detest throwing perfectly good equipment away simply for want of something as simple as a battery. I don’t feel the same way about computers so much as it gets harder and harder to think of how to down cycle a couple of Mac desktops, two PCs and a Mac laptop. Suggestions welcomed!

    1. Thanks for the feedback Richard! I’m glad you liked our instruction guide and used it to get your Triumph toothbrush fitted with a new battery OK to save it from the landfill. Regarding the computers, I’m sure the Macs can be re-sold on eBay as they have a large fan-base. The PCs could be rejuvinated by fitting them with solid state hard drives and re-installing Windows 7 or Lubuntu. It depends on their age however! If they’re brand-name machines you might be able to dismantle them (and the Macs) and sell off the motherboards and other parts separately.

  2. I think one should be able to replace a battery without having to learn Soldering 101.

  3. It should NOT be this difficult to change a tooth brush battery. I understand that they don’t want water to get in but come on, Oral B! My fingers hurt. I’ve been struggling closing the battery cap for an hour already. I just want to throw it out.

  4. because they don’t want you to repair it, they want you to buy a new one

  5. I agree with JN Elmore: I should be able to replace battery without soldering. When I took out the
    battery, the thin small wire came with it. No way to fix. I’m calling out Colgate on this.

  6. is there a company that makes a good toothbrush with an easy to change battery. A kit to make a replaceable battery system would be so useful. I’d just like a lithium ion rechargeable toothbrush myself.

    1. Hi David, Braun make an electric toothbrush powered by two AA batteries (Advance Power), and Colgate make one powered by two AAA batteries (ProClinical 150). You could buy two pairs of Ni-MH low-self-discharge rechargeable batteries such as GP Recyko ones and use these to run the toothbrush. One pair in the brush and the other pair charged and waiting to swap in.

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