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Waterpik Cordless Select

Waterpik Cordless Select review: Is it really better than dental floss?

A water flosser cleans between your teeth with a jet of water.

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Our review

A good alternative to floss or interdental brushes, but too big to be truly travel-sized.
Pros: - Makes teeth feel shiny and clean
- Gets food from between teeth
- Gentle on gums
Cons: - Quite big
- No travel case
- Feels undignified

There’s nothing like the feeling of super-clean teeth after you’ve been to the dental hygienist. Just brushing with an electric toothbrush doesn’t leave your teeth feeling as smooth and shiny, and though string or tape floss is great for getting at interdental plaque, I find it can sometimes leave my gums feeling a little tender.

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The Waterpik Cordless Select is a water flosser: it shoots a jet of water through a narrow tip that you can direct at tricky spots on your teeth to dislodge plaque and stuck food. It’s similar to the water jet tool that dental hygienists use – though the cleaning power in those is actually ultrasound, not the water itself.

Waterpik claims that the Cordless Select is up to 50 per cent more effective at improving gum health than traditional floss, and can remove up to 99.9 per cent of plaque.

Features

The Cordless Select, unlike some other models of Waterpik, is a completely handheld device. It has a detachable water tank, and you can both swap the head and rotate it. It comes with four different heads: two Classic Tips, one Orthodontic Tip (designed for braces) and one Plaque Seeker Tip (designed for dental implants). You can also buy extra tips, not included with the Cordless Select, such as a Toothbrush Tip or a Tongue Cleaner Tip.

This model is waterproof, designed so you can use it in the shower. So, instead of a charging port, it has metal contacts that connect to the magnetic charger. The cable is USB, so you can connect it to a 3-pin plug if you have one, but it also comes with a shaver plug.

The tips provided with Waterpik Cordless Select. From left to right: Classic, Orthodontic and Plaque Seeker © Waterpik

Using the Waterpik Cordless Select

The Cordless Select feels well-made and sturdy, with the tips and water tank clicking solidly into place. It’s not especially heavy, and it’s comfortable to hold around the narrow neck.

It was bigger than I expected, at around 30cm tall and 9cm deep. While it just fits in my medicine cabinet, other people may struggle to fit it in theirs. I was also surprised that it doesn’t come with any sort of travel case, or even a bag for the tips. The Cordless Select is designed for travelling – it’s compatible with global voltages – so I’d expect it to come with something to keep it clean in my suitcase. There are also no instructions on how to clean or sterilise the tips, though Waterpik does recommend changing them every few months.

It charged quickly, although it’s easy to knock the magnetic contacts and disconnect the charger.

Using the water flosser feels quite undignified. You’re supposed to keep your lips slightly parted while you use it to allow the water to drain. What this actually means is that you end up dribbling like you’re recovering from dental anaesthetic. I tended to keep my lips closed, and spit like I was brushing my teeth. Waterpik doesn’t specify whether or not this reduces the effectiveness of water flossing. It’s also a good job that it’s waterproof, since if you keep your mouth open, the water drains onto the Waterpik.

The Cordless Select is quite big, and wouldn’t fit in some people’s medicine cabinets

A full tank of water lasts 57 seconds on low pressure, and around 40 seconds on high pressure. I would usually refill the tank once while flossing.

The angle can be a bit awkward sometimes, since you have to keep the unit upright so it can draw water from the tank, while also keeping the tip at 90° to the gumline.

My teeth felt really clean after using the Cordless Select, and it was good at getting food out from between my teeth. I tried the Waterpik with all three of the provided types of tip, and I didn’t really notice a difference – but then, I don’t have braces or dental implants, so the other tips weren’t designed for me. I slightly preferred using the ones with brush tips, though that’s possibly just because it felt a bit more like brushing my teeth.

Verdict

The Waterpik Cordless Select does exactly what I expected it to. It left my teeth feeling cleaner than brushing alone, and dislodged food stuck between my teeth. However, though you can use it in the shower, I didn’t see much benefit. It doesn’t save you any time, and means you have the hot water running for longer.

Even though it’s more suitable for travel than other models, I think I’d still prefer just to throw a pack of floss in my soap bag – it would take up a lot less space. The Cordless Select does make my teeth feel cleaner than floss, but not enough for it to be worth lugging around.

If you struggle with floss or interdental brushes, I would recommend the Waterpik Cordless Select as an alternative. It’s easy to use and does the job well, without any gum discomfort or floss getting caught between your teeth.

I can also imagine it would be a much easier and more effective way of cleaning braces than floss, though I couldn’t test this myself.

Alternatives to consider

Oral-B Aquacare 6 Pro-Expert Water Flosser

The Aquacare 6 Pro-Expert Water Flosser from Oral-B has six different cleaning modes: three intensity settings, each of which can be used with either focused or rotational water flow. You can also choose either continuous flow, or ‘on demand’ flow for greater control.

The Aquacare 6 also uses Oral-B’s Oxyjet Technology, which creates microfine air bubbles in the water stream to increase the cleaning power.

The water flosser is cordless, with a tank volume of 145ml, and comes with a charging station and a spare nozzle.

Panasonic EW1211W Water Flosser

This water flosser from Panasonic comes with two modes for the water stream: jet, and air in jet. The jet mode is a pulsating, high-pressure stream, while air in jet mixes in air to enhance the cleaning of periodontal pockets. This mode, which comes in ‘regular’ and ‘soft’, can also massage the gums.

The nozzle can rotate to change the angle of the stream, and the 130ml water tank lasts around 35 seconds.

Since it’s cordless, the Panasonic EW1211W comes with a charging station. It can be mounted on the wall, and also features a stand for the nozzles when they’re not in use.

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