Live Science Verdict
The Hum by Colgate has an excellent smart app that guides your brushing. Unlike many other electric toothbrushes, the Hum vibrates rather than rotates, providing a different, more gentle experience.
Choice of either rechargeable or battery-powered
Smart app shows how well you brush in detail
Lightweight, modern design
Charge only lasts 10 days
Only rectangular brush heads
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In this review, we’ll describe everything you need to know about the Hum by Colgate electric toothbrush, including how well it cleans your teeth, the features of its smart app, the charging process, and the different designs you can choose from.
The Hum is a sonic toothbrush, meaning that it vibrates at a rate of at least 31,000 strokes per minute. These toothbrushes tend to be quieter and are claimed to be more effective than regular electric toothbrushes. Our tester found the vibration to be a more gentle experience than rotating toothbrushes too. Even so, the Hum makes your teeth feel much cleaner than when using a manual toothbrush and, in our tester’s experience, cleans just as well as a rotating brush. Also, unlike many other electric toothbrushes, the Hum has a tongue scraper on the back of the head, which lets you gently clean your tongue.
App-enabled smart toothbrush
Three modes of vibration
Collects brushing data even 'offline'
App guides you to better brushing
Rechargeable or battery-powered options
Travel case included
Compared to other electric toothbrushes, the Hum is very lightweight and has a small charging base so it won’t take up too much room on your bathroom shelf. We also liked that you can choose between a rechargeable toothbrush and a battery-powered toothbrush, which is great for people who don’t have the counterspace or don’t like dealing with cords. There are multiple colors to choose from in both the rechargeable and battery-powered.
Overall, the Hum by Colgate is an excellent electric toothbrush that feels different from what you might be used to. You can see how it compares to other brands in our guide to the best electric toothbrushes.
Hum by Colgate review: Design
Compared to other electric toothbrushes, the Hum by Colgate is light and compact. The smaller size can make it easier to brush every surface of your teeth without bumping into your gums like you might with a larger brush head. How small and light the Hum is can also be great for people who have limited space in their bathrooms.
Because it’s so light, the Hum might also be easier to use for some people than bulkier, heavier electric toothbrushes. Colgate specifies that the Hum was designed with an ergonomic handle that’s easy to grip.
The Hum by Colgate comes with a travel case and an extra brush head. You can buy it in one of four colors: turquoise, blue, purple, or black. The rechargeable toothbrushes come in solid colors while the battery-powered toothbrushes are two-toned, with a pastel color on top and a darker shade on bottom.
Hum by Colgate review: Functionality
As a one-button machine, the Hum is very easy to use. The single button lets you shift through three different vibration modes (or two if you buy the battery-powered version): Normal, Sensitive, and Deep Clean. While it might be confusing to know which mode other brushes with multiple brushing modes are set to, the Hum makes it very clear through LED lights. A blue light indicates that you’re on normal speed, a pink light indicates that you’re on sensitive mode (which operates on low speed), and a white light indicates deep clean (the highest speed). You simply click the button to rotate between different modes, and wait for three seconds to set the mode. If you like to brush on one set mode most of the time, you don’t have to find the right mode each time. The brush always opens in the mode you last set it to.
Charging is also easy. The rechargeable Hum comes with a charging base that starts charging your toothbrush when you set it down on the base. The battery-powered toothbrush takes two AAA batteries.
Other features of the Hum include a built-in two minute timer and a Bluetooth connected app. The app has a lot of features, which could make it confusing for some. But once you get the hang of it, the app can guide you to brush better. As you brush, you can also earn Smile Points from Colgate, which give you $1 per 100 points to spend on things like replacement brush heads.
Hum by Colgate review: Performance
Our tester loved the Hum. She used it on all three of its vibration modes, played with the app, checked how long it took the toothbrush’s battery to drain and how long it took to fully charge it. We also submerged it under water to test how water-resistant it is, and tested how loud it is.
Normal vibration mode is likely to be best for most people, but we love the option of a sensitive mode for people who have sensitive teeth. The deep clean mode was a bit too intense of a vibration for our tester, but she can see how it’d be handy when it feels like your mouth is extra dirty – maybe if you had a lot of sugar or fell asleep before brushing one night. The LED light made it easy to know which mode the toothbrush was on, and the two minute timer makes sure you brush for long enough.
Running continuously, the Hum’s battery fully drained in about one hour and 20 minutes. It took five hours to fully charge the battery, which is impressive given other brands can take over 20. The manual says that a fully-charged toothbrush battery should last about 10 days if you’re brushing consistently.
The Hum isn’t as loud as some other electric toothbrushes we tested. We registered 73 decibels, which is roughly as loud as a vacuum cleaner, but note that the background noise in our tester’s New York City apartment was 50 decibels to start. However, the difference between the base-level sound and the sound we registered for the toothbrush is as quiet as a whisper. Truly, the sound is somewhere between those two – louder than a whisper, but much quieter than a vacuum.
The Hum is water-resistant, not waterproof, however it still held up after we submerged it in water for one two minute brush cycle. Still, the manual suggests that you keep the toothbrush away from water when you can (i.e. don’t take it in the shower).
Now let’s talk about the app. If you’re interested in smart toothbrushes, this is a great one. The app can be a little confusing to navigate, with daily challenges, test brushing, and guided brushing. However, it does give you a very clear view of how well you brushed and where you could have done better. The app tracks the percentage of your mouth you brushed, how long you brushed, and gives you tips on how to do better – like how to angle your toothbrush and how fast or slow to brush.
Guided brushing shows you where to brush in the moment, but you can also brush “offline” and then sync the data in the app to see how well you brush your teeth on your own.
Hum by Colgate review: What’s good about it?
With or without the app, we like the Hum for its multiple vibration modes, light and compact design, and very reasonable price point ($70, though you can often get it on sale). We also love the option to buy a battery-powered version, which is great for people with limited bathroom space or who just don’t like to deal with cords. The battery-operated version is even cheaper ($50), but doesn’t have a deep clean vibration mode.
For those who want a connected app, the Hum has a very good one. It seems to accurately track your brushing, although it might not be able to see the intricacies of your teeth specifically. Daily challenges and the ability to set reminders like when to brush, when to change your brush head, and when to sync your brushing data are added bonuses.
Hum by Colgate review: What’s not so good about it?
It’s hard to find much fault with the Hum by Colgate. However, the rechargeable toothbrush does hold less charge than some other electric toothbrushes, lasting only 10 days when others might last weeks or months between charges. If you were going on a long holiday, you would definitely need to pack the charger.
Some people might also dislike that the Hum has only rectangular brush heads when most electric toothbrushes have circular heads. However, the Hum’s brush head is small enough to still easily get around every tooth.
Hum by Colgate review: User reviews
The Hum by Colgate is rated 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon. Reviewers who like the Hum shout out how lightweight it is, how easy it is to travel with, and that the app shows you just how well you brush.
“The toothbrush works flawlessly to clean, remove and effectively reduce plaque,” one reviewer wrote. Another said: “I’ve never been able to get my mouth this clean before. I’m so excited about brushing my teeth for the first time in my life.”
People who were less enthused about the Hum electric toothbrush call out the small toothbrush head and don’t like that the app sometimes misrepresents where you’ve brushed. “You have to hold the brush at a certain angle to get it to work right. It would say I missed sections I know I got,” one user wrote.
Should you buy the Hum by Colgate?
In our opinion, the Hum by Colgate is well worth the (relatively cheap) price and an excellent choice if you’re looking for an electric toothbrush, especially if you want one that tracks your brushing via an app. It's much cheaper than some brands that also offer Bluetooth connectivity, and we loved that it comes with three brush modes that are easily distinguishable by different colored LED lights.
If this product isn’t for you
If you want an intense tooth-cleaning system, consider the Waterpik Complete Care 9.0, which includes a sonic toothbrush and a water flosser to get your chompers really clean.
If you want a more basic electric toothbrush, try the Oral B Pro 1000. This toothbrush doesn’t have any extras, no smart phone app or multiple speeds to choose from, but is a powerful and well-loved basic electric toothbrush.
Finally, we’d recommend the Spotlight Oral Care, which is similar in features to the Hum, but is more sleek and promises a deep clean. However, it doesn’t come with a connected app.
Kasandra Brabaw is a freelance science writer who covers space, health and psychology. She has a bachelor's degree in science and a bachelor's degree of arts from the University of Syracuse; she completed her master's of arts degree in journalism at Syracuse University in 2014. In addition to writing for Live Science and our sister site Space.com, Kasandra has written for Prevention, Women's Health, SELF and other health publications. She has also worked with academics to edit books written for popular audiences.