Philips Sonicare Airfloss HX8211/30 Review: Electric Flosser

Hands up who loves flossing? Have you tried the Philips Sonicare Airfloss?


No, I don’t think so.

When it comes to dental hygiene flossing is one of the least popular tasks. We know we need to do it but the thought of running dental floss through your teeth daily puts a lot of people off, especially when it makes your gums bleed. What we need is an awesome gadget that makes it the job much faster and far less painful.

Thank God for Philips, the bright sparks behind the Sonicare sonic electric toothbrush. They have come up with the Philips Sonicare airfloss which is meant to be faster and more efficient than conventional flossing. So does this  gadget achieve what it claims to do and how does it compare with the Waterpiks oral hygiene range. Could this be the best water flosser for you? Read on to find out …

The Philips air floss is a handheld device that looks very similar to a regular Sonicare electric toothbrush. It combines high-pressure air bursts with H2O droplets to blast away at plaque and food debris that can get stuck between your teeth or braces.

Essentially, this electric flosser permits you to deep clean hard to reach teeth and your gum line.

Johns Philips Sonicare Airfloss Review

We asked our volunteer John to check out this oral irrigator for us. This is what he had to say about it. He said “I very rarely manually floss and have never used a water flosser before so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.”

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The Philips Sonicare Airfloss is well packaged. After I took it out of the box and picked it up for the first time, I was impressed with how the oral irrigator fitted snugly into my hand. In terms of weight, it feels slightly heavier than a regular Sonicare electric toothbrush.

Getting started with the Philips Sonicare Airfloss

I thought the instructions were easy to follow and I had the Sonicare flosser set up in no time. The angled nozzle was easy to attach to the main section and it was obvious how to fill up the small reservoir. My battery came with some charge in it already so I thought I would try it out. I decided to use H2O the first time but you can also use mouthwash.

My battery came with some charge in it already so I thought I would try it out. I decided to use H2O the first time but you can also use mouthwash.

Next I turned it on and pressed the “fire” button a few times to build up the charge. Then I pointed it at the centre gap between my teeth and fired. It was a very strange sensation. After a few more goes I started getting the hang of it.

The first few times I had my mouth opened so that I could see what I was doing but managed to splat the mirror a few times so decided to close my mouth after that. I found it really hard to describe my first experience of using this oral flosser so decided to try it over the next week before I commented any further.

I also decided to fully charge the lithium-ion battery as well. They say it lasts for about 2 weeks or 60 shots which seem about right to me. After using it for a week or so I have to say that I was really impressed with the results. I found it easy to move the device into those hard to reach areas.

How long does it take to airfloss your teeth?

I can’t say I timed myself but I think it took roughly a minute to clean my mouth. My routine is now clean my teeth twice a day and floss straight after. For extra cleanliness I will occasionally double shoot my teeth to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

I quickly got used to using the oral irrigator and used to the sensation I had when using it. In terms of ongoing costs, Sonicare recommend that you change the head every six months for hygiene reasons. You can get packs of them fairly cheaply online. For partners, you can also buy the 2-pack which is a lot cheaper than buying them individually.

As I run my tongue over my teeth now they feel clean. The kind of clean you normally feel after coming back from a cleaning at the dentist. The best thing for me though, when I flossed manually I would always get an aftertaste of blood. With this product that doesn’t happen anymore.

Philips Sonicare Airfloss vs Waterpik

If you read comments online it seems to be that those people who rarely floss or use regular floss absolutely love this product. Yet people who have used oral irrigators are not so sure. Waterpik vs Airfloss. So what is the best water flosser?

The good news is that according to several studies that have been done with patients using an air flosser versus a water flosser, both items are successful at removing plaque and debris from your mouth. They are both more effective than traditional flossing systems and allow it takes less time to floss using one. In terms of effectiveness though, it looks as though a Waterpik flosser is just slightly more effective.

However, there are a couple of areas where I think that the Philips airfloss is more effective than a Waterpik.

  1. If you have a smaller Waterpik or cordless oral irrigator then you need to refill half way through flossing your teeth.
  2. Waterpik’s use considerably more liquid than this electric flosser. So if the thought of a constantly spitting or a continuous jet of water streaming through your mouth freaks you out, get this instead.
  3. A Waterpik has to constantly plugged into a liquid reservoir. The air floss doesn’t which makes it much more portable and easier to travel with.
  4. The Sonicare flosser is far more gentle on sensitive gum lines and also more effective on crowded teeth, bridges, dentures and other oral prosthetics.

Do we recommend it then?

The Philips Sonicare Airfloss is a great little cordless water flosser, that is quick and easy to use that is better than traditional flossing. The design is fantastic, yet practical and it has a great battery life. Although, it is slightly less effective than water flossing it is better on braces etc. and is also gentler on sensitive gums. If you are looking for more information on air flossing, there is an interesting article from Philips which covers the science behind air flossing.