I got a really nice Sonicare toothbrush about 18 months ago. It worked great, even if it was a bit on the expensive side at $120.
I assumed from day one (correctly, it turns out) that it used Ni-Cd batteries, and as a result, I was very conscientious in its charging to ensure no “memory” effect developed. I took all the standard precautions for Ni-Cd batteries: don’t keep it on the charger constantly, only charge it when it’s fully run down, etc.
Despite my best efforts, the batteries died completely — as in, the toothbrush was rendered completely useless — after 18 months. It won’t charge, it won’t power up, it won’t do anything. It just sits there like a nice, heavy, $120 lump of white plastic.
Sonicare’s engineers, in their quest for maximum profit, designed the toothbrush in two halves, to be ultrasonically welded together. This completely removes any possibility that the batteries could be replaced without destroying the toothbrush. It would have cost at most another dollar per brush to screw the two halves together instead, making the batteries replaceable and preventing this $120 item from being a $120 disposable, toxic paperweight.
The extreme toxic effects of cadmium are widely known. Nickel, while less toxic than cadmium, also has no place in a landfill. Extensive recycling efforts are in place to prevent any more Ni-Cd batteries from ending up in landfills, yet Sonicare has chosen to shirk any responsibility and designed their toothbrushes in a manner extremely unconducive to recycling.
Boo-hiss, Sonicare. Shame on you for such a poor design, and shame on you for putting profits ahead of corporate responsibility.
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sonicare’s Unreplaceable Battery Lasts Only 18 Months!:
» Profit Over Plaque from Second Initial
Sonicare’s Unreplaceable Battery Lasts Only 18 Months! Boo-hiss, Sonicare. Shame on you for such a poor design, and shame on you for putting profits ahead… [Read More]
Tracked on January 13, 2005 6:16 PM
» http://www.reidsrow.com/headlines/archives/001829.shtml from Reidsrow Headlines
Sonicare develops expensive, toxic, unrecyclable products but c’mon, who spends $120 on a sonicare toothbrush?… [Read More]
Tracked on January 13, 2005 6:26 PM
Ummmm… we got 4 + years out of it and it died only because I let the battery run completely out after the GFCI outlet in the adjacent bathroom crapped out, killing the circuit in our bathroom. We left the thing continually in the charger except on long trips, and we did not run it down in between. It went in our mouths, under the faucet and then back to the cradle, where it sat until the next round.
As for recycleability… check their website, it seems they have a recycling program, don’t know if it costs… and they give directions on destroying it totally so you can pull the batteries and recycle yourself. Sounds more enviro-friendly than most rechargables… try pulling the battery out of a fixed battery tool such as a screwdriver.
Same for me, only 18 month life for my brush
We have two heads. One died, the other is still going strong. I pried the dead one apart and replaced the batteries, then epoxied it back together. It is working fine. I agree they should have screwed the halves together! My other complaint is that they want $15 for a new brush head when all that is worn out is the brush itself. That brush head is merely pressed onto the steel vibrator and is easily removed, but you can’t buy just the brush. I think you should be able to buy the brush for a dollar or two instead of replacing the entire assembly.
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