When we look at product line-ups and try to see how costs and features match up sometimes there are clear divisions between each model, and other times it’s not so clear.
For the WP-861W Complete Care 5.0, it’s one of the latter cases. However, this could be said for most of the Complete Care systems as there aren’t huge leaps in features between them.
The WP-861W Complete Care 5.0, the subject of this review, has a slimmer body than the older WP-900 Complete Care system, but that’s about it. This results in a one fluid ounce smaller water reservoir, which doesn’t change anything as far as functionality or performance. It does mean the Complete Care 5.0 will take up less space on your countertop.
The WP-900 Complete Care is one of the most affordable Complete Care models, but is also one of the oldest currently available. So, if you’re looking to get a lower-priced, newer model Complete Care system then the WP-861W Complete Care 5.0 should be your starting point.
Why buy a Complete Care system rather than a standalone water flosser?
If you’re looking to switch over from a manual toothbrush to an electric one, and you also are interested in water flossing, then the Complete Care systems are a convenient option that solves both of those problems.
- The Complete Care systems are a drop-in replacement for your current brushing and flossing routine.
- Complete Care systems are usually more affordable than buying an electric toothbrush and water flosser separately. (Depends on seasonal deals and pricing.)
- The Complete Care toothbrushes and water flossers perform just as well as the standalone flossers and other competitor’s toothbrushes.
These are all points we’re going to challenge in the next section where we look at the alternatives to buying a Complete Care system, which we look at similarly featured toothbrushes from other manufacturers and pair them with a standalone Waterpik water flosser.
For the Complete Care systems to make any sense, there must be a clear advantage over buying a water flosser and electric toothbrush separately. We can say with certainty that the price of the Complete Care 5.0 (at the time this was published) is lower than buying a similar water flosser and electric toothbrush.
There are a few details about the Complete Care systems that we need to get out of the way before continuing. The water flossers aren’t 100% copies of the standalone systems, like the WP-660 Aquarius. They lack a few features that some people might need. This is why we say there needs to be an advantage to getting the all-in-one deal when you have to give up some functionality for it.
What’s missing on the Complete Care systems?
- Complete Care systems don’t have the Timer/Pacer features on the water flosser.
- Global Voltage is not supported, only 110V.
- Complete Care systems come with a 2-year warranty, whereas some standalone models have a 3-year warranty.
Now, we think for most people, living in North America, these difference aren’t going to impact your daily dental cleaning experience. However, the reduced warranty is disappointing.
The Timer and Pacer feature on the water flosser is a nice convenience but it is not a necessity. The water reservoir doesn’t even hold much more water than the length the timer runs anyway. The Timer turns off the water flosser after one minute and the Pacer signals you to switch from top to bottom (or vice versa) at the 30-second mark.
The reservoirs on the Complete Care models hold about 650 to 700 mL (22 to 23 ounces) of water. This is about 90 seconds of capacity.
If you’re a frequent traveler outside North America, then you don’t want to purchase a Complete Care system. The WF-04 Sidekick will better serve you.
Mix & Match Alternatives
In this section, we’re going to present a combination of a Waterpik water flosser and an electric toothbrush that meet or exceed the features of the Complete Care 5.0 but also are similar in price as possible. Hopefully, this will help you make the right decision and keep you from ending up with an expensive piece of hardware that you regret purchasing.
The WP-861W Complete Care 5.0 comes with a sonic toothbrush, so we’re going to go with a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush for our toothbrush alternative.
For the water flosser, there are a couple of options from Waterpik that are worth considering. The Aquarius and Sidekick that we mentioned above are the most recent models that have global voltage compatibility and all the features available from Waterpik water flossers.
The electric toothbrush that comes with the Complete Care 5.0 isn’t sold separately, as we saw with the WP-900. Here is a table comparing the Waterpik Triple Sonic toothbrush with comparable Philips Sonicare toothbrushes. Note that the price on the Complete Care 5.0 is the total cost of the water flosser and electric toothbrush combo.
The Sonicare ProtectiveClean toothbrushes are the de facto entry-level electric toothbrush in the Sonicare lineup. They have more features and a lithium-ion battery that outperforms the Sonicare Essence and Essence Plus models. With that said, the HealthyWhite+ is another excellent option due to the multiple brush speed settings available, which is something the ProtectiveClean 4100 and 5100 lack.
Any of these toothbrushes are a solid choice if you’re looking to buy an electric toothbrush and water flosser separately. They have all the features of the Waterpik Triple Sonic toothbrush, and more.
Here’s our recommended alternative:
If the Complete Care features don’t fit your needs, then consider the above combination. You get an improved battery with the ProtectiveClean and all the features of the Aquarius that the Complete Care systems lack, except global voltage compatibility. It’s up to you to decide if the price difference is worth it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the warranty still valid if I purchase through an online retailer, such as Amazon?
Q: Does a water flosser completely replace manual flossing?
A: Generally, no. Occasional manual flossing is still recommended, but water flossers take much of the work out of the flossing process. This can be especially beneficial for people with hand dexterity problems.
Q: Can mouthwash be used in the reservoir?
A: Yes, but don’t exceed a 1:1 ratio. Adding too much mouthwash can potentially damage the pump.
Q: Can a water flosser be used with braces?
A: It’s always a good idea to talk with your orthodontist first, but water flossers are a great convenience for people with braces. They’re much easier to use and navigate around the brackets and wires. Finding the motivation to floss manually is often difficult with braces. Water flossers help solve this problem.
Q: What’s the best way to keep a water flosser clean?
A: Distilled white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide diluted in water will keep mold growth away. Let the handle, tips, and reservoir soak for 15 to 30 minutes. You also will want to run the water and vinegar solution through the machine to clean inside. Doing this every month or so is a good practice.
Waterpik Water Flossing Replacement Tips
JT-100E Classic Jet Tip
General use tip. Cleans between teeth and below the gumline.
OD-100E Orthodontic Tip
Tapered brush to reach plaque around orthodontic brackets and wires. It’s significantly easier to clean around braces with these rather than string floss.
PS-100E Plaque Seeker Tip
For cleaning around implants, crowns, bridges, and other restorations. It has 3 thin tufts of bristles. These have not been shown to be signifcantly more effective than the Classic Jet Tip for plaque removal, but you may find the brush helpful.
PP-100E Pik Pocket Tip
Ideal for periodontal pockets and furcations. It has a soft rubber tip which produces gentle, low pressure.
TB-100E Toothbrush Tip
These toothbrush tips don’t spin or vibrate. They’re just stationary brushes to let you brush and floss at the same time.
TC-100E Tongue Cleaner Tip
The tongue scraper also sprays water as you scrape to help flush out bacteria and other compounds that live on the tongue.
Adding Solutions to the Reservoir
You can add mouthwash to your Waterpik with no issues. It is essential that you don’t exceed a 1:1 ratio of mouthwash to water no matter what type of mouthwash you use.
- Standard or Cosmetic Mouthwash
- Antiseptic Mouthwash (Listerine)
- Therapeutic Mouth Rinse (Usually prescribed by a dentist.)
- Bleach or Bleach Solution
- Essential Oils
- Salt, iodine, or baking soda
Adding anything other than the mouthwash types listed above can potentially damage your Waterpik either through corrosion or pump failure. Be sure not to add more than a 1:1 ratio of the recommended solutions, as it can damage your Waterpik’s pump. One potential reason for this is a change in viscosity can cause the pump to have to work hard, which over time will wear it out faster.
The Complete Care 5.0 is a reasonable option for many people looking to replace their manual toothbrush and floss with electronics. The only red flags we see is the shorter warranty and NiMH battery in the toothbrush.
If you can afford to spend the extra cash on a standalone Waterpik and to get an electric toothbrush with a Lithium-Ion battery, then we think that’s a better alternative.
Check out our overview of the entire Waterpik product lineup. You can get a look at the big picture and decide on the right water flosser for you.
Waterpik WP-861W Complete Care 5.0 Specifications
|Pressure Range||10 to 100 PSI (0.703 to 7.030 Kg/cm2)|
|Flow Rate per Minute:||13 Ounces (400 mL)|
|Pulses per Minute:||1400|
|Number of Pressure Settings:||10|
|Included Flosser Tips:||5|
|Water On/Off Switch on Handle:||On/Off Slider|
|Rotating Tip:||360 Degree|
|Capacity:||22 Ounces (650 mL)|
|Capacity in Seconds:||90|
|Height (with Tip/Brush):||10.80 Inches (27.43 cm)|
|Max Width (Base):||5.65 Inches (14.35 cm)|
|Max Depth (Base):||5.00 Inches (12.70 cm)|
|Voltage:||North America only; 120VAC/60Hz|
|Included Brush Heads:||2|
|Water Resistant Toothbrush:||Yes|
|Number of Speeds:||3|
|Strokes Per Minute:||31000|