The Quip toothbrush is fundamentally flawed
28 Dec 2019
To brush your teeth, you need the bristles of your toothbrush to move against the surface of your teeth. There are 2 types of toothbrushes available to do this:
- A manual toothbrush where you provide the brushing motion.
- An electric toothbrush where the head provides the brushing motion and you only need to place the toothbrush head against your teeth.
Quip believes that there’s room between these two. Their product is a manual toothbrush with an AAA battery powered, vibrating motor in the handle and a strong self belief that this is somehow beneficial.
Quip calls itself an electric toothbrush by virtue of having a battery in it. If I was better at making witty analogies about clutching at straws, I’d make one now, but in the absence of such talent, I ask the reader to consider how weak vibrations from the handle of the Quip compare to an actual electric toothbrush where the head physically rotates (Oral-B style) or moves side-to-side (Philips style).
What Quip has made is worse than a manual toothbrush given that it’s annoying to use because the whole thing is vibrating in your hand but those vibrations don’t provide any benefit at the brush head.
As you have likely guessed, the Quip is a champion of marketing. Quip is selling aspiration for those who prioritise the feeling of doing a good job over actually doing a good job. How else does a startup try to sell a toothbrush for $40 which is worse to use than a run-of-the-mill $4 variety.
But does that matter? Reviews of the Quip focus mostly on the subscription plan where they’ll send you a new head every 3 months for $5. Little is spoken about its ability to solve the actual problem at hand, unless the problem that people have is being able to source a new toothbrush every 3 months. Ultimately, most businesses sell convenience; is this a convenience that Quip users never thought they needed until they did?