Waterpik Reviews: Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 (WP-861w) & Waterpik Complete Care 5.5 (WP-811)

by | May 19, 2017 | Product Reviews, Waterpik Reviews

In our other Waterpik reviews we criticize Waterpik’s products about their mediocre looks. That’s a strange criticism for an oral health product, but we believe it’s important. Having a shiny, pretty, high-tech gadget will make you more likely to use it consistently, simply because it excites you. And consistency is the number one factor that leads to good results in oral health.

The Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 (WP-861W) and Waterpik Complete Care 5.5 (WP-811) are Waterpik’s best-looking water flossers by far. You can even argue they are the overall best-looking water flossers on the market. The company knows that. They are even using the alternative black versions (WP-862W & WP-812) as the default poster products to put an emphasis on stylishness and good looks.

Sadly, it could be argued that these good looks come at the cost of some practicality and even quality. These are the issues we will explore in depth in this Waterpik Complete Care review:

Below: Waterpik Complete Care 5.5 (WP-812) & Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 (WP-861w)

Waterpik Complete Care 5.5 (WP-812) & Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 (WP-861w)


  • Effectiveness: using a water flosser and a sonic toothbrush in combination is the most effective way to prevent oral health problems

  • Looks: the Complete Care 5.0 and 5.5 are the best-looking water flossers on the market

  • Value for money: cheaper than buying a high-quality sonic toothbrush and a water flosser separately

  • Convenience: both gadgets use only one plug, the toothbrush charges on the flosser


  • Quality: it feels like Waterpik have made compromises with the quality of the Triple Sonic toothbrush, travel case and tip storage case in order to cut costs

  • Practicality: to achieve a smaller footprint and slimmer design, the Complete Care 5.0 & 5.5 don’t have an inbuilt replacement tip and brush head storage

  • Travel: the Triple Sonic toothbrush doesn’t have a separate charger, which is inconvenient for long trips

Waterpik Complete Care review:

Before we start roasting the Waterpik WP-861 and WP-811 about all the minor stuff, it is important to say that it does the job that it is supposed to do very well.

The most efficient way to remove the plaque biofilm from the surface of your teeth is by brushing. The most efficient way to remove it from in-between your teeth – by flossing.

Clinical studies suggest that a sonic toothbrush and a water flosser are the best tools for the job. So, to take the best possible care of your smile you need both gadgets – that’s why Waterpik gave their combo products the Complete Care name.

Many people that start using both a water flosser and a sonic toothbrush in combination are surprised by the feeling of cleanliness it leaves them with. The most common thing you can read in positive customer reviews is that it feels like coming out of a teeth cleaning session with the dentist! Judging from my personal experience, I can definitely see why people are making this comparison.

The oral health benefits of the Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 and Complete Care 5.5 should not worry you if you decide to make a purchase. The products, however, have some other problems that are worth exploring:

Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 & 5.5 review: Water Flosser

The specs of the water flosser (which is the same in both models) are quite typical for a Waterpik:

  • It has 10 pressure settings, from 10 to 100 PSI, controlled by a dial on the side of the flosser.
  • The flow rate is 13 ounces (400 ml) per minute, which means you have enough water for 90 seconds of flossing – the recommended flossing session is 60 seconds. The tank holds up to 22 ounces (650 ml) of water.
  • It is worth noting that the Complete Care water flosser doesn’t have the advanced features that the Waterpik Aquarius (WP-660) has. Namely – massage mode, a LED function indicator, and a timer/pacer. This is not a huge loss, but I can’t help but feel Waterpik omitted these features to cut costs.
  • You get 5 replacement tips: 2 Classic Flossing, 1 Orthodontic, 1 Plaque Seeker, 1 Pik Pocket.
Waterpik WP-861w

The biggest difference between the Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 and 5.5 water flosser and other Waterpik models is that it doesn’t have a dedicated replacement tip storage on the unit. This design decision was taken to make the footprint of the flosser smaller and the design – slimmer.

If you want to be critical about it, you can blame Waterpik for sacrificing usefulness in the name of looks, but I don’t think this is a fair criticism. If having a functional replacement tip storage is important to you, then the Waterpik Complete Care WP-900 series has you covered. I personally use only the default Classic Flossing tip, so I don’t really care that much for the tip storage. Cool design and a slimmer footprint, however, make me happy.

One thing that I don’t like, however, is the quality of the portable tip storage they provide instead. It does the job, but it lacks the attention to detail you expect from a premium product. The tips move freely inside it, the plastic feels cheap and it is not particularly easy to open. The biggest offense, in my opinion, is that Waterpik already produces a much better portable replacement tip storage case, yet they have not included it in the Complete Care 5.0 and 5.5 – you need to buy it separately.

The replacement tip storage included in the Complete Care 5.0 & 5.5 on the left VS the separately sold Waterpik Water Flosser Tip Storage Case (TS-105E) on the right:

Waterpik replacement tip storage

Lastly, bear in mind that the water flosser of the Complete Care series is quite loud, like all powered water flossers. Keep this in mind if you want to use it while your partner is sleeping.

As far as complaints about water flossing being messy – it isn’t once you get used to handling it properly:

Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 & 5.5 review:
Triple Sonic & Oscillating Toothbrush

The difference between the 5.0 and 5.5 models is in the brushes. The Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 (WP-861w & WP-862w) has a sonic toothbrush (called the Triple Sonic). If you prefer an oscillating brush, however, then you can choose the Waterpik Complete Care 5.5 (WP-811 & WP-812). If you know nothing about electric toothbrushes I would simply recommend to you the sonic toothbrush. Sonic brushes vibrate at a higher frequency than the oscillating models for a marginally more efficient cleaning.

Waterpik Complete Care sonic and oscillating toothbrush

The sonic and the oscillating toothbrushes have the following features:

  • They are water resistant and can be used under the shower.
  • The Triple Sonic toothbrush reaches 31000 strokes per minute.
  • Both brushes have a quadrant timer – it signals you every 30 seconds for a total of 2 minutes, which is the recommended brushing session duration.

One of the biggest complaints about Waterpik’s Sensonic Toothbrush (which is sold separately and is included in the Complete Care WP-900, WP-940 and WP-950 models) is that it has only two speed settings. Waterpik apparently tried to solve this problem by including three modes in the Triple Sonic.

Yet, they didn’t go for the simple low/medium/high solution to accommodate for different preferences.


Triple Sonic and Oscillating Toothbrush: Modes

Triple Sonic and Oscillating Toothbrush: Modes

In the Triple Sonic, they called the three modes Clean Mode, Whiten Mode, and Massage Mode. Strangely, in the oscillating toothbrush of Complete Care 5.5, the three modes are called High, Low and Massage. I am not entirely convinced they didn’t simply put a fancier name on the high and low settings in the case of the Triple Sonic.

Clean mode is the high-speed setting. Whiten Mode is the low-speed setting. Waterpik claims that Whiten mode gently removes surface stains and naturally whitens teeth. Yet, they fail to elaborate why it does it better than the clean mode, which seems a bit gimmicky to me.

The massage mode, which is available on both, is supposed to enhance gum stimulation and circulation. This might be true, but to be honest Anna and I think that the gum massage coming from the water jet is superior. This makes the massage mode a bit redundant and leaves you once more with two speed settings.

The biggest improvement over the Sensonic is the front of the new toothbrushes. They have very good looking and easy to use battery life and mode indicators. Moreover, they have two buttons instead of one (in the Sensonic, the power and mode buttons are combined).

A step backward, however, is the material of the toothbrushes. The Sensonic has very practical rubberized sides that improve your grip. The Triple Sonic, however, is made out of a slippery plastic material. It looks better but is less practical.

Triple Sonic and Oscillating Toothbrush: Travel Case

Last but not least, as is the case with the portable tip storage, the toothbrush travel case is not particularly good. It is a simple plastic tube that separates in the middle and is sometimes kind of hard to pull apart.

Again, the biggest problem is that Waterpik already produces a much better toothbrush travel case. The Sensonic toothbrush available in the Waterpik WP-900 models comes with it. So, this makes me think that the decision not to include it in the Waterpik WP-861w and Waterpik WP-811 is to cut costs. All of this would have been fine if the Waterpik WP-861w and WP-811 models were cheaper than the WP-900 models, but they are not.

Waterpik Triple Sonic Travel Case

Waterpik Complete Care review:

The design of the Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 and Complete Care 5.5 is their biggest strength.

The products look slim and stylish, which is a rare quality in the water flosser market. The control dials are moved to the side of the unit and look clean and polished. Not including a built-in replacement tip storage makes the whole water flosser very slim, despite the fact that it includes a toothbrush charger.

Waterpik Complete Care 5.5 design

Both the Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 and the Waterpik Complete Care 5.5 are available in black and white. The Waterpik WP-861w and WP-811 models are with a white body and a blue tank. Waterpik WP-862w and WP-812 – with a black body and a clear tank.

We really love the black models since they look particularly stylish. Yet, it is important to bear in mind that toothpaste and water marks are more easily visible on a black background. This means that if you want your gadget to look neat, the black options requires more meticulous cleaning. This makes the white option the more practical choice.

Waterpik Complete Care 5.5 & 5.0 in black and white

The chrome trim just below the tank is a very nice touch, especially on the black variants (WP-862w & WP-812). Yet, it is not very practical because fingerprints and water/toothpaste marks are easily visible on the glossy surface.

All in all, the Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 and 5.5 models show that Waterpik as a brand is making attempts to modernize the otherwise bulky and outdated traditional water-flosser look.

Waterpik Complete Care review:

Reliability is the strongest point of Waterpik water flossers in general. The Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 and Complete Care 5.5 are reliable products as a whole and Waterpik backs this up with a two-year guarantee.

Yet, the new Triple Sonic and Oscillating toothbrushes have a very big flaw that has me worried:

Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 & 5.5 review:
Tripple Sonic & Oscillating toothbrushes

The shaft connecting the brush head to the body is plastic. In all high-quality powered toothbrushes, the shaft is made out of metal. This includes Waterpik’s own Sensonic toothbrush, available with the Waterpik Complete Care WP-900 series.

The reason for this is that it is the most mechanically active part. Making it from a less durable material will most certainly reduce the life of the product.

The decision to use plastic instead of metal is most likely made to cut costs. Yet, this is supposed to be a premium product and in my eyes when people are paying a premium price they expect first and foremost a very good build quality.

In all honesty, despite the good looks and better indicators on the front of the Triple Sonic and Oscillating brushes, I don’t think they are better than the older Sensonic. Sensonic simply seems to be of better build quality.

In addition, they have inherited Sensonic’s main flaws. The battery of the toothbrush is not replaceable, which means that when it dies you are supposed to change the whole brush. If you are the DIY kind of guy/girl you can actually solve this problem – you can read how in our Waterpik WP-900 review.

It is very important to remember that you shouldn’t store the toothbrush on the charger. Keeping it there all the time overcharges the battery and significantly reduces its life. Put it on the charger only when you need to recharge it. (Storing the toothbrush on the charger even voids your warranty!)

Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 & 5.5 review:
Water Flosser

In terms of reliability, there is nothing special about the Waterpik WP-861w and the Waterpik WP-811 water flosser. Waterpik is the company that has the most experience in this market by far. They know how to make reliable water flossers.

Similarly to Waterpik’s other products, the most common issue in the WP-800 models are leaks from below the tank. This is not a fatal problem because the leaks are usually minor. All it means is that you will need to empty the tank after you are done using the flosser, so that water doesn’t slowly leak onto your counter.

It is worth noting that even such complaints are quite rare. When you buy the product you should expect the water flosser to last at least the two years of the guarantee and usually one or two on top of that.

The regular maintenance of running the water flosser with a white vinegar solution every few months is recommended. The goal is to prevent the buildup of mildew and minerals inside the tubing with time.

Waterpik Complete Care review:
WP-900 vs WP-861w COMPARISON

We can’t help but compare the Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 & 5.5 to the other members of the Complete Care family: the Waterpik Complete Care WP-900, WP-940, and WP-950. (You can read a full Complete Care WP-900 review here).

When it comes to the WP-900 vs WP-861w showdown, the Complete Care 5.0’s only advantage is a better design and a smaller footprint. The WP-900’s water flosser is a bit more practical because of the brush head and replacement tip storage space. More importantly, the Sensonic toothbrush has better build quality than the Triple Sonic and the Oscillating toothbrushes.

Waterpik Complete Care WP-900 VS Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 WP-861w 

Waterpik Complete Care WP-900 VS Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 WP-861w

Waterpik Complete Care,

  • Usefulness 75%
  • Design 50%
  • Reliability 75%
  • Value for Money 90%
  • As an older model, it is more likely to be sold on discount
  • Practical inbuilt replacement tip and brush head storage

  • Sensonic – better build quality than the Triple Sonic toothbrush

Waterpik Complete Care 5.0,

  • Usefulness 70%
  • Design 85%
  • Reliability 70%
  • Value for Money 75%
  • More modern and polished design
  • Smaller footprint (takes less space on the bathroom counter)

In conclusion, you could say that the Waterpik WP-900 series gives you more value for money and a higher-quality toothbrush. The Waterpik WP-861w and WP-811 give you better design and a smaller footprint of the water flosser. This could be important if you have a small bathroom counter.

Waterpik Complete Care review:

If you have neither a water flosser nor a sonic toothbrush, buying a combo product makes perfect sense. It gives you the maximum possible value for money and allows you to take complete care (intended bad pun) of your smile.

The design of the Waterpik WP-861w and WP-811 stands out in the water flosser market, which is full of products with outdated and bulky design. If this is important to you (as it is to us) you shouldn’t worry too much about other small imperfections – all in all the flosser and toothbrush are perfectly adequate. Having a product that looks good to you and excites you is much more important than having just the perfect amount of tip storage space and rubber grips on your toothbrush. This excitement is what is going to motivate you to use it every single day and achieve great oral health results!

Waterpik Complete Care 5.0