AlignerCo and byte have a lot in common. Both clear aligner services offer at-home teeth straightening, and both are newer to the scene than industry giant SmileDirectClub. But when you dig a bit deeper, there are actually some major differences between these companies’ service offerings that aren’t so apparent on the surface.
We’re here to help you decipher these differences and hone in on the features that are most important to you. In this comparison review, we’ll take you on an in-depth tour of AlignerCo and byte, and provide all the information you need to choose the best home teeth aligner for you.
Table of Contents
Overview and Recommendation
Bottom Line: Both Companies Offer Big Savings and Quality Treatment
Both of these companies have grown quickly and are constantly looking for ways to improve their products and procedures. They each offer distinct advantages – AlignerCo has the lowest prices in the industry, while byte offers faster treatment times and convenience. And when you compare them to in-office treatments like Invisalign, both can be faster, less expensive options.
Two Great Companies, but byte Is Our Pick
There’s no doubt that AlignerCo is the most affordable home aligner company on the market, but when you step back and look at all the factors that contribute to clear aligner treatment, we think that byte is a more effective, convenient, reliable option.
Why do we rank byte higher than AlignerCo? Two reasons:
- Faster Treatment Time: Thanks to their proprietary HyperByte device, which uses gentle vibrations to enable faster teeth movements, byte has the industry’s most efficient treatment times. On average, they can achieve the desired results in just 3 months, compared to AlignerCo’s 6-11 month treatment window.
- Orthodontist Supervised: byte guarantees that every customer’s treatment plan will be reviewed by an accredited orthodontist. That’s a big deal! Orthodontists receive six years of specialized training learning how to adjust teeth safely and effectively. AlignerCo only guarantees that your care is reviewed by a dentist, who may or may not be an orthodontist. These individuals are highly educated and qualified but don’t have the next-level expertise of an orthodontist.
All that said, there’s a lot to like about AlignerCo as well, especially when it comes to cost. When they entered the home aligner game in 2019, their goal was to establish the industry’s lowest price point, and they succeeded. At just $1,145, they’re easily more affordable than the competition.
However, byte’s exceptional treatment times, innovation, and customer service make it a much more well-rounded option.
One of the biggest questions facing you as you investigate home aligner treatments is: how well do they work? All home aligner companies can confidently correct mild and moderate cases of crowding and spacing, but certain ones go a step further by ensuring quality products and processes.
AlignerCo’s low price doesn’t mean low quality – they still facilitate safe, effective treatment and produce reliable products. byte, however, does all that and more, promising orthodontist oversight and faster treatment times than anyone else.
- Works exclusively with orthodontists.
- Unclear who they partner with for manufacturing
- Cuts aligners straight across the top for extra power
- HyperByte technology decreases the average treatment time to 3 months
- Uses both orthodontists and dentists to create treatment plans.
- Partners with Raintree Essix, another reputable manufacturer, to produce their aligners
- Trims aligners to match your gum line, potentially sacrificing effectiveness
- Average treatment time is 6-11 months
Your aligner treatment plan doesn’t appear out of thin air – rather, it’s carefully crafted by a state-licensed professional. byte promises that this person will be an orthodontist, someone with extensive experience moving teeth. AlignerCo’s network, on the other hand, consists of orthodontists and general dentists, and you might end up with either one.
This is a big deal because orthodontists receive several years of specialized training, so they can spot and address even the most subtle alignment issues. Having an orthodontist monitoring your care increases the likelihood of an outstanding adjustment, and reduces the risk of something going wrong during your treatment.
Don’t get us wrong: AlignerCo’s general dentists are qualified, knowledgeable individuals. But they don’t necessarily have an orthodontist’s specialized experience and skill set. They do, however, make sure you have consistent oversight. Every two weeks, you’ll be required to submit photos of your teeth so that your dentist/orthodontist can provide feedback, which ensures that your treatment stays on track.
The construction, design, and materials in your aligners can have a huge impact on your treatment’s effectiveness.
AlignerCo produces all of their aligners using plastics from Raintree Essix, a high-quality, well-respected dental supplies company. So, you can be sure that their products are made from sturdy and reliable materials.
While we assume that they partner with a trusted manufacturer, byte doesn’t disclose who makes their aligners. Even so, we’ve encountered very few reviews that take issue with the quality of byte’s products.
Believe it or not, the way that your aligners are cut can have an influence on their effectiveness as well.
AlignerCo trims their aligners to match your gum line, while byte cuts theirs straight across so that they overlap the gums. There are advantages to scalloped aligners – they’re slightly less noticeable and they ensure that your aligners are hand-crafted, not 3D printed.
Because byte’s straight-cut aligners overlap your gums, they’re slightly more visible, but they can also be more effective. How? The gums help to anchor your aligners in place, giving them a point of leverage they can use to exert up to 4x more force to move your teeth.
When AlignerCo says that their scalloped aligners are less visible, they aren’t lying, but know that it may also make them a little less effective.
All home aligner companies are affordable when compared to traditional in-office treatments like Invisalign. But among these affordable options, AlignerCo is king. Their prices are significantly lower than the rest of the field.
Considering the quality of their treatment, byte offers good value, but AlignerCo is a consistent favorite for anyone on a tight budget who’s looking for a cost-effective option. However, affordability isn’t one-dimensional. Make sure to also look beyond price tags to consider financing options and other perks as well.
- $1,895 sticker price
- Includes aftercare retainers in the initial cost.
- HyperByte device also included in the initial cost.
- Impression kit is $95.
- Financing requires a down payment but no credit check (everyone is approved!)
- $1,145 sticker price
- Initial payment includes aftercare retainers.
- Impression kit is also included in the sticker price.
- Multiple financing options – one requires a soft credit check, the other requires a downpayment
You simply won’t find a more affordable option than AlignerCo. Their $1,145 sticker price is several hundred dollars lower than the competition. This upfront cost includes your aligners, impression kit, and aftercare retainers, everything you need for treatment.
byte charges $1,895, which is right around the industry average. And even though byte’s initial price includes the cost of retainers, it doesn’t cover your impression kit, which is an extra $95. On the flip side, this price also includes HyperByte, the device responsible for byte’s blazing-fast treatment times.
Payment Plan Options
Even after discounts, home aligners aren’t exactly cheap. You might not be ready to pay $1,200 – $1,900 right away, and that’s okay. Each company offers financing plans that can break the cost into more manageable monthly payments.
- byte’s 25-month plan ($83/month) requires a $249 down payment but every customer qualifies, no credit check necessary.
- AlignerCo has two different financing options:
- SmileFlex requires a soft credit check and if you qualify, it’s 12 monthly payments of $110.
- SmileFlexEasy does not require a credit check but does require a $275 downpayment followed by 11 monthly payments of $95.
byte’s plan has lower monthly payments, but for $12 more per month, you can pay off AlignerCo’s entire cost in less than a year. Both companies’ financing plans have interest and cost more in the long run, so it’s cheaper to pay up front if you can swing it.
Candid includes free whitening to accompany your aligners, which is a nice touch that allows you to brighten your smile while you straighten your teeth. AlignerCo doesn’t throw in free whitening, but that’s one of the things that helps them keep their sticker price low.
byte also includes their HyperByte device with your treatment cost. This is a huge benefit to you, as HyperByte is what makes byte’s 3-month treatment time possible, and it’s $699 bought separately.
Go with either of these companies and you’ll get a strong value, especially when compared to Invisalign or braces, which will typically set you back $5,000 or more. But if you want the absolute most affordable option, AlignerCo is your answer.
If you’re sold on home aligners, it’s likely in part because of their incredibly convenient experience. From impression kit to final smile, you can complete the entire process without leaving your house. Either company is going to be convenient when compared to in-office options, but byte is especially so. Not only do they maintain an industry-best 3-month treatment time, but they offer other perks that can make the process much more convenient.
- No physical locations that offer teeth scans, so you’ll need to use an impression kit.
- Takes 4 weeks to design, produce, and ship your aligners.
- Allows you to use aligners and whitening products simultaneously.
- byte At-Night treatment only requires aligner use for 10 hours per day.
- Average treatment time is 3 months
- Also no physical locations, so you must use the impression kit.
- Takes 4-5 weeks to design, produce, and ship your aligners.
- Does not offer whitening products
- Does not offer a nighttime-only option, only a standard all-day treatment.
- Average treatment time is 6-11 months
Once you’ve decided to dive into home aligner treatment, you’ll probably want to get the ball rolling right away. But before byte or AlignerCo can design your treatment plan, they need to get a look at your teeth.
This usually involves creating molds of your top and bottom arches with an impression kit. It sounds simple, but many customers report struggling with this first step. Taking impressions isn’t always easy if you’ve never done it before. But if you choose either of these companies, you don’t have a choice – an impression kit is the only way to get started. Larger companies like SmileDirectClub and Candid have established physical locations where you can get free teeth scans, but byte and AlignerCo don’t yet offer this option.
Straightening your teeth is a big change, but if you want to take it a step further, you might be considering whitening them too. Good news: byte includes a free whitening kit with your aligners. And the best part is that the whitening solution is compatible with your aligners, so you can use them both simultaneously.
AlignerCo doesn’t sell any whitening products, let alone include them for free. But this is for a good reason – it’s one of the ways that they can keep their prices so low.
byte delivers the industry’s fastest results, hands down. No one else comes close to their average 3-month treatment time. By comparison, AlignerCo’s treatment takes 6-11 months, which is still faster than in-office options (like Invisalign), but much slower than byte.
Because home aligner treatment is a completely remote process, there’s some back-and-forth involved with getting started. The company will send you an impression kit and you’ll return molds of your teeth. Then, if the impressions are acceptable, the company’s dental professionals will develop your treatment plan and send it back to you. At this point, you’ll decide whether or not you’d like to continue with treatment. If so, the company will produce and ship your aligners.
The companies want to ensure your treatment quality and safety, so producing your aligners isn’t necessarily a quick process. You won’t find them waiting on your doorstep the day after finishing your impression kit. Go with byte and you can expect this entire process to take around 4 weeks (depending on how quickly you return your impressions). AlignerCo has a pretty similar timeline – 2 weeks to create your treatment plan and 2-3 more to manufacture the actual aligners.
Think about your life with aligners, wearing them 22+ hours per day, only removing them to eat and drink, switching to a new set every week. Sound reasonable? Great! But if you don’t think you could work this commitment into your schedule, a nighttime-only option could be the right move for you. This is a relatively recent trend in the home aligner industry, and currently only two companies offer it: byte and SmileDirectClub.
The idea is that you wear each set of aligners for 10 hours per day instead of the usual 22. byte’s nighttime treatment (called byte At-Night) designs their aligners specifically to exert more power over a shorter period of time each day. And they’ve done so in a way that only slightly extends your timeline – 4-6 months compared to the usual 3.
AlignerCo doesn’t currently offer a nighttime-only option. However, we wouldn’t be surprised if more home aligner companies started jumping on this trend soon.
One of the main reasons many adults choose clear aligners is to avoid all the metal associated with traditional braces. Already conscious about your treatment’s appearance, you’ll want to make sure your aligners suit your aesthetic preferences. Each company’s products look slightly different, so each will look a little different on your teeth.
Every person has their own unique aesthetic preferences, so this category is fairly subjective. You’ll want to keep your own likes and dislikes in mind as you consider each company.
- Uses a smooth, translucent, shiny plastic.
- Uses straight-cut aligners that slightly overlap your gums.
- Reasonably stain resistant.
- Uses a smooth, translucent, shiny plastic.
- Scallops their aligners to match your gum line.
- Reasonably stain resistant.
In the home aligner industry, there are two prevailing opinions on plastics. The first is that translucent, smooth plastic makes aligners less visible. And the second maintains that textured, frosted aligners better match natural teeth surfaces.
We tend to agree with the second opinion, but byte and AlignerCo do not. Both companies craft their aligners from clear, smooth plastic. AlignerCo goes as far as claiming to have the “world’s clearest aligners.” Our opinion is that this can make your aligners look artificially shiny, but not everyone agrees. You might prefer the translucent look for the way it makes your teeth “gleam.”
Remember in the “Effectiveness” section when we said that straight-cut aligners like byte’s are more powerful? Well, they’re also more noticeable. Scalloped aligners (like the ones from AlignerCo) match your gum line, so there’s no visible overlap.
Both companies make aligners that are resistant to staining, but we would not recommend drinking colored beverages while wearing them. byte’s FAQ page states that their aligners are 88% more stain-resistant than their competitors, but it’s unclear how they determined this.
No one will notice your aligners if you’re not wearing them. By providing the option for nighttime-only treatment, byte allows you to avoid wearing aligners in public altogether. So, if you don’t want to wear them at work, school, or other daytime social gatherings, you don’t have to. AlignerCo doesn’t have a nighttime treatment, so you don’t have this option.
Customer Service Comparison
As you weigh your options, keep in mind that you’ll be completing this entire process on your own. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have support. Every home aligner company offers customer service options, but they’re not all equally helpful.
Whether you have a quick question about pricing or an issue with your treatment, byte delivers highly individualized customer care. AlignerCo doesn’t have the same system of personalized service, but they’re available, responsive, and appear to provide excellent support.
byte Customer Service
AlignerCo Customer Service
- Offers standard communication avenues and will respond on social media as well.
- Receives consistently positive customer reviews.
- The byte-For-Life guarantee ensures your smile forever.
- Provides each customer with a personal byte advisor to answer questions.
- Provides standard support options, including video chat
- Customers often report excellent service in online reviews
- You can request a $200 refinement if you followed your plan and aren’t satisfied with your results.
byte is available during standard business hours on a variety of support platforms – phone, webchat, email, and will also respond on social media. Representatives are available from 8am to 6pm every weekday. AlignerCo has all the same communication channels and are available from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. Plus, they offer video call assistance to walk you through the impression kit process.
Responsiveness & Helpfulness
To get a better sense of each company’s customer service experience, we read and watched numerous online reviews. After compiling review data and testing out their support channels for ourselves, we determined that AlignerCo has commendable customer service, but byte goes above and beyond to provide personalized care.
Reviewers indicate that byte’s support team is responsive and friendly, resolving questions and issues efficiently. They assign each customer a byte advisor who is available to answer questions throughout the entire treatment process. No other home aligner company offers a comparable level of personalized support.
AlignerCo uses their small size to their advantage, as many customers are pleased with their responsiveness and personal care. They don’t assign each customer an advisor like byte, but they give each customer close attention and helpful solutions.
Let’s say you get to the end of your treatment and aren’t 100% satisfied with what you see. Then what? First, know that if you follow your wear schedule and treatment plan exactly, there’s an extremely good chance that you’ll get the results you want. But occasionally teeth simply don’t move as expected.
If you followed your treatment plan but aren’t completely satisfied, AlignerCo won’t give a refund, but they will let you request refinement aligners, which cost an extra $200.
byte doesn’t provide refunds either. However, their byte-for-life guarantee ensures your smile for life. If your teeth ever shift, they will provide free treatment to correct them, even years down the road. This only applies, however, to the teeth originally affected by your treatment, not any others.
byte Company Background
AlignerCo Company Background
- Founded in 2018
- Quickly gained popularity due to their innovative technology and excellent customer service.
- Currently one of the industry’s most promising new companies.
- Founded in 2019
- Dug out a space as the most affordable home aligner option.
- Still small, but has a growing customer base.
AlignerCo and byte are both relatively young companies who have made waves in the home aligner field through their innovative policies and procedures.
byte is the brainchild of Dr. Jon Marashi D.D.S., whose star-studded patient list includes celebrities like Ben Affleck, Ryan Seacrest, and Kate Hudson. With byte, he brought his ambitious orthodontic procedures to a wider base of patients. The HyperByte device, which cuts treatment times in half, and Smile Science technology, which matches your smile with your facial features, garnered immediate attention. Since its conception, byte has grown rapidly in popularity and customers.
AlignerCo entered the scene in 2019 but counters their inexperience with incredibly affordable prices – the lowest in the industry. Most impressively, they haven’t sacrificed product quality for these low prices. Customers flocking to AlignerCo for their cost-effectiveness are finding highly-effective treatment and excellent support as well. It’s safe to say that this upstart has quickly become a worthy competitor for industry mainstays like Candid and SmileDirectClub.
Saving money is great, but we’re not convinced that AlignerCo’s lower costs surpass byte’s dedication to efficiency, quality, and customer service. As AlignerCo continues to grow, they might start to catch up in these areas, but we haven’t seen it yet. As a top-notch all-around option, byte is our top-ranked home aligner company, and we’re excited to see how they continue to revolutionize the industry in the future.
Which Home Teeth Aligner Should You Use?
As you can see, AlignerCo and byte have a lot in common, but their differences are where you want to focus when making a final decision. If you’re still not sure which business formation service to choose, let’s look at a couple of scenarios that might help you figure out which is the better option for you.
Choose byte if You Are:
Looking to complete your treatment ASAP with orthodontist oversight and excellent customer service, and don’t mind working with a less-experienced company.
Choose AlignerCo if You Are:
Searching for the lowest prices available along with reliable products and excellent customer service, and don’t mind (or prefer!) a smaller company.