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 deeper, you’ll find that there are some major differences between them.
We’re here to help you decipher these differences and determine the features that are most important to you. In this comparison review, we’ll explore all the details of AlignerCo and Byte’s treatments, and provide all the information you need to choose the best home teeth aligner option for you.
Table of Contents
Overview & Recommendation: Byte Wins
Two Great Companies, but Byte Gets Our Vote.
Both AlignerCo & Byte offer huge savings and convenience, but in our opinion, Byte wins the race. Why? Two reasons:
- Efficient Treatment Times: Byte has devoted themselves to giving each customer the most efficient treatment possible for their condition. There’s evidence that their proprietary HyperByte device, which emits gentle micro-pulses, can help provide a more comfortable aligner fit and even encourage faster dental shifts.
- Superior Customer Experience: Byte assigns each customer a personal advisor, who checks in to address your questions and concerns throughout the treatment process. Plus, once you’re done with treatment, their Byte-for-Life guarantee protects your smile forever. That means if your teeth ever shift after treatment, even years down the line, they’ll realign your smile for free—as long as you replace your retainers every six months and wear them as directed.
Is Byte Right for You?
Your ideal clear aligner treatment depends largely on your unique condition, goals, and budget. But Byte is a great option for most people with mild-to-moderate misalignments. They scored 4.3/5 overall based on our five review criteria (effectiveness, affordability, convenience, appearance, and customer support) — a higher rating than any other provider.
One of the biggest questions facing you as you investigate clear aligner treatments is: how well do they work? At-home aligner companies can confidently correct milder cases of crowding and spacing, but they can’t treat severe misalignments like in-office options can.
Even so, 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, providing not just quality products, but excellent efficiency for many customers.
- Uses both orthodontists and dentists to create treatment plans, and recommends photo check-ins every month.
- Their aligners are manufactured by the widely trusted Dentsply Sirona.
- Cuts aligners straight across the top for extra power.
- Uses both orthodontists and dentists to create treatment plans and requires virtual check-ins every 14 days.
- Uses plastic from Raintree Essix, another reputable manufacturer, to produce their aligners.
- Trims aligners to match your gum line, potentially sacrificing effectiveness.
Your aligner treatment plan doesn’t appear out of thin air — rather, it’s carefully crafted by a state-licensed professional. To create Byte treatments, dentists and orthodontists work in tandem, so you can be confident that an orthodontist will have some role in your aligner plan. It’s unclear how AlignerCo’s dental team functions, so you could have a dentist or orthodontist designing your treatment.
To help you stay on track, AlignerCo provides consistent remote oversight. Every two weeks, you’ll be required to submit photos of your teeth via email, so that their team can evaluate your progress and identify any potential concerns. Byte recommends that you submit photos once per month, but they only require it in certain cases. If you choose to submit them regularly, you can upload them directly through the My Byte app, which is easier than an email back-and-forth.
Your aligners’ design and materials can have a tremendous impact on your treatment’s effectiveness.
AlignerCo produces their aligners using plastics from Raintree Essix, a high-quality, well-respected dental supplies company. So, you can be confident that their products contain sturdy and reliable materials.
In late 2020, Byte was acquired by Dentsply Sirona, a reputable dental manufacturing company that makes cleaning instruments, scanning machines, retainers, and virtually any other dental equipment you can imagine. This means Byte’s products are also highly trustworthy and well-designed.
Believe it or not, the cut of your aligners 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.
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 on 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, which typically costs $3,000–$8,000. 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 look beyond price tags to consider financing options and other perks as well.
- $1,999 sticker price (or $2,399 for byte-At-Night).
- Includes the first set of aftercare retainers in the initial cost.
- The sticker price includes the HyperByte device.
- Impression kit is $95.
- Financing requires a down payment and soft credit check.
- The Byte Protection Plan provides some of the most affordable retainers in the industry.
- $1,145 sticker price ($1,345 for NightOnly).
- The initial payment includes the first set of aftercare retainers.
- The sticker price also includes your impression kit.
- Multiple financing options — one requires a soft credit check, the other requires a down payment.
- The Smile Protection Plan provides some of the most affordable retainers in the industry.
You simply won’t find a more affordable option than AlignerCo. Their $1,145 sticker price is several hundred dollars lower than other at-home aligners and thousands less than in-office options. This upfront cost includes your aligners, impression kit, and the first set of aftercare retainers — everything you need for treatment. If you choose NightOnly treatment, you’ll pay $1,345 instead.
Byte charges $1,999, which is right around the average for at-home treatment, yet still cheaper than Invisalign and other in-office aligners. Even though Byte’s initial price includes the cost of your first set of aftercare retainers, it doesn’t cover your impression kit, which is an extra $95. On the flip side, this price also includes HyperByte, a high-frequency vibration device that helps provide a more comfortable aligner fit and encourages faster dental shifts. As the company’s premium offering, Byte At-Night is a little more expensive: $2,399 in total.
Payment Plan Options
Even after discounts, home aligners aren’t exactly cheap. You might not be ready to pay $1,200–$2,300 right away, and that’s okay. Each company offers financing plans that can break the cost into more manageable monthly payments.
Byte’s in-house financing plan (BytePay) requires a soft credit check, followed by a $249 down payment and $70/month for 36 months. Byte At-Night requires a $299 down payment, followed by 36 monthly payments of $84.
AlignerCo has two different financing options:
- SmileFlex requires a soft credit check and if you qualify, it’s 12 monthly payments of $110. With NightOnly financing, those payments increase to $125.
- SmileFlex Easy does not require a credit check but does require a $275 down payment followed by six monthly payments of $125 (or $345 then $175 payments for NightOnly).
Byte’s plan has lower monthly payments, but for just a little more each 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 upfront if you can swing it.
Byte and AlignerCo both include free whitening to accompany your aligners, which is a nice touch that allows you to brighten your smile while you straighten your teeth.
Byte also includes their HyperByte device in the cost of your aligner bundle. The HyperByte helps provide a more comfortable aligner fit, and there’s evidence that it can help your teeth shift more quickly, too. You’d pay $699 if you bought it separately, so the fact that they include it in your treatment package is a huge benefit.
Once you’ve achieved the smile you’ve always wanted, you’ll need to maintain it. Industry-wide wisdom recommends wearing a nightly retainer indefinitely after your treatment so that your pearly whites stay in position.
AlignerCo and Byte both include your first set of retainers (upper and lower) in their aligner packages. At-home clear aligner companies typically recommend replacing your retainer every six months — so it will be an ongoing expense. Fortunately, Byte and AlignerCo both offer retainer replacement plans that make the entire process cheaper and more convenient.
|Byte Protection Plan||AlignerCo’s Smile Protection Plan|
|Five-year duration.||Four-year duration.|
|Same retainer prices for all-day and at-night aligner treatment.||Same retainer price for both daytime and nighttime treatment.|
|$749 for ten retainers ($75 each).||$680 for eight retainers ($85 each).|
|They will mail you new retainers upon request.||They will deliver all your retainers at once, so you won’t have to worry about requesting them.|
|Your retainers will already be in stock, so you won’t have to wait for a replacement.||You’ll already have all your replacement retainers, so if you lose one, you can just grab another.|
|If you lose your retainer, Byte will replace it for free.|
If you’re sold on home aligners, it’s likely in part because they’re incredibly convenient. You can complete the entire process over a few months without leaving your house. Either company is going to be convenient compared to in-office options, but Byte is especially so. Not only do they boast shorter average treatment plans, 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 around four 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 ten hours per day.
- Average treatment plan is 4–5 months.
- No physical locations that offer teeth scans, so you’ll need to complete the impression kit to start treatment.
- Takes 7–8 weeks to design, produce, and ship your aligners.
- Includes whitening that you can use simultaneously with your aligners.
- Offers a NightOnly option, requiring only ten hours of aligner wear per day.
- Average treatment plan is 4–6 months.
Once you’ve decided to pursue 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. Larger companies like SmileDirectClub have established physical locations where you can get free teeth scans, giving people an option to begin their treatment with a little more ease.
Neither Byte nor AlignerCo has any physical locations, so if you’re choosing either one, you’ll need to complete your own impressions at home, which could be a more cumbersome process.
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 and AlignerCo each include 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.
Byte’s treatment is typically pretty efficient, with an average treatment plan length of just 4–5 months. By comparison, AlignerCo’s treatment takes 4–6 months, which is still much faster than in-office options (like Invisalign), but potentially not as quick as 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 you’d like to continue with treatment. If so, the company will produce and ship your aligners.
Each company wants 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 four weeks (depending on how quickly you return your impressions), which is faster than most at-home aligner services. AlignerCo takes nearly twice as long. They’ll send your treatment preview three weeks after they receive your impressions, and after you approve the preview, it’ll take another 4–5 weeks to manufacture your 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, four companies offer it: Byte, SmileDirectClub, AlignerCo, and NewSmile.
You’ll wear each set of aligners for ten 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 treatment plan — 5–6 months compared to the usual 4–5.
AlignerCo’s nighttime treatment is called NightOnly. These are actually the same aligners you’d receive for AlignerCo’s daytime treatment, but they have a different wear schedule, and they increase the overall timeline to 6–8 months.
One of the main reasons many adults choose clear aligners is to avoid all the hardware associated with traditional braces. So all clear aligners, whether at-home or in-office, are pretty discreet. Yet each company’s aligners look slightly different, and 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 your options.
- Uses a smooth, translucent, shiny plastic.
- Uses straight-cut aligners that slightly overlap your gums.
- Doesn’t incorporate any attachments.
- Reasonably stain resistant.
- Uses a smooth, translucent, shiny plastic.
- Scallops their aligners to match your gum line.
- Doesn’t incorporate any attachments.
- 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. The second maintains that textured, frosted aligners better match natural teeth surfaces.
Both Byte and AlignerCo craft their aligners from clear, smooth plastic. AlignerCo goes as far as claiming to have the “world’s clearest aligners.” This can make your aligners look artificially shiny, although some people prefer the translucent look for the way it makes their 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, since people nearby might see where the plastic overlaps your gums. Scalloped aligners (like the ones from AlignerCo) match your gum line, so there’s no visible overlap.
Both companies make fairly stain-resistant aligners, but we would not recommend drinking colored beverages while wearing them.
Sometimes, fully in-person treatments like Invisalign and ClearCorrect will include small attachments affixed to the surfaces of the teeth, which help their aligners exert more force. While these attachments can increase effectiveness, they also make the aligners more noticeable. Byte and AlignerCo don’t include attachments on any of their aligners, maintaining their low profile.
No one will notice your aligners if you’re not wearing them. By providing the option for nighttime-only treatment, both companies let you 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.
Customer Experience 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 support options, but they’re not all equally helpful.
The most intensive, personalized support is the in-person care you’ll receive from Invisalign or ClearCorrect, and even though it’s difficult to replicate that kind of experience remotely, Byte and AlignerCo still provide quality support. Whether you have a quick question about pricing or an issue with your treatment, AlignerCo’s support team is available and fairly responsive, but they can’t quite match Byte’s level of individualized customer service.
Byte Customer Experience
AlignerCo Customer Experience
- Offers standard communication avenues and will respond on social media as well.
- You can have regular photo check-ins via a mobile app if you’d like.
- 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.
- Consistent photo check-ins provide feedback on a regular basis.
- You can request a $200 refinement if you followed your plan and aren’t satisfied with your results.
- Doesn’t have a lifetime guarantee.
Byte is available during standard business hours on a variety of support platforms—phone, webchat, and email. Plus, they will respond quickly on social media. Representatives are available from 7 am to 5 pm PT every day of the week. AlignerCo has all the same communication channels and are available from 9 am to 6 pm, seven days a week. Plus, they offer video call assistance to walk you through the impression kit process.
Byte also lets you contact their customer support team directly through their My Byte app, which is a quick and easy way to get in touch. AlignerCo doesn’t have a comparable app.
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.
Many 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, providing personalized support. Some customers have complained about difficulties reaching customer support and long communication delays, but most of their reviews are positive.
Similarly, many AlignerCo customers have had glowing reviews for the company’s support team. We tested out their webchat and received a response almost immediately. However, some customers have reported delays in treatment and frustration with having to go back and forth with representatives to get helpful answers.
Invisalign and ClearCorrect’s office visits not only provide the reassurance of regular dental exams, but they also give you a chance to ask your dentist questions and chat about your experience. Remote oversight isn’t as intensive, but it still provides an added level of clinical feedback.
When you email photos to AlignerCo every two weeks, their team will let you know if everything looks good or if something seems off. The same goes for optional uploads via Byte’s app. However, this isn’t an open conversation between you and the dental team. If you have further questions, you’ll need to email/call AlignerCo’s support staff, or reach out through the My Byte app.
Let’s say you get to the end of your treatment and your teeth don’t match your initial preview. 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 sometimes, 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 team will work with you to provide extra aligners to finish the job if necessary. And 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 home aligner industry’s most established companies.
- Founded in 2019
- Established themselves 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 ensures a comfortable aligner fit, 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 that it’s also pretty effective. It’s safe to say that this upstart has quickly become a worthy competitor for industry mainstays like Byte 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.
What Are Customers Saying?
When we review a company like Byte or AlignerCo, we start out by digging through online user reviews to understand the common issues customers face, and how the company handles them. Here’s how these two services stack up.
Generally, Byte users express positivity and satisfaction with their Byte experience. They often say they chose Byte because they appreciated the convenience of a shorter treatment plan, and liked that the HyperByte device could eliminate much of the pain associated with orthodontic treatment.
In the few cases where something goes wrong, it seems that Byte is quick and caring to resolve the issue, making sure the customer feels safe and valued. Many users also note that the HyperByte device really helps their aligners feel more comfortable, and that they notice more discomfort if they’re not using HyperByte regularly.
As we mentioned earlier, AlignerCo is a fairly new company. They don’t yet have a ton of legitimate customer reviews and testimonials, so it’s tough to develop a fully-formed view. But by diligently searching the net, we were able to find a handful of reviews that feel honest and authentic, not sponsored by the company.
Based on these reviews, AlignerCo customers generally feel positive about their experience. Many customers initially considered AlignerCo for the price, but ended up loving their results and customer service experience. They often praise company representatives by name, showing AlignerCo’s personalized care.
But again, this is based on a small sample size of reviews. As they continue to grow, they’ll accumulate more and we’ll get a more complete picture of their customer experience.
Which Home Teeth Aligner Should You Use?
Still not sure which at-home aligner service to choose? Here are 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 quality products and excellent customer service, and don’t mind a potential lack of remote oversight.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I choose Byte or AlignerCo?
That’s a tough decision. They’re both great companies, but we recommend Byte. Their average 4-5 month treatment plan length, personalized customer support, and Byte-For-Life guarantee make them our #1 home aligner service. AlignerCo, with their extra-low price, is a solid option too, especially for budget-conscious shoppers. Take a deep dive into each company by reading our full Byte review and AlignerCo review.
How do I get started with Byte or AlignerCo?
Getting started with Byte or AlignerCo means ordering an impression kit and using it to create molds of your teeth, then mailing them back. Their dental teams will use the molds of your teeth to determine your candidacy and create your aligners.
What are customers saying about Byte and AlignerCo?
Byte’s customer reviews are mostly positive. Customers express satisfaction with the company’s support team, speed, and results. AlignerCo has received positive reviews too — they just don’t have a lot of reviews in general. Still, customers are impressed with their low prices and financing options.
However, both companies have received some negative feedback too. Plus, they ask their patients to leave reviews towards the beginning of their treatment, so many of their reviews come from people who have just started their treatment or haven’t even received their aligners yet, which may not tell the full story.
Do AlignerCo and Byte offer financing plans?
Yes, both have payment plans that make their prices more manageable. AlignerCo’s SmileFlex Easy plan requires a $275 down payment, then six monthly payments of $125. Byte’s BytePay plan is a $249 down payment and $70 per month for 36 months. For Byte At-Night, it’s a $299 down payment and $84 a month for 36 months.
What is the cheapest home aligner company?
AlignerCo. At just $1,145, their price beats every competitor, and sometimes they run promotions that drop their already low prices even lower. And if you can’t pay that up front, you can jump on a financing plan, regardless of your credit score. Check out our complete AlignerCo review for more info, or find other great-value options in our guide to the most affordable home aligners.
Should I choose nighttime or daytime treatment?
Byte and AlignerCo offer a nighttime-only treatment (Byte At-Night) that allows you to wear your aligners for ten hours per night rather than 22 hours per day. Nighttime treatment is great for frequent snackers or people who forget to wear aligners consistently, but it’s a bit more expensive. Daytime treatment is a better option for someone who’s looking to complete their treatment as quickly as possible.
Can Byte or AlignerCo fix overbite, underbite, etc.?
Not usually. Home aligners are designed to treat mild and moderate cases of crowding and spacing. Most often, jaw misalignments require a more robust, in-office treatment like braces or Invisalign, one that has face-to-face orthodontist oversight and incorporates attachments like elastics.
How do Byte and AlignerCo compare to Invisalign?
Both treatments use a series of clear aligners to shift your teeth. The major difference is that your dentist or orthodontist will administer Invisalign in-office and can incorporate supplemental attachments (elastics, buttons, etc.).
As a result, Invisalign can treat just about any condition that braces can. Home aligners don’t require office visits, so they can’t employ attachments and they have a smaller range of treatable cases. Take a look at our Byte vs. Invisalign and AlignerCo vs. Invisalign guides for a deeper analysis.
How long does home aligner treatment take?
In most cases, six months. Your timeline could be shorter or longer, though, depending on your condition’s severity and how consistently you wear your aligners. And if you choose Byte, your treatment might move slightly quicker, since their “HyperByte” technology can help achieve faster teeth shifts.
How much do home aligners cost?
They go for $1,200–$2,000, depending on which company you choose. AlignerCo, for example, has cut out the bells and whistles to provide effective treatment at just $1,145. While most others go for around $1,900. Even the most expensive home aligners are still much cheaper than the $3,000–$8,000 you’ll pay for Invisalign or braces.
Are home aligners safe?
Yes! While administering treatment from home might seem daunting, the process is very safe. Home aligner companies use state-licensed dentists and orthodontists to create your treatment plan and design your aligners.
Even though you won’t meet with them in-person, each company offers robust customer support services if something doesn’t feel quite right.
Do home aligners hurt?
When you switch to a new aligner set every two weeks, you might experience some discomfort for the first day or two, but after that, you’ll hardly notice them.