Candid and AlignerCo 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 that aren’t so apparent on the surface.
We’re here to help you decipher these differences and hone in on the features you value most. In this comparison review, we’ll take you on an in-depth tour of Candid and AlignerCo, providing all the information you need to choose the best home teeth aligner for you.
Table of Contents
Overview and Recommendation
Two Great Companies, but Candid Gets Our Vote
AlignerCo is the most affordable option out there, but price is just one aspect of home aligner treatment. When you take everything into consideration, we believe that Candid is the more effective and convenient option. They go above and beyond to ensure top-quality treatment.
Why do we rank Candid higher than AlignerCo? Two reasons:
- Orthodontist-Only Network: Candid guarantees that an orthodontist will develop your treatment. AlignerCo uses both orthodontists and general dentists, so there’s no promise that you’ll have the most specialized professional working on your case. General dentists are certainly qualified, but orthodontists have years of training in the art of moving teeth and crafting beautiful smiles.
- Remote Monitoring: Candid offers the industry’s most robust clinical oversight, a system they call CandidMonitoring. Their special ScanBox device and mobile app allow you to take photos of your teeth and upload them to your patient portal every two weeks. Candid’s clinical team uses these photos to evaluate your progress and identify potential issues, bringing in your assigned orthodontist to make adjustments if necessary. This helps ensure that you’ll get the results you’re after and provides the peace of mind that professionals are overseeing every part of your treatment.
All that said, there’s a lot to like about AlignerCo too, especially when it comes to cost. Their standard price of $1,145 makes them the industry’s most affordable brand.
But at the end of the day, this decision isn’t just about money. It’s also about your safety and well-being, and we trust that Candid puts the safety of their customers first.
Home aligners are generally effective at treating mild-to-moderate cases of crowding and spacing no matter which company you choose.
Even so, Candid and AlignerCo have each taken great strides toward superior effectiveness by using high-quality materials and providing oversight throughout treatment. While both companies deliver effective treatments, Candid’s extensive experience and CandidMonitoring service give them the advantage.
- Has a network made up exclusively of orthodontists
- Provides routine check-ins with their team via CandidMonitoring
- Manufactures their aligners in-house using Zendura plastic.
- Has the ability to move all of your teeth, including the molars, rather than just the front teeth
- Cuts their aligners straight across the top for extra power
- Uses both orthodontists and dentists to create treatment plans.
- Requires you to send photos of your teeth every two weeks.
- Partners with Raintree Essix, another reputable manufacturer, to produce their aligners
- Can only move the front teeth and premolars
- Trims aligners to match your gum line, potentially sacrificing effectiveness
The person who’s directly designing and overseeing your treatment can influence its quality. Candid guarantees that you’ll work with an orthodontist, while AlignerCo has a mixed team of orthodontists and general dentists.
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.
Both companies agree, however, that consistent oversight is necessary for an aligner plan’s success. During AlignerCo treatment, you’re required to send photos of your teeth to your dentist/orthodontist every two weeks for feedback. Candid takes it one step further. Their Remote Monitoring service comes with specialized tools to help you take intraoral photos, which your orthodontist will review every 7-10 days. This regular evaluation helps deliver consistent results and can even speed up your treatment.
Treatment Plan Comprehensiveness
Candid’s treatment can move all of your teeth, including the molars. In doing so, Candid is able to create the necessary space in your dental arches, laying the groundwork to move your front six teeth (AKA the “social six”) without negatively impacting your bite. AlignerCo, on the other hand, focuses primarily on the front teeth and sometimes the premolars. Their aligners will cover your molars, but they aren’t designed to move them.
That means that Candid’s treatment is much more comprehensive, taking a holistic approach that’s closer to what you’d get from an in-office option like Invisalign.
Both companies agree that consistent oversight is necessary for an aligner plan’s success. AlignerCo requires that you submit photos of your teeth via email every 14 days for their team to analyze. Candid takes it one step further. Their CandidMonitoring service comes with specialized tools to help you take dental photos, which their clinical team reviews every 14 days, bringing in your orthodontist to make any necessary alterations.
The construction, design, and materials in your aligners can have a huge impact on your treatment’s effectiveness.
A high-quality aligner is the beginning of an effective treatment. Candid used to partner with ClearCorrect, Invisalign’s closest competitor and a trusted partner to thousands of dentists nationwide. They’ve since brought their production in-house, giving them full control over the manufacturing process, and they craft aligners from Zendura FLX plastic.
AlignerCo’s aligners are manufactured by Raintree Essix, an established, widely-trusted dental supplies producer. Even though Raintree Essix is a respectable company, according to our research, they may not offer quite the same level of quality.
Believe it or not, the way that your aligners are cut can influence their effectiveness as well. AlignerCo trims their aligners to match your gum line, while Candid 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.
Straight-cut aligners overlap your gums, which might make your aligners slightly more visible, but it also makes them 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 slightly less effective.
One of the first things many adults check when considering home aligner treatment is their budget. Which provider offers lower prices? This is where AlignerCo shines, offering the lowest prices of all the companies we reviewed.
Considering the quality of their treatment, Candid offers decent 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
- Aftercare retainers cost $99
Impression kit is $95 (or free at a Candid Studio location)
- Multiple financing options—an in-house plan with a soft credit check and a third-party option that also requires a credit check.
- $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
AlignerCo’s standard pricing beats the rest of the field by a long shot. Their listed price is $1,145 (or $1,345 for their NightOnly aligners), which is several hundred dollars cheaper than the industry average. This upfront cost includes your aligners, impression kit, and one set of aftercare retainers.
By contrast, Candid charges $1,895, and this doesn’t include retainers or an impression kit. You can, however, skip the impressions by visiting a Candid Studio for free teeth scans. This higher cost is due to their CandidMonitoring service, which includes consistent oversight and a specialized “ScanBox” device for taking images of your teeth.
Payment Plan Options
The initial cost isn’t everything, though. Most people don’t have $1,000+ of cash in their pocket, so financing is an important part of aligner treatment affordability. Both of these companies offer financing, but there are subtle differences between their plans:
Candid’s 36-month financing plan requires a credit check (although they approve nearly everyone), and includes a $199 down payment followed by payments as low as $65/month. They also offer third-party financing through Affirm which requires a more selective credit check, but has 0% APR and no down payment.
AlignerCo has two different in-house 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.
Both companies offer some flexibility and break the total cost into manageable chunks, although AlignerCo might be a better option if you’re not confident in your credit score. With either one, you’ll pay a bit extra to finance your care when you factor in the interest paid over time (unless you go with Candid’s Affirm option), so it’s worth it to pay upfront anyway if you can make the finances work!
Candid includes free whitening to accompany your aligners, which is a nice touch. AlignerCo doesn’t throw in free whitening, but that’s one of the things that helps them keep their sticker price low. Candid includes whitening foam and a little tool to help you remove your aligners — this is another thoughtful addition, as it makes the process much easier for any patient with limited dexterity.
Additionally, Candid’s price covers their remote monitoring service and equipment. This includes a “ScanBox” device that allows you to take images with your phone and regular digital check-ins with their clinical team.
Both companies offer especially strong value when compared to Invisalign or braces, which will typically set you back $5,000 or more.
Because they eliminate the need for office visits and deliver aligners directly to your home, either of these companies will provide a more convenient treatment than in-office options like Invisalign. But when we get down to details, Candid’s physical locations and whitening options make them a more convenient choice than AlignerCo.
- Provides 20+ Candid Studios that offer free teeth scans as an alternative to impression kits
- Takes ~5 weeks to design, produce, and ship your aligners
- Does not offer a nighttime-only option, only the full-time, 22+ hour/day schedule
- Allows you to use aligners and whitening products simultaneously
- Average treatment time is 6 months
- Only has one physical location, so most customers will need to use the impression kit
- Takes 4-5 weeks to design, produce, and ship your aligners
- Offers a nighttime-only option that requires aligner use for only 10 hours per day
- Doesn’t currently offer whitening products
- Average treatment time is around 6 months
Once you’ve decided to dive into home aligner treatment, you’ll probably want to get the ball rolling right away. But before Candid 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. For most AlignerCo customers, an impression kit is the only way to get started. They have a single physical location, where they will perform a teeth scan instead, but it’s in Long Island, NY, so customers who live anywhere else will need to purchase an impression kit.
Candid, on the other hand, has streamlined the process by constructing Candid Studios across the country, physical locations where you can receive free teeth scans. Not only is this easier, but it’s also faster since the Candid Studio will send your digital scans to the company immediately. However, if you don’t live near a Candid Studio, you’ll need to complete an impression kit.
You might be thinking: if I’m going to straighten my teeth, why not whiten them too? This is why most home aligner companies offer whitening products to go with their aligners.
Candid even throws a whitening kit in with your aligner package for free. You can straighten and whiten your teeth simultaneously—just pump the foam into your aligners, put them on, and go about your day. They can also send you a Philips Zoom whitening right after you sign on, so you can whiten your teeth before treatment while they spend a few weeks designing your aligners. However, this premium option costs an extra $299.
AlignerCo doesn’t sell any whitening products, let alone include them for free. But this is one of the reasons they can offer such low prices.
After submitting impressions or teeth scans, it’s time to play the waiting game. Creating a full treatment plan isn’t necessarily a quick process. It requires the dentist or orthodontist to carefully examine your teeth, decide the best course of action, then craft an entire series of aligners that will achieve your desired outcome.
So, don’t expect to find aligners waiting in your mailbox two days after you send your impressions. Even if the process isn’t immediate, you’ll want to know when you can expect your treatment to begin, but the timeline is different for each company.
On average, Candid takes 2 weeks to develop your treatment plan and 3 more to manufacture and ship your aligners, a total wait time of 5 weeks. AlignerCo operates on a similar timeline. After you return your impressions, they’ll take around 2 weeks to create your treatment plan. Once you approve the plan, you’ll receive your actual aligners in 2-3 more weeks.
A brand new smile is exciting, but it also takes time. How much time? That depends on your specific condition and the company you choose. On average, both treatments take around 6 months, although it depends almost entirely on the severity of your condition. And if you choose AlignerCo’s NightOnly option, it might take a bit longer, up to 8 months on average.
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 like AlignerCo’s NightOnly plan could be the right move for you.
The idea is that you wear each set of aligners for 10 hours per day instead of the usual 22, and switch to the next set after two weeks instead of one. Of course, this extends AlignerCo’s overall timeline from 4-6 to 6-8 months (on average) but it’s nice to have a flexible option if you don’t think an all-day schedule will work for you.
Candid doesn’t currently offer a nighttime-only option, a decision based on concerns related to safety and the science of teeth movement.
Glance over the websites of various home aligner companies and you’ll find a number of them claiming to have the “best looking” or “most invisible” aligners, and each for different reasons. This is because aligner aesthetics is a largely subjective category and every customer has their own preferences. As you examine Candid and AlignerCo aligners, consider your own preferences to help you decide which brand you’ll find better looking.
- Uses a frosted, textured plastic that better matches your tooth surfaces.
- 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.
Examine Candid and AlignerCo aligners side-by-side and the first thing you’ll notice is a difference in material. Candid’s aligners have a frosted, textured appearance while AlignerCo’s are smooth and translucent.
AlignerCo’s website claims that they make the “world’s clearest aligners,” and they’re definitely clear. You might think that this would make them less noticeable, but we’re not so sure. Your teeth are porous, so their surfaces are naturally matte. Therefore, aligners with a matte appearance (like Candid’s) look more natural, and translucent, smooth aligners can make your teeth look artificially shiny.
That said, aesthetic preferences vary from person to person, and some customers actually prefer translucent aligners, which they say make their smile “gleam.”
We mentioned this in the “Effectiveness” section, but it’s also worth noting here. Candid’s straight-cut aligners are more effective, but they’re also slightly more visible. Someone in close quarters could potentially see where the aligner overlaps your gums. Aligners cut to match your gum line, like AlignerCo’s, are less visible, but it’s up to you whether this advantage is worth the slightly-reduced effectiveness.
Both companies make aligners that are resistant to staining, but we would not recommend drinking colored beverages while wearing them.
Customer Service Comparison
As you weigh your options, keep in mind that you’ll be completing this entire process from home. 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.
AlignerCo’s customer service team is responsive and helpful, but Candid has some of the best customer support in the entire industry. Whether you have a simple question about treatment or there’s an issue with your aligners, they’re committed to providing exceptional customer support.
Candid Customer Service
AlignerCo Customer Service
- Offers numerous support platforms, including video chat
- Provides check-ins with their clinical team throughout treatment
- Has received excellent customer reviews
- Will work with you to modify your plan if you’re not satisfied
- Provides standard support options
- Customers report highly-satisfying experiences with their support team
- You can request a refinement if you’re not happy with your results
Candid is available during standard business hours on a variety of support platforms —phone, webchat, email, and sometimes video chat. And they’re available every day from 9am to 7pm. AlignerCo provides the same support channels, available 9am to 6pm, Monday through Saturday. Typically, AlignerCo’s video chat service is just for impression kit assistance.
Note: Candid’s remote monitoring service puts you in contact with their clinical team every 14 days, which allows them to address any issues as they arise. If anything comes up between check-ins, customer support is still available.
Responsiveness & Helpfulness
To gain a more comprehensive view of the customer experience, we dug into online reviews for both companies, and both appear to have very satisfied customers.
Candid is extremely responsive to customer requests for help, and we’ve encountered very few complaints in this department. Most customers report that Candid’s support team is courteous and helpful in resolving issues quickly.
Additionally, Candid has cultivated a large amount of helpful information on their website, from an extensive FAQ section to a blog with tips and guides about home aligner treatment. So, if you have a basic question, there’s a good chance that you can find an answer online and won’t even need to contact customer service.
A majority of AlignerCo’s reviews had only good things to say about their customer support team. We tested out their webchat and received a response almost immediately. Plus, they’ll respond to all email inquiries within 24 hours.
Because they’re still a relatively new company, AlignerCo’s collection of online resources isn’t as extensive as Candid’s. However, their customer service representatives should be able to provide information on just about anything you need.
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 lets you request refinement aligners, which cost an extra $200.
Candid doesn’t offer refunds after you’ve begun your treatment, but their orthodontists will work with you free of charge to adjust your plan and get your treatment back on track.
Both companies provide a full refund for any expenses incurred if you’re not approved as a candidate for treatment.
Candid Company Background
AlignerCo Company Background
- Founded in 2017
- Has grown to become the second-largest home aligner company in the industry.
- Made a name for themselves through high-quality products and excellent customer service
- Founded in 2019
- Found their niche as the most affordable home aligner option.
- Still small, but has a growing customer base.
Although they offer similar treatments, Candid and AlignerCo are very different companies. Candid is the older, more experienced business that stresses safety and effectiveness, while the younger AlignerCo has quickly established a name for themselves as the most affordable option on the market.
Through robust oversight and an unmatched standard of care, Candid quickly ascended the home aligner ranks to become the second-largest company in the space, behind only SmileDirectClub. Over the past couple of years, Candid has garnered investments and expanded into the retail space, strengthening its already formidable brand. They’ve established themselves as one of the most trustworthy, customer-focused home aligner companies out there, one that will go the extra mile to deliver high-quality services and ensure your safety. As customers continue discovering Candid, we expect the company to keep growing and delivering excellent results.
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 to achieve 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 Candid’s dedication to quality, effectiveness, and safety. As AlignerCo continues to grow, we’ve seen them making moves to compete in these other categories, but Candid has the edge for now.
What Are Customers Saying?
When we review a company like AlignerCo or Candid, 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.
Candid has numerous honest and straightforward online reviewers who don’t appear to be sponsored by the company. The general sentiment from these reviews is that customers feel satisfied and valued. Often, these customers chose Candid because they appreciated having an orthodontist’s oversight and the convenience of Candid Studio teeth scanning.
Most customers had very few issues with their clear aligners and expressed excitement about starting and continuing their treatment. In cases where something went wrong, Candid took care of it efficiently and inspired customer satisfaction in the outcome.
Take a look at these video reviews submitted by our readers for an unbiased look at what real customers have to say about Candid.
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, 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.
Take a look at these video reviews submitted by our readers for an unbiased look at what real customers have to say about AlignerCo.
Which Home Teeth Aligner Should You Use?
Candid and AlignerCo 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 clear aligner service to choose, let’s look at a couple of scenarios that might help you choose the best option for your teeth.
Choose Candid if You Are:
Looking for straighter teeth on a budget, but unwilling to compromise on quality of care or support throughout the process.
Choose AlignerCo if You Are:
Searching for the lowest prices available along with reliable products and excellent customer service, and don’t mind working with a newer company.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I choose Candid or AlignerCo?
Both of them are great companies, but we give Candid the edge. Safety and effectiveness are their top priority, which is why they employ an orthodontist-only network and provide a remote monitoring service.
How do I get started with Candid or AlignerCo?
To begin your AlignerCo treatment, you need to first submit molds of your teeth using an impression kit. Their dental team will use these molds to determine your candidacy and design your aligners. There are two ways to get started with Candid. They sell impression kits, but they also maintain retail locations called Candid Studios where you can get your teeth scanned for free instead.
What are customers saying about Candid and AlignerCo?
Candid has a ton of online reviews from real customers, and a large majority of them are positive. Many customers appreciate Candid’s clinical orthodontist oversight and customer service. As a newer company, AlignerCo has a lot fewer reviews, but customers generally love their low prices and personalized customer service.
What is the most effective home aligner company?
That honor goes to Candid. They’re the only at-home aligner company that works solely with orthodontists to design and oversee treatments. Plus, they provide clinical oversight throughout treatment with their CandidMonitoring service. Check out other effective treatments on our Top 3 Most Effective Home Aligners guide.
What is the cheapest home aligner company?
AlignerCo. At just $1,145, their price beats every competitor by a few hundred dollars, and sometimes they run promotions that drop it 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.
What is the fastest home aligner company?
byte. Their average treatment takes just 3-4 months, while most other home aligner companies take around 6. Even Byte At-Night takes 4-6 months, right around the industry average. Check out our full Byte review for a closer look.
How do I know which option is right for me?
We recommend looking at five things: effectiveness, affordability, convenience, appearance, and customer friendliness. It’s all about finding the one that fits with your priorities, timeline, and budget.
Will home aligners work for me?
It depends on your condition. Since home aligners don’t require office visits and in-person oversight, they can’t treat severe conditions like most jaw misalignments. If you have a mild or moderate case of crowding or spacing, you’re probably a good fit, though.
How do Candid 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 supplement 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 Candid vs. Invisalign and AlignerCo vs. Invisalign guides for a deeper analysis.
How long does home aligner treatment take?
In most cases, 6 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 will move a bit faster. They use “HyperByte” technology to achieve faster teeth shifts, completing most treatments in 3-4 months instead of 6.
What other companies should I consider?
Byte, SmileDirectClub, and NewSmile are all worth a look. Each one has its own advantages. Byte (our top-ranked company) has the fastest treatment times, SmileDirectClub has the most experience and brand power, and NewSmile is an up-and-coming company with affordable prices and quality aligners. Read through our guide to the top 5 home aligner companies for more on each option.
How much do home aligners cost?
They go for $1,200 – $2,500, 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 Candid, who provides extensive Remote Monitoring, costs $2,400. Even the most expensive home aligners are still much cheaper than the $3,000 – $8,000 you’ll pay for Invisalign or braces.
Does insurance cover home aligners?
Sometimes, but not often. Many insurance providers don’t cover cosmetic treatments, which includes home aligners. If your plan includes orthodontic benefits, though, you might receive a partial reimbursement. The only way to know for sure is to contact your provider directly.
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. Candid’s regular virtual check-ins help to prevent any complications or issues throughout treatment.
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.