A lot of young adults today wish they had straighter teeth, but don’t have the budget for braces or Invisalign. If that sounds like you, you may be a good candidate for home teeth straightening.
Often for less than a third of the cost of braces or Invisalign, popular online services will ship a kit of custom clear aligners directly to your home. Clear aligners, sometimes also referred to as “invisible aligners” or “invisible braces,” are much less noticeable than braces and most people find them more comfortable. By using one of these online services you can get straighter teeth at a reasonable cost without taking a single trip to the dentist.
If you’re considering buying your clear aligners online, you have several options to choose from. SmileDirectClub is the most well known provider of home aligner treatment, having shipped aligners to over 100,000 customers to date. However, over the past couple of years, several new companies have started offering compelling alternatives.
This guide outlines the features that set apart each of the top online providers of clear aligners. Which is your best choice for straighter teeth on an affordable budget? Read on to find out.
Top 5 Home Aligner Options
1st Place: Candid
Candid offers our top recommended home teeth straightening solution. Though newer and less well established than SmileDirectClub, Candid is growing in popularity and earning lots of positive reviews. Candid recently attracted over $63 million in investment to continue improving their product and growing their business.
- Your course of treatment is overseen by a licensed orthodontist in your state. Orthodontists have received years of training to help you get that perfect smile. Other clear aligner companies work with dental providers who have not received this level of training and may not be able to offer the same quality of treatment.
- Based on our research, Candid appears to have partnered with ClearCorrect, the second largest manufacturer of invisible aligners in the US. You can feel confident your aligners are well designed and of professional quality.
- Candid video interviews all new customers prior to treatment. This is to ensure the orthodontist overseeing your care has a complete picture of your bite and dental health and can design the most effective treatment plan. Other providers simply ask for photos of your teeth.
- Customer support is a cut above most of the competition. In online reviews, customers testify that Candid support didn’t leave them hanging when something went wrong or if they simply needed some help getting the used to wearing their aligners.
- Candid is priced just a bit higher than other providers. On the other hand, Candid ships you a free pair of retainers once you finish wearing your last aligner. Other providers charge $90+ for a pair of retainers, so total costs are comparable.
- Candid has a shorter track record and fewer customer reviews than SmileDirectClub
Candid: The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for straighter teeth on a budget but but don’t want to compromise on quality of care or support throughout the process, Candid is a great option.
Candid is currently running a promotion.
2nd Place: Byte
Byte is the newest clear aligner company of the entire bunch. This company has made customer experience a top priority with their efficient treatment time (three months) and a focus on individualized treatment. Like Candid, they work only with orthodontists to develop their treatment plans. For now, we marked Byte down slightly because there just aren’t yet enough user reviews to fully verify Byte’s product claims.
- Similar to Candid, Byte works exclusively with orthodontists.
- Byte offers faster results than competing companies. Using their special HyperByte device (more on this in our detailed review), you can finish treatment in just 3 months.
- If your teeth shift after you complete your treatment, they will give you new aligners to re-align your smile for free, even if your teeth shift years after your original treatment!
- Byte’s financing plan does not require a credit check.
- Since it is still a new company, it will take time for their service quality to be fully vetted.
- Byte doesn’t currently have any retail locations. You’ll need to order a kit to get started.
3rd Place: SmileDirectClub
SmileDirectClub is one of the first companies to offer at-home clear aligner treatment, and continues to be the most popular option. Founded in 2013, SmileDirect Club has raised over $60 million from investors and has treated over 100,000 patients.
- Works directly with Align Tech, the makers of Invisalign and the largest clear aligner manufacturer in the world, to produce their invisible aligner kits. When you order from SmileDirectClub, you’re getting industry leading clear aligner technology.
- SmileDirectClub has over one hundred SmileCare Centers located across the US. You can visit one of these centers today to have your teeth scanned and get approved for treatment. Other providers require you to mail in an impression of your teeth – a slower and more cumbersome process.
- Offers guaranteed financing of your treatment plan over 24 months. No credit check required.
- SmileDirectClub has a below average track record where it comes to quality of service and customer support. Online reviews warn of long shipping delays and inconsistent communication when issues arise during treatment.
- Your smile plan and progress are not overseen by an orthodontist, meaning you may not get the best result possible.
4th Place: Smilelove
Smilelove is the second newest business we identified that sells at-home teeth straightening kits (after Byte). Smilelove is catching people’s attention with their low prices and generous customer satisfaction guarantee.
- Lowest prices in the industry. Plans usually start at $1699, with frequent discounts offered.
- The only at-home clear aligner company to offer a prorated refund if you aren’t happy with the progress of your treatment plan.
- Similar to SnapCorrect, Smilelove markets that their aligners as less visible than competitors. On the other hand, we think the shinier plastic they use may be more noticeable than aligners provided by other companies.
- Smilelove is still quite small (less than 50 employees) and doesn’t have a well-established track record yet. At this stage, their reviews are limited, and it’s difficult to verify the authenticity of online reviews we did find.
- Other companies such as Candid and SmileDirectClub, work with large, well established dental technology providers to ensure they can deliver high-quality aligners. We couldn’t figure out which company Smilelove partners with, so the quality of their product is harder to verify.
5th Place: SnapCorrect
Like most other businesses offering home aligner kits, SnapCorrect is fairly new – they have only been in business since mid 2017. However, run by a dental industry veteran who started a popular whitening service, SnapCorrect may be able to use industry knowledge to improve its offering.
- Comes with free whitening gel for life.
- Has an exclusive partnership with RaintreeEssix – one of the largest dental equipment and dental material suppliers. This partnership suggests the aligners they are providing will probably be high quality.
- Aligners are marketed as clearer and less visible than those offered by competitors. However, in our opinion, the difference in visibility is not meaningful. Some customers may actually dislike the shinier plastic used in these aligners.
- SnapCorrect is a new company, so the effectiveness of their products are not clearly determined at this point.
- Not as competitively priced as Smilelove.