Ever since they started selling home aligners in 2018, byte has been pioneering new and creative ways to improve the teeth straightening process without sacrificing treatment quality. So far, they’ve engineered the industry’s fastest treatment time and implemented an unmatched lifetime warranty, and it appears that they’re just getting started.
byte’s innovations and commitment to quality have shot them to the top of our overall home aligner rankings. But no company is perfect. It’s tough to beat byte’s attractive perks, but it’s always a good idea to explore your options, weighing each one’s pros and cons. Based on extensive industry research, we’ve put together a shortlist of the best alternative options if byte isn’t quite right for you.
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Candid prioritizes treatment quality. They’ve each taken practical steps to ensure consistent and safe results, like working exclusively with orthodontists and optimizing their customer support.
On top of that, Candid is the first home aligner company to offer Remote Monitoring, which provides direct access to your assigned orthodontist. They can’t match byte’s efficient treatment time, but they’re a more experienced company with significant resources and a larger sphere of influence.
- Candid has physical locations across the U.S. where you can get free teeth scans instead of completing an impression kit. byte doesn’t currently have any physical stores.
- Their aligners are manufactured by ClearCorrect, the nation’s second-largest clear aligner producer. byte doesn’t disclose who manufactures their aligners, so they might not have the same level of quality.
- Candid works only with orthodontists to create and monitor your treatment plan, so you’re receiving care from a highly-specialized individual.
- Candid’s Remote Monitoring service provides digital check-ins with your assigned orthodontist every 7-10 days. This keeps your treatment on track and Candid says it can reduce treatment time by up to 30%.
- Candid’s treatment time is 6 months on average, not quite as fast as byte’s typical 3-month window.
- To qualify for Candid’s financing plans, you must pass a credit check, while byte offers financing to all customers, regardless of credit score.
- Candid’s sticker price is the highest in the home aligner industry.
Candid - The Bottom Line
Candid rivals byte’s treatment quality and effectiveness, plus they offer experience and a well-established brand. If you’re looking for high-quality products and treatment, Candid is well worth your time.
Special Offer: $65 off your Candid Starter Kit
byte’s treatment won’t totally empty your pockets, but if you want a company that takes affordability a step further, AlignerCo could be worth a look. They’re a relative newcomer to the home aligner industry so, like byte, they don’t have a long résumé of experience.
AlignerCo is hands down the most affordable home aligner company on the market. Their treatment is hundreds less than the competition and they offer flexible financing options too.
- AlignerCo’s $1,145 sticker price is several hundred dollars cheaper than byte.
- Like byte, AlignerCo approves everyone for financing (in their “SmileFlex Easy” financing plan). However, they also have a plan simply called “SmileFlex” which requires a soft credit check, but no down payment.
- AlignerCo creates their aligners using plastic from Essix, an experienced and well-respected dental products company. byte hasn’t disclosed who they partner with.
- Customers consistently praise AlignerCo for their responsive and personalized customer care.
- AlignerCo doesn’t have any physical locations and they don’t offer a nighttime-only alternative, so your treatment options are slightly more restricted.
- Their website boasts orthodontist-designed treatment plans, but AlignerCo actually uses both orthodontists and general dentists. So, you can’t be sure if you’ll have the most specialized professional overseeing your treatment.
- AlignerCo could be slightly slower than byte or other competitors.
AlignerCo - The Bottom Line
Trying to transform your smile on a budget? If you don’t mind working with a less established company, take a look at AlignerCo.
SmileDirectClub and byte are on opposite ends of the experience spectrum. While byte is one of the newest home aligner companies available, SmileDirectClub is the oldest and most well established.
Since they began selling aligners in 2014, SmileDirectClub has successfully treated over 750,000 customers. They don’t quite have the same efficiency, but they’ve got convenient treatment options and a wealth of experience.
- SmileDirectClub has established 300+ SmileShops across the U.S., where you can receive a free teeth scan instead of completing an impression kit. The only way to get started with byte is by taking impressions of your teeth from home.
- SmileDirectClub is the largest home aligner provider on the market and has a much longer track record than byte.
- As an alternative to wearing your aligners for 22 hours per day, SmileDirectClub was the first company to offer a 10 hr/day nighttime-only option. byte has also recently started offering a similar treatment.
- Like byte, SmileDirectClub approves all customers for financing.
- Over the years, SmileDirectClub has accumulated some poor customer service reviews. While it appears they’ve made improvements, some customers still report delays in communication and complaint resolution.
- SmileDirectClub’s dental network consists of general dental professionals, while other companies work exclusively with orthodontists. So, the person overseeing your care might not have the highest level of specialized expertise.
- SmileDirectClub has recently split with its manufacturer (Align Technology) and started producing their aligners in house, which could affect their product quality.
What about Invisalign?
Invisalign is the original clear aligner system and the industry’s most well-established brand. They’ve transformed over 8 million smiles to date, and they’re widely respected by dentists and customers alike. So why aren’t they on this list? Because, while Invisalign might deliver a similar product, on the whole, their processes are quite different.
Unlike the other companies on this list, Invisalign is developed and administered completely in-office by your dentist. At-home systems like byte have licensed dental professionals that develop aligner treatment plans remotely, but customers must administer them from home.
Over 100,000 dentists and orthodontists in 90 countries are trained and licensed to offer Invisalign treatment. Choosing Invisalign would mean that you must make regular office visits for your dentist to monitor and adjust your aligners (if necessary). Further, it also gives them the opportunity to apply attachments like elastics and expanders that induce more intricate tooth and jaw movements.
This makes Invisalign more expensive ($3,000 – $8,000) and more time-intensive (12 months on average), but it also means that Invisalign’s treatment is capable of correcting a wide scope of severe conditions (including bite issues like overbite, underbite, and crossbite). If your condition turns out to be too severe for home aligner treatment, or if you’re simply more comfortable seeing your dentist face-to-face each month, you won’t find a more effective option than Invisalign.
How Should I Evaluate My Options?
We’ll be honest: choosing a home aligner company isn’t easy. There are a few different trustworthy options, and each has its own advantages and drawbacks. Don’t just go with the first company you find – analyze multiple options and see how each one measures up to your expectations and goals.
It’s easy to get caught up focusing on a single aspect, like price or timeline, but in doing so, you might be missing some potential issues in other areas. We suggest looking at five different things when evaluating home aligner companies:
- Effectiveness: Who is in charge of your treatment plan? Where are your aligners manufactured? How are they designed? All of these things can influence a treatment’s effectiveness and efficiency. Dig into these details to know whether you’re receiving safe, high-quality products.
- Affordability: If you’re on a budget or just a habitual bargain hunter, low costs might be your priority. This isn’t just the initial cost that you find on a company’s homepage. You should also consider their financing options, payment plans, and what items the sticker price includes.
- Convenience: Eliminating office visits means that all home aligner treatments are more convenient than in-office options, but certain companies take extra steps to be even more user-friendly. Providing various ways to get started and multiple treatment schedules, while reducing wait times, help increase a company’s convenience.
- Appearance: Clear aligners are pretty discreet, but by experimenting with different plastics, surfaces, and designs, home aligner companies have made them even more so. Aesthetics somewhat depend on personal preferences, though, so what looks “best” might vary based on a customer’s tastes and style.
- Customer Friendliness: Because customers complete their treatment entirely on their own, home aligner companies need to be on their customer service game to answer questions and resolve issues. Contact channels, responsiveness, helpfulness, and refund policies all play into the quality of a company’s customer care.
While you should consider all of the aspects above, it’s natural to focus on one or two in particular. That’s why we’ve created guides showing which home aligner companies excel in each category:
We’re excited about byte. In the short time they’ve been selling home aligners, they’ve introduced multiple game-changing innovations while ensuring effective and convenient treatments. They’re #1 in our overall rankings, but this doesn’t mean that they’re the best option for everyone.
If one of the alternatives in this guide caught your eye, they could very well be a better option for your specific circumstances. That’s why it’s important to know your goals, timelines, finances, etc. and consider each option within those parameters. This way, you won’t just end up with a decent aligner treatment, you’ll get the best treatment available for you and your beautiful teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I get Invisalign instead?
Invisalign is a very effective option, although it’s not one that you can complete from home like the companies outlined in this guide. Instead, your dentist will create and administer your treatment during regular office visits. This makes Invisalign a bigger investment of time and money ($3,000 – $8,000 on average), but it also allows your dentist to treat more severe cases of crowding and spacing, as well as bite issues.
If you’re worried about the severity of your condition or would rather have one-on-one dentist interaction as part of your treatment, Invisalign is worth considering.
Which at-home aligner companies offer nighttime-only treatment?
SmileDirectClub, byte, and AlignerCo. byte and AlignerCo charge more for nighttime treatment than daytime treatment, while SmileDirectClub charges the same amount.
What is the cheapest alternative to byte?
If you’re operating on a tight budget, byte’s financing plans can still make it a great option, but the most affordable overall choice is AlignerCo. You won’t find a lower price tag – plus, their multiple financing options make payments even more manageable. For an overview of all the most budget-friendly options, read through our review of the Most Affordable Clear Aligners.
Which at-home aligner company is right for me?
Our opinion? byte is the best all-around option. But it depends on your condition and priorities. Recommend evaluating each company’s effectiveness, affordability, convenience, appearance, and customer service. For comprehensive analyses of the top companies, see our top 5 home aligners guide.
Which conditions can at-home aligners treat?
Home aligners are primarily designed to treat mild-to-moderate cases of crowding and spacing, along with some mild bite issues. If your case is severe or includes a jaw misalignment like overbite or underbite, home aligners might not have the capacity to induce the larger tooth and jaw shifts you’re after.
Which clear aligners work the fastest?
This may be a guide outlining alternatives to byte, but when it comes to efficiency, they stand alone. No other company can touch them. byte’s average 3-month treatment time cuts competitors’ times nearly in half. If you want the fastest smile transformation available, it’s by far the best option.
Does insurance cover clear aligner treatment?
It depends entirely on your provider and plan. byte, for example, partners with Anthem, Guardian, and Aetna (and they’re working on others) for in-network coverage. But having orthodontic benefits doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be covered. You should check with your insurance provider to find out for sure.
How do I get started with home aligners?
You’ll need to order an impression kit and create molds of your teeth, then send them to your company of choice. If you go with Candid or SmileDirectClub, you can visit one of their physical locations for a free teeth scan, which replaces the impression kit process.
What is the most convenient alternative to byte?
Convenience can mean different things to different people. While some might consider byte’s fast treatment time convenient, others might prefer SmileDirectClub’s easy startup process and flexible treatment options. Compared to traditional orthodontic treatments like braces, all home aligners are more convenient, but for a few of the companies that really excel in this category, read our review of the Most Convenient Clear Aligners.
Are home aligners safe?
Yes! While administering treatment from home might seem daunting, the process is very safe. Home aligner companies use licensed dentists 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. Read our guide to safe home teeth straightening treatment for more information.
Which clear aligners are the least noticeable?
Every clear aligner company strives to make its products less visible and more discreet, and each one will tell you that their aligners are the best looking. Much of this comes down to personal preferences, but our opinion is that Candid makes one of the best-looking aligners out there. And they’re not the only company that excels in appearance. Take a look at our review of the Best Looking Clear Aligners for more details.
Do clear aligners hurt?
Customers often report experiencing tightness or discomfort during the first 1-2 days wearing a new set of aligners, after which the discomfort subsides. Some companies provide “chewies” or other devices to help ensure a more comfortable aligner fit.