Smilelove 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 Smilelove and byte, and provide all the information you need to choose the best home teeth aligner for you.
Smilelove is not currently accepting new orders due to the impact of COVID-19 on their business. Click here to check out other top-rated home aligner providers.
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 – Smilelove has budget-friendly prices and big discounts, while byte offers faster treatment times and better customer service. 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 Smilelove 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 Smilelove? 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 Smilelove’s average 6-month treatment window. Even byte’s nighttime-only option can be faster than Smilelove, with average times of 4-6 months.
- Personalized Customer Support: byte’s customer support is a cut above most of the competition. They assign each customer a personal byte advisor, who checks in to answer questions and concerns throughout the treatment process. No other home aligner company does this. Plus, customers repeatedly express satisfaction with byte’s customer care, while the quality of Smilelove’s customer support appears more hit-or-miss.
All that said, there’s a lot to like about Smilelove as well, especially when it comes to cost. Smilelove aims to be the most affordable provider in the industry. Although their official price point is right in line with the competition, they run frequent promotions to bring their actual cost down as much as 20% lower than the industry average.
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.
All things considered, Smilelove offers a fairly effective aligner system by using highly-qualified orthodontists and a trusted manufacturer. byte, however, does all that and more, promising 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
- Also works solely with orthodontists to create treatment plans.
- Partners with Essix, another reputable manufacturer, to produce their aligners.
- Trims aligners to match your gum line, potentially sacrificing effectiveness.
- Average treatment time is 6-8 months
Both byte and Smilelove want to ensure that your treatment is of the highest quality, so every case is handled entirely by a licensed orthodontist, from design to oversight.
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.
Other providers ensure your treatment plan will be designed by a dental professional, but don’t promise that it’ll be an orthodontist. You’ll still receive care from a qualified, knowledgeable individual, but not necessarily one that has an orthodontist’s specialized experience and skill set.
The construction, design, and materials in your aligners can have a huge impact on your treatment’s effectiveness.
Smilelove produces all of their aligners using plastics from 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.
Here’s where byte really runs away with it. Smilelove treatment typically takes 6-8 months, which is a respectable timeline, right around the industry average. But byte has the fastest treatment out there with a standard treatment time of around 3 months. Even their nighttime-only treatment, which lasts 4-6 months, can beat Smilelove’s standard timeline.
Without the expense of regular office visits and face-to-face dentist care, all home aligner companies are reasonably affordable, but Smilelove goes the extra mile. They frequently offer promotional discounts that drop their costs $100 – $400 below the industry average.
Considering the quality of their treatment, byte offers good value, but Smilelove 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
- Impression kit is $95
- Financing requires a down payment but no credit check (everyone is approved!)
- $1,895 sticker price (usually lower because of promotions)
- The initial payment includes aftercare retainers
- Impression kit is also included in the sticker price
- Financing requires a down payment but no credit check, so there’s a 100% approval rate
Smilelove has made it their goal to offer affordable and accessible prices, and so far, they’ve succeeded. In fact, the only company that can beat Smilelove’s promotional pricing is AlignerCo. Their listed price is $1,895, but they’re always running promotions that drop it significantly lower. This upfront cost includes your aligners, impression kit, and post-treatment retainers.
Promotional discounts considered, Smilelove’s cost averages 10-20% lower than the industry standard. byte also charges $1,895, but doesn’t offer discounts that are quite as hefty. And even though byte’s initial price includes the cost of retainers, it doesn’t cover your impression kit, which is an extra $95.
And if you’re after byte’s nighttime-only treatment (byte At-Night), you’ll end up paying $2,245, which is quite a bit higher than Smilelove’s pricing.
Payment Plan Options
Even after discounts, home aligners aren’t exactly cheap. You might not be ready to pay $1,500 – $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. byte At-Night requires a $415 down payment, followed by $98 monthly payments.
- Smilelove’s 12-, 18-, and 24-month plans require a $250 down payment, but just like byte’s, everyone is approved, regardless of credit score. Payments can be as low as $62/month during promotions.
These financing options are fairly similar. Your monthly payments, however, will be different based on which company you choose and the length of your plan. But with either company, you won’t have to worry about passing a credit check in order to qualify.
byte’s financing plans have interest, so it can cost more in the long run, so it’s cheaper to pay up front if you can swing it. Smilelove’s plans, on the other hand, have 0% APR, so it costs the same as paying in one lump sum.
Both companies 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 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.
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
- Recently announced a nighttime-only option that requires aligner use for only 10 hours per day
- Average treatment time is 3 months (or 4-6 for byte At-Night treatment)
- Also no physical locations, so you must use the impression kit
- Takes 6-8 weeks to design, produce, and ship your aligners
- Aligners and whitening products cannot be used simultaneously
- Does not offer a nighttime-only option, only a standard all-day treatment.
- Average treatment time is around 6-8 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 Smilelove 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 Smilelove don’t yet offer this option.
Home aligner companies don’t just transform your smile by realigning it; they also provide whitening products to help it sparkle. Both byte and Smilelove provide free whitening with their treatments, but Smilelove’s whitening process is a little less convenient.
With byte, your straightening and whitening processes are simultaneous. Just pump the BrightByte foam into your aligners and it will whiten all day. Smilelove, on the other hand, doesn’t recommend using their aligners and whitening simultaneously. Instead, they’ll ship you the whitening kit after you’ve completed your treatment plan, so it might take a bit longer to achieve the smile you want.
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), while Smilelove often takes 6-8.
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, and switch to the next set after two weeks instead of one. Of course, this extends byte’s overall timeline, but not by a whole lot. byte specially crafts their nighttime aligners using designs and materials that can exert more force over shorter periods of time. So, byte At-Night often takes 4-6 months compared to the 3-month average for All-Day treatment. Either way, it’s nice to have a flexible option if you don’t think an all-day schedule will work for you.
Smilelove 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. But each company’s home aligners are unique, so each will look a little different on your teeth. What matters is making sure your aligners suit your aesthetic preferences.
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 argues that textured, frosted aligners better match natural teeth surfaces.
We tend to agree with the second opinion, but byte and Smilelove do not. Both companies craft their aligners from clear, smooth plastic. Smilelove states that this clarity makes their aligners better looking than their competitors’ matte ones. While we think that this style can make your teeth look artificially shiny, everyone has different tastes, and some customers prefer it.
In the “effectiveness” section, we stated that Smilelove’s scalloped aligners are less powerful because they can’t use your gums as leverage. Aligners that overlap your gums, like byte’s, can be more effective, but this overlap can also be more visible. Therefore, Smilelove’s design gives their aligners a slight advantage in appearance.
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. Smilelove 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 simple question about treatment or there’s an issue with your aligners, byte is committed to providing exceptional customer support. Smilelove has an unrivaled refund policy, but their everyday customer service has some room for growth.
byte Customer Service
Smilelove 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
- Has received negative reviews for spotty and delayed communication
- Offers prorated refunds if you’re dissatisfied at any point during treatment
byte is available during standard business hours on a variety of support platforms – phone, webchat, email, and will also respond on social media. Smilelove provides the same channels but doesn’t list their specific hours of availability. They’ll also schedule a video chat if you need help taking your impressions.
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 byte’s customer service isn’t just better than Smilelove’s, but better than nearly all of their competitors.
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.
By comparison, Smilelove’s customer reviews contain some complaints about their responsiveness and efficiency. Some customers reported delays of a week or more in solving issues. While these delays can be frustrating, customers noted that Smilelove’s service representatives are friendly and caring.
They might not be as responsive, but Smilelove’s refund policy is unbeatable. They’re the only home aligner company that offers a prorated refund in the middle of your treatment. So, if you’ve been following the treatment plan for two months and you’re not happy with your progress, you can still get part of your money back.
byte can’t match Smilelove’s refund policy, but they offer a different, equally intriguing feature. 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
Smilelove 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 2017
- Dug out a space as the most affordable home aligner option.
- Still small, but has a growing customer base.
Smilelove and byte are both relatively young companies who have made waves in the home aligner field through their innovative policies and procedures. Founded in 2017 and 2018, respectively, they each got to work making themselves stand out against industry giants like SmileDirectClub and Candid.
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 A-list 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.
Smilelove didn’t rise as rapidly as byte, and they’re still a relatively small company, but this allows them to focus on occupying a separate industry niche: affordability. While byte has established itself as the most reliable and trustworthy choice, Smilelove has become one of the most cost-effective, providing quality care on a budget. And customers are taking notice, turning to Smilelove as a less expensive alternative to larger companies like byte and SmileDirectClub.
Saving money is great, but we’re not convinced that Smilelove’s lower costs surpass byte’s dedication to efficiency, quality, and customer service. As Smilelove 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 out 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, Smilelove 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 clear aligner 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 Smilelove if You Are:
Seeking an affordable option, intrigued by the prorated refund policy, and don’t mind working with a smaller company.