The best things in life stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, berries, juice — they all leave their mark. But indulging doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your bright smile!
Just a couple of decades ago, teeth whitening options were limited to expensive in-office sessions or prescription-only at-home kits. Now, there are plenty of affordable and effective at-home teeth whitening products — including those with LED lights that take the in-office experience and make it pocket-sized.
We dove in to find out which LED-enhanced whitening systems are worth your time and money. We combed through reviews, got feedback from actual customers, spoke to the companies, and selected the top-four best LED whitening kits.
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#1: Best Overall Kit: GLO Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device
Out of all the teeth whitening systems on our list, GLO Brilliant is the priciest at $199. Even so, we feel it is the best value and best overall option.
GLO Brilliant was developed by leading cosmetic dentists in New York City. Its patented Guided Light Optics (GLO) device combines LED light and heat to speed up and enhance the whitening process. The system has FDA approval for use in teeth whitening — something few other at-home products can claim. And it’s received two Edison Awards for excellence in product development.
Their system is known for causing less sensitivity than most, thanks to the GLO Lip Care treatment included in the kit, which you apply to the lips and gums to stop irritation. However, it takes 40 teeth whitening sessions spread out over 10 days to see maximum results — more of a time investment than most of their competitors.
GLO Brilliant Advantages
- You can purchase additional whitening solutions separately.
- The use of heat speeds up the whitening process.
- FDA approval means it has gone through more testing and documentation than most competitors.
GLO Brilliant Disadvantages
- You must apply the gel four times a day, taking a total of 32 minutes per day.
- The battery runs down quickly, so you may need to charge it daily.
#2: Best for On the Go: SNOW Teeth Whitening
All of the teeth whitening systems on this list are small and can easily travel with you wherever you go, but they aren’t designed for use anywhere, any time. SNOW Teeth Whitening is.
You apply the whitening solution using pens, ensuring accurate application while decreasing the chance of spills. The LED device is powered by a cable that connects to your phone, so you don’t need to search for a power source. Additionally, each whitening session takes as little as nine minutes, so you can even brighten your smile in short breaks between meetings.
It also represents an incredible value. The $149 price tag includes a whopping 75 or more applications. You can also buy additional pens if you want to whiten your teeth again later on and save money by reusing the light.
- The system is easy to transport and use on the go.
- The gel is highly effective, even in short sessions.
- You don’t need extra batteries or a plug-in power source.
- Some customers do not like the pen applicator.
- You are tied to your phone for the full treatment time.
#3: Most Inclusive: Cali White Vegan Teeth Whitening Kit
Many teeth-whitening kits aren’t conducive for people with particular diets or allergies. That’s why we love Cali White’s Vegan Teeth Whitening Kit — pretty much everyone can use it! The system is vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and organic. It doesn’t include parabens, fluoride, triclosan, or sulfates; it’s also BPA-free and designed to ensure adequate ventilation.
Now, it isn’t “all-natural,” but it is as close as it gets on this list.
Cali White does all this without cutting any corners on quality. Its carbamide peroxide formula is comparable to lower dental-grade solutions and delivers results within 7 days. Plus, its customizable trays mold to your teeth for the best possible results.
Cali White Advantages
- Their system is backed by a 100-day refund policy.
- A built-in timer makes it easy to know when to stop the treatment.
- Nearly anyone can use this system.
Cali White Disadvantages
- Some users report gum sensitivity due to the strength of the whitening solution.
- The whitening results aren’t as consistent as some other kits.
#4 Most Well-Known: Crest 3D White Whitestrips With Light
Crest is quite possibly the nation’s most well-known name in over-the-counter dental products. When they released their signature Whitestrips in 2001, they revolutionized the teeth-whitening process, taking it from an in-office procedure to a quick and easy DIY treatment.
Yet on their own, Whitestrips can only change your smile so much. This kit adds a blue light device to help the whitening agents penetrate deeper into your enamel. You wear the strip for 30 minutes, then use the blue light for an additional 10 minutes.
The kit is good for 16 treatments, intended for use on consecutive days. Once finished, the kit cannot be reused — not even the blue light device — while most other kits on this list are reusable after purchasing extra solution.
Crest 3D Whitestrips With Light Advantages
- The strips are very easy to apply.
- Results should last 6 months.
- The cost is lower than many other kits with LED lights.
Crest 3D Whitestrips With Light Disadvantages
- Some people find the strips cause sensitivity in the teeth and gums.
- The disposable light cannot be reused.
These are all great options, so choosing just one might be difficult. No matter which you choose, you will receive a high-quality product that will enhance your smile. However, two stand out above the rest: GLO Brilliant and SNOW.
Choose the Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit if…
You want professional whitening technology without the dentist’s office price tag.
Choose the SNOW Teeth Whitening Kit if…
You want a convenient, high-quality treatment that you can use almost anywhere.
How Does LED Whitening Work?
LED stands for light-emitting diode. Bulbs using LED technology put off more blue wavelengths than most other types of lightbulbs, making them effective at amplifying whitening agents.
This blue light activates peroxide, breaking apart the gel faster, allowing it to start working on the teeth directly after application. It can also help to open the pores of the teeth quicker, letting the peroxide get inside and attack set-in stains.
There is a lot of skepticism around the use of blue light therapy for teeth whitening, and this is understandable. First of all, the lights used in dental offices are often halogen or UV — not LED. Second, they combine light with heat, which changes the results. Additionally, there have been studies that indicated LED lights don’t enhance whitening at all.
However, there have also been studies that show LED lights to be effective at whitening teeth. Why are there conflicting results? It’s hard to say without more in-depth peer review and analysis. It could be due to the whitening agents used, the genetics of the patients, and even errors in application. However, it does appear that even with at-home teeth whitening peroxide concentration, LED lights improve results.
Qualities We Looked For
What makes a teeth whitening system the “best?” In truth, everyone has their own standards for what is or isn’t essential for a product to be considered better than the competition. Our goal was to focus on the qualities we felt would matter most to the majority of our readers. So, how did we evaluate each product?
Full disclosure: we did not try all of these kits ourselves, so what we know about their results isn’t first-hand knowledge. However, we did look at customer testimonials and before and after photos to get a good feel for the results each system can achieve. If we weren’t impressed, the system didn’t make our list.
The whole point of opting for at-home teeth whitening is to pay less than you would if you worked with a dentist. And honestly, pretty much all at-home systems will cost less than even the cheapest in-office option. However, we looked for true value — systems that deliver a lot for their given price point, no matter how that compares to in-office treatments.
Quality of Ingredients
Whenever something comes into direct contact with your teeth, you want it to have high-quality ingredients. We looked for systems that utilize safe ingredients that are common to dental products and deliver excellent results.
Ease of Use
Cosmetic teeth whitening shouldn’t be overly complicated. Since most systems need to be used once a day for a set period of time, the last thing you want is for the process to be so complex that it becomes a hassle. We looked for systems that take just a few steps from start to finish.
While teeth whitening always has some degree of discomfort, you shouldn’t be itching for the moment your whitening session is over. We looked for systems that are less obtrusive, better tasting, and overall more enjoyable to use.
Finally, we looked for features that set each system apart from the others. We didn’t want a list of four teeth whitening systems that ultimately all offer the exact same things. To make our list, the product needed to offer something that stood out.
At-home teeth whitening kits can deliver stunning cosmetic smile enhancements. While there are numerous at-home options, we feel those with LED/blue-light-assisted technology most closely mimic the in-office experience. All four systems on our list are excellent products that we are confident in sharing with you. Choose any of them and you’ll be smiling bright in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to whiten your teeth with LED lights?
Yes. Many people confuse LED light with ultraviolet light, which can harm cells. LED whitening is considered a safe alternative to UV light systems, which are often used in dental offices.
Do blue lights actually whiten teeth?
If you use the blue light on its own, no. The same is true for the UV lights your dentist uses. These lights speed up the effects of the whitening agent you are using.
Is it OK to use whitening toothpaste while using one of these systems?
Yes, the chemicals in whitening toothpaste should not interact with these kits — though you should consult your dentist before combining them. You might consider switching to one that helps reduce tooth sensitivity instead since whitening products can make the teeth more sensitive.
How do tooth-whitening agents work?
It depends on the product. In most cases, they open the pores of the teeth while using their own chemicals combined with oxygen in the air and carbon in your dentin to break apart the molecules that make up teeth stains.
Should I get a professional dental cleaning before whitening my teeth?
Yes! We suggest you see your general dentist to get your teeth professionally cleaned and consult them about your candidacy for DIY teeth whitening. Whitening products work best when your teeth are free of plaque and tartar, and your standard toothbrush cannot get them as clean as the polisher at your dentist’s office.
How long will my teeth stay white?
There is no universal answer. Some products will be more effective on your teeth than others, and the habits that yellowed your teeth in the first place also come into play. Continuing to drink coffee and wine, or smoke, will shorten the lifespan of your teeth whitening results.
What can I do to extend the lifespan of my results?
Skip highly pigmented foods and drinks. Think wine, coffee, berries, and beets. When you do consume these items, brush your teeth about thirty minutes after you are done (brushing too soon can push acids into the enamel and weaken it). Also, brush and floss twice a day and get professional cleanings twice a year.
Is the tooth sensitivity from teeth whitening permanent?
No. Usually, tooth sensitivity goes away within a few days of completing the whitening treatment. However, if your teeth were sensitive prior to whitening, you can expect to return to the same level of sensitivity.
Will my teeth whitening kit help lighten my veneers, fillings, or crowns?
Not beyond surface stains. Teeth whitening penetrates the enamel to lift deep stains, and it does this by opening the pores. Your cosmetic or restorative dental materials do not have pores like your natural teeth, so you won’t notice any difference.