Cost has always been an obstacle for adults seeking straighter smiles. Traditional treatments like braces and Invisalign are expensive, and dental insurance doesn’t always cover cosmetic corrections. But the rise of at-home clear aligner systems with flexible financing options has changed the game, making treatment much more affordable.
There’s a lot to consider — like sticker prices, financing plans, and a variety of home aligner options. To keep things concise, we’ve created a shortlist of the top three most affordable options. However, if you want a broad view of all your clear aligner options, we encourage you to read on as we discuss what other providers have to offer (and why they didn’t make the top three).
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What Makes Home Teeth Aligners So Affordable?
Consider the process involved in traditional orthodontic treatment (such as Invisalign or braces). A dentist personally inspects your teeth, then customizes your treatment plan, then applies the prescribed dental appliances on your behalf. Every month after that, you schedule an appointment and go into the office so your provider can monitor your progress and make adjustments accordingly. That’s a lot of one-on-one office care — and it can get quite expensive.
Home teeth alignment programs, on the other hand, are developed remotely by a licensed dentist or orthodontist and shipped directly to your home. By opting out of monthly in-person attention from a dentist, you can cut costs while freeing up your schedule.
The 3 Most Affordable Clear Aligners
Home aligners offer impressive smile transformations for close to half the cost of more traditional treatments, making them an attractive option for many adults. But within the home aligner industry, you’ll notice that certain companies go above and beyond to offer affordable, widely-accessible options. These three, in particular, stand out from the crowd.
1st Place: AlignerCo
When it comes to sticker prices, there’s no contest — AlignerCo has the absolute lowest price tag on the market. Since their debut in 2019, AlignerCo’s goal has been providing more affordability and accessibility than the competition, and they’ve certainly succeeded. They might be young, but they’re already drawing a lot of attention from their impressive prices.
- AlignerCo’s $1,145 sticker price is several hundred dollars lower than the industry average.
- To make payments more manageable, AlignerCo offers two different financing plans. SmileFlex requires a soft credit check but no downpayment, while SmileFlex Easy requires a $275 downpayment but no credit check.
- Your impression kit and your first set of retainers are included in the initial cost. Other companies charge $80–$100 for impression kits and upsell retainers at the end of your treatment for $90 or more.
- AlignerCo occasionally offers discounts that drop their amazing price even lower.
- AlignerCo doesn’t include free whitening in its treatment cost like other companies, but this is one of the reasons they can offer such low prices.
- There aren’t any refunds or warranties, but AlignerCo lets you apply for a refinement if you aren’t completely satisfied (as long as you follow your treatment plan).
- AlignerCo’s treatment takes longer than most competitors. While some home aligner companies can align your teeth in as little as three months, AlignerCo takes 6-12 months.
AlignerCo - The Bottom Line
AlignerCo might not have perks like free whitening, but they have what many customers think is even better: the lowest prices available. If saving money is your priority, give them a look.
2nd Place: NewSmile
NewSmile just started selling clear aligners on a wide scale in 2020, but this Canada-based company is already receiving quite a bit of attention. Thanks to their impressive pricing model, efficient alignments, and plenty of free bonus features, NewSmile is well worth a close look for anyone looking to quickly and affordably straighten their smiles.
- With a price point of $1,195, NewSmile’s pricing is only $50 higher than AlignerCo.
- Free extras are a big selling point for NewSmile. They include your impression kit, your first set of aftercare retainers, and a free whitening kit at no extra charge. This package arguably provides the most bang for your buck in this industry!
- NewSmile’s alignment times are much faster than AlignerCo’s. While AlignerCo takes 6-12 months to align your smile, NewSmile can provide similar results in just 4-6 months.
- If you don’t want to wear your aligners for 22 hours per day, NewSmile offers the option of a nighttime-only alignment, which only requires ten hours of daily wear.
- While many of their competitors offer the option to get your teeth professionally scanned at a retail location, NewSmile requires you to use an impression kit to take molds of your own teeth at home. Some people find this process to be a messy hassle. To be clear, AlignerCo doesn’t have physical locations either.
- As a newer company, NewSmile doesn’t have much customer feedback available. Most of their ~100 reviews are positive, but most competitors have a higher volume of feedback.
NewSmile - The Bottom Line
While NewSmile’s sticker price isn’t quite as low as AlignerCo’s, NewSmile still provides a ton of value thanks to its inclusion of a free whitening kit. When you consider that they can align your teeth faster than AlignerCo can, NewSmile becomes an awfully intriguing option.
3rd Place: SnapCorrect
SnapCorrect beats every company we reviewed on sticker prices except for AlignerCo and NewSmile. This makes treatment accessible for a wide range of potential customers, and they offer flexible financing if you qualify.
- At $1,749, SnapCorrect’s initial price is cheaper than all competitors not named AlignerCo or NewSmile.
- Like AlignerCo and NewSmile, SnapCorrect includes retainers in their upfront price. These retainers would otherwise cost $90+ after treatment ends.
- Included with your treatment is free whitening gel for life, so you can keep that smile shining forever!
- For some customers, SnapCorrect can align your teeth in as little as three months, making them one of the fastest options available in this industry. However…
- …for other customers, SnapCorrect can take up to 18 months, which is by far the longest alignment time we’re aware of for any at-home aligner company. Clearly, there’s quite a bit of variance between SnapCorrect’s minimum and maximum alignment times.
- SnapCorrect offers financing options through a third-party company called Affirm, which means that you will need to pass a credit check to qualify.
- After signing their Consent to Treat form, SnapCorrect does not offer refunds on your aligners. They will, of course, replace any that have manufacturing defects.
- Like AlignerCo and NewSmile, SnapCorrect only offers at-home impression kits. If you’re interested in a professional teeth scan, you’ll need to choose one of their higher-priced competitors.
Other Clear Aligners Worth Considering
When you’re operating on a strict budget, it can be hard to look past sticker prices. The good news is that all home aligner options are fairly affordable, and in-office options can be as well, depending on your case and dentist. That said, you shouldn’t make a decision based on price alone. Just because a company’s costs are slightly higher doesn’t mean they won’t be a good fit for you.
Below are a few other clear aligner providers that might not offer the absolute lowest prices, but we think are still worth considering because of their other unique advantages.
byte: byte is our top overall pick for at-home clear aligners, although their $1,895 sticker price is higher than the three options we previously discussed in this guide. Still, they have the fastest alignments in this industry, at as little as three months. Also, byte has the best customer support available, so their price points are usually worth it, in our opinion. Throw in their excellent customer feedback and it’s tough to find much to complain about when it comes to byte’s well-rounded teeth alignment service.
Candid: Their $2,400 starting cost is higher, but in return, Candid offers a top-quality product and premium customer service. Their network consists of only specialized orthodontists instead of generalized dental professionals, and they partner with established manufacturer ClearCorrect to deliver consistent, reliable products. Plus, their unique Remote Monitoring gives you digital check-ins with your orthodontist every step of the way.
There’s a reason why they took the #2 spot on our list of the top 5 at-home aligner companies. If quality and effectiveness are your priorities, include Candid in your potential options.
SmileDirectClub: Founded in 2014, SmileDirectClub is one of the originators of the at-home aligner revolution, and they’ve remained firmly entrenched in the market. To date, they’ve effectively transformed more than 1 million smiles, making them by far the most experienced company we’ve reviewed.
Cost-wise, their $1,950 price tag is fairly standard and like byte, they offer guaranteed financing without a credit check. Plus, their 300+ brick and mortar locations where customers receive free teeth scans make it incredibly easy to get started.
Six Month Smiles: Maybe you like home aligners’ average six-month timeframe, but would rather have your treatment administered in person. Enter Six Month Smiles. As the name suggests, these aligners deliver results in six months. Plus, as an in-office option, they include one-on-one care from your dentist.
However, office visits aren’t always cheap, so Six Month Smiles is a bit pricier than at-home aligner options, often between $3,500 and $5,000. But if you’re looking for a treatment that offers the best of both worlds, you might deem it worth the cost.
ClearCorrect: The second-largest clear aligner producer, ClearCorrect is a younger in-office option that might be less expensive than the industry giant, Invisalign. ClearCorrect claims that they charge dentists less for aligner products and lab fees and your dentist might pass these savings along to you by charging less for your treatment, $3,500 – $5,000 on average.
As an in-office option, dentists can pair ClearCorrect aligners with additional appliances to more effectively treat severe cases of crowding and spacing, as well as bite issues.
Invisalign: On average, Invisalign is the most expensive option listed here (although it depends on your unique condition and dentist). But it’s also the most well-established and reputable. Creator of the clear aligner, Invisalign has over 20 years of successful smile transformations under its belt.
Like other in-office options, Invisalign is more effective at treating intensive cases of tooth and jaw misalignments. It runs from $3,500 to $8,000 depending on your case and dentist, although many people think that the company’s reputation, innovation, and a dentist’s personal care are well worth it.
What Other Factors Should I Consider?
If you’re someone who keeps a watchful eye on your budget, carefully monitoring your expenses and planning for future payments, your eyes might continually gravitate toward a company’s price tag. But keep in mind that not all clear aligners are equal, so it’s important to consider a number of factors as you make your decision.
For example, one company might have a low initial cost, but does their treatment timeframe match your goals? Another might have a great refund policy, but is it a lot less convenient to get started? In addition to affordability, we recommend considering four other factors:
- Customer support
Our comprehensive comparison takes all of the above criteria into account. We understand that this is a deeply personal decision, and you may weigh certain aspects differently based on your particular circumstances. Just try not to get tunnel vision on a single aspect and block out all the others, or you could be in for some unwelcome surprises come treatment time!
It might feel overwhelming to see so many treatment options laid out, but fortunately, narrowing them down is fairly simple once you have all the necessary information. If you’re sticking to a firm budget, keep in mind that at-home aligner systems will generally be more affordable than in-office options like Invisalign.
That said, when it comes to choosing a treatment option, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Sure, cost is a major factor, but there are other things to keep in mind as well. We encourage you to consider all the criteria we’ve outlined in this guide. That way you’ll be able to proceed into treatment confident that it will deliver the results you’ve always wanted!