A lot of people dream of having a “million-dollar smile,” but no one actually wants to spend a million bucks to get one.
Technically, orthodontic treatment doesn’t cost a million bucks. But when the budget is tight, it can certainly feel that way. After all braces and Invisalign (the traditional options) cost about $3,000-$5,000 on average. For a lot of us, a few thousand is a tough price to handle.
Thankfully, you don’t have to pay that much for orthodontic treatment anymore. That’s because at-home clear aligners bring the orthodontist’s office right to your home. By eliminating most overhead costs, at-home aligner companies can offer much lower prices.
AlignerCo is no exception, either. In fact, they’re incredibly affordable. If budget-friendliness is what you’re after, then AlignerCo is your best option, hands down. But affordability isn’t the only factor to consider: there’s treatment length, quality, wear requirements, and so much more. And even though they’re among our top 3 favorite services, there are several alternatives to AlignerCo, each with its own advantages.
In this guide, we’ll cover the top 3 alternatives to AlignerCo and see how they stack up.
Byte | #1
Byte might be several hundred dollars more expensive than AlignerCo, but they’re also the fastest treatment on the market and one of the industry’s fastest rising stars. Given their quality products, personalized customer service, and more, Byte might be worth the extra cost, if you can manage it.
Price isn’t the only difference between AlignerCo and Byte, however. Here are a few key differences to keep in mind:
- Price: Byte’s sticker price is $1,895 (2,295 for nighttime), and that’s fairly consistent from day to day. Every once in a while you can score a discount, but those are unusual. With AlignerCo, you’ll hardly need sales; their base price is just $1,145 ($1,345 for nighttime). Both companies also offer financing, too, so you don’t have to pay it all up front if you don’t want to. AlignerCo offers two methods: one with and one without a credit check. Byte only offers one financing method, but their approval rate is 100%
- Treatment Length: AlignerCo may be significantly cheaper than Byte, but they can’t compete with Byte when it comes to treatment lengths. AlignerCo’s average treatment time takes between 6 to 11 months. That’s significantly longer than Byte’s 4 month average. Even Byte At-Night takes just 5 months (and normally, nighttime treatment takes almost twice as long).
- Warranties: Both AlignerCo and Byte want you to be satisfied with your treatment, but AlignerCo doesn’t have a traditional policy or satisfaction guarantee. Byte, however, has their Byte-For-Life guarantee. Essentially, if your teeth shift after treatment—no matter how long it’s been since your initial treatment—Byte will send you additional aligners to get your smile back to perfection.
On the plus side, AlignerCo and Byte both offer nighttime treatments, which makes your daily wear requirements pretty flexible. That said, Byte is honestly our top pick for at-home clear aligners. But don’t take our word for it alone; the best option for you depends on your personal preferences and needs. For instance, if you’re eager for your new smile to arrive, you should go for Byte. But if your budget is tight, AlignerCo may be the better choice. Thankfully, we give a thumbs-up to both companies, so you’ll get top notch treatment either way.
Candid | #2
One of the biggest disadvantages to at-home treatment is the fact that you don’t have a ton of oversight throughout your treatment. The exception? Candid. Though they began as a premium at-home clear aligner provider, Candid has shifted to “CandidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment option. Your treatment will be administered by a local dentist in the Candid network and monitored remotely with the CandidMonitoring system.
Those AlignerCo and Candid have plenty in common, they also have some pretty major differences. Here are some of the key differences to keep in mind:
- Treatment Oversight: With AlignerCo, your treatment is pretty self-directed. Once you receive your aligners, it’s up to you to wear them as prescribed. You might have an email check-in here and there, but that’s it. Candid, however, offers a CandidMonitoring program. Basically, you’ll use a special imaging device (and your smartphone) to send photo updates every 10-14 days for the Candid team and/or your dentist to review. This helps treatment stay on track, and even sometimes progress a little more quickly.
- Treatment Length: AlignerCo has a pretty wide range of treatment times—between 6 to 11 months (8 to 12 for nighttime). Depending on how severe your case is, they either match the industry average or take slightly longer. Candid’s treatment usually lasts between 6-9 months. That said, if your teeth respond well to treatment, you might receive the go-ahead (after a CandidMonitoring session) to move on to your next aligner, speeding things up a bit.
- Price & Financing: Price is one of the biggest differences between AlignerCo and Candid. AlignerCo is just $1,145 ($1,345 for nighttime only treatment). They have one financing plan with a downpayment and one without; the one without requires a credit check. Candid, on the other hand, doesn’t have one set price. Your price will be determined by the dentist administering your treatment. It will be at least $3,500, but it can be more depending on your dentist’s fees and your location. Candid is much more expensive than fully remote options like AlignerCo, but that’s to be expected from a provider utilizing in-person care.
- Ease of Getting Started: With AlignerCo, you’ll purchase an impression kit to kick off your treatment. Impressions can be a tricky process, but AlignerCo offers free video calls with their support team to help get you through the process. Treatment with Candid begins at an in-person appointment with a local dentist in Candid’s network. They’ll take care of your scans and X-rays, all you need to do is say “ah!” Since this treatment utilizes in-person care, if you aren’t near a Candid partnered dentist, you’ll need to choose another option for your treatment.
On top of their CandidMonitoring program, Candid is an all-around great provider with no red flags. They’re a premium hybrid service that’s well suited for someone seeking the highest level of at-home treatment oversight. It’s true that AlignerCo’s price can’t be beat, but even so, we prefer Candid. But no matter which one you choose, you’ll get safe, effective treatment from the comfort of your home.
Smile Direct Club | #3
As a whole, the at-home clear aligner industry is pretty new, so most of the companies aren’t too well-known just yet. Smile Direct Club is the exception. They’re the industry’s biggest and most experienced company; their 1.5 million customers are a testament to that.
By comparison, AlignerCo seems tiny. Their reach is considerably smaller. But sheer size and brand power isn’t the only thing we need to consider here. Let’s talk about the key differences between AlignerCo and Smile Direct:
- Price: Smile Direct’s price point is slightly above the industry average: $2,050. That’s a fair price, but it seems high when compared to AlignerCo’s $1,145 sticker price. There’s not a ton of difference between the two kits, either. Both companies give you all the aligners you’ll need to perfect your smile. The only real difference is that Smile Direct includes a free bottle of Bright On, their whitening treatment.
- Ease of Getting Started: To kick off your treatment, you’ll need to make impressions of your teeth. You can do that with an impression kit from either company. Or, if you choose Smile Direct, you can skip the impression process entirely by visiting a Smile Shop. The Shop staff will take scans of your teeth for you—all for free.
- Daily Wear Requirements: To make your treatment successful, you’ll need to wear your aligners for 22 hours per day. That’s true for both AlignerCo and Smile Direct’s daytime aligners. But Smile Direct also offers Nighttime Aligners, which only requires you to wear your aligners for 10 hours total (mostly while you sleep).
- Treatment Length: Neither AlignerCo nor Smile Direct boast the industry’s shortest treatment lengths. But of the two, Smile Direct is a touch faster. Their average daytime treatment lasts about 6 months, and nighttime treatment typically lasts 10 months. For AlignerCo, the range is 6 to 11 months, and most cases fall somewhere in the middle.
Smile Direct and AlignerCo both offer nighttime treatments, so if flexibility is your deal, you’ll find it with either. And even though Smile Direct is the industry’s biggest name and most powerful brand, we prefer AlignerCo. It’s hard to argue with their affordable price point. That said, if you want the security of working with a more well-established company, then you may want to go with Smile Direct.
Which AlignerCo Alternative Should You Choose?
Every aligner company on this list is worth a look, so if you’re drawn to one of their offerings, go for it! You’ll receive treatment quickly and make your way to the smile of your dreams.
Honestly, though, Byte and Candid are our favorite services. But we love them for different reasons. Byte is fast, they pack a great value, and we love the fact that they also offer nighttime aligners. Candid is our #2 pick, due to their robust treatment oversight and top notch quality all around.