Everyone wants a million-dollar smile, but getting one as an adult can be tough. After all, no one past their awkward teen years wants to deal with the “brace face” life. Thankfully, with at-home clear aligners, you don’t have to.
At-home clear aligners make it possible to straighten your teeth from the comfort of your home. No brackets, no wires, no office visits. And as an added plus, these alternatives are hundreds of dollars cheaper than braces.
Two of our top ranked at-home aligner companies are Byte and AlignerCo, but which is right for you? In this comparison, we’ll answer that question. Your smile is unique, and your treatment should fit your unique needs, too.
The Rundown: How AlignerCo and Byte Stack Up
Home teeth alignment is a fairly new industry. Even so, it’s important to consider each company’s respective track record.
AlignerCo and Byte have both made a significant mark in the industry. That’s because they saw the holes created by the industry giant, Smile Direct, and decided to fill them. AlignerCo offers the most affordable aligners, and Byte offers the shortest treatment lengths in the industry. They each found their niche, but those aren’t the only qualities these providers have going for them.
Here’s a quick overview of what these providers have to offer:
|Customers served||No published number, but enough to receive a good amount of third party reviews||200,000+|
|Claim to fame||Most affordable clear aligner treatment in the industry||Shortest treatment lengths in the industry|
|No food restrictions?||✓||✓|
|No office visits?||✓||✓|
|Covered by insurance (with orthodontic benefits)?||✓||✓|
|Personalized customer service?||✓|
|Price Tag?||All-day treatment: $1,145 |
NightOnly Treatment: $1,345
|Daytime treatment: $1,895 |
Byte At-Night: $2,295
|Financing Available?||Both treatments have two payment plan options; one requires a credit check, and one requires a downpayment||Daytime treatment: $249 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $82 |
Byte At-Night: $299 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $99
|Treatment Length?||6-11 months||Daytime treatment: Average 4 months |
Byte At-Night: Average 5 months
|Start-Up Process?||At-home impression kit||At-home impression kit|
Like what you’re seeing so far? We are just getting started! Let’s dive into the details of the remote clear aligner providers AlignerCo and Byte.
At first glance all clear aligners might look the same. After all, there are plenty of similarities in the way each company makes their aligners. All the clear aligners we review are made from safe, BPA free plastic, and gradually shift your teeth into alignment. Aside from their core similarities, there are a few differences worth noting, too.
Clear aligners are typically trimmed in one of two ways: straight across, or scalloped to match the gumline. There are pros and cons to each of these styles. The straight cut overlaps with your gums, which makes it a little more noticeable; but also allows it to exert more force. Since scalloped aligners don’t overlap with the gums they are a little more discreet, just less forceful. It’s a tradeoff either way, but we tend to prefer the straight cut.
There is also variability in aligner transparency across providers. Some clear aligners are made from ultra clear, shiny plastic. Others are made from plastic with a slightly frosted appearance. This might seem a little counter intuitive, but frosted plastic is actually less noticeable than highly transparent plastic. Our teeth have a porous surface, so a matte finish better mimics our natural smiles.
|Materials||BPA free, Essix plastic||BPA free, PETG plastic (basically a modified, more affordable polyurethane) |
At-Night aligners are made for a thicker, more durable plastic than their all-day aligners
|Aligner Cut||Scalloped to match gumline||Straight cut|
|Aligner Transparency||Clear, shiny plastic||Clear, shiny plastic|
AlignerCo and Byte are both partnered with trusted dental suppliers. AlignerCo’s aligners are made by RaintreeEssix, and Byte’s are made by Dentsply Sirona.
AlignerCo and Byte both opt for shiny plastic in their aligners, so they have a pretty similar look. AlignerCo’s scalloped aligners have a little more low profile, but we prefer Byte’s choice to use a straight cut to exert more force.
We appreciate that Byte makes their At-Night aligners out of more premium materials. The durability of the At-Night aligners means you can still be a candidate for nighttime only treatment even if you grind your teeth while you’re sleeping.
AlignerCo makes their nighttime only aligners exactly the same as their all-day aligners, but they charge $200 more for this option. Byte charges more for their At-Night option too, but since their aligners are made from premium materials we understand that price differential. That said, AlignerCo says the price difference is because customers getting nighttime only treatment need more aligners, which adds to the overall expense.
Just because these treatments are remote doesn’t mean you’ll be left high and dry. Throughout your treatment you’ll submit progress photos to AlignerCo and Byte for review. Let’s take a closer look at how these systems of oversight compare.
|Frequency of check-ins||Every 10-14 days, or whenever you switch to a new set of aligners||Every 3-4 weeks|
|Photos sent via||Photos sent via a patient portal|
|Treatment Length||6-11 months||Daytime treatment: 4 months |
Byte At-Night: 5 months
|Customer Support||Everyday from 9am-9pm, via email, phone, and webchat||Available via phone, email and social media—7am-5pm PST|
AlignerCo requires more frequent photo updates, but Byte’s system is a little more streamlined since they use a patient portal instead of email. These updates help your provider stay informed about your treatment progress and ensure your teeth are aligning as they should.
Outside of these check-ins, if you need anything you can reach out to customer support.
Historically, both AlignerCo and Byte have done excellent jobs with their customer service teams. Every now and then, you’ll see negative reviews for both teams, citing slow responses or difficulty getting in touch. But in our experience, most of those are anomalies. Most customers get prompt, friendly, efficient support.
We like that both AlignerCo and Byte offer nighttime treatments. One thing we should mention: when you’re only wearing your aligners at night, your treatment will take a bit longer. But Byte’s nighttime treatment still wraps up in less time than the daytime offering from AlignerCo. Byte’s short treatment lengths are due to their proprietary HyperByte technology.
During 5-10 minute daily sessions, the HyperByte device gently vibrates your teeth. These vibrations guide your teeth into place more quickly. And as an added benefit, it helps reduce discomfort by ensuring a snug aligner fit.
Bang For Your Buck
A million dollar smile doesn’t have to cost a million dollars. In this section, we’ll dig into the pricing details for impression kits, treatment, and aftercare from AlignerCo and Byte.
|Startup Costs||$75 impression kit, but if you pay for your treatment outright AlignerCo will throw in the kit for free||$95 impression kit|
|Aligner Kit||All-day treatment: $1,145 NightOnly treatment: $1,345||Daytime treatment: $1,895 |
Byte At-Night: $2,295
|Add-Ons||Whitening kit: $49.99 WorryFree Protection Program: $599||Byte Protection Plan: $649 for daytime treatment; $779 for Byte At-Night|
|Financing||Both treatments have two payment plan options; one requires a credit check, and the other requires a downpayment||Daytime treatment: $249 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $82 |
Byte At-Night: $299 downpayment & 32 monthly payments of $99
|Insurance||If your insurance policy has orthodontic benefits, you may get partial reimbursement. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to be sure before moving forward with AlignerCo||Byte works hand in hand with several insurance companies. Byte can run a free coverage check for you, you’ll just need to send them your insurance card|
|Post-Treatment||AlignerCo includes your first set of aftercare retainers for free! After that you can buy them in bulk through the WorryFree Protection Program||$129 per retainer set (but they give you the first set for free!)|
All home aligners have you kick off your treatment by taking teeth impressions. For most companies, this means using an at-home impression kit. A few companies maintain retail locations where you can get free teeth scans instead of ordering an impression kit, but unfortunately, Byte and AlignerCo do not. Keep your eyes out for sales though, we’ve seen both AlignerCo and Byte mark their impression kits down significantly.
AlignerCo’s price point is, without a doubt, the most affordable price in the industry. They’re hundreds of dollars cheaper than any other clear aligner service. Even still, they include your first set of aftercare retainers for free in your treatment package.
Byte creates a nice blend of value and affordability. You’ll get everything you need to straighten your teeth and keep them straight, including the HyperByte device and post-treatment retainers. Purchased separately, the HyperByte costs a whopping $699, So you get a lot of value for your money.
Can’t pay all at once? Both services offer financing options with a 100% acceptance rate.
AlignerCo actually offers two financing plans: SmileFlex and SmileFlex Easy. With SmileFlex, you’ll need to pass a credit check. But once you do, you’ll be able to start making your 12 monthly payments of $110. SmileFlex Easy lets you skip the credit check; instead, you’ll make a downpayment of $275. After that, you’ll have 6 payments of $175. Financing for nighttime treatment is similar, just a bit pricier.
With BytePay, you’re automatically approved for financing. When you select BytePay at checkout, you’ll make a $249 downpayment. After that, you’ll make a monthly payment of $82/month for 32 months. Byte-At-Night is a bit more: a $299 down payment followed by $99/month for 32 months.
If you opt for Byte’s financing, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the Byte Protection Plan. If you lose or break an aligner during your treatment, this plan replaces it for free. This plan also covers your aftercare retainers. Byte will send you a new set of retainers every 6 months, for 5 years. All in all, it’s a pretty great value.
Similarly, AlignerCo sells their retainers in bulk through their WorryFree Protection Program. For $599 AlignerCo will set you a new set of retainers every 6 months, for 6 years. We understand if that price gives you some initial sticker shock, but it brings the per retainer price down to about $50; or about half the industry average.
Though AlignerCo doesn’t include complimentary whitening in your aligner package, they do sell a whitening kit separately for $49.99. Byte’s whitening formula is safe to use during your treatment, and Byte even recommends that you also use it as a breath freshener and aligner cleanser. Replacement bottles are $30, or you can buy a set of 6 at $20 per bottle.
All told, AlignerCo has slightly better prices than Byte. You get a lot of value for your money with Byte, but AlignerCo’s price point is unbeatable, especially if you’re on a budget.
Many shoppers instinctively know to search for low prices and high quality, but when choosing a clear aligner provider it’s also important that you consider the way each company treats their customers. Here, we’ll cover what you can expect if you become a customer of AlignerCo or Byte.
For many shoppers, customer reviews can make or break purchasing decisions. If you’re one of those shoppers, we’ve got you covered. We’ve done the legwork for you to see what customers across the web are saying about AlignerCo and Byte.
|Top loves: More affordable than other options; process is easy to complete; excellent customer support||Top loves: Excellent customer service (even mentioning representatives by name); visible results within a couple weeks; easy to use|
|Top complaints: Sometimes aligners don’t fit and refinements are tricky; products manufactured overseas||Top complaints: Guarantee on impression kit does not apply to bite issues|
|Average score: 4.5/5||Average score: 4.7/5|
AlignerCo and Byte both have pretty fantastic online reviews across the board; negative ones are pretty few and far between. The most common complaint is for requesting refinements if treatment needs to be tweaked (more on that in a minute). Across the board, though, you’ll see that lots of customers have given rave reviews, thanking their customer service reps by name for top-notch service—and, of course, thanking each service for their new smile.
With any purchase, there’s always the nagging question: what if it doesn’t work out? AlignerCo and Byte both have very individualized approaches to guarantees.
Both AlignerCo and Byte provide a guarantee on your impression kit. If you send in impressions and it turns out that you’re not a good candidate for treatment, they’ll refund the kit price and any money you prepaid for your aligners. If you are a candidate, though, you’ll pay the kit price regardless of whether or not you decide to get treatment.
Beyond that though, once you purchase your AlignerCo aligners, you’ll only receive a refund if there are manufacturing defects with your aligners.
Byte, however, stands by their product forever with their “Byte for Life” guarantee.
This guarantee is essentially a lifetime warranty. If your teeth ever shift after treatment, Byte will send you new aligners to correct it. To hold up your end of the bargain, be sure to stay on top of wearing and replacing your aftercare retainers.
What if I break an aligner?
Accidents happen—if you break an aligner, reach out to your provider right away.
AlignerCo doesn’t replace lost or broken aligners, so they’ll likely advise you to move onto the next aligner in your treatment plan.
If you’re enrolled in the Byte Protection Plan (by purchasing it outright or financing your treatment through BytePay), any replacements for lost or broken aligners will be free. Otherwise, you can replace an all-day aligner for $129, and an At-Night aligner for $149.
Sometimes teeth can be a little stubborn, and you may need more aligners than your treatment plan originally laid out. These extra aligners are called refinements, and every provider approaches this process a little differently.
If you reach the end of your AlignerCo treatment and you’re not satisfied with your results, you should contact customer support. Provided you’ve followed all the requirements of your treatment, you can request a refinement for $200. It’s never fun to spend extra money, but even with this potential added expense, AligenrCo still has the best price on the market.
With Byte, you can request a re-evaluation. As long as you follow your prescribed treatment plan, Byte will help make it right. They’ll provide you with refinements free of charge to deliver the results you’re after.
Just to be clear—teeth alignment is never going to be a completely pain free experience. It comes with the territory; even more traditional treatments like braces or Invisalign come with their fair share of aches and pains.
Usually the most discomfort happens when you switch to a new set of aligners, since they’ll have a snugger fit than the last. Often providers will recommend switching to the new set of aligners at night to help you sleep through the soreness.
Judging from Byte’s customer reviews, the HyperByte device really does make a difference in mitigating this discomfort. AlignerCo doesn’t have a comparable offering, so if you’re someone who likes to have as many tools in your kit as possible; Byte may be more your speed.
Top Alternatives to AlignerCo and Byte
AlignerCo and Byte are among our favorite clear aligner providers for a reason. That said, you may still want to explore other providers to find the one that’s best suited for your needs. If you are going to look outside of Byte and AlignerCo, we recommend checking out Candid. They’re our #2 ranked provider, just after Byte.
Each provider has a particular focus for their treatment, and with Candid, it’s oversight. Through their CandidMonitoring program you’ll send frequent photo updates to their clinical team so they can evaluate your treatment process. If you’re looking for the convenience of at-home aligners with robust treatment oversight, look no further than Candid.
Which is the Best Clear Aligner for You?
When it all comes down to it, AlignerCo and Byte are both good options. They’re two of our top three favorite services. But at the end of the day, you can only pick one.
If you want our honest opinion, we prefer Byte. They have a great lifetime guarantee, and they give a great mix of value and efficiency. But AlignerCo isn’t far behind them; we rank them as our third choice. No matter which you choose, you can feel confident you made a great purchase.
- Choose AlignerCo if: Saving your money is an absolute priority. AlignerCo has the best prices in the entire industry.
- Choose Byte if: You’re eager to see the smile of your dreams as soon as possible. Byte’s treatment wraps up in half the time of some of their competitors; even their nighttime-only treatment beats the speed of competitors’ all-day options.