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 house. No brackets, no wires, no office visits.
Two top at-home aligner companies are Candid and AlignerCo, but which is right for you? In this comparison, we’ll answer that question. By the time we’ve finished, you’ll know which is the better option for your unique grin.
Important: Candid recently discontinued their fully-remote clear aligner treatment option and now only offers their premium hybrid treatment, CandidPro. Because of this recent change, some of the content on this page may be out of date.
Spoiler | Candid Wins
3 Things They Have in Common
For the bulk of this review, we’ll talk about the ways AlignerCo and Candid are different. But they do have a fair bit in common. On the obvious side, both companies will help you perfect your grin. But the commonalities between AlignerCo and Candid go much deeper than that:
1) Convenience: Traditional treatment options like braces and Invisalign require in-person appointments every 4-8 weeks of your treatment. That’s no small feat for a busy adult. With at-home clear aligners like Candid and AlignerCo, the bulk of your treatment is completed from the comfort of your own home.
2) Discreet: Candid and AlignerCo use slightly different aligners, but the general idea is the same. And unlike braces, aligners from Candid and AlignerCo are nearly invisible when you have them on.
3) Safe: We get it. Home dentistry (also called teledentistry) sounds a bit sketchy. But in reality, it isn’t. Both Candid and AlignerCo use teams of qualified dental professionals to create a custom treatment plan just for you. They use your dental impressions or scans with to craft a personalized series of aligners. Basically, they’ve taken the technology Invisalign perfected and brought it to the comfort of your home.
That covers the similarities. For the remainder of this review, we’ll dig into the differences so you can pick the home aligner that’s best for you.
Company Track Records
Home teeth alignment is a fairly new industry. Even so, it’s important to consider each company’s respective track record. Here’s how the two compare:
|Founded: 2019||Founded: 2017|
|Company focus: Providing the most affordable aligners in the industry||Company focus: Perfecting remote orthodontic treatment thanks to their CandidMonitoring program|
AlignerCo and Candid are both relatively new to the industry, but they’ve already made a significant mark in a short time. That’s because they saw the holes created by the industry giant, Smile Direct, and decided to fill them. AlignerCo filled the affordability gap.
Candid, however, fills the gap between at-home convenience and in-office oversight. Although Candid began as a premium at-home clear aligner provider, they’ve recently made a switch to “CandidPro,” a hybrid at-home/in-office treatment model that offers the flexibility of remote treatments, but with the hands-on attention of a local dentist.
If affordability is top of mind for you, then you’d be better suited with AlignerCo. But if you’re seeking the highest level of treatment oversight in the at-home clear aligner industry, then Candid may be more your speed.
Let’s be clear: both AlignerCo and Candid will provide top quality aligners, and by the time you’ve reached your last aligner, you’ll have the smile of your dreams. But the exact way you reach that dream smile will vary with each provider.
With AlignerCo, you’ll email photos to their team every time you switch to a new aligner (about every 10-14 days). Your dedicated “smile crew” member will review the photos and make any necessary adjustments.
Candid offers more robust oversight with their remote monitoring system: CandidMonitoring. Using your smartphone and a special imaging device, you’ll submit photos every 10-14 days, which is the same frequency to AlignerCo. However, the Candid team and your local dentist can review the images. If an issue ever arises, you can visit your local dentist to get your treatment back on track.
Additionally, Candid offers a more comprehensive treatment than AlignerCo. Candid is able to move every tooth, including the molars. The rest of their at-home aligner competitors (AlignerCo included) mainly focus on the upper and lower front six teeth (also known as “the social six”).
So long story short, you’ll get convenient, quality treatments from both of these providers. Candid just offers more sophisticated oversight throughout the process.
No two smiles are exactly alike. So, regardless of which company you choose, your treatment length could be longer or shorter than someone else’s. This speed largely depends on the severity of your crowding or spacing condition.
That said, each company’s product affects your treatment length, too. Here are the average treatment lengths for AlignerCo and Candid:
- AlignerCo: 6 to 11 months for daytime treatment, 8 to 12 months for nighttime treatment
- Candid: 6-9 months
AlignerCo and Candid have pretty similar treatment times. However, if you respond well to treatment, your dentist and the Candid team and/or your dentist may give you the go-ahead to move on to your next aligner. If so, your treatment may speed up by a few weeks.
Pricing & Features
Let’s talk about bang for your buck. In this section, we’ll dig into the pricing details for start-up costs, treatment, and whitening from AlignerCo and Candid.
Treatment Start-Up Costs
In order to build your treatment plan, your provider needs to see your teeth. With AlignerCo, this happens with an impression kit. You’ll complete an at-home impression kit and mail it back to them.
You’ll begin your Candid treatment with an appointment with one of their partnered dentists. Unfortunately the in-person nature of this option means that if you don’t live near a Candid dentist, you’ll need to choose another provider for treatment. That being said, Candid already has over 200 partnered dentists, and they’re expanding all the time.
Here’s how the start-up costs stack up:
- AlignerCo, FREE or $75: The impression kit from AlignerCo includes everything you’ll need to take your impressions, including putty, trays, a cheek retractor, instructions, and return shipping. Bought separately, the kit costs $75, but AlignerCo will give you the kit for free if you pay for your entire treatment up front. They sometimes run sales on the kit price too, bringing it below $40.
- Candid, FREE: To kickstart your Candid treatment you’ll need to book a free consultation with one of their partnered dentists. At this appointment your dentist will determine whether or not you’re suitable for treatment, take intraoral scans, photos, and X-rays, and have an in-depth conversation about your treatment goals. They’ll use that information to collaborate with the Candid orthodontics team to craft a treatment plan just for you.
AlignerCo offers a guarantee on your impression kit. If you send in impressions and it turns out you’re not a good candidate for treatment, they’ll refund the kit price and any money you prepaid on your aligners. If you are a candidate, though, you’ll pay the kit price regardless of whether or not you decide to get treatment.
The treatment plans that Candid and AlignerCo craft for you will include every aligner you need to transform your smile into a point of personal pride. Let’s start out by discussing the base prices for each service.
- AligneroCo, $1,145 ($1,345 for nighttime): AlignerCo’s price point is, without a doubt, the most affordable price in the industry. They’re hundreds of dollars cheaper than their closest price competitor (NewSmile charges $1,295). The treatment plan includes all of your aligners plus your first set of post-treatment retainers.
- Candid, $3,500+: Candid’s pricing is determined by the partnered local dentist who oversees your treatment, but the base price is $3,500. This price gets you all the aligners you’ll need, the CandidMonitoring system, any extra appointments you may need, plus a bottle of whitening foam. This is significantly more expensive than fully remote clear aligner options like AlignerCo, but that’s to be expected with the added costs of in-person care.
Can’t pay all at once? Let’s explore each provider’s financing options.
- AlignerCo, $1,320: AlignerCo actually offers two financing plans: SmileFlex and SmileFlex Easy. SmileFlex requires you 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 down payment of $275. After that, you’ll have 11 payments of $95. Financing for nighttime treatment is just a bit pricier.
- Candid, Varies: The financing terms of your treatment will vary from office to office, just like the treatment cost. Be sure to ask what your financing options are during your initial treatment consultation with your dentist.
With AlignerCo (and likely Candid too). financing will actually cost you more. So if you can swing it, it’s well worth it to pay the whole sum up front.
AlignerCo doesn’t offer any whitening products in their treatment bundles; that’s because they want to keep your costs as low as possible. Candid, however, gives you a free bottle with your kit. If you want to buy more, though, you’ll need to shell out a little extra cash:
- Alignerco, $49.99: Though AlignerCo doesn’t include complimentary whitening in your aligner package, they do sell a whitening kit separately. Each kit comes with an LED light, three containers of whitening gel, and a thermoform mouth tray.
- Candid, $25: Candid includes your first bottle in your aligner kit for free. It’s safe to use during your treatment; in fact, it doubles as an aligner cleanser. If you run out, you can buy a replacement bottle for $25.
There’s no question that AlignerCo offers a more affordable price point than Candid. We still think Candid’s price is fair, especially considering the fact that you’re being treated by a local dentist, and that you’ll have robust oversight from CandidMonitoring throughout your treatment. That said, if you need a truly budget-friendly option, AlignerCo is your best choice.
All told, AlignerCo has vastly more affordable prices compared to Candid. Candid’s price is fair, especially considering the fact that you get CandidMonitoring throughout your treatment. That said, if you need a truly budget-friendly option, AlignerCo is your best choice.
No one anticipates having issues with their aligners, but stuff happens. That’s life. When it does, you’ll need to talk with your provider’s support team. We’ve tested them ourselves, and here’s how the two compare:
|Contact methods: Phone, email, webchat, & video call (for impressions)||Contact methods: Phone, email, chat, social media, & video call (occasionally)|
|Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, 7 days a week||Hours: Daily from 9 a.m to 7 p.m. EST, Monday - Sunday|
|Speed: Phone and chat get prompt, same-day responses; email queries can take up to 24 hours||Speed: Traditional methods like email and phone usually get a same-day response; social media queries can take 24 hours|
|Friendliness: Prompt, helpful, & enthusiastic||Friendliness: Receptive, knowledgeable, & professional|
|Takeaway: AlignerCo’s small size allows them to give individualized attention to each customer, every time.||Takeaway: Candid’s customer support isn’t perfect, but most of the time, you’ll get prompt responses from helpful, friendly representatives.|
Candid and AlignerCo both have quality support teams. It’s tempting to think that Candid’s CandidMonitoring program automatically offers better support than AlignerCo. But honestly, AlignerCo does such a good job with their traditional support methods that we don’t find Candid appreciably better than AlignerCo’s support team. Both do a pretty good job giving prompt, friendly support.
However, Candid’s hybrid treatment methods mean that you’ll also have the support of your local dentist office. Availability will vary from practice to practice, but it’s nice that you can count on two-fold support when you choose Candid.
Ease of Getting Started
Ease is the name of the game when it comes to at-home aligner treatment. But not all aligner companies use the same process. Some are a bit easier than others.
The same goes for Candid and AlignerCo. Candid kickstarts treatment with an in-person appointment with a Candid partnered local dentist. They’ll determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for treatment, take intraoral scans, photos, and X-rays, and answer any questions you may have about the process.
Unfortunately this means that if you don’t live near a partnered Candid dentist, you will need to choose a different treatment option.
AlignerCo only starts treatment with an impression kit. To compensate, they offer video call support for impressions. You can have a member of the support team coach you through the process. They’ll help ensure that you get your impressions right. They also have a retail location in West Hempstead, New York. You can visit that location for in-person assistance on your impression kit.
What if I get it wrong?
Impression kits are a tad tricky, so don’t panic if you mess them up. If the impressions are iffy—they could work, but you’re not sure—send them in. AlignerCo will let you know if you need to try again.
If you’re sure you’ve botched the impressions, contact AlignerCo’s support team and they’ll send another kit your way.
For many shoppers, online 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 Candid.
|Top loves: More affordable than other options; process is easy to complete; excellent customer support||Top loves: excellent customer service, in-studio and remotely; CandidMonitoring keeps things on track; convenient, effective treatment|
|Top complaints: Sometimes aligners don’t fit and refinements are tricky; products manufactured overseas||Top complaints: Requests for refinements are a hassle; a little more discomfort than other aligners; emails can get spammy|
|Average score: 4.5/5||Average score: 4.2/5|
AlignerCo is a bit newer than Candid, but both companies have a decent number of reviews. And for the most part, they’re pretty positive. That’s especially true for AlignerCo; for example, over 95% of their reviews on Trustpilot are positive. Candid has a few more negative reviews, but they’re still mostly positive. And for both companies, the negatives usually have to do with requesting refinements. That’s an understandably complicated process, and if you’re expecting an instant fix, you’ll be disappointed.
We should mention that because the transition to CandidPro is so recent, there are virtually no reviews detailing this new hybrid treatment form. We’ll keep checking back for those, but we definitely think their overall positive reviews from their fully remote treatment should still be taken into account.
All told, though, the two companies both get good reviews.
Refund Policies & Satisfaction Guarantees
With any purchase, there’s always the nagging question: what if it doesn’t work out? AlignerCo and Candid both have very individualized approaches for refunds and satisfaction guarantees.
AlignerCo’s Satisfaction Guarantee
Like a lot of home aligner companies, AlignerCo offers only one true refund: their impression kits. If you buy one and you aren’t a candidate, you’ll get a refund for the kit. Beyond that though, once you purchase your aligners, you’ll only receive a refund if there are manufacturing defects with your aligners. However, if you reach the end of your treatment and you’re not satisfied with your results, you should contact their support team. Provided you’ve followed all the requirements of your treatment, you can request a refinement for $200.
Like other in-office treatment options, Candid doesn’t have refunds or overarching guarantees about the results of your treatment. All of those policies are determined by the dentist administering your care.
Which is the Best Clear Aligner for You?
When it all comes down to it, AlignerCo and Candid 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 Candid. Sure, AlignerCo’s low price tag makes treatment much more approachable. That’s why they’re our #3 pick! But in our opinion, it’s hard to argue with the ‘best of both worlds’ hybrid treatment offered by Candid. From the oversight of a local dentist, to the sophisticated CandidMonitoring system, we think Candid could be worth considering for many of our readers. In terms of overall rankings, Candid wins our #2 pick.
- Choose AlignerCo if: saving your money is an absolute priority. AlignerCo has the best prices in the entire industry.
- Choose Candid if: you want a high-quality treatment that balances convenience with robust oversight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either home aligner provider offer discounts?
AlignerCo always has a referral discount for $100 off their aligners (provided you know someone with or can find a code). Since Candid operates a bit differently than 100% remote providers, with the dentists administering the Candid treatments setting their own pricing. This means that there aren’t any overarching deals for Candid.
Are AlignerCo and Candid legit?
Your mom warned you about things that sound too good to be true, right? Thankfully home aligner companies like AlignerCo and Candid aren’t. Though these providers approach treatment differently, we believe you’d be in good hands with either one. AlignerCo is able to offer competitive pricing since they’re a 100% remote treatment option. Whereas Candid costs more than fully at-home options, but usually less than Invisalign and braces.
Which home aligner is more customer-focused?
We have to give Candid the win for patient focus. With their hybrid treatment option, not only do you begin treatment with an in-depth dentist consultation, but you have both your dentist and the Candid team overseeing your treatment from start to finish via CandidMonitoring. That kind of two-fold support makes Candid a great option for someone seeking clear aligner treatment with superior oversight and support.
How exactly do at-home clear aligners work?
They’re nearly invisible, but they’re not magical. Technically speaking, at-home clear aligners use roughly the same technology that Invisalign uses. This starts with your impressions or scans, which a dental professional will use to design a series of clear trays that gently move your teeth to their final destination.
How do AlignerCo and Candid compare to Invisalign?
They’re distant cousins, really. Invisalign pioneered the clear aligner alternative to traditional braces. However, Invisalign adds one aspect to the aligners: devices affixed to your teeth that help secure them. These devices have to be attached in-office by a qualified orthodontist. Candid and AlignerCo don’t use attachments, which restricts the conditions they can treat. Candid’s hybrid treatment option is somewhere in between Invisalign and AlignerCo.
How do these home aligners compare to Byte and Smile Direct?
AlignerCo is pretty similar to both Byte and Smile Direct. Smile Direct is the industry’s powerhouse (they started business in 2014) with a ton of experience. Byte is a little newer, but they boast the shortest treatment lengths in the entire industry with an average treatment of just 4 months. Candid is a little bit different, since it is a hybrid form that combines at-home and in-office treatments.
Is there an age requirement for using either AlignerCo or Candid?
AlignerCo and Candid both recommend that you have all permanent teeth present before you begin treatment (you don’t want to dump thousands into teeth that will merely fall out, anyway). AlignerCo will treat anyone 14 and up. Candid will treat teens from ages 13 to 17, but the actual process for treatment looks slightly different for teens than for adults (they call the program Candid Teen).
Does either service provide free whitening treatment?
To keep their prices and costs low, AlignerCo doesn’t offer any free whitening. Candid, however, offers whitening foam that you can use in conjunction with your aligners. The first bottle is free, but each additional one is $25.
Can I use AlignerCo and Candid if I live outside the USA?
Candid doesn’t currently operate internationally. AlignerCo isn’t technically available internationally; that said, their sister company, SmilePath is available in Australia, and their other sister company Straight My Teeth is available in the UK.
Do AlignerCo and Candid have aggressive upsells?
Thankfully, no. Candid “baits you in” (mildly) by giving you one set of their whitening treatment for free. But since there’s no obligation to buy a replacement kit once yours runs out, it’s not a true upsell.
How do I know If at-home aligners are right for me?
Many people are good candidates for at-home treatment. In general, the only people who should automatically steer clear of at-home aligners are people with significant bite issues. If underbite, overbite, crossbite, etc. is the cause of your misalignment, then clear aligners may not be able to permanently correct your issue.
Individuals with implants may still be able to get treatment. To know for sure, you’ll need to complete an impression kit with AlignerCo, or schedule an in-person dental consultation with Candid. They’ll let you know for sure if you are a candidate or not. If you are not a candidate, AlignerCo will give you a refund for the price of the impression kit.
If I lose my aligners during or after treatment, do I have to pay for new ones?
If you lose your AlignerCo aligner, contact customer support right away and they’ll get a new one sent your way. Candid won’t replace an aligner if you lose one. With either service, though, you should wear your previous aligner to keep your teeth from shifting too far back.
Can I drink coffee when using AlignerCo or Candid?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from AlignerCo and Candid are fairly stain-resistant, but you should generally avoid eating or drinking colored liquids and foods while wearing your aligners. Water is a safe bet, though — just make sure it isn’t hot, as this could warp the plastic.
Are there any hidden costs?
Candid and AlignerCo don’t really have any hidden costs. With either company, however, you’ll need to purchase new post-treatment retainers occasionally. They do wear out over time.