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. And as an added plus, these alternatives are hundreds of dollars cheaper than braces.
Two top at-home aligner companies are Candid 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.
Spoiler | Candid Wins
5 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 without going to the dentist’s office. But the commonalities between AlignerCo and Candid go much deeper than that:
1) Financing: If you can’t pay for your entire treatment up front, then you’ll be able to get a financing plan with both AlignerCo and Candid. Candid only offers one payment plan, which requires a downpayment of $399 and then monthly payments of $99. AlignerCo has two methods: one requires a credit check, and the other requires a down payment.
2) Discreet: Candid and AlignerCo both 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 AlignerCo and Candid use teams of qualified dental professionals to create a custom treatment plan just for you. They combine your dental impressions with advanced technology to craft your set of aligners. Basically, they’ve taken the technology Invisalign perfected and brought it to the comfort of your home
4) Insurance Coverage: AlignerCo and Candid both may be covered (in part) by your insurance. With both companies, though, you’ll need to inquire with your provider to learn if you’re covered. In general, if your policy includes orthodontic benefits, you’ll probably get insurance reimbursement.
5) Overall Value: Candid and AlignerCo both have different price points (more on this in a moment), but each company gives a lot of bang for your buck. With AlignerCo, you’ll get all your aligners in your treatment and a free set of post-treatment retainers. Candid costs a bit more, but they give you a bit more, including your aligners, retainers, whitening treatment, and their Remote Monitoring Service.
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 Remote Monitoring program|
AlignerCo and Candid are both really 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 treatment and the orthodontist oversight you’d get with an in-office treatment.
Let’s be clear: both AlignerCo and Candid will give you top-quality treatment, 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 look slightly different.
Both Candid and AlignerCo occur remotely. You’ll start with an impression kit (or a scan at a Candid Studio), and if you approve your treatment plan, they’ll ship you your aligners. It’s up to you to wear your aligners as prescribed. That ensures that your teeth shift on schedule.
With AlignerCo, that’s pretty much all that happens. But with Candid’s Remote Monitoring program, you’ll have regular check-ins with an orthodontist. Using your phone and a special imaging device, you’ll send images in. The orthodontist in charge of your case will review them. If things look good, he or she might tell you to move on to your next aligner. But if things look off (unusual), the treatment team will start correcting it.
No two smiles are exactly alike. So, regardless of which company you choose, your treatment 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 speed as well. Here are the average treatment times for AlignerCo and Candid:
- AlignerCo: 6 to 11 months for daytime treatment, 8 to 12 months for nighttime treatment
- Candid: 6 months
AlignerCo’s treatment times can be slightly slower than the industry average, while Candid’s speed is right on par. However, if you respond well to treatment, your Candid orthodontist 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 impression kits, treatment, and whitening from AlignerCo and Candid.
Impression Kit Pricing
All home clear aligners have you kick off your treatment by taking teeth impressions. For most companies, this means using an at-home impression kit. Candid maintains retail locations (called Candid Studios) where you can get free teeth scans instead of ordering an impression kit, but AlignerCo does not.
Here’s how the impression kit prices 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.
- Candid, FREE or $95: Candid maintains roughly 24 retail locations (and that number is steadily growing). If you visit one, you can skip the starter kit and have images taken of your teeth for free. If you don’t live near a store, you’ll have to buy the kit instead. It includes everything you’ll need to create your impressions, including putty, trays, a cheek stretcher, and, of course, a prepaid shipping label. If $95 gives you sticker shock, keep in mind that Candid sometimes runs sales on the kit. We’ve seen it priced as low as $33.25.
Both AlignerCo and Candid 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 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.
Once you complete your impressions, AlignerCo or Candid will create your personalized treatment plan. This includes all of the aligners you’ll need to shift your smile from meh to wow. Regardless of how many aligners you need, your price is the same. 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 $1,595). The treatment plan includes all of your aligners plus your first set of post-treatment retainers.
- Candid, $2,400: Candid is not huge on sales, and they are arguably the most expensive at-home aligner company. That said, their kit is fairly priced. It includes all of the aligners you’ll need to straighten your smile and your Remote Monitoring equipment. You’ll also get your first set of post-treatment retainers for no extra charge.
Can’t pay all at once? Both services offer financing:
- AlignerCo: 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: With Candid, you’ll need to make a down payment of $399. After that, you’ll be enrolled in a monthly payment plan. Your payments could be as low as $99 for 24 months. You may also be able to get a shorter payment period with a higher monthly payment. There’s some flexibility.
With either company, 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 because they want to keep customers’ costs as low as possible. Candid, however, gives you a free bottle with your kit. If you run out, you can buy more for $25.
All told, AlignerCo has vastly more affordable prices compared to Candid. Candid’s price is fair, especially considering the fact that you get Remote Monitoring 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 customer support. 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. We also like the fact that AlignerCo sends regular email check-ins to each patient to see how your treatment is going. In online reviews, a lot of customers mention their assistant by name.||Takeaway: Candid’s customer support is one area where they truly shine. Especially in the beginning of treatment, Candid’s representatives work hard to ensure that all your questions are answered completely and efficiently. The support at their retail locations is equally good; some customers prefer it!|
Both Candid and AlignerCo have top-notch customer support models. Individualized attention goes a long way in making customers feel valued and supported. Since both of these companies are still relatively small and new, they haven’t outgrown their ability to serve their clients. We hope that they keep up the good work as they continue to grow.
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.
This applies to Candid, which maintains physical locations (called Candid Studios) where customers can schedule a visit to skip the hassle of an impression kit. During the appointment, a smile assistant will administer a teeth scan and send it to Candid. These appointments are free and much simpler than impressions. However, if you don’t live near a Studio, you can still purchase a kit.
Unfortunately, AlignerCo doesn’t offer this option. To compensate, they offer video call support for impressions. You can have a customer service representative coach you through the process. They’ll help ensure that you get your impressions right.
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. The orthodontists will let you know if you need to try again.
If you’re sure you’ve botched the impressions, contact customer support at AlignerCo or Candid and they’ll send another kit your way.
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 Candid.
|Top loves: More affordable than other options; process is easy to complete; excellent customer support||Top loves: excellent customer service, both remotely and in Candid Studios; helpful communication throughout the process via their app; convenient, effective treatment|
|Top complaints: Emails can be frequent and come from multiple addresses; photos occasionally get misplaced; confusion over impression kit process||Top complaints: more discomfort than other aligners; emails can get spammy|
|Average score: 4.5/5||Average score: 4.2/5|
AlignerCo and Candid are both pretty new to the industry, but they still have a decent number of online reviews. Candid definitely has more, but both companies have an incredibly positive reputation. Of the two, we take AlignerCo’s score with a grain of salt because they have fewer reviews. If they keep up the good work, we’ll have even more confidence in them.
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 customer support. Provided you’ve followed all the requirements of your treatment, you can request a refinement for $200.
Candid’s Satisfaction Guarantee
Similarly, Candid has only one true refund policy—you’ll get your money back on the cost of the impression kit if it turns out you’re not a candidate for treatment. Other than that, your payment is final. However, Candid does want to ensure that you’re satisfied. If you reach the end of your treatment and you’re not satisfied with the results, you can request a correction. Unlike some companies, Candid does not charge you for any corrections to your treatment. They’ll cover the cost of additional aligners.
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 AlignerCo. Sure, Candid’s Remote Monitoring program is a great balance between orthodontist oversight and the convenience of at-home treatment. That’s why they’re our #3 pick. But in our opinion, it’s hard to argue with the affordable price tag of AlignerCo. We also love that they offer the flexibility of nighttime-only treatments. In terms of rankings, AlignerCo 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 comes as close as possible to in-person treatment. If you also like to see your purchases make a social impact, then Candid is also the best option.
Frequently Asked Questions
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. These companies leverage a competitive product with competitive prices. But they don’t sacrifice quality to do it. How? They don’t have the overhead costs of a physical office like a traditional orthodontist’s office, so they can reinvest those savings in measures that ensure fast and convenient treatment.
Which home aligner is more customer-focused?
In this case, Candid is more customer-focused. Their Remote Monitoring program gives personalized attention to each customer with virtual check-in “appointments.” No other aligner company takes oversight to that level.
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 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 different aspect: devices affixed to your teeth to secure the aligners, which must be attached in-office by a qualified orthodontist. Home aligners don’t use these devices, allowing you to complete your entire treatment at home.
How do these home aligners compare to Byte and Smile Direct?
AlignerCo and Candid are pretty similar to both Byte and Smile Direct. Smile Direct is the industry’s powerhouse (they started business in 2013) with a ton of experience. Byte is a little newer, but they boast the fastest treatment times in the entire industry with an average treatment of just 3 months.
Is there an age requirement for using either AlignerCo or Candid?
AlignerCo and Candid both require you to have all permanent teeth before beginning treatment. (You don’t want to dump thousands into teeth that will just fall out, anyway). AlignerCo treats anyone 14 and older, but Candid’s patients must be at least 16 years old. With either service, minors must have parental consent before receiving treatment.
Does either service provide free whitening treatment?
To keep their prices and costs low, AlignerCo doesn’t offer any free extras, whitening included. Candid, however, offers whitening kits that you can use in conjunction with your aligners. The first bottle is free, but each additional one is $25.
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 run 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 take an impression kit with either service. They’ll let you know for sure if you are a candidate or not. If you are not a candidate, you’ll get 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.
Are there any hidden costs?
Candid and AlignerCo don’t really have any hidden costs. What you see is what you get, especially since they both include the first set of post-treatment retainers for free. With either company, however, you’ll need to purchase new post-treatment retainers occasionally. They do wear out over time.