When it comes to at-home teeth straightening, Smile Direct Club is a great option.
Smile Direct was the first at-home clear aligner service, and over the years, they’ve developed new ways to make their treatment more convenient. And in the process, they’ve transformed over 1.5 Million smiles and counting.
Thanks to their brand power, Smile Direct can offer quite a few perks that their competitors can’t. For starters, they maintain several SmileShops across Australia, making it as easy as possible to kick off your treatment. A visit to a SmileShop will spare you the hassle and cost of impressions. Plus, Smile Direct is one of three companies who offer nighttime treatment. For busy adults (and avid snackers), that’s a nice perk.
But Smile Direct isn’t our top pick for clear aligners. And when you’re considering the future of your smile, it’s important to weigh all your options. In this article, we’ll help you do just that with the top 4 alternatives to Smile Direct.
Byte | #1
Byte is our favorite home aligner company. They’re shaking up the industry with their HyperByte technology (more on that in a moment). Founded in 2018, Byte may be relatively new, but they have several advantages over Smile Direct. Here are some of the key differences:
- Treatment Length: Byte blows the competition out of the water with their treatment speeds. Some customers spend as little as 4 months wearing Byte. That’s largely thanks to the HyperByte device. This little handheld device looks something like a mouth guard, but it uses gentle vibrations to move your teeth into their new position relatively quickly. Smile Direct, on the other hand, takes an average of 6 months. That’s the industry average, so it’s nothing to sneeze at. Byte is just much faster.
- Nighttime Treatment: Some adults find that it’s a hassle to wear aligners for 22 hours per day, and both companies alleviate that hassle by offering nighttime treatments. But Byte’s treatment is much faster, averaging 5-6 months. Smile Direct is much slower: about 10 months.
- Customer Support: Byte’s customer support model is excellent. They assign a dedicated representative to each customer. Every time you call for help, you’ll talk with someone who knows your case inside and out—no explaining your case over and over to different representatives. Smile Direct, on the other hand, has had some issues with their customer support in the past. Their customer base grew faster than expected, and their support team couldn’t keep up. Recently they’ve made big improvements, though.
- Overall Value: Byte and Smile Direct have similar price points: $2,749 and $2,825 respectively. That said, we think that Byte is a slightly better value than Smile Direct. That’s because Byte includes their HyperByte device, a bottle of BrightByte, and your first set of post-treatment retainers for free in your kit. Bought separately, these would cost roughly $1,200. Smile Direct doesn’t have as many extras. For example, they charge an extra for aftercare retainers.
The main advantage Smile Direct has over Byte is their sheer brand power. Byte is much younger than Smile Direct, so they’ve served far fewer customers. That isn’t a “nail in the coffin” for Byte, but if you’re a customer who really prefers a company with longevity, then Smile Direct is your best bet.
On all other accounts, however, we prefer Byte.
SmilePath | #2
One of the biggest perks of at-home clear aligners is the fact that they’re more affordable than braces. But each company has their own price point, and Smile Direct is no exception. If cost is one of your top priorities, you’ll definitely want to look into SmilePath. They’re actually the most affordable option on the market. There are other important differences, too. Here are a few of the most important distinctions:
- Affordability: The sticker price for Smile Direct is $2,825. SmilePath’s is hundreds cheaper—the base price is $1,899 ($1,999 for nighttime treatment), and you can sometimes score a referral code for $100 off your aligner kit.
- Financing: Both SmilePath and Smile Direct offer financing options, but the exact details vary. Smile Direct’s is straightforward; if you can make the $299 down payment, you’ll be automatically approved for monthly payments of $119. SmilePath has two financing options. There’s SmileFlex, which requires a soft credit check. If you pass, you’ll get to make 18 monthly payments of $117. Have poor credit? No worries. There’s also SmileFlex Easy, which has 100% approval. Instead, you’ll need to make a down payment of $295 and then 12 monthly payments of $150.
- Ease of Getting Started: With Smile Direct, it’s possible to avoid paying for an impression kit. Smile Direct uses their SmileShops, where you can book an appointment and have your teeth scanned for free. A lot of people struggle with the impression kit process, but unfortunately, that’s the only option with SmilePath. They do try to help you out by offering video support for their impression kits.
Smile Direct and SmilePath both have their own perks, but we prefer SmilePath. It’s simply too hard to argue with their budget-friendly price tag. That said, Smile Direct is a better choice if you’d like to have someone take scans for you or if you prefer an established brand.
EZ Smile | #3
If you’re looking for an all-around good service with a great price point, look no further than EZ Smile. They have no glaring issues. And like Smile Direct, EZ Smile maintains physical locations where you can have a technician take scans of your teeth. For many customers, that saves a lot of headache and hassle.
Smile Direct and EZ Smile might have physical locations in common, but they have plenty of important differences:
- Price: EZ Smile is the second-most affordable clear aligner in Australia. Their price tag is just $2,149. That’s a far cry from Smile Direct’s $2,825 fee. Granted, that’s not a massive difference, but when you’re on a budget, it’s worth noting.
- Financing: Both Smile Direct and EZ Smile offer financing plans, and both are pretty buyer-friendly. Smile Direct doesn’t require a credit check, and you’ll have 24 monthly payments of $119 after you make your $295 down payment. EZ Smile, however, gives you tons of flexibility. They have three different financing partners, and in some cases, you get to pick the payment terms that work best for your budget.
- Daily wear: EZ Smile’s biggest downside is that they don’t offer nighttime treatment. So if you want to avoid the hassle of near-constant aligner wear, you’d need to go with Smile Direct instead; their nighttime aligners require just 10 hours of wear per night.
- Post-treatment retainers: With Smile Direct, you have to buy your first set of post-treatment retainers (unless you go with financing; then 2 sets are included). EZ Smile, however, gives you one set for free, no exceptions. That’s a $165 value. Sure, it’s not a massive expense, but it’s worth noting.
If we had to pick between Smile Direct and EZ Smile, we’d go with EZ Smile. We love their flexible financing and great treatment price. But Smile Direct is still a good option for those who want to have nighttime treatment instead.
WonderSmile | #4
One of Smile Direct’s biggest perks is their nighttime treatment, which grants some flexibility with wear schedules. But they’re not the only company to offer that perk. WonderSmile does, too. In a way, WonderSmile almost one-ups Smile Direct in how flexible their treatment offerings are. They offer single-arch treatment (for less) to qualifying candidates.
But treatment flexibility isn’t the only difference between WonderSmile and Smile Direct, though. Here are some important differences to keep in mind:
- Single arch treatment: WonderSmile is the only company to offer single arch treatment to customers who only need their top or bottom teeth treated. The best part? If you only need one arch treated, you’ll get $500 off your aligners. Smile Direct can’t offer that.
- Price: There’s a very slight price difference between Smile Direct and WonderSmile; Smile Direct costs $2,825 (for both daytime and nighttime treatment) while WonderSmile costs $2,690 for daytime treatment and $2,760 for nighttime treatment. That’s not a massive difference, but it makes a difference.
- Customer service: In general, we’ve found that WonderSmile does a better job on the customer support front than Smile Direct does. Smile Direct’s support went through a rough patch back in 2017. WonderSmile, however, gets lots of high marks for their customer service representatives. Customers frequently thank their customer representative by name.
Between Smile Direct and WonderSmile, we prefer WonderSmile. But they’re both good options.
Which Smile Direct Alternative Should You Choose?
All of the home clear aligner companies we’ve covered in this review are good options, Smile Direct included. That said, we think Byte and SmilePath – our top two services – outshine them.
Smile Direct has a pretty convenient start-up process, but that’s the only major perk they have over Byte. Byte offers a better value, and they leverage best-in-class customer service. Plus, their speed is unrivalled; Smile Direct doesn’t even come close. Since Byte also offers a speedy nighttime treatment, they’re a clear winner for us. For more information, you can check out our in-depth review of Byte.
In contrast, SmilePath wins our second pick because their price tag is so fantastic. But “affordable” doesn’t mean “cheap quality.” They give you excellent treatment for an excellent price. And nighttime treatment will only cost you an extra $100. Check out their full review to learn more.