At-home teeth aligners present a lot of great advantages: they’re cheaper than braces, they’re less noticeable, and they’re far more convenient.
For a lot of people, price is the biggest factor in their purchasing decisions. Most of us don’t have thousands of dollars sitting around to use to pay for braces or Invisalign—both of which can cost more than $5,000.
Thankfully, at-home teeth aligners have a price point that usually ranges from $1,500 to $2,400 (but the highest price in this guide is just $2,050). That price is much more attainable. But if that range still feels a bit harsh, you can also subscribe to financing.
In this review, we’ll talk about four of the cheapest aligner companies: AlignerCo, NewSmile, Byte, and Smile Direct.
What makes one home clear aligner more affordable than another?
A lot goes into the price points for each service. The cost of the aligners themselves is the most significant factor, but there are other aspects to consider. For one thing, how much does the impression kit cost? This start-up cost is (usually) unavoidable, and you’ll want to budget for it.
And “cheap” doesn’t always mean poor value. Some companies include post-treatment retainers for free, and others require you to purchase them instead. And then there’s the question of whitening: is it free? And if not, how much is it?
Last but not least, it’s worth noting the financing options from each company. Some services require a credit check, and others have 100% approval rates. Not to mention down payments, which can vary from zero to a few hundred dollars.
Based on those criteria, we rank AlignerCo, NewSmile, Byte and Smile Direct as the most affordable companies to use. Check out the full run-down below to learn which is the cheapest service.
The run-down: AlignerCo, NewSmile, Byte, and Smile Direct
Price to get started
To kick off your treatment process, you’ll usually need to purchase an impression kit. However, a couple companies maintain physical locations where you can get digital images taken instead. If you do, your “impressions” will be free.
With most companies, you’ll have to purchase an impression kit. Every company includes a prepaid return shipping label to make it easy to return your impressions. And then there’s the industry standard we can’t forget to mention: the impression kit guarantee. Basically, if you take impressions and it turns out that you’re not a good candidate for treatment, you’ll get a refund for the price of the kit.
With that in mind, let’s talk about the price to get started with our four services:
NewSmile: $139 or FREE
NewSmile doesn’t have any retail locations, so an impression kit is your only option. The impression kit comes with everything you’ll need to make molds of your teeth: putty, trays, and a cheek retractor. If that $139 price tag gives you sticker shock, don’t freak out. If you buy their Fast Track bundle, you’ll get the impression kit for free.
Byte, $1,895 (or $2,295 for byte At-Night)
Byte’s impression kit includes all the components you need to take impressions on your own: putty, impression trays, a cheek stretcher, and instructions. They also offer video support, during which a member of their support team will walk you through the whole process.
Like Byte and NewSmile, AlignerCo does not maintain retail locations; the impression kit is your only way to get started. However, they understand that the impression kit process can be tricky, so you’re welcome to schedule a video call for assistance. If you do, a customer care assistant will help coach you through the process so you can nail your impressions.
Smile Direct: FREE or $59
Smile Direct is one of the few companies that maintain retail locations, affectionately called SmileShops. They also have “pop-up” Smile Buses to deliver teeth scans on wheels. If you visit a shop or a bus, you’ll get to skip the hassle of taking impressions by yourself.
If you do, it’s free. Smile Direct has hundreds of locations across the country, so there’s a good chance you live close to one. But if you don’t, or you’d rather take impressions yourself, you can order a kit for $59.
Aligner Kit Pricing
If you’re a candidate for treatment and you decide to go ahead with the company’s proposed treatment plan, the next step is payment (they won’t start manufacturing your aligners until you pay). You can use financing if your budget is tight (more on this in a moment), but the cheapest method is to pay it all in one go. The savings are substantial enough that we recommend you pay up front if you can swing it!
NewSmile, $1,395 ($1,495 for Night Aligners)
NewSmile has the second-most affordable clear aligner kit on the market thanks to their sticker price of $1,395. That kit includes all of your treatment essentials: all of your aligners, a bottle of whitening treatment, and your first set of post-treatment retainers. If you buy the Fast Track bundle, it includes the impression kit, too. Their nighttime only treatment option is only $100 more; so it’s pretty easy on your wallet.
AlignerCo, $1,145 (or $1,345 for NightOnly)
If you’re looking for super affordable treatment, AlignerCo is your best bet. Being budget-friendly is their claim to fame; they’re hundreds cheaper than their competitors (and less than half the price of one of their pricier competitors). Thankfully, the contents of their kit aren’t as “cheap” as their price tag. Their aligners are top-quality, BPA-free plastic that will shift your teeth quickly and safely. Their nighttime treatment costs just $200 more, which is a really manageable extra fee.
Byte’s aligner kit isn’t the cheapest option, but it is a great value. That’s because they include all the aligners you’ll need for your treatment, your first set of post-treatment retainers, and the Hyperbyte system. The Hyperbyte normally retails for a whopping $699, so it’s a huge plus that you get it included in your kit. The system makes your treatment twice as fast as any other option, so it’s a big advantage.
Smile Direct, $2,050
Smile Direct’s aligner kit will set you back $2,050. For that money, you’ll get all the aligners you need to reach your perfect smile. We like that they charge the same price for their all-day aligners and their nighttime only treatment option. Not to mention, you’ll also be “inducted” as a member of the Smile Club with their Club Guarantee. (There are a couple other extras, too, but we’ll cover that in another section).
Most of these companies average between $1,800-$2,000 when you account for the cost of the aligner kit itself and of the post-treatment aligners. That’s thousands cheaper than traditional braces and even Invisalign. But if that’s too much to pay all at once, we get it. It’s still a big investment.
Thankfully, all of these companies offer financing. The main difference, though, is whether or not you’ll need to pass a credit check and how big your down payment is. Let’s dig into the details.
NewSmile offers financing with a 100% approval rating, but you’ll need to make a down payment first. Once you make your initial payment of $295, you’ll have a monthly payment of $58 for 24 months. That means your total price will be $1,687.
Byte handled financing in-house through their Bytepay program. Bad credit? No problem. Every customer is automatically approved. To be eligible for Bytepay, you’ll need to make a down payment of $249. Then you’ll pay $82 per month for 32 months, making your total price $2,873. If you opt for nighttime treatment instead, you’ll make a down payment of $299 and then pay $99 per month for a total price of $3,467.
AlignerCo is unique; they actually have two different financing options—one with a credit check and one without. With SmileFlex, the credit check option, you’ll have 12 monthly payments of $110. SmileFlex Easy swaps the credit check for a down payment of $275. After that, you’ll have 11 monthly payments of $95.
With either financing option, you’ll end up paying a total of $1,320. The terms for nighttime treatment are just a touch pricier, but the general principle is the same.
Smile Direct offers financing with a 100% approval rating, but you’ll need to make a down payment first. Once you make a down payment of $250, you’ll have a monthly payment of $89 for 26 months. That means your total price will be $2,564.
All of these providers include some freebies in your treatment bundle. The details vary from company to company; some will throw in a free whitening treatment, and others include complimentary aftercare retainers.
After investing so much time and money in your teeth, you’ll want to protect the end results. Your post-treatment retainers will do just that. Normally, these cost $99-$149; having the first set included saves you a fair bit of money.
Similarly, many of these companies offer complimentary whitening treatment to maximize the “wow factor” of your new smile. But if you run out, you’ll need to replace it. Let’s talk about how much the free extras from each company are worth.
Byte includes whitening treatment and one set of post-treatment retainers in your initial price. Byte’s whitening treatment triples as a breath freshener, aligner cleaner, and teeth whitener. You can use it throughout your whole treatment, too. You can buy a replacement bottle for $30, or if you want to buy six at once, you’ll pay $20 per bottle.
NewSmile includes your first set of retainers for free, so you won’t spend any extra money when you reach the end of your treatment kit. Their first bottle of whitening is included for free. After that, if you run out, you can buy a replacement for $39.
AlignerCo includes your first set of aftercare retainers for free with your treatment bundle. They don’t include any free whitening, but with prices as low as theirs it’s a little easier to stomach buying their $44.99 whitening kit separately.
Smile Direct doesn’t include free retainers in your treatment kit, but they do offer complimentary whitening. Once you run out, you can replace your supply starting at $40 a kit. The more you buy, the cheaper each bottle is, too.
The #1 cheapest aligner company is…
AlignerCo—no contest. They may not offer as many free extras as some of their competitors, but the difference in their price tag makes up for it, and then some (the flexibility of nighttime treatment is a nice perk, too). Even better: you can often get a referral code for an additional $100 off your aligners. We love their buyer-friendly financing options, too; you’ll be able to get treatment no matter what your credit score is.
That said, NewSmile, Byte, and Smile Direct are all affordable options, too. If you find yourself drawn to one of these other companies, then you’ll still get a good value and great treatment.