Nowadays, mail-order clear aligner services like Byte and Candid make the process of straightening your teeth not only discreet, but also affordable. On average, these home-based clear aligners cost around 1/3 as much as Invisalign.
Still, how do you choose between all the options on the market today? That’s what we’re here to help out with. In this comparison review, we’ll help you decide between two of the most popular clear aligner services: Byte and Candid.
Spoiler Alert: Byte Wins!
Based on our 5-part review criteria, Byte offers a better overall value than Candid. If you’re interested in Byte, we encourage you to take advantage of our exclusive discount for $165 your aligner bundle.
6 Things They Have in Common
For the bulk of this review, we’ll talk about the ways Candid and Byte 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 Candid and Byte go much deeper than that:
1) Flexible Financing: Candid and Byte are both relatively affordable, especially when compared to braces and Invisalign. Byte is considerably cheaper, though. Thankfully, both companies offer financing options. Basically, you’ll make a down payment to start; it’s $399 with Candid and $349 with Byte. Then your monthly payment will range between $83 and $99 for 24-29 months.
2) Discreet: Candid and Byte both use slightly different aligners, but you’d hardly know by looking at them. In fact, when most people wear either company’s aligners, they’re practically invisible.
3) Safe: We get it. Home dentistry (also called teledentistry) sounds a bit sketchy. But in reality, it isn’t. Both Candid and Byte use teams of qualified orthodontists 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: Candid and Byte both accept FSA and HSA accounts, and your insurance may cover part of your treatment, too. Curious to know if you’re covered? Byte will do the legwork for you. All you have to do is provide your information, and they’ll find out if your provider will cover your Byte treatment. Candid offers similar services, promising to submit a claim to your insurance provider on your behalf.
5) Orthodontist-Only Network: Both Byte and Candid use a team of orthodontists exclusively to create their treatment plans. That’s big, because orthodontists are the most qualified professionals in the science of perfecting smiles. Some competitors use mixed teams of orthodontists and dentists, which means a less-specialized individual may be crafting your aligner plan.
6) Solid Customer Support: Byte and Candid both have great customer support teams. You’ll get prompt, friendly responses and assistance when you contact them. They have great availability and a variety of contact methods, too.
That mostly 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:
|Year of creation: 2017||Year of creation: 2018|
|Customers served: Tens of thousands||Customers served: Thousands|
|Company focus: Perfecting remote orthodontic treatment thanks to their Remote Monitoring program||Company focus: Correcting smiles in record time (half the industry average) thanks to their HyperByte system|
Candid is the second biggest aligner company on the market (Smile Direct Club is the biggest), which is impressive considering how young they are. But Byte isn’t too far behind, either. In fact, in a few years, they might replace Candid as the second largest. In the meantime, Candid has a small edge over Byte in size and experience.
Home teeth aligner companies all use clear plastic aligners to help shift your teeth into the perfect position. But who creates those aligners is an important distinction. That includes the person designing your treatment plan and the manufacturer producing the aligners themselves.
Candid and Byte each have their own treatment methods:
|Treatment designers: A team comprised only of orthodontists||Treatment designers: A team comprised only of orthodontists|
|Aligner manufacturer: ClearCorrect plastics, the biggest competitor to Invisalign||Aligner manufacturer: Currently unknown|
The manufacturer of your aligners is important. After all, the manufacturer affects the quality and durability of each piece of plastic that enters your mouth. So, we’d really like to know who manufactures Byte’s aligners.
That said, the individual behind your treatment design is even more crucial. Let’s be fair: licensed dentists do have well-rounded professional training, which includes teeth movements. However, they don’t have the same expertise as orthodontists. Orthodontists have to complete several more years of postgraduate education learning the science of the perfect smile.
By guaranteeing that only an orthodontist will oversee your case, both Candid and Byte ensure that your treatment is the same quality as traditional treatment. Some companies use a mixed team of dentists and orthodontists, which can affect the quality.
Candid’s quality is different from Byte in one other way: Candid offers Remote Monitoring. With this program, you’ll get orthodontist oversight throughout your treatment, not just at the start.
On a regular basis, you’ll check in with your orthodontist by sending images of your teeth. Your orthodontist will review your images, and if you’re responding well to treatment, he or she may tell you to move on to your next aligner (or any other treatment changes you’ll need).
No two smiles are exactly alike. So, regardless of what company you choose for treatment, your treatment could be longer or shorter than someone else’s. Your treatment speed largely depends on how crooked your teeth are to begin with.
That said, each company’s product affects your treatment speed as well. Here are the average treatment times for Candid and Byte:
- Candid: 6 months
- Byte: 3 months for standard treatment, 6 months for nighttime-only
Byte wins in the speed department thanks to their HyperByte system. Thanks to the HyperByte, even Byte’s nighttime-treatment meets the industry average (nighttime-only treatment is usually a bit slower). Candid’s speed is pretty par for the course. However, if you respond well to treatment, your 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.
You should never move on to your next aligner without treatment, however. Doing so can do more harm than good; your orthodontist can judge if and when it’s safe to move on.
Ready to Get Started with the Fastest Clear Aligner System?
Thanks to the HyperByte device, Byte is able to offer faster treatment times than any other clear aligner service. Candid does not include a comparable device in their aligner bundle.
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 Candid and Byte.
With any home aligner company, you’ll kick off your treatment by taking impressions of your teeth. Most companies require you to use an at-home impression kit. However, a few companies, including Byte and Candid, maintain retail locations that make the impression kit more convenient.
Here’s how the kit prices stack up:
- Candid, FREE or $95: Candid maintains roughly 24 retail locations (and that number is steadily growing). If you visit one, you can skip the impression 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 mouth spreader, and, of course, a prepaid shipping label.
- Byte, $95: Byte’s kit includes everything you need to take your impressions at home, including trays, putty, and, of course, a prepaid shipping label. If $95 gives you sticker shock, keep in mind that Byte sometimes runs sales on the kit.
Candid definitely one-ups Byte with their Candid Studios. It’s much easier to visit a shop than take the impressions yourself. Free isn’t a bad perk, either. However, if you don’t live near a shop or you’d rather go with Byte, then you’ll have to use an impression kit instead.
Thankfully, Byte accommodates for its lack of shops with “impression sessions.” You can schedule a video call where a care assistant walks you through the process and ensures that you nail those impressions on the first try.
Once you complete your impressions, Candid or Byte will create a treatment plan for you. This includes all of the aligners you’ll need to shift your smile from meh to wow. The price is the same, regardless of how many aligners you need. Let’s start out by talking about the base prices for each service.
- 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 aligner you’ll need to straighten your smile and your Remote Monitoring. You’ll also get your first set of post-treatment retainers for no extra charge.
- Byte, $1,895: Byte creates a nice blend of value and affordability with their kit. You’ll get everything you need to straighten your teeth and keep them that way, including the HyperByte system and post-treatment retainers. Bought separately, the HyperByte system costs a whopping $699, So you get a lot of value for your money.
Can’t pay all at once? Both services offer financing. As long as you make the down payment, you’ll be enrolled in financing.
- Candid, $2,775 (but price can vary): With Candid, you’ll need to make a downpayment 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.
- Byte, $2,756: With Bytepay, you’re automatically approved for financing, regardless of your credit score. When you select Bytepay at checkout, you’ll make a $349 downpayment. After that, you’ll make a monthly payment of $83 for 29 months.
Both Candid and Byte offer whitening treatments, and both include the first set for free. If you want to buy whitening à-la-carte, though, you’ll need to shell out a little extra cash:
- Candid, $25: The first bottle is included in your aligner kit for free. It’s safe to use during your treatment; in fact, it doubles as a cleanser for your aligners. If you run out, you can buy a replacement bottle for $25.
- Byte, $30: Like Candid, the first bottle is free. It’s also safe to use during your treatment, and Byte 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.
Candid has a fair value, but they’re definitely not as affordable as Byte. In the past, these two companies used to be just $5 different in their price tags. But since Candid introduced their Remote Monitoring program, they increased their price to cover the costs of additional orthodontist oversight. It’s a pretty fair trade-off.
Candid’s only pricing advantage over Byte is that you can completely avoid the price of the impression kit by visiting a Candid Studio. But Byte has their own advantage: their HyperByte system, which normally retails for $699, is included in their kit. All things considered, Byte is the more affordable option.
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.
A quick note before we dig in, though: when it comes to Candid, “customer support” refers to the people you contact with questions about payment, shipments, and other similar topics. You’ll talk to your orthodontist directly with questions regarding your treatment, though. In this section, we’re comparing traditional support methods from Candid and Byte.
Here’s how the two compare:
|Contact methods: Phone, email, chat, social media, & video call (occasionally)||Contact methods: Phone, email, social media, & video call (for impressions)|
|Hours: Daily from 9 a.m to 7 p.m., Monday - Sunday||Hours: 8 a.m to 6 p.m. PST|
|Speed: Traditional methods like email and phone usually get a same-day response; social media queries can take 24 hours||Speed: Phone usually gets a same-day response; social media and email queries can take 24 hours|
|Friendliness: Receptive, knowledgeable, & professional||Friendliness: Receptive, knowledgeable, individualized, & professional|
Honestly, there’s not a whole lot of negative things to say about either Candid or Byte’s customer service. Sure, neither company is perfect. But together, these two companies set the standard for customer care in teledentistry. We hope that both companies will be able to keep up the good work even 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.
The same goes for Candid and Byte. And this is one way Candid one-ups Byte. The impression kits are fairly simple, but occasionally, customers struggle with them. Candid saw this need and fulfilled it with their Candid Studios. These studios eliminated the need for impression kits entirely. And the staff their usually receive rave reviews online, too. Each appointment is free and lasts roughly 20-30 minutes.
Byte doesn’t leave their customers hanging, though. You can schedule a video call to get guidance with your impression kit. That way, you’ll be able to get your impressions right the first time.
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 Candid or Byte. They’ll send another kit your way. In particular, Byte won’t charge you anything except the price of shipping. You also have two impressions worth of kit, so you can mess up once and still have another go at it.
For many shoppers, customer reviews can make or break your purchase 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 Candid and Byte.
|Top loves: excellent customer service, both remotely and in Candid Studios; helpful communication throughout the process via their app; convenient, effective treatment||Top loves: excellent customer service (even mentioning representatives by name); visible results within a couple weeks; easy to use|
|Top complaints: Database does not work with Firefox browser; a little more discomfort than other aligners; emails can get spammy||Top complaints: no shipping to North Carolina; guarantee on impression kit does not apply to bite issues|
|Average score: 4.2/5||Average score: 4.7/5|
Across the board, both Candid and Byte get pretty good reviews. One of the most common complaints is the discomfort but, unfortunately, that comes with the territory. To avoid as much discomfort as possible, you’ll need to follow your treatment plan carefully.
Some customers complain that companies like Byte and Candid don’t clarify that their impression kit guarantee doesn’t cover bite issues. That’s just how it works. Unfortunately, clear aligners can’t shift your jaw. So if you have an underlying bite issue, Byte and Candid can technically straighten your teeth, but the issue will likely come back.
In these cases, the impression kits won’t get refunded. That’s a little confusing, but it’s the policy of all companies. So technically speaking, it’s no one’s fault.
Refund Policies & Satisfaction Guarantees
As with any purchase, there’s always the nagging question: what if it doesn’t work out? Candid and Byte both have very individualized approaches for refunds and satisfaction guarantees.
Candid’s Satisfaction Guarantee
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.
The “Byte-for-Life Guarantee”
Byte’s refund policy is similar to Candid’s. If you’re not a candidate for treatment, you’ll be refunded for the impression kit. But after you begin treatment, you can’t receive a refund on your aligners. However, Byte stands by their product 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. Similarly, if you reach the end of your treatment and you’re not satisfied, you can request a re-evaluation. As long as you’ve followed your prescribed treatment plan, Byte will help make it right.
Which is the Best Home Aligner for You?
When it all comes down to it, Candid and Byte are both good options. But at the end of the day, you can only pick one.
If you want our honest opinion, we prefer Byte. Candid is a great service, but we love Byte’s unique mix of value, satisfaction guarantees, and great customer service.
- 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.
- Choose Byte if: you’re in a rush to see the smile of your dreams as quickly as possible. Byte is twice as fast as their competitors; their nighttime-only treatment is still just as fast as competitors’ daytime options.
Final Verdict: Byte Wins
Based on our 5-part review criteria, Byte offers a better overall value than Candid. If you’re interested in Byte, we encourage you to take advantage of our exclusive discount for $165 your aligner bundle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does either home aligner kits offer discounts?
Technically, both services offer discounts, although neither service offers them extremely frequently. For example, Candid has a referral program; they run occasional contests more often than true sales. In contrast, Byte has discounts for military, students, and first responders. Both companies run promotions at certain times throughout the year, like holidays and other special occasions.
Are Candid and Byte legit?
Your mom warned you about things that sound too good to be true, right? Thankfully home aligner companies like Candid and Byte 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?
Candid and Byte both do a good job with their customer service, and we used to say that Byte was a bit more customer-centric thanks to the fact that they assign an individual care assistant to each customer. However, now that Candid assigns a dedicated orthodontist to each customer to supervise treatment, they’re pretty much tied with Byte.
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 Candid and Byte 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 to secure the aligners, which must be attached in-office by a qualified orthodontist. Home aligners don’t use these devices, allowing you to get treatment at home.
How do these home aligners compare to AlignerCo and Smile Direct?
Candid and Byte are pretty similar to both AlignerCo and Smile Direct. Strictly speaking, Smile Direct has the most brand power in the entire industry, while AlignerCo is by far the most budget-friendly option on the market. Neither brand offers Remote Monitoring, though.
Is there an age requirement for either Candid or Byte?
With both Candid and Byte, you must have all permanent teeth present to begin treatment (you don’t want to dump thousands into teeth that will just fall out, anyway). Byte requires that patients be at least 12 years old. Candid will treat ages 16 and up provided all baby teeth are gone. With either service, minors must have parental consent to receive treatment.
Does either service give free whitening treatment?
Candid and Byte both include one free bottle of their whitening treatment with your aligner kit. You can use it during your treatment. Replacement bottles cost $25 from Candid and $30 from Byte.
Can I use Candid and Byte if I live outside the USA?
At this point, Candid and Byte don’t ship internationally.
Do Candid and Byte have aggressive upsells?
Thankfully, no. Byte and Candid both “bait 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 an overbite, underbite, crossbite, etc. is the cause of your teeth’s misalignment, then at-home aligners likely won’t 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.
Will either of these home aligners make me talk less funny?
Once they’re in your mouth, Candid’s and Byte’s aligners are imperceptibly different. Most people take a few days to adjust to the feeling of aligners—after all, there’s a foreign object in your mouth—but very few experience long-lasting issues. The average observer can’t detect that you’re wearing aligners, talking included.
If I lose my aligners during or after treatment, do I have to pay for new ones?
Candid won’t replace an aligner if you lose one. All you have to do is wear your previous one until it’s time to move on to a new set. Byte, on the other hand, will send you a replacement aligner for $99. With either, though, you should wear your previous aligner to keep your teeth from shifting back too far.
Can I drink coffee when using Candid or Byte?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Aligners from Candid and Byte 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 Byte don’t really have any hidden costs. What you see is what you get, especially since they 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.