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Last Updated on February 26, 2023

AlignerCo Vs SmileDirectClub: An Honest Comparison

best teeth aligners

AlignerCo Or Smile Direct Club? Find out in this brutally honest review!


AlignerCo and SmileDirectClub have a lot in common. Both clear aligners services are significantly more affordable than braces or Invisalign and offer at-home teeth straightening. But there are some major differences between these companies’ service offerings that aren’t so apparent on the surface when you dig a bit deeper.


Allow us to help you hone in on the features that are most important to you and decipher these differences. We’ll provide all the information you need to choose the best home teeth aligner for you and take you on an in-depth tour of AlignerCo and SmileDirectClub

    What are Adult Braces and who can get them


    Bottom Line: Both Companies Offer Big Savings ad Great-Looking Options

    As an alternative to visiting your dental provider for Invisalign treatment, AlignerCo and SmileDirectClub are both convenient and affordable. Shipped directly to your home, you’ll receive a set of custom invisible aligners with either service. But the differences between these services become more clear after that.

    Two Great Companies, But AlignerCo Gets Our Vote

    Offering invisible aligners in 2014, SmileDirectClub was the first company to do so online. They have a much longer track record and more established brand compared to AlignerCo. So preferring AlignerCo over the industry’s best-known company might seem surprising.

    There are two important reasons we gave AlignerCo the edge over Smile DirectClub:

    • Industry-Best Prices: AlignerCo’s prices are significantly lower than the competition as it aims to be the most affordable home aligner option on the market. To help make their orthodontic treatment even more accessible, they occasionally offer discounts and always provide financing plans.
    • Reputable Manufacturing: AlignerCo’s home aligners are crafted from premium materials as a result of their partnership with the longstanding, well-respected dental supply manufacturer Raintree Essix. SmileDirectClub now produces their invisible aligners in-house after their partnership with Align Technology (the company behind Invisalign) was dissolved.

    All that said, when it comes to convenience, there’s a lot to love about Smile Direct Club too. If you want to avoid the whole impression kit process, SmileDirectClub has more than 300 physical locations nationwide where you can get a free teeth scan. SmileDirectClub is one of the only companies that offers a nighttime-only option so you can choose the plan that works best with your schedule or if you’re unsure about wearing your invisible aligners for 22 hours per day.

    Considering both providers, AlignerCo gets our vote of confidence at the end of the day.

    Effectiveness Comparison

    Both AlignerCo and SmileDirectClub can deliver effective results, provided you are a good candidate for at-home aligners. But if we are being honest, when compared to other home aligner options, both companies have their shortcomings. For instance, we’re unsure about some aspects of both companies’ dental networks, AlignerCo’s aligner cut, and SmileDirectClub’s manufacturing process.

    We think that consistent dentist or orthodontist oversight and the reputable manufacturer gave AlignerCo a leg up on Smile Direct Club, overall.

    Provider Network

    A remote team of dental professionals who create treatment plans for customers is constant for every home aligner company. By only including orthodontists in their networks, the quality of treatment has been bolstered by some companies. If there would be someone most specialized and qualified for the job, it would be the orthodontists who received four years of postgraduate training focused solely on moving teeth.

    However, orthodontists and general dentists make up the dental teams of both AlignerCo and SmileDirectClub, so having the most specialized treatment designer might not be an option. Though they don’t have the targeted expertise that an orthodontist does, General dentists are still licensed, qualified dental professionals.

    Making sure that your dentist or orthodontist stays involved with your treatment is an assurance that AlignerCo makes. To ensure that your average treatment time stays on track, they require you to submit photos every two weeks for feedback.

    Aligner Manufacturing

    To manufacture their clear aligners, SmileDirectClub once partnered with Align Technology (the creators of Invisalign). As Align Technology has long been known for producing top-quality, highly-effective aligners, we were huge fans of the partnership.

    However, SmileDirectClub produces most of its aligners in-house these days. A certain amount of uncertainty with regard to the level of quality and effectiveness you can expect is introduced when you order from SmileDirectClub.

    On the other hand, Raintree Essix produces the aligners for AlignerCo. Most commonly used to produce very durable retainers, Raintree Essix plastic is well-known and highly regarded in the dental space. This is an indication that quality in the manufacturing process is part of AlignerCo’s dedication.

    Aligner Cut

    AlignerCo efforts to scallop its aligners to match your gum line and make it more discreet. While making your aligners slightly less visible and ideal at first glance – it can also make them less effective.

    To overlap your gums, SmileDirectClub cuts their aligners straight across the top. The overlap serves as an anchor for your aligners, allowing them to exert up to 4x more force on your teeth, but makes it slightly visible.

    Affordability Comparison

    Budget is one of the first things many adults check when considering home clear aligner treatment. Which provider offers lower prices? Costs vary among home aligner companies, but both options are most cost-effective than in-office options like Invisalign. Among the rest of its competitors, not just in this side-by-side comparison, this is where AlignerCo really shines.

    The price tag isn’t everything when comparing costs. Both companies offer flexibility on payment plan options, which you should also consider. AlignerCo goes above and beyond to provide affordable, accessible treatment, though SmileDirectClub’s costs are also respectable. 

    Sticker Price

    The initial cost of $1,895 of SmileDirectClub looks great until you come across AlignerCo’s website. Easily the lowest in the industry and much easier on your budget, AlignerCo’s treatment is just $1,145.

    Your aligners, impression kit, and aftercare retainers are all included in AlignerCo’s upfront price. SmileDirectClub’s upfront cost, by contrast, does not include retainers, so after you wrap up your treatment, you’ll need to purchase them for $99. An additional $49 is needed if you need a SmileDirectClub impression kit and can’t get your teeth scanned for free at a SmileShop.

    Payment Plan Options

    Keep in mind how you will finance your treatment as you think about the cost. There are some key differences in financing options between AlignerCo and SmileDirectClub.

    • SmileDirectClub requires a $250 down payment and an $85 monthly payments for a 24-month financing plan, though it does not require a credit check
    • AlignerCo has two different financing options:


    • SmileFlex, is a 12-monthly payment of $110 if you qualify after a soft credit check
    • SmileFlexEasy requires a $275 downpayment followed by 11 monthly payments of $95 but does not have a credit check

    SmileDirectClub’s plan has lower monthly payments, but you can finish AlignerCo’s SmileFlexEasy plan in just under a year, for just $10 more per month. When you factor in the interest paid over time by financing, you’ll pay a bit extra with both services, so if you can make the finances work, it’s worth to pay upfront!

    Free Extras

    Wouldn’t it be nice to brighten your smile while you’re already on the journey to straighten your teeth? You can with SmileDirectClub. Their full aligner kit includes a “bright on” kit. Used simultaneously with your aligners, this promises to deliver your “brightest bright” in just one week.

    Aligners with whitening is not included in AlignerCo. They don’t even sell it, in fact. But that’s how they maintain such low prices.

    Compared to Invisalign or braces which will typically set you back $5,000 or more, Both companies offer strong value. But all things considered, AlignerCo excels in this category.

    Convenience Comparison

    More than any other home aligner company, SmileDirectClub does more to provide a convenient treatment. No one else can touch their level of convenience, from a nighttime-only option to hundreds of physical locations that make startup easy. Though not on SmileDirectClub’s level yet, AlignerCo is still more convenient than in-office options.

    Getting Started

    Without getting a look at your teeth, a home clear aligner company’s licensed dentist can’t create an effective treatment. This means using an impression kit to make molds of their top and bottom dental arches, for most customers. Especially considering the fact that most customers have never taken molds of their own teeth, impression kits can be difficult. The process can be tricky, but AlignerCo provides video chat support to help and walk you through the process.

    Creating teeth impressions from home is the only way to get started if you choose AlignerCo. SmileShops, SmileDirectClub’s physical locations, allows you to forgo of this step, though they also offer impression kits. Free teeth scans that take the place of impressions can be acquired from over 300 SmileShop locations across the country.

    You could pop into a SmileShop instead if you’d rather not deal with the hassle or if you’re eager to start treatment ASAP. This will allow the company to get started on your care plan as quickly as possible.

    Treatment Times

    Much quicker than in-office options, SmileDirectClub customers wrap-up their treatment time of 6 months on average, which is pretty standard for home aligners. AlignerCo treatment could take slightly longer: anywhere between 6-11 months, but it is still considered fast, nonetheless.

    Wait Times

    Each company will get to work on your proposed treatment plan after you submit your impression kit or teeth scan. Within 72 hours of receiving your impressions/scans, SmileDirectClub will turn out with your treatment plan, while is takes around 2 weeks for your plan preview with AlignerCo.

    It will take 4-6 weeks for SmileDirectClub to produce and ship your aligners after you approve this plan, but in 2-3 weeks, AlignerCo will get it done. With 4-6 weeks for SmileDirectClub and 4-5 weeks for AlignerCo, you’re looking at pretty comparable wait times for both companies.

    Teeth Whitening

    You might want whitening to go with your teeth straightening treatment when considering your ideal smile.SmileDirectClub has you covered. With your treatment purchase comes one whitening kit for free. Since these two are compatible, the whitening kit can be used simultaneously with your aligners.

    Nighttime-Only Option?

    A standard 22-hour-per-day wear schedule might seem intimidating if you maintain a busy lifestyle or if you don’t think you’d remember to wear your aligners.

    Nighttime Aligners is SmileDirectClub’s alternative. You’ll only need to wear your aligners for 10 hours per day with this route instead. This could be a more convenient option if an all-day aligner schedule sounds exhausting to you, but of course, this will extend the overall treatment time from 6 to 10 months (on average).

    AlignerCo doesn’t have a nighttime option.

    Appearance Comparison

    Compared to traditional braces (or even ceramic braces), both of these companies’ clear aligners keep a much lower profile. But this doesn’t mean that they’re exactly the same. In fact, depending on the company, clear aligners con look fairly different.

    Aligners from AlignerCo and SmileDirectClub each have their own style and benefits. Appearance is a highly subjective category, so it will also depend on your personal preference, but we think SmileDirectClub has a slight advantage here.

    Aligner Material

    While others have a frosted appearance, some companies craft teeth alignment from translucent, shiny plastic. Still, each company will tell you that their aligners look the best. The clear, shiny aligner material of AlignerCo is less noticeable than competitors, as claimed by the company. Having the “worlds’s clearest aligners” is claimed by AlignerCo.

    On the other hand, we tend to agree that SmileDirectClub’s matte-surfaced aligners look more natural. Frosted aligners provide a better match to natural teeth since they are porous which gives them a matte surface. Teeth look unnaturally shiny with smooth aligners since they can be reflective.

    This often depends on personal preference, as we have mentioned. Since the shiny material makes their smile gleam, some customers actually prefer them. Decide which material fits your teeth better and evaluate your preferences.

    Aligner Cut

    You’ll remember that we said aligners that cut straight across the top (like SmileDirectClub’s) are more powerful if you look back at the “Effectiveness” section. They are also more visible, but this is true. The slight overlap between your aligners and gums may be more noticeable to people. So aligners that match your gum lines, like how AlignerCo trims theirs, is a less noticeable option.

    Stain Resistance

    We would not recommend drinking colored beverages while wearing them, but both companies make aligners that are resistant to staining.

    Customer Service Comparison

    You want a treatment provider that prioritizes you and your concerns because your teeth and your health are important. A responsive and caring customer service and support staff is essential to your overall experience since it’s not uncommon to have questions during the home aligner treatment process. Good customer support can help make the process smooth and efficient, whether you’re trying to make a quality impression or just wondering when you’ll receive your aligners.

    To learn more about each company’s customer support quality, we dug into hundreds of online reviews. While there are a couple of areas of growth, it appears that both provide solid customer service. SlignerCo and SmileDirectClub provide similar levels of customer service quality but they offer very different advantages.

    Support Options

    Available on a variety of support platforms – phone, webchat, and email- SmileDirectClub is available during standard business hours. Their website says response to an email to their company could be expected within 24 hours.

    Available Monday through Saturday, from 9 AM to 6 PM, AlignerCo provides all the same options. You can schedule a video call where a representative will walk you through the process if you’re having difficulties with your impression kit.

    Responsiveness & Helpfulness

    We found, after compiling and analyzing a large number of customer reviews, customer service quality can be impacted significantly by a company’s size and growth.

    Over the years, SmileDirectClub’s customer support has received mixed reviews. Reported frustrating delays in aligner shipments or dissatisfaction with the level of support they received have been expressed by many SmileDirectClub customers.

    Around 2017, as SmileDirectClub attempted to grow its business extremely rapidly, the volume of negative reviews and Better Business Bureau complaints accelerated, creating inconsistencies in its customer support. However, their recent reviews have been more positive over the past year or so as SmileDirectClub seems to be making an effort to improve its service quality and customer support issues.

    On top of that, you can likely find answers to your questions simply by searching their website since they’ve done a fantastic job creating online resources, from FAQs to informative blog posts.

    More personalized support for each customer is provided by AlignerCo, as a younger company with a much smaller customer base. The company’s responsiveness, helpfulness, and attention is consistently praised in online reviews. However, AlignerCo doesn’t have a ton of reviews yet because they are such a new company. We’ll be interested to see a larger bulk of customer comments as they continue to grow and serve more customers.

    Satisfaction Guarantee

    For the home aligner industry, SmileDirectClub’s refund policy is average. They will give a full refund if you have a change of heart and cancel treatment within 30 days, but they don’t offer refunds once you’ve started treatment. SmileDirectClub will work with you to further adjust your smile if, at the end of your treatment, your aligners didn’t deliver the expected results.

    Similar policies are offered by AlignerCo. You aren’t eligible for any refunds once you begin treatment. You can request a refinement for an extra $200 if, after following your aligner plan diligently, you still aren’t satisfied.

    Either company will give you a full refund for any payments you already made if they review your impression kit or teeth scans and determine that you’re not a good candidate for treatment.

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