Smile Direct Club vs Byte Review
Who doesn’t want to welcome the world with a bright new smile? With the number of teeth straighteners currently on the market, it’s no issue to find a way to turn that grin into a glorious sight to be proud of.
The real issue is the overwhelming options – when there are so many choices, who do you go with?
While there are far too many possibilities to cover in just one article, I decided to focus on two of the top competitors for budget smiles that shine for a mile.
In this Smile Direct Club vs Byte review, I will consider the pros of both businesses and what each operation offers the customers. But before getting into the comparison, let’s break down exactly who these businesses are.
Table of Contents
About Smile Direct Club
Entering the market in 2014, Smile Direct Club joined the leagues of teeth straighteners as a faster and more cost-effective route for individuals who couldn’t afford the likes of braces or Invisalign.
Working through online and home formats, this brand keeps the customer involved throughout the process, putting some of the practice of teeth straightening in their dedicated hands.
From teens to young adults to those well into their pension plan, this brand is all about quick minor corrections that make a lasting impression.
Byte is newer to the party, having joined in 2018, but has quickly gained a reputation for quality work through their innovative techniques.
Focusing on quick treatments, quality work, and open communication through customer service, this brand seems to follow through on their promises.
While they aren’t an industry titan like Smile Direct Club, Byte has taken the time to build their base without sacrificing values, service, and quality.
Using an at-home method for straightening, this dedicated program is perfect for every age of adult looking for that minor correction to a perfect smile.
What To Consider
Don’t dive right into a new product, but get some research done first. I would be remiss not to include a quick list of considerations before buying in this Smile Direct Club vs Byte review.
While there is more to it than just these elements, these factors are a good place to start:
I have to say that both of these brands are really geared towards adults in need of minor corrections. As both businesses are based on at-home progress and results, the dedication of an older crowd is needed.
Their technologies can be used on anyone above the age 12 (so long as all adult teeth are in place), however, I’m recommending checking with a dentist or orthodontist before ordering either option for children or teens. (Check with a dentist at any age, but especially for the younger crowd).
Range of services
Both of these brands are first and foremost about teeth straightening and their dual services focus on popular methods to attain that goal.
Both Smile Direct Club and Byte offer a day plan and a night plan, with the day plan requiring 22 hours of wearing time vs the night plan which requires 10 hours.
In both cases, the day plan promises quicker treatment time, but Byte does average a 3–4-month treatment in this case while Smile Direct takes 4-6 months for completion.
Any dentist or orthodontist will tell you that there’s no use in spending the money on straightening for those who aren’t dedicated to put in the work of aftercare.
The simple fact is teeth will shift back into their former spots. The best way to prevent that? Retainers.
Both brands offer this up as a follow-up service to retain that new and straighter smile for a lasting lifespan, with Smile Direct adding them for purchase and Byte including a free set in the original plan cost.
Checking into the price accessibility, both of these brands were designed to make oral care available and more accessible to the market. Rather than paying several thousand for braces or Invisalign, Smile Direct Club does monthly payments of $89 or a one-time fee of $1,950.
Byte also offers a reduced deal, with their all-day system going for $82/month ($1,895 for a one-time fee) and their night routine costing $99/month ($2,295 for a one-time fee).
Of course, it has to be said that Smile Direct will require an additional retainer purchase for $100, so that should be considered in the budget as well.
Smile Direct Club vs Byte: How Do They Work?
When it comes to getting the process going, these two brands do things a bit differently. While a quiz is offered for both businesses, it’s only a direct requirement for Smile Direct Club.
Smile Direct requires a quick “Am I a Candidate?” quiz for customers to gauge how severe symptoms are and what work needs to be done.
Before getting any kits or spending any money, the first step is simply going through the short questionnaire to fill in answers on how mild, moderate, or severe issues are.
Customers are given photographic examples to refer to when selecting how their teeth crowding and spacing match up and a space in which they can explain why they’re looking to begin the process.
The quizzes will determine whether the individual is a candidate based on their self-described severity in addition to their history with braces or aligners.
Once candidacy has been determined, customers can begin the process with the Impression Kit to take impressions, have a plan drawn up, and they will then receive their whole set of aligners in a single package.
After that, it’s a matter of following the guidelines set forth and checking in online with the virtual orthodontists to ensure that progress is being made as planned.
As for Byte, an assessment is available online but is not required by every party who uses the program.
I will say that Byte’s assessment quiz seems to go a bit more in-depth into the concerns, questioning customers on crowding, spacing, and bite in addition to the standard inquiries into history and motivation.
The real trick here though is that customers can purchase the Impression Kit, send their impressions away, and for those who aren’t suitable for the program, a refund is guaranteed.
Both this and the questionnaire are simple ways to learn of candidacy for the service, and they take little time or effort from the potential client.
I love that both of these brands offer up a quick solution to the answer of whether or not individuals are able to work with this service.
I do appreciate Byte’s additional offer of starting the Impression process and promising money-back for accounts that don’t qualify. In this circumstance, I’m more likely to go with Byte due to this extra touch.
Smile Direct Club vs Byte: Extras
Teeth straightening isn’t the only thing to note when it comes to these businesses. While each brand has their own approach to customer service, it’s always important to note any bonuses that may come with the custom plan.
Smile Direct Club offers up a range of accessories for sale separately. From teeth whitening to retainers, this brand focuses a lot on oral hygiene and care. When it comes to accessories, this brand is all about purchasing power, leaving all water flossers, travel brushes, and kits for an additional price.
I will say when it comes to the Starter Kit, there are a few elements thrown in for a bit of extra fun. Each kit includes:
- 1 Pack of Mints
- 1 Pack of Cleaning Tablets
- 1 Lip Balm
- 1 Travel Bag
- 1 Travel Toothbrush
- 1 Pack of Whitening Floss
- 1 Whitening Toothpaste
- 1 Hand Sanitizer
All of that is available with the required Starter Kit to not only offer the start of a smile journey, but a way to ensure sparkling white teeth upon completion of the months put in for that straight smile. The best part? This kit is only $50.
As for Byte, they also offer their own shopping extravaganza, but with a rather limited stock of materials and accessories. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. When it comes to extras included in the required costs, this brand may not offer a travel bag, but they do hold their own.
Every treatment with Byte comes with:
- 1 HyperByte
- Premium Whitening Treatment
So, what does all of that mean? Instead of offering up mints and whitening products, Byte makes whitening part of the wearing process.
Their BrightByte works as a cleaner and whitener all in one. The product is applied to the inside of the aligners, settling on the teeth to whiten them throughout the day while disinfecting the aligners themselves.
The real winner with Byte is their HyperByte. This technological-based solution takes 5 to 10 minutes per day (depending on the treatment plan) and uses vibrations to work with the roots of the teeth to increase the speed of treatment.
Alone, this piece goes for $699, so its inclusion saves on money and speeds up treatment. Add in the retainers for free as well? It’s a steal.
I adore a travel bag and products, but when it comes to the value of what’s being provided and its long-term use, I have to go with Byte for this one in this section of my Smile Direct Club vs Byte review.
Smile Direct Club vs Byte: Price & Value
Let’s actually take a minute in this Smile Direct Club vs Byte review to break down the costs and value of each package.
When it comes to Smile Direct Club, the price is standard for both the Aligners and Nighttime Aligners. Pricing for these products is offered via $89/month payments or a one-time fee of $1,950 to save on costs.
When it comes down to the timeline, the standard Aligner process takes a shorter period due to the longer time with aligners in use.
It’s a 22-hour placement for a 4–6-month treatment time while the night routine is 10 hours per day for up to 10 months to see the final result.
In addition to the treatment itself, retainers are required after completion to maintain that straight smile. Retainers aren’t included in the price, so that’ll be an additional $100 purchase to take into account, bringing the total up into the $2,150 to $2,250 range.
As for Byte, this business breaks down prices according to treatment and timing. Their All-Day Aligners are actually the cheaper option, sitting at $82/month or a one-time payment of $1,895. This process typically takes between 3-4 months of 22-hour aligner-time.
As for the alternative option, the Nighttime routine is available for $99/month or a one-time payment of $2,295 for 5-6 months of treatments consisting of 10-hour wearing time.
Considering the fast timelines of Byte in addition to the inclusion of retainers and the HyperByte (which retails for $699 alone), I’m apt to go with the faster option that retails for around the same price as its competitor in this Smile Direct Club vs Byte review.
Smile Direct Club vs Byte: Insurance and Protection Plans
The eternal question when it comes to aligners – can this be covered by insurance? Ultimately, both brands are capable of being covered (at least partially) by insurance depending on the individual plan.
Due to their inclusion under Orthodontics, those with benefits that include that category are able to get coverage. Smile Direct Club offers a quick calculator to identify via Insurance Provider exactly how much customers are able to have covered in their plan.
Byte is also covered under Orthodontics, but they also offer their own Protection Plan for purchase.
This $2,000 Plan (at the time of writing this Smile Direct Club vs Byte review it’s actually on sale for $650-$780) covers bi-annual retainer replacements for up to 5 years. That’s a total of 10 retainers coming to customers on-demand including replacements for broken or lost pieces.
I love that both brands can be covered by insurance, but I have to appreciate Byte’s additional protection step to ensure retainers are set for a number of years following treatment.
Considering treatment is less than 6 months with this brand, I appreciate that they’ll be looking out for customers for years to follow.
Smile Direct Club vs Byte: How To Sign Up
Looking to register for one of these brands? It’s actually an incredibly simple process either way.
When it comes to Smile Direct Club, there are a few options to take when starting out:
- Take the Smile Assessment Quiz to determine candidacy
- Order an Impression Kit to take in-depth impressions of the teeth
- Alternatively, customers are able to visit a Smile Shop for in-person scans done by a professional who will show them their scans and plans during the meeting
- Choose the preferable schedule (night or day) and review the mapped-out plan
- Receive all aligners in a single shipment so there won’t be any waiting time when moving to the next step
- Schedule regular check-ins virtually with professionals to take note of progress and have time to ask any questions that may arise
- Once the treatment is complete, Smile Direct offers a Lifetime Smile Guarantee
It may seem like a few steps to the finish line, but the process itself flows quite smoothly from start to finish. Customers are guided from day one with access to 24/7 care for those who have burning questions that they can’t wait to ask.
As for Byte, this process is a quicker treatment time due to an additional daily step. When it comes to this brand, the process is as follows:
- Take the assessment quiz online
- Order the Impression Kit and use the putty to create a total of four impressions to send off
- Once the impressions have been received, a treatment plan will be created and the day or night kit will be shipped out
- Daily instructions require 22-hours of aligners with 5 minutes of HyperByte (Day system) or 10-hours of aligners with 10 minutes of HyperByte (Night system)
- Progress is tracked remotely by professionals who are monitoring every step to ensure everything is going according to plan
- Upon completion, retainers must be used. As long as aftercare is being done by customers, their smiles are Lifetime Guaranteed
While both of these processes are quite similar in their methods, as I’ve discovered in this Smile Direct Club vs Byte review, I’m siding with Smile Direct in this case.
I love the quick methods of Byte, but Smile Direct offers in-person options for consultation and I’m always a sucker for the option to meet the professionals who are driving the whole treatment.
Smile Direct Club vs Byte: What Do Customers Think?
Ready for the best part of this Smile Direct Club vs Byte review? Online recommendations. I can’t exactly lean one way or the other without first considering how customers have rated these services and products.
On Smile Direct Club’s own brand side, they currently sit at 4.9/5 stars based on over 59k ratings. These customers speak to how much this business has grown since first launching in 2014.
With these thousands of customers arguing for the business that built their smile in addition to the further 22k customers with a 4.8/5-star rating on TrustPilot, it’s easy to see that numbers aren’t a problem when it comes to Smile Direct.
These customers have all come to the business with a need for minor corrections and based on the numbers, they seem to have found success. At-home instructions are a simple process that’s incredibly easy to follow.
The 24/7 service provided with direct access to professionals allows peace of mind for customers who have any concerns. Clean packages, affordable payments, and a system that works – what else do customers need?
Want some proof other than my word? Check out some of these reviews:
- “This was such a seamless process from setting up the appointment to visiting the store! Professional and personable are a great combination and what you want in a customer service experience! Thank you again!”
- “The ladies at Smile Direct definitely made me smile, answered all my questions and helped when I needed it. They want people to feel confident in the way they look and smile brighter, for the great times ahead.”
- “Everyone was so nice, professional, and non-judgemental. My smile experience was perfect!!! Please look up my smile helper. I forgot his name. Thank you!!!”
- “Great experience. All my questions were answered, and everyone was so easy to talk to.”
- “Check-in was quick, the office was pristine and the staff friendly and professional.
The 3D scan of my mouth was done with great care and the images were amazing to see. All costs and payment options were clearly explained as well as what I could expect from the aligners.”
Smile Direct isn’t without their downsides. There are some customer complaints about the system actually making their teeth worse and causing long-term damage.
With that being said, there are many more thousands of individuals who have benefitted from the program without any concern, so I’m not too worried.
As for Byte, their numbers aren’t nearly as high in the customer rating department, but the ratings still come out quite well with an average of 4.7/5 stars on both Consumer Affairs (over 3,190 ratings) and TrustPilot (2,600 customer ratings).
Google Reviews isn’t far behind with a high 4.68/5 stars based on over 3,415 ratings. On top of all that, the brand’s website sits at 4.9/5 stars based on over 2,570 customer responses.
When it comes down to why customers love this brand, a lot of the answer stems from the quick timeline and easy management of the process.
From the simple instructions to the responsive customer service, this brand is adored by its users and all of their new and shining white smiles.
Check out just a few of the top reviews from satisfied customers:
- “Byte has been awesome and easy to use! My teeth are looking incredible with little to no pain. I recommend this company to anyone who is looking to make their smile incredible.”
- “Exceptional service! They go above and beyond and will help you every step of the way until you’re fully satisfied! Very convenient and easy to work with!”
- “So, I was hesitant due to the price (even though it’s the cheapest aligner brand I can find). But it is 100% worth it. Everybody is super helpful and even though it’s expensive, you get insurance with it.”
- “I can’t wait for my new smile!! It’s easy, comfortable, and the service has been amazing. I love the nighttime only option. Nobody else offered that. The bright Byte whitening foam is an added bonus!”
- “I have really enjoyed the Byte experience! The customer service has been phenomenal! Whenever I experienced any kind of issue (which was not often) they would always be the most helpful in resolving it.”
Every business has their highs and lows, but when it comes to Byte, the majority are in love with the product. Some have complained that the aligners haven’t worked with their teeth, but the masses have seen progress and worked with customer service to ensure that the treatment will be monitored to completion.
It’s a tough call in this section of my Smile Direct Club vs Byte review because it comes down to customer responses. Smile Direct has the clear advantage of higher numbers building up their ratings, but they also have garnered more mixed responses.
Byte is still building up their base, but the majority of users have been extremely satisfied with the progress they’ve seen. Ultimately, if it came down to judging just on reviews, I can’t really pick a side.
Smile Direct Club vs Byte: Promotions & Discounts
The great thing about both of these brands is that they operate on their own (free of external orthodontists and dentists) and therefore set their own prices.
It’s extremely common to find promotions pop up on products (less so on the treatment as a whole), leaving an easy way for customers to save some cash.
Accessories especially are always offered with discounts around the holidays and seasonal sales, so for anyone trying to weigh the company by promotions, this one will be another tie.
While both brands technically offer student and military discounts, Smile Direct doesn’t actually showcase these promotions easily on their site and the information has to be hunted down. Byte happily informs all through their FAQs that these discounts are ready at all times.
Smile Direct Club vs Byte: Shipping & Returns
When it comes to shipping, customers can rest easy knowing these products are pretty on par for this service.
Due to the at-home element being key to both businesses, everything is done through shipping (aside from optional Smile Direct consults) meaning shipping prices are keyed into the aligner price to keep things nice and easy.
Each business requires two shipments – one of the impression kits and one for aligners. After that, any purchases/orders made will be purely accessories selected for pleasure.
As for returns, Smile Direct offers up to 30 days from delivery of the aligners for a return/refund. After that, there’s no opportunity to return products.
This is better than Byte which offers only exchanges on damaged products with no option for return (due to hygienic reasons). With Byte, once the order has been placed, there’s no going back.
Due to the return policy, this section of the Smile Direct Club vs Byte review has to go with Smile Direct. I do love an easy return.
Who Will You Shop With?
With all that in mind, how can you ultimately decide who to shop with? It really comes down to a few key elements and what is personally prioritized in the services offered.
Smile Direct Club does offer a personal consultation at the beginning of the process which can be really helpful for those who want an interactive guide to bounce questions and concerns off of at any point in time.
That said, I’m going with Byte on this one. This brand cuts treatment time by half for about the same cost as Smile Direct.
Their All-Day Aligners may first appear more expensive than Smile Direct, but ultimately they even out and get the job done in less time utilizing cool technology, easy cleaning, and a vegan whitening solution to get those teeth sparkling.
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