Can the LED teeth whitening kits by HiSmile, glowup. and Smile Direct Club compete with established teeth whitening brands? Do they work, and what do they cost? If your teeth are starting to look a little … less pearly white after a few years of enjoying coffee, red wine (or life!) read on and find out if these new options can help you.
A few years ago you had to go to the dentist to brighten your smile. But, then Crest Whitening Strips came along and introduced the idea of DIY teeth whitening. (OK, maybe there were some super strange old-timey products back in the day).
A new crop of direct-to-consumer options have hit the scene offering a more effective (and less painful) solution. Want to experience the latest in teeth whitening technology? LED mouthguard kits are more intensive than regular whitening strips and becoming just as popular.
Believe it or not, Silicon Valley types are noticing that people want brighter teeth and are getting into the game. Some of the most notable technology startups offering new options include HiSmile (us.hismileteeth.com), glowup. (heyglowup.com), and Smile Direct Club (smiledirectclub.com). In this article we compare the top LED teeth whitening treatments so you can choose the best one.
How are HiSmile, glowup. and Smile Direct Club different from traditional whitening options?
Traditionally, whitening options available to the public include:
Whitening trays from your dentist
It’s helpful to know what you’re getting, so let’s cover the difference between these newFANGled (pun-intended) products vs alternative methods of whitening your teeth. Many people decide to get it done professionally by a dentist. The DDS does the work for you, has the expertise, and uses clinical grade products to get you results — but you’ll probably end up spending over $600, not to mention the hassle of getting there, and spending over an hour in a waiting room listening to smooth jazz. Long-story short: it tends to work, but there’s a high-price tag. (Side note: smooth jazz does nothing to relax me anymore; I associate it with teeth pain.)
Alternatively, dentists now offer at-home options that let you brighten your teeth in the comfort of your own bathroom. These customize trays typically costs up to $400 and require a trip to the dentist for an initial mold / impression. More smooth jazz…
At-home whitening strips, pastes, pens, and kits
Finally, there’s a range of over-the-counter teeth whitening options that you can buy at a pharmacy, retail store, or online without ever speaking to a dentist. Ranging from $40 to $100 per package, they surely are a lot more affordable than “professional”, dentist-prescribed treatments, but they’re generally not as effective and take longer to see results. At-home whiteners come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including trays with gel, whitening strips, toothpastes, gums, pens, and mouthwashes. The different choices vary in how they lighten teeth, and some work better than others.
Modern LED whitening devices
Nowadays dentists use a series of LED curing lights or lasers to activate the peroxide in the bleaching agent, which yields optimal bleaching results. Over-the-counter whitening treatments used to use only peroxide (or maybe an abrasive) to work on stains. Only evil geniuses and dentists used to be able to afford to offer lasers…
But today we have new, affordable LED brightening solutions from HiSmile, glowup., and Smile Direct Club. These players claim to offer the best of both worlds: professional dental treatment efficacy for an at-home price — all without ever having to step foot in a dentist’s office (no smooth jazz!). Do I have your attention yet?
How do LED whiteners compare vs Crest Whitening Strips?
Crest Strips are a popular over-the-counter whitening treatment that’s proven effective for millions. I personally used them for years, and in general, they are safe, effective, and relatively affordable, and the only common complaint is feeling minor tooth sensitivity or pain shortly after using them. LED whiteners are similar to crest whitening strips in that they both expose your teeth to a bleaching agent, but LED whiteners also use lights to better activate the agent — typically yielding better results.
How do LED teeth whitening treatments work?
Because you and your friends all have a smartphones, you are likely getting more photos of yourself taken than any other generation. That’s more chances to record the color of your teeth! But did you know that smartphones also can facilitate teeth whitening? I’m not talking about snapchat and instagram filters. No, Smile Direct Club and glowup. actually use your smartphone to work.
In fact a smartphone is all you’ll need to use these products once you receive your kit in the mail. Either Android or iPhone will do. If you’re one of the remaining few with a flip phone, you can still use HiSmile, which uses a battery instead of a smartphone as the power source for the LED light.
Here’s a quick review of how these new LED teeth brighteners work:
- First you order your kit through the website of whichever company you choose.
- You may need to answer some questions to personalize the process, depending on the company.
- Feel free to listen to smooth jazz to get you in the mood.
- You’ll be sent your kit, which will conveniently come to your mailbox or doorstep, saving you a trip to the dentist. Each kit includes a whitening gel, a mouth tray, and an LED light component.
- The process of whitening varies slightly by company, but in every case you start by brushing your chompers.
- Next, you apply the whitening gel to either your teeth or the tray. Each company is a bit different; for example, Smile Direct Club whitening has you apply the gel to your pearly whites using a pen. After you’ve got the gel in place, you power on the LED light — either by hooking it up to your smartphone or pressing the battery-operated unit.
- You’ll leave the tray in your mouth for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Finally, you will rinsing out your mouth and washing the tray.
That’s it, you’re done until the next treatment. To see the most robust results, you’ll repeat the process daily for about a week, but most start to see gradual improvements day by day. It’s worth reiterating that the true innovation that LED light that comes with these direct-to-consumer choices helps the process work faster and more effectively than over-the-counter treatments that don’t use the light.
Now you know how your smartphone can help you get a better smile, without a fancy instagram filter!
HiSmile vs glowup. vs Smile Direct Club: Which is best?
Given that these three options all work in pretty much the same way (gel + tray + light) and claim to show results in essentially the same amount of time (6-7 days), why should you choose one company over the other? Is one the clear leader amongst the three? The answer is a bit nuanced, but ultimately you should pick the one you think will best fit your needs. It’s a personal decision that we’ll try to make a bit easier for you with this comparison. Use this chart to compare HiSmile, glowup., and Smile Direct Club head-to-head.
LED Teeth Whitening Treatment Comparison
|Whitening Kit Price||$79.00 (includes 2 treatments)||$60||$59.99|
|Application Method||Gel, pen, and tray||Gel and tray||Gel, pen, and tray|
|Time Frame of Optimal Results||1 week||6 days||6 days|
|Time Spent Each Day||10 minutes (two 5-min sessions per day)||16 minutes||10 minutes|
|Power Source||Smartphone adapter||Smartphone adapter||Battery (included)|
|Pain Level Claims||Not specified||Pain-free||No pain or sensitivity|
Soy, Lactose, and Gluten-free
Cruelty-free, natural ingredients
Cruelty-free, natural ingredients
|Refund Policy||Only specifies a refund if the product is defective||Satisfaction with the results or a free kit or your money back||Guarantees at least 2 shades whiter in 30 days or your money back|
Like this chart? Follow us on Instagram or Pinterest to see more!
LED Teeth Whitening Treatment Comparison
Now that you have a lay of the land, let’s dive a bit deeper into what makes each company unique.
But first, while we’re speaking of DTC brands, we have a newsletter that covers all the latest offerings. We review more than just teeth whitening by Smile Direct Club, HiSmile and glowup! For example, you can compare teeth aligners by Smilelove, Candid and Smile Direct Club here. Subscribe to our newsletter below to stay in the loop:
Discover the latest
D2C wellness products
D2C wellness products
And get exclusive discounts!
glowup teeth whitening
glowup. also claims to use all-natural ingredients within its formula. These include aloe leaf juice, pomegranate seed extract, chamomile flower, and menthol mint. Does this stuff make a difference? I have no idea.
This is the best bet if you are not sure if any of these teeth whitening options are going to work, because they offer a money back guarantee. You can get a free kit or your money back if you’re unsatisfied. No questions asked. So if you are unsure, go with glowup.
HiSmile is a great option for people who want to have a teeth brightening routine – they offer several customizable subscriptions plans that can keep you in stock, and save you money.
Smile Direct Club’s LED whitener: Bright On™
Smile Club Direct’s Bright On premium teeth whitening costs more than the other two options, but it includes two full treatments plus an extra pen, which is a better value in the long run. The directions say to use it five minutes, twice a day, while the other options require a longer session but only once a day.
What’s different about Smile Direct Club whitening is “bright on,” which uses gel pens instead of syringes. You might find it easier and less messy to apply the gel directly to your teeth with Smile Direct Club’s whitening pen instead of using the syringe to apply it to the tray like you do with the other options. This might help you spread the whitening gel more evenly because you’re applying it directly to your teeth.
You also have the option to buy whitening pens and a new LED accelerator light a la cart if needed.
This is the best option for people who are committed to getting their teeth a lighter shade, and who want to spend up for two treatments right now.
The Verdict: What’s the best LED teeth whitener for you?
These three direct-to-consumer teeth whitening companies offer very comparable products with only slight differences, most of which come down to how you use them or price. Overall, I think it will help you to compare the features of each kit with the chart and overview above. See which one fits your needs best and give it a try. If you are worried about not liking the treatment, try glowup. since they offer a money back guarantee. If you can afford the higher price, go with Smile Direct Club to get two times the treatment. And if you want to sign up for a subscription, try HiSmile.
If you end up trying any or have had prior experiences with these new direct-to-consumer whitening products, let us know in the comments below!