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Best teeth whiteners 2021: Whitening kits and strips to remove teeth staining

Best teeth whiteners 2021: Whitening kits and strips to remove teeth staining
(Image credit: Getty)

The best teeth whiteners for home use are a simple way to brighten your smile and reduce staining without having to visit the dentist for expensive touch-ups. Our recommended teeth whitening kits and toothpastes contain everything you need to get brightening at home, with options ranging from cheap teeth whitening strips to advanced kits that use LED lights.

While many of the best electric toothbrushes have dedicated whitening modes, stubborn stains caused by red wine, coffee or fruit juice need a stronger solution. A good teeth whitening kit should help banish them. Thankfully the best teeth whiteners are straightforward to use, but they do require a little time and effort. Teeth whitening toothpastes and strips are the easiest to use, so we recommend these for complete beginners and for people with little time to spare. 

Teeth whitening kits are more involved. They usually come with tubes of whitening gel, plus a UV light to help activate the gel and speed up the whitening process. Many of these kits use the same ingredients favored by dentists, though obviously the results won’t be as professional as a dentist teeth whitening procedure. One of the ingredients used in the very best teeth whiteners is hydrogen peroxide. While it’s safe for most people, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding it’s safer to use teeth whiteners that contain natural ingredients only.

It’s also worth knowing that dental insurance plans won’t cover teeth whitening, so whether you’re looking for a megawatt smile or just want to brighten your enamel by a shade or two, our round-up of top-rated teeth whiteners should give you a great smile and reduce temporary staining. For really deep, stubborn stains, we’d recommend speaking to your dentist to see how they can help.

1. Crest 3D Whitestrips: Best teeth whitener overall

Best teeth whiteners: Crest 3D Whitestrips Arctic Mint Teeth Whitening Kit

(Image credit: Crest)

Crest 3D Whitestrips Arctic Mint

The best teeth whitening kit recommended by dentists

Type: Strips and gel | In the box: 28 strips, one tube of flavored serum | Number of uses: 14 days worth

Tastes great
Easy to use
Recommended by dentists
30-minute wait time

An Amazon bestseller and frequently recommended by dentists, Crest’s 3D Whitestrips are straightforward to use and guarantee great results. Simply apply two dots of the fresh-tasting Arctic Mint gel to the middle of one of the supplied strips, then place that on your teeth for 30 minutes while the active ingredients work their brightening magic.

Included in this teeth whitening kit are 28 enamel-safe strips (for 14 individual treatments) and one tube of flavor serum – that’s all you need for a superb smile. The kit is also available with a Charcoal Mint flavor serum.

Crest says its Arctic Mint Whitestrips are 25 times more effective than leading-brand whitening toothpastes. As such, it offers a massive 60-day satisfaction guarantee. If you’re looking for a low-fuss option from a big-name brand, the Crest 3D Whitestrips is the best teeth whitening kit to go for.

2. Plus White 5 Minute Whitening: Best teeth whitener on a budget

Best teeth whiteners: Plus White 5 Minute Premier Teeth Whitening Kit

(Image credit: Plus White)

Plus White 5 Minute Speed Whitening System

The best teeth whitener kit for a speedy shine

Type: Gel | In the box: Plus White whitening gel, mouth tray, Plus White Stainguard post rinse | Number of uses: 14 days worth

Five-minute developing time
Option to leave on longer for stains
Tray doesn’t always fit well in the mouth 

Plus White’s rapid teeth-whitening system includes everything you need to get a brilliant smile in express time, and for a fraction of the price of the competition. But that’s not to say it skimps on anything else.

Included in the box is an enamel-friendly whitening gel made with the same hydrogen peroxide ingredient used by dentists. This sits in the mouth tray, which fits over the teeth for five minutes (or longer if the teeth are very stained) and ensures the gel is evenly applied on your teeth, including in-between those nooks and crannies. 

There’s also a bottle of Plus White’s Stainguard Post Rinse, which helps lock in your new whiteness and prevents stains from reappearing. The results with Plus White’s teeth-whitening system are apparent from the get-go, making this the best teeth whitener for when you need to show your smile at a moment (or five)’s notice.

3. Colgate Optic White Overnight: Best teeth whitening kit with pen

Best teeth whiteners: Colgate Optic White Overnight Teeth Whitening Pen

(Image credit: Colgate)

Colgate Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen

A neat teeth whitening option for beginners

Type: Gel | In the box: Teeth whitening pen, overnight stand | Number of uses: 35 nightly treatments

Vegan friendly
Precise application
Gluten- and sugar-free
Up to you to ensure even coverage

When it comes to dental excellence, Colgate is one of the world’s most trusted brands, which already puts this classy teeth-whitening option high up our list of the best teeth whiteners. And thankfully it doesn’t disappoint. 

Colgate claims the formula of its teeth-whitening gel will brighten your teeth by up to two shades in as little as one week. The dispenser features a neat brush too, so you can apply the enamel-safe formula directly where you need it and control the amount that comes out.

The formula contains only four ingredients: alcohol solvent, copolymer, hydrogen peroxide and water, making it vegan as well as gluten-free and sugar-free.

Colgate states the Optic White Overnight Whitening Pen has 15 times more whitening power than brushing alone. When it comes to design and sheer ease of use, this teeth-whitening treatment is just as strong. 

4. Cali White Deluxe Whitening Kit: Best teeth whitener for vegans

Best teeth whiteners: Cali White Vegan Teeth Whitening Kit

(Image credit: Cali White)

Cali White Deluxe Teeth Whitening Kit

A vegan-friendly teeth whitening kit for dazzling smiles

Type: Gel | In the box: LED light with built-in timer, two x 5ml gel syringes, two x Thermaform mouthpiece tray, Universal Comfort Fit tray, mouthpiece case | Number of uses: 10+

Organic ingredients
Vegan friendly
A bit fiddly

Cali White prides itself not only on being vegan, but also sulfate-free, paraben-free, certified organic, and naturally it doesn’t test on animals. Although gentle, the Cali White Deluxe Teeth Whitening Kit still offers plenty of brightening power with a 6% peroxide gel formula, which promises a significant improvement in whiteness after just a few days. 

The Cali White Deluxe Teeth Whitening Kit comes with plenty of bits and pieces including an LED light with built-in timer to boost the whitening results, two 5ml gel syringes, two mouthpiece trays, and a patented Universal Comfort Fit tray made with a safe and clean medical-grade silicone. 

The tray also has a gum-safe design with easy-breathe ventilation. There’s also a travel case (with cool palm tree design, no less) to store the mouth trays in. Natural ingredients in the gel include xylitol and organic peppermint oil. 

Cali White also offers a peroxide-free version of its teeth-whitening kit, which is ideal for anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding. Or, if you wanted to go the other way and turbocharge your teeth-whitening, there’s also a Professional version with 35% Carbamide Peroxide Gel.

5. AuraGlow Deluxe Whitening System: Best teeth whitener with light activation

Best teeth whiteners: AuraGlow Deluxe Whitening Kit

(Image credit: AuraGlow)

AuraGlow Deluxe Whitening System

A teeth whitening kit that uses light to power up your smile

Type: Gel | In the box: LED light device (with batteries), two x 5ml teeth whitening gel syringes, Comfort Fit mouth tray, tray storage case | Number of uses: 20 treatments

Quick and effective
Ease of use
Short battery life

The application of light can help speed up the active ingredients found in AuraGlow’s teeth-whitening gel to help you get great results even quicker. And AuraGlow’s Deluxe Home Teeth Whitening System promises just that, with its cooling LED light gadget and 35% carbamide peroxide teeth-whitening gel. 

The ease of use with this kit is also good. Simply use it once a day for 30 minutes at a time and repeat for seven to 14 days until you get the results you want. Apply the gel on the soft silicone Comfort Fit tray, attach the light to the tray, and you’ll be good to go for your top and bottom teeth.

The gel is equivalent to what you would expect at the dentist and incorporates remineralizing ingredients that ensure effective whitening without any harmful side effects or gum soreness. The LED light (batteries included) boosts the active ingredient up to three times faster, and handily it includes a timer.

6. Colgate Optic White Kit: Best teeth whitening kit for tough stains 

Best teeth whiteners: Colgate Optic White At Home Teeth Whitening Kit

(Image credit: Colgate)

Colgate Optic White Kit

It’s a perfect ten for Colgate’s best teeth whitening kit for banishing stains

Type: Serum | In the box: Whitening serum treatment, LED teeth whitening device, charging case, plug and cord | Number of uses: 10 days

Big-name brand
Quick results
Device needs charging

Colgate gets top grades all round with its Optic White Kit. It takes just ten minutes’ use daily for ten days to get the same long-lasting white smile you’d get at the dentist. It’s also designed to rid you of up to ten years’ staining on your teeth. That’s impressive.

Used together with Colgate’s blue-light whitening device, the 9% hydrogen peroxide whitening gel can make teeth six shades whiter while also lifting stains faster.

True to Colgate form, the easy-to-control serum has a pleasant taste and offers a natural level of whiteness without causing extra sensitivity. There are no fiddly trays to mess around with either: simply dispense the serum into the gadget, place it on your teeth, then wait while the gadget does its thing.

Colgate’s teeth whitening kit is ideal for sensitive teeth and comes with a mains-powered charging case for travel use too. 

7. Lumineux Whitening Strips: Best teeth whitener with natural ingredients

Best teeth whiteners: Lumineux Oral Essentials Teeth Whitening Strips

(Image credit: Lumineux)

Lumineux Oral Essentials Teeth Whitening Strips

Get a brighter smile without all the chemicals

Type: Strips | In the box: 28 strips | Number of uses: 14 treatments

All-natural ingredients
Fuss-free and portable
Strips don’t always fit snugly

With ingredients straight from mother nature, Lumineux promises a whiter smile in just seven days. This set of sugar-free vegan teeth-whitening strips is ideal for sensitive teeth, and uses non-toxic ingredients.

These include coconut oil, lemon peel oil and sage oil to remove stains from teeth, rather than rely on the peroxide chemicals found in some other teeth whitening treatments. The strips also contain Dead Sea salt to help reduce sensitivity to hot or cold liquids. 

Lumineux’s teeth whitening strips are safe to use with most porcelain, caps, crowns and veneers, and are incredibly straightforward too. Just select an upper and lower strip, remove the backing, apply to the teeth and wait 30 minutes before removing the strips. It’s as easy as that. 

Because Lumineux’s teeth whitening strips are so portable and fuss-free, it also makes them the best teeth whiteners to take away overnight or on vacation. 

8. Active Wow Charcoal Powder: Best teeth whitener powder

Best teeth whiteners: Active Wow Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder Natural

(Image credit: Active Wow)

Active Wow Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder

Go back to basics with this all-natural powder

Type: Powder | In the box: One jar of coconut-charcoal powder | Number of uses: 100

Good for sensitive teeth
Gets messy when brushing
Results not as quick

If you prefer to keep your wellness products all-natural, Active Wow’s 24k White Teeth Whitening Charcoal Powder is the perfect choice. Free from chemicals, artificial flavors and colors, it works from the get-go to make your teeth whiter without any sensitivity. 

The activated coconut charcoal not only whitens teeth, but detoxifies the mouth to freshen breath and gently polish away stains. This economical powder can last up to a 100 uses and it’s easy to use too. Simply wet your toothbrush, dip it in the powder, and gently brush your teeth for one to two minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Use once or twice a day.

Admittedly, this teeth-whitening solution won’t be for everybody, as it can get a little messy and you have to rinse thoroughly. Also, it isn’t as fast acting as the other kits in our best teeth whiteners guide, but it’s ideal if you want to take your teeth-whitening regime back to basics and go chemical free.

9. HiSmile: Best teeth whitener for sensitive gums

Best teeth whiteners: HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit

(Image credit: HiSmile)

HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit

A teeth whitening kit loved by celebrities

Type: Gel | In the box: Gel, light, syringes | Number of uses: Six days worth

More natural ingredients
Better-tasting gel than most
Gets a little messy

Popular among celebrities and social media influences, the HiSmile kit is similar in form factor to many at-home whitening products, with an activator LED, trays and syringes full of whitening gel. 

Unlike others that contain dental-grade peroxide, however, the HiSmile whitening gel relies on ingredients like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), sodium chlorite and plant extracts. Without the harsher chemicals, the HiSmile system also is less likely to cause tooth sensitivity or gum irritation. It’s also vegan friendly.

10. Rembrandt 1-Week: Best teeth whitening kit for fast results

Best teeth whiteners: Rembrandt 1-Week Teeth Whitening Kit

(Image credit: Rembrandt)

Rembrandt 1-Week Teeth Whitening Kit

The best teeth whitening for tackling stains very quickly

Type: Strips | In the box: 28 hydrogen peroxide strips | Number of uses: One week's worth

Comfortable to wear
Easy to out on
Can't drink for 30 mins post-treatment

The Rembrandt 1-Week Whitening Kit packs two weeks' worth of treatments into half the time, giving you faster results than many other teeth whitening kits. The biggest difference between this and others featured in our best teeth whiteners kit is that the Rembrandt strips are designed to be used safely twice a day. 

The box contains 28 enamel-friendly hydrogen peroxide strips. Rembrandt’s kit has generous strip proportions, especially for the lower-teeth. Larger strips fit more comfortably and stay on better than other kits with smaller strips, with the added advantage of whitening both the front and back of your teeth.

11. Dr Song Teeth Whitening Kit: Best teeth whitener for nourishing enamel

Best teeth whiteners: Dr Song Teeth Whitening Kit

(Image credit: Dr Song)

Dr Song Home Whitening Kit

The best teeth whitening kit for remineralizing your teeth

Type: Gel and light | In the box: Whitening gel, tray, two syringes of remineralization gel, Vitamin E swabs | Number of uses: Nine

Remineralizing gel included
LED light speeds up whitening
Tough stains needs longer treatment

Dr Song's best teeth whitening kit comes with extra goodies to help protect your teeth from sensitivity or irritation. While most tray and syringe-type kits only include the whitening gel, a teeth tray and maybe an accelerator light, the Dr Song kit adds two syringes of remineralization gel and Vitamin E swabs for your gums. 

The remineralization gel gives your enamel a boost of fluoride and calcium after your whitening treatments, and the Vitamin E swabs help protect your gums from potentially-irritating exposure to the whitening gel.

12. Burst Coconut Strips: Best teeth whiteners on subscription

Best teeth whiteners: Burst Coconut Whitening Strips

(Image credit: Burst)

Burst Coconut Whitening Strips

Tropical teeth whitening strips available on a handy subscription

Type: Strips | In the box: Seven strips | Number of uses: Seven

Discounted subscription available
Takes just five to ten minutes a day
Not the most comfortable strips

Burst combines the benefits of coconut oil pulling with enamel-safe hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth. Like other whitening strip products, Burst strips are super easy and convenient: simply peel, stick and wear them. 

But unlike other products that require wearing the whitening strips for 30 minutes at a time, these take just five minutes a day. Burst also makes it supremely easy to upkeep your smile with a convenient, discounted subscription program that sends you one or two packs of strips every three months and saves you $5 per box.