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Best teeth whiteners: Gels, trays, and more that keep your teeth white

Best teeth whiteners: Gels, trays, and more that keep your teeth white
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With at-home whitening as an option, you don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount to have your teeth whitened at your dentist’s office. When it comes to at-home whitening, you have plenty of options that can give you comparable results to in-office treatments, from easy-to-apply strips, to professional strength gels. Here, we’ve compiled a list of easy and convenient ways to brighten your pearly whites from home or even on the go.

1. Crest 3D Whitestrips Glamorous White

Crest 3D Whitestrips Glamorous White

(Image credit: Crest)

Crest 3D Whitestrips Glamorous White

The only over-the-counter whitening product accepted by the ADA

 The only OTC teeth whitening product accepted by the ADA
Easy to apply
Strips mold to the shape of your teeth
Invisible solution for whiter teeth
Strips won't show
Can cause some discomfort to your gums 
Strips are small and may not extend toward the molars
May cause discomfort to those with sensitive teeth

Crest’s 3DWhite Glamorous White Whitestrips are the only over-the-counter whitening product accepted by the American Dental Association. Unlike products that require trays and other accessories, Whitestrips simply peel and stick to your teeth which is a simple, effective way to remove up to ten years of stains. They conform to your smile and stay in place for the full half hour daily treatment, so you can go about your business and whiten while you work. Because of the relatively low concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the whitening gel, it takes a bit longer for the Whitestrips to show results, but the effect can last over six months without touch-ups. Crest also makes Whitestrip kits for sensitive teeth, one-hour touchups and enamel strengthening.

2. AuraGlow Deluxe Home Teeth Whitening System

AuraGlow Deluxe Home Teeth Whitening System

(Image credit: AuraGlow)

AuraGlow Deluxe Home Teeth Whitening System

Light-activated teeth whitening

Great for sensitive teeth and gums
May see results as early as after 3 uses
Doesn't taste bad to most
Some drooling may occur during treatment
May not be right for those with a high gag reflex

The AuraGlow Teeth Whitening Kit includes a clear mouth tray with storage case, accelerating LED light and two syringes of 35% carbamide peroxide whitening gel. The accelerator light has five LEDs for brighter light and faster activation and a built-in timer so you don't accidentally whiten for too long. AuraGlow's line of whitening products also includes higher-concentration refill syringes, a touch-up whitening pen, remineralization gel treatment and an activated charcoal tooth whitening polish, all of which work together to bring a healthier looking smile.

3. Active Wow Teeth Whitening Powder

Active Wow Teeth Whitening Powder

(Image credit: Active Wow)

Active Wow Teeth Whitening Powder

A powder you can easily add to your routine

Easy to add to your routine by using your toothbrush
One jar will last for nearly 100 uses
May be too messy for some
Charcoal stuck in the gums can be hard to get out

Lately, activated charcoal is in everything from ice cream to face masks to this teeth-whitening polish. It uses natural ingredients including activated coconut charcoal - charcoal made from coconut shells - and orange seed oil, making it a great alternative to dental-grade peroxide products. Because it doesn’t use harsh chemicals, you don’t have to worry about tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. The powder can make a huge mess though, so make sure to use just a little at a time and rinse thoroughly afterwards. Active Wow comes in five flavors: natural, spearmint, peppermint, cinnamon and vanilla.

4. Philips Zoom Nite White

Philips Zoom Nite White

(Image credit: Philips)

Philips Zoom Nite White

Easy overnight whitening

Overnight whitening
Not good for sensitive teeth
You need purchase a mouth tray separately

Philips Zoom NiteWhite is a professional-grade, at-home whitening treatment. Though you purchase accessories like tooth trays separately, NiteWhite has one major advantage over other whitening treatments: it’s formulated to work while you sleep. The gel uses carbamide peroxide as its whitening agent, which works more gradually than hydrogen peroxide and remains active longer. The formula includes amorphous calcium phosphate, potassium nitrate and fluoride to protect your teeth from lingering sensitivity and bolster your enamel. The NiteWhite treatment works best with custom whitening trays to keep the gel on your teeth, and away from your gums through the night.

5. HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit

HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit

(Image credit: HiSmile)

HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit

Teeth whitening kit with great customer service

Better-tasting gel than most brands
Great customer service 
May be considered too pricey

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.

6. Rembrandt 1-Week Whitening Kit

Rembrandt 1-Week Whitening Kit

(Image credit: Rembrandt)

Rembrandt 1-Week Whitening Kit

Intense routine for fast results

Comfortable to wear
Easy to out on
Results may be less noticeable than other products'
A twice a day treatment may be too rigorous for some
Can't eat of drink for half an hour after treatment

The 1-Week Whitening Kit packs two weeks' worth of treatments into half the time, giving you faster results than other whitening strip kits. The biggest difference between this and other kits is that the Rembrandt strips are designed to be used safely twice a day. The box contains 28 enamel-safe 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. Rembrandt also offers 3-day touch-up kits to help you maintain your pearly whites.

7. Cool Teeth Whitening Complete at Home Teeth Whitening Kit

Cool Teeth Whitening Complete at Home Teeth Whitening Kit

(Image credit: Cool Teeth Whitening)

Cool Teeth Whitening Complete at Home Teeth Whitening Kit

Multi-step teeth whitening process

Gel good for up to 2 years if refrigerated
Several steps required before teeth whitening process, including teeth molding
Gums may turn white if in contact with gel for extended period of time
Many report a burning sensation

The inexpensive Cool Teeth whitening system comes with everything for professional-strength whitening at home. The kit’s thermoforming whitening trays give you a custom fit, so they sit comfortably in your mouth and keep the whitening gel in place. The enamel-safe 44% Carbamide peroxide gel and LED accelerator light show results in less time than the lower concentrations found in many other whitening products. With five syringes of whitening gel, enough for up to 25 treatments, you can achieve and maintain your brightest smile.

8. Dr. Song Home Whitening Kit

Dr. Song Home Whitening Kit

(Image credit: Dr. Song)

Dr. Song Home Whitening Kit

The complete teeth whitening kit

LED light optional
Instructions can be confusing
Varied results

Dr. Song's whitening kit comes with extra goodies that 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.

9. Burst Coconut Whitening Strips

Burst Coconut Whitening Strips

(Image credit: Burst)

Burst Coconut Whitening Strips

The subscription teeth whitening solution

Discounted subscription available
Takes just 5 to 10 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 5 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.

10. Opalescence Take-Home Whitening Gel

Opalescence Take-Home Whitening Gel

(Image credit: Opalescence)

Opalescence Take-Home Whitening Gel

A flavorful choice

Comes in 3 different flavors
Contains potassium nitrate and fluoride to protect your teeth
Need to purchase a mouth tray if you don't already have one

Opalescence is a more personalized approach to teeth whitening. This take-home whitening gel comes in five carbamide peroxide concentrations to cater to any style of whitening, whether you want to whiten in short, 15-minute sessions or overnight. Unlike complete whitening kits, Opalescence gels don't come with accessories. It works best with custom-made trays you can get from your dentist, but the less expensive boil-and-bite style trays work in a pinch. Opalescence's whitening treatment contains potassium nitrate and fluoride to protect your teeth, and it comes in three flavors: regular, mint and melon.