As luck would have it, many of the most enjoyable things in life can stain your teeth. Your morning cup of coffee, that evening glass of red wine, heck, even seemingly innocuous things such as tomato sauce and blueberries can leave your teeth looking dingy and yellow. As far as whitening your smile goes, at-home whitening products can provide pretty powerful results with the added bonus of being cost-effective, convenient, and causing little-to-no tooth sensitivity. Plus, versatility is the name of the game, with plenty of formats to choose from—toothpaste, strips, pens, and more—to fit any preference.
However, not all whitening products are created equal (some even freshen your breath!), so we tried some top-rated options to see if they’re really worth the hype. Our team used these products for weeks at a time, rating how effectively and quickly each one brightened their smile (and noting whether or not they left teeth and gums sensitive or irritated). We then combined these results with our own research of other best-selling products and tapped cosmetic dentist Dr. Jon Marashi for his recommendations to compile this list.
Testing In Progress
Our team is currently conducting a massive test of teeth whitening products on the market in our Manhattan-based Lab and at home, spanning multiple categories from kits to pens to strips. At the conclusion of the testing period, we will update this page with the products that have the best teeth-whitening prowess. Stay tuned.
Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light
Visible results in 10 days
Easy to use
Results last up to 36 months
Causes mild sensitivity
Crest is no stranger to the at-home whitening world, but this latest innovation really is a game-changer. It takes the same beloved strips the brand is best known for and amps up their effects with blue light technology to provide unmatched results that can last up to 36 months.
For 10 days, you wear the strips for an hour, then hold up the light device to the strips for another 10 minutes (five minutes each on the top and bottom). The light boasts the same technology found in dentist’s offices, which helps the hydrogen peroxide in the strips better penetrate the tooth enamel and ultimately removes yellow stains and leads to whiter teeth.
And, yes, it really works. Byrdie product tester Jenna Igneri notes she began to see a brightening effect by day five, and by day 10, her smile was noticeably a few shades lighter, while any bothersome stains had faded significantly.
Price at time of publish: $63
Type: Strips, light | Session Duration: 70 minutes | Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide
Best Overall, Runner-Up
Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Whitestrips
Visible results in two weeks
Easy to use
Causes mild sensitivity
Truly a classic, you really can’t go wrong with these easy-to-use strips. They have the American Dental Association's (ADA) seal of approval, which was granted to them in 2017. To drive home how major that is, it's worth mentioning that it's the first product to earn the ADA seal in the Home-Use Tooth Bleaching Products category, according to the ADA. They promise to remove up to 10 years' worth of stains and yellowing, and this variety features extra grip to ensure they stay in place.
Dr. Marashi is also a fan, lauding both the affordable price and the good results they deliver. Still, he does note that compliance with any at-home product is usually the main issue, so you’ll need to use these every day (for the entire duration of the two-week treatment cycle) to see the best results.
Price at time of publish: $32
Type: Strips | Session Duration: 30 minutes | Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide
GLO Science GLO Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device
Portable and easy to travel with
Visible results in five days
Easy to use
Remote battery runs out quickly
A little bit on the pricier side, this is pretty much the closest you can get to a pro-style treatment at home. You start by applying the protective lip balm, then brush a thin layer of the whitening gel along the fronts of your teeth. Pop in the mouthpiece and turn it on, either manually or via the app, fancy.
The GLO technology—which stands for Guided Light Optics. FYI—it uses a combo of both light and heat to activate the hydrogen peroxide-based gel, so you get whiter teeth, fast. It shuts off after eight minutes, though you have to repeat the process twice more after that. Do three cycles total for seven days in a row for impressive results. As for their results? Byrdie product tester, Ashley Rebecca notes, "I’d say my teeth are about one to one-and-a-half shades lighter than they were in the beginning and with consistent use past the 10-day mark, they will get even brighter."
Price at time of publish: $199
Type: Gel, light | Session Duration: 8 minutes | Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride
Best Kit, Runner-Up
Snow Teeth Whitening Kit With LED Light
Effectively breaks down dark stains
Safe for sensitive teeth
Safe for dental work like braces/crowns
This is Dr. Marashi’s pick for a full-on system. “It combines a special wavelength of light delivered via the mouthpiece combined with the whitening gel. The light activates the gel to effectively break down dark colors that are staining your teeth,” he explains. It’s a fan-favorite on Amazon, too, repeatedly pulling in positive reviews with customers commenting on how well it works and how it’s worth the price.
Each kit comes with three wands of Snow's whitening gel as well as an extra-strength version in addition to the LED mouthpiece. The best part? It's safe for use by those with sensitive teeth, braces, bridges, caps, crowns, and veneers. Byrdie product tester, Leigh Weingus who experiences teeth sensitivity says, "f you want whiter teeth without the pain, spring for the Snow Teeth Whitening Kit With LED Light. You’ll end up with a brighter smile without the potential painful side effects and a bad aftertaste.”
Price at time of publish: $150
Type: Gel, light | Session Duration: 9 to 30 minutes | Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, potassium nitrate
Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste
Stronger than traditional whitening toothpastes
Protects with fluoride while refreshing breath
Not as effective as strips or gels
Surprise, Crest does it again. Using toothpaste is probably the easiest way to work a whitening product into your routine—after all, you’re already brushing your teeth every day as it is. While we’ll admit, whitening toothpastes usually aren’t nearly as powerful as gels and other treatments, this one is actually a pretty solid option.
Combining the brand’s Fastest Whitening Technology and Advanced Stain Protection, it buffs off surface stains—up to an impressive 95% of them in just three days—and offers protection against further stains, all while strengthening your teeth and fighting off cavities with fluoride. We’re sold.
Price at time of publish: $7
Type: Toothpaste | Session Duration: 2 minutes | Active Ingredients: Fluoride
Best Toothpaste, Runner-Up
Moon Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste
Uses natural ingredients and extracts
Formula foams nicely
Fluoride free; won't protect against cavities/decay
Another game-changing whitening toothpaste is this charcoal toothpaste from the oral care brand Moon. Byrdie's former editorial director, Faith Xue says, "I never believed a toothpaste could whiten noticeably, but I swear my teeth look so much whiter and brighter since I started using this. Plus, I like that it's made with gentle ingredients, and the mint flavor isn't so extreme." Formulated without fluoride, it cleans and freshens the breath while its proprietary ELIXIR X blend of extracts and ingredients gets to work to whiten, brighten, and promote overall healthier-looking teeth and gums. Plus, we love that its key ingredient list sounds more like a skincare product than a toothpaste: It contains a combination of green and black teas, ginseng, echinacea, camu camu, cranberry, dead sea salt, tea tree oil, coconut oil, and peppermint oil.
It certainly doesn't hurt that it's also sulfate-free, cruelty-free, and vegan. And, fine, we know this isn’t necessarily an important feature of a tooth whitening product, but the packaging is also super pretty.
Price at time of publish: $9
Type: Toothpaste | Session Duration: 2 minutes | Active Ingredients: Activated charcoal
Best For Fast Results
Oral Essentials Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips 21 Treatments Certified Non-Toxic
Targets pesky stains quickly
Product residue stays after strips are removed
Breaking news: Sometimes you want your teeth whiter, fast. But most teeth whitening products require days, if not weeks to remove pesky yellow stains. Not these.
Price at time of publish: $45
Type: Strips | Session Duration: 30 minutes, for seven days | Active Ingredients: Vegetable Gylcerol
Best For Sensitive Teeth
Crest 3D Whitestrips Sensitive Teeth Whitening Kit
Visible results in one week
Promises to leave teeth seven shades whiter
Results are subtle
Looking to whiten and brighten your smile, but worried your teeth are too sensitive for a tooth whitening product? Fear not, this teeth whitening system has a non-sensitizing gel that's formulated with hydrogen peroxide that won’t hurt your teeth or gums but still works super effectively. In fact, some results are noticeable in as little as one day.
Commit to using these for just two weeks to score teeth that are whiter. Snap open each individual pack and apply to the fronts of teeth post-brushing, for 30 minutes, for 14 days.
Price at time of publish: $38
Type: Gel | Session Duration: 30 minutes a day, for 14 days | Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Bite Whitening Gel Teeth Whitening Kit
100% plastic-free system
May cause slight gum irritation
In the market for a whitening product that’s both clean and sustainable? Look no further than this whitening gel from Bite. You may be familiar with Bite for its innovative and clean toothpaste “bites,” and now the eco-minded brand has launched the first and only 100% plastic-free teeth whitening system on the market. The glass bottle comes complete with a compostable brush to make application quick and easy.
But of course, more on the product itself: The vegan peroxide-based formula is gentle enough to be used by those with sensitive teeth, but trust, it works. Simply swipe on for two minutes, twice a day, and watch it work its magic. Each bottle contains enough serum for 28 applications, enough for a two-week supply.
Price at time of publish: $24
Type: Gel | Session Duration: 2 minutes | Active Ingredients: Carbamide peroxide
Best for Aligners
Whitens teeth while you align
Can only use with aligner or retainer
If you’re currently rocking Invisalign or any other type of clear, corrective aligners, this pick is for you. “The foam keeps your aligners clean while whitening your smile simultaneously, so you get both straighter and whiter teeth at the same time,” says Dr. Marashi, who’s a fan. Oh, and did we also mention that it freshens your breath, too?
All you need to do is squeeze one pump of this 3-in-1 foam into your aligner or retainer trays, making sure it’s spread all over evenly. Then, pop them on and voilà! Simultaneously brighter, whiter, and straighter teeth.
Price at time of publish: $30
Type: Gel, trays | Session Duration: Dependent on tray use
Crest Whitening Emulsions Leave-on Teeth Whitening with Built-in Applicator
Reaches tooth crevices
Reviewers say the formula feels gloppy
For those looking for a simple, easy option that can be used pretty much anytime, anywhere, this portable pen can’t be beaten. All you have to do is brush the whitening gel (which contains five times more hydrogen peroxide than other comparable products) onto each tooth—that’s it. What we appreciate most is how its flexible brush tip can get inside the crevices between your teeth, making eliminating tough coffee stains a breeze. The formula took over two decades to develop and boasts a water-resistant, hydrating base that both helps it adhere better to teeth and minimizes sensitivity. The latter is a point confirmed by reviewers, who also talk about how well and quickly it works.
Price at time of publish: $45
Type: Gel | Duration: As long as it stays on | Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Foreo Issa 3
Effective for improving health and teeth appearance
Very hygienic and sustainable
You get 365 uses out of one charge
Okay, so a toothbrush alone isn’t going to whiten your teeth, but this one can help you achieve your goal of pearly whites faster (especially when it’s paired with a good whitening toothpaste.) Reviewers report that their teeth were whiter and brighter. Byrdie Senior Commerce Editor, Jill Di Donato says, "This is far and away the best brushing experience I've ever had. My teeth feel fresher and cleaner after each use—and I love the feel of the silicone bristles."
Credit the fact that yes, it’s a sonic toothbrush, but the first of its kind to combine silicone and polymer bristles to help more thoroughly break down plaque. It also has a built-in tongue and cheek cleaner, plus all kinds of other cool bells and whistles, such as 16 different adjustable settings.
Price at time of publish: $165
Type: Toothbrush | Duration: 2 minutes | Active Ingredients: Silicone and polymer bristles
Co. by Colgate Overnight Teeth Whitening Wand
Reaches tooth crevices
Easy to incorporate into your routine
Goes on white so you can easily see where you’re applying it
Reviewers dislike the taste/film left behind
To be honest, a professional, in-office whitening treatment is undoubtedly the best way to get the fastest whitening results. That being said, this at-home option is no slowpoke. When used as directed (i.e. applied to clean teeth overnight and brushed off in the morning), the hydrogen peroxide-based formula can whiten teeth by up to three shades in just two weeks.
Price at time of publish: $30
Type: Serum | Duration: Overnight | Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
The drier your teeth are when you apply this, the better it will work.
Best In-Office Alternative
Candid X Philips Zoom Whitening Kit
Trays are custom made
Causes irritation and/or sensitivity
Again, nothing compares to in-office whitening, but this is the next best thing. The gel touts a clinical-grade level of hydrogen peroxide, while the trays are custom-made just for you, meaning they are both super comfortable and fit your teeth to a tee for maximum efficacy. They can be worn daily for 30 to 90 minutes up to two weeks (making this a nice customizable option as well), though you can start to see results in as little as three days.
Price at time of publish: $33
Type: Gel, trays | Duration: 30 to 90 minutes daily, for up to two weeks | Active ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
SmileDirectClub Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light
Gentle enough for sensitive teeth
Causes mild sensitivity
This kit offers similar results to an in-office treatment, with some reviewers noting it whitened yellow teeth a full ten shades lighter in just around a week. The flexible mouth piece isn't uncomfortable and it takes just ten minutes, over the course of eight days.
Price at time of publish: $40 for 4 pack gel pens
Type: Gel, trays | Duration: Five minutes, twice a day, for eight weeks | Active ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
While teeth whitening can be dependent on the person, team Byrdie can’t go past the Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light since they combine the brand's popular whitestrips with the power of blue light or the Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous Whitestrips for their ease of use and American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval. And when it comes to minimal effort, maximum impact, the Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste. Just switch your regular toothpaste out for this one and you’re golden.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Jon Marashi is a cosmetic dentist in Los Angeles where he specializes in teeth whitening. He has a long list of celebrity clients, is the chief cosmetic officer of Byte, and is a member of the American Dental Association.
What to Look For in a Teeth Whitening Product
The Application Method
Typically with at-home whitening, consistency is key, so it’s important the product you buy is one you’ll actually use. Check how it applies, how long it needs to be worn, and how often you’ll need to use it before you pull the trigger.
It’s no secret at-home products will never yield the same results as a professional treatment, so be sure to consider this when it comes to price. Exorbitant or inflated treatment kits will just leave you disappointed. That being said, our list is vetted by us to ensure you get results at a reasonable price. One of of favorite products, the Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Whitestrips is super affordable, at under $40 for a complete kit.
Potential Allergens or Irritants
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that at-home teeth whitening products can contain harsh or potentially irritating ingredients, especially if they come into contact with your skin. We suggest running any questions or concerns past your dentist or health professional first. You can also start with a whitening toothpaste, like the Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste and see how you react prior to moving on to a strip treatment.
How do teeth whitening products work?
Dr. Marashi explains that teeth whitening products typically involve a peroxide gel that’s applied to the surface of the teeth, whether it’s delivered via foil, a strip, or a custom-molded tooth tray. The peroxide gel soaks into the tooth, dissolving internal discolorations. “Think of it as applying bleach to a cranberry stain on white fabric,” he says.
Are teeth whitening products safe?
According to Dr. Marashi, yes, teeth whitening products are safe. “Obviously, there may be some inferior products out there, but by and large, they are safe!” he says. A great way to know if an oral care product is up to par is by checking to see if it earned an ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Can you avoid pain and sensitivity after using teeth whitening products?
Some folks may be wary of using teeth whitening products as they’ve been known to cause minor tooth sensitivity. According to Dr. Marashi, you can avoid this by using a topical fluoride or desensitizing toothpaste after removing your whitening product.
Can yellow teeth become white?
Coffee stains and yellow teeth can be made considerably brighter via a wide range of whitening products. Whitening products work by dissolving stains on the teeth.
How We Researched & Tested
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. As an avid coffee drinker (and blueberry eater, and red wine drinker, you get the picture), she’s always on a quest for whiter teeth. She prefers at-home whitening products over in-office treatments for the ease and lack of sensitivity.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any teeth whitening products from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.
Erica C. Does hydrogen peroxide whiten teeth? Healthline.