Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
If you drink coffee, love red wine, or smoke, you might want to consider teeth whitening. Bright, white teeth can make you never want to stop smiling, and can be a confidence booster too. It’s like when you get your braces off–you’ll be showing your brace-free teeth every chance you get.
Still, when it comes to teeth whitening, professional whitening can be expensive, so opting for an at-home alternative takes some research and potentially trial and error. That’s where a good teeth whitening kit comes in.
What Makes a Good Teeth Whitening Kit?
Teeth whitening kits use peroxide-based bleaching agents to help dissolve stains on your teeth. The best at-home whitening kits contain anywhere from 3% to 20% peroxide (carbamide or hydrogen peroxides), which is a safe amount to use and administer yourself. For comparison, an in-office teeth whitening system contains 15% to 43% peroxide and should be applied by a dentist or dental hygienist.
When it comes to the best teeth whitening kits, “The higher the percentage [of peroxide], the faster it may work, but it can increase sensitivity,” says Dr. Apurva Dave, DMD, who practices in Stony Point, New York. “Also, bleaching has to be repeated multiple times before the teeth are conditioned to a particular preferred shade,” he says, so be patient and know that results aren’t overnight.
There are many factors to consider when bleaching your teeth. Dr. Dave warns that what works for you may not work as well on someone else. Whether your teeth are full of plaque, have bondings, or are just sensitive, it helps to consult your dentist for advice about at-home kits.
What Are the Best Teeth Whitening Kits?
Keep in mind: the best teeth whitening kits aren’t always necessarily the strongest. You’ll also want to choose a good teeth whitening kit based on your preferred style of application. The newest teeth whitening kits can either come as whitening strips, whitening gels, pens, trays with whitening gel, and whitening toothpaste. Some kits even include LED lights to help activate the gel in a tray.
Below, we rounded up some of the best whitening kits available to try now and what you need to know about each system.
1. Crest 3D White Whitestrips Teeth Whitening Kit
Crest 3D whitening strips are a Number One best-seller in the whitening kit category on Amazon. They’re often praised to be people’s favorite and for good reason — Crest says the whitening system could help remove up to ten years of set-in stains.
For this “Glamorous White” kit, you can use the strips (top and bottom) once a day for two weeks. Simply press them onto your teeth, hold to let them settle and stick, and then remove after a few minutes.
These strips are the only whitening strips accepted by the American Dental Association (ADA), which is based on its finding that this product is safe and has shown efficacy in whitening teeth when used according to the manufacturer.
2. Opalescence Go Teeth Whitening Kit
As recommended by Dr. Dave, these strips have a higher concentration of peroxide at 15%, while still being gentle on your teeth and gums. The pre-filled UltraFit trays mold to any set of teeth and have a refreshing mint flavor. The best part is that this whitening kit is vegan, gluten free, and kosher-certified. It’s the priciest on our list, but it just might be worth it.
Colgate’s teeth whitening pen is designed to minimize tooth sensitivity while whitening your teeth. Its precision brush will allow you to apply a controlled amount of serum that’s easier to limit irritation around your gums and soft tissue. Using it overnight is effective, as the solution hardens and can work while you sleep. Like Opalescence, this is also vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.
Smile Direct Club’s kit contains the same enamel-safe whitening agents used by dentists. It contains both applicator pens and an LED light to help activate the whitening. Its results are powerful, as the brand says it can make your teeth up to nine shades brighter (while lasting up to a year) with consistent use.
If you don’t want to deal with strips, pens, or lights, Crest’s 3D Whitening Brilliance Two-Step Kit only requires a deep cleanser and whitening gel. You clean your teeth with the deep cleanser, and finish with the whitening gel for the second and last step. It has an average 4.5-star rating (out of five) from more than 9,000 reviews, and reviewers noted that they saw results in a week. It’s perfect for those with tooth sensitivity who want to minimize applying whitening agents.