We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (2024)

Has anyone ever flashed you a smile so bright that you couldn’t help but notice their perfectly pearly whites? We definitely have, and it alway makes us secretly wish we could have an equally stain-free smile. Yet all the so-called quick fixes that we so commonly hear — cut down on coffee and red wine and skip the red sauces — don’t actually make much of an impact when it comes to reducing visible stains, especially when you consider that you’re giving up some of your favorite things in the process. The next options for you become A) visiting a dentist and B) utilizing LED whitening kits. If option A brings up semi-traumatic flashbacks of sitting in a dentist chair at the age of six, then you’re really only left with option B, the whitening kits.

Now, you only get one set of teeth and they’re not to be played with. We understand the apprehension surrounding teeth sensitivity, especially when it comes to strong whitening agents, so we tried these at-home teeth whitening kits on our own tender teeth to spare you any unpleasant side effects.

We paid close attention to how our teeth, gums, and mouths reacted to the whitening solution and its accompanying LED lights. Any that caused an uncomfortable sensation or made our teeth reactive to temperature, we promptly cut. Then we looked at how easy it was to incorporate the LED devices into our lives (and our mouths). We also enlisted the help of several dentists to advise on the best course of action, things to be cautious about, and how to shop for the best LED whitening kits. Ready to get a flashy smile? Then read on.

The 8 Best Teeth Whitening Pens for Your Brightest Smile

Best Overall

Crest Leave-on Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (1)

View On Amazon $50 View On Crest.com View On Walgreens $50

What We Love: The serum has a barely-there feel that never irritated our gums.

What We Don’t Love: It comes with a handy stand, but it’s a little flimsy and we wish it came with a storage bag instead.

It’s not easy to win our best overall spot, especially when it’s not just the results that we considered, but the ease of the process as well. The Crest Whitening Emulsion device was so easy and straightforward to incorporate into our lives that we were honestly worried that we were missing something — but it really is just that effortless. We also liked that there weren’t a lot of accessories in the kit to keep track of (and potentially lose, rendering the device useless), just a tube of whitening toothpaste, a wand to apply it with (which somewhat resembles a toothbrush), the LED device, and a stand.

First, we took a cloth and wiped off the moisture from our teeth so we could start with a clean, bare surface. Then we used the applicator (which looks like a toothbrush without the bristles) to spread the whitening gel across our teeth. We weren’t sure what to expect in terms of taste or texture, but the whitening gel felt neutral on our teeth and had a light minty taste. After letting the gel sit for 30 minutes, we popped the cordless handheld device, which is topped with a double-sided mouthguard (not dissimilar to the ones you had to wear for middle school sports), into our mouths. Three minutes later, the lights flicked off and we were done.

Over the years, we’ve tried a lot of teeth whitening products, from strips to toothpastes, but this was the most pleasant experience we’ve had. For the entire 30 minutes that the solution rested on our teeth, not once did we feel any discomfort or temperature sensations. We were able to go about our usual business, walking around the house, talking to our family, and swallowing normally, without any of the foaming that usually accompanies whitening strips. In fact, we wholeheartedly agree with Crest’s “barely there” claim. Even the LED device was lightweight, making it easy to hold for the full three minutes.

Although the instructions say you can safely repeat the process up to four times each day, that seemed excessive and certainly a path to sensitivity. Yet, coincidentally, we had an important work event coming up and photos were going to be taken, so we decided that there was no time to waste — our teeth had to be brighter for the photos! We completed the process four times a day for 14 days (the limit of back-to-back days it can be used), and not only was our mouth totally fine, without a hint of sensitivity, but our teeth were visibly whiter and cleaner looking. To pinpoint exactly how much whiter they looked, we ranked our level of whiteness before starting the test and after the testing period, and they looked two full shades whiter.

The only con that we really noticed was that the provided stand was a little flimsy, so we opted for storing the kit in our toiletry bag instead.

Frequency: Up to 4 times a day for 14 days | Duration: 5 minutes | Key Ingredients: Petrolatum, water, hydrogen peroxide, flavor, sucralose, sorbitan palmitate | Time to Results: 14 sessions

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (2)

Best Budget

Cali White White Teeth Whitening Kit

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (3)

View On Amazon $15 View On Walmart $24

What We Love: The device automatically shuts off after 10 minutes so you’ll never worry about overdoing it.

What We Don’t Love: There are only 10 sessions in the kit.

This teeth whitening kit is as affordable as it is simple to use, and still provides great results. It’s not a lack of quality that makes this kit less expensive than others, but the limited number of sessions and usage you’ll get out of it. Providing only 10 treatments, it’s not for anyone who wants to maintain a bright smile long term (unless you keep buying more kits), but for an impatient person with limited time, this battery-operated device could be great.

In the kit, you get two syringes of whitening serum, an LED light device, two mouthguards in different sizes — a universal fit, which felt bulky in our mouth, and the custom-fit tray, which sat more comfortably but required constant holding against the device — and a travel case for the mouthguards.

After layering the gel across the top and bottom of the mouthguard, we attached it onto the top of the tiny, cordless device (which snapped on without a fight) and bit down on the guard. To turn on the lights, we simply pressed the single button at the top of the piece, and sat back as we let the magic happen. After 10 minutes, the lights automatically turned off, indicating the end of the session, then we rinsed the mouthpiece and stored it in the travel case.

While our teeth aren’t particularly sensitive, we were worried that an LED light could trigger some kind of sensation, but the only thing we noticed was a slight warmth from the light and a minty tingle from the solution, both of which were pleasant.

Although neither mouthguard fit our mouth perfectly, the 10-minute sessions were so quick and painless that we didn’t mind so much. After completing the kit’s 10 sessions, our teeth were a whole three shades lighter, which we consider a major deal for just $30. We were bummed we had to stop at 10 — we wanted to keep going! — but overall, we were impressed with what a steal this little thing is.

Frequency: Once a day for 7 to 10 days | Duration: 10 minutes | Key Ingredients: Carbamide peroxide gel, glycerin, urea peroxide, propylene glycol | Time to Results: 10 sessions

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (4)

Best for Fast Results

Linhart The Whitening Collection

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (5)

View On Amazon $95 View On Linhart.nyc

What We Love: It comes with a special gel to use with your normal toothpaste during your daily brushing to help speed up the whitening process.

What We Don’t Love: The gel was not delicious.

This whitening kit is not the slow and steady type, if the noticeable results we saw the first week after only four sessions are anything to go by. We attribute our lightning fast results to the 16 extremely bright LED lights that shine from the device as well as the number of consecutive cycles we did each day. The kit includes four syringes, giving us 24 sessions, and refills are available to purchase when you run out. It also came with a special whitening gel that you squeeze onto your toothbrush along with your regular toothpaste during normal daily brushing and we think it did make the process overall more effective.

Similar to the other options on this list, the process was simple and easy to follow — you just push the whitening serum from the plastic syringe onto each side of the mouthguard and then slide it over your teeth. Each cycle lasts 16 minutes, and the instructions recommend repeating the cycle two to four times, one right after the other.

However, we found it a bit strange that the brand recommends doing several back-to-back cycles in one sitting to maximize results. If we did the four suggested cycles at 16 minutes a pop, the entire process would take 64 minutes, which felt excessive, and we mostly stuck to one or two cycles per day.

The whole process, start to finish, felt painless. Neither the whitening gel in the syringe nor the one to pair with regular toothpaste irritated our gums, although our taste buds were mildly offended. After the four week testing period, our teeth had dramatically whitened by 16 shades (16 seems to be a popular number here, coincidence?

Frequency: 2 to 4 times a day | Duration: 6 minutes | Key Ingredients: Carbamide peroxide gel | Time to Results: 3 to 5 sessions

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (6)

Best with Whitening Pens

Periosciences LED² Teeth Whitening Kit

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (7)

View On Amazon $110 View On Periosciences.com

What We Love: It comes with its own dental shade guide for you to track your progress.

What We Don’t Love: It takes a long time to charge.

While the past few options came with a whitening solution in a syringe, this one comes in the form of a pen, which allows you to paint the solution directly onto your teeth. This method allows for a super targeted, precise application for spots with stubborn stains.

Before we could start, the device needed to charge overnight, and we soon learned that it needed to be fully charged at all times to power on, which was tedious. However, our troubles ended there, and the rest of the process was a breeze, despite our heavily stained teeth, thanks to years of coffee, red wine, and red sauce (but we regret nothing). On a scale of pearly white to bruised-banana yellow, our teeth leaned dangerously close to the beat up fruit. Could this LED whitening device, which we admit looks very high tech and as chic as a teeth whitening device can look, crack these stains? In short: Yes, yes it can.

At the end of the testing period, our teeth jumped 15 shades on the shade guide (or six to seven shades, according to the graph that comes in the kit). As soon as the 15-minute session ended and the lights automatically powered off, we immediately checked our smile for changes, and we could already see the surface-level stains being removed after a single use. It’s after longer use, however, that we began to see the more dramatic results.

During week two, we experienced some sensitivity and cut back from our daily use to three to five times per week. By week three, our teeth felt fine and we were back to daily use, and that’s when our results skyrocketed, revealing our refreshed and whiter set of teeth. It’s also in this third week that the first out of three pens ran out of juice, but we still had two whole pens that we could use to maintain our stain-free smile.

Frequency: Once a day for 10 to 15 days | Duration: 15 minutes | Key Ingredients: Carbamide peroxide | Time to Results: 2 to 3 sessions

The 5 Best Oral-B Toothbrushes of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Best for Sensitive Teeth

Byte BrightByte Pro

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (8)

View On Byte.com

What We Love: There is a purple mode for brightening teeth and a red mode for relieving and desensitizing teeth.

What We Don’t Love: It does not shut off automatically.

If you’re feeling apprehensive about your sensitive teeth, or worried that your teeth would become sensitive with the use of LED lights, you are not alone (far from it). That seemed to be the number one concern we had going into this experiment, which is why we paid extra close attention for any sign of irritation or discomfort every time we used a device.

If you are the sensitive type, the Byte BirghtByte Pro was made just for you. The kit is equipped with three whitening gel pens and a desensitizing gel pen. To begin, apply the whitening gel directly onto your teeth, put the mouth tray in, and turn on the purple or blue light to begin the whitening process. Once the 16-minute session is over (which by the way, you have to time yourself as it will not automatically shut off), you can follow up with a layer of desensitizing gel, combined with the red light to help soothe teeth after treatment.

Unlike any other option, it uses neither batteries nor cords — all you need is your phone, which acts as a charging pod during the treatment. Needing to plug it into your phone kindly reminds you to simultaneously set a timer for 16 minutes, because the device does not turn off on its own.

Our teeth already had increased sensitivity from whitening strips we used in the past, so there was a lot of skepticism before going in. To our surprise, the whitening gel and blue light combo was so gentle (not to be mistaken with ineffective), that we didn’t even need to use the desensitizing gel. We can — quite gleefully — report that we experienced zero irritation. Despite the barely-there feel, we were amazed to see a color difference after just one session, and at the end of the four-week testing period, our teeth had visibly jumped three shades whiter — all without a trace of discomfort.

Cosmetic dentist Dr. Victoria Veytsman does want to warn that anyone with serious oral disorders — that is teeth decay or exposed roots — should consult a professional before engaging with lightening kits. LED lights require your teeth to “sustain a certain amount of gingival irritation so it’s best to avoid frequent use.”

Frequency: Once a day for as long as you'd like | Duration: 15 minutes | Key Ingredients: Carbamide peroxide | Time to Results: 1 to 2 sessions

Best Easy to Use

Colgate LED Teeth Whitening Kit

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (9)

View On Amazon $47 View On Colgate.com View On Walgreens $70

What We Love: The mouthguard is very flexible and adjusts to the shape of your teeth.

What We Don’t Love: It only comes with one whitening pen.

If we’ve learned one thing from years of testing products, it’s that you’ll see the best results from the ones that are easiest to use. Who needs or wants to add another burden to their day, even in search of gleaming white teeth? After testing 19 different LED teeth whitening kits, we found this one from Colgate to be the most hassle-free. For one, it’s super speedy. The whole process took us about 12 minutes: One minute to brush the whitening serum onto our teeth with the pen, 10 minutes for the LED mouthguard to do its thing, and another minute to rinse everything off. We did it everyday during our nighttime skincare routine, and right as we finished applying the last layer of our moisturizer, the device beeped and automatically turned off.

Timing aside, the entire process felt shockingly satisfying. To begin, we had to plug the device into our phones (or Macbook) using the provided cables, which then acted as a charging pod for the LED lights. The mouthguard felt much thinner and smaller (aka less intimidating) than some of the others we tried. It’s also very flexible, meaning it’s able to easily bend to the shape of the mouth, while the rubbers on the guard allow you to bite down and hold it in place. It felt fine in our mouth (no jaw clenching required) and it was impossible to detect the whitening solution on our teeth — that’s how gentle it was.

Having abstained from coffee and tea all our lives, our teeth were already on the white side. Still, we saw our teeth go a full two shades whiter after the 10 sessions. While it wasn’t necessary for us to keep going, we wish there was more than just one pen for anyone who wanted further enhancement.

Frequency: Once a day for 10 days | Duration: 10 minutes | Key Ingredients: Alcohol, acrylates/octylacrylamide copolymer, water, hydrogen peroxide | Time to Results: 10 sessions

Best with Whitening Strips

Crest 3DWhitestrips 1 Hour Express + LED Light

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (10)

View On Crest.com View On Walmart $60 View On Oralb.com

What We Love: By using strips and not gels, the experience is completely mess-free.

What We Don’t Love: At 65 minutes each day, it’s a long commitment.

Crest 3DWhitestrips were some of the first whitening devices in the game, so naturally, we had to see if they still lived up to their glory days. To our delight, we saw some of the biggest changes in brightness on our teeth, going a full seven shades whiter on our scale.

At first, the idea of dedicating 65 minutes a day for 30 days felt impossible. But the reality was far less daunting after we realized that 60 of those minutes are spent simply wearing the strips while putzing around the house.

Without gels, it was an entirely no-mess experience, free from accidentally swallowing serums or licking off any whitening solution. After an hour passed, it was time to add the LED device into the mix, turning it on and holding it in our mouth for five minutes (with the strips still on). Minus the agony of not being able to eat or drink for an entire hour, we suffered no pain, sensitivity, tingling, or discomfort with the strips or the lights.

Even better, we saw the initial payoff after one week of daily use. Our friends — and our bathroom mirror — confirmed that our teeth appeared whiter and far shinier than they had before.Within four weeks, we were basically blinding people with our flashy new smile, so it was probably for the best that we had used all 30 strips at the same time. Crest claims that these results will last for over six months, and we are excited to be sporting a fresh set of clean teeth for the rest of the year.

Frequency: Once a day for 19 days | Duration: 65 minutes | Key Ingredients: PVP, PEG-8, water, hydrogen peroxide, acrylates copolymer, sodium hydroxide, sodium saccharin | Time to Results: 30 sessions

Our Testing Process

We began by searching high and low for the most popular and highly rated LED teeth whitening kits currently available. We also interviewed several prominent dentists to ask which teeth whitening devices they recommend to their patients and if they had any tips or best practices to maximize the experience. Before we sent our editors home to test, we had them come into our New York City-based Lab to determine their starting shade against our shade guide. Next, we paired each person with a kit that best suited their needs (and stains), and they completed one session in the Lab to record any initial thoughts or sensitivities before taking them home. Although our testing period spanned four weeks, each kit required a specific set of uses and the editors followed the instructions from the manufacturer. After four weeks, we again compared each person’s teeth against our shade guide to learn the extent of their improvement. We took note of any irritation, sensitivity, or discomfort. We also evaluated whether the process was simple, as well as the degree of comfort they felt while wearing or using the device. We compiled the LED whitening kits with the highest scores into this list.

What to Keep in Mind

What’s Included in the Kit

It’s called a kit, after all, so first, take a look at everything that's included. Each should have a whitening solution, whether it comes in the form of a pen (like in the Crest Whitening Emulsion with LED Light), a syringe (like in the Linhart The Whitening Collection) or strips (consider the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1 Hour Express + LED Light). As no two mouths are identical, consider the type of mouthpiece on the LED device. For example, the Cali White Teeth Whitening Kit has two different sized options, while the Colgate ComfortFit LED Teeth Whitening Kit has a super flexible mouthpiece to mold around your shape. Next, you might find some additional useful items in the kit, like a stand to uphold your devices in the Crest Whitening Emulsion with LED Light, or your own shade guide in the Periosciences LED Whitening Kit.

In order to decide which kit is best for you, be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to the process. At 30 minutes, the Crest Whitening Emulsion with LED Light, doesn't take much out of your day and the pen ensures a speedy application, and the Cali White Teeth Whitening Kit takes even less time, only requiring 10 minutes to complete the full session. If you prefer a mess-free experience, then opt for a strip rather than a gel, then the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1 Hour Express + LED Light is for you, but if space is a concern, it doesn't come smaller than the Colgate ComfortFit LED Teeth Whitening Kit.

Frequency of Use

When using at-home teeth whitening kits, it is vital that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and not overuse the LED lights (even if you still have some whitening solution left).

Dr. Veytsman explains that “although they are made for at-home use, they are formulated with strong chemicals and you must be mindful to not overdo it.” New York City-based Dentist Dr. Jonathan B. Levine agrees, saying that “whitening gel with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide can over saturate the teeth causing the teeth to become brittle over time.” So if the manual says to use it once daily, do not use it twice a day in hopes of accelerating your results, because all you’ll be left with is sensitive, traumatized teeth. If a quick turnaround is your hope, then we recommend using the Linhart The Whitening Collection, as it delivered some of the fastest results.

Your Teeth Sensitivity

Gum and tooth sensitivity was our number one concern before engaging in this test. If you know yourself to have severely sensitive teeth, Dr. Veytsman advises that “you might not be the best fit” for a whitening LED treatment, and those with “predetermined teeth diseases, like exposed roots, cavities or oral cancer,. best not to use treatments without a medical professional supervising.”

That being said, not all is lost. Board-certified dentist Dr. Mike Wei actually explains that “LED lights typically emit a lower level of heat than other whitening methods, making them a better choice for people with sensitive teeth.”

We tested the above mentioned products on various sensitive teeth, but none of them caused any adverse reactions. If you are leaning on the cautious side, however, perhaps start with the Byte BrightByte Pro, as it was made with sensitive teeth in mind and comes with an extra level of protection for such teeth.

Your Questions, Answered

How do LED lights work to whiten teeth?

Not sure how LED lights work to remove stains from teeth? Dr. Wei can explain. “LED lights emit a blue light onto the teeth, which helps to activate the whitening agent (the provided whitening serum) which helps to break down the molecules that cause teeth discoloration.”

In other words, it’s not really the LED lights that do the whitening — it’s actually the serum that comes in the kit, which is typically made of a peroxide derivative. “The LED technology is made not to directly whiten, but to speed up the whitening process” from these serums, explains Dr. Veytsman.

How long will teeth whitening results last?

It’s important to set reasonable expectations here. ”LED results can last anywhere from six months to one year, depending on your lifestyle and skin condition, among health factors,” says Dr. Wei. “LED results are not permanent, and the effects may need to be maintained with regular treatments.”

However, what you can do to maintain white teeth, is to begin ratcheting back on teeth-staining foods, like coffees and teas, after your treatment. It’s a great way to wipe your slate clean before embarking on a healthier oral care routine.

Are LED lights safe to use?

LED whitening kits are very safe, so long as you follow the directions properly, says Dr. Veystman. “As with anything, one should not overuse the LED light tech on your teeth or it could cause damage,” she says. “Normally, following the directed instructions from selected whitening products, you should experience no issues and wonderful results.”

However, if you’re the rather safe than sorry type, Dr. Wei says to “avoid eating or drinking colored beverages for a few hours after treatment, and to avoid smoking or consuming any substances that could stain the teeth.”

And given that your teeth were just exposed to powerful light, Dr. Wei adds that it’s a good idea to avoid exposing the teeth to direct sunlight or UV rays following the procedure.

How long before I see results?

“Teeth whitening, especially when done from home, is not a one-size fits all kind of process,” says Dr. Veytsman. “Depending on the whitening to be done to your simile the results can vary.”

Every kit is different and so are the specific instructions for proper use. Because there is so much variation between devices, including how often to use it and the length of each session, there’s not one standard timeline when you can expect to see results. Notably during this test, we didn’t have to wait too long — two to three sessions or after one week — to see the payoff.

Why Shop With Us

Bianca Kratky is a commerce writer with over two years of experience covering fashion and beauty products. In order to write this article, she dove deep into the insights provided by the in-house testers of the LED teeth whitening kits. She spoke to several testers directly for further information, before consulting dentists Dr. Jonathan B. Levine, Dr. Victoria Veystman, and Dr. Michael J. Wei on the safety and efficacy of LED teeth whitening kits.

8 Things You Need To Know Before Getting Your Teeth Whitened

We Tested Dozens of LED Teeth Whitening Kits — These Are the Only Ones We'd Buy (2024)
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