Home Health In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

by белый

Get ready for your pearly whites to dazzle.

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The first thing people notice about you is your smile, so it’s extremely important to keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape. While proper dental hygiene will keep teeth healthy, there are some everyday rituals — like your morning cup of coffee — that can dull and stain them. Whitening toothpastes can only do so much, but you don’t necessarily need to go to the dentist to brighten your smile. Among other at-home methods like whitening pens and LED whitening kits are easy and effective whitening strips.

“At-home whitening strips offer a number of benefits including convenience, affordability, and safety,” says board-certified cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael J. Wei. “They’re generally easy to use, much more affordable than professional whitening treatments, and are considered safe as long as the instructions are followed carefully.”

There’s definitely no shortage of whitening strips available, but few can turn a lackluster smile into a dazzling one. That’s why we decided to put the most popular treatments to the test. Over the course of two weeks, our esteemed InStyle testers tried 16 of the highest-rated options. Throughout the process, they kept close tabs on how simple the strips were to use, how dramatically (or subtly) the hue of their teeth shifted, and how conveniently the treatment fit into their routine. Additionally, if any of the whitening strips caused major discomfort, they were immediately eliminated from the running. In the end, the whitening strips that made our pearly whites gleam earned a shining spot on this list.

The 5 Best Oral-B Toothbrushes of 2024, Tested and Reviewed Our Top Picks Best Overall : Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express at Amazon ($33) Jump to Review Best Budget: Persmax Teeth Whitening Strips at Amazon ($15) Jump to Review Best for Sensitive Teeth: iSmile Teeth Whitening Strips at Shopismile.com (See Price) Jump to Review Best Natural : Moon Oral Beauty Dissolving Whitening Strips at Nordstrom ($40) Jump to Review Best Dentist-Recommended: Crest 3DWhitestrips Glamorous White at Crest.com (See Price) Jump to Review Best for Dramatic Results: Crest 3DWhitestrips Bright Dental Whitening Kit at Walmart ($24) Jump to Review Best No-Slip: Burst Teeth Whitening Strips at Amazon ($22) Jump to Review Best for Beginners: Rembrandt 1 Week Teeth Whitening Kit at Amazon ($23) Jump to Review

Best Overall

Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express

In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

View On Amazon $33 View On Walmart $30 View On CVS $56 What We Love

    We started receiving compliments on how incredible our smile looked before we completed the treatment.

What We Don’t Love

    Though the strips didn’t cause any pain, our teeth felt somewhat sensitive towards the end of the kit.

It’s one thing when we personally see results from our own whitening strips, but there’s something so gratifying when other people notice a difference. Friends and family members began commenting on how brilliant our smile looked halfway through this treatment, and by the time we completed it, our confidence soared (and our teeth truly twinkled). 

While many standard whitening strips need to be worn for 30 minutes, these required double the time — one hour. Due to the extended sessions (and the high concentration of hydrogen peroxide), the overall treatment was shorter, only lasting 10 days rather than two weeks. The strips melded to our teeth beautifully, keeping the gel firmly in place. This prevented the solution from migrating to our gums and in turn minimized discomfort. 

That said, although we didn’t experience any pain during the treatment, our teeth felt a bit sensitive around the eighth day after taking a swig of cold water. The sensation was slight, yet still noticeable. Granted, we were still able to finish the kit in spite of the minor issue. 

Overall, our smile improved by six shades by the end of the test. We loved that even though the peroxide was strong, the whitening approach was steady instead of immediate, so it felt safer and minimally invasive. Plus, the box says the results will still be visible for six months, making this a twice-a-year time-saver for the pearliest whites.

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide (10%) | Strips: 7 sets | Treatment Length: 1 hour, once a day

Best Budget

Persmax Teeth Whitening Strips

In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

View On Amazon $15 What We Love

    These strips stayed firmly in place during each 30-minute whitening session — no slipping or sliding!

What We Don’t Love

    The end results aren’t as striking as other kits we tested.

Most in-office whitening procedures cost around $500. Even then, some at-home treatments can run close to $100. When you need to brighten your teeth on a budget, this kit from Persmax will do the trick — for under $20. 

With a six percent concentration of hydrogen peroxide, these strips strike a solid middle ground, offering mild whitening power that won’t cause any soreness. At such an affordable price, we were expecting the strips to slip around our teeth. To our surprise, they fit like a glove and stayed secure through every session. We were even able to talk normally while wearing them (no lisp here!). 

When we peeled the strips off, our teeth looked a touch whiter; it was a palpable shift, albeit a subtle one. We weren’t expecting a sparkling transformation given the price, but the treatment performed better than we expected: Our smile was two shades whiter at the end of the trial, giving us a much-needed confidence boost.

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide (6%) | Strips: 14 sets | Treatment Length: 30 minutes, once a day

Best for Sensitive Teeth

iSmile Teeth Whitening Strips

In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

View On Shopismile.com View On Target $45 What We Love

    After trying countless whitening strips in the past, these are the only ones that didn’t cause any sensitivity. 

What We Don’t Love

    While we appreciate that the box includes eight extra strips, it’s not clearly outlined that these are for touch-ups down the line.

Powerful, fast-acting whitening strips are known to cause some teeth sensitivity — something we were all too familiar with. We’ve tried dozens of different white strips in the past, and each one caused so much irritation that we had to stop using them completely. The iSmile Teeth Whitening Strips were the first treatment we’ve ever been able to complete. Though we were skeptical about the zero sensitivity claims, they were legit, and by the end of our two-week trial our teeth appeared eight shades brighter.

The strips are loaded with a generous amount of hydrogen peroxide gel. We initially thought this would result in them slipping and sliding around our mouth, but they stayed securely in place for the entire 30 minutes. Plus, because they’re flavored — you can choose between mint or coconut — the session was more enjoyable (not dealing with a chemical-like taste made the time fly by). Once time was up, the directions said to brush our teeth to remove any excess formula, then we carried on with our day.

As we continued through the treatment, we expected sensitivity to creep up on us. Yet after every session, we were wowed by how normal our teeth felt. This was a game changer considering we’ve always had to stop using whitening strips due to the severe pain. We actually almost went past the recommended two-week treatment time because the pack came with extra strips. We later learned that the additionals are for touch-ups, something we value for when we want to freshen up our smile before a big event.

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide (4.75%) | Strips: 22 sets | Treatment Length: 30 minutes, once a day

Best Natural

Moon Oral Beauty Dissolving Whitening Strips

In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

View On Nordstrom $40 View On Ulta $40 View On Moonoralbeauty.com What We Love

    We saw a notable difference in brightness after a singular treatment. 

What We Don’t Love

    Because the strips dissolve, the gel feels undesirably slimy on teeth.  

Along with being 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free, these strips were less wasteful than other options we tested because they entirely dissolved in our mouth. This unique aspect simplified the whitening process, creating a one-step product that visibly brightened our smile after a single use. 

Despite being dissolvable, these function exactly like other standard whitening strips: We simply placed them on our teeth and waited 15 minutes for them to melt away. We were surprised at how well the hydrogen peroxide gel adhered to our teeth without the strip to hold it. That said, it did leave a slimy film on our teeth. This wasn’t necessarily uncomfortable, and it didn’t cause any sensitivity, but it was an interesting sensation that took a few days to get used to. 

Because most white strips require a 30-plus minute treatment time, we didn’t expect to see any difference after our first use. Suffice to say we were shocked to see an immediate one: Our teeth seriously sparkled. The results faded slightly as the day progressed, though we saw a significant improvement by the end of the two-week trial. The effectiveness paired with the convenient disintegrating design makes this whitener a major time-saver. If you ever need a quick pick-me-up, these are the strips to grab.

Active Ingredients: Vegan hydrogen peroxide | Strips: 28 sets | Treatment Length: 15 minutes, once a day

Best Dentist-Recommended

Crest 3DWhitestrips Glamorous White

In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

View On Crest.com View On Walgreens $40 View On Walmart $28 What We Love

    This is the only whitening kit on our list that has earned the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

What We Don’t Love

    The bottom strips are less secure than the top.

All of our experts agree that whitening strips are an affordable, convenient, and safe way to lift surface stains and brighten your smile from the comfort of your home. Still, few products have the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance — but Crest 3DWhitestrips Glamorous White does. 

After completing this quick and easy treatment, we may never go back to the dentist for a professional whitening service. These strips take a slow and steady approach to whitening: With a 5.5 percent hydrogen peroxide concentration, they gently brighten teeth over time rather than producing immediate results. We started experiencing noticeable improvement in brightness after four sessions, and by the end of the two-week test, our teeth were two levels whiter than when we started.  

Along with the difference in our smile, the straightforward strips were the ideal size to meld to our teeth without irritating our gums. For the most part, they also stayed in place during the 30-minute session. The bottom strip was a bit more slippery and would move around, but biting down until they stuck to our teeth always solved that issue.

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide (5.5%) | Strips: 14 sets | Treatment Length: 30 minutes, once a day

Best for Dramatic Results

Crest 3DWhitestrips Bright Dental Whitening Kit

In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

View On Walmart $24 View On Target $30 What We Love

    The results are near immediate, and by the end of the trial our teeth become five shades brighter.

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What We Don’t Love

    The strips are wide, so they may be too big for those with smaller teeth.

While we regularly use whitening toothpaste and mouthwash, neither compare to the long-lasting, instant results we experienced while testing this whitening kit from Crest. We saw a change immediately after the first treatment: We wore them for 30 minutes before bed and by the time we woke up our smile was absolutely radiant.

Similar to other products we tested, these attached to our teeth with minimal effort. They have a wider design than most, which allowed us to fold the strips over our teeth for a more stable fit. (This also makes them ideal for those with bigger teeth.) The bottom strip was prone to moving around, but taking the time to apply it instead of sloppily slapping it on made a huge difference, and the extra effort was worth it because it made the entire treatment almost unnoticeable. 

That’s not to say we didn’t feel the strips in our mouth. We could definitely tell they were there but we never felt uncomfortable through all of the 30-minute sessions. We sometimes kept them on longer, too (only when we forgot to set a timer). Even when we wore them for an extended time, this didn’t trigger any sensitivity along our gums or teeth, which was unexpected yet very appreciated. 

Now the box does say that teeth will look seven times whiter, and that’s definitely a stretch. When we checked our teeth whiteness scale on the last day of the test, the brightness had improved by five levels. The outcome was still quite dramatic, and we’ll be relying on these for any major events in the future.

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide (6.5%) | Strips: 11 sets | Treatment Length: 30 minutes, once a day

Best No-Slip

Burst Teeth Whitening Strips

In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

View On Amazon $22 View On Burstoralcare.com $30 What We Love

    Once applied, these do not budge and feel so weightless we forgot we had them on. 

What We Don’t Love

    The whitening capabilities aren’t as intense as other options we tested.

Whitening strips that slip and slide around your teeth aren’t just uncomfortable, they can also lead to irritation and sensitivity. Secure strips — like these from Burst Oral Care — ensure that the whitening gel stays put on the teeth and doesn’t migrate to your gums for uncomplicated, pain-free whitening. 

We knew these were special from the first application. The strips were the absolute perfect size — not too big or too small. They conformed to our teeth in seconds, completely covering the surface area without inching up toward sensitive gum territory. Once in place they did not budge for the entire 15-minute session, and because they were so thin we forgot we were wearing them. 

The actual whitening process was the most enjoyable of all the strips we tested, though the results were more gradual. As we progressed through the test we noticed a small change in the overall brightness of our teeth, but it wasn’t as striking as other options, even though our teeth were three shades whiter by the end of our trial. That said, these hassle- and fuss-free strips do exactly what they’re supposed to: If you’re looking for a minor smile refresh, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide (6%) | Strips: 10 sets | Treatment Length: 15 minutes, once a day

Best for Beginners

Rembrandt 1 Week Teeth Whitening Kit

In-office teeth whitening treatments are expensive. Luckily, at-home whitening strips can be just as effective (and safe!). We put the best highly-rated products to the test and discovered the ones that dramatically brighten smiles with minimal sensitivity.

View On Amazon $23 View On Walmart $29 What We Love

    This no-frills kit dramatically whitened our teeth in just one week. 

What We Don’t Love

    The strips are very large, and while this didn’t make them uncomfortable, those with smaller teeth might find them to be a bit bulky. 

If you’ve never tried an at-home whitening kit, this one from Rembrandt is a great place to start. We were utterly impressed with how the simple week-long treatment gave us comparable results to an in-office whitening — at a fraction of the cost. 

We’ll admit that since we’re regular coffee drinkers (we typically have two to three cups a day), our pearly whites aren’t so, well, pearly. We had tried other teeth whitening strips in the past to combat these stains, but the outcome lacked longevity and frankly, they were uncomfortable. We had an entirely different experience with this kit. The strips are considerably larger, offering a custom-fit, which wrapped completely around our teeth to brighten both the front and the back.

Despite being oversized, we barely felt them on our teeth throughout the 30-minute sessions. In fact, as time passed by, they felt more comfortable and never led to any gum tenderness. Plus, once removed, the strips didn’t leave any gooey gel residue behind.

Enjoyable experience aside, the true kicker was seeing how our chompers sparkled — both instantly and at the end of the trial. There was an obvious transformation after two whitening sessions, and when we completed the kit our teeth were 14 shades whiter than when we started. We were amazed (and thrilled) to finally kiss the coffee discoloration goodbye.

Active Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide (4%) | Strips: 14 sets | Treatment Length: 30 minutes, once a day

Our Testing Process

Before inviting our esteemed group of testers into our Manhattan-based Lab, we researched and identified the 16 highest rated teeth whitening strips available. Once we purchased the products, a board-certified cosmetic dentist helped our testers use a dental shade guide to determine the initial hue of their teeth. From there, they selected a whitening kit and followed the directions to complete the first session in our Lab. The rest of the two-week trial was done at home where testers took detailed notes on how easy the strips were to use, whether the treatment caused any discomfort, how effective the strips were (explaining whether the results were subtle or blinding), and rating the overall value.

After our volunteers finished the full treatment, they returned to the Lab to compare their teeth to the dental shade guide and record how much brighter their smiles looked. In the end, we selected eight teeth whitening strips that showcased the most significant results. 

The InStyle Team Tests The Best Teeth Whitening Strips

What to Keep in Mind

Active Ingredients

To effectively diminish the look of teeth stains and brighten your smile, board-certified cosmetic dentist Dr. Victoria Veytsman, says to look for whitening strips that have a concentration of peroxide. “Peroxide is the active ingredient that works to oxidize or ‘fizzle’ the stains off, leaving you with a brighter, whiter smile,” she says. There are two types commonly found in at-home kits: Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. (The former is the active ingredient in all of the products on our list.) 

Some of our winning kits label the hydrogen peroxide in their formulas as vegan, but the truth is, all hydrogen peroxide is vegan. “It’s a naturally occurring compound that is composed of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms,” explains Dr. Wei.

Ease of Use

Whitening strips are incredibly easy to use. “All you need to do is peel the backing off, apply the active solution to your teeth, and remove once the recommended time on the packaging is up,” explains Dr. Veytsman. While the amount of time varies between products, typically the strips need to be worn between 15 minutes to one hour. We suggest referring to the packaging and following the manufacturer's directions for the best results. 

For those who don’t have as much time to spare, there are also fast-acting dissolving whitening strips, like Moon Oral Care Dissolving Whitening Strips that disintegrate after 15 minutes — no removal required. Board-certified cosmetic dentist Dr. Tyler Hales says that both traditional and dissolvable strips produce similar results, so the type you choose ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Whitening Strength

Not all whitening strips are created equal. With differing whitening strengths, the peroxide concentration can help determine how brilliant your results will be. For example, Crest 3DWhitestrips Glamorous White has a 5.5 percent concentration (the lowest on our list) while Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express is made with 10 percent hydrogen peroxide. 

“Five to seven percent is the average amount of hydrogen peroxide across the board for white strips,” reveals Dr. Veytsman. “There are some products that go up to 10 percent, which is high. Anything under five percent is low.” Essentially, the higher the amount, the more intense the results will be, but greater concentrations can also increase the possibility of tooth sensitivity. 

“If you have sensitive teeth, I suggest looking for whitening strips that have a lower concentration of peroxide in them,” says Dr. Veytsman. If white strips irritate your teeth and gums, try using a desensitizing toothpaste leading up to when you plan to use any whitening products.” Dr. Wei also advises brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush, rinsing with fluoride-based products, and drinking from straws to minimize the risk of sensitivity while using whitening strips. If you still experience discomfort, visit your dentist to discuss less abrasive ways to whiten your teeth.

Your Questions, Answered

What’s the best time to use teeth whitening strips?

There’s not one ‘best’ time to wear whitening strips. “You can use teeth whitening strips at any time, as long as you are following directions on the packaging,” says Dr. Veytsman. Still, if you’re debating between morning, mid-day, or nighttime wear, both Dr. Hales and Dr. Wei recommend wearing them before bed. Because you won’t be eating or drinking anything before going to sleep, Dr. Wei says it “allows the whitening agents to penetrate into the enamel and work their magic.”

Do teeth whitening strips really work?

All three of our experts endorse and encourage their patients to use whitening strips at home because they “effectively lighten the color of teeth,” says Dr. Wei. However, in order for them to perform, Dr. Veytsman explains that they must be formulated with peroxide. “This is the active ingredient that works to remove staining and whiten teeth,” she says. 

How often should I use teeth whitening strips?

Most whitening strips come in a two-week kit, but some —  like Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express — are done in 10 days or less. It’s important to follow the directions on whatever product you select to ensure you’re achieving the best results possible without jeopardizing the safety of your teeth. Once you complete your whitening treatment, Dr. Hales advises waiting six months before starting another to prevent unnecessary sensitivity. (Plus, the results from many of the whitening strips on our list should last that long anyway.) 

Should I brush my teeth after using whitening strips?

While not every whitening strip kit clearly states to brush your teeth post-treatment, all three of our experts say doing so to remove any excess gel and maintain oral hygiene. “If your teeth have any sensitivity after removing the strips, I suggest brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste,” adds Dr. Veytsman. We like Sensodyne Pronamel Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth. 

Why Trust InStyle

Mary Honkus is a former commerce editor at InStyle with over five years of experience covering beauty. For this story, she diligently reviewed insights from our two-week teeth whitening strips test to determine the most impressive pearly white-enhancing kits. She also spoke with three celebrity cosmetic dentists — Dr. Tyler Hales, Dr. Victoria Veytsman, and Dr. Michael J. Wei — to learn more about the benefits of at-home whitening strips and how to safely use them. 

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