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Our top pick is the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express
Whether we’re sipping on a Starbucks latte, eating a bowl of pasta doused in our favorite marinara sauce, or munching on a piece of dark chocolate, our pearly whites are constantly in contact with teeth-staining foods. And, just like we might turn to at-home skin treatments for evening skin tone and erasing dark spots, we can use at-home treatments, such as teeth whitening strips, to target yellowing teeth and provide an overall brighter, whiter smile.
Aside from lifting stains and achieving brighter pearly whites from home, the best reason to use teeth whitening strips is their convenience factor. Similar to sheet masks, these whitening strips are simple and easy to apply to the teeth — and most only require a 30-minute treatment time. Plus, you can get away with wearing them while going on with your daily activities.
Additionally, at-home teeth whitening strips are a cost-effective solution for achieving a whiter smile, as a majority of options cost less than $60 for a week’s worth of treatment. “The average cost of getting your teeth professionally whitened ranged from $650 to $1,000, and professionally-dispensed kits that you get from the dentist's office average $100 to $400,” says Brittany Ang, DMD, MDS, MBS, of Curve Orthodontics. She explains that, although an in-office whitening treatment is more involved, at-home whitening strips can yield effective results.
If you experience tooth or gum sensitivity, Ang says at-home whitening strips can also be worth trying as they are typically designed with more gentle formulas. “Most at-home whitening strips use a hydrogen peroxide concentration under 16 percent, whereas in-office treatments use a concentration of 25 to 40 percent,” she explains. Because of this, Ang says patients with a history of tooth or gum sensitivity might have a more comfortable experience with at-home teeth whitening strips.
With all of these benefits to consider, it’s no wonder there are dozens of teeth whitening strips on the market. Our PEOPLE Tested team tried 16 different options from Amazon, Crest, Burst, and more to find the best options. Through the testing process, we carefully considered ease of use, value, comfort, and, of course, how effective they are at lifting away stains and whitening teeth.
Here are the best teeth whitening strips that PEOPLE tested.
Best Overall: Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express
They have a firm and tacky surface that sticks to the teeth well.
Despite working so quickly, they don’t cause teeth or gum sensitivity.
Due to the size and shape of the strips, they don’t touch the gums.
They are the most expensive option on our list.
You get the best results with a few treatments.
After testing 16 options, we found that the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express are the best at-home teeth whitening strips. These whitening strips are formulated with hydrogen peroxide and are designed as a quick solution to brighten teeth in just a single one-hour session. Upon our first test, we noticed a change in our teeth color, which was impressive for one-time use. However, we found that these Crest whitening strips were the most impressive after several uses as they effectively removed stains and made teeth whiter by six shades.
Throughout the testing period, we found that one of the most impressive aspects of these strips — especially considering the one-hour treatment time — is the tacky surface, which sticks to teeth effectively for long periods of time. We also loved the shape and size of the strips as they never touched our gums and, therefore, didn’t increase the risk of sensitivity. The strips are on the more expensive side; however, we think they’re worth the price, considering you can use them as a one-time treatment and over time for brighter, whiter teeth.
Price at time of publish: $54.99
Number of Treatments: 7 | Time: 1 hour | Key Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Best Budget: Crest 3DWhitestrips Bright Dental Whitening Kit
These whitened our teeth up to four shades during the testing period.
The treatment time requirements are once per day for only 30 minutes.
While these slightly overlapped our gums, we never experienced sensitivity.
These are a little more noticeable on the teeth compared to the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express.
We wish these had a mint flavor, which would make the taste experience more enjoyable.
If you’re looking for another Crest whitening strip product that is a little less expensive, we were also highly impressed by the Crest 3DWhitestrips Bright Dental Whitening Kit. Unlike the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express, these whitening strips are designed to be used over an 11-day treatment period and can effectively whiten teeth by several shades.
Formulated with gentle hydrogen peroxide, these white strips are meant to be used once per day for 30 minutes. After the testing period finished, our teeth were whitened from S12 to S8. They’re easy to use, have a secure fit, and the residue doesn’t leak through the sides.
Due to the shape of our teeth, these strips were a little more noticeable compared to the express option and overlapped our gums slightly but, despite that, never caused sensitivity. We wish they were available in a mint flavor, but beyond that, they were comfortable and stayed put throughout the 30-minute treatment time.
Price at time of publish: $25.99
Number of Treatments: 11 | Time: 30 minutes | Key Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Runner-Up, Best Budget: Persmax Teeth Whitening Strips
These grip the teeth well and have a snug fit.
We saw a change in teeth brightness after the first use.
We found these were quite comfortable to wear compared to others we tested.
They only brightened the teeth by a few shades (though we still loved the results).
For another less expensive option, consider the Persmax Teeth Whitening Strips. These whitening strips are designed with excellent grip and a snug and comfortable fit, so you don’t have to worry about slipping and sliding during the 30-minute treatment period.
Additionally, they are formulated with gentle yet effective hydrogen peroxide and although they only brighten teeth by a few shades, we saw a noticeable difference in our teeth color after just one use.
Price at time of publish: $30.99
Number of Treatments: 14 | Time: 30 minutes | Key Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Best Dentist-Approved: Crest 3DWhitestrips Glamorous White
These brightened teeth after just one use, and after 14 treatments, our teeth went from S10 to S8.
We didn’t experience teeth or gum sensitivity during or after the testing period.
These are great for maintaining teeth whiteness.
The strip for the bottom teeth isn’t as secure as the strip for the top teeth.
The strips are a little slimy.
Dentists love the Crest 3DWhitestrips Glamorous White, and after testing them for a couple of weeks, so do we. These Crest white strips are formulated with hydrogen peroxide for a gentle yet effective glow-up and take only 30 minutes to cure on the teeth — but we totally noticed a difference after just one use and without experiencing sensitivity. We love these as both an at-home whitening treatment and for maintenance, as they work effectively at reducing stain build-up. After 14 treatments, our teeth went from S10 to S8.
While they have a comfortable fit, we found that the bottom strips weren’t as secure as the top strips, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind if you have fit concerns. Additionally, the strips felt a bit slimy halfway through the treatment time, so if you’re sensitive to texture, we recommend trying something else, such as the Crest 3DWhitestrips Bright Dental Whitening Kit.
Price at time of publish: $20.99 (orig. $44.99)
Number of Treatments: 14 treatments | Time: 30 minutes | Key Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Best for Sensitive Teeth: iSmile Teeth Whitening Strips
These fit well on the teeth and don’t overlap the gums.
Even though we experience sensitivity when whitening teeth, we found these were most comfortable and rarely caused a tingle over the two-week testing period.
These brightened teeth eight shades, going from an S24 to an S16.
These are more expensive than some of the other options (though they include 22 treatments).
If you have sensitive teeth or gums and are looking for at-home teeth whitening strips that can brighten and whiten without causing irritation (or those awful shooting pains that can occur), we recommend the iSmile Teeth Whitening Strips.
The PEOPLE Tested team member who tried these strips has highly sensitive teeth and usually experiences sensitivity with almost every whitening formula. However, they only noticed a few tingles here and there over the two-week testing period. Despite the more gentle formula, the strips were still able to lighten teeth eight shades (going from S24 to S16), thanks to the hydrogen peroxide-based formula.
Albeit a little expensive compared to some other options we tested, these whitening strips feature 22 treatments, making them still much cheaper than in-office treatments. Plus, they fit well on the teeth and can whiten teeth by several shades without irritating gums and teeth, making them well worth the splurge.
Price at time of publish: $44.99
Number of Treatments: 22 | Time: 30 minutes | Key Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Best Quick-Dissolving: Moon Oral Beauty Dissolving Whitening Strips
These have a super-thin feel that is barely noticeable (albeit a little slimy).
Their gentle formula makes them another great option for sensitive teeth and gums.
We saw results after just one use.
The treatment time is only 15 minutes, which is a much shorter period than most whitening strips.
When they dissolve, they do feel a little slimy on the teeth.
If you prefer a dissolving option, we found the best quick-dissolving teeth whitening strips are the Moon Oral Care Dissolving Whitening Strips. Formulated with gentle hydrogen peroxide, these strips are a great option for sensitive teeth and gums. They also effectively lightened teeth after just one treatment session. The super-thin feel is barely noticeable on the teeth, making them one of the more comfortable options on our list.
While the strips get a little slimy when dissolving, that is expected with dissolving whitening strips. Plus, we love how effective these are at brightening the teeth and removing stains, and the treatment time is only 15 minutes, so they’re well worth a little bit of slime.
Price at time of publish: $39.99
Number of Treatments: 28 | Time: 15 minutes | Key Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Best Application: Burst Oral Care Teeth Whitening Strips
These are super easy and convenient to use, plus they have a great fit.
The strips have a barely-there feel and stay put for the entire treatment time.
They are a great value for 10 treatments.
They include soothing aloe vera and coconut oil.
They only brighten teeth by a couple of shades.
For the best application, consider the Burst Oral Care Teeth Whitening Strips, which are a great value for 10 treatments. We love these because they are not only super convenient, but they have an excellent fit and a barely-there feeling that stays put the entire treatment time. In addition to their great value and excellent application, these whitening strips are formulated with only 6 percent hydrogen peroxide, so they’re another good option for sensitive gums and teeth (though this also means they aren’t strong enough to brighten teeth beyond a few shades). Plus, they feature nourishing and soothing aloe vera and coconut oil for added gum and teeth perks.
Price at time of publish: $29.99
Number of Treatments: 10 | Time: 15 minutes | Key Ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide
Best Deep Whitening: Rembrandt 1 Week Teeth Whitening Kit
These whitened our teeth from an S24 to S10 shade.
They feature a one-week treatment plan.
They didn’t have a lot of foaming or sticky residue, which isn’t usually the case with whitening strips.
The strips touch the gums, so they don’t have the greatest fit.
If you want ultra-effective whitening strips and can commit to a one-week treatment plan, we recommend the REMBRANDT Deeply White + Peroxide 1 Week Teeth Whitening Kit, which you can order on Amazon. This teeth whitening kit comes with 14 treatments that you use morning and night for seven days. Although the strips touch the gums and aren’t the greatest fit, they were by far one of the best options for actually whitening teeth as they lightened our pearly whites from S24 to S10. They also don’t have any of that weird foaming or sticky residue that can often come with whitening strips, and they only take one week to achieve incredible results.
Price at time of publish: $32.49
Number of Treatments: 14 | Time: 30 minutes | Key Ingredients: Peroxide
Others We Tested
DrDent Professional Teeth Whitening Strips: In addition to our top picks for the best whitening strips, we also think the DrDent Professional Teeth Whitening Strips are worth considering. While these white strips weren’t as impressive as some of the others on our list, we still think this is an excellent at-home whitening option for those shopping for cheap whitening strips on Amazon. They provide decent stain removal — our teeth were two shades lighter after seven days of treatment — and don’t cause sensitivity, so they’re a good option for those with light stains or sensitive teeth.
Made by Dentists Express Teeth Whitening Strips: The Made by Dentists Express Teeth Whitening Strips are another option worth mentioning due to how easy they are to apply to the teeth and how comfortable they are on sensitive teeth and gums. While they don’t boast outstanding whitening results, we think that they are a good option for maintenance as they help lift away light staining.
Snow The Magic Strips: If you’re concerned about gum sensitivity, the Snow The Magic Strips are another one of our honorable mentions worth considering. While we found that these strips were a little small and didn’t love how they dissolved on the teeth, we found that these were still effective at brightening by a few shades and never once made sensitive teeth or gums feel uncomfortable. Additionally, these whitening strips are one of the best-tasting option on our list with a lavender mint flavor.
Things to Consider Before Buying Teeth Whitening Strips
To find the most effective teeth whitening strips, Ang says to consider the formula and look for ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. “These are the two most common whitening agents used in both professional and at-home treatments since they have been proven clinically effective at whitening teeth,” she tells PEOPLE.
With this in mind, all our top picks — including our best overall pick, the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express — are formulated with hydrogen peroxide for an effective at-home teeth whitening solution.
In addition to ingredients, Ang says to look at the concentration of active whitening ingredients (such as hydrogen peroxide) as a higher concentration equates to faster results. “Most over-the-counter treatments will have a concentration under 16 percent peroxide,” she explains. For fast-acting teeth whitening strips, consider the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express, which is formulated with 10% hydrogen peroxide to remove stains in a single one-hour session with results lasting up to six months.
With that said, Ang says don’t discount lower concentrations entirely, as higher concentrations come with a greater chance of tooth or gum sensitivity. So, if you have a more sensitive mouth or are concerned about sensitivity caused by teeth whitening, look for lower-concentration formulas (just know that these might take a little longer to reach full effect). Although it wasn’t one of the most effective teeth whitening strips we tried, the Made by Dentists Express Teeth Whitening Strips (which include 1 percent hydrogen peroxide) are safe for sensitive teeth and worth considering if you have sensitivity. They can provide some whitening effects over time and also won’t irritate the gums or teeth.
Since teeth whitening strips are supposed to be convenient, it’s also worth looking at the treatment commitment and how long it takes to see results. In most cases, whitening strips take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, twice daily, over one or two weeks. However, quicker solutions, such as the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express, provide a whitening effect in a single one-hour session. According to Michael Kosdon, DDS, a cosmetic dentist, the time frame doesn’t mean a formula is better or worse instead, it’s about choosing a product that fits into your preferred time frame for results.
How We Tested
To find the best teeth whitening strips, our PEOPLE Tested team researched dozens of options before narrowing it down to 16 top picks. From there, we conducted real-world testing based on the strips’ individual treatment times and instructions to better understand how each formula works at lifting stains and brightening teeth.
Throughout the testing period, we carefully considered the ease of use, effectiveness, and value while also making note of comfort to find options that work well and are comfortable on sensitive gums and teeth. Additionally, we examined the treatment requirements, including individual times and overall treatment length, to determine convenience and effectiveness.
After testing the whitening strips based on their individual treatment requirements, we compiled all of our notes together and thoroughly reviewed our experiences. We compared treatment time requirements, convenience, and how effective each formula was at removing stains and whitening teeth. Plus, we noted the overall price and value for each treatment to determine which whitening strips were worth it.
After much deliberation, we narrowed down our top picks to the eight best whitening strips, plus a few additional honorable mentions worth considering.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best whitening strips for fast results?
Our top pick for the best whitening strips for fast results is the Crest 3DWhitestrips 1-Hour Express. These teeth whitening strips are designed for single-use sessions and can whiten teeth effectively in just one hour, with results lasting for up to six months. For something a little less expensive, we also loved the Crest 3DWhitestrips Bright Dental Whitening Kit, which gently and effectively lifts away stains over the course of two weeks.
Do white strips work on yellow teeth?
According to Kosdon, teeth whitening strips work best on teeth with yellow staining caused by foods, coffee, and aging, as they can lift away the stains over time and restore your natural tooth color. With that said, if your natural tooth color is slightly yellow and you want to make them brighter, Kosdon says whitening strips aren’t effective as they won’t whiten teeth beyond the color they grew in.
If you’re unsure about whether or not whitening strips can transform your teeth color, Ang recommends consulting with a dentist to find out what kind of staining (if any) you might have and if white strips are the best solution.
What happens if you leave whitening strips on longer than 30 minutes?
When whitening teeth at home with strips, always follow the recommended treatment time. “If whitening strips are left on the teeth longer than the recommended time, this can lead to potential side effects including gum irritation, tooth sensitivity, uneven whitening results, and even potential gastrointestinal upset due to ingesting the active ingredients,” says Ang. Additionally, overuse or extended use beyond what is recommended can damage the tooth's outer layer (aka the enamel).
If you experience any of these side effects or a negative reaction to whitening strips, Ang says it’s advised to discontinue use and discuss concerns with your dentist.
Do I rinse after whitening strips?
Rinsing after whitening strips is recommended to remove any excess whitening gel on the teeth. “This could help prevent the excess gel from migrating to the gums and causing irritation,” Ang notes.
Do I brush my teeth after whitening strips?
You can definitely brush your teeth after whitening strips to remove the residual whitening gel from the teeth. However, Ang says to keep in mind that active gels can cause damage to the tooth if brushing is aggressive or a hard-bristle toothbrush is used. “Use a soft or even extra-soft bristle toothbrush and be cognizant to gently brush all surfaces to prevent damage to the teeth and gums,” she explains. “Brushing gently and with a soft-bristle toothbrush will not interfere or affect whitening unless the manufacturer specifically instructs not to brush after the use of the strips.
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Jessie Quinn is a contributing commerce writer for PEOPLE and has written for publications such as Byrdie, InStyle, The Spruce, NYLON, and more. When covering the best teeth whitening strips, Jessie thoroughly reviewed the PEOPLE Tested team’s notes and insights from the testing period to get an idea of how well each formula worked and carefully considered their treatment time, price, value, ease of use, and comfort, too.
Additionally, Jessie connected with the below dental experts to learn more about the benefits of teeth whitening strips and what to consider when shopping for safe and effective at-home whitening treatments.
Brittany Ang, DMD, MDS, MBS, board-certified orthodontist based out of New Jersey's Curve Orthodontics
Michael Kosdon, DDS, NYC-based cosmetic dentist and an active member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) and the American Dental Association (ADA)
What Is PEOPLE Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
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