We’ve gotten this question a lot lately: Where are the best places to buy eyeglasses online? And we actually love answering this question because this. is. our. JAM! That’s right, guys. It’s our jam. As a four-eyed couple who need our glasses to partake in any activity that requires us to see things at a distance like driving (safely), catching a movie (comfortably), watching games on TV (sans squinting), sporting events in general (happily) etc. etc. we’ve spent a lot of time searching the for stylish, comfortable, high quality glasses.
When we both had our very first eye exams, the optometrist excitedly showed us the way to their “wall of frames” and told us to choose. Summary? It was anything but exciting. Since then, we’ve made shopping for glasses a mostly online endeavor in our house, which can be a little bit tricky. After all, how do you know if you love them without actually seeing them on your face? So if you, too are anywhere from slightly to extremely underwhelmed with your local optometrists lackluster selection of frames that would be better suited for the Smithsonian than on your face, we give you The Ultimate Guide to Shopping for Eyeglasses Online. Imagine that we said that in a very James Earl Jones voice. Drama, people. All the drama.
Our expert level breakdown of our five favorite places to shop for glasses online will take you through why each site is awesome, what kinds of styles or brands they offer and what you can expect to spend. Neither of us has ever worn contacts so we wear our frames every day, and after wearing the same pair for a while we start to crave a refresh. Just like clothes, we like to switch it up! Variety is the spice of life, and we like our frames as spicy as possible. See what I did there? So, so very spicy. I digress. But it’s for this reason that we tend to gravitate toward affordable frames that are also of great quality, so you’ll notice that we talk about that a lot when discussing each site.
So without further ado, we give you (cue the James Earl Jones voice) The Ultimate Guide To Shopping for Eyeglasses Online…
1. Warby Parker
We’re sure you’ve heard of Warby by now because they just have great frames period and they’re the cool girl (guy?) of the eyeglass website high school. They have solid, high quality frames at prices I think most bespectacled people can live with, and their Home Try-On program is one of our very favorite things about them. At $95 to around $145 a piece, they’re not the cheapest frames in the online market, but they’re not the most expensive either.
The Home Try-On program is so awesome and easy to use. Here’s how that works: you pick five styles you’re into on their site, put them in your Home Try-On cart, your 5 selections ship to you in one box, you try them all on at home within 5 days and then you send the box right back to them, which they make super easy for you. Now you’re ready to order the frames you loved with your prescription! Super easy and their site is insanely user friendly. If all online specs purveyors had an easy, seamless home try-on program like Warby does, they’d be better for it. We also enjoy that you can see a really high resolution image of the frames on a model, and move their head around with your mouse to see different angles. Their frames are high quality and they have several different lens options when ordering.
We wish they released more new styles, more often, in a wider variety of colors. They don’t release that many new styles each season (just a few), and that kind of keeps us from going back to Warby more often. They also tend to stick with mostly classic colorways and materials, which we can totally appreciate, but we’d love to see them release a range of new styles in some really fun colors (preferably milky pastels, if anyone’s asking). And though we do think that their frames are high quality and durable, we find them slightly more stiff than our other frames, which is most likely because the styles we’ve purchased don’t have spring hinges. In our experience, this means that they’re not very flexible, and their hinges loosen often so you’re stuck tightening them frequently.
Shop Our Warby Parker Favorites
Coastal is great because they have such a wide variety of frames to choose from, both from brands we/you know and love and brands that are unique to them that other eyeglass sites don’t have. Because of this the prices vary greatly from super inexpensive to slightly pricey, but are mostly affordable.
We love that they carry so many brands we’re familiar with at great prices, but also a ton of other brands that are new to us, too and that you won’t find anywhere else. They have a great selection of styles that range from funky to totally classic and the same goes for their colors in those styles. Their site is really user friendly in general and the checkout process is easy and straightforward. The photos of each pair of frames are also huge and high resolution, so you can get a pretty accurate sense of what they look like in real life. They have user submitted reviews on their site which are so helpful, which also include tons of user uploaded photos of the frames so that you can see what they look like on a real person’s face before you commit. Such a great feature and again, just so helpful. The search filters on their site are also pretty robust and easy to use.
They don’t have photos of very many of their frames on a model’s face, which is always a big let down for us, so the user uploaded photos in the review section will have to do. However, not all of their frames have user uploaded photos to accompany them. It’s hit or miss on that front. They also don’t have a home try-on or virtual try-on feature, so you won’t be able to get a sense of what they’ll look like on your face. We don’t know first-hand what their return process is like either, so can’t speak to whether the guessing game of ordering frames and having no idea how they’ll actually look is a real problem or only a minor inconvenience.
Shop Our Coastal.com Favorites
EyeBuyDirect is one of our very favorite places to buy frames, and that’s because they have some of the most affordable frames on the market, they’re high quality for the price point and they have so many great styles and colors to choose from.
Their site is very user friendly with really helpful and extensive search filters and like we said, their frames are insanely affordable. They’re surprisingly high quality frames for the price, and they have so many styles to choose from, with frequent new releases, too. Seriously… they have every style under the sun, so they’re guaranteed to have a style you love in a variety of colors to choose from. Their site also features high resolution images of most of the frames on a model and even video for some of them, which is really helpful. They also feature reviews of all of their frames, and they’re generally extremely positive! They have several different lens options to choose from at different price points, with great descriptions of each lens choice so you know what they do and why you might need or like them. Chris really loves this feature and always gets the anti glare lenses and loves them — they do have a slight green tint when he turns his face different ways and they hit certain light, but it’s not overwhelming or ugly in any way.
The shipping takes a little bit longer than we’d like, and they don’t necessarily have the most impressive packaging, but it totally works for them. And for us! They also offer different sizes in many of their frames, which can be a little bit confusing. Maybe that’s a “pro” for some people because if you have a large or small face you can still get the style of frames you love, but it generally just overwhelms us and makes us spend way too much time analyzing which size is the right size for our face. They also don’t feature any name brand/designer specs that you’d recognize, so if that’s what you’re looking for this isn’t the site for you.
Shop Our EyeBuyDirect Favorites
Much like EyeBuyDirect, Zenni’s affordability and abundance of style choices are their strengths and we’re sure this is why they’ve become such a popular online destination for buying glasses. This is one that we haven’t personally purchased from, but we have perused their site extensively and become familiar with how it works and have also heard rave reviews from friends.
Affordability, affordability, affordability. Their specs are some of the most affordable specs out there, and they’ve got an extensive selection of stylish frames to choose from. They really are almost exactly like EyeBuyDirect in that regard. They carry their own styles as opposed to name brands that you’d recognize, have such a fun array of color choices and materials for their frames, and there are so many on-trend options to love. Their site also features a large user review section of each style, which as we’ve mentioned before is so helpful. Some of those reviews even feature photos submitted by the user, which is a great way to see what the frames actually look like on a real person. One thing we love about their site overall is that when you’re searching all of their frames, if you hover over a style that you may be interested in, on the right hand side of the screen you’ll see a photo of a model and the frames immediately pop onto their face, so you can decide if you really like them before you click and dive deeper. Another awesome feature of their site is that if you press “Try On” below each frame, you can not only see photos of what the frames look like on several different models (with different face shapes, hair colors, skin colors, etc.), but can also upload a photo of yourself to do a virtual try-on. That’s so helpful and we really wish everyone did this. The site has awesome search filters, and the ordering process also appears to be user friendly and straight forward, which is always nice.
We honestly don’t have any cons to offer about their site or the styles they carry, and we have yet to order a pair from them to know what their frames are really like in person, or what their shipping times or packaging are like. So we’ll leave this one up to the reviews on their site for now – make sure you check them out if you’re considering committing to a pair!
Shop Our Zenni Favorites
The addition of LensCrafters to this list surprised even us, but when we really thought about all of the online eyeglass purveyors out there and what all of their strengths and weaknesses are, we just couldn’t deny LensCrafters strengths. They’re dependable, have the best selection of designer brands and the site is very user friendly.
If dependability and quality are what you’re looking for, it doesn’t get better than this. Their site is extremely user friendly, they carry almost every single designer brand that makes eyeglasses and their high resolution photos of the frames with 360 degree views that you can control with your mouse are so helpful in getting a true idea of what the frames look like. It’s hard to deny that some of the frames from designer brands like Celine, Chloe, Ray Ban, Tory Burch, Burberry, Persol and more are truly beautiful, and LensCrafters has the most extensive, up to date selection of those styles on the web. They also have helpful search filters on their site and the ordering process is very easy and straight forward.
The one major downside that you’ll no doubt notice right away about LensCrafters is that in comparison to the other sites we’ve listed, their price points are very high. Their frames are some of the most expensive you’ll come across, and simply can’t compete with sites like Zenni and EyeBuyDirect on the pricing front. We like to call these our “investment pieces”. See below for our “Honorable Mention” sites that carry some of the same designer brands LensCrafters does at a fraction of the price.
Shop Our LensCrafters Favorites
Other Great Places to Buy Affordable Glasses Online
Don’t be put off by the name – this site is, in fact, legit. They sell designer frames at slightly discounted prices and there’s a huge selection to choose from. They’ve been around for about a decade now and they really have every brand and style you would possibly want, and they make ordering fairly simple. This mint pair of Chloe glasses is amazing, as is the blue version. The only downside to this site is that the images aren’t great making it tough to get a really good look at the frames.
Glasses USA doesn’t have the most user friendly site and the photos of their frames aren’t the best, but what they do have are a lot of recognizable designer brands at seriously discounted prices. They carry a lot of the same designer styles that LensCrafters carries, but often at much lower prices. They also frequently have major discount codes, which is always a plus when you’re shopping designer frames, so make sure you check for those on their home page and on RetailMeNot.com before you buy so you don’t miss out on some savings!