From Popular Mechanics
If you're looking for a new pair of frames, the Internet is here to help. Lower prices, more options, and you get to skip the weird ritual of staring at your own face in a public place while wearing a pair of glasses that so many other coughing, sneezing, and probably not hand-washing strangers have also handled. Everybody wins! Here are five sites that will help you settle on your next specs.
When You Know What You Want
Some sites have so many options that they can be overwhelming. But if you aren't looking to browse-if you already have a pair of glasses that you really like and want something similar-these sites are very likely to have the glasses you're looking for. And they offer great deals and discounts. You can search by shape, material and color to narrow down the choices. Also note the dimensions of your current favorite pair. Most glasses have the numbers for the lens width, bridge width, and temple arm length printed on the inside of one of the arms. That way you'll be sure your new glasses will fit.
EyeBuyDirect has a super wide variety of frames, with starting prices as low as $6, and frequent discounts. Most of the frames' information pages helpfully show you what the glasses look like when modeled on both men and women.
Keep in mind that, although the frames themselves might be inexpensive, you'll still have to pay for lenses.
You'll also have to spring for shipping unless you meet a free delivery threshold of $99. EyeBuyDirect gives you 14 days to return the glasses for a full refund or an equal exchange, and they also offer one free replacement pair within the first year if "there are clear defects in material and workmanship."
The Japan-based company JINS, which put out these smart glasses back in 2015, also offers a decent selection of prescription glasses. Their frames are on the pricier side for online frames-mostly in the $80-$120 range, but that includes prescription, anti-glare, and UV-protective lenses. Shipping is free, and lenses and frames get a one-year warranty.
You also have the option to buy a "Collaboration Case" for your glasses for $5; all the proceeds go to select nonprofits that support causes like wildlife conservation and children's education. Full refunds or exchanges are allowed for non-sale items within the first 30 days after purchase, and JINS will send you a prepaid shipping label to send your glasses back.
Zenni gives you a lot of choices. A lot a lot. This site is best suited for someone who already knows exactly what they want and/or often breaks or loses their frames; they sell a bunch of very cheap pairs (some as low as $6.95, including no-frills prescription lenses) in, as mentioned, a lot of styles. (Last count: 1539.)
The search tools Zenni offers to help sort through all those choices are fairly useful: You can refine by color, shape, material, and size. Like many of the other sites, it also offers a style quiz to winnow down options. The suggestions feature is pretty on point. Like EyeBuyDirect, Zenni also has a lot of add-ons, so unless you're comfortable with the bare minimum, you might end up shelling out more than you expect.
Although the site does have a virtual "Try On" option-you upload your photo and the site superimposes an image of the frames on your face-and also aggregates images of people who have posted about a particular style on social media, those data points have some obvious limits. If you're waffling about a purchase and want to try it on before deciding, be aware that while you do have 30 days to return your frames, Zenni offers only a 50% refund if you want your money back. To get the full 100%, you'll have to take an in-store credit. Regardless of the refund you choose, you'll still have to pay for return shipping.
When You Need to Try Them On
If you don't know your size, are looking for a new style, or are just incredibly indecisive, these sites have great try-before-you-buy options.
The NYC-based retailer has made itself essentially synonymous with buying glasses on the web, and for good reason. WP's site makes it pretty painless to tune out the cacophony of choices and settle on a style that you'll actually like. In some ways, it's even better than visiting a brick-and-mortar store, where it can be difficult to keep track of the styles you actually liked as you try on every pair in the place.
If you need a little help figuring out what you want, fill out the 8-question starter quiz to narrow down the size, frame shape, and colors that you're looking for.