In this post, I will explore some of the differences between the following four major discount online glasses retailers:
Note that I am not including the discounted designer eyewear sites. I am also not including every possible configuration as this becomes prohibitive with half a dozen lens types plus half a dozen lens options for each type. Plus certain online eyewear stores offer discounts based on certain feature combinations (e.g. $15 off if you purchase all three coatings ala GlassesUSA) This table gives you a feel for the pricing of different retailers and provides a first look into the most common options.
|Base price §||$25||$7||$39||$38|
|Thin lens (1.6)||+$18||+$34||+$0||+$29|
|Thinner lens (1.67)||+$28||+$67||+$30||+$67|
|Anti UV Coating||+$0||+$5||+$0||+$10|
|Anti Reflective Coating||+$0||+$7||+$25||+$15|
|Anti Scratch Coating||+$0||+$0||+$0||+$10|
|Photochromatic Lens #||+$37||+$36||+$50||+$119|
|Priciest standard config
§ For this exercise, I chose the cheapest frame available. Typically a basic alloy frame.
# Photochromatic lenses are “transition” lenses — they automatically darken in the sunlight
* Includes anti-scratch and anti-UV coating and a 1.6 thin lens.
Some additional notes on the table above: The “Base price” row shows the cheapest glasses you can buy. This is the absolute least amount of money you could spend at the retailer. It isn’t apples-to-apples among the online glasses sites, however. For example, 39DollarGlasses gives you a thin lens and two coatings in the base price, whereas EyeBuyDirect gives you a thick lens and no coatings. I did attempt to create an apples-to-apples comparison in the “typical” row. This is in the range of what you will probably actually spend. The “Priciest standard config” is simply the most expensive pair I could build from the frame used as the given “base price.”
So, if you want to spend the absolute least amount of money, go with a $7 pair at Goggles4U because of repeated customer complaints. 39DollarGlasses has also been something of a mixed bag, but still a better option than Goggles4U.. The “added features” such as ultra-thin lens and photochromatic (“transition”) lens cost the least at Goggles4U and 39DollarGlasses. However, I can’t recommend
Remember that, like anything else, you get what you pay for. The cheapest of the cheap out there aren’t really suitable for daily wearers. The metal alloy is lousy and prone to breakage. However, sometimes we just need a backup pair or we are really hard up for cash. For the most part, I’d recommend configuring a decent pair at either GlassesUSA or . Both have consistently pleased customers. In fact, my daily wearers come from and have been going strong for two years now. I will also note here that GlassesUSA typically has the best coupons, offering as much as 30% off.
UPDATED JUL 2011