Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Best Place to Buy Eye Glasses Online: 40 Hours of Testing + 37-Point Inspection

After an exhaustive 40 hours researching, ordering, wearing, testing, and returning glasses online over the past few months, we’ve found that EYECONIC is the best place to buy glasses online. EYECONIC scored the highest on our 37-point inspection, in which we rated the experience of pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. They stood out for their seamless, charming, and intuitive website and service, their product choice, return & exchange policy, ease of entering a prescription, as well as their virtual try-on tool which was easy, fun, and critically important in selecting the right frames for my face. With 841 male and unisex frames, and brands both familiar and intriguing, I can say EYECONIC truly delivers on their company promise: “the ease you expect online, plus the human touch you don't.” The close runner-up was Warby Parker, with the edge going to EYECONIC due to a greater selection, a fantastic virtual try-on tool, and helpful reviews for their frames up front on the product page. So keep reading my online eyeglasses review of the best stores on the web today, and learn everything you need to know before you order your next pair of frames.

The Top Eye Glass Stores Compared

Selection & Design

15 out of the 40 total hours searching for the best places to buy glasses online was spent solely researching, evaluating, and comparing the facade of the websites. We considered each site on the basis of volume and diversity of frame selection. We evaluated for a wide volume and diversity of frame design and color in addition to the kinds of tools offered for the fitting process.
"15 out of the 40 total hours searching for the best places to buy glasses online was spent solely researching, evaluating, and comparing the facade of the websites."
And because choosing and wearing a frame is a fashion choice, and not just about function, we spent another 5 hours evaluating the design of each site to get a sense of the company’s sense of style. A well-designed site signals that the people behind it care a great deal about communicating that they share an interest in well-designed and good looking things. That expertise instills trust and confidence in the shopper that they are buying well designed and stylish frames.
"We spent 35 hours subjecting each of these five sites to a 37-point inspection covering the experience..."
Once we had 10 websites that met all the above requirements, we then narrowed those down to the top five. We spent 35 hours subjecting each of these five sites to a 37-point inspection covering the experience of pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase, including searching, sorting, comparing, ordering, wearing, and returning glasses from each one. We scored every site on a scale of 10 for selection, price, design, ease of use, customer service, product page design and function, checkout process, delivery estimates, delivery experience, and the return process-- just to name a few of the 37 different aspects measured.

Hands-on Ordering and Testing with Each Store

Eyeconic - The Best Place to Buy Glasses Online

For a first-time glasses wearer or a veteran of the frame game, for budgets big and small, this is pound for pound the best online glasses retailer. PROS:
  • The best thought-out site for the best online experience
  • Great stylish frames with a range of affordable pricing
  • The best virtual try-on tool on any glasses site
  • Useful reviews
  • Easy uploading of your prescription
  • A fantastic self-serve process to generate pre-paid shipping labels for free returns
  • Lack of product videos and photography with models
  • Some of their selection is priced quite high
  • Slightly inconvenient customer service hours for phone calls
  • A somewhat longer lead time for shipping

Warby Parker - Best for Affordable Style

The best place for affordable style. Possibly the best-known name in online glasses shopping, and with good reason. If you already have a sense of what styles fit your face, but you’re budget sensitive and still want style, an easy ordering process, and you don’t mind seeing only one brand’s selection, then Warby Parker is a great place to shop. PROS:
  • Stylish glasses, affordable pricing
  • A streamlined experience from beginning to end
  • In my opinion the best customer service in the industry
  • Limited amount of information when it comes to fit
  • No virtual try-on tools
  • They only carry their own brand
  • A limited amount of selection compared to other sites


Aesthetically speaking, this site wins the design award. They offer some of the best-looking frames I’ve seen, on the best looking product pages around. Unfortunately, they have real work to do under the hood of this great-looking site. PROS:
  • An amazing selection of high quality educational “how-to” videos
  • The best privacy policy among the top 5 stores
  • Quick and free shipping
  • The best packaging/presentation experience I encountered
  • An extremely frustrating and essentially non-functioning virtual try-on tool,
  • Some of the most expensive frames out of the sites I’ve looked at, with frames as high as $430 before adding the lens price
  • An awkward checkout process


If you favor utility over style when it comes to a store design, then this is the place for you. PROS:
  • Friendly website
  • A huge selection
  • Some really unbelievably cheap prices
  • Aesthetically unappealing site compared to the others
  • Inconsistent customer service experience
  • Unfortunately, they made a mistake with my prescription

Coastal - Best for Veteran Eye Shoppers

Best for veteran eyewear shoppers who know a lot about what they’re after. While Coastal scored the lowest on our assessment, they are still a valid option in the search for affordable, stylish glasses. PROS:
  • A large selection of frames
  • Some unique frames that you won’t find anywhere else
  • A decent range of pricing
  • And extremely convenient customer service hours
  • An inconsistent presentation of different frames
  • An overly minimal design scheme to the site
  • Blatant design errors
  • A lackluster functionality to the site as a whole, forcing the user to manually enter their prescription
  • And a fitting tool that I couldn’t figure out

Frequently Asked Questions About Eye Glasses

How We Score and Ranked The Stores

Note: because this scoring system is long and fairly complicated we've decided to link the spreadsheet for your convenience (it's too large to display on this website), which you can view here. That said, it was used by the author to evaluate each store on an objective level. Resource Links:
  • Eye Buy Direct, (Date Unknown). How to Buy Prescription Glasses online. Retrieved from http://www.Eyebuydirect.com/guides/how-to-buy-prescription-eyeglasses-online
  • Consumer Reports (12/29/2016). How to Avoid Being Gouged When Buying Eyeglasses. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/eyeglasses/buying-eyeglasses-avoid-being-gouged/
  • Zeiss, (2/1/2012). Tips for buying eyeglass: how to find the correct glasses for you. https://www.zeiss.com/vision-care/en_us/better-vision/understanding-vision/trends-and-advice/tips-for-buying-eyeglass-how-to-find-the-correct-glasses-for-you.html

Best Place to Buy Eye Glasses Online: 40 Hours of Testing + 37-Point Inspection is available on GadgetReview Website

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