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+ Extremely affordable eyewear from $6.95
+ Wide selection for men, women, and kids
- No brand name frames
- Paid shipping
Zenni Optical is a great online store for super-affordable prescription glasses. They have over 1500 frames in all shapes, makes and styles for adults and children, and allow customers to select and pay for only the extras they want. If you're looking for brand name or designer frames, look elsewhere. What they lack in designer styles, they make up for in serious cost savings on prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses.
About Zenni Optical
Founded in 2003 by husband and wife scientists in their Bay Area garage, Zenni Optical has been the place to turn to for affordable, stylish glasses for the last decade and a half. (They recently celebrated their 15th anniversary by selling their 20 millionth pair of glasses!)
The company’s mission has always been to offer people great-looking glasses at a fraction of the cost of designer brands.
Known for selling glasses as low as $6.95, you can find a dizzying array of styles and eyewear with over 1500 frames available.
The company is able to offer incredibly low-priced glasses by designing and producing all of their frames and lenses in-house. Being an online store, they also do not have retail overhead costs to pass on to you.
With their virtual try-on feature and multiple lens options, you can get a pair of prescription glasses or sunglasses at a great price without ever leaving home!
With corporate headquarters in Novato, CA, Zenni designs and produces all of their eyewear in their own 248,000 square foot manufacturing facility in China. From designing glasses with CAD software to manufacturing digital lenses, the entire operation is handled in-house from start to finish.
They produce men’s, women’s, and children’s glasses and sunglasses, as well as prescription sports glasses and goggles. Each day, their factory ships out over 7,000 pairs of glasses to over 80 countries.
Zenni makes selecting and purchasing glasses online as easy as possible. If you’ve never bought eyeglasses online before, they have a Quick Start dropdown guide located at the top right hand corner of the site with step-by-step instructions.
They also have helpful How-To video tutorials with additional information.
Each product page includes reviews and ratings for each frame from previous buyers. If you upload a photo of yourself, you can also visualize whether the glasses will look good on you.
Our Zenni Optical Review
A pioneer in offering ultra-affordable prescription glasses, Zenni continues to offer incredible prices with several hundred frames under $20. Not only that, single-vision prescription lenses are included in the price.
For our Zenni Optical review, we evaluated 4 pairs of glasses and sunglasses with different lens coatings and prescriptions. In our thorough tests, we put a critical eye towards style, durability, cost, and accuracy.
Lastly, we also review our overall shopping experience from start to finish, and provide our recommendations for who Zenni is best for.
Zenni Lens Quality – 9/10
Zenni offers customers a choice of lens materials and indexes. From standard CR-39 plastic lenses (what most people with low-mid strength prescriptions normally need) to 1.67 high-index, you can customize your lenses to the thickness and cost you prefer.
They also offer the super impact-resistant Trivex 1.53 index lens. This lens is a best-of-both worlds lens between the CR-39 and the 1.59 polycarbonate. It it thinner and more impact resistant than CR-39 but lighter weight and gives crisper images than polycarbonate. The Trivex lens costs an additional $29.95.
Aside from single-vision lenses, you can also get bifocals and progressive lenses.
For our Zenni Optical review, we ordered single-vision prescription lenses in the standard 1.50 index (included in the cost of the frame), as well as a rimless pair with the 1.59 polycarbonate lens ($9.00 extra). We found both to be good quality and didn’t experience any problems or notice inaccuracies with the prescription.
All their lenses come with anti-scratch and UV-protection coatings included free of charge, which is nice.
The one thing we would recommend if you’re planning to get the standard lens is to get the 1.57 mid-index since it doesn’t cost extra, is thinner, and has 100% UV protection.
It’s also important to note that your pupillary distance, or PD, should be accurately measured if you want to ensure that your prescription lenses are giving you the proper correction. If it’s off, it will affect your vision, even if your prescription is accurately made.
Zenni Frame Quality – 8/10
In our evaluation of Zenni’s frames, we chose a selection of glasses ranging from their lowest-priced $6.95 glasses to some of their top-end frames, as well as a few in the mid-range.
What we found is that the $6.95 glasses are pretty much what you’d expect to get for $6.95. That is to say, they’re serviceable, but rather cheap-looking and kind of flimsy. We estimate that they’d last about 8-10 months with normal wear and tear. But hey, for this price, you could always get another pair when it wears out.
Their mid-range glasses ($15-$30) fared better and we’d recommend them for most people looking to use them as their primary pair. Some of our favorite makes were their acetate, stainless steel, and mixed material frames.
The most expensive glasses at Zenni cost $45.95. We ordered a few pairs of varying materials just to see whether they were any better than the less expensive frames.
For the most part, we found them to be about the same quality as their mid-range glasses. We didn’t see the need to get one of these over one of the mid-range pairs if you’re concerned about quality (unless you happen to want a specific frame).
Zenni Style & Selection – 9/10
Zenni’s frames range from classic to trendy, but we did find most styles to be somewhat generic and cookie-cutter-esque. You’ll find all the trending shapes and styles available, but the detailing isn’t what you’ll get with boutique or designer brands.
Having said that, here are a few of our faves from their selection:
Zenni has a huge selection of frames. One of the best things about them is that you can turn any pair of glasses into sunglasses when you select your lenses. You can even get glasses with magnetic clip-on shades. Here’s one we liked:
Additionally, Zenni also sells glasses for kids, from tykes to teens. If you’re not sure what size will fit your child, there’s an age to size guide with recommendations. In the Size dropdown filter, you’ll see the suggested size if you select Kids, then click Yes next to “View By Suggested Age”:
For those of you with low nose bridges or high cheekbones, Zenni’s new Universal Bridge Fit Glasses provide a selection of frames that will fit your features better.
Overall, we found Zenni to have decent frames for the price, and a wide selection of styles. If you’re looking for discount glasses – whether you lose or break yours often, want a few different pairs to change up your look, or need a backup pair – Zenni is a great place to shop.
Zenni Customer Service – 7.5/10
Zenni has had a spotty record with customer service throughout the years. The chief complaints many users have mentioned are long hold times when calling customer service and difficulty getting a timely/satisfactory resolution to issues with their glasses or getting a refund.
Here’s a recent comment from a verified buyer on Consumer Affairs after contacting customer support for assistance replacing a defective pair:
Since we didn’t personally experience any problems with our glasses, we didn’t need to contact customer service to rectify any issues.
We did contact them via live chat during off-hours (11:30PM EST) to ask a question before we made a purchase, and were pleasantly surprised to get a representative within a couple minutes.
It’s important to note that Zenni’s refund policy is 50% or a one-time 100% store credit only excluding shipping if you request a return within 30 days from receipt of your glasses. In a lot of the negative reviews we saw, several people were upset to learn that the refund amount is only 50% of the cost of their purchase.
The verdict? If you don’t have any problems with the glasses you order, you’ll likely be happy with the service. Otherwise, if you need to contact them for help with any issues, it can be a frustrating experience.
Zenni Cost – 10/10
This one is pretty much a no-brainer since Zenni’s claim to fame is their super low cost eyewear. With frames (including single-vision prescription lenses) as low as $6.95, even with shipping you’re still paying way less than you would at any optical store or even other online shops.
The a la carte nature of Zenni’s customization options means that you’ll pay extra for additional lens options and treatments that aren’t included (UV-protection and anti-scratch coatings are included in all lenses). Below is their pricing for additional treatments:
|Solid Lens Tint||$4.95|
|Gradient Lens Tint||$7.95|
|1.50 Standard-Index Beyond UV Blue Blockers||$16.95|
|1.61 High-Index Beyond UV Blue Blockers||$29.95|
|1.67 High-Index Beyond UV Blue Blockers||$49.95|
|Sun: 1.50 Polarized (80% tint)||$32.99|
|Sun: 1.59 Polarized Polycarbonate Vision-Ease SunRx® (85% tint)||$72|
|Sun: 1.59 Polarized Polycarbonate Vision-Ease Coppertone® (90% tint)||$76|
|Sun: 1.61 Polarized (85% tint)||$69|
|Sun: 1.67 Polarized (85% tint)||$102|
|Sun: 1.50 Photochromic Transitions®||$69|
|Sun: 1.59 Photochromic Polycarbonate Gray Vision-Ease LifeRx®||$66|
|Sun: 1.61 Photochromic||$29|
|Sun: 1.61 Photochromic Transitions®||$139|
|Sun: 1.67 Photochromic Transitions®||$169|
On top of any additional lens options, you’ll also have to pay for shipping. While many online stores offer free shipping over a certain purchase amount, Zenni does not. Standard shipping costs $4.95 in the U.S., which takes about 2-3 weeks.
For faster delivery, you can upgrade to priority shipping ($7.45), which takes 10-14 days, or express ($18.95) for delivery in about a week.
Zenni Optical Review Final Thoughts
For super-affordable prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, it’s hard to beat the 800-lb. gorilla in the room that is Zenni. We’d recommend them if you’re looking for a great backup or secondary pair, or if you need new glasses each year. To save even more, check out the latest deals we found for them and other retailers.