beginner's guide to buying glasses online: coastal & zenni optical

So you're in need of new spectacles but don't want to shell out $150 for a pair from Lens Crafters? Well, this is a blog post that will definitely benefit you!

Before you order from an online retailer, you NEED to make sure you have the following:

  • A prescription no older than 12 months old (note: contact lens prescriptions are not the same!)
  • Your PD, or "pupillary distance." Everyone's is different, but your optometrist will be able to tell you this.
  • Any special instructions from your eye doctor (mine told me I needed a polycarbonate lens due to my eye conditions, so I had to look for that especially when ordering my glasses)
With all that, you're ready to start picking out your new glasses!

I ordered from two online retailers for a few reasons. The first being I haven't gotten new glasses in a while, so I was in desperate need of an updated pair. Aside from that, each pair ended up costing me around $30 each, so I really wasn't limited (my previous pair were part of a 2 for $88 deal) since I gave myself a $100 budget.

Let's compare the companies now, shall we?

You've likely seen their ad on facebook all time time, offering a "free pair" to first timers. I was browsing one day and decided to check it out... and it was exactly what it offered. One free pair (with use of coupon code "FIRSTPAIRFREE") no matter the price of the frame. 

What I liked: 
  • With your first pair, the only thing you pay for is the upgrade options (like my polycarbonate option - $24.99) and shipping. 
  • Shipping said it would be 3 days and I had no idea it would indeed be that fast! I ordered my glasseson a Sunday and got them the next Wednesday.
  • The glasses I got feel very sturdy and durable.
  • The company donates a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair purchased! Kind of like the famous "Toms" shoes, but with glasses.

What I didn't like:
  • At times, the website was a little hard to navigate and a bit glitchy. I added my glasses to my cart 3 times before they actually showed up! This could be slightly aggravating for someone that isn't too computer savvy.
  • The "virtual try-on" feature didn't work at ALL with my face... but maybe that's because I have a funny shaped head.


Zenni Optical

Zenni is another ad I've seen plenty of times on the side of my facebook feed. Though they don't offer a free pair, they do offer relatively inexpensive frames on their website (from $6.95 - $45.95).

What I liked:
  • Shipping was a flat $4.95 no matter how many pairs you ordered
  • The website was easy to navigate, especially the ordering section
  • So many choices! If there isn't a single pair you like on this website, I'd be surprised
  • The "virtual try-on" was a lot easier to work than's
  • The cost! No introductory offer, but still just as cheap. I'll definitely be referring them to everyone and probably ordering from them again eventually.

What I didn't like:
  • The frames I got feel kind of fragile, but it could be because I picked ones made with delicate material necessary for the detailing.
  • Shipping was a lot slower than Coastal (though still not too bad)
  • The packaging could've been better... but I'm just happy my frames made it to me in one piece! USPS likes to manhandle all my bubble envelopes

Overall scores: I give 4.5/5 stars for excellent turnaround time, fashionable frames & affordability. I give 3.5/5 stars for affordability, range of choices & overall great value.

Sidenote: sensitive info blurred out to protect my identity, sorry it makes the images a little ugly! Also, I bought these all with my own [hard-earned] money and gave honest and unbiased reviews! Nothing in this post was given to me for free.


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