In your life, half of what you do is directly impacted by what you see. When you meet people, you notice how they look. When you need to learn something new, you read about it. Vision is one of the most important parts of your life.
High quality glasses from traditional brands are expensive, which is why online glasses have become so popular in the past few years. They’re cheaper, without giving up on quality or looking good. There are lots of different online retailers for glasses, but we’re only going to focus on two here: Warby Parker and Zenni Optical.
Warby Parker Story
Warby Parker was founded by college kids who recognized the need for cheaper, quality glasses after losing their glasses on a backpacking trip. They created Warby Parker to be a brand that directly interacted with its consumers, making designer eyewear accessible for everyone. Their mission was to make buying glasses easy and fun. They did that and more, becoming a transformative lifestyle brand and a leader for socially conscious businesses around the world.
Zenni Optical Story
Created by two scientists in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zenni Optical was created to provide everyone the opportunity to look good while wearing affordable glasses. Their glasses are extremely low-priced, and are popular with people of all ages due to their affordability and variety.
How It’s Made: Warby Parker
Warby Parker glasses are made with the best of the best. Designed in-house, frames are made from custom-designed colors sourced from a family-run factory in Italy, cut using high-tech machines, tumbled in wood chips, and finally hand – assembled and polished. Lenses are custom cut and polished. They are made to be anti-reflective, impact, scratch, and smudge resistant, along with blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Each pair of Warby Parker glasses you order is custom-made and hand-inspected before being sent to you!
How It’s Made: Zenni Optical
All glasses are designed, made, and assembled in Zenni Optical’s own factory. Lenses are made in the Zenni Prescription Lab to be hard, anti-reflective, and tinted if specified. Frames are made using hypoallergenic acetate, then polished before being sent to the Edging Labs with the lenses for final assembly. Zenni makes sure to check for quality throughout each stage of glasses production.
Warby Parker’s Glasses
Warby Parker designs are inspired by vintage glasses, and come in dozens of different styles for men and women. They offer eyeglasses, sunglasses, monocles, and have recently come out with a Blue Light glasses line to help prevent the damages of screen usage. Eyeglasses include single-vision prescriptions, progressive glasses, non-prescription glasses, prism correction, polarization, along with coming in grey, green, brown, and blue lens colors to mix up your look.
Zenni Optical’s Glasses
Zenni Optical offers glasses for men, women, and children. Glasses types include prescription glasses, sunglasses (polarized and not), blue light glasses, and non-prescription glasses with and without magnification. Their prescription glasses cover single vision glasses, bifocals, work space forgiveness glasses, and progressives.
Warby Parker offers eye exams at, or near, many of their locations, so you can extend and renew your prescription before getting your glasses. You can make an appointment for an eye exam online, and check or update your prescription through Warby Parker’s Prescription Check App.
At this time, Zenni Optical does not offer any resources for renewing or extending your eyeglass prescription.
Warby Parker Price
All Warby Parker glasses start at $95, with added costs for prescriptions, polarization, and other customizations. However, because a huge part of Warby Parker’s mission is to lower the cost of glasses, your flexible spending account (FSA) and health spending account (HSA) dollars are applicable to all prescription glasses, eye exams, prescription sunglasses, and contact lenses, drastically lowering the cost. If you don’t have FSA or HSA benefits, you can still use your insurance for a discount at checkout.
Zenni Optical Price
Zenni Optical glasses are some of the cheapest out there, starting at just $6.95 for some single-vision prescription glasses (plus shipping). At this time, they do not offer any FSA, HSA, or insurance discounts.
Returning Warby Parker
One of the best parts of the Warby Parker experience is their 5 for 5 model, where they let you try on 5 glasses of your choice for 5 days, at no cost to you (not even shipping). If you like one the pairs, all you have to do is send the glasses back and order a new pair of the ones you like online.
Zenni glasses are returnable for a 100% store credit or 50% refund for up to 30 days after purchasing. Additionally, all Zenni Optical glasses have a 30-day warranty on frames and a lifetime warranty on nose pads and nose screws.
Warby Parker was founded with the belief that everyone should possess the right to see. For every pair of glasses bought, Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses to a person in need, and has donated over 5 million pairs of glasses to over 50 countries since its founding.
Zenni Optical does not engage in any charitable practices at this time.
After comparing the specifics of Warby Parker and Zenni Optical, the choice is pretty clear. Warby Parker might be more expensive on paper than Zenni, but their service and charitable practices can’t be beat. A real clincher for us was their 5 for five model, their prescription help, and their insurance discounts, which we believe really helped to lower the overall cost of glasses shopping when it came to efficiency and time spent shopping. Zenni Optical is a great option for people who know what they like, and want what they like at a cheap price, but when it comes to overall quality Warby Parker just can’t be beat.