Warby Parker vs GlassesUSA – Where to Buy Cheap Prescription Glasses

Getting a new pair of prescription glasses can be an expensive endeavor. With lens options, coatings, and designer frames, the costs can easily exceed $300 or more at a typical optometrist’s office. Fortunately, there are now several good options for buying stylish, affordable prescription eyewear online.

In this comprehensive review, we compare two of the top options – Warby Parker and GlassesUSA – to help you find the best value when ordering glasses online. We break down their prices, selection, lens and coating options, buying process, and more to determine the pros and cons of each.

Introduction to Buying Glasses Online

The emergence of online prescription eyewear retailers over the past decade provides a budget-friendly alternative to brick-and-mortar optometry offices. Ordering glasses online cuts out the overhead costs of running a physical store, allowing for lower pricing. Two of the most popular online spots for eyeglasses are Warby Parker and GlassesUSA.

Both Warby Parker and GlassesUSA offer prescription lenses and stylish frames starting under $100. They have expanded frame selections beyond basic styles, now offering hundreds of designer brands. You can upload your prescription when placing an order online, then try frames on at home before deciding what to keep. Read on for a detailed side-by-side comparison of these two top budget eyewear e-tailers.

Pricing and Frames Comparison

Warby Parker Pricing

Warby Parker offers complete single vision glasses starting at $95 which includes the frame and lenses. Here’s a quick overview of their pricing:

  • Single vision lenses – $95
  • Progressive lenses – $295
  • High index lenses – $30 extra
  • Photochromic lenses – $75 extra
  • Blue light filtering – $50 extra
  • Other lens enhancements and coatings – $15-25 extra

They offer over 100 different frames, with most costing between $95-145. You can also pay a try-on fee of $5 to receive 5 frames to test out before deciding.

GlassesUSA Pricing

At GlassesUSA.com, prices for single vision glasses start at $38 which includes basic frames and standard plastic CR-39 lenses. They also offer:

  • Progressive lenses – $89-$299
  • High index lenses – $59-$99
  • Photochromic lenses – $69-$109
  • Blue light filtering – $15-$29
  • Other lens enhancements/coatings – $15-69

They have a wider range of frames, with over 4000 different styles from 50 top brands like Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Coach. Frames start at $38 and go up to designer brands around $200-300.

Pricing Comparison Summary

GlassesUSA has much lower base pricing before lens upgrades. Their huge selection also ensures frames at every budget level. Warby Parker has a smaller collection of trendy, boutique-style frames with some designer collaborations. But for basic single vision glasses, GlassesUSA has better deals starting under $40.

Lens Options Comparison

Both retailers allow you to select lens material, upgrades like progressive lenses or photochromic tint, and special coatings during the ordering process. Here is how the two compare:

Warby Parker Lens Options

Warby Parker offers these lens materials and index upgrades:

  • Plastic CR-39 lenses – default
  • Polycarbonate – $40
  • High-index 1.67 – $30
  • High-index 1.74 – $100

Lens enhancements and coatings:

  • Progressive lenses – $295
  • Transitions photochromic – $75
  • Anti-reflective coating – $35
  • Blue light filtering – $50

They also offer monocle attachments and low vision aids for magnification.

GlassesUSA Lens Options

For lens material, GlassesUSA has these options:

  • Plastic CR-39 – default
  • Trivex – $20
  • Polycarbonate – $40
  • High index 1.60 – $59
  • High index 1.67 – $79
  • High index 1.74 – $99

Popular lens upgrades:

  • Progressive lenses – $89-$299
  • Transitions photochromic – $69-$109
  • Anti-reflective coating – $19-$69
  • Blue light filtering – $15-$29
  • Scratch coating – $15
  • Tints – $19-$29

In addition, GlassesUSA provides low vision aids, prism lenses, and specialty sports glasses.

Lens Options Comparison Summary

GlassesUSA wins when it comes to lens diversity, with a wider range of materials and index levels. They also have lower pricing on most lens upgrades like progressives, Transition lenses, and anti-reflective coatings. Warby Parker has fewer choices, but the upgrade fees are only slightly higher. Both have the essentials covered for creating glasses tailored to your vision needs.

Frame Selection Comparison

With eyewear, style is just as important as vision correction. The frame selection can make or break whether you love wearing your new glasses. Here is how Warby Parker and GlassesUSA compare:

Warby Parker Frame Selection

  • Offers over 100 frame styles designed in-house
  • Trendy boutique aesthetic
  • New collections every season
  • Collaborations with brands like Leith, Lilly Pulitzer, and J.Crew
  • Single bridge sizes
  • Frame widths from 120mm to 145mm
  • Different material options like acetate, metal, and combo

GlassesUSA Frame Selection

  • Over 4,000 frames from 50 top brands
  • Wide range of styles from classic to fashion-forward
  • Options for the whole family – men, women, children
  • Designer brands like Ray-Ban, Oakley, Armani
  • Multiple bridge sizes & frame widths for better fit
  • Zyl acetate, metal, titanium, plastic, rimless

Frame Selection Comparison Summary

GlassesUSA dominates when it comes to frame options. They have over 40x more frames than Warby Parker from established eyewear brands. You’ll have no problem finding trendy or classic styles. Warby Parker frames are fashionable but limited in size availability and styles. Shop GlassesUSA for the best selection.

Trying and Buying Process Comparison

The ease of shopping online for glasses depends on the website experience and try-on process. Here is how Warby Parker and GlassesUSA compare:

Warby Parker Buying Process

  • Get 5 frame try-on picks shipped for $5
  • Free virtual try-on web app
  • Provide prescription info online
  • Preview lenses and options
  • Frames ship quickly after order
  • Free returns and exchanges

GlassesUSA Buying Process

  • Virtual try-on with live upload
  • Order confirmation within 1 hour
  • Provide prescription when ordering
  • See real-time pricing for options
  • Ships within 1-3 days usually
  • Free returns within 2 weeks

Buying Process Comparison Summary

Both websites make it easy to shop for prescription glasses. Warby Parker pioneered the home try-on method with the prepaid mailer. GlassesUSA has now matched that with fast shipping and free returns. The virtual try-on tools help you make confident choices. Overall, the ordering and buying process is similarly smooth at both retailers.

Customer Service Comparison

If you require assistance during the prescription eyeglasses process, customer service is vital. Here is how Warby Parker and GlassesUSA compare:

Warby Parker Customer Service

  • Phone, email, live chat, and in-store support
  • Responsive via email and chat
  • Physical stores for adjustments
  • Good for feedback on frame fit
  • Can feel impersonal due to growth

GlassesUSA Customer Service

  • Phone, email, and live chat available
  • Helpful support by email & chat
  • Swift resolution for issues
  • Lacks physical locations
  • Smaller company feel

Customer Service Comparison Summary

Warby Parker was an early glasses startup, so they have the advantage of physical stores you can visit for adjustments or questions. However, their rapid growth has led to some impersonal interactions recently. GlassesUSA provides personalized service as a smaller company. Both respond quickly and have good reps to contact via phone or live chat when ordering glasses online.

Prescription Accuracy and Product Quality Comparison

The most important factors when ordering prescription eyeglasses online is getting the prescription 100% accurate in quality frames. Here is how Warby Parker and GlassesUSA stack up:

Warby Parker Prescription Accuracy & Quality

  • Prescriptions guaranteed accurate
  • High-quality polycarbonate or acetate frames
  • Sturdy construction and materials
  • Great slim, lightweight feel
  • Advanced AR coating and tints
  • Some complaints of early cracking

GlassesUSA Prescription Accuracy & Quality

  • Prescriptions guaranteed accurate
  • Frames match expected designer quality
  • Range of durable frame materials
  • Hold up well over years of use
  • Quality lenses and treatments
  • Rare defects or issues

Prescription Accuracy & Product Quality Comparison Summary

Both Warby Parker and GlassesUSA have strong reputations for properly filling prescriptions with few errors reported. Frame materials and construction are generally durable and high-quality at both retailers. Advanced lens treatments provide scratch protection and glare reduction. Overall quality and accuracy is excellent, with Warby Parker having a few more complaints about materials than GlassesUSA.

Shipping, Returns and Warranty Comparison

When ordering eyewear online, reliable shipping, returns, and warranties provide peace of mind. Here is the breakdown:

Warby Parker Shipping & Returns

  • Free standard shipping
  • Expedited 2-day shipping for $10
  • Try-at-home program with prepaid return
  • Free returns within 30 days
  • 1 year warranty against defects

GlassesUSA Shipping & Returns

  • Free standard shipping
  • Expedited 2-3 day shipping for $19
  • Free returns within 14 days
  • Damaged or defective frames covered

Shipping, Returns and Warranty Comparison Summary

GlassesUSA beats Warby Parker on shipping fees, with faster delivery times included free. Both retailers provide hassle-free returns by mail, but GlassesUSA gives you a shorter 14 day window vs 30 days at Warby. The 1 year manufacturer warranty from Warby Parker provides better protection beyond the initial return period.

FAQs About Buying Glasses Online From Warby Parker vs GlassesUSA

Is it risky to order glasses online?

Ordering eyeglasses online is very safe if you provide your correct prescription details. Reputable retailers like Warby Parker and GlassesUSA guarantee accurate prescriptions or you can return for a remake. Try the virtual fitting tools to minimize surprises.

How do I submit my prescription information?

Both websites have fields for you to enter your prescription details including sphere, cylinder, axis, pupillary distance, and add info like contacts RX. Have your prescription handy before starting an order for glasses online.

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Should I choose GlassesUSA or Warby Parker?

GlassesUSA tends to offer better prices on frames and lenses. Warby Parker provides a little more quality assurance with their home try-on program. Evaluate costs, styles, and brands at both to see the best option for your eyewear budget and needs.

Are there other good places to buy glasses online?

Yes, besides GlassesUSA and Warby Parker, other top affordable online eyewear retailers include: Zenni Optical, EyeBuyDirect, 39DollarGlasses, and FramesDirect. Compare selection and pricing.

Can I use insurance benefits?

Unfortunately, you can’t use vision insurance benefits directly when buying from an online retailer. However, you can submit your detailed receipt to request reimbursement. Plans typically provide an annual eyewear allowance.

Do I still need a prescription from an eye doctor?

Yes, you need a current glasses prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist before ordering lenses online. Yearly eye exams ensure your prescription stays accurate.

The Verdict: GlassesUSA vs Warby Parker

For most buyers, GlassesUSA comes out ahead for cheaper pricing on eyeglasses while still offering quality frames and accurate lens prescriptions. Their huge selection of designer brands and modern styles gives you plenty of fashionable options. Free shipping and returns also makes ordering risk-free.

Warby Parker offers a smaller but hip frame selection that sells for a bit higher prices. The try-at-home program gives you a chance to find the perfect fit. Their stores provide on-site adjustments and service. But for affordable value, GlassesUSA generally provides better online deals for comparable eyewear.

In the end, take time to browse frames and lens options at both GlassesUSA and Warby Parker to find the right visionwear solution personalized to your needs and budget. Convenient online ordering makes upgrading your eyeglasses easier than ever. Enjoy shopping for a stylish new look!

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