Is Warby Parker the best place to shop for glasses online?
I tried Warby Parker to find out.
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Among the many online glasses retailers out there, Warby Parker is perhaps the most well-known. The brand is one of the longest-lived online eyewear retailers out there, and it's currently offering its Home Try-On program as well as other services in response to the Coronavirus.
I'd heard a lot of good things about both the Home Try-On experience and Warby Parker's physical stores in the past, so I was excited to have the opportunity to try out their products. I've tested a few glasses prescription services for Reviewed, including GlassesUSA and Yesglasses, so I was curious to see how Warby Parker stacked up.
What does Warby Parker offer?
Warby Parker offers hundreds of prescription glasses, frames, and sunglasses for men and women, as well as contact lenses by many different respected brands. Warby Parker is most well-known for its Home Try-On program, which allows you to try out up to five pairs of frames before you select your pair to purchase. Warby Parker is also one of few online glasses retailers to offer a storefront experience in addition to their online services, maintaining over 100 brick and mortar locations around the U.S. Its stores offer prescription consultations, but if the store near you has yet to reopen, you can take advantage of its prescription check app or a virtual vision consultation.
Warby Parker also has a mobile app with their stock, Virtual Try-On options, and more.
What is the Warby Parker Home Try-On program?
Warby Parker offers a Home Try-On quiz you can take, which allows you to filter the glasses you’re shown by making certain selections based on factors like frame shape, color choices, etc. My glasses selections based on the quiz (which I took after I had selected the frames I wanted) were ultimately a bit off from my taste, but the questions were meant to help narrow down the choices rather than make them for you. What did surprise me is that, when faced with product shortages, Warby sent me some frames for Home Try-On I hadn’t initially marked down—all of which appeared on the Home Try-On quiz I took.
What is the ordering process like?
Warby Parker’s web matrix is smooth and clean, which makes the ordering process feel likewise efficient. The filters you can use to search for frames are extremely specific and helpful in terms of determining which frames will work for best for you. Each pair of frames has its own unique name, which is a small detail I really enjoyed as I was going through. If you wanted higher index frames with blue-light for a single vision prescription, prices tend to hover around $95 to $145 for one pair of glasses, which is slightly higher than some glasses retailers we've tried out before. One noticeable detail that stood out to me during the ordering process was the option to pick a facial size for your glasses, which might prevent your glasses from arriving and needing further adjustment.
That said, we really struggled getting these glasses delivered. Due to shipping delays and a host of other factors, the Try-On stock is currently limited, so if this was your biggest draw to Warby then you might want to reconsider for the moment. We wanted to try on prescription glasses as well as the Home Try-On program, and with so few frames available for Home Try-On, we settled with only the Morgan. After several calls with customer service, we established that the Morgan hadn’t been shipped after a long while and had to ultimately wait for it for longer than we anticipated. If you’re looking to use Warby’s services, expect that there might be delays and even shipping snafus.
What we liked about Warby Parker
The attention to detail. These are some of the best frames we’ve tested. Even the wire-based frames were sturdy and felt durable enough to withstand daily wear and tear, which is more than, in my specific case, can be said for some pairs I’ve bought at brick and mortar establishments (read: the one pair of glasses I replaced three times consecutively because they broke so often). The frames were all well-made and matched exactly with their photos. What’s more, the discoloration you can expect with some glasses lenses, from blue light treatment or otherwise, was not present with any of the pairs Warby Parker sent over, which really impressed me. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed about online glasses retailers, especially those that offer trendy frames, is that some quality can be sacrificed at the level of little details, but Warby Parker really nailed all the little stuff.
The Virtual Try-On. Wow, is this way more fun than uploading a photo of yourself. If you download the Warby Parker app, you'll have the ability to virtually try on their frames. This is perhaps the best virtual try-on we've tested, as the use of the camera allows you to see what different pairs will look like in real time. If you turn your head you can see the frames at different angles, and the application isn't unrealistic in how it fits the frames to your features. You also get the option to swipe between similar frames so you can quickly see how different pairs will look on you. This was extremely fun and definitely worth checking out if you're looking into buying glasses with Warby Parker.
The opportunity to take advantage of a payment plan. Prescription glasses from online retailers can sometimes be a bit of an investment, and with Warby's prices being somewhat higher than average I was happy to learn that they allow consumers to use payment-plan provider Affirm to pay for their glasses over time rather than all at once. You have to get approved for Affirm to use the program, but ultimately if you're trying to make your glasses purchase a bit more palatable for your wallet it might be a good option for you.
What we didn’t like:
The ordering process. As I mentioned, this ended up being a huge factor. I recognize that coronavirus has caused worldwide shipping delays and problems, but I hit a lot of snags unrelated to wait times for frames as I tried to get my two orders sent over. Ultimately the glasses they sent me for the Home Try-On were different from the glasses that they sent me with lenses in, which has made trying to evaluate their Home Try-On program slightly difficult. I did get to see a wide range of their products, and the pieces of the Home Try-On program I got to try were successful. Warby seems to be experiencing some product shortages at the moment—potentially due to the vast amount of people at home who can participate in a Home Try-On—so that factor, along with their desire to provide us a wide range of products, made the whole process of trying them out somewhat convoluted.
The price points for the sunglasses. The sunglasses section is extremely well-varied and has many great styles, but ultimately I felt that the frame price for non-prescription sunglasses was a bit steep for what you get. If you're looking to pick up prescription sunglasses, Warby Parker might be a good option, but if you're looking for trendy non-prescription sunglasses, I'd recommend looking elsewhere, as the prices at Warby were a bit high.
The website vs. the app. Warby Parker's app was incredibly impressive, with lots of great features. However, I wouldn't necessarily be compelled to keep their app on my phone all the time, nor would I initially think to download it when I started looking for glasses frames online. It's possible that the Virtual Try-On system is more compatible with an app format, but if Virtual Try-On was available on Warby Parker's website, it might make the website a bit more useful, as the app seems to exceed the website in its capability and function.
Should you order glasses from Warby Parker?
They’re experiencing some delays in terms of the availability of frames right now, so you might not get to try every item that you want, but ultimately the products I received were first rate and exceeded my expectations for the quality an online glasses retailer can offer. If you've always wanted to try Warby Parker, and are willing to wait for it, then now might be the time to try it out for yourself. If you want to buy frames but not necessarily participate in the Home Try-On, the Virtual Try-On is an excellent alternative.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.