Zenni sells glasses as low as $7—but are they any good?
Here's how Zenni stood up to other glasses retailers we've tried.
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When I was in college, my glasses vanished a week before finals began and I started panicking about the headaches I would inevitably acquire while attempting to write all my papers. But then a good friend reminded me about Zenni—an online glasses retailer that promises affordable and stylish frames—and how my problems could be solved fairly quickly. All I had to do was pick out the pair I wanted, input my prescription info, and voilà: glasses, delivered straight to my doorstep. My glasses arrived before finals and I was all set. However, the glasses I got then swiftly moved out of my daily rotation, so I was a little nervous to try Zenni again, knowing that my first pair from them hadn’t been my favorite.
A few years later, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of Zenni's glasses and how easy the ordering process was. The company has expanded its styles and collections and embraced new trends. It also does a wonderful job of offering styles for kids, teens, and toddlers, so if you're in the market for some fancy new glasses for your little ones, Zenni is a great place to check out.
What does Zenni Optical sell?
Zenni’s selection of glasses is top-notch. It offers prescription glasses and sunglasses in both trendy and classic styles for men, women, and children. It also offers blue light lenses (known as Blockz lenses). There's a line of glasses specifically built with blue-light blocking treatment for gamers, a collection specially curated by Rashida Jones, and even prescription protective goggles for those in scientific fields and beyond. Zenni's sunglasses selection surprised me—it has a bunch of different styles on offer, as well as polarized sunglasses and novelty sunglasses at great prices.
In order to help you pick out your best pair of glasses, Zenni offers a Frame Finder, which can help you whittle down the massive selection by categories, including frame style, frame material, and more. Zenni also offers a Virtual Try-On program that works, but ultimately wasn’t as comprehensive or workable as others we've tried.
One of my favorite aspects of Zenni’s website was its blog, where you can find articles and listicles that group products by theme or by pop culture phenomenon. Frame styles are grouped by zodiac, fashion trends, Harry Potter houses, and more.
Zenni usually has some form of promotion going on, so be sure to hop onto the home page if you're looking for a promo code.
What is the ordering process like?
Ordering from Zenni is extremely easy. Similar to the process with other glasses retailers, you choose a set of frames, then you have the option to choose which lenses you prefer and the types of add-ons (such as blue-light blocking and UV coating) you want. If your prescription is a little more heavy-duty, you'll likely pay more for the listed price for your glasses. Overall, prices were fairly low on the site and comparable to other online retailers.
These glasses came fast. As in, so fast I momentarily thought the pair that arrived was meant for one of my roommates who’d coincidentally ordered before me. Each pair of glasses comes with a case and a cleaning cloth. Overall the packaging was fairly bare-bones, but the case is made of plastic so it's unlikely your glasses will arrive damaged.
I wanted clear glasses with a little bit of flair, and the end result was amazing. I’m pretty obsessed with these glasses—they immediately entered my daily rotation. The blue light coating isn't discolored, which is great since the frames are clear and discoloration would have been really noticeable. I will say I noticed a slight difference between the prescription quality of my Zenni glasses compared to others I've tested, in that other glasses with the same prescription worked a bit better for me.
What we liked about Zenni
Zenni offers great avenues for those that struggle to whittle down their choices when it comes to eyewear. The Zenni Frame Finder allows you to be extremely specific in your search and curates based on your choices. What I liked about the Frame Finder, in particular, was that it aggregated trendy styles as well as classic styles, so there was something for everyone no matter how specific the search terms were.
Additionally, Zenni has awesome product lines available for kids and teens. The website places an emphasis on teen eyewear, specifically, which I haven't seen many other online retailers doing. The styles available in the Teen section managed to be trendy without trying too hard. Zenni also has highly durable eyewear for kids and toddlers that's designed to move as they move and stand up to play, which is great.
What we didn’t like about Zenni
Compared to other online glasses retailers and services we’ve tested, Zenni is a bit low on amenities. While I enjoyed browsing through its curated search avenues, I'm not certain that everyone would take the time to look through the blog posts or roundups in order to find glasses when other search functions like the Frame Finder exist.
We talked a bit about this before, but the Virtual Try-On program with Zenni really didn’t measure up. This might be an individual issue, but twice when I tried to use the program it shut down my Chrome browser. It also requires you to allow Zenni’s website access to your camera, so if you get antsy about security issues it might not be for you. When I finally got it to work, I was satisfied with the results, so feel free to give it a whirl if you’re a fan of Virtual Try-On software. If you’re on the fence about using it, we’d recommend taking a pass. They also have the less-involved option of uploading a photo to fit the frames over.
Should you buy glasses from Zenni?
Ultimately, it depends on what you're looking for. Zenni really does have a great selection, and the glasses come fast. They're great if you find yourself in a bind and in need of eyewear within a specific window of time. As we mentioned, if you have kids that love to stay on-trend, Zenni is a great place to shop for their prescription glasses. But if you need a high-quality pair of frames that's catered exactly toward your prescription, you may have better luck paying a little more at another retailer, like GlassesUSA.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.