Warby Parker pioneered the try-at-home optical industry, but the well-known startup’s frames are increasingly common. If you’re looking for the best alternatives to Warby Parker, try these 17 entrepreneurial companies who also offer try-at-home programs for their eyeglass offerings.
If you’re curious if blue light blocking glasses live up to the hype of reducing digital eye strain and improving sleep, check out why I (skeptically) tried blue-light blocking glasses, and why you should too.
Founded in 2016, startup Liingo Eyewear began out of Draper, Utah as the brainchild of Founders Brandon Adams, Douglas Harris, Amy Larson and Peder Singleton. In January 2018, the founders sold the company to fellow Utah-based business 1-800-Contacts, the largest U.S. retailer of contact lenses. Liingo’s home try-on program has evolved since I first discovered the brand. Today they no longer deliver frames with your prescription lenses built in. Instead, select 5 pairs of glasses for 5 days. (The five-day clock starts when the frames arrive at your door.) The company also has a virtual try on option and a super-useful “find my fit” tool that uses your current frame’s dimensions to discover similarly-sized glasses. Liingo Eyewear offers a nice variety of frames to choose from, though the colors rely heavily on shades of black and tortoise brown.
I tried Liingo’s home-try on program for myself, and have a pair of their blue light blocking glasses. (Full disclosure: Liingo gave me a pair for free.) Liingo is one of the only companies listed here that offers Bluelight plus anti-glare lenses, for an upgrade of $59. Their home try-on program was super-straightforward and the frames were easy to return. Read more about my experience with Liingo Eyewear’s home try on program and lenses in Modern Fellows’ overview of blue-light blocking glasses. Highly recommended.
Save 25% off any Liingo Eyewear order, including lens upgrades, via this link with coupon code MODERNFELLOWS at checkout.
Discountglasses.com is one of the only companies on this list that will send you up to 2 frames with your very own prescription lenses installed in their free try-before-you-buy-with-RX-lenses home try-on kit. (They make glasses for women, men and kids.) Here’s what you have to do: Select up to 2 pairs of glasses and add your prescription. Then select the box in the shopping cart that allows you to try them for 2 weeks free. (According to the fine print, your order total must be under $300 to qualify for the home try-on program.) If you like them, keep them. If you don’t, return them before your card is charged 17 days after your order is shipped. Frames come with standard, high-quality 1.49 plastic lenses with a protective coating that shields them from scratches, available for prescriptions between +/- 3.00. Layered onto this is Discountglasses.com’s Happiness Guarantee, which give you one year to change your mind, free returns at no cost and a U.S.-based lab for quick delivery.
Founded out of a garage in Austin, Texas, Roka began with a mission to perfect the wetsuit and appeal to endurance sport enthusiasts. The brand has expanded since then and now offers eyewear and sunglasses that cost about $200 as of this writing. You’ll pay a $15 handling fee to try four frames for seven days, though the fee can be put towards a future purchase. I ordered a home try on kit and really liked the look of Roka’s Cade frames, which are fairly short and small unisex rectangular eyeglasses that retail for $195. Get a discount coupon for $20 off your first order from Roka via this link. (No promo code required.)
Canada-based Loch Eyewear crafts prescription eyewear and sunglasses from 500-year-old North American timber recovered by scuba divers. The glasses, which retail for over $400 but were on sale as of this writing for between US$224-299, sport high-clarity, durable, anti-glare polycarbonate lenses made in Japan. The company offers a home-try-on-program that allows customers to try 3 frames at home for 10 days with free shipping both ways. If you like a pair, they will fit the lenses into the glasses and ship them back to you.
New York and New Jersey-based Cooper Crwn produces classy frames from $89. The company offers a Pick n’ Match service, which enables customers to select 3 frames for five days. They will add 2 additional pairs to the box – “one that matches your style + one that is having its fashion moment” – and ship it out. You have 5 days to return the glasses.
Indiana-based Felix and Iris offers a straightforward try-at-home “Fit Kit” to show off their understated frames. Modern Fellows fell in love with one of the frames I received during my Felix and Iris trial. Felix and Iris is part of One Click Ventures, an umbrella company founded by Randy & Angie Stocklin that also includes Sunglass Warehouse and Readers.com, a spectacular destination for reading glasses. (You can explore Readers.com’s interesting computer reading glasses at Amazon.)
Here’s what differentiates Covry: High school friends Athina Wang & Florence Shin created an exclusive “Elevated Fit®” feature that includes longer nose pads, a reduced frame curvature and a narrowed nose bridge for a more flattering fit for those with low nose bridges and high cheekbones. Their unique eyeglasses design raises the frame so that it sits higher on the face. Try 5 frames for 5 days for $10, which is credited towards your purchase.
San Francisco-based See Saw Seen Eyewear offers a home try on program for up to 5 pairs of glasses (many of which hover around $100). If you live in the San Francisco area, they also offer a unique “in person try on program.” Select up to 10 pairs of frames and the company will come to you to try them on.
David Kind charges “a nominal” $20 fee in exchange for the chance to try six frames at home for six days and a consultation with a “personal optician” to help you find the right pair of specs. The $20 can be applied to a purchase within 3 months. Most glasses run $295 and up.
Entrepreneur Ann Sacks founded Portland, Oregon-based FETCH Eyewear following the sale of her designer tile business to Kohler. FETCH donates 100% of profits to improve animal welfare. They also let men and women select 5 frames to try at home for five days, which arrive with test lenses. FETCH stocks a nice variety of frame colors and shapes, and ships internationally as well as in the United States. The frames come with a lifetime warranty against breakage for ANY reason.
London-based Archibald isn’t just about eye wear. They sell everything from Goodyear-welted men’s shoes to selvedge denim. They also offer a try-at-home option for their gorgeous made-in-Japan eyeglass frames. Arichbald’s luxury frames cost $225.
This is cute: Launched by a San Diego couple and their kids in 2013, ro sham bo baby makes sunglasses and eyeglasses for kids and adults. Their frames are manufactured in Italy, not China, and the baby specs are as stylish as the adults. ro sham bo baby offers a unique home try on kit for adults, kid, toddler and baby. Customers pay for shipping one way and returns are free.
Lookmatic offers a complete pair of eyeglasses from $69. The company enables customers to fill out a form to try up to 6 pairs of glasses at home. According to Lookmatic, frames sent for home try-on need to be sent back within 10 business days of placing at try-on order. (That’s a very quick turn-around, depending on when you actually receive the glasses.) Customers should reach out to [email protected] if they cannot return the glasses in that timeframe to avoid any further charges.
Tech.eu christened Netherlands-based Ace and Tate Europe’s Warby Parker. Mark de Lange and Camiel de Lange van Bergen founded Ace & Tate in 2013, focusing on stylish Made-in-the-Netherlands frames and frictionless online transactions. Ace and Tate now ships its frames and prescription lenses to the United States from $108 for a complete pair of glasses. Sadly, Ace and Tate only offers a home-try-on kit with free shipping and free returns to residents of the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Sweden. Customers in the United States get free shipping and free returns, and the opportunity to use the company’s “virtual try on” service, but not the ability to order a home try-on kit. The company offers free shipping with customer-paid returns to a host of other European countries including France, Spain and Switzerland.
Milan, Italy-based Quattrocento Eyewear offers an, err, unique try-at-home method. Choose up to 5 pairs of frames you want to try, and the startup will send you paper versions of the frames to try at home. The actual glasses go for around 125 Euros. (We have to try this.)
FORSTA Hmmm: Based in the Netherlands, the website for Forsta (which means “the first” in Swedish) features unique patterns and colors and gorgeous frames. Their home try-on program seemingly permits customers to select three frames to try for five days. But when I went to check out, our order never processed over one browser. I received a confirmation via a second browser, but Forsta never gathered our credit card information or sent a confirmation email as promised. Update: I never heard back from Forsta, and the company appears to lack any social media presence. Given that, I have removed the link to Forsta’s website and cannot recommend them as an option for trying-on glasses at home. Further update: The Fortsa website no longer appears to be working, as of August 24, 2019. (If you’re counting, I don’t include Forsta as a viable option when calculating the number of “alternatives to Warby Parker that also let you try on prescription glasses at home” in the title to this post.)
Home try-on eyeglass kits for kids
Jonas Paul Eyewear specializes in eyeglasses for children. Jonas Paul offers a home try on kit for kids’ eyeglasses that sends (an extremely generous) 7 child-sized framed to your door to try on at home. The company charges a nominal $1 fee to make sure you’re human (and to grab a credit card number from you in case you don’t return the frames), but otherwise shipping is free both ways. When you find a pair you like, the company will send a pair of new glasses to your door, which retail for $79-85 as of this writing (subject to additional lens upgrades). Check out their cute video on their website about ordering eyeglasses for kids.
Pair offers colorful and playful “continually customizable glasses” for boys and girls that feature scratch-resistant lenses and are priced from $95. Pair will send you 5 cardboard cutouts of frames in a home-try-on kit.
Alternatives to Home Try-On Programs: These Brands offer Free Shipping and Free Returns on Spectacles
Some companies offer generous free shipping and free returns for eyeglasses instead of home try-on kits. Taking advantage of companies’ free shipping and returns enables consumers to order glasses delivered with their prescription lenses included and may offer a more extensive period to try their glasses at home than more limited experiences with home try-on kits.
Ambr Eyewear offers prescription, reading and non-prescription glasses that they claim help improve sleep and help wearers see and work better by filtering out 55% of blue light wavelengths as well as 90% of UV rays, all with minimal tint. While Ambr Eyewear doesn’t maintain a home-try on program similar to Warby Parker, they offer a “virtual mirror” on their website that utilizes your desktop or laptop web cam to help place glasses on your face virtually. The company also offers free shipping and free returns on up to 2 pairs of glasses, including return shipping for customers from the United States, Canada and select other countries. Get a coupon for 10% off your Ambr Eyewear purchase by following this link.
New Yorkers Richard Ray Ruiz and Andrew Lipovsky debuted Classic Specs in 2010 at Brooklyn Flea. While Classic Specs used to offer a try-at-home program similar to Warby Parker, the brand now serves up its unique, vintage-inspired frames online with free shipping and free returns. Their glasses for men and women start at $89 and include single-vision, anti-reflective prescription lenses and acetate frames handmade in Italy.
I struggled where to categorize Cubitts, since the UK-based company offers a home-try on program for UK-based consumers. For U.S. customers, Cubitts offers free shipping on orders of spectacles of over $75 combined with a “30-day no-quibble returns policy.” According to their website, Cubitts is “happy to refund in full or exchange any item if you are not satisfied,” and customers are directed to email [email protected] for more details.
Startup darling Felix Gray popularized blue light-reflecting glasses. While the company began by selling non-prescription glasses to filter blue light and glare, which they claim help to combat digital eye strain, today Felix Gray offers a range of eyeglass frames with prescription lenses. Felix Gray offers free shipping, free returns, and free exchanges.
More Alternatives to Home-Try-On Programs: These Eyeglass Companies offer Virtual Mirrors
Perhaps this isn’t as definitive or user-friendly as a home try-on program or free shipping and returns, but technology has come a long way even in the past couple of years. If you’re comfortable using a webcam or uploading a photo (depending on the system), it’s possible to get a rough approximation of what you would look like in your new glasses from companies that offer a virtual mirror in lieu of a home-try on program.
With glasses that begin at $6, EyeBuyDirect is one of the cheapest options to buy prescription eyeglasses online. (I have ordered multiple pairs from them ourselves.) While EyeBuyDirect doesn’t offer a home try-on option, they have a unique virtual try on program that uses your computer’s camera to fit glasses to your face virtually (tip: sit in a well-lit place where the light is behind the computer). They also offer a“14-Day Fit & Style guarantee,” which permits customers “to make an equal exchange or return with no questions asked.” Eyebuydirect also maintains a separate “365-Day Product Guarantee” that allows customers to request a one-time replacement pair within 12 months of purchase for a covered reason. I’ve utilized the 14-day no quibble guarantee before, and found their customer service was fast and friendly.
Zenni Optical, which began out of a garage in in 2003 out of a garage in California, is one of our favorite affordable options for prescription eyeglasses.They are super-affordable and offer over 1,600 of frame style and color combinations, which start at just $6.95 including single-vision lenses. While the company does not maintain a try-at-home option, they have a virtual mirror that you can try. And with prices this affordable, if one pair of glasses doesn’t work out, it’s not a huge deal.
Even More Affordable Alternatives to Warby Parker
Need more options? See Modern Fellows’ ultimate guide to buying prescription eyeglasses online and my guide to the absolute cheapest prescription eye-wear for glasses from just $6.
Another option: Warby Parker
Of course, you can also try Warby Parker’s home try-on program. Warby Parker is constantly adding to its line of attractive eyeglasses and sunglasses, including with limited-edition offerings, which start at $95 including single-vision lenses. (The company has also introduced Scout, a service for contact lenses.) Warby Parker’s home try-on program lets you choose 5 frames for 5 days with free shipping. You can also try on as many as you wish at their growing network of physical stores. Warby Parker also offers blue light blocking lenses for an additional charge.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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