About Warby Parker
Launched in 2010, Warby Parker disrupted the eyewear industry by offering it’s revolutionary Free Home Try-On program for people wary of buying glasses online. The company got it’s start when one of the founders’ prescription glasses broke and couldn’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars for another pair.
After some research, they learned the reason is because the eyeglass market is really a monopoly. To change that, they came up with their own designs and engaged with customers directly, proving that they could provide high quality, stylish prescription glasses at a fraction of the cost.
Nowadays, Warby Parker offers multiple ways to try and buy glasses (and contact lenses too) in their brick-and-mortar retail stores and online.
Home Try-On Program
Naturally, the biggest roadblock for people thinking about buying glasses online is the fact that you can’t physically try a pair on the way you can in a regular optical store.
The company helped bridge this gap by offering their Home Try-On Program, where you can pick 5 different frames from their site that they ship to you to try for five days.
All completely free!
You can then pick which pair(s) you would like to order, and ship back the try-on frames with their prepaid return label. If you have no idea what styles will suit you, they have a handy little quiz to help you select your 5 try-on frames.
You can also virtually try on any or all of their frames via their excellent iOS app before picking out 5 to try on at home.
For more details, check out Brady Jordan’s experience with the Home Try-On Program:
Warby Parker Eyewear
Warby Parker sells prescription and non-prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses for men and women, as well as contact lenses. They operate both online and in-store, with over 150 stores nationwide, including 3 locations in Canada.
They design and make their own frames and lenses in-house. Each pair costs $95 or $145 including single-vision prescription lenses. Recently, they’ve added a few premium pairs for $195.
Non-prescription sunglasses are also $95 or $145. You can get select pairs with prescription sunglass lenses for an additional $80.
In some of their stores, you can also get an eye exam + prescription, plus order children’s glasses.
Buy One, Give One
The icing on the cake for Warby Parker is their amazing social responsibility. With their Buy One Give One program, they donate a pair of glasses for every pair sold to a nonprofit that trains men and women in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses to their communities at affordable prices.
Our Warby Parker Review
In order to provide you with the best possible review, we put 5 pairs of eyeglasses and 5 pairs of sunglasses in different styles and materials through rigorous testing. We also scoured the internet to find out what people who own Warby Parker glasses and sunglasses were saying along with other experts.
Lens Options and Quality – 9.5/10
No matter where you get your glasses, good lenses should be durable, easy to care for, and made of materials that provide the best vision correction and comfort.
Warby Parker doesn’t disappoint in any of these areas.
In our experience, their lenses have good clarity and visual sharpness. Prescription lenses are made out of polycarbonate, which are thinner and more impact resistant than the standard CR-39 (1.50-index) lens.
(You normally have to pay extra for polycarbonate at most opticals.)
They offer the following lens corrections:
- Single-vision (near or distance – most people need this)
- Progressive (no-line reading and distance correction)
- Non-prescription or Reading magnification
You can also get an even thinner lens if you have a stronger prescription (usually + or -4.0 or more) at an additional cost.
All prescription lenses are 100% UV-blocking, and include water-resistant, anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings.
OGR Tip: If Warby Parker can’t fill your prescription, you can get frames with demo lenses for 10% off. Give them a call at 888.492.7297, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. EST for this offer.
For our Warby Parker quality review, we ordered both prescription and non-prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses to accurately test the lens quality. We were impressed with both. While we haven’t personally experienced any issues, some people have reported that polycarbonate scratches more easily than CR-39.
If you experience any scratches or lens issues, the company offers a 365-day lens warranty and will replace your lenses for free within that time frame.
Additionally, if you live near one of their retail locations, you can stop in and they will buff any scratches out of your lenses for you on the spot.
The clarity on the sunglasses was pristine and offered ample protection from full sunlight. The eyeglasses also met the high quality standard and our prescription was accurate in all of the pairs.
Warby Parker offers both single-vision and progressive lenses (a.k.a. no-line bifocals). They also have light-responsive (transitional from light to dark and vice-versa) as well as blue-light filtering lenses.
Frame Quality – 10/10
Warby Parker frames fall into one of three categories: acetate (plastic), metal, or mixed material.
The acetate frames are the most economical at $95 including prescription single-vision lenses.
Their metal and mixed material glasses are generally more expensive at $145.
Warby Parker’s frames feel sturdy and well-made.
The plastic frames have a beautiful polish and strong, pliable hinges. The one thing that might be an issue, depending on your preference, is that they are pretty rigid. If you like a frame with more flex and give, a metal or mixed material frame might be a better choice.
Most of their metal frames are made out of stainless steel, or a combination of stainless steel and acetate. There are also a few premium pairs made from titanium, which is even lighter and more durable.
Their metal glasses are very lightweight and usually fit better because most of them come with adjustable nose pads.
One thing to note when ordering the Home Try-On is that the sample frames might be imperfect. They are sample frames, so don’t worry too much if you like a specific pair but they’re kind of crooked or don’t sit completely perfectly on your face. You will receive a brand new frame if you place an order.
Style and Selection – 9.5/10
Warby Parker was known for their retro hipster glasses when they first launched over 10 years ago. They’ve since branched out and have a variety of frames like the aviator and wayfarer to the always sophisticated and timeless cat eye.
In all, they probably have around 100 or so different styles available at any one time. Other eyewear companies might have hundreds of styles, but we find Warby Parker’s selection to be plenty to choose from and more manageable if you’re unsure what will look good on you.
They also work with celebrities and designers to create new looks and frames, many of which are limited time or seasonal collections.
A small selection of their frames come in a low bridge fit (sometimes called Asian fit).
The biggest downside to their glasses is that you can’t customize them for the most part. For example, most of their sunglasses are pre-set in terms of the lens colors and coatings. Even though they have a few different tints and gradients (where the lens fades from darker at the top to lighter at the bottom) available, you can’t pick and choose the shade color or treatment for sunglasses.
Customer Service & Experience – 10/10
Warbyparker.com is clean and easy to navigate from any device, whether it be your laptop, tablet, or phone. Just click or tap on the Eyeglasses or Sunglasses option in the navigation bar, which will prompt you to select either Mens or Womens frames.
(Most frames are available for both men and women.)
From there you’ll see all the currently available glasses, which you can filter further by color, fit, shape, and material.
You can also toggle on the “Available for Home Try-On” option if you want to pick from frames that are available for Home Try-On.
If you have no idea what kind of glasses you want or like, they have a short quiz you can go through to help you pick frames that will suit you. You can also do a virtual try-on with their iOS app if you have an iPhone X or later (which is pretty impressive, we must say).
Unfortunately, Android users don’t have this option as the app uses Apple’s AR technology.
Ordering is simple if you’ve already done the Home Try-On, or even if you haven’t. The easiest way to provide your prescription when placing an order is to take a picture of it and upload during checkout – this works especially well if you take the picture and upload your prescription directly from your smartphone.
(Many online eyewear companies require you to manually enter the appropriate data into each prescription field, which can be a little confusing.)
If you prefer, you can also provide your eye care professional’s phone number and they will call to request your prescription.
Their customer service is also top-notch. From our interactions with associates via live chat (which is open 9AM-9PM EST everyday) as well as in-store, our experience was always pleasant with friendly, helpful, and efficient service.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with them if you have questions about their frames, lenses, or your prescription.
In looking for others’ experiences, we came across some amazing stories. This gentleman experienced some serious above and beyond service from the company:
This woman received a handwritten note after her car was stolen with her glasses inside:
One of the best aspects of their customer service is their return policy. If at any point within the first 30 days you decide their glasses aren’t for you. They have a simple and free return process.
On top of that, if your lenses get scratched up within the first year of purchase. They will replace them at no cost.
Overall, Warby Parker’s customer service is tops in our book for how easy it is to place an order. Make adjustments, or even get your money back if things don’t work out for you.
Cost – 9.5/10
While Warby Parker doesn’t offer the cheapest prescription glasses around. We think they offer the best value for the quality and service you receive.
You can get a well-made, stylish pair of prescription glasses for under $100 all-in. Unlike most other stores, taxes, fees, and shipping are included in the price.
In addition, you get a nice lens cloth and beautiful hard case to store your glasses.
Frames cost $95 or $145, and include single-vision prescription lenses. The most expensive pairs – made out of premium materials – top out at $195.
Sunglasses are a little more expensive. Non-prescription lenses start at $95, prescription lenses at $175, and progressive lenses at $375.
As far as insurance coverage goes, the company is in-network under. UnitedHealthcare insurance, in addition to some Spectera and Davis Vision plans. For all other providers, you can submit a receipt to your insurance company for out-of-network reimbursement.
As a reminder, you can also pay for your glasses with your HSA or FSA for all prescription eyewear purchases (including prescription sunglasses) and exams, as long as it is affiliated with a major credit card.
If you’re looking for affordable prescription glasses and don’t need designer or brand name frames. We think Warby Parker is an excellent choice. Especially if you’ve never bought glasses online before.
They make it easy to try on several pairs of glasses without committing to a purchase, with the convenience of their Home Try-On Program.
You get the best of both worlds with them being both an online retailer as well as having several store locations. Where you can get eye exams, free glasses adjustments, and even contact lenses.
On top of that, they are a socially conscious company that works to provide affordable vision care to those less fortunate. So you know your purchase is not only benefiting you, but others too.
Pros And Cons
+ FREE 1-year Lens Replacement Warranty
+ FREE Home Try-On of up to 5 frames
+ Accepts select vision plans
– Ships to US/Territories and Canada only
– Fewer lens options available
Warby Parker offers stylish, well-crafted eyeglasses and sunglasses at an excellent price point. Plus, they make the whole experience of choosing your eyewear enjoyable through their Home Try-On program and top-notch customer service.
Add in their substantial social responsibility and you get our #1 recommended online glasses!