If you have vision issues, you know that glasses and contact lenses are an expense you can’t avoid without surgery. And they aren’t always cheap.
“There’s been a huge problem in America with price fixing on contact lenses,” says money expert Clark Howard. “That’s why if you’ve been a long-time contact lens wearer, you’ve seen the prices skyrocket for your lenses.”
Still, that doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar to see well. There are ways to get cheap contact lenses — and that sometimes involves taking your prescription and buying your contacts from a discounter.
Team Clark compared the prices at 10 reputable online retailers known for having some of the best prices on contacts, and you might be surprised to find that you may have been overpaying in the past!
The Best Prices on Prescription Contacts
To find out where to actually shop for the cheapest selection of contact lenses, Team Clark researched the best prices currently available for a few of the most popular contact brands.
Note that to order your contact lenses from any reputable source, you’ll need a current, valid prescription for them.
Some of these prices are eligible for additional potential savings, rebates and promotions that can be found on the retailer’s website or at sites like Coupons.com and RetailMeNot. The prices below are also subject to change at any time.
Here are the prices we found at some of the best low-cost online retailers of prescription contact lenses as of October 2019:
When looking at the top five best prices for each product, it’s clear that Costco, Lens.com and Contact Lens King consistently outrank more convenience-based stores like Walmart and 1-800 Contacts.
Of course, when it comes to getting the best deal on prescription contacts, there’s more to take into account than just the base price per box. Each retailer offers unique discounts, promotions and fees that you’ll need to be aware of.
Customer service is also a factor to consider when deciding where to shop. Be sure to familiarize yourself with each company’s return policies, the user-friendliness of the site and customer support. You can always check the Better Business Bureau for ratings and reviews.
Where to Buy Cheap Contact Lenses
Even after processing fees, shipping and discounts, or even if you don’t wear any of the specific brands included above, there’s still a good chance you’ll find the best price at one of these five stores:
This retailer offers contacts that are FSA and HSA eligible. Several of the most popular products are also eligible for free shipping with no minimum purchase amount, which can help you save a ton. While you may not see many coupons or promo codes, the sale prices themselves are definitely worth it. Just be sure to watch the processing fee per box, which can get high if you’re ordering a lot of lenses.
Much like Contact Lens King, ordering contacts from Lens.com is a great way to find the best price per box. The processing fees are significantly lower, though standard shipping costs $7.95. Still, if you find your brand is cheaper at Lens.com, you can save more by buying as many lenses as you need in the same order!
Money expert Clark Howard says, “One way that Costco’s a game-changer is if you wear contact lenses,” and as you can see, Costco has some of the lowest prices across the board. In addition to filling prescriptions for your most trusted brands at some of the best prices, they often offer great rebates for even more ways to save. For example, you can get up to $70 back when you buy four boxes of Costco’s Kirkland Signature daily disposable contacts (180-pack).
If you’ve never dealt with Costco Optical, check out our article on 5 things to know about it here.
AC Lens is another great place to save big on contacts. You’ll find good prices on a big selection of the most popular brands, and new customers are eligible to save 20% with promo code P52523R4. These prices compare well with similar online retailers, and you’ll also get free shipping on orders of $99 or more.
Coastal’s prices tightly compete with the prices at AC Lens, and you won’t find any processing fees during checkout. Shipping is $5.95, and the company is currently waiving handling & insurance costs for even more savings. When you spend $99 or more on contacts, you can also get an instant $15 off with promo code THANKS15.
Ultimately, you’ll most likely be able to find the best base price for prescription contacts at Lens.com or Contact Lens King, but be mindful of the fees during checkout.
Costco is a great place to shop for the best deals and rebates, while AC Lens and Coastal also offer great discounts at comparable prices.
Stores like Walmart, Walgreens, 1-800 Contacts, Discount Contact Lenses and Lens Direct are also great places to price compare, just to make sure you’re getting the best deal without missing any promotions.
More Ways to Save
- Always price compare with tools like Google Shopping and ContactsPrice.
- Check in-store promotions and websites like Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.
- Consider buying more at a time, especially if you know you’ll end up needing them before your next eye exam.
- Lastly, if you think you’re paying too much for contact lenses, ask your doctor to recommend a more affordable brand that works for you!
Do you buy your contacts from an online retailer that has better prices or deals than the ones we’ve listed above? Let us know in the comments!