Zenni Optical Review: 6 Things to Know Before Your First Order

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Ordering glasses online
Image Credit: Dreamstime

If you wear glasses, you know how expensive and inconvenient it can be to replace them when the time comes.

I’ve worn glasses for years and have gone way too long without replacing them in the past because I wanted to avoid the cost myself. Thankfully, Zenni Optical provides a cheaper alternative.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at Zenni — a more affordable option for purchasing your glasses online. 

6 Things to Know Before Ordering From Zenni Optical

Whether you’re looking to replace your current glasses or invest in a backup pair, Zenni Optical is worth checking out. You’ll find cheaper prices than nearly any other glasses outlet and tons of styles to choose from online.

Before you decide where to make your final purchase, consider these six things to know about Zenni Optical: 

1. What is Zenni Optical?

Zenni Optical is an online retailer that offers affordable prescription glasses and sunglasses for men, women and children. 

The company has its own state-of-the-art production facility, which allows them to cut outsourcing costs for manufacturing, licensing fees, warehousing and more. That means you’ll be paying the absolute minimum for Zenni glasses.

Thankfully, the low prices aren’t an indicator of low quality. In fact, Consumer Reports ranks ZenniOptical.com as the third best place to purchase eyeglasses right after Costco Optical and Warby Parker. Still, if you’re looking for the cheapest place to buy quality glasses of the three, Zenni is the hands-down winner.

“Because of the online sellers, Costco doesn’t have the price advantage anymore,” says money expert Clark Howard. “The online sellers where you just take your prescription, fill it in online and your glasses come in two to three weeks…they’re so much cheaper than anyone else.”

While you won’t find widely-known brands, contacts or repair services at Zenni, you’ll almost surely find the cheapest prices on frames and prescription lenses .

2. How Much Do Zenni Glasses Cost?

Compared to most glasses retailers, Zenni’s prices are nearly unbelievable. You can find men’s and women’s glasses starting at $6.95 with select styles on the higher end of the scale at $50. Children’s glasses begin at $10 and go up to nearly $30. 

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In addition to basic prescription lenses, Zenni also offers progressives and bifocals for equally impressive prices. Progressive lenses begin at $27.95 and bifocals start as low as $17

“If you just need a basic pair of glasses, frames, lenses, complete including shipping, you should be able to do that whole thing for roughly $15,” says Clark. “If you need progressive lenses or bifocals, you can run the pair of eyeglasses up at Zenni to as much as $60…  but compare that to what you’ve paid in the past!”

While shipping isn’t included in your online order, it is fast and affordable. Standard shipping costs $4.95 and is expected to take 14-21 days. Members of Team Clark who have ordered from Zenni chose this option and reported that their glasses arrived early each time. Additional shipping options are also available at a higher rate.

3. What’s Available at Zenni Optical?

A few pairs of Nicole's Zenni Optical glasses
Zenni Optical glasses ordered by Team Clark member, Nicole

The online retailer carries a huge selection of glasses and sunglasses including a variety of frame styles and lens features. You can browse the available glasses online.

Zenni offers more than 2,200 unique frames to choose from, including women’s, men’s and children’s styles. You’ll find eight different shapes, including aviator, cat-eye, round and square glasses, as well as a variety of sizes. There’s also a fair selection of both plastic and metal frames. 

More importantly, you’ll find several types of lenses and lens features available at Zenni. While some of the following options are free, others are available for an additional cost:

  • Bifocals
  • Progressives
  • Single-vision distance or reading glasses
  • Prescriptions with prism corrections
  • Non-prescription glasses
  • Astigmatism-correcting lenses
  • Protective goggles and glasses
  • Mid-index and high-index lenses
  • Impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses
  • Polarized lenses
  • Mirrored lenses
  • Trivex lenses
  • Lens coating

While some of these options (like bifocals) may be required for your prescription, while others (like coated lenses) can be avoided in order to reduce the final cost. One member of Team Clark, Nicole, has ordered glasses from Zenni Optical multiple times in the past. She recommends that you keep the features to a minimum in order to avoid a higher-than-necessary total.

“You have the option to add a lot of bells and whistles. Remember, each of these add-ons cost money,” warns Nicole. “I keep my costs low because I don’t add any extras to my order other than thinning. But even if some of the extras are important to you, you’ll still come out much cheaper than ordering through traditional ways.”

For more information on special prescriptions and additional features, be sure to check out Zenni’s FAQ page.

4. What You’ll Need Before Ordering

Before you sit down to place your order, make sure you have all the necessary information. Most importantly, you’ll need to know your up-to-date prescription and your pupillary distance.

Your prescription will most likely be on the last printout you received from your eye doctor. If you have an online account with the doctor’s office, you may even be able to log in to access this information.

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Your pupillary distance may or may not be listed in the same place. If it isn’t, the best way to get it is by calling your eye doctor’s office. Alternatively, you can measure your pupillary distance at home following the instructions provided by Zenni.

5. How to Order Glasses From Zenni Optical

Zenni Optical glasses ordered by Team Clark member, Beth
Zenni Optical glasses ordered by Team Clark member, Beth

After you’ve gathered your eyeglass prescription and figured out your pupillary distance, it’s time to decide on a pair of frames and order your glasses.

To get started, narrow your search by the type of prescription you’ll need and any preferences that you have as far as color, shape, material and size. If you aren’t sure which types of frames you will like, consider going to a nearby store to try on a few different sizes and styles first. Once you’ve found something you like in person, look for a similar frame online at Zenni.

Zenni also offers a virtual try-on tool that allows you to record a short video and select frames to see what they’d look like on your face. As you find glasses that you like, you can add them to your favorites and continue to browse. 

Once you’ve decided on the frames, click “select lenses” and enter your prescription. This is when you’ll need to have your prescription information and pupillary distance handy. After you’ve entered all the required information, you should be able to place your order. 

If you need any additional help ordering from Zenni Optical, watch the company’s video on how to order your glasses online, browse the FAQ page or contact Zenni’s customer service.

6. Zenni Optical’s Return Policy

While Zenni doesn’t offer a try-on period or extended warranty, you do have 30 days to return your glasses

To make a return, you’ll have to call Zenni within 30 days from the date you receive the glasses to request a return authorization number. You can return the glasses for a 50% refund or for a one-time-use 100% store credit. Both options exclude shipping. Still, Team Clark’s Nicole believes you won’t need to worry about returning them. 

“Ever since discovering Zenni Optical, I haven’t ordered glasses from anywhere else and I’ve ordered six pairs of glasses from them,” she says. “The quality is great and the prices are even better!”

During the initial 30-day period, broken frames can be replaced at no charge. Additionally, while replacement nose pads and nose pad screws for rimless frames are offered for the life of the glasses, Zenni does not offer repair services. 

For more information, check out Zenni’s returns FAQ page.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, Zenni Optical is a great place to shop online for cheap prescription glasses.

If you’re buying regular frames and lenses, you can expect to pay about $15 total on the lower end. Bifocals, progressives and other options are available for an additional cost, but it’ll most likely still beat the prices you’ve paid in the past. 

While you aren’t going to find major brand names at Zenni, you will find a huge selection of unique frames in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Just be sure you know your prescription and pupillary distance before trying to place your order. 

If you’re happy with your experience, consider referring a friend. You’ll receive a $5 credit for each person you refer, which means you’ll save even more on your next pair of glasses. 

Have you ever ordered from Zenni Optical? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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