- Manage to squeek in the under-$20-shipped category for glasses.
- One of the least expensive retailers I've seen (for standard lenses) when it came to providing an AR coating that didn't crack.
- Charge extra for UV protection.
- Can not check out as guest.
- While lens coatings are reasonably priced, lens upgrades tend to push them into the higher end of the discount spectrum.
- While they list designer frames, most designer brands they list show frames as "coming soon".
GlassesShop appears to be based in the US (New York), although the lenses/frames appear to be manufactured/shipped from China. Pricing in USD. They sell single-vision, bi-focal, and progressive lenses. Methods of contact include an email address, mailing address, toll-free number, live chat, and a web form. Payment methods include Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, Discover, Paypal, and WorldPay. They are listed with the BBB with an "F" rating.
GlassesShop has been around for a few years. They're certainly not one of the more popular retailers, but they seem to have been growing steadily over time. While technically they have a few frames starting at about $6, selection is paltry until you hit the $12.95 mark. Pricing is on the low end (but not the lowest), though when you start upgrading the lens options above the 1.5 index basic offering, you're quickly pushed into the higher end of the discount price range. Currently they seem to be experimenting with some of the promotions other retailers had been known for running (2-for-1 & first pair free for example) which run from time to time.
In terms of their site, they're somewhat middle-road. The site itself has a cleaner layout and is more fluid than most.
Frames effectively start at $12.95 (an extremely small selection is available for less than that).
Single-vision lenses come free for the basic 1.5 index and are offered in a variety up to 1.74.
Website and Ordering:
It it's infancy (years ago) the site had a lot of minor issues, but by and large they were all rectified. In short, functionally the site works quite well, and it's easy enough to narrow down the frames based on price or frame type and find what you're looking for.
The ordering process is quick and pleasant, with everything on one page, making it very easy to select and change options.
Pricing and Value:
The bulk of frames start at $12.95 and include free lenses. Bi-focal wearers can add $19.95 to that amount, and Progressive wearers can add $35.95 to the price.
Lens offerings (added to the cost of the frames):
|Single vision||Bifocal||Progressive||Free-Form Digital Progressive|
|1.56 Index Trivex||+$29.95||+$49.95|
|1.59 Index Polycarbonate||+$32.95||+$59.95 (1.61 index – listed as polycarbonate?)|
|Polarized 1.50 Index||+$32.95||+$59.95||+$57.95|
|Polarized 1.60 Index (listed as polycarbonate)||+$75.95||+$139.95 (1.61 index – listed as polycarbonate?)|
|Photochromic 1.56 Index||+$32.85 (sale $26.28?)||+$69.95 (1.57 index)||+$79.95||+$79.95|
|Photochromic 1.60 Index (listed as polycarbonate)||+$65.95|
|Transitions VI photochromic 1.50 Index||+$99.95||+$199.95|
|Transitions VI photochromic 1.61 Index||+$159.95||+$279.95|
|Transitions VI photochromic 1.67 Index||+$229.95||+$299.95|
|Transitions VI photochromic Trivex 1.53 Index||+$199.95||+$199.95 (listed as 1.56 index)|
|Anti Reflective (AR)||+$4.95||+$4.95||+$4.95||+$4.95|
|Water repellent coating||+$9.95||+$9.95||+$9.95||+$9.95|
|Tint (green, brown, grey, blue, purple, pink)||+$4.95||+$4.95||+$4.95||+$4.95|
US shipping is $7. Shipping to Canada is $13. Shipping elsewhere ranges from $20-30.
The price charts are created by hand – if you notice any errors, please contact me.
In terms of value, they compete reasonably in the under-$20 range for single vision lenses. Coatings are competitively priced as well. Beyond that, a lens upgrade quickly pushes them into the upper end of the discount price range with the exception being during a strong active promotion.
GlassesShop Review (my purchase)
Aug 11, 2009 - An order was placed for a set of glasses. I went with the cheapest frames ($8) with free lenses, and added an AR ($4.95). The glasses included free anti-scratch and UV coatings. Shipping was $4.95 to Canada, bringing the total to $17.90.
Aug 15, 2009 - I received an email stating that the glasses were finished and would be shipped ASAP.
Aug 25, 2009 - The glasses arrived in the mail. The bag had a shipping stamp from China Post. The enclosed invoice stated that the glasses were sent from "Danyang Foreign Trade Corp" and that the glasses were Made in China. 14 days seems quite reasonable coming from China, although there isn't really any mention on the website that the glasses were coming from there. Those who live in the US may assume the glasses are coming from the states, in which case 14 days may seem a bit long. That said, to be fair, GlassesShop doesn't state/promise an estimated delivery date – only that the glasses will be shipped within 4 days for regular orders.
Inside the bag was a box containing the glasses. The box is fairly standard, and while it should be sufficient for normal mail handling, it could possibly get crushed in a minor mail mishap. However, the clamshell case inside is extremely tough. After writing up the video review, I tried standing on it. 150-160 pounds of weight slowly started bending the imprint of my heel on the clam case. Needless to say, it's made of a a pretty strong material and unless a heavy mailman was standing on the case for a good long while, I can't see the glasses being damaged during shipping – they're definitely well protected.
(click on any of the thumbnails to open the image full-size in a new window)
The box isn't shown, but the rest of the contents are. The clamshell case is surprisingly tough.
First impressions & Quality
The frames themselves seemed reasonable, but nothing spectacular. It's about what you'd expect for $8 frames – basic and functional. The frames aren't hinged, although the arms do flex. The nosepads need some adjusting as you can see in the pictures below. The lenses looked to be of a high quality, and the AR coating reflects a green color. There was a little bit of lint on the lenses, which washed off easily.
The lenses were subjected to the "hot water test", and the coatings passed. Wearing the glasses, the prescription seems to be accurate throughout.
lenses are clear and seem to be of a good quality. the AR coating has a green color to it. the reflection you see is of a window & blinds.
For an $8 pair (under $20 after the AR coating + shipping), I was quite pleased. I would probably recommend stepping up to a more sturdy frame for a daily pair, but all-in-all the glasses are great for the money. I was particularly impressed with the AR coating. I had pretty much expected the $5 coating to crack during the hot water test, but it surprised me by passing the test unscathed.
Would I buy from GlassesShop again? Yes. The value is great for a budget pair, and the lenses seem to be of a high enough quality that I wouldn't mind throwing more expensive frames at them if I were looking for new daily-wear specs.
Would I recommend GlassesShop to others? It's very likely. As has been mentioned in the information write-up page, they seem to have been around a while, but still seem a bit new to the scene and there's not much information available on them. I tend to hesitate recommending a company that hasn't established themselves over time. That said, based soley on my purchase experience, they seem to have it together well enough that I wouldn't have any concerns if someone mentioned they were purchasing from GlassesShop. One thing in particular that stands out is the little insert about caring for your glasses. It's incredibly simple, but is something that I think might really appeal to (and help out) first time buyers.