- Low-mid price point in discount range with a number of glasses coming to $24 shipped worldwide (1.56 index single-vision with free AR).
- Very International-Friendly – The default currency displayed is auto-detected based on your location.
- Offer a "reglaze" service – Effectively a service for those who wish to keep their existing frames and just have new lenses put in.
- If unsure about your PD, they allow you to send your old glasses in and they'll take the measurement from those (free if you don't want the old glasses back, otherwise 5 pounds).
- Number of name-brand frames offered at higher price points.
- Can not check out as guest.
- F rating with the BBB.
SelectSpecs is based in the UK, although they also appear to have an office in the USA (New York). Base pricing in brittish pounds, but currency selection defaults to your local currency based on your location – available in GBP, EUR, USD, YEN, AUS, CAN. They sell single-vision and bi-focal/progressive lenses, as well as a re-glaze service. Methods of contact include both a UK and US address, UK and US phone numbers (unmanned), UK and International fax numbers, and an online form. Payment methods include Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, Diner's Club, Maestro, NoChex, Paypal and Cheques (UK customers). The BBB has a SelectSpecs listed with an F rating.
Note that in the following sections, I'm using US dollar amounts since it's the easiest to help compare between other retailers mentioned on the site. However, these prices are based on the exchange rate shown at the time of this writing.
SelectSpecs has done an incredible job of making their website work seamlessly for international customers in various currencies. The website is somewhat unique in design (in particular, the ordering process) and overall is clean and straightforward, but the ordering pages are not as fluid as some other retailers.
Frame selection at the budget price-point is pretty decent, with a number of frames at the $13-14 price point including free 1.56 index single-vision lenses. While their site appears to support selecting a frame and then selecting a color, each color is listed as it's own frame. Name-brand offerings (Calvin Klein, Oakley, Ralph Laruen, etc) tend to fluctuate around the $150 mark (+/- $30 or so depending on the frame.)
Single-vision lenses (either 1.49 or 1.56 index) come free with the frames. Bifocals add about $32 and Progressives add about $40 to the price tag though they start at 1.5 index. All lenses come with free AR, anti-scratch, and UV coatings (though you can un-select them if you don't want them for whatever reason). It's worth noting they have a lens/price list on their site with the full breakdown.
Website and Ordering:
All in all, the website is very well done in the majority of aspects, and the experience is pleasant. It does lack a few options that most other retailers contain (a feature that lets you see how glasses might look on you for example).
Ordering is quite easy and step-by-step. They've gone the route of breaking everything into pages however, so it can be more annoying if you're deciding between a couple lens types (bifocal vs progressive for example), though they do have a full lens-price list which can aid there. Because being broken into pages can make things more challenging for somebody looking for say... polarized-capable lens indexes, they mention the types of lens options you'll be able to choose with each selection up-front. While I don't prefer this style of presentation, that doesn't make it wrong – it's just different. And if nothing else, I do appreciate the unique feel that it gives to their site – they've gone their own way.
Pricing and Value:
The pricing for frames really varies, and picking between $14 and $20 as a starting price point for the discount range was a little tough. I've gone with the $14 point for now but bear in mind that the selection on the site is distributed fairly evenly among a number of price points (all the way up to the name-brand prices).
As you'll see below, lens pricing varies quite a bit as well. It's safe to say that if you're looking for cheap glasses you'll be very limited in the lens offerings, as some of the offerings (tint for example) have a tendency to bring up the price drastically with certain lenses.
Values are essentially pulled from their lens price list, rounded to the nearest US dollar, and reformatted to keep it from being insanely long. Based on a standard pair of frames (add the price of $14 frames to the value listed below).
Lens offerings (based on $14 frames):
|Clear Lenses||Tinted||Polarized||Photochromic||Transitions (photochromic)|
|Single-vision 1.50 index||free||+$16||+$56||+$95|
|Single-vision 1.53 index Trivex||+$81||+$127 (Sun Lens NXT)||+$193 (Sun Lens NXT)||+$193|
|Single-vision 1.56 index||free||+$81||+$40|
|Single-vision 1.56 index – High Impact||+$24|
|Single vision 1.59 index – Polycarbonate||+$16||+$111||+$111|
|Single-vision 1.61 index||+$24||+$89||+$209||+$72||+$153|
|Single-vision 1.67 index||+$48||+$113||+$225||+$209|
|Single-vision 1.67 index Double-Concave||+$143|
|Single-vision 1.74 index||+$81||+$209|
|Single-vision 1.74 index Double-Aspheric||+$192|
|Bifocal R28 1.50 index Round Segment||+$32||+$48|
|Bifocal D28 1.50 index Flat Top||+$32||+$48||+$97||+$153|
|Bifocal D35 1.50 index Flat Top||+$40||+$56|
|Bifocal R28 1.56 index Round Segment||+$81|
|Bifocal D28 1.56 index Flat Top||+$111||+$81|
|Bifocal D28 1.56 index Flat Top – High Impact||+$81|
|Bifocal D28 1.59 index Flat Top – Polycarbonate||+$81|
|Bifocal D28 1.60 index Flat Top||+$129||+$159|
|Bifocal D35 1.60 index Flat Top||+$129|
|Varifocal 1.50 index||+$40||+$56||+$113||+$201|
|Varifocal 1.53 index Trivex||+$113||+$272|
|Varifocal 1.56 index||+$81|
|Varifocal 1.56 index – High Impact||+$72|
|Varifocal 1.59 index – Polycarbonate||+$72|
|Varifocal 1.60 index||+$129||+$177||+$274|
|Varifocal 1.67 index||+$145||+$177|
|Varifocal 1.74 index||+$225||+$258|
|Freeform Varifocal 1.50 index||+$64||+$81||+$129||+$217|
|Freeform Varifocal 1.53 index Trivex||+$217||+$233 (Sun Lens NXT)||+$290|
|Freeform Varifocal 1.56 index||+$201|
|Freeform Varifocal 1.56 index – High Impact||+$105|
|Freeform Varifocal 1.59 index – Polycarbonate||+$121||+$209||+$225|
|Freeform Varifocal 1.60 index||+$153||+$193||+$320||+$288|
|Freeform Varifocal 1.67 index||+$177||+$209||+$322|
|Freeform Varifocal 1.74 index||+$282||+$322|
|UV, Anti-reflective, Anti-scratch (all lenses)||free||free||free||free||free|
Shipping appear to be a standard $10 worldwide. Customers in the UK are subject to VAT.
The price charts are created by hand – if you notice any errors, please contact me.
If looking for low-cost frames/lenses, SelectSpecs has the potential to fit the bill, but you have to be rather careful as to which lens options you choose if you want to keep the price down. If looking for name-brand frames, one of the larger strengths SelectSpecs has going for it is flexibility in lens indexes offered – more than a number of other name-brand retailers.
SelectSpecs Review (my glasses purchase)
Feb 16, 2006 - I placed an order for glasses from SelectSpecs. I ordered the Gladiator 104 frames (unisex, flex arms, all metal) which were $32.90 CDN (~$29.56 USD), with the "Thin & Light" lens option which was available at no extra charge. Lenses include a free AR/UV/scratch coating. After shipping, the total came to $38.06 CDN (~$33.18 USD). Note that they do also carry lower priced glasses which start at around $23.33 USD (plus shipping of course). The only things I noticed about the ordering process that differ from other places are 1) you can choose your own currency, and 2) The page where you input your address has a Full Address, State/County, Zip/Post Code, and Country section, but no City/Town section, so you have to be sure to include your city in the first part of the address section. Not a huge deal, and the post office will undoubtedly determine your city from your zip/postal code if you forget, but still something to be aware of. Just to be safe, I put my entire address including the city, province, and postal code in the address box, in addition to filling out the other boxes.
Feb 24, 2006 - I received an email with an invoice that at the bottom said "Due for arrival within the next 1-2 days". I took this to mean that my glasses had shipped, although I'm sure the 1-2 days part is meant for those who live in the UK.
Mar 7 , 2006 - I received an insert with my mail that said I had a parcel waiting at the post office. Sure enough, it was the glasses.
(click on any of the thumbnails to open a full size picture in a new window)
#1 and #2 are the packaging, pretty standard size. The packaging has a bubblewrap interior which is always nice to see. #3 is everything inside the package. Two copies of their pamplet, the actual glasses case and a cardboard cover. #4 is simply the case opened. The glasses were wrapped in bubblewrap, and there was a small micro-fiber cloth included. Finally #5 and #6 are simply a couple pictures of the glasses themselves.
Mar 7, 2006 (continued)
I was pretty impressed with the packaging. First of all, the glasses case seems pretty sturdy and solid. The addition of bubblewrap both as part of the envelope, and wrapped around the glasses adds even more peace of mind.
The glasses themselves seemed pretty good too. Glasses were clean with only a small smudge noticeable towards the side of a lens. The frames needed adjustment, as they looked lop-sided when first put on. The frames seemed a little on the cheaper end, and I was worried they might break when adjusting, but the metal seemed to bend relatively easily, and the adjusting went well. That being said, for anyone not comfortable making the adjustments themselves, I'd suggest going somewhere to get it professionally done. The lenses were very good, and free of defects. The coatings are water-repellant, and the AR coating has a slight green tinge to it. All in all, I'd say the glasses were very good, and aside from the required adjustments to the frame to get it straight, I think just about anyone having received this pair would have been completely satisfied.
|Total time between ordering and delivery||19|
|Time to ship||8|
|Time in transit (those in the UK will undoubtedly have a shorter ship time)||11|
Would I buy from SelectSpecs again?
Yes. Pricing is good, packaging was great. Aside from the frames being a little "out of shape", the rest of the experience was just about perfect.
Would I recommend SelectSpecs to others?
Yes. My only concern would be someone having to adjust the frame and accidently breaking it. Aside from that, the lenses were great, and I don't forsee anyone receiving a package that was damaged during shipping. As long as no errors are made on the prescription, and the frames survive adjustment, I think just about anyone would be happy with a pair from SelectSpecs.
Select Specs Reader Review #1
Sent in by: 4eyes
Frame: Red Fox 801 http://www.selectspecs.com/Glasses/Hush/Red-Fox-801/ss101.10.html
Lenses: 1.61 index single vision – comes with anti reflective, anti scratch
Delivery time: acceptable – took about two weeks from order placement. The item was shipped from Hong Kong
Lens quality: The lens is OK with no scratches and the prescription seems to be correct. The Anti-reflective coating seems to work but not as good as my previous Costco glasses. My son has not tested the anti scratch coating yet. One thing I wish the websites provided is an estimate of the lens thickness based on your prescription and lens selection. The lenses I got are thicker that I thought they would be and this sort of tool would have been good to help me pick the lens.
Frame quality: I do not like the frame construction now that I have the glasses. I like the shape but what I could not tell from the online image is that the lenses are attached to the frame with two screws on each lens. Each lens has a slot cut next to the screw hole. Each slot holds a pin that keeps the lenses from twisting on the frame (see pic). The problem is that the slots in the lenses are a bit bigger than the pin so the lenses do move a bit and I find my self adjusting the lenses every few days. Another thing I don't like about the frame is that the screws that hold the lenses are rather long – these should be cut in my opinion. The screws do have caps so that you don't scratch yourself – these caps can fall off and can be very hard to find since they are clear. Basically, I got what I asked for but could not clearly see what I was getting.
Would I recommend this to a friend: – Yes, purely for the savings.
Select Specs Reader Review #2
Sent in by: Greg
I'm not qualified to write a comparative review as this is the only online eyeglasses retailer that I have actually done business with. However I have just completed my third purchase with them over the course of four years, and I continue to be quite pleased with both the product and the process.
In the past I have purchased eyeglasses from Sears, Lenscrafters, Walmart and Costco and have had only lukewarm satisfaction with any of them, Costco being the best. But my glasses from SelectSpecs have been great and have surprised me in a couple of areas.
First the frames: When I unwrapped the first pair of glasses from SelectSpecs, I was a tiny bit disappointed. They didn't look cheap, but they didn't look quite as expensive as I had hoped for. In retrospect, what I was hoping for was probably unreasonable. What I was hoping for were glasses that made me look young, wealthy and hip, and I am none of those things. What I received were some very good looking and serviceable glasses. VERY serviceable. I am really hard on glasses and the frames have held up as well as any I have ever owned. Not even any loose screws. I only wish that I could buy frames with the spring type hinges.
The lenses have also been remarkably durable. Not only have they been fairly resistant to scratches, the optical coatings have been nothing short of amazing. I have just examined the old glasses that I bought from SelectSpecs more than four years ago, and the coatings still appear to be virtually perfect.
Minor downsides: In the past, my SelectSpec glasses have cost me around $55. This year my newest pair cost me a little over $140 in exactly the same frames. The difference is that, for the first time, I opted for the "recommended" ultra thin highest quality lens material. I probably will never buy this upgrade again. When I examine both pairs of glasses closely, side by side, I still cant see any significant difference. The other minor downside is that for US customers, service is a little slow. SelectSpecs operates out of the UK and although my glasses were finished within the stated "7 to 10 BUSINESS days" it was 29 days from the time I placed the order until they showed up in my mailbox. This was acceptable to me, but definitely not good for the person who has just lost their only pair of glasses.
The bottom line for me is that I have been pleased enough with my purchases from SelectSpecs that I don’t have a great interest in trying other sellers. I initially chose them because I knew exactly what frames I wanted and they were the only ones that had them at a reasonable price. And although they may not be the very cheapest, the combination of selection and quality makes them a very good value. And for someone with no experience at buying glasses online, the selection, and purchase process was so easy and straightforward that I decided not to bother looking anywhere else. I definitely recommend them.
Topics from the SelectSpecs section of the old forums...
Below is the original write-up for SelectSpecs (from 2006-2009). It's been kept around for posterity.
SelectSpecs is based in the UK. Both single-vision and bi-focal lenses are available. One of the features of their site is the ability to select from multiple languages and currencies. Currencies to choose from are GBP, EUR, USD, YEN, AUS$, and CAN$. Language can be changed to English, German, Spanish, or French. They accept Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Delta, Diner's Club, JCB, Maestro, Paypal, and NoChex. UK residents may also pay by cheque. Credit Card payments are processed by NetBanx.
SelectSpecs offers a wide variety of frames, including quite a few designer frames. Budget frames & lenses start at $24.79, which gets you a budget frame, and either Standard (1.49) or Thin&Light (1.56) lenses. SelectSpecs has stated that they are able to supply tints to high index lens materials at the customers request, despite the fact that it is not available on the website. So while an option may be grayed out on the order page, it may still be available upon request. Lenses come with free AR, scratch, and UV coatings.
With a solid website, good pricing, the ability to select your language and currency when browsing, a free AR coating, and low shipping, this site is definitely worth checking out.
PricingThe base price is in £, and other currencies are calculated based on the current exchange rate. As exchange rates change, these prices will undoubtedly become inaccurate, however they should still serve to give an approximation. Current pricing can of course be found on the SelectSpecs website.
pricing taken from website on May 9, 2006
GBP (£) USD CAN$ EUR (€) YEN (¥) AUS$ Basic Frames (Budget) & Lenses (1.49 or 1.56) 12.95 24.79 27.57 19.50 2768 32.25 Super Thin Lenses (1.60) +19.95 +38.18 +42.47 +30.05 +4264 +49.68 Ultra Super Thin Lenses (1.67) +54.95 +105.17 +116.99 +82.76 +11744 +136.84 UltraX Super Thin Lenses (1.74) +69.95 +133.88 +148.93 +105.35 +14949 +174.20 Bifocals +20.00 +38.28 +42.58 +30.12 +4274 +49.81 Transitions®NG Lenses (only available on 1.49 index) (Grey or Brown) +35.00 +66.99 +74.52 +52.71 +7480 +87.16 Tint (only available on 1.49 index) (Blue, Brown, G15, Grey, Pink, Yellow) +3.00 +5.74 +6.39 +4.52 +641 +7.47 Tint (only available on 1.49 index) (Graduated Brown or Pink) +5.00 +9.57 +10.65 +7.53 +1069 +12.45 Polarised (only available on 1.49 index) (Brown, Grey, Green) +35.00 +66.99 +74.52 +52.71 +7480 +87.16 Shipping (United Kingdom) +1.00 +1.91 +2.13 +1.51 +214 +2.49 Shipping (International) +2.80 +5.36 +5.96 +4.22 +598 +6.97
A pair of single vision lenses, shipped with free AR is $30.15USD Internationally (only $26.70USD in the UK). Quite the deal. Bifocals come to $68.43USD shipped Internationally.
SelectSpecs is also offering a "Re-Glaze" service into customers own frames. While not yet available on the website, it is available upon request, and I have been provided with the following information with pricing in USD (current as of January 23, 2006).
|Standard 1.5 or 1.56 index - Sph +6.00 to -8.00 Cyl ±2.00, inclusive of anti-reflection and Scratch resistance coatings.||Super Thin 1.6 index - Sph +6.00 to -8.00 Cyl ±2.00, inclusive of anti-reflection and Scratch||Super Thin 1.6 index (Extra) - Sph +8.00 to -8.00 Cyl ±4.00, inclusive of anti-reflection and Scratch resistance coatings.||Ultra Super Thin 1.67 index - Sph +9.00 to -12.00 Cyl ±4.00, inclusive of anti-reflection and Scratch resistance coatings.||UltraX Super Thin 1.74 index - Sph +10.00 to -15.00 Cyl ±4.00, inclusive of anti-reflection and Scratch resistance coatings.|
|Full Rim Metal $36.31
Full Rim Plastic $36.31
Rimless mount $54.51
|Full Rim Metal $36.31
Full Rim Plastic $36.31
Rimless mount $72.71
|Full Rim Metal $81.81
Full Rim Plastic $81.81
Rimless mount $100.00
|Full Rim Metal $118.21
Full Rim Plastic $118.21
Rimless mount $136.41
|Full Rim Metal $136.41
Full Rim Plastic $136.41
Rimless mount $154.61
|Website||Excellent||The website is easy to use. When ordering there are question-marks beside each option, where you can get additional information. The biggest thing the site has going for it though (in my opinion) is the ability to change the displayed currency. This should be very appealing to international buyers.|
|Selection||Great||The budget section ($23.83-$36.81) has a fair selection of frames. They also have a wide selection of Premier and Designer frames (which do cost more).|
|Frame Info||Good||Dimensions, Color, and material all given.|
|Lens Options||Good||A variety of indexes are offered. Transitions, Polarised, and Tinted lenses are available, although unfortunately only on the lowest-indexed lens.|
|Value||Great||A pair of frames/lenses with free AR for under $30 shipped is nothing to scoff at. Adding any options (except Tint), will more than double the price, however I would expect that they plan to sell the options mainly on the higher priced Premier and Designer frames anyway. If you just need a cheap pair with all of the coatings but none of the other goodies, this could be the place for you.|
Recent updates: Updated some of the pricing. "UltraX Super Thin Lenses" increased in price.