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Zenni Optical


Quick Notes:


Zenni Optical is located in the US (California), although orders may be shipped from either the US or from HK. Pricing in USD. They sell single-vision and bi-focal/progressive lenses. They a 1-800 number, fax number, email address, mailing address, and online form for contact. Payment methods include Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, Diner's Club, JCB, Carte Blanche, Australian Bankcard, Discover/Novus, Switch, Solo, and enRoute. They are BBB-accredited with an "A+" rating.


Zenni is generally considered to be the most popular online eyeglass retailer. They've been around for a number of years and it's virtually impossible to find a list of retailers (whether current or historic) that doesn't include Zenni. It's worth noting that they had some severe shipping (and customer-service-related) issues back in 2009 that were poorly addressed, though all indications seem to be that they've worked to improve since then – complaints appear to have decreased substantially, and they are now a BBB-accredited business. Their record isn't by any means spotless, but they remain extremely popular and the "go-to" retailer for many customers. Looking back through input I've received and across other info on the web, my general impression when it comes to Zenni Optical's customer service is that if you run into an issue, you probably won't get a lot of sympathy from Zenni – they are very policy-oriented and will certainly offer you what their policies allow, but strictly adhering to their refund/credit policies also means that they're not the type to go above-and-beyond to make sure you're happy. This is generally speaking, and just the impression that I get, so take it with a grain of salt.

While in the past I've referred to Zenni's website as "simple", they've made a number of improvements over the years while still maintaining the ease of navigation.

Frame selection is quite good. In total, roughly 4000 frames exist, with 76 frames at the lowest ($6.95) price point. They also have a variety of frames for $9.95, $12.95, $15.95, and $19.00+. About 150 are available under the $15 mark. Beyond that, they also carry memory titanium, rimless, aluminum alloy, and quite a bit more in the way of options although prices vary in those categories, quite a few beyond the $19.00 mark. All in all, there's a huge selection and prices generally are quite low and increase gradually as you go along. Frame prices cap at under $50, further emphasizing their heavy focus on low prices.

Frame engraving is something they've started offering somewhat recently, and you can get inner/outer text/art engravings in the $2-4 range, available in various colors.

Basic single-vision lenses (either 1.50 or 1.57 index) come free with the frames. Bifocals add $17 and Progressives add $21.95 to the price tag. A number of indexes are available (up to 1.67 for single vision), in addition to Transitions-branded photochromic lenses & Polarized lenses. Polycarbonate lenses are available for $9. Anti-scratch and UV are free, but an AR coating is extra ($4.95 for the basic coating, $14.95 for a more premium coating). Tint can be found for $4.95.

Prescriptions all the way up to -20/+12 are handled, and prism adds $10, making them one of the few who will tackle the really high/complex prescriptions.

They've essentially covered all the basics when it comes to lens options, and managed to keep the prices of those upgrades consistently low.

Website and Ordering:

As mentioned earlier, Zenni's maintained a simple layout while adding functionality to the site. The search/sort feature is quite strong and is designed to help you find what you're looking for quickly. You can use sliders to narrow down a price range, limit compatibility to bifocal/progressive, choose certain frame types/shapes/materials, select certain sizes or colors, and... you get the idea.

A try-on feature has been added. Zenni Optical was one of the last holdouts here, but when they finally got around to adding a try-on, they did a pretty good job. It appears to be java-based (rather than the more common flash-based ones), which was a pretty smart move on Zenni's part. Zenni's works flawlessly in nearly every OS and nearly every browser – it even works on the iPad, and some thought was put into making it work well on touch-enabled devices too – even moving the little crosshairs around to line up with your eyes via taps works very intuitively.

Speaking of the mobile experience, Zenni's site adapts to mobile devices pretty seamlessly. I did run into a serious issue/oversight on my latest visit though – they're currently running a "Share to Win" promotion, and there's a little popup on the screen which blocks some of the prescription area when using a phone. Closing it doesn't "stick" correctly, so if I'd been planning to purchase while on my phone, chances are I would have given up in frustration part way through.

The ordering/prescription page is laid out well. Little "?" bubbles exist beside every option – mousing over a "?" brings a pop-up with further information/explanation.

Complaints I made in a previous write-up referring to the remainder of the cart not jiving with the theme have been addressed – the cart now looks and functions normally.

Unfortunately, to place an order you're required to create an account (there's no "checkout as guest"). I know that retailers love getting you signed up for various reasons (everything from account security to marketing), but as a customer it's never something that's thrilled me. This time around I wasn't ready to create another throwaway account just for the sake of seeing what's changed, but keep in mind that during previous visits, before placing an order you were required to accept a Terms of Use agreement that bound you to "Arbitration" if there were a dispute. This last part (forcing the customer to agree to arbitration) ticks me off to no end. Instead of conveying that "if there's a problem, let us know – we want to take care of it and make sure you're pleased", it comes off as "if something goes wrong, we're more concerned about making you jump through hoops than anything else, really".

To be fair, that may have changed. And even if it hasn't, I haven't heard any complaints about the "arbitration" requirement being used against a customer yet. And I really hope it's something that a legal department insisted on rather than something Zenni intends to use against customers. Arbitration agreements are supposed to be for businesses making deals with each other – they don't have any place in customer agreements as far as I'm concerned. If a customer has a problem, you're supposed to... you know... work things out.

Pricing and Value:

Zenni remains extremely competitive price-wise. With frames starting at $6.95, free lenses, and shipping at $4.95 within the US ($9.95+ internationally), it's quite possible to get a pair of glasses for under $15.

Lens offerings (based on $6.95 frames):

 Single vision  Bifocal  Progressive
1.50 Standard lenses  free  +$17.00  +$21.95
1.53 Trivex lenses  +$29.99  +$49.00
1.57 Mid-Index lenses  free  +$21.95
1.59 Polycarbonate lenses  +$9.00  +$39.00
1.61 High-Index lenses  +$19.95  +$46.00  +$49.00
1.67 High-Index lenses  +$34.95  +$67.00
Polarized 1.50 index (grey/amber)  +$32.99  +$57.99 (1.49 index)  +$57.99
Polarized Vision-Ease SunRx® 1.59 index polycarbonate (grey/brown)  +$72.00  +$92.00
Polarized Vision-Ease Coppertone® 1.59 index polycarbonate (grey/brown)  +$76.00  +$96.00
Photochromic 1.57 index (grey/amber)  +$19.00  +$49.00 (grey)  +$59.00
Photochromic 1.57 index (purple/blue/rose)  +$29.00  +$59.00
Photochromic Vision-Ease LifeRx® 1.59 index polycarbonate (grey/brown)  +$66.00  +$99.00
Transitions VI brand photochromic 1.50 index (grey/brown)  +$69.00  +$109.00
Transitions VI brand photochromic 1.59 index polycarbonate (grey/brown)  +$66.00
Transitions VI brand photochromic 1.61 index (grey)  +$139.00  +$159.00
Transitions VI brand photochromic 1.67 index (grey)  +$169.00  +$189.00
Tint (standard) – grey, green, amber, blue, purple, pink, yellow  +$4.95  +$4.95  +$4.95
Tint (gradient) – grey, dark grey, green, amber, brown, blue, purple, pink, yellow, dark yellow  +$7.95  +$7.95
Anti-reflective (AR) coating  +$4.95  +$4.95  +$4.95
Anti-reflective (AR) coating – super hydrophobic (water resistant)  +$8.95  +$8.95  +$8.95
Anti-reflective (AR) coating – Oleophobic (oil and fingerprint resistant)  +$14.95  +$14.95  +$14.95
Anti-reflective (AR) coating – Mirror Finish with Oleophobic (gold/blue/silver)  +$19.95  +$19.95

Shipping within the US is $4.95. Canada is $9.95. Other countries vary between $9.95 and $38.95.

The price charts are created by hand – if you notice any errors, please contact me.

To sum them up, Zenni's the most popular retailer, has incredibly low-prices (both for offerings and addons), and is BBB-accredited.

Zenni Optical Review (my purchase)


Personal Experiences

March 5, 2009
An order was placed for glasses from Zenni. EyeglassRetailerReviews received countless emails from many Zenni customers, many of which were having issues with Zenni. It was therefore decided that the March purchase would be from them, partly because it's been long overdue, and partly to see if this order faced any of the same issues others were having. A basic pair of $8.00 semi-rimless glasses were ordered, with the AR coating chosen as an option for an additional $4.95. Shipping to Canada was $6.95, bringing the grand total to $19.90 USD.

March 21, 2009
An email was received indicating the glasses had shipped, and included a Hong Kong Post tracking number. Note that the FAQ on Zenni's site states the following:
"In most instances, a single vision pair of glasses will be delivered in approximately ten days after the placement of the order. If you're ordering single vision, and you're on the West Coast of the U.S., the period may be shorter. Most non-domestic single vision orders arrive in approximately ten days of placement of the order, and are shipped directly from our overseas lab via Hong Kong Post."

Now, maybe I'm bad at math here, but I have no idea how Zenni expects people to receive their glasses in 10 days, when the glasses aren't even shipped for 16 days. Maybe they have a "Back to the Future" car that can go back in time 6 days that they simply forgot to use. Maybe they're lying about their delivery time. Or maybe I just got unlucky.

Yes, I jest about it (it's better than getting angry), and normally I wouldn't be so quick to throw punches. After all, there can be a lot of legitimate reasons for having delays. For example, if the glasses are crafted and fail inspection, they may have to be recrafted. I'm usually apt to giving the retailer the benefit of the doubt. However, a large number of the emails received by EyeglassRetailerReviews have been in regards to long shipping times – quite often up to a month, and rarely less than 2 weeks. I tend to get the impression that long crafting times by Zenni are now common practice, and that the claim of "ten days" is grossly inaccurate and misleading to customers.

March 27, 2009
The glasses arrived in the mail.


The packaging was a basic bubblewrap envelope. Inside was a plastic clamshell case, with the glasses inside, wrapped in a microfibre cloth.

Pictures (click on any of the thumbnails to open the image full-size in a new window)
Zenni Optical - packaging   Zenni Optical - glasses case   Zenni Optical - glasses case and microfiber cloth overhead view

First impressions

There was a little fluff/debris on the lenses, but it rinsed off easily. The frames were pretty basic, but seemed quite sturdy. The arms squeezed in a little bit (which you can see in the angle on the picture above). At first it appeared as though they may have to be adjusted, but most of the arm towards the rear is thin and flexes well enough to fit onto a larger head without having to make bends/adjustments. The UV/AR coating had a purple/green reflection to it depending on the light source and angle. One oddity is that despite the coating, the glasses seemed to reflect an awful lot.
Zenni Optical - glasses top view   Zenni Optical - glasses front view
lenses were quite clear and the glasses were sturdy – however light seems to reflect off quite heavily despite the anti-reflective coating.


As mentioned, the frames were very sturdy. Semi-rimless (and rimless) glasses have a "wire" keeping the lenses tightly in place, and the quality of the work here was excellent – while you can't see it in the images, it was nice and tight, and the groove was well done.

Putting on the glasses, they seem to be optically correct.

An examination of the lenses themselves showed a couple very minor scratches or scuffs (difficult to determine which) in the left lens. Note that it took a good few minutes of examination to catch this, and it's not something that would likely ever be noticed normally (or affect the vision). Very minor, but worth a mention. Otherwise the lenses were flawless. A picture wasn't taken of it because it would probably take about an hour just to find a light source at an angle that the camera would actually get properly – that's how minor it really was.

Of larger concern was the AR (anti reflective) coating. It seemed to be rather poor, and light reflected from all over the place which was visibly quite annoying. Normally I would have suspected it wasn't even there, but with the purple/greenish reflection I have to assume one was applied. It just doesn't do it's job terribly well.

Another issue with the AR coating is that it also doesn't cope well with hot water – it cracks. One second under hot tap water, and the cracking instantly started. I ran both lenses under a few more seconds of hot tap water and this was the result:
Zenni Optical review - 2009 - cracked AR coating - hot water 1   Zenni Optical review - 2009 - cracked anti-reflective coating - hot water 2
do NOT use hot water to clean the lenses, or this will result (only visible in specific light conditions which were created for the photos)

The "cracking" is something of a growing concern, and it's not limited to Zenni's coatings – it involves some other retailers as well. Really, there are plenty of times glasses can be subjected to hot water (heck, ever been in a hot tub?), and some retailers seem to be cheaping out on the quality of the coating. Really, this probably won't affect most people, particularly if they're careful. For those it does affect, they certainly won't be pleased.

Final Thoughts

To be frank, the glasses themselves were very good. For under $20, it was certainly a solid pair of glasses. The first issue I have is the shipping time – I don't mind that it takes 3 weeks to come from Hong Kong – I just have a strong distaste for the claim that they'll be received in under 10 days when they aren't even in the mail until 16 days later. The second issue is that of the anti-reflective coating – reflections were everywhere, and of course it cracked under hot water. Since it didn't do it's job in the first place, customers are probably better off not getting the coating at all.

Would I buy from Zenni Optical again? Maybe. For a decent back-up pair without coatings, it's hard to beat the price.

Would I recommend Zenni Optical to others? Maybe. For those who don't plan to get an AR coating, it's an excellent price. Zenni has had a very high complaint rate through EyeglassRetailerReviews.com though, and I'd make the individual well aware of that (Update: the complaint rate since this review has dropped to very low levels, and is now much less of a concern). I'd obviously tell them the truth about the expected delivery time too (Update: reported delivery time has improved as well).

Zenni Optical Reader Review #1

Sent in by: IowaStater

I purchased 4 pairs of glasses from Zennioptical.com May 19, 2009 at 11:00 PM.

Pair one was a Titanium rimless set, will A/R coating, costing me 44.90.
Pair two was a full rim Titanium pair, with 80% gray tinting for sunglasses, also costing 44.90
Pair three was a Stainless Steel full rim with plastic temples and A/R coating for 28.90
Pair four was a metal alloy full rim, tinted 80% green for driving glasses for 23.95

Shipping and handling was 4.95 for everything. All four pair ran me 147.60 total. My last pair, purchased at the largest retail chain in America, cost me $225.

I received a confirmation email from Zenni on May 20, at 1:00 AM, or about 2 hours later. I began my waiting then.

On June 3rd at 1:00 PM I received an email advising me that my glasses had been shipped. Two weeks to the day that I ordered them. I received a USPS confirmation notification at that time.

On Saturday June 6th, I received my glasses, or 3 days from notification of sending.

Zenni glasses #1 (by IowaStater)   Zenni glasses #2 (by IowaStater)   Zenni glasses #3 (by IowaStater)   Zenni glasses #4 (by IowaStater)

My initial concerns were due to the fact that they were shipped in a bubble envelope, and the envelope had ripped a bit on the end. However when I opened them, my concerns were alleviated, as all four cases were in new shape.

My first pair I examined were my rimless ones. My opinion when I opened the case was that they were very nice. The frames were nice, light and very bendy. The mounts on the lenses were very solid, and not screw to lens, as I had seen before, but rather what looks like a glued in t shaped dual point pin. The edges of the lenses are nice and clear. I could not detect any issues, scratches or blemishes in the lenses. They appeared to be optically perfect. The nose pads were injection molded and don't seem to be replaceable. Overall, I have slight concerns about the mounting system, but they are really nice otherwise. Can't see the AR, but they aren't reflecting as I type, so I'm happy.
Zenni glasses #5 (by IowaStater)

My second pair was much as the first. Very good first impression. Quite a lot darker than I expected, but very nice. Very solid construction and the lenses were also optically perfect. The nose pads were called "Titan", and were single screw attached (which should make them very easy to replace if I need to.) Overall I'm very happy with them.
Zenni glasses #6 (by IowaStater)

My third pair were more of a fun pair for me, and not a normal design that I would chose. They are metal, but with very comfortable plastic arms. The lenses are held on with plastic bands, and seem very sturdy. The nose pads are also single screw (not Titan this time though) and seem to be easily replaceable as well. The lenses were dusty (not an issue, but the other ones were actually spotless) and wiped off easily with the enclosed cloth. Overall, very happy. Again, can't see the AR, but no reflections, so I'm happy.

My last pair were another tinted pair, with extended hinges and metal arms. Lenses are a green tint, I think they are a bit bluer than the Ray Ban G15 that I love so much, but very very close. Overall, optically correct, and no visible flaws. Overall, very happy.

As I sat and pondered my purchase, I was extremely happy. All 4 pair cost me less than my last single pair. And my last pair had two be remade because the lenses didn't match my prescription. I have been buying glasses for over 25 years, and finally felt like I got my moneys worth. All four pairs are very nice, and look like they will last. If you can wait the 3 weeks, it's worth it.

I did not mention the fit, as I have a pretty big melon (my Army beret is a 7 7/8), and all glasses have to be spread a bit for my head, and these were no difference, however I bent them out slightly, very fast, and they fit perfectly then. I would not feel comfortable blaming Zenni for that, as I've never worn a pair "off the rack". Nose pad alignment was very good on all 4 pairs, and they sat flat on the table.

Zenni Optical Reader Review #2

Sent in by: eki

I placed 4 separate orders with Zenni. After reading reviews about different sites (all of the ones mentioned on this site), and spending many hours looking at glasses and comparing prices/products on the different discount merchants, I decided to purchase from Zenni. My concern was not only the price (but that was important since I was ordering online something that could potentially not work for me), but also the styles offered and the quality of lenses/frames. Although other merchants had better websites (with virtual try-on, personalized account, fancy search options), Zenni had the best selection of frames and the best overall prices. My guess was that frame quality-wise, all of the discount merchants are comparable. Some merchants had designer glasses, but the prices on those were higher, and all I really wanted was to have a back-up pair of glasses.

Let me start by saying that I initially purchased glasses from my optometrist's office, which, after insurance discounts and payments, cost me $410 out-of-pocket. This was in March 2009, and it took 2 remakes to get them right. These are designer glasses, plastic, with Crizal anti-reflective coating and 1.67 high index aspheric lenses. I also have a pair of glasses I purchased from LensCrafters in July 2005, which are pure titanium frame, with regular polycarbonate 1.56 index lenses and with no antireflective coating, and cost me, after discounts, about $260. Another pair I will be mentioning are my Cosco glasses that I got in November 2007 for $130. They are a plastic frame, with anti-reflective coating, and 1.56 polycarbonate aspheric lenses. I will be comparing the Zenni glasses with all three of these pairs as well to give a good idea of what the differences are and if it's worth it to buy more expensive.

My prescription is: OD -3.75, -0.25, 132; OS -5.25

First order with Zenni: I placed my order for 1 pair of glasses on Friday 3/6/09 and received immediate e-mail confirmation (the date was off on the email but they fixed this in subsequent orders). My card was charged on 3/9/09 for $25.85. After I realized that my prescription was actually not right (the expensive designer glasses that had to be remade), I called Zenni to cancel my order on Monday 3/9/09. I was on hold for less than 5 min before I got to speak to a live representative. The lady said she would contact the lab and make sure they could cancel it (if they didn't start processing the order). She put me on hold and was back within a couple of minutes letting me know that my order was cancelled and that the lab would refund my money within a few days. She was polite and helpful. The original amount was refunded to my card on 3/13/09 ($25.85).

Second order with Zenni: I placed my second order with Zenni on Saturday 3/14/09, one week later, after my prescription was fixed. I received immediate e-mail confirmation. My card was charged on 3/16/09 for $109.60 for 4 pairs of glasses. I did not receive a shipping or tracking e-mail but my glasses arrived on Saturday 3/30/09, exactly 2 weeks later, via Express mail – signature required from Hong Kong. Since I was not home when they arrived and the post courier did not leave them, I picked them up from the post office on Monday.

This is what I ordered:

First impressions: The package was in a large green envelope (see picture). Inside was a smaller white bubble wrap envelope. And inside it were 4 blue plastic cases with the glasses. In each case, the glasses were wrapped in a Zenni cleaning cloth. The case itself is not impressive but it seemed secure for the glasses; the bottom of the case has a soft lining so as not to scratch the lenses.

AR - order 2 burgundy pair - notice the greenish-purplish hue and how the smaller lamp reflection is white   AR - order 2 clear rimless pair - notice that the reflection is consistent throughout the lens   AR - order 2 purple pair - notice AR reflection is greenish and the smaller lamp reflection is white. This pair has the worst AR visually.   Zenni burgundy plastic. $15.95   Zenni sunglasses - aluminum. $23.95   Zenni sunglasses - beautifully made   Zenni rimless memory plastic frame. $25.95   Zenni rimless   Zenni rimless   Zenni stainless steel black and purple. $19   Order 2 packaging   Order 2 packaging   Order 2 packaging and glasses   Order 2 glasses - the cases are identical   Order 2 glasses in cases wrapped in Zenni cleaning cloths   Order 2 glasses

The glasses were better than I expected. The frame quality is very good (I will comment on each pair), and the prescription is right on. I selected the regular 1.57 index lenses that come with the frames and added the anti-reflective coating on 3 pairs and 80% gray tint on 1 pair. The anti-reflective coating has a greenish-purplish hue. I noticed that the coating seems different on the three pairs of glasses. On one of them (the clear pair), when under a room overhead light, both the smaller and the larger reflections of the lamp are greenish-purplish. On the other two pairs (purple and burgundy), the small reflection is white and the large reflection is greenish-purplish. The metal pair (purple) reflects everywhere when I wear it while driving (especially on the red lights from the cars in front of me). The plastic burgundy pair does not, however. The clear pair does not reflect either. The reflections in any of them do not bother me. (The purple pair of glasses reflecting lights from the cars while I am driving is annoying; however, it does not impair my ability to see.)

Note: My LensCrafters pair of glasses that does not have anti-reflective coating reflects in white (there is no greenish-purplish hue). The anti-reflective coating on my Cosco pair of glasses has the same purplish-greenish hue as the Zenni glasses. My expensive optometrist pair shows a yellowish hue. This pair seems more subdued too than any of the others. The coating is visibly superior and any reflections are minor as compared to the Zenni discount glasses or the Cosco and LensCrafters glasses.

I have not tested the quality of the anti-reflective coating and had had the glasses for only a short time to be able to tell how they hold up. The LensCrafters and the Cosco pairs however have been "peeling/crackling" at the edges.

As far as frames from Zenni, they are all solid and well crafted. They were a bit tight but when I made adjustments to them, they fit perfectly. I was able to do this with small pliers (I coated them with a piece of fabric not to scratch the frames) on the metal pairs. The plastic pairs, I ran some hot water over the part I wanted to adjust for about 20 seconds (making sure the water does not go on the lenses – I read about the cracking in reviews) and made adjustments very easily. The aluminum pair ($23.95) is very light and very solid (I did not have to adjust them at all). They look like they will last a long time. The plastic burgundy pair ($15.95) is solid as well but a lot thinner than my expensive optometrist pair. They feel like the reading glasses you would buy over the counter. They are, however, well made (metal frame under the plastic on the temples), light, comfortable and fashionable. The stainless steel purple pair ($19) is my favorite of the clear lens glasses (even with the worst anti-reflective coat). They are solid, very comfortable, and fashionable. The rimless pair, memory plastic, ($25.95) is my least favorite. They are put together well as far as how the lenses are attached but they seem really flimsy. Is it the hingeless or just my taste, I am not sure, but what stands out is that the little plastic behind-the-ear covers are loose and slide on the metal part. It took me the longest to get them adjusted so that I can see well through them. They are comfortable to wear when I watch TV lying down and I don't have to worry about breaking my other pairs. They serve a purpose so I am happy.

I can switch between pairs with no problems at all which tells me that optically they are right on. And, they were made right the first time – no remakes, which to me is very impressive since my optometrist said I was "hypersensitive." The lenses were thicker than I expected but they are not too bad. Compared to the expensive 1.67 index lenses, they are not too much thicker (for my prescription 1-2 millimeters). The lenses are set very well in the frames so the thickness is not even noticeable. When looking through them, both the expensive glasses and the Zenni glasses have a bit of distortion on the sides, which is normal. I have not noticed any major difference in this area; except that the expensive pair seems slightly more clear. They are all equally comfortable to look through.

(The problem with my designer pair was that the 1.67 lenses are aspheric. My eyes do not want to adjust to aspheric lenses. As soon as they adjusted the glasses to "mold" around my eyes, they were 100% better. The first remake was for the actual prescription; the optometrist tried to take the astigmatism out on one eye since it is so slight and the exam indicated no difference in vision. When I put them on, however, they were too fuzzy. The second remake was for the strength in the other eye. With the first pair, -5.0 was fine but with the second pair it did not match up with the other eye when the astigmatism was put back in. When the glasses were remade to -5.25 and then "molded," they are now perfect. The service I received was good but I think some of this could have been avoided since I warned the new optometrist of my history with slightly changing prescriptions and aspheric lenses (the Cosco glasses had to be redone and molded as well). I do really love these new optometrist glasses though.

The sunglasses, aluminum blue pair, are very light and comfortable. They are semi-rimless and the tint envelops the whole lens. They are not polarized but to me this did not matter. They are very comfortable to wear when I am outside or driving, not only the frame but the lenses as well. The tinting is perfect and effective. When I put my polarized over-the-glasses sunglasses over them, I can be in the sun and it seems like a cloudy day, no squinting; driving like this is wonderful on a very bright sunny day! This is my favorite pair as far as quality of frame – the aluminum is so light, solid, and comfortable; the color is beautiful and they look like designer glasses.

I have already gotten compliments on all of the glasses. No one except for me seems to notice that some were about $20-$30 and some $400.

Third order with Zenni: I ordered an additional pair of glasses on Tuesday 3/17/09, 4 days after my first order. I received a confirmation email immediately. My card was charged on 3/18/09 for $28.90. This time, I received an e-mail notifying me that the glasses were shipped, with the tracking information, on Wednesday 4/1/09. The glasses arrived on Saturday 4/4/09, 18 days after my order. The envelope was white and no signature was required this time; the post courier left the package in my mailbox.

This is what I ordered:

Zenni stainless steel with plastic temples black. $19   AR - order 3 black - consistent AR coloring - this pair has the best AR of all the Zenni glasses I ordered   Order 3 packaging   Order 3 glasses

First impressions: The glasses were in a white hard shell case inside a bubble wrap envelope. They were wrapped in the Zenni cleaning cloth, just like the other pairs. These are stainless steel, black, and the first thing I noticed is that the anti-reflective coating was more prominent than in the other 3 pairs (still greenish-purple hue). I did not notice any reflections while driving like I do with the purple pair. The anti-reflective coating is still not as good as the one on the designer pair though, but it seems to be identical to the Cosco pair.

The glasses are well put together, prescription seems right and comfortable. I did notice that on one small place there seems to be a slight "chip" in the lens, right at the edge by the nosepiece. This is barely noticeable since it is on the edge – it might have happened when assembling the glasses. The other thing I noticed is that the black paint on the front of the frame was slightly scratched in one place. I took a permanent marker and filled this in. This was barely noticeable to begin with but I was looking at the glasses very closely. If I tried to take a picture of this, it would not come out since it cannot be seen without really looking for it.

The frame is sturdy and solid. These glasses have plastic temples which were easy to adjust under hot water (again, being careful not to get the water on the lenses). They were a bit tight but I was able to adjust them easily.

Optically, they seem right as well as the other pairs I got; I can switch back and forth without issues (slight momentary adjustment – the frames are different shapes after all and sit differently on my face). Overall, I was pleased with this pair as well.

Fourth order with Zenni: On Sunday 4/5/09, I placed another order for 3 more pairs of glasses. I received an email confirmation immediately. My card was charged on 4/6/09. The glasses arrived on Friday 4/17/09 (11 days later) directly from Jintan City, China via DHL. It was a large white envelope. Inside was a smaller bubble wrap envelope, just like with previous orders.

This is what I ordered:

Zenni plastic brown. $15.95   Zenni plastic black/clear. $19   Zenni plastic burgundy sunglasses with spring hinge. $8   Order 4 packaging   Order 4 cases - notice the different colors and styles   Order 4 glasses in cases wrapped in cleaning cloths   Order 4 glasses   AR - order 4 brown pair - same as order 2 burgundy   AR - order 4 black/clear

First impressions: The cases this time were different. One was a clear case like with the previous order and the other two were slightly larger, one pink and one yellow. Still plastic and similar quality as the others. The glasses were packed exactly the same as before, each wrapped in a cleaning cloth (with no Zenni insignia this time) and securely placed in the cases. The packaging was sturdy and secure.

The anti-reflective coating on these is also greenish-purplish and very similar to the one on the burgundy pair from the first order (see pictures for comparisons). They reflect the same as that pair. The tinting on the sunglasses is consistent with the previous sunglasses – well done.

All three frames that I ordered this time are plastic and all three are well made and sturdy. The brown pair is identical to the burgundy pair from the first order. As well, they are all optically perfect and I can switch between any of them without any trouble. This time, though, the frames were not tight initially. Minimal adjustment was needed behind the ear which I easily did by running the part under hot water for 20 seconds and then bent it in place. There was no scratches or imperfections on either the lenses or the frames and the lenses are set in the frames well. The only thing that I noticed that is different between the 3 pairs is that the metal reinforcement inside the temple pieces runs all the way in the brown and black pairs and only about 1 inch past the hinge in the burgundy ($8) pair.

I am still very satisfied with this order as well as the other two. The frames and lenses are of great quality and very fashionable. The only thing that could be improved is the anti-reflective coat.



What I like about Zenni: Low price, wide variety of frames, quality of frames and lenses, ease of ordering, detailed descriptions on site (individual glasses and other info), large and clear pictures of frame choices

What I dislike about Zenni: Anti-reflective coating is not great and inconsistent on different pairs, would like to be able to have an account on site

Would I order again: I did :) And most likely I will again in the future

Would I recommend to others: Yes, and I did to my coworkers, friends, and strangers too. The price is too good not to try it at least once and then decide if it's worth it to order again.

The truth is, if I knew about Zenni (or any of the discount online retailers) before I ordered my expensive glasses, I would have never bought the expensive glasses. Online is the way to go for those who are comfortable making frame adjustments themselves and like to spend the extra money they will save on things other than glasses :) The kicker is, the 8 pairs of glasses I got from Zenni cost less than half than the one optometrist pair ($196 for 8 vs. $410 for 1)! You do the math.

Pictures: I took pictures of all my glasses to show visual comparisons. There are packaging pictures for all three orders. One set of pictures is specifically for the AR coating – I tried to get the reflections with the camera to show what I was talking about in the review. Another set is to compare the quality of the glasses. Take, for instance, the burgundy Zenni pair and the optometrist designer brown pair – they look almost the same (except for the design). What the picture cannot show is that the designer pair is thicker and sturdier than the Zenni pair. When I move the Zenni burgundy pair around to clean it, adjust it, put it on, there is a slight squeaky sound. When I move the designer pair around, there is no sound. With the metal glasses (both aluminum blue and the stainless steel purple) there is no sound either – they are quite sturdy and solid.

Optometrist, Lenscrafters, Costco pairs (for comparison) (click for large version with notes at bottom):

AR (optometrist pair) - notice the yellowish hue   AR (Lenscrafters pair) - no anti-reflective coating   AR (Costco pair) - notice the greenish hue throughout   AR (Costco pair) - closer view   Glasses - Lenscrafters 2005 pair - notice how the lenses are "peeling" at the edges. There is no AR coating on this pair. $260   Glasses - Costco 2007 pair. These are "peeling" too at the edges. $130   Glasses - Optometrist pair 2009, plastic. $410

Zenni Optical Reader Review #3

Sent in by: Nodrac

Ordered regular progressive lenses and 2100 Bendable (Memory) Titanium Full-Rim Frame

Glasses were wrapped in cleaning cloth, both were in plastic bag and then in hard plastic snap close case, that was all in bubble shipping bag.

Glasses arrived in perfect condition, no scratches, a little lint which wiped right off with the enclosed cleaning cloth. I had to adjust the nose pieces slightly to get the viewing points correct, but other than that they were fine.

I am very well satisfied with everything and have already ordered two more pair (TV viewing and Sun glasses) from them.

Zenni Glasses (by Nodrac)

Zenni Optical Reader Review #4

Sent in by: Samantha

I ordered 2 pairs of glasses, one memory titanium and one acetate plastic, on May 21st. I received them on June 2nd. The only "customization" I got was AR coating. I purchased frames 3127 and 4317.

Being a bit anxious about picking out my glasses online and not being able to try them on ahead of time, I changed my mind about the second frames I had chose and decided I wanted different ones. I e-mailed Zenni on May 22nd. They say they process within 3 business days, so when I didn't hear back from them quickly I called on May 24th.

Hold times were about 20 minutes; that part was not great. The person I talked to was nice, and when I asked if I could change the frames he put me on a brief hold to check, then came back and apologized but no, it was too late to change. Interestingly enough though, about 8 hours later I came home from work to an e-mail back from Zenni saying that they could change the frames in my order. I'm guessing their customer service reps just don't have access to a whole lot of information.

I am thrilled with my glasses however! And extremely impressed. I am hard on my glasses and can't tell you how many I've worn out of shape. These guys really are bendable- I did a fair amount of twisting and experimenting with them when they arrived and they popped right back to where they were supposed to be. Super light and perfect for my work glasses. The acetate plastic frames are exactly what I expected. I just wanted a fun colorful pair so I picked up these.

My prescription had changed pretty drastically in the last year, so I was a bit nervous when I first got my glasses because I had a bit of the fishbowl effect. However after about 30 minutes that was completely gone and I can see perfectly! The AR coating is the typical green tint.

Both pairs arrived wrapped in a lens cleaning cloth in a hard plastic case, which were inside a padded envelope. At first I thought maybe the 2 pairs were slightly different prescription because my eyes have to re-adjust when I switch between them. However after a bit of time with both pairs I realized that the shapes of my frames are so different, the lenses are shaped a bit differently and I think that's what my eyes are adjusted to.

Two pairs of glasses & AR coating on each came out to $49.80 after shipping. I am completely sold on Zenni and have told everyone I know who wears glasses about them. I have worn glasses since I was 4 years old, and never have I been so satisfied and not felt like I had to empty my pockets!

Zenni glasses #1 (by Samantha)   Zenni glasses #2 (by Samantha)   Zenni glasses #3 (by Samantha)   Zenni glasses #4 (by Samantha)

Zenni Optical Reader Review #5

Sent in by: Laurent

On October 18, 2006, I ordered new glasses from Zenni Optical. Prescription was as follows:

OG: -7.50 (-0.75 -180)
OD: -7.50 (-0.75 -180)

I ordered simple glasses with an antireflective coating.

On Friday , October 27, 2006, I received a mail from Zenni indicating the glasses had been sent.

On Saturday , November 4, 2006, I have just received my glasses which are very beautiful, I do not regret ordering them from Zenni at all.

Prices are 10 times less raised than in France, and quality is excellent. I greatly recommend Zenni.

Zenni glasses #1 (by Laurent)   Zenni glasses #2 (by Laurent)   Zenni glasses #3 (by Laurent)   Zenni glasses #4 (by Laurent)   Zenni glasses #5 (by Laurent)   Zenni glasses #6 (by Laurent)   Zenni glasses #7 (by Laurent)   Zenni glasses #8 (by Laurent)   Zenni glasses #9 (by Laurent)

Zenni Optical Reader Review #6

Sent in by: Gellar

June 7, 2006
Ordering was pretty smooth, picked out a pair of rimless glasses with their AR coating which they say includes the anti radiation with the anti reflective coating. I sorta wish there were more pictures of the glasses, however they do provide a front picture and a measurement from side to side.

June 21, 2006
Finally received an email stating my glasses have been shipped. They claim that glasses are made within 48 hours of ordering, however this seems to be a little long! Got the tracking number and its been accepted at san rafael.

June 28, 2006
Got my glasses! They're in great condition, came in the usual packaging others have received. I got the same cheap case too, I dont think it will last very long. The lenses have a green or pink tint, depending on what light I was looking at them in. I did have to extend the arms a bit, they're quite short otherwise.

I also received a sun lens clip, and the glasses are surprisingly lightweight even with it on. I didnt get a higher index lense, although my perscription is only -2.25 and -2.5. I do kind of wish the sunlens was a little darker, but I think they're pretty standard. They say they're polarized, have not had a chance to really test it out yet though.

Overall they're nice glasses, and I think I will be using them a lot. I like that I got the extra anti reflective & anti radiation coating on it, I hope it keeps the strain off my eyes while on the computer. Ok, at dinner I was showing my dad the glasses, and I said I felt the arms were bent downards at the ends by too much, and he said that theres a metal wire on the inside that allows you to bend it a bit. He then took the right arm, and bent it out a bit, then a little more at the end, which then, yes you guessed it, snapped! He was right though, there is a metal wire going through the arm, however, at the very end there is not, and thats exactly where the arm snapped off. So now I'm left with brand new glasses, that are BROKEN! Thanks to good ol' dad...

So, to rectify the problem I do the smart thing, I e-mail Zenni and tell them that my glasses broke during shipping. First they tell me that if i send it to them they will fix it and send it back. I ask, just to see what they'll say, if I have to pay for return shipping, and they replied with the following:
We would like to send you frame #5808 in black with a tool at no cost. Would you please do the replacement frame youself? It is the most convenience way to fix your problem.Thank you for your patronage.
I, of course, say its no problem and would be very pleased with the solution. I have not sent this review until I have received the replaced frame so that Zenni doesn't acidentally see it and decide not to send me the replacement.

This is really good customer service on their part, as it was entirely my fault (really my dads). A new frame with a tool is great!

reader-2006-zenni-gellar-01   reader-2006-zenni-gellar-02   reader-2006-zenni-gellar-03   reader-2006-zenni-gellar-04   reader-2006-zenni-gellar-05   reader-2006-zenni-gellar-06   reader-2006-zenni-gellar-07
Click on any of the above thumbnails to open a picture in a new window.

Zenni Optical Reader Review #7

Sent in by: jps

Thursday March 9, 2006
I ordered frame "3411 - rimless, hingeless, memory plastic", in the clear color which was described as "nearly invisible".  This was a "speculative" purchase (no pun intended), rather than something for which I had a specific purpose in mind.  I never had a rimless frame before, nor a hingeless frame, nor a memory plastic frame, nor a "nearly invisible" frame.  So I'm trying a whole bunch of new things, all in the same package ;)

The base cost was $25.95.  I added AR for $4.95, and a $9.00 "extra-strength prescription" fee thanks to my high astigmatism.  Add $4.95 shipping to arrive at the $44.85 total.

I was very happy with the rimless lens selection.  There are about 20 to choose from which includes detailed size and shape information.  I knew exactly what I wanted, and had no trouble selecting a lens.

Immediately after ordering, I received a confirmation email.

Monday March 13, 2006
Checked credit card activity - Zenni has charged my card.

Wednesday March 28, 2006
Received an email stating my glasses would be shipped that day.  USPS tracking number provided.  I visited the USPS web site and used the "email future information" option so I would know when my glasses arrived.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Checked my email (at work) that afternoon; an email from USPS stated my glasses had been delivered.  They were in my mailbox when I arrived home.

--- Bubble-wrap envelope, glasses in a hard case, lenses wrapped in a lens cloth.  Sufficient for the expected bumps of shipping.

--- I checked them for reading and computer use; as a matter of fact I'm wearing them as I type this.  They're every bit as good as my expensive Lenscrafter's pair.

--- Polished edges, not a mark on the lenses.  When comparing their AR capability to my expensive Lenscrafter's pair, these have a barely noticeable slight green tint.  I'm not going to lower the grade as I had to look "really hard" to identify this, and the AR functions just as well as my expensive Lenscrafter's pair.

--- As stated above, I have no past experience with this type of frame.  But it seems to be good quality: the lens mounts are solid, the frame is comfortable, etc.  Regarding the "nearly invisible" claim: several people have commented on the fact that they can barely see them, so it's not baloney.

--- I'm very happy with my purchase.  I'll be wearing these glasses frequently due to their comfort and style.

Zenni glasses case (by jps)   Zenni glasses case opened (by jps)   Zenni glasses #1 (by jps)   Zenni glasses #2 (by jps)
Click on any of the above thumbnails to open a picture in a new window.

Would I buy from Zenni again?
Since I'll be wearing these glasses frequently, I'll get a good idea of how long they last.  If they hold up, Zenni will definitely be on my list for my next eyeglass purchase.

Zenni Optical Reader Review #8

Sent in by: Anonymous #03

After reviewing EyeglassRetailerReviews.com and trying to find a more cost-effective alternative to getting my eyeglasses retail, I decided to try Zenni Optical because of the base price for the frames and my odd prescription. I'd already paid for a fashionable pair of progressives at Target Optical at a pretty good price, but wanted a pair for the car/desk, etc. I ordered Frame #3849 in Brown with anti-reflective coating: no tint, clip-on sunshade, bi-focal, standard strength - order came to just some change over $50 for the total.

Order was placed 02/21/06
I Received an e-mail message about an hour later informing me that the order was successful. On 03/07/06, I received a very polite call from Zenni Optical to verify my prescription and to let me know that I would receive my glasses in about another week.

Package arrived on 03/14/06.
While there was no additional padding other than what was in the envelope, the hard case seemed very sturdy and arrived with no damage. After opening the hard case, I found the eyeglasses wrapped in a logo cleaning cloth, with the clip-on sunshade on top in plastic - no scratches (the clip-on has "Zenni" etched in the upper outside corners - very unobtrusive). Removed the cleaning cloth and found the glasses to be exactly what I ordered and in excellent shape. There were no bends, breaks, or scratches and the lenses clear, clean, and well set in the frame. I tried them on and my eyes made the transition easily and wonderfully - prescription is correct. Clip-on was pretty intuitive on how to use (since this is the first time I have had them) and fit the frame very well.

Overall - very pleased.
Shipping - slow (had the progressives back in less than a week), but these are manufactured overseas.
Styles - fairly decent.
Customer Service - good.
Pricing - excellent.
Will use again? - definitely.

I will likely order a pair of progressive lenses so that I have two pair of those and the bi-focals as backup. If you are in a hurry or need your non-single vision eyeglasses sooner, Zenni is not for you. If you are looking to get a pair of reasonably priced glasses as an alternative to your primary pair(s), this is a great way to go. Hope this helps anyone considering Zenni Optical!

Zenni envelope (by Anonymous #3)   Zenni case (by Anonymous #3)   Zenni case opened (by Anonymous #3)   Zenni glasses #1 (by Anonymous #3)   Zenni glasses #2 (by Anonymous #3)
Click on any of the above thumbnails to open a picture in a new window.

Zenni Optical Reader Review #9

Sent in by: Anonymous #02

February 21, 2006
I just got my glasses from Zenni. Ordered on Jan 20th, arrived February 21st.

The first thing I noticed is while they charge $9 for shipping to Canada, the postage on the envelope is only $1.40 (yes, they come in an envelope.)

Inside the envelope the glasses are wrapped in a cleaning cloth, and are placed inside a hard plastic case with a magnetic closure. The case is nothing special, it probably won't last more than a couple of months, but does the job of protecting the glasses while they are shipped.

The frames needed quite a bit of tweaking to get them to fit properly - nose piece, arms, etc. Nothing unusual, and nothing broke when I bent everything into the right place.

The frames are nice, but I think that I got a bad lens. The left lens has quite a bit of distortion in it near the inside edge - makes it annoying to look at anything to my right side without turning my head. For looking straight ahead they are fine, but I will need to contact them about this one lens (the right lens does not have this problem.)

The anti-reflective coating seems exactly the same as that on my $400 glasses. It gives the lens a light green tint, but you don't notice that when you are wearing them. For an extra $5, the AR coating is worth it.

For under $40, they are a decent pair of glasses, but I don't think I could live with them as my only pair.

Pictures (click to open in a new window)
Zenni packaging (by Anonymous #02)   Zenni glasses case (by Anonymous #02)   Zenni opened glasses case (by Anonymous #02)   Zenni glasses (by Anonymous #02)

Topics from the Zenni Optical section of the old forums...

 Topics   Topics   Replies   Author   Views   Last Post 
Sticky: Read before Registering! (0)
0admin836Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:26 amJan 21, 2007
Purchase experience (1)
1ARMARAAS3153Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:20 pmMar 15, 2008
Slooooooow website (2)
2chank1975Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:41 amFeb 07, 2007
New polarized clip-on sunshades available (0)
0Harry1393Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:37 amAug 18, 2006
New rimless lens options available (0)
0jps1688Fri Mar 10, 2006 9:04 amMar 10, 2006

Below is the original write-up for Zenni (from 2006-2009). It's been kept around for posterity.

Zenni Optical

"The 19 dollar prescription eyeglasses"

Caution: There have been reports from a number of sources that there have been a lot of hiccups/issues with Zenni recently. For the time being, I recommend being careful when ordering through them. If you've bought from Zenni recently (2009), please LET ME KNOW how it went - good or bad. I can be reached at matt@eyeglassretailerreviews.com . In the meantime, if you do plan on ordering from them, I strongly suggest keeping records (order date, any attempts at contact, etc) in case you have to file a dispute with your credit card company. I'll update with more info as available.


Taken from their "Lenses and Lens Materials" page:

All of our Single Vision, Bi-Focal and progressive bi-focal lenses are premium quality high index Polycarbonate composite polymer high impact resistance lenses with full UV protection, special strong anti-scratch coating.

Zenni Optical is located in California (USA). Pricing in USD. They display a 1-800 number, email address, and physical address on their Contact page. They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diner's Club, JCB, Carte Blanche, Australian BankCard, Discover/Novus, Switch, Solo, and enRoute.


Zenni Optical seems to be one of the more popular retailers. And it's no surprise... They're based in the US, have decent contact information, and have some of the best pricing available. Their lenses come with a free anti-scratch coating, and most of their other lens options (tint, anti-reflection, etc) are pretty low-priced.

The 19 dollar prescription eyeglasses they have are essentially all the frames under their "Metal" and "Plastic" categories. If you want to step up to Stainless Steel, Memory Titanium, Memory Plastic, or Rimless, the price ranges from $23.95-29.95, so still under $30, which is pretty darn good (assuming the quality is decent).

All in all, this would appear to be a great place for inexpensive lenses. A first time buyer probably wouldn't have much difficulty finding a set of glasses that meet their needs. Many people have ordered from Zenni, and most of them seem to have had a good experience, although they do have their share of dissatisfied customers as well. A search from search.bbb.org shows that they have an "unsatisfactory" record with the BBB (13 resolved and 12 "no response" complaints).


Basic Frames (Metal or Plastic) & Lenses $19.00
- Photochomic & Single Vision +$39.00
- Bifocals +$19.00
- Progressive Lenses +$39.00
Extra Strength Prescription  +$9.00
AR (anti-reflective) & Anti-Radiation  +$4.95
Tint  +$4.95
Clip-on Sunshade  +$2.95
Shipping (US)  +$4.95
Shipping (Canada)  +$9.00

A pair of single vision lenses without any add-ons is only $23.95 after shipping if you live in the US. This is pretty tough to beat if you ask me.

Website Ratings

Category Rating Details
Website Good Website is easy to navigate. When ordering, there are clickable 'help' buttons which give more detailed information on each option, which can be helpful to those who have never ordered glasses online before.
Selection Great There were over 60 of the $19 frames (Metal and Plastic frames), as well as a selection of Stainless Steel, Memory Titanium, Memory Plastic, Rimless, Children's frames, and more.
Frame Info Good Dimensions, Weight, and Color, as well as a short description all given.
Lens Options Acceptable No choice in lens material, although polycarbonate is arguably a 'safe' choice for Zenni to go with, since it often sells for more than either Glass or CR39 lenses anyway. AR and Tint are really the only options, although Single-Vision lens wearers can also choose photochromic lenses. For most people looking for basic inexpensive lenses, the options offered are probably sufficient.
Value Excellent For a cheap pair, or a back-up pair of eyeglasses, these can't be beat.