Zenni Optical Review

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Zenni OpticalOne of the best parts about getting laser eye surgery last year is that I, hopefully, won’t need glasses for a very long time. My wife, however, isn’t so lucky and she hasn’t done it because I think she looks cute in glasses (plus her prescription isn’t too bad). But just recently her glasses broke, after several years of good service, and she needed to buy another pair. Having not purchased a pair in quite a while, her prescription was outdated and needed to be refreshed.

When she went to our local optometrist, who had an adjoining glasses business, she discovered that they were charging $200-300 for a pair of glasses! When she came home and told me this, I said that was ridiculous. $100 for a pair of glasses is too much, $300 is absurd. We first went to Costco to look for a pair but she didn’t like anything there. Then I remembered all those years of hearing about Zenni Optical and their ridiculously cheap frames.

Zenni Frame Fit

Zenni Optical Frame FitOne of the hard things about buying frames online is that you won’t know how they look on your face. Zenni combated this problem with their “Zenni Frame Fit” tool, which let’s you upload a picture and “try” on frames. The best photos are passport style photos. If you don’t want to find or take a photo, you can always use their face models instead. All you need to do is find your pupillary distance, which is the distance between the center of your pupils as measured in millimeters. If you don’t know this, ask your optometrist to measure it for you.

My wife has a relatively narrow face (PD 56) so she had to find a model with a narrow PD – it turned out the closest one was this distinguished gentleman (with her frames on right now).

Free Lens Features

If you’ve ever purchased glasses, you’ll recognize that stores love to charge out the wazoo for every little lens “feature.” If you want anti-scratch coating? Extra. Thin lenses? Extra. UV protection? Extra. Zenni includes all those for free, plus a case and cleaning cloth. I remember the last time I bought a pair of glasses from Costco, they charged for all those things and it wasn’t inconsequential.

Cheap $6.95 Frames

The frame that she settled on was not one of the $6.95 or $9.95 specials but she said those all looked really nice considering the price. She said that, in talking with her friends, a lot of people purchased $6.95 frames as backup glasses, or “hold over glasses” before they bought a nicer pair. Had I known better, many years ago, I probably would’ve purchased a $7 special when I wore contacts.

Why spend even $50 on a frame I’ll only wear for an hour or two before I fall asleep? It makes no sense.

Fast Shipping

For my wife, the most surprising part of the entire process was how quickly the glasses came. She ordered it on a Friday and it arrived the following Friday. You couldn’t get glasses that fast from our local Costco, who obviously ships them out to be made. While the site promises 7-14 days, it’s rare that you get it in 5 business days (unless they’re Zappos).

Return Policy

The return policy is the only place where they might take a few lumps and that’s because they only offer 50% of the value of the glasses on a return within 30 days. If you buy glasses from a local place, chances are they have a return policy (for example, Sears offers a 90-day unconditional return policy). This might be especially disconcerting when you figure you’re buying something you haven’t tried on. That said, when the frame is only $6.95, compared to $69.95 at a local store, it’s worth the risk.

The end result was that she purchased a pair of glasses on Zenni Optical, frames and lenses, at a total cost of around $60. She paid $40 for the frame, $9 for the lenses (1.59 PC(Polycarbonate) Single Vision), $5 for anti reflection coating, and then $5 for shipping. You save a few bucks on tax too. My wife’s fan, hopefully she doesn’t break any more glasses anytime soon. 🙂

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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12 Responses to “Zenni Optical Review”

  1. syekiM says:

    I found Zenni online in 2008. We got my husband’s no-line progressive multi-focal glasses for $73.80. They included 2 pair polarized sunglass attachments, anti-reflection coating, a case & cleaning supplies. He’s going to need glasses again & I plan to use these guys.

  2. Great review although it makes me feel sad for all those hundreds of dollars I spent on glasses! Next time I need to buy glasses, I’m definitely checking this site out. I hope they can make it for prescriptions that are as bad as mine!

  3. Dave says:

    Great to know, thanks! I’ve thought about buying some “backup” glasses and this seems like the perfect solution. I get free vision checks with my vision plan, so I can get the prescription information from them and head on over to Zenni…

  4. Rob O. says:

    We’ve been using online eyeglasses shops for a few years now. Finding glasses to fit our (then) 2 year old was all but impossible at the local brick & mortar shops.

    Kids are especially tough on eyewear, so being able to snag a couple of pair for around $50 means we can keep them on him.

    I’ve also had great luck with Coastal Contacts who, despite the name, carry a great variety of frames at prices comparable to Zenni’s.

  5. SLS says:

    I love Zenni! I have a seriously major prescription that I have to wear all the time and I don’t even need to use their extra thin lenses, so I can save money on that too. Plus buying inexpensive glasses means I can have a couple different pair, plus prescription sunglasses, for less than $50 total, when I used to pay close to $300/ pair even when I had eye insurance! I’ve been using Zenni for years and always recommend them to friends.

  6. robapacl says:

    I purchased my first 2 pairs of glasses from Zenni 2 years ago, after cataract surgery when my eyes were changing in both myopia and astigmatism much faster than ever before. I didn’t want expensive long-term glasses. The first 2 purchases went without incident. The 3rd order, which arrived after 5 weeks, gave me 2 pairs, distance and reading, neither of which were good. By switching lenses, I was able to get the correct fit for distance but the reading was completely wrong. The astigmatism correction ( cylinder and axis ) was so far off, there was no distance at which either lens would be usable. I returned the one pair for correction. Zenni insists that the glasses are as specified ( either a lie or gross incompetence in measuring ) and offered me HALF of my purchase price back, despite the fact that the fault lies ENTIRELY with Zenni. I have studied optics, built my own optical equipment, and only need to get my eyes calibrated by a competent optometrist. The rest I can do myself, as I have done for the last 15 years. Caveat Emptor. The original Order #101491747 (placed on March 13, 2012).After 2 months using my old, not very correct reading prescription, I shall have to order from $39glasses, which is much faster, and has never made any mistakes. I
    like the Chinese, they have a lot of great stuff but they need a lot of skill-sharpening when it comes to technology.”

  7. firstlynn says:

    I am a loyal, 7-year customer of zenni optical and have directly purchased more than 10 pairs of glasses to my family, in additional to promoting them to family and friends. However, my last order and subsequent communication with their “head” of return department who identifies herself as Dawn has left a very bad taste in my mouth (and prompted this review). My latest order included a pair of glasses that was completely unwearable. There is a very pronounced ‘chromatic effect’ on the bottom of both lenses…akin to seeing rainbows every time the glasses are worn. This is not only extremely uncomfortable (gives me a bad headache) but was very dangerous the one time I tried these when driving…the flashing lights effect made it difficult to differentiate other car lights.
    I was highly disappointed in my customer service experience. We initially contacted them through online chat and was instructed to return the new glasses (contacted them within 1 day of purchase) at our expense. After 1 week, I received an email stating there was nothing wrong with the glasses and all they would offer is 50% off the price of the glasses (which is pretty pointless as I won’t be purchasing from this company again in case the same problem occurs & having to deal with such bad customer service). I was escalated to a ‘returns supervisor’ who identified herself as Dawn who was extremely patronizing and unhelpful. At this point, I am awaiting a ‘secondary inspection’ in their lab in China but was told quite clearly that this is not considered a defect and that I was ‘lucky’ I have never encountered this problem previously. While I have been a vocal supporter of this company previously, I would be just a vocal of a critic due the the extremely poor customer service should any quality control issue arise. I would recommend coastal contacts instead as they have a 100% quality guarantee (though they are slightly pricier), instead of this non-existent, extremely patronizing supervisor who states that everyone else who works above her ‘are not available for me to contact’ & that I’m basically SOL.”

  8. Calvin says:

    Reading all these positive comments make me fee odd. Why? Because I purchased my first pair a little while back, thought of getting two pair because the last time I got glasses I got two pair, that was in 2001. But after, finally, finding a frame that would fit my prescription, the one I truly wanted they said wouldn’t, I ordered my new glasses. BTW, according to my doctor my eyes had not changed in 10 1/2 years. Anyway they sent my glasses very quickly, opened them and was very pleased with what they looked like. Now I was stylish, LOL Putting them on found they fit comfortably on my face. Looked down through the bifocals- whole new story, I couldn’t hardly see anything! Why? Because they are VERY tiny almost every word I have to turn my head to read. They are the smallest, both side to side as well as height so reading, which was the main reason I purchased them is almost not possible. So what I am I doing? Went to the store, purchased 4 pair of single vision glasses. Two 1.25 and two 2.50 (my prescription) for $5.00 each. I leave a 2.5 pair in front of computer a 1.25 by the recliner (for TV) carry a 2.5, just in case, wear a 1.25 to drive etc. So for $20.00 I am very satisfied, yes I do have to change them but at least I see better than EVER. 🙂

  9. neverzenni says:

    DON’T BUY FROM ZENNI. They sent the wrong frame. I called customer “service”. They promised “full refund”. I received nothing.

  10. Julie says:

    I have been buying from Zenni for almost 3 years now. I live in the Caribbean, and buyin g prescription glasses here can cost you $300 and up. I was searching online for way to cutting the cost of buying prescription glasses. So at first, I was buying the frames online and then bring them to the store to fit them with glasses (cost $150). Then I found Zenni. I bought 2 frames just to check them out, took 3 weeks to arrive, and was delighted with the frames. Never had any problems with them. Now istead of shoe addiction, I have eyeglasses addiction. I have a frame of almost every color.
    I’m never going to buy frames from the store again….

  11. Kathy says:

    I hate Zenni. I had to return my glasses due to improper prescription making on their part. They tell me the lenses were done properly. DEFINITELY not the case! When I call for a refund they will only give me 50%. When pressed they then offer to have a supervisor double check, only to be told the same crap. But hey they offer to send them back to the orient to make you wait even longer to be told the same thing again.

  12. skekze says:

    Hopefully those at zenni get some side effects from selling garbage disguised as prescription glasses. Maybe the fumes will give them a brain tumor for giving crappy service to those with a disability. Mass produced Chinese garbage, you’d think California would want to police the crap that passes thru that backwards town.

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