Getting your contacts online is sometimes easier and cheaper than buying from the eye doc — that’s crystal clear. But deciding which online shop to go with? That’s a little out of focus.
Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the best places to shop online.
With a bajillion online contacts suppliers out there — offering everything from pink zebra fashion lenses to multifocal lenses for astigmatism — choosing the best options is no small feat. Here’s how we decided which companies made the cut.
- Price. Sure, you could pay an arm and a leg (and maybe an eye) for pricey contacts, but why pay top dollar if you don’t have to? The companies on our list feature a range of reasonable prices. Plus, many take insurance or can be used as out-of-network providers for reimbursement after purchase. To sweeten the financial deal, several even provide free shipping.
- Variety. Everybody has different priorities for what makes the perfect pair of eyeball pasties — er, contacts. The options listed here offer a variety of contact types, brands, and additional products (like glasses) so you can choose which works best for you.
- Ease of use. It’s no fun slogging through a clunky website or jumping through a thousand hoops just to place a dang contacts order. Our selections feature easy-to-use websites and smooth purchasing processes. (Because isn’t convenience the whole point of ordering online?)
- Vetting. We put every brand through a thorough vetting process to make sure they’re not making any unsupported health claims or engaging in shady business practices. We also make sure they have a good reputation by digging into customer reviews and ratings on their own sites and on sites like Better Business Bureau. Only brands that passed that vetting process made our list below.
Best place to buy contacts online overall
The brand has a “gajillion percent promise” that includes price matching, free returns and exchanges for any reason, and free replacements for ripped contact lenses.
Text or email your prescription or have them reach out to your eye doc directly. Also amazing? For $20, you can take an app-based eye test to update your prescription — no trip to the doctor needed.
Heads up, though: The online vision exam isn’t available in every state. Plus, it doesn’t replace a comprehensive eye exam. Boo. Use this link to check your eligibility.
Reviews: One of our editors is a 1-800 Contacts loyalist, and she says it’s super easy to submit your prescription and reorder when you run out, since the site keeps your past orders and prescription on file. She also loves the discount you get when you buy multiple boxes at once and how easy it is to apply insurance benefits at checkout.
Some reviewers say they’ve had technical glitches with the 1-800 Contacts website, and that customer service could use an upgrade. But others rave that its low prices and easy process are the best in the biz.
Cheapest place to buy contacts online (and best returns!)
Summary: Great deals, plus, first-time buyers get an additional 20 percent off, and orders over $99 ship free. There are 34 different brands to choose from and all kinds of lens types.
And like 1-800 Contacts, you can take an online vision exam (depending on what state you live in) to update your prescription. But unlike 1-800 Contacts, it’s free! Just remember this does *not* replace a comprehensive in-person eye exam.
The downside? This site doesn’t accept insurance, but you can use your health savings account (HSA) or federal savings account (FSA) if you have one.
Reviews: Users dig the hassle-free ordering process and (obvi) the rock-bottom prices — though some say shipping times take longer than expected.
Best place to buy contacts online if your prescription is expired
Summary: This brand is billed as a more affordable and more sustainable (read: less packaging) alternative to traditional contact brands.
In addition to glasses, Warby Parker sells 10 other major contact brands, too, claiming to do so without any hidden fees, but the prices for those offerings really aren’t much different from other online retailers’ prices. They do offer a mini trial pack for $5, though.
We love that you can easily renew an expired prescription using WP’s online vision test *or* head into a brick-and-mortar store near you for a full eye exam. We also appreciate that you get 15 percent off your first order and free shipping no matter what.
Reviews: Planet-conscious users are in love with their space-saving, lower impact flat packs. Reviewers are also big fans of Warby Parker’s customer service, saying it’s super easy to get help when things go wrong. They also appreciate having the option to visit an in-person store for more hands-on help or to get a full eye exam.
Best place to buy contacts online with insurance
Summary: If you have vision insurance, Contacts Direct makes it as easy as possible to use your coverage.
Just add your insurance info at checkout and your provider will be charged directly (you’ll be notified if you have to pay anything out of pocket). If your provider isn’t in-network, a representative can help you file a claim at checkout via chat. You can apply your FSA/HSA dollars too.
Reviews: Reviewers also gush over Contacts Direct’s easy-to-use website, competitive prices, and ample variety. But if you’re not happy with your purchase, be prepared: You’ll have to pay for shipping and handling on returns.
Best customer service
Summary: Lens.com has been around since 1995, pretty much since the beginning of the interwebs, so they have the whole customer service thing down. If you don’t like the contacts you bought, you can return them for free with no questions asked.
They’ve also got a mega selection of major brands, and you can renew your prescription online with a virtual vision test. The brand’s standard prices are definitely midrange, but take note: Lens.com periodically offers shockingly deep discounts.
Reviews: Reviews are raving. People can’t get enough of how quick and easy it is to order from Lens.com. Most say shipping and delivery were quick, too. Others are happy with the competitive prices offered on popular brands.
Best place to buy colored contacts online
Summary: Want that wild-child, just-got-back-from-Coachella look? (Or just wanna see what you’d look like with green eyes?). Explore a rainbow of optical fashions with WebEyeCare’s colored contacts. Seven different packs provide jewel-toned hues like turquoise, amethyst, and sapphire.
While you’re at it, you can shop for new sunnies or readers from super popular brands like Ray-Ban, Burberry, and GUESS.
Reviews: An easy-peasy website and budget-friendly prices make for tons of satisfied reviewers. But some users complain that WebEyeCare’s customer service is lacking.
Best place to buy contacts and glasses online
Summary: Eyeconic is a one-stop shop for contacts, glasses, and shades, featuring sought-after brands like Ray-Ban, Gucci, and Nike. Their massive variety also means Eyeconic has a wide spectrum of pricing — for glasses, you’ll find options from about $95 to $500.
Fortunately, Eyeconic accepts several insurance plans and offers free shipping.
Reviews: Tons of reviewers are happy with their experience and satisfied with the prices — especially peeps with VSP insurance (VSP owns Eyeconic, so you get a real deal). BUT many reviewers also complain of delayed shipments and incorrect orders.
Summary: Not just a strip mall chain, LensCrafters offers contacts options online that users say are super comprehensive and decently priced.
Offering affordable glasses and sunglasses as well, they take most vision insurance plans and make it easy to check your eligibility too. And if you need to update your Rx before placing your order, just schedule an appointment at one of the brand’s brick-and-mortar stores.
Reviews: Reviewers are v satisfied with the wide range of options they get at LensCrafters. Many say the customer service in brick-and-mortar stores is top-notch, but a few complain that online customer service is lacking.
Is it OK to buy contacts online?
Of course! Buying contacts online is a super convenient way to get ’em. Just make sure you’re buying from a reputable brand and take things like budget, insurance, return policy, and shipping time into consideration before ordering.
What is the best place to buy contact lenses online?
For start-to-finish convenience, good variety, and insurance coverage, we’re fans of 1-800 Contacts. But if you’re looking for snazzy colored lenses, dreaming of sustainable packaging, or need to snag some glasses along with your contacts, you may prefer a different site. Before you purchase, play internet detective to compare options based on your top priorities.
How do I get the best deal on contacts?
Just because you want to see better doesn’t mean you want to glimpse a massive charge on your credit card. So how do you cut costs on contacts? Start by determining your insurance coverage — it’s possible you’ll have little to no out-of-pocket costs.
No insurance? Check out budget-friendly retailers like Warby Parker or Discount Contacts, or consider buying in bulk to save money. And don’t forget to chat up your optometrist — they may have coupons or insider recommendations for you.
Is it safe to buy contacts online?
As long as you purchase from a reputable company, safety shouldn’t be an issue when ordering contacts online. Still, if you’re concerned you might not like the online experience (or are worried about getting an incorrect order), choose a retailer with a generous return policy.
Can I order contacts online with an expired prescription?
This one’s a hard no. It’s actually illegal for retailers to sell contacts to anyone without a valid, current prescription — so don’t try. That said, several contacts companies provide virtual eye exams so you can get a prescription without leaving the couch.
Can I trust 1-800 Contacts?
If you’ve ever had a bait-and-switch experience with online shopping (and haven’t we all?), you may feel skeptical of trusting the internet with something as important as your eyesight. Not too sure about 1-800 Contacts? Here are some comforting stats: 1-800 Contacts is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where they have an A+ rating.
On the other hand, their customer rating on BBB isn’t stellar (averaging 2 out of 5). On Trustpilot, they get slightly higher marks at 3.2 out of 5.
Is 1-800 Contacts cheaper than Walmart?
1-800 Contacts tops our list for best overall online contact retailer but that doesn’t mean they’re always the cheapest. You may find lower prices at Walmart. That said, price differences between the two usually aren’t that dramatic. When we compared products, Walmart’s options were only a few dollars less than those of 1-800 Contacts.