Costco Rated Top Store To Buy Your Eyeglasses

Costco isn’t just a place to buy enough toilet paper or cereal to supply a small army; it’s also the place where you’ll find the best deals on eyeglasses, says a new study from our fitter and trimmer siblings at Consumer Reports Health.

In the latest issue of CR Health, Costco emerged at the top of their ratings of eyeglass retailers, including large chains, independent local optical shops, and private doctors’ offices.

The savings at Costco were pretty significant, with a median price of $157/pair. Compare that to median prices of $211 for independent shops and $212 at eye doctors’ offices.

From CR Health:

In fact, Costco Optical earned the highest score for overall satisfaction among chains. It also was the only retailer that we surveyed that stood out in another area: lack of problems, such as loose lenses, distorted or blurred vision, or damaged frames, in the first few weeks after purchase.

If Costco’s not an option for you, CR Health recommends checking out the independent stores and doctor’s offices. They might be more expensive than the warehouse store, but they scored pretty well across the board on service and quality and might end up costing you less than other higher-profile chain stores.

Shopping for eyeglases [CR Health]

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  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Looks like all the Consumerists who say “Buy your glasses at Costco” were right. Imagine that. :3

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      And get a hot dog and soda for $1.50 while you wait! Eat it now, taste it ALL DAY!

      • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

        Almost makes me want to buy a Costco card…

        Too bad we now live 40 minutes drive from the nearest one :’( Oh cruel twist of fate.

        • Platypi {Redacted} says:

          For the Hot Dog? My brother used to go in and tell the ID checker he was going in to talk to membership, but didn’t have his card. Once in the membership area, they don’t check if you want a hot dog too! I am happy to be 5 minutes from a Costco, and 15 minutes from the biggest Costco in the country (or WAS when built a few years ago).

          • jefeloco says:

            The local Costcos in my area don’t ask for a card to go to the “courtyard” areas since they are on the exiting end of the registers. Their only stipulation for the food court is that you can only use cash if you’re not a member; of course even if you are a member your only other option is a check, ick.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Don’t forget the churros.

        • Platypi {Redacted} says:

          MMMMM, Churros. The pizza isn’t bad either. Heck, I also dig the ice cream and berry smoothies too.

          I kind of miss the soft pretzels they used to have. My boys used to POUND those when they were little.

  2. quirkyrachel says:

    I heard you can go to Costco for glasses without a membership card. Is that true?

  3. CookieJ says:

    Our Costco in Colorado Springs (and I assume the others as well) will take my FSA MasterCard as well for the cost of the glasses/contacts. Double benefit.

  4. psychometrician says:

    We finally got my wife’s prescription sunglasses after about a month of waiting (apparently they couldn’t get it right–she has a complicated prescription). A few weeks later, we got a $25 Costco gift certificate in the mail because it took so long.

  5. Jaws_Victim says:

    I work at a Jcpenney Optical. It’s impossible to beat Costco’s prices, they buy everything in the millions of bulk so their prices are ridiculously low. I try to offer excellent customer service to get repeat business, and we luckily have a better selection than Costco. If you like basic frames/lenses, we have a two for 88.99$ special running now too!

  6. MitchV says:

    Costco will replace your lenses if they get scratched within a certain amount of time too.

  7. ampsonic says:

    I just bought a pair of glasses from a random online store, $27 dollars shipped. It took a while (3 weeks), but for that price, I’m very happy.

    • Mom says:

      Did you have them professionally measured and fitted somewhere else? You might be able to order the same size as you had before and get lucky, but most people require at least a little fitting.

      • TooManyHobbies says:

        Anyone with half a brain and a $5 pair of longnose pliers can “fit” their own glasses. I usually don’t let the optician do mine because they go for what looks good to them, I go for what looks and feels good to me.

        • Dinhilion says:

          perrymason.com

          They send you up to 5 trial pairs at a time to try on. you can also upload a picture of yourself and place the glasses on you to get an idea of how they will fit.

          Did I mention they are all 99$?

      • Julia789 says:

        If you know what size frames look good for your eyes and face shape, you can order online using the measurement, I believe it’s in millimeters? I tried this before when I was looking for pairs similar to my old discontinued pair.

        Personally I ended up not ordering online because I have to try on like 20 pair before deciding what looks and fits best. I have the tiniest nose with like, no bridge to it, and finding frames that stay up is hard. I would have to pay a million dollars in shipping fees to buy all those frames, try them on, and return the rejects.

        I found a really cute pair I love that fits great, and when it was discontinued and my old pair broke, I called the manufacturer and they sent me a free replacement pair from their warehouse. They always keep a few spares of each style. I offered to pay and they refused, it was their treat.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Ditto; I’ve been buying glasses online for a while now. The pair I have on cost $8.95 total with lenses and frames, free shipping, and I’ve had them for two years now. Just have to make sure they measure your pupil distance when you have an eye exam because they normally don’t measure unless you are buying glasses. I know at Walmart, they don’t give a crap that you’re getting your glasses somewhere else because Walmart is the one profiting from the frames/lenses, not the eye doctor.

    • Willow16 says:

      I’ve bought from two different online places and all the frames I’ve bought have been great. Mine are more expensive because I have a strong prescription and progressives but, even then, it costs about $85 inlcusive.

      My son’s glasses broke so I ordered the frames only and just switched out the lenses – it cost half-price for just the frames ($4). While I could have ordered them with the lenses for $8 the glasses that broke had transitions lenses which were much more.

  8. backinpgh says:

    I wish they would review online sellers like Zenni, goggles4u, etc.

    • falnfenix says:

      Zenni is rather good, according to a few people i know. i know it’s a bit anecdotal, but if i ever needed glasses i think i’d go through them first.

      • rockasocky says:

        I’ve tried Zenni twice, and maybe it’s my fault but the glasses end up being not-quite-right. For instance, if I look straight ahead then it’s fine, but if I look in any other direction then I feel like I’m floating in a fishbowl and get nauseous.

        I swear I put the correct numbers in when I ordered. Maybe I just have a weird shaped face/eyes…

  9. comatose says:

    http://www.zennioptical.com

    Go there. Single vision with nothing fancy added is like

    • comatose says:

      Nice, some kind of filter erased everything I wrote. Anyhow tt’s cheap, even with progressives and photocromatic + polycarbonate and all the trimmings. I am SO DONE with the chain/local shops. It’s like 250 for the same thing I can get at this site for 50. I was able to have a backup pair to boot and still have like a 100 leftover vs buying at the chain brick and mortar shops.

      • psm321 says:

        I’m guessing you used a less-than sign and everything after it got cut off as an html tag (ought not to be that way… the blog software should be able to convert it)

    • ihatephonecompanies says:

      Yep, that’s where I get my glasses now. Way cheaper, and they got to my door in about a week after ordering. I can literally get 5 pairs for the price of one pair at a brick-and-mortar store.

    • BrianneG says:

      I’d love to go that route but my husband is super picky and spent 30 minutes finding frames in Costco’s tiny selection. I can’t imagine him buying anything without trying it on a few times.

      • TooManyHobbies says:

        Zenni now has a system online where you can upload a photo of yourself and “try on” any glasses in their selection.

      • SunnyLea says:

        1) Try on glasses. Find similar glasses on Zenni.

        2) If he likes his current pair, measure them and look for similar lens shape.

        3) There is a try on option… it isn’t perfect, though.

        4) The glasses are so redonkulously cheap, you can actually afford to buy a pair and then go, “Eh. I don’t like ‘em.”

    • rockasocky says:

      As i noted above, I have not been very lucky with Zenni, but maybe that’s just me.

  10. justagigilo85 says:

    prescriptionglassesonline.net is where it’s at. Takes a bit (3 weeks or so), but they’re cheap and worth it.

  11. pottedmeat says:

    I bought 2 pairs from eyebuydirect.com for $25 plus shipping. I’m wearing a pair right now and they work just fine. Why would I ever bother retail ever again?

  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    But do they take my insurance?

    • LastError says:

      It doesn’t matter. At my eye doctor’s office, even with my insurance coverage, I still had a copay and then I had to pay for anything over the frame allowance from the insurance company. So no matter what, I was always paying close to $200 out of pocket for one pair.

      Getting two pair of glasses at Costco cost me about $150 without using the insurance at all.

  13. TBGBoodler says:

    We had a salesman at LensCrafters pull the “judging from your current glasses, you’re accustomed to a high-quality lens only we can provide you.”

    I was thrilled to be able to tell him they were Costco’s $28 lenses.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Interesting. Once, in a mall, my frames were loose so I stopped in at a Lenscrafters to see if they would tighten the screws for me. They asked for my name and phone number to see if I was one of their customers and then refused to help when I said I wasn’t. I went to an independent optician in the mall who happily tightened the screws and even cleaned them for me at no charge. Later that year I went back to him for an exam and new specs.

  14. seth.gl says:

    It kind of misleading to say a lower median price means more savings. Unless each store carries the exact same product line, median price tells you nothing about how competitively priced the products are at each store. The discrepancies could easily be explained away if Costco focuses its product selection on more budget oriented frames and lenses.

  15. jerrycomo says:

    I thought that online stores > Costco.

    More articles on Costco plz, the anti-Walmart of this planet.

  16. mbz32190 says:

    I also had good experience buying glasses online…ordered two pairs from Zenni and one from 39dollarglasses? or something like that. I had an eye exam at an office this past summer and they wanted around $200 for basic frames. Lenscrafters is a joke as well..only offering “Ferrari ” brand frames and other nonsense. I just need glasses that fit and look good. So for around 50 bucks, I now have three pairs of glasses and don’t have to worry if I break or lose them.

  17. neilb says:

    Insurance is useless when Zennioptical.com gives you $15 glasses that are very good.
    My family has ordered 3 pairs of sunglasses and about 10 pairs of glasses/lenses from them (all prescription) over the past 5 or so years. We have spent no more than $18 on a single set of glasses.
    -Shipping is $5, no matter how many you get (ex: order 4 glasses@ $10 each, pay $45 total).
    -My optometrist checked them out and said verified the prescription.
    -Be sure to get your PD (pupillary distance) on your prescription so you will have all the info you need to order from them.

    Our strategy is to order them in 3s. You will end up with one set you like a lot, one that is ok, and one that you throw in a drawer. But for around $40 total, who cares?
    (-Kids sat on your favorite pair? Who cares? Order 3 more and get styles (which is fun)!)

    CostCo seems expensive at $50, but it may be worth it if you want to try the glasses on beforehand (you will avoid the “whoa, that was way more attractive online” moment).

  18. AEN says:

    The Costco in Newington VA had Ferrari designer eyeglass frames once.

  19. TooManyHobbies says:

    I’ve had good luck with zenni optical. Two pair so far, no problems. $35 for the first pair, $75 for the second because the photochromic coating (gets dark in the sunlight) cost $40 (more than the rest of the glasses).

    Even if I order their most expensive frames, a strong prescription and line-free bifocals it’s still around $90/pair.

    The $35 glasses are every bit as good as the $625 glasses from my optician that they replaced.

  20. andi_bird says:

    I’ve had glasses made at Costco for 10 years & they’ve always done a perfect job.
    The frames are so inexpensive I always buy a 2nd identical pair, just in case I lose or break them. Sure enough, last Christmas I fell & broke my frames. I went to Costco a few days later with the frames I had previously bought & Costco replaced them with my lenses in 5 minutes at no charge. Saved me so much money & aggravation. Costco rules!

  21. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I need new glasses. A friend suggested Costco and now this. I think I am sold.

  22. Emperor Norton I says:

    My friend has an optical shop on the Far North Side of Chicago. He can do a pair of single vision for as low as $40!

  23. classic10 says:

    I have spent $120 for 10 glasses at zennioptical.com.
    I also have 3 glasses that cost me $21.50 (for all 3 with shipping) at costalcontacts.com
    How can costco beat that?

  24. FrugalFreak says:

    I paid $97 for my last pair at Walmart, and that included eye test and rx.

  25. Mauvaise says:

    I used Costco for my glasses for the first time last year (prior to that it was always Nationwide Vision, who I do like, but they didn’t have frames I liked for a price I could live with).

    I loved Costco’s service, got two pair: one regular and one tinted, and the price seemed decent. I will go back when it’s time for new glasses.

    I also just recently (like last month) took a chance and ordered two pair (regular and sunglasses) from Zennioptical because I’ve been playing a lot of tennis and actually got smacked in the face with a ball. I got concerned that I might accidentally break my glasses.

    I got two pair from Zenni, tint on one, AR coating on both, for $42 shipped. I wear those for tennis now and if they get broken I don’t care – they were $20.

    Note on the Zenni frames: I picked $10 & $8 frames and they ARE decidedly cheap feeling and it’s apparent the quality IS less than you’d get in a B&M store. However, you’re paying $10 vs. $100+, so I’d expect them to be cheap. The lenses, on the other hand, are perfect – there is no difference in how I see out of the Zenni pair vs. the Costco pair. I would definitely recommend them and will use them again.

  26. liz.lemonade says:

    I buy glasses online, but Costco’s contacts are insanely cheap — even BJ’s Wholesale and Wal-Mart charged me $21 for a box that I can buy at Costco for $16. I’ve been thinking of giving up my Costco membership since I only ever use it for my contact lenses… but their prices are almost worth the $55 annual fee.

  27. rubicthecube says:

    Based on all the comments I guess it’s pretty safe to say that we all think Costco is pretty awesome. I used to go there for lunch and buy a hot dog, soda, and chicken bake all for less than five buck. I miss having a Costco within walking distance of my job. I liked this place as a kid, and now I have my own card. Aren’t ya proud of me Ma?

    • psm321 says:

      I’m soon going to have a Costco AT the place where my job is. :-P Of course my job won’t be there anymore. (They’re tearing down the complex to build a Costco so we’re moving)

  28. Charles Bronson says:

    Am i the only one pissed off that being a member of consumerreports.org doesn’t give you access to consumerreports health articles? Particularly when the “health” articles are normal consumer items like glasses and sunscreen? It’s not like I’m trying to get information of cardiac surgery, this is the stuff they put in their regular magazine.

  29. venomroses says:

    The only reason why I keep going back to lenscrafters is because they always have the shape of frames I need.

    Every other store just always has rectangular and circle/oval shaped ones, which do not work with my face shape at all. I tried Costco last time, there was nothing.

  30. JulesNoctambule says:

    I picked up some great 1950s cateye frames yesterday for the meager price of twenty-five cents. I’ll have to keep Costco in mind when it’s time for lenses.

  31. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    I’m going to Costco to get an eye exam early next year, for glasses and contacts. My current doctor prescribed the same contact lenses for both eyes, when I know one is worse than the other. I hear Costco also has killer deals on daily lenses. No more cleaning! Woo-whoo!

  32. sopmodm14 says:

    i love my glasses from costco

    but like the independents, you often have to shop around….and we consumers don’t have the time or money to waste

    i used to goto a well known optician in NYC, everything was great from everything and everyone, never had a problem

    i then used my local costco, b/c it was closer, and everything was great, but one staff wasnt too bright or professional, but i went in on a different day, and everything was good

    there’s a bit of variation b/w stores and independents, but most should be up to task

  33. mdoneil says:

    I use zenni optical on line. They start a $9 for simple prescription eyeglasses. They are made in China.

    My eye doctor says the glasses match his prescription.

  34. Crazytree says:

    As long as you don’t mind waiting up to three weeks for your glasses to be ready… no problem.

  35. twritersf says:

    I am much happier with the vision and fit of the glasses I bought at Costco–not an easy or a cheap prescription after cataract surgery–that I was with the ones I got via my long-time optometrist. And the prices can’t be beat; the savings form one pair will easily pay for your membership.

  36. LastError says:

    My glasses came from Costco. When one of the lenses developed stress cracks about three months in, Costco replaced the lens without trouble.

    Heck, before I even got glasses there, I went in to talk to them and they cleaned and adjusted my non-Costco glasses for me for free.

    Really impressive. It was because of that experience that I went right back there when it was time to get new lenses and frames.

    The service cannot be beat. The prices… they’re OK. No worse than my previous eyewear supplier. The frame selection is fine. I had no problem picking out what I wanted.

  37. jsfetzik says:

    I’ve been getting my glasses at Costco for over ten years now. The service is great and with my lenses they cost me about 35% less then any other brick and mortar location.

  38. lsam60 says:

    I have always purchased my glasses from Costco, but a week ago I found out I had vision coverage so I took advantage of it my going to L.C. I was just going to get the prescription and take it to Costco, Then I found out my insurance coverd the lenses and the frame well the with my benefits I got a 40% off on the lenses and we know at Costco they are less expensive than at L.C. and then there was also a discount on the lenses. total out the door I paid $260.00, but I had to go back on Saturday and have my eyes re-checked because I felt a pulling sensation on my right eye a reall bad strain which cause me to have a migraine, the put me in a frame where the verticle mms measured at 25 when my old glasses were a 30 mm measurement, you would think that the people working there should be able to tell the customer and be honest with them and say ” the frame you are choosing is too small for a progressive you need a larger frame” I am always told this my the Opticians at Costco, but at L.C. they just want to make $$$$ from you and not care, because they get comission on what they sell. When I told them I just wanted my money back because I could not find a frame I liked big enough for the progressive the wanted to put me in some Ray Bans then they told me they would try to put me in a Dolce and Gabana frame for the same price I payed but I would have to pay an extra amount for the lens because the lens I was in was a standard frame which they called a fish bowl effect and in deed it felt blurry and when I needed to see on my sides I had to turn my whole head they told me because I was in the standard frame. Oh! and they said to me that maybe my eyes hurt because I did not have Anti reflective Resistant on it, I told them with my old glasses that I had in my hand from Costco I only paid $130.00 for my progressive and it included the ARR and I don’t have the fish bowl affect or headaches, and they do not charge me extra to make me see more clear, the only thing they will charge extra for is if I want transistions and thats only $30.00 more. So I know for sure I will be paying $130.00 for lenses which includes a progressive lens plus the frame which will start at 49.99 up to 150.00, Then again I have my old frame I purchased from Costco before and if I decide to use the same one I save on the frame.

    So After my long ordeal with L.C. I would say Costco would still be the way to go above any other opticle store.

    For the person who asked if it’s true you don’t need membership for optometry to see the Doctor at Costco you do not need membership and the Dr. takes some Insurances. When it comes to purchasing your glasses or contacts you do need to have a membership… I hope that helped out for the person who had asked. Consumers beware of L.C. sure your glasses can be made in an hour put you will be paying the Price for it. I have never gone back to Costco to have them redo my lenses as of yet knock on wood.