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Getting your contacts online is easier and cheaper than buying from the eye doc — that’s crystal clear. But deciding which site to shop at? That’s a little out of focus.
So where will you find exactly what you’re looking for? Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the best places to shop.
To get a feel for each retailer’s general price point, we compared prices for the same 90-pack of daily lenses. (Except for the direct-to-consumer brands. For those, we looked at the price of their line.)
- $ = under 60
- $$ = $61–$80
- $$$ = over $81
It’s a household name for a reason, folks. 1800CONTACTS has a huge, easy-to-search selection of daily and monthly lenses, plus lenses for dry eyes, astigmatism, and multi- or bifocal needs.
If you have your prescription, the ordering process is a cinch: Text or email your prescription or have them reach out to your doc directly. Also amazing? For $20, you can take an app-based eye test to update your prescription — no trip to the doctor needed.
You’ll score some really great deals here, as the name implies. Plus, first-time buyers get an additional 20 percent off, and orders over $99 ship free. There’s a huge selection of brands and lens types. The downside? This site doesn’t accept insurance, but it does have forms you can complete and submit to your insurance provider for potential reimbursement.
Great for insurance
If you have vision insurance, Contacts Direct makes it as un-annoying as possible to use your coverage. Just add your insurance info at checkout and they’ll charge your provider directly (you’ll be notified if you have to pay anything out of pocket). If your provider isn’t in their network, a representative can help you file a claim at checkout via chat. You can apply your FSA/HSA dollars too.
Best direct-to-consumer contacts
Price: $ for Scout, $$ for major brands
Fun fact: Everyone’s fave online glasses brand also offers an in-house line of daily contacts called Scout, which are billed as a more affordable and more sustainable (read: less packaging) alternative to traditional contact brands. (You can try a mini pack for $5.)
They sell 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.
Best for contacts, glasses, and prescriptions
It’s not just a strip mall chain. Lenscrafters.com has all the big contact brands at solid (often discounted) prices, plus affordable glasses and sunglasses. They take most vision insurance plans and make it easy to check your eligibility too. And if you need to get your Rx checked before placing your order, just schedule an appointment at one of the brand’s brick-and-mortar stores.
Best for returns
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 from them, you can return them for free with no questions asked.
They’ve also got a megaselection of major brands, and you can renew your prescription online with their virtual vision test. Their standard prices are definitely midrange, but take note: They periodically offer shockingly deep discounts.