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Nonprescription reading glasses, also known as “readers,” come in all shapes, styles, and sizes. But not all reading glasses are created equal.
We rounded up some of the best reading glasses you can buy online so that you can meet your vision needs in style.
Just to be clear, when we talk about “readers,” we are referring to magnified, nonprescription glasses.
Prescription glasses to treat presbyopia are made specifically for your eyes. If one eye is noticeably weaker than the other, or if you have astigmatism, getting a prescription is important for the long-term health of your eyes.
Nonprescription magnifiers are available at pharmacies, supermarkets, convenience stores, and many other places. They are glasses with ready-made magnification strengths that start at 0.50 diopters and go up in increments of 0.25 or 0.5. The more magnification your eyes need, the higher diopter amount you will choose.
Is it OK to wear readers?
According to the London-based College of Optometrists, ready-made reading glasses are acceptable as a temporary or occasional substitute for prescription reading glasses. But they recommend that you have at least one prescription pair of glasses that have been fitted to your eyes.
If you’re ordering reading glasses online, where you can’t simply try them on first, it’s especially important that you have an estimate of what your prescription strength for reading glasses would be.
This can help you avoid returning and exchanging multiple pairs of readers with online retailers. Otherwise, there will probably be more trial and error involved in figuring out the magnification strength you need.
Here are the features we considered when making our list for reading glasses you can buy online:
- User reviews. We read through hundreds to boil down just what customers love about each pair, and why.
- Company reputation. We wanted to highlight companies that are known for providing a customer service experience that’s seamless, and who are responsive to fixing issues with orders that aren’t quite right.
- A wide range of price points. Even if you’re on a tight budget, we tried to provide options on this list that will work for you.
- Red flags. We checked to make sure each company was free of red flags or warning letters in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) database. The FDA publishes
guidelinesfor manufacturing practices for spectacles and sunglasses and sends warning letters when manufacturers don’t comply.
Top-rated reading glasses
Magnification range: +1.25 to +3.25
We liked that these readers come with a case and that they are a simple, neutral style that can work for a wide variety of face shapes. The company boasts that these lenses have a scratch-resistant coating and the frames themselves are made of a flexible material to make them work for daily use.
These frames are a bit expensive for nonprescription magnifiers, but many reviewers swear that it’s worth it for frames that are built to last.
Best multi-pack magnifiers
Magnification range: +1.00 to +4.00
If you’re familiar with that feeling of realizing you left your reading glasses somewhere, your best solution may be to buy an extra pair (or three). This highly rated set of 5 readers comes with a UV-blocking pair for reading outside. A 2-year warranty protects your purchase.
At under $20 for the group, these also win as a budget-friendly pick.
These glasses are marketed as “menswear,” but we think they’d look great on anybody (and reviewers agree!).
Best anti-glare reading glasses
Magnification range: 0 to +4.00
We liked that these affordable, anti-glare readers are lightweight and fuss-free, with a classic rectangular shape.
Reviewers give the glasses high praise, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. People who sit at a computer for long periods will appreciate the blue-light-filtering protection of the frames.
While most reviews rave about how these glasses provide relief from eye strain, some do report quality control issues (such as cracked lenses). If you buy a pair, treat them with care.
Best readers for Zoom meetings
Magnification range: +1.00 to +2.50
These all-plastic readers by Gabriel Simone are under $50 and according to the company, that gets you blue-light-filtering lenses that are thin and scratch-resistant.
This pair of square-shaped frames are also available with lenses without magnification.
You have 90 days from your purchase to return these glasses, so read the return policy before you click buy. Shipping and returns are free.
Best understated readers
Magnification range: 0 to +2.75
We think of these as the Invisalign of reading glasses: These clear readers frame your face without calling attention to themselves. Warby Parker’s reputation for convenience and great customer service make these glasses more appealing for some customers.
You can also get these frames with +0.00 lenses if you don’t need magnification. For additional fees, you can have these outfitted with prescription lenses.
While these glasses aren’t the most expensive readers on our list, they aren’t cheap.
Best readers for reading in bed
Magnification range: +1.00 to +3.00
If you like to read on your side, you may have had trouble getting comfortable with reading glasses on. Enter armless reading glasses.
These may not be the most stylish but they do come in six colorways. The lenses come in a carrying pod that makes them easy to bring anywhere. Also, 80 percent of reviewers rank them as 4 stars or above.
You may also want to keep in mind that you’ll need to get used to them. In order for them to work without arms, they perch or pinch on the bridge of your nose.
Best readers and sunglasses in one
Magnification range: +1.00 to +3.50
We liked that these readers come in three frame colors, each of which houses Foster Grant’s tinted, scratch-resistant reading lenses. This pair blocks out UV light and, according to users, works well for outdoor reading.
Since these are sunglass-style readers, you may want to use them as your main sunglasses, but be wary of driving with them on. Eye care professionals don’t recommend driving with any type of magnifying nonprescription eyewear.
Favorite designer reading glasses
Magnification range: +0.25 to +4.00
These frames include magnifying lenses in the base price, or you can get them made to fit your exact prescription. Classic tortoiseshell frames the lenses on these readers. Translucent arms and the Tory Burch logo polish off the look.
These glasses have a designer price tag, but look for a coupon code or sale when you’re ready to purchase. There’s also free shipping and returns if you order from GlassesUSA.
Best eco-friendly readers
Magnification range: +1.25 to +3.00
Blue Planet Eco-Eyewear offers readers and sunglasses made of recycled and natural materials. The cat-eye shape of these readers combined with the wood arms will certainly make a statement if you like your eyewear to stand out.
They have a program giving one pair of eyeglasses to an adult or child in need of eyewear for every pair you buy.
While the brand has a devoted fanbase, there aren’t as many independent reviews online as other readers on this list.
Nonprescription readers can be a great option if you frequently lose track of your prescription reading glasses, or if you want to keep multiple pairs around your house for when you need them.
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” pair of readers. With that being said, you should make your purchase choices based on a few factors, including:
- Durability. If your readers aren’t meant to last, they might not be worth spending money on, no matter the price point.
- Company. If you’re buying online, free shipping and returns are a huge plus. Look for customer reviews and company responsiveness.
- Materials and features. If, for example, you know that plastic makes your nose sweat and get slippery or if you’re someone who needs adjustable nose pads to keep your frames in place, keep that in mind when you shop.
- Price point. Most magnifiers are on the cheaper side, especially because you don’t need to add customized prescription lenses. You might want to stay on the affordable end of the price spectrum for your back-up pairs of readers and splash out on your “real” pair that contains your prescription.
Whatever your reading glass needs, there are plenty of options available online to meet them.
Remember that magnifiers you purchase without a prescription aren’t meant to replace eyeglasses your eye doctor recommends.
Picking up a pair of readers at the pharmacy or online may help as a short-term solution to your eye strain, but see an eye doctor regularly to check the health of your eyes.