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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.
- Top rated reading glasses: Foster Grant Ironman IM2000
- Best multipack magnifiers: Gamma Ray Men’s Reading Glasses
- Best anti-glare reading glasses: Gamma Ray Blue Light Blocking Glasses
- Best readers for Zoom meetings: Gabriel + Simone Millie Matte Blue
- Best understated readers: Warby Parker Haskell in Crystal
- Best readers for reading in bed: Nooz Optics Armless Reading Glasses
- Best readers and sunglasses in one: Foster Grant Frankie SunReader
- Best designer reading glasses: Tory Burch TY2064
- Best reading glasses for kids: Foster Grant Blue Light e.Glasses for Kids in Kasey Black
Just to be clear, when we talk about readers, we’re 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 quantity you will choose.
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, it’s important that you have an estimate of your prescription strength for reading glasses.
This can help you avoid returning and exchanging multiple pairs of readers with online retailers. Otherwise, there may be more of a trial-and-error process to figure out the magnification strength you need.
Here are the features we considered when making our list of reading glasses you can buy online:
- User reviews. To boil down the list, we read through hundreds of reviews and looked at 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. We tried to provide options on this list that will work for you, even if you’re on a tight budget.
- 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.
Readers can range in price from less than $10 to a few hundred dollars for designer frames. The ones on our list have something at each price range and for different needs.
- $ = under $25
- $$ = $25-$50
- $$$ = $51-$100
- $$$$ = over $100
Top rated reading glasses
Magnification range: +1.25 to +3.25
We liked that these readers come with a case and that they’re a simple, neutral style that can work for a wide variety of face shapes. The company says that these lenses have a scratch-resistant coating, and the frames 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 say that it’s worth it for frames that are built to last.
- It comes with a case.
- It works for many face shapes.
- It has a higher price than other top picks.
Best multipack 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 $25 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!).
- It’s an inexpensive bundled option.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty.
- Some reviewers experienced quality issues with their products.
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 may appreciate the blue-light-filtering protection of the frames.
While most reviews rave about how these glasses provide relief from eyestrain, some do report quality control issues (such as cracked lenses). If you buy a pair, treat them with care.
- It has a classic style that complements many face shapes.
- It features blue-light-filtering lenses.
- Some users reported that they received a broken product.
Best readers for Zoom meetings
Magnification range: 0 to +3.00
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.
- It’s budget-friendly but stylish
- It comes with blue-light-filtering lenses.
- It may not suit all face shapes and style preferences.
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.
- Warby Parker is a well-known, reputable eyewear brand.
- It’s available without magnification.
- It’s not a budget-friendly pick.
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 colors. 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.
- It has positive reviews.
- It’s comfortable even when laying on your side.
- It can take some practice to perfect wearing this style.
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.
- It contains UV-light-blocking lenses.
- It complements many face shapes and styles.
- It’s not suitable for driving.
Best 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.
- It can be customized to your prescription.
- Free shipping and returns are included.
- It may not be budget-friendly for all.
Best for kids
- Price: $
- Magnification range: None
Kids don’t typically receive a diagnosis of hyperopia, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t sometimes benefit from reading glasses. If your child likes to spend significant time in front of a screen reading, doing homework, or gaming, blue light glasses may improve their circadian rhythm at night.
According to the company, these glasses filter 30 percent of blue light from devices and also block UVA/UVB rays.
The lenses are scratch-resistant. You may consider investing in a fun glasses strap to keep the frames intact.
- It contains a blue-light-filtering lens.
- It’s scratch-resistant and comes at a low price.
- Free shipping is only available for orders over $30.
|Product||Price||Magnification range||Blue-light filtering|
|Foster Grant Ironman IM2000||$$||+1.25 to +3.25||No|
|Gamma Ray Men’s Reading Glasses||$||+1.00 to +4.00||No|
|Gamma Ray Blue Light Blocking Glasses||$||0 to +4.00||Yes|
|Gabriel + Simone Millie Matte Blue||$$||0 to +3.00||No|
|Warby Parker Haskell in Crystal||$$$||0 to +2.75||No|
|Nooz Optics Armless Reading Glasses||$||+1.00 to +3.00||No|
|Foster Grant Frankie SunReaders||$$||+1.00 to +3.50||No|
|Tory Burch TY2064||$$$$||+0.25 to +4.00||No|
|Foster Grant Blue Light e.Glasses for Kids in Kasey Black||$||None||Yes|
Nonprescription readers can be a great option if you frequently lose track of your prescription reading glasses, or if you want to keep several 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. 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 backup pairs of readers and splash out on your “real” pair that contains your prescription.
Is there a difference in the quality of reading glasses?
Reading glasses that cost less aren’t necessarily bad for your eyes, as long as you get the correct magnification strength. The difference in price is typically due to the materials used to craft the lenses and frames. Cheaper readers may be less durable, but they can still get the job done.
What is the best strength for reading glasses?
The best strength for your reading glasses should be determined by an eye doctor or eye care professional. Recommended magnification differs according to how nearsighted you are.
A good rule of thumb is to use the lowest magnification with which you can comfortably see, and work upward if you need. Low strength reading glasses (+1.00 or +1.25) are enough for some people, while others sometimes need to go above a +2.00 to read words clearly on a page.
Are cheap reading glasses any good?
Cheap reading glasses can be good in a pinch. If you’re someone who’s always losing track of their reading glasses, having a few cheap pairs on hand can make life easier. But, you should also always have a “good” pair that’s been matched to your exact prescription by your eye doctor.
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 eyestrain, but see an eye doctor regularly to check the health of your eyes.