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Payne Glasses was founded in 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their website boasts that they offer “the most competitive eyeglasses on the market.” Indeed, the company’s frames start at just $5.95. Basic prescription lenses include 1.56 UV-blocking and anti-scratch coatings.

Let’s dive into Payne Glasses to see what you can expect.

Pros

  • low cost
  • grants are available for some customers, which can help offset the price
  • large selection of trendy, stylish frames

Cons

  • doesn’t accept vision insurance
  • return process is very specific
  • no 100% cash-back refunds

Payne carries glasses for women, men, and children, including prescription lenses, nonprescription glasses, and sunglasses.

They also offer a limited selection of accessories like eyeglass cases, glasses chains, cleaning supplies, and even earrings.

They cover the following prescription ranges:

  • For single vision lenses:
    • Sphere (SPH): -16.00 to +12.00
    • Cylinder (CYL): -6.00 to +6.00
  • For progressive lenses:
    • Sphere: -10.00 to +8.00
    • Cylinder: -6.00 to +6.00
    • NV-ADD: up to +3.50

Payne boasts low-cost eyewear, with frames ranging from $5.95 to $59.95.

You can upgrade any frames to sunglasses by adding tinted or polarized lenses, starting at $4.95.

Photochromic light-responsive lenses start at $17.95. The cost for standard prescription lenses is $7.95, so the cheapest pair of prescription glasses will run you about $13.90, plus tax and shipping.

Accessories are similarly low-cost — with clip-on sunglass frames, earrings, and non-slip ear grips available for $4.95 each.

Does Payne take insurance?

They don’t take insurance but if requested, will provide an invoice to submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement.

Customers in need can apply for a free pair of glasses via Payne’s People Helping People program, which focuses on making customized prescription glasses available at no cost.

Payne Glasses is an online company, so your ordering experience will take place entirely over the internet. The website is a straightforward glasses shop, with a header menu of quick category links like women, men, kids, sunglasses, and accessories.

What you’ll need to order

To order glasses, you’ll need your pupillary distance (PD) and an eyeglasses prescription from a doctor. If you don’t know your PD, use this link on Payne’s site to measure it.

How to order glasses from Payne

  1. Browse frames.
  2. Select your frames.
  3. Enter your prescription, if applicable.
  4. Enter your PD.
  5. Choose your lens type (clear, light responsive, gradient lens tint, or sunglasses).
  6. Add desired upgrades (blue light blocking, scratch resistance, etc.).
  7. Add to your cart.
  8. Go to checkout and pay.

If you’ve ever ordered glasses in person from a store, you know that they take a little longer to receive than ordering something online from Amazon. This is because you’re ordering a custom product designed specifically for the needs of your eyes and the shape of your face.

According to Payne’s website:

  • standard shipping takes 14-21 days and costs $4.95
  • priority shipping takes 10-13 days and costs $12.95
  • express shipping takes 6-9 days and costs $23.95

Some customer reviews on Trustpilot rave about glasses coming quicker than expected. Overall, it seems Payne pretty consistently gets your glasses to you in less than 3 weeks.

If you wish to return a purchase for any reason, you have 30 days to file a return authorization form with Payne. The form isn’t available on the site — you must contact Payne to get it. This process is a little more complex than some other online glasses brands, like Warby Parker.

About Payne’s free warranty

For prescription glasses, you can receive a 50% refund or a one-time exchange code for the cost of the glasses. Note that this code doesn’t cover shipping costs and can’t be exchanged for multiple cheaper pairs.

For nonprescription glasses or frame-only purchases, return them in their original packaging within 30 days for a full refund, minus shipping cost and a $3.95 restocking fee.

About Payne’s optional risk-free warranty

If you spring for the risk-free warranty, which is $4.99, you have 30 days to return for a full refund including shipping cost (but excluding the warranty cost of $4.99), or exchange up to two times.

If your glasses have defects, you’re eligible for a one-time replacement pair within 6 months.

Payne appears to be a mostly trustworthy, reliable company with many happy customers. It has a high Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of A+ and is BBB-accredited.

Reviews on Trustpilot, a consumer review website, rate Payne highly, at an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s full of positive reviews from customers happy with the quality of their glasses and quick shipping. People are also generally pleased with the company’s low prices.

Most negative reviews are from customers who got frustrated with the Payne Glasses’ rather vague return policy. A few other folks weren’t happy with their frames and wished they had tried them on in a store, which is one of the risks of using an online glasses company.

These days, there is no shortage of online glasses retailers. Brands like Zenni, Warby Parker, EyeBuyDirect, and GlassesUSA all offer a variety of stylish frames for women, men, and children. However, each brand differs in their prices, insurance coverage, and return policies. Here’s how a few popular options stack up:

BrandStarting priceAccepts insuranceReturn policyTry-on options
Payne Glasses$5.95no30 daysvirtual
Warby Parker$95yes30 daysvirtual, at-home, & in-store
Zenni Optical$5.95no30 daysvirtual
EyeBuyDirect$6no14 daysvirtual
GlassesUSA$68yes14 daysvirtual

Zenni and Payne glasses may seem the most similar based on the chart above. Here’s a closer look at the similarities and differences of these two brands.

Similarities

  • Cost: Zenni frames run from $5.95 to $49.95; Payne frames range from $5.95 to $59.95.
  • Shipping: Shipping costs and speeds are nearly identical for both companies.
  • Returns: The return process is essentially the same for both brands.

Differences

  • Zenni frequently collaborates with designers and celebrities, such as Rashida Jones and Cynthia Rowley. Payne does not appear to offer such collaborations.
  • Zenni has a larger variety of styles and colors.
  • Zenni’s virtual try-on technology is more advanced and easier to use than Payne’s. Based on our firsthand testing, Zenni’s try-on feature is more reliable than Payne’s and allows you to see how the glasses look on you from multiple angles. Zenni lets you use either video or photos of yourself.

Is Payne Glasses a good company?

Payne Glasses is a highly rated company for low-priced glasses. While they don’t accept insurance and the returns policy is slightly complicated, they’re still a good pick if frame variety and affordable pricing are important to you.

Does Payne Glasses offer a try-on service?

You can use Payne Glasses’ virtual try-on tool on many (but not all) of their frames. The augmented reality (AR) tool places the glasses on your face so you can get a sense of what they’ll look like. You can also enter your PD for a more accurate virtual fit.

Is it OK to buy prescription glasses online?

While many services make buying prescription glasses easy online, if you have a complicated vision prescription or specific fit preferences, you might prefer to visit an optometrist in person.

With a wide variety of frames to choose from and a considerably lower price point than most competitors, Payne Glasses is a solid choice for those looking for eyewear on a budget. On the pro side, it has good reviews, low prices, and (mostly) satisfied customers.

On the con side, it lacks some of the bells and whistles of other popular glasses sites and doesn’t have the best virtual try-on service. If you’d prefer to order your specs through a company that accepts insurance or has a more straightforward return policy, read our full roundup of the best places to buy glasses online.


Ash Fisher is a writer and comedian living with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. When she’s not having a wobbly-baby-deer day, she’s hiking with her corgi, Vincent. She lives in Oakland, California. Learn more about her on her website.