Best Cheap Sunglasses

Best Cheap Sunglasses

The Best Cheap Sunglasses

 Welcome to Dubery Sunglasses. Where Polarized Sunglasses that won't break the bank. We aren't the cheapest sunglasses on the internet but we have fair prices with a life time warranty.  Where to get cheap sunglasses? Check out the Dubery Sunglasses Website out. With fifteen different frame styles.

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Dubery Sunglasses



Dubery Sunglasses Amazon - duberysunglasses.comAfter testing 13 new pairs of sunglasses for 2020, we’ve updated our recommendations with a few new faves—but mostly our previous picks hold up.
Justin Krajeski


The research

Our favorite aviators: J+S Premium
A premium pair: Kent Wang Aviator
Our favorite round pair: Sungait Vintage Round Sunglasses
An upgrade for round frames: Kent Wang Sunglasses Keyhole
Our favorite cat-eye sunglasses: Sunski Camina
A more modern cat-eye pair: EyeBuyDirect Cartel Sunglasses
Our favorite Wayfarer-style sunglasses: Goodr The OGs
Wayfarer-style lookalikes: Sunglass Warehouse Cove
Upgraded Wayfarer-style glasses: EyeBuyDirect Nevada
Why you should trust us
About UV protection
How we picked
How we tested
The competition
    Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    Our pick

    J+S Premium

    Comfortable construction, with a one-year warranty

    The J+S Premium aviators are easy to wear for long periods of time and fit snugly on most faces, thanks to their sturdy metal build.

    Why they’re great: Of all the different types of sunglasses we tested, aviators were the toughest to differentiate between because they’re aesthetically so similar. Still, our panelists liked the $17 J+S Premium sunglasses because they were comfortable to wear and fit most testers well. And they offer protection for your eyes at a low price. We’ve worn them for the past year, and their metal build has proved to be well made and sturdy. They come with a one-year warranty.

    The J+S Premium sunglasses fit most of our panel testers’ faces well, and we appreciated how much coverage the shape of their lenses offered. Photo: Sarah Kobos

    The J+S Premium sunglasses rest comfortably on the nose and ears. Senior staff writer Nick Guy and senior editor Marguerite Preston both said these aviators were the most comfortable they tested, and both testers have differently shaped and sized heads (this is meant in the kindest way). These sunglasses are light and provide lots of coverage, and, like most of the aviators we tested, they have nose pads that can be adjusted to better fit your face. Sasha VanHoven, Wirecutter’s audience development manager for content strategy, said the J+S sunglasses had “the best balance of average shape and not-trash feeling.” Though this may not sound like glowing praise, it did place the J+S pair at the front of the pack. The only aviators our panelists liked more than the J+S Premiums were the Kent Wang sunglasses, our upgrade pick, which cost three times as much.

    The J+S sunglasses’ metal build is sturdy, and their spring hinges provide a satisfying clicking feeling when you open and close the arms. These sunglasses feel well made; we never worried while using them that they might fall apart. That’s a good sign, especially when you’ve spent less than $20 on a pair of sunglasses.

    The J+S Premium sunglasses have a classic aviator shape. The ones we brought in for testing had black frames with black lenses, but you can choose from a variety of colorway options, from a silver frame with black lenses to a gold one with silver/pink lenses. The J+S Premiums come with a case and a cloth for cleaning your lenses.

    If you have a wider head, the large version of the J+S aviators has lenses with a width of 62 mm, and the overall frame is 152 mm wide, the widest of any sunglasses we tested. Those widths, combined with the flexible metal arms, make these sunglasses well suited for people who have trouble finding a pair that’s large enough. However, the arms aren’t as long as on the BFG variant of the Goodr OGs, which may work better for some people.

    The J+S Premium sunglasses come with a one-year warranty for the frame and lenses, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers: Some of our testers thought the lenses on the J+S Premiums were too big for their face—the glasses come with 58 mm (small) or 62 mm (large) lenses. You may be able to compare that size to the size of a pair of sunglasses you already like by looking for a string of three numbers on the inside arm: The first number is the horizontal width of the lens in millimeters.

    Though we didn’t encounter any issues during testing, or during a subsequent year of long-term testing, Amazon reviews mention a wide variety of problems with the J+S Premiums—crookedness, breaking after a short period of time, and lenses falling out within the first couple of weeks. These sunglasses have a one-year warranty for the frame and lenses if you run into any issues; otherwise you have 30 days to return them. Most people who bought these frames on Amazon and opted to return them within the first month described the process as being smooth and quick.

    UV-protected: yes
    Polarized: yes
    Warranty: one year
    Return policy: within 30 days

    Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    Upgrade pick

    Kent Wang Aviator

    A steel pair of aviators from a manufacturer we trust

    For cheap sunglasses, Kent Wang’s Aviator sunglasses are expensive, but they’re especially comfortable to wear and more compact than others in this category. Despite the price, they have only a 30-day return period and no warranty.

    Why they’re great: Although they cost $55 at the time of writing, a fair chunk more than the J+S Premiums, Kent Wang’s Aviator sunglasses stand out from the other aviators we tested thanks to their smaller, more rectangular steel frames and the quality of their construction.

    Two different staff members noted that the Kent Wang aviators were smaller and less droopy in their lower corners than other aviator sunglasses, but they didn’t feel tight.

    The Kent Wang sunglasses’ steel frame feels noticeably sturdy compared with the “metallic alloy” of the J+S Premium pair—the Kent Wang pair is stronger and more resilient. And we’ve been wearing Kent Wang sunglasses for more than two years now, so we’re confident that they’re worth the cost. Kent Wang has three different frame colors to choose from—gold, gunmetal, and silver—and the lenses are the same dark shade.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers: The 30-day return policy would be fine, but Kent Wang doesn’t offer any warranty. We’ve found, however, that Kent Wang offers notably good customer service (we’ve even spotted Kent Wang on platforms like Reddit, helping customers in need).

    The Kent Wang aviators are more square than many people are looking for, so if you’re interested in a more traditional aviator frame, we also loved the EyeBuyDirect Good Vibrations—but with polarization, they cost upwards of $70.

    UV-protected: yes
    Polarized: yes
    Warranty: no warranty
    Return policy: within 30 days

    Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    Our pick

    Sungait Vintage Round Sunglasses

    Affordable round sunglasses, with a lifetime warranty

    For such an affordable pair, the Sungaits offered the best combination of comfort and sturdiness of any round sunglasses we tested. Plus, they come with a lifetime warranty and money-back guarantee.

    Why they’re great: Among the least expensive options, the Sungait Vintage Round Sunglasses are more comfortable and sturdier than the rest of the similarly priced round pairs we tested. And our testing proved that they simply look good on lots of people’s faces; they evoke the appearance of the well-loved Ray-Ban Erika—for a fraction of the cost. They also come with a lifetime warranty that covers your breaking them, which is nice considering they’re the least expensive pair of sunglasses we recommend.

    The Sungate Vintage Round Sunglasses’s keyhole nose bridge made them one of the most comfortable round sunglasses we tested. Photo: Sarah Kobos

    The Sungait Vintage Round Sunglasses were the most comfortable pair we tested at this price; their only competition for comfort were the significantly more expensive Kent Wang Sunglasses Keyhole. Over the past two years, the Sungait sunglasses continually fit more of our faces best, while other sunglasses were dismissed for being too tight or awkward-feeling on our faces. Testers on our panel have even noted that the keyhole nose bridge and welcoming fit made these more comfortable than other sunglasses at this price.

    The Sungait pair’s plastic temple tips and frames are reinforced by sturdy metal arms. Panel testers noted that the metal arms felt strong, and no one worried about the build quality, unlike with the delicate-feeling Thomas James LA Fame sunglasses. Sungait provides a mini screwdriver, in case you need to adjust the hinges; this was a welcome surprise for a pair of sunglasses that cost less than $20.

    The Sungait sunglasses look and feel classic: They’re logo-free and unisex (although they appear to be marketed toward women on Amazon), and we recommend buying them in black with gray lenses (though as of this writing, nearly 20 color combinations were available). In addition to the mini screwdriver, the Sungaits come with a bag and a cloth for cleaning your lenses.

    The Sungait Vintage Round Sunglasses have a lifetime warranty, which is a great perk for a pair of sub-$20 sunglasses.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers: During testing, we had no complaints about the Sungait sunglasses. Comments on Amazon, however, indicated that some users may have had issues with quality: The Sungaits broke within their first day of use, the lenses were too dark for them to see through, or their lenses began to bubble. In all scenarios, though, it seems Sungait has replied to Amazon comments and offered to replace the sunglasses. We appreciate Sungait’s willingness to extend customer support to these buyers, and we encourage anyone who buys from the company to use the lifetime warranty.

    Only some of the Sungait variants on Amazon are polarized, so double-check if you’re going with a different lens color.

    UV-protected: yes
    Polarized: yes (Amazon sells other Sungait colorways that aren’t polarized, so be sure to read the description for the lens color you’re buying.)
    Warranty: lifetime warranty
    Return policy: lifetime money-back guarantee

    Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    Upgrade pick

    Kent Wang Sunglasses Keyhole

    Stylish, comfortable, and highly durable

    The Kent Wang Sunglasses Keyhole pair is made from cellulose acetate, for more comfort and durability than the Sungaits. The Keyhole sunglasses look as good as luxury pairs twice their price.

    Why they’re great: Kent Wang is my favorite brand to recommend to anyone who is new to buying sunglasses and who wants something nice, but not $300 nice. “Put down the Garrett Leight sunglasses,” I’ll say. “Go to Kent Wang dot com instead.” Then, with what I’ve saved them, they can take me to lunch. Repeatedly.

    Though they are more than three times the price of the Sungait sunglasses, the Kent Wang Sunglasses Keyhole are the most comfortable round sunglasses we tested, with a lightweight but solid build and replaceable lenses. If you don’t mind spending more money, these offer a more distinctive, stylish look, and they’re just as protective as the Sungaits. We’ve been recommending Kent Wang’s Sunglasses Keyhole since late 2017—and I’ve been wearing my pair for as long—and we haven’t had any issues with them.

    Although the Sungait Vintage Round Sunglasses have plastic frames with metal arms, the Keyholes are made from cellulose acetate, which is more lightweight and flexible than basic plastic frames. Despite being thicker than the Sungaits, the Kent Wangs weigh about the same, and are especially light for this bulkier style of round sunglasses.

    We sampled the sunglasses in black and tortoiseshell acetate; the Keyholes come in various shades of acetate or horn (although horn costs $95 more). Both versions are distinct and striking. Acetate, in particular, does a great job of displaying vibrant colors. The glasses garnered compliments from friends and acquaintances, as well as questions about where we had gotten them. The frame has no external branding, but it does have a small, gold-foil Kent Wang logo on the inside of the left arm; it’s tasteful and attractive, and it’s impossible to see while the sunglasses are on your face.

    The Kent Wang Keyholes fit all of our panelists comfortably, and they were the ones I kept reaching for, even after testing finished. They’re also solidly constructed, with flexible spring hinges that provide a satisfying click when you fold and unfold the arms. The spring hinges on the Keyhole sunglasses allow a wider range of movement in the arms than the screw-bolt hinges on the cheaper Sungaits (or any other round sunglasses we tested, all of which were less resilient). Although our panelists found the Sungaits to be comfortable too, the Keyhole sunglasses’ acetate body made them easy to wear for even longer periods of time.

    These glasses didn’t scratch or break in our testing or during our use since then. And although they’re better built than other, cheaper sunglasses, you’ll probably want to baby them a bit due to their price.

    This pair doesn’t come with a storage pouch, and if you want to return them, you have only 30 days. This model also isn’t as widely available as our other picks—you’ll find it sold only through the Kent Wang website.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers: Since the acetate on the glasses was so smooth, during hot days, we found that sweat built up between the plastic and our skin—but never excessively or enough to make us uncomfortable.

    The only issue with the Keyholes is their 30-day return policy and lack of warranty; 30 days is shorter than we’d like—ideally you’d have more time to test them on your own before the window for returns closed. We also wish they had a warranty backing them, but we haven’t run into any problems with the Keyholes since we started wearing them in 2017.

    UV-protected: yes
    Polarized: yes
    Warranty: no warranty
    Return policy: within 30 days

    Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    Our pick

    Sunski Camina

    A classic, comfortable pair of cat-eye sunglasses

    The Sunski Caminas were comfortable to wear, with tall, wide lenses and pinched edges that are more dramatic than on other sunglasses.

    Why they’re great: This is the “Holly Golightly eating a croissant while looking in the window of Tiffany’s” realness we were looking for. The Sunski Camina glasses—with their overwhelmingly large lenses and the feline upsweep at the frame’s outer edges—embody the look that was made popular by Audrey Hepburn’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Like all of the sunglasses we tested, the Camina sunglasses offer UV protection and polarization, but at around $60, they’re not as cheap as our favorites in other styles.

    We found the Camina sunglasses comfortable to wear, with durable hinges that felt robust in our hands. A perk that no other cat-eye pair offered: Sunski uses recycled plastic to create the Camina, which is a nice step toward being slightly more eco-friendly.

    “I like how big these frames are; they cover the space above and below my eyes, so I don’t have to worry about revealing the bags under them,” my mother said, laughing, while wearing the Caminas and observing her face in a tabletop vanity. She was one of my only in-person human contacts during the quarantine of spring 2020, and so her opinion helped inform my decisions. And the Camina sunglasses were a hit. “They’re unusually shaped in how deep and wide they are, but I like them,” she said.

    The Sunski Camina sunglasses come with a storage pouch, a sticker (you know, so your friends can be like, “What’s that on your laptop?” and you can be like, “Oh, that old thing? Just the brand name of my favorite pair of sunglasses!”), as well as a lens-care booklet. In addition, the frames have a 60-day return policy and a generous lifetime warranty.

    If you want to buy something more eye-catching than a classic black frame, the Camina sunglasses also come in pink, translucent brown, or translucent white.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Sunski Camina sunglasses are pricey, at around $60. But we think the price is justified by their expansive lifetime warranty, which includes breakages. That means if you experience any manufacturer defects, or if the sunglasses break under normal use, Sunski will repair or replace them for you. (Sunski even says that although this warranty doesn’t cover lost frames, reach out to the company and “maybe we can get you a deal,” which seems like a pretty generous, humane policy.)

    UV-protected: yes
    Polarized: yes
    Warranty: lifetime
    Return policy: within 60 days

    Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    Our pick

    EyeBuyDirect Cartel Sunglasses

    A sturdy, modern pair of cat-eye glasses

    The EyeBuyDirect Cartel sunglasses were a standout in terms of comfort and fit. Their cat-eye shape isn’t too large for most faces, and we appreciated the tortoiseshell touch.

    $22 from EyeBuyDirect

    20% off + FS with code WIRE20FS

    Why they’re great: The EyeBuyDirect Cartel Sunglasses were comfortable to wear, and they fit all of our panelists well. And many of our testers mentioned that the shape was attractive and a better fit for a smaller face, compared with the wider Sunski Caminas. Although the Cartel sunglasses are UV-protected, you have to spend $50 more for polarization.

    The EyeBuyDirect Cartel Sunglasses fit panel testers’ faces well, and we liked the variety of designs offered (tortoiseshell, brown, navy). Photo: Sarah Kobos

    Most of our panelists found the plastic on the Cartels comfortable and sturdy enough for everyday wear. And after wearing them for the past year, I’ve concluded the same. Sasha VanHoven, Wirecutter’s audience development manager for content strategy, who helped test cat-eye sunglasses—and proved very selective—blessed these shades with the highest of compliments: “They actually look nice,” compared with some of the other, similarly priced options. “The Cartel doesn’t feel cheap at all,” she said. (On a relative scale, this is lavish praise from her.)

    “The EyeBuyDirect Cartel sunglasses have a pretty, classic shape, and they weren’t overwhelmingly large,” said Wirecutter associate staff writer Dorie Chevlen, who also noted the glasses’ good-looking tortoiseshell pattern. Many of our panelists positively mentioned the tortoiseshell frames in their responses, and I have to agree: The patterned design isn’t as flashy as some other tortoiseshell options, but that works for the Cartels rather than against them.

    If tortoiseshell isn’t your thing, EyeBuyDirect offers the Cartel frames in clear brown and clear navy, too; they manage to be both subtle and unique.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers: Our biggest issue with the EyeBuyDirect sunglasses—although they were our favorites in testing—was the price. The Cartel sunglasses would be decently priced at their base cost of $22; unfortunately, that doesn’t cover polarization, which is an additional $30. (All prices are at the time of writing.)

    For $50, EyeBuyDirect offers a short, 14-day return policy for fit and style, but it thankfully adds a year-long warranty for any unexpected issues you might experience with materials or workmanship. It isn’t as comprehensive a return policy or warranty as Sunski’s, but it should be okay for most people.

    UV-protected: yes
    Polarized: yes
    Warranty: a year-long warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship
    Return policy: within 14 days

    Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    Our pick

    Goodr The OGs

    Wayfarer-style sunglasses that everyone liked

    These Wayfarer-style knockoffs looked good on just about all of our panelists. Plus, they stay put better when you’re active—something worth considering if your workout routine has moved outside.

    Why they’re great: Goodr’s The OGs are versatile, unisex sunglasses that work on almost any face, regardless of size or shape. They’re a riff on the classic design of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer shades and were the most widely liked of all the sunglasses we tested in this style. They’re comfortable, and they feel durable. For $25, Goodr offers a solid value in a simple shape that feels built to last. Goodr offers only a 30-day return window, but the glasses have a year-long warranty.

    Goodr The OGs are a riff on Ray-Ban’s classic Wayfarers, and they’re designed to stay on your face if you’re running around. Photo: Sarah Kobos

    Lots of panelists commented on the pleasant feel of the Goodr sunglasses. Wirecutter senior editor Marguerite Preston and associate staff writer Dorie Chevlen both told us the OGs were the most comfortable Wayfarer-style sunglasses they tried. The Goodr OGs slip softly onto your face and stay put, even while you’re running around. Goodr markets its sunglasses as ones you can wear while you’re running and working out, and this means the sunglasses stay in place better during non-sweaty activities, too.

    Some of our panelists said the Goodr’s The OGs felt well made for their price, with sturdy, solid hinges that made opening and closing the arms easy. We had no issues with their design, although there is a small “goodr” written in white on the sides of the arms. Dorie added that the very dark look is classic and goes with just about anything. We’ve worn Goodr’s The OGs since we first made this recommendation more than a year ago, and there have been no issues with the sunglasses.

    All of the frames Goodr sells as “The OGs” are Wayfarer-style glasses, just in different frame and lens color combinations, and all should be equally good. The OGs come in a pouch, which doubles as a microfiber cleaning cloth.

    If you have difficulty finding sunglasses that are big enough, Goodr sells a variant of The OGs called the BFGs. Per Goodr, these glasses have “wider frames, longer arms, and bigger lenses than our OGs,” with an overall frame width of 146 mm and a temple length of 155 mm, notably longer than anything else we looked at. Although we didn’t test this version of the OGs, we still think it would be a good option for someone who has a larger head and is looking for a Wayfarer-style pair of sunglasses.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers: The only issues we had with Goodr’s The OGs were the short return window and the dreadful naming scheme—the matte black colorway we tested last year is called “A Ginger’s Soul,” which seems a terrible and unnecessary dig.

    UV-protected: yes
    Polarized: yes
    Warranty: one year
    Return policy: within 30 days

    Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    Also great

    Sunglass Warehouse Cove

    A traditional-looking, glossy pair of Wayfarer-style glasses

    The black Sunglass Warehouse Cove sunglasses look remarkably similar to Ray-Ban Wayfarers, and they are well-built and comfortable.

    $14 from Sunglass Warehouse

    25% off sitewide w/code TWC25

    Why they’re great: The Sunglass Warehouse Cove sunglasses are designed in the classic Wayfarer-style size and shape, and their glossy frames are closer to the originals than are the matte black Goodr OGs. Because of their more traditional style—with larger lenses than the Goodr OGs and reflective silver-tone rivets at the corners—the Cove sunglasses look almost exactly like the original Ray-Ban Wayfarers, but are about a tenth of the price. They’re comfortable to wear for long periods of time, too.

    The Cove sunglasses are available with black or tortoise frames. They don’t come with a case, but Sunglass Warehouse sells cases separately.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers: Two of our testers thought the Cove lenses were too plasticky and cheap-feeling. Some comments on the Sunglass Warehouse website say the sunglasses are too flimsy, and one commenter complained that the tiny screws in the arms worked their way out after they bought them. Although we didn’t experience this during testing, we encourage you to use Sunglass Warehouse’s one-year return policy. If your sunglasses are defective, you can reach out to the company to receive a replacement pair of glasses.

    UV-protected: yes
    Polarized: yes
    Warranty: no warranty
    Return policy: one year

    Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    Upgrade pick

    EyeBuyDirect Nevada

    Wayfarer-style sunglasses with a premium feel

    The EyeBuyDirect Nevada sunglasses are as comfortable as Goodr’s The OGs, and they’re made from acetate, which gives them a more premium look and feel.

    $32* from EyeBuyDirect

    20% off + FS with code WIRE20FS

    *At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

    Why they’re great: As soon as I picked up the EyeBuyDirect Nevada sunglasses, there was love between us. Their square, Wayfarer-style shape looked good on my oval face, the brown striped color of the frames complemented my brown hair, and the acetate frames gave them an elevated look you’d expect from a pricier pair of sunglasses. As we noted with the Kent Wang Keyhole sunglasses, acetate does a great job of displaying vibrant colors, like the different shades of brown stripes here. Plus, even if you try to bend the frames, the Nevadas won’t break or become bent out of shape. They should also last for longer than standard plastic frames.

    The Nevada sunglasses were comfortable to wear, and they fit pleasantly on our heads. There was no irritation around the nose or ears; wearing them ultimately felt like not wearing sunglasses at all—the greatest compliment I can give. They look like a premium pair of classic Ray-Ban Wayfarers: Although I ran into far fewer people while testing during the 2020 quarantine than I did in 2019, the Nevada sunglasses still managed to garner compliments. In addition to their comfortable and attractive look, the sunglasses offer anti-scratch lens coating—to keep them shiny and bright-looking—and they come with a pouch for storage.

    Flaws but not dealbreakers: For $70, EyeBuyDirect offers a short, 14-day return policy for fit and style. Thankfully, there is a year-long warranty for any unexpected issues you might encounter with materials or workmanship.

    UV-protected: yes
    Polarized: yes
    Warranty: a year-long warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship
    Return policy: within 14 days

    To find out how people should be protecting their eyes, we interviewed several experts for this guide, including three ophthalmologists: Ravi D. Goel, MD, a clinical instructor at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia and spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology; Suzann Pershing, MD, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine, who also serves as chief of ophthalmology for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System; and Ellen Koo, MD, an ophthalmologist and faculty member of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami who specializes in corneal and external diseases and LASIK.

    Ultraviolet rays are short rays (or wavelengths) of light that aren’t visible to the human eye. “There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC,” Pershing told us. Goel explained that although UVA rays accounted for about 95% of UV radiation, UVB rays were more likely to penetrate your eyes on an overcast day, at higher altitudes, or near highly reflective surfaces such as snow and ice. The atmosphere filters out UVC rays, so people don’t have to worry about those.

    It’s important to protect against UV rays because they can cause and accelerate “many eye diseases associated with aging, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and solar damage to the eye surface,” Pershing said. “You’re also at risk for eye cancer and more immediate structural damage to the retina at the back of the eye.”

    Goel told us that the level of UV radiation entering the eye in the early morning (between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.) and the late afternoon (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.) was nearly double that in midday, and that UV rays generally increased between the months of April and October throughout the continental United States, although the overall level of solar radiation depends on your location.

    If you want to check how strong the solar radiation is in your particular area at any given time, you can consult online resources such as AccuWeather’s UV Index Forecast. The site provides a rating for your area from 0 to 10: The higher the number, the more dangerous the sun’s UV emissions are, and the more precautions you should take to protect your eyes.

    We found 22 pairs of sunglasses—across four styles of frames—to test for 2020. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

    We focused on affordable sunglasses with full UV protection and polarization for people who need a protective, comfortable pair of shades they can use and abuse without feeling guilty about it. After researching more than 142 affordable pairs of sunglasses from trusted retailers, as well as popular pairs of sunglasses on Amazon, we found 22 models that we wanted to test from suppliers like EyeBuyDirect, Goodr, Kent Wang, Sunglass Warehouse, Sunski, and ZeroUV, among others. Our criteria for consideration were:

    UV protection: As Ravi D. Goel, MD, told us, when you use lenses without UV protection, you end up allowing more damaging UV rays to enter your eyes than if you were wearing no sunglasses at all, and you leave your eyes vulnerable to a slew of nasty ailments (more on that in the UV protection section). When you shop for sunglasses, always make sure to choose lenses with 99% or 100% UV protection or UV400 labeling (“UV400” means that the glasses will block all light rays with wavelengths shorter than 400 nanometers, which is the cutoff for UV light).
    Price and value: After speaking to people who tend to break or lose their sunglasses, we decided that a good pair of cheap sunglasses should meet all other criteria for less than $30. For those who take good care of their shades and are willing to pay more for style, excellent build quality, or other bonuses, we raised our price cap to $70.
      Comfort: Although comfort is hard to evaluate because peoples’ faces and tolerance for glasses vary widely, we sought frames that were lightweight and pleasant to wear for long periods of time on a variety of face shapes and sizes.
      Build quality: Cheap sunglasses should feel solidly constructed and be able to withstand your throwing them into a backpack or onto the backseat of a car. In our testing, full-metal hinges helped—the hinges made their arms easier to fold and unfold—but we considered models that had plastic hinges, too.
      Design: An unsightly logo or brand name emblazoned on your sunglasses can ruin an otherwise great pair of shades (paging the previous design of the Gamma Ray Cheaters, which Gamma Ray has since corrected), so we looked for pairs with a minimal design. Models that offered a variety of color combinations to suit more people’s preferences were great, but we didn’t eliminate glasses that lacked options. If you’re trying to decide what frames might fit your face, check the inside arm of a pair you already like. If there are three numbers, the first number is the horizontal width of the lens in millimeters.
      Lenses: Although lens color is primarily a matter of style and preference, Ellen Koo, MD, told us, “Different color tints can serve different types of advantages. Gray-tinted lenses offer better overall protection and help reduce glare, especially off water and pavement surfaces. Amber or brown lenses improve contrast and enhance depth perception. Green lenses transmit all color evenly, meaning color perception is even. These also offer good contrast in dim or low-light conditions.”
      Polarization: All of our picks are polarized, since polarized lenses eliminate glare and increase contrast, and decrease eyestrain. Since it’s so much nicer to look through polarized lenses, and they’re available on some sunglasses that are as cheap as non-polarized options, there’s no reason to skip this. You may have trouble looking at certain LCD screensthrough polarized lenses, however.

        In 2019, I judged 37 pairs of sunglasses over the course of a week, walking around Manhattan, reading outside coffee shops, and taking the subway. During my first round of testing, I was able to cut the list of contenders by a third, to 25 pairs. To ensure that we evaluated the fit and look of these sunglasses on a wide variety of faces, I then tested these with a panel of 13 people across gender and race at The New York Times building.

        In 2020, things operated differently: I tested 22 pairs of sunglasses across four categories over a month during the coronavirus pandemic in May 2020. During walks in Brooklyn—from Prospect Park to McCarren Park—to meetings with real estate agents as I searched for a new apartment (at the most inopportune time), I was able to test each pair’s comfort and unique design. I also tested their durability and scratch-resistance by throwing them into my backpack as I headed on biweekly excursions to the grocery store and to say hi to friends in other boroughs (from 6 feet away). After I completed a preliminary amount of testing, I collected opinions from coworkers and family members by sharing photos and videos of myself in the prospective sunglasses over Slack and text message, and in person with my parents.

        The main reason polarized lenses are so much better than non-polarized versions is that they reduce glare—if you compared the two lenses side by side, you’d never go with non-polarized lenses again. We tested the polarization of the sunglasses by lining up two pairs of each model of sunglasses, turning one gradually at a 90-degree angle to the other, and seeing whether the overlapped portion of the lenses became opaque. That works because polarization limits the amount of light coming in horizontally while still letting light through vertically. Two of the same lenses stacked at 90-degree angles should then block out all light. You can view just how we did it—and how to try this yourself with your own sunglasses—in the animation below.

        We tested the polarization of each pair of sunglasses at home. Video: Rozette Rago


        The EyeBuyDirect Good Vibrations sunglasses are a great choice if you’re looking for an aviator shape that’s even more classic than our top pick. Unlike the boxy Kent Wang Aviators, the Good Vibrations’s frames are rounder, reminiscent of classic pilot’s glasses. But at $70, the Good Vibrations sunglasses cost $15 more than the Kent Wangs, and you don’t need to spend that much for a great pair of aviators.

        The ZeroUV Retro Aviators were a failed experiment. Some part of me understood that they would look as chaotic on my face as Tom Cruise looked jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch (video), but I crossed my fingers, put them on, and … nope. The ZeruUV Retros have huge plastic arms and thick frames that are reminiscent of something out of a college frat party (the same energy Cruise exuded during that interview). Unlike every other aviator pair we tested, the ZeroUV Retros don’t have any padding around the nose, so they’re less comfortable to wear, too.

        The Knockaround Mount Evans are good sunglasses, but their pricing puts them in a strange position—one where they’re not in competition with the cheaper J+S Premiums but also not contenders against the more comfortable, resilient Kent Wang Aviators. They had thinner, more wiry arms than the other aviators we tested, a look that didn’t fare as well among those on our panel. And we didn’t like the Knockaround logo on the frames.

        The Kirkland Signature M40 sunglasses have a boxier, more severe cut than the rest of the aviators we tested, and the bar that bridges the top half of the glasses is thick, making them distracting to look at.

        Everyone who tested the Knockaround Mile Highs said the lenses drooped too low and made them look like they were trying to cover bags under their eyes. Another panelist noted that the arms felt loose. Although I personally liked the look (because I am constantly trying to hide the bags under my eyes), we agreed that for most people, the J+S Premiums or the Kent Wang Aviators offer a better look and better construction.

        Of all the sunglasses we tested, the polarized Luenx Aviator Sunglasses felt the cheapest (while actually being on the pricier side of our test pool), and we worried about breaking them after just a bit of light use. They come with a number of accessories, though: a fat, soft-shell case, plus a cleaning cloth and a storage pouch.

        For the most part, the Sunglass Warehouse Vista sunglasses look like every other pair of aviators we tested. But the reviewers on Sunglass Warehouse’s site commented that the shades scratched easily—something that we noticed during testing. The right lens has the word polarized printed in all caps on it, too, which is hideous.

        Thomas James LA’s Cruise sunglasses were a little too large on my face—and I have a big face—and they felt like they were easily breakable. Although their color pattern was interesting (black and darker black on the lenses, and a silver coating on the frame), that wasn’t enough of a reason for this pair to be a pick.

        Cat-eye sunglasses

        I thought the Sunglass Warehouse Petra sunglasses would be bigger on my face than they were. Because they ended up being smaller—and wider—frames than I expected, they had major Karen energy. The Petra’s lenses are also notably darker than the lenses of other glasses we tested, and it was more difficult to see through them.

        The EyeBuyDirect Lulu sunglasses were a previous pick for cat-eyes lenses, and though we still like them, the gold-plated bar in the center of the Lulus made them a more contentious choice than the Sunski Camina and EyeBuyDirect Cartel pairs we now recommend.

        The EyeBuyDirect Calypso, which we tested but were out of stock at the time of publication, were a little too delicate compared with their cat-eye competition. They lacked the angles, points, and curves of the competition. Where was the drama? Cat-eye glasses are about the performance. You’re not wearing them because you want to blend into the crowd.

        The Thomas James LA Tart and Thomas James LA JJ sunglasses felt smooth against our ears, and they seemed properly constructed. But their thick frames were much more pronounced than our other cat-eye picks, and we think they’re overall less appealing than the EyeBuyDirect Cartel or the Lulu sunglasses.

        The ZeroUV C822 and ZeroUV C828-01 cat-eye sunglasses are a good buy for the price; they were pretty comfortable, and they seemed well made. Even so, the design on both was a little outlandish for most of our panel testers, who shuddered at the sight of them.

        Round sunglasses

        The Goodr Circle Gs are a matte option that we liked during testing. But they were tight around my face and sat higher on my nose than other round sunglasses I tested, so they were not as comfortable or as attractive as the round-sunglasses competition.

        Similar to the Goodr Circle Gs, the Sunglass Warehouse Cashsunglasses were tight around my temples, and we all found this pair to be uncomfortable in the few weeks we spent testing them. The Cash’s arms were stiff, too, and we didn’t like the black and tortoise design, which starts as black on top and then fades into a tortoiseshell pattern.

        The Sunski Dipsea sunglasses have good lenses, but they’re overall not as good as the Kent Wang Keyhole sunglasses we recommend. Although the Keyhole pair has no external branding, the Dipsea pair features small, unsubtle white circles on the tops of the arms, with the brand name inside of them. Although we liked the idea behind Sunski’s recycled plastic, the pair we tested were uncomfortable, and we preferred the Keyhole’s cellulose acetate material instead.

        The Hawkers Black Gradient Moma were a little small for our faces, so even though they may protect your eyes from the sun, you’ll look like a beetle in the process.

        The Knockarounds Mai Tais scored perfectly average marks in our panel testing. Senior staff writer Nick Guy said they were “nice and light, with an attractive shape and good plastic quality. The tapering makes them look like cat-eye sunglasses—which I wouldn’t wear—although they’re not quite there.” We ultimately decided that the Sungait glasses were a better buy for anyone who wants a round pair.

        The Sunglass Warehouse Phillips are a fine pair of UV-protected, polarized sunglasses, but they didn’t look as good on our faces as other options. The metal bridge across the nose has a few distinctive ridges that draw attention away from the shades; we preferred the Sungait and the Kent Wang frames, instead.

        Like the Phillips, the Sunglass Warehouse Potrero were acceptable, but we didn’t like how glossy the frames were.

        The gold frames on the Thomas James LA Fame sunglasses looked cheap compared with frames on the other sunglasses we tested, and the glasses felt less sturdy than the competition.

        Wayfarer-style sunglasses

        The ZeroUV Classic Large Rim Sunglasses sat higher on our faces than other Wayfarer-style pairs we tested; they covered our eyebrows, which honestly just made us look stupid. We also found that it was more difficult for us to open and close the arms.

        Like the ZeroUV Classic pair, the Sunglass Warehouse Driftersunglasses had arms that were difficult to open and close and that often got stuck in place. Although the Drifter glasses looked good in our testing, the coloring was closer to an angry red-tortoiseshell than the traditional orange color you may be used to in tortoiseshell patterns. The Drifter sunglasses do not come with a case or a warranty, either.

        The Shady Rays Classic Original in polarized tortoiseshell were not chosen mostly because of their branding: The name of the company, Shady Rays, is written in all caps on the glasses’ arms; on the left lens, there’s an “S|R” imprint for Shady Rays. The constant written reminder of the company’s name—which is also not that great of a name—feels juvenile, and we wouldn’t want to wear them if we knew we might be going to a nice restaurant, for example. The company has a lovely mission, though: When you buy a pair of its sunglasses, Shady Rays donates 10 meals to fight hunger in the US. But we can’t get past the branding.

        The Sunski Headland is a previous pick, and the sunglasses look good. We still like the Headland glasses, and we appreciate Sunski’s mission to create less waste by recycling the plastic it uses to make its sunglasses. But for the price, the Sunski Headland pair is not as compelling a purchase as the EyeBuyDirect Nevadas, which genuinely excited me to hold and wear.

        Foster Grant’s Hugo sunglasses are a bit wider than the others in this category and a little shorter in height. Although they are UV-protected and polarized, we don’t think they are big enough to cover most people’s faces comfortably.

        Goodr’s BFGs Big Foot’s Fernet Sweats frames were thicker than the Goodr Wayfarer-style we currently recommend. If you’re looking for a bigger pair of sunglasses, with a glossier, grayer coloring, then they’re a great choice, but we think most people will like Goodr’s The OGs best.

        The Knockaround Premiums have plastic hinges, and we worried about breaking them when extending the arms outward to test flexibility. They were also less comfortable than our picks in testing. Although they’re nice to look at, they didn’t perform as well as our top picks in practice. However, Knockaround has a wide variety of sunglasses to choose from (and you can even build your own sunglasses, exactly how you like them, which is extremely cool).

        The PolaSpex Polarized Classic Sunglasses were squeaky to open and close, despite their metal hinges. We easily scratched the sunglasses during durability testing, and they came bundled with a fabric case that was heavier and stiffer than the included microfiber cases for most other pairs.

        The Dubery Sunglasses are some of the best cheap sunglasses on the market sold in Canada, NZ , South Africa, UK.

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