FramesDirect is a now-traditional web superstore. It offers discounts to familiar designer names by cutting out the middlemen and selling in volume with minimal overheads which earns it a place on our best eyeglasses online (opens in new tab).
The site is functional but basic, and in the spirit of saving you money, the unnecessary extras, web tools, ‘try at home’ boxes and charitable foundations are done away with, leaving a quick and frictionless buying process. Lenses are not included, and extras, as ever can mount up, but even if you pile on the coatings and have a complex prescription, it’s still nowhere near the excesses of some other sites.
FramesDirect deals with HAS and FSA payments, and is a provider for most of the best vision insurance (opens in new tab) schemes. Not the cheapest frames available, and not the most specialized, but for bargain designer frames, FramesDirect is unbeatable.
FramesDirect review: How it works
- Minimal website
- No try before you buy
Year founded: 1996
Pricing starts: $40
Delivery time: 4-7 business days
FramesDirect takes a leaf from the most successful online retailers, and keeps it businesslike. It has a large amount of stock, presumably in a large warehouse, run by always-happy elves. With the retailer out of the picture, and a fortune saved on high-street rent, your glasses come to you with some serious money off. Which is great.
In line with its money saving philosophy, there are no whistles and bells on FramesDirect’s website. There’s no ‘try on’ facility, whether it be virtual or by post. Measurements and prescriptions are entered by hand, by you. An app would cost money. Money that could be in your pocket.
The shopping experience on FramesDirect’s site is stripped back and simple, but the range is so extensive that you don’t feel short changed. There is a lack of any nod to charitable work, and there isn’t much in the way of extra guidance and reading material, beyond the very basics. Obviously you won't find the best contact lenses online (opens in new tab) here, so if you enjoy wearing different types of vision wear, read our GlassesUSA review (opens in new tab) instead.
FramesDirect review: Pricing and payment
- From $40
- Huge savings on designer labels
The money off, is indeed, real. The frames we were able to directly compare came in at around 50% off the prices being charged elsewhere. True, some extras, including standard lenses aren’t included in the package, but still, 50% is 50%, and unless you need progressives or high-specced specs, the frames are the lion’s share of your final price.
The prices are right, but if you’re on a budget you’re looked after too. The company happily accepts payment from FSA and HSA cards, and it's an out-of-network provider for the vast majority of vision insurers. The site offer free shipping, and free returns for most regular orders. Lenses aren’t included in the frame prices, but standard lenses with a basic, UV and scratch resistant coating cost just shy of 40 bucks.
- Learn how to clean your glasses (opens in new tab) properly
Should you buy from FramesDirect?
FramesDirect is an internet box shifter without any fanfare, mission or Unique Selling Point. It sells a huge range of designer frames with prescription lenses for extremely reasonable prices.
The site is functional but not hugely fun, but it certainly does what it needs to. If you’re browsing, there’s a vast range of options for men, women and kids too. You’re sure to find styles from companies you didn’t imagine would lend their name to glasses ranges, and you’ll find yourself some real surprises.
The lack of ‘try on’ facilities is a disappointment; it’s become such a standard of online sites these days. The company will consider most insurance and ship for free. FramesDirect offers the most consistent discounts on designer glasses around.