Pros / Students get a 10 percent discount.
Cons / There is a $75 minimum purchase to get free shipping.
Verdict / 1-800 Contacts has a lot of brands to choose from and a good price matching program, though it didn’t do well in our price comparison.
Like more than half the websites we evaluated, 1-800 Contacts will match any competitor’s price. The real frosting on the cake is that it will give you an additional 2 percent discount. Despite this, 1-800 Contacts didn’t blow us away with affordability. To calculate a price comparison grade, we compared three specific boxes of lenses across each website at full price, excluding any sales or discounts for buying in bulk. 1-800 Contacts sold two of the three boxes at either the highest or second-highest price, giving it a final grade of F.
On top of that, you must spend $75 to get free standard shipping. We were also a little put off by the fact that the homepage advertises free shipping, but you have to click the link to find out about spending minimum to get it. Standard shipping within the United States takes between five and seven days, so make sure you order your lenses well before you run out. To prevent this you can use the website’s auto re-order feature, which also gets you an extra 5 percent off every order. Also, the 100 percent satisfaction guarantee means you can return anything your order anytime without charge.
Even though they’re not as commonly prescribed as they once were, RGP lenses are available from 1-800 Contacts alongside more common options like toric, multifocal, disposable and even colored contacts. You can order contact solution as well. If you’re a college student you receive an automatic 10 percent off any order, making this website the best option for many people on a budget. However, the site is lacking in any other optical products like glasses and eye drops.
What impressed our reviewers about 1-800 Contacts is the selection: There are 40 different brands to choose from. This is the second largest selection of brands we found on one site, coming in after AC Lens and Discount Contact Lenses, which both sell 44 brands. To be clear, we counted each brand only once, even if it offered several lines of contacts – like Acuvue. Whether you need SofLens, Proclear, Polysoft, Target or Optima, there's a good chance 1-800 Contacts has your brand.
The website itself is easy to use and has a live chat feature. You can even take an eye exam online, and once it’s verified by a doctor in your state, you can go ahead and order your lenses. This feature is only for people ages 18 to 55 who have healthy eyes and shouldn’t be used as a replacement for an eye health exam in-person. You can also read FAQs on the homepage to learn about hidden fees (there aren’t any), what to do if you don’t know your prescription (they can get it from your doctor’s office) and a variety of other possible issues.