EyebuyDirect vs. Warby Parker
Eyebuydirect edges out Warby Parker for Online Eyeglasses
I started wearing glasses when I was eight years old, so i have gone through dozens of pairs of glasses in my day. I was thrilled to see the rise of affordable online options for buying eyeglasses. Technology was making what had been a perennial chore, buying eyeglasses, a little easier.
The concept is simple, you go to your eye doctor, but instead of paying exorbitant amounts for a piece of plastic, metal, and glass on your way out, you take your prescription online where there is a more competitive market for eyeglasses. The result, should be a high quality product at an affordable price. Does this always work? No, but generally, online retailers are more affordable than stores.
The two largest competitors in this brave new marketplace are Warby Parker and Eyebuydirect.
The have similar sales models. They will take you prescription, sell you eyeglasses, and ship them to your home. Both are generally helpful about returns should you decide the style, fit, or frame is not for you. But which is better?
I'll spare you the suspense. Having used both companies in the last few years, Eyebuydirect wins in most categories. Most importantly they win in quality and price.
In quality, Eyebuydirect and Warby Parker are about equal. Both have frames that feel legitimately will made. Both the materials and the construction were sturdy. In contrast, I bought prescription sunglasses from a different online retailer for dirt cheap (<$30) and they were obviously low-quality.
Warby Parker did not stand the test of time, however. They started off sturdy, but started to deteriorate over a period of two years. I think this is their design. They want customers to buy new glasses every few years, so they do not strive for long term quality. After two years, my Warby Parkers showed significant wear from daily use, and the lenses were scratched to the point that it clouded my vision. When I told Warby Parker about this, their attitude was, "Sorry, do you want to buy new glasses?" They did not stand by their product even though they admitted they were surprised they didn't last longer.
The prices betwen Warby Parker and Eyebuydirect are more or less the same. Eyebuydirect may even be a little lower depending on your style preference. Even their high end brands tend to be lower than Warby Parker's. More importantly, Eyebuydirect has a greater selection of moderately or low-priced eyeglasses. They do not limit themselves to the high end brand.
One of the important differences between Eyebuydirect and Warby Parker is the availability of a super high index lens. I bought Waby Parker glasses that were the highest index available (1.67), but when I purchased from Eyebuydirect, they offered even higher index lenses (1.74). What does this mean? It means that my strong prescription comes in a thinner, lighter lens. It looks better and doesn't weigh down on my nose. If you have strong prescription, you might consider buying from Eyebuydirect just for this reason alone. All things being equal, the ability to order a slightly higher index lens can count for a lot.
Overall User Experience
Warby Parker wins this one. They did for eyeglass buying what Casper did for buying mattresses. Their website is sleek, fast, and easy to use. Their design and usability are excellent, and Eyebuydirect is trying to catch up in this department. I will say that I think Eyebuydirect is worth the headache, but it is hard to say that when you have been staring at their website for hours, unable to find what you need.
If ease and usability are what you demand, go to Warby.
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