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A Buyer's Guide: Where to Buy the Best Solar Eclipse Glasses

Updated on December 31, 2019

A solar eclipse is a truly terrific sight and something most of us rarely experience. And when you get the chance to view a solar eclipse, it is paramount that you use eye wear that is protective, comfortable and reliable. Therefore, choosing correctly where to buy your solar eclipse glasses is of the utmost importance.

Furthermore, there are a number of scrupulous actors who sell faulty eclipse glasses using cheap or substandard materials. This has resulted in few cases of retina damage in otherwise healthy individuals. For example, this woman ended up with a crescent-shaped damage to her retina when she borrowed faulty solar eclipse glasses from a friend.

For the remainder of this article we are going to rate different, popular brands of solar eclipse glasses and viewers. Our ratings are based on five critical criteria.

Price: We factor in retail prices based on historical data. Prices are calculated on a per unit basis.

Safety: Safety standards for rating solar eclipse glasses coincide with the ISO standards, which are the following:

  • Allows no more than 0.00032 percent of the sun's light through filters
  • Light filters are free of any defects such as scratches and bubbles
  • Labels on the viewers, glasses and binoculars must include name of manufacturer, instructions for use and proper warnings concerning improper usage.
  • Handheld viewing apparatus must be able to cover both eyes.

Comfort: Even though you probably won't wear them long, getting a comfortable fitting pair of solar eclipse glasses can be a challenge. Some brands fail to account of difference in head size (especially between children and adults).

Reliability: Sometimes the choice of where to buy solar eclipse glasses simply comes down to which supplier has them in stock, and who can rectify your order is something goes wrong. Obviously some companies are better at this than others.

Accessories: In many, many cases solar eclipse eye wear brands will include additional accessories to make eclipse viewing experience all the more enjoyable. Here we evaluate add-ons such as carry bands, lens protectors, etc.

1.) Lunt Solar Eclipse Glasses by Lunt Solar Systems

Based in Arizona, Lunt Solar Systems is full service astronomical hardware company that has a long history of making a variety of products for solar eclipses around the world. Among their most popular products are the 5-pack of 16" x 2" which we decided to give a solid 4.2 out of 5.0 based on the following factors:

Price: Averages around $1.90 per pair. Similar for adult and children's sizes.

Safety: Lunt Solar's eyewear is certified ISO 12312-2. And additionally, the company claims safety accolades from NASA and the American Astronomical Society.

Comfort: Like many single-use or limited-use solar eclipse glasses, Lunt Solar's are made from heavy card stock. So they are not the most comfortable. However, they do provide size variations for adults and children. However, there is no guarantee that your particular pair of glasses will fit over prescription eye wear.

Reliability: In general, ratings for Lunt's solar eclipse glasses and related customer service are close to excellent across different platforms. This implies good customer service and follow up.

Accessories: There are no accessories provided by Lunt that are directly related to their solar eclipse glasses.

2.) Solar Eclipse Glasses from Rainbow Symphony

When people looked for where to buy solar eclipse glasses during the 2017 solar eclipse, many people turned to a little known California company named Rainbow Symphony. Rainbow Symphony has almost 40 years of experience in the design and sale of card stock glasses meant for a variety of purposes. And their solar eclipse glasses run the gamut from plastic to holographic eclipse shades. For their intense focus and innovation in this niche market, despite having higher prices, we give their product a 4.5 out of 5.0.

Price: Averages around $1.97 per pair. A little higher than some other card stock glasses on this list.

Safety: Rainbow Symphony's eye wear is certified ISO 12312-2. Additionally, their products are CE certified. And the glasses follow the Queensland Directive’s 2012 Transmission Requirements of EN 1836:2005 Society.

Comfort: Most of Rainbow Symphony's glasses are on-size-fits-all. Therefore, there is a concern that this product will not work for some children's head sizes. Furthermore, there may be some issues fitting these frames over prescriptions.

Reliability: In general, ratings for Lunt's solar eclipse glasses and related customer service are close to excellent across different platforms. This implies good customer service and follow up.

Accessories: Unlike some other companies, Rainbow Symphony seems to make use of additional anti-glare technology in some (if not all) their products. Users reported that they we able to see eclipses extremely clearly though with a yellow hue.

3.) Wrap Around Solar Eclipse Glasses from Rainbow Symphony

Continuing on, we have another popular Rainbow Symphony product that has good reviews on Amazon and other platform. Where as to buy solar eclipse glasses from Rainbow Symphony can be a little bit expensive ($9.95 / pair). These particular lenses maybe worth the price tag. The wrap around design allows for total protection from the sun's intense UV light (even if you look from corner of the lenses). Additionally, each pair typically comes with a small array of accessories to make you solar eclipse watching experience all the more enjoyable. For these reasons and more, we give Rainbow Symphony wrap arounds a 4.8 out of 5.

Price: Averages around $9.95 per pair. The second most expensive item on this list.

Safety: As mentioned for the previous entry Rainbow Symphony's eye wear is certified ISO 12312-2. Additionally, their products are CE certified. And the glasses follow the Queensland Directive’s 2012 Transmission Requirements of EN 1836:2005Society.

Comfort: Most of Rainbow Symphony's glasses are on-size-fits-all. Therefore, there is a concern that this product will not work for some children's head sizes. Furthermore, there may be some issues fitting these frames over prescriptions.

Reliability: In general, ratings for Lunt's solar eclipse glasses and related customer service are close to excellent across different platforms. This implies good customer service and follow up.

Accessories: Unlike some other companies, Rainbow Symphony seems to make use of additional anti-glare technology in some (if not all) their products. Users reported that they we able to see eclipses extremely clearly though with a yellow hue.

4.) Soluna Solar Eclipse Glasses by American Paper Optics

As it pertains to where to buy solar eclipse glasses, American Paper Optics is a widely known and respected name. They are a U.S. based manufacturer, and their Soluna brand of solar eclipse glasses are a popular item both online and off. All of American Paper Optic's products are both ISO and CE certified. Many of their spectacles are manufactured with a specialized scratch-resistant Black Polymer film. And additionally, they are perfectly priced for large eclipse parties. For these reasons and more. We give Soluna a 4.9 out of 5.0.

Price: Averages around $1.27 per pair of 10. Its a pretty sweet deal.

Safety: As like most glasses on this list. These have been manufactured in a facility that is ISO certified. The eye wear is also CE certified.

Comfort: This brand is also one-size-fits all. Correspondingly, there are a few head size / frame fitting complaints from clients here and there.

Reliability: Despite being made from run of the mill card stock, these glasses are surprisingly durable. Especially, for a one time wear item.

Accessories: As briefly mentioned before, the lenses are made from scratch resistant black polymer film.

5.) Solar Viewer by Thousand Oaks Optical

Thousand Oaks Optics is has more than 30 years of experience in the solar filter marketplace. Based in Arizona, Thousand Oaks manufactures in the U.S. where its solar viewer (pictured above) has been an American staple for a number of years. However, they also sell solar eclipse glasses for a reasonable price. Moreover, Thousand Oaks glasses utilized silver black polymer film which makes it resistant to scratches and annoying/dangerous pinholes. For these reasons, we rate the Thousand Oaks Solar Viewer 4.7 out of 5.0

Price: Averages around $1.40 per pair of 10. Its a pretty sweet deal.

Safety: As like most glasses on this list. These have been manufactured in a facility that is ISO certified. The eye wear is also CE certified.

Comfort: It really all comes down to whether or not you like to hold a viewer in front of your face. Assuming you don't, the product is a comfortable alternative to glasses.

Reliability: It is a reliable product made from card stock. Scratch resistant and customer supported by a corporate enterprise.

Accessories: There are no real accessories that typically accompany this product with purchase.


When Is The Next Solar Eclipse:

The next few official total solar eclipses will happen in both South and North America respectively on the following dates:

  • Dec 14th 2020 - Going above both Chile and Argentina
  • April 8th 2024 - Sweeping across parts of Canada, United States and Mexico

There will also be an annular eclipse stretching across the United States on the following dates:

  • October 14th 2023 - Gliding across the U.S. from Oregon down to Texas.

After the 2024 eclipse, there are a number of solar eclipse (both total and annular) from 2045 to 2099.

Alternatives To Solar Eclipse Glasses:

I remember that during the 2017 "Great North American Eclipse" I was the only one in my friend group without proper solar eclipse glasses or viewers. And with only 20 minutes to spare, I couldn't find where to buy solar eclipse glasses in the allotted time. Fortunately, a kindly auto mechanic lent me one of his spare welding helmets. I was able to watch the eclipse without eye damage. BTW: I was extremely lucky. Not all welding helmets are made to withstand the intensity of direct sunlight.


Yet, just in case your an extreme procrastinator like me; here are some alternatives to solar eclipse glasses that may suit you:

Safe Alternatives:

Solar Eclipse Binoculars: These are specially designed binoculars that filter out the most damaging sun rays. They also have the added benefit of giving you a magnified view of the eclipse in real time. Awesome right?

Make Your Own Solar Eclipse Viewer: There are literally dozens of tutorials on the internet demonstrating, in excruciating detail, how to construct, use and maintain solar viewer of various shapes and sizes.


Unsafe Alternatives:

Using Welding Helmets/Goggles: Welding helmets and goggles come in different grades based on the amount of shading needed for industrial application. The only wearables capable of protecting your eyes are the ones generally meant to protect against the arcs made in electrical welding. The shading on these types of wearables are rated shade 12 and higher. However, whenever possible you should reach for solar eclipse glasses and viewers.

Ordinary Sunglasses: When looking at a solar eclipse, using regular sunglasses is simply out of the question. Almost all of the sunglasses currently manufactured are not rated to protect your eyes from direct sun rays.

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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      19 months ago from UK

      I wish I had read an article like this before we had a solar eclipse in the UK many years ago.

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