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The 15 Best Polarized Sunglasses to Buy Online

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 2 days ago Megan Wood, Marisa Hillman
3 pairs of Polarized Sunglasses shining © via merchants (3) 3 pairs of Polarized Sunglasses shining

Spring has sprung, which means summer sun is just around the corner. In case you're wondering when you should start shopping for all your summer essentials, the time is now. Think face sunscreens, moisturizers with SPF, summer hats, flip-flops, and of course, bathing suits. And while the perfect tummy control swimsuit, cover-up, and beach bag are key elements of summer style, for safety's sake you'll want to finish off your look and add extra protection against harmful UV rays, dangerous glare, and eye strain with a pair of polarized sunglasses.

How do polarized sunglasses work?

When it comes to sunglasses, there are plenty of options out there. And while most of them will provide some degree of UV protection, polarized lenses also protect against glare and eye strain. Unlike regular lenses, polarized lenses have a special chemical applied to them that filters out light, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. That filter absorbs incoming horizontal light waves, which our eyes perceive as glare, and only lets in vertical light, giving you better contrast and clarity.

Are polarized sunglasses best for your eyes?

You may have noticed that polarized sunglasses are more expensive than non-polarized sunglasses. But are they worth the extra money? The broad brush answer is yes, says Barry Santini, ophthalmic optician, optometrist, and owner of Long Island Opticians in Seaford, New York. The fact that they eliminate glare and provide you with clearer, more accurate vision makes polarized sunglasses a worthwhile investment. However, polarized sunglasses may not be for everyone. Santini notes that certain people are sensitive to polarization. Such individuals may experience a 3-D effect as well as dizziness or nausea while wearing polarized sunglasses. If you fall into this category, then you may need to replace your sunglasses with a non-polarized option.

What to look for when buying polarized sunglasses

Before you start shopping, know your budget. Santini warns that quality glasses will not be inexpensive. That being said, a cheap pair will still get the job done. So if you're hard on glasses or have a tendency to lose them, opt for a pair that won't break the bank.

You'll also want to think about purpose. Are you looking for a stylish, everyday pair of sunglasses or something activity specific? For instance, if you're an athlete, you may want sunglasses with a wrap fit as opposed to something super stylish that can slide off your face.

Once you've selected your frames, it's onto lenses. Some brands offer a choice between glass or polycarbonate lenses. Santini calls glass lenses the high standard. Glass lenses offer the best clarity and they won't scratch or warp. Polycarbonate lenses, on the other hand, are more impact-resistant, meaning they won't shatter if dropped, making them the better option for athletes.

Evaluation criteria

To find the best polarized sunglasses you can buy online, we personally tested over a dozen models for fit, feel, and durability, scrolled through hundreds of online reviews, and asked Santini for his top picks. The glasses we selected range in price from affordable to luxe and come in array of sizes, styles, materials, and fits. Each of the options available from Amazon has been tested by Reader's Digest and has an average rating of four stars or higher and a minimum of 500 reviews.

Stone Shack Polarized Glasses Ecomm Via Mauijim © via merchant Stone Shack Polarized Glasses Ecomm Via Mauijim

Best overall polarized sunglasses

Maui Jim Stone Shack Polarized Sunglasses

Whether you're cruising down the coast or playing volleyball on the beach, Maui Jim's Stone Shack polarized sunglasses will help you stay on top of your game. These casual glasses feature a lightweight, matte acetate frame with a square silhouette and glass lenses. Though glass lenses are typically heavier than polycarbonate lenses, these lenses are made with SuperThin Glass that is 32 percent thinner and lighter than standard glass. In fact, we found these to be the lightest of all the pairs we tried on. It's also worth noting that all of Maui Jim's sunglasses are polarized. And without the sun's distracting glare, you're sure to be crowned champion of these fun beach games.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Unisex
  • Customizable lens options
  • Available in prescription

Con:

  • Included case doesn't feel as sturdy as other hard cases

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Merrys Polarized Unisex Aluminum Glasses Ecomm Via Amazon © via merchant Merrys Polarized Unisex Aluminum Glasses Ecomm Via Amazon

Best value polarized sunglasses

Merry's Unisex Polarized Aluminum Sunglasses

If you're one who tends to lose or break sunglasses on a weekly basis, then spending top dollar isn't the best idea. Luckily, you don't have to, because these shades will only set you back $14. These sunglasses feature a lightweight plastic frame and aluminum temple as well as polarized lenses that offer full UV protection. There is a small piece of rubber on the inside of the temple that helps keep the glasses from slipping off if you bend over. We think it's a great feature but found it can easily get stuck in your hair if you're wearing the glasses on top of your head. As far as lenses go, the jury is out on what material these are made from. They feel like a very thin plastic and are marketed as shatterproof, so it's safe to say they're not glass. Either way, these sunnies are a great option for the price! Looking for more style inspiration? Here are even more sunglasses for UV protection.

Pros:

  • Super affordable price point
  • Full UV protection
  • Available in more than 30 different color combinations
  • Come with hard and soft cases as well as a large cleaning cloth

Con:

  • Some reviewers note the finish on the lenses can start to wear off

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Ray Ban Wayfarer Crystal Polarized Glasses Ecomm Via Amazon © via merchant Ray Ban Wayfarer Crystal Polarized Glasses Ecomm Via Amazon

Best unisex polarized sunglasses

Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Polarized Sunglasses

Want a pair of glasses that have stood the test of time? Look no further than Ray-Ban's classic Wayfarers. These iconic shades, which have been around since 1952, have been seen on everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to David Beckham. Since they're made from a glossy acetate and feature high-quality, scratch-resistant glass lenses, it's no wonder they're one of Ray-Ban's most popular styles. In fact, they're so popular that you may not be the only one at your next summer fiesta rocking them.

Pros:

  • Classic look for men and women
  • Durable frames
  • Good price point for quality glasses

Cons:

  • We found that they slipped off more easily than other models
  • Heavier than other sunglasses we tried

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Elinor Fusion Polarized Sunglasses Ecomm Via Randolphusa © via merchant Elinor Fusion Polarized Sunglasses Ecomm Via Randolphusa

Best polarized sunglasses for women

Randolph Elinor Fusion Polarized Sunglasses

When asked for his recommendations for the best sunglasses on the market, Santini pointed us toward Randolph, which has been family-owned and operated for almost 50 years. We fell in love with these Jackie O. style frames, which are crafted using Italian handmade acetate and gold-plated, jewelry-quality metal. Their polarized lenses are made with Randolph's super lightweight SkyForce nylon and feature an anti-reflective coating that offers full UVA/UVB protection. Whether you're treating yourself to a pair of these stunning sunnies or giving them as a gift, consider having them personalized for an extra special touch. All you need now is your favorite beach towel and best beach read, and you're as good as gold!

Pros:

  • Jewelry-quality metal
  • Lifetime guarantee

Con:

  • You can't order prescription lenses directly through the website. Instead, you'll have to take them to your local optician

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Tybee Polarized Sunglasses Ecomm Via Costadelmar © via merchant Tybee Polarized Sunglasses Ecomm Via Costadelmar

Best polarized sunglasses for men

Costa Tybee Polarized Sunglasses

Costa may be one of the best in the biz when it comes to activity-targeted frames for fishing and boating, but they also have an impressive line of lifestyle frames that are perfect for everyday wear. These acetate frames feature an adjustable core wire that essentially molds to your head as you wear them, ensuring a comfortable fit. While you can order these glasses with a prescription, you don't have the option to choose between glass or polycarbonate lenses. These glasses only come with Costa's 580 lightwave glass lenses, though we can't complain, since these scratch-resistant lenses are 20 percent thinner and 22 percent lighter than average polarized glass. They also provide amazing clarity, which means he'll probably spend all summer dominating these backyard games.

Pros:

  • Available with or without prescription
  • Made with polarized glass lenses

Cons:

  • Limited color options
  • No option for polycarbonate lenses

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Shea Black Laminate Glasses Ecomm Via Lensdirect © via merchant Shea Black Laminate Glasses Ecomm Via Lensdirect

Best polarized sunglasses for everyday use

LensDirect Shea Sunglasses

When shopping for glasses online, it doesn't get any easier than LensDirect. You can virtually try before you buy, and if you need prescription lenses, the website walks you through the process. These chic frames are made from durable acetate and have a classic, round silhouette. Their polycarbonate lenses, which offer 100 percent UV protection, are thin and lightweight as well as impact and shatter resistant. You also have the option to add additional anti-reflective lens coatings, which can protect against scratches as well as deter water, dust, and smudges.

Pros:

  • Start at under $100
  • Available in prescription or non-prescription
  • Sturdy and well fitting

Con:

  • We found these glasses to be on the smaller side

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Paunch Polarized Sunglasses Ecomm Via Costadelmar © via merchant Paunch Polarized Sunglasses Ecomm Via Costadelmar

Best polarized sunglasses for fishing

Costa Paunch Polarized Sunglasses

Looking for the perfect pair of glasses for fishing or boating? No one makes better glasses for a day on the water than Costa. Their Paunch polarized sunglasses are made using an eco-friendly, lightweight bio-resin that's derived from castor oil instead of petroleum-based resin. Most frame colors allow you to choose from scratch-resistant polarized glass or polycarbonate lenses. We love the large lens front that provides just the right amount of coverage when you're out on the water.

Pros:

  • Choose from glass or polycarbonate lenses
  • Provide good face coverage
  • Wrap fit helps them stay on your face

Con:

  • Glass lenses cost about 48 percent more than polycarbonate lenses

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Violet Lake Polarized Glasses Ecomm Via Mauijim © via merchant Violet Lake Polarized Glasses Ecomm Via Mauijim

Best splurge polarized sunglasses

Maui Jim Violet Lake Polarized Luxury Sunglasses

If you love your designer shades but they don't have polarized lenses, Santini suggests taking them to your local optician to have a pair of polarized lenses put in them. Don't want the hassle or expense or dropping off and picking up your old pair? Then treat yourself to a pair of luxe sunnies from Maui Jim's luxury collection. The Violet Lake sunglasses feature a titanium base frame subtly lined for texture and an acetate rim frame front in an oversized butterfly silhouette. Whether you're dressed to the nines or heading out in your affordable swimwear, these glasses will just make you feel expensive every time you leave the house. The lenses are made from Maui Jim's own MauiBrilliant material. It's both scratch and shatter resistant and so clear you'll never know they're not glass.

Pros:

  • Glamorous style, available in multiple colors
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Exceptional clarity
  • Adjustable ceramic nose pads ensure the perfect fit

Con:

  • High price point

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Salina Polarized Sunglasses Ecomm Via Costadelmar © via merchant Salina Polarized Sunglasses Ecomm Via Costadelmar

Best scratch-resistant polarized sunglasses

Costa Salina Polarized Sunglasses

A pair of sunglasses that look good and are better for the environment? Sign us up! We opted for these Costa frames in teal, as they immediately conjure up images of a tropical beach vacation. They're made from Costa's bio-resin, which is an eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-based resin. They feature a hydrolite grip on the nose pad, which keeps the frames comfortably but securely in place, and have a partial wrap that helps keep sunlight from leaking in. We also love the subtle interior sculpting, which adds a bit of texture. Fun fact: That sculpting was actually inspired by a boat hull. Depending on your needs, you can choose from scratch-resistant polarized glass or polycarbonate lenses. Ready to pack these shades and escape to paradise? Here are some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the United States.

Pros:

  • Available with high-quality scratch-resistant lenses
  • Can select polarized glass or polycarbonate lenses
  • Secure fit

Con:

  • Limited color options

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Fusion Aviator Rectangle Glasses Ecomm Via Randolphusa © via merchant Fusion Aviator Rectangle Glasses Ecomm Via Randolphusa

Best aviator polarized sunglasses

Randolph Aviator Fusion Polarized Sunglasses

If you have your heart set on a classic pair of aviators, then you'll want to get a pair from someone who knows what they're doing. And no one does aviators better than Randolph. How can we say that with such certainty? This family-owned and -operated company has been supplying aviators to the United States military for 40 years. Their aviators are handcrafted to military standards using jewelry-quality metal right here in the United States. Their Aviator Fusion sunglasses feature 23 karat gold-plated frames and slim bayonet temples, which are specially designed to be worn comfortably under headgear. Their polarized lenses are made with Randolph's super lightweight SkyForce nylon and feature an anti-reflective coating that offers 100 percent UVA/UVB protection.

Pros:

  • Decades of experience designing aviator styles
  • Personalization available
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Available in two different sizes

Con:

  • Prescription lenses not offered through the brand's website

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Nora Rad Round Ecomm Via Blenderseyewear © via merchant Nora Rad Round Ecomm Via Blenderseyewear

Best mirrored polarized sunglasses

Blenders Nora Rad North Park X2 Polarized Sunglasses

These colorful shades scream "fun in the sun"! Not only do their iridescent, rainbow lenses demand attention, but these oversized acetate frames actually sparkle in the sun. While more daring than what we might usually wear, we love the fit and feel of these sunnies. They're available in a variety of color options, with some frames boasting metal-plated temples. But know that whichever color you choose, you'll be getting the brand's new PureBlend polycarbonate, polarized mirrored lenses. These lenses are both stronger and lighter than previous lenses offered by the brand. Not only that, but they also provide 100 percent UVA/UVB protection and stellar clarity.

Pros:

  • Mirrored lenses
  • Vibrant color options
  • Under $100

Con:

  • Not available in prescription

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Ray Ban Polarized Ecomm Via Glassesusa © via merchant Ray Ban Polarized Ecomm Via Glassesusa

Best prescription polarized sunglasses

GlassesUSA Polarized Sunglasses

Finding the best polarized sunglasses online is easy with GlassesUSA—especially if you need a prescription. The online glasses company launched an FDA-listed app powered by patented technology that requires only a smartphone, computer screen, card for measurement (like a credit card), and current glasses. Once you have your prescription handy, you can upload a photo of yourself to see how your face looks in any of their polarized sunglasses options. They feature designer names like Prada, Hugo Boss, Ray-Ban, and Oakley. Psst, you can likely use your FSA to buy prescription polarized sunglasses.

Pros:

  • App makes prescription shopping easy
  • Huge variety of designer and affordable sunglasses
  • Regular sales and discounts

Con:

  • Not all sunglasses on GlassesUSA are available with polarized lenses

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Redding Sunglasses Matte Ecomm Via Warbyparker © via merchant Redding Sunglasses Matte Ecomm Via Warbyparker

Best free polarized lenses

Warby Parker Polarized Sunglasses

The best part of shopping for polarized sunglasses at Warby Parker is that their prescription sunglasses (and many non-prescription pairs) come with free polarized lenses. Along with Warby Parker’s modern frames, you’ll also get scratch-resistant lenses that block 100 percent UV rays, and the option to try on up to five pairs at home before picking your favorite for purchase. Picking just one pair is honestly the most difficult part of the shopping experience.

Pros:

  • No added cost for most polarized lenses
  • Try on up to five pairs at home
  • Scratch-resistant lens blocks UV rays

Con:

  • You have to download the app to virtually try on glasses

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Batwolf Grey Polarized Lenses Ecomm Via Oakley © via merchant Batwolf Grey Polarized Lenses Ecomm Via Oakley

Best polarized sunglasses for athletes

Oakley Batwolf Polarized Sunglasses

If you're hitting the field you'll want something that offers clarity, durability, and comfort. These Oakley Batwolf sunglasses check all the boxes. The lightweight O Matter frame features a three-point fit, which means that although the glasses wrap around your head, the only points of contact should be at the bridge of your nose and behind your temples. They also feature a single continuous plastic lens that blocks 100 percent of all UVA, UVB, UVC, and harmful blue light rays.

Pros:

  • Wrap fit keeps them securely on your head—even during sports
  • Durable materials
  • Lightweight and comfortable

Cons:

  • Not available with glass lenses
  • We found that they touched more of our face than expected

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Pink Reflective Sun Top Ecomm Via Paireyewear © via merchant Pink Reflective Sun Top Ecomm Via Paireyewear

Best customizable polarized sunglasses

Pair Eyewear Sun Tops

Pair Eyewear is the go-to sunglasses brand when you want a different look for every day of the week. In fact, they're one of the best places to buy glasses online. Pair Eyewear has 15 different base frames that come in a variety of colors and start at just $30. Once you have a set of base frames, you can choose from an extensive collection of top frames in a variety of colors and patterns. These polarized sun tops turn your prescription glasses into sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection and reduce glare.

Pros:

  • 15 different options to fit your Pair eyeglasses
  • Only $30 per pair

Con:

  • Cannot use without a set of Pair base frames

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Sources:

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