“how to find the best cheap products” — kiplinger
In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Sunglasses
  2. Sunglasses Reviews: Performance, Fit, and Comfort
  3. UV Protection, Warranties, and Durability
  4. Polarized and Tinted Sunglasses, Lens Materials and Coatings
  5. Sunglasses Deals
  6. Discount Sunglasses Features Comparison Table

Cheap Sunglasses Buying Guide

Although you might just want cheap sunglasses that make you look like a rock star, their primary purpose is to protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays. The best low-cost sunglasses can also keep your vision clear in the face of even the harshest glare.

Sunglasses range all over the place in terms of price.

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You can buy incredibly inexpensive sunglasses at the local gas station for about $1, but expect to dole out at least $15 and up to $60 for the best cheap sunglasses. Mid-range sunglasses cost as much as $150 and top-of-the-line sunglasses sell for far more.

We found several brands that stand out for their high-quality, cheap sunglasses. First up are JiMarti sunglasses (starting at $13) and Sunbelt sunglasses (starting at $20), which feature polycarbonate lenses that provide 100 percent UV protection. Some styles have polarized lenses and some come in various tints. These brands are backed with limited warranties that cover breakage, although no warranty covers scratches. Such must-have features also land Black Flys sunglasses (starting at $17) and Nike sunglasses (starting at $30) on our list. Although numerous models from these brands command three figures, many sell for less than $60. We are less impressed with Adi Designs sunglasses (starting at $9), largely because of questions about their level of UV protection and because the lenses are made with regular plastic.

Several factors make the task of picking out inexpensive sunglasses particularly challenging. First, retail outlets everywhere -- both online and off -- carry fashion sunglasses that exude glamour and tempt frugal shoppers with low prices. Second, there are few user reviews of these sunglasses, possibly because people don't see the point of reviewing a $2 product. Third, many reviews barely touch on the features that define a good pair of budget sunglasses but focus instead on the way the sunglasses look. In other words, user reviews aren't the most reliable source of information about the best inexpensive sunglasses. Our buying guide, however, details the critical features and performance attributes of good sunglasses, which should make your search for the best cheap sunglasses a whole lot easier. (Please note that this buying guide is about non-prescription sunglasses; for a list of websites that sell low-cost prescription sunglasses, see our buying guide to the best cheap eyeglasses.)

The first priority when choosing a pair of cheap sunglasses is UV protection. Never buy sunglasses unless the label specifically says "UV400" or "100 percent UV protection." Other useful things to look for in sunglasses include polycarbonate lenses, which are lightweight, impact-resistant, and distortion-free. A polarized coating can help reduce surface glare from roadways, water, snow, and the like. Different tints affect how you see colors and contrasts and may be more or less suited to particular activities. Grey and green tints, for example, are often recommended for general-purpose use because they reduce brightness without distorting colors.

Reviews suggest that consumers don't miss the features that distinguish higher-end sunglasses, such as sharper vision clarity or extra coatings on the lenses. Indeed, with sunglasses you don't necessarily get what you pay for: Some designer brands have the same features as lower-priced brands but are high-priced in part because they're high fashion. Consumers who have purchased cheap sunglasses instead say they worry less about loss or breakage. They also feel free to buy an extra pair to keep in the car or a purse or backpack, or to reserve for a particular activity.

Review continues below

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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Best Cheap Sunglasses

JiMarti Sunglasses
Gold Medal

JiMarti Sunglasses

JiMarti sunglasses for men and women are made with impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses that provide 100 percent UV protection. Select styles are polarized and some feature a mirrored reflective coating. All models come with a lifetime breakage warranty. Consumers say JiMarti sunglasses successfully block the sun and fit very comfortably.

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Sunbelt Sunglasses
Gold Medal

Sunbelt Sunglasses

Sunbelt sunglasses come in men's, women's, and children's styles and include a limited lifetime warranty. All models contain impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses that offer 100 percent UV protection. Some lenses are polarized, as well. This brand earns praise in some of the few user reviews out there for effectively protecting the eyes.

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Good Cheap Sunglasses

Black Flys Sunglasses
Gold Medal

Black Flys Sunglasses

Both men and women like Black Flys sunglasses for their high quality and style. These cheap sunglasses feature impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses and provide 100 percent UV protection. Some models are polarized and all are guaranteed under a one-year limited manufacturer's warranty.

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Nike Sunglasses
Gold Medal

Nike Sunglasses

Comfort garners Nike sunglasses the most compliments in reviews. Both men and women say they also like the sporty style of the sunglasses, which feature 100 percent UV protection and come in a number of tints, depending on the activity for which they're intended. Some are polarized and some even have ventilated nosepieces to fend off fogging.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
 

Don't Bother

Adi Designs Sunglasses

Users give Adi Designs sunglasses mixed reviews. Most positive comments focus on the stylish looks, but looks alone don't make a quality pair of sunglasses. Adi Designs sunglasses, which are available for men, women, and children, include lenses made of plain plastic. Some models don't provide 100 percent UV protection, few have polarized lenses, and there's no warranty.

Read more »

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