Are Expensive Sunglasses Worth It? Everything You Need To Know

Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory – they play an important role in protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. But with so many options ranging from cheap to luxurious, how do you know if splurging on a pricier pair is really worth it?

We’ll examine the key factors to help you make an informed decision.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: While more expensive sunglasses often boast better materials and technology for UV protection and durability, budget-friendly options can also adequately shield your eyes from the sun’s rays.

Consider your needs and habits to determine if paying more is worthwhile.

Factors that influence sunglasses pricing

Brand name and reputation

One of the key factors that influence the pricing of sunglasses is the brand name and reputation. Sunglasses from well-known and established brands often come with a higher price tag. These brands have built a reputation for producing high-quality and stylish eyewear, which often adds to their perceived value.

However, it’s important to note that the price of sunglasses is not solely determined by the brand name. Other factors such as materials, craftsmanship, and technology also play a role in determining the final price.

Materials and build quality

The materials used in the construction of sunglasses can significantly impact their price. Sunglasses made from high-quality materials such as titanium, stainless steel, or acetate tend to be more expensive than those made from cheaper materials.

Additionally, the build quality of the sunglasses, including the hinges, frames, and overall construction, can also influence the price. Sunglasses with superior craftsmanship and durability are often priced higher due to the attention to detail and the use of premium materials.

Lens technology and coatings

The technology used in the lenses of sunglasses is another important factor that affects their price. Advanced lens technologies such as polarized lenses, photochromic lenses, or gradient lenses can increase the cost of sunglasses.

These technologies offer benefits such as reducing glare, enhancing clarity, or adapting to different lighting conditions. Additionally, sunglasses with specialized lens coatings like anti-reflective coatings or scratch-resistant coatings may also be priced higher due to the added functionality they provide.


Polarization is a feature that significantly affects the price of sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses are designed to reduce glare from reflective surfaces such as water, snow, or glass. This feature is highly valued by those who spend a lot of time outdoors or engage in activities like fishing or skiing.

Polarized sunglasses tend to be more expensive compared to non-polarized ones due to the additional manufacturing process required to incorporate this feature. However, the benefits of polarized lenses in terms of visual comfort and clarity make them worth the investment for many individuals.

Features and additional lenses

The presence of additional features and interchangeable lenses can also impact the price of sunglasses. Sunglasses that offer versatility through interchangeable lenses for different lighting conditions or activities may have a higher price.

Some sunglasses also come with additional features like adjustable nose pads, adjustable temple tips, or integrated sports-specific functionalities. These added features contribute to the overall cost of sunglasses, providing users with a customized and enhanced wearing experience.

Key benefits of premium sunglasses

Better UV Protection

One of the biggest advantages of pricier sunglasses is that they provide better protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Cheap shades may claim to block 100% of UV light, but often fall short in real-world testing.

High-end brands use premium materials and lenses engineered to more effectively filter out harmful UVA and UVB rays. This helps prevent conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. According to the Vision Council, a recent survey found 90% of sunglasses without proper UV labeling fail to meet standards, so verified UV protection is worth the investment.

Improved Durability and Longevity

While it’s possible to find inexpensive sunglasses that may look stylish, often the material quality and durability just aren’t there. Lenses are more likely to become scratched or damaged, and frames may warp or break easily.

With high-end brands like Ray-Ban or Oakley, you pay more but get lenses made of impact-resistant polycarbonate. The frames are constructed from sturdy yet flexible metals and composites built to withstand daily wear and tear. This results in sunglasses that will last for years rather than months.

Advanced Polarization for Reduced Glare

Premium sunglasses from brands like Maui Jim utilize advanced polarization technology to cut down on annoying and dangerous glare. This helps improve visual clarity and reduce eyestrain. Lower priced sunglasses may claim to be polarized but the effect is often negligible in real world use.

Independent lab testing by All About Vision found high-end brands like Costa Del Mar and Serengeti outperformed cheaper options, making their higher cost worthwhile for minimizing glare when driving, boating, or participating in sports.

Higher Quality Materials and Craftsmanship

From hinges and nose pads to shape retention and fit, premium sunglasses excel when it comes to overall quality and attention to detail. For example, Oakley utilizes a proprietary acetate they developed to allow frames to maintain shape.

Many inexpensive sunglasses use cheap plastic that is more likely to get brittle and warp over time. Precision-cut and polished lenses often provide better optical clarity as well. The improved craftsmanship and materials result in sunglasses that simply feel and perform better.

Wider Selection of Lens Options

When you move into premium price points, there are a wider array of lens options to choose from to fit different lighting conditions and activities. Brands like Ray-Ban and Costa Del Mar offer lenses with adjustable tinting, polarized options in multiple colors, and photochromic lenses that change with ambient light.

Computerized lens manufacturing provides more control over optical quality. If you need versatile lenses for changing situations, the expanded technologies and customization available on high-end sunglasses are worth the investment.

When are expensive sunglasses worth it?

Expensive sunglasses may seem like a luxury, but there are certain situations where investing in a high-quality pair can be worth it. Here are a few scenarios where splurging on expensive sunglasses might be justified:

If you have specific vision needs

If you have specific vision needs, such as astigmatism or a high prescription, it may be worth investing in expensive sunglasses. These sunglasses often come with prescription lenses that are designed to correct your vision while providing protection from harmful UV rays.

By wearing sunglasses that are tailored to your specific needs, you can ensure optimal vision and eye protection.

If you’re hard on your sunglasses

Some people are more prone to damaging their sunglasses due to their lifestyle or work environment. If you tend to be rough on your sunglasses, investing in a durable and well-made pair can save you money in the long run.

Expensive sunglasses are often made with high-quality materials that can withstand wear and tear, making them a worthwhile investment for those who need sunglasses that can keep up with their active lifestyle or demanding job.

If you want top-notch glare reduction

One of the main benefits of expensive sunglasses is their ability to provide superior glare reduction. High-end sunglasses often use advanced lens technologies, such as polarized lenses, to minimize glare from reflective surfaces like water or snow.

This can greatly enhance your visual comfort and clarity, especially when engaging in outdoor activities like driving, fishing, or skiing. If reducing glare is a top priority for you, it might be worth investing in a pair of expensive sunglasses.

If you prioritize high-end fashion and branding

For some individuals, the appeal of expensive sunglasses lies in the prestige and fashion statement they provide. Luxury brands often offer sunglasses with unique designs, high-quality materials, and superior craftsmanship.

If you value high-end fashion and want to make a statement with your eyewear, investing in expensive sunglasses can be a worthwhile indulgence. However, it’s important to note that the price tag of a pair of sunglasses does not necessarily guarantee superior eye protection or performance.

Quality affordable sunglasses options

When it comes to purchasing sunglasses, you don’t have to break the bank to find a high-quality and stylish pair. There are plenty of affordable options available that offer excellent protection for your eyes. Here are some tips to help you find quality sunglasses without emptying your wallet:

Look for 100% UV protection

One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing sunglasses is their ability to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Look for sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection to ensure that your eyes are shielded from both UVA and UVB rays.

This will help reduce the risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Select durable frames and lenses

Just because sunglasses are affordable doesn’t mean they have to be flimsy or easily breakable. Look for frames made from durable materials such as acetate or metal, as they are more likely to withstand daily wear and tear.

Additionally, opt for lenses that are scratch-resistant and impact-resistant to ensure that your sunglasses will last for a long time.

Consider polarized lenses

Polarized lenses can significantly reduce glare from surfaces such as water, snow, or glass. This can be especially beneficial for activities such as driving, skiing, or spending time near bodies of water.

While polarized sunglasses may cost a bit more, they can greatly enhance your visual comfort and clarity in bright conditions.

Shop sales and discount retailers

Don’t overlook the potential savings that can be found by shopping sales and discount retailers. Many well-known sunglasses brands offer discounts and promotions throughout the year, allowing you to snag a great deal on a quality pair of sunglasses.

Additionally, consider checking out online retailers that specialize in discounted designer sunglasses.

Remember, the price tag doesn’t always determine the quality of sunglasses. By following these tips, you can find affordable sunglasses that offer the same level of protection and durability as their more expensive counterparts.

Tips for choosing the right sunglasses

Consider your needs and lifestyle

When choosing sunglasses, it’s important to consider your specific needs and lifestyle. Are you an avid outdoor enthusiast who spends a lot of time in the sun? Or do you primarily wear sunglasses for fashion purposes?

Understanding your needs will help you narrow down the options and find a pair that suits you best.

If you’re someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, you may want to prioritize sunglasses that offer maximum UV protection. Look for sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays to ensure your eyes are well-protected from harmful sun exposure.

Additionally, consider sunglasses with polarized lenses to reduce glare and improve visual clarity, especially if you frequently engage in activities like driving or water sports.

Try them on in person

When it comes to choosing the right sunglasses, trying them on in person is essential. While online shopping offers convenience, it’s difficult to gauge how a pair of sunglasses will look and fit on your face without trying them on.

Different frame shapes and sizes can greatly affect the overall look and comfort, so visiting a physical store and trying on different styles is highly recommended.

When trying on sunglasses, look for a pair that complements your face shape. For example, those with round faces may opt for angular frames to add definition, while those with square faces may prefer softer, rounded frames.

Trying on different styles will help you find the perfect fit that enhances your features and suits your personal style.

Inspect frame and lens quality

Another important aspect to consider when choosing sunglasses is the quality of the frame and lenses. Look for sunglasses made from durable materials that can withstand everyday wear and tear. High-quality frames are less likely to break or warp over time, ensuring your investment lasts longer.

Similarly, pay attention to the lens quality. Look for sunglasses with lenses that are scratch-resistant and provide clarity of vision. Consider materials like polycarbonate or glass, which are known for their durability and optical quality.

Taking the time to inspect the frame and lens quality will help you make an informed decision and choose a pair of sunglasses that will stand the test of time.

Look for a good fit

Having sunglasses that fit properly is crucial for both comfort and effectiveness. Sunglasses that are too tight can cause discomfort and leave marks on your skin, while loose-fitting sunglasses may not provide adequate protection from the sun.

Look for sunglasses that sit comfortably on your nose and ears without feeling too tight or too loose.

Additionally, pay attention to the size of the sunglasses. Sunglasses that are too small may not provide enough coverage, allowing sunlight to enter from the sides. On the other hand, oversized sunglasses may overwhelm your face and obstruct your peripheral vision.

Finding the right fit ensures that your sunglasses not only look great but also provide the necessary protection for your eyes.

Compare prices and features

Lastly, when choosing sunglasses, it’s important to compare prices and features across different brands and retailers. While expensive sunglasses may often be associated with higher quality, it’s not always the case.

Some affordable sunglasses offer excellent UV protection and durability, while some designer brands may prioritize style over functionality.

Take the time to research and compare different options to find the best value for your money. Look for customer reviews and ratings to get an idea of the overall quality and performance of the sunglasses you’re considering.

Don’t be afraid to explore different brands and styles to find the perfect pair that meets your needs and budget.

Remember, the most important factor is finding sunglasses that protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays while also making you feel confident and stylish. By considering your needs and lifestyle, trying on different styles, inspecting the frame and lens quality, ensuring a good fit, and comparing prices and features, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the right sunglasses for you.


While pricier sunglasses offer impressive quality and performance, more affordable options can also adequately protect your eyes. Determine your must-have features, from UV protection to polarization, and find the best value at your price point.

With some savvy shopping, you can score stylish, high-quality shades without breaking the bank.

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