Eyeglasses. They come in all shapes and sizes AND prices. But finding a good-looking pair of glasses that doesn't cost a pretty penny can be a challenge.
So Consumer Reports National Research Center asked more than 31,000 subscribers about their experiences shopping for eyeglasses.
Jamie Hirsh with Consumer Reports says, "We asked about major eyeglass chains and mass retailers, as well as doctors' offices and independent boutiques."
The survey rated 18 chain retailers on several factors, including frame selection, employee expertise, and of course price.
Jamie says, "If you're trying to cut your costs, skip designer frames. That can save you hundreds. And with designer frames, you're usually paying for a licensing fee, not for better quality."
As for where to buy, it turns out the most-frequented chain in Consumer Reports' survey, LensCrafters, was also one of the most expensive. So was Pearle Vision.
Far better - Costco. It was a standout, especially for low prices … and was the highest-rated large chain overall. Costco also had the fewest complaints within the first few weeks of purchase - complaints like distorted or blurred vision and damaged frames.
Hirsh adds, "If selection and service are more important to you, our survey shows that doctors' offices and independent eyeware shops are often a better choice."
But that better selection and service translates into more expensive glasses.
Be aware some health insurers will cover a portion of the cost of new glasses. Consumer Reports' survey shows more than 40 percent of those polled had some coverage, so it's worth checking your insurance company.