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Best Reading Glasses

Updated June 2023
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Scojo New York Gels Cobalt
Scojo New York
Gels Cobalt
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Quality Materials
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With their scratch-resistant coating and frameless style, these readers work well for men or women, and provide a sure, comfortable fit.


Incredibly durable and solid, despite their lightweight shape. The surgical plastic frames are unique and make them easy to wear. Very little distortion.


Don't fold easily. On the more expensive side of the spectrum, but you're paying for quality.

Best Bang for the Buck
ThinOptics Universal Reading Glasses
Universal Reading Glasses
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Thin and Compact
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These sleek and razor-thin readers can easily travel with you anywhere, and come at a great price.


Super thin design can easily slide into a wallet or fit into your pocket. Comes with a protective case that can snap onto your phone. Quality materials and shatterproof lenses. Designed to fit most noses and are easily adjusted.


Some dissatisfaction with company’s customer service.

Fiore Spring Hinge, 3-Pack Tube
Spring Hinge, 3-Pack Tube
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Portable Convenience
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The compact size and bright colors make these glasses easy to find. A good purchase for those who like to have several pairs of reading glasses.


Glasses feature sturdy frames, bright colors, and a metal case. They also have an undistorted view. The slim case and frame profile enable them to fit inside a pocket or purse with ease.


Some users report cases fit the glasses frames too snugly. Other users report lenses may pop out of the frames.

GAMMA RAY OPTICS 6 Pairs Ladies' w/Sunglasses
6 Pairs Ladies' w/Sunglasses
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Large Set
Bottom Line

A pair of sunglasses make this pack of readers a good buy; their bright colors and sturdy construction make them a solid pick.


The standard readers come in five different colors, and the pack also features a pair of reader sunglasses. They are sturdy, with spring hinges for comfort.


Lenses are sometimes scratched upon arrival.

Eyekepper 5 Pairs Spring Hinges, Men's
5 Pairs Spring Hinges, Men's
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Handsome Design
Bottom Line

Men will find these glasses fit larger heads, are sturdy, and provide clear vision. The modern style makes them a good choice.


These men's glasses are comfortable. Users say they fit larger heads easily. The pack comes with a pair of sunglasses. Lenses have very little distortion.


Some users found the earpieces prone to breaking with use.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best reading glasses

As we age, it’s normal for our vision to get a little blurry when reading fine print. If you’ve noticed that you have to move the menu farther and farther away from your face to see clearly when you’re eating out, it may benefit you to own a pair of reading glasses.

Because reading glasses don’t require a prescription, you have a wide variety of options to choose from. To make sure they work as well as they should, however, it’s important to choose the right pair. Which power, frame material, lens material, and other features would be right for you? A lot of this depends on your eyesight issues and personal style.

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Approximately 50 million Americans use reading glasses to read more comfortably.

Who needs reading glasses?

An appointment with an optometrist is the best way to determine whether reading glasses would help you you. That said, you can usually tell on your own if reading glasses are not necessary.

Most people realize they need reading glasses when they start needing to hold their reading materials farther from their face in order to see clearly. This typically starts around the age of 40 because our eyes are no longer as mobile as they once were, so it’s harder to focus on close-up objects.

Ready-made vs. customized reading glasses

Ready-made glasses are a one-size-fits-all style that you can buy from a variety of retailers, both in-store and online. They’re usually fairly inexpensive and come in a wide range of styles and colors.

Customized reading glasses may be necessary if you have a different prescription for each eye. An optician can create a pair of reading glasses for you with two different lens strengths, but it’s not something you’re likely to find available over the counter.

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In addition to blurry vision, experiencing headaches and eye strain when you read or do other up-close activities like needlepoint can be a sign that you need reading glasses.

Types of reading glass lenses

Single-vision lenses

If you only need correction for a single field of vision, single-vision lenses are the way to go. The same optical focal point is used for the entire lens. Reading glass lenses usually correct distance vision, but they can also be used to help you see better at an “intermediate” distance (such as the distance between your eyes and your computer screen) and up close. You can find lots of ready-made reading glasses over the counter, no prescription required.

Bifocal lenses

Bifocal lenses usually have an optical focal point for reading on the bottom portion of the lens and an optical focal point for distance vision on the top part of the lens. It’s not common to find bifocal reading glasses over-the-counter. You’ll likely need a prescription if your vision requires bifocal help.

Trifocal lenses

Trifocal lenses usually have three different optical focal points: one for distance, one for intermediate distance, and one for near vision. Like bifocals, this type of lens is available primarily through a prescription.

Progressive lenses

Progressive lenses transition from distance-vision to close-up vision without any clear line dividing the sections on the lens. They can be very effective for correcting intermediate vision, but they must be custom-made. You cannot purchase over-the-counter progressive lenses.

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Did you know?
Presbyopia is an eye condition that hardens the eyes’ lenses so they no longer change shape to focus on near objects. It typically starts in your early to mid-40s.

Reading glasses strength

The strength of the lenses in a pair of reading glasses is measured in diopters and usually increases by 0.25 diopters for each different strength.

Strengths vary from +1.00 all the way up to +6.00. The poorer your vision is when reading, the stronger your reading glasses need to be.

If you’re not going through an eye doctor or optometrist to get your reading glasses, you’ll need another way to determine which lens strength is appropriate for you.

A variety of strength tests are available online. These tests feature the same sentence written over and over in different sizes, with each size corresponding to a different reading glass strength.

In most cases, you’ll need to print the test out and hold it 12 to 14 inches from your face. Read the sentences starting at the top. Work your way to the bottom until you reach a line that you cannot read clearly. Look beside the sentence that you stop at, and choose reading glasses that correspond to that strength.

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Expert Tip
People in their 40s typically need reading glasses with a strength of +1.00 to +1.25. With each decade that you age, you’ll likely need to go up +0.5 in lens strength.

Frame material

Reading glasses typically feature either plastic or metal frames.

Plastic reading glasses frames

  • Available in a wide variety of colors and styles

  • Usually the most inexpensive choice

  • Not as durable as metal frames

Metal reading glasses frames

  • Available in a wide variety of styles

  • Usually the most expensive option

  • Able to withstand some wear and tear

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Did you know?
Some reading glasses feature adjustable nose silicone nose pads that keep the glasses from slipping when you’re looking down to read.

Lens material

You’ll find reading glasses with lenses made of several different materials.

  • Reading glasses with polycarbonate lenses are resistant to breaking and have a comfortable, lightweight feel. However, they can sometimes distort images.

  • Reading glasses with Trivex lenses are also lightweight and resistant to breakage, but they aren’t as likely to distort images as polycarbonate lenses are.

  • Reading glasses with high-index plastic lenses are ideal if you require a higher strength because they’re thinner and not as heavy, thus making them feel more comfortable on the face.

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Did you know?
While most people don’t need reading glasses until they are between the ages of 40 and 50, some individuals begin to experience the symptoms of blurry up-close vision as young as 25.

Frame style and color

Just like prescription glasses, reading glasses are available in a wide variety of frame styles and colors.

Choosing the right frame is really a matter of personal preference, though it often helps to consider your face shape and width when picking out frames.

  • If you have an oval face, look for wide, bold frames that suit your style.

  • If you have a round face, look for angular frames or a small, square frame style.

  • If you have a heart-shaped face, look for frames that are wide and bottom-heavy.

  • If you have a square face, look for round, wide frames or a semi-rimless style.

When it comes to frame color, you can’t go wrong with any shade that you enjoy. Neutral shades like black or brown typically offer the most subtle, reserved look, while bold shades like pink or red can add a fun pop of color to your look. You can even find frames that feature patterns, such as animal prints or stripes.

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Expert Tip
You may need two different strengths of reading glasses: one for reading up close and one for mid-distances, such as a computer screen.

Other features to consider

Anti-scratch coating

Some reading glasses feature an anti-scratch coating on the lenses. Because most plastic lenses can scratch easily, it’s a good idea to pay a little extra for this coating.

Anti-reflective coating

If you plan to wear your reading glasses outdoors regularly, look for a pair with an anti-reflective coating. The coating helps reduce glare, which can make it difficult to see clearly.


Because reading glasses aren’t worn all the time, it’s important to have a protective case in which to store them. Some reading glasses come with a convenient carrying case so you don’t have to buy one separately.

Number of pairs

You may decide to purchase several pairs of reading glasses. That way, you can keep one at home, one at the office, and one in your car. Some over-the-counter reading glasses are sold in multipacks for this reason. Often, it’s more cost-effective to buy a multipack than it is to purchase several pairs individually.

You can find multipacks that include anywhere from two to six pairs of reading glasses. While the strength is the same for all the pairs in a pack, some sets offer frames in a variety of colors and/or patterns.

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Expert Tip
To test out a new pair of reading glasses, hold your reading material a comfortable distance from your face. If you have to move the material farther way to read the text clearly, you need a more powerful pair.

Reading glasses prices

Reading glasses vary in price based on frame material, the number of pairs included with purchase, and other features. Expect to pay between $5 and $50 for reading glasses.


For a single pair of reading glasses with lightweight plastic frames, you’ll usually pay between $5 and $10. For a multipack of reading glasses (three to six pairs) with lightweight plastic frames, you’ll usually pay between $12 and $18.


For a single pair of reading glasses with sturdy plastic or lightweight metal frames, you’ll usually pay between $15 and $20. For a multipack of reading glasses (two to four pairs) with sturdy plastic or lightweight metal frames, you’ll usually pay between $20 and $30.


For a single pair of reading glasses with surgical-grade plastic or durable metal frames and lenses with specialty treatments, you’ll usually pay between $30 and $40. For a multipack of two to four pairs of reading glasses with surgical-grade plastic or durable metal frames and lenses with specialty treatments, you’ll usually pay between $40 and $50.

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For your safety
If you experience sudden changes in your vision, including blurred vision, see an eye doctor immediately.


  • If you’re over 40 and experiencing blurry vision when reading, you likely need reading glasses. However, you should always consult with an eye doctor first; don’t just diagnose yourself. The reason: blurry vision can be symptomatic of other serious eye issues.

  • When you’re not wearing your reading glasses, store them in a protective case to prevent scratches.

  • Avoid taking off or putting on your reading glasses with one hand. This action can stress the hinges and cause them to loosen.

  • Never place your reading glasses lens-side down on a table or other surface. They’re more likely to get scratched in this position.

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For convenience, it helps to have at least two pairs of reading glasses – one for the house and one for your car or purse.


Q. Is a prescription needed to purchase reading glasses?

A. Unlike other eyeglasses, reading glasses usually don’t require a prescription. They’re rated based on their magnification capabilities, such as +1.00 or +2.00, and it is up to you and/or your eye specialist to determine which lens strength you need.

Due to other eyesight issues, some individuals do need prescription reading glasses. In this case, a visit with an eye doctor is definitely required.

Q. Can you wear reading glasses all day?

A. Reading glasses actually magnify the images that you’re looking at. If you use them to look at objects that are far away, you could strain your eyes, and the images may be out of focus. For this reason, it’s best to only wear reading glasses when you really need them.

Q. Can you use reading glasses while wearing contact lenses?

A. You can pair reading glasses with contact lenses if necessary. The contacts help with distance vision, and the reading glasses help with near vision when you’re reading text.