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Best Aviators

Updated November 2023
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Best of the Best
Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses
Aviator Sunglasses
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Popular Brand
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Offers reliable construction and style options that competitors can't beat, making them among the best aviators available today.


A classic style by a popular name in eyewear. Offers gradient lenses and durable metal frames. Comes in numerous color options. The lenses are high quality and well worth the price point.


Some users may find that the shape is a bit too big for their face.

Best Bang for the Buck
Pro Acme Classic Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
Pro Acme
Classic Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
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Stylish & Affordable
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These attractive aviators are protective, affordable, and stylish, making them a good choice for men and women.


Classic aviator sunglasses for a low price. Polarized lenses do a good job of blocking UV light. Lightweight and comfortable on the face. A microfiber pouch and cleaning cloth are included.


Frames are made of thin metal that will bend easily if not handled with care.

SOJOS Classic Aviator Polarized Sunglasses
Classic Aviator Polarized Sunglasses
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Excellent Warranty
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An affordable pair of aviators that are available in a variety of colors with an impressive guarantee.


A classic aviator style that comes in several colors. Metal construction has a lightweight feel and is comfortable on the face. Low price. Backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.


Lenses produce a bit of glare in some situations and have been known to pop out of the frames.

Oakley Women's Caveat Aviator Sunglasses
Women's Caveat Aviator Sunglasses
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Simple Yet Solid
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These Oakey aviators have a classic look, suitable protection, and a sturdy feel.


UV-protected lenses with the right amount of tint. The metal frames stay put on the face, and the nosepiece won’t snag hair. Can be turned into prescription lenses. Comes with a hard case and cleaning cloth.


Lens can feel pretty heavy on the face.

Kate Spade New York Women's Dalia 2 Aviator Sunglasses
Kate Spade
New York Women's Dalia 2 Aviator Sunglasses
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Most Stylish
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This pair of aviators have polarized lenses and accents on the metal frame.


Polycarbonate lenses have 100% UV protection. Can be used with prescription lenses. Comes in multiple tint and frame color choices. A case and cleaning cloth are included.


Several customers had issues with the lenses popping out.

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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 aviators

Aviator sunglasses have been the epitome of cool ever since they were launched in 1936 by Bausch & Lomb. Designed to be true aviator sunglasses — i.e., for pilots — they first caught the public’s attention when General Douglas MacArthur was photographed wearing them during World War II. They were soon de rigueur for style setters — Elvis Presley was an early adopter, followed by Michael Jackson, and, perhaps most famously, Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

Ray-Ban is the original Bausch & Lomb line of aviator sunglasses and tends to be the go-to brand, but other top fashion names like Prada, Gucci, and Michael Kors also make high-end aviators, and their slight variations, colors, and styles might suit your face better. Top sports and specialist sunglass-makers also have aviator styles in their lineups.

Check out our shopping guide and recommendations to find the right pair to fit your needs.

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There’s a trick to telling if a lens really is polarized. Hold two pairs of alleged polarized sunglasses together, with one pair at 90 degrees to the other. If the overlapping lenses are now solid opaque black, you know they are polarized.

Key considerations

Polarized vs. non polarized lenses

Polarized lenses not only shield your eyes by blocking out light, but also reduce glare. They do this by filtering out the horizontal light that’s being reflected from the surface you are looking at, which can make an activity such as driving safer and more comfortable for your eyes. They are also a popular choice for outdoor sports and hitting the beach, because they are the best way to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Unlike polarized lenses, regular tinted sunglasses simply remove brightness and do not have any effect on glare. Usually, they are a less preferred choice. However, there are instances when tinted lenses are required — such as when flying a plane. That’s because the plane’s windshield and instruments already have anti-glare filters, and polarized lenses will block out too much light and distort depth and color. It’s the same with any LCD instruments that give off polarized light — try staring at a computer with polarized glasses, and you will see how weird it looks.

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Did you know?
If your aviators break, it may not be the end for them — there are repair kits available with screws, screwdrivers, and replacement nose pads.


Mirrored lenses

We all know how disconcerting it can be looking back at yourself in someone’s mirrored lenses, but they’re not just made for state troopers to look too cool for school. Mirror (or flash) coatings reflect the light away from the eyes, so they’re particularly good where there is very harsh light, such as skiing on a sunny day or going out on the water. Mirror coating also comes in a variety of shades — these don’t affect the way you see color, so it’s a purely cosmetic choice. The downside of mirrored lenses is that the coating can get scratched.

Impact resistant

For those looking for impact protection, such as athletes or police and military personnel, there are strong polycarbonate aviators that can also protect the eyes from physical damage. Look for ones that meet the high-velocity and high-mass impact safety standards.


Gradient lenses, which are darker at the top and gradually become lighter, are popular for reading outdoors or driving when you need less blocked light when looking down at the dashboard.


These lenses lighten and darken according to the level of light by reacting to the UV conditions. Be aware that because most UV rays are blocked by your car windshield, they will not darken while you are driving.

Frame materials

Frames are often made of polyamide, which is durable and lightweight. Since aviator sunglasses follow a classic style, you’ll also find ones with thin metal frames.

Lens materials

You can find lenses made of plastic, which are lighter, and glass (crystal), which are more scratch-resistant. There are also polycarbonate lenses, which are up to ten times more impact-resistant than other lenses (most sports glasses use this material).

Aviators prices

Like with all types of sunglasses, you can find cheap aviators in the pharmacy bargain rack in the $20 range. However, for a good set of brand-name sunglasses, expect to pay anywhere from $60 up to $400.

How do you find the right fit?

When shopping for sunglasses, you will usually see the bridge size (which corresponds to the width of your nose), the width of the lens, and the frame size listed. To measure for that, stand in front of a mirror, hold a ruler horizontally across your face, and measure the distance between your left and right temples in millimeters. As a general guide, these are the suggested corresponding frame sizes:

  • For 115 millimeters, choose a 49-millimeter frame.

  • For 127 millimeters, choose a 52-millimeter frame.

  • For 130 millimeters, choose a 54-millimeter frame.

  • For 135 millimeters, choose a 55-millimeter frame.

  • For 140 millimeters, choose a 57-millimeter frame.

  • For 146 millimeters, choose a 58-millimeter frame.

  • For 152 millimeters, choose a 61-millimeter frame.

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Beware of fake goods. Sunglasses are right up there with handbags and wallets as a prime target for counterfeiters. Check the brand’s website for details on their embossed logos or serial numbers, so you can confirm that you have the real deal.


Q. Are cheap aviators bad for your eyes?

A. If a lens is of poor quality, it can strain your eyes. It’s also important to make sure the lenses are 100 percent UV blocking. Some lower-end glasses may claim they are “UV blocking” but use triacetate, which will only filter out about 40 percent of the harmful rays. The darkness of the lens is no indicator either, because some clear lenses can be 100 percent UV blockers. It’s also been claimed that cheap sunglasses can do more harm than good, since the dark lenses mean the pupils will dilate due to less light while still allowing harmful UV rays to pass through.

Q. Is there a best lens color to choose?

A. The original Ray-Ban aviators used a lens tint called G-15, which is a blend of gray and green. It’s still considered one of the best lens tints for all-around use and clear color perception (which is why it’s still a favorite for pilots.) There are some other shades that have specific uses — for instance, yellow glasses increase contrast, reduce haze, and work well in low light, making them popular for night driving and target sports. Rose or brown tints work well for golfers, as they allow good contrast on the green.

Q. Is anti-reflective and polarized the same thing?

A. While polarized glasses cut the horizontal glare, an anti-reflective coating will eliminate reflections from both the front and the back surfaces of the lens. This stops light from bouncing between the two for a clearer view.

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