BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Lightweight clip-on sunglasses with polarized, scratch-resistant lenses. that protect eyes from harmful UV rays. Impact-proof, scratch-proof, metal alloy clip. Flip-up design for easy use. Available in black, yellow, silver, and brown.
Some experienced sizing and fitting difficulties.
Stylish, clip-on sunglasses with polarized, scratch-resistant lenses. Lightweight and durable. Blocks out 100% of UVA and UVB lights. Nice variety of styles.
For some, the pair did not fit over their glasses well.
These stylish clip-ons are designed with plastic, polarized, UV-protected lenses and a metal frame. Available in brown, green and grey. Lenses are resistant to scratches as well.
Must measure glasses carefully to be sure these will clip on properly.
Clip-on sunglasses with polarized and UV-protected lenses and a metal frame. Flip-up design for easy use. Comes with soft-rubber tips that won’t scratch lenses. Compatible with both metal and plastic frames. Available in 1-2 color combinations per order.
A few customers noted these sunglasses are a bit heavy.
Durable and stylish clip-ons with polarized lenses. Made with flip-up design, so no need to switch lenses. Available in a variety of colors.
A couple users noted that these sunglasses are quite dark.
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.
Clip-on sunglasses maximize the money you’ve already invested in your prescription glasses by transforming them into prescription sunglasses. These flexible shades come in all shapes and colors, and clip onto your existing glasses, eliminating the need to pay for pricey prescription sunglasses.
Besides being thrifty, clip-on sunglasses reduce the amount of gear you need to carry. You won’t need to pack a bulky case to switch between your everyday glasses and prescription sunglasses when you go in or out. Most can easily slide into a slender pouch, and some can flip up for quick trips indoors.
They’re not for everyone, but clip-on sunglasses are the height of convenience for driving, fishing, and other outdoor activities where seeing small details is critical. Different shapes, features and styles suit them to different situations.
Perhaps the first question that needs to be answered is, do you need polarized lenses? If you need sunglasses frequently enough to be shopping for clip-ons, the answer is probably yes.
Polarized lenses reduce the glare created by sunlight reflecting off your car’s windshield, water, snow, or any other reflective surface. Sunglasses that aren’t polarized don’t cut the surface glare, which can obscure critical details. Polarized lenses are safer for activities like driving and boating. They also make it easier to see through the water for activities like fishing.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage more than just your skin. Damaging UVA and UVB rays have been linked to cataracts, macular degeneration, and other problems. Look for sunglasses that protect your eyes from at least 99% of both UVA and UVB rays. These rays can reflect off water, buildings, and even snow, so this eye protection is important year-round, no matter where you live.
Clip-on sunglasses come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, from aviators to clubmasters. But the clip-on sunglasses you buy should have a lens shape and size that’s similar to that on your prescription glasses. Sunglasses that are the same size and shape will help make sure your entire field of vision (at least the field your optometrist deems important for daily use) is both shaded and protected. Clip-on lenses that are significantly smaller than your standard lenses would leave some parts of your field of vision unprotected and may look awkward. Clip-on lenses that are much bigger than your standard lenses will leave you with shaded areas that are blurry.
While lens color in sunglasses is a personal choice, different colors are recommended for different applications. If you can’t choose between lens colors, look for multipacks that give you options.
Gray: These lenses are the industry standard, probably because they’re ideal for driving and many outdoor sports. Gray lenses are known for cutting through glare and reducing brightness, but other colors have advantages in specific situations.
Brown: These lenses are made for sports like cycling, fishing, and hunting. Besides shading your eyes, brown and amber hues can help to brighten your field of vision during periods of intermittent clouds.
Green: These lenses work to reduce glare and can filter some of the blue light emitted by electronic screens and other LEDs.
Red: Lenses that are red or rose block even more blue light but are most notable for improving visibility when driving. Note that clip-on sunglasses that filter blue light may make it difficult to read a GPS or other electronic devices.
Yellow: Lenses that are yellow or orange can raise contrast in hazardous fog, low-light, or other hazy conditions. They’re also recommended for skiing, as well as some indoor sports.
Clip-on sunglasses are convenient, but they still must be removed when you go indoors. This means you must carry a case, as well as a bag for protecting the case and clips from sunglasses. Flip-up lenses can eliminate this problem. Simply flip the dark lenses up to reveal your standard lenses when you no longer need the shade.
Some style-conscious customers don’t like the look of a clip at the bridge of their glasses. Some clip-ons (which are not technically “clips”) use magnets to attach to eyeglass frames. This style can be more aesthetically pleasing, but it only works with steel eyeglass frames. If you go this route, make sure the magnets and metal line up closely enough to keep the clip frames in place.
Since clip-on sunglasses are frequently handled and removed, it’s easy to scratch or damage them. Look for lenses with a scratch-resistant coating that can take some use and abuse.
Additionally, cheap clips have been known to damage prescription lessons. Many quality clips include rubber legs or posts that create space between the prescription and clip lenses, minimizing contact and risk.
Many clip-on sunglasses come with a carrying case for safe storage.
Inexpensive: You can find low-priced clip-on sunglasses for $5 per pair or even $4 per pair in a multipack. At this price, the sunglasses can offer significant UV protection, but they may or may not be polarized. They most likely clip to thin eyeglass frames and may or may not be very durable. They usually don’t have the ability to flip up and reveal your prescription lenses.
Mid-range: These clip-on sunglasses cost $8 to $10. They may be slightly thicker and more durable, but they shouldn’t add much extra weight. Lenses in this range are both polarized and offer 99% to 100% UV protection. Many have protective features to prevent damage to both the clip-on lenses and your prescription lenses. They may or may not flip up.
High-end: The best clip-on sunglasses cost $10 to $20. These have all the same advantages and features as models in the middle tier, but they may also flip up so you can see indoors without unclipping them from your frames. Some may have special stylistic details, such as mirroring, to make them more attractive.
Q. Are clips-ons as good as prescription sunglasses?
A. Both have their pros and cons. Clip-on sunglasses have a much lower price tag than prescription sunglasses. With clip-ons, you don’t need to carry a bulky case just in case you need your shades; a slender case will do the trick. Buying flip-up clips can totally eliminate the need to carry a case. But prescription sunglasses do have some advantages. Part of the reason they’ve expensive is because they’re made with durable, quality materials. Clip-on sunglasses aren’t usually made with high-end materials, and they may break more easily.
Clip-on styles are designed to mimic the shape of your prescription lenses, so they’re often smaller and provide less UV protection than prescription lenses. Prescription sunglasses may have a slight edge in quality, but they’re only effective if you can afford them, don’t lose them, and remember to wear them, all departments where clip-on sunglasses have a serious edge.
Q. Are clip-on sunglasses better than photochromic lenses?
A. In some situations, clip-on sunglasses may actually be better than lenses that darken when exposed to ultraviolet light. Driving is one key area. Since transition lenses are triggered by UV rays, they won’t darken properly if you’re driving a car with a UV-treated windshield. Additionally, photochromic lenses are limited in the degree of darkness they achieve. With clip-on sunglasses, you can choose lenses that are as light or dark as you like, or you can buy different pairs for different situations.
Q. What are the lenses made from?
A. Most clip-on sunglasses have polycarbonate lenses. They’re less expensive to produce than glass lenses and much less likely to shatter, an important consideration around the eyes. Additionally, they’re lightweight, which is especially important since they’ll be adding weight to your prescription glasses. Polycarbonate’s formulation makes it automatically resistant to ultraviolet rays. Polycarbonate is less scratch-resistant than glass, but it can be treated with a special coating to help protect it.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.