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Best Reading Glasses: 12 Options for Life’s Fine Print (And More)

Best Reading Glasses
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Updated February 11, 2024

Reading an “old fashioned” book or a Kindle with prolonged screen time can cause eye strain and, sometimes, headaches. That’s where reading glasses come in. The term “readers” refers to glasses with magnification, not prescription lenses. They are available at pharmacies, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Readers come with magnification strengths that begin at +0.50 and go up to +4.00, in increments of 0.25 or 0.50. They’re available in a variety of styles, colors, and shapes with varying features. While a licensed optometrist can help you determine which magnification strength you need, we’ve put together this guide of the best reading glasses based on quality, features, and styles suitable for various situations and needs.

What to consider when buying reading glasses

Reading glasses are available in a variety of shapes, styles, and magnifications. The lenses come with different features such as blue light filtering, anti-glare, and scratch resistance. When choosing a pair, consider the following.

How they fit your head and how they feel.

Your glasses should be comfortable to wear and not pinch your temples or nose. It’s also helpful, though not absolutely necessary, that you like the way they look on your face. If you can, go try them on in person, or make sure you’re able to return ones you don’t like if you’re buying online.

Lens material

Lenses are commonly made of plastic, polycarbonate, or high-index plastic. Plastic lenses are inexpensive and durable but not as light as polycarbonate or high-index plastics. Polycarbonate is more impact resistant than plastic. Even lighter still, high-index plastics are used mostly for people with strong prescriptions and tend to be more expensive.

Frame material

Plastic is a popular choice for reading glass frames as it is lightweight and durable. Some glasses have flexible resin frames, meaning they have a bit of bendability. Or, there are classic metal or wire framed options. What you chose depends a lot on your own personal style.

Lens features

What other features do you want in your lenses? If you spend a lot of time looking at computer screens, you’ll probably want a pair of reading glasses with blue-light blocking and anti-glare. Other available options include UV protection and scratch resistance.

Our top reading glasses picks

Best bifocal reading glasses: Readers.com Actor Bifocal

If you want to be able to look up and see things clearly in the distance (or just the television across the room) without removing your readers or sliding them down your nose, bifocals may be just what you need. The top portion of the lens is clear without magnification, while the bottom works just like any other pair of readers. The Actor Bifocal from Readers.com has a round frame shape and is available in light or dark brown tortoise or with black lens frames and tortoise arms.

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Plastic
  • Lens type: Acrylic
  • Prescription type: +1.25 to +3.50
  • Colors: Light brown tortoise, dark brown tortoise, black and tortoise
  • Price at publish: $26.95

What we like:

  • 90-day return policy and happiness guarantee
  • Scratch resistant lenses
  • Lightweight

What we don’t like:

  • Not as durable as some others
Best bifocal reading glasses
Round Bifocal Reading Glasses in Light Brown Tortoise by Readers.com - The Actor - +3.25

Round Bifocal Reading Glasses in Light Brown Tortoise by Readers.com - The Actor - +3.25

Best blue light blocking reading glasses: Peepers Next Level Blue Light Blocking

We like these modern square readers from Peepers because they’ve got personality as well as all the features you’d want in a high-quality lens. Not only do they filter over 40% of high energy blue light, they’re also anti-reflective, anti-scratch and uniquely clear with the option of adding just a hint of a tint—because readers don’t have to be boring.

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Recycled polycarbonate
  • Lens type: Polycarbonate
  • Prescription type: +1.00 to +3.00
  • Colors: Various tortoise shades plus quartz and some limited edition colors
  • Price at publish: $25.00

What we like:

  • Good color range
  • Complimentary case
  • Retro vibe

What we don’t like:

  • Bold style that may not appeal to everyone
Best blue light blocking reading glasses
Peepers Next Level Blue Light Blocking

Peepers Next Level Blue Light Blocking

Best quality reading glasses: Warby Parker Haskell in Crystal

As someone who always wears prescription glasses, I’m a fan of Warby Parker. They have excellent customer service and you can order up to five frames to try on at home for free. I own and love these particular frames. They’re my everyday glasses; they’re understated and stylish without calling unnecessary attention to themselves. If you do want to call some attention, consider the Haskell in one of the other available colors like mint green or whiskey tortoise. Shopping tip: Warby Parker is one of the best places to buy eyeglasses online and the best places to buy contacts online. Their Tilly sunglasses made our list for the best sunglasses for women, while their Harris design made our list for the best sunglasses for men.

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Cellulose acetate
  • Lens type: Polycarbonate
  • Prescription type: +0.25 to + 2.75
  • Colors: Crystal and others
  • Price at publish: $95.00

What we like:

  • High quality
  • Great customer service

What we don’t like:

  • More expensive than many others
Best quality reading glasses
Warby Parker Haskell in Crystal

Warby Parker Haskell in Crystal

Best budget reading glasses: Gaoye Reading Glasses 5 Pack

If you frequently misplace your reading glasses, consider buying a five pack. This set from Gaoye includes five pairs of lightweight resin framed glasses. The lenses are anti-glare, blue light filtering, and (according to the company) explosion-proof. So, while you may lose your glasses on the regular, at least the lenses will still be intact when (if) you find them again.

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Resin
  • Lens type: Polycarbonate
  • Prescription type: +0.50 to +4.00
  • Colors: Multiple
  • Price at publish: $15 for 5

What we like:

  • Excellent value
  • Different color combinations
  • Lightweight

What we don’t like:

  • Lenses scratch more easily than some others
Best budget reading glasses
Gaoye 5-Pack Reading Glasses Blue Light Blocking,Spring Hinge Readers for Women Men Anti Glare Filter Lightweight Eyeglasses (5-Pack Light Black, 1.5)

Gaoye 5-Pack Reading Glasses Blue Light Blocking,Spring Hinge Readers for Women Men Anti Glare Filter Lightweight Eyeglasses (5-Pack Light Black, 1.5)

Best folding reading glasses: Foster Grant Gavin Fold Flat

These readers from Foster Grant fold completely flat and fit into a slim, low-profile case (which is included). The lenses are both impact and scratch resistant and there are adjustable nose pads for a perfect fit. If you’re looking for a good, basic, unobtrusive pair of reading glasses, these are for you. They’re what we like to refer to as “spectacles” (if you know you know).

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Metal
  • Lens type: Plastic
  • Prescription type: +1.00 to +3.25
  • Colors: Gunmetal
  • Price at publish: $33.00

What we like:

  • Great design
  • Fits in a pocket, purse, wherever

What we don’t like:

  • Only one color option
  • More functional than fashionable
Best folding reading glasses
Foster Grant Gavin Fold Flat

Foster Grant Gavin Fold Flat

Best multi focus/progressive reading glasses: Foster Grant McKay Multi-Focus

Multi-focus lenses have three different lens strengths in one—like prescription progressives, but with one more level. The most powerful magnification is on the bottom third for reading; the middle has slightly reduced power for computer use, and the top third has about half the strength as the bottom—so you can see people while interacting with them. The anti-reflective, impact resistant and scratch resistant lenses sit in stylish and sophisticated tiger striped frames. I, for one, think we could all use more tiger stripes in our lives.

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Plastic
  • Lens type: Polycarbonate
  • Prescription type: +1.00 to +3.25
  • Colors: Brown
  • Price at publish: $38.00

What we like:

  • Durable
  • Stylish
  • Tiger striped

What we don’t like:

  • Some users have difficulty adjusting to the top layer of slight magnification
Best multi focus/progressive reading glasses
Foster Grant McKay Multi-Focus

Foster Grant McKay Multi-Focus

Best over the counter reading glasses: Eyekeeper Vintage Round Reading Glasses

I’m always a sucker for anything vintage-inspired, so I especially love the round retro shape of these readers (and the fact that they come in multiple color options). They have a plastic frame with spring hinges and are lightweight enough that sometimes you may forget you’re wearing them. They’re also a good quality for the price, which, at $15 is super affordable. Buy multiple pairs, so you can keep them in strategic places around the house. Eyekeeper also has a convenient eye test to help you determine how strong your readers need to be.

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Plastic
  • Lens type: Acrylic
  • Prescription type: 0.5 – 4.0
  • Colors: Black, Black/white tortoise, gray tortoise, brown tortoise, clear tortoise, brown stripe
  • Price at publish: $14.99

What we like:

  • Lots of colors
  • Large range of prescription options
  • Vintage round design

What we don’t like:

  • Not as high quality as some others
  • Shape isn’t universally flattering
Best over the counter reading glasses
Vintage Round Reading Glasses Professor Readers 5-R077B

Vintage Round Reading Glasses Professor Readers 5-R077B

Best designer reading glasses: Tory Burch TY2064

If you love designer frames, these from Tory Burch may strike your fancy. They’re available in two different colors: Tortoiseshell with crystal arms or navy with pinot arms—both are super stylish. Basic magnification is included in the reader lens price when buying from GlassesUSA, or you can choose a prescription lens option (some prescription lenses are included in the price).

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Acetate
  • Lens type: Polycarbonate
  • Prescription type: +0.25 to +4.00
  • Colors: Crystal tortoise, Navy pinot
  • Price at publish: From $186

What we like:

  • High-quality lenses
  • Stylish
  • Durable

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive
Best designer reading glasses
Tory Burch TY2064

Tory Burch TY2064

Best lightweight reading glasses: Foster Grant Gideon Black

This pair of glasses is a micro-reader style that folds down and fits into its own compact case. You can easily slip them into your back pocket so you have them with you at all times. They’re also thin enough to wear with a low brimmed hat so you don’t have to worry about compromising your style.

Specifications:

  • Frame Material: Metal
  • Lens Type: Plastic
  • Prescription Type: +1.00 to +3.25
  • Colors: Black
  • Price at publish: $30.95

What we like:

  • Compact
  • Well-made
  • Comfortable

What we don’t like:

  • Some wearers find the arms slip too easily off their ears
  • More functional than fashionable
Best lightweight reading glasses
Foster Grant Gideon Black

Foster Grant Gideon Black

Best reading glasses for kids: Foster Grant Blue Light e.Glasses Kid’s Kasey

Are you concerned about the amount of time your kids spend in front of their computer screens? Or, do they complain of headaches? A pair of blue light reading glasses can help. These e.Glasses from Foster Grant filter up to 30% of potentially harmful blue light while also providing UVA-UVB protection.

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Plastic
  • Lens type: Polycarbonate
  • Prescription type: Unmagnified
  • Colors: Black
  • Price at publish: $22.95

What we like:

  • Comes with a soft storage pouch
  • Durable
  • Scratch resistant

What we don’t like:

  • Free shipping only applies if you spend more than $30
Best reading glasses for kids
Foster Grant Blue Light e.Glasses Kid’s Kasey

Foster Grant Blue Light e.Glasses Kid’s Kasey

Most stylish reading glasses: Zenni Optical Cat-Eye Readers with Blue Light Blocking

If you want something besides the same old tortoise shell or black—not that there’s anything wrong with either of those—these cat-eye readers from Zenni come in floral, polka dot, and pink (more of a rose hue). With anti-scratch lenses and a price that can’t be beat, you’ll definitely be seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. Or floral. Or polka dot.

Specifications:

  • Frame material: Plastic
  • Lens Type: Polycarbonate
  • Prescription type: +0.25 to +2.75
  • Colors: Floral, pink, polka dot
  • Price at publish: $12.95

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Fun prints
  • Great price

What we don’t like:

  • Floral design is a bit pixelated
Most stylish reading glasses
Zenni Women's Cat-Eye Prescription Glasses Floral Floral Plastic Full Rim Frame

Zenni Women's Cat-Eye Prescription Glasses Floral Floral Plastic Full Rim Frame

Best computer reading glasses: Gamma Ray 003 Computer Readers

These computer glasses from Gamma Ray feature a cool, lightweight, flexible nylon frame that offers comfort and durability. The lenses have UV protection as well as an anti-glare coating and protection from blue rays so you can work, surf, game, or watch television with less eye fatigue. We’d like to remind you to also get outside for some fresh air from time to time (these do have UV protection after all).

Specifications:

  • Frame Material: Nylon
  • Lens type: Polycarbonate
  • Prescription type: +0.24 to +4.00
  • Colors: Black
  • Price at publish: $18.00

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Simple style

What we don’t like:

  • Have a slight yellow tint that some may find annoying
Best computer reading glasses
Gamma Ray 003 Computer Readers

Gamma Ray 003 Computer Readers

How we chose the best reading glasses

We spent a huge amount of time reading online reviews and company profiles as well as drawing from personal experience and consulting with as many people as we could about their own reading glass choices. I’ve been wearing prescription glasses since I was thirteen, which was 40 years ago, so I have tons of first-hand experience with all sorts of frames and lenses. Eyeglasses have come a long way since the early ‘80s, as have contact lenses.

Best place to buy reading glasses

The best place to buy reading glasses is wherever offers you the most convenience: Reading glasses can be found in drugstores and large box stores like Walmart. Or, you can go to a dedicated eyewear store, such as LensCrafters. Trying on glasses in person is usually a better option but if you’re unable to get to a store, there are many places to buy them online. When purchasing on the internet, look for sites and companies with free shipping and easy returns in case you’re not happy with the frames you’ve selected.

If you’re looking for the best place to buy sunglasses for women or men, most stores and sites that carry regular glasses and readers, also offer a full line of sunglasses—with or without a prescription.

Best way to clean reading glasses

The best way to clean reading glasses, or any glasses, begins with first washing and drying your hands. Next, rinse your glasses under lukewarm tap water and squeeze a small dollop of dish washing soap (the lotion-free kind) on each lens. Rinse, then dry with a microfiber or lint-free cloth so you don’t get tiny pieces of lint all over your clean lenses.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do I know what strength reading glasses I need?

If possible, see an eye doctor to determine what strength of reading glasses you need. Some companies have online charts you can use as a guide, though they don’t replace the advice of a certified optometrist. As a rule of thumb, use the lowest magnification you can while still being able to see comfortably.

How do I know if I need reading glasses?

Presbyopia or farsightedness is the loss of close-up vision and, it’s a natural consequence of aging and non-correctable. Most everyone will experience it as they age. Signs you need reading glasses include: needing to hold things farther away from your face to see clearly, needing brighter light to see things close up, and/or having difficulty reading when tired or under stress. Headaches and eyestrain from doing close work like sewing, model making, knitting, or reading are also indications that you may need reading glasses.

What are the lowest strength reading glasses?

The lowest strength of reading glasses that actually provides obvious magnification is +0.50. While you can buy glasses with a +0.25 magnification, most people won’t notice much of a difference with them.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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