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Best Value for Kids’ Glasses: Costco vs. Walmart vs. Target

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Last week, my son (age 7) was playing video games and started crying because his sister wouldn’t let him have the seat closest to the TV. He said couldn’t read the words on the TV screen from the other seat.

My heart sank. I figured my kids would need glasses someday, but I was not quite ready for it yet. He was only 7! But our kids have a way of following their own timelines, don’t they?

Best Value In Kids Glasses

Best Place to Buy Glasses? Answers from a mom on a budget with an ENTIRE FAMILY in glasses

I didn’t waste any time and called the next day to get an appointment for an exam with our eye doctor.

After the doctor confirmed that he definitely did need glasses for near-sightedness, the challenge became choosing where to buy the glasses. I definitely wanted to find the best value in kids’ glasses!

With a rambunctious 7-year-old boy, I was certainly not going to pay the high prices at the doctor’s office. Why would I pay $200+ for something that was likely going to be lost or stepped on the very next day?

I was disappointed to learn that most of the doctor’s offices and chains offer no coverage for damage after the initial return period (generally 60 or 90 days).

I was looking for:

  • Sturdy frames that will hold up to some rough-housing
  • Polycarbonate lenses (more break-resistant and recommended for children)
  • Anti-glare coating
  • Good guarantee for breakage

Here are the options I considered:

Costco Optical

Costco Optical has been frequently ranked as one of the best values in glasses, with great service, quality materials, and reasonable prices.

The regulations vary by state, but in our area, you do not have to be a member to see their optometrist, but you do need to be a Costco member to buy glasses.

Since I already have a membership, it seemed like a choice worth considering.

  • Frames cost: $50-60 for children’s frames
  • Lenses cost: $50 for polycarbonate with no-glare (all included)
  • Total glasses cost: $100-110
  • Return policy: 90 days
  • Breakage guarantee: None (anything after 90 days is your responsibility)

Walmart Vision Center

Although Walmart often has a bad reputation in general, moms of kids in glasses frequently sing the praises of Walmart Vision Center.

When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why!

  • Frames cost: $9-48
  • Lenses cost: $29 for basic polycarbonate or $49 for polycarbonate with anti-glare
  • Total glasses cost: $38-97
  • Return policy: 60 days
  • Breakage guarantee: Repair or replace broken glasses for 1 year

Target Optical

Target Optical just opened a few months ago in my area, so I haven’t heard much about it yet. Since I generally enjoy Target, I thought it was worth checking out.

I was disappointed in Target’s cost, though.

  • Frames cost: $69-100
  • Lenses cost: $25 for basic polycarbonate or $65 for polycarbonate with anti-glare
  • Total glasses cost: $94-165
  • Return policy: 90 days
  • Breakage guarantee: For an additional $35 you can purchase a replacement warranty that is good for one year with a $25 copay per use.

After gathering all the information, it seemed like a no-brainer to start with Walmart. I was quite skeptical of $9 frames, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the selection.

The $9 frames were generally fairly plain, but felt sturdy and were cute! I actually loved one of the $9 frames on my son, but unfortunately, it was a bit too small for him.

Super cute $9 frames

Super cute $9 Walmart frames

Since his favorite color is green, he was very excited to find a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pair that had green stripes down the sides of them. They were also a perfect fit!

Happy boy with his favorite color on his glasses!

Happy boy with his favorite color on his glasses!

Since he loved the frames so much, we decided to order them. They were the most expensive kids’ frames at $48 so the total came to $97 or $104.28 after sales tax.

I was able to pay with my HSA account so that helped with the cost by saving me income tax on that money.

A Back-Up Pair

Since my son is a bit scatter-brained (what 7-year-old boy isn’t?), I’m nervous about him losing them, and loss is not covered under the Walmart guarantee (only breakage).

Since I don’t want him to have to go weeks without glasses at school while we order a replacement, I decided to order a backup pair right away.

I knew the size of the Walmart frames that fit him and I got his pupillary distance measurement (or PD) from the Walmart technician, so I was able to order another pair online from Zenni Optical.

I’ve heard so many great things about Zenni and was excited to give them a try. And the total price from Zenni? $29.90 for frames, polycarbonate lenses with anti-glare, and shipping!

Virtual "try-on" of his Zenni Optical frames

Virtual try-on of his Zenni Optical frames

To see what I thought of the Zenni glasses, check out my comparison of Walmart vs. Zenni.

Best Value in Kids Glasses: An Update Two Years Later

Two years later, I’m a very experienced mom of a kid in glasses. In fact, my daughter wears glasses too now!

I’ve now purchased kids’ glasses from:

  • Walmart Vision Center
  • Target Optical
  • Costco Optical
  • A doctor’s office

My son wore his first Walmart glasses for about a year before he needed new ones. We DID use that warranty TWICE and I was SO glad to have it.

You can read more about it in my review of the Walmart Vision Center Warranty.

The Walmart glasses were decent quality and an excellent choice for his first glasses because of the low price and great warranty.

However, Costco glasses are similar in price to the higher end frames at Walmart, but the Costco frames seem a little higher in quality. I personally prefer the styles available at Costco as well.

Now that my kids are a little older and I’m less worried about loss or breakage, I will buy more of our glasses at Costco.

Do you have a child in glasses? Where do you like to buy them? Please comment below!

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Tuesday 17th of August 2021

Thank you for the post, it is still useful and relevant though it was posted couple of years back.

One thing I didn't see discussed is are prices after insurance coverage or without insurance?

SL Hayes

Friday 26th of March 2021

Our 6yo son needed his first pair of glasses so I immediately went online trying to find reviews for price as well as quality and warranty. Thank you for this amazing breakdown comparison!

In the end I ended up at Sam’s. Anyone under 18 gets bygo. Child frames ranged from 70-180. The price on the frames includes polycarbonate lenses with anti glare and blue light technology. They offer one year repair / replacement for broken frames and lenses with zero copay! They had a great selection!

We ordered two different pairs of adorable Reebok frames! We just ordered yesterday; we were told they say a week to get them but to expect them sooner!

Total price? $119!!

Hope this information helps someone looking for glasses for an under 19 child! What a deal! They asked that I spread the word and even said that I could bring my 23yo son in to order his glasses even though he wasn’t a card holder!

Suzanne Lesser

Monday 18th of July 2022

@SL Hayes, $70-180 for frames or for the glasses (bogo of course)? Just for frames is kinda high…


Wednesday 5th of August 2020

My daughter has been in glasses since age 3 and my son at 2 1/2. I agree with you about Walmart, the warranty is great but they seem to break easier. We bought them from the ophthalmologist's office and had the same issue. Zenni has honestly been the best place we've found to buy durable and inexpensive glasses. My son needs bifocals now so we are going to try out Costco. Thanks for the recommendation!

Cindy Scott

Thursday 6th of August 2020

Glad it was helpful! My son used to be in bifocals and we have gotten them from Walmart, but they do charge for "adult" lenses for bifocals (just FYI).

Jeanne Buglewicz

Monday 11th of November 2019

My son has worn glasses since he was 8. I bought his first pair at his dr – I wanted to make sure we got the best ones to start (although if I had to do it over I wouldn’t buy there again – too pricey). I’ve gotten two pairs from Costco and have been very happy with the price, selection and service. My son plays sports and Costco doesn’t offer sport “goggles” – I wish they did! We got those from Walmart and have been happy with them. The first pair we ordered didn’t fit his face well and Walmart let us pick out a replacement within the 90 day warranty.

Thanks for your research – you confirmed some feelings I had without doing all the work you did!


Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Sam’s Club has restructured their eyeglass pricing, and has Buy One Get One on any Youth frame, without an age restriction. They start at 59.00, and include polycarbonate lenses for 18 and under, ( just 40.00 additional for adults) with anti-reflective and scratch-resistant coatings, and one year frame and lens warranty. They just updated all of their frame styles as well.

Cindy Scott

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Oh wow! That sounds like a great deal! I will have to check it out.

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