LAST UPDATED: November 19, 2019
Best Sunglasses for the Money: Protect Your Eyes From the Sun
These top sunglasses protect your eyes and are also fashionable
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON November 19, 2019
While there is no denying that you'll look stunning in a sleek pair of designer sunglasses, there are even better reasons to wear them. They reliably protect your eyes from all forms of UV light and are ideal if you are an avid outdoor enthusiast. These fashion accessories are also a valuable accessory for electronic users and athletes with high UV light exposure. However, the proliferation of sunglass models on the market today makes choosing the right model hard. In this review, we have compiled the best three for the value.
If you are looking for a pair of sunglasses that go beyond UV ray protection, try these Maui Jims. They enhance color and provide a clear view. Additionally, they are anti-glare and suitable for use against direct sunlight.
These sunglasses are lightweight, comfortable, and feature durable nylon injected frames. They are also fashionable and provide a bright view. What’s more, they feature patented PolarizedPlus2 lenses that eliminate glare while enhancing color, detail, and clarity.
Some users claim that these sunglasses can break easily if mishandled. They are also too small for some users and are a little expensive.
ATTCL blends style and quality in a way that is difficult to find. The sunglasses are a multipurpose type of protective gear ideal for all outdoor weather conditions. They come in handy for men and women who value performance in sports, outdoor activities, and night driving.
These lenses are 100-percent polarized and feature anti-glare functions for night driving. The UV400 protection rating makes them perfect for all weather conditions. The sunglasses are made of high-quality aluminum-magnesium alloy, which makes them lightweight and strong.
Their frame is susceptible to scratching and may need extra care. Most users find them more ideal for night vision and not as sunglasses.
The Oakley sunglasses are a perfect protective accessory designed for world-class athletes. They feature a unique design to enhance your looks. The model utilizes high-quality materials and unbeatable craftsmanship to ensure dependability and durability.
The advantage of these lenses is that they use patented HDO technology to produce clear images with no distortion. They also feature perfect refraction capabilities to provide real image distances. Additionally, these sunglasses offer protection from all types of UV rays.
Users claim that the nose piece is uncomfortable and unadjustable. They are also made specifically for women and may not look good on men.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Sunglasses for the Money
- Sun protection. The sun’s rays can permanently damage your eyes and lead to serious health issues. The eye is highly sensitive, and the skin surrounding it is quite thin, which makes it more susceptible to skin cancer. Sunglasses block UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, preventing the harmful effects of the sun from reaching the eye. They also prevent sunburns, skin irritation, and other issues caused by constant sun exposure.
- Protection from other elements. Along with blocking harmful rays, sunglasses also prevent other weather elements from damaging the eyes. Snow can be harmful too, reflecting UV rays from the sun and causing snow blindness. Windy and dusty environments can also irritate the eye area and cause health issues. Sunglasses offer protection from these elements, and they are useful for all seasons.
- Eye health. Constant exposure to all these harmful elements can lead to serious health issues such as eye strain, glaucoma, and cataracts. When wearing sunglasses, you can reduce the risk of these conditions and avoid them.
- More clarity. People who spend a lot of time outdoors can widely benefit from wearing sunglasses. They enhance clarity, reduce glare, and provide a sharper and more colorful view. Most of the newly designed sunglasses also allow for combining prescription lenses with polarized ones. This way, they give more clarity during all experiences, including outdoor activities.
- Style. Finally, there's the style aspect when it comes to wearing sunglasses. With the right pair of sunglasses, you can enhance your personal style and look fabulous. They are produced in an array of colors and shapes, so you can pick a pair that perfectly complements your style.
Types of Sunglasses
Aviator sunglasses are a timeless classic, originally designed for pilots. They were primarily used for eye protection when flying. Later on, aviators became a popular fashion accessory. They have a thin metal frame and reflective or smoke lenses.
As the name suggests, these sunglasses are made in the shape of butterfly wings. They come in different sizes but they are mostly narrower on the inside edge and wider on the outside. The oversized lenses offer more coverage and protection against the sun.
Round sunglasses are synonymous with John Lennon and his iconic style. The shape always remains the same although the frame size and thickness can change from small to large. Round sunglasses are a regular part of the music festival fan outfits.
Classic wayfarer sunglasses come in a trapezoidal shape. Audrey Hepburn made them incredibly popular. Wayfarers are classic sunglasses that suit different face shapes well. They feature a thick frame and fit almost every outfit.
Cat eye sunglasses date from the 1950s. They were worn by many celebrities and fashion icons. They feature the shape of cat eyes, with narrow edges on the inside, and pointy ones on the outside. The vintage-style frames make them timeless.
Square sunglasses are another classic. They have extra thick frames and square shape. The large lenses offer more protection against the sun and other weather elements, and they are also suitable for different outfits.
Sunglasses of this shape are one of the most versatile. The lenses are thick and wide rather than tall. They give a sharper look to people with round faces. Rectangle sunglasses fall into the sporty, retro, or casual category.
Clubmaster or Browline
Clubmaster glasses have a thick top frame and thin rims on the bottom. The frame goes over the brows rather than wrapping around the lower area. It's a distinctive, retro style that is vintage and timeless.
Oval sunglasses have round frames that can differ in size. They are quite popular because of their versatility and classic style. You can wear them with casual and classy outfits, and they fit almost every face shape.
Maui Jim was founded in 1980, and it's located in Maui, Hawaii. The company started with a collection of sunglasses in seven styles, which quickly evolved into 125 different models of eyewear. Sugar Beach 421 is one of its most popular models of sunglasses.
ATTCL was founded in 2014. It produces not only sunglasses, but also prescription, sports, night vision, computer, and other types of glasses. All of them are designed in Italy. Its Polarized Sunglasses for Women are popular and fashionable.
Oakley, based in Lake Forest, California, was founded in 1975. The company designs and produces all kinds of sports equipment, including sunglasses, goggles, shoes, and backpacks. Oakley Men's Holbrook Square Sunglasses are one of its most valued models.
Best Sunglasses for the Money Pricing
- Under $50: Inexpensive sunglasses that still offer enough protection for the eyes can be found for under $50. However, the lenses may not be as resistant to scratches.
- $50-$100: Sunglasses in this range are more durable. They may have metal frames and lens protection.
- Over $100: High-end sunglasses are often polarized and feature special lens technology. They may also be scratch-resistant. Pricier shades are often more durable and fashionable.
The main purpose of sunglasses is to protect the eyes from harmful sun rays. The level of protection they provide, therefore, is the thing that speaks of their quality. If lenses don't have a high UV protection, they might cause even more harm than when not wearing glasses at all. The best sunglasses have lenses with 100 percent UV protection or UV400 labeling.
Along with quality, one of the most important things to consider when buying a pair of glasses is the color of the lenses. Although the choice of color is mostly a matter of style and preference, it also influences the level of protection. Different colors protect in different ways. For example, gray-tinted glass lenses are better in reducing glare, while amber or brown ones enhance depth perception. Green lenses mostly improve color perception.
Sunglasses should be comfortable too. They must lay perfectly on the nose and behind the ears, and preferably have adjustable nose pads. This is especially important for those who are planning to wear sunglasses for longer periods of time. The level of comfort should be easy to determine according to face shape and size as well as the sunglasses' frame design.
Although they are a useful protective item, sunglasses are also a fashion accessory. That's why it's essential to consider the overall design of sunglasses before the purchase. They come in many shapes and colors to fit different outfits. Some of them are suitable for both casual and elegant styles, while others are not that versatile. The choice of design mostly depends on personal preferences and styles.
- Build Quality. A good pair of sunglasses should feel sturdy and durable. They should be impact-resistant and able to withstand daily abuse, from being thrown carelessly into the backpack to laying around on the car's back seat. Also, the arms should be flexible, so you can fold and unfold them with ease.
- Tint Level. Lens tint has four categories, with the first one being the most transparent and the fourth one being the darkest. The darkest lenses are recommended only in extremely bright light conditions. For regular purposes, those between levels one and three are dark enough.
Best Sunglasses for the Money Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Maui Jim Makaha Sunglasses are an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts. They provide a high level of sun protection as well as enhance color and a clear view. The sunglasses successfully block harmful UV rays, and they can be worn against direct sunlight, thanks to the anti-glare lenses.
The PolarizedPlus2 lenses make these sunglasses suitable for those who seek extra clarity and detail. They are also incredibly comfortable due to the lightweight design and durable nylon injected frames. The fashionable design is a great addition, as they prove to fit different outfits.
The main drawback of these sunglasses comes from the fact that they require special handling. They might break if you carelessly throw them in your backpack, or just leave them lying around. Double-check their size before the purchase, as they might be too small for some users. The high price is also something that concerns those on a limited budget.
ATTCL offers an exceptional combination of quality and style. The company features polarized sports sunglasses suitable for those who enjoy outdoor activities, as well as night drivers. Thanks to the unique construction, they offer excellent protection against weather conditions.
What makes these suitable for drivers are 100 percent polarized lenses with anti-glare function. The maximum UV protection, on the other hand, makes them ideal for constant sun exposure. The sunglasses are made of aluminum-magnesium alloy, which ensures increased comfort and impressive durability.
The main drawback of this pair of shades might be the extra care it needs. The frame is not scratch-resistant, so you'll need to store the sunglasses properly. Also, some users think they work better for night vision than sports sunglasses.
Oakley aviator sunglasses are designed for athletes. They combine functionality with good looks, which makes them widely popular. The sunglasses feature high-quality materials to ensure excellent protection against weather and other threats, as well as a long lifespan.
The lenses on these sunglasses are made with the help of HDO technology, which ensures clear images by reducing distortion. That makes them ideal for outdoor purposes, as they provide a better view when in nature. The sunglasses also offer a high level of protection from harmful UV rays.
The biggest concern with these sunglasses is the level of comfort. The nose piece is not adjustable, so some people have difficulty adapting it to the nose. Also, keep in mind that these are women's sunglasses and not unisex.
- The first factor to consider when shopping for a pair of sunglasses is to ensure that you pick one that has a UV rating of at least 400. Such a feature ensures that your eyes are protected from nearly all UV ray wavelengths.
- The protective features on sunglasses break down over time, and you'll need to replace them. For example, the anti-glare coating should last about two years; however, it can break down quicker in extreme use.
- Choose a model that is polarized. Such models improve protection by reducing the effects of horizontal and reflected light.
Q: What’s the best way to clean the lenses of my sunglasses?
A: The most effective way to clean lenses is to use a special cleaning cloth (i.e., microfiber) with a cleaning liquid and gently rub the lenses.
Q: Can a single pair of sunglasses have UV protective lenses and anti-glare lenses?
A: Yes. The common practice is to incorporate both components in a single lens. Look for the one that has both features for enhanced protection.
Q: What's the difference between polarized lenses and UV-protection lenses?
A: While ordinary UV sunglass models protect your eyes from strong UV rays, polarized lenses reduce glare and protect your eyes from horizontal and reflected light.
Based on our research, we chose the Maui Jim Rimless Frame Sunglasses as the best overall pick. They are stylish and durable and come with unmatchable performance.
However, it is worth noting that a fair price does not mean a product is substandard. The ATTCL Men's Fashion Polarized Sunglasses also offer protection from UV rays and reflected light.