The Best Cheap Sunglasses

Twelve cheap sunglasses that we tested for this review. Since every pair of sunglasses we tested provided the full amount of UV protection, we dismissed sunglasses based on other criteria, such as comfort, build quality, and design.

All of the sunglasses we tested were 100 percent UV protective, and polarized.

Despite having metal hinges, the arms on the Retro Rewind Classic Polarized Sunglasses were difficult to fold and unfold—they produced a strange, vibrating sensation and a creaking noise when we moved them—and these sunglasses typically cost more than the Gamma Ray Polarized Classic Style.

Usually priced around double the cost of our top pick, the Flying Fisherman Fowey sunglasses were a little tight during comfort testing with our male tester; we noted some tightness around the nose and ears, and this pair wasn’t as comfortable to wear for long periods of time. These sunglasses have a solid build and held up well during durability testing. We didn’t particularly like the logo (in silver, on both arms), though.

The Knockaround Premiums had plastic hinges, and we worried about breaking them when extending the arms outward to test flexibility. This pair is more than twice the price of our top pick currently, and it was less comfortable in our tests. Although it’s nice to look at, it didn’t perform as well as our top picks in practice. Knockaround has a wide variety of sunglasses to choose from, though (and you can even build your own sunglasses exactly how you like them, which is extremely cool).

The Polarspex Polarized Classic Sunglasses were noisy to open and close, despite their metal hinges. They cost a few more dollars than our top pick at this writing, and during testing they were tight around the nose, although they fit comfortably around our testers’ temples and ears. We easily scratched them during durability testing, and they come bundled with a fabric case that’s heavier and stiffer than the included microfiber cases for most other pairs.

In our tests, the Merry’s Polarized Aluminum Sunglasses were a little tight around the nose and pulled at the skin behind our male tester’s ears. Conversely, our female tester reported that the Merry’s pair was a little too big to be comfortable for her face. This pair is more expensive than our top pick currently, and although it has strong metal hinges, the frame around the lenses feels weak. And compared with our picks, the design is busier and less attractive.

The Aevogue Polarized Sunglasses felt cheaper than most of the other models we tested. Although they fit our female tester’s face well, they were tight around our male tester’s ears, and because of their semi-rimless design, they had more moving, rattling parts than the competition. We also found that some paint chipped off the arm after we tossed this pair around during durability testing. We liked our top pick’s value, fit, and construction much better.

Of all the sunglasses we tested, the polarized Luenx Aviator Sunglasses felt the cheapest (while actually being on the pricier side of our test pool), and we worried about breaking them after just a bit of light use. As with the Aevogue pair, we noticed that the Luenx sunglasses’ paint chipped off one of the arms after durability testing. The aviator style separates this model from our other tested sunglasses, though, and like the Merry’s pair, it comes with a number of accessories—a fat, soft-shell case, plus a cleaning cloth and a storage pouch.

The Sunski Headland sunglasses we tested were comfortable to wear throughout the day, with a good fit around the temples and the ears. This pair also had sturdy metal hinges that made the shades easier and smoother to use than our top pick and our runner-up. As with the Kent Wang Keyhole sunglasses, we received numerous compliments from acquaintances and friends while we were wearing this Sunski pair—the frame had an unusual, transparent design that was minimal and fun. Although we really enjoyed these Sunski sunglasses, for around $50, we preferred our upgrade pick, the really premium-looking Kent Wang pair.

The Suncloud Conductor Polarized Sunglasses were designed for larger faces, and it showed: They were too big for our female tester’s face, and felt a little awkward on our male tester’s face. Although the wraparound style is good for UV protection, as it doesn’t allow any of the sun’s rays to sneak in through the sides, our testers disliked wearing this model.

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