When you’re ready to re-up on contacts or explore options beyond glasses, traditionally folks start by seeing an eye doctor or visiting an optician. But increasingly buying online through a convenient subscription service often costs less. When you already know what lenses you need and just need a refill, buying online from popular services like ContactsCart and 1-800 Contacts can help you skip the doctor’s waiting room and get your lenses delivered straight to your doorstep.
As is the case with most products, the competition for contacts online is fierce on the web and consumers like you have a ton of options. In this article, let’s take a look at two of the most prominent sites to buy contacts and compare them: ContactsCart vs 1-800 Contacts. The former is brand new and the latter is arguably the most well known. We’ll discuss how they compare, and take a look at prices for common prescriptions, so you know which marketplace reigns supreme.
What’s the difference between ContactsCart and 1-800 Contacts?
Both 1-800 Contacts and ContactsCart help you order boxes of lenses online and circumvent the eye doctor’s office and eyeglass store. Both allow you to start slow with a one-time order or sign up for a longer-term subscription plan. With a subscription to either service, you only have to input your prescription once – and then you’ll get your lenses at a regular cadence, ensuring that you never run out. And, as we’ll see, often times saving you some money in the process.
Both 1-800 Contacts and ContactsCart carry most of the same contact lens brands from the same well-known manufacturers that you’d expect to find through an optometrist.
That means you don’t need to switch brands to get your prescription online. And it also means that you have access to a ton of battle-tested alternatives if you’re not 100% satisfied with your current prescription.
Expect to find products from Alcon, Bausch & Lomb, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson. These manufacturers make the popular brands you would get at the eye doctor’s office, such as Acuvue or Biofinity. You won’t find options from startup companies like Hubble or Waldo,or the new Warby Parker ones called “Scout.” But, unlike the startup players who only offer standard lenses, both 1-800 Contacts and ContactsCart also offer specialty lenses, including:
- Disposable lenses
- Color contacts
- Toric and bifocal/multifocal lenses
So, both companies are good options if you have special needs, and since they both carry a deep selection, you don’t necessarily have to choose one company over the other if you’re specifically looking for one of those varieties.
So far the two marketplaces sound identical, but actually there are some nuances. Let’s further break down the similarities and differences between the ways these companies do business.
How do these online contact lens companies work?
Both 1-800 Contacts and ContactsCart make it easy to order boxes of contact lenses online. With both, you’ll need to visit your optometrist to get a prescription first. This means that the eye doctor will decide on the type of contact you’ll get. So even though each of these companies offers many choices of brands and varieties, you’ll need to find the one that your doctor prescribed.
The company will then check your prescription information (if needed they will check with your eye doctor). The reason for doing it this way is that your eye doctor knows what features you need from your lenses, and they are a prescription product, so you need a valid prescription. Since so many different brands are available on either marketplace, you can always talk to your doctor about their choice and whether you could switch to a different type.
So the process of choosing which contacts to get is separate from ordering your selection online through one of these companies. Once you go on one of these sites, you look for the type of lens on your prescription.
How to order contacts on ContactsCart
On ContactsCart, you follow this process:
- Look for your manufacturer and brand on the website.
- Put in your prescription information. The site can contact your doctor if you don’t have all the information.
- Sign up for a subscription to the contact lens of your choice, which you can change or cancel as needed.
- Your order is sent to your home, and your subscription will keep you in stock on a regular basis.
How to order contacts on 1-800 Contacts
Ordering your prescription on 1-800 Contacts is pretty much the same experience as ContactsCart.
- Search for the contact manufacturer and brand on the site or use the app to scan your previous contact lens box.
- Type in your prescription information, upload a picture of the prescription or request that 1-800 Contacts get in touch with your eye doctor.
- Order a one-time order or choose a subscription plan, which you can change or cancel as needed.
- Your product is shipped to you.
For a prescription renewal, 1-800 Contacts makes the process easy with its online eye exam. You can skip going to the optometrist and instead take the eye exam from your own home. With ContactsCart, you’ll need to visit the optometrist when you need your prescription renewed.
ContactsCart vs 1-800 Contacts: Which one should you choose?
Because these two companies provide a similar service, it can be tough to know which one to go with. Is there much difference if you order from one over the other? We put together this chart to help you compare these companies side by side.
ContactsCart vs 1-800 Contacts: Comparing Online Contact Lens Companies
|Where to Purchase||Contactscart.com||1800contacts.com|
|Trial||Discount on first order||Discount on first order|
|Monthly cost||Varies by brand||Varies by brand|
|Brands Available||Brands from manufacturers Alcon, Bausch & Lomb, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson||Brands from manufacturers Alcon, Bausch & Lomb, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson|
|Pricing||See below||See below – typically slightly higher|
|Accept FSA (Flexible Spending Account)?||Yes||Yes|
|Online Eye Exam for Prescription Renewal?||No||Yes|
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As you can see, one didn’t completely stand out against the other because ContactsCart and 1-800 Contacts have so much in common. They both sell top brands with a range of contact lens choices, and both services offer free shipping and discounts on your first order. That’s good news because you could be happy with either one, and most likely, both companies will help you save and make your life easier than if you go back to the eye doctor.
But let’s not stop there. When I dug a little deeper, I did find some variations between the companies. Their offerings and prices can be somewhat different. What I recommend when comparing 1-800 Contacts with ContactsCart is to look at the specific lenses you’re looking for from one site to the other. When I compared a few brands, I found differences in cost. I’ll give you some examples here where I compare the price of the same product from site to site.
Comparing pricing on ContactsCart vs 1-800 Contacts
Take a look at the following chart that compares the prices of three popular brands on the two sites – you’ll see that there is a difference in cost from one to the other.
Granted, I didn’t compare the price of every single variety. But from these few examples, it looks like 1-800 Contacts tends to charge more for the same product. But there is a little more to the picture. The prices displayed on these sites compare the subscription price on ContactsCart to a one-time order price on 1-800 Contacts. You can save a little on 1-800 Contacts if you subscribe, which includes a 5 percent savings on each order.
However, in the examples above, even with the 5% subscription savings, the cost is more than the ContactsCart subscription price. But here’s the kicker: 1-800 Contacts offers a best price guarantee that says they’ll beat a lower price if you find one. So presumably you can get the best price from 1-800 Contacts if you say you saw a better price on ContactsCart. Of course, the downside is that you have to go out of your way to get the price down.
On 1-800 Contacts, you can put in a one-time order if you don’t want to commit to a subscription, or you can subscribe for a slight discount. On each site, the subscription options vary by the type of contact lens brand you’re looking to get. The choices tend to be 1, 3 or 6 months on ContactsCart or variations of 3, 6 or 12 months on 1-800 Contacts.
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The other difference I noticed when I was comparing the same brand from site to site is that 1-800 Contacts seems to have a better selection, so if you’re looking for those specialty contacts this site might be a better fit. For example, when I look at SofLens on ContactsCart, I find two choices. Compare that to the five choices I found on 1-800 Contacts. I found 10 Acuvue varieties on ContactsCart compared to more than 20 on 1-800 Contacts. 1-800 Contacts also had a lot more options when I looked at toric contacts for astigmatism or multifocal/bifocal lenses.
A major plus for 1-800 Contacts is that it allows you to renew your prescription without going back to the eye doctor in person. With its online eye exam, you can get your prescription renewed from your computer or smartphone. With ContactsCart, you’ll need to visit your optometrist instead.
1-800 Contacts has great support with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, a free torn lens replacement, a program to exchange unused lenses and 24/7 customer support. ContactsCart offers a full refund for unopened boxes and is available by phone Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm EST; their phone number is (720) 809-8878.
Since these companies are so comparable, the answer you should go with will most likely come down to which type of contact lens you need and the price. Since 1-800 Contacts seems to have a better selection, you might find your contact variety on there when it’s not on ContactsCart.
But if you find your contacts on both sites, based on my comparisons, it might be cheaper on ContactsCart. Then you can decide if you want to take 1-800 Contacts up on its guarantee to beat a lower price. And don’t forget to factor in 1-800 Contacts’ perks like an online eye exam and better customer support.