Costco Optical vs Walmart Vision Center
Sixty-one percent of Americans have corrective lenses. Many find a change in prescription requires new glasses annually (my wife could probably use some). This can be a significant portion of a family’s budget each year, especially if multiple family members require glasses to see properly. Walmart and Costco are two places generally associated with a good deal. Of course, I’m a fan of Costco myself. So, I decided to take dive into Costco Optical vs Walmart Vision Center and how the two compare to help you determine the best place to buy glasses.
Walmart Vision Center Specs
A standard eye exam at Walmart for eyeglasses costs $69, which is a pretty great deal. However, if you want contact lenses, the price of an exam will run you $99. That being said, you can find extremely inexpensive frame and lens combinations on Walmart’s website. In some cases, a basic pair of glasses can cost less than $100. Most people want to make additions to their product though, which makes the price go up. Here is a quick look at some of the options you can choose from when using Walmart Vision Center rather than Costco’s Optical Center.
There are four different optical packages and two lens options to choose from when you go to Walmart’s Vision Center. Lens options include polarized and no-glare lenses, each adding $50 to the price of your set of glasses. The most basic package includes high-quality plastic lenses that are anti-scratch. This comes at no additional cost.
The most popular vision package at Walmart costs an additional $31 but it provides the most value. It offers impact-resistant, anti-scratch lenses. There are two Nikon Eye packages available as well, both are a bit pricey but come with added two-year warranties and additional protection. The Nikon Eyes Advanced package ($121) offers what the two above provide plus high-definition digital lenses that are water repellant. Nikon Eye Custom packages provide everything in the other packages with some additional customization options available ($151).
Independent eye doctors operating within Costco will do a basic eye exam and health check for $74 for eyeglasses. If you want contact lenses, add $40 for a total of $114. While that is slightly higher than Walmart’s Vision Center, Costco provides more with its base package. You will get anti-glare lenses free of charge. At the same time, there are fewer customization options when you choose Costco Optical over Walmart. The only options available are polarization ($69.99) and high-quality polarization ($94.99). It should be noted that you don’t have to be a member at Costco to receive an eye exam but you will need a membership to buy frames and lenses at the club. So, if you aren’t a member, that will factor into the cost as well. A basic membership costs $60 per year.
Comparison: Costco Optical vs Walmart Vision Center
Walmart has a slightly lower price ($69 vs $74) for the basic eye exam. And while Walmart seemingly has more options for their lenses, let’s compare the cost of the most popular choices below.
Option 1: Polarized lenses with anti-scratch and anti-glare protection:
- Walmart : anti-scratch ($0) + polarized ($50) + anti-glare ($50) = $100 on top of the base price, $169 total.
- Costco: Both are included, so no additional cost on top of the base price, $74 total.
Option 2: thinner polarized lenses with anti-scratch and anti-glare
- Walmart: This would be the Nikon custom package, which adds $151 on top of the base price.
- Costco: The high-quality polarized option would be selected for $94.99 on top of the base price, making it significantly cheaper than Walmart’s package.
In both cases, Costco Optical comes out cheaper. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, the median cost of frames and lenses at Costco is $184. By comparison, the median price of frames and lenses at LensCrafters is $369, so Costco is offering a huge amount of savings for folks who wear glasses. Walmart Vision Center does appear to have a few more options though. So, depending on your optical needs, you may have to opt for Walmart. If Costco has what you need, however, it is definitely the winner in the Costco Optical vs Walmart Vision Center debate.
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Drew Blankenship is a former Porsche technician and lifelong automotive enthusiast. Recently, he began writing for several websites and is enjoying the career change. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and their dog Enzo.