5 Best Ray-Ban Alternatives: These Brands Are Slaying Giants

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Did Ray-Ban give you some sticker shock? Don’t worry, there are brands out there that can nail that classic style—sometimes even better than Ray-Ban themselves.

These are the best Ray-Ban alternatives out there, from better quality to better pricing.

Best Wayfarer Alternatives
  • Vintage Wayfarer vibes with a modern update
  • Made with fine Italian acetate and spring loaded double hinges
  • Available with prescription and blue light blocking lenses
Best Clubmaster Alternatives
  • Similar shape, but with more interesting color options
  • Much less expensive, but still high quality
  • Available with mirrored and polarized lenses
Best Aviator Alternatives
  • Spring hinges for a snug fit
  • Stainless steel frames are durable
  • Polarized with UV400 protection
Best Budget Wayfarer Alternatives
  • Excellent beater shades if you’re on a strict budget
  • Huge selection of color and lens combos
  • Customizable options too so you can build your own
Best Budget Clubmaster Alternatives
  • Similar Clubmaster look at roughly 5% the cost
  • Polarized lenses with UV400 protection
  • Comes in a two-pack so you can leave one pair in your car

Ray-Bans might’ve been the first brand name frames you knew about. That was the case for me, at least. 

But Ray-Bans can be pricey, and truth be told, I’ve been seeing better quality with lower price tags from other smaller brands.

So that’s why I’m laying out the best Ray-Ban alternatives: so you can get that same classic look, spend less, and get better quality. 

5 Best Ray-Ban Alternatives

Best Wayfarer Alternatives: Christopher Cloos, Cloos x Brady

Christopher Cloos 26

When Tom Brady isn’t slinging pigskins, he’s slinging sunglasses. Christopher Cloos, the Danish vintage-inspired eyewear brand teamed up with the famous quarterback to bring us an excellent alternative to the Ray-Ban Wayfarer.

The Cloos x Brady isn’t less expensive than the Wayfarer—they’re roughly the same price—but the quality of materials is much better. 

Christopher Cloos 14

Made with Mazzucchelli Italian acetate and double spring loaded hinges, Christopher Cloos packs everything you’d expect from a luxury pair of sunglasses into a much more affordable package.

What I Like

  • Cloos x Brady has a similar shape as the Wayfarer, but the design is more refined.

  • The materials are much higher quality compared to Ray-Ban.

  • Double spring loaded hinges help the frames fit snug, but never tight. 

What I Don’t Like

  • There aren’t a lot of trendy lens options—these have classic, timeless style—so if you want trendy, you’ll need to look elsewhere. 

What Other Reviewers Say

With nearly 400 reviews on Trustpilot, Christopher Cloos has a near perfect 4.9 star average as of writing. 

A lot of reviewers enjoy the style, but the one comment that stuck out was the brand’s customer service. While I didn’t have any issues that required me to get in contact, a quick look through reviews show that Christopher Cloos is quick to respond and prioritize getting you the frames you ordered. 

So even with lost packages and premature wear and tear: CC doesn’t ask questions and gets you what you want.

The Verdict

The Christopher Cloos Cloos x Brady collection has a similar classic look as the Ray-Ban Wayfarer, and the cost is nearly the same, too. 

What really separates these frames is the quality and the team behind them. 

Cloos x Brady is at the top end of quality, with Mazzucchelli Italian acetate and double spring loaded hinges—that’s just not something you can get with Ray-Ban. 

Beyond that, you get the confidence of shopping with a smaller brand that has a track record in excellent customer service. While issues don’t come up often with delivery, there’s no reason you should ever feel less than confident you’ll get what you ordered. Christopher Cloos does a bang-up job to ensure you have a good experience.

Christopher Cloos x Brady

What does Tom Brady do when he's not slinging pigskins? He's slinging these Wayfarer inspired beauties.

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Best Clubmaster Alternatives: Blenders Eyewear, The Cardiff

Blenders Eyewear gold mamba cardiff sunglasses on yellow background

Blenders Eyewear makes sunglasses that are a few steps above the beater sunglasses you’d find on a beach boardwalk, and they’re a few steps below what you get with a luxury set of frames. 

The Cardiff has a similar shape to the Ray-Ban Clubmaster, but Blenders never does anything without a little flair. 

With a variety of mirrored lens colors and wild frame options, The Cardiff is a Clubmaster for party people.

What I Like

  • They feature polarized lenses—perfect for the beach.

  • They have a small-to-medium fit, so they’re a good choice for people with a thinner face.

  • The Cardiff comes with a microfiber pouch that’s perfect for travel. 

What I Don’t Like

  • I’d love to see spring loaded hinges, which would increase the durability—especially for an active, everyday pair of glasses like these. 

What Other Reviewers Say

With over 1,200 reviews on the Blenders Eyewear site, The Cardiff is one of the brand’s most popular options. 

The one comment that sticks out over and over again is fit. And since these are unisex glasses, these reviews come from both the guys and the ladies. Since we’re only focusing on men, this seems a good place to let you know that you should hide these from your girlfriend.

The Verdict

What do Malcolm X, Vince Lombardi, and Lyndon B. Johnson have in common? They all rocked Ray-Ban Clubmasters. 

But if you’re not interested in dropping $100+ on a pair of shades, you can get the same style and a similar quality with the Blenders Eyewear Cardiff

Clubmasters are pretty straightforward, but The Cardiff has a few funky options that aren’t anything like what you’d expect to see in vintage style.

Blenders Eyewear Cardiff

Blenders may be a beachy brand, but they've nailed the classic Clubmaster look like it was their own. Of course, they've put their own unique So-Cal twist on the 50s style, and we have to admit it looks pretty cool.

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Best Aviator Alternatives: Tomahawk Shades, Landfills

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A post shared by Tomahawk Shades (@tomahawkshades)

When you look through this list, it’s no wonder Ray-Ban has held the crown for best selling sunglasses for so long. Aviator glasses—another Ray-Ban original—were first created for the US military. It’s the style that put Ray-Ban on the map.

While Ray-Ban dominated sunglass style for several decades with this model, a few more affordable options have hit the market. And by a few, we mean a truck-ton. The best of the bunch is the Tomahawk Shades Landfills sunglasses. 

Made in a similar design with thin metal frames and the iconic reflective lenses, Tomahawk delivers exceptional style at a much lower price point.

What I Like

  • The all-silver look, from the frames through the lenses, is contemporary and sleek. 

  • The lenses are UV400 rated and polarized. 

  • Tomahawk offers an excellent warranty, and will replace your shades twice if they break, get lost, or are stolen.

What I Don’t Like

  • While I like the all-silver look, it’s the only option Tomahawk offers at the moment. 

What Other Reviewers Say

There aren’t many reviews for Tomahawk Shades at the moment. They’re a relatively new brand, but a few professional reviewers report solid experiences with the company. One of the common frustrations we see (and one I’ve experienced first-hand) is that the brand tends to sell out quickly, though that also speaks to their growth.

The Verdict

Looking for a pair of Aviators that won’t break the bank? Check out Tomahawk Shades Landfills. With polarized, UV400 rated protection, these sleek stunners are a nice guard against the sun. 

Hopefully you like the silver frames and silver mirrored lenses because it’s the only option Tomahawk has. But with this classic style, it’s hard to go wrong.

Tomahawk Shades Landfills

They're not Ray-Ban Aviators, but the style is so similar, we wouldn't blame you if you mixed them up. But you won't mistake the price difference. Tomahawk's have a lot of the same quality markers, but with a much lighter price tag.

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Best Budget Wayfarer Alternatives: Knockaround Shades, Classics

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A post shared by Knockaround® (@knockaround)

If you’re on a ramen, beans, and Natty Light budget (no judgement—I spent plenty of time there), but still want that iconic Wayfarer look, Knockaround Shades Classics are the way to go.

At under $20, the quality isn’t superb, but the style is on-point and they’re the best option if you can only drop a Jackson (or a Tubman if you’re reading this in 2030). 

These sunglasses tend toward trendy and have a ton of variation in frame and lens color. To top it all off, they’re polarized so they’re the perfect shades if you’re going white-water rafting and need a bit of sun protection. If they fly off your face and sink to the bottom, you won’t be saying goodbye to your paycheck.

What I Like

  • They’re extremely affordable, but the quality is much better than anything at a comparable price. 

  • Knockaround offers many different frame and lens combinations. You can even design your own. 

  • They’re polarized and offer full UV400 protection. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Folks with larger faces mentioned these were a bit too small. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 400 reviewers rate the Knockaround Classics a 4.8-star average. The consensus is this: they’re great cheap sunglasses that look stylish. The quality isn’t the most amazing, but the price is such that there are no worries about losing them when you’re out on an adventure.

The Verdict

Sometimes a cheap-o pair of sunglasses is just what the occasion calls for. Still, you don’t want to pick something up that feels like you won it as a consolation prize at a Chuck E Cheese. 

If you’re gunning for that classic Wayfarer look, but don’t want to spend a lot, check out the Knockaround Classics. They have a retro shape, contemporary mirrored lenses, and a price that’s hard to beat.

Knockaround Classic

If you're on a natty light and ramen budget, these Wayfarer alternatives are the choice for you.

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Best Budget Clubmaster Alternatives: Kaliyadi, Polarized Retro Classic

If all that talk about cheap sunglasses got your engine running, then you’ll love the Kaliyadi Polarized Retro Classic as a budget Ray-Ban Clubmaster alternative. 

For under $20, you can get not one, but two pairs of Clubmaster-inspired frames. Or the way I see it: one pair to leave in the car, the other to keep with you when you’re out and about.

Again, like Knockaround, the quality here isn’t going to stun you. But for such a low price, the quality is decent enough to be worthwhile.

What I Like

  • They have the classic Clubmaster shape at an extremely affordable price.

  • Get two pairs for under $20, so you can leave one pair in your car.

  • There’s a huge variety of colors, and you can even get a Wayfarer lookalike, too. 

What I Don’t Like

  • While these are good for cheap sunglasses, the quality just isn’t close to what you’ll get if you’re willing to spend double or triple the amount. 

What Other Reviewers Say

With over 2,400 reviews as of writing, the Kaliyadi Polarized Retro Classic has around a 4.5-star average. If I had a nickel for every review that said “you get what you pay for,” I’d have roughly 2,400 nickels. And it’s true. These are a great choice if you want the Ray-Ban style, but you’re on a strict budget.

The Verdict

If you’re in the market for a bargain Ray-Ban Clubmaster knock-off, check out Kaliyadi’s Polarized Retro Classic

In my opinion, it’s better to go with something that’s higher quality. Sure, you spend a bit more up front, but you end up with some shades that look great and last much longer. Still, I know sometimes you just want a pair of frames you can be a bit careless with and toss around. 

If that sounds like you, then these sunglasses are all yours.

Best Budget Clubmaster Alternatives
Kaliyadi, Polarized Retro Classic

These are the frames for you if you want to be a bit careless with and toss a pair in your car. They're not the best quality, but they have the style to get you through.  

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Goodbye, Ray-Ban

With age comes wisdom. And with wisdom comes better sunglasses. 

For me, the best Ray-Ban alternative comes from Christopher Cloos. The Cloos x Brady isn’t necessarily less expensive than a pair of Wayfarers. It’s just much higher quality at the same price. 

Christopher Cloos x Brady

What does Tom Brady do when he's not slinging pigskins? He's slinging these Wayfarer inspired beauties.

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Of course, there are a few options out there that get on Ray-Ban’s quality level at a lower price, so for those options, check out Blenders Eyewear and Tomahawk Shades

But if you’ve only got a $20 and you still want in on the Ray-Ban game, Knockaround and Kaliyadi are your best bet. 

So which will it be?

FAQs

Are Ray-Bans worth it?

Ray-Ban makes solid sunglasses, though certain brands like Christopher Cloos use higher quality acetate and have features like spring loaded hinges that offer higher quality at a similar price.

Why are Ray-Bans so expensive?

Ray-Ban is owned by Luxottica, which basically owns every major sunglass brand and retailer you can think of off the top of your head. Because they’re the biggest player in town, they can keep Ray-Ban prices higher and adjust dozens of other brands prices to justify the higher Ray-Ban price. That’s why you’ll find brands with much better quality at Ray-Ban prices, and brands with similar Ray-Ban quality at much lower prices.

What sunglasses are in style in 2021?

In 2021, sunglasses are trending back toward vintage and classic styles. Expect smaller frames and fewer mirrored lenses.

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