Sunglass Warehouse offers a wide array of sunglasses at an affordable price. In this review, we will look at one of their most popular frames, the Drifter sunglasses.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. We paid for the sunglasses presented in this article.
The packaging for the sunglasses we ordered was no-frills. Here’s a look at how the box arrived along with the marketing insert:
As you can see, the packaging is simple and contains a generous coupon for a future order. You will also see that the sunglasses are made in China and do not contain any case or travel pouch.
For this review, we are examining the Drifter sunglasses. These are designed to mimic the iconic Ray-Ban Wayfarers. The Drifter sunglasses contain polarized lenses and are available in three colors: black, tortoise, and brown.
As evident in the pictures above, the sunglasses appear pretty similar to the Ray-Ban Wayfarers.
One notable restriction of these sunglasses is that they are only available in one size. Per the Sunglass Warehouse website, the bridge is 21mm, and the lens height is 50mm.
Here are all the measurements for the Drifter sunglasses:
There is a possibility that these sunglasses may not fit as expected, especially if you regularly buy smaller or larger frames.
The build quality of the lenses and frames is unknown. The only evidence of quality is found in their FAQs, where it is stated that the lenses are made from polycarbonate (plastic).
Polarized lenses sound expensive, but they are relatively cheap to make. To prove that these, or any lenses are polarized, simply hold them up to a monitor and rotate the frames like this:
You will see that the light is completely blocked out thanks to polarization.
The Drifter sunglasses feel noticeably light. We found that the Drifter sunglasses only weighed 0.92oz (26g):
Here are how the Drifter sunglasses look when worn:
The sunglasses felt good when worn on my face; your result may vary. I found that they weren’t loose when looking around or down. So having them suddenly fall off shouldn’t be a problem.
Comparing Drifter to Ray-Ban New Wayfarer
The Drifter sunglasses will inevitably be compared to the Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Luckily, I purchased a pair of Ray-Ban New Wayfarers several years back that can be shown alongside for this review. Here’s a comparison of the Drifter sunglasses and the Ray-Ban New Wayfarers on several features.
Here’s a comparison of sizes between the Drifter and Ray-Ban New Wayfarers:
|Sunglasses||Bridge||Lens Height||Temple Length||Lens Width|
|Drifter||21 mm||50 mm||140 mm||Not Disclosed|
|New Wayfarer (Small)||18 mm||38 mm||145 mm||52 mm|
|New Wayfarer (Standard)||18 mm||41 mm||145 mm||55 mm|
|New Wayfarer (Large)||18 mm||43 mm||145 mm||58 mm|
Here’s how they look when set side-by-side:
The Drifter sunglasses weigh only 26g, whereas the Ray-Ban New Wayfarers (standard size) weigh 36g. While 10g may not seem like a lot, it is noticeably different when held in your hand and when put on your face.
The Ray-Ban’s feel more premium or better built. This is subjective, of course, but worth mentioning.
The Drifter sunglasses feature polarized lenses, as do the Ray-Ban New Wayfarers. Here’s another rotation test to demonstrate the polarized lenses in action, this time with Ray-Ban sunglasses:
Both sunglasses will reduce the glares from oncoming cars, water, etc. Both sunglasses equally minimize strain on your eyes. Neither brand is better than the other.
Both the Drifter and Ray-Ban sunglasses are likely made from polycarbonate. Unfortunately, I could not verify directly on the Ray-Ban website the exact materials of the New Wayfarers.
Sunglass Warehouse does not provide a case with your purchase. This can lead to the frames breaking or the lenses becoming scratched. You will either need to buy a case separately or be careful with your sunglasses.
Ray-Ban does provide a faux-leather case with your purchase.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of how both sunglasses look when worn.
As evident in the pictures above, both sunglasses are nearly identical. Aside from the branding, the only difference is the slightly longer height in the lens, along with the slight curve of the temple behind the ear for the Drifter sunglasses.
At the time of publication, the Drifter’s cost $15.95, and the Ray-Ban New Wayfarer’s cost $150, a net difference of $134.05 (excluding tax).
Objectively, the Drifter sunglasses are every bit as good as the Ray-Ban New Wayfarer sunglasses. They both feature polarized lenses and nearly identical styles. The subtle difference in weight and limited size options make the Drifter limited on who they can fit.
Are sunglasses a status symbol to you?
Admittedly, people buy Ray-Ban sunglasses, not for the build quality, but as a status symbol. Ray-Ban Wayfarers are iconic. They were worn by Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Kate Middleton, Beyonce, Billy Joel, Casey Neistat, and countless others.
It’s the reason that the branding is displayed prominently on the lenses and temples. Whether it’s worth the extra $134.05 depends on what is important to you.
But before you buy either pair of sunglasses, check this out:
Who owns Sunglass Warehouse?
Sunglass Warehouse is a subsidiary of FGX International. FGX International owns several eyewear brands, which include the following: Foster Grant, Magnivision, Muk Eyewear, L.A. Express, and countless others. FGX International also licenses many brands, including Body Glove, Ironman, Frye, and Rawlings (source).
Essilor International S.A owns FGX International as of 2010. Furthermore, Essilor International merged with the Italian eyewear brand Luxottica in 2018. Famously known for its monopolistic pricing behavior, Luxottica owns many well-known brands, including Ray-Ban, Oakley, Prada, Coach, Olivers Peoples, and countless others.
We found that Sunglass Warehouse was bought by Luxottica in 2015 for 21.0M EUR as reported in this SEC filing (just search “Sunglass Warehouse”).
While the Drifter sunglasses may mimic Ray-Ban sunglasses, they are both actually made by the same company!
Sunglass Warehouse Return Policy
The Sunglass Warehouse return policy is generous. They offer a 365-day return window:
You can view full details here.
Sunglass Warehouse Promo Codes
While all sunglasses sold through Sunglass Warehouse are pretty affordable, you will find many more discounts available by simply visiting their site. Here’s a current look at their website and promo codes:
As you can see, they offer immediate discounts, which include both 15% off and 20% off (right side). Additionally, Sunglass Warehouse also provides free shipping on U.S. orders over $25.
You should strongly consider the Drifter sunglasses especially if you don’t care about branding or are on a restricted budget. While they are light, the secure fit and polarized lens make these sunglasses a nice and comfortable addition to your daily style.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.