Best Cheap Polarized Sunglasses

Photos by Travis Rathbone

Can cheap sunglasses perform well on the water? We tested four pairs that won't break the bank or your heart if they—oops—sink to the bottom.

A great pair of polarized fishing sunglasses can go $200, easy. But if like many anglers you can't keep from sitting on them or dropping them off the dock or leaving them at the diner counter, you don't want to spend that much. Just for you, I tested four pairs that cost $30 or less to learn which offers the best glare reduction, fish-spotting capabilities, durability, and comfort.

Fisherman Eyewear Striper

Bargain Rating: Excellent
Lens Color: Clear amber
Polarization: Excellent
Construction: Excellent
Scratch Resistance: Poor
Comfort: Excellent
Comments: In terms of comfort, the Stripers took the win. The frames are nice and wide, the arms gripped the sides of my head snugly without creating pressure points, and the vented rubber nose pad is a nice touch. Excellent polarization provided good contrast and glare reduction for a crisp, clear look below the surface of the stream. The lenses are fairly dark, which helped combat direct sunlight on the water and while driving. The Stripers did scratch more easily than the others, so take extra care if you buy.

Strike King SKP10

Bargain Rating: Excellent
Lens Color: Clear amber
Polarization: Excellent
Construction: Excellent
Scratch Resistance: Good
Comfort: Very good
Comments: The SKP10 glasses had the best polarization of the lot—I could track my lures underwater from greater distances, even through faster runs and riffles. They had terrific glare reduction and good contrast both on the water and on the road while driving. They hugged my face nicely and didn't slip. The frames felt solidly made, the hinges were tight and smooth, and the lenses weathered my scratch test with the least damage. Provided you don't step on them, these shades should serve you well for a good long time.

Berkley Bolton

Bargain Rating: Very good
Lens Color: Mirrored amber
Polarization: Very good
Construction: Very good
Scratch Resistance: Fair
Comfort: Excellent
Comments: The Boltons have nice, wide lenses, which provide excellent peripheral coverage, and yet they are very lightweight. I experienced slight pressure from the earpieces but nothing that made them hard to wear. Overall, performance on the water was very respectable, although these being the darkest lenses, I got the best underwater view only during the sunniest times. That dark tint did, however, make them excellent for driving a boat or car. Earpiece holes allow for a thick-mono or fly-line-backing neck lanyard.

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Ray-Ban Ray-Ban RB3025 Aviator Large Metal Non-Polarized Sunglasses,Black Frame/Crystal Green G-15XLT Lens,58mm
Apparel (Ray-Ban)
  • Every model in the Ray-Ban collection is the product of meticulous, original styling that translates the best of the latest fashion trends into an ever-contemporary...
  • Ray-Ban sizes refer to the width of one lens in millimeters.
  • Ray-Ban products sold by authorized sellers, like Amazon.com, are eligible for all manufacturer warranties and guarantees.
  • Protective case included, cases come in a variety of colors.
  • Lenses are prescription-ready (Rx-able).
  • Item made in Italy or China.
  • Made in Italy or China.
  • Ray-Ban products include an etched RB on the left lens. The RB is not a scratch or defect.
  • Slight adjustments to the shape of the sunglasses arms may be needed to get a custom fit. Adjustments should be made by a professional
  • The shape and curvature of these sunglasses may need adjustments. Adjustments should only be made by a professional.
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Baby BanZ Baby Banz Ultimate Polarized Sunglasses, Blue, Infant
Apparel (Baby BanZ)
  • Ultimate banz have a silicone nose and brow piece and polarized lenses
  • Category 3 polarized lenses offer high sun glare reductions and good UV protection
  • The lenses have a UV 400 rating for 100% UVA/UVB protection
  • The strap is neoprene elastic and matches the chosen color of the sunglasses
  • Can be refitted with prescription lenses -8.0/+8.0
Oakley Oakley Men's Hijinx Polarized Sunglasses,Polished Black Frame/Grey Lens,one size
Apparel (Oakley)
  • Durability and all-day comfort of lightweight, stress-resistant O Matter frame material
  • Precision and durability of sculpturally integrated hinge mechanisms with dual cam action
  • Dual polaric ellipsoid lens geometry (two lenses cut from single toric shield)
  • Minimized glare via technology that produces the best polarized lenses on the planet
  • UV protection of Plutonite lens material that filters out 100% of UVA / UVB / UVC & harmful blue light up to 400 nm
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