Randolph Engineering vs American Optical: Battle Of The Iconic Aviators

Randolph Engineering vs American Optical

I’m not very gentle with my gear. Most stuff never last very long.

When I am not traveling or lifting weights, I do boxing, hiking, jogging or crazy stuff like hitchhiking in Colombia. I love my active life but most of my belongings does not. The wear and tear is just too much for some of my lower quality gear.

But there’s a silver lining in all this: I have become very good with finding affordable yet high quality gear. If the stuff can survive me, it will be good enough for 99% of the general population!

Now let’s talk about sunglasses.

I cant remember how many pair I have destroyed, but it’s probably close to 20. Not even known quality brands like RayBan or Oakley have escaped my destructive hands. But for the last 3 years I have only owned two pairs: Randolph Engineering Aviators and American Optical Original Pilots.

I am happy with both of them and at first glance they look almost identical. But each have their own strength and weaknesses, and I believe every prospective buyer need to be aware of them. Get ready for the battle between two American icons: Randolph Engineering vs American Optical.

Let’s go!

Summary Table:

ImageNamePriceWarrantyLensesMy Rating
Randolph Engineering Aviators$$$LifetimeGlass
American Optical Original Pilots$$1 YearGlass


When I bought my Randolphs I was told that the company offers lifetime warranty. I was initially skeptical because I had issues with other businesses and their so called “lifetime warranty”.

But Randolph is not joking.

I know because I used their warranty.

About one year after my purchase, the rubber tip of the temple fell off and I couldn’t locate it. I emailed Randolph to see what they could do about this issue. The customer service rep was very friendly and they would mail me a complete new temple. No questions asked and everything was going to be covered under warranty!

Just wow.

This is how you create lifelong customers!

I never used the warranty for my American Optical Original Pilots, but according to their webpage they only offer one year of warranty. That’s clearly not good enough!

Randolph is a clear winner in the first Randolph Engineering vs American Optical category.

randolph engineering vs american optical


I think we all agree. Sunglasses is not only for protection against the sun. In addition you want to look cool!

And my Randolph Aviators looks really cool. It’s truly the original iconic aviator look, and I have received countless compliments from both friends and strangers on the street.

The one thing that stands out is the lens. It looks classy, sturdy and have some weight. You can clearly see it’s made of real glass and not some cheap plastic.

To add to the coolness factor, Randolph has also become the preferred choice for many Hollywood actors.

I also like the look of my American Optical. The style is almost similar to my Randolphs, and the frame is pretty much identical. But there’s one small difference. In my opinion, the glass lens feels less sturdy and robust compared to my Randolph Aviator. Maybe not a big deal but I prefer the lens on my Randolphs.

Randolph is a slight winner in the style category due to the lens.


Except from the rubber tip that fell off, I had no further issues with my Randolphs. After three years of heavy use the lens have zero scratches, the nose pads are firmly attached and the hinge screws have never fallen out.

Amazing American workmanship!

I have not had a lot of issues with my American Optical either, but the hinges have caused me some headache. Sometimes the screws loosen and it has even fell out. This is not a big deal but nevertheless worth mentioning.

Randolph is a slight winner due to the hinge issues I had on my American Optical.


It’s not a huge difference between the two when it comes to comfort. Both sunglasses sits very comfortable on my face. Neither is too tight nor too loose.

But there are a few noteworthy differences. Firstly, the nose pads on my Randolphs feels more comfortable. Secondly, the temples feels less flimsy. The latter may be due to the hinge issue I described above.

Almost a draw but Randolph is a slight winner due to the better designed nose pads and temples.

randolph engineering vs american optical


In the last battle between Randolph Engineering vs American Optical I will talk about the price. This is the only disadvantage of Randolph because they are more expensive than American Optical.

The price for both glasses includes a stylish carrying cases and basic repair kits.

American Optical is the winner in the price category.

Randolph Engineering vs American Optical: Andy’s Verdict

The battle of Randolph Engineering vs American Optical is over. For me Randolph Engineering Aviators is the clear winner. Of all the sunglasses I have owned they look the most stylish, are most comfortable and are of the highest quality. They almost seem indestructible. In addition they have an outstanding lifetime warranty that few can match. The only negative is the higher price but I have no issue paying more for gear that will last many years.

American Optical Original Pilots are also a great pair of glasses. They could be an option for those who don’t like spending too much on sunglasses.

If you want to try my Randolph Engineering Aviators you can buy them here.

If you want to try my American Optical Original Pilots you can buy them here.


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  1. Hello!😊
    I am a house wife here in the Philippines☺️and the Aviators that my husband bought from Randolph requires a repair now, only after using it for 5 months. We bought two pairs last September 22, 2018. Mine is ok, but his glasses broke at the Joint part while he was taking it out from the Protective Case just now as I am writing this🙈. I sent their customer service office an email with pictures / receipt. I hope that I will receive a Positive Response like you did🙏🏻
    Have a good day!

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