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What Are The Different Tint Categories in Sunglasses

It’s easy to assume that the different tints in sunglasses are for no other reason than aesthetics. However, don’t be mistaken. The tint category you choose plays a direct role in your overall visual comfort. Here is a crash course on the different categories of lenses across the world and what it means for your sunny – or as you’re about to find out - not-so-sunny days.


What are Lens Categories?

As a rule of thumb, the lens category reflects how dark the lens is. Pardon the pun. Category 4 is the darkest, whereas category 1 is the lightest and 0 is completely clear.


Category 0 Means Clear

Any sunglasses that have a “category 0” on them means that the lens is completely clear. There is absolutely no tint, no tone, hue, colour – you name it. Category 0 lenses are simply clear lenses. As such, you won’t really find any on the Julbo Canada website as these typically apply to prescription eyeglasses or clear fashion glasses. After all, having clear lenses in snow goggles or sunglasses would be counterproductive.  


Category 4 Has the Darkest Lenses

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Category 4 lenses are the darkest lenses available. These are ideal for situations that are exceptionally bright – think sunny days, high altitudes, on the water, etc. However, just because a lens is the darkest available doesn’t mean that it’ll provide optimal protection from glares and reflections. It just the best at blocking out the brightness. So, always consider polarized lenses that eliminate glares or photochromic lenses that adjust to the lighting around you.

Our recommendation: Our Zebra and Spectron lenses come in category 4.


Category 3 Has Med-Dark Lenses

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Category 3 lenses are the most common type of sunglass lenses out there. In fact, 90% of lenses fall within category 3. These are like the middle-man of sunglasses – they’re not too dark and they’re not too light. They’re the perfect choice for average days – days that aren’t too sunny and days that aren’t too dark.

If you’re looking for sunglasses with a category 3 lens that can be worn every day, whatever the situation, opt for photochromic lenses that automatically adjust to the lighting surrounding you.

Our recommendation: Our Spectron3 sunglasses provide maximum versatility as they incorporate a polycarbonate lens, designed for all types of sport.


Category 2 Has Orange-Yellow Lenses

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Category lenses often come with an orange tint, as they are designed to make an environment appear brighter. That’s also not to mention that these lenses block out blue light and enhance depth perfection and contrast. So, they’re highly recommended to be used in low-light conditions such as in foggy or overcast weather conditions.

Our recommendation:  Our Zebra photochromic lenses come in category 2.


Category 1 Has Yellow-Clear Lenses

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Category 1 lenses are the lightest lens tint available; the next is category 0 which is completely clear. Similar to the prior, these lenses are designed to make your visuals appear brighter while also enhancing the contrast and depth perfection, only better since they’re one step lighter.

As such, these sunglasses are commonly used when driving at night or while using the computer, as they sufficiently block out blue light.

Our recommendation: Our Zebra Light lenses come in category 1. They are photochromic and when worn in the sun, they will be like wearing regular sunglasses or will feel like they’re completely clear.


It’s important to keep in mind that this is a general guideline to sunglass lens categories as a whole. However, it’s an accurate representation of what you’ll find from the Julbo Canada collection. And don’t forget that the lens colour also plays a vital role in the overall experience you receive from your sunglasses. So, consider each component when selecting your next pair of shades.