Have you ever had to work long into the night? Maybe it was a one-time thing to finish that university project on time, or maybe you’re just a night owl and are most productive when the sun goes down. Whatever the case, we bet you relied on caffeine and bright lighting to keep you awake.
Unfortunately, research has shown that bright ambient lighting increases eye strain when using a computer, and can actually leave you feeling more tired. So what can you do to prevent this? A good desk lamp will provide you with soft, warm light which eliminates this factor, and gives you more control over your working environment, leading to increased productivity and decreased levels of tiredness overall.
Best Desk Lamp – Comparison Table
Below, we’ve listed some of the best desk lamps, as well as some of their basic specifications. So without any further ado, we now present the list of the best desk lamps of 2018.
|Product Name||Maximum Brightness (lux)||Colour Rendering Index (CRI) Rating|
|Lighting Ever Dimmable Desk Lamp||500||80+|
|Tojane 32” Swing Arm Desk Lamp||460||85|
|OxyLED Q1 Balance||650||90+|
Now that you’ve had a quick look at our top choices, we’ll take a closer look at each, weighing their pros and cons as we go.
Lightblade 1500S - Most Customizable Lamp
Have you ever bought a lamp and found it underwhelming? This will definitely not be the case with the Lightblade 1500S. This lamp comes with both cool and warm light settings, and five brightness settings for each to ensure that you get your workspace set up just the way you like it. These settings can be changed using the touch sensitive base as opposed to many other lamps which place the controls on the neck. We found it easier to change the settings with the Lightblade since it required less movement and there was no fuss over what side the controls were on.
This lamp has a Colour Rendering Index (CRI) rating of over 90. CRI is used to measure how well a light reveals the colours of an object, and sunlight has a rating of 100, meaning that this lamp is great for showing the colours of an object almost as though it were the middle of the day. This makes it a great choice for colour sensitive work like painting or sewing.
The power requirement of this lamp ranges from 1 watt to 8 watts at full brightness. This is due to the use of LED bulbs, which also have the added advantage of a very long life when compared to the incandescent bulbs found in older lamps.
The lamp head itself can be rotated both horizontally and vertically for optimum precision, making it great for desks which don’t have a lot of space since you can light your area from just about any angle.
There’s also a USB port in the base of the lamp, and whilst it doesn’t have enough power to charge a tablet or anything large, it can still charge a phone without any issues. Realistically, the USB port is probably of limited use, since most people have a computer at their desk, but if you don’t, this is a nice added bonus.
The only real disadvantage of this lamp is the price. At around $100, there are many less expensive imitators and it can be difficult to justify paying more for this particular model. Whilst the price may leave a bad taste in the mouth, we highly recommend paying the extra money to ensure you get this high-quality item and not some knockoff that’ll break in a month. Also, the light seems quite directional, which may or may not be a disadvantage depending on your work setup.
Overall, this lamp is near perfect, provides a great range of customisation options and a bonus USB port. If you can face paying a little more for quality, this is the lamp for you.
- Warm and cool light modes
- Very bright, five brightness settings
- Has a bonus USB port
- A little pricey
- Highly directional light
Lighting Ever Dimmable Desk Lamp - Best Budget Desk Lamp
If you like the Lightblade 1500S but can’t justify paying that much for it, Lighting Ever has a model which is clearly heavily influenced by it, for a fraction of the cost. Whilst we did warn against buying copycat products above, we’ve thoroughly researched this one and decided that it’s good enough to make the cut.
This lamp has many of the hallmarks of the Lightblade: the rotating lamp head, the touch controls on the base and the dimmable functionality (although this model has seven settings as opposed to the Lightblade’s five). Since it costs nowhere near as much though, there are a few features that are lacking. Whilst this lamp is still bright, it’s less than half as bright as the Lightblade at maximum settings, with only 500 lux vs the Lightblade’s 1100. Also, there is no warm/cool light setting, the LED’s are a cool white and cannot be replaced.
Let’s look at why this lamp deserves a spot on this list though. It has a minimalistic design that looks as at home in a modern office as it does in a bedroom. It has a bright, dimmable beam with an adjustable head, so it’s adaptable. It has a reasonably low power requirement and at 8 watts, it’s still much lower than the power required by a traditional light bulb. It has touch controls on the base, and the lamp head folds down to save space when not in use.
There is one issue that may be of concern, however. We found that when in use, the plastic on the back of the light gets quite hot. Not hot enough to melt anything, but you definitely wouldn’t want to leave your hand on it. In practice, it’s unlikely you’d be touching the lamp head at all once it’s set up at the angle you need, but it’s something to bear in mind.
Overall, for the price, this lamp blows its competition out of the water by emulating the Lightblade 1500S and proves that you don’t always need a new product if you can scale down an existing one for a new audience. It does lack a few features, but at less than a third of the price, you can’t really complain. This is a great all-purpose lamp that would be perfect for just about any setup, at home or otherwise and really is the best lamp available for under $30.
- Lots of brightness settings
- Touch controls
- Most features of the Lightblade at a fraction of the cost
- Gets hot quickly
- Could be brighter
Tojane 32" Swing Arm Desk Lamp - Best Swing Arm Desk Lamp
If you’ve ever seen the start of a Pixar movie and fallen in love with the classic look of the lamp there, you’ve probably already decided that you want a lamp like this. But not all swing arm lamps are created equally. Some are higher quality than others, like the Tojane model we have here.
First things first, this lamp comes with either a base which sits on your desk or a clamp which screws onto the side of your desk. We found that the clamp was good if you were lacking in desk space, but takes something away from the aesthetics of the lamp, which is a shame since it looks so good.
The main advantage of this lamp is the flexibility you have with regard to lighting angles. There are three joints you can adjust, meaning it’s easy to get the light to the perfect angle. This kind of work means that it’s the perfect lamp for an artist or 3D modeller since it’s easy to study the differences in light and shadow from various angles. Even if you’re just doing paperwork however, this is a great choice, since it accepts various different bulbs and can get you just the right tone of light you’re looking for.
This kind of lamp sometimes have a problem where the screws don’t stay tight enough to keep the lamp head up, which leads to a light that slowly droops until it’s pointed directly at the lamp’s base, but we found no such problems with this model.
The CRI of this lamp is 85, meaning its colour revealing properties are above average, although we’d have preferred to see some kind of light controls since the 460 lux bulb could be brighter. Generally with a swing arm lamp, in order to dim the light, you turn it away from you, but dimmer versions are available. If you’re considering this but really need a dimmable lamp, there are dimmer conversion plugs available online.
The lamp body is made of high-quality metal and comes in black, grey or white. This means that this lamp will suit just about any colour scheme in your home or office.
Overall, we really liked this model. It’s functional and affordable, whilst looking great. We’d have liked to see some dimmer controls or a brighter light output, but for the price, these are compromises that were easy to look past. This is a great desk lamp for students or office workers alike.
- Classic look
- Very adaptable
- Not the brightest
- No dimmer functionality
Trond 11-WC - Best Portable Desk Lamp
You’ll often find low cost, small lights like these at gas stations or 99c stores, branded “Reading lights” or something like that. These will be almost useless and you’ll throw them out the next day.
Know this – the Trond 11WC is no reading light. Well, it is, but it’s also much more than that.
This light has a clamp on the bottom, and therein lies its greatest strength: versatility. You can clamp this light to just about anything and as long as you can plug it in somewhere, you’ll illuminate it with very bright white light. Yes, it’s a desk lamp, but we’ve also seen it attached to sewing machines, workbenches, TVs, you name it.
Adding to its versatile credentials, it features a classic gooseneck build for maximum flexibility. The neck itself is resilient enough to withstand reasonable amounts of stress and we found that the lamp head was light enough to avoid pulling the neck down considerably.
The clamp only opens to 1.38 inches, so it’s not going to fit on the side of a thick desk, but will clip just fine onto your monitor, a desk drawer or even a book and thanks to the gooseneck design, getting it set up is just a matter of finding an angle that works for you.
This lamp also includes a bonus USB port to charge your phone with which would be invaluable if it ran off of a battery, however as this lamp only runs when plugged in, the USB port is of limited use. It’s nice to have, though.
Similar to the swing arm lamp we reviewed earlier, this lamp does not have any kind of brightness control and instead relies on you to point it in a direction which gives you the amount of light you need. For a normal portable light, we see no problem with this, but given the Trond’s higher than average price, we’d have preferred to see a few additional features to make it worth our while.
Overall, the Trond 11WC is a fantastic lamp for if you travel a lot. It can clamp onto just about anything in your working environment and provides a bright, high-quality light source with a CRI rating of 85, which is impressive for a portable light. If you don’t mind paying a little extra for versatility, this is the lamp for you.
- Ultra versatile
- Bright light with a high CRI rating
- Has a bonus USB port
- Slightly pricer than similar lamps
- No brightness control
OxyLED Q1 Balance - Most Stylish Desk Lamp
If you’re the kind of person who likes to go bold, you probably don’t want a standard “Pixar” lamp. During our research, we found that most lamps looked the same and only varied in specifications or colours, so when we found this, we knew it deserved a spot on our list.
The OxyLED Q1 is a unique, minimalistic desk lamp that would look at home in a modern office or study.
It produces a light of up to 650 flux and has four brightness modes to allow you some form of control over the intensity. A CRI rating of over 90 means that it is competing with the Lightblade in terms of colour revealing properties, which is surprising considering this lamp is less than half the price.
This lamp also has a feature that no other lamp in this list does: it has a rechargeable battery. This plays into the idea of form above function, what’s the point in having a fancy looking desk lamp if there are wires all over the place? This does mean, however, that this lamp would look best on a clean and organised desk, so it might not be suited to a messy worker.
Power usage is middle of the road as far as LED lamps are considered. This lamp uses 4 watts of power which is better than some, worse than some. The LEDs cannot be changed but it’s unlikely they’ll die before something else breaks, since LEDS have an inherently long life. The bigger concern here is battery life. The manufacturer claims that the battery can be recharged around 500 times, and lasts about six hours a charge for a total of 3000 hours, which means the battery will last for 125 days if used continuously. There doesn’t seem to be any way to replace the battery however, so once that runs out, you’d probably have to buy another lamp, and the lifetime isn’t all that long. For most people, this lamp would probably last a year or two, but if you’re someone who regularly works through the night, you’ll want to consider alternative options.
Overall, this lamp is perfect for someone who focuses on aesthetics. Its performance is good, and the rechargeable battery is a huge plus, although the overall life of the product falls somewhat short of our expectations.
- Rechargeable battery
- Looks great
- Good power usage
- Somewhat short product life
Best Desk Lamp - Buyer's Guide
As with any product, it’s important to read up on the important specifications of a desk lamp before buying one. Here we’ll go over some of the most important aspects to help you make an informed decision about the product that is best for you.
What do you intend to use this lamp for? If you’re looking for a lamp for intricate work, you’ll want a magnified light, if it’s for computer work, you’ll want an adjustable head lamp with a soft light. The purpose of the lamp is the number one most important thing to consider since it’ll influence any buying decision you eventually make.
Once you’ve decided on the purpose of your lamp, you can begin to look at aesthetics. Lamps come in all shapes and sizes, and most are available with either a base or a clamp in case you’re short on desk space. Some people prefer a classic look, whilst others prefer something that lets them express themselves. Ultimately, as long as it fits your needs, the style is down to personal preference.
You may be used to a light’s or bulb’s power being measured in lumens, but for the most specific results, lamps tend to use luminous flux (or lux) which takes into account the gradual changes in light the farther away from the source you get. Generally, for a desk lamp you’d be looking for somewhere around 500 lux, although higher lux lamps often provide multiple brightness options anyway, so keep an eye out for that. If you’d like to read up on the topic, there’s a helpful guide available here: http://www.greenbusinesslight.com/resources/lighting-lux-lumens-watts
Some desk lamps are huge and demand a permanent spot on your workspace. Some are tiny and can even be folded up to save space. It’s important to assess the amount of space you have available before making a purchase since positioning is almost as important as the lamp’s brightness when it comes to this sort of thing. If you’re low on space, consider a lamp with a clamp that can attach to the side of your desk, or a smaller, space saving version. Lamps almost always have their dimensions available, so measure out that amount of space on your desk if you’re unsure.
There are a whole range of different bulb types these days. However, most lamps use either an LED or an incandescent bulb. Most desk lamps are now using LED’s which offer very bright, warm, white light. The advantage of these bulbs is that they tend to last ages, over 10,000 hours, and that they usually come with some kind of dimmer function. They also use very little power, making them environmentally efficient.
Incandescent bulbs are your standard “light bulbs”. Some people prefer them since they give out a yellow/orange light which can make your workspace feel warmer, despite the fact that they are less efficient than LEDS. If you’re considering an incandescent bulb, make sure you have a lamp with a dimmer switch, or consider buying a dimmer attachment, since once you turn it on, if it’s too bright, tough.
Each bulb has its advantages, but in the end, it’s entirely up to you and your needs. If you want a space that feels cosier, go incandescent, if you want brighter, go LED.
Rest assured, our research has been in depth and thorough. We aim to provide you with lists of the best products around, which is why we’ve only included products that really went the extra mile, products we’d be happy to purchase for ourselves. Make no mistake, each of the products we’ve reviewed above is someone’s perfect lamp and whilst they all excel in certain areas, there’s one that really stands out above the rest as being worthy of the title “Best Desk Lamp”, and that is quite clearly the Lightblade 1500S. It’s slightly more expensive, but we feel the added features and control it gives you over your workspace is well worth the price.
We hope our reviews have helped you come to a decision as to which is the best desk lamp for you, and as ever, thanks for reading.