The 10 Best Bedside Touch Lamps
Since the initial publication of this wiki in March of 2017, there have been 20 edits to this page. Stop fumbling in the dark for a light switch and try one of these bedside touch lamps, which turn on and off with a simple tap. Many of them allow you to choose from multiple brightness settings, and some also offer nifty features, like color-changing bulbs. Available in contemporary, retro, and classic designs, there's one for every decor scheme, and we've included options to fit into any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best bedside touch lamp on Amazon.
March 13, 2019:
Replaced the Albrillo Dimmable and Koowi LED Touch due to availability concerns. Removed the OK Lighting OK-816PL and Light Accents Touch as they seem to have issues with long-term durability, and got rid of the Simple Designs Valencia Brushed Nickel Mini due to several reports of them posing a fire hazard. We still like the TaoTronics Gooseneck LED for its simple design and highly customizable lighting modes. The Regency Hill Thom is a great traditional option that will fit in with any style of decor, while the Seaside Village Crystal, Collections Etc Hummingbird, and LumiSource Doe Li are perfect for those looking for an accent piece. Kids will love the Aukey Dimmable for its color-changing capability and funky round shape. In addition to providing soft, eye-friendly light, the TaoTronics Rechargeable has a handy carrying strap that makes it easy to take with you to the kitchen for a late-night glass of water, and it's also great to have around during emergency situations in case you lose power.
A Brief History Of Lamps
People learned to use other animal and vegetable oils for fuel and began to shape the containers out of other materials like shell and clay.
Our story begins at the tail end of the Ice Age, around the year 40000 B.C.E., when the first known stone lamps were created in Europe. These lamps, often discovered in caves by modern archaeologists, were simple in structure—they were usually just made from hollow, rounded rocks. The lamp-user would soak moss with animal fat, place it inside the stone, light it, and — voila! A lamp is born.
The stone lamp's simple form betrayed the massive impact it would have on humanity, though. We may take it for granted today, but man-made lighting provided prehistoric man with two new and novel opportunities: first, it allowed one to use lighting in places that sunlight wouldn't naturally reach, such as deep inside of caves; and second, it extended normal waking hours. Normally, once the sun went down, there was little to stay awake for. Thanks to the ingenuity of innovation, one could rebel against the setting sun, choosing to continue on with work or recreation. The famous Lascaux caves, are a perfect example of this. Without these lamps, it would have been impossible for such beautiful prehistoric artwork to have been created. Thus, lighting not only helped increase productivity, but it also contributed to our cultural history.
Eventually, the stone lamp received updates. People learned to use other animal and vegetable oils for fuel and began to shape the containers out of other materials like shell and clay. A wick was often added to help prolong and focus the burning flame.
The Bible abounds with references to lamps, usually represented symbolically as that which guides man out of the shadows and towards goodness. Lamps, then, aside from their religious connotations, also represented progress, community, and civilization. A lamp could be a signal to an ally, as well as a warning to foes to stay away.
Oil lamps were used for millennia, right up until the end of the 18th century, when the Industrial Revolution flicked the switch on rapid innovation. Within a century, lamps were being fueled by kerosene, coal, and natural gas. Within another 100 years, the world witnessed the creation of incandescent lamps, light bulbs, vapor lamps, neon signs, fluorescent lamps, halogen lamps, and LED lighting. Today, we find ourselves surrounded by some combination of these, some relegated to museums as historical artifacts, and others being used to illuminate our streets, homes, and offices.
Touch-Sensitive Lamps: A Shot in the Dark?
While being able to turn off your lamp with the touch of a finger rather than a twist of the wrist may not seem like an all-too-necessary innovation, it has its benefits. While it's totally justified for consumers to ask questions like, "Do I really need this?" and for innovators, in their turn, to ask questions like, "Wait, seriously — do we really need this?", touch-sensitive appliances already have distinct advantages over their older counterparts.
For starters, touch-sensitive lamps are more resistant to dirt and moisture than those shifty twist-knobs or push-buttons.
For starters, touch-sensitive lamps are more resistant to dirt and moisture than those shifty twist-knobs or push-buttons. Because touch panels are usually free of the notches, grooves, and crevices of knobs, there's less chance of gunk getting in there, building up over time, and eventually culminating in an unreliable switch. Knobs and buttons are also less sanitary, as those grooves tend to be a breeding ground for germs. Ultimately, touch lamps are not only cleaner, but also require less maintenance.
Next, there's the obvious matter of convenience. True, using a traditional twist-knob lamp only takes a second or two longer than touch-tech would, but in certain situations this difference becomes more pronounced. You wouldn't be alone if you've knocked over a glass of water on your nightstand in the process of fumbling around in the darkness, reaching for your lamp's light switch. With a touch lamp, all you need to do is reach over and make contact with the unit. No fumbling necessary.
Touch technology can be especially beneficial to those with physical disabilities like arthritis, in which case the technology's convenience also results in less pain.
Individually, these changes are hardly revolutionary, but as a whole, they're a definite improvement upon the old technology without any real sacrifice.
How it Works
To understand how these lamps function, you need to understand a little electrical jargon. First, there is capacitance, which is a measurement of how much electrical charge something can hold — to simplify this, let's think of it as an object's capacity. This can be measured by a capacitance meter, a necessary tool for a professional electrician.
Not only is it a welcomed convenience, but it also allows you to conserve power.
Touch lamps have their own internal capacitors. When you make contact with the lamp, your body grounds the charge; in essence, you become a part of the electrical circuit. Because the human body's capacitance is greater than the touch lamp's internal capacitance, the circuit responds by outputting a higher voltage to fill the increased capacitance with charged electrons. This circuit detects this change, and reacts by turning the lamp on or off.
However, some touch lamps have multiple brightness settings. When a normal bulb is on, it operates at full power. However, lamps with variable brightness achieve different brightness levels by rapidly cycling the power output the bulb receives. This is called a duty cycle. To illustrate the concept, we'll use a binary number system with "1" meaning the light is on, and "0" being off. A bulb at full brightness would be running a consistent cycle that could be represented as 11111111. At 50 percent, the cycle would read 10101010, or "on/off/on/off/on/off." At 33 percent brightness, the cycle would read 100100100. This cycling occurs so quickly that it's imperceptible to our vision. Most modern lamps utilize this technology. Not only is it a welcomed convenience, but it also allows you to conserve power.
Deciding what kind of lamp you're interested in is mostly a matter of aesthetic preference. Some lamps, like those with goosenecks, do offer the practical advantage of being able to adjust the direction of the bulb. Aside from this, though, the choice (as well as the ability to alter an electrical current's capacitance) is in your hands.
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