The 10 Best Desk Lamps

Updated June 07, 2017 by Chase Brush

10 Best Desk Lamps
Best High-End
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We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Here's a bright idea: stop straining your eyes trying to read that book or write that essay and throw a little light on your workspace. Ranked by cost, energy efficiency, bulb life, aesthetics and function, these desk lamps will illuminate any task, whether its design drafting or studying for your next test -- and many look pretty good while doing it, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best desk lamp on Amazon.

10. TaoTronics Touch-Sensitive Control

The TaoTronics Touch-Sensitive Control has a durable yet elegant metal finish, making it a great match for modern home decor. The tilt feature on the upper and lower arms lets you customize the light's position, and you can choose between four levels of brightness.
  • ergonomic design
  • uniform light coverage
  • not as bright as other models
Brand TaoTronics
Model TT-DL18
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Aglaia Dimmable Reading

The Aglaia Dimmable Reading won't strain your eyes with its flicker-free LED lamp. But we're more interested in the extra USB port tucked away discreetly in its base, which also houses the touch control panel. Its thin, unobtrusive profile is great for small desks.
  • anti-glare light cover
  • weighty base prevents tipping over
  • matte black outer finish
Brand Aglaia
Model LS1048
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Lampat LS-560 LED

The Lampat LS-560 LED has its control buttons built into the bottom of the neck, so there is less risk of spilling drinks on them, or pushing them accidentally. Plus, if you review a lot of images or photographs, you'll love how it makes colors pop.
  • base has a sturdy rubber bottom
  • usb charging port
  • plastic is cheap quality
Model 900865
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Jebsens Z6

The Jebsens Z6 is a powerful option designed for studios and home offices. It has a thin cord that can fit through small holes to reach a power source, and it attaches to the edge of your desk instead of sitting on the surface, leaving more room for you to work.
  • high quality aluminum construction
  • low power consumption
  • clamp can be annoying to use
Model Z6
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. V-Light Traditional

Looking to maintain a more vintage or classic look in your home office? You'll want the V-Light Traditional, then, which is designed to imitate a traditional banker's lamp with its large amber glass shade and antique bronze finish. A 13W energy-saving CFL bulb is included.
  • decorative on-off pull chain
  • backed by 90-day warranty
  • more for aesthetics than function
Brand V- Light
Model CAVS91045BRZ
Weight 6.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Coocheer 15W Eye-Care

The flexible Coocheer 15W Eye-Care boasts impressive rotation capabilities, with a head that turns 180 degrees and a base that swivels 360 degrees. It also has five different dimming settings and four lighting modes, including sleep, relax, study and read.
  • 1 hour auto-off function
  • led light is better for your eyes
  • controls respond quickly to touch
Model CH-243
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Globe Electric 35 Inch Architect

Great for drafters and designers, the Globe Electric 35 Inch Architect is an affordable and functional option for anyone who needs ample light to complete their tasks. It's a bit bulkier than other options, but the heavy base also makes it more stable.
  • simple on-off rotary switch
  • accepts 60w bulbs
  • cord is extra long
Brand Globe Electric
Model 5698601
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

3. Newhouse Lighting 6W

The Newhouse Lighting 6W is perfect for students because it incorporates a removable power cord, making it easy to pack up and move from the library to the dorm. Plus, it's extremely long-lasting, with lights built to survive 28 years of typical daily use.
  • small footprint on any desk
  • wall adapter is included
  • durable silicone neck
Brand Newhouse Lighting
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Limelights LD1002-GRN Gooseneck

If you're stuck with limited workspace and need to condense clutter, try the Limelights LD1002-GRN Gooseneck. This basic and affordable lamp features an integrated eight-compartment organizer, giving you a place to store all your pens, pencils, paper clips and more.
  • also includes a tablet stand
  • comes in variety of bright colors
  • flexible chrome neck
Brand Limelights
Model LD1002-GRN
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Trond Halo 10W

The Trond Halo 10W is a high-tech, fully adjustable model with a gooseneck arm for flexibility and an innovative light guide panel for creating 100 percent flicker-free, anti-glare illumination. Best of all, a convenient sliding dimmer lets you quickly adjust brightness.
  • creates a soft natural light
  • non-marking rubber finish
  • stores your last brightness setting
Model Halo 10W
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Choosing The Right Desk Lamp

Eyes are like other muscles in your body; they get tired and need a break. This is especially true when they work harder than usual in poor lighting conditions.

While unlikely to cause permanent damage -- despite a parent's admonition to a child trying to peruse a comic book at night by smuggled flashlight -- trying to read or type in low light can cause acute eyestrain. This can present symptoms including headache, fatigue, and sore, tired eyes. The remedy for eyestrain is rather simple: just rest your eyes (and the rest of yourself) and try to avoid the conditions that caused the discomfort in the first place.

Adding a desk lamp to your work area is the best way to avoid the eyestrain associated with non screen reading (or the viewing of graphics, charts, etc.). A desk lamp allows you to direct light exactly where you need it without changing the overall illumination of an interior. Thus desk lamps allow you to add illumination to your own work space without impacting others. If you have a private office all to yourself, this will matter less; if you share a bay of desks or work in a cubicle, then a desk lamp may be the only practical way to add light to your space.

When choosing a lamp for work, you will want to focus on function more than form. Many sleek and compact desk lamps require minimal desk space yet provide bright illumination, often thanks to LED bulbs. Make sure you factor in the range of brightness settings a lamp offers; you will likely want to dim and brighten your desk lamp at times. When choosing a desk lamp for the home, you have more latitude in terms of size, appearance, and brightness. Consider where it will sit in your home and pick a lamp that will look great there, off or on.

Also consider the color temperature of a desk lamp. Many are bright enough to help with reading, but give off light that is a pale white hue that can be unpleasant. Others shine with a "yellow" light that may be more appealing; some options offer both color temperatures.

Making The Most Of Your Desk Lamp

A desk lamp can serve more as a decorative than a functional piece; if you are choosing a lamp for its looks more than its light, you are free to let you inner interior designer run wild. One look at the many stunning lamps offered by a venerable maker such as Tiffany, for example, will justify the choice of a lamp as ornament more than light fixture.

However the primary purpose of a lamp is illumination. Thus once you have chosen a desk lamp with a lumen output that suits your needs and with aesthetics you appreciate, it's important you place the lamp properly. If you have chosen a lamp with a gooseneck design, then it can be easy to move the light source closer to and farther from the pages or pictures before you. These types of lamps are also easier to move entirely out of your field of view without moving their base.

Many modern desk lamps are so lightweight and compact that they can be moved about your desk or even brought to other areas of your home or office; don't be afraid to move a desk lamp around frequently. Too often people treat a piece of furniture or a fixture as immovable once it has been set in a given place. Such is hardly the case: you should reposition your lamp as often as you need for ease of reading to to accommodate the other items sharing the desk.

A Brief But Illuminating History Of Lamps

The word "lamp" was first used to describe the oil lamp, a primitive but effective tool that could produce light and a bit of heat for hours on end when properly maintained. More stable than a torch and producing a more lasting flame than a candle, oil lamps were used all around the ancient world, from the Arctic to Africa to Greece and Rome to the Far East and Near East.

In the late 18th Century, gas lighting first came to prominence. Natural gas produced a relatively cleanly burning light and was available in abundance. Gas lighting would be the primary source of illumination throughout much of the 19th Century, with streets and homes alike featuring gas lamps. Just as quickly as this new technology had supplanted the age old candle and oil lamp, it too would see its position usurped by electric light.

First developed by Humphry Davy in the first decade of the 1800s but not made practical until the work of Thomas Edison decades later, the incandescent lightbulb would be the primary light source of the 20th Century. Available in all shapes and sizes, capable of lighting up whole city blocks or of twinkling softly among the boughs of a Christmas tree, incandescent lightbulbs represented a monumental leap forward in illumination technology. They provided a cheap, reliable, and safe form of light that controlled with the flick of a switch.

While today LED, halogen, and other types of lightbulb are growing popular, they are designed to fit into sockets created for incandescent bulbs. Chances are good that your own home and office are both loaded with incandescent lights largely taken for granted save when they fail. We rely on illumination so casually we scarcely think about it until that moment a bulb burns out, or until we realize we are straining to see the pages of a book or the keys of out computer. Often, then, a hand stretches out and flips a switch or pulls a cord, bringing to life a humble yet indispensable object known as the desk lamp.

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Last updated on June 07, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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