The 10 Best Desk Lamps

Updated May 03, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

10 Best Desk Lamps
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Good lighting is crucial to getting work done, and the right selection will brighten a workspace while reducing eye strain as well as electricity bills. Ranked by cost, aesthetics, and function, these desk lamps will illuminate any task, from drafting and design, to studying for exams -- 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. Aglaia Eye-Care

The Aglaia Eye-Care features a minimalist construction that won't take up much space on your desk, or in your field of view. Its 7-watt fixture sits atop a flexible neck and a pivoting bracket, and there's a 1-amp USB port on the base to keep mobile devices powered.
  • one of the cheapest options
  • two-year warranty
  • can't alter color temperature
Brand Aglaia
Model LS1048
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Victory Gooseneck

With a fresh take on an old standard, the Victory Gooseneck shines just brightly enough to help students finish studying, and it does so reliably for up to 20,000 hours. It also comes in teal and pink, so you can add some color to your workspace.
  • draws only 3 watts of power
  • reasonable price
  • no dimming function
Brand V- Light
Model VSLC066B
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Victory Banker's

For those looking to add a classic touch, the Victory Banker's comes in five different configurations of elegant bases and shades. With a solid design and a simple on/off switch, it's the perfect addition to a wood-paneled study or a grand piano.
  • high-end metal and glass components
  • includes a 13w cfl bulb
  • no adjustments of any kind
Brand V- Light
Model CAVS91045SB
Weight 6.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Newhouse 6W

The Newhouse 6W is perfect for students because it doesn't cost much, and it's small enough to fit on the most cramped desktops. Plus, it's extremely long-lasting, with diodes built to survive 22 years of typical daily use.
  • warm 3000k output
  • five dimming levels
  • not as bright as most others
Brand Newhouse Lighting
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

6. Ambertronix Soft Touch

The simple and effective Ambertronix Soft Touch may not be the fanciest, but it delivers modern, dimmable functionality at a price that can't be beat, and with 20 different modes and a 1-hour sleep timer, it packs in plenty of features.
  • built-in usb charging port
  • no pivoting or swiveling mechanism
  • all-plastic body
Brand Ambertronix
Model pending
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Phive Architect

The Phive Architect's clamp-on design offers top-of-the-line extension and freedom of movement, ideal for artistic or technical drafting. Its single-panel, diffused LEDs are easy on the eyes, and they'll never need replacement.
  • head swivels 180 degrees
  • 5x as efficient as standard bulbs
  • doesn't have a freestanding base
Model pending
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Luxe Cordless

If you find yourself in the dark while you're on the go, consider the Luxe Cordless, which burns for almost 40 hours once fully charged via USB. It bends and rotates to accommodate any size of desk, and it comes in 4 colors that match many popular devices.
  • flattens completely for transport
  • can survive drops of up to 1 meter
  • extra-small footprint
Brand Luxe Lamp
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Ikea Forsa

From America's favorite Swedish designer comes the Ikea Forsa, an articulate, spring-supported appliance in the style of the classic architect's light. It provides a relatively concentrated beam, to help focus on a specific area of any project.
  • durable steel construction
  • powder coating for protection
  • uses a candelabra base bulb
Brand IKEA
Model 801.467.77
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. BenQ e-Reading

The BenQ e-Reading sports a unique, convex LED panel that operates at a consistent voltage, eliminating all traces of flickering and ghosting. One of the smartest choices on the market, it can adjust its output automatically according to the room's brightness.
  • stepless color temperature setting
  • maximum height of 29 inches
  • perfect complement to pc monitors
Brand BenQ
Model AR15_D Blue
Weight 13 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. TaoTronics LED

The TaoTronics LED offers a wide array of features, the most visible of which are the sleek, all-metal body and heavy base. Able to swivel on 4 different axes, it's easy to direct its wide swath of light exactly where needed.
  • usb charging port
  • creates very minimal glare
  • excellent value for the money
Brand TaoTronics
Model TT-DL27
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 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 May 03, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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