The 10 Best Stick-on Lights
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in October of 2015. If you need just a little extra illumination under cabinets, in closets, or on the stairs, but don't want the hassle of hard-wiring, try one of these easy-to-install stick-on lights. They come in a variety of styles to match any decor and taste. With options for indoor or outdoor installation and a range of price points to meet any budget, there's a choice here for everyone. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best stick-on light on Amazon.
No Stick-On Lights? You’ve Been Missing Out
Most people spend a lot of time cooking, eating, and hosting in the kitchen, so why not start there?
If you’re of a certain age, you may remember The Clapper craze during the late 1990s. Among other uses, the device allowed you to turn your lights on and off with a simple clap of your hands. Its main problem was that other noises — such as a cough, a loud television, or a knock on the door — could trigger it, too. Where The Clapper failed in being a little too ambitious, the stick-on light succeeds in its simplicity.
Compared to lights you have to plug into an outlet, set up yourself, or hire a professional to install, stick-on lights are as low-maintenance as it gets. With corded lights, you’re forced to consider both the location of your wall outlets and the appearance of any cords that would run between the light and the outlet. With do-it-yourself projects, you always have to worry about a long, complicated installation process. And once you bring in the pros, you know your wallet is going to take a hit.
So, stick-on lights are simple and affordable. Who cares? Well, we haven’t gotten to their finest trait yet: versatility. They’re typically battery-powered, compact, and lightweight, which enables you to install them in just about any room or space that requires illumination.
Most people spend a lot of time cooking, eating, and hosting in the kitchen, so why not start there? Not only do they make exceptional under cabinet lights, you can set them up inside of your cupboards, as well. This way, when you’re stumbling around the kitchen in the middle of the night looking for a snack, you won’t end up accidentally eating the dog treats again.
They also work great above a bedside table, as a nightlight, or in a hallway that suffers from poor lighting or no lighting at all. If you live in a rental apartment, you know all too well how common it is for attached decks or patios to lack adequate lighting; a stick-on light solves that problem in seconds.
How To Know Your Stick-On Light Is “The One”
I’m a simple guy; my stick-on light doesn’t need to woo me with extravagant features and excessive brightness. A basic, puck-style light that’s easy to tap on and tap off will get the job done just fine. However, I do realize that plenty of folks are a bit more particular; if you happen to fall into that category, you won’t be disappointed with the selection out there.
Motion sensing technology, adjustable beam angles, auto-dimming features, swiveling heads — it’s hard to believe that battery-powered stick-on lights can contain all these capabilities and more, but it’s true. Some even come with extra adhesive pads, which allow you to move the light around your house as you see fit.
You should also make sure its adhesive component is compatible with the type of surface — think brick, wood, metal, siding, or glass — to which it will be attached.
To some, the coverage and brightness of the light will play an important role in the decision-making process. While puck and button models focus the light on a condensed area, light bars and tape lights tend to be greater in length, feature more bulbs, and spread the light out more. Most stick-on lights are designed with LED bulbs, which are more energy efficient and last longer than their fluorescent and xenon counterparts. On the flip side, LED lights typically aren’t quite as warm and bright, so keep that in mind if you long for that vivid, sunny glow.
Many stick-on lights run on conventional AA or AAA batteries, while some of the more high-tech models are rechargeable via a USB cable, which is quite convenient. Not only do these rechargeable lights help you save money on batteries over the long run, you can simply plug them in while you’re gone during the daylight hours, ensuring they’ll be fully charged upon your return in the evening.
If you’re in search of outdoor lighting, you can add an additional energy source to the mix: solar power. Stick-on lights of this variety are often automated to switch on at dusk and turn off around sunrise, using the sun’s rays to power back up during the day.
Since these are permanently located outdoors, select one with a durable, weatherproof design that will prevent it from quickly wearing down in the elements. You should also make sure its adhesive component is compatible with the type of surface — think brick, wood, metal, siding, or glass — to which it will be attached.
Milestones In Lighting Technology
Like many of today’s technologies, human beings have been enjoying electric light for only a tiny fraction of their existence. We’ve been using oil lamps and candles for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until William Murdoch invented gas lighting at the end of the 18th century that the modern era of lighting began.
Like many of today’s technologies, human beings have been enjoying electric light for only a tiny fraction of their existence.
Everyone knows about Thomas Edison and the light bulb, which is recognized as the crown jewel of achievements in lighting, but few people probably realize that more than 20 inventors created incandescent lamps and bulbs prior to Edison’s. Way back in 1809, a man named Humphry Davy publicly demonstrated the first electric lamp.
Plenty of other inventors followed suit, introducing lamps, bulbs, and other lighting devices during the subsequent decades. Following years of research, Edison produced the first 16-watt light bulb in 1880, which lasted an unprecedented 1,500 hours. Historians see this bulb as superior to those that preceded it, thanks to a more robust incandescent material and a high resistance that made it economically feasible to distribute power from a concentrated source.
Since then, innovations over the years have produced additional new styles; a few notable ones include the fluorescent lamp in the early 1900s; a fluorescent light bulb that lasts 60,000 hours in 1991; and finally, the highly popular LED light in 1995.
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