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The best desk lamps in 2021

Best desk lamps
(Image credit: Ikea)

Buying the best desk lamp may seem simple, but with thousands of models on the market you could be wondering if any of them are better choices for you than others.

The answer is yes, which is why we rounded up the best desks lamps here for your convenience. Whether you’re looking to improve your home office space, alleviate eye strain or set the mood for getting work done, the right desk lamp can help.

Some of the best desk lamps are all about elegance and aesthetics, while some prioritize versatility. In a perfect world, your desk lamp should look good while providing adjustable settings for height and angle. Those that come with built-in LEDs should offer an array of brightness and temperature settings, too.

We’ve gathered lamps with built-in LEDS as well as options that let you add a light bulb of your choosing. Our guide to the best smart light bulbs can help you find one that’s compatible with your smart home system, if you’re interested in automation or hands-free control. Of course, you’ll need to select a fixture first.

See all of the best desk lamps below.

What are the best desk lamps?

The best desk lamp right now is the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp. TaoTronics offers an extensive collection of desk lighting solutions, ranging from ones with Qi charging pads and charging ports to ones with customizable timers and foldable arms. The $40 TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp is the top choice for most people, though. It offers 5 different light temperatures, ranging from cool to warm, as well as 7 brightness settings.

If you’re looking to upgrade your desk space for less than $25, the Lepower Metal Desk Lamp is a better choice for you. The sleek metal finish looks both modern and professional, while its flexible neck lets you adjust lighting angles to your needs. It doesn’t come with built-in LEDs like the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp, though, so you’ll need to provide your own light bulb.

The best desk lamps you can buy today

Best desk lamps: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp

(Image credit: TaoTronics)

1. TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp

Best desk lamp overall

Size: 15.8 x 13 x 7.1 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds | Voltage: 110 Volts | Wattage: 12 Watts

5 temperature options
7 brightness settings
Can’t adjust lamp height

The TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp is one of the best desk lamps right now because its ergonomic arm lets you find the exact illumination angle you need, while the built-in LEDs provide seven brightness levels and five color temperatures ranging from cool white to warm yellow. You can adjust the LED settings throughout the day using a subtle, touch-sensitive dial mechanism on top of the base, too.

This desk lamp’s arm lifts up to 135 degrees and swivels 90 degrees, meaning you have the freedom to move it however you see fit. Its intuitive design makes the $40 TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp easy to set up as soon as you get it out of the box. Whether you choose the black, white and wood grain options, this is an excellent lightning accessory for a modern space. 

Best desk lamps: Lepower Metal Desk Lamp

(Image credit: Lepower)

2. Lepower Metal Desk Lamp

Best desk lamp under $25

Size: 10.4 x 6.1 x 6 inches | Weight: 1.9 pounds | Voltage: 120 Volts | Wattage: 40 Watts

Budget friendly
Sleek metal design
Flexible arm
Doesn’t come with bulb

If you’re looking for an affordable desk lamp that looks sleeker than its $25 price lets on, look no further than the Lepower Metal Desk Lamp. Its matte appearance strikes a tone between traditional and modern, meaning it will suit a variety of settings. Plus, its flexible neck covers nearly every lighting angle you could need.

This lamp doesn’t come with a built-in LED, so you’ll need to supply your own bulb. This gives you the flexibility to get a bulb with a temperature to your liking, or even a smart light bulb with color and scheduling options. You can also use any spare lightbulb you have around your house, so long as it's an LED bulb rated between 4W and 6W, an energy saving bulb between 8W and 16W, or an incandescent bulb between 20W and 40W.

Best desk lamps: TaoTronics Metal LED Desk Lamp

(Image credit: TaoTronics)

3. TaoTronics Metal LED Desk Lamp

Best premium desk lamp

Size: 18.9 x 5.3 x 17.2 inches | Weight: 4.4 pounds | Voltage: 120 Volts | Wattage: 12 Watts

Made of premium materials
Timer settings
USB charging port

The TaoTronics Metal LED Desk Lamp is a premium version of the $40 TaoTronics lamp. For $76 you get some of the more affordable model’s best features, like temperature and brightness settings, as well as exclusive smart controls, like timers and scheduling. It’s also made of aluminum alloy, which TaoTronics says is scratch-resistant and designed to last longer.

The LED panel transmits light sideways, which claims to create glare-free illumination that brightens your space without hurting your eyes. The arm and base are adjustable with a 4-axis mechanism, too, so you can find the right angle that works for you every time. It even has a second, smaller LED that acts as a reading light that can be timed for 60 minutes when you fold the arm in half, which is ideal for late-night use.

Best desk lamps: Ikea Forsa

(Image credit: Ikea)

4. Ikea Forsa

An affordable desk lamp with a great design

Size: 14 x 6 x 5 inches | Weight: 5 pounds | Voltage: N/A | Wattage: 40 Watts

Sleek design
Adjustable height
Comes with bulb
Not available for delivery in every market

Ikea doesn’t just sell furniture — you can find almost everything you need for your work from home or home school set up at the Swedish retail giant. Its Forsa lamp (stylized FORSÅ,) for example, is a popular choice because it comes in a variety of colors and costs less than $30. 

The Ikea Forsa desk lamp is made of sleek steel and features a long, adjustable arm. Its rounded shade is adjustable, too, meaning you should be able to find exactly the angle you need. And unlike most desk lamps without a built-in LED, Ikea includes a bulb with the Forsa, saving you the hassle of finding a compatible one on your own. There’s no assembly required, so you can plug it in right out of the box. 

Best desk lamps: OttLite Dual-Shade LED Desk Lamp

(Image credit: OttLite)

5. OttLite Dual-Shade LED Desk Lamp

Besk desk lamp for multitaskers

Size: 13.3 x 7 x 7 inches | Weight: 1.1 pounds | Voltage: N/A | Wattage: 14 Watts

Dual LED lights
3 temperature settings
Touch sensors are difficult to see

Why get one desk lamp when you can get two, built into one? The OttLite Dual-Shade LED Desk Lamp offers just that — two prongs of built-in LED lighting with touch and temperature controls shared in by a single base. This way you direct light over two different work areas, like your laptop and paperwork that you're trying to review at the same time. 

For $40, the OttLite Dual-Shade LED Desk Lamp is one of the best desk lamps available now for multitasking. It’s also slim and lightweight, lending a modern appearance to a cleverly capable fixture. If you often find yourself needing light in more than one spot on your desk, or simply wish your current desk lamp offered more coverage, this is probably the right option (or lamp replacement) on this list for you. 

Best desk lamps: Ikea Hektar

(Image credit: Ikea)

6. Ikea Hektar

Best desk lamp with wireless charging

Size: 6 x 7 inches | Weight: 8 pounds | Voltage: N/A | Wattage: 7 Watts

Timeless design
Qi charging pad
No bulb included

A lamp with a built-in wireless charging pad on its base can save you precious table space and allow for everyone’s work-from-home desk dream: less wire clutter. While there are many options with wireless charging out there, the Ikea Hektar might do it best. Not only does the Ikea Hektar desk lamp bear a timeless, steel design, but it will juice up your Qi-compatible smartphone while you work, too.

At $65, the Ikea Hektar is on the expensive end of the best desk lamps. Plus you’ll need to provide your own E14 bulb. However, you’ll get quality in return, and a lamp that offers greater functionality than simply illuminating your desk space.

Best desk lamps: Simple Designs Lantern Glass Shade Desk Lamp

(Image credit: Simple Designs )

7. Simple Designs Lantern Glass Shade Desk Lamp

A shabby chic desk lamp for filament-style bulbs

Size: 9.8 x 5.8 x 18.8 inches | Weight: 3 pounds | Voltage: 120 Volts | Wattage: 40 Watts

Shabby chic design
Exposed light bulb
Glass shade attracts dust

Some of the best desk lamps look more like tech products than home decor. The Simple Designs Lantern Glass Shade Desk Lamp, however, prioritizes style with its industrial-looking hardware and transparent glass shade. As a result, light won’t be streamlined to your desk like it might with a standard downward-facing LED lamp. But it’ll look great, and provide excellent accent lighting to any room.

This lamp doesn’t come with a light bulb, though it will look great paired with a filament or edison-style LED light bulbs. Even certain smart light bulbs, like Philips Hue lights, offer filament-style choices with a variety of brightness and temperature controls. There’s a shabby chic essence to the complete aesthetic of the Simple Designs Lantern Glass Shade Desk Lamp, but for $35, it’s almost as affordable as it would be from a thrift store.

Best desk lamps: Aukey Table Lamp

(Image credit: Aukey)

8. Aukey Table Lamp

Best desk lamp for kids and distance learning

Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 1.6 pounds | Voltage: 110 Volts | Wattage: 6 Watts

Full RBG color spectrum
Fun touch controls
Good for kids

If you’re a parent looking to make distancing learning as engaging as possible for your child, the Aukey Table Lamp is worth your consideration. It might not look like a traditional desk lamp, nor offer the most luminous experience, but its tactile surface (complete with touch controls) is a good bet for keeping your home-schooled student interested in sitting at their desk all day long.

The Aukey Table Lamp can auto-cycle through a range of colors from the RGB color spectrum, or be paused on a color of choice with a simple tap. At $45 it’s a bit pricey for a child’s color lamp, though it could be a small price to pay for inspiring your little learner while they’re getting educated online. It makes a great reading light for them later in the evening, too. And though it’s not as bright, the Amazon Echo Glow is a smaller, voice-controlled option for even younger children. 

What is the best desk lamp for you?

The best desk lamp for you depends on your budget and needs, so there are a couple of things you’ll want to take note of before shopping. First, how much do you want to spend? Some desk lamps may appear affordable, but the fine print reveals they don’t come with a light bulb. 

That’s why one of the lamps with built-in LEDs from TaoTronics or the OttLite lamp might be ultimately less expensive. Plus the options with built-in LEDS often have temperature controls, which could be better for you if you have sensitive eyes. 

On the other hand, if you use Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomeKit, lamps that let you provide your own bulbs could be more compatible with smart home devices. You can outfit your desk lamp with a smart light bulb so you can integrate it in smart home routines or control it hands-free with your voice assistant of choice.

Be sure to check out all of our guides for your home office and home school:

Best office chairs | Best pens | Best computer speakers | Best college laptop | Best laptop bags | Best webcams | Best all-in-one printers | Best Chromebooks for kids