Whether you’re working, studying or reading, the best desk lamps will provide the correct lighting. Not only will the best desk lamps illuminate your space properly, but can avoid straining your eyes.
But, with so many different types available, it can be tricky to choose a desk lamp that suits your needs and lifestyle. Besides functionality, there are a few things t consider. First, what design and size you prefer? In addition to being adjustable for you needs, what other handy features are you after?
If you have a smart home system, you might want a desk lamp to be compatible with a handy USB port for charging. While other lamps will have motion sensors to save on energy. Some will adjust automatically to ambient light, varying the brightness depending on the time of the day.
Also, what's your budget? The best desk lamps can start from as little as $20 right up to $2,000 for a premium model. To help you decide, we've selected some of the best desk lamps to suit every home and budget.
The best desk lamps you can buy today
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The BenQ eReading LED Desk Lamp is the best lamp because of the level of customization it offers. You can adjust how cool or warm you want the tone, depending on if you’re trying to concentrate at work or reading a book. It also adjusts itself thanks to built-in smart technology which detects the level of ambient light in the room.
The wide LED head also means this lamp offers great coverage, so you can see everything across the desk. It’s highly flexible too, with a ball-joint connecting the head to the stand and two other points which can be adjusted in the stand. If you’ve got a toned office, it’s available in a range of colors to suit. Our only qualm is that the wide head could be obstructive on a small desk.
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.
Dyson’s Lightcycle Morph Desk Light makes the list because of its innovative design and the tech it brings to the table, literally! When connected to your smart device, this lamp automatically adjusts its brightness depending on the time of the day and can also be customized in terms of temperature and brightness using the controls under the lamp head. It features 3-point revolve motion, which gives it great flexibility, and the head can even be docked into the stem for storage or to create a reduced ambient light.
Using the Dyson Link App via Bluetooth, you can choose from pre-set programs including Study, Relax and Precision or even create your own using the temperature and brightness settings. The lamp contains a motion sensor as well, which if enabled will switch it back on as you sit at the desk. The only drawbacks with the Dyson Lightcycle Morph Desk Light are the price, being very expensive for a lamp, and the fact that it needs to be connected via Bluetooth and can’t use Wi-Fi. So you can’t control it once you’re out of the house.
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.
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.
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.
This portable table lamp from Govee offers 16 million colors of light to choose from, which can all be accessed from the Govee Home app on your smartphone. It can also be controlled via a single button on the base, although this limits the color selection. It comes with fun settings, such as being able to sync the light to music, and a scene mode which lets you choose an experience and adjusts the color and tempo to reflect it, such as festivals, candlelight and fireworks.
It’s chargeable and portable, needing four hours of charge to provide four hours of illumination — so it's a great option if you have limited plug sockets at your desk. Although, be wary that four hours can go by quickly, so you may need to leave it plugged in most of the time. It’s durable as well with a plastic design, meaning the kids can use it too. Ultimately, it’s a fun desk lamp, which is brighter than you would expect. Two models are available with and without Wi-Fi connectivity, depending on if you want to use voice-control.
Read our full Govee Ambient RGBWW Portable Table Lamp review.
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.
This smart desk lamp from Govee stands out for being fun to use. It can connect to your smartphone via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and can also be voice controlled by both Alexa and Google Assistant. Using the app, you can choose from 16 million colors, so depending on whether you’re working or reading, there will be a tone to suit. You can also set it to sync with your music so it can create a party atmosphere or amplify movie night.
If you use the Creative DIY Mode, you can also personalize your own light tone or mood and save it to use later. The customization behind its design makes it really appealing to kids. If you don’t want to use the app, the controls are also accessible on the top of the lamp.
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 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.
Features to look out for
Adjustability is a big plus point for desk lamps in more ways than one. Firstly, an adjustable frame is useful for getting the height and angle of the light correct. The last thing you want is a lamp that shines straight into your eyes! Some desk lamps also come with adjustable tones from warm to cool, so you can set the light depending on the task. A few, such as BenQ e-Reading Desk Lamp, can even adjust automatically based on ambient light, so you don’t need to mess with the settings.
App connectivity is another rare, but useful feature. An example of this is the Dyson Lightcycle Morph which can connect to your smart device using the Dyson Link app. In doing this, you can control the desk lamp hands-free and choose from pre-set programs.
A more common feature to look out for is a USB port for charging your phone. Some even charge wirelessly if you want to take it a step further! It sounds like common sense, but you should also consider the size of the desk lamp — bigger isn’t necessarily better and you don’t want it to obstruct your view while you work.
How we tested
Our guide for the best desk lamps were based on extensive, consumer report research and online reviews. We rated things like how well it illuminated the area, and adjustable settings. In addition, we looked at how user-friendly and practical it was to use, size, and design features.
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