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The best desk lamps in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best desk lamps
(Image credit: Ikea)

The best desk lamps will illuminate your workspace and provide the right lighting for daily tasks. Nowadays, the best desk lamps can do so much more than just light up your space, and have come a long way from being just a simple bulb and switch device.  

With so many available on the market, it can be tricky to know which one that will suit your needs. Do you want a sleek desk lamp with wireless charging? Or do you prefer one with motion or touch sensors, so you’ll never have to fumble around in the dark just to look for a light switch. You can even get smart-enabled desk lamps which can be connected to your smart device. In addition, what is your budget? The best desk lamps can range from as little as $25 to a premium $500.

In the meantime, we’ve rounded up a great selection of the best desk lamps right now to suit every home office and budget. 

Best desk lamps for going back to school

Back to school is here and that means many students are looking for the best desk lamps for home schooling. It's essential that the lamp provides a comfortable level of light to work in, while being adjustable enough to suit different homework projects. 

After extensive research, the best desk lamp right now is the BenQ eReading LED Desk Lamp. BenQ offers an iconic range of lamps which are easily recognised by the smile shaped head and colorful finish. The e-Reading Desk Lamp claims to offer 150% wider lighting cover than the average desk lamp. It can also detect ambient light in the room and adjust to reduce glare. It’s not the cheapest at $230, but it offers amazing customization thanks to the rotary knob, which fine-tunes the color temperature and brightness.

If you’re shopping on a budget, then we recommend the Lepower Metal Desk Lamp. It features both a classic and professional design, including a flexible neck to find the best angle. It doesn’t come with built-in LEDs like the BenQ LED Desk Lamp though, so bear in mind you will need to find a bulb for it.   

The best desk lamps you can buy today

BenQ e-Reading Desk Lamp

(Image credit: BenQ)

1. BenQ e-Reading Desk Lamp

Best desk lamp overall

Size: 23.2 x 8.7 x 24.6 inches
Weight: 10.4 pounds
Voltage: N/A
Wattage: 18 Watts
Reasons to buy
+Adjusts automatically to ambient light +Tone can be adjusted from warm to cool +Lamp covers a wide area 
Reasons to avoid
-Longer-designed head could obstruct you 

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.  

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
Reasons to buy
+Budget friendly+Sleek metal design+Flexible arm
Reasons to avoid
-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.

Dyson Lightcycle Morph

(Image credit: Dyson)

3. Dyson Lightcycle Morph

Best premium desk lamp

Size: 20.6 x 7.9 x 16.3 inches
Weight: 7.7 pounds
Voltage: 100-240 Volts
Wattage: 11.2 Watts
Reasons to buy
+3-point revolve motion +Adjusts automatically to ambient light +Can be connected to your smartphone 
Reasons to avoid
-App can only be connected via Bluetooth and not Wi-Fi 

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 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
Reasons to buy
+Sleek design+Adjustable height+Comes with bulb
Reasons to avoid
-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. 

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
Reasons to buy
+Dual LED lights+3 temperature settings
Reasons to avoid
-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. 

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
Reasons to buy
+Timeless design+Qi charging pad
Reasons to avoid
-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.

Two Govee Ambient Portable Table Lamps with different colors

(Image credit: Govee)

7. Govee Ambient RGBWW Portable Table Lamp

Best portable desk lamp

Size: 6.1 x 6.1 x 3.7 inches
Weight: 1.65 pounds
Voltage: 100-240V
Wattage: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Fun to use with precise color control +Versatile design +Useful timer +Good brightness level 
Reasons to avoid
-Battery doesn’t last very long -Responsiveness is slow at times 

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. 

Simple Designs Lantern Glass Shade Desk Lamp

(Image credit: Simple Designs )

8. 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
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Shabby chic design+Exposed light bulb
Reasons to avoid
-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.

Govee Smart Lamp

(Image credit: Govee)

9. Govee Smart Lamp

Best desk lamp for kids

Size: 9.65 x 4.76 x 4.65 inches
Weight: 1.7 pounds
Voltage: 120 Volts
Wattage: Not given
Reasons to buy
+Connects to Alexa and Google Assistant +16 million colors+Good for kids+Can sync with music
Reasons to avoid
-Plastic casing

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. 

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

Cynthia Lawrence

Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!