- It’s important to have good lighting at your desk so you don’t strain your eyes while typing away on your computer or going over documents.
- There are dozens of different desk lamps to choose from in all kinds of styles, but the Lumiy Lightblade 1500S desk lamp is the best one you can buy to light up your workspace in style.
Society may be moving away from paper toward digital records, but desk lamps continue to have a role in the workplace or in the home even if you’re rarely hunched over your desk, staring at a pile of paper these days.
The best desk lamps take full advantage of LED lighting technology, creating lamps that are both stylish and energy efficient. The great quality of light you receive from LED makes these lamps enjoyable to use anytime you need a bit of extra light.
Some people may even prefer a desk style lamp on a nightstand near the bed because they work great as a reading lamp for those times when you prefer a printed book over an iPad. We’ve researched dozens of desk lamps to find the best ones for different people’s needs.
After all, it takes the right type of desk light to help inspire the brightest of ideas! (Feel free to groan aloud; we did as we wrote it.)
Here are our top picks for the best desk lamps:
- Best overall: Lumiy Lightblade 1500S Lamp
- Best desk lamp for techies: TaoTronics wireless charging lamp
- Best traditional design: Torchstar Traditional Banker’s Lamp
- Best cordless desk lamp: Luxe Cordless LED Lamp
- Best affordable desk lamp: TaoTronics LED Lamp
- Best high-end desk lamp: BenQ e-Reading LED Lamp
- Best colorful desk lamp: Tomons Nature Wood Swing Arm Desk Lamp
- Best antique finish desk lamp: Malvern 20-inch Desk Lamp
Updated on 10/21/2019 by Caitlin Petreycik: Updated prices, links, and formatting.
The best desk lamp overall
The Lumiy Lightblade 1500S desk lamp offers a host of useful features, making it a versatile choice for those who need a lamp that serves many purposes.
We love the versatility in the Lumiy Lightblade 1500S desk lamp, as you can adjust it to meet whatever lighting needs you may have. The Lightblade 1500S has a USB charging port in the base of the lamp, which is an extremely convenient feature you’re sure to use regularly, according to the Cosy Offices review.
The 1500S has a pivoting head that lets you swing the light bar into the perfect position over the desk. Additionally, the Lumiy 1500S lamp offers easily adjustable color brightness and color temperature through a touch switch on the lamp’s base. You can bring the brightness down from 1,100 lux to 500 lux or adjust the color temperature from 6,600k to 1,800k.
In its review, the Reactual blog says the Lumiy Lightblade desk lamp’s LED light bar provides a light quality that’s very similar to natural sunlight. That makes it easier on the eyes and better for artists who need neutral lighting that won’t skew color hues.
Many Amazon customers love this desk lamp and give it great reviews. One buyer says that the lamp has an excellent build quality and offers a host of desirable features. Most agree that it’s a great lamp, but there are some quibbles. Another Amazon customer said the lamp emitted a low noise when it was plugged in and turned off. It seems to be a rare problem, though.
If you need an energy-efficient LED desk lamp that looks a bit modern, provides natural light, and works in a variety of situations, the Lumiy Lightblade 1500S desk lamp is a good choice.
Pros: Great set of helpful features, excellent light quality, USB charging port in the base, head will pivot to fit different sized desks, offers variable brightness and color temperature settings
Cons: Black desk lamp seems to collect fingerprints, price is a little high, modern look isn’t for everyone
The best desk lamp for techies
TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp has a fast wireless charger and a USB port built in so it can charge your phone and another device besides.
If you like products that serve multiple purposes, you’ll love the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp with its built-in wireless charger, USB charging port, and many adjustable settings. Since this is a guide for desk lamps, we’ll talk about that aspect first.
You turn the lamp on and off with the tap of a finger on the touch-sensitive power button. There’s also a ring that regulates the brightness of the lamp and a button that you can tap multiple times to get five different color temperatures for your light. That way, you can decide how bright and how blue you want your light.
Because I have the TaoTronics lamp next to my bed, I typically have it on the lowest brightness setting and the highest color temperature setting. But when I really need light, I can amp up the brightness with a swipe of my finger. And this lamp gets bright – very bright.
You can also adjust the direction of the light, thanks to the nifty blade-like design of the lamp head. The lamp’s head tilts up to 135 degrees and rotates up to 180 degrees, and the arm can be tilted up to 150 degrees and it swivels 90 degrees. It’s a very modern design, and it does take up space, but this lamp is incredibly functional.
The wireless charging pad built into the lamp’s base can charge your iPhone X, 8, or 8 Plus with the optimal 7.5 Watts of power. If you have an Android phone, you get 10 Watts of power for quick wireless charging. There’s a small rubbery ring on the wireless charger, so your phone won’t slide off. I use it to charge my phone every night on my bedside table, and it works like a charm.
TaoTronics also added a USB port in the back of the lamp so you can charge your phone with a cable instead. You could also charge your phone wirelessly and charge another device via a cable at the same time, which is great for multi-device households and tech nerds like me. – Malarie Gokey
Pros: Wireless charging, USB-A charging port for another device, varying light color/temperature and brightness, lamp’s head is adjustable
Cons: Modern design may not appeal to all, takes up space
The best traditional desk lamp
Desk lamp designs don’t get much more traditional than the Torchstar Traditional Banker’s Lamp with its emerald green shade and brass-toned base.
If the contemporary style of most modern desk lamps does nothing to inspire you, we have the answer. The Torchstar Traditional Banker’s Lamp has the classic style that you see in old-timey movies. It’s such a classic look that when you look in the dictionary under the term traditional desk lamp, a picture of this lamp should be included.
The satin brass finish on the base, classic pull chain, and antique-style emerald green lampshade are very retro and old school. You can rotate the lampshade to direct the light where you need it. In its review, The Fab Healthy Life blog points out that the metal base and post are well made and sturdy, too.
The Torchstar desk lamp uses an E26 style light bulb, so you can use replaceable incandescent, fluorescent, or LED light bulbs with it. It’s nice to have a choice in which type of bulb you use, though we do recommend you go with a LED bulb for energy efficiency. However, one Amazon customer reported the bulb generated too much heat
Pros: Excellent traditional look, all-metal structure, reasonable price point, can accept any type of E26 bulb, easy to set up and use, 6-foot power cord
Cons: No flexibility in position of bulb, some bulbs could cause excessive heat
The best cordless desk lamp
The Luxe Cordless LED desk lamp’s modern cordless design and rechargeable battery make it the most portable desk lamp you can buy.
Want a truly contemporary desk lamp? Not only do you need a non-traditional looking lamp with an LED light bar, you need one that cuts the cord. When fully charged, the Luxe Cordless LED desk lamp can run for about 40 hours, providing continuous light while you work. When you run out of battery life, you simply plug a Micro USB cable in to charge it.
The light bar contains 28 LED lamps that offer 50,000 hours of use, so you won’t have to replace this lamp for a very long time. The Luxe desk lamp looks amazingly simple, but it’s a long-lasting desk lamp that offers great versatility. One Amazon customer reviewer says the skinny Luxe Cordless lamp is sturdier than it looks.
We wish the lamp had a battery gauge. Instead, the Luxe uses a flashing indicator light that pops up when the battery is nearly exhausted, but otherwise, you don’t really know how much juice is left in its battery.
In its review, Lifewire likes the three different light modes and the six levels of brightness within each mode. It’s nice that you can adjust the brightness to suit your needs. Although the Luxe Cordless desk lamp looks like a severely bent hockey stick, you can twist and bend the support bar to almost any angle. This versatility allows the Luxe model to work as a desk lamp, a reading lamp, or even a portable work lamp.
Pros: Cordless design gives this desk lamp great flexibility, bendable base for added versatility, sturdy base, available in four accent colors, 18 different total light modes
Cons: Doesn’t offer enough brightness for some tasks, no battery gauge
The best inexpensive desk lamp
The TaoTronics LED TT-DL13 desk lamp will light up your work area for much less than the competition with its energy-efficient LEDs.
The TaoTronics LED TT-DL13 desk lamp looks weird – there’s no denying that. But its contemporary design starts to look a lot more appealing when you see the extremely low price of this LED desk lamp.
The lamp has a brightness of 410 Lumen, which is adjustable, and a variable color temperature that ranges from 2,700K to 6,000K. Its CRI is 90 and those LEDs should last for 50,000 hours, so you won’t have to replace this lamp anytime soon.
The 9to5 Toys review highlights the 25 different light modes the TaoTronics TT-DL13 desk lamp offers, including five different color temperatures and five brightness settings within each color temperature. The lamp has two adjustable elbows, both of which have roughly a 135-degree angle of movement. However, one reviewer mentioned that the plastic and aluminum construction on the joints feels a little loose and flimsy.
One Amazon customer was impressed by TaoTronics LED TT-DL13’s ability to light an entire large desk area adequately. Another Amazon customer was disappointed in the quality of the light bar construction and longevity of the desk lamp, but most agree that for the price, it’s a very good desk lamp.
Pros: Low price point, two adjustable elbows for directional lighting, provides lots of light, offers five color temperature settings and five brightness settings
Cons: Lamp’s elbows feel a little flimsy, longevity of this product is questionable
The best desk lamp for reading
The BenQ e-Reading LED desk lamp is great for reading and it has a really cool contemporary design.
The curved LED light bar on the BenQ e-Reading LED desk lamp definitely grabs your attention, giving this contemporary desk lamp a really cool, industrial design look. But this desk lamp doesn’t get by on its looks alone. The BenQ reading lamp has amazing LED light quality and adjustable brightness levels that make it very versatile.
The LED light bar is easily adjustable and it offers a wide light range that will illuminate your whole desk. The light is flicker-free and you can adjust the temperature and brightness to suit your needs. BenQ says it should last 17 years if you have it on for eight hours each day because the LEDs are rated for 50,000 hours.
The Gadgeteer calls it the best desk lamp because of the excellent quality of the elbows. Tech Walls‘ reviewer calls it the most powerful lamp he has reviewed, saying the brightness of the LED light bar is perfect for reading. However, he also says the e-reader function didn’t work as advertised. The BenQ LED light created a glare on the screen of tablets and laptops, no matter what angle he tried to position it in.
One Amazon customer says the light quality of the BenQ LED desk lamp is “world class” and admits that he was hesitant to spend so much on a desk lamp, but the BenQ is worth it. Most customer reviews are positive for this lamp, though some complained that even the lowest brightness setting is too high.
The BenQ e-Reading lamp’s heavy base makes it sturdy and ensures that it won’t tip over when your cat strolls across your desk or you bump into it accidentally. Although it’s expensive, the BenQ lamp is a great desk lamp for people who need good lighting for reading and working.
Pros: Excellent light quality, cool contemporary/industrial design, works great for reading at night, high-quality construction of elbows, heavy base gives the desk lamp a sturdy build quality
Cons: Very high price point, difficult to have success with e-reader feature
The best colorful desk lamp
The Tomons Nature Wood Swing Arm Desk Lamp is colorful and stylish enough to spruce up any desk.
If you want a cute desk lamp that has more style than high-tech features, Tomons Nature Wood Swing Arm Desk Lamp is a great choice. It’s also quite affordable, though the price varies based on the color you choose.
The lamp’s frame is made of solid, light-colored wood and the shade is made of metal that’s painted in your choice of red, white, turquoise, and other fun colors. The lamp is adjustable, so you can angle it to cast light wherever you need it. It doesn’t take up too much space, but it gives a good amount of light to work by.
You’ll need an E26 light bulb. Tomons recommends you use an LED bulb so the lamp doesn’t overheat and you spend less energy. There’s a simple on/off switch and a long braided nylon-covered cord.
Amazon customers give this desk lamp good reviews and a high rating. The negative reviews complain of spotty quality control, a difficult assembly process, and defective units. If you run into any problems, Amazon’s 30-day return policy should have you covered.
Pros: Cute, colorful, wood accent, easy to adjust, affordable
Cons: You have to replace the bulb
The best antique finish desk lamp
The Malvern 20-inch Desk Lamp has an antique brass finish that complements the look of almost any room with traditional charm.
If you would like more of a traditional look in your desk lamp rather than the newer LED bar light designs, the Malvern 20-inch Desk Lamp is a stylish choice. This lamp looks great almost anywhere you place it, thanks to its distressed antique brass finish and wide shade. The white paint on the interior of the shade really reflects the light well, creating a bright light over the desk.
The Malvern lamp has a wide base with an ornate pedestal. A moveable arm attaches the shade and bulb to the pedestal, completing the sophisticated look.
The lamp measures 20 inches from the base to the top of the shade. You’ll need 21 inches of clearance for the lamp from front to back because of the way the arm angles.
The lamp’s socket accepts standard-sized bulbs of 60 watts equivalent, whether they’re incandescent, fluorescent, or LED. The lamp features an on/off switch and a 70-inch cord, which is great for reaching far-off electrical outlets.
Pros: Desk lamp looks great with antique brass finish, ornate pedestal provides a sense of style, accepts any type of standard bulb, long power cord, sturdy base ensures desk lamp won’t tip easily
Cons: High price point, arm can be difficult to adjust
What to look for in a desk lamp
Before picking a particular desk lamp, think about why you want the lamp. Certain lamps excel at certain tasks, meaning you’ll be more pleased with your choice if you match your needs to the lamp’s strengths.
- Brightness: Desk lamps offer a variety of wattages and lux in their lights, which gives you a rough idea of the brightness of the light. Lux measures light brightness and wattage measures the amount of power the light requires to operate. As a general rule, a higher wattage number indicates more brightness. Having the right brightness in your desk lamp means you’ll reduce the possibility of eye strain, according to Lightology. The brightness of light bulbs is often measured in lumens. If you want to match the brightness of a 60-watt incandescent bulb, you should find a bulb that’s 800 lumens.
- Color temperature: Whether you like warm or cool light is entirely a matter of preference. Warm yellow light is around 2,700 Kelvin, white light is about 3,000K, bright white light is 3,500K to 4,100K, and bluish white light is 5,000K to 6,500K, according to Consumer Reports.
- Lighting type: The majority of new desk lamps make use of LED lights. These lights offer strong energy efficiency and last significantly longer than an old incandescent or fluorescent light. Additionally, LED lights offer the ability to adjust the color temperature (also called CRI, or color-rendering index), which eases eye strain, as Hooked to Books explains. Finally, LED lights don’t heat up as they operate and you don’t have to replace them.
- Location: If you have a particular location where the lamp will reside, make sure any model you pick will fit in that spot. If you’re going to be moving the lamp around, perhaps a cordless model that runs on a battery is a smart idea.
- Reading: A reading lamp should have at least one adjustable elbow, allowing you to change the angle to match the location of the reading materials.
- Style: Some lamps offer a design that fits in a particular décor of a room. A traditional style of desk lamp looks quite a bit different from a contemporary style of desk lamp, for example.
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