Finding the best desk lamps can be tricky. There are so many desk lamps on the market. Desk lamps come in all shapes, sizes, wattages, and prices.
And with so many functions that it’s hard to figure out which activities they’re exactly designed for.
In this article, we will be categorizing the items according to their functions and most typical features.
You will find here the best desk lamps for reading, office work, detailed tasks, the ones that protect your eyes and enhance your productivity.
But first of all, let us explain our choices of the desk lamps, which are all LEDs.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for LED Desk Lamps:
- TaoTronics Stylish Metal – Our Top Choice
- BenQ Eyecare
- Lumiy Lightblade LED Desk Lamp
- OTUS Motion Sensor
- WILIT U2
LED lights are becoming the norm in home and office lighting in recent years. And it is for a number of reasons. But when it comes to desk lamps, is LED a better choice compared to other products? And how so? Let’s take a look at what LED desk lamps have to offer.
More Versatility in Color Temperature
Most if not all traditional lamps have fixed light color temperature. The problem is you don’t usually use a lamp for a sole single purpose. Even for reading, sometimes it’s a bone-dry technical book that needs lots of critical thinking and concentration to digest, other time a romantic novel that requires you to dream as you read.
Modern LED lamps have it figured out. A lamp can now offer a very wide range of color temperature, from sleep inducing orange light (1600K) to alertness stimulating blueish white (6000K), and everything in between. Combined with the dimmability, this makes LED lamps the best for your eyes, and the easiest to be used for any purposes and settings.
Much Less Maintenance
LED bulbs are famous for lasting very long. A good bulb boasts to last 50,000 hours. That means if used 8 hours a day, the bulb can last 17 years!
Therefore, you won’t have to change a bulb every now and then. That’s one less thing to worry about. Once you’re at your desk, you can put full focus on your task instead of thinking if it’s time to buy a new bulb, and where to discard the old one.
LED Lamps Save the Environment
An LED bulb use 95 percent of the electricity it receives to produce light, as opposed to a fluorescent which convert 95 percent of the power into heat. This not only means an LED desk lamp, which is placed very close to your upper body, does not feel so hot and won’t make your eyes and skin that dry. It also means that the lamp needs much less power to produce the same amount of light as a flourescent does.
As a result, an LED light emits much less carbon dioxide compared to other light sources. Also, thanks to its durability, you can use it for much longer time without changing the bulb. That translates to much less garbage for the earth!
They Save Money in Long Term
LED lights cost more upfront. The reason is that it is still a rather new technology, which results in the high production expenses. Although the prices have been lowering in recent years, an LED light can still cost 2 or 3 times an incandescent light.
The thing is, because it uses much less power, LED saves you on the monthly bills. It pays off the price difference after about a year. And then you’ll enjoy 16 years of very low electricity cost.
While this doesn’t seem significant on an individual or family level, citywide or nationwide, billions of dollars can be saved with the simple choice of using lamps with the technology.
Thanks to their superior qualities, it’s no surprise that LED lamps completely dominate our list of the best desk lamps on the market.
TaoTronics Stylish Metal
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OTUS Motion Sensor
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Brightech Lightview Pro
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1. TaoTronics Stylish Metal — Best to Buy in 2020
If you’re looking for a beautiful, multifunctional LED desk lamp, be it for working in your office or as a leisure reading lamp in the bedroom, this Taotronics baby will very likely satisfy your needs.
The lamp looks very beautiful in person, exactly as it does on its Tinder, oops! Amazon profile.
It’s sleek, smart, smooth, and very solid. On the table, the lamp stands tall. Unlike many other poorly designed lamps, however, it’s well balanced, with a compact head, slim body, and a heavy base. It’s stable and sturdy where you place it.
But there are more than meets the eyes.
This lamp produces serious quality light. Bright, crisp, non-flickery, and fully customizable both in color and intensity.
There are 5 color modes ranging from 2700K (warm yellowish-white light) to 6500K (blueish white), adjusted by touching the symbols on the base. Weird symbols, I know, I had to refer to the manual to finally figure them out!
The Teacup symbol (cozy, relaxing mode) is for decreasing the temperature, making the light warmer. The Book symbol (study, concentration mode), meanwhile, is for increasing the temperature, making the light whiter.
The line of small dots are for adjusting among the 6 light intensity levels. At the brightest mode, the lamp can illuminate light of 1200 lux, which is very strong for a desk lamp.
Personally, I’m happy with the average brightness. But if you want it very bright, note that the head can become quite hot after several hours on maximum intensity.
Once you’ve made up your mind on an ideal light setting, you can save it by touching the Favorite symbol (the one with a head and a heart) to save it and access it quickly the next time you use the lamp.
Tip: Don’t just tap on it and release too quickly. Hold your fingertip there for a couple of seconds for the lamp to register your request.
When it comes to lighting angle, this lamp is extremely versatile. It can basically do every twist and turns a ballet dancer can.
Want to move your seat to the other side of the table without moving the heavy base? The lamp can make a 180-degree spin on its “leg.”
Its body, meanwhile, accommodates folding and stretching to a large extent. Even the head can nod to give extra light or avoid glare to your eyes.
Another thing I find cool about this TaoTronics is that it comes with a USB port to charge your phone or ereader at the same time. The night light mode – not my thing but other users seem to find it a big plus.
It also has a 60 minutes timer function, which can be quite handy. It’s particularly useful for people like me who need a reminder to take short breaks from sitting in front of the desktop.
It could also be highly appreciated by the bed readers who plan to fall asleep while they read and don’t want to wake up again to turn off the light.
2. BenQ Eyecare — Best for the Eyes
I didn’t have to think for a second before nominating the BenQ as the best desk lamp for the eyes.
If you work a lot in front of the computer screen, or spend long hours reading and writing at your desk, be kind to yourself and equip yourself with this desk lamp. Your eyes will thank you.
The BenQ Eyecare is the giraffe of desk lamps. At 23.2 inches (or 59cm), its head can easily surpass the height of your big desktop screen and, if you’re not too tall, shine from over your head.
This is part of the reason why the light is very soft. The impressive height also helps increase the area the light can reach.
But even if you lower it, the illuminated area is still very large. The secret? The head is designed with a (very nice) bend that allows it to give a 150% wider light range.
The light it illuminates, while very bright at 1800 lux, is the softest and most pleasant of any lamps I have ever tried. It doesn’t create any glare even on the desktop screen.
That is thanks to the smart light diffuser and very clever allocation of the LEDs so that stronger light is illuminated to the sides and softer light in the center.
This makes it a far cry from other LED lamps on the market, which causes glare that you can feel even when reading on a rough paperback.
The icing on the cake is that you can customize the light brightness and temperature to make it even more pleasant on your eyes.
This can be done by gently pressing and turning the knob on the light head.
My teammate Simon finds that while the knob is functional, he is not too happy that there is no “endpoint” when you turn it.
It means you will keep turning it for a while before realizing if the lamp already reaches the highest/lowest intensity or color temperature.
That doesn’t bother me a tiny bit, however. I actually feel more confident switching among different light modes knowing that I won’t over-twist and break the knob. To each their own, I guess.
The lamp, like other high-end LED desk lamps on the market, is fully adjustable in height and lighting angle. It can spin on the base, bend and twist at the body and the neck. Even the head is twistable.
Despite the agility, it is very sturdy. The lamp is made of high-quality materials and is definitely built to last. Even the cord feels so bold and strong with woven fabric cover.
The base is unbelievably heavy and can take up quite some space. This is not a lamp that you can easily move around by hooking a finger on its neck and lift it up. Nor will your naughty cat be able to push it down.
But maybe the cat can turn it on and off if their tail reaches the control ring. The ring looks classy and beautiful, but it’s pretty “curvy” and you may accidentally touch it when you turn the knob.
It’s not a deal-breaker though. Once you’re aware, it’s very easy to avoid that.
If you hold the ring for about 2 seconds while the lamp is on, the green light lights up and it goes into Eye-care mode.
According to BenQ, in this mode, the light sensor works to determine the ambient in the room. Then the lamp adjusts the light accordingly to offer the best option to your eyes.
As per my observation, it does get into a very pleasant setting – soft and slightly warm light.
However, it doesn’t seem to adjust any further as the light environment changes. I had expected it to maybe become warmer and dimmer when I turn off the background light, for example, which it didn’t.
I have stable background light in my room so this is not an important feature to me in the first place, but it would be nice if it worked better.
Overall, this is a big, well-built, beautiful desk lamp. It is not perfect, but in terms of light quality and eye friendliness, it’s without a doubt the best desk lamp on the market to date.
Totally worth every penny you spend, in my opinion.
3. Lumiy Ligwm-htblade — Best for Office
On the office desk, you need a lamp that is compact, durable, one that gives off sharp, crisp light to enhance the accuracy and quality of your work.
Per our (and many other users’) experience, the Lumiy Ligwm-htblade is among the best lamps for that purpose.
Designed to fit in a small cubicle with various office items, the Lumiy desk lamp is minimalist in appearance. Not a single detail on the item is gimmicky. And yet it looks so sleek and beautiful in its shiny black shell.
Unlike its bigger friends, the BenQ and the TaoTronics, this lamp is not for wild bending or twisting.
You can bend its neck and rotate the lamp head to pivot the light where you need it, but the angles are not too wide. Not that it is a problem: its smaller size makes it more convenient for moving, at least around your desk.
Despite its compactibility, the lamp is capable of brightening up your whole desk. It produces light of 1100 lux – not the brightest on the market but sufficient and very impressive for its size.
According to Lumiy, the light has a CRI of higher than 90, making it a world-class lamp in terms of light quality. Note that sunlight CRI is 100, and only very good LED lamps have CRI of higher than 80.
While I can’t confirm if the figure is real, the light is nevertheless very sharp and crisp.
And it is easily adjustable via the touch sensors on the base. It is dimmable, and has a color temperature ranging from 6600K (for high concentration work) to the orange 1800K (for relaxation).
This means the lamp can make a pretty good bedside lamp too, if your bedroom has a contemporary decor.
As an LED lamp, the Lumiy consumes very little energy. You can use it every day for long hours without worrying about a surge in the electricity bill.
It also produces infinitesimal heat compared to other types, say halogen or incandescent.
However, it does get hot after a few hours. Thus, it’s best to turn the lamp off every now and then when you’re out for lunch or a meeting in another room, for example.
Or you can use the integrated timer to give both the light and yourself a short break after every hour of work. Win-win.
The lamp comes with a USB port, which is pretty handy when you want to charge your phone.
I personally don’t think it’s necessary for an office desk lamp – you have a lot of charging port there anyway, but it’s a nice extra feature nevertheless.
4. OTUS Motion Sensor — Best Stylish Modern Desk Light
Looking for a modern desk lamp that is highly functional while giving your space a stylish, contemporary look?
Search no further than this OTUS baby.
The OTUS is an architecture desk lamp with a traditional structure: a round base, a flexible arm, and a round shade. And yet the smart construction makes it look like a lamp from the future.
The lamp comes in a very sleek, shiny metal finish. Along the body and the base are some plastic parts smartly allocated at places you’re most likely touch.
I really appreciate this feature, as it’s no fun if you accidentally touch the cold metal while using it! The metal and plastic parts are in silver and black, beautifully combined together to enhance the aesthetic appearance of the lamp.
Now to the coolest feature of the baby: it can be controlled using hand gestures! The sensitive movement sensor allows you to get the light on and off with a wave in the air. It even remembers your last light mode and sets itself into the mode as it’s turned on. You don’t have to lift a finger.
If you wish to adjust the brightness and color temperature, the changes can be made via touch sensors placed along the arm.
There are 12 levels of light intensity and 3 different color modes for your choice. I love how modern lamps are so versatile.
For the desired light area and intensity, adjust the height of the lamp by bending or stretching its flexi arm.
It could reach up to 24 inches, and at a maximum intensity of 1200 lux, can easily cover your whole table. Light angle is in your full control too, with a twistable head.
Just as it looks, the OTUS feels solid and robust. It’s not too heavy (5.7 pounds), but the smart design allows it to maintain balance even when wildly bent.
The joints are firm, keeping the lamp stable where you put it. The base is not too large, but if you want to save even more space on the desk, you can get a separate clamp for $9.
The beautiful design of this lamp makes it a perfect gift for your family, friends or co-workers. It works more than efficiently and looks much fancier than its cost.
Just remember to check the decor around their desk – the lamp may look out-of-place in a vintage setting.
5. WILIT U2 — Best Small Desk Lamp
If you’re up for a lamp that fits on your small desk or bedside table, a multifunctional lamp that helps create a neat, clean working space, look no further than this WILIT baby.
This lamp is made to work in the most confined spaces – it’s extremely compact with dimensions of 3.5 x 2.5 x 19.5 inches.
Note that while very slim, it is taller than your laptop and won’t obstruct your view. If you want to change the light angle, however, its neck is foldable within an angle of 150 degrees.
Despite the humble size, the lamp is quite impressive in functions. It illuminates at 200 lumens, and a CRI of 80 – which translate into crisp, sharp light.
With 25 LED bulbs, it’s not the type to brighten up an entire room, but nevertheless offers more than sufficient light for you to do basic office work at your desk.
You can actually use it without additional light sources for an hour or two. If you’re planning to use it for long hours, however, some background light might be necessary to prevent eye fatigue.
Cool thing is that the light is dimmable with 3 intensity levels. That can be quite useful if you’re working late into the night and want a soft light to read with without disturbing other people.
The lamp also comes with an alarm clock, another reason it would make a useful item on your bedside table.
It’d be perfect if it had yellow bulbs (I’m a bit obsessed with color temperature), but then again you can’t ask for that much with a lamp its size.
On the front of its body is a VA screen, whose brightness is adjustable. It is where the temperature is displayed (both in Celsius and Fahrenheit), together with the time and date.
It’s crisp and clear, and the numbers are big enough for you to see from afar. Since it comes with built-in battery, the display works even when power is off, which is pretty nice.
This lamp is loved not only for its portability and functionality. Its appearance is pretty amazing too. It looks much fancier than the price of $29.99, with a leather-like shell and some sleek metal finish at the base and the head.
The dark coffee color and nice sewing lines also add to the luxurious look. Even without all the extra features, it’s still a very nice item to put on your table.
The verdict? Go for it if you want a smart small lamp that not only gives off quality light but also saves space on your desk by working as a clock, a thermometer, and a decorative object.
6. Brightech Lightview Pro — Best Magnifying Task Lamp
A desk lamp for highly detailed work should be at least two things: very bright and have a magnifying feature.
This Brightech is one of, if not the best lamps you could find with those two qualities.
The Brightech Lightview Pro is super bright. It has 56 miniature LED bulbs distributed in a circle, which boast to last 100,000 hours. (That’s more than 30 years if you use the lamp 8 hours a day every day. We can’t confirm yet if they can really stay around for that long, though).
This group of bulbs emit light with an intensity of 650 lumens, more than enough to bring every tiny detail of what you’re working on into view.
In the center of the circle of LEDs is a lens, with a diameter of 5 inches. The lens is made of clear high-quality glass and has a magnification power of 2.25.
With this lens, you won’t even have to wear your reading glasses when sewing, knitting, or carving on the jewelries.
It magnifies well, and things appear through the lens crystal clear. I personally don’t do any work that requires the lens, but I imagine this is extremely useful for people who work on things with mini details.
Or people like my mom who has difficulty reading the small printed newspapers. There is a plastic cap that you can use to cover the lens to protect it from scratches and dust when you’re not using it.
Now to the body of the lamp. It’s flexible, with joints and swivels you can bend and twist at the head, the arm, and where the body and the clamp meet.
This ensures you can pivot the light to the exact angle and position you need it. With a long arm (32 inches or 81cm in total), the lamp promises to bring the magnifying lens to the height you need, even if you’re 6.6 feet tall.
Despite the flexibility, the Lightview Pro is very stable and sturdy. It’s pretty heavy (7.5 pounds or 3.5kg) for a baseless lamp, and feels completely solid. It’s tight where needed, and stays exactly where you put it. The clamp opens to 2.5 inches (6.35cm), easily holding on to your thick table or desk.
The only thing I would like to add to this lamp is the dimmability, so I have more choices of the brightness.
The feature can be found on its larger version, the Brightech LightView Pro floor lamp, which also has various light color choices, but is unavailable on the desk lamp.
Nevertheless, without the dimmable feature, this is still an amazing task desk lamp with its crisp, bright light, clear magnifying lens, and flexible but stable arm.
And if anything, it also comes with a 3 years warranty.
7. Taotronics TT-DL13 — Best for Studying
If you want a high quality LED desk lamp for studying without spending a large chunk of your stipend, TaoTronics is offering this amazing product for $30.
I have to say that this is not the kind of fancy gadgets that will decorate your working space. It looks simple and not exactly sleek or shiny. It’s more well-built for the functionality than it is for aesthetic purposes.
The lamp offers crisp, stable, and flicker-free light. And as typical of TaoTronics lamps, it comes with 7 levels of brightness and 5 different color temperatures.
This makes it very easy on the eyes, as you can conveniently adjust the light among the 35 different settings until they feel comfy and satisfied. All of the settings can be done via the very responsive touch controls on the base.
Thanks to the various light modes, the lamp is extremely versatile. You can have the full intensity mode on with the whitest light color for enhanced concentration when studying during the day, when there is background lighting.
At night, when your roommates have gone to bed, you can still keep reading with a lower brightness mode and a warmer temperature.
One thing, however, the lamp doesn’t remember its last setting. If you always use it at a particular mode that is not its default mode, this could be a little inconvenient.
Of course, you can remember your favorite, but it would still be better if you don’t have to set it again every time you turn it on.
To ensure the right light angle and prevent glare, the TaoTronics comes with a flexible body.
There are three places you can twist and turn to adjust the angle and distance: the head, the neck, and where the arm joins the base.
The lamp is made out of plastic and aluminum alloy, resulting in its lightweightness (2.5 pounds).
Since it’s not the most solid and heavy, you may need to use one hand to keep it in place while you stretch it. This is not something I’m going to complain about, however.
The compactness and lightweightness of the base make it easier to move around whenever I reorganize the desk, which I do very often.
You may notice that there is an integrated USB charging port on the base. It takes quite long to charge and is not the best option if you need your device full fast. Nevertheless, it’s still a very nice bonus when you’re studying for long hours and want to charge your phone without moving to find the socket.