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Lighting Love - Chandelier, Pendant, Outdoor and Ceiling Lights Design

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Buy Desk Lamp

Desk lamps provide task lighting for answering emails, reading important documents, taking notes, and more. If you choose a lamp solely based on its aesthetics, you could be missing other important features that can help reduce eye strain or fatigue. When picking out your perfect lamp, consider lighting type, light temperature and brightness, and range of movement.

buy desk lamp

To find the best desk lamp, I consulted with an ophthalmologist, ergonomists, and engineers and used their insights to narrow my search to seven top-rated products. I tested each for several consecutive days, assessing their design, performance, ease of use, and extra features. You can find the details of how we tested, what to look for in a desk lamp, and more at the end of our guide. Learn more about how Insider Reviews tests and researches home products.

Extending vertically up to 30 inches, the BenQ e-Reading LED Swing-Arm Desk Lamp stands out because it is significantly larger than the other desk lamps we tested. The lamp's head is mounted on a ball joint so you can pivot it in any direction, and the arm also rotates 360 degrees on the base, making this lamp extremely versatile. Despite its somewhat complex design, the lamp was extremely easy to set up.

The light's head is just over 15 inches in length and casts wider lighting coverage compared to the other desk lamps I tested. It easily illuminated my whole desk, which is 56 inches wide. I rarely needed my usual overhead light.

It's quick and easy to adjust both the brightness and color temperature of the BenQ Desk Lamp. When you press the dial on the light's head and then turn it, you can adjust the color temperature of the light to 12 different settings, the most of any lamp we tested.

The lamp also has an ambient light sensor, so it automatically adjusts its brightness to suit your environment. I sometimes had to tweak these settings but not by much. Additionally, the BenQ Lamp has a special e-reading mode that helps reduce glare when you're reading on a computer screen.

This 18-watt lamp isn't Energy Star-certified, but it does have a panel of energy-saving LED lights. It produces an impressive 1,800 lux and the lights provide constant flicker-free illumination to reduce eye strain. Although it was the heaviest lamp we tested, I was never worried about it tipping over, even as I adjusted the arms.

If you're looking for an affordable lamp that checks all the boxes, the AmazonBasics Dual Head LED Desk Lamp is a small yet functional option. It stands around 13 to 15 inches tall, depending on how you angle its adjustable gooseneck.

The lightweight lamp comes ready to use out of the box, and has a useful split-head design. The head provides bright, targeted light when the halves are arranged together, but you can split them apart for more diffused lighting that covers a larger area. Plus, the dual-head design is mounted on a flexible gooseneck that can be adjusted nearly 360 degrees or brought closer to your work surface.

The only other feature this light offers is a 40-minute timer. Overall, it's a fairly simple lamp with a minimalistic design, but it works well and would make an excellent addition to a student's desk or other small work spaces.

After working at a desk all day, it's common to experience symptoms of eye strain, which can include sore or tired eyes and headache. Benjamin Bert, MD, an ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, said adjusting lighting temperature throughout the day can help minimize eye strain.

Few lamps with auto-adjusting dimmers came up in my research, but the Dyson Solarcycle Morph (formerly the Lightcycle Morph) met our criteria for testing. This Energy Star-certified smart desk lamp automatically adjusts its warmth and brightness throughout the day based on your exact location.

During testing, I was impressed that the lamp optimized its settings to suit my environment, and I never experienced any eye strain. Its near-constant micro-adjustments happen every 60 seconds. However, you have to give the Dyson Link app permission to access your location for the lamp to do this.

The Dyson Solarcycle Morph has the sleek modern design you'd expect from the brand, though I was surprised at its 7.7-pound weight. The vertical stem of the lamp offers a 360-degree range of motion, and you can also twist the upper half of its horizontal arm to point the light sideways or upward for ambient lighting. When the arm is placed back over the lamp's base, it lights up the stem, creating a gentle ambient light that reduces blue light.

You're able to adjust both the lamp's warmth and brightness from the top of its arm, but frankly, these controls are a bit finicky to use. I found it significantly easier to adjust the lamp via the Dyson Link app, which also allows you to save custom brightness and warmth settings for specific situations and even your age. The Solarcycle Morph also automatically turns itself off and on when you leave and enter the room.

The Lumicharge doesn't require any setup, and it has an adjustable arm with an impressive range of motion. The stem offers 145-degree rotation, and the arm itself can be tilted 120 degrees up or 90 degrees side to side. The lamp contains LED bulbs covered by a plastic diffuser that help reduce the harshness of the light. During testing, I adjusted the lamp to my preferred brightness levels with no issues, and it never caused any eye strain or other discomfort.

To charge your phone, this lamp has a "charging dial" in the base that you can rotate and access three common charger styles: lightning, micro-USB, and USB-C charger. You can also place your smartphone on the wireless charging pad, though it only worked when I removed my phone case first.

The Lumicharge II has a few other interesting features, including a digital display on the arm that shows the time, date, and temperature. While the idea has potential, I found the display to be frustrating to program and old-fashioned in appearance. The blocky, retro numbers seemed out of place. The lamp also has a motion-activated night-light, but it was far too bright and would dazzle my eyes when it turned on in the dark.

Despite its low price, the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp proved quite effective. It didn't require any setup beyond plugging it in and is easy to move around. The lamp is one of the smallest options we tested, and its compact form and night-light feature make it a good fit for dorm rooms.

You can select the brightness level via a touch-activated bar on the base of the lamp. There are five color settings controlled by the "M" button. There's even a wireless charging ring that can juice up Apple and Samsung phones, but it only worked when I removed the case from my iPhone X.

In terms of other features, the TaoTronics Desk Lamp includes a USB port for charging electronics. It also has a 60-minute automatic shut-off timer, and the lamp remembers your settings, defaulting to them the next time you turn it on.

Editor's note: In 2021, Amazon banned Sunvalley, TaoTronics' parent company, from selling products on its website. Amazon claimed the manufacturer was offering gift cards to customers in exchange for a review, a violation of Amazon's policies. Our recommendation of TaoTronics' lamp is based on our own use and testing and not user reviews.

Luxe Lamp Cordless Desk Lamp: While the Luxe Lamp Cordless Desk Lamp is useful for certain tasks, it's much too small to cut it as a desk lamp. Its flexible arm offers 180-degree movement, but it's only 15 inches long so when you bend it over to focus the light, it ends up being less than a foot away from the desk. The lightweight, cordless design is nice if you don't have an outlet nearby, and the lamp can run for three or more hours per charge thanks to its 28 energy-efficient LED bulbs. However, the overall design is better suited for small tasks that require you to be close to the work surface, like sketching.

Buying a desk lamp might not seem like a complicated task, but there are a number of features you'll want to look for when selecting the best ones for your needs. Here are the most important factors to consider, as recommended by our experts as well as my own research and experience.

Range of motion: All of the experts consulted for this guide agreed that it's important for lamps to be adjustable, and the larger the range of movement, the better. McGowan explains lamps should have "the ability to be positioned to exclude glare on the work surface, keyboard, input display, computer display, or other equipment." A wide range of motion also allows you to move a lamp's light source closer to paper or other objects when needed.

Energy efficiency: If you're going to be using a lamp all day, an energy-efficient model can help save you money. Luckily, most of today's desk lamps use LED bulbs, which consume less energy and last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs. You may also want to look for a light that is Energy Star-certified, which must use 90% less energy than traditional models using incandescent light bulbs.

The way you position a lamp on your desk can affect whether you experience eye strain, and our experts recommend finding a spot that ensures the lamp won't reflect off your computer screen. "If you're using a desk lamp in conjunction with a backlit screen (tablet, laptop, or desktop computer), it's best to have the illumination provided by the desk lamp be similar to the brightness of the backlit screen and be predominantly directed behind the screen," says Bert.

"You don't want to have the desk lamp reflecting off of a glass screen," he says. "The reflection can cause additional glare that can increase eye strain. For that reason, it is sometimes best to have the light behind your computer, but easily movable if you want to have it in front of printed documents."

I've been a product reviewer for four years now, so I used my experience testing household products, including lamps, to develop a comprehensive testing methodology. I also consulted various experts, including Benjamin Bert, MD, an ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center; Blake McGowan, director of ergonomics research at VelocityEHS; and Matthew Thorpe, a senior sales engineer at Fagerhult Lighting in London. 041b061a72


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