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Published Feb 23, 2022 2:49 PM

The best desk lamps do more than shed light on a desktop. They have adjustable light levels, different colors, and storage options to keep you organized. The lamp’s design and height should fit with the overall look and feel of your desk area. Thankfully, there are plenty of models to choose from. So many, in fact, that it can be overwhelming. 

We’ve narrowed the field down to five of the best models on the market. Some of these lamps automatically adjust light levels based on the ambient light, while others wirelessly charge devices. They’re eye savers and space savers, and they add a touch of design, too. Our list of the best desk lamps also includes a short shopping guide to help you make the final decision. 

How We Selected These Products 

Methodology 

Important work (and potentially play) takes place at your desk. To narrow down a continually growing field of desk lamps, we focused on construction quality, light quality, features, and adjustability. 

  • Construction Quality: Hinges that break and touch sensors that don’t work don’t create the best desk lamp. We looked for quality construction that could take daily use. We preferred metal and high-quality plastics over cheaper materials.
  • Light Quality and Lamp Versatility: Lamps with multiple light levels and colors allow users to make adjustments based on the activity and conditions at hand. Desk lamps can also do more than provide light. We considered extra features like timers and storage compartments. A lack of versatility didn’t keep a lamp off the list, but extras certainly added value when making final decisions.   
  • Features: A basic lamp doesn’t need many features. However, we considered models with adjustable necks and light angles, storage features, and charging options. 
  • Adjustability: Adjustable swing arms and lamp necks prevent glare and help users get the best light for the task at hand. 

The Best Desk Lamps: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: BenQ eReading LED Desk Lamp

The BenQ lamp has a massive number of brightness levels, offers warm and cool color options, and automatically adjusts to changing ambient conditions. BenQ

Why It Made The Cut: The BenQ’s 13 color “temperatures,” 23 brightness levels, and automatic ambient light adjustment make this the best desk lamp for the perfectly illuminated workspace. 

Specs:

  • Overall Dimensions: 23.22 inches L x 8.6 inches W x 24.61 inches H
  • Color Options: 13
  • Light Levels: 23

Pros:

  • Automatically adjusts the light levels to the ambient surroundings
  • 13 color temperature settings
  • 23 brightness levels
  • Curved head for better light coverage

Cons: 

  • Overly sensitive touch sensor
  • Poor customer service

The BenQ eReading LED Desk Lamp has a unique design that maximizes light coverage and combines it with plenty of brightness and color options. A curved head spreads light 90 degrees, which is 30 degrees more than the average straight head. The shape better disperses light to reduce glare and covers a wider area. 

This desk light offers some of the best light adjustability out there. There are 13 color “temperatures” from warm to cool, so you can adjust the light to a color that’s appropriate for the time of day (no blue light at night, for example) and the decor around the desk. 

But it’s the 23 brightness levels and automatic light adjustment that put this model ahead of the rest. It automatically adjusts the brightness based on the surrounding ambient light. It gets brighter as you need more light, and vice versa. Of course, it has an adjustable swing arm too. 

Just so you’re aware of the cons with this one, the touch sensor can be overly sensitive. Some users find that if they bump the lamp, it turns off. And a few users with technical issues report poor customer service, as in it takes a couple of weeks for responses. 

Best Portable Desk Lamp: DEEPLITE LED Desk Lamp

Best Portable Desk Lamp

This lightweight lamp quickly charges and can travel around the house with you. DEEPLITE

Why It Made The Cut: The lightweight DEEPLITE can light a desk, a kitchen table, or anywhere else you want to carry it, making it the best portable desk lamp. 

Specs:

  • Overall Dimensions: 4.7 inches L x 3.5 inches W x 14.9 inches H
  • Color Options: 1
  • Light Levels: 3

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Flexible neck
  • 3 brightness levels

Cons: 

  • Short battery life

The DEEPLITE LED Desk Lamp is a small, lightweight lamp that you can carry around the house or use outside thanks to the rechargeable battery. A flexible neck bends in every direction. You can bend it over a screen or piano or adjust it to create better light for studying and reading. 

It also offers three brightness levels for different ambient light conditions and touch controls. This one also gets bonus points for affordability.  

The cordless operation of the DEEPLITE is nice, but lasts only about 30 minutes. That’s to be expected with a light this bright. You can use the light while it’s plugged in, so there’s no waiting for it to charge. 

Best for Kids: Limelights Book Holder Desk Lamp

Kids can keep their desks organized and better view a phone or tablet for homework with the Limelight. Limelights

Why It Made The Cut: The Limelights desk lamp adds light, organization, and a media holder to help kids stay organized and focused, making this the best desk lamp for kids. 

Specs:

  • Overall Dimensions: 7.5 inches L x 6.6 inches W x 17.25 inches H
  • Color Options: 1
  • Light Levels: 1

Pros:

  • Bright light
  • Flexible neck
  • 8 storage compartments
  • Media holder

Cons: 

  • Single brightness level

When it comes to kids and teens, a desk lamp has to do more than provide light. The Limelights Book Holder Desk Lamp brings light and organization to the busy lives of kids. 

Teens will especially love this lamp, thanks to the media holder that can prop up a phone, tablet, or notebook. Eight storage compartments can hold pencils, erasers, and other small office supplies, so they’re not floating around on the desk. The gooseneck design easily adjusts, leaving little excuse for not hitting the homework.  

The only downside of the Limelight is that it has a single brightness level. 

Best for Wireless Charging: AFROG Multifunctional LED Desk Lamp

Best for Wireless Charging

Wirelessly charge your devices and control brightness levels, all with a lamp that can fold down to save desk space when needed. AFROG

Why It Made The Cut: The AFROG provides multiple brightness levels, a built-in timer, wireless charging, and a foldable design that saves space to make it the best desk lamp for wireless charging. 

Specs:

  • Overall Dimensions: 15.7 inches L x 4.72 inches W x 1.57 inches H
  • Color Options: 5
  • Light Levels: 5

Pros:

  • Built-in timer
  • 5 colors and 5 brightness levels for a combination of 25 lighting options
  • Wireless and USB charging
  • Foldable arm

Cons: 

  • Wireless charging has a “sweet spot”

The AFROG Multifunctional LED Desk Lamp is a space saver that helps keep your phone charged. The base includes a wireless charging pad and a USB port for wired charging. The wireless charging pad does take some maneuvering to get the phone in the right position, however. If the phone isn’t correctly placed, it may stop charging. 

However, wireless charging (and corded charging) aren’t the only great features. The AFROG also provides five color temperatures and five brightness levels, so you can customize the lighting based on the room, time of day, and ambient light. And everything is adjusted through touch sensors on the base, including the built-in 30- or 60-minute timer. 

The hinged arm offers some adjustability, but we like that you can fold the light and arm into the base. When folded down, the lamp is compact and easy to hide away in case you need the desk space. 

Best Budget: Globe Electric Swing-Arm Desk Lamp

Sometimes all you need is a classic swing-arm lamp with a bright light. Globe Electric

Why It Made The Cut: This classic swing-arm model offers a bright light and two articulating hinges at an affordable price, making it the best budget desk lamp. 

Specs:

  • Overall Dimensions: 6.77 inches L x 14.02 inches W x 28 inches H
  • Color Options: 1
  • Light Levels: 1

Pros:

  • Simple, classic design
  • Adjustable swing arm
  • 2 articulating joints
  • Small base footprint

Cons: 

  • No brightness levels

The Globe Electric Swing-Arm Desk Lamp hearkens back to classic desk lamps in its design and function. The swing arm has two articulating joints so you can adjust the angle and distance of the light. A switch on the lamp head turns the light on and off. It’s completed with a small base that doesn’t eat up your workspace. This model also comes in three colors, giving you some extra design options. 

We wish this model had a few more brightness levels, but the single level it offers is bright enough for daily work. 

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Desk Lamp

Size 

A desk lamp’s size and dimensions should complement the dimensions of your desk. For example, a small desk lamp on a huge desk will look out of place and probably won’t provide enough light for the entire workspace. Keep an eye on the lamp’s base size as well, because a large base could take up valuable space on a crowded desk. 

In general, a lamp that’s matched to the scale of the desk and size of the space will look better. However, you can throw that rule out if you want to make a statement with a tall model or a model with a long lamp head that extends over the desk. 

Brightness and Color Options

The desk lamp should be bright enough that you don’t have to strain your eyes to see. If it can do that with a single light level, it’s a good desk lamp. However, constant screen use puts eyes under more strain than in past generations. Good lighting keeps your eyes from having to work too hard. Desk lamps with several brightness levels let you adjust the light to the time of day and ambient conditions, which doesn’t stress the eyes. 

Light color also makes a difference. There’s a growing body of evidence that shows that blue light from light bulbs and screens can disrupt sleep patterns. Consequently, many lamps let you adjust the light color or temperature from cool blue light to warm yellow light. Adjustable light color also lets you match the light’s color to other light sources in the room. 

Adjustability and Versatility

Adjustable swing arms, goosenecks, and lamp heads let you direct light as needed for each project. These adjustability features also help you to get the right light angle for different situations. You may need a closer light source when reading text but more distance when using your laptop, for example.

Some lamps are more versatile than just lighting. They may have charging ports or storage compartments, acting as added organization and space savers.

FAQs

Q: Is an LED desk lamp good for the eyes?

An LED desk lamp can be good or bad for the eyes, depending on the quality and make. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can have an almost imperceptible flicker that strains the eyes. However, some LEDs are made to reduce flicker and eye strain. 

Q: What type of lamp is best for studying?

Desk lamps with an adjustable arm, such as one with a gooseneck or articulating joints, are often the best options for studying. These lamps let you put the light at a comfortable height and position, whether you’re using a laptop or studying a textbook. Light and color adjustments are also helpful, but they’re not as important as being able to direct the light effectively. 

Q: How tall should a desk lamp be?

Desk lamp height is a matter of personal preference and desk/room design. Consider the size of the desk, ceiling height, and other influencing factors, like screen height if the desk lamp shines onto a monitor or laptop. However, most people find that a light at 26 to 34 inches above the desk offers the best illumination.

Final Thoughts

A unique design and excellent brightness and color options make the BenQ eReading LED Desk Lamp the best desk lamp. Its curved head spreads light farther, and it will automatically adjust light levels based on the ambient light conditions. However, if you want to save a few dollars and love a classic look, the Globe Electric Swing-Arm Desk Lamp provides bright illumination and good adjustability at an affordable price. 

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