Good lighting is a vital part of a healthy and productive workspace. If you’ve ever struggled with eye strain or headaches, you probably know that the best desk lamps for your eyes do more than simply light up a room — they create specific conditions that allow your eyes to relax so that you can get to work.
The ideal desk lamps cast a bright, targeted light that doesn’t flicker or create glare. They should feature a diffusion panel, hood, or shade to soften the appearance of bright bulbs. Adjustability is particularly important, giving you the option to alter lighting conditions depending on your specific needs. Some of the properties that you might want to adjust are:
- Brightness: Have you ever tried to read in a dim room? When the lighting is too low, it makes you squint—which isn’t so easy on the eyes. You should be able to see what you’re doing without putting in extra effort. Your eyes may require more light as you age or for more precise tasks, so it’s good to have multiple brightness settings to choose from.
- Color Temperature: Many LED lamps have adjustable color temperature, which means you can shift between warmer or cooler colors of light depending on the time of day, the tasks you’re performing, and what generally feels best to you. Incandescent, halogen, or fluorescent bulbs don’t offer the same kind of color versatility.
- Angle/Location: The ability to physically adjust a lamp is important so that you can ensure its beam of light is focused exactly where you need it. A good desk lamp should be mobile enough that you can shift its beam to reduce glare and light up the correct part of your workspace. While it’s helpful to have a lamp that’s easy to pick up and place in a new location, it’s also vital that you be able to modify the direction or angle of its beam using lamp designs that pivot, bend, or swivel.
For these reasons, most of the desk lamps on this list are highly adjustable models with multiple settings to choose from.
Beyond features designed to reduce eye strain, there are other factors to consider. Some people put a lot of weight in stylish looks, while others would prefer their lamp to offer useful extras like a USB port for phone charging or a cordless design for ultimate portability.
Desk lamps come in a variety of price points and styles, which means that in the end, finding the desk lamp that’s right for you (and your vision!) is, to some extent, a matter of preference. Luckily, there are some really good options to choose from. Here are four eye-friendly options to light up your workspace.
1. The Best Overall
Customizability is king, which means this highly adjustable little TaoTronics number is destined for your desk—and for a good price! With seven brightness levels and five color modes to choose from via built-in touch controls, the lamp has more lighting options than any other model on this list. It maxes out at 410 lumens, which should be bright enough for most people, and the light panel is frosted to prevent unwanted glare. If you need to change the angle or direction of the light, you can pivot the lamp head or bend and swivel its arm. A handy USB port on the base is a convenient spot to charge your phone.
While a few disappointed Amazon users mentioned incidents in which the lamp broke within a year of purchase, which is why it’s comforting to know that the lamp comes with a one-year warranty with the option to extend for an additional 18 months. That said, more than 6,000 happy customers gave the product a five-star rating, calling it the “best lamp ever” and “perfect for studying.”
2. The Best Upgrade
Let’s cut to the chase — If you can nab an awesome desk lamp for $30, why would you want to spend $200+ on this BenQ model? There are more than just a few reasons. The lamp, which has continuous dimming control, can offer up to 900 lumens of brightness, helpful for precise tasks or older eyes. A convenient auto-dimming mode automatically adjusts the lamp’s brightness based on the ambient brightness in the room, and there’s an option to switch between warmer and cooler temperatures of light. The sleek design features a wide head that BenQ claims can steadily illuminate an entire 35-inch desk without issues of glare, as well as a jointed arm to situate the beam just right.
Amazon users acknowledge the steep price, but many report that the lamp is well worth the money and has made a big difference in the comfort of their eyes. One user said it “changed my life,” while another said it was the “best desk lamp you can buy.”
Sure, the TaoTronics is relatively inexpensive and should work just fine for most. But if you’re looking for something extra special (or something brighter), the BenQ is worthy of your consideration.
3. The Most Stylish
LED desk lamps are often more functional than beautiful, but the Tomons swing arm desk lamp manages to offer both utility and style. The natural wood frame is jointed in three places, which means you can bend it to focus the light wherever you wish. The iron lamp shade isn’t just pretty (and available in four different colors), it also shields the LED bulb from the rest of the room, reducing the likelihood of unwanted glare. Unlike the other lamps on this list, you can’t cycle between a number of brightness and color temperature options, but you can replace the included E26 LED bulb with the bulb of your choice (so long as it doesn’t exceed 40 watts).
The bottom line: this Tomons desk lamp isn’t quite as high-tech as the other lamps on the list. If your eyes are your ultimate priority, you might want to skip it. But if you want a beautiful design piece to shine light on your workspace, Amazon users say the lamp “looks like a piece of art,” is “super easy to adjust,” and “provides just the right amount of light without being overpowering.”
4. The Most Portable
A desk lamp is well and good if you have, well, a desk. But if your workspace moves, you might want a lamp that can move with you. That’s where this TOMOL lamp comes in handy. You can power it two separate ways—either by plugging it into your laptop’s USB port or with four AA batteries. You can place the light wherever you need it, and the collapsable design means you can fold it into a more compact shape when you’re on the go. You can choose between three brightness settings of warm white light using the touch control on the base, though you won’t be able to control color temperature at all. Some users have reported issues with the light breaking or short battery life, but many others are big fans, saying that it’s perfect for “an endless variety of tasks that used to be easier to see when my eyes were much younger” and “a great bargain.” For $13, you can’t really go wrong.
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