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A desk lamp can make or break your work setup. The right lamp adjusts to your many needs, which means that it has various color modes and brightness settings. It also reduces eye strain when you’re working long hours. In addition, the right desk lamp can swivel, tilt, or adjust in height (unless it provides 360-degree coverage) to illuminate whatever you’re working on at the moment.
Some desk lamps even have additional features, such as the ability to charge your smartphone. Ease of use is another critical feature, and a desk lamp should be simple—in fact, some are actually intuitive. Based on these criteria, we scoured the market to find the nine best desk lamps.
Best Overall: LumiCharge LED Smart Desk Lamp
10 brightness levels; 3 color modes
Swivels and tilts
Charges three devices
Wireless charging is spotty
Controls: Touch | Height: 16 inches | Weight: 3 pounds | Multiple brightness/color settings: Both | Swivel/tilt: Yes
The best overall lamp is the LumiCharge LED Smart Adjustable Desk Lamp. It checks all of our boxes and has plenty of extra features as well. The sleek and stylish desk lamp has three LED light color options: white, soft white, and soft yellow, and 10 adjustable brightness levels. The light also swivels and tilts, so you can always find the right position. And you can set the motion sensor so the light will automatically turn on when you approach it.
These are just some of the reasons why we rated it the best overall desk lamp. It also has a universal phone dock to hold your smartphone, and a Qi 10W fast wireless charger, in addition to a USB port, so you can charge three devices at the same time. The desk lamp also has a digital clock and calendar (day, date, month) and temperature display—and the entire backlight display is dimmable. What's more, it delivers all of this at a reasonable price. The desk lamp is available in silver or black.
Best With Wireless Charging: Vari Task Lamp + Wireless Charger
Multiple color settings
No brightness settings
Does not swivel
Controls: Touch | Height: 14 7/8 inches | Weight: 1.63 pounds | Multiple brightness/color settings: Color settings only | Swivel/tilt: Tilts only
The Vari LED Task Lamp + Wireless Charger includes a fast-charge, wireless phone charger in the base. This keeps extra cords from cluttering your desk area and makes it easy and convenient to charge your phone while keeping it handy. The lamp is almost 15 inches tall but still has a compact design that doesn’t take up much space on your desk. It has four color settings: warm white, soft white, natural white, and cool white. In addition, it tilts to several different degrees. The lamp also has simple touch controls on its base.
Best Budget: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
USB charging port
5 color temperatures
7 brightness levels
Swivels and tilts
Can fall over if tilted too far downward
Controls: Touch | Height: 16.93 inches | Weight: 1.84 pounds | Multiple brightness/color settings: Both | Swivel/tilt: Both
If you’re looking for a good desk lamp that won’t break the bank, consider the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp. It has five color temperatures and seven brightness levels. There’s also an integrated USB port so you can charge your smartphone. In addition, the lamp both swivels and tilts extensively. Built-in touch controls let you slide your fingers on the touchpad to adjust the lamp’s brightness levels and color modes. It’s made of metal and plastic and is available in white, black, white woodgrain, and black woodgrain.
Best Movement: Humanscale Infinity LED Task Light
Swivels and tilts
9 brightness settings
No color settings
Controls: Touch | Height: 17.5 inches | Weight: Unavailable | Multiple brightness/color settings: Brightness only | Swivel/tilt: Yes
If the ability to manipulate your desk lamp’s movement is important to you, consider the Humanscale Infinity LED Task Light. It has “forever hinges” that provide fluid movement regardless of how you want to position the lamp. The arm reaches 35 inches, and both the arm and head rotate 180 degrees. And the base is stable and heavy enough that the lamp won’t tilt over in any position. There are nine brightness levels, and the occupancy sensor turns off when you’re not close by. The lamp is made of aluminum and is available in three finish options: ash black, linen white, and slate blue.
Best for Video Conferences: Dyson Lightcycle Desk Lamp
App provides personalized settings
Light can be adjusted for task and mood
Stem provides ambient light
Controls: Touch | Height: 20.6 inches | Weight: 7.7 pounds | Multiple brightness/color settings: Yes | Swivel/tilt: Yes
Lighting for videoconferences and video streaming can be tricky. Depending on your webcam and environment, your image may be too light or too dark, or the details may be washed out. The Dyson Lightcycle Morph Desk Lamp can help you create the perfect lighting regardless of the room’s lighting situation. Using the Dyson Lightcycle Morph app on your phone, the lamp uses a GPS-based algorithm to track your local daylight and adjust both the color and brightness every 60 seconds.
Some of the various lighting options include task light, indirect light, feature light, and ambient light. The light can swivel and rotate 360 degrees, and magnetic touch-glide docking moves the light source to the stem. In addition, the sensor can be set to turn on when you approach the lamp. It’s available in black, black/gold, and white/gray.
Best Anti-Glare: Sonneman Quattro
3 brightness levels
90-degree arm rotation
No color settings
Controls: Touch | Height: 20 inches | Weight: 7.65 pounds | Multiple brightness/color settings: Brightness only | Swivel/tilt: Yes
The Sonneman Quattro LED Task Lamp is known for its anti-glare feature, using flat panel LED technology, which eliminates shadows and hot spots. The arm rotates 90 degrees, so it can be moved as needed and can even be adjusted in height from 5.5 to 36 inches. It also adjusts in width from 15 to 32 inches. There are three levels of brightness: high, mid, and low. The lamp is available in both traditional and more colorful options: finishes for the metal lamp include bright satin aluminum, black, gloss white, and also a red/yellow/black option that has black arms, a yellow base, and a red flat panel.
Best Smart Lamp: Govee Smart LED Lamp
Can control by voice, app, and touch
Displays 16 million colors
Has 20 scene modes
Has a music mode
Does not swivel or tilt
Light may be too dim for some
Controls: Voice, app, and touch | Height: 15.4 inches | Weight: 2.23 pounds | Multiple brightness/color settings: Yes | Swivel/tilt: No
The Govee Smart LED Lamp works with the Govee Home App, Alexa, and also Google Assistant, so you can issue voice commands to turn it on and off, or use the app or the lamp’s touch controls to adjust brightness and change colors. The lamp has more than 16 million colors, so you don’t have to settle for warm white all of the time. This allows the lamp to also be used to create backgrounds for videoconferences and backlight computer monitors to provide a soothing eye experience when working at night. And if you like to listen to music as you work, the lamp can also sync the lighting to your musical selections.
Best Traditional Design: LEPOWER Metal Desk Lamp
Multiple color finishes
Can be clipped to desk
Lacks brightness and color settings
Controls: Manual—located on cord | Height: 23.6 inches | Weight: 7.16 pounds | Multiple brightness/color settings: No | Swivel/tilt: yes
We wanted to include a traditional desk lamp with a screw-in light bulb. The LEPOWER Metal Desk Lamp is our top choice in this category. It has a goose-neck, architectural style that can be used in two ways. It can sit on the desk, or you can use the included clamp to attach the lamp to the edge and save space. Both the lamp head and arms are adjustable, and the lamp head also tilts. The lamp uses the equivalent of a 40W bulb (max) and includes vents to dissipate the heat. The on-off button is located on the cord. It's available in several finishes, including black with copper or silver trim, solid silver, solid brass, and white with silver trim.
Best Tall: OTUS Architect LED Desk Lamp
Gesture control on/off
3 brightness and 3 color modes
Tilts and adjusts
May be too tall when fully extended
Controls: Infrared motion sensor and touch switch | Height: 24.4 inches | Weight: 5.73 inches | Multiple brightness/color settings: Yes | Swivel/tilt: Yes
The OTUS Architect LED Desk Lamp looks like a traditional drafting desk lamp—but it’s not. The lamp has an infrared motion sensor, so you can turn it on and off without ever touching it. Just wave your hand over the sensor to turn the lamp on and wave your hand over it again to turn the lamp off. You can also use the touch control to operate the lamp. It has three brightness settings and three color temperature modes. The LED light is designed to last for 25 years or 50,000 hours. Both the arms and the head rotate and tilt. The lamp is made of metal (including the joints) with a brushed steel finish.
The best overall lamp is the LumiCharge LED Smart Adjustable Desk Lamp (view at Amazon). It has numerous color temperature levels and adjustable brightness settings. The lamp also has a motion sensor and a universal phone dock and charger and includes a digital clock and calendar. For videoconferences and streaming, the Dyson Lightcycle Morph Desk Lamp (view at Best Buy) provides a plethora of personalized settings to accommodate various lighting environments and a GPS-based algorithm to track your daylight and automatically adjust the color and brightness. It also charges your smartphone.
Most of the lamps don’t mention light bulbs. Why not?
All of the lamps on our list (except for one) use integrated LED lights, which means the lights are built into the lamp. This type of lighting is easier to manage because the bulbs never have to be changed. As a result, the lamps can last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 hours. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs use up to 75 percent less energy (and are cool to the touch) and also last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. So even if you burn the lamp 40 hours a week, it will last you several years. However, because the LED light is integrated, you will have to replace the entire desk lamp when it burns out.
Why are adjustable brightness and color settings so important?
When working at your desk all day, your needs may change depending on your tasks and also depending on the amount of daylight streaming into the room. Sometimes, you’ll need a brighter light than others—that’s why this option is so important. In addition, sometimes you may want a warm light when working on your computer, a cool light when you’re trying to observe details, or natural daylight when you’re trying to see colors accurately. That's why you’ll benefit from having a desk lamp with adjustable color temperatures.
What’s the importance of desk lamps being able to swivel and/or tilt?
Desk lamps that can swivel or tilt provide more functionality. They allow you to focus on a particular area or light up your entire workspace. You can move them closer when you want to illuminate specific details or move them out of the way. Also, if you have a large desk, you want an arm that is long enough to provide light across the entire area. Another advantage of adjustable heads and arms is that they can be positioned to help reduce glare.
Why Trust Investopedia?
After researching dozens of highly rated lap desks, we narrowed down our picks using several factors. All of the desk lamps—except for one—have integrated LED lights. This type of lamp provides a more efficient lighting environment, is safer to use, and is also more economical. Next, we rated desk lamps based on adjustable brightness settings and color temperatures. Also important was the ability to swivel and/or tilt. Quality of build was also a consideration. Finally, we also wanted to provide a variety of options at a range of price points.
Terri Williams is a professional writer who has tested hundreds of products. She has written product reviews for Tom’s Guide, The Spruce, Bob Vila, Apartment Therapy, The Daily Beast, and more. Terri also has personal finance bylines at Time, Yahoo, The Balance, Realtor.com, and Investopedia.