Aug 26, 2023

11 Best Desk Lamps of 2023, Reviewed

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Ideal for studying in college dorms, working late from your home office and beyond.

A lamp can change the atmosphere of your WFH setup or office vibe so you no longer dread logging on on dark mornings or working into the night. Desk lamps in particular are critical to any work or bedroom layout, whether you have a home office or are moving in to a college dorm for the first time — after all, it's a lot harder to work or study in the dark.

To find top-performing desk lamps, our editors considered design features like adjustability, claimed durability, USB charging stations, size and price. We also read through online consumer reviews and consulted with experts, including interviewing design pros and eye care experts to find a pick for every style and budget so you can tackle your to do list in the right lighting.

Continue on to learn more about how we chose the best desk lamps as well as what to consider when purchasing a new lamp for your desk. If you're looking for more lighting options, consult our roundup of the best light therapy lamps for winter.

When choosing the right desk lamp, adjustability and durability may be at the forefront of your mind while browsing the vast array of options. This LED lamp by Taotronics made from aluminum has a rotating base, multi-joint arm and adjustable lamp and body. Choose from five lighting temperatures and six brightnesses to customize the perfect combination that will correctly light the task you are working on, however, one customer points out that you cannot discern the specific color temperature. We love that the lamp has a USB charging port so you can plug in your smartphone, tablet and other devices.

Taotronics claims the energy-efficient LED lamp will lower your electricity bill up to 75%, but we have not yet confirmed this in our Labs. Still, customers cannot stop raving about the desk lamp, which has a 4.9-star rating online. One five-star review says, "This lamp is high quality build with all the lighting options you will ever need. Sleek and elegant and you can adjust to virtually every possible angle you'll ever need."

Dimensions: Not listed | Power: Not listed | Color temperature: 5 settings | Brightness: 6 settings

Available in nickel plated (pictured), beige and turquoise, this popular desk lamp from IKEA has a 4.7-star rating across 300 online customer reviews that give it almost perfect scores for ease of assembly and appearance. One five-star review writes, "Had been looking for a reasonably priced tabletop work lamp for use at home assembling small electronics. Looked online at local lighting shops, Amazon etc. This was a lot cheaper than the alternatives and does the job really well."

At around $30, the Forså has a classic style with an adjustable arm and shade so you can direct the light exactly where you need while writing, reading or typing at your desk. To clean, simply wipe with a damp cloth and a mild cleaner and then dry with a fresh cloth. This is a great budget-friendly lamp but its smaller price tag does mean there isn't as much adjustability in color temperature or brightness.

Dimensions: 6"D x 6"W x 14"H | Power: Not listed | Color temperature: 3000K, 4000K, 5000K | Brightness: Not listed

Talk about a crowd-pleaser: Every customer who has so far purchased the UPLIGHT E7 on Amazon has left a five-star rating. One standout review saying, "this light attaches securely to my desk. I love the range of motion and also the different light choices." Adjust the lamp to your ideal position thanks to multiple bendable joints, rotate the lamp's head as you need and seamlessly dim the lighting to your desired intensity. On top of a bevy of design features that help make the light super flexible, the E7 also has a minimalist, modern design that will look sleek attached to your desk.

We love that you can change the color temperature between 3000K for warm, 4000K for natural and 5000K for cool, depending on your preference or eye sensitivity. We also appreciate that the lamp uses energy-efficient LED bulbs, which "are good for the eyes, because the light itself is focused on a smaller area and does not radiate out. LED lights reduce glare that helps also reduce eye strain," explains Marc Grossman, O.D., L.AC. Note that the base is a clamp and can only attach to desks up to 2.25" thick.

Dimensions: 3"D x 8"W x 21"H | Power: 9W | Color temperature: 3000K, 4000K, 5000K | Brightness: Dimmable

If you have the budget for a high-tech desk lamp that will enhance your workspace, the Nova 26.8" will do just that. We appreciate the two USB ports so you can conveniently plug in your electronics without using up more plugs. The lamp also features a touch switch that lets you adjust the brightness to the perfect luminosity for your eyes. A touch control may take some getting used to, but once you get in the swing of things the process will become seamless.

According to the manufacturer, the built-in LED light can last up to 50,000 hours, though we haven't tested that claim. Customers report that the lamp is well made and is easy to assemble, plus (most importantly), it works well and looks great.

Dimensions: 6'' D x 20'' W x 26.8'' H | Power: 6W per bulb | Color temperature: Not listed | Brightness: Dimmable

Get the modern look with the Tolomeo desk lamp that has a weighted aluminum base and body, die-cast aluminum knobs and joints, and sleek head. Choose from three colors, including polished aluminum (pictured), aluminum and white. In addition to its stylish features, the lamp also has an impressive 360-degree rotation and a fully adjustable arm for every position. We also appreciate the clamp mounting option, which is great if you have a smaller desk and want to save surface area for your work laptop, notebook and coffee mug.

Although this desk lamp is on the pricier side, it isn't the most expensive lamp out there, and its 4.8-star rating on Wayfair suggests customers stand by their purchase. One five-star review writes, "Love this lamp! It brought some functional class to our study area. We later found out the same lamp was used in a James Bond movie!" We'll have this lamp with a shaken vodka martini on the side, please.

Dimensions: 30.75'' D x 9'' W x 50.81'' H | Power: 10.7 W per bulb | Color temperature: Not listed | Brightness: Dimmable

You can find a lot of dorm essentials on Amazon, including this convenient desk lamp with three USB charging ports and two power strips, ideal features for the college student whose dorm room is lacking in plugs. We appreciate that the charging station works regardless of whether or not the lamp is turned on, so you can still charge a phone, tablet or headphones with the lamp off to save energy when in the shower or running to the dining hall for a quick bite.

Simply press the switch to turn on and off and enjoy the sleek fabric shade that helps produce a warm glow. We do wish that the lamp had more adjustability when it comes to color temperature and brightness, but the price is right for a dorm room lamp and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with over 5,200 five-star reviews shows that customers are still satisfied with their purchase even if it has a simpler design. One happy customer writes, "I bought this lamp for my dorm last year and repurchased it for my apartment. The outlets are really convenient and the brightness is just right. I love this lamp."

RELATED: 13 Stylish and Practical Dorm Room Buys

Dimensions: 5.2"D x 5.2"W x 13.65"H | Power: 60 W | Color temperature: White | Brightness: 800 lumens

The Anglepoise lamp has been around since 1935 and remains a popular option we would be remiss to not include in our round-up. Available in five painted colors with an aluminum shade and arms, metal joints and a cast iron base, reviewers say this desk lamp has a durable construction that allows it to stay in place no matter how they position the lamp on a desk. There is an on/off switch at the top of the shade for easy reach but note that the brightness is not dimmable. For a pricier lamp, we wish that there was flexibility in height and color temperature. Still, we appreciate how stable the lamp is thanks to a weighted based and love the beautiful brass accents for a traditional flare. Bonus: the lamp comes with a bulb, which is not always the norm.

Dimensions: 8"D x 18"W x 37"H | Power: 60 W | Color temperature: Not listed | Brightness: Not dimmable

While we haven't tested this desk lamp by Dyson in our Lab, we trust the brand based on its innovation and performance in making everything from the best vacuums to the best hair dryers. The Solarcycle Morph is the most expensive desk lamp on our list, but if you have a wider budget, we think the ample features this model includes may be worth the splurge. Choose between four light options: "task" for a focused light that's designed to limit eye strain, "indirect" if you adjust the head for a softer glow, "feature" for highlighting an art piece and "ambient" for a relaxing glow that has some blue light. You can also "dock" the head to the lamp's stem to create an orange glow.

You can download the Dyson Link app and adjust the lamp's light based on a variety of factors including task, mood, time of day and even age. More than 70 online customer reviews culminate to a 4.1-star rating on Dyson's site with one five-star review saying: "The benefits I get from this light are of course the daylight cycle, cold to warm lighting and the adjustable head. Since my work consists of a lot of video conferencing, it’s very helpful to adjust the lighting by color and focus."

Dimensions: 16.3"D x 7.8"W x 20.6"H | Power: 100-240 W | Color temperature: 1800-3400 K when docked, 2700-6500 K when undocked | Brightness: 850 lumens

If you are an undergraduate or a graduate student who spends evenings at your desk studying, then you'll want a high-quality lamp that's designed with this task in mind. This LED desk lamp by BenQ has an ambient light sensor that can detect your environment's illumination and adjust accordingly. You can choose between warm tones for reading and cool tones for working. We like the ball-joint and torque springs that help make the lamp flexible, which means you can adjust the stand and head to your ideal angle. The manufacturer also claims that the LED light is flicker-free and evenly distributes light to help protect against eye strain — a major benefit if studying includes primarily looking at small print on your laptop screen.

The lamp is on the pricier side, so it may not be in the budget for younger students — but it's also a desk lamp that will go the distance throughout your schooling years and beyond. A 4.7-star rating and over 1,000 five-star reviews suggest the splurge is worth it. One customer writes, "High quality! It saved my life as a Ph.D. student with readings and writings every night." BenQ also sells a clamp accessory if you want to save on desk space as well as a standing lamp version.

Dimensions: 8.66"D x 35.43"W x 24.61"H | Power: 18 W | Color temperature: 2700-5700 K | Brightness: 250-1000 lumens

Our pros recommend the Pixo Plus for a modern desk lamp that integrates convenient design features like wireless charging and touch settings. The efficient lamp is available in six colors — although the graphite hue is currently out of stock. We appreciate its compact frame and minimal footprint, both ideal if you have a smaller desk. A swing arm lets you position the warm, glare-free light wherever you need it, and you can also dim the brightness when desired. We wish that there were specific brightness and color temperature settings given the higher price tag, but its high-tech features make it a worthy investment.

Plus, it has a 4.8-star rating on Wayfair with happy customers commenting on its great quality and how easy the lamp is to assemble. One customer writes the lamp is smaller than they anticipated, but that may be a pro if you are looking for a compact desk lamp. The same customer wished the lamp had more flexibility, while a five-star review writes: "Great lighting and flexible, it can be moved at different angles for your comfort and convenience. I highly recommend this lamp!"

Dimensions: 5'' D x 6"W x 16.5"H | Power: 6 W | Color temperature: 3000 K | Brightness: 325 lumens

We've been noticing a lot of mushroom-themed home accessories of late, including this Amazon's Choice lamp that's raking in the reviews with over 1,400 online customer reviews so far that rave about how perfect the lamp is. One five-star review says, "So cute! This is exactly what I wanted for my desk. It is small enough that it doesn't take up too much space and the colors are bright and vibrant."

The lamp comes with a remote control that works up to a distance of 33 feet. Choose from 16 light colors, four light modes and various brightness levels. The lamp will also remember your last setting so you don't have to re-adjust each time you turn on the light. It may not give off as much light as other options on this list, but for a cute lamp we think it's a great choice.

Dimensions: 5.12"D x 5.12"W x 62"H | Power: 3 W | Color temperature: Not listed | Brightness: Dimmable

We teamed up with Home Editors at GH, experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute's Home Improvement & Outdoor and Media & Tech Labs as well as lighting architects and eye specialists to learn more about this category. When selecting the best desk lamps, we considered size, adjustability, special features, price and more.

✔️ Size: Not only do you want to think about the dimensions of the lamp itself, but you'll also want to consider the size of the desk you are putting the lamp on. "If you have a small desk, you probably don't want your desk lamp taking up most of your desk," says Jack Risser, an associate and lighting expert at Lam Partners. That said, measure the length and width of your desk to get an idea of how big of a base your lamp can have. If you have a really small desk, you may consider a lamp has a clamp to minimize its footprint.

✔️ Adjustability: "The best desk lamp is one that can be flexible," says Risser. This not only means having a dimmable light switch you can adjust within arms reach, but also a base, head and arms you can adjust with ease, explains Risser. An adjustable lamp is also good for eyes, adds says Jennifer Tsai, O.D., a board-certified optometrist in New York, as you can adjust the color temperature to your sensitivities and needs.

✔️ Color temperature: In the U.S., Risser says that overhead or additional lighting in a home office is typically a warm color temperature around 2700-3000K. As such, Dr. Tsai recommends choosing "a desk lamp with warm white or neutral white LED light, around 2700K to 3000K. This light is easy on the eyes and comfortable for working." If you have sensitive eyes, stick to the warm setting as "very cool or blue-toned light can cause screen-related light sensitivity," she explains.

Dr. Grossman adds that warm light is more soothing to the eyes as this type does not have a lot of blue light. "Blue light can reduce the amount of melatonin produced by the body which can affect sleep. Cool white light bulbs produce more blue light which can result in reduction of the body’s natural melatonin production and cause sleep issues," he explains.

You can also choose to match your desk lamp's color temperature with that of other lighting in the room. We recommend checking the color temp listed on the manufacturer's site to ensure an exact or close match.

✔️ Lumens refer to the blitheness of the bulb, says Dr. Grossman, who recommends choosing a bulb that falls between 450 and 600 lumens as this softer light will help limit eye strain. "Bulbs with lumens between 450-1000 are enough to see text without causing eye strain, but the best lumen range is 450-600," he explains.

✔️ Color Rendering Index (CRI) "helps determine the amount of blue light emitted from that particular bulb or light and will not stress the eyes photoreceptors," says Dr. Grossman. He recommends choosing a bulb of at least 80 CRI as it will produce less harmful blue light emissions. You can often find the CRI rating on the manufacturer's site.

✔️ Style: There is a lot of variety when it comes to desk lamps, whether you want something more industrial, modern or basic. You can even find a mushroom-shaped lamp on the market if you so desire! "It sounds corny, but the best desk lamp is one that you use and enjoy — both because it is functional and adds some beauty to your working environment," says Risser. And we agree: You want your lamp to fit your space and be pleasant to look at (on top of doing its main job).

✔️ Position: On top of the factors listed above, you'll want to think about how your workspace is set up, says Dr. Tsai. for example, she recommends placing your lamp to the side of a window to limit glare and reflections. It's best to "position your screen so that it’s at least 20-24 inches away from your eyes and about 10-15 degrees below the positioning of your head to reduce neck strain," Dr. Tsai adds. When staring at your screen, it's important to blink to reduce dry eyes and strain, as well as take take regular breaks every 20 minutes for a minimum 20 seconds, she adds.

The best type of light really depends on the type of work you plan to do, explains Risser. "I would estimate you'd want at least 300-500 lumens from a desk lamp, but this could vary given the task you need it for." He adds that a dimmable light is ideal so you can customize the lighting experience. "Sometimes you just want a nice general glow on your desk to keep the lighting low and intimate. And sometimes you need higher light levels for a task that requires more detailed work."

Elizabeth Berry is the Updates Editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she works alongside Lab analysts to ensure product guides reflect accurate information. She has written about everything from the best velvet sofas to the best pool lounge chairs. Prior to her role at GH she was an Editorial Assistant at Woman's Day.

To write this roundup, Elizabeth spoke with Associate at Lam Partners Jack Risser to gather intel on specific lamps and design features to consider when shopping, as well as Jennifer Tsai, O.D., a board-certified optometrist, practice owner and founder of LINE OF SIGHT and ophthalmologist Marc Grossman, O.D., L.AC, to learn more about which desk lamps are best for eyes.

Elizabeth Berry (she/her) is the Updates Editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she optimizes lifestyle content across verticals. Prior to this role, she was an Editorial Assistant for Woman’s Day where she covered everything from gift guides to recipes. She also has experience fact checking commerce articles and holds a B.A. in English and Italian Studies from Connecticut College.

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