Aug 06, 2023

The Best Desk Lamps Are the Hardest

The best desk lamps are the dedicated home office assistants you've been praying for, allowing you to burn the midnight oil sustainably, illuminate (and admire!) your handiwork, and maybe even serve as much-needed mood-lifters in your darkest hours. Ideally, they're flexible—re-posturing themselves to allow you to work harder and smarter—iron-clad in disposition and makeup, and come with a warranty in case they burn out before their tenure is over.

For this assembly of the best desk lamps to anchor your workspace, we called in some of our favorites from GQ Home Awards past, along with a few we've had the pleasure of owning and testing independently. Others are ones that have made a name for themselves as superlative desk adornments or designs we're simply coveting once the next direct deposit hits.

Eager to find a spiffy new deskmate? Pore over our top picks, below:

The Best Desk Lamp, Overall: Anglepoise 90 Mini Mini, $165 $132

The Best Clamp-On Desk Lamp: Luxo Task Light, $260 $200

The Best Statement Desk Lamp: Gantri Task Lamp, $348

The Best Budget Desk Lamp: Lite Source Halotech, $179 $118

The Best Ultra-Thin Desk Lamp: Koncept Z-Bar Slim LED Desk Lamp, $323

The Best Desk Lamp-Slash-Bedside Light: DWR Focal LED Lamp, $195

The Best Splurge-Worthy Desk Lamp: In Common With Arundel, $850

$165.00, 2Modern

The Pixar mascot (inspired by designer Jac Jacobsen's Luxo's L1 lamp) has essentially become the prototype for a superior desk lamp: Angular, adjustable, spring-loaded, and shaded so you can train your light on those barely legible notes or that manuscript you've been whiling away the hours on. Anglepoise's 90 Mini Mini takes the Pixar silhouette, shrinks it to half the size of a regular lamp to make room for your giant monitor, and juices it up in a range of shades—from splashy Mondrian primary colors to sensible, non-distracting neutrals. Anglepoise is already a designhead-favored brand, and at less than $200, this portable USB-powered model is a not-too-heady investment for someone who wants to look the part of a creative or senior office drone.

$260.00, Amazon

For college students and office nerds who are lacking in actual desk real estate, there's also Luxo's corded task light, which can clamp onto any desk divider or monitor—or even perch on the edge of a desk—to shine a light wherever it's needed. This makes it extra agile and not limited to solid surfaces, and when combined with its spring-loaded, powder-coated appendage, can tilt your light any which way. Beyond the accessories, the shade itself is made of a sturdy-as-hell aluminum so that if gravity causes the whole thing to tumble down, it'll be ready to straddle your workspace again without any lasting damage to its exterior.

$348.00, Gantri

Gantri's 3D-printed, made-to-order lamps are just about as futuristic as lighting gets, and come in a variety of styles thanks to a host of collaborating designers that work on its designs. Here's one in a Gen-Z green hue that we were so charmed by that it won a Home Award. It's made in an eco-friendly plant-based material, has an adjustable sliding head for repositioning at your whim, and— as with lots of Gantri lamps—the lighting is diffused to avoid a bright glare on your eyes. Just think how cheery it'll be to stare at while you contemplate the grim urgency of that e-mail you've been putting off, or the looming block of meetings on your iCal. It's pricey at north of $300, but let's just say you can't put a price on a lasting boost in morale.

$178.00, Amazon

A halogen version of this lamp has a long track record of good performance, but you should probably spring for this energy-saving LED version that looks a lot more expensive than it is. It's got a tilting neck like a crane for swooping down on your finest work, and uses stylish counterbalances to keep it aloft. Tap on the dimmer switch at the base to take your light back down to zero.

$323.00, 2Modern

Where other lights go big on length or chunky bases, Koncept's Z-Bar zeroes in on flexibility with a light that utilizes an extra slim, bendable arm for achieving just the right arc of light. Its eco-friendly LED bulb can be dimmed or brightened until you've achieved the ideal white balance for knocking out an assignment, and there are multiple mounting options available for purchase. Opt for a stable base (in wireless or USB-charging options) or a wall-mount setup for clearing up extra real estate. Another eco-friendly perk is its aluminum and plastic construction that can be fully broken down and recycled at the end of its tenure (RIP). Best of all is an optional techy feature to include an occupancy sensor that will ensure the lamp powers down when you're procrastinating in another room.

$195.00, DWR

The DWR Focal lamp enjoys a pivot as much as any industry, and can do so at a left or right tilt or a full 180 degree rotation, thanks to its adjustable neck. Powered by USB, it can also light up wherever it's most needed, whether you're using it to read at night by your bedside or hosting it in your office. Another big perk is the weighted base that has a scooped-out dish for storing things like earplugs if you're using it on your nightstand, or small items like push pins if you're storing it on your desk. It also incorporates a built-in light dimmer for you to dial it back when you've tapped out for the evening.

$850.00, In Common With

If budget isn't a concern, In Common With's high-design table lamps are the peak of handsome lighting. This Arundel model is like the Darth Vader of desk lamps: a striking expression of taste that would look just as formidable perched on a stack of books as it would a nightstand. It's not super adjustable, but its long neck casts a wide arc to spotlight whatever you're poring over. Swap out the shade and base colors for some eye-popping contrast if you're jonesing for something jazzier than the monochromatic look.

Originally Appeared on GQ

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