2019 guide to the best desk lamps

5th September 2019


What is a desk lamp?

Lamps are meant to perform one basic function: the general lighting of a particular space, and they achieve this by providing regulated ambient light that can often be adjusted to suit general mood and atmosphere. All in all, lamps brighten the rooms they are in without drawing attention to themselves.

A desk lamp, on the other hand, is a smaller type of lamp that performs a niche function: it lights up a desk or table space via specific targeted lighting. As a result, desk lamps are an absolute must have for architects, students, design professionals, and generally anyone who works for long hours on a desk or drawing table.

Although they are simple utility tools, good desk lamps can be hard to come by. A good desk lamp is one that has been designed to eliminate irritation, reduce eye strain and cancel any symptoms associated with them.

Good desk lamps should also enhance their users' productivity and put them in a great mood to work.

Factors you should keep in mind when purchasing the perfect desk lamp.

Regardless of the nature of your work, selecting the perfect desk lamp for your work space can be quite a daunting task. This is because there are many different types of desk lamps out there, with a wide variety of qualities and features. You want to find one that suits your specific needs. The perfect desk lamp for you will be one that is comfortable to use and makes working under it easier.

Therefore, understanding what your needs are and what makes you comfortable is the first step to buying the best lamp, and with the large number of designs, various features and functionalities, there is undoubtedly a product to suit every purpose.

So how can you identify a specific one? Here are some of the factors you need to keep in mind and look out for:

The purpose of the desk lamp

Every desk lamp performs one specific function: they provide light to help you perform various tasks. This is called task lighting. However, different tasks require different levels of light for optimum performance. Which is why you need to have a clear idea of exactly why you need a lamp.

Will you be performing general tasks? Or will you be performing detail-oriented tasks such as drawing? The right lighting to match your tasks will reduce eye strain while boosting positive mood and productivity.

The amount of light you need

There is no proof that long term exposure to poor lighting causes eye complications. However, when you work under poor lighting conditions, it is going to have short term issues such as headaches and/or severe eye strain, which could lead to long term discomfort.

Luckily, all this can be avoided by simply selecting a lamp with the right level of illumination. Ideally, you need to have one that evenly spreads light across your entire work space.

The standard light distribution of a good desk lamp is about 30-50 foot-candles. The light output can also be measured in lumens, which translates to around 1000 to 4000 lumens to make your eyes comfortable while working.

Placement of the desk lamp

The placement of the desk lamp will also help to determine how much light you are receiving. This will in turn affect your eyes' comfort at your work station.

You need to place the lamp at around 15-36 inches from your work area. A good number of desk lamps today have adjustable arms that allow them to be altered to desired heights.

The side at which you place your desk lamp is also crucial. Right-handed people need to place their desk lamps on the left-hand side of their desks while left-handed people need to do the opposite. This kind of setup tremendously reduces shadows cast across your desk.

LED Desk Lamps

An LED desk lamp is the best solution for your workspace for several reasons, not least of which being the fact that they produce much less heat compared to other light sources, and will therefore make your work area cooler and more comfortable.

Additionally, they also come in many sleek designs. They are personalizable, and handle a lot better when compared to other types of lamps. LED lamps produce directional light, which is a concentrated beam of light. This means that they do not produce light in all directions, instead focusing the light only where you need it. 

Therefore, LED lights are efficient, producing light without glares or stray light that shines back into the users' eyes.

Generally, LED lights last up to 50,000 hours. For this reason, they can be initially more expensive than their competitors, however this is later far out weighed by fewer replacements being required.

Features of desk lamps that will influence your purchasing decision

Before settling on a specific lamp, you need to carefully consider the features that come with it.

Many modern lamps come with unique elements such as dimmer switches and alternative outputs, while others may be unique designs and shapes that will need to work together with the exiting space and decor it will be placed within.

Additionally, the height and flexibility of your lamp also needs to be taken into consideration, and you should aim for a flexible lamp with maximum adjustable flexibility.

You also need to look at the kind of brightness you are getting out of your new lamp. You need to purchase one that will offer a comfortable amount of light. This is something that is dictated by the type of bulb the lamp has.

Material and build 

It hopefully goes without saying that desk lamps come in a vast array of different materials and finishes, with the most common being steel, wood, and plastic. We advise that you steer clear of all plastic products and instead opt for a hardwearing and durable steel option.

Bulb type

As mentioned above, the type of bulb you choose dictates the level and range of output you receive from your lamp, and should be based on the task it is required for and its location. In almost all instances, and LED bulb should be chosen.

Consider lamp adjustments 

Lamps can come with a variety of different lighting modes and adjustments. The most popular include dimmable controls for managing the brightness levels, through to flexible head and height adjustments. 

For many users dimmable controls will not be necessary, however we recommend that you at the very least choose a product with a flexible head adjustment.

Lamp size

Your workspace and environment will determine how big your desk lamp should be, as will the type of work and the purpose it is required for. 

Small lamps are good for small targeted areas or where low level ambient light is required, while larger lamps are able to cover a greater work area such as a drawing board or large desk

Lamp design

Lamp design is ultimately a personal choice, and below we have selected what we consider to be a summary of well designed products. However, in general you should select a lamp that fits and works with your interior decor and color scheme. 


Lamp brightness is determined by the type of bulb it uses, and therefore the level you require will be dependant on the type of activity it will be used for and the overall size of the lamp head and arm.

For example a large desk lamp that might sit above the user and their workspace would require a brighter bulb than a smaller and lower lamp.

Consider your lamp's energy consumption 

Not all desk lamps are made to be energy efficient. Incandescent desk lamps consume more energy compared to LED lamps. Before purchasing a lamp, make sure you do good research on its energy consumption. 

Price and warranty 

The kind of lamp you get will be determined by the budget you have. In most cases, inexpensive lamps lack many features when compared to expensive ones. You should also go for lamps that come with a warranty, since it will be protected in case it malfunctions.

Recommended products

The Architect Desk Lamp

Spec Summary:

Dimensions - 14.20 x 6.90 x 18.90 Inches | Weight - 3.31 lbs | Wattage - 15 Watts | Voltage - 100 - 240V | Bulb Type - LED | Power Source - Corded | Adjustable Angle - Yes | Desk Mount type - Stand

The Architect Desk Lamp with Gesture Control stands out because of its innate ability to make you feel like a Jedi using the force. Its on/off function is activated by your hand’s motion. Simply wave your hand over it to turn it on and off without ever touching it. 

The lamp also has great lighting control. It offers 12 dimmable brightness levels, 2 different lighting modes and 3 unique color settings to give you 36 customizable lighting settings to match any mood or activity. Its memory function also stores your settings for later. 

It has an adjustable metal swing arms and a swivel head to give the right amount of light from any position. The lamp is also designed to protect your eyes, producing a non-flickering natural light that reduces eye strain when working or reading for extended periods of time. 

Its light reaches 1200 lux. It is designed to last you many years with its improved and durable metal design combined with a 50000 hours LED lamp life without the need for change.

This lamp beautifully matches modern desks, especially aluminum ones. It is made with quality materials with a heavy base for stability. Plus, it is also very easy to put together.

The LEPOWER Metal Desk Lamp

Spec Summary

Dimensions - 8.46 x 5.51 x 13.19 inch | Weight - 1.56 lb | Wattage - 40W | Voltage - 120V | Bulb Type - Bulb not included | Power Source - Corded | Adjustable Angle - Yes | Desk Mount type - Stand & Clamo

The LEPOWER Metal Desk Lamp is a metal desk lamp that is integrated with a high-quality metal lampshade and base. It is heavy-duty and durable, with strong aesthetic qualities. 

This reading lamp has multiple functions: it can stand on the desk or you can clip it on a surface with the clamp. The max gap of the adjustable clamp is up to an inch so you can clip the lamp onto table or shelves. 

It also comes with an E26 sized screw base. Consider using 4W-6W LED bulbs, 8W-16W energy saving bulbs, or 20W-40W (40W MAX) incandescent bulbs on it. 

The LEPOWER Metal Desk Lamp is flexible with an adjustable lamp head. It can be focused on any area you want to and its compact size is also space-saving on the desk. This makes it the perfect lighting accessory for any office space.

Additionally, it is also tall enough that it does not obstruct your work.

The Phive LED Desk Lamp

Spec Summary

Dimensions - 21 x 2.9 x 7.2 inches | Weight - 3 pounds | Wattage - 8 watts | Voltage - 100 - 240V | Bulb Type - LED | Power Source - Corded | Adjustable Angle - Yes | Desk Mount type - Clamp

The Phive LED Desk Lamp is an ideal lamp for protecting your eyes. It has close to daylight illumination and a diffusion panel emitting soft light without ghost, glare or flicker. 

The Phive LED Desk Lamp has step-less dimming or memory of brightness, meaning you can adjust it freely and keep your settings for the next time you use it. It has a highly adjustable 180°swivel lamp head, 16.3+16.3 inches adjustable metal arm, and a rotatable body. 

The lamp also has strong clamp supports up to 2.36 inches tabletop. It is made with high energy efficiency LED and has a long lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. 

When you purchase this lamp, you get 1 x Desk Lamp, 1 x Metal Clamp (up to 2.36inch), 1 x Arm Adjust Tools,1 x User Manual,1 x Power Adapter.

The Tao Tronics TT-DL16 Metal LED Desk Lamp

Spec Summary

Dimensions - 480 × 437 × 135 mm | Weight - 2000 g | Wattage - 12W | Voltage - 100 - 240V | Bulb Type - LED | Power Source - Corded | Adjustable Angle - Yes | Desk Mount type - Stand

The TaoTronics TT-DL16 Stylish Metal LED Desk Lamp is a durable and flexible lamp with a full metal body and a multi-angle adjustable head and arm. The lamp comes with more colors and more light; with 5 Color modes and 6 brightness levels up to 1200 Lux for the desk lamp with USB. 

It is also easy on your eyes: its light guide panel transmits light sideways for glare-free illumination. It has multiple functions, with a 5V/2A smart USB port, memory function, 60-minute timer, and can function as a night light, office desk lamp, or a bedroom desk lamp. To set your favorite light, you need to press a single button to activate your favorite Color/brightness setting. It has a color temperature of 2700 – 6500 K.

The base is heavy enough to feel sturdy and allow for easy adjustment. Its brushed metallic finish resists fingerprints unlike those made from plastic. It has numerous light settings which work amazingly well, along with the ability to save what you last used, even between other settings. 

The rotating head is great for desks, but is especially useful for bedroom reading where the lamp is off to the side. The nightlight option is also easy to activate, as it is its own button and doesn't require the lamp to be opened.

The Swing Arm Desk Lamp

Spec Summary

Dimensions - 17.5 x 14 x 2 inches | Weight - 1.85 pounds | Wattage - 3.4W | Voltage - 90 - 260V | Bulb Type - LED | Power Source - Corded | Adjustable Angle - Yes | Desk Mount type - Clamp

The Swing Arm Lamp is designed with an architect in mind. It has flexible swing arms and swiveled shade (3-point adjustable) that can be easily positioned for focused, directional lighting. It has an extensive 40" long reach that easily lights up the entire desk surface. 

The lamp weighs 1.85 pounds and is 17.5 x 14 x 2 inches so it is ideal for any desk size. It has a voltage of 24V, 0.5A and 9 watts and uses LED bulbs with a luminous flux of 900. 

The lamp does not use batteries. It comes with a cord that’s plugged into a power source. It has flicker-free even light that keeps it clear of shadows, halos, and troublesome glares. It also has a memory function and stepless dimming with adjustable color temperatures (3000-5500K, warm to white) that make it ideal for any occasion. 

It has one click to eye-care reading mode, plus 10/40 minutes timer. It uses an attached clamp to mount easily to any desk, table, shelf, or vertical and horizontal surface. 

This lamp has high-efficiency 98 LEDs which consume 80% less energy than conventional bulbs and again lasts for up to 50,000 hours without the need of replacing. This means a much lower electricity bill and a much less carbon footprint.

The Swing Arm Lamp is beautiful, minimal, and durable, with a range of light temperatures and dimmable ranges.

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