The best desk lamps

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Star Icon A bookmark shape with a star on it. The best overall
LED Desk Lamp LED Desk Lamp
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The best traditional desk lamp
Green Glass Banker's Lamp Green Glass Banker's Lamp
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The best cordless desk lamp
Cordless LED desk lamp Cordless LED desk lamp
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The best for reading
e-Reading LED desk lamp e-Reading LED desk lamp
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The best swing arm desk lamp
Nature Wood Swing Arm Desk Lamp Nature Wood Swing Arm Desk Lamp
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  • It's important to have good lighting at your desk so you don't strain your eyes while typing away on your computer or going over documents.
  • There are dozens of different desk lamps to choose from in all kinds of styles, but the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp is the best one you can buy to light up your workspace in style and charge your electronics simultaneously.

Society may be moving away from paper toward digital records, but desk lamps continue to have a role in the workplace or in the home even if you're rarely hunched over your desk, staring at a pile of paper these days.

The best desk lamps take full advantage of LED lighting technology, creating lamps that are both stylish and energy-efficient. The great quality of light you receive from LED makes these lamps enjoyable to use anytime you need a bit of extra light.

Some people may even prefer a desk style lamp on a nightstand near the bed because they work great as a reading lamp for those times when you prefer a printed book over an iPad. We've researched dozens of desk lamps to find the best ones for different people's needs.

After all, it takes the right type of desk light to help inspire the brightest of ideas! (Feel free to groan aloud; we did as we wrote it.)

Here are our top picks for the best desk lamps:

Prices and links are current as of 9/22/20. We replaced our pick for the best traditional desk lamp due to stock issues with our previous pick. We removed our pick for the best antique finish desk lamp for the same reason.

The best overall

TaoTronics lamp

The TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp has a fast wireless charger and a USB port built in so it can charge your phone and another device all while lighting up your workstation.

If you like products that serve multiple purposes, you'll love the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp with its built-in wireless charger, USB charging port, and many adjustable settings.

You turn the lamp on and off with the tap of a finger on the touch-sensitive power button. There's also a ring that regulates the brightness of the lamp and a button that you can tap multiple times to get five different color temperatures for your light. That way, you can decide how bright and how blue you want your light. 

Because I have the TaoTronics lamp next to my bed, I typically have it on the lowest brightness setting and the highest color temperature setting. But when I really need light, I can amp up the brightness with a swipe of my finger. And this lamp gets bright — very bright.

You can also adjust the direction of the light, thanks to the nifty blade-like design of the lamp head. The lamp's head tilts up to 135 degrees and rotates up to 180 degrees, and the arm can be tilted up to 150 degrees and it swivels 90 degrees. It's a very modern design, and it does take up space, but this lamp is incredibly functional. 

The wireless charging pad built into the lamp's base can charge your iPhone X, 8, or 8 Plus with the optimal 7.5 Watts of power. If you have an Android phone, you get 10 Watts of power for quick wireless charging. There's a small rubbery ring on the wireless charger, so your phone won't slide off. I use it to charge my phone every night on my bedside table, and it works like a charm.

TaoTronics also added a USB port in the back of the lamp so you can charge your phone with a cable instead. You could also charge your phone wirelessly and charge another device via a cable at the same time, which is great for multi-device households and tech nerds like me.

If wireless charging isn't a must-have for you, but you're intrigued by the other functionalities of this model, TaoTronics also makes a version without it. You'll get the same lamp functions as well as a USB charging port, so if you have a phone that's not wireless charging compatible or you simply don't mind being tethered by a cord, this model is a great way to save a few bucks. — Malarie Gokey

Pros: Wireless charging, USB-A charging port for another device, varying light color/temperature and brightness, lamp's head is adjustable

Cons: Modern design may not appeal to all, takes up space

$56.99 from Amazon $49.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond

The best traditional desk lamp

Newrays Green Glass Bankers Desk Lamp

Desk lamp designs don't get much more traditional than the Newrays Green Glass Banker's Lamp with its emerald green shade and brass-toned base.

If the contemporary style of most modern desk lamps does nothing to inspire you, we have the answer. The Newrays Green Glass Banker's Lamp has a classic style that will be right at home in most home offices.

The satin brass finish on the base, classic pull chain, and antique-style emerald green lampshade are old school. You can rotate the glass lampshade to direct the light where you need it. The metal base and post are well made and sturdy, too.

The Newrays Green Glass Banker's Lamp uses an E26 style tubular light bulb, so you can use replaceable incandescent, fluorescent, or LED light bulbs with it. E26 just refers to the size of the screw-in base of the lightbulb, and it's the most common type for household lighting, so you won't have trouble finding replacement bulbs for this lamp. It is best to use a tubular bulb as opposed to a standard-shaped lightbulb, though. A standard lightbulb will protrude from under the shade. It's nice to have a choice in which type of bulb you use, though we do recommend you go with a LED bulb for energy efficiency.

If the green shade isn't quite your taste, Newrays also offers it with a white shade which may suit a wider range of decor.

Pros: Excellent traditional look, all-metal structure, reasonable price point, can accept any type of E26 bulb, easy to set up and use

Cons: Bulb not included

$69.89 from Amazon

The best cordless desk lamp


The Luxe Cordless LED desk lamp's modern cordless design and rechargeable battery make it the most portable desk lamp you can buy.

Want a truly contemporary desk lamp? Not only do you need a non-traditional looking lamp with an LED light bar, you need one that cuts the cord. When fully charged, the Luxe Cordless LED desk lamp can run for about 40 hours, providing continuous light while you work. When you run out of battery life, you simply plug a Micro USB cable in to charge it.

The light bar contains 28 LED lamps that offer 50,000 hours of use — nearly six years of continuous power if you never turn it off — so you won't have to replace this lamp for a very long time. The Luxe desk lamp looks amazingly simple, but it's a long-lasting desk lamp that offers great versatility. Plus, the skinny lamp is sturdier than it looks.

We wish the lamp had a battery gauge. Instead, the Luxe uses a flashing indicator light that pops up when the battery is nearly exhausted, but otherwise, you don't really know how much juice is left in its battery.

The Luxe offers three different light modes — neutral, warm, and cold — with six levels of brightness within each mode, all controlled by a touch panel on the base. Although the Luxe Cordless desk lamp looks like a severely bent hockey stick, you can twist and bend the support bar to almost any angle. This versatility allows the Luxe model to work as a desk lamp, a reading lamp, or even a portable work lamp.

Pros: Cordless design gives this desk lamp great flexibility, bendable base for added versatility, sturdy base, available in four accent colors, 18 different total light modes

Cons: Doesn't offer enough brightness for some tasks, no battery gauge

$59.95 from Amazon

The best for reading

best_desk_lamps_ _benQ_e Reading_LED_Desk_Lamp_ _from_Amazon

The BenQ e-Reading LED desk lamp is great for reading with its high-quality curved LED light bar, and it has a really cool contemporary design.

The curved LED light bar on the BenQ e-Reading LED desk lamp definitely grabs your attention, giving this contemporary desk lamp a really cool, modern design look. But this desk lamp doesn't get by on its looks alone. The BenQ reading lamp has amazing LED light quality and adjustable brightness levels that make it very versatile.

The LED light bar is easily adjustable and it offers a wide light range that will illuminate your whole desk. The light is flicker-free and you can adjust the temperature and brightness to suit your needs. BenQ says it should last 17 years if you have it on for eight hours each day because the LEDs are rated for 50,000 hours.

Tech Walls' reviewer calls it the most powerful lamp he has reviewed, saying the brightness of the LED light bar is perfect for reading. However, he also says the e-reader function didn't work as advertised. The BenQ LED light created a glare on the screen of tablets and laptops, no matter what angle he tried to position it in.

The BenQ e-Reading lamp's heavy base makes it sturdy and ensures that it won't tip over when your cat strolls across your desk or you bump into it accidentally. Although it's expensive, the BenQ lamp is a great desk lamp for people who need good lighting for reading and working.

Pros: Excellent light quality, cool contemporary/industrial design, works great for reading at night, high-quality construction of elbows, heavy base gives the desk lamp a sturdy build quality

Cons: Very high price point, difficult to have success with e-reader feature

$207.05 from Amazon $229.00 from B&H

The best swing arm desk lamp

Tomons Swing Arm Desk Lamp

The Tomons Nature Wood Swing Arm Desk Lamp is simple yet stylish enough to spruce up any desk.

If you want a cute desk lamp that has more style than high-tech features, Tomons Nature Wood Swing Arm Desk Lamp is a great choice. It's also the most affordable pick on our list, though you sacrifice adjustability in favor of a simple lamp that does the singular job of lighting your space.

The lamp's frame is made of solid, light-colored wood and the shade is made of painted metal. The lamp is adjustable at three articulation points, so you can angle it to cast light wherever you need it. A wingnut at each joint allows you to tighten things up when you find an angle you like, so you won't be subjected to that slow sag some lesser lamps are pront to. It doesn't take up too much space, but it gives a good amount of light to work by.

You'll need an E26 light bulb. Tomons recommends you use an LED bulb so the lamp doesn't overheat and you spend less energy. There's a simple on/off switch and a long braided nylon-covered cord.

Pros: Three articulation points, easy to adjust, affordable, bulb included

Cons: Cord starts out stiff, twist-tight joints may lose strength over time

$36.99 from Amazon

What to look for in a desk lamp

Before picking a particular desk lamp, think about why you want the lamp. Certain lamps excel at certain tasks, meaning you'll be more pleased with your choice if you match your needs to the lamp's strengths.

  • Brightness: Desk lamps offer a variety of wattages and lux in their lights, which gives you a rough idea of the brightness of the light. Lux measures light brightness and wattage measures the amount of power the light requires to operate. As a general rule, a higher wattage number indicates more brightness. Having the right brightness in your desk lamp means you'll reduce the possibility of eye strain, according to Lightology. The brightness of light bulbs is often measured in lumens. If you want to match the brightness of a 60-watt incandescent bulb, you should find a bulb that's 800 lumens.
  • Color temperature: Whether you like warm or cool light is entirely a matter of preference. Warm yellow light is around 2,700 Kelvin, white light is about 3,000K, bright white light is 3,500K to 4,100K, and bluish-white light is 5,000K to 6,500K, according to Consumer Reports
  • Lighting type: The majority of new desk lamps make use of LED lights. These lights offer strong energy efficiency and last significantly longer than an old incandescent or fluorescent light. Additionally, LED lights offer the ability to adjust the color temperature (also called CRI, or color-rendering index), which eases eye strain. Finally, LED lights don't heat up as they operate and you don't have to replace them.
  • Location: If you have a particular location where the lamp will reside, make sure any model you pick will fit in that spot. If you're going to be moving the lamp around, perhaps a cordless model that runs on a battery is a smart idea.
  • Reading: A reading lamp should have at least one adjustable elbow, allowing you to change the angle to match the location of the reading materials.
  • Style: Some lamps offer a design that fits in a particular décor of a room. A traditional style of desk lamp looks quite a bit different from a contemporary style of desk lamp, for example.

Check out our other great guides to home office accessories

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The best office chairs

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The best standing desks

The health benefits of sitting less during the day are too great to ignore. A standing desk allows you to incorporate more standing into your day without interrupting whatever task you may be trying to accomplish. These are the best standing desks.

The best active seating

Active seating promotes movement, improves posture, and activates your core. Some models can work in tandem with a standing desk, so you can find the perfect combination of sitting and standing throughout the day. These are our top picks for the best active seating.

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SEE ALSO: The best standing desks you can buy for your home or office

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