Desk lamps pick up where the sun leaves off providing the light you need for reading, writing, studying and keeping track of things whether your desk is in a corporate office, a dorm room, a home office or your den. The best desk lamp is a combination of effective functionality, durability and of course, looks. And like most other forms of lighting today it has been fundamentally transformed by the revolution in compact efficiency spearheaded by LED technology. It’s pretty remarkable how far we’ve come since the days of oil lamps and candles. And to celebrate that fact we’ve assembled the best desk lamps on the market today.
The Best Desk Lamp
The BenQ e-Reading LED Desk Lamp is one of a new generation of lights that has emerged in the wake of the LED revolution. With a 50,000 hour lifespan LEDs eliminate the need to keep a stash of replacement bulbs on hand. But that’s only part of the story. They also deliver a type of light that is glare-free, easy on the eyes and capable of providing whatever color light your heart desires or switching from incandescent-style warm light to cool, precise light for reading and drafting important documents.
The BenQ e-Reading lamp does all that and exhibits state-of-the-art styling touches as well. The torsion spring and ball joint design provides easy adjustability which allows you to bring the light to bear where you need it and the light beam itself is 150 percent wider than you would get from a standard incandescent lamp. But if you thought that was all you get from the e-Reading lamp, think again. Because BenQ has also built a sensor into their office lamp that automatically analyzes the level of ambient light in the room and adjusts the lamp to generate just the right amount of fill.
Delivers clean LED light to a wide area
Switch from warm to cool light with the turn of a button
An astonishing 50,000 hour lifespan per bulb
Fully adjustable arm and head
Automatically adjusts to ambient light
- ModelAR15_D Silver
- Weight10.4 pounds
In all likelihood if someone asked you to draw a picture of a desk lamp or reading lamp you would never produce something that looks like the Aukey LED Desk Lamp. Its design is not just space saving, it’s genre-busting, turning conventional thinking about what a small desk lamp could and should be on its head. The matte black finish goes with virtually any decor and the LT-ST20 sets up in seconds with the tower locking into place via magnetic connection. It’s lightweight and the base takes up virtually no space so finding the right place to put it is never an issue.
The LED bulbs in the Aukey will typically last up to 20,000 hours. In most cases that’s nearly a decade of use. Contrast that with incandescent bulbs that burn out every year, usually when you’re in the middle of something important. As such, those reticent to make the switch to LED because they cost a bit more than other lights can rest assured they will save handsomely in the long run.
Ultra-sleek design clears desk space
Magnetic connection between tower and base
Clear, eye-friendly LED light
Fully adjustable to 5 different brightness settings
Uses a fraction of the energy of traditional lamps
- Weight1.74 pounds
While industrial designers are working overtime to reshape our ideas about what a desk lamp should look like that doesn’t mean there’s no room for the tried and true. And that’s what you get with the Globe Electric 35” Heavy Base Swing Arm lamp. This is a highly-effective, fully portable desk lamp that embodies all the aspects of the classic swing lamp and extends far enough that you can place it out of the way of your work surface.
Turn the lamp on and off by way of a large rotating switch atop the conical head and pull, rotate or push the lamp to and fro as needed. At maximum extension the lamp will tower 35” over your work surface providing a wide area of illumination. At the other end of the spectrum you can bring it right down to desk level to focus on a specific item or items. The chord is long enough to allow total freedom of placement and the 60W A19 E26 bulb it uses will ensure you always have the light you need to get the job done.
Rotates and swings to bring the light where you need it
Long reach keeps the base out of your way
Classic design works with any style of desk
Uses throwback 60W bulbs
- BrandGlobe Electric
- Weight4.4 pounds
LED lamps are not only changing how we think of energy consumption, they’re also freeing up designers to explore shapes and styles that were impossible to contemplate when you needed to make room for a big, bulky incandescent bulb. The Lampat LED Desk Lamp is a perfect example of this phenomenon in action. It redefines sleek with a base that’s wafer-thin and a cantilever that’s virtually invisible as it reaches out over your work area.
The Lampat is one of the most highly functional desk or table lamps out there with 5 different illumination levels and 4 different lighting modes so you can always find just the right combination of temperature and brightness. There’s also a USB charging port in the base so your cell phone never lets you down and the light turns itself off after 60 minutes in case you forget.
Sleek, minimalist design
The perfect modern desk lamp
5 different light levels for different conditions
Built-in USB charging point for your phone or tablet
Shuts off automatically after 1 hour
- Weight2.9 pounds
TaoTronics makes a number of great looking, energy efficient desk lamps and none are more stylish or dependable than the TT-DL13. With 5 temperature modes to choose from and 7 different brightness levels you’ll always have the right light for the job. The LEDs use a tiny fraction of the energy of incandescents and last 10-20 times as long on average. They also produce virtually no heat. So you’re not going to have to move the lamp out of the way because it’s causing you to sweat while you work.
The tower section of the lamp tilts in to bring the light closer and the arm rotates and tilts downward and upward as needed. The look of the lamp is clean and refreshing and a perfect fit for today’s contemporary office. Adjustments are as easy as sliding your finger along the touch pad and cleaning the lamp is an equally hassle-free experience because there is no shade to clean and no big hulking body that’s going to shatter if you knock it over. Throw in the fact that it comes with a one-year warranty on parts and craftsmanship and you have a lamp after any value-lover’s heart. For clear, flicker-free light where and when you need it the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp won’t let you down.
Flicker-free LED light where you need it
Eye-catching contemporary design
5 separate color modes, 7 intensity levels
USB charging port for phone or tablet
Durable construction, fully portable
- Weight1.8 pounds
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to design these days. One looks forward for inspiration, trying to discern clues as to where future materials and technology may be taking us and the other looks back and recognizes that many of yesterday’s best designs embodied a humanist quality no amount of minimalism can replicate. The Simple Designs Industrial Iron Desk Lantern is firmly in the latter camp. This is a lamp that is going to look right at home in any loft-style office or space that espouses industrial-design overtones. It will also look great in your farmhouse, on the reception desk of your restaurant or in the foyer of your home where it will provide a warm, welcoming feel.
If you really want to ramp up the industrial atmosphere Simple Designs recommends seeking out a vintage, Edison-type bulb. And that brings up the only downside we see to this outstanding lamp: energy efficiency. Or rather, the lack thereof. Sure, it’s hard to beat retro design when it comes to creating warmth and the kind of emotion you can sink your teeth into, but there’s no real discernable upside to wasting energy these days. That said, we love the lamp and if you want to stay on track with your energy conservation goals a compact fluorescent bulb should do the trick nicely. Keep in mind too that making a new glass shade isn’t rocket science and won’t break your bank. So you can put that CFL behind some tinted glass and achieve whatever mood you want. That’s one of the unsung advantages to old school design: the ability to modify it without needing an engineering degree.
High-quality clear glass shade
Throwback design is perfect for home or office
Timeless matte black industrial finish
Uses one retro-style filament bulb
Durable, affordable and customizable
- BrandSimple Designs Home
- Weight3 pounds
There’s contemporary design, there’s throwback design and then there’s this. The Calyx Cognac Glass Industrial Bronze Desk Lamp. The Calyx lamp exhibits both old school and decidedly new school design touches and somehow manages to make them inform and enhance each other while creating a lamp that’s more than the sum of its parts. This is not nostalgic design. Nor is it dismissive of the many virtues of modernist style. It takes the best of both worlds and brings them together in a way not dissimilar to the best steampunk design.
The lamp is beautifully proportioned and quite steady. Verticals and horizontals balance each other out and the up-sweep of energy you feel in the tower is slowed by the angled arm and then turns back downward where it’s absorbed by the cognac glass. There’s nothing fancy about the way the lamp powers up and down. There’s an inline switch on the cord and that’s it. No fancy-pants touch screens or apps that let you turn on the light from halfway around the world. Likewise, there’s no USB charging port or way to control the light temperature or intensity. Just a single 60 watt bulb, just like grandma use to use.
Eclectic design elements embrace both past and future
A classic feel with purely contemporary touches
Uses a single 60 watt standard base filament bulb
Antique brass touches throughout
Delicately fluted cognac glass with vintage coloring
- BrandFranklin Iron Works
- Model15-7612-20 HY14LP0156
- Weight19.89 pounds
To be sure you’ll need the right type of desk or the OminiLight LED Desk Lamp and its touch control is going to seem a touch out of place. The design is so aggressively contemporary and the color scheme so particular that it’s just not going to work on your Federal desk or with any other classic style of desk design. But really, it seems to us that this is not so much an office lamp as it is a table lamp. And if you employ it for that purposes you’re going to be happy as a clam with the results. The OminiLight will enrich your kitchen experience, add a personal touch to the bathroom or work aesthetic miracles in your photo studio.
From a Functional standpoint the OminiLight employs an array of a dozen LED beads that create a wide but soft field of light that can be ramped up or backed down as you wish. This larger field of illumination makes it ideal for a kitchen island or as a fill light in a studio. There are also bound to be some situations where the OminiLight will be the best desk lamp for your reception desk or to provide hallway illumination. But no matter where it finds a home it’s going to provide you years of dependable, stylish service. Like most LED bulbs the ones that make up the array in this lamp have a lifespan of some 50,000 hours. That means you’re measuring their life in decades, not months or years. And the even more startling fact? During the 20 or so years they’re in service they’re likely to use no more electricity than an incandescent will use in one or two years.
Flexible gooseneck design for adjusting height and angle
Larger illuminated area than most desk lamps
3 intensity levels for different tasks
Built in USB charging port for phone and tablet
Elegant, swan-inspired shape
- Weight4.14 pounds