Whether you’re working from home or sprucing up the office, these are the best desk lamps for brightening your day
Picking out the best desk lamp for your workspace used to be as simple as finding one and placing it on your desk, but these days, there’s a lot more to them than just a bulb and a switch.
As well as brightening up your nine to five, desk lamps can also boost your productivity and are tied to several key health benefits. Add to this all of the additional functions, light colours, designs and bulb types to consider, and you end up with a wide and varied selection to choose from.
Below, we’ve collected together the very best desk lamps that you can buy right now, with options to suit all needs and circumstances. If you aren’t sure what you need from a desk lamp, you can check out our buying guide for more information. Otherwise, read on to see our pick of the best desk lamps on the market today.
The best desk lamp: At a glance
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How to choose the best desk lamp for you
Why do I need a desk lamp?
Assuming you work at a desk – and if not, where are you putting your new lamp? – the odds are that you don’t have optimal lighting conditions for the entirety of your workday. If you rely mostly on natural light, this will shift over the course of the day, and even overhead lighting is rarely positioned to fully illuminate your workspace.
The most obvious advantage of a desk lamp is that you will have more light to see what you’re doing, be it typing on a keyboard, or more analogue activities such as writing or drawing. That in itself is useful enough, but adequate lighting also offers a key health benefit: reducing eye strain and fatigue.
Put simply, poor lighting forces your eyes to work harder to focus on what you’re doing, leading to more rapid strain and fatigue, as well as the potential for frequent headaches. You might also find yourself subconsciously leaning forwards to better see your screen, which can cause postural pains in your back, neck and shoulders. Finally, while not as important as the above health risks, poor lighting can directly affect your productivity, as it can make you feel sluggish and tired, so picking up a decent desk lamp could save you from making more work for yourself in the long run.
What kind of light is best?
There are benefits to all kinds of lamplight, so a lot of this is going to come down to personal preference, but there are specific areas in which each type excels. First, some terminology. Colour temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale (K), with the spectrum roughly divided into three categories: warm, neutral and cool. There’s a little more on either end of the scale, but for this guide, we’re mainly interested in light that falls between 2700 and 6500K.
- Warm (2700 – 3000K): The lower end of the scale, these bulbs will emit a soft white light, often yellow in appearance. It won’t be the brightest, so this range is usually best for a relaxing space, such as a bedroom or living room. However, if you find yourself working late, or suffering from eye strain in the day, a light in this range will go easier on your eyes and leave you less wired and more able to go to sleep.
- Neutral (3100 – 4500K): As the name suggests, this is the middle of the spectrum, and serves as a sort of best of both worlds between warm and cool. Lights in this range are good for boosting productivity, so you’ll commonly see them used in offices and schools. They aren’t, however, best suited to late nights, as the temperature can prevent your body from producing melatonin (a key hormone associated with the wake/sleep cycle), thereby making it more difficult to sleep.
- Cool (4600 – 6500K): This white-blue hue is everywhere in our society, including monitors, TVs, tablets and smartphones. While exposure to it can make you more productive and alert, too much can also lead to eye strain, fatigue and headaches, as well as confusing your body into thinking it’s still light outside. Again, you should avoid using lights of this temperature in the evenings, as it could hinder melatonin production and affect your ability to get to sleep.
How much should I be spending?
The good news is that, for the most part, desk lamps will be one of the more affordable parts of your office setup. You can easily pick up a decent budget option for under £10, and it will absolutely do the job well enough. If you want something a little more stylish, or a lamp that offers additional features – such as dimming, USB connectivity or wireless charging – you could be looking at anything from £20 to £50.
On the higher end, there are plenty of desk lamps out there that cost between £100 and £500. The expensive price tag usually denotes either a designer manufacturer, particularly fancy technology under the hood, or some combination of both. While it may seem like a lot compared to others on this list, high-end options from recognisable brands are worth considering, as it’s likely that there will be a lengthy warranty included, making the price an investment in longevity.
The best desk lamps you can buy in 2023
1. Slator Dimmable Lamp: The best desk lamp for light customisation
Price: £21 | Buy now from Amazon
The most attractive feature of this desk lamp is the enormous range of light settings that it offers. With five different colour temperatures, ranging from white to canary yellow, and ten brightness settings, you effectively have 50 options for finding the perfect light to suit you. Once you find your ideal setting, you can save it via the easy-to-use touch controls, allowing you to quickly switch to it again whenever you want.
As well as the touch controls on the top surface, the base also features a USB port, giving you easily accessible charging for your phone, speaker or headphones. The first arm rotates 160 degrees on the base, and the second arm has a 225-degree range of movement, so whatever angle you need the light at, this lamp has got you covered.
The only thing to bear in mind is that while a USB cable is included, a power adapter to plug it into is not, so you’ll need to have one of your own.
Key specs – Dimensions: 18 x 9cm (base LxW), 37cm (first arm), 35cm (second arm); Wattage: 6W; Material: Metal; Weight: 699g; Bulb required? No
2. SIN&MI Flexible Desk Lamp: The best budget desk lamp
Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon
This slim desk lamp has a lot more going for it than just a reasonable price – though that is still a bonus, of course. The flexible neck allows for 360-degree movement, perfect for reaching those awkward angles and getting the lighting exactly right. The lamp is battery powered (charged by the provided USB cable), so can be used wirelessly, giving the added benefit of portability. That being said, the battery life isn’t spectacular, with users reporting between one and four hours of use after charging overnight. For the best performance, we would recommend keeping it plugged in.
The touch controls are simple to use and offer three settings: touch once for the dimmest light, twice for the medium light, and three times for the brightest. There’s only one choice for temperature – standard white – so this isn’t going to be one you want to use too late into the evening. Still, for the price, there are a lot of features here that make it well worth checking out.
Key specs – Dimensions: 12 x 10 x 2cm (base LWH), 40cm (neck extended), 11.5 x 4.3cm (LED housing LxW); Material: Silicone; Weight: 220g; Bulb required? No
3. Lepro LED Desk Lamp: The best classic style desk lamp
Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon
If you think a lamp isn’t really a lamp unless it looks like it could jump on the Pixar logo, then this is the one for you. The spring-balanced swing arm has three points of articulation – one at the base, one in the middle and one at the head – so there’s a great range of movement, and the lamp is weighty enough that it’s not going to tip over when the arm is extended.
While the base itself is already discreet, you can save even more space by using the supplied C-clip to firmly secure the lamp to the edge of your desk. The clip is tightened by a simple turning screw, so there’s no need for any additional tools to install it. You will need to buy a bulb separately – an E27 screw-fit golfball bulb is ideal here, but you can also invest in a smart LED bulb, which gives you multiple hue and temperature options, as well as voice control over the bulb through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Key specs – Dimensions: 18 x 9cm (base LxW), 37cm (first arm), 35cm (second arm); Wattage: 40W; Voltage: 240V; Material: Metal; Weight: 1.4kg; Bulb required? Yes; Bulb included? No
4. Bienser Desk Lamp: The best desk lamp with wireless charging
Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon
While quite a few desk lamps offer a USB port for charging, the number that also have wireless charging is considerably smaller. This LED lamp from Bienser is one such option, offering both a USB port for connecting your devices and a pad on the base for wireless charging. The aluminium arms have a vertical range of 225° and can swivel in a 160° arc, allowing plenty of scope for finding the right angle, while also giving the option of tucking it away for neater storage.
On the customisation side of things, the simple touch controls give you the choice of five colour temperatures at ten brightness settings, which means there are 50 settings to try out in total. You can also set a timer for the lamp to automatically switch itself off after either 30 or 60 minutes, which is perfect for those late-night reading sessions.
Key specs – Dimensions: 19 x 11cm (base LxW), 36cm (first arm), 33cm (second arm); Wattage: 10W (Max 20W); Voltage: 220V; Material: Aluminium; Weight: 760g; Bulb required? No
5. Groov-e Astra: The best 3-in-1 desk lamp
Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon
Desk space is a valuable commodity these days, so why waste the real estate on a lamp, Bluetooth speaker and wireless charging pad when you can have all three in one device? The Groov-e Astra functions first and foremost as a lamp, with the LED offering nine distinct colours to choose from. There’s only one brightness setting, but what you get is enough to shed some light on your desktop.
The 10W wireless charger is activated by a simple press of the lightning bolt button, which sits at the front of the base alongside the light control, Bluetooth toggle – which also plays and pauses audio – and track skipping buttons. As a 3W number, the speaker isn’t the loudest or most detailed you’ll ever hear, but it’s decent enough to be worth the inclusion. If you’re looking to streamline your setup a bit, the Groov-e Astra is a great way to conserve desktop space.
Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 10 x 6 x 22cm; Material: Plastic, silicone; Weight: 550g; Bulb required? No
6. Frideko Vintage Table Lamp: The best desk lamp for striking design
Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon
Have you ever looked at your regular old desk lamp and wished that it looked more like a steampunk robot? Me too. With its unique, iron pipe design, Frideko’s vintage lamp looks like it could scratch that itch. Light on features, the main attraction of this lamp is the personality that it will add to whatever room it’s placed in, with the high-quality metal design making it an instant conversation piece.
While this lamp should fit any screw-thread E26/E27 lightbulb, if you want to really complete the look, consider pairing it with a retro Edison bulb, as their warm light and intricate filament design are the perfect match for this vintage-style lamp. You can even get smart Edison bulbs that can be turned on/off or dimmed remotely, either with a mobile app or by voice control via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Key specs – Dimensions (HWL): 32 x 18 x 18cm; Wattage: 60w; Voltage: 220v; Material: Metal; Weight: 2.27kg; Bulb required? Yes; Bulb included? No
7. Tanice LED Desk Lamp: The best desk lamp with an office caddy
Price: £27 | Buy now from Amazon
This is a great choice for keeping your desk organised, especially if you have a lot of stationery to corral. The base of this lamp doubles as an office caddy, with a well for storing all your stationery and a wireless charging station for your phone, making this a truly future-proofed bit of office kit. All it needs is to be connected via its plug, or even just a USB cable, and it’s ready to go.
You can turn on the light by waving your hand three to five centimetres below the light sensor, which is located on the tip of the light itself, and adjust between the three colour temperatures. It has stepless dimming, so you can smoothly move into the dark or the light by holding your hand below the light for a few seconds. Plus, since the silicone gooseneck is flexible enough to reach any angle across 360°, you’ll always get the light you need.
Key specs – Dimensions (HWL): 21.6 x 18.8 x 8.8cm; Wattage: 10w; Material: Silicone, Plastic; Weight: 460g; Bulb required? No; Colour Temperatures: 6000K, 4500K, 3000K; Batteries required? No
8. Paladone Batwing Posable Lamp: The best desk lamp for lighting up the dark knights
Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon
If your office is a little stringent on adding personal flair to your desk, Paladone’s posable Batwing lamp is probably low-key enough to fly under the radar. The arm of the lamp has three points of articulation, giving you a wide range of movement for finding the best angle, and the light emitted is in a narrow cone, which is perfect for precision work or late-night reading.
As well as preventing Gotham’s criminal element from overrunning your desk, this lamp is also designed to save the world at large. This is achieved by the use of breakdown plastic, an organic additive that claims to help plastics decompose (at the end of their lifespan, it won’t just disintegrate on your desk), thus keeping them from clogging up landfills.
Like many other USB-powered lamps, this one provides a cable, but no wall adapter, so you’ll need to have one of your own before you’re ready to take back the night.
Key specs – Dimensions (HWL): 35.6 x 15.2 x 25.4cm; Wattage: 10w; Voltage: 5v; Material: Plastic; Weight: 1.23kg; Bulb required? No
9. Lepro Natural Desk Lamp: The best desk lamp for eye fatigue
Price: From £29 | Buy now from Amazon
Many of the classic, warm lights we have in our homes are often the worst for us when it comes to eye strain, despite their cosy appeal. So, it might be worthwhile getting a desk lamp that’ll at least give your eyes a breather during working hours. This ‘daylight’ lamp by Lepro has 54 LEDS to provide a natural, opaque (non-glaring) light that’s ideal for long stares during working, reading or studying sessions. Plus, there are seven dimmable brightness settings controlled by a touchpad, which is all packaged into a minimalist design you’ll be sure to love.
Key specs – Dimensions (HWL): 20 x 13 x 42cm; Wattage: 8w; Material: Aluminium, Plastic; Weight: 798g; Bulb required? No; Colour Temperatures: 5000K; Batteries required? No