Create the perfect reading environment for your favourite book lover with our pick of the best reading lights
Is there anything better than curling up with a good book? Well, it’s a bit trickier if you can barely see the page. Thankfully, the days of reading under the covers with a torch are long gone – and now there are almost too many options for reading lights.
The main aim of a reading light is to illuminate a small area at a close distance so you’re able to focus on it easily. It should be bright enough to read by, but not so bright that it hurts your eyes. So, do you opt for a sturdy anglepoise lamp on the bedside table or a portable clip-on light that attaches to your current book? To help you choose, we’ve put together the best reading lights available right now, plus a short buying guide with additional information. Keep scrolling to find our pick of the best reading lights today.
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How to choose the best reading light for you
How do reading lights differ from regular lights?
Where other lights illuminate large areas, a reading light aims to focus all its energy on one particular place. Whether you’re reading, typing, sketching or knitting, a steady stream of focused light is the best way to avoid eye strain and potential headaches. In spaces where you don’t want to distract others, like on transport or when sharing a bed, a reading light is a subtle option for providing light for yourself only.
What kind of light temperature should I be using?
The colour temperature of your light can have a big impact on how you feel: warmer light is cosy and sleep inducing, while white-blue light has the opposite effect.
Some reading lights take this into consideration and feature multiple settings for different temperature gradients and brightness intensities.
Colour temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale (K), a numerical scale where warm/yellow light is in the lower numbers and white/blue light is in the higher numbers.
Warm (2700K – 3000K): Bulbs at the lower end of the scale emit a soft white light that often looks yellow. Warm light isn’t the brightest option but is a good choice when you’re in bed, as it’s the most easy on the eyes.
Neutral (3100K – 4500K): The middle of the brightness spectrum offers a mix of warm and cool light, and is the most versatile temperature.
Cool (4600K – 6500K): At the top end of the scale is cool white light, which increases alertness and productivity. That blue light you’ve heard about in your phone/laptop/TV screen also falls into this category. It’s advised not to use cool light in the evening or when you’re anticipating sleep, as it hinders melatonin production and confuses your body into thinking it’s still light outside.
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The best reading lights you can buy in 2024
1. Vekkia/Luminolite Rechargeable 7 LED Book Light: Best clip-on reading light
Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at Amazon
If you’re looking for a clip-on reading light, the Vekkia/Luminolite ticks all the boxes. The padded clip opens to around 4.3cm (1.7in), so while it definitely fits onto book covers and/or pages, those with bulky headboards may have trouble attaching it there – although it can also stand up by itself, thanks to the heft in the base. That said, it’s still a lightweight piece of kit that’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
In terms of the light it puts out, the Vekkia/Luminolite has a warm setting, white setting and a mix of the two. All three settings can be adjusted for intensity. At just over six inches (16cm) long, the neck is extremely flexible but still retains whatever position you choose. It also has excellent battery life: over sixty hours on a single charge, which you can power up via the micro USB port (cable included).
Key specs – Dimensions: Base 7.11cm, arm 16cm, lamp 5.59cm; Wattage: 1.4W; Material: Plastic; Weight: 60.95g; Bulb required? No; Rechargeable: Yes, via USB
2. John Lewis Brandon: Best floor lamp for reading
Price when reviewed: £36 | Check price at John Lewis
The Brandon floor lamp is absurdly popular, and for good reason. Simple and sleek, it’s little more than a lightweight frame in matte black (the only colour available) with a tiltable, bell-shaped shade at the top. The narrow base means you can place it anywhere in the house without feeling like it overpowers the space, and it’s also surprisingly sturdy for a weight of just 3.8kg.
There’s no bulb included and there is some self-assembly required, but for £30 we think it’s more than worth a bit of DIY – plus, this way you can choose what level of bulb warmth you’d most like to read beneath. John Lewis also includes a five-year guarantee, for some peace of mind.
Key specs – Dimensions: 165 x 23cm; Wattage: 40W; Material: Metal; Weight: 3.8kg; Bulb required? Yes, a 5-7W ES LED Classic bulb is recommended; Batteries required? No, mains powered
3. LEDGLE: Best hands-free reading light for multiple uses
Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Amazon
The LEDGLE reading light is a great all rounder, particularly for people who often find themselves using the torch function on their phone. Designed to sit around your neck, the soft, comfortable rubber frame has two LED bulbs at each end of the two flexible arms. There are three light settings to choose from: spotlight only, flood light only, and spot and flood combined.
While most of us might use this light to read on the sofa, in bed, or on public transport, you could think out of the box and take this on a dog walk, an evening jog, or to focus better on DIY and craft projects that need illuminating. The light comes in three colours and has a built-in lithium battery that’s recharged via a provided USB cable. It takes about 2.5 hours to reach full charge, and then should last for 16 hours at normal brightness or 6.8 hours at the highest brightness level.
Key specs – Dimensions: 26 x 3.6 x 14cm; Wattage: 2.4W; Material: Rubber; Weight: 135g; Bulb required? No; Rechargeable: Yes, via USB
4. Groov-e Apollo: Best reading light with wireless phone charging
Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at Amazon
We love a multipurpose product, and the Groov-e Apollo desk lamp checks a fair few boxes – being a reading light, wireless charger and 3W Bluetooth speaker all in one. Absurdly lightweight and made from a pleasingly smooth, flexible and slip-resistant rubber, the lamp comes with three LED light settings of warm, warm white and cool white. Holding down the single-touch control button for a few seconds adjusts the level of brightness.
While it doesn’t emit the most powerful of beams, and the integrated charging pad took a little longer to power up our phone, the Apollo is certainly bright enough for a spot of late-night reading – and it’s a steal at just £16. Its minimal weight makes the Groov-e Apollo a great travel companion, too.
Key specs – Dimensions: 12.8 x 12.8 x 16.5cm; Material: Rubber; Weight: 459g; Bulb required? No; Batteries required? No, powered via USB (included)
5. Flexilight LED Clip On Bookmark: Best reading light for children
Price when reviewed: £8.33 | Check price at Amazon
If your child’s keen on reading under the covers (let’s face it, we all remember what that’s like!), you can subtly prevent any eye strain by gifting them their own book light. We love this kid-friendly design of a bright blue owl with black and white detailing on the body and a lovely leaf pattern across the rest of the bookmark.
Simply clip the bookmark onto a few pages and bend it forward to illuminate the page. The LED light puts out eight Lumens, which is bright enough to help kids keep up with their reading and, when it’s not being used as a light source, the Flexilight doubles up as a bookmark.
Key specs – Dimensions: 1.6 x 3.6 x 18cm; Wattage: 1W; Material: Plastic; Weight: 22.6g; Bulb required? No; Batteries required? Included