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Best SAD lamp 2021: Stave off the winter blues

Kate Hilpern
2 Dec 2021
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Find the right SAD lamp for you this winter with our buying guide and rundown of the best SAD lamps on the market today

With the days getting shorter and darker, winter can be a particularly miserable time for those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but the best SAD lamps can help to alleviate this suffering. SAD sufferers can find it harder to concentrate, as well as suffering from lower energy, confidence and, in severe cases, depression.

Fortunately, bright-light therapy in the form of a SAD lamp can save the day by making up for the lack of SERT (a serotonin transporting protein) that causes the condition. Whether you’re after a lamp to use while working at your desk, or a wake-up light to help you get out of bed in the morning, finding the right one for you needn’t be a challenge.

To help make things easier, we’ve listed our selection of the best SAD lamps you can buy, as well as a short buying guide that should help inform your purchasing decision.

READ NEXT: Banish the damp with these top dehumidifiers

Get the Lumie Vitamin L for £60

One of our favourite SAD lamps, the Vitamin L is energy-efficient, with a softer light than some other lights and a decent sized surface area. It's often discounted on Amazon, and you can usually pick one up for around £75. But now you can get it for just £60.
Amazon
Was £90
Now £60

Get 20% off the beautiful Lumie Halo

Lumie is one of the top brands to look out for when buying a SAD lamp, so when its best-looking model goes on sale, you should pay attention. The Lumie Halo is currently discounted to £159. Offering 10,000 Lux at 20cm in day mode, it is an effective refresher for those lethargic winter mornings with a style that will suit any modern interior.
Amazon
Was £199
Now £159

Save on the Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300

Here's yet another deal on a Lumie SAD lamp. If you're after a medically approved wake up light, look no further than the brand's Bodyclock range. Though we didn't review the Shine 300 for our roundup below, it's still a great choice, and it comes with a built-in FM radio. You can now get it for just £109, down from an average price of £117.
Amazon
Was £129
Now £109

Best SAD lamps: At a glance


How to buy the best SAD lamp for you

How can I be sure a SAD light will work?

There is increasing evidence that SAD lamps can be effective, but you must buy one that is medically certified to treat SAD. Ideally, look for one that’s registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

How many lux does my SAD lamp have?

Light intensity is measured in lux, so the brighter the light, the higher the lux and the less time you need to spend in front of it. To work effectively, a SAD lamp needs to emit at least 2,500 lux, although all the SAD lamps we recommend have 10,000 or more. Check the instructions about how close to sit and for how long because this can vary significantly between different lamps.

What colour should the light be?

White light is the most common and while this can be very effective, there is some research to suggest blue light treatment can also work well. Some models have an additional red light to help you relax and unwind at the end of the day.

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Should I buy a traditional or LED SAD lamp?

LED lights have been proven to work just as well as traditional tube bulb devices, but neither is considered superior to the other.

What features should I look out for?

Some SAD lamps have settings for changing the intensity of the light, but it’s worth noting that you can achieve a similar effect manually by simply moving the lamp further away. If you don’t want to sit near a plug socket, get a SAD lamp that works with rechargeable batteries. If you want to travel with it, consider buying one with a travel bag.

READ NEXT: Check out our favourite desk lamps

The best SAD lamps to buy

1. Lumie Vitamin L: The best-value SAD lamp

Price: £90 | Buy now from Boots

The Lumie Vitamin L is one of the most energy-efficient SAD lamps around, but the biggest selling point for most people will be the fact that it emits a slightly softer light than other SAD lamps. A treatment of 20-30 minutes a day at 10,000 lux from a distance of 20cm should help lift your mood, or you can sit at arm's length for an hour or two while using your computer to get the same effect.

It’s got a handy stand that enables you to position it either portrait or landscape, and a nice big surface area too, making it feel almost like you're sitting next to a window that's being flooded with bright sunlight. The only catch is that there's no option to adjust the brightness setting - you'll just have to sit further away if you find it too much. Overall, though, it's difficult to ask much more from the Vitamin L when you consider its relatively low asking price. If you're looking to buy your first SAD lamp, look no further.

Key specs – Dimensions: 28cm x 20cm x 3 cm; Weight: 830g; Power: 10,000 lux; Warranty: 3 years


2. Beurer TL30: Best portable SAD lamp

Price: £39 | Buy now from Amazon

Known for its compact designs, German engineering and pioneering technology Beurer is one of the biggest names in SAD lamps. The TL30 is smaller than an A4 notebook, so you can easily slip it into your bag for work or going on holiday. Users say they can feel benefits in only 15 minutes thanks to its design, which emits the equivalent light to a bright summer’s day.

Unlike many machines at this size and cost, there’s no flickering, the light emission is even across the screen, and it’s UV-free. Be warned that the light can seem quite glaring on first use, but you get used to it quickly enough.

Key specs – Dimensions: 23.6cm x 15.6cm x 2.6cm; Weight: 330g; Power: 10,000 lux at 10cm; Warranty: 3 years


3. Lumie Bodyclock Glow 150: Best medically approved wake-up light

Price: £99 | Buy now from Amazon

If you struggle to get going in the morning, one of Lumie’s wake-up lights could be just the thing for you. By gradually brightening and changing colour for a set amount of time (20-45mins) ahead of your alarm going off, the Bodyclock Glow 150 mimics sunrise to help you wake feeling energised even on the darkest of winter mornings. Not only that, but its handy sunset mode can also boost melatonin production to help you nod off more quickly at night.

Unlike some rival wake-up lamps, Lumie’s wake-up lamps are all certified medical devices, meaning they’ve passed rigorous safety tests and are supported by clinical research. And although this lamp works in a different way to the bright-light therapy lights featured elsewhere on this page, Lumie says it is proven to treat SAD. That said, the brand suggests using both a wake-up light and a lightbox for the best effects.

The Glow 150 is a great wake-up light, but if you're happy to spend a bit more, the Bodyclock Shine 300 is another great option that also comes with a handy FM radio.

Key specs – Dimensions: 14.3cm x 14.3cm x 3.5cm; Weight: 350g; Warranty: 2 years


4. Lumie Desklamp: Best desk lamp-style SAD light

Price: £144 | Buy now from John Lewis

The Lumie Desklamp has a unique design and we love it. Unlike the other lamps in this list, it looks like a regular desk lamp. Its adjustable neck makes it a great option for use at your desk, as well as for areas like a bedside table where you can use it while reading. Other standout points include the touch-sensitive switch, which makes it easy to use and the blue-enriched white light that aims to regulate your body clock. Lumie recommends using the lamp for an hour a day on the softer light, or for 30 minutes with the diffuser that’s included, both from 20cm. While the light is bright, it isn’t blinding, but the lamp is bulky.

Key specs – Dimensions: 55cm x 29cm x 20cm; Weight: 1.78 kg; Power: 10,000 lux; Warranty: 3 years

Buy now from John Lewis


5. Beurer TL55: Best rechargeable SAD lamp

Price: £130 | Buy now from Argos

This model from Beurer not only offers bright-light treatment but also has a soft red light that helps you relax and fall asleep by simulating dusk. We found that worked a treat, as do the five brightness levels for morning, which make this such a versatile bit of kit. The size will appeal to many – it’s easy to carry around, and will fit on your bedside table or by your computer on your desk.

What's more, it's mains rechargeable, so there’s no need to hunt around for a plug socket, although you only get an hour and 20 minutes of light therapy for every two hours charging. It delivers 10,000 lux at 20-60cm, and it’s recommended that you use it between half an hour and two hours a day, depending on the distance.

Key specs – Dimensions: 26cm x 17cm x 2.4cm; Weight: 630g; Power: 10,000 lux at 10cm; Warranty: 3 years

6. Lumie Halo: Best-looking SAD lamp

Price: £199 | Buy now from Lumie

As one of the leading brands in SAD lamps, it’s no surprise that this is the fourth Lumie product to appear in our roundup. Lumie describes the Halo as its most versatile light therapy light to date. In day mode, it offers 10,000 LUX at 20cm while using a warmer LED light to help you wind down in its evening mode, and you can easily adjust brightness and colour temperature using a touch slider. We tested the lamp for about an hour each morning during the onset of autumn, and found it helped beat that lethargic morning feeling. It’s also got a backlight that can be used in day or evening mode to add an extra bit of ambient illumination.

What’s more, the Halo looks strikingly good. It’s certainly more stylish than many of the slab-like SAD lamps that appear in our roundup. The only issue we had with it was that the backlight can be tricky to turn on and off. This is done by double tapping the back of the lamp, which we found to be irritatingly unresponsive. For the best results, it’s best to have the lamp on a solid flat surface.

It’s also the most expensive lamp on our list at £200 and, unlike a number of Lumie products, it isn’t a medically certified device. But, if you’re after a SAD lamp that makes a statement in the interior design department, the Halo is a fine choice. When you order it directly from Lumie, you also get a free 45-day trial to test it out, at the end of which you can return it if it doesn’t work for you.

Key specs – Dimensions: 33 x 32.4 x 19.7cm; Weight: 2.2kg; Power: 10,000 lux; Warranty: 3 years