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Three Awesome, Modern LED Desk and Reading Lamps: 2017 Reviews

Updated on July 10, 2017
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Which are the best LED desk lamps for home or office use?

You've probably seen them before, those tiny little lights with the brilliant clarity. LED lights have gone from being an expensive novelty to becoming a legitimate contender in the home lighting arena. An LED powered desk lamp is one of the best options available today, and though it might not be your top choice at the moment, I'm hoping to change your mind on the subject.

LED bulb desk lights are rapidly becoming a viable option for everyday home use, due to a number of fantastic features that both incandescent and fluorescent alternatives simply cannot match. The light quality is a lot better than you'd expect, and they'll save you a ton of money over the long run.

This article will be taking a look at a couple of the top LED desk lamps around today, and we'll be giving an in-depth review of a few top contenders. I'm going to focus on features, light quality and of course price tag. I'll also touch briefly on what makes an LED lamp for your desk a better choice than other options. In addition, I want to help you identify the right brands to go for (not all lamps are made equal). Let's get started!

Why LED makes sense

If you're accustomed to the light quality and simplicity of standard lamps with replaceable incandescent bulbs, you might be a little wary to go for an all-in-one solution like this, especially when the light quality and usability can be questionable. However, these lights are better for your vision, easier on the wallet and offer much more functionality than what you're used to. Here's why:

More Energy Efficient:

An LED desk lighting solution like the products I've listed above will save you money by using very little electricity. Most will use a fraction of the juice that an incandescent fixture (or even a fluorecent bulb) will draw. They generally cost more at the outset, but over the years you'll save a lot on both energy and replacement bulbs.

More Durable and Long Lasting:

Reading and office LED desk lamps are a lot more durable than a conventional fixture, and the bulbs last for a lot longer too. LED bulbs are very small in size and can take a beating before they conk out. All the lights I listed above are quite robust and can handle 20+ years of daily use. That makes the initial entry price a lot easier to stomach.

Light Quality is King:

Most LED office desk lamps have a bad reputation when it comes to light quality. But that rep is unfounded. Recent innovations mean that quality lamps provide light that's actually better on the eyes than standard light fixtures. The great thing about LED technology is its ability to shift spectrum depending on your needs. You can have a brighter, colder and more energizing light for work scenarios, and then switch to a warmer, softer tone for reading or night use.

BenQ e-Reading Lamp: Designer form meets flexible function

This is the LED reading lamp I'd place at the top of any list. Why? Because it's illuminating my desk as I type this! BenQ set out to create the perfect combination of features, and they did a fantastic job.

First, it's beautiful. Jaw-dropping, with a very luxe fit and finish. It is a welcome addition to my minimalist desk.

The curved shape of the lighting head itself means the light spread is huge. I have a giant desk, and this little guy can illuminate the whole thing with ease. For a person with plenty of writing projects on the go, that's exactly what I want.

This is easily the most flexible lamp I've owned. The head attaches to the arm with a ball joint, allowing fine pivoting. The arm itself swivels in any direction, and it can reach up to three feet (or one metre) into the air at max height.

And the controls are drool-worthy. It turns on and off by simply touching the chrome ring. The dial allows adjustment of brightness, or with a click, adjustment of the light tone, from very cool white to a warm, almost candle-like glow.

But the main reason I turn to this light more than others is that it's gentle on my eyes, thanks to two features: first, they have eliminated micro-flicker (where the light brightens and dims at a barely perceptible rate.) Secondly, the lamp features a smart sensor. When you activate it, the light adjusts itself to perfectly suit the room conditions. I've noticed a real reduction in headaches and eye strain.

It's a bit pricier than some of the competitors, but remember that this light will last for 50,000 hours of use. (Think of that in light bulb terms; I'll let you do the math.)

If you're looking for a feature-rich LED reading lamp for your desk, I'd look to BenQ first; particularly if you suffer from eye strain.

Prism: A Good, Foldable, Anti-Glare LED Desk Lamp

But perhaps your budget doesn't allow for lighting in that price category. No problem! A less expensive lamp I'd also highly recommend is the Prism.

A slightly different take in terms of style and design, this LED lamp is perfect for desk or office use. It's beautiful, functional and pretty slick. What's more, the light quality is very good and can improve your workflow with its reduced eye strain.

The design is perfect for the modern office: minimal, sleek and refined. It takes up very little space on your desk, and it's also 'visually compact', meaning that it won't feel cluttered in your workspace.

The light throw is not as good as the BenQ, but it is still very decent, and the chassis folds vertically to give you a lot of control over where the light is cast.

There is a built-in glare filter which keeps the spectrum at the perfect level for human eyes. Eye strain is cumulative, and you'll notice a real difference after making the switch. You can control the brightness by touching the control at the base of the light stick; this incremental control is one of the reasons Prism is in my top three.

It uses a fraction of the energy that a conventional incandescent bulb would, and the whole unit is rated to last for around 25 years of steady use, with a 3-year warranty against defect.

If you have a smaller budget, I'd rate Prism as one of the best LED desk lights at this price point, a fine choice for reading or office use.

OXYLED: A good, affordable LED desk light for eye strain

Maybe you've got an even smaller budget? Don't fret, you have options.

As someone who struggles from periodic eye strain and stress, I'll caution you to shop carefully at this lower price point. Not all LED desk lamp or lighting solutions are eye-friendly.

Luckily, there are still some gems. If your budget is under $50, you might want to consider this lamp by OXYLED. It is a nice little LED reading lamp designed to mitigate strain as much as possible.

First off, this lamp is intended to minimize 'ghosting', which is caused when you have a lamp with multiple light sources and bulbs. Ghosting can cause a false depth and excess ocular stress. This lamp utilizes a wide light area that creates a consistent brightness with minimal shadows.

In addition, the OXYLED is purpose-built for reading purposes and desk work; there is a built-in glare filter and it operates flicker-free. There are six different brightness settings depending on your particular needs, accessible via the touchpad.

The lamp fixture itself is elegant for the price. The neck is flexible and can be rotated, so you can position it wherever you need it.

With a tiny power requirement and a lifespan exceeding 25 years, this one is a keeper. It also has fantastic customer reviews, and for well under $100 this LED desk lamp is a bargain.

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Why These Lamps In Particular? A Note On Brands:

LED lighting has become pretty ubiquitous in our society. A few years ago they were hard to find, but now you'll have them in your phone, in your computer screen, on vehicle taillights, and in light bulbs and fixtures.

As they become more popular, more producers are turning to produce LED bulbs and lamps. However, I do recommend you stick closely to brands you know and recognize, and only choose LED desk lamps with positive reviews from a wide array of customers. Here's why:

  • Cheap quality LED desk lights won't last for as long as better brands. They are not as durable, and the diodes are not made with care. That means you'll end up replacing fixtures every couple of years. That can be annoying and wasteful, especially with the 'all-in-one' lamps that are popular these days.
  • Cheaper lamps with LED bulbs tend to eat up more power than their better-made counterparts. Inefficient wiring means that excess energy is shed in the form of heat, raising your power bill and undermining one of the main positive features. Go with a good brand and you'll notice a lower electrical bill.
  • Light quality on low quality LEDs is noticeably worse than you'll find with high end brands. Shoddy lamps will flicker and ghost. You'll experience a lot more eye stress, strain and headache. Why invest in a lamp you'll never want to switch on?

Ultimately, brand names charge a bit more for their products. The initial expense can be hard to swallow, but those products go the distance.

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