The 18 Best Desk Lamps

May 15, 2020

Category: Living

As more of our time is spent indoors, the incessant need to work in dimly-lit areas becomes even more prevalent. If you’re anything like us, and you love to work in natural light, the transition to an artificially-lit environment might not be the most intuitive, leaving you with unwarranted eye strain, deteriorating sight, and a migraine from squinting at your work all day. Luckily, there are a handful of great lamps out there, and the vast majority have been designed, manufactured, and delivered to keep you as viable as possible, even when daylight starts to fade.

Since we’ve been confined to our in-home work areas, the need for a functional desk light has steadily forced its way into our workflow. Naturally, we set out to find the most aesthetically-pleasing models on the market today, and what we were met with — wasn’t very notable. So we made an attempt to dig deeper into the realm of illuminating desk lamps, and during this process, we decided to create a well-rounded list for everyone in a similar state. Below we’ve aggregated our favorite offerings from around the genre, focusing on adaptability, presence, professionalism, and design. Turn up your computer’s backlight and let’s dive right in.

Newhouse LED Desk Lamp

Newhouse’s LED Desk Lamp is an affordable but classic option that might remind you of a certain animation studio’s mascot. Much like Pixar’s dubious desk light, this adjustable option has been gifted with an iconic silhouette and comes fully-featured with a dimmable LED, flexible mounting options, and a swing-arm architecture that can help you to illuminate areas in a precise manner. Whether you’re looking to provide some clarity in your architectural workspace, at home, or in your favorite study, the Newhouse LED Desk Lamp puts simplicity at the forefront, offering over 30,000 hours of light and a refined structure that will fit right in alongside your other aesthetically-pleasing furniture.

Purchase: $25

Ikea Jansjo LED Desk Lamp

IKEA’s Jansjo LED Desk Lamp is yet another affordable offering that places an emphasis on minimalism and simplicity. This interesting little lamp features a 24-inch, curved silhouette, and remains relatively sturdy/stable due to its steel and aluminum construction. In effect, it makes a statement without being too radical about its aesthetic properties, bridging the gap between purposeful illumination and a stylish secondary piece. Plus, with a 70-lumen output, it’s sure to light up any desk, work area, or reading nook with ease, despite its small appearance and stature.

Purchase: $29

Tomons Swing Arm Desk Lamp

Tomons’ Swing Arm Desk Lamp is an interesting alternative to the traditional Newhouse design, offering a similar hinged swing-arm and angular frame for buyers to take full advantage of confined work areas. Instead of the steel and aluminum construction of its competitor, the Tomons Desk Lamp features a handsome natural wood frame, iron components, and an adjustable setup that will allow for adequate illumination, regardless of where it’s utilized. As a result, it’s the perfect design-focused light for students, architects, or other draftsmen, since it can be minimized at the drop of a dime, and put away for use at a later date.

Purchase: $36

Luxe Cordless LED Desk Lamp

Unlike the aforementioned options on our list, Luxe’s Cordless LED Desk Lamp takes a step away from the classic, opting instead for a more futuristic persona. This sleek and sharp desk peripheral features an enhanced lighting control, allowing users to swap between three different lighting modes and six different levels of brightness, all for the sake of convenience. To curb eyestrain, Luxe’s offering has been gifted with a natural, glare-free LED, which doesn’t emit UV or damaging blue light. And since we know that looks matter, each aluminum example has been crafted to fit right in alongside modern furnishings. It also comes in four different colorways, meaning you’ll be able to match your nightstand, work area, or reading chair’s aesthetic with ease. Worried about adaptability? Never fear. The Cordless LED Lamp can run up for up to 40 hours on a single micro-USB charge and can twist up to 360-degrees to provide light anywhere, and everywhere it’s needed.

Purchase: $60

Phive LED Desk Lamp

Phive’s LED Desk Lamp is one of the slimmest models on our list, and thanks to its sharp demeanor, it’s able to be mounted virtually anywhere. Since the company’s interesting lighting peripheral was built to save space, you might expect it to run low on high-end functionality, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, each model features a step-less dimming feature, allowing you to keep your favorite dimming levels for use at a later date. To keep eye strain to a minimum, the brand has also included a unique daylight illumination feature, which keeps soft light from ghosting, glaring, or flickering. Better yet, a 50,000-hour operational lifespan means that you won’t have to change your bulb for the next 25 years, while also promoting an 80% decrease in overall energy consumption when compared to typical incandescent models. Need to adjust the light at a more precise angle? Just utilize the lamp’s 180-degree swiveling lamp head to illuminate your area with pinpoint accuracy.

Purchase: $75

Umbra Shift Cup Lamp

Umbra’s Shift Cup Lamp might not be the most aesthetically-pleasing model out there, but it’s got one of the most unique architectures that we’ve ever seen. It’s not all about looks, however, and that’s where the interesting little lamp seems to shine the most. Utilizing its built-in USB hub, buyers will be able to charge their favorite smart devices as they work, taking full advantage of the Umbra Shift’s dimming capabilities to create the perfect ambiance in any room. There’s even a storage cup to ensure that all of your essential tools and items are only an arm’s reach away. But if you’re worried about space and weight, don’t be. The Shift stands at a relatively-compact 14.1-inches, and weighs in at only 2.7 pounds, making it a breeze to move, set up in different areas, and utilize wherever you need it the most.

Purchase: $96

Alcott Hill Zanesfield Banker’s Lamp

If you’re looking for a more traditional desk lamp, you can’t go wrong with Alcott Hill’s Zanesfield Banker’s Lamp. This classic take on one of history’s most elegant designs is sure to make your work area a bit more unique, thanks to its sturdy metal base, opaque shade, and on/off pull chain switch. Sadly, the Zanesfield doesn’t feature as many quality-of-life features as the other options on our list. It takes a single 60-watt bulb, and can’t be dimmed to match your specific preferences. But let’s be honest, if you’re looking for an iconic peripheral that oozes class, you’ll make the sacrifice for one of the genre’s most time-honored designs.

Purchase: $124

Kaschkasch Marselis Table Lamp

When it comes to simplicity, Kaschkasch’s Marselis Table Lamp is the undeniable winner. Not only does this lamp sport one of the most unique designs on this list, but it also features an innovative 360-degree rotating diffuser that allows you to utilize both direct, and ambient light through its powerful LED. Inspired by the circular tubing and bent characteristics of street signs, this handsome desktop essential has been carefully crafted with a powder-coated die-cast aluminum and steel mixture, making it sturdy, stable, and long-lasting. The best part? Since it relies on a high-efficiency LED to do its bidding, you won’t have to worry about regular bulb changes, meaning you can go for years without having to find a replacement.

Purchase: $145

BenQ LED Desk Lamp

BenQ’s LED Desk Lamp was designed primarily for precise, efficient illumination, and it shows through in its unique architecture. This sleek desk lamp features a curved head, adjustable arms, and ball joints, allowing users to move, elongate, and adapt, depending on their specific needs. Since it’s a more complex offering than most, there’s also an adjustable color temperature and brightness knob, giving you the freedom to transition from warm to cool light at the touch of a button. But if that’s not enough, it also boasts an auto-dimming mode that takes all of the guesswork out of constant adaptation, meaning it can dynamically adjust to the surrounding environment based on the brightness in the room. To keep eye-strain in check, it introduces a soothing light screen that reduces flickering and glare, making it the perfect option for professionals who want to bridge the gap between looks and functionality.

Purchase: $230

Koncept Equo Desk Lamp

Koncept’s Equo Desk Lamp takes a more angular approach with its intriguing design, so if you’re a fan of intricate linework, this one’s for you. It features a built-in touch strip that’ll allow you to moderate its light output, depending on what time of day you’re hoping to use it. Dive deeper, and you’ll find that it also features easy light temperature adjustment capabilities, giving you the option of warm or cool light. But what makes the Equo truly special is its counter-weight design, which provides adjustability at the touch of a finger, and a tilting head that stays level with its mounting arm, regardless of its angle.

Purchase: $234

Type 75 Mini Task Lamp (Paul Smith Edition)

Type 75’s Mini Task Lamp was already one of our favorite luminary offerings, but when the brand teamed up with the legendary menswear designer, Paul Smith, we knew that we had to include it on our list. To bring the unique example into the modern landscape, the lamp was redesigned by Sir Keneth Grange, visionary design director and the proclaimed “godfather” of British modernism, while drawing harsh inspiration from the iconic Anglepoise Apex 90 of the 1970s. As a result, the aesthetically-pleasing model has been updated for a new generation of user and arrives adorned in the traditional, off-kilter color blocking that Paul Smith has become so famous for. As far as dependability is concerned, it’s also one of the industry’s finest offerings, boasting a cast-iron base, aluminum cover, chrome-plated fittings, and pastel matte paint.

Purchase: $240

Schoolhouse Graduate Lamp

Schoolhouse’s Graduate Lamp is a more refined take of the aforementioned Umbra Shift, and as such, it sports quite the hefty price tag. Regardless of its monetary value, this vintage wonder does a great job of illuminating any work area, desk, or nook, thanks to its Deco period design, metal mushroom umbrella, and steel construction, all of which have been heavily inspired by American automobiles and architecture from the golden age of design. As a result, buyers are gifted with a piece of classic lighting that can take any workspace from drab to eye-catching in a heartbeat.

Purchase: $249

Pixo Optical LED Table Lamp

Pixo’s Optical LED Table Lamp is all about compact design, and after taking one look at it, it should become immediately clear that they’ve achieved their goal. It features a rotating 360-degree head, 180-degree tilting stem, and a low-energy LED that can be utilized for up to 50,000 hours. That’s a lot of illumination without having to worry about changing out a troublesome bulb. However, it keeps things a bit more warm than usual, which is surprising for a modern LED variant that usually errs on the cooler side of color temperature. If you’re looking for a stylish desktop model that can double as a wired/wireless charging device and want to keep things a bit more classy, this Pardo-designed peripheral is an attractive proposition.

Purchase: $285

Artemide Tolomeo Classic Table Lamp

Artemide’s Tolomeo Classic Table Lamp is a sophisticated model designed by Giancarlo Fassina and Michele De Lucchi in 1989, and after 30 years, the desktop staple is still alive and kicking. It’s certainly not due to coincidence, considering that the lamp remains much the same today. A stylish stamped and anodized aluminum construction gives ways to a fully-adjustable, articulated arm, die-cast joints, and tension control knobs that allow for plenty of different angle variations. Of course, this wouldn’t mean anything without an adjustable light source. That’s why Artemide opted for a 360-degree shade, gifting the peripheral with an adaptable demeanor that can be honed in for pinpoint accuracy, or moved outward for softer light fall.

Purchase: $365

Humanscale Horizon Desk Lamp

Humanscale’s Horizon Desk Lamp is a USA-made model with an undeniable organic aesthetic. Not only does it take a minimalist approach to the illumination of your desk area, but it adopts plenty of contemporary design attributes, resulting in a sleek, slim model that doesn’t take up too much space in your work area. To complement its modern look, it boasts an ultra-wide, glare-free light footprint, seven different levels of adjustable illumination, and a nightlight feature that allows it to provide a dimmed glow at just one watt. If you’re looking for an ergonomic desktop accessory that can multitask with the best of them, this aesthetically-pleasing model is the most efficient route to take, especially if you’re looking for something a bit easier on the eyes.

Purchase: $380

Poppin Green Link LED Lamp

Poppin’s Green Link LED Lamp is another Pablo-designed companion that’s been devised to bring unparalleled luminosity to your work area. It features a unique aluminum arm, magnetic attachment system, and a sturdy steel base to keep things operating smoothly, while a switch-on head allows for two different levels of illumination. Pair this with the Green Link’s 3300K high output LED array and optical diffusing film, and you’re in for a great experience that’s sure to be devoid of any eye strain, fatigue, or missed coverage.

Purchase: $460

NJP LED Table Lamp

The classic architect lamp has seen its fair share of revisions over the years, but when it comes to functional design, innovation has never been its strong suit. There’s nothing inherently wrong with remaining the same, but in NJP’s case, subtle variations on style and structure can go a long way. For the company’s LED Table Lamp, Nendo’s design guru, Oki Sato, has interpreted the iconic accessory in an entirely new way, calling upon a curved head, flexible joints, and LED ventilation, providing near-perfect light coverage and filtering. Plus, the ergonomic staple has also been gifted with a unique timer function, allowing users to choose between a four or eight-hour shut-down time.

Purchase: $578

Dyson Lightcycle

It’s no secret that our bodies are affected by sunlight, and when we spend gratuitous amounts of time indoors, our health can deteriorate. To remedy this, Dyson has created the Lightcycle — a lamp that simulates the properties of natural daylight and reduces eye-strain caused by prolonged artificial exposure. In effect, the Lightcycle tracks and identifies the ambiance of daylight within the room, allowing it to adapt and match the hue and temperature of natural illumination. It even includes a proprietary heat pipe technology that allows for up to 60 years of use, thanks to its six high-power LEDs. There’s also an entire suite of smart functionality, including a motion-sensing system that switches on and off when it recognizes your presence, an integrated USB charger, and compatibility with Dyson Link, an app that gathers information on your age, tasks, and sleep cycle to cater illumination to your needs.

Purchase: $600

The 20 Best Work From Home Essentials

Now that you’ve found a way to illuminate your entire desk area, head over to our guide on the best Work From Home essentials to take your newfound workflow to the next level.

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