Whether you work from your home office or you enjoy reading your favorite books at your desk, a desk lamp is a valuable tool to have. With a desk lamp, you can ensure that you have the right type of overhead lighting for tasks that require up close vision, whether it be filling out paperwork, grading papers or writing a term paper. There is no doubt about it, the right desk lamp can make the tasks that you set out to do at your desk a lot easier to complete. And, not only do they provide a valuable source of light, but a desk lamp also adds to the aesthetics of your desk or office.

While a desk lamp is certainly valuable, choosing the right one for your needs can be challenging. There are so many different options, which can be a good thing, because it gives you a lot of choices; however, having so many choices can also be a bad thing, as it can be difficult to determine which desk lamp will best meet your needs. To help you on your quest for finding the best desk lamp, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide, which highlights the different types of desk lamps, the factors to consider when choosing a desk lamp, the different features they can offer, and the best desk lamp brands. With this information presented in this buyer’s guide, you will be well informed and ready to find the best desk lamp for your specific needs.

Types of Desk Lamps

There are several different types of desk lamps, but they can be differentiated by their light source, or the type of light that is used to illuminate them. There are four main types of desk lamps, which include:

In order to choose the best desk lamp for your particular needs, you first need to understand the difference between these light sources.

The Incandescent Desk Lamp

As the name suggests, the incandescent desk lamp uses an incandescent light bulb to produce light. This type of light bulb is known to greatly enhance color definition and provides a uniform level of light throughout its lifespan, which are two definite positive. However, on the downside, the incandescent light bulb produces glare, which can be distracting, particularly if you are working on a computer, and its lifespan is pretty short; generally, the incandescent light bulb burns for only about 200 to 1200 hours. Incandescent light bulbs are well suited for creating ambient light, but they are not ideal for task lighting purposes. The incandescent light bulb is generally the least expensive.

The Halogen Desk Lamp

The halogen desk lamp is illuminated by a halogen light bulb. Halogen light bulbs are known for giving off bright, crisp and clean light that eliminates shadow and reduces glare and eye strain. As such, the halogen light bulb is ideal for task lighting, and it is great for situations where a glare is not ideal, such as when you are using a computer screen. Additionally, halogen light bulbs have a long life span, lasting, on average, 1000 to 2000 hours. They are also very energy efficient. Many users report that the halogen desk lamp is the best for task lighting.

The Fluorescent Desk Lamp


Like the halogen light bulb, the fluorescent light bulb is very efficient. It provides much brighter light than incandescent bulbs, and it also operates at a much cooler temperature. The fluorescent light bulb burns for up to 10,000 hours, which is great if you don’t want to worry about running out of power. It is also ideal for task lighting. However, there are some downsides associated with the fluorescent light bulb; they tend to be more expensive than incandescent bulbs and they usually require a bit of time to light up before they reach their maximum light output.

The Full Spectrum Desk Lamp

Full spectrum lighting produces the brightest and whitest light. This type of bulb is designed to emulate natural sunlight, which makes it incredible well suited for task lighting applications, as it does not produce a glare and does not strain the eyes. Other benefits of the full spectrum light bulb is that it has a long life span, burning up to 10,000 hours, and it is also very energy efficient. On the downside, full spectrum light bulbs are generally the most expensive.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Desk Lamp

There are a number of factors that you should take into consideration when choosing a desk lamp. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to find the best desk lamp to suit your specific needs. Important factors that should be considered include the purpose you want the desk lamp to serve, the functionality you need, and the design of the desk lamp, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important to consider when purchasing a desk lamp, please keep on reading.

What is the intended purpose of the desk lamp?

The first factor that you should take into consideration when choosing a desk lamp is what you need it for. Desk lamps are made to serve specific purposes. Some are designed to be used for writing, others for reading, and still others are designed for doing craft projects. It is important to consider the purpose the desk lamp will be serving in order to determine which type will best suit your specific needs.

What functionality do you need your desk lamp to provide?

Will you be using your desk lamp to actually function as a useful source of light, or will you be using it as a decoration in your office or living room? Typically, decorative desk lamps emit dimmer light than lamps that are designed for writing or using the computer; in other words, they can only accommodate low wattage bulbs. If you are using the desk lamp to perform a specific task, you want to make sure that you purchase one that can accommodate a light bulb with a higher wattage.

What light source do you prefer?

As mentioned in the ‘types’ section of this buyer’s guide, desk lamps are differentiated by the light source, or light bulb they use. In order to determine what type of light bulb will work best for you, refer to the ‘types’ section above so that you can understand the benefits that each type of light bulb will best suit you. Once you know what type of light bulb will best suit your needs, you can then choose a desk lamp that will accommodate that type of bulb.

What style do you like?

Desk lamps come in a variety of styles. They can be modern, classic, art deco, rustic, and so forth. To determine what style will suit you best, consider the design of your office and then choose a lamp design that will work well with the look of your office.

Energy efficiency is important, too

Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing a desk lamp is the energy efficiency. If you don’t intend on using the lamp all that much, this may not be a factor for you; however, if you do plan on using it a lot and you don’t want it to have a huge impact on your energy bill, you are going to want to pay attention to the energy efficiency. The desk lamp should have an energy efficiency rating on its tag, which will tell you how much energy it uses and how much money that energy will translate to on a yearly basis.

What size do you need?

Yet another important factor to take into consideration when choosing the best desk lamp for your needs is the size of the lamp. You want to make sure that it suits the scale of the room and the desk. If you have a large office or a large desk, a larger desk lamp will work better than a smaller one; however, if the room and the desk are small, you would do better to choose a desk lamp that is smaller in size. You don’t want the desk lamp to stick out like a sore thumb, and you also don’t want it to get lost in the room and not serve its intended purpose.

What is your budget?

Desk lamps can vary greatly in price, which is why it is important to determine your budget before you start shopping. Generally, larger desk lamps that use higher end light bulbs will have a higher price tag. Also, the more features the lamp has, the more expensive it will be. It is important to know how much you want to spend before you start shopping so that you don’t spend more than you are comfortable with.

Features Desk Lamps can Offer

Desk lamps can offer a variety of features. These features are intended to improve the function of the desk lamp and to make it more practical. However, as mentioned above, it is important to note that the more features a desk lamp offers, the more expensive it will be. With that said, and to make sure that you choose the best desk lamp for your needs, it is important to understand the available features so that you can determine whether you want them or need them, and if spending the extra money is worth it.

Here is a look at some of the most popular features that desk lamps can offer.

Adjustable Necks

Desk lamps that feature adjustable necks are useful for both task lighting and ambient lighting. The ability to adjust the neck allows you to focus the direction of the light, which adds value and versatility to the lamp. If you plan on using your desk lamp to perform specific tasks, and you also want it to light the room, an adjustable neck is a good feature to have.

Adjustable Lighting

Sometimes you need more light, sometimes you need less light. To control the amount of light that the desk lamp gives off, look for one that features an adjustable switch, a dimmer or a 2 or 3 way switch, for example. With this feature, you can increase the amount of illumination when you are examining detailed documents, or you can dim the light when you don’t require as much detail and you don’t want it to blind you and cause a headache when you are concentrating on other tasks.

A Magnifier

If you are going to be doing work that requires you to pay attention to fine details, such as crafting or putting together a scale model, a desk lamp that features a magnifier is definitely a handy feature. This feature will allow you to zoom in on your work, which will allow you to have keen sight of the items you are working on.

A Clamp Base

Even if your workspace doesn’t have enough room for a conventional desk lamp, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get the light that you need. A desk lamp that features a clamp base will allow you to attach the lamp to any surface you need to, such as the side of a small desk, the edge of a coffee table, or a head board, for example, or any other object that you need to have extra light shed on.


If you don’t want to worry about the hassle of plugging in your desk lamp, look for one that is cordless. These desk lamps are powered by batteries, and allow you a lot more flexibility with regard to placement.

The Best Desk Lamp Brands

There are a number of manufacturers that produce desk lamps, but we have found the manufacturers that make the absolute best products.

Eye Care Tech

The lamps produced by eye care tech are dimmable and are really easy on the eyes, which users rave about.

Tao Tronics

This company produces high quality desk lamps that offer a wide range of features.

Simple Designs

Another manufacturer that produces high quality, reliable desk lamps is Simple Designs. They produce a wide range of lamps that offer a variety of features and provide excellent task and ambient lighting.