The 7 Best Desk Lamps of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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After further testing, we’ve added the Koncept Z-Bar Mini Desk Lamp, the Gantri Gallery Task Light, and the Schoolhouse Joe Task Lamp to our list of recommended lamps. Modern Ceiling Lights

The 7 Best Desk Lamps of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

We also added the IKEA Flottilj Desk Lamp to The competition.

A great desk lamp can transform your workspace—both functionally and aesthetically. It can reduce eye fatigue and help you better see what you’re working on, and it can set the right mood for getting work done. A great lamp can also be a design statement.

After researching over 55 desk lamps and testing 20, we’ve chosen our favorite desk lamps in a variety of styles and prices.

We favored built-in LEDs and LED bulbs, due to their long lifespan and, in some cases, adjustable color temperature.

We like when power switches are on the lamp (not on the cord) because this makes them easier to turn on and off.

We preferred lamps that let us adjust the brightness levels (and made it intuitive to do so).

We wanted lamps that would look good on any desk, complement different decor styles, and last a lifetime.

This smaller version of a modern classic has nearly all the same features as its larger counterpart but at a lower price.

Get this if: You want a desk lamp with a minimal footprint, a modern design, and the flexibility to position light nearly anywhere across a small work surface.

Why it’s great: The Koncept Z-Bar Mini Desk Lamp is a compact desk lamp aimed at minimalists willing to pay a premium for sleek, contemporary design. Free of a spring arm mechanism or light shade and comprised of just three slim articulating arms engineered to hinge and twist at a full 360 degrees, its simple-looking design disguises a satisfying degree of utility. Whether you’re working behind a computer, reading a book, or reviewing paperwork, it dependably provides glare-free lighting.

The lamp’s 10-inch stretch of 28 LEDs can be securely aimed across numerous positions without any of the drift or snap back that sometimes affects spring-arm lamps. That means you can position the Z-Bar Mini close to a piece of paper if you need help reading the fine print, or you can move it all the way up to 2 feet above your desk to illuminate the entire work surface.

The Z-Bar Mini is intuitive and satisfying to use thanks to the lamp’s subtly concave touch strip controls, which provide a pleasing tactility that most capacitive adjustments lack. Adjusting the light’s brightness feels like playing a slide guitar of light—brightness adjustments are smooth and instantaneous, and they’re easy to use with touch alone. If you’re on video calls regularly, you’ll come to appreciate being able to set up the light in a 3-foot-tall vertical configuration, which results in a soft, glare-free glow that makes all sides your best side.

Additionally, Koncept offers an updated Gen 4 version of the Z-Bar Mini alongside a Gen 4 Pro edition that might be worth considering if you’re willing to part with a few more dollars. The former has a wider color temperature range (3,500 to 5,000 Kelvin) and reduced energy consumption. The latter adds slightly brighter LEDs, an occupancy sensor, a warmer 2,700 K color temperature setting, and a USB port for charging devices. The hinge connecting the base to the middle arm also features a more elegantly integrated mechanism, free of the visible hardware that slightly mars the linear design of the original.

3D-printed from plant polymer plastics, this desk lamp comes with a dimming switch on-cord and an (increasingly rare) replaceable E12 LED bulb.

Get this if: You want a dimmable desk lamp that can also play double duty as a bedside lamp, or vice versa.

Why it’s great: Compact yet stable, the Gantri Gallery Task Light shines both in its pleasing warm glow and its distinct, design-forward silhouette—one designed to blend naturally into the background of a living space. We picked this light as a space-efficient option for those working from home, and it’s particularly ideal for people who need a lamp that doesn’t project a work-only vibe. This is a lamp that can easily assume the role of a side table or bedside lamp during off-hours.

Unlike many desk lamps with integrated, irreplaceable LEDs, this task lamp comes equipped with a replaceable E12 6W LED bulb. It’s easily accessible via the screw-top head assembly and glows with a light that suits a home more than an office.

The Gallery Task Light is equipped with a swiveling diffuser head that turns 180 degrees vertically and 360 degrees horizontally for easy one-handed repositioning. That said, this lamp has the limited arm reach of a T. rex and is best situated in a workspace where you want to keep light within an intimate perimeter.

The lamp’s heavy base is fortified with a rubber-lined skid pad that keeps the lamp from tipping over. Even if you give the center tube a firm push, it barely wobbles before settling back into place. It also includes an integrated dimmer that stands out for its conspicuously large size and prominent placement (though it could be improved with a better grip).

This retro-modern desk lamp is available in 21 color options and features solid, machined construction that might last a lifetime.

Get this if: You appreciate the heft of an all-steel lamp that looks and feels like it might outlast the lifespan of an LED bulb, and you don’t need or want anything but a reliable desk light.

Why it’s great: The Schoolhouse Joe Task Lamp is a retro-modern counterpart to another one of our picks, the Gantri Gallery Task Light; they share a similar single-tube and swivel-head design suited to small desks. But where the Gantri light is made of lightweight bioplastic and designed to satisfy a modernist aesthetic, the Joe Task Lamp is built from heavy-duty all-steel parts, so it could outlast several owners.

And though you might think such a vertically oriented lamp might be easy to tip over, the Joe Task Lamp’s all-metal construction alongside its circular base gives the lamp the immovable stability of a sumo wrestler after dinner.

The Joe Task Lamp is designed to operate with the reliable simplicity of a lamp your parents—or grandparents—might have owned, equipped with nothing new or extraneous to worry about breaking. That sense of durability extends to the lamp’s on/off dial switch, which clicks with such mechanical confidence that you’ll wish all dials would deliver such audible and tactile pleasure.

It comes in 21 gloss and satin hues and includes a handsome woven cloth power cord, but that’s the extent of any new-school updates.

This great-quality, highly adjustable aluminum LED desk lamp is affordable, and it can reach high and far.

Get this if: You need a desk lamp that can adapt to different tasks throughout the day.

Why it’s great: The Uplift LED Desk Lamp E7 With Clamp is a nearly perfect desk lamp in its practicality versus price: It’s lightweight yet stable, affordable but not cheaply made, and slender but capable of stretching high and wide, to cast a glare-free and adjustable light wherever it’s needed.

The E7 isn’t going to win any style awards, but the lamp’s rangy, simple design is unobtrusive and utilitarian. Because it clamps onto a desk’s edge (an optional $20 desk base is available), it doesn’t require a lot of space. And once it’s assembled (PDF), its three-part adjustable aluminum arm can impressively reach—like an NBA center—up and outward, craning 34 inches up and 43 inches wide when fully outstretched (PDF). It took just a few minutes to assemble the lamp and secure the clamp to our desk, and it was easy to do.

The 11-by-1-inch LED assembly is sheathed in smooth aluminum and shines with up to 685 lumens, with an adjustable head that nods up or down in a 190-degree range of motion. We wished the lamp head could also rotate to each side, but the two lamp arms make up for this drawback with gymnast-like flexibility: The first joint of articulation bends 110 degrees, and the second articulation point offers an even more limber 210 degrees, which allows for seemingly endless angles for the lamp to shine its light. Watch the video here to see more detail on how the lamp can be adjusted.

It doesn’t have any app integration or smart programmable options, but in everyday use, the E7’s simplicity proved to be a virtue, not a vice. The E7’s controls are tasked to a single square button on the LED light bar, so you can make stepless dimming and brightness adjustments with a tap or long hold. It took only a few uses for the controls to become an intuitive, “Look ma, no glancing required” motion. Uplift Desk also makes our top-pick standing desk, so we know it’s a reliable company (and if you happen to be shopping for a desk, you can usually find discounts when bundling accessories).

This minimalist desk lamp provides a soft, glare-free adjustable light, and when it senses no one is around, it shuts off automatically to save energy.

Get this if: You want a soft, glare-free, uniform light source that doesn’t tire the eyes and can double as serviceable video-conference lighting.

Why it’s great: The minimalist Humanscale Nova provides soft, uniform light without distracting glare, flickering, or harsh shadows—making it our favorite lamp for working in front of a computer. The lamp achieves this uniform pool of light by adding a diffuser lens over the LED array.

The Nova also has a touch-bar control running along its top arm, so dimming from 100% down to 14% brightness requires only an intuitive sliding motion, which we easily became accustomed to using without even a glance.

A big reason we liked this lamp was its effortless, silent adjustability, which can easily be managed with one hand. The flat, 5-inch light head swings up and down and swivels nearly all the way around, so light can be aimed from varying heights and angles.

We were also impressed with the Nova’s easy assembly. Just drop the preassembled arm and light head into the weighted desktop base, plug in the Nova, and it’s ready to use.

When stretching the lamp to its highest reach (nearly 29 inches), we could illuminate the majority of our 70-inch-long desk with only a gentle tapering of light at the far edges. But when we needed to focus light on an exacting task, we could pull the arms downward just above the desk to cast a shadow-free, even light.

We also appreciated the memory setting, which returns the Nova to its last-used brightness level, as well as a built-in energy-saving occupancy sensor, which turns the lamp off automatically when it’s left alone. And if you’re regularly logging onto video calls, you might appreciate the Nova’s ability to soften harsh shadows when it’s used at low-medium brightness.

This uncomplicated desk lamp uses LED bulbs instead of built-in LEDs, and it’s the most flexible model for positioning light just where you want it.

Get this if: You want a simple desk lamp with a replaceable bulb and an iconic design that suits most office decor.

Why it’s great: The IKEA Forså Work Lamp With LED Bulb is one of the most adjustable lamps we tested, second to the Anglepoise 90 Mini Mini Desk Lamp. It has three lamp-arm hinges, a tall spring-loaded arm that rotates 180 degrees, and a lamp head that rotates 360 degrees, so you can aim the light anywhere. The metal lamp also has a heavy base, which prevents toppling.

Unlike with many other lamps we tested, the IKEA Forså doesn’t have a confusing touch interface to tap or to slide your fingers across—the cord has a simple on/off switch next to the base.

This portable and adjustable lamp has a compact base that can be powered using an outlet, rechargeable battery, or USB port.

Get this if: You work from a small desk. This compact, adjustable lamp is powered via a wall outlet, USB-A port, or portable battery—for an “everywhere is my office” convenience.

Why it’s great: The Anglepoise 90 Mini Mini Desk Lamp is the most adjustable lamp we tested, and it’s our top pick for anyone who has to make every bit of available surface space count.

Fashioned after the iconic British spring-armed lamp that has inspired innumerable knockoffs since the 1930s, this half-size update retains all the best features of the original design. It adds an efficient LED, and it can be plugged into an electrical outlet, USB port, or run off of its rechargeable battery pack for cordless operation.

The 90 Mini Mini is impressively limber in its ability to twist, turn, and angle like a curious kitten, and it stays securely in place with a three-spring design (articulation can be loosened or tightened using an included hex tool). Though most spring-tension desk lamps feature exposed cords at each elbow of articulation, the lamp’s snap-in assembly ditches this norm, channeling power from the lamp’s base to the LED assembly sans any visible cord or cabling. Thus, the base and shade-head assembly can rotate, unimpeded, a full 360 degrees.

Unlike arms on other models we tested, the 90 Mini Mini’s articulating arms never sprang forward or tipped backward, no matter how far we pushed the lamp head in either direction. And because the lamp sits on a heavy, 5-inch-diameter base, it stands its ground, even when pushed at its highest point. Also, it’s easy to adjust with only one hand—stability you rarely see with lamps this small.

Though not exceedingly bright, the lamp’s integrated, 40-watt-equivalent LEDs give off a pleasantly diffuse, warm light that doesn’t tire eyes while you’re working from a computer or reading printed material.

Turning the lamp on and off is simple because it has a single tactile button, located on the top of the lamp shade. Assembly requires just a tad more effort; both the lamp shade and the base slide into each side of the arms with a secure click, and two springs need to be stretched and attached for proper tension.

If you want an adaptable (but pricey) desk lamp: The Dyson Solarcycle Morph Desk’s unique, industrial-modern design and hefty price tag isn’t for everyone, but we loved its buttery-smooth movement and three-in-one adaptability as a task, spot, and ambient light.

When you rotate the lamp head over its center stand tube, a sleeve slides up to lock satisfyingly into place and directs light down through its perforated stem—effectively transforming into a warm, ambient torchiere. When it’s aimed at an angle toward a ceiling or wall, it outshines most other desk lamps—and even many floor ones. It also has an app to pair the lamp’s geographic location, syncing the Solarcycle Morph’s color and brightness to the time of day.

But this non-height-adjustable desk lamp proved to be a nonstarter for our own desk setup. With our external monitor standing at a similar height, the two battled for elbow room. And the lamp head obstructed the monitor by about half an inch, so we had to adapt to the lamp, rather than the other way around.

If you like the sound of the Anglepoise 90 Mini Mini Desk Lamp, but wish it weren’t so mini: The Anglepoise Type 75 Desk Lamp is a larger version that uses a replaceable E26 base bulb instead of an integrated LED. It also swivels 360 degrees from the base, has similar spring-tension articulation, and stretches more than 6 inches higher than the 90 Mini Mini, casting more light than its petite cousin.

The Type 75’s classic design and its oh-so-nice-to-touch anodized aluminum matte finish make it aesthetically at home in spaces that are modern, traditional, and every style in between. It’s also backed by a lifetime warranty. The lamp lacks only in its inability to fully rotate at its head, stopping about 10 degrees short of a complete turn.

If you want a modernist lamp you can operate with one hand: The Flos Kelvin is an elegantly designed architect’s lamp that we’ve owned for nearly a decade and that we’ve come to appreciate for its simple-to-operate tap-touch controls, smooth adjustability, and stable build.

It’s available with a base, clamp, wall arm, or as a drop-in desk support attachment. Its minimalist silhouette, flat rotating LED array, and one-handed operation design are all pluses.

But the Kelvin didn’t make the cut as a top pick after we observed flickering during video calls (previously invisible to the naked eye). Also, it has a propensity to kick backward like a catapult when positioned too far back and upward.

If you need a small desk lamp that can double as a bedside lamp: Check out the Louis Poulsen NJP Mini. It arrives fully assembled, and it features a tip-proof heavy steel base and an angled aluminum arm, with a 342-degree turning radius you can nudge away or near with one finger.

The integrated 10-watt LED is bright (without being distracting) and also dimmable. The LEDs are tucked almost halfway back into the lamp shade, so the design eliminates distracting glare.

The NJP Mini is a design object with a design pedigree price tag to match. It’s probably even better suited as a bedside lamp. But its small size, quality build, and one-button control simplicity may appeal to those who prioritize aesthetics as much as functionality.

If you prefer a wood look and prize cordless portability: The Octagon Portable Desk Light has the most unusual design of the lamps we considered, especially if you get it in the natural walnut wood finish. It’s also one of the few cordless (and therefore portable) lamps we encountered in our research that also had positive reviews.

It’s slim (only 3.4 inches wide), and it has four touch-controlled brightness levels. But it didn’t get as bright as the other lamps we tested.

We didn’t include it as a pick because it toppled often during testing, and several panelists disliked the design. But if you want a cordless LED lamp that you can take anywhere—we moved it from room to room a couple of times—it’s an interesting lamp.

If you want classic looks and don’t mind reduced adjustability: The IKEA Hektar Work Lamp could be a good choice. This tall, architect-style lamp with a chic brushed-metal finish is one of the retailer’s most popular desk lamps, and it features modern conveniences like wireless charging and a USB port.

It’s more top-heavy than other lamps, which made it less likely to hold its position at certain angles in our tests. But if you like the style and don’t plan on using the lamp angled at 90 degrees, it could be an excellent fit for your home office. Note that it’s also a tall lamp (27 inches at its tallest), with a large, 7-inch base.

Many people who work at their desks rely solely on overhead lighting. But experts recommend having a mix of light sources in every room—overhead, task, and accent lighting—for ambiance and a balance between light and shadow. A desk lamp—specifically a task lamp that lets you control the light distribution on your desk—offers benefits that can affect not just your mood but your health as well.

A benefit of job-specific lighting: Having an adjustable lamp in your workspace reduces the contrast between the object you are focused on and the surrounding area. Lighting designer Linnaea Tillett explained, “When you reduce contrast, it’s relaxing for your eye and keeps you from changing your focal perspective.”

Think of how harsh the bright light of a computer display is in the middle of the night; the strong contrast can make your eyes more fatigued. A desk lamp can illuminate the area behind or around your computer display, creating a more comfortable environment for your eyes.

If you don’t work on closeup tasks at your desk, if you don’t feel eye fatigue with your current lighting scheme, and if you don’t typically work in the evenings or in the dark (when an adjustable light can help reduce eyestrain), you might not need a desk lamp.

Gregory Han is a writer at Design Milk who has covered home decor for a multitude of design-focused outlets, including Dwell, Domino, and Apartment Therapy. Before that, he toiled behind a desk sketching children’s toys and furniture as an industrial designer. He has tested and recommended everything from beds and alarm clocks to bedside lamps, floor lamps, and sofas for Wirecutter. Some people rotate art on their walls, but he’s known to switch out lighting throughout the year.

For more than a dozen years, senior staff writer Melanie Pinola has written about technology and home-office topics for sites such as Lifehacker, PCWorld, and Laptop Magazine. For over four years at Wirecutter, she has tested and reviewed gear, including home-office essentials such as office chairs and ergonomic keyboards. Melanie says as she’s gotten older, she has noticed her eyes straining more when she’s working on the computer, so she’s particularly interested in task lighting that could reduce that fatigue.

We started our research as most people would: looking at online roundups of lamps (though most aren’t worthwhile) and combing through the best-seller lists and owner reviews at retailer sites such as Amazon, Wayfair, Target, IKEA, Rejuvenation, and Lamps Plus.

We looked for highly rated lamps in different price ranges. And because everyone has different aesthetic preferences, we sought out desk lamps in a variety of style categories, from classic to modern.

In general, we looked for lamps that meet these criteria:

These nice-to-have features also informed our choices:

Once we had our contenders, we got down to assessing each lamp in a real-world setting. In our original round of testing, 23 staff members evaluated the 10 test models based on photos of the lamps and a brief description of their features. Staffers voted on their favorite lamps overall and in each price category.

Next, Melanie tested each of the lamps throughout the day for over two weeks, comparing all the lamps side by side and taking note of the following:

Melanie also measured each lamp’s lux level at the lowest and highest height settings to see how each lamp performed with task lighting.

Finally, to get real-world usability opinions from other people, Melanie asked four panelists to turn the lamps on and off, change the brightness and color-temperature settings where available, and adjust the lamp heights and angles as if they were shopping for a lamp in a store.

In subsequent tests, Gregory has tried each lamp in a home-office environment, following guidelines established from our previous review and working beside each model as a primary light source for a minimum of three hours each.

He also reviewed the adjustability of each model, measured arm reach and swivel distance, and may have even lightly slapped the desk lamps around to test their stability. Also, since working from home is still a reality for many, Gregory turned on each lamp, positioned for both direct and indirect lighting, during a series of video calls, to see whether any of them improved how he looked on camera.

This is not a comprehensive list of all desk lamps we’ve considered. We have removed any lamps that no longer meet our criteria or that have been discontinued.

The IKEA Flottilj Desk Lamp is only about $13 and has an easy-to-transport flatpack design that makes it easy to move from room to room—ideal for anyone who works from home, say, on a table that doubles up as a desk. But its lightweight, interlocking, X-shaped base is paired with a top-heavy design, resulting in a lamp that’s easy to knock over (despite its modest 12-inch height). Ultimately, this is better suited as a spotlight than a desk lamp.

The TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp With Qi-Enabled Tech was a previously recommended model. But in comparison with some of our new picks, this lamp’s cheap plastic construction and limited height adjustability stood out as noticeably inferior in fit and finish—especially when it was compared with the similarly priced but superior build and intuitive core functions of the Uplift E7 desk lamp. We also didn’t care for its crimping iron on a stand silhouette.

The Possini Euro Magnum French Bronze LED Desk Lamp was a previous pick in this guide, but it kept going in and out of stock. If you can find it, it’s still a great lamp. It’s sturdy, attractive, and barely takes up space on a desk. You can’t rotate the head on this lamp, but you can adjust the angle and height, thanks to a pivoting hinge on the arm. You also can’t charge a phone or adjust the color temperature, but you can manipulate the brightness at three levels.

The Franklin Iron Works Rustic Farmhouse LED Desk Lamp was also a previous pick, but it kept going out of stock. This lamp has a great rustic, industrial style that still looks clean and modern. It was one of the heaviest lamps we tested. The arm and head don’t swivel, but you can adjust the height and tilt the lamp shade. Keep in mind: This lamp demands a lot of real estate, not just because of its height but also because of the horizontal space it requires—so beware if you have a small office or desk. It also has just one brightness level and temperature.

The Otus Architect LED Desk Lamp boasts a ton of features that sound useful—12 brightness levels and three color settings, and you can wave your hand above the lamp to turn it on or off, like a Jedi. But it looks much less attractive in real life than it does in promotional photos—like a tall, flimsy microphone stand—and it topples easily. We also had difficulty adjusting the color and brightness of the lamp with the buttons at the top. Using a lamp should not be this hard.

The 360 Lighting Slimline Swing Arm LED Desk Lamp is a simple lamp with two standout features: an AC outlet and a USB port in the large, heavy base, both of which are handy when you don’t want to reach under your desk to plug something in. However, the base is too large: 2 inches tall, compared with the other lamps’ 0.5-inch to 1-inch base heights. Because the lamp isn’t height-adjustable (though it does swivel, as its name implies), we found it less versatile for most workspaces. That said, it could be a great bedside or end table lamp, thanks to its added ports. It has a very high brightness setting with a warm color temperature.

This article was edited by Ben Keough and Erica Ogg.

Gregory Han is a design, travel, and lifestyle writer, and the co-author of Creative Spaces: People, Homes, and Studios to Inspire. His work can be found at Design Milk, Dwell, Domino, Apartment Therapy, and Airbnb.

Melanie Pinola covers home office, remote work, and productivity as a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. She has contributed to print and online publications such as The New York Times, Consumer Reports, Lifehacker, and PCWorld, specializing in tech, work, and lifestyle/family topics. She’s thrilled when those topics intersect—and when she gets to write about them in her PJs.

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The 7 Best Desk Lamps of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Syska Table Lamp Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).