Best Desk Lamp 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

They can not only brighten up a dark desk area or reading corner, but a desk lamp could also be the finishing touch to your home office setup.

The ones available today take advantage of all of the latest lighting technology, from easy controllability and energy efficient running, to adjustable light and brightness levels and sleek designs.

If you are looking more for a lamp which can improve your mood or want yours to be smart, we have reviewed the best SAD lamps and the best smart table lamps too. But should you want a traditional, adjustable lamp which is perfect for working at a screen, then these are the best desk lamps we found which are available to purchase online.

The Best Office Desk Lamps – Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Anglepoise Original 1227 Mini Table Lamp
  • Cable Length: 1.8m
  • Dimensions: H52 x W13 x D28cm
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Switch Type: Push
  • Bulb: Halogen 28W SES Eco Halogen Candle, LED 6W SES LED Candle
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John Lewis & Partners Spenser LED Wireless Charger Table Lamp
  • Cable Length: 1.8m
  • Dimensions: H46.6 x W13 x D19cm
  • Material: Metal, Glass
  • Switch Type: Rocker
  • Bulb: 4W G9 LED Bulb
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TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp
  • Cable Length: 150cm
  • Dimensions: 43 x 18 x 18 cm
  • Material: Plastic, Metal
  • Switch Type: Touch Sensitive
  • Bulb: LED
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Best Freestanding Desk Lamps

Anglepoise Original 1227 Mini Table Lamp

Anglepoise lamps are instantly recognisable thanks to the brand’s heritage and practicality, thrown in to simple yet substantial, classic designs.

The 1227 Original Mini is exactly what the name suggests. If you think of a traditional desk lamp design, this one matches that, but the design trumps anything else on the market. The new pyramid-shaped base is stable yet elegant, without looking too ground-breaking.

On the base is the integral switch, which is easy to press on and off and allows the lamp not to stand out. It also means there is no fumbling for the switch on a trailing lead. When combined with the recommended bulb types, the lamp gives out a great amount of light.

The angle is perfect for use at a desk, and you can choose between Dove, Linen and Black for the colours which are all neutral but still allow you a bit of expression.

It is an expensive lamp, but very much worth the price for durability and style. Because of the classic design, it isn’t going to go out of fashion or not go with any future decor so really is a purchase for life.

Specifications

  • Cable Length: 1.8m
  • Dimensions: H52 x W13 x D28cm
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Switch Type: Push
  • Bulb: Halogen 28W SES Eco Halogen Candle, LED 6W SES LED Candle

We like

  • Easy to turn on and off
  • Colour choice
  • Smaller size - good for cramped spaces

We dislike

  • Price

Final Verdict

Perhaps more pricey than you’d have thought a desk lamp could be, but there are very few which are as reliable, well-made and still keep their style

Philips Hue White and Colour Ambiance Signe LED Table Lamp

Something slightly different now, but if you prefer your light to be a bit more atmospheric or have a very particular favourite shade of white, then the adjustability is enormous with this one.

The Signe table lamp is slimline and minimalistic, yet gives out a fantastic amount of light which will allow you to get the job done when needed. You can choose from over 16 million colours and shades of white light, so all throughout the year, you can pick the best shade for the environment. Think crisp, bright light in Spring and warmer tones hues for the winter blues.

It also makes it a great choice if you also enjoy a bit of downtime when you’re at your desk, whether it is watching television, gaming, video production or even sewing. You can sync the colours with whatever you are doing or watching.

All of the light can be controlled using the dedicated app on your smartphone or tablet, and you can save your favourite shades there so they can be accessed at the touch of a button. If you have other smart products, you could even get them all to work alongside each other.

The bulb is a built-in LED, with a lifespan of up to 25,000 hours. LEDs use around 85% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so it will definitely last for years even with frequent use.

Specifications

  • Cable Length: N/A
  • Dimensions: H62 x W7 x D7.6cm
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Switch Type: Phone Control
  • Bulb: Built-In LED

We like

  • Unbeatable choice of colours
  • Barely takes up any space
  • Energy efficient

We dislike

  • Price

Final Verdict

If you want a heavily adjustable light, and aren’t bothered about it being the traditional desk lamp design, then there are few smart lamps which are much better

John Lewis & Partners Spenser LED Wireless Charger Table Lamp

Another which takes the look of a traditional desk lamp and puts a modern, classy twist on it.

It reflects mid-century style, with the large bulb and black/brass colour combo. The light it gives out is on the warmer side too, so it won’t strain your eyes and will make for an overall inviting, comfortable atmosphere.

Should your phone always be at your side, the handy wireless charging option will appeal to a lot of people who also like the clutter-free life. Place your compatible phone on top of the base, and it will begin to revitalise the battery.

If yours doesn’t have this functionality, then there is also a handy USB slot for any charging or power needs. Either way, you’re saving a plug space, which is great if it is already overloaded with computers/printers and all of your other equipment.

The modernity isn’t just in the style and functionality, though. You also get an LED bulb included, which uses around 80% less energy than a standard one. And unlike some other LED models, this bulb is replaceable, so the longevity of the lamp only increases.

It brings desk lamps right into the 21st century, so perfect for those of you who want something ahead of the curve and which won’t be dated in just a few years. We particularly like the brushed steel version.

Specifications

  • Cable Length: 1.8m
  • Dimensions: H46.6 x W13 x D19cm
  • Material: Metal, Glass
  • Switch Type: Rocker
  • Bulb: 4W G9 LED Bulb

We like

  • Design
  • Colour choices
  • Charging base - very modern

We dislike

  • Positioning of light can’t be changed

Final Verdict

Style and innovative design know no bounds. If your desk is inspired by Pinterest-worth setups, then it is the perfect finishing aspect

TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp

Should you be looking for something a bit more budget friendly but still ahead of the curve, this TaoTronics is a good price, packed with effects to make it more comfortable and very modern.

The flicker-free lighting is great for your eyes during a long work session, and there are five colour choices as well as seven brightness settings with each. It is efficient when running, using up to 75% less energy than some rivals thanks to the LED bulb as well.

The colours range from natural light through to warm yellow, so your mood and the atmosphere can be matched. They can all be selected by sliding your finger across the touch controls on the base. No difficult button selections or adjustments of dials. To turn it off, just hold down the lowest brightness setting for four seconds – no switches needed.

You can choose from three finishes, either white, black or wood grain so that the lamp can match your decor or the rest of your desk. The head can be rotated 90 degrees left and right, or 135 degrees up and down, so the light targets the area you need illuminating.

Other reviewers have said that they use theirs for a range of tasks, such as nail technicians, beauty therapists and even dog groomers. The adjustability and brightness are perfect for more than just desk working and bedtime reading if necessary. You can even plug your phone into the USB socket to charge up without having to route around for a plug.

Specifications

  • Cable Length: 150cm
  • Dimensions: 43 x 18 x 18 cm
  • Material: Plastic, Metal
  • Switch Type: Touch Sensitive
  • Bulb: LED

We like

  • Price
  • Very adjustable
  • Colour options

We dislike

  • Light is very one-directional - doesn’t light up the room if this is what you’re after

Final Verdict

Great price for an awful lot of lamp. The build quality isn’t as good as those ~£100, but with the savings you’re making, this shouldn’t even concern you

John Lewis & Partners Huxley Task Lamp

Our pick for the best antique, vintage-inspired table desk lamp around.

The smoky bulb colour combined with either the brass or steel look is a real winner, which wouldn’t look out of place in an old Agatha Christie-style library office. Yet it still remains contemporary and to-date.

It isn’t just the looks that have been thoughtfully designed, however. The glass shade which surrounds the bulb is blown to include a tiny hole, so the unit doesn’t overheat. You can wipe the whole thing clean with a soft, dry cloth so it always looks the part too.

The base is only small, so doesn’t take up too much room, which is ideal for cramped spaces. To turn it on and off, just use the rocker switch on the base – no fiddling for wire controls or pressing stiff buttons.

A few people have said that the bulb supplied is a bit too harsh white for their liking, so we suppose this is best for an office as opposed to a bedside table, but you can always change it as it is replaceable.

The price is at the higher end, but not bad for the sheer quality you get. John Lewis includes a five-year guarantee as standard too, so if there are any teething problems, you’re not going to be out of pocket.

Specifications

  • Cable Length: 1.5m
  • Dimensions: H41.7cm x W14cm x D19.3cm
  • Material: Metal, Glass
  • Switch Type: Rocker
  • Bulb: 4W G9 LED Capsule

We like

  • Easy to operate
  • Gives out a nice amount of light
  • Doesn’t take up much space
  • Matching lights are available

We dislike

  • Marks quite easily

Final Verdict

Just the light for the classy, sophisticated space where all the important stuff gets done

Lloytron L961BK Flexi Desk Lamp

Now for the kind of lamp you probably think of when you hear the words ‘desk light’. Under £10, a fully flexible neck and the on/off rocker switch on the base are all the key signs.

There are nice easy instructions, with good information regarding the correct type of bulb and care guide. The power cord is a nice length, so you have a good chance of putting it exactly where you need it, and it is available in black, white, red and silver.

It isn’t going to be the longest lasting, nor the best quality. The bulb is a standard type, so will cost a bit more to run and will need to be replaced a bit more.

But if you want something you can pop on for a few minutes of reading before bed or while you do an hour of work in the evening at home, it should be up to the task. For the price, it is worth a go – you may be pleasantly surprised.

Specifications

  • Cable Length: 2m
  • Dimensions: 19 x 13.5 x 14 cm
  • Material: Metal, Plastic
  • Switch Type: Rocker
  • Bulb: E14 Max 35W Golf Ball

We like

  • Price
  • Adjustable
  • Nice easy on/off switch

We dislike

  • Not the most reliable over time

Final Verdict

We haven’t crowned it our best budget pick because it could be worth spending that bit more for reliability, but it is a simple solution if you aren’t bothered too much about quality

Best Clip On Desk Lamps

John Lewis & Partners Zadie LED Clip-on Desk Lamp

If you want a lamp but can’t afford to lose any surface space from your desk, then a clip lamp is a fantastic solution.

The arm is fully adjustable, so the lamp can still be moved to shine just where you need it. Even if you want it as a reading lamp, it should fit to the bedside table or armchair if you’re not at a desk. Why not move it around to wherever you need it, as long as there is a plug about?

The LED bulb is incorporated, so while it isn’t replaceable, it should last for over 20,000 hours in total. It is more affordable than some of the non-clip options and gives you more freedom over the exact position point too.

It is a little top heavy, so if you want it pointing more upwards than down, it could be an issue, but overall the freedom is enough. The clamp works in a screw movement rather than a traditional clip, so be aware of this before you buy.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: H40 x W33 x D7cm
  • Material: Iron
  • Switch Type: Toggle
  • Bulb: LED

We like

  • Small and inconspicuous
  • Great sized clip

We dislike

  • A little top-heavy

Final Verdict

The large clamp should fit even the thickest of desktops, and the quality build will see it last for long enough to make it great value

House by John Lewis Lorrie LED Clip with Switch Desk

One of the more affordable clip lamps around, but still packed full of quality and sturdiness.

The Lorrie features an in-built LED bulb which gives out a great amount of brightness. The arm is fully adjustable, which helps when you need to direct the light to a certain place. As the clip is so sturdy, it is suitable for placing pretty much anywhere and should remain stable. It also has wide jaws, so it is great for thicker desks and bedside table.

We liked how the on/off button is on the lampshade which rids the need for any hunting for the switch on the lead or base, and the light it gives out is nice and bright.

Overall, it is a low-cost solution to any dark corners, work areas or reading stations.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: H33 x W6 x D10cm
  • Material: Iron
  • Switch Type: Push
  • Bulb: LED

We like

  • Small base size
  • Fully flexible

We dislike

  • LED bulb is not replaceable

Final Verdict

Good quality build for the price, and fits neatly on even the smallest of desks

Best USB Powered Desk Lamps

Omeril LED Desk Lamp

This lamp is something a little different. While it can be powered by USB if by your desk, it is actually rechargeable, so once it is completely charged up, it can be taken anywhere. Perfect if you work from home and don’t have a desk setup, so need to move it around to wherever you are.

It will last for eight hours on one charge on the lowest brightness setting, which is plenty of time to get the job done. Thanks to the micro USB design, it can be powered by your laptop, computer, mains plug or a power bank/mobile phone charger if you’re away from home.

There are three brightness levels to select, as well as a warm mood lighting option.

To flick through the brightness levels, you just have to short press the touch-sensitive button, so there are no switches or rockers which could become damaged in certain conditions, such as if you’re outside.

The LED bulb can’t be replaced, but the makers claim it will be able to last for around 50,000 hours. If true, then it is excellent value for money.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 31 cm
  • Bulb: LED
  • Button: Touch Sensor

We like

  • Rechargeable battery
  • Mood lighting base
  • Three brightness settings

We dislike

  • Doesn’t come with a plug part of the charger

Final Verdict

A lamp which shows that you don’t just have to go for the big name brands - this one has pretty much everything you could need

LEDGLE Reading Lamp

A tiny USB light, which works well if you need to direct light onto your keyboard when working in darker conditions.

The light immediately turns on when plugged in, so all you have to do to turn it off is safely eject it. It is compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports on a laptop, as well as any mobile phone charger or power bank, so you have some flexibility over how you use it. You could even take it camping so you can read in the tent before sleeping.

The soft silicone neck is completely flexible, so can be bent in any way you wish. So even if you wish to make it a little shorter, you can twist it around. The 18 LED light bulbs give out a substantial amount of light for the size of the lamp, and it is relatively warm, so won’t hurt your eyes at any time of the year.

It is a lot taller than we imagined it to be, so if you want something to take around with you if you work on-the-go, just double check it is appropriate.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 22.8 x 13.8 x 2 cm
  • Bulb: LED
  • Button: N/A

We like

  • Very flexible neck
  • Bright light for the size of the head

We dislike

  • Can be a bit stiff at first

Final Verdict

We didn’t expect something quite so good for the price. A perfect choice if you want something cheap yet perfectly adaptable when you’re not stuck at your desk

Help and Resources

Desk Lamp Buying Guide

Type

There are three general models to pick from. The freestanding options are the classic lamp style, where you plug it in and set the base on a flat surface. They are quite flexible in terms of placement as long as you have access to a mains socket. These are best if you have a permanent set-up at a desk and don’t want to move it around.

You can also get clip-on models, most of which are also mains powered. They are pretty much the same as the freestanding options in terms of design and functionality, but attach to a desk as opposed to sitting on it, which can help if you are low on space.

USB models are perfect if you either need a light which can be moved around seamlessly or if you need something which doesn’t have a base or mains cable. They use the power of your laptop or battery charger to light the area, and are often easy to move into position as well as pack down to carry around.

Arm Types

  • Adjustable – This can be manipulated to a certain degree. There are usually two or three joints which allow you to bend the light and head to focus on where you need it. They are seen as the most stylish option
  • Gooseneck – More flexibility than the adjustable arms, with all points of the neck being bendy for full control and variety. This is the most traditional type of neck found on desk lamps over the years

Bulb

Again, there are a couple of types to look out for.

An LED bulb is the most energy efficient, with long life and bright output. They can last for at least 10,000 hours of use, which could see them work for years. Many aren’t replaceable; once the bulb goes, the light will also have to go.

Replaceable bulbs aren’t always as energy-sucking as you’d think, though. Modern halogen or LED options are usually very efficient, and you could get a few years out of them. Some cheaper freestanding lamps will still use old-style golf ball bulbs, which are readily available but may only last for a few months before needing to be replaced.

Power

If the bulb is replaceable, do take into consideration the power and wattage required. Not all LED bulbs will be appropriate for an LED light. The higher the power, the brighter the light given out is generally, so look for this before you buy, especially if you want to illuminate a particularly dark nook in your home.

Button

How you turn the light on and off is also important. Thankfully, any moderns seem to have done away with the idea of putting the control on the power lead, which meant you’d be searching for it and having to pull the lead towards you.

They can now be found on the lampshade, on the base or the lamp may even use a touch-sensitive control panel. If there is a physical button, it will either be a type that you press, or a rocker switch. The latter is seen as the easiest to manage.

FAQ’s

What Else Can I Use A Desk Lamp For?

They aren’t just for working with a computer or laptop at a desk. You may also want a flexible desk lamp for:

  • Reading – They could be put/clipped on to a bedside table or chair to make a brighter reading corner
  • Nails/Beauty – Whether you’re a professional or just have a makeup table at home, they can give you a clearer working area
  • Travelling/Camping – There are a couple of models which are rechargeable, but others in general are very compact and easier to move around than standard lamps, so could be good if you need something that you can pack away easily
  • Side Lamps – Some are so stylish that they can be used as an ordinary living room or bedroom lights

Which Desk Lamp Is Best For Avoiding Eye Strain?

There are a few things you may want to look for if you suffer from eye strain after long work hours. A big one is adjustable light levels, so you can make it nice and bright to start with then give off a warmer light when it starts to get darker.

If your eyesight does suffer, avoid bright white and cool fluorescent bulbs as they emit the most UV radiation and cause the most damage to your eyes. Because smartphones and computers give out blue light, it is best to counteract this, especially during a long work session.

How Much Should I Spend?

A freestanding model can be bought for as little as £10 both online and in most supermarkets or stores. The most expensive ones reach over £100.

The lower priced models are usually simple in design and functionality, turning on and off and being relatively adjustable. The higher ones may have built-in LED lamps (which are cheaper to run and longer lasting), and will probably have multiple settings. If you’re bothered about style, you’ll probably also have to spend that bit more.