The 10 Best Light Therapy Lamps of 2021

Beat the winter blues with these lights

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Verilux HappyLight Lucent at Bed Bath & Beyond

"A solid addition to your morning routine, its portable size ensures on-the-go benefits thanks to its 10,000 lux brightness."

Best Floor Lamp: Lavish Home Full Spectrum Sunlight Task Floor Lamp at Amazon

"The floor lamp will energize anyone nearby with its bulb of 1,300 lumens, lasting up to seven months before needing replacement."

Best Budget: Verilux HappyLight at Amazon

"A solid pick if you prioritize affordability, it features flicker elimination technology for reduced eye strain."

Best Desk Lamp: Theralite Aura Bright Light Therapy Lamp at Amazon

"A customizable complement to your desk setup, it's complete with an adjustable height and angle and four light settings."

Best for SAD: Carex Day-Light Classic Light Therapy Lamp at Amazon

"Highly recommended for those who experience SAD, it blocks 99 percent of UV rays and works to improve sleep and boost mood levels."

Best Design: Bios SkyView Wellness Table Lamp at bioslighting.com

"Both aesthetically pleasing and effective, it features four light modes to choose from to strengthen your circadian rhythm."

Best Alarm Clock: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clock at Amazon

"An alarm clock, radio, and light therapy lamp in one, it offers 20 brightness settings and five wake-up sounds to start your day."

Best Portable: Circadian Optics Luxy Light Therapy Lamp at Amazon

"Ideal if you're traveling, commuting, or moving from room to room, it's complete with a one-touch operation and light weight."

Best for Office: Carex Health Brands SunLite Therapy Lamp at Amazon

"Its lightweight design requires no assembly and is conveniently portable, making it an easy solution to brightening your office."

Best Blue Light: Philips GoLite BLU Energy Light Therapy Lamp at Amazon

"Complete with an energizing blue light designed to mimic a sunny sky, it provides five light intensity settings to choose from."

Using a light therapy lamp can be an effective treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is associated with the lack of sunlight that occurs in winter months. Because individuals take in less natural light in winter compared to sunnier seasons, they experience a drop in serotonin, the “happy chemical” that naturally occurs in our bodies. This can make some people feel more drowsy and depressed. Light therapy lamps can provide feel-good natural lighting when it's not present in our environment.

Because people with general depression often also experience low levels of serotonin, this population can also benefit from using light therapy lamps. These lamps can even help those with sleep disorders—like insomnia, jet lag, or simply sleeplessness caused by a change in work shift schedules—because light therapy can aid in regulating our natural circadian rhythm, helping us fight fatigue and restlessness.

Here are the best light therapy lamps for all your needs.

Best Overall: Verilux HappyLight Lucent

Verilux HappyLight Lucent Light Therapy Lamp

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Portable and compact

  • Usable horizontally or vertically

  • Includes a detachable stand

Cons
  • No brightness setting

  • 6-foot cord might not be long enough for some

  • The stand works best on even surfaces

Measuring 8.5 x 6.5 x .5 inches, the lamp's symmetrical, square design ensures that it's small and discreet enough to fit into just about any space. But don't let the size fool you—the lamp’s 10,000 lux brightness matches that of the morning sun, without the unwanted UV rays.

The light fully stretches across the lamp's front panel, bathing whatever room it’s placed in with clean, customizable light. The brightness helps for efficiency and comfort, all of which help improve your focus, boost your mood, and support a healthy sleep cycle. Its small build also makes it easy to take on-the-go and is sure to help you feel energized throughout your day.

Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 x 0.5 inches | Brightness Settings: N/A | Light Intensity: 10,000 lux | Type: Desk lamp

Best Floor Lamp: Lavish Home Full Spectrum Sunlight Task Floor Lamp

Pros
  • Shock and vibration resistant

  • Adjustable height and angle

  • Easy assembly

Cons
  • Ideal for rooms over 350 sq. ft

The floor lamp’s flexible gooseneck design gives whatever room you place it in clear, bright light to energize anyone who walks in. With a 27-watt CFL Bulb that gives off just as much light as a 150-watt bulb without using the same amount of energy, you can experience a full spectrum of daytime sun hues for more focus, energy, and better sleep.

The lamp measures 60.0 x 10.0 x 9.0 inches and features a weighted base to keep it stable. With 1,300 lumens, its bulb can last up to seven months before being replaced. Get it in a variety of stylish colors.

Dimensions: 60 x 10 x 9 inches | Brightness Settings: N/A | Light Intensity: 1300 lumens | Type: Floor lamp

Best Budget: Verilux HappyLight

Pros
  • UV-free

  • Designed to reduce eye strain

  • Compact

Cons
  • Bulky

  • Requires maneuvering to be positioned at eye level

While many light therapy lamps are larger and more expensive, Verilux’s HappyLight is compact and affordable. It is completely UV-free with flicker elimination technology and optic glare control lens lighting that reduces strain on your eyes and damage to your skin.

A full spectrum of 10,000 lux light intensity provides focus, energy, a boosted mood, and improved sleep. The lamp measures  6.3 x 3.0 x 7.4 inches, only weighs 1.5 pounds, and is super compact, so it's easy to take with you on the go. Use it for a pick-me-up for 10 to 15 minutes after lunch or in the morning for a boost of energy.

Dimensions: 6.3 x 3 x 7.4 inches | Brightness Settings: N/A | Light Intensity: 10,000 lux | Type: Desk lamp

Best Desk Lamp: Theralite Aura Bright Light Therapy Lamp

Pros
  • Adjustable height and angle

  • Four brightness settings

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Top heavy and may tip over

This UV- and glare-free, 10,000 lux therapy lamp has an adjustable height and angle, so you can set it up exactly how you need it to fit on your desk. With four settings and 168 energy-efficient LED lights, it's perfect for anyone who wants to brighten up their workspace and improve their mood and focus, fight sleep disorders, and boost their general well-being.

With four light settings, you can adjust the light to your ideal brightness. For best results, the manufacturer recommends placing the light above your line of vision to maximize the amount of light that reaches your eyes. You should also be facing the lamp with eyes open while using it to reap maximum benefits, but you do not need to directly look at the light. The therapy lamp comes in a painted white finish and weighs under 4 pounds, making it easy to maneuver and store if needed.

Dimensions: 22 x 11.25 x 11.5 inches | Brightness Settings: 4 | Light Intensity: 10,000 lux | Type: Desk lamp

Best for SAD: Carex Day-Light Classic Light Therapy Lamp

Pros
  • Two brightness settings

  • Adjustable height and angle

  • Includes five-year warranty

  • Large light face

Cons
  • Heavy and bulky

The lamp provides 10,000 lux of glare-free, LED white therapy light. It has two light settings, blocks 99 percent of UV rays, and projects the light downward for maximum effectiveness. With a broad surface to project the light from, the lamp provides a full dosage of light from 12 inches away so that you don't have to sit right next to the lamp. Designed to improve sleep, boost your mood, and improve concentration, it's highly recommended for individuals who experience SAD. 

The height and angle of the light are adjustable, and the whole unit stands on a pedestal. It comes with a five-year warranty, so you're guaranteed to get the mood-boosting benefits you need.

Dimensions: 15.5 x 13.5 x 3 inches | Brightness Settings: 2 | Light Intensity: 10,000 lux | Type: Desk lamp

Best Design: Bios SkyView Wellness Table Lamp

Bios Wellness Table Lamp

Courtesy of Bios

Pros
  • Four light settings

  • Aesthetically pleasing

  • Safe to use for extended periods

  • 360-degree viewing

Cons
  • Expensive

If you're looking for a light therapy lamp that is aesthetically pleasing and effective, check out the Bios Skyview Wellness Table Lamp. Using circadian technology, this sleek lamp features four different light modes—sunrise, daytime, sunset, and nighttime—to help boost your mood, and help you sleep better. Each mode features a different alluring hue to help strengthen your circadian rhythm, increase your productivity, and keep you alert throughout the day.

While it boasts an expensive price tag, it'll look great in any room of your home while in use, or merely as a decorative touch. Better yet, Bios will plant a tree for every purchase made, making this lamp well worth the investment. It also comes with a three-year warranty, so you can rest easy knowing you'll be covered should it get damaged.

Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 20.7 inches | Brightness Settings: N/A | Light Intensity: 1200 lumen | Type: Desk lamp

Best Alarm Clock: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clock

Pros
  • 20 brightness settings

  • UV-free

  • Five wake-up sound choices, plus FM radio

Cons
  • Control buttons are sensitive and not user-friendly

  • Lightbulb can’t be replaced

Whether you jump out of bed with ease at 5 a.m. or need extra motivation to stop snoozing your alarm in the morning, starting the day off with light therapy will boost your mood all day long. The Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clock wakes you up with a gradual natural sunrise light in the morning. The light has 20 brightness settings to choose from, and it turns on around 30 minutes before your alarm, gradually getting brighter in an effort to wake you up gently.

The UV-free lamp allows you to choose between five wake-up sounds or FM radio for a gentle start to your morning. At night, it will help you sleep better with its dimming sunset settings and relaxing sounds.

The alarm clock measures 7.8 x 5.8 x 7.6 inches and weighs less than 3 pounds, easily fitting on your bedside table. If your power happens to go out, its new PowerBackUp+ feature will maintain internal clock settings and a back-up alarm for at least eight hours. Get it with a 90-day money-back guarantee.

Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.8 x 7.6 inches | Brightness Settings: 20 | Light Intensity: 300 lux | Type: Desk lamp

Best Portable: Circadian Optics Luxy Light Therapy Lamp

Pros
  • Convertible stand

  • Produces even, dot-free light

  • One-touch operation

  • Portable

Cons
  • Sensitive power button

Whether you’re looking for a travel light therapy lamp to beat jet lag or simply want the ability to move your lamp around easily throughout the day, the Circadian Optics Luxy Light Therapy Lamp is a great choice. It’s compact, with quick “one-touch” operation, and runs off USB power, so it’s easy to charge on the go.

The lamp is UV-free, with three settings that let you customize your light, and 10,000 lux brightness. It is specifically designed to beat fatigue, stop winter blues, boost your mood, and improve focus. Measuring 3.5 x 3.2 x 3.2 inches and weighing less than 1 pound, the Circadian Optics light fits perfectly into a carry-on or purse. Featuring LED lights that last for over five years, the discreet lamp also comes with a two-year warranty.

Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.25 x 3.25 inches | Brightness Settings: 3 | Light Intensity: 10,000 lux | Type: Desk lamp

Best for Office: Carex Health Brands SunLite Therapy Lamp

Pros
  • Portable

  • Requires no assembly

Cons
  • Gets hot quickly

This lightweight design requires zero assembly and is convenient to transport, making it a quick and easy addition to your office. Thanks to its 99% UV-filtered lighting system and 10,000 lux light intensity, it'll help brighten up your office space and give you a boost of energy when you're stuck indoors all day.

The light-casting surface is 10 inches tall and features “quick-change” bulbs for easy maintenance. It measures 2.0 x 8.8 x 13.4 inches and weighs just over 3 pounds, fitting perfectly on most office desks.

Dimensions: 2 x 8.8 x 13.4 inches | Brightness Settings: 1 | Light Intensity: 10,000 | Type: Desk lamp

Best Blue Light: Philips GoLite BLU Energy Light Therapy Lamp

Pros
  • Five light intensity settings

  • Lightweight and portable

  • Can be used without an adaptor

Cons
  • Expensive

While most light therapy boxes emit white light, there are some people who prefer a blue light, which is supposed to be more energizing than other colors, like red or yellow. This blue light therapy lamp is specifically designed to mimic a bright, sunny blue sky without a glare.

The compact lamp gives off a blue light that’s supposed to be as effective as 10,000 lux white light. It has five light intensity settings to choose from, and it filters out UV rays to protect your eyes. Measuring 7.1 x 7.4 x 4.1 inches and weighing 14.11 ounces, it's light enough to carry with you for mood-boosting benefits wherever you go.

Dimensions: 7.1 x 7.4 x 4.1 inches | Brightness Settings: 5 | Light Intensity: 10,000 lux | Type: Desk lamp

Final Verdict

Narrowing down the selection, the Verilux HappyLight Lucent (view on Bed, Bath, & Beyond) is the best because it checks all the boxes while staying convenient and affordable. A quick scan of the product's reviews reiterates this point—people are seeing results, even if they were skeptical to begin with. 

Circadian Optics’ other product on this list—the Circadian Optics Luxy Light Therapy Lamp (view on Amazon)—is a close runner up if you’re looking for a simple, effective product. It is an easy lamp to incorporate into your life, no matter what your routine looks like. Both of these products bring a level of customer-first thinking to the table, and it shows.

Verilux HappyLight VT10

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

What to Look for in a Light Therapy Lamp 

Adjustable Settings

If you prioritize variety, you may be better suited for a pick with multiple settings to choose from. Adjustable dimming and brightness allow for more versatile use, no matter the time of day, location, or season. 

Shape

If you’re looking for a pick you can easily pack for work or vacation, you’re better off with a thin and rectangular lamp that’s complete with a detachable or convertible stand. Meanwhile, if you already have a permanent spot in mind for a lamp, you may have to factor in details like sturdiness, weight, and shape. Some options are best suited for even surfaces while others require more adjusting to stay at eye level. 


Light Intensity

While the lux, or measure of light intensity, of light therapy lamps may vary, most typically offer 10,000 lux brightness. Research suggests that indoor lighting generally provides 100 lux while a sunny day is 50,000 lux. 

More advanced models may feature multiple brightness settings or sunrise or sunset modes for gradual adjustments to daytime or nighttime. Other notable features to look for include flicker elimination technology, glare control, and non-white light—which are all beneficial if you’re prone to light sensitivity. 

You may also have a preference for LED lights over fluorescent bulbs due to their energy efficiency and longer life. 

Timer

If your lamp doesn’t include a built-in timer, you should manually time each session to prevent potential sunburn and overexposure. 

Follow your doctor’s and the lamp manufacturer’s instructions on the recommended frequency and duration of usage. Depending on your specific case and symptoms, this can range from 30 minutes in the morning to 10 minutes in the afternoon, to two hours in the evening.

Philips Smart Sleep Wake Up Light

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you use a light therapy lamp?

    Ideal for those who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression, and mood disorders, light therapy lamps are especially effective during the fall and winter months due to the shortage of sunlight. While the lamp should be placed at close proximity, about several feet away, you shouldn’t look into the light directly for safety. 

    You should always follow the manufacturer’s suggested guidelines, from placing the lamp at or above eye level, or limiting your time of exposure based on intensity. It’s typically recommended to use a light therapy lamp for a minimum of 30 minutes per day, in the morning. It’s relatively easy to add one to your routine, whether you’re working at your desk, getting ready in the morning, or streaming your favorite content. 

  • How long does it take for light therapy to work?

    While light therapy can help symptoms, it shouldn’t be relied on as a cure. Results will vary from person to person and can be felt as early as a few days, if using a lamp with a 10,000 lux bulb daily for 30 minutes. It’s recommended to keep track of your usage and make a note of whether or not your symptoms are improving. Like anything else, consistency is key, and it’s best to add light therapy into your routine each day. 

    Light therapy beginners should direct any questions or concerns to their doctor or therapist and seek out individualized guidance on light frequency and intensity.

Why Trust Verywell Mind?

As a previous fitness coach, long-time wellness enthusiast, and current health editor, Lily Moe understands the importance of products that meet your individual requirements. After moving from sunny Arizona to Brooklyn, New York, Lily experienced seasonal affective disorder firsthand and recognized the value of light therapy lamps. Most importantly, Lily always looks for research and firsthand reviews when it comes to deciding on a product. 

Additional reporting by Tori Zhou.

Tori Zhou is a writer and Associate Commerce Editor for Verywell. She enjoys staying up-to-date on wellness trends and products with a focus on holistic health.

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Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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