Last updated: August 5, 2021

Brightness, light colour, power consumption and design - all these factors play an important role when buying a desk lamp. For this reason, there are countless models on the market in the most diverse designs.

It is not easy to keep track and find the right desk lamp, which is exactly why we want to simplify the decision for you with this article.

In our desk lamp test 2021, we present the best models and explain everything you need to know about desk lamps. You will find valuable information about the different types, the advantages and disadvantages, the right light colour and much more. In addition, our buying criteria can help you find the perfect desk lamp for you.




Summary

  • In order not to strain your eyes, it is very important to have the right lighting conditions, especially for reading and writing.
  • Desk lamps provide optimal lighting for your workspace. You need to pay attention to the luminosity and light colour of the lamp. In terms of design, the lamp should match your office chair.
  • The light source is also very important. This has a decisive influence on the power consumption and service life of the lamps.

The Best Desk Lamp: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a desk lamp

How bright should a desk lamp be?

The luminous intensity, or luminous flux, is measured in lumens. Mostly, however, the brightness is also given in lux. Lux is a unit of light measurement that also takes the area into account. It therefore indicates the light intensity in a certain area. (Lux = Lumen/m²)

Desk lamps primarily have a practical use for being able to work productively and to relieve the eyes optimally. (Image source: unsplash.com / Tatiana Lapina)

Desk lamps are usually used to supplement daylight. The overall brightness level should be at least 300 lux. Lighting experts even recommend 500 lux illuminance for computer workstations or desks that are frequently used for reading or writing.

In most cases, however, only the lumen value is specified for desk lamps. This should be between 400 and 500.

What light colour should the lamp have?

The light colour of a lamp is expressed in Kelvin. Optimal for working are "neutral white" (3000 to 5000 Kelvin) or "daylight white" (5000 Kelvin and above) lamps. These light colours are considered biologically effective because they promote concentration.

Light colour also has a significant influence on our sense of well-being. For a cosy living situation, "warm white" (below 3000 Kelvin) light sources are recommended.

Work at the desk, such as reading or writing, requires bright light so that the eyes are relieved during prolonged work.

Light type Light colour Advantages
Daylight white Above 5000 Kelvin Biologically effective, promotes concentration
Natural white 3000 - 5000 Kelvin Biologically effective, promotes concentration
Warm white Below 3000 Kelvin Cosy

Although certain light colours are ideal for working, they are often perceived as too glaring. Here it is very important that the desk lamp has different dimming settings. This allows you to make the right setting depending on the situation.

Which light source is best?

Among other things, the light source also determines the energy efficiency. With a modern lamp that uses an efficient light source, you can save a lot of electricity.

Illuminant Efficiency
Incandescent bulb Not very efficient (10-12 lumens/watt)
Halogen and energy-saving lamps Moderately efficient (20-60 lumens/watt)
LED Very efficient (up to 90 lumens/watt)

A conventional light bulb is not very efficient. With 1 watt, it produces about 10 to 12 lumens of luminous flux. Halogen and energy-saving lamps are somewhat more economical. They have values of 20 lumens per watt and 60 lumens per watt.

At the top is the LED. It achieves up to 90 lumens per watt, making it by far the most efficient light source at present.

What does a desk lamp cost?

The price of a lamp depends mainly on its construction. This refers to the material the lamp is made of and how stable the frame is.

Desk lamps differ not only in their brightness but also in their design. There is a choice of antique, LED or modern lamps.

Of course, additional functions such as touch control or several dimming levels also have an influence on the price. If you want to buy a new, not too expensive, desk lamp, you should calculate with about 20 to 40 euros. A designer lamp, however, can cost several hundred euros.

Decision: What types of desk lamps are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two types of desk lamps:

  • Lamps with fixed lamp neck
  • Lamps with a removable lamp neck

Your desk lamp should make it easier for you to work on your desk or workstation by providing perfect lighting conditions. There are different versions from which you can choose freely. To find the right model, you should consider in advance what your lamp should mainly support you with.

Desk lamps are indispensable in an office. In addition to their practical use, they can also be used as a decorative highlight. (Image source: unsplash.com / Lee Campbell)

In the following section, we will go into more detail about the above-mentioned types of desk lamps and their individual characteristics. With a list of the different advantages and disadvantages, we will try to help you make your decision.

How does a desk lamp with a fixed lamp neck work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Desk lamps that have a fixed lamp neck are often used when there is a lot of reading to be done. Models with elongated LED lights provide bright light that does not tire you so quickly due to the whitish radiation. In libraries or at universities, for example, where people read a lot and intensively, this variant is used very often.

Since the frame of the desk lamp is not flexible, you cannot simply adjust it as you like. To be able to adjust it, you have to move the entire lamp or put it in a different place. To avoid the cable on your desk getting in the way, you can also look for battery-operated models.

Advantages
  • Intense light
  • Holds position
  • Space-saving
Disadvantages
  • No adjustable elements

Also, make sure your lamp has a firm stand so it won't fall over if you bump into it. To save space, we recommend a lamp that you can attach to the edge of your desk with a clamp.

If you don't always need your reading lamp, this is a good way to save space on your desk. Without joints, you can't flexibly adjust your lamp, but the joints can't lose their grip either and always stay in position.

How does a desk lamp with a swivelling lamp neck work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

You can either place these models on your desk or fix them to the edge of the desk with a clamp. The big difference lies in their swivelling elements. Most movable desk lamps have up to two or three adjustable elements.

Advantages
  • Various models
  • Swivelling elements
Disadvantages
  • Joints can wear out
  • Not space-saving

This gives you the opportunity to adjust the lighting exactly to your current needs. If you want to illuminate your whole table, you can adjust the height of the lamp. If you only want to illuminate a specific area, you can reduce the desk lamp to its minimum size and focus the light on one spot.

To ensure that your lamp does a good job for as long as possible, you should pay attention to the materials and workmanship when buying it. Especially with swivelling elements, it is essential that they remain in their desired position and do not collapse.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate desk lamps on the basis of these factors

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate desk lamps. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular lamp is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Design and weight
  • Luminous intensity
  • Light colour
  • Power requirement

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Construction and weight

The weight of your lamp depends mainly on the material used for the base and the construction. Cheaper desk lamps made of plastic are naturally lighter than high-quality ones made of metal.

Stefan ReinsprechtHealth Manager and Mechanical Engineer
A great advantage of desk lamps is if they have a dimmer that allows you to vary the brightness.

This is especially useful if you don't always have to do the same activities and can thus adjust the brightness to your own needs, for example when writing, typing, reading or concentrating.

Furthermore, the desk lamp should also match the rest of the room's design and, above all, create a harmonious addition to the workplace.

(Source: ergonomie-am-arbeitsplatz.de).

Another important factor is how flexibly you can adjust your lamp. Depending on how the frame is constructed, the lamp can be adjusted in height, for example. Or the lamp can be rotated and you can easily illuminate different areas of your desk better. This gives you more freedom and you can quickly adapt the lighting to your requirements.

Often, not only the stand is supplied. The scope of delivery may also include a clamp base with a screw clamp, so that the lamp can also be mounted on tabletops and shelves.

Luminosity

The luminosity of a lamp is very important. Put simply, it determines how bright your lamp is. The recommended level of luminosity varies depending on the situation and application.

Influencing factors here are, for example, how much daylight falls on your desk or whether you tend to use your workplace at midday or in the evening. Basically, however, your lamp should have a value of about 500 lumens. It is also useful if you can dim your lamp. This allows you to adjust the brightness according to your needs.

Light colour

Light colour influences the human subconscious. Basically, a distinction can be made between warm white, neutral white and daylight white.

Warm white is best for cosy situations, neutral white or daylight white for work. You should make sure that you can set all three light colours. Then, depending on the situation, you can choose the one you like best.

Power requirements

In most cases, the power requirement is given in watts. Of course, it is to some extent related to the luminous intensity. The lower the power consumption, the less brightly the desk lamp shines. Depending on your requirements, you should therefore weigh up the options carefully.

Did you know that there are cordless LED desk lamps?

The trend of wireless technologies has also found its way into the most modern LED desk lamps. These are powered by a rechargeable battery and can therefore be placed wherever they are needed.

Although the battery power cannot be compared with smartphones, for example, the best rechargeable LED desk lamps can run for up to four hours without a power socket.

Facts worth knowing about desk lamps

How can you make a lamp yourself by up-cycling?

Up-cycling is becoming more and more popular. Many people place special value on their environment and try to reduce waste. On the internet you can always find great ideas to combine old objects and reuse them with new functions.

Did you know that good lighting can be easy on the eyes?

For right-handed people, the light should come from the left and for left-handed people from the right. Furthermore, the desk lamp should be aligned so that it does not dazzle or reflect on the computer screen. Finally, ceiling or floor luminaires should be used in addition to the workplace lighting to compensate for large brightness contrasts.

For example, an old, hollow wooden trunk is fitted with LEDs to provide atmospheric light. There are no limits to creativity here. Components such as LEDs or various cables are very easy to obtain and can be combined almost at will.

Picture source: unsplash.com / Tatiana Lapina

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