If you're looking for the best desk lamp to kit out your home office or studio, then we can help. Picking the right light for your desk is incredibly important. Not only should you pick a lamp that will suit the overall aesthetics of your room, ensuring you have a peaceful and inspiring haven to be creative in, but you'll also want a lamp that gives you the right amount of light to work by.
Too little light, and you could risk straining your eyes, while too much light can also be uncomfortable. As a creative professional, you'll want ideal lighting conditions to view your work to ensure it looks its best with accurate colours, contrast and more - something that's hard to do if the lighting isn't right. To help you on your search, whether it's a budget IKEA desk lamp or a premium design, we've listed the best lamps for desks and tables, and have scoured online guides and reviews to help pick the very best, and coolest, lamps for all kinds of uses and styles.
It's also important when buying a new desk lamp to consider what kind of bulb you want to use, such as LED, fluorescent, or halogen. Each bulb has its own pros and cons, and not every desk lamp is compatible with all types, so make sure you check before you buy. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for our FAQ section on picking the right bulb. If you want to compliment your new desk lamp, check out our guides on the best office chair for back pain and best standing desk.
The best desk lamps of 2024
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Wattage: 40 Watts
The Ikea Forsa lamp is the best all-round desk lamp in 2023. With a simple, but elegant, design and a low price tag, this is a brilliant addition to almost any desk. You can adjust the arm and shade to illuminate what you're looking at, and it comes in a number of colors that will compliment your workspace. However, it does not come with a bulb - you'll need to buy those separately.
Wattage: 9 Watts
This minimalistic desk lamp is our value pick. With touch control you can quickly flick between brightness levels and color modes, so you can quickly set the lamp to your preferred settings. You can adjust the stand and arm for directing light, and by using LEDs, it doesn't use up too much electricity - but still gets nice and bright. It also includes a USB port to charge your devices.
Wattage: 11.2 Watts
If you want the ultimate premium desk lamp, then the Dyson Lightcycle Morph is a must-buy. It's stylish and easy to angle. It can also automatically adjust its brightness depending on the time of day, and you can use an app to further tweak the settings and save presets. It's expensive, but it's packed with great features.
Wattage: 11.8 Watts
If you're after the best smart desk lamp money can buy, then the Philips Hue Gradient Signe Table Lamp is a great choice. It's pricey, and doesn't have the same articulation other lamps have, but it fits in brilliantly with the Hue ecosystem, and can be used with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Wattage: Not given
If you're after a great smart lamp for children, then the Govee Aura Smart Lamp is a great choice. Coming with a simple design, this lamp can be set via an app to display 16 million colors, allowing you to set the scene with ease. It can connect to smart home speakers, as well as sync with music. While you might not want that while you're working, for kids (and adults), it's a fun desk lamp.
Wattage: 7 Watts
Ikea has a range of affordable desk lamps, and the Hektar work lamp is a great choice for people who are looking for a stylish and minimalist setup for their desks. The overall look of the lamp is both modern and industrial, with the stand and arm allowing for easy adjustability. Best of all, it has a built-in Qi charging pad, so you can charge compatible smartphones by simply placing them on the base of the lamp, minimising the need for wires.
What bulb is best for a desk lamp?
There are a number of different bulb types that desk lamps use, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses depending on what kind of light you want to work by. So, picking a desk lamp that supports the right bulb for your needs is essential.
These bulbs, that produce light via a wire filament that's heated until it glows, used to be the most common type of bulb. They offer a pleasant warm light that is ideal for evenings. The bulbs themselves are usually a lot cheaper than other types. However, they don't last as long, and aren't energy efficient. This also means they can give off heat when on, and that may be uncomfortable in a desk light.
Halogen bulbs offer bright and natural light that's good for reading, and thanks to their brightness can help reduce eye strain. These bulbs are also energy efficient, which means they cost less to run, and should last around three times as long as standard bulbs.
Full-Spectrum bulbs are great for creatives that want a desk lamp that allows them to work with projects that require colour accuracy. These bulbs offer a much wider spectrum of colors, and are often brighter than others, which helps you to work comfortably throughout the day and evening.
These bulbs can come in a variety of designs, and can offer a good, solid, light to work by. They are also energy efficient, using around 75% less energy than a standard light bulb, and that means they are cheaper to run, and can last much longer. However, some florescent lights cannot be dimmed, and some emit a buzzing sound. They also contain mercury, which can be a concern, and you'll need to dispose of them safely.
LED desk lamps are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their energy efficiency and long life spans. LED bulbs offer directional light, so it's easier to adjust them to shine on what you want. They are very flexible as well, which is why they are often found in smart lights, as they can change colour, warmth and brightness. Some desk lamps come with LED bulbs already installed, which can save money - however in the unlikely event the LED dies, then you may have to replace the whole desk lamp.
What type of light is best for a desk lamp?
When looking for a desk lamp, you'll want to make sure that it provides light that is bright enough that you're not straining your eyes, but isn't so bright it is uncomfortable. Many people find a warm light (white with a yellow tinge) to be most comfortable. Ideally, a light that offers a range of brightness levels and colors will be best, allowing you to set it up how you like.
How do you set up a desk lamp?
When working from home, your desk lamp may often be your primary source of light, so it's important to set it up. If you're working on a PC or laptop, make sure the lamp is showing indirect light – so don't let it shine on to the screen. This causes glare that can cause strain. Instead, point the lamp away from where you're looking, but at an angle that still provides plenty of indirect light.