The 10 Best Desk Lamps of 2023

Our top pick is the 17 Stories Kazuhiko Metal Desk Lamp.

In This Article

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

blue desk lamp and gold desk lamp

Real Simple / Marcus Millan

Desk lamps are a great addition to any workspace, whether at home or in the office. Not only do they provide the right lighting for reading or completing tasks, but they can also create a soothing ambiance in any space. These lamps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, which makes it easy to find one that fits your needs and decor. 

To determine the best desk lamps, we spent hours researching top options and considering factors such as design, brightness, and size, as well as any special features. We also consulted with Brendan Keim, a lighting design consultant, and Denise Davies, founder of D2 Interieurs.

“A good desk lamp should assist you in being able to see your daily tasks while reducing eye strain and headaches, and hopefully brightening up your day just a little bit,” says Keim.

Our top pick, the 17 Stories Kazuhiko Metal Desk Lamp, adds an upscale look to any space and is surprisingly affordable. It also comes in four different colors so you can easily pick the one that matches your room decor.

Best Overall Desk Lamp

17 Stories Kazuhiko Metal Desk Lamp

17-stories-kazuhiko-metal-desk-lamp

Wayfair

Who it’s for: People who want to upgrade their desk lamp without spending a lot of money.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a lamp with a traditional lamp shade. 

If you are looking for a bright light for your workspace, then this industrial desk lamp is an excellent choice. It is 18.8 inches tall and has a transparent shade, which allows the light to shine through easily. And, it comes in four colors to match most kinds of decor. The lamp is also quite compact and can fit on desks of all sizes. Plus, it’s made of metal, making it durable and long-lasting.

The Kazuhiko desk lamp is definitely worth considering if you want a simple and modern desk lamp that won't take up too much space. It may not give you the most precise lighting, but the lack of a lampshade can help make the room brighter. But if you have sensitive eyes, or are looking for something a little more traditional, you would probably want to opt for a desk lamp that has a more opaque lampshade. All in all, the Kazuhiko Metal Desk Lamp is a great choice if you want a modern and stylish desk lamp that’s not too expensive.

Price at time of publish: $50

Product Details:

  • Material: Metal
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 18.8 x 5.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Wattage: 40 watts
  • Features: Corded, exposed bulb with glass shade

Best Budget Desk Lamp

Simple Designs Basic Metal Desk Lamp

simple-designs-basic-metal-desk-lamp

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want an affordable and compact desk lamp. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a desk lamp that can illuminate beyond your desk. 

The Simple Design Basic Metal Desk Lamp is ideal for those who require a cheap lighting solution. Whether you use it for late-night cram sessions or as a low-cost accent to furnish a rental unit, this desk lamp provides plenty of light to brighten any space. The design of the lamp is also plain and simple (no assembly required!), making it easy for it to fit in with any existing decor. Additionally, the lamp is also durable and long-lasting, which makes it great value for money.

It has a metal shade (available in gray, black, and white) that can withstand wear and tear and a light switch conveniently located right on its base, making it easy even for young kids to handle. Measuring only 14 inches tall, it’s significantly smaller than other desk lamps. So, if you don’t have a lot of desk space or need a light that is closer to your work surface, this is a good choice. That being said, because the neck is so short, this is not the lamp you want to grab if you need the light to shine beyond your desk. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:

  • Material: Metal with plastic base 
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 13.9 x 5 x 5 inches
  • Wattage: 60 watts 
  • Features: Corded, flexible hose neck

Best Desk Lamp With USB

AllModern Hammond Metal USB Desk Lamp

allmodern-hammond-metal-usb-desk-lamp

AllModern

Who it’s for: People who want a desk lamp that can be used to charge their devices. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want to be able to adjust the height of their desk lamp. 

The Hammond Metal USB Desk Lamp comes with a USB port and a wireless charging pad built right into the base so you can charge multiple devices simultaneously. The lamp uses a 60-watt light bulb and has a large shade that’s able to diffuse the light in the room and reduce eye fatigue as much as possible. If you work long hours or are the night-owl type who keeps busy late into the night, this lamp is a good choice.

This lamp is expensive and worth it only if you have a lot of devices that you need to power up. Other than that, it doesn’t come with LED lighting (although you do get a free bulb with it) no dimmer switch, no color options (it comes only in black), and no adjustable height, so you could probably get a better deal on lamps that have those features at the same price or less.

 Price at time of publish: $208

 Product Details:

  • Material: Metal
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 19 x 6.6 x 12 inches
  • Wattage: 60 watts
  • Features: Corded, wireless charging pad, USB port

Best Task Desk Lamp

Anglepoise 90 Mini Mini Desk Lamp

rejuvenation-anglepoise-90-mini-mini-lamp

Rejuvenation

Who it’s for: People who want a desk lamp with a classic look and modern features. 

Who it isn’t for: People who don’t want to spend a lot on a desk lamp. 

The Anglepoise 90 Mini Mini Desk Lamp is a modern take on the classic Anglepoise lamp created by an automotive designer in 1935. This lamp is half the size of the original but has a lifespan of more than 20,000 hours thanks to its LED lights. It also includes features such as a shade that you can tilt and spin around a full 360 degrees and an adjustable cast iron arm that fully extends to illuminate more surface area. And it has a color temperature setting of 3000 Kelvin, which is what you need to work efficiently at your desk.

As desk lamps go, this one is pricey. But we think it's well worth the cost because of all the useful features it has that you simply won’t find on a cheaper lamp. It’s designed with portability in mind and comes with an optional USB plug so you can either charge it in a wall outlet or laptop if you’re away from your desk. You can also adjust the brightness, which helps to reduce eye strain. In terms of function, this lamp covers all its bases. But keep in mind that it is still a mini lamp, and even if you extended it as far as it could go, the light won’t cover a large area.  

Price at time of publish: $165

 Product Details:

  • Material: Cast iron and aluminum
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 20.5 x 12 x 4.7 inches
  • Wattage: 6 watts
  • Features: Powered by USB, integrated LED, dimmable, 360-degree shade rotation, adjustable arm

Best Small Desk Lamp

O’Bright LED Desk Lamp

obright-led-desk-lamp

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want to be able to adjust their desk lamp to their desired position.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a desk lamp with a large lamp head. 

 If you’re looking for a desk lamp that doubles as a bedside light, the O’Bright LED Desk Lamp is an attractive, retro-style option. Not only does it provide functional lighting for your workspace, but it also injects a touch of style into your desk.  Its adjustable long gooseneck arm twists and turns 360 degrees like a rollercoaster so you get complete control of the light from any angle. And the good part is, it is designed to stay in place so you don’t have to fiddle with it once you set it in place. 

Flexibility aside, this lamp is packed with a lot of other practical features. It has USB power ports to power your phone without ever having to turn on the light, as well as a knob on the base which you can use to dim the lights to your desired setting. It casts a soft white light once it’s on, and it’s lightweight and compact, so it will fit in small workspaces such as a college dorm or kid’s bedroom. It’s worth noting that the lamp’s head is rather small, so you might want to look at bigger desk lamps if you need more lighting.

Price at time of publish: $46

Product Details:

  • Material: Metal
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 15.8 x 5  x 5 inches 
  • Wattage: 5 watts
  • Features: Built-in LED, dimmable, USB charger, corded, 360-degree flexible metal arm

Best Adjustable Desk Lamp

Adesso Oscar Adjustable Desk Lamp

adesso-oscar-adjustable-desk-lamp

Walmart

Who it’s for: People who are looking for an adjustable accent lamp for their desk or nightstand. 

Who it isn’t for: People who are looking for a budget-friendly desk lamp.

When you need a suave statement piece that will light up your workspace at the office or at home with a clean, classic design, the Adesso Oscar Adjustable Desk Lamp is ideal. This modern lamp is designed with a simple black and brass mid-century design and is held down by a circular weighted 8-inch base that keeps it stable. When stretched to full height, it’s almost 32 inches tall, which is a lot taller than other desk lamps but a good option if you need its light to cover your entire desk. However, this lamp might be overkill if you don’t use your desk a lot, so in that case, a smaller, more affordable light may be more beneficial. 

It also features an adjustable arm and shade so you can direct the light exactly where you need it to go, ensuring you get the ambiance you need for work or leisure activity. The arm also allows you to adjust the lamp’s height, making it easy to accommodate both small and large desks. And because the shade is adjustable, you can choose the level of brightness that’s comfortable for you. Finally, a 9-watt LED bulb is included which saves you the inconvenience of finding one yourself.

Price at time of publish: $136

 Product Details:

  • Material: Metal
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 31.8 x 8 x 36.5 inches 
  • Wattage: 40 watts
  • Features: Corded, adjustable arm and shade

Best Dimmable Desk Lamp

Novogratz x Globe Electric West Desk Lamp

novogratz-x-globe-electric-west-desk-lamp

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a mid-century modern desk lamp with advanced features.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a desk lamp that can illuminate a large area. 

The West Desk Lamp serves up a luxury look at an affordable price. Its sleek, gold design feels like it should belong in a five-star hotel, but it’s actually quite affordable. It is a step above basic, so it includes features like an adjustable brightness control on the base to brighten the light or dim when you want to reduce glare. It also has a flat lamp head that swivels 180 degrees, so you’re able to angle the light in the direction you need.

Because it uses an integrated LED white light, you can expect it to last for at least 50,000 hours, which is way more than what you’ll get with traditional light bulbs. The lamp also comes with a 5-foot cord, so you have some flexibility to place it in the spot you want it to go. Now, you should keep in mind that the head isn’t terribly wide, so its shine might be limited to a specific area only, making it a decent task light you can use while working at your computer.

Price at time off publish: $63

Product Details:

  • Material: Metal
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 15 x 10.8 x 4.9 inches
  • Wattage: 5 watts 
  • Features: Corded, integrated LED, 180-degree pivoting lamp head, dimmable

Best Contemporary Desk Lamp

Urban Outfitters Dmitri Desk Lamp

urban-outfitters-dmitri-desk-lamp

Urban Outfitters

Who it’s for: People who want a design-forward desk lamp.

Who it isn’t for: People who want extra-bright lighting for reading. 

Weighing about 4 pounds and standing about 11 inches in height, the Dmitri Desk Lamp has a big brass orb on the top that makes it stand out. This lamp is eye-catching, to say the least. And though it might be too unconventional for some, it could possibly be a style match, if you enjoy unique, modern pieces. Or, a suitable choice if staid desk lamps are not your jam. 

So let’s get down to brass tacks. As attention-seeking as this lamp is, the Dmitri Lamp is actually not that big. You can safely place it on your desk, and not worry about it taking up too much space. It gives off a steady, soft light which seems to be better for setting the mood, rather than one you’ll switch on when you’re ready to be productive. Additionally, it lacks a dimming function so you don’t get much range once it’s on. Light issues aside, if you’re looking for cute decor for your desk, night table, or bookcase, this lamp won’t disappoint. 

Price at time of publish: $139

Product Details:

  • Material: Metal 
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 11 x 8 x 8 inches 
  • Wattage: 60 watts
  • Features: Corded, shade orbits 360 degrees

Best Cordless Desk Lamp

Deeplite Battery LED Desk Lamp

deeplite-led-desk-lamp-with-flexible-gooseneck

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a compact and portable desk lamp that doesn’t keep you tethered to an outlet. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a more stylish desk lamp.

If there was a desk lamp that was completely portable, so much so that you can safely toss it in a shoebox or fold it into your book bag, the lightweight Deeplite Battery LED Desk Lamp fits the bill. It features a built-in LED light that you switch on and off using a touch-sensitive control. There are three different light modes—low, medium, and high—so you can turn it up or dim it to the level of brightness you need.

Plus, it’s completely cordless and comes with a power bank, so you can bring it with you and charge it in any situation where you would need light, including on RV trips, camping, or events like vendor shows where an additional light source is helpful to display products clearly. What makes this lamp especially handy is its long, flexible gooseneck that’s able to stretch out to provide extra coverage. That being said, if you are looking for high-beam brightness, this is not really a high-powered option. But, if you need a portable and energy-saving option that helps you see more clearly, this is a practical solution.

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:

  • Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 14.9 x 3.5 x 4.7 inches
  • Wattage: 5 watts 
  • Features: Cordless, built-in LED, dimmable, touch control, USB charging port, 360-degree flexible gooseneck

Best Clamp Desk Lamp

AmazLit Desk Lamp

amazlit-desk-lamp

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want an overhead light that maximizes desk space.

Who it isn’t for: People whose desk is too thick to attach a clamp to it. 

A clamp desk lamp like the AmazLit Desk Lamp is a space-saving alternative to regular desk lamps because it doesn’t take up any desk or floor space. It consists of a durable clamp that you attach to your table flat when you want to use it. This means that you can set up your workspace exactly how you want it and not have to worry about having to make more space to fit a desk lamp. It’s also extremely bright which makes it good if you have a lot of work like sketching or craftwork that requires a lot of light.

In addition, it’s an LED lamp that allows you to customize your lighting experience with adjustable brightness and color temperature settings. The adjustable gooseneck allows you to tinker with the angle of the lamp, so you get the proper lighting for the area you want. This overhead lamp has four modes: reading, relaxing, working, and night light, with each having a different color temperature and brightness setting. And just in case you forget to switch off the light, it has an automatic off function. And you can install it without ever leaving a scratch on your desk—the strong clamp has silicone pads to keep it secured to the table. Just keep in mind that the clamp can only accommodate up to 2.1 inches of table top. 

Price at time of publish: $60

Product Details

  • Material: Plastic, metal, silicone 
  • Dimensions: Adjustable 
  • Wattage: 12 watts
  • Features: Corded, dimmable brightness and color temperature, flexible gooseneck, automatic turn off, timer, touch control

Final Verdict

The 17 Stories Kazuhiko Metal Desk Lamp earned our overall top spot due to its modern look and adequate bright light that can illuminate your desk and surrounding areas. It also comes in four colors so you can be sure it matches any decor you have.

But, if you are looking for a more affordable option, the Simple Designs Basic Metal Desk Lamp may be more your speed. It has a flexible hose neck and a compact design that makes it a great fit for small spaces. 

How to Shop for Desk Lamps Like a Pro

Design

Desk lamps come in a variety of styles, such as swing-arm, clamp, and overhead lamps. Not only do these different types of lamps provide functional lighting, but they also can add a decorative touch and some personality to any space.  “[A desk lamp] should add visual interest to the room and is a great place to add a pop of color,” says Davies. 

Additionally, you can find lamps with shades in different materials like glass, metal, and fabric shades to suit all kinds of room decor.

Brightness

When selecting a desk lamp, it is important to choose one that will provide enough brightness for the task you’re doing. According to most experts, 40 to 60 watts (for an incandescent bulb) is enough for tasks like reading, studying, and using the computer. But, for more intricate tasks like sewing or other types of craftwork, a brighter light, such as an LED, may be necessary. Just be careful to not overdo it, as excess light could cause eye strain or headache. 

When shopping for desk lamps, you’ll notice that brightness is measured in watts or lumens. As a rule, the brighter the light, the more lumens it will have. But this isn’t the same for watts. If a light has increased wattage, it does not automatically mean that it’s a brighter light.

“The more efficient lights use fewer watts or power to make brighter output. This is why on most bulb packages today you'll see the lumen output listed as well as its incandescent bulb (the traditional light bulb) equivalent,” says Keim. 

Features

In addition to design and brightness, you should also consider other factors such as function, dimming control, color temperature, and overall adjustability when selecting the desk lamp that’s right for your home office or living space. 

Before you buy, you should first determine what your desk lamp will be for. Do you want it for task lighting or for decorative purposes? Or do you need ambient lighting that can light the entire room? You also need to see if your lamp has an adjustable arm or head which can be helpful if you need to direct light in different directions or want good lighting for virtual meetings. It’s always good to opt for one that you can dim or brighten depending on the situation.

The other factor to consider is color temperature settings. Lights come with color temperature settings based on how warm or cool they are. It’s measured in Kelvin. The higher the Kelvin temperature, the brighter and cooler the light will be. Warm light is usually yellowish or golden and is better for relaxing activities, while cool light tends to be bluish or white and is good for improving concentration and helping you stay alert. On some lamps, you can dial in the temperature you want by using the rotary switch on the lamp to select between warm and cool light settings.

Size

Desk lamps come in a range of sizes from small and compact to tall clamp or overhead lamps. A tall lamp is handy if you need ample workspace as its lights will cover a larger desk area. But, if you are only using your desk to sign documents or for light work, a smaller lamp is the way to go. 

You also want to make sure that the light source isn't too close to your eyes, as that can strain them after a while.“The most important thing to keep in mind is that the light should be above your head,” says Davies. “You don’t want to be staring directly into the lightbulb.”

Questions You Might Ask 

What type of desk lamp is best for eye strain?

There are many types of desk lamps available for purchase with many of them claiming to be the best for eye strain. But the truth is, the type of lamp you use is not nearly as important as its brightness level and how well it illuminates your workspace.

 It's important to choose one that can be directed downwards onto the work surface so that the light does not reflect onto your face. Also, consider lamps that offer additional features like glare reduction and adjustable temperature settings, which can help further reduce eye strain. 

How bright should a desk lamp be?

Depending on what you’ll be working on, the brightness of your desk lamp can make a big difference. For tasks that require extra concentration such as reading and writing, a brighter light is better. But, if you are working on a computer or playing board games, you might prefer a softer light to avoid glare. The bottom line is that if you are doing a lot of close-up work, it might be wise to purchase a lamp with a high lumen level so that you’re able to dim or modify the brightness for different tasks.  

“For general work or just reading and writing, 800 lumens should suffice, which is the equivalent to a 60-watt bulb,” says Keim. 

Is LED best for desk lamps?

When it comes to desk lamps, one of the biggest reasons why LED lighting is the preferred choice of experts is because they conserve energy better. Lamps with LEDs also have a long lifespan and offer multiple color temperatures if you opt for a more expensive model. They’re more cost-effective in the long run because you don’t have to change the bulb as much. On top of that, their beams are more focused and can be directed to specific areas, unlike halogen or incandescent lamps which have more diffused lighting.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Nor’adila Hepburn, a contributing writer for Real Simple with two years of experience writing product reviews and home and lifestyle content. To put together this list, she consulted with lighting experts and researched lots of desk lamps to see which ones were the best. She also received tips from Brendan Keim, a lighting design consultant, and Denise Davies, founder of D2 Interieurs.

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