The Best Night Lights of 2023

You can find a night light that illuminates a dark pathway, adds to your decor, and even plays music.

Best Overall

The Best Night Light Option: Casper Glow Light

Casper Glow Light

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Night Light Option: Sycees Plug-in LED Night Light

Sycees Plug-in LED Night Light

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Best For Babies

The Best Night Light Option: Hatch Rest+ Ultimate Smart Sleep Machine

Hatch Rest+ Ultimate Smart Sleep Machine

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A night light is no longer just a simple plug-in used in a child’s room to soothe fear of the dark. The best night lights today are small low-power electric or battery-operated lights that illuminate dark areas of a home, RV, or vacation home; add to the decor; and sometimes even double as clocks or sound machines.

There are many reasons to consider different night lights before buying one. Too much light or the wrong kind of light can negatively affect sleep quality. For homes with a dog, a small child, or an older adult, it’s wise to choose an LED light that won’t heat up and cause burns. Our choices for top-rated night lights are sure to be great for any home.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Casper Glow Light
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sycees Plug-in LED Night Light
  3. BEST FOR BABIES: Hatch Rest+ Ultimate Smart Sleep Machine
  4. BEST FOR TODDLERS: Pillow Pets Winnie the Pooh Sleeptime Night Light
  5. BEST FOR ADULTS: Levoit Aria Himalayan Salt Lamp
  6. BEST FOR HALLWAYS: Vont Lyra LED Plug-in Night Light (6-Pack)
  7. BEST FOR BATHROOM: Ailun LED Toilet Night Light (2-Pack)
  8. BATTERY-POWERED PICK: Mr Beams MB720A Sleep-Friendly Battery Night Light
  9. BEST APP: Night Light Lite Nightlight
The Best Night Lights Options
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Night Lights

The best night lights offer more than just a plug-in plastic device with a big bulb. Most now use LED bulbs, which burn cooler and more efficiently. That’s important for homes with children and pets. We looked at how bright a light is to make sure users can find their way in the dark, and we considered the design and appearance.

Type of light matters, too. Plug-in flat-profile night lights make the most sense in high-traffic areas, and tabletop lights can add other features on a bedside table. With battery operation and small size, portable night light lights are perfect to take along while traveling. Smart night lights offer other features and can be controlled with a smartphone app, which is a bonus for flexible use.

Our Top Picks

Our list of highly rated night lights aims to make it easier for shoppers to find the best one for their homes. We have categorized the best night lights based on overall energy use, design, safety needs, and smart features.

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The Casper Glow Light gradually dims as bedtime approaches and slowly brightens in the morning to help wake early risers. Adjusting the brightness manually involves twisting the light or using the smartphone app, which also controls the lamp’s settings, schedule, and glow options.

Measuring 3.75 inches in diameter and 5.25 inches tall, this light is a good size for a bedside table. It can be brought around the house as well; just lift it from its charging base to carry it to the bathroom, kitchen, or kid’s room during the night.

Like other Casper products, this night light comes with a free trial. Shoppers have 30 nights to try the light and see if it’s worth the cost. That’s the main downside of this light—it’s significantly more expensive than an average night light, but for those willing to splurge, it’s an attractive and feature-filled pick.

Product Specs

  • Type: Battery-powered
  • Bulb type: LED
  • Quantity: 1

Pros

  • Self-dimming feature dims at night and brightens in the morning
  • Users can control brightness, settings, schedules, and syncing through an app
  • Manufacturer offers a 30-night trial period as well as free returns

Cons

  • Very expensive compared to traditional night lights on the market

Get the Casper night light at Amazon, Target, Best Buy, or Casper.

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The Sycees plug-in LED night light has a built-in ambient light sensor that automatically lights up only when it senses an area is dark. The resulting light is bright enough to safely light up a path, but not so bright as to awaken others. To illuminate multiple areas throughout the home, these lights are often sold in packs of four or six.

Sycees lights use LED bulbs, so they are safe for pets, kids, and anyone else who comes into contact with them. Each of these lights is small and only covers one plug on a standard outlet plate. The Sycees plug-ins are a perfect fit for homes, RVs, dorm rooms, or anywhere else a basic night light is needed. They’re also compact enough to take along while traveling.

Product Specs

  • Type: Plug-in
  • Bulb type: LED
  • Quantity: Varies; typically available in 4- or 6-pack

Pros

  • Dusk-sensing feature only switches light on once it gets dark to save energy
  • Each light is small enough to pack inside a travel bag
  • Set of 6 offers great value and is useful for large homes

Cons

  • Only available as a set of 6; not sold individually

Get the Sycees night light at Amazon (4-pack).

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The Hatch Rest+ night light is a portable, kid-friendly night light, sound machine, and alarm clock. It has a two-way audio monitor that allows users to listen and talk to their child from another room. It weighs just 14.5 ounces and measures 6.5 inches tall by 4 inches wide, so it won’t take up much space.

The two-way audio is handy for everyone who lives with other people, and the night light emits a soothing glow with 10 presets to choose from and a color wheel. It also features a library of snooze-inducing sounds, a white-noise setting, and a programmable digital clock, all controllable from a smartphone app. This night light is powered by a rechargeable battery, offering up to 8 hours of battery life on each charge to make it easily portable around the house.

Product Specs

  • Type: Battery-powered
  • Bulb type: LED
  • Quantity: 1

Pros

  • 2-way audio feature makes it easy to monitor babies or communicate with children
  • Smart capabilities enable it to function as a sound machine and alarm clock
  • Has a rechargeable battery with 8 hours of battery life

Cons

  • Some reviewers say they found the app difficult to navigate

Get the Hatch Rest+ night light at Amazon or Hatch.

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Cuddly and lovable, this Winnie the Pooh night light from Pillow Pets can make putting toddlers to bed a little bit easier. By day, this light is a pillow plush toy. By night, it’s a night light that projects a soothing starry night pattern on the ceiling to lull toddlers to sleep. Parents can choose from three color modes.

This light is battery-powered to keep it easily portable. It’s great for at home or to provide comfort on vacation and nights away from home. To save battery, the light has an automatic 20-minute shut-off timer.

Designed with safety in mind, this toy is BPA- and phthalates-free, and it uses LED bulbs so it won’t become hot to the touch. Winnie the Pooh is a crowd favorite, but other characters and fun animals are available.

Product Specs

  • Type: Battery-powered
  • Bulb type: LED
  • Quantity: 1

Pros

  • Soft plush construction and adorable Disney characters appeal to kids
  • Automatic 20-minute shut-off timer gives little ones enough time to drift off to sleep
  • Projects a soothing rainbow star pattern with 3 color modes

Cons

  • Timer shuts off after 20 minutes, which may not be enough time for some children

Get the Pillow Pets night light at Target, Wayfair, Tractor Supply Co., or Pillow Pets.

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Anyone looking for a night light that truly adds to their decor will want to consider the Levoit Aria Himalayan salt lamp. This plug-in light features a clear acrylic basin filled with natural Himalayan salt rocks. The light beneath diffuses through to large rocks of pink Himalayan salt, casting a warm amber glow onto any room.

Users control the light with the touch switch, which also has a dimmer function to adjust the brightness. One downside of this light is that it does not have a timer, so it will need to be manually switched off before bed (or left on throughout the night). A bonus, though, is that this salt lamp comes in a gift box and includes light bulbs, so it’s a good option for gifting.

Product Specs

  • Type: Plug-in
  • Bulb type: Incandescent
  • Quantity: 1

Pros

  • Salt lamp style looks elegant and casts a pleasant amber light
  • Dimmable to set the mood; includes 3 light bulbs (1 is preinstalled)

Cons

  • Some reviewers find the touch controls difficult to operate properly
  • This salt lamp does not have an automatic shut-off timer

Get the Levoit night light at Amazon.

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Night lights are a good safety feature to add to hallways, lighting up the path to the bathroom or kitchen. The Vont Lyra LED night light features ambient light sensors that automatically turn the light on or off and adjust lighting brightness depending on ambient lighting. This feature means there’s no need to tend to the night lights; they’ll work automatically to keep important paths lit up.

Since these are LED lights, they’re very efficient and run cool. They’re also compact and only cover one outlet on a standard outlet plate, leaving the other free. This light comes in a cool white color, but a warm white option is also available. One pack includes six lights.

Product Specs

  • Type: Plug-in
  • Bulb type: LED
  • Quantity: 6

Pros

  • Has an built-in light sensor that automatically switches light on and off
  • Light sensor also adjusts light brightness depending on ambient light
  • Each night light easily fits into any outlet, saving energy in the long run

Cons

  • Some users report receiving defective lights that varied in brightness or did not work altogether

Get the Vont night light at Amazon, Kmart, or Vont.

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This motion-activated LED night light from Alium clips to the side of the toilet bowl, illuminating a dark bathroom late at night. The soft neck conforms to the bowl for a secure hold. This water-resistant light is small and inconspicuous, so guests will likely not notice it except at night. For convenience, the light switches on automatically: When it detects movement in the bathroom, it turns on and stays on for 2 minutes.

Users can select the light to display one of eight colors––pink, dark blue, red, purple, magenta, orange, light blue, or green––or rotate through each of them. To run, the light needs three AAA batteries (not included), and users can scrub it with almost any household cleaner to keep it sanitary.

Product Specs

  • Type: Battery-powered
  • Bulb type: LED
  • Quantity: Varies; typically available in 2- or 3-packs

Pros

  • Designed specifically for bathroom use; toilet bowl clip design saves space
  • Runs on 3 AAA batteries, so no power outlet is necessary

Cons

  • Toilet bowl clip may not fit some irregular toilet rim sizes
  • 3 AAA batteries needed to power this night light must be purchased separately

Get the Ailun night light at Amazon, Newegg, or Kmart (3-pack).

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Four AA batteries power the Mr Beams night light, so it’s ideal for RVs, dorm rooms, cabins, and homes, especially those with a shortage of outlets. It’s designed to produce a year’s worth of amber light on one set of batteries. The amber color is conducive to sleep, so it won’t interrupt others’ rest, while being bright enough to allow safe navigation of dark areas.

The light installs just about anywhere in only 5 minutes with the included screws and double-sided adhesive. It’s motion activated from up to 15 feet away and lights up to illuminate the immediate area. To save power, it automatically shuts off after 30 seconds of no motion. This light has LED bulbs, so it won’t burn children and others who might touch it.

Product Specs

  • Type: Battery-powered
  • Bulb type: LED
  • Quantity: Varies; typically available in 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-pack options

Pros

  • Motion sensing, meaning light illuminates space only when needed
  • Completely battery powered; this night light does not need a nearby outlet
  • Amber-colored light conducive to sleep; LED lights feel cool to the touch and won’t burn
  • Runs for up to 1 year on 1 set of batteries

Cons

  • Not as bright as other comparable night lights on the market

Get the Mr Beams night light on Amazon, Lowe’s (3-pack), or DK Hardware.

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Rather than rely on a physical night light, Apple iPhone or iPad users can download the free Night Light Lite Nightlight app to illuminate any space. Users can choose from different colors to affect the light hue that the app projects. There’s also the option to play peaceful sleep sounds, including the sound of running water or beach waves. A timer setting automatically shuts the light off, saving battery life.

Users will need to pay to unlock ad-free usage and more light colors and sleep sounds. While an Android-compatible version of this app isn’t available, Android users can check out similar night light apps in the Google Play store, like the Loomy Night Light.

Product Specs

  • Type: App
  • Bulb type: Not applicable
  • Quantity: Can be downloaded on multiple devices

Pros

  • Use an existing device instead of buying a separate night light
  • Free version includes the night light and some sleep sounds
  • Sleep-timer setting shuts off the light to conserve battery

Cons

  • Requires payment to remove ads and access additional light colors and sounds
  • This app is not available in the Google Play Store for Android devices

Get the Night Light Lite Nightlight app at the Apple App Store.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Night Light

When selecting the best night light, it’s important to consider efficiency and aesthetics. Night lights use a variety of bulb varieties, including LED, incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent lamp. LED lights are the go-to choice for night lights nowadays because they are energy efficient and remain cool to the touch. LED lights are generally more expensive than other bulbs, but they use considerably less energy and last 40 times longer than the average incandescent bulb. Regardless of type, if a bulb burns out, it should be disposed of safely.

Types of Night Lights

There are many different types of night lights available today. The best night lights fall into the three basic categories: plug-in, projectors, and tabletop. Here is a closer look at each type, detailing all of the features, styles, and benefits they offer, including the kind of light bulbs they use.

Plug-In

Plug-in lights are what most people think of when they hear the term “night light.” These relatively small night lights must be plugged into an electrical outlet—usually a 120-volt one—so that they work, illuminating a room. They typically have an on/off switch, and many include motion-activation capabilities, illuminating the immediate area whenever someone walks by. These night lights typically feature a flat or low-profile design, so they do not protrude far from the wall too much.

Plug-in lights come in various shapes, sizes, and patterns. This soothing night light type often uses an LED bulb. They produce a soft light that emanates around the outlet and sometimes a few feet beyond. Plug-in night lights are typically the least expensive ones.

Projectors 

A projector night light displays images on a room’s walls or ceilings. Night light projectors are usually placed in bedrooms to create soothing and calming visual environments to help people relax and lull them to sleep. These types of night lights are especially popular for use in children’s rooms, casting a set of stars, cute animals, or favorite characters, for example, against one of the walls, serving as a gentle, soothing sleep aid.

Projector lights are typically dome shaped. They’re usually placed on a nightstand or desk to project the patterned lights overhead, in view from the bed. Some projector night lights also play music at timed intervals.

Tabletop

Tabletop night lights rest on flat surfaces. These types of night lights are typically placed on a night stand next to a bed. They may look like stand-alone lights or tabletop lamps but often have additional functions, doubling as a clock or music player, for instance. Some also include white-noise functions to help induce relaxation and sleep. Most have adjustable brightness and can double as a lamp for those looking for a brighter light.

Tabletop lights run the gamut of style and options. They can be battery operated or powered by 120-volt electrical outlets. Some are Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled and can be controlled with smartphone applications.

Design/Appearance 

There are many night light styles from which to choose, including modern, contemporary, traditional, artistic, and whimsical. The style a shopper selects depends on their decor and lighting needs. Here are a few factors to consider.

A flat-profile night light is a top choice for high-traffic areas such as hallways and entryways. Hall night lights are meant to be utilitarian and should blend in with the wall. To save energy, shoppers should choose one with a dusk light sensor, so it will only turn on once it’s dark.

When buying a night light for a child’s bedroom, shoppers will want to consider ones with whimsical styles such as animals, clouds, or balloons. For an adult’s bedroom, look for a night light with an alarm clock, music player, sound machine, or various light settings, which will enhance convenience.

Child- and Pet-Friendliness

All shoppers should consider an LED night light; they stay cool and use less energy than their incandescent counterparts. However, those living in households with children, pets, or older adults should definitely consider using an LED night light. LED lights stay cool to the touch no matter how long they are turned on and emit plenty of light. In terms of safety, shoppers will also want to make sure the night light is shatterproof and does not contain small parts that can be swallowed by a child or pet.

Some night lights are designed specifically for children. These can take many kid-friendly forms. Night lights with two-way audio can help parents monitor children. There are also more fun options, such as character-shaped lights and stuffed toys with a light built in.

Smart Features 

For smart-tech fans, there are plenty of night lights with smart features. Smart night lights generally come in the form of a small tabletop lamp rather than an outlet night light. They are either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled and are often controlled with a smartphone app. The app allows users to choose various brightnesses, colors, alarms, sounds, and lighting schedules. Some smart night lights have motion or ambient light sensors to switch on automatically. A few can also integrate into a smart-home system and respond to voice commands.

For shoppers who don’t want to spend any extra money on a night light, there’s another option: a night light app. These free apps use the phone screen or flashlight to create a night light. They also often have various brightness levels and colors to choose from, and users can set a shut-off timer to prevent the app from draining their phone battery.

The Advantages of Owning a Night Light 

Night lights are used to comfort children, add color to space, and eliminate trips and falls. Newer versions can do even more, with functions like clocks, two-way audio, soothing sounds, and smart features built in. Whether it’s a basic night light or a smart one, a night light’s soft glow can add to the ambience of a room, especially when winding down for bed. They help anyone navigate in the dark without bright lights, and since they come in warm tones, they also make it easier to fall back asleep.

  • Some have multiple functions, such as digital clocks, baby monitors, or sound machines.
  • They put anxious kids (and adults) at ease in the dark.
  • Night lights can add to a room’s decor with ambient light.

FAQs

Light fixtures are always evolving, and night lights today are different from those of decades past. They can come chock-full of features, including stylish or whimsical designs, color-changing and self-dimming functions, built-in speakers, and smart-home connectivity—though basic plug-in options are still available. Now that LED bulbs are common, even the simplest night lights today tend to use less energy and run cooler, making them better and safer. They can be combined with the best under-cabinet lighting and LED light strips to create functional and beautiful ambient lighting. Here are some common questions and answers when it comes to using night lights in the home.

Q. What color night light is the best for sleeping?

Red- and amber-hued lights have little effect on the circadian rhythm, making these colors the best ones for a night light. Blue light and white light have the strongest impact on circadian rhythm and can make it harder to fall asleep or get back to sleep. Color-changing night lights offer the flexibility to change the lighting hue based on preference.

Q. Is it safe to leave a night light on all night?

Yes, that’s the purpose of a night light. They are designed to stay on all night so that reaching for the light switch or a flashlight to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night isn’t necessary. Night lights are generally very safe to leave on all night as long as the manufacturer’s instructions and a few sensible precautions are followed. LED lights are cool to the touch, so there’s no need to worry about kids or pets burning themselves on them.

Q. Can night lights cause fires?

Generally, no. Night lights are designed to be very safe. When used as directed, they are suitable to keep on at all times with little to no fire risk. However, defective night lights can cause fires, burns, or electrocutions. Do not use night lights that are part of a product recall.

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Debbie Wolfe

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Debbie Wolfe is a freelance writer, photographer, and author who specializes in a variety of fields. She’s been contributing to BobVila.com since March of 2020 but has been writing in the home and garden industry for 10 years. Debbie covers all topics pertaining to home, gardening, and food, and she has published hundreds of DIY tutorials with step-by-step photography for leading home and garden media outlets.

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