The Best Reading Lights for at Home and On-the-Go

Give your eyes some love with one of these bright, stylish, and affordable solutions.

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The Best Reading Light Option

Photo: amazon.com

Your mom was right: Insufficient reading light can cause problems, from fatigue to headaches, and, over time, even eye damage. Fortunately, the solution has never been easier or more streamlined. Thanks to well-designed reading lights, from tiny book buddies to substantial floor lamps, your dark days are over. Scroll on for guidance, recommendations, and product specs for the best reading lights for home and travel.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Vekkia Book Light Set with Charger
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: TOPELEK Rechargeable Book Light
  3. BEST TABLE LAMP: Gladle LED Desk Lamp
  4. BEST MOUNTED BEDSIDE LIGHT: acegoo Dimmable Reading Light
  5. BEST BOOK LIGHT: Hooga book light
The Best Reading Light Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Reading Light

Stop squinting. Instead, get a sturdy, affordable reading light, which is useful for a host of other tasks too. If you travel a lot, go for a portable, lightweight model that easily slips into a bag or suitcase. For home use, choose a desk, bedside, or floor lamp designed for reading and boosting focus.

Purpose and Design

Whether you’re at home or on the go, reading lights and lamps can save your eyes from strain and illuminate both work and relaxation time. These are the four main types of reading lights:

  • Book lights are small, lightweight, and portable. Ideal for travel and made of sturdy materials like plastic and metal, they fit into the palm of the hand and attach to a book or magazine via a sturdy clamp. The best book lights are also good for nighttime reading in bed if bedside lighting is insufficient.
  • Bedside reading lamps can be either freestanding or wall-mounted. They come in a range of styles, from traditional shaded lamps to minimalist models with adjustable goosenecks (long, thin, flexible necks). The base and body of these lamps should be durable metal construction, and the head should produce a steady, focused beam of light.
  • Desk lamps or task lamps are at least a foot high, with an adjustable neck or swivel arm to position the light in exactly the right spot. The body of a desk lamp may be plastic or metal, typically in neutral colors like black, brushed nickel, and white. The head should create a bright, focused light beam, which can be aimed at a book or workspace.
  • Floor lamps designed for reading are different from those intended for ambient lighting. Like desk lamps, these standing lamps should create a brightly focused beam of light that can be adjusted to the desired height and angle. Some floor lamps are two-in-one models that can double as desk lamps thanks to their adjustable stands.

Corded vs. Cordless

Portable reading lights and full-sized lamps come in either corded or cordless styles. The former are highly useful in home settings, when a plug outlet is easily accessible. They don’t require recharging and can simply be plugged in and switched on or off any time (or programmed with a timer).

Cordless lamps, in contrast, contain rechargeable batteries, typically with a lithium ion core for long-lasting charges. All types of reading lamps, including travel-size book lights, come in cordless styles. Desk, bedside, and floor lamps usually have a cord, but many brands have begun to move into cordless territory, offering a sleeker look and allowing the lamp to be moved anywhere, even when no plugs are in sight. After 30 to 60 hours of use, fast-charging USB ports recharge them. Expect your reading lamp to be back to full power after one to two hours of charging.

Bulb Type

In the past, incandescent bulbs, which conduct electricity across a metal filament, were commonly used for reading lights. However, they are not energy efficient and burn out relatively quickly. In contrast, LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are swiftly becoming the reading bulbs of choice in lamps of all types and sizes. The recommendations here contain LED bulbs because they are affordable, safe, energy efficient, long-lasting, and user-friendly. CLFs (compact fluorescent lights) are another option for highly efficient and cost-reducing bulbs. But LEDs are even brighter, and they offer more versatile size options, including travel light bulbs.

Features

Any good reading lamp or portable book light should come with certain key features. Look for lamps that allow you to adjust the brightness level at least three ways (low, medium, and high). Some LED reading lamps also can be adjusted to different color temperatures, from bright white to warmer, softer tones. The head or neck of the lamp also should be adjustable. For example, gooseneck lamps, which have long, thin necks attached to a solid base, can be positioned to almost any angle, allowing you to focus or diffuse the light as needed. Finally, for a good nighttime reading light, look for amber-colored bulbs that block blue wavelengths. Blue light, which are emitted by screens and artificial lights, is a growing health concern, as it suppresses the body’s production of melatonin, which disrupts circadian rhythms and generally leads to more restless, uneven sleep.

Our Top Picks

These six lamps provide user-friendly features and eye-friendly light. The recommendations in this list cover the many styles of reading light available: book, bedside, table, and floor. Affordable without sacrificing style or quality, they will save energy and money in the long run.

Best Overall

The Best Reading Light Option: Vekkia Book Light Set with Charger
Photo: amazon.com

It lights up two full pages and weighs just 2 ounces. The Vekkia book light is also adjustable, with a 360-degree gooseneck and three brightness levels (25, 50, and 100 percent). With six miniature LED bulbs, the Vekkia is bright enough to illuminate a book in total darkness. It provides soft—not glaring—light, which makes it perfect for bedrooms and airplanes or anywhere you want a personal reading nook without bothering others. The included travel case is easy and light to pack and take anywhere, especially since the Vekkia’s rechargeable battery provides 60 hours of continuous life on low and 30 hours on high. A charger is included. Simply attach the non-slip clip to the book and dive in.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Reading Light Option: Topelek Rechargeable Book Light
Photo: amazon.com

It’s hard to believe the Topelek is this affordable, because it really does offer a lot! This little black book light features seven LED bulbs, three color temperatures, and three brightness settings (low, medium, and high). It’s designed for lap-based tasks, including reading, working, studying, and sewing. The built-in rechargeable lithium battery, which provides 60 hours of continuous brightness, on low, requires only 1.5-hours of charging time. It does, however, need a 5V phone charger (not included). At only 1.38 ounces, it’s featherweight, so simply fold it up to stick in a bag, suitcase, or nightstand. The clamp is padded with a soft sponge to ensure it doesn’t harm the book.

Best Table Lamp

The Best Reading Light Option: Gladle LED Desk Lamp
Photo: amazon.com

Few lamps are as elegant as Gladle’s cordless desk lamp, and not many function as well either. The slim-profile, white plastic base is battery powered, so no more unsightly power cords. Its rechargeable 3500 mAh built-in battery offers six hours of maximum brightness or 100 hours of dim illumination on a single charge. With 42 energy-efficient LED bulbs, the Gladle is flicker-free and diffuses light for gentle but bright effectiveness. Touch controls allow users to adjust dimness and color from white to warm. The gooseneck arm is ultra-flexible, and it moves 360 degrees, wherever it’s needed. Each lamp comes with a micro USB cable for easy charging.

Mounted Bedside Light

The Best Reading Light Option: acegoo Dimmable Reading Light
Photo: amazon.com

Minimalist and finished in pretty matte black, acegoo reading lights are an ideal bedside mate. Designed to mount directly into the wall or headboard with a bracket, installation is simple, and the result is, dare we say, brilliant. Each acegoo lamp provides a narrow light beam that won’t disturb a partner or brighten an entire room. Instead, save your eyes from strain with soft, warm lighting and a flexible gooseneck, easily adjustable by hand. At the base, use a touch dimmer switch to control the lamp, and simply hold down the switch to change lighting intensity. These sleek, modern lights look great in pairs: Buy two matching lamps for nightly bedside illumination.

Best Book Light

The Best Reading Light Option: Hooga Book Light
Photo: amazon.com

The Hooga is more than a task light. It’s specially designed for both reading and getting a good night’s sleep. The gentle, amber-colored bulbs reduce blue light by up to 99.94 percent, encouraging the brain’s melatonin production and restful evenings. The flexible, 7-inch gooseneck is fully adjustable, and the Hooga features three brightness settings (25, 50, and 100 percent). At only 2.5 ounces, this little Hoogalite still can stand up to hours of use. The four LED flickerless bulbs provide up to 30 hours of continuous reading on low on a single charge, and a USB charging cable is included. In addition to these standout features, the Hoogalite boasts an extra-large clip. Thanks to its sleep-enhancing low-mode glow, it even can be used as a nightlight.

FAQ About Your New Reading Light

All the essentials about these powerful little lamps are contained right here. From lumens to light color, make sure to choose the reading light that meets your needs and lifestyle.

Q. How many lumens does a good reading light need? 

Look for lamps that provide between 3,000 and 6,000 lumens. Lumens are a measurement of the total visible light emitted.

Q. Are LED lights good for reading? 

Yes! LEDs are very bright, and they can adjust to the brightness level and hue that work for each person.

Q. What’s the best light color for reading? 

It depends. Warmer, amber-coloured lights are best for reading at night. Cooler, whiter lights are good to use in the daytime and -stay focused.

Q. Which color light is easiest on the eyes at night?

Red- and yellow-spectrum lights are best for nighttime, not white or blue-tinted light.