Whether you’re burning the midnight oil, cranking out work on a dreary day, or just trying to give yourself the right glow for an important Zoom call, a high-quality desk lamp is a must-have. These lamps are a reliable light source and a way to add to the ambiance of your workspace. “Not only does a desk lamp provide necessary task lighting, but it also reflects your personality and style while complementing the surrounding room,” says Bryan Johnson, CEO of Shades of Light.
To help you find the right one for your office, we evaluated dozens of lamps, evaluating size, wattage, style, and overall value. Our favorite, the Brightever Industrial Dimmable Desk Lamp, is small but effective and can also charge your smartphone. But if you’re looking for something different—maybe a trendy mushroom lamp or a retro-inspired pick—we’ve got plenty of other options, too. Here are the best desk lamps.
Brightever Industrial Dimmable Desk Lamp
USB charging ports
Modern industrial styling
360-degree adjustable head
No wireless charging
Only one color offered
When you're working at home, an ideal desk lamp is one bright enough to keep you focused, with features for greater efficiency. Our best overall pick, The Brightever Industrial Dimmable Desk Lamp, stands out not only for being stylish and bright enough to keep you focused, but also because it offers added extras to enhance your productivity.
This desk lamp has multiple light settings to provide the right amount of light to suit your mood or the time of day. All you have to do is touch any part of the lamp to lock in on the brightness level that feels appropriate. You can also manipulate the 360-degree lamp head to get precisely the right lighting angle.
You’ll also find two USB charging ports plus an outlet to power your phone, laptop, smartwatch, or wireless headphones—essentially any tech that helps get you through the day. And despite all of this, the multitasking lamp is compact enough that it won’t overwhelm even a small desk.
Price at time of publish: $35
Dimensions: 5.91 x 5.91 x 16.14 inches | Material: Metal | Bulb: LED Edison | Wattage: 7 watts | Brightness: 800 lumens
Simple Designs Basic Metal Desk Lamp with Flexible Hose Neck
Multiple color options
Somewhat small for larger desks
Lampshade gets hot to the touch
You don’t have to spend a large portion of your paycheck on a quality light for your office—the Simple Designs Basic Metal Desk Lamp with Flexible Hose Neck is proof of this. Though the lamp’s footprint is on the small side, it’s perfectly adequate for a small workspace. Since the unit has a flexible neck, you can adjust to direct the lighting to the perfect spot. Not to mention, the traditional minimalist design marries well with just about any decor style—just choose black or gray, depending on what you gravitate toward.
Just note that the lampshade can get hot to the touch, especially if your light’s been in use for a while. While this budget-friendly lamp may not have extras, like charging capabilities or even dimming functionality, at the end of the day, it’s simple (just a single on/off switch), practical, reliable, and maybe best of all, affordable.
Price at time of publish: $10
Dimensions: 6.1 x 4.9 x 13.85 inches | Material: Metal, plastic | Bulb: Type A | Wattage: 60 watts | Brightness: Not listed
Best Mushroom Lamp
Crate & Barrel Joy Clay Table Lamp by Leanne Ford
Comes in two colors
Three brightness levels
Touch functionality can be too sensitive
Mushroom lamps first sprouted in the 1960s, but they’re popping up in homes all over the world again. It’s no surprise, really—these accessories have just the right amount of quirky charm, especially for a spot like your desk. Take Crate & Barrel’s Joy Clay Table Lamp, for example. The beautiful matte finish lamp, designed in a collaboration between HGTV star and designer Leanne Ford and Crate & Barrel, has a vintage mushroom shape that makes it so undeniably adorable, but with a relatively neutral aesthetic that’ll suit most rooms.
This desk lamp isn’t all about style, though. The lamp functions the way you want task lighting to. It has three brightness levels, all of which can be triggered simply by touching any portion of the lamp. Just note: While this is convenient, it is sensitive, so you may occasionally blow right past your desired setting.
Price at time of publish: $129
Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 13 inches | Material: Iron | Bulb: 2 60-watt incandescent or 9-watt LED | Wattage: 60 watts | Brightness: Not listed
Baseus LED Desk Lamp
Three adjustable brightness settings
24-hour rechargeable battery
Slim, compact profile
Buttons are hard to see, especially in the dark
If you’re looking for a cordless option, don’t sleep on the Baseus LED Desk Lamp. It’s not your average desk lamp–it’s much smarter! Instead of sitting on the surface of your desk, this light mounts via a magnetic backing to the top of an enclosed desk or the wall behind you. (The light adjusts 80 degrees to get the angle just right.) The battery lasts for a full 24 hours before it needs another charge, at which point you simply remove the light from the magnetic base and plug it in to juice up.
The sleek bar-style light has three brightness settings, so you can choose whatever level suits you. And if you pretty much always stick to the same level, there’s good news: The device remembers your previous settings, even after you’ve turned it off. Just note: Because the whole light is so slim, the buttons can be hard to locate, especially in the dark. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem in a room like an office, though.
Price at time of publish: $28
Dimensions: 11 x 1.4 x 1.6 inches | Material: ABS plastic | Bulb: LED | Wattage: 5 watts | Brightness: 100 lumens
Best With USB Ports
LALISU Metal Desk Lamp
Built-in outlet and USB port
Wireless smartphone charging
Adjustable, flexible gooseneck
No designated device storage
Gooseneck is somewhat stiff
Even if you don’t have a small desk, keeping the area streamlined and free from clutter can enhance your focus. And that’s exactly where multi-purpose lamps like this one come into play. The LALISU Metal Desk Lamp has a built-in USB port and a built-in outlet, so you can keep all of your electronics close at hand—and fully charged—while you work. There aren’t any dedicated shelves or pockets for stashing these gadgets, but the light does have an amply sized wooden base with built-in wireless charging capability, giving you a smart spot to perch your phone when you’re in need of a charge.
Despite these cool add-on features, the lamp itself is high-functioning. It has three brightness settings (low, medium, and high) that can be activated simply by tapping the base. The flexible gooseneck arm bends to an impressive 180 degrees, too, so you can get the angle just right. Keep in mind you may need to get it used to moving at first, as it can be stiff out of the box. Also nice: It comes in two colors, black and white, so you can choose whichever one better suits your style.
Price at time of publish: $54
Dimensions: 5.9 x 4.72 x 17.71 inches | Material: Metal | Bulb: LED | Wattage: 9 watts | Brightness: Not listed
Best for Zoom
Bekada LED Desk Light With Clamp
Three modes, each with 10 brightness settings
Easy to adjust
Charges via USB
Not a traditional desk lamp
Won’t fit over all desks
A traditional desk lamp the Bekada LED Desk Light is not, but this clip-on style light is perfect for something so many professionals find themselves constantly doing during the workday: video conferencing. Though this lamp looks more like a ring light (technically, it is one!), it’s just what you need to illuminate your face and eliminate any shadows that can make for a less-than-ideal experience when using video conferencing software like Zoom.
It’s easy to use. Simply clip the light onto your desk via the strong metal clamp. It stretches up to two inches to accommodate most desks (though some may not fit). Once it’s in place, bend the gooseneck arm any which way to direct the light exactly where you need it.
There are three different light settings—cold, natural, and warm—and each one of these modes has 10 adjustable brightness levels to choose from. Keep things natural, or go bright to soften your features. It’s all powered by a simple USB port.
Price at time of publish: $20
Dimensions: 4.7 x 5.9 x 3.1 inches | Material: Metal | Bulb: LED | Wattage: 12 watts | Brightness: Not listed
Himigo LED Desk Lamp
Multiple modes and brightness levels
Available with either wireless or USB charging
Stiff to adjust
If you’re looking for a quality and energy-efficient desk light source, you really can't go wrong with the Himigo LED Desk Lamp. The light is designed with an LED panel that delivers a lot of light fixed into a rotating arm that makes it easy to pivot the lamp however you need. It also has five color modes and five brightness levels, so it'll give you perfect lighting both day and night.
You can also choose how you want to operate the lamp, since it has both USB and wireless charging capabilities. You can even set your phone down on top of the charging pad to keep it powered up while you work. And, to add to the ever-growing list of nice-to-haves, this lamp also features a 30- or 60-minute timer that automatically turns off the lamp—perfect for reading before bed. Alternatively, you can fold the arm in on itself, turn the brightness all the way down, and then use it as a nightlight while you—or your child—sleeps.
While adjusting this lamp at certain angles can be a bit of a challenge, as it’s stiff in some directions, it’s overall nicely bright and affordable. However, for its low price, it isn’t the most durable option you’ll find.
Price at time of publish: $20
Dimensions: 43 x 7.4 x 14.2 inches | Material: Metal | Bulb: LED | Wattage: Not listed | Brightness: 450 lumen
Catalina Traditional Bankers Desk Lamp with Glass Shade
Heavy, stable base
No additional features
Love the idea of adding some vintage style to your home? The Catalina Traditional Bankers Desk Lamp, which is crafted from gold-coated metal and complete with a green glass lampshade, is reminiscent of something you’d find in the office of a banker, doctor, or lawyer once upon a time. But this one has a touch of modern class, thanks to the shiny finish and small profile. It’ll look right at home in a transitional office that skews more formal.
Like the original banker lights, this one also has an attached on/off pull chain under the shade. Simply pull it to turn your lamp on or off. It may not require any effort, but it’s this simplicity that deprives the fixture of additional settings like dimmers or brightness settings. You can, however, attach the light to a smart outlet to put it on a timer. Otherwise, it’s pretty simple and feature-free.
Price at time of publish: $32
Dimensions: 10.25 x 10.25 x 13.38 inches | Material: Alloy steel, glass | Bulb: Incandescent or LED | Wattage: 60 watts | Brightness: 800 lumen
Best Swing Arm
Pottery Barn Architect's Adjustable USB Task Table Lamp
Built-in USB port and two outlets
Easy-to-use adjusting arm
Available in two finishes
Household cleaners can alter the finish
There’s no question that Pottery Barn’s Architect's Adjustable USB Task Table Lamp has both timeless appeal and unmatched functionality. The lamp has a swing-arm design that allows you to widely direct light or focus it in on details—like the paperwork in front of you. Simply turn the light on via the dial on top of the base and change the angle up at your whim—there are no bolts to secure, simply angle the light where you want it most.
Adding to the modern functionality, this lamp also has a built-in USB port and two built-in outlets to keep your gadgets powered up and close at hand while you work. The lamp itself is powered by one 25W LED bulb or standard bulb equivalent, but there's good news—especially given the price point: The first one is included in your purchase. Just keep in mind that you should only dust this lamp with a soft cloth; using household cleaning products can wreck the finish.
Price at time of publish: $349
Dimensions: 9.5 x 14.5 x 38 inches | Material: Metal | Bulb: LED | Wattage: 25 watts | Brightness: Not listed
Our top pick is the Brightever Dimmable Desk Lamp. Its small footprint, affordable price tag, and convenient charging port make it an easy win for any home office. Looking for something more affordable? Try the Simple Designs Basic Metal Desk Lamp with Flexible Hose Neck, a super budget-friendly option that is small and convenient.
What to Look for in a Desk Lamp
Desk space is precious, so you don’t want a desk lamp that demands too much real estate. Look for a low-profile lamp that will stay out of your way while still offering plenty of light. If you really have a small desk, consider a clamp lamp that attaches to the side rather than sitting on top, or a wall lamp.
In general, a lamp between 12 and 20 inches will do the trick—especially if it has an adjustable arm or head, so you can manipulate the height based on the task at hand. Reading requires more direct light, while computer work benefits from more indirect light.
Lumens and Brightness
Lumens measure how much light you’re getting from the bulb—and exactly how much you want or need depends on the task you’re performing and the size of the desk. For general reading and writing, a 600 to 800 lumen desk lamp is sufficient. (This is equivalent to a 40-watt incandescent bulb.) For computer work, experts like interior designer Lisa Jane recommend a desk lamp with an output of around 1,000 to 2,000 lumens to help reduce eye strain and fatigue. (This is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb.)
As you can probably deduce from the above, a 40-to-60-watt light bulb is suitable for most tasks you’d perform at a desk. But if you have to complete exceptionally detail-oriented tasks, like reading architectural plans for example, look for a more powerful 60-to-80-watt bulb to give yourself a little extra light.
Desk lamps come in an array of different styles, including swing-arm lamps, classic task lamps, and more. Snag an option you’ll love looking at throughout the workday, and make sure it offers the kind of light you’re looking for. Many desk lamps come equipped with extra features, like built-in USB ports or wireless charging pads. These add-ons aren’t necessary, but since they can make your set-up more efficient, they can be really nice to have.
What is the best height for a desk lamp?
“For reading or writing, the lamp should be positioned about 12 inches above the book or paper,” says Jane. “For computer work, the lamp should be positioned about 20 inches above the desk surface, and angled so that the light is shining on the keyboard and screen, not in the eyes of the user.” An adjustable arm, gooseneck, or angled shade will allow more flexibility to direct light where you need it, adds Bryan Johnson, CEO of Shades of Light.
How many lumens do I need for a desk?
“Recommended light for reading is at least 60 watts for people under 30, while people over 60 benefit from 100 to 150 watts of light (40 to 50 watts halogen, 20 watts of fluorescent, or 100 watt LED),” says Johnson. If you notice eye strain—your eyes are unusually sore, dry, or watery—when you use a desk lamp, consider talking to an optometrist. They can help you understand why you’re experiencing these symptoms. They can also let you know whether you need to switch up your desk lamp.
Do lamps use a lot of electricity?
According to Direct Energy, lighting accounts for about 9 percent of a typical home’s energy use, but this varies based on the type of bulb and your personal usage. For reference, a 100-watt incandescent bulb left on for two hours a day uses about 0.2 kWh a day. If you’re concerned about your energy use, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce personal consumption: Turn off lights when you leave a room, use energy-efficient LED light bulbs, and rely on natural light during daytime hours.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer with nearly 15 years of experience writing about consumer products, including kitchen accessories like trash cans. To curate this list, Earley scoured the most popular retailers to find the best, most highly rated options. Then, she vetted each, reading all of the specs and hundreds of reviews. To make her top picks, she consulted experts like Bryan Johnson, CEO of Shades of Light, and then used that guidance as she analyzed the size, wattage, style, and overall value of each product.
Additional reporting was conducted by Lindsey Lanquist, a Nashville-based writer and editor covering health, fitness, food, and lifestyle.