The 8 Best Desk Lamps to Buy in 2018

Make sure your workspace has the right light

Smiling businesswoman using technologies in office
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Whether you work from home or in an office, a dedicated workspace plays a key role in staying focused and productive. That holds true whether your work involves a computer, reading through lots of paper documents, or sitting to pay bills and plan your schedule. One important ingredient of an effective workspace is good task lighting, and that’s where a desk lamp comes in.

You need a lamp that can deliver the right amount of light exactly where you need it to work comfortably, prevent headaches and eyestrain, and boost your energy. While most homes and offices come with overhead lighting, and you may even be lucky enough to have your desk by a window, a desk lamp can deliver focused lighting just where you need it.

There are many styles of desk lights, from vintage-inspired to modern. The best one for you will be determined not just by the style you like, but by the amount of space you have and what kind of flexibility or additional options you need.

Look for a lamp with a bulb and shade that you can direct toward your most common task, whether that’s reading, writing, or working on a laptop. If you have limited desk space, choose a lamp with a smaller base or a clamp-style attachment that won’t take up too much room. Additional features like color changing, the ability to dim the light, or USB outlets are a bonus.

We've found the best desk lamps and there should be one that will fit perfectly in your workspace.

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  • 01 of 08

    Best Overall: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp

    The best desk lamp for most people is one with a slim, innocuous design. This adds targeted lighting wherever you’re working without overwhelming the desk.

    An adjustable lamp is ideal so you can move it around for different tasks. This is convenient because you may want different kinds of light for reading papers than you would want for working on the computer.

    The TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp comes in black or white. The head swivels left to right and can be angled 90 degrees to be used for various tasks. Plus, you can adjust the light levels from cool to warm based on your preference or how much light you need.

    This desk lamp has an energy-saving LED bulb and a USB charging porch to juice up your smartphone or tablet while you work. With all these features, it’s no wonder this the top-rated desk lamp on Amazon with more than 6,700 positive reviews!

  • 02 of 08

    Best Budget: Room Essentials Task Lamp

    Task Lamp - Room Essentials™
    Courtesy of Target

    If you’re buying a desk lamp that you plan to use exactly the same way for a long time, it makes sense to invest in a permanent fixture. But, if you’re looking for the office or for a student who may have different needs in a few years, you may want to save some money. In this case, look for the highest-quality lamp you can get for a bargain price—ideally, under $10.

    This cute lamp from Room Essentials will do the trick. It comes in white, black or a versatile aqua, and has an adjustable gooseneck so you can change the angle and direction of the light. The small base won’t take up too much desk space, and a long cord makes it easy to access the outlet.

  • 03 of 08

    Best LED: Etekcity Wireless Color LED Desk Lamp

    As LED technology has improved over the years, LED bulbs can come in many shapes and sizes and offer various kinds of light than ever before. And equally as important, the cost of an LED light has come way down. That means these previously-expensive lights are now affordable and will last for decades.

    LEDs also use very little energy to run. They're an economical and eco-friendly option for energy use if you’ll be using the light more than a few hours a day.

    This cool-looking LED lamp for Etekcity has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 6 hours, so you can use it cordless or plug it into a USB or wall outlet.

    The lamp emits light from two sources: A white light up top and a glow at the base that can be adjusted to any color of the rainbow. Both light sources have three brightness settings to work in different settings.

  • 04 of 08

    Best Modern: Pablo Designs PIXO Optical Desk Lamp

    PIXO Optical 16.5" Desk Lamp by Pablo Designs
    Courtesy of Wayfair 

    A sleek, streamlined design, crisp hues, and minimalist angles are the hallmarks of a modern desk lamp. It's a look that you wouldn’t find on a more traditional decorative lamp.

    Modern desk lamps feel most at home in an office or more contemporary home. However, they can also work as a welcome contrast to an old-fashioned desk if you’re going for an eclectic look or want to give your space a little update. 

    The PIXO Optical Desk Lamp has a bright and dim setting to adjust to your needs. The head rotates 360 degrees and the stem of the lamp swivels to direct light wherever you need it. This desk lamp also has a USB charging port for your electronic devices and a long power cord for flexibility.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Best Gold: Pillowfort Gold Desk Lamp

    Desk Task Lamp Gold - Pillowfort™
    Courtesy of Target

    Warmer metallic colors—including gold, brass, rose gold, and copper—are once again more popular than silver-toned metals in home decor. These metals can soften the angles on a contemporary lamp to make it feel less modern. They can also lend an industrial-style lamp a friendlier feel than one done in office-issue stainless steel.

    Gold desk lamps easily adapt to Mid-Century Modern homes, dress up a teen bedroom, or give a lifeless cubicle a sense of style. This classy Pillowfort lamp has a simple design that will work on many a desk as much for decor as illumination. The neck adjusts to varying heights and it has a touch sensor on/off switch.

  • 06 of 08

    Best Vintage-Style: V-Light Banker’s Desk Lamp

    Do you work in a wood-paneled study, lined with shelves of leather-bound volumes? Though most of us don't, we can try to get the look!

    At home in many a library, club, or old-fashioned bank, a traditional low desk lamp with a glass shade imparts a sense of gravitas onto any style desk. It also functions just as well now as it did decades ago.

    The low lamp targets light onto your reading material, while the shade blocks that same light from getting into your eyes. And the old-school chain pull is a satisfying start or ending point for your work.

    A perfect way to replicate that old-style charm is with the V-Light Banker's Desk Lamp. It has a classic oil-rubbed bronze finish and an amber shade for an antique look. There are also options for a brass base and green or white shade, so you can choose the look that best suits your space.

  • 07 of 08

    Best USB: TW Lighting IVY LED Desk Lamp

    If you’ve been known to crawl under your desk to find an outlet to charge your phone, e-reader, smartwatch, or tablet, you’ll be excited by this clever option! In the base of the IVY LED Desk Lamp, you’ll find a USB port to plug in any number of electronic devices without ducking under your desk.

    The USB port uses the same energy source as your lamp, leaving an extra outlet free for anything else you might need to plug in, like your computer. And it can help tame a nest of cords hanging off your desk.

    The lamp has a small footprint and comes in six colors to work for a range of spaces. The light turns on with a touch mechanism and has three levels of brightness to suit your task. The light can rotate and the neck bends to adjust the lamp.

  • 08 of 08

    Best Swing Arm: Zipcode Design Ruthie Desk Lamp

    Ruthie 35" Desk Lamp by Zipcode Design
    Courtesy of Wayfair

    If you use your desk for several different kinds of work or share your space with a few people, consider a swing arm desk lamp.

    This classic lamp style works on two, three, or four hinges to adjust the height and angle of the light. You can pull it down low to focus a strong beam of light into a task that requires precision, or pull it higher if you’re working on something that needs to spread out.

    It's also perfect if you’re sharing desks with your family. A child can pull the light lower so the shade blocks the rays from their eyes, while a grownup can adjust it higher when they work.

    The classic look for a swing-arm lamp is black metal, and the Ruthie Desk Lamp plays up the industrial look with exposed springs and hinges. Plus, this one clamps onto the table, so it takes up just inches of desk space to give you more room to work.