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It would be lovely if everyone in your home got into their beds in the evening and slept soundly until the morning. Unfortunately, when you have kids, pets, or simply your own restless sleeping habits, there are times you're going to need to be up and about during the wee hours—and a night light can help keep you safe and make it easier to go back to sleep.
Plug-in wall night lights are some of the most popular, and many now have motion sensors that make them ideal for spaces that might be passed through briefly, like the bathroom, kitchen, or hallway.
Children may have their own preferences for something more friendly—these lights usually have an auto-shutoff, but if they wake in the night they can also give them a reassuring tap to turn them back on.
Adults might want a light that can be used for reading and as an alarm clock, and some of the more high-tech ones have features that help with gentle wake ups as well. Whatever your nighttime needs are, we've researched a wide range of lights for all types of sleepers.
Here are some of the best night lights to consider.
Best for Babies: Hatch Baby Rest Night Light and Time-to-Rise
Programmable from outside baby's room
Sleek design isn't "kiddie"
Ok-to-wake light keeps toddlers in bed
No battery backup
Some say sound cuts in and out
This streamlined, Bluetooth-compatible device is both a sound machine and a night light, and you control it using a smartphone app. Parents of babies love that you can program it remotely, without needing to cause a disruption by entering the room. You can adjust the color (there are several hues), brightness, and sound (choices include rainfall, wind, different melodies, and more).
For those early-rising toddlers, you can use the "ok to wake" setting, and explain to them that they can't come out until the machine turns a certain color—of course, depending on your kid's personality, your mileage may vary on that feature. The company also sells fun, whimsical-looking coverlets that wrap around the device, in kid-friendly patterns like cars, unicorns, and alpacas.
Best with Motion Sensor: Vont Lyra LED Night Light
Plug it in and forget it
Might be too dim for kids' rooms
Available in a choice of either warm or cool white, these handy little outlet lights will turn on based on the room's ambient lighting. The small, square silhouette won't dominate the entire outlet, so you can still have another device plugged in at the same time. The estimated lifespan is 10,000 hours, which makes them a good value considering the low price.
If you're concerned about energy efficiency, you'll be happy to know that each light is only 0.5 watts and costs less than 40 cents to run annually. They also stay cool to the touch, making them a good option for families with young children or curious pets.
Best for Toddlers: Pillow Pets Sleeptime Lites Winnie-the-Pooh Plush Night Light
Kids can manage it solo
Fun, friendly vibe
Difficult to wash
Can't set for more than 20 minutes
Part stuffed animal and part night light projector, this adorable Pooh bear shines stars on your little one's ceiling. There are three different color options and the lights can be set to change slowly or quickly, so you can give your toddler a feeling of independence by allowing them to choose their favorite hue each evening. The light turns off after 20 minutes, but if your child wakes up during the night feeling fearful, they can easily give it a tap to turn it back on.
Along with Pooh, there are nearly 20 different Pillow Pets night lights to choose from, including a unicorn, dinosaur, and popular characters like Mickey Mouse, Elmo, and the Paw Patrol pups. It can't be machine-washed, but you can give it a surface wipedown with warm water and gentle detergent.
Best for Adults: Levoit Aria Himalayan Salt Lamp
Soft, incandescent glow
Natural rocks may "sweat"
Unfortunately there are many lamps sold online that claim to contain Himalayan salt, but are actually counterfeit. This one from Levoit contains salt that has been sourced from Pakistan, and the amber is beautifully showcased off thanks to the clear container and 15-watt incandescent bulb. Although some people believe that the negative ions by salt lamps emitted might have health benefits, these haven't been scientifically proven yet. That said, the lamp will certainly set a relaxing, spalike mood in your bedroom or bathroom.
The lamp has a dimmer switch that's easy to use, even in the dark, as you simply tap once it to turn on, and then again to boost or reduce the brightness. On the highest setting, it works well for reading in bed, or you can leave it dimmed all night in a bathroom. It comes in a pretty box that makes a nice presentation if you're giving it as a gift.
Best Projector: BlissLights Sky Lite
Encourages a quiet bedtime routine
No remote control
Auto-shut off happens after 6 hours
It can be fun to use lighting to transform a space, especially if you've been spending lots of time at home. The Sky Lite uses a diode laser to project a nebula and stars on your ceiling, and it's a fun choice to help kids relax at bedtime, too. The button controls let you cycle through different effects, adjust the brightness, and start or stop the rotation.
This version shines green stars on a blue cloud, but the company also makes a blue-on-blue option. Just don't plan to leave it on all night—it's designed to shut off automatically after six hours. The cord is 3 feet long, and you can position the projector either closer to the ceiling, for a focused effect, or further away to cover more wall space. BlissLights is based in San Diego and got their start designing lighting for amusement park rides.
Best with Alarm Clock: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Pleasant wake-up options
Simple, clean silhouette
Hard to touch-tap from bed
If you're trying to give up your dependency on your smartphone in the evenings and early mornings, this feature-packed alarm and night light hybrid might help you kick the habit. The basic premise: You can get into bed in the evening (let's say to read), and set it for "sunset," so the light will dim gradually. In the morning, it slowly starts to glow more brightly and you can add the option of a gentle alarm sound, such as birds, piano music, ocean waves, or your favorite FM radio station (really!), which is way more pleasant than the usual jarring buzzer.
It has a tappable interface for both the light (there are 20 different brightness settings) and the snooze. Although it doesn't take batteries, it has an internal power backup function. So if you do lose power overnight, the clock will keep its settings for up to eight hours.
"The light almost always wakes me up before the 30-minute mark. Each light-induced wake-up feels so natural that I forget why I’m awake at 7 a.m. Plus, the soothing bird calls are a nice treat when I make it past 30 minutes. It almost feels like I’m camping with my family." — Stephanie Vermillion, Product Tester
Best for Reading: CeSunlight Reading Light
Won't disrupt bedroom decor
Can be too bright for some people
Clamp-on reading lamps are certainly useful, but they aren't always attractive. This handy little light weighs only three ounces and can be bent into different shapes—some late-night readers like to wear it around their necks so they can sit up in bed and still see their pages, others twist it so it can stand up on their nightstand. When you're finished reading, it's small enough to slip into a drawer; the compact size also makes it perfect for travel.
Each side of the light can be controlled individually and there are three settings: Spotlight, wide-angle, and a combination of the two. Since the light comes with a rechargeable lithium battery that can be juiced up with a simple USB cord, you won't have to worry about finding replacements. It takes three hours to fully charge, and the battery can last between 6 and 10 hours, depending on the brightness level.
Best for Bathroom: Illumibowl Motion-Activated Toilet LED Night Light
Could be brighter
Some say it wobbles around
This space agey option, which was featured on Shark Tank, is waterproof, motion-activated, and will cast light into your toilet bowl—there are eight funky hues to choose from, or you can opt to have it cycle through all of them. It's especially great for younger kids who might be nervous about visiting the bathroom at night (although really anyone can benefit from some extra bathroom illumination!) and the company stands behind their lifetime guarantee.
If you're skeptical about having a light on your toilet, know that the sturdy arm is designed to stay put, and will fit with any type of bowl. It will also work whether you leave the seat up or down. If the battery power is low or the unit has gotten wet, it will helpfully flash red to let you know. There are also three different brightness settings, which you can adjust using a button on the side.
If you're shopping for your child's bedroom, the Hatch Baby Rest Night Light and Time-to-Rise (available at Amazon) is a good pick that will last through their toddler years. However, if you're looking for options to make your home easier to navigate at night, a set of the Vont Lyra LED Night Lights (available at Amazon) is exactly what you need.
What to Look for in a Night Light
If you're planning to keep the light in a baby or toddler's room, you may want to skip corded options, or make sure to keep it far from their reach. Battery compartments should have screws to protect them from kids' curious fingers. Some smartphone-compatible alarms, like the Hatch Rest, also have a "toddler lock" setting so little ones can't override your preferences.
Some lights plug into the wall while others use only batteries. A USB charger can be a handy feature, as can battery backup on wall-powered devices (if the power goes out, your settings will be preserved).
Bluetooth compatibility can be handy, but if your home has dead zones for mobile reception, it might not be ideal. Some night lights also have added features such as motion detection, an alarm clock, or a white noise machine.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Lexi Dwyer has written about kids' electronics, nightstands, and toddler alarm clocks for The Spruce. She has Vont Lyra lights scattered throughout her apartment and credits them for likely protecting her and her family members from many middle-of-the-night wipeouts.