A Portable Pick-Me-Up: Verilux HappyLight VT10

A winter-blues fix with the flip of a switch

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Pottery Barn Kids Cotton Woven Organic Bed Blanket

Verilux HappyLight VT10

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

What We Like
  • Compact design takes up little desk space

  • Portable for use all over the house

  • Budget-friendly price

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Not as powerful as other therapy lights

  • Only two settings: on and off

The Verilux HappyLight VT10 is an affordable way to experiment with light therapy; it’s a nice supplement for beating winter blues, but it’s not the end-all, be-all cure.


Pottery Barn Kids Cotton Woven Organic Bed Blanket

Verilux HappyLight VT10

The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

We purchased the Verilux HappyLight VT10 so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.

When my husband talked me into moving to Cleveland, Ohio, I was excited about the prospect of Lake Erie in our backyard. What I didn’t fully realize until our first winter here is that winters in the Great Lakes region have almost one month less sunlight than the national average. I get mild seasonal affective disorder each winter. I was the perfect candidate for the Verilux HappyLight VT10.

This compact light-therapy lamp packs the equivalent of 10,000 lux (a measurement of light) into one portable UV-free bright white light. The manufacturer promises its full-spectrum light improves mood, focus, energy, and sleep, without compromising too much space.

Verilux HappyLight VT10
The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

I used the Verilux HappyLight VT10 for at least 10 minutes per day (and up to three hours) for one month. Overall, it helped me get through the gloomiest winter days—kind of like a happy little sidekick on my desk.

I found pairing my happy light with at least 30 minutes of outdoor activity was my perfect Cleveland-winter-blues solution.

After about 20 minutes with it positioned on the side of my face, I did feel a bit more at ease on dark, gloomy days. I had more energy and drive to finish my assignments. Perhaps most importantly, I didn’t feel as anxious as I usually do after about 20 to 30 minutes of light therapy. I didn’t notice much more of a boost after another 30 minutes or hour, but I still left it on to keep the good vibes going. Since it simulates daylight, it adds a pretty glow to the room as well.

One of my favorite things about the Verilux HappyLight VT10 is its size. It takes up a tiny corner of my desk, leaving enough room for my laptop, notebooks, and planner. If I prefer to start my morning at the kitchen table—a perk of working from home—I can easily unplug it and carry it downstairs as well. 

Verilux HappyLight VT10
The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

This light is not perfect—and it’s hardly the end-all, be-all solution for seasonal affective disorder. I noticed more energy on those rare days when Cleveland has natural sunshine versus gloomy days when I used the Verilux HappyLight VT10 to supplement.

I also found that going outside on gloomy days for a hike, walk, or bike ride was more effective at decreasing anxiety and improving my mood than the lamp. The light may not be powerful or versatile enough. Other lights, including the Verilux upgrade model, the HappyLight Luxe, come with adjustable brightness and color temperatures. Or, it could be that light therapy is more of an aid and not a long-term fix. Pairing my happy light with at least 30 minutes of outdoor activity and fresh air was my perfect Cleveland-winter-blues solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

How bright is the Verilux HappyLight VT10?

The Verilux HappyLight VT10 boasts a powerful 10,000 lux, which is what professionals recommend for light therapy used over a prolonged period, according to Verilux. The light comes with an energy-efficient 26-watt bulb that is cool burning and creates full-spectrum light.

Verilux HappyLight VT10
The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

How big is the Verilux HappyLight VT10? 

The compact size is my favorite feature. It weighs 1.5 pounds, with dimensions of 7.4 inches high by 6.3 inches wide by 3 inches deep. It’s about the size of a box of crackers.

It takes up a tiny corner of my desk.

How many settings does the Verilux HappyLight VT10 have?

The Verilux HappyLight VT10 is incredibly simple; it has two settings: on and off. This simple design is suitable for light-therapy beginners because it’s not intimidating. I prefer a few more settings like color warmth to experiment with the effect on my mood. But, limited features keep the price down—another plus.

Verilux HappyLight VT10
The Spruce / Stephanie Vermillion

How long should you use the Verilux HappyLight VT10 in one sitting?

Verilux recommends starting with 10 minutes of light-therapy before extending the duration. This trial period is for making sure the user doesn’t have any adverse effects. I started with about 10 to 15 minutes, then gradually moved up to about two to three hours in the morning—especially on gloomy days in my office. Note, it is essential not to use the light too close to bedtime. It helps improve energy, which is counterproductive when you are trying to wind down.

Will the light hurt my eyes?

I kept the Verilux HappyLight VT10 on the side of my face versus head-on. It didn't hurt my eyes. The light’s built-in Optix Glare-Control Lens also reduces eye strain and fatigue, according to the manufacturers.

Verilux HappyLight VT10 vs. Verilux HappyLight Luxe

While the HappyLight VT10 and HappyLight Luxe are from the same manufacturer, some key differences help each product stand out. The VT10 is almost like the HappyLight “light” version; it’s lower-cost, roughly $30, and its interface couldn’t be more straightforward.

Both models boast the same intensity—10,000 lux—but the HappyLight Luxe comes with quite a few more features. Users can adjust the color from white daylight to warm white, choose from four brightness levels, or set a countdown timer to ensure the user reaches enough light-exposure minutes. Expect to pay more for extra features. These added settings more than double the light's price. Size-wise, the VT10 is a bit smaller, but the Luxe is thinner. Both are portable and compact.  

Final Verdict

If you’re on a budget, buy it.

The Verilux HappyLight VT10 won’t cure all winter blues, but if you’re on a budget and need a happiness or energy boost, buy it. Consider this light a supplement and pair it with outdoor exercise, proper nutrition, and natural sunlight exposure whenever possible.


  • Product Name Cotton Woven Organic Bed Blanket
  • Product Brand Pottery Barn Kids
  • SKU 768533123787
  • Price $39.99
  • Weight 1.5 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 7.4 x 6.3 x 3 in.
  • Color White
  • What's Included 26-watt bulb included
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute of Mental Health. Seasonal Affective Disorder. NIH.gov.

  2. Craig Miller, Michael. Seasonal Affective Disorder: Bring on the Light. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School.

  3. Seasonal Depression. Cleveland Clinic.