Best SAD Lamps Reviewed & Rated for Quality
The basis of Seasonal Affective Disorder is that life just gets a little harder when it’s dark outside. It is a form of depression that typically occurs in the fall and winter when the nights are long, and the days are short. By the time you emerge from your slump, you often do, overweight, behind at work, and with strained relationships in some form or another. Many may find that they were in this same position at the end of winter last year, or the year before. There are definitely benefits to using a SAD lamp other than that specific purpose and if you think it may help, give it a try with one of the lamps we’ve included below!
This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:
Provides exposure to safe, natural spectrum light
Is very portable and only weighs in at 1.5 pounds
Helps increase energy and mood
Has an on and off switch, not just a cord
10 Best SAD Lamps
1. Charmax SAD Therapy Lamp
15 to 60 Minute Timers
Mimics Noon Sunlight
Large Surface Area
Light Dims Over Time
Tends to Flicker
We love the Charmax because it has a nice set it and forget it quality. It's sleek and easy to use and has a slimline design that won't add to the clutter around your desk space. But most importantly it pumps out the light, in a big way. So, when things get tough, the tough turn on their Charmax lamp and bathe in the rejuvenating rays of this tiny sun at your desk.
We like the Charmax because it has a really large light surface area. simply pop this one on and it's going to hit you with a huge helping of noon sunlight right where you need it.
This has three light settings which will let you manage the amount of light that is pouring out of this baby. It also has timers that allow 15 to 60-minute session timers. Everything about the Charmax screams ease of use.
Not bad at all for something that could possibly pull you out of a seasonal depression. And hey we tend to go with priceless when it comes that possibility. Still, it won't set you back by much and that's why it has taken our coveted first spot.
2. Verilux HappyLight Compact
Provides exposure to safe, natural spectrum light
Is very portable and only weighs in at 1.5 pounds
Helps increase energy and mood
Has an on and off switch, not just a cord
At only 5,000 LUX, it isn’t great for serious cases of SAD
Light is very bright
If you are looking for a lamp that will help improve your mood, regulate your circadian rhythm, and set you up well for the day every day then this HappyLight may be the right answer. It is small and compact and gives just enough light to be the perfect answer for daily use.
This lamp emits 5000 LUX. This is bright enough to make a noticeable difference in your day to day, but not so bright that you’ll have a hard time adjusting to it or using it every day. It is just the right amount of light. It is recommended you start with only 10 minutes a day, then work yourself up to however long works best for you - as long as you stay under an hour a day.
Verilux makes their light small and compact enough that you can take it with you anywhere. It weighs in at only 1.5 pounds and will easily fit in your bag, purse, backpack, or suitcase without taking up much space at all. It is meant this way so that you can always have it with you and get your daily dose of light to ensure that you are setting yourself up well for the day.
This model comes at a very reasonable price. It has just the right amount of functionality, but not too much, and will do the job of giving you your light exposure early without any issue. That being said, it’s not the biggest nor the brightest lamp on our list and the price is lower to reflect that. Ultimately, you will be more than happy you spent the money you did on this product.
3. Baltoro Desktop Lamp
Energy Saving Construction
Easy to Use
Doubles as a reading/Task Lamp
Bulb Attachment is Flimsy
Shorts Out Easily
Sneaky Baltoro, making this look like a regular old desk lamp when it's actually a SAD busting lumen delivering a powerhouse of a therapy lamp. Everything you need to keep on a brave face during winter is here. a powerful lamp, with a stylish design and an easy everyday switch and respectable daylight simulation
It goes without saying that these SAD lamps can suck a lot of juice out of the wall socket so this is a nice little addition that lets you feel good about the environment while you're getting the lumens you need to stay sane during the winter.
We can't really decide whether or not this is Art Deco or Modern, but whatever the stylists have to say we'll just go with it's a nice looking lamp. Plus it comes with a 2-year warranty so if anything goes wrong with it you can get a new stylish looking therapy lamp. Also, while it goes without saying that this lamp is going to look good at home or at work so feel free to lug it around
A nice lamp at a great price. As therapy lamps go this is really the only one we've seen that mimics an actual desk lamp so it'll have a lot of uses other than just as a therapy lamp. So use it for whatever you'd like and get the light you need to keep you moving.
4. Circadian Optics Lattice Lamp
Doubles as Desk Art
5500 K Color Temperature
Fully Integrated Light Panel
Cheap Plastic Construction
Talk about cool design this has it in spades. the Circadian Optics lamp sits on hour desk and looks as much like a souvenir as it does a therapy lamp. It has a very bamboo zen type of feel to it, but turn it on and you're getting the lumens you need to keep you from descending into the winter darkness.
Like we said this is as much art as it is a lamp. When the light isn't on it's even hard to see the bulb and it just looks like an asymmetrical collection of squares and rectangles, but don't let the minimalist design fool you there's plenty of light to be had in this cool looking lamp.
Yes, this one does deliver the goods. The full spectrum white light emitter has a broad surface area and is sure to be strong enough to bathe you in the rejuvenating glow of noonday sunlight. In scientific terms, this is 5500 Kelvin color temperature, but for you and me it means a refreshing boost of daylight in the dark of winter.
You're paying a bit more for this lamp but you're also getting a bit more. The design, and the light surface make it more than just a lamp and Circadian Optics seems to get that. But even if you're not sold on paying for a piece of desk art you should know that it does the job of delivering sunlight admirably so for us it's totally worth it.
5. Circadian Optics
Thin, adjustable light panel
Very closely mimics the qualities of the sun
99.9% UV filtered
Very cost effective
Adapter plug can get very hot
Cannot be powered by batteries, must be plugged in
Not only is this lamp adjustable, but it gives off white light that is full spectrum and UV filtered. Its white color is just like that of the sun at noon at 5500K, it is a 10,000 LUX lamp, and UV rays are 99.9% filtered to protect your eyes from any harmful effects. When you use this lamp you will feel uplifted, help reset your circadian rhythm, and have the energy you want to have.
Not only is this light adjustable in brightness, but it is also adjustable in position. There are 3 levels of brightness. This helps to fit your exact situation, distance from the lamp, and the environment you are in. The light itself has 3 hinges and an independent panel. This will allow you to put the light at basically any angle you can imagine, making it perfect for numerous situations.
The bulbs included in this light therapy lamp will last about 50,000 hours. That is a lot of hours and a lot of happier days. They are LED lights as opposed to fluorescent lights which means they last longer and light up brighter. The odds are good that you’ll never have to replace these bulbs. However; should you need to, they are included under the 3-year warranty.
This is a very well priced SAD lamp. It has a lot of options and emits 10,000 LUX, making it among the most powerful lamps on our list. Additionally, it has a 3-year warranty and will work in virtually any position or place you want it to. Your money is very well spent here.
6. Carex Modern
Electronic Ballasts are high efficiency
Light therapy setting, and standard light setting
Blocks 99.3% of UV rays
Both angle and height are adjustable
Base is too large to place behind a computer or something similar on a desk, has to sit off to the side
Light bulbs burn out quicker than expected
This lamp from Carex provides glare and flicker-free lighting that when used appropriately, can really make a big difference in your day-to-day life. It will help to boost your mood, reset your circadian rhythm, and overall help you to feel better. It has 10,000 LUX, shines bright, and looks good while doing so.
This is designed with the fashionista in mind. This lamp looks good and has a modern style. It isn’t large, clunky, or overwhelming and can be successfully used in a number of settings. It will look good at home or in the office with its attractive base, thin neck, and a larger square bulb.
This lamp actually serves dual purposes, and by doing so is a great way to discreetly get your light therapy in. It is designed with two brightness settings. The first one, obviously, gives you the daily dose of bright light that you need. The second one is a standard level lamp light which makes it perfect for day to day tasks at your desk.
The price of this lamp is mid-range. It earns that price tag with the included features though. You will be happy with all the use that you will be able to get out of it, not just for your light therapy. However; it is very good at that end of things too which alone justifies the price.
7. Philips goLITE
Offers a blue light instead of a white one
Doesn’t require you to look directly into the light, simply have it on near you in the background
Battery is rechargeable
Lamp is evenly bright
So compact that it is hard to be the proper distance away to feel effects
If you aren’t very keen on the idea of staring right into a bright light for 30 minutes first thing in the morning, rest assured that there are other options. The features found in this lamp are different from the others on several fronts. It has a blue light, is just as effective as white lights, is UV free, and has a rechargeable battery.
Why does this one have a blue light and all the others are white? That’s an excellent question with an easy answer. The blue of this lamp is similar to that of a beautifully clear and sunny day. 200 LUX is just as effective as the 10,000 LUX white counterparts. There is, in fact, a reason we all long for a clear blue sky! In addition, you don’t have to stare directly into this light. Just put it on where you can see it while you read or work and leave it there for 20-30 minutes. You will still experience the effects and be much better for it.
The other unique feature found here is a rechargeable battery. Most are strictly corded, which isn’t necessarily an issue as lights typically are, but this one does give you the option of ditching the outlet. It is truly and absolutely portable because of this, whereas others claim to portability lies only in the size of the lamp.
This lamp ranks among the most expensive on our list. However; it is different than most and offers features you won’t find elsewhere. It allows you to not stare into a bright light first thing each morning, you don’t actually have t look directly in it at all, and it has no UV rays. If these elements are important to you, then you won’t hesitate at all when buying this unit.
8. Aura Day
Includes patented dimming technology
Thin and lightweight
100% UV free
FCC Certified and ETL Safety tested
Only usable in the United States - does not adapt to other voltage
This is a light and compact SAD lamp. It offers 10,000 LUX and has a patented adjustment dial so that you can cater to your specific needs and distances. In addition to that, it has an adjustable angle. This unit is safety certified by both the FCC and ETL to ensure that it is absolutely safe for your daily use.
Do you tend to use your light therapy lamp in the same place every day? Or maybe you just don’t have the space to sit in on your counter or desktop? Good news! This one is capable of being mounted on your wall. That way it’s all ready to go as soon as you wake up and will be right where you tend to start your day anyway. The stand folds up and stores with no problem as well.
Including a timer setting on this lamp is genius. Typically, light therapy is very time regulated and once you find the right length of time for you, you tend to stay there. You can set this lamp for that time and forget about it. No need to set a separate timer or keep checking the clock. It will turn right off as soon as your therapy session is complete.
This unit is about mid range price wise. It has the features to support that price and will boost your mood and energy levels for a long time with conveniences not offered by others. You won’t question this purchase after you’ve taken the time to truly see the benefits.
9. Circadian Optics
Small and compact
Sleek, modern design that fits in well with most decor
Full spectrum, UV free, white light
Bulbs are nearly too bright
May dim considerably after just a few months
This is a small but mighty lamp. It has 10,000 LUX and UV-free, full spectrum, bright white light. It is a very compact perfect little square that will happily sit in a corner on your desk at the office or at home. It’s small, compact design is visually appealing and very versatile.
Circadian Optics bulbs boast a long life of 50,000 hours. They are LED bulbs and have a much longer lifespan than a standard fluorescent one. In addition, the bulbs, as well as the adapter, are covered under the three-year warranty.
While it is capable of giving you the 10,000 LUX you need to uplift your day, this lamp is also adjustable. It has three different brightness levels that you can choose. This will allow you to tailor it to your needs - how far away from the light you are, environmental settings, etc.
This is meant to be a small, non-obtrusive unit. It’s compact design more than accomplishes that. While it’s not always the case, often times smaller means fewer materials which in turn means less cost to the consumer. It is still a great lamp that you will get a lot of miles and smiles out of. An added perk is that it comes at one of the smallest prices on our list.
10. Happy Energy Health
Adorable little lamp
Very affordable, even for small budgets
Easy to keep discreet and hidden when not in use
Is surprisingly bright for it’s small size
Cord is a bit clunky compared to the rest of the unit
Is not flicker free on lower settings, but is very effective on the highest, light therapy, setting
If you are looking for a great SAD Lamp but aren’t looking to drop a ton of money, this may be the perfect option for you. It is perfectly square, small and compact, very bright light. It gets the job done with no frills. It has 10,000 LUX with a color temperature of 6500K. It looks like natural sunlight and your body will truly believe and benefit from that.
There is a very cute little wooden stand that comes with this light. It helps it to be aesthetically pleasing as well as effective and will have you feeling great about setting it up on your desk at work. While your coworkers may question your tiny lamp that is as bright as the sun initially, they’ll be lining up to buy one once they see how effective it is.
This lamp measures 4.7 by 4.7 inches and is a mear 0.3 inches thick. That means it is very small, just larger than a floppy disk. Another good comparison is a small ceramic tile. While the wooden stand can be a bit clunky to travel with, the light itself will almost fit in your wallet and will certainly fit in your bag without taking up any space at all.
This is the cheapest lamp on our list. As long as you don’t expect it to be as functional or fancy as the most expensive one you will absolutely be satisfied with your purchase here. It gets the job done and emits a lot of light for its tiny size. When you spend your money here, you get more than you bargained for in a good way.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Now that you’ve decided that you do, in fact, need a SAD lamp, how do you know which one to buy? Some things that you should look for are how powerful a LUX it has. 10,000LUX is good to be used for about 20-30 minutes, but anything less than that will require more time. Where you are able to put the light also makes a difference. Size and shape are also important considerations.
Let’s talk a little more about making the right choice for you. The first thing you need to consider is where it will be used. Are you planning on sitting it in your bathroom, on your desk, or perhaps mounting it on a wall? All of these will lead you to buy different lamps. The recommendations for best use are that it is positioned above eye level and off to the side a little bit, about where 10 or 2 would fall on a clock. However, you can best fit those recommendations without completely messing up your morning is likely your best bet.
The stronger the intensity, the less you have to use the lamp. Duration of therapy sessions goes up directly in relation to how many LUX your lamp has. A standard light therapy session is 20-30 minutes long but can last clear up to an hour depending on your specific needs. Some people will get positive effects with only 20 minutes, but others take the full 60 and that largely depends on how the neurons in your brain react with the feel-good chemicals.
Most lights here ring in at 10,000 LUX and will follow the standard recommendation. However; if you do end up with one that has a smaller LUX, see what works for you and make sure that you include your mental health professional to optimize your use.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
First things first, it is important that you know what you are getting yourself into when purchasing a SAD lamp. These are like any sort of medication in that they don’t come without side effects. However; they are typically mild and usually go away within a few days or a week of beginning your light therapy. Some symptoms include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Once your body has adjusted to the extra dose of bright each morning, you will begin to reap the benefits. That is when you will feel more energy and be in a better mood, among other things. Also, like any medication, it takes time to see effects. While some people may see a positive effect within a couple days, for most it takes at least 1-2 weeks to begin to see a difference. The effects are only continually seen if you use the light consistently. Make sure to use it at about the same time every day for about the same amount of time. Most people will benefit from using it in the morning while you are getting ready to go about your day - brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, getting your makeup on, doing your hair, etc. It doesn’t have to be obtrusive to your day, but can be easily fit in with things that you normally do anyway.
Yes, you read that correctly they're beneficial for everyone so let’s talk about some of the positive benefits you can get from using a SAD lamp. They will help to reset your circadian rhythm if you are Jet Lagged or have been working funky hours and can’t get that on your own. Seeing the bright light first thing in the morning will help to lower your levels of sleep hormone and increase serotonin. The result here is that you are happier and have more energy. Those are things that almost anyone can use, right? There are definitely benefits to using a SAD lamp other than that specific purpose
Other Factors to Consider
Now that you know what to expect from your lamp, let’s talk a little more about making the right choice for you. The first thing you need to consider is where it will be used. Are you planning on sitting it in your bathroom, on your desk, or perhaps mounting it on a wall? All of these will lead you to buy different lamps. The recommendations for best use are that it is positioned above eye level and off to the side a little bit, about where 10 or 2 would fall on a clock. However, you can best fit those recommendations without completely messing up your morning is likely your best bet.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How close do you need to sit to this lamp?
That depends on the intensity, but most recommendations are about 2 feet away give or take a little depending on the specifics of the lamp you end up with.
q: How long do you need to sit by this lamp daily to feel the effects?
A good starting point for beginning light therapy is 20-30 minutes a day, though it can go all the way up to 60 minutes depending on your specific needs.
q: Does this lamp help with vitamin D deficiency?
No. Vitamin D is produced by an interaction with UV rays and they have to be filtered out of a SAD lamp or else you will damage your eyes. As such, all lamps included here are more than 99% UV filtered.
q: How long do the light bulbs last?
That will depend on how often and what you use them for. LED lights last longer than a standard fluorescent light does, with some boasting up to 50,000 hours.
q: Are these bulbs flicker free?
It varies widely. Most are flicker free in the therapeutic range, but that becomes less certain at lesser intensities.
q: Is this lamp adjustable?
Most are adjustable in some way. Some offer brightness adjustments, others offer angle adjustments, some offer the option to mount, and there are even options that offer all of the above.