The 10 Best Light Therapy Lamps of 2021

Boost Your Mood While Stuck Indoors With These Light Therapy Lamps

The 10 Best Light Therapy Lamps of 2021

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Everyone gets a little down after being stuck inside for too long. And after a year of stay-at-home orders in full effect around the globe, that low feeling might be an epidemic on its own.

A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 45% of adults say the coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected their mental health.

So if you’ve been feeling especially low these last few months, you’re not alone.

On top of the coronavirus pandemic, many parts of the country are in the throes of a rainy, cloudy spring. For around 10 million Americans, these weather conditions lead to seasonal affective disorder (aptly abbreviated to SAD), which is characterized by depression, low energy, sleepiness and increased appetite.

Basically, we’re experiencing a perfect storm for poor mental health. But there is good news. A few effective home treatments for lifting your spirits are available online. One of them is light therapy.

Light therapy lamps mimic sunlight with a brightness level of at least 10,000 lux. And, when used for just 20 to 30 minutes a day, these lights could offer the same effects as soaking up rays, including boosting your mood and helping to improve your circadian rhythms. It’s one of the easiest ways to lift your spirits, as you can use a light therapy lamp while working, eating or watching TV.

The best way to use light therapy is first thing in the morning. This will wake up your body and naturally improve your sleep cycle. Sit next to a light therapy lamp for about 30 minutes while eating breakfast or scrolling through your phone for best results.

What Makes a Good Light Therapy Lamp?

Because light therapy lamps are not regulated by the FDA, it’s important to check the specifications before buying. You’ll want a lamp with a brightness of at least 10,000 lux and UV-blocking technology. Otherwise, here are a couple of other factors to consider:

Size: The size of a SAD lamp will determine how far it can be from your face. The larger the lamp, the further its range, which gives you more space. On the flip side, smaller lamps are easier to store and more portable.

Position: Light therapy lamps come in every shape from desk lamps to floor lamps. A desk lamp is ideal if you want to get your therapy session in while working, while floor lamps or box lights are better for setting up next to your couch.

Style: Even though it’s a therapy tool, SAD lamps are still something you’ll have to look at in your home. For this reason, it’s not a bad idea to consider the style of the lamp to make sure it fits your decor.

What Are the Best Light Therapy Lamps?

Whether you suffer from SAD or just need a mood booster in these crazy times, check out the best light therapy lamps we’ve rounded up below.

1. Carex Light Therapy Lamp

Courtesy Amazon

Carex is often used in clinical trials for SAD, making it one of the most-trusted brands for light therapy lamps.

This lamp is one of their best-sellers with impressive features to help people with SAD, as well as anyone looking to improve their mood. The lamp’s 250-square-inch face and clinical-strength 10,000 lux intensity make the lamp very efficient. 99.3% UV-blockage also means you don’t need to worry about safety or over-exposure (although 30 minutes a day is more than enough for results).

Although the Carex doesn’t score high in terms of style, the design makes up for it with functionality. The lamp stands 31-inches tall and can be angled at various positions for different activities. Place it on a desk and angle it down for reading, or put it on a side table while watching TV.

In short, the Carex is the most versatile option and should work great for almost anyone.

Buy: Carex Light Therapy Lamp at $129.99

2. Verilux HappyLight

Courtesy Amazon

Smaller light therapy lamps might not be as effective as larger options, but the convenience can make them better for some users. If you’re looking for something smaller, we recommend this HappyLight from Verilux.

The Verilux packs the basic requisite features: 10,000 lux brightness and UV-free light. However, because it’s small, you’ll want to place it closer to your face (about 12 inches) or do therapy sessions longer than 30 minutes.

But the compact design of the Verilux is also its strength. You can easily set it up on your desk or dining table without cluttering, or place it on your bedside table. It’s also ideal for traveling (if that ever happens again), coming in handy for beating jet lag.

Another reason we the HappyLight is its adjustability. You can choose from two brightness levels, meaning you can have some less intense light as an afternoon pick-me-up. The lamp also has two interchangeable lenses: one high-power and one more comfortable glare-controlled option.

Buy: Verilux HappyLight at $59.99

3. Sunrise Sensations DayBright

Courtesy Amazon

Sunrise Sensations goes in a less clinical, stylish direction with this DayBright lamp. It’s a more casual way to enjoy some light therapy, but we don’t recommend it for people with SAD.

Instead of the typical flat-screen design of most light therapy lamps, the DayBright has a geometric design with multiple light-emitting panels. This gives the lamp a wider, less direct spread of light, making it a little more a normal lamp than a therapy device. Plus, this geometric shape, combined with genuine wood trimming makes the lamp a home decor upgrade as well as a mood-booster.

The DayBright’s usability goes even further thanks to adjustable brightness and temperature settings. This means you can set it on low for a mellow session. And if you want more than one of these lamps, the included remote can control up to four of them.

The casual design of this lamp makes it ideal for people looking for more energy while cooped up inside, but it also translates to less effectiveness if you’re actually trying to treat SAD.

Buy: Sunrise Sensations DayBright at $229.00

4. Northern Light Flamingo

Courtesy Amazon

Floor therapy lamps are the most versatile choice, allowing you to place the lamp by a desk, bed, couch or workout space.

Our favorite floor lamp is this Northern Light Flamingo with a four-foot height and a rotating head for maximum adjustability in any room. The Flamingo’s screen has a 91-square-inch face, which makes it big enough for effective light therapy but compact enough to be discrete – even in small spaces.

The Flamingo also boasts some added hardware that most light therapy lamps don’t have: an electronically-powered ballast. This extra device keeps the lamp from flickering or humming, ensuring a much more reliable, pleasant experience.

Although it’s on the pricey side, the extra dough is money well spent. The materials are nice, the light quality is top-of-the-line, and a seven-year warranty ensures years of use.

Buy: Northern Light Flamingo at $229.99

5. Alaska Northern Lights Northstar

Courtesy Amazon

This Northstar lamp from Alaska Northern Lights is the most heavy-duty option. It boasts an industry-leading 281-square-inch face that’s large enough for multiple people to use at once.

This also means the lamp works at a much further distance, so you can get effective light therapy treatment at up to two feet.

If you have a cluttered desk space or just want a more comfortable experience, this light is ideal.

Another reason why we highly recommend this lamp is it comes from Alaska Northern Lights, an established brand that’s been selling lights since 1993. In a market not regulated by the FDA, this kind of brand reliability is important.

The Northstar also features an electronic ballast, so you can expect quiet, flicker-free light. Although it’s not dimmable, the lamp includes a diffuser for softer, more comfortable light. The only possible downside for some buyers is the lamp’s bulkiness, but that’s a worthy sacrifice for the large face.

Buy: Alaska Northern Lights Northstar at $299.77

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10 Best SAD Lamps for Mood-Boosting in 2021 — Light Therapy Lamps

The 10 Best Light Therapy Lamps of 2021


No, it's not just you — the colder months can be hard for a lot of people. These feelings of depression, fatigue, and disinterest in social activities are typically caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD), and roughly 1 in 20 people in the U.S. population lives with this affliction.

One popular and low-risk way to help alleviate the feelings of SAD is to use a light-therapy device known as a SAD lamp to begin your day with a much-needed dose of brightness.

The Best SAD Lamps:

“SAD is a pattern of significant depressive symptoms that occur and then disappear with the changing of the seasons,” says Dr. Deborah Serani, psychologist and author of Living With Depression. “It affects millions worldwide, primarily occurring in areas of higher latitudes from the equator, and it tends to be found more in females than males.”

Because winter days are so short, most people find themselves feeling affected by SAD due to a lack of exposure to natural sunlight.

“Individuals with SAD often have an ultra-sensitive body clock, called circadian rhythm, which gets thrown off when exposed to less sunlight,” says Serani.

“Though it can help to spend more time outdoors and use sunshine to your advantage, I always recommend patients to invest in light-therapy devices, because they can better control the timing and dosage of artificial light.”

What to Consider

While the SAD lamps of yesteryear tended to be large, clunky devices that took up an entire tabletop, many models today are small, sleek, and usually portable. In addition to wintertime use, frequent travelers may also find that packing and using a smaller SAD lamp can help their circadian rhythm better adapt to a new time zone.

All of the SAD lamps in this guide are equipped with 10,000 lux light, which is the recommended standard for these products. Your main consideration for choosing the best SAD lamp for you is finding a size and design that you , as well as any unique features color temperature adjustment, timer functions, and wireless charging capabilities.

While facing toward (but not staring directly at) a SAD lamp on a morning schedule for up to 30 minutes a day has shown to be an effective, low-side-effect supplement to your morning routine, it is also recommended that you consult with your doctor before using a light-therapy device and definitely not use it in place of regular medication or therapy.

Here are the best SAD lamps to help you find brighter days ahead.

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Best Overall

Verilux HappyLight Touch LED Light Therapy Lamp Verilux


  • Dimensions (length/depth/height): 6x1x10 inches

This SAD lamp model from Verilux weighs in at just under 2 pounds and is as slim and lightweight as an e-reader device. 

It offers three brightness levels and two color temperatures that are operated by two buttons on the bottom of the panel. Reviewers love its small shape and very intuitive design that anyone can pick up and use instantly. 

More: The Best Chunky Knit Blankets to Make Cold Days a Little Cozier


Geometric Wood

Sunrise Sensations DayBright Light Therapy Lamp Sunrise Sensations


  • Dimensions: 15x8x15 inches

If you don't want to have to hide your SAD lamp in a drawer when you're not using it, opt for one that looks an arty decor object. This one's intriguing geometric frame is made from authentic, FSC-certified wood.

This multifaceted light therapy lamp emits 5,000 to 10,000 lux light from its numerous panels, giving it a wider light range than flat-screened devices provide. It also comes with its own remote — you can adjust everything from the brightness to the color temperature in one convenient place.


Best Budget

Verilux HappyLight Compact Light Therapy Energy Lamp Verilux

This budget-friendly pick from Verilux is a great starter lamp for its small size and affordability — just turn it on shortly after waking up and use it while getting ready (or even while you stretch or brush your teeth) to help reduce your cold-weather fatigue. 

It has an on/off switch on the back with no timer or color temperature functionalities, but it's incredibly lightweight and small enough to stow away easily. This is the SAD lamp we've used for the last three winters and we love how simple and no-frills it is.


Glowing Orb

ElectriBrite Light Therapy Lamp ElectriBrite


  • Dimensions: 10x2x10 inches

As SAD lamps continue to grow in popularity, these tools are starting to look less medical devices and more chic accent lights. 

This circular light-therapy lamp is about the size of a makeup mirror at just over 10 inches in diameter. Plus, it has a detachable kickstand to keep it propped up at any angle you desire. Users can operate the brightness, color temperature, and timer all through its included remote control.


Adjustable Design

Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp

  • Dimensions: 16x12x31 inches

If you want a big lamp and have the space for it, this Carex SAD lamp is the one to get. The light tilts and is also height-adjustable, so you can angle it to be more comfortable for you. 

The functionality is very simple, only providing two levels of light — the brighter one is 10,000 lux, which is most recommended for light therapy use.



Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp Circadian Optics


  • Dimensions: 4x3x3 inches (when upright)

Reviewers say that this SAD lamp is “small but mighty,” and they’re not kidding: It’s just over 3 inches tall, and it sits in an adjustable stand that you can raise easily into position. It’s powered by USB, so you can take it pretty much anywhere.

This SAD lamp has a one-touch operation, which turns the lamp on and toggles through three different brightnesses. The highest brightness level is 10,000 lux. We also its white-and-orange color scheme, which stands out from the monochromatic pack.


Tabletop Decor


  • Dimensions: 8x3x13 inches

At first glance, no one would ever guess that this sculptural table lamp is actually a SAD lamp. Available in a black or white frame, it suspends its light at a comfortable height.

This lamp has five timer settings, five brightness levels, and three color temperatures, so you have more than enough flexibility with how you want to enjoy its bright light during the darker months.


Desk Lamp Design

Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp Circadian Optics


  • Dimensions: 14x2x4 inches

For those who typically wake up well before the sun rises, this pick provides three levels of light brightness for helping to balance your body's circadian rhythm. 

It emits strong 10,000 lux light while positioned 12 inches away from the user, and it also gives off a pleasant feeling of warmth as well. We also its adjustable-height design, which looks similar to a desk lamp.


Wearable Device

Luminette 2 Light Therapy Glasses Luminette 2


If your mornings are more get-up-and-go, and you just don't have the time to sit still in front of a light-therapy device for the recommended 30 minutes, the Luminette 2 is a portable and hassle-free solution. 

It sits above your ears an adjustable pair of glasses, and it sends light (at a lower lux level) to the photoreceptors in your eyes while keeping your vision unobstructed. It's advised that you wear them for at least 20 minutes per day to see results.


Gentler Wake-Up Call

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock

Are mornings always a struggle for you? Try making your wake-up just as soothing as your wind-down. This fan-favorite wake-up light is equipped with sunrise and sunset simulation, 20 brightness levels, seven different colors, and seven soothing sounds. It can even be used as a night light or reading lamp.

While this device isn't technically a SAD lamp (it only emits around 200 lux), its gradual morning glow can help gently rouse you, even when the world outside is still dark.

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9 Best Light Therapy Lamps 2021 — Top SAD Lights for Winter

The 10 Best Light Therapy Lamps of 2021


Daylight saving time ended just recently, so hooray to one more hour of sleep for us all. But are we really feeling better? Sun setting as early as 4:30 p.m., days becoming shorter, the darkness arriving much earlier, and temperatures plummeting… It is difficult to adapt to, especially after the last at-home winter.

You probably occasionally feel a little down.

But if insomnia, exhaustion, melancholy, and the impulse to gaze into nothing for 45 minutes are all hitting you at once, don’t fret, but you might have what is called “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” or SAD for short, which, according to the American Psychiatric Association, is experienced by five percent of adults in the U.S.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

You should see a doctor for a medical diagnosis, but just for your information, SAD, as defined by Mayo Clinic, is a recurrent mood disorder related to seasonal changes that manifests itself in depressive episodes around the same time each year, most commonly during fall and winter months. It is believed that shorter days thus shorten our exposure to sunlight, which reduces the production of serotonin, the mood regulator in our brain powered by daylight. It can make us moody, as well as increase our levels of melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel sleepy.

When these two chemicals responsible for our body’s circadian rhythm are disrupted, coupled with the fact that we’ve been stuck inside for so long anyway, it's the perfect storm for SAD and its symptoms: Energy being sapped, feeling grumpy or depressed all day long, insomnia or hypersomnia, diminished concentration, a social battery that won’t go from red to green, lost interest in doing stuff, not to mention lowered sex drive.

Some people experience milder mood shifts, or the «winter blues,» when we enter the chilly, darker seasons.

You might feel more sluggish, more languid, and gloomier than your usual, summery self, but not experience an overhauling impact on daily life.

However, if these mood shifts become overwhelming to the extent that you can't enjoy life or properly function at work or in personal relationships, you may have the diagnosable SAD.

How Light Therapy Lamps Can Help

There are a few options for addressing SAD, which a medical professional will help you navigate. For one, you can wait until the spring comes and daylight hours lengthen, but that takes months-long patience.

You can also lift curtains all the way up every morning to bathe yourself in sunlight, or go outside, but let’s not test the limits of what dry, cold weather and ultraviolet beams—which, despite being weaker in winter, can still cause damage—do to freshly-ready-for-going-out skin.

The most popular, trendy treatment that's also recommended by Mayo Clinic and the American Psychiatric Association to relieve SAD is light therapy, done by sitting in front of a special, bright light box every day, usually in the morning, for a certain duration. These lamps mimic natural daylight and help recondition your body and brain via optimal sunlight exposure, thus bringing your biological clock back to its regular schedule.

SAD light therapy lamps come in different forms, from desk lamps to floor lamps, in styles box or tablet, and as such can be tailored to various activities, such as multitasking, eating breakfast, watching TV, or meditating.

But the most useful SAD lamps must emit an illuminance intensity of at least 10,000 LUX in order to simulate a sunny day, and must be UV-free for the most basic skincare. You should check with your healthcare provider to determine the best light therapy lamp for you, or if you should use one at all.

If you're past that step, we rounded up the best light therapy lamps, across a variety of styles, just in case.

All of the light therapy lamps below come with instructions, but we also have some general advice on using one to soak up all that (fake) sunshine: Position it above your eye level, at a slightly downward angle to avoid glare, and place it at a distance where the rays can enter your eyes naturally, the sunlight from the sky.

A light therapy session usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes, but depending on the size of your lamp’s light panel surface (or how wide of an area the emitted light will cover), you’ll need to adjust the distance and session duration accordingly.

For instance, with smaller lamps, you must sit closer to the light and stay put for a longer exposure.

So review our picks to your liking, and do the light therapy consistently to feel a little merrier this winter.

Want to ensure your tech is up to date—and stylish as hell? Join Esquire Select.

Best Overall Light Therapy Lamp

Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp

It’s hard to define the best light therapy lamp, but one thing to keep in mind is that the more surface area the light covers, the more optimal contact your retinas will get, even when you’re moving your head or scooting just a little left on your chair.

Carex’s lamp can do that for you at a not-too-shabby 12 inches, while hitting the magic number of 10,000 LUX. You’ll get one of the most ideal therapeutic light intensities, since you can’t really escape its large light panel. It does look quite girthy, but this isn’t a light therapy lamp pageant.

Standing at 31 inches tall (height-adjustable) with a tiltable light panel, its practicality more than enough makes up for it.

Best Portable Light Therapy Lamp

HappyLight Lucent Light Therapy Lamp

Get light therapy lamps with large panels for the complete therapeutic experience. With a smaller, more portable lamp, you can receive the same if you place it closer to your head or do a longer session.

HappyLight’s simple, six-by-nine-inch, tablet-esque design meets all prerequisites as an intense, ​​10,000 LUX, UV-free, glare-free, and flicker-free light. The trade-off of having a smaller surface is losing some in effectiveness but gaining a whole lot in convenience.

It’s so compact you can carry it onto a flight and fight SAD right after you land in a different time zone. And it comes with perks such as a wall mounting system and a timer for therapy session countdown.

Best Heavy-Duty Light Therapy Lamp

Northstar Bright Light Therapy Lamp Alaska Northern Lights

Don’t be intimidated by this monster; its size undoubtedly implies its heavy-duty performance. With the bulkiness of a briefcase, this light therapy lamp is substance-over-style and can provide full light projection at up to two feet for long-distance exposure in your spacious home or office.

Its light panel is the largest here; as such, its sheer emission of remedic light is wide enough to cover multiple people, or you can just bathe your entire upper body in its low-glare luster, which does no damage to your eyes. Position it vertically or horizontally for optimal usage in different spaces.

But don’t get too close to it, just you shouldn’t get too close to the sun. It really is just so bright. Which is a good thing.

Best Multifunctional Light Therapy Lamp

Radiance Light Therapy Lamp

With your busy schedule, you probably don’t have the luxury of spending 30 minutes basked in the bright light of recuperation while doing nothing else. For multitaskers who want to get healed with natural light while working away at their desk, this multifunctional therapy lamp is worth considering.

It’s packed with a wireless charging station, an alarm clock, and a USB port, and you can fold it up. All these features combined with a brightness level of 10,000 LUX make Radiance ideal for WFH people who suffer from sunlight deprivation and enjoy healing as much as hustling away for that paycheck.

Most Stylish Light Therapy Lamp

DayBright Light Therapy Lamp

Instead of the more direct, flat-surface design, Sunrise Sensations’ DayBright lamp has a geometric structure boasting multiple panels that aim for 360 degrees of sunlight spread.

You’ll still get the potent 10,000 LUX for boosting your mood, and you’ll probably feel even better just from looking at DayBright’s modern design, which is crafted with real wood.

We all feel better after seeing beautiful things, don’t we?

Best Home Décor Light Therapy Lamp

Lattis Light Therapy Lamp

It’s a lamp, after all—a home product. Might as well get a home-décor-friendly option that also ticks all the utilitarian boxes as a light therapy device. Lattis’ stacked-rectangles outlook beats the techy, medical, or even surgical designs of other light therapy lamps.

Yes, its light panel is on the smaller end, but it does emit concentrated, extremely bright light at 10,000 LUX for a restorative session if you get your face all up on it (it’s got three levels of brightness just in case you get too close).

Be sure to find a way to place it above your eye level.

Best Light Therapy Floor Lamp

Flamingo Light Therapy Floor Lamp Northern Light Technologies

Short on desk surface space, but got enough space next to your couch in the living room? Then consider a light therapy floor lamp.

Northern Light Technologies’ Flamingo floor lamp, in fact, stands at four feet tall so you can set it up next to your computer desk, bed, living room sofa, treadmill as you run it out, or stationary cycling bike as you ride it out.

And it’s equipped with a ballast hardware device to stabilize the light, preventing humming or flickering, because the sun doesn't hum or flicker. It sends forth 10,000 LUX of light up to 12 inches away, with a rotating head for wherever you are in the room.

Best Desk Light Therapy Lamp

Lumos Light Therapy Lamp

This one doesn’t scream “I’m a light therapy lamp,” so it can be a great addition to the corner of your small desk or tabletop, because you can turn it on for the treatment process right as you commence your daily work.

Its portable dimensions and adjustable hinge make it versatile for twisting and turning to get the proper angle of exposure. Even though its light panel is rather small, it still has the same LUX and full-spectrum light of a sun hovering at twelve o’clock.

Place it less than 12 inches away from your eyes and turn it on while you work for 45 minutes to help you stay awake, focused, and energized.

Best Light Therapy Glasses

Luminette 3-Light Therapy Glasses

This probably isn’t what you came for, but you gotta admit, it’s a much more personal, and definitely the most portable, option here.

And given the choice of wearing these regular glasses on the go, in any setting—gym, work, reading, walking your yorkie—for 30 minutes per day, while also getting the healing benefits equivalent to a bluish 10,000 LUX of light, would you turn a blind eye? We hope not.

These glasses are akin to headsets: While they do expose your eyes directly to the soothing luminescence, they will not hinder your normal viewing experience, whether you’re wearing actual glasses, contact lenses, or nothing at all.

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