How to Choose a Desk Lamp

Posted on October 8, 2009 by Dan Dalton
Desk lamps provide task lighting: a tightly-focused light source that illuminates a small area. The proper desk lamp promotes ease of reading and reduces eye strain. Before you buy a desk lamp for your home or office, consider the different types of styles available, along with their advantages and disadvantages. Use this helpful desk lamp guide from to make an informed decision. Shop All Desk Lamps

Desk Lamp Design

Desk Lamps: Tradition Banker's Lamp Adjustable Task Lamp Contemprary Desk Lamp Contemporary Desk Lamp

Your desk lamp needs to fit in with your office decor while providing adequate lighting. Luckily, there are a wide variety of colors, finishes and silohuettes availble. Take your time, and you won't have to sacrifice function or style.

Desk Lamp Light Sources

Incandescent Lamps

Incandescent LampsIncandescent light bulbs produce little glare, enhance color definition, and provide a uniform level of light throughout their lifespan. That lifespan, however, is relatively short -- only about 200-1200. Incandescent bulbs are well-suited to ambient lighting applications, but for most task lighting purposes, incandescent lighting is less than ideal.

Halogen Lamps

Halogen LampsHalogen light bulbs give off bright, crisp lighting that eliminates shadows and reduces glare and eystrain. Thus, halogen lamps are excellent for task lights. Halogen bulbs also work well for general lighting, thanks to their 1000-2000 hour lifespan and energy-efficient nature.

Fluorescent Lamps

Fluorescent lampsFluorescent lights are very efficient, brighter than incandescent lighting, and operate in a cooler range of colors than incandescent. Very useful for task lighting, fluorescent bulbs last up to 10,000 hours, but have their own drawbacks. They tend to be more expensive than incandescent bulbs, and most require a bit of time to warm up before they reach their maximum light output. You can tell a fluorescent bulb is nearing the end of its lifespan when it begins to flicker or dim.

Full-Spectrum Lamps

Full-Spectrum LampsFull spectrum lighting produces the brightest, whitest light.  Designed to emulate natural sunlight as closely as possible, full-spectrum lamps are incredibly well-suited to task lighting applications, thanks to the lack of glare and resultant lack of eye strain. Full spectrum light bulbs are designed for optimum energy efficiency, and last up to 10,000 hours.

Additional Desk Lamp Features

Adjustable Neck Desk Lamps

Useful for both ambient and task lighting, the ability to adjust the focus of your lamp adds value and versatility.  Some adjustable lamps have variable height settings, allowing you to control whether the light is sharper or more diffuse, while others have necks made with a flexible design, which enables you to point the beam exactly where it’s needed most from project to project.

Adjustable Lighting Desk Lamps

Sometimes you need a little more or less light. With a dimmer or 3-way switch, you can increase the illumination when examining detailed documents, and then dim the lights afterwards so that your lamp isn’t blinding you while you concentrate on other tasks.

Magnifier Desk Lamps

Especially handy for picking out fine details, a lamp with an attached magnifier allows you to zoom in on your work, so that nothing goes unnoticed.

Clamp-On Task Lights

Even if your workspace doesn’t have room for a conventional lamp, you can still provide needed illumination with a clip- or clamp-based lamp.  Instead of a lamp resting on a flat surface, you can make use of clips and clamps to attach a lamp to whatever’s nearby, which means you’ll always be able to see what you’re doing.

Energy Efficient Desk Lamps

Energy consumption is a big concern these days, and with specially-designed energy-efficient lamps, you can do your part to minimize your impact.  These models are becoming more and more prevalent, so whether you’re looking for general or task lighting, chances are you’ll be able to find something with a low energy draw.

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