[18 Tested] The Best Affordable LED Desk Lamps 1233

[18 Tested] The Best Affordable LED Desk Lamp

Sneak Peek

  • When you’re at work or reading, a desk lamp can help you better focus on what you’re working on. Importantly, it allows you to customize the lighting situation based on your personal preference, including brightness, color temperatures and the position of light source.
  • To find out the minimalist desk lamps with brilliant lighting performance, we rounded up 18 models for testing. And after long-term use, we finally settled on four desk lamps that meet your different needs.
  • Picking a decent desk lamp can be tricky. We have to take these five features into account: illuminance, color temperatures, color rendering index (CRI), physical adjustability and glare reduction.
  • When we select desk lamps, these two features — flicker-free and anti-blue light — often appear as products’ selling points. However, they are just the gimmicks hyped by the manufacturers to cater to the concerns of the public.

Sneak Peek

  • When you’re at work or reading, a desk lamp can help you better focus on what you’re working on. Importantly, it allows you to customize the lighting situation based on your personal preference, including brightness, color temperatures and the position of light source.
  • To find out the minimalist desk lamps with brilliant lighting performance, we rounded up 18 models for testing. And after long-term use, we finally settled on four desk lamps that meet your different needs.
  • Picking a decent desk lamp can be tricky. We have to take these five features into account: illuminance, color temperatures, color rendering index (CRI), physical adjustability and glare reduction.
  • When we select desk lamps, these two features — flicker-free and anti-blue light — often appear as products’ selling points. However, they are just the gimmicks hyped by the manufacturers to cater to the concerns of the public.

Last updated: March 18, 2019

In this update, we added five desk lamps for testing. Among them, XIAOMI Mijia Smart LED Desk Lamp Pro which is launched recently surprised me through and through. We named it as our Upgrade Pick because of its impressive light and multiangle physical adjustability. Plus, together with another four desk lamps, we tested eight affordable models in total and finally found out the Budget Pick that meets our basic demands yet without many trade-offs to get the cost down.

Our Pick

OPPLE 17W LED Desk Lamp

A desk lamp with the best lighting effect

It has the best lighting effect, bright enough to light up your workplace. With an auxiliary light, it ensures a uniform light to help you reduce eye strain. Its minimalist design makes it easy to fit with a range of decors.
AED 139.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Bright and uniform light+3 color modes+Honeycomb light panel to prevent glare+An auxiliary light built in the neck
Cons:
-Limited range of physical adjustability

Since there are not many lights or lamps in my room, every night I have to immerse in a very dark environment when I’m reading. Thankfully, the OPPLE 17W LED Desk Lamp turned out to changed my life. In our illuminance test, within a radius of 300mm, the OPPLE can max out up to 1062 lux which is far higher than other desk lamps’. Thanks to its unique honeycomb light panel design, it can provide bright-enough light and meanwhile prevent glare effectively. Besides, it has an auxiliary light built in the middle of its neck to improve lighting in a dim environment. Last but not least, the OPPLE offers three color-temperature modes for you to select as needed.

Read our detailed review here.

Also Great for Amazon

TaoTronics TT-DL13 Desk Lamp

Easiest to control

It offers a wide range of brightness and color temperatures, as well as the most intuitive control. It is one of the most physically adjustable lamps we tested, so you can customize the lighting situation as you wish.
US $29.99 from Amazon US£29.99 from Amazon UKCA $43.99 from Amazon CA Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Bright-enough light+5 color modes+Intuitive brightness control+Multiangle physical adjustability
Cons:
-Slightly inferior to our pick in brightness

TaoTronics TT-DL13 doesn’t have the best illuminating performance, and its appearance design is not the most outstanding. But at the end of the day, it can reach a score of eighty points in all the aspects. It basically meets all criteria we set for a desk lamp — it is able to produce bright-enough light, offers color temperatures ranging from 2,700K to 6,000K, effectively prevents glare and provides impressive adjustability. No wonder it has always been the best seller on Amazon. I have to admit that it’s hard to find another desk lamp like this cost-effective one with high performance and functionality.

Read our detailed review here.

Upgrade Pick

XIAOMI Mijia Smart LED Desk Lamp Pro

A decent lamp that’s rare to see

Besides our pick, it’s the second lamp we found which emits bright but not harsh light. Moreover, it has multiangle physical adjustability, making it quite flexible to lit up your whole desktop.
AED 299.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Uniform, bright light+2500K~4800K color temperature range+Infinite adjustment of brightness and color temperatures+Three-axis flexible adjustability
Cons:
-Slightly expensive

We have been struggling to search for an upgrade pick, since many so-called “eye-caring” desk lamps that cost twice or three times as much are inferior to our pick in the lighting effect. Luckily, we came across Xiaomi Desk Lamp Pro which opened the door for us. Although its average illuminance is no match for our pick’s, it still can provide a uniform and bright light. The light is fairly “pure.” Even if you stare at it, you won’t feel any uncomfortable. The real shining point of it is the physically adjustable range which is the widest one we’ve ever tested, so it allows for flexible adjustment based on your needs.

Read our detailed review here.

Budget Pick

OPPLE Eye-Caring LED Desk Lamp

The best bang for your buck

It’s an affordable desk lamp with a simple design. It provides bright-enough light and multiangle physical adjustability. Most importantly, unlike many cheap desk lamps, it doesn’t have bright glare.
AED 99.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Bright-enough light+Multiangle physical adjustability+No bright glare+No adjustment for color temperatures
Cons:
-Slightly expensive

Frankly, after testing several cheap desk lamps, my heart sank a little since these models’ lighting effects were not that satisfied. They have two extreme problems: they  either come with quite inadequate brightness or have bright glare. However, the OPPLE Eye-Caring LED Desk Lamp stands out from the crowd in the low-price range. It strikes the right balance between brightness and glare reduction.

Read our detailed review here.

OUR DISCOVERY

Who should buy this

Whether you are reading, writing, painting or crafting, you always hope to highly focus on what you’re doing and absorbedly finish every task. Working in a well-designed workplace actually can help you concentrate on your task and enhance your working efficiency. That generally means you need a cozy office chair and some quality furniture, but having good lighting in your workplace is equally important. Without a good desk lamp, you may suffer eye strain, or even myopia and other risks of eye disease. 

Reading under a terrible desk lamp

Even if the lighting condition in your home is very good, buying a decent desk lamp is still a worthy investment. You can use a desk lamp to customize your lighting situation (color temperatures and brightness) to make it more versatile to suit your mood or match the time of day. That’s something you can’t do with the traditional overhead lights. To be more specific, if you work late and plan to sleep, you may prefer to use warm light (truly, some studies have proved that the warm light is beneficial to melatonin production which can help you fall asleep); on the contrary, if you need to maintain high concentration on working in the day, using cool light is more appropriate. So, basically, a good desk lamp should give you plentiful options to adjust the lighting effect.

And it can allow you to regulate the position of the light source when you can’t move or manipulate the ceiling lights. In that way, when your beloved and kids are asleep beside you, you still can literally turn on the desk lamp and continue to finish your task.

Writing under a decent desk lamp

If your desk lamp is conventional incandescent, halogen, or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb, an LED lamp will be a more pleasing and economical alternative. Since LEDs have extremely long lifespans, you don’t need to replace light bulbs at regular intervals. More importantly, LEDs are very energy efficient. A 40W incandescent bulb puts out about 450Lm, while an equivalent-brightness LED bulb just consumes 6 to 9 watts.

How we picked

Buying a new desk lamp sounds like an easy thing. You can easily get a nice one from Walmart or other shopping platforms. However, since there are a plethora of selections available on the market, picking a good desk lamp becomes a tricky thing. Moreover, it involves many indicators of lamps. At first, we pored through lots of relevant information, and found the following indicators you’d better notice. Then, we picked products from some major e-commerce platforms like Taobao, Alibaba, Jingdong, Amazon, Aliexpress, and Souq.com. Finally, we bought 18 desk lamps for hands-on testing.

We rounded up a great number of desk lamps for testing.

Illuminance

Illuminance test

Illuminance, an important indicator of lamps, indicates the lighting effect of a lamp. It is measured in lux (Lx). So, how much illuminance is required to make a lamp bright enough? According to the lighting criteria, we think a desk lamp that conforms to the illuminance standard should have an average illuminance of over 250 Lx within a radius of 300mm. Only in this standard can a desk lamp provide bright-enough light and reduce eye fatigue. Plus, from the average illuminance, we can know whether a lamp distributes light evenly or not so that we can avoid those lamps which sometimes create bright light and sometimes dark to strain your eyes when you’re at work.

Besides, you will find that many manufacturers use the term “luminous flux” or “brightness” which is measured in lumens (Lm) to describe a desk lamp’s lighting capability. Then what are the differences between it and illuminance? Put simply, brightness (luminous flux) describes the amount of light emitted by a light source, while illuminance is the total luminous flux incident on a surface per unit area, indicating the lighting effect. In our test, we used illuminance (the later one) to evaluate the lighting capability of each desk lamp. It is an easy way to measure the illuminance of each desk lamp on the same desk surface with a lux meter. And more importantly, the illuminance can directly reflect the lighting effect of each desk lamp.

Glare

Harsh glare

The glare will make you uncomfortable, distract you and even cause eye strain and affect eye health. Hence, whether a desk lamp can effectively prevent glare is also a crucial evaluating criterion. Aside from all quantitative criteria, the most effective and practical way to prevent glare is to avoid direct light straightly shooting your eyes. In other words, don’t let your eyes directly look into the bulbs or the bright points of light.

For glare reduction, a good desk lamp should feature the following two points. First, it should come with a hood that completely covers the bulb or a diffusion panel to soften the bright points of light. Second, a great LED lamp can allow you to adjust its height and angle to let the beam of light focus on what you are doing. It’s of great importance for focusing light and preventing glare. Especially for some short children, the desk lamp that fails to adjust height may lead to the direct light shooting into their eyes and, for long-term use, it will severely affect their eye health.

Color Temperatures

Adjust color temperatures

The color temperatures of a desk lamp refer to how warm or cool the light appears. It is measured in kelvin (K). The higher the color temperature, the cooler the light; and vice versa. An LED desk lamp usually has a range of color temperatures between 2,700K and 6,000K. In general, a lamp with a range of 4,000K to 6,000K is closed to daylight, which is ideal for studying or working. And the color temperatures between 2,000K and 4,000K are warm and cozy, which is perfect for using at night or relaxing. It’s all up to your personal preference and different usage scenarios. Overall, we think the best LED lamps should provide a series of color temperatures (better between 2,500K and 6,000K) for you to change based on your activity.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

A light source reveals the colors of a cup faithfully.

The color rendering index (CRI) describes a light source’s ability to accurately reveal the actual colors of an object. The “actual colors” we mention means the colors reflected under the natural daylight. That said, the sunlight or daylight features the best ability to depict colors, with a CRI of 100. Among all artificial light sources, the incandescent and halogen bulbs have the highest CRI ratings, which are nearly approached to 100, while the ordinary LED lamps with a CRI of over 80 are up to standard. In fact, most people would not notice a difference above 80 CRI. Of course, if you always need to work with drawing, painting and other tasks where color is important, you probably need a desk lamp that features as high CRI as possible. 

Light Adjustment

Adjust brightness

In addition to those lighting characteristics above, whether a desk lamp can be used conveniently is also worth considering. Particularly when we need to test a great many desk lamps, some lamps that are exceptionally hard to adjust the light always make us annoyed. In our test, we found some lamps that are easy to manipulate allows us to turn the light brighter or dimmer intuitively. For different usage scenarios, they will offer you a wide range of color-temperature modes to match your need. Last but not least, a great desk lamp should have a memory function. With this feature, every time you turn on the lamp, it will automatically cast your familiar light, so you don’t need to reset its color temperature and brightness.

Appearance

A desk lamp’s look matters as much as any furniture going in your home or office. Thus, aside from its functionality that should meet our needs, it also needs to look good and can match the overall style on our desk.

In conclusion, we know that it’s not easy to pick a good desk lamp, letting alone picking a cost-effective and high-performance desk lamp. They may have some minor defects in certain aspects, but what we’re concerned most are the core functions of desk lamps, such as whether they can offer an illuminance of over 250 lux within a radius of 300mm, and a range of color temperatures between 2,500K and 6,000K, whether they have a CRI of over 80, and whether they can effectively prevent glare.

Beyond that, some of the LED lamps we tested also provide additional features. Among them, some features are practical but not necessary, like timer function, whereas some are not that useful, like USB charging ports. Since most ports output only 5W of power, they charge at a slow speed, while a good USB charger or PD charger is able to charge your smartphones and tablets faster, or even can charge your laptops.

How we tested

After unboxing 18 desk lamps, we connected them to a power source and used as we would in our daily routines. During this process, we eliminated any lamps that are too bulky, or that create harsh glare. Through a real-world use, we found out some desk lamps with easy light adjustment, allowing you to intuitively turn the light brighter or dimmer as you wish. For different usage scenarios, they also offer you a wide range of color-temperature modes to match your need. 

Fact-check each desk lamp

The illuminance is the most crucial criterion to evaluate a desk lamp. We took the following steps to measure each desk lamp’s illuminance. First, we drew a semicircle with a radius of 300mm and marked five test points on it. Next, we conducted testing in a dark room with each desk lamp as the only light source, and we used a lux meter to measure and calculate the average illuminance on the five test points. During this process, all desk lamps were tested at the brightest level and all cast light at 400mm high. Through testing, we compared different desk lamps’ illuminance to find out the options that conform to our criteria.

We used a lux meter to measure and calculate the average illuminance on the five test points.

After picking out several desk lamps that meet our requirement on functionality, we also considered their prices and appearance designs, and we finally settled on four desk lamps that deserve to be recommended. Additionally, we used them for at least three months and will continue to do long-term tests to fact-check their quality and reliability.

Talk About Flickering and Blue Light

When we select desk lamps, these two features — flicker-free and anti-blue light — often appear as products’ selling points. Some manufacturers even talk a big game about them, greatly exaggerating their importance. So, what exactly are they? Whether they will do harm to the human body? And when picking desk lamps, do we need to factor these two things? Well, we’ll tell you below in detail.

Flickering

Flickering refers to rapid and repeated changes in brightness of a light source over time, which is directly perceived as light fluctuation or stroboscopic effects. Basically, it is caused by the changes or fluctuations in the voltage and current of the power supply. At present, household electricity is delivered through alternating current (AC). The current flow in an AC electric system will periodically reverse direction. During a cycle, the current rises to the peak, falls to zero, and changes a direction to continue. Therefore, during the AC current fluctuation, a lamp’s light output will be unsteady — sometimes bright and sometimes dark, changing periodically as the current changes. So, without the help of other components, the AC-powered lamp will produce light flickering. This is an objectively existing phenomenon. 

But, why people attach much importance to light flickering in recent years? In fact, the incandescent bulbs we used previously would flicker as well. However, it generally can’t be observed, because the thermal inertia of the filament in an incandescent bulb would somehow eliminate flickering. When the alternating current stops passing through the filament for a while, the filament still remains lots of excess heat to help emit light continuously. That’s also the reason why the incandescent lamps are quite inefficient — about 90 percent of electric power is converted into heat rather than visible light. But CFL bulbs and LED bulbs are different from the incandescent bulbs. They are sensitive to electricity. Once the electric power is shut off, they will go off immediately. Therefore, due to the widespread use of LED and CFL lamps, more and more people are concerned about this flickering issue.

Undeniably, light flickering may cause negative health effects on the human body. According to Nadarajah Narendran, the director of research at the Lighting Research Center (LRC) in Troy, N.Y., people can only directly perceive light flicker at frequencies of 50Hz or lower, and a few people can notice flicker at 100Hz, while flicker is invisible at frequencies of over 100Hz. Typically, the flicker within the range of 3Hz to 70Hz may induce seizures in some individuals who have photosensitive epilepsy. Though human eye can’t perceive above 100Hz flicker, the invisible flicker at frequencies within 100Hz to 500Hz may cause some sick-feeling symptoms induced by stroboscopic effects, such as sustained tension on eye muscles (human brain may be unaware of it, though), headaches, eyestrain, malaise, fatigue, etc. Therefore, people are increasingly caring about the flickering issue.

Well, actually, this issue can be solved. So far, many eligible LED lamps have already built with driver components to convert the AC to the direct current (DC). This solution can supply the LED lamps with a constant voltage and current as far as possible so that the LED lamps can emit light steadily without flickering. Thus, for the existing LED lamps, as long as they are qualified (conform to the industry standard and have quality certifications) and the AC electric system is stable, they all can be flicker-free. While those so-called “eye protection lamps” on the market only take “no flickering” as the biggest selling point but do not have any detailed parameters marked on it, like brightness, color temperatures, and CRI, they are just gimmicky to cater to the concerns of the public. That’s also the reason why we didn’t consider too much in the flickering issue when we selected desk lamps. (But it doesn’t mean any desk lamps that take “no flickering” as advertised are not good products. We just want you to know that it’s unnecessary to be excessively concerned about this feature.)

If you have already bought a traditional desk lamp, you’d better enhance the ambient brightness when you use it, which can effectively reduce the influence of flickering. Picture this, in your room, only a small area on your desk is illuminated, whereas other places are wholly dark. In this situation, the flickering will be more noticeable and more likely to harm you. Conversely, when you raise the average brightness in your room, even if the lamp is flickering, it will somehow reduce impacts on you.

Blue Light

When it comes to LED lights, people always mention the hazards of blue light. So, whether we should pay much attention to the harm of blue light?

To start, we need to figure out what exactly the blue light is. Well, as we all know, the visible light spectrum consists of seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Among them, the wavelengths of blue light and indigo light extend from 435nm to 500nm. Scientists usually refer the wavelengths ranging from 400nm to 500nm as “blue light region.” So, the blue light is not just existing in the LED lamps, but in all visible light. In general, the conventional LED lamps that emit white light are made using a blue LED chip with a yellow phosphor to mix the blue and yellow light, and then convert to white light. Thus, they will have relatively much blue light. And now, as LED has been widely applied in illuminating and displays, and the manufacturers advertise much, all these make the hazards of blue light frequently appear to our eyes.

Next, is blue light really “poisonous” to us? Without a doubt, the blue light does have adverse effects on our health. But we need to clear up this: the blue light is unequal to the danger, just like the traffic is not equal to the accident. Nevertheless, the very strong blue light that hits your eye’s retina may trigger a chain of reactions and generate toxic chemical molecules in retinal cells, which would cause negative effects on your eyes. Therefore, only the high-intensity blue light will do harm to our health.

But don’t fret. The regular LED desk lamps would not emanate high-intensity blue light. It’s because the intensity of blue light depends on these three factors: the brightness of light source, the proportion of blue light in the spectrum of the light source, and the exposure time in the blue light. For the first factor, the bright light emitted from a common household LED lamp would not contain high-intensity blue light. Next, when using your LED desk lamp, if you choose a light source with weak blue light component (low color temperature) and reduce the working time under a strong light environment, then you basically don’t need to worry about the hazards of blue light.

Our Pick

Our Pick: OPPLE 17W LED Desk Lamp

Our Pick

OPPLE 17W LED Desk Lamp

A desk lamp with the best lighting effect

It has the best lighting effect, bright enough to light up your workplace. With an auxiliary light, it ensures a uniform light to help you reduce eye strain. Its minimalist design makes it easy to fit with a range of decors.
AED 139.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Bright and uniform light+3 color modes+Honeycomb light panel to prevent glare+An auxiliary light built in the neck
Cons:
-Limited range of physical adjustability

Since there are not many lights or lamps in my room, every night I have to immerse in a very dark environment when I’m reading. Thankfully, the OPPLE 17W LED Desk Lamp turned out to change my life. I especially appreciate it as it illuminates my room, giving me a bright environment to better focus on reading. Of all desk lamps we tested, it has the best illuminating performance, as it can emit the most brilliant light and offers three color temperature modes to meet your need. In addition, it has a relatively high CRI of 90, which means it can reproduce an object’s colors similarly to what the natural daylight does.

Impeccable lighting effect

The most important duty of a desk lamp is to provide bright-enough light. In this aspect, the OPPLE does stand out. In our test, within a radius of 300mm, the OPPLE can max out an illuminance of up to 1062 lux, which is far higher than other desk lamps’. Hence, this lamp is able to light up your whole office desk and produce bright and uniform light for you when you’re working or studying. Moreover, it has a touch-sensitive panel on the base, making it fairly convenient to adjust brightness. You just need to slightly press the “+” or “-” icon on the panel.

Furthermore, it has an auxiliary light built in the middle of its neck to illuminate the surrounding environment. Yeah, we do think it’s a superb, thoughtful design, which can effectively reduce the contrast between the illuminated area and the ambient area to help your eyes better adapt from the bright to the dark and reduce eye fatigue. That’s something the traditional desk lamps can’t do.  

Testing illuminance 

Different color modes fit into various scenarios

In real-world use, you will be thrilled to see that the OPPLE offers three color temperature modes ranging from 3,000K to 5,700K. The lowest color temperature mode is relaxing mode, which can emanate warm and soft light for your bedtime reading. In writing mode, it offers you a neutral color temperature to help you focus your attention and protect against eye fatigue after reading and writing for a long time. One more mode is focus mode, which has a relatively high color temperature (cool light). It can help you keep focusing on your task and better enhance your productivity. But we advise you not to use this mode at night because it may have some adverse effects on your sleeping.

Additionally, this lamp has a computer mode, but it is not a color-temperature mode. In this mode, the main light on the top will shut down and only the auxiliary light will turn on. So, it can light up the surrounding environment and, at the same time, prevent the top light causing glare on your computer screen so that you can well focus on what’s on your screen.

Relaxing mode

Writing mode (left) & Focus mode (right)

Bright but not harsh

Surprisingly, it produces such a bright light without any bright glare. That’s beneficial from its unique honeycomb light panel design, which makes it do a better job in preventing glare than its competitors. According to what its vendor claims, this design is able to refract light repeatedly and filter several times to soften the light. In our test, we discovered a small detail. On its light panel, the LED light beads are arranged in dark-and-light alternating order, making it emit a pleasing and uniform light. Even if I used it for a long time, my eyes did not occur any discomfort. Instead, other desk lamps which seem less bright than the OPPLE will create annoying reflections or harsh light. This is the most praiseworthy point of this lamp to highlight.

The unique honeycomb light panel 

Although this lamp doesn’t have a super cool, architect-style design, it’s still an affordable desk lamp that has a perfect marriage of minimalist style and excellent functionality. Moreover, its minimalist appearance makes it super easy to match the style of your home decors.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

This lamp’s head can tilt 135 degrees up and down, but it just has one rotary joint, so the physical adjustability is limited. The lamp’s body can’t swivel from side to side on the base and its neck fails to lean forward or backward. Fortunately, it is able to illuminate a wide range of area and offer bright-enough light to make up this issue. Therefore, we don’t think it is much of an issue you need to worry too much.

Also Great

Also Great for Amazon: TaoTronics TT-DL13 Desk Lamp

Also Great for Amazon

TaoTronics TT-DL13 Desk Lamp

Easiest to control

It offers a wide range of brightness and color temperatures, as well as the most intuitive control. It is one of the most physically adjustable lamps we tested, so you can customize the lighting situation as you wish.
US $29.99 from Amazon US£29.99 from Amazon UKCA $43.99 from Amazon CA Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Bright-enough light+5 color modes+Intuitive brightness control+Multiangle physical adjustability
Cons:
-Slightly inferior to our pick in brightness

TaoTronics TT-DL13 doesn’t have the best illuminating performance and its appearance design is not the most outstanding. But at the end of the day, it can reach a score of eighty points in all the aspects. It basically meets all criteria we set for a desk lamp — it is able to produce bright-enough light, offers color temperatures ranging from 2,700K to 6,000K, effectively prevents glare and provides impressive adjustability. 

Bright-enough light

In our illuminance test, it can max out 469 lux within a radius of 300mm, meeting our illuminance standard. Though slightly inferior to our pick, it still can emit bright-enough light in real-world use. Best of all, it’s very easy and intuitive to adjust brightness. You just need to slightly slide your fingers along an arc of backlit circles on the touchpad on the base to select your preferred brightness.

Plus, it offers five color temperature modes from bright white light to warm yellow light to fit in any usage scenarios. One minor defect is that you need to repeatedly tap the button on its touch pad to cycle through different color temperatures. It’s a bit less convenient than some desk lamps that has several buttons (one button matches one color temperature) to let you directly choose the color you need.

Adjust brightness easily

Multiangle physical adjustability

TaoTronics TT-DL13 is one of the most physically adjustable lamps we tested, so you can customize the position of the light to your preference. It has four rotary joints for angle adjustment: its pivoting head can rotate 90 degrees left and right or tilt 135 degrees up and down; its lamp’s body can turn from side to side on the base; its neck is able to extend forward and backward to reach over papers or books. When you are reading and need more light, you can adjust the lamp closer to your book for brighter light.

TaoTronics TT-DL13 is flexible enough for you to adjust as you wish.

How to choose between TaoTronics TT-DL01 and TT-DL13

TaoTronics has an abundant product line of desk lamps. At this price range, it has another version, the TT-DL01, which has a higher brightness level than the TT-DL13. Initially, I thought the TT-DL01 would be a better choice. But after comparing, I found the TT-DL13 is more worthwhile to be recommended. 

TaoTronics TT-DL13 (left) & TaoTronics TT-DL01 (right)

In our illuminance test, the TT-DL01 did perform better, achieving 557 lux. However, it did a worse job in glare reduction, casting a harsh light. Conversely, the TT-DL13 has a frosted panel that fully covers the LED diodes to prevent glare effectively, and therefore it emits a pleasing and uniform light.

TaoTronics TT-DL01 (right) does a worse job in glare reduction than the TT-DL13 (left).

Beyond that, the TT-DL01 has only three rotary joints for angle adjustment, whereas the TT-DL13 has four. Last but not least, the whole body of the TT-DL01 is made of plastic material, making it a bit chintzy. Instead, the TT-DL13 is crafted to combine with aluminum alloy material in certain places, so it looks funky and sleek overall. No wonder the TT-DL13 has always been the best seller on Amazon. I have to admit that it’s hard to find another desk lamp like this one that hits the sweet spot between high performance and functionality. But I do not put its purchase link of Souq.com, since it involves a huge price premium. If you are a local consumer in UAE, I think the OPPLE 17W LED Desk Lamp is a way more affordable choice.

The TT-DL01 (right) is made of plastic material while the TT-DL13 (left) uses aluminum alloy material.

What’s more...

This desk lamp comes with a 5V/1A USB port on the rear of its base, so it can charge your devices. Though the charging speed is not that fast, having this extra feature is better than none. At such a reasonable price, this desk lamp that is jam-packed with functions is indeed a rare occurrence.

Upgrade Pick

Upgrade Pick: XIAOMI Mijia Smart LED Desk Lamp Pro

Upgrade Pick

XIAOMI Mijia Smart LED Desk Lamp Pro

A decent lamp that’s rare to see

Besides our pick, it’s the second lamp we found which emits bright but not harsh light. Moreover, it has multiangle physical adjustability, making it quite flexible to lit up your whole desktop.
AED 299.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) *Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Uniform, bright light+2500K~4800K color temperature range+Infinite adjustment of brightness and color temperatures+Three-axis flexible adjustability
Cons:
-Slightly expensive

We have been struggling to search for an upgrade pick, since many so-called “eye-caring” desk lamps that cost twice or three times as much are inferior to our pick in the lighting effect. Luckily, we came across Xiaomi Desk Lamp Pro which opened the door for us. It does a better job in physical adjustability than our pick. It also offers remarkable lighting effect.

It has the widest range of physical adjustability we’ve ever tested.

Although our pick features a marvelous lighting effect that can make up its flaw of physical adjustability to some extent, we are still trying to find out a desk lamp that offers the best combo of lighting effect and physical adjustability. Appreciatively, Xiaomi Pro exactly hits that sweet spot. Unlike our pick that has only one joint, Xiaomi Pro is built with more joints for adjustment. It totally has three joints respectively on the base, in the middle of its two arms and in the head shaft. 

Three joints for flexible adjustment

The axis on the base helps the lamp lean forward and backward, or swivel from side to side. As for the middle joint and the head shaft, they both help to tilt up and down. Thanks to these three joints, Xiaomi Pro is way more flexible and able to illuminate a wider area than other regular desk lamps. So, it allows users to randomly adjust the light position based on their different usage scenarios and stature.

The light is really AWESOME!

Though its average illuminance is no match for our pick’s, the light it emits is still quite uniform and bright. In our tests, its average illuminance went up to 633 lux which was far higher than most desk lamps we tested. Additionally, it officially claims a CRI of 90. In fact, it indeed can perfectly reproduce an object’s original colors. 

Testing illuminance

Xiaomi Pro comes with a professional optical design which is similar to the principle of surgical shadowless lamps. It has a circular luminous surface, which makes the light pretty uniform and transparent. Actually, we’ve tested several pricey eye-caring desk lamps, all of which utilize such a circular light-emitting surface, but somehow they still inevitably create glare. Only Xiaomi Pro works like a charm. We are all wowed by its glare reduction, as the light it emits is bright enough yet not harsh. Along with its wide and flexible angle adjustment, this lamp can well reduce eye fatigue even if you work under it for a long time.

The circular light-emitting surface

Simple and intuitive light control with Apple HomeKit Support

Unlike most desk lamps, Xiaomi Pro doesn’t have a series of complicated buttons to manipulate. The control of the entire lamp is done by only one button — the small knob. This makes it a more minimalist and aesthetic look, and vastly simplifies its operation. You just need to slightly press the knob to turn the lamp on, and rotate the knob to infinitely adjust the brightness.

Rotate the knob to adjust the brightness infinitely 

Similarly, to adjust its color temperatures, you just need to press and turn the knob at the same time. This lamp has color temperatures ranging from 2500K to 4800K, which means you can change based on your mood or different scenes. In addition, double press the knob, it will quickly switch to the focus mode which features a relatively high color temperature and brightness level. All in all, you can easily control the light via that small knob.

Press and turn the knob at the same time to adjust color temperatures

Beyond that, this lamp supports two smart app controls — Mi Home and Apple HomeKit. As Mi Home app is not yet supported by many countries outside China, Apple HomeKit can allow iOS users to fulfill this requirement.

It is very simple for connection: First, ensure the lamp is on and your iPhone has connected to your home’s Wi-Fi. Then, open the iPhone’s “Home” app and choose the “Add Accessory”. Last, scan the HomeKit Setup Code on the bottom of the lamp with your HomeKit App to finish configuration. In this way, every time you come home, you can simply turn on and off the light, and customize the brightness and color temperatures through the app.

Customize the brightness and color temperatures through the app

Budget Pick

Budget Pick: OPPLE Eye-Caring LED Desk Lamp

Budget Pick

OPPLE Eye-Caring LED Desk Lamp

The best bang for your buck

It’s an affordable desk lamp with a simple design. It provides bright-enough light and multiangle physical adjustability. Most importantly, unlike many cheap desk lamps, it doesn’t have bright glare.
AED 99.99 from DIGSHOP (UAE) Note: The price is based at the time of publishing.
Pros:
+Bright-enough light+Multiangle physical adjustability+No bright glare+No adjustment for color temperatures
Cons:
-Slightly expensive

Frankly, after testing several cheap desk lamps, my heart sank a little since these models’ lighting effects were not that satisfied. They either come with quite inadequate brightness or have noticeable glare. However, the OPPLE Eye-Caring LED Desk Lamp stands out from the crowd in the low-price range. It strikes the right balance between brightness and glare reduction.

How does it compare with the popular Xiaomi LED Desk Lamp?

In this budget group, Xiaomi has a popular desk lamp — Xiaomi LED Desk Lamp. To be honest, its unique minimalist design intrigued us at first sight. Compared to this OPPLE Eye-Caring LED Desk Lamp which only offers a color temperature of 4000K, the Xiaomi comes with color temperatures from 2700K to 6500K. That seems good, but on some main functions, it has some trade-offs that we can’t accept.

OPPLE Eye-Caring LED Desk Lamp (left) & Xiaomi LED Desk Lamp (right)

Firstly, the Xiaomi measures an average illuminance at only 409 lux which is inferior to the OPPLE. Next, its adjustability is quite narrow. It has only one rotating joint for adjustment. So, for some small folks, the direct light may straightly shoot their eyes. That limited adjustability is the compromise for its minimalist design. Perhaps, that is the reason why Xiaomi has launched the Xiaomi Smart LED Desk Lamp Pro to solve the defects of this early version. After an overall consideration, we settled on the OPPLE which performs better and is more affordable.

Xiaomi LED Desk Lamp has only one rotating joint for adjustment. 

Not much compromise in lighting effect

In this price range, the budget desk lamps more or less have some trade-offs to get the cost down, while this OPPLE desk lamp at least does its basic job well. In our illuminance tests, it maxed out 591 lux which basically surpassed many similar-priced desk lamps. That means it is bright enough to light up your workspace.

Testing illuminance 

In fact, there are other similar-priced models brighter than the OPPLE, but we do not choose them, because those lamps create much too bright glare. Their shades or diffusion panels fail to cover the light bulbs or the light source so that lead to glare and easily cause eye fatigue. For children, long-term using those lamps will affect their eyesight. Thankfully, the OPPLE’s diffusion panel can filter and soften the bright points of light, effectively preventing glare while remaining bright-enough light.

Wide range of physical adjustability

For glare reduction, other than the diffusion panel which should better soften the light source, the range of physical adjustability should be wide enough. We find that the OPPLE also does a capable job in this aspect. It’s rare to come across a desk lamp that has three joints in this price range. Its head can tilt up and down and even pivot about 360° around its axis; its body can lean forward or backward. So, if you feel the light not bright enough while reading, you can adjust it to reach over your book. 

The head can tilt up and down and even pivot about 360° around its axis; the body can lean forward or backward.

The Rivalry

TaoTronics TT-DL01 Desk Lamp: TaoTronics has an abundant product line of desk lamps. At a similar price, this TT-DL01 has a higher brightness level than the TT-DL13. Initially, I thought this TT-DL01 would be a better choice. But after comparing, I found the TT-DL13 is more worthwhile to be recommended. In our test, the TT-DL01 did perform better in illuminance, achieving 557 lux. However, it did a worse job in glare reduction, casting a harsh light. Conversely, the TT-DL13 has a frosted panel that thoroughly covers the LED diodes to prevent glare effectively, and therefore it emits a pleasing and uniform light. Beyond that, the TT-DL01 has only three rotary joints for angle adjustment, whereas the TT-DL13 has four. Last but not least, the overall body of TT-DL01 is made of plastic material, making it a bit chintzy. Instead, the TT-DL13 is crafted to combine with aluminum alloy material in certain places so that it looks funky.

Xiaomi LED Desk Lamp: This affordable desk lamp is an early version launched by Xiaomi. Its unique minimalist design intrigued me at first sight. But it makes compromises on some aspects for its price and simple design. Firstly, its illuminance measures only 409 lux, which is inferior to our budget pick. Next, its adjustability is limited. It has only one rotating joint for adjustment, so for some small folks, the direct light may straightly shoot their eyes. Perhaps, that is the reason why Xiaomi launched the Xiaomi Smart LED Desk Lamp Pro to solve the defect of this early version.

OPPLE MT-HY03T-116 Desk Lamp: In the product line of OPPLE, this desk lamp is an upgrade version of our pick. So, we want to fact-check whether this version — which is almost twice the price of our pick — is much better or not. However, it is not that great. Despite the improvement in physical adjustability and light adjustment that makes it more convenient to use, its illuminance and the range of color temperatures are still inferior to our pick. Thus, we don’t think this lamp is worth the splurge.

EYESPRO Desk Lamp: Among all desk lamps we tested, it is the only one that has a round luminous surface. It did perform well in illuminance. In our test, it produced a maximum illuminance of 832 lux, but it’s still lower than our pick. What’s worse, it is far bulky and heavy, which would take up much space on a desk.

Netease Desk Lamp: Its overall design is very similar to our pick’s, whereas many parameters of it still fall short of our pick’s. It also has an auxiliary light to improve background lighting, but neither its auxiliary light nor the main light is inferior to our pick’s.

HUAWEI PICK Desk Lamp: HUAWEI PICK is a self-owned brand launched by HUAWEI. Hmm… It is kind of similar to the form of Xiaomi. This desk lamp has the second-highest illuminance of all test models, ranking behind our pick. Unfortunately, it creates lots of damn glare and emits quite harsh light. In comparison, our pick OPPLE can cast bright-enough light and at the same time well prevent glare.

MEIDE Desk Lamp: This desk lamp quite disappoints us. Its price is one third higher than our pick’s. However, its illuminance is even inferior to many cheap desk lamps’.

Yeelight Desk Lamp: It features a unique shape and has very flexible physical adjustability. But it just offers a maximum illuminance of 337 lux, way lower than our Budget Pick. So, will it provide bright-enough light for you? No. Don’t count on it.

OPPLE Classic I Desk Lamp: It is the cheapest desk lamp among all test models. But it only puts out a maximum illuminance of 195 lux, which apparently does not meet our criterion. There are a lot of dirt-cheap desk lamps on the market but, after all, you get what you pay for. We need to select desk lamps that meet our criteria at a reasonable price, rather than blindly choosing cheap products.

OPPLE Classic II Desk Lamp: This is an upgrade version of the Classic I. It does enhance a lot in brightness and the range of color temperatures. In our test, it achieved a maximum illuminance of 500 lux, which is almost identical to our budget pick. However, it utilizes white plastic and it features a traditional appearance design, making it a bit old-fashioned. More fatally, it is one-third more expensive than our budget pick.

Updated Log

Last updated: March 18, 2019

In this update, we added five desk lamps for testing. Among them, XIAOMI Mijia Smart LED Desk Lamp Pro which is launched recently surprised me through and through. We named it as our Upgrade Pick because of its impressive light and multiangle physical adjustability. Plus, together with another four desk lamps, we tested eight affordable models in total and finally found out the Budget Pick that meets our basic demands yet without many trade-offs to get the cost down.

Philips LED Desk Lamp: Its brightness is about in line with that of our budget pick. However, it has lots of dealbreakers that many cheap desk lamps have. The light it emits is too harsh and causes glare. Worse still, it comes with only two joints for physical adjustability, which falls short of our budget pick.

OPPLE MT-HY03T-189 Desk Lamp: This OPPLE lamp sells at a very affordable price. In our illuminance tests, its average illuminance only reached 199.4 lux. Such a brightness level is no different than that of a candle. Therefore, we weeded it out at last.

OPPLE MT-HY03T-80 Desk Lamp: It looks quite similar to our budget pick. But unfortunately, it does a worse job in glare reduction. It will create bright glare when in use.

Comments

Previous ArticleNext Article
  • Khaled says:

    Love the XIAOMI lamp I bought. I take it to school and use it in my dorm while reading. And I’ve got to say it has a really cool design. Slim, light, and portable.

  • Adam says:

    Thanks great review. I highly recommend the OPPLE 17W LED lamp. The back light is much helpful. Love this…

  • Saiqa77 says:

    i’m a big fan of xiaomi. The lamp illuminates well and is not harsh at all. Everything is JUST RIGHT. Highly recommended.!!

  • Yousef says:

    So many options. Now i’m confused as hell.

  • Bentley R says:

    Any suggestions for bedside lamps? I wish you’d do bedside lamps too.

  • HenryM says:

    Bought the Xiaomi and it just worked well. Wide range of adjustment, great color temperatures, diffused light panel… Excellent desk lamp!

  • Philip says:

    Wow, it has been of immense help. Mine is super super bright, so I really desire a replacement.

  • Tracy H says:

    So glad I found this guide. Verrrrry hard to find a HIGH QUALITY LED lamp. The TaoTronics is just what I need.

  • Isabelle J. says:

    Handsome design of Xiaomi Desk Lamp Pro, I like it.

  • Katelyn says:

    Useful guide. Now I know how to choose a desk lamp. And I love that TAOTRONICS

  • Chloe says:

    All your recommendations seem decent!!

  • >