Best light therapy lamp

Medical Supplies & Equipment

Light therapy lamps impact the chemicals in your brain linked to sleep and mood, and they can help decrease the signs and symptoms of seasonal depression.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which light therapy lamp is best?

A light therapy lamp can help boost your mood, whether you are experiencing depression or your mood is simply worse than normal. Light therapy lamps impact the chemicals in your brain linked to sleep and mood, and they can help decrease the signs and symptoms of seasonal depression. It’s important to understand what to look for when purchasing a light therapy lamp, as well as the best options on the market.

What to know before you buy a light therapy lamp

Consider your budget

Think about your budget when you are deciding which type of light therapy lamp to buy. These lamps vary in price, depending on their size and intensity, but you can typically expect to pay anywhere from $30-200.

Use your light therapy lamp in the morning

It’s important to use a light therapy lamp in the morning, starting with 20-30 minutes at a time to see if the light therapy boosts your mood. If you don’t feel any effects from that 20- to 30-minute session, then you can increase your time to an hour each day.

Find the right size for you

Light therapy lamps come in a wide range of different sizes, from larger, box style lamps to small, tabletop lamps. It’s important to choose the right size for you, but keep in mind that smaller lamps might be less effective.

What to look for in a quality light therapy lamp

Intensity

The intensity of the light therapy lamp is the primary factor in predicting the effectiveness of the lamp. The intensity of the light from the lamp is measured in a unit known as lux. The lux describes how brightly your eyes perceive the light. 

Light therapy lamps typically fall into a range of 2,500-10,000 lux. In comparison, the average rating for home lighting is about 50 lux. Light therapy lamps with 10,000 lux are recommended for the fastest treatment.

Full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum

Some light therapy lamps feature broad-spectrum light, while other lamps use full-spectrum light. Broad-spectrum light is usually whitish in color and does not contain any UV rays, while full-spectrum light has a bluish color and features wavelengths from infrared to near-ultraviolet. You should make sure that the UV light is filtered out if you use a full-spectrum bulb, since the UV rays can damage and burn your skin.

Timer

Having a built-in timer on your light therapy lamp is important, since the timer can automatically keep track of how long your light therapy sessions are. These timers make it easier to offer accurate records, particularly if your doctor wants you to track the amount of time you spend with the light therapy lamp.

How much you can expect to spend on a light therapy lamp

Most light therapy lamps vary in price between $30 and $200. You can usually expect to spend $30-40 for small, 2,500 lux lamps, $45-65 for small, 7,500-8,000 lux lamps, $70-90 for larger lamps with 7,500-8,000 lux, $75-100 for small, 10,000 lux lamps and $100-200 for larger 10,000 lux lamps.

Light therapy lamp FAQ

Are there side effects to using a light therapy lamp?

A. There are some side effects from using light therapy lamps, but they are typically minor. Some light therapy lamp users report getting jitters, anxiety and headaches when they first start using the lamps. 

These side effects typically go away after just a few days, but you can also decrease the chance of experiencing these side effects by beginning your light therapy lamp usage with shorter sessions. Keep in mind that you should speak to an eye doctor before using a light therapy lamp if you have any eye disease or vision problems.

Do you need to stare into the lamp to get the benefits?

A. No, you should actually not stare directly into the light of the lamp, since it can lead to retina or cornea damage. The light therapy lamp should instead be positioned so that it shines down at you from an elevated position.

What are the best light therapy lamps to buy?

Top light therapy lamp

Verilux HappyLight VT22 Bright White Therapy Light

Verilux HappyLight VT22 Bright White Therapy Light

What you need to know: This best-in-class light therapy lamp offers highly effective light therapy and is considered an industry leader.

What you’ll love: This incredibly light therapy lamp features a spacious light surface, a sleek design, bright light and a fairly compact size. It can be positioned either vertically or horizontally.

What you should consider: Keep in mind that some customers have reported faulty units.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top light therapy lamp for the money

Verilux HappyLight V10 Compact Light Therapy Lamp

Verilux HappyLight V10 Compact Light Therapy Lamp

What you need to know: This effective and portable light therapy lamp from Verilux provides light therapy at an accessible price.

What you’ll love: This budget-friendly yet well-made light therapy lamp features a small and durable design that is meant for travel and use in small spaces. The lamp emits bright light and is an excellent option for prolonged use.

What you should consider: It’s important to consider that this lamp gets fairly hot, particularly when you use it for extended periods of time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp

Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp

What you need to know: This budget-friendly light therapy lamp is effective, small and discreet and is an excellent option for personal use.

What you’ll love: This affordable light therapy lamp is meant for people who live in regions with dark and long winters. The lamp is easy to adjust, features a trim design and emits bright, full-spectrum light.

What you should consider: The power cord on this light therapy lamp is not very long.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.