The best reading light

Lighting

You can stay up reading as long as you like when you have a hands-free reading light that adjusts for direction, intensity and mood.

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Which reading lights are best?

A long-standing tradition for getting yourself ready to go to sleep at night is curling up in bed with a good book. But you don’t want to disturb others who may be nearby using an overhead light or desk lamp. The best solution is to use a good reading light that can be used anywhere. 

You’ll want to consider several things before buying a reading light that’s just right for you. If you’re interested in a hands-free reading light that rests around the neck, the Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light is a fully-customizable choice.

What to know before you buy a reading light

There are three main types of reading lights, all of which are hands-free: lights that clip to your book, lights that clip to a headboard, shelf or table and lights you wear. 

Clip on reading light

Briignite Reading Light

This is the most common type of reading light. Reading lights that clip to your book focus the light directly on the page from close up and is a good choice for reading anywhere you can find a place to sit or lie down. It usually clips to a book by means of a single spring-loaded jaw mechanism.

Clip on reading light for a headboard

LACOKI 28 LEDs USB Rechargeable Reading Lamp

This type of reading light has a bigger clip that allows you to attach your reading light to a shelf, headboard or bedside table. Because the light sits farther away from your book than a reading light that clips to the book itself, it will not be as concentrated. On the other hand, you will never have to move your reading light, which is sometimes needed when using one that clips directly to the book.

Neck reading light

CeSunlight Reading Light

There are two basic styles of wearable personal reading and task lights. One is U-shaped, drapes around your neck and shoulders and has one light on either side. The other is attached to a headband that you wear and has a single light, much like the kind you see in old pictures of mine workers.

For more information about reading lights, take a look at the full reading light buying guide from BestReviews.

What to look for in a quality reading light

LED reading light

LEDs are the most common bulbs found in reading lights because they are bright, energy efficient and have long lifespans. Avoid reading lights with incandescent bulbs. These can use up to five times the energy to produce the same amount of light as an LED. Incandescent bulbs can get very hot as well, like the high-intensity bulbs once found in most reading lights.

Reading light batteries

Most reading lights use standard AAA batteries, which are inexpensive but don’t last long. Some of the better reading lights use rechargeable Lithium ion batteries that last a long time.

Adjustable reading lights

Look for reading lights that are mounted on a bendable neck that you can adjust to be at the distance from the page you are most comfortable with. Also look for lights with several choices of settings that are adjustable for intensity and mood.

How much you can expect to spend on a reading light

Many simple reading lights with replaceable batteries can be found for $10 or less. Most reading lights with rechargeable batteries cost between $10-$20. Reading lights with USB cables, AC adapters and lots of customizable features cost around $20 or more.

Reading light FAQ

Do serious readers need special reading lights?

A. Those who read for hours will want reading lights with rechargeable batteries or with AC adapters so they never run out of power. Serious readers will also want lights that adjust for brightness levels and mood.

Are reading lights safe for extended use?

A. Most reading lights use LED bulbs. The better ones use bulbs that reduce glare and are safe for extended use. 

What’s the best reading light to buy?

Top reading light

Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light

Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light

What you need to know: This hands-free reading light rests around the neck and is fully-customizable for many different activities needing a bright light. 

What you’ll love: This reading light has six levels of brightness and three temperature modes, all of which can be adjusted to personal preference. The narrow light beam is no-flicker, blue-light filtered and focuses directly on the book with little light spill to disturb others. Its premium 1000mAh battery is chargeable via the included USB cable. Readers find it is a great light for knitting, doing small repairs and camping.

What you should consider: Some customers say this reading light is too bulky and does not fit smaller people.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top reading light for the money

Energizer Clip On Book Light

Energizer Clip On Book Light

What you need to know: This flexible reading light clips directly onto your book and includes two Energizer CR2032 batteries so you can start reading as soon as you open the package.

What you’ll love: With replaceable batteries that last up to 25 hours, this lightweight device is an ideal choice for travelers. The advanced 14 lumen LED technology recreates natural reading conditions and is easy on the eyes, with a light beam narrow enough for privacy but broad enough to see what you are reading.

What you should consider: The brightness setting on this model is fixed and not adjustable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Light It! By Fulcrum LED Book Reading Light

Light It! By Fulcrum LED Book Reading Light

What you need to know: This reading light’s MultiFlex clip grabs onto many different kinds of surfaces.

What you’ll love: The gooseneck shape is sturdy, flexible and easy to adjust. The LED bulb uses floodlight technology to provide an ultra bright, glare free, wide beam of light that is easy on the eyes and never needs to be replaced. More than just a book light, this reading light is an excellent task light for typing, crafting and general use inside your car.

What you should consider: This reading light is powered by three replaceable AAA batteries, but you’ll have to supply your own, because they are not included.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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