Whether winter makes you want to sleep all day, you experience a slight case of the “winter blues” or you’ve been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), you may have considered purchasing a light therapy lamp — or, as it’s often called, a SAD lamp — to literally brighten your days. Research has shown that a 10K lux light set 16 to 24 inches away at a 45-degree angle from the eyes for 30 minutes can help SAD.
We tested seven of the most popular, highest-rated SAD lamps. We evaluated everything from the variety of useful settings and features to whether it can survive a tumble off a desk. In the end, three lamps shined brighter — figuratively, not literally — than all the others.
- Best overall: Happy Light Luxe by Verilux
- Runner-up: Circadian Optics Lampu
- Best for travel: Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp
The Happy Light Luxe by Verilux ($69.99; walmart.com) was a favorite straight out of the box and continued to consistently impress with each test. This light is sleek, slim, packable and stable, and its well-thought-out controls — which were missing from almost every other light that we tested — made customizing the experience a pleasure. Nothing came close to this light’s score in total points. It is a practical combination of quality and value, thanks to thoughtful design and construction. Even though three other lamps we tested had significantly higher price tags, their durability and flexibility didn’t come close to that of the Happy Light Luxe.
The Circadian Optics Lampu ($59.99; amazon.com) performs the most important functions of a SAD lamp like a star. It’s sturdy, well designed, easy to use and bright. Also, its nonslip bottom is a feature that we’re surprised wasn’t standard among all of the lamps that we tested. One of the biggest differences between this product and the Happy Light Luxe is the latter’s customization options. Simply put, this lamp doesn’t have a whole lot going on. It has three brightness settings, no timer, no color temperature adjustment and no fold-flat or wall-mount capability.
If you’re a frequent traveler during the darker months, the Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp ($39.99; amazon.com) could be your carry-on’s new best friend.