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The best light therapy lamps

Getting too little exposure to sunlight can result in low levels of vitamin D. In some individuals, a lack of sunlight can worsen symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Light therapy is an option worth looking into if you feel depressed or tired during the winter months. Using a light therapy lamp for a few minutes each day can boost your mood, make you more productive, and give you some energy. You can get all the benefits of light therapy by investing in a light therapy lamp.

Note: Always discuss your light therapy routine, preferences, and alternative treatment options with a medical professional.

Carex Health Brands Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light

The best

Carex Health Brands Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For most individuals suffering from SAD, a device capable of delivering up 10,000 lux of illumination is ideal. A daily, 30-minute treatment is standard for many, though some people may need more or less time. Thankfully, the Day-Light Classic Plus delivers glare-free white light via a 250-square-inch lamp. This light is 99.3% UV blocked for added safety, and the device utilizes two distinct light modes. This feature allows you to ease into the higher setting, or smoothly transition to a lower setting.

You can also adjust both the height and angle of the lamp, allowing for optimal positioning. While the adjustable metal base and massive lamp allow for ideal lighting and orientation, these design elements give the unit a rather bulky aesthetic. At nearly 10 pounds, the Day-Light Classic Plus is a powerful — albeit cumbersome — countertop option.

Philips Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clock

The best alarm clock model

Light therapy lamp with alarm clock.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Alarm clocks and therapy lights go together like, uh, two things people really need in the morning. If your SAD makes getting up particularly difficult in the morning, this excellent Philips alarm clock is designed to make the process easier. The Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock can mimic the sunrise and offer a choice between five different wake-up alarms that gradually grow in tone, or an FM radio channel option. You can set the timer and light growth to last as long as 40 minutes, depending on how long you need, or choose one of the 20 brightness settings. If your schedule also makes falling asleep difficult, there’s a sunset mode that does the same thing in reverse.

NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp

The best budget model

NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The NatureBright SunTouch is one of the most popular light therapy lamps on the market. This model can produce 10,000 lux light for ideal treatment sessions. Unlike many other units, the SunTouch also emits 17,000 Kelvin light, which is a bluer light than the traditional white light that most lamps use.

Additionally, this unit has a built-in timer, allowing you to choose your session length and then simply relax. At just 13 inches tall and 9 inches wide, the NatureBright SunTouch Plus is also exceptionally compact and discreet, making it ideal for the home or office. For a more comfortable experience, NatureBright offers a line of Aroma Therapy Capsules sold separately. These capsules work with the standard SunTouch Plus models to dispense fragrances during your session. The SunTouch’s plastic design isn’t the most awe-inspiring, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a 10,000-lux unit this compact for under $60.

Verilux HappyLight Luxe

The best desktop light

Verilux HappyLight Luxe desktop light.

If you’re looking for an extra lightweight model that’s easy to transport and set up as needed, this HappyLight Luxe is sure to impress. It offers UV-free full spectrum light up to 10,000 lux, which is a surprising amount of power for such a portable model. It can function for a full session of 20 to 60 minutes wherever you want to put it. The 144 LED lights provide even light with no hot spot issues, with a panel about the size of an iPad screen.

The tablet-like light also includes four different brightness levels, and three hue options so you can find the right sort of color temperature for the most stimulating session. There’s also a handy countdown timer for your session if you don’t want to set any additional timers for it.

Not only is the Verilux HappyLight Luxe easy to move from desktop to desktop/counter as needed, but it has an excellent feature set that will make it a useful purchase for any user.

Light therapy lamp shopping tips

Do light therapy lamps work?

According to research, light therapy should help alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, but can’t be considered a cure. It should also be considered holistically, in that phototherapy won’t help with other forms of depression. You can read up more on the SAD here.

What type of light is best for SAD?

You’ll want a light that hits 10,000 lux of brightness, to start. Since lux is a calculation of brightness over area, you’ll need to factor in how close you’re able to sit to the light when you’re going through treatment.

Do you need a special light for light therapy?

The major characteristics requirements of light therapy lamps are that they’re full-spectrum and that they’re bright enough. You also want to make sure that these lights have UV filters, since we aren’t looking at tanning beds. Beyond that, you’ll want to ensure your exposure sessions happen early in the day for at least a half hour. Consult with your doctor to determine specific regimens, especially if you have bipolar disorder.

Dallon Adams
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Dallon Adams is a graduate of the University of Louisville and currently lives in Portland, OR. In his free time, Dallon…
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