Millions of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. While SAD can affect people throughout the year, this disorder is much more prevalent during the winter months. SAD symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, difficulty falling asleep, irritability, and a laundry list others. While there’s no definitive cure for SAD, light therapy continues to be an effective treatment for many, one you can easily undertake in the comforts of your own home. Here are our four favorite light therapy lamps, whether you’re looking for device with a built-in timer or one that can dish out 10,000 lux of illumination.
Writer’s note: Always discuss your light therapy routine, preferences, and alternative treatment options with a medical professional.
Best overall — Carex Health Brands Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light ($131)
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 percent UV blocked for added safety, and the device utilizes two distinct light modes. This 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.
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Best design — Verilux HappyLight Deluxe ($136)
Light therapy sessions are recommended daily for SAD sufferers, therefore most individuals will prefer a lamp that can be situated on a countertop or table for the utmost convenience. If your unit is going to be prominently displayed, an unobtrusive design is also preferred. And while most light therapy lamps are exceedingly utilitarian, the HappyLight Deluxe is as sleek as it is functional.
Like other top-of-the-line models, the HappyLight Deluxe can produce 10,000 lux lighting. It’s important to note that, like all light therapy lamps, this lux capacity diminishes with distance. The HappyLight is capable of producing 10,000 lux from more than 14 inches away, however, meaning you don’t need to hover directly in front of this model in order to benefit from its effects.
This Verilux offering has other benefits, too. Many lamps have a tendency to flicker ever so slightly, which can cause eye strain and fatigue, as well as general discomfort. Thankfully, the HappyLight Deluxe incorporates Flicker Elimination Technology for a more relaxing experience. Sadly, this model isn’t adjustable, but the included wall mount makes it easy to position the lamp in any room around your home.
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Best budget model — NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp ($55)
The NatureBright SunTouch is one of the most popular light therapy lamps on the market. This model is able to produce the 10,000 lux light for ideal treatment sessions. Unlike many other units, the SunTouch also emits 17,000 Kelvin light. This is a warmer, bluer light than the traditional white light used with most lamps.
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 unit is also exceptionally compact and discreet, making this model ideal for the home or office. For a more comfortable experience, NatureBright offers a line of Aroma Therapy Capsules (these are sold separately). These capsules work with the standard SunTouch Plus models to dispense fragrances during your session. The SunTouch’s plastic build certainly isn’t the most awe-inspiring design, however, you’ll be hard pressed to find a 10,000-lux unit this compact for under $60.
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Best Portable — Verilux HappyLight Liberty Personal ($39)
Light therapy is most effective in the early morning. Luckily, unlike bulkier lamps, you can move the HappyLight Liberty Personal around your house to better accommodate your morning routine. This allows you to complete a 30-minute treatment during breakfast, or while you read the news.
This compact model easily fits on a kitchen table, end table, vanity, or even a small night stand. This allows for greater flexibility when starting your day. Like the other Verilux model on our list, the HappyLight Liberty Personal incorporates Flicker Elimination Technology, and uses an optix lenses to reduce eye fatigue.
This unit does sacrifice power for added portability, however. The HappyLight Liberty Personal doesn’t produce 10,000 lux like other full-sized models on our list and, instead, maxes out at 5,000 lux. This means you may need to partake in longer sessions to produce the same results. Regardless, the unit weighs less than 2 pounds, rendering it ideal for frequent travelers and those who seek a sleek, portable option that won’t break the bank.
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