Light therapy lamps are used to combat winter depression and low energy by helping offset the reduced sun exposure and intensity in the wintertime. Particularly problematic in northern latitudes, winter blues can be remedied by the consistent use of a light therapy lamp for just 30 minutes every morning over the winter months as effectively as antidepressants for some people, according to research. Moreover, light therapy can increase energy, regulate sleep patterns, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.
There are many light therapy lamps available online, and they can be purchased without a prescription or diagnosis of depression. That said, some medical insurances will cover the cost of a light therapy lamp if you do have a prescription, or you may be able to purchase one using an HSA or FSA.
Light therapy lamps operate like a standard lamp, though they are usually much smaller and tend to be shaped like a flat, illuminated panel. The best light therapy lamps have a brightness of 10,000 lux, as this is the luminosity determined to be most effective for regulating circadian rhythms and melatonin production, stimulating serotonin reuptake, and ultimately elevating mood. This luminosity is about on par with the lower end of the brightness of the sun on a clear day.
Winter doesn’t have to be a time where you’re tired, cranky, and stuck in the doldrums. If you have suffered from the winter blues in the past, consider trying out a light therapy lamp this year and give your body the light exposure you need to feel your best. Although most light therapy lamps are relatively similar, we have done the research and product testing for you and chosen the 11 best light therapy lamps, and reviewed them below.
The Alaska Northern Lights Happy Sol Light Therapy Box has three brightness settings so that you can customize the level you need. This small device emits 10,000 lux of light. It’s small, lightweight, and flat so it can be easily taken along with you whether traveling or heading to the office. The lamp also has a timer that can be set from 10-60 minutes so that you can simply program the length of your treatment without having to keep track of the time or remember to turn it off.
The Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp is rather expensive, but it’s considered to be a clinical-strength light therapy device and is designed based on the research findings pertaining to optimizing light therapy effectiveness. The therapy lamp emits 10,000 lux of glare-free white light at 12 inches from the lamp. We like how it is more of a traditional desk lamp design, with greater angular adjustability than many competitors. The LED light is particularly ideal for those with skin sensitivity or eye problems as it safely blocks 99.3% of UV days and projects the light downward as recommended by experts. There are two different brightness settings and it is backed by a five-year warranty.
If you need something particularly bright, the MediRevive Light Therapy Lamp can emit up to 32,000 lux with its LED, which is the upper end of the brightness of the natural sun on a very clear day. There are three brightness levels, and the white light LED blocks harmful UV rays. The MediRevive light therapy lamp is backed by a one-year warranty.
Verilux is an industry leader in all sorts of lighting needs, including light therapy lamps. The Verilux HappyLight Luxe is a UV-Free LED white light lamp with a luminosity of 10,000 lux. There are 168 LED lights throughout, delivering a glare-free consistent glow without flickering or blinding hot spots. You can customize your treatment with four brightness levels and three HappyHue color temperature options. There is also a countdown timer that can be programmed from 10-60 minutes. The Verilux HappyLight Luxe is flat like a tablet, lightweight, and more adjustable in terms of the treatment settings than many other light therapy lamps.
The Theralite Aura Qi Light Therapy Sun Lamp has a few bonus features not found in most competitors. For example, though it is a light therapy lamp with 10,000-lux brightness, there is also a lighting setting that enables it to double as a standard desk lamp. This not only makes it more versatile but also more discrete for office use. It uses white light for eye safety and projects the light downward, as recommended by light therapy experts for maximal effectiveness. The Theralite Aura Qi Light Therapy Sun Lamp features four brightness levels, an alarm clock, a countdown timer, a USB charging port, and even wireless charging.
If you’re looking for something small and powerful, the Verilux HappyLight Alba is a nice, compact light therapy lamp with a 10,000-lux brightness. It’s very portable and slim, and as customizable as other Verilux light therapy lamps. For example, the HappyLight Alba features four brightness levels, three HappyHue color temperature options, and a countdown timer that can be programmed from 10-60 minutes. It is backed by a three-year warranty.
The Sunrise Sensations DayBright Light Therapy Lamp is expensive but certainly more aesthetically pleasing than most light therapy lamps. It features a full-spectrum, UV-free, white LED light with 10,000 lux. The frame of the lamp is made from sustainable wood, making for an elegant—rather than clinical—product. There are numerous “daylight” settings you can toggle through, which enable you to select lighting that mimics daylight from sunrise to sunset. For convenience, the Sunrise Sensations DayBright Light Therapy Lamp also includes a remote, allowing control at a distance. Finally, the lamp is much larger than most of the others we reviewed, measuring 15 x 15 x 8 inches. With wider angles and increased surface area, light therapy treatments may be more efficient and impactful.
Circadian Optics is a trusted brand in light therapy devices and was previously featured on Shark Tank. The Lattis Light Therapy Lamp is one of their largest light therapy lamps, which can make for more efficient and effective treatment sessions. The LEDs block harmful UV rays, last 50,000 hours, and emit up to 10,000 lux. There are three brightness settings to help you tailor your treatment to your needs.
The Aura Daylight BL40 Light Therapy Lamp emits 10,000 lux of UV-free, full-spectrum bright light. It can be wall-mounted for convenience or used on a table or desk; plus, the light can be adjusted to an 85- or 70-degree angle for comfortable positioning. There is also a dimmer feature for those who are more sensitive to light therapy treatment, enabling you to reduce the luminosity to 3,500 lux on the lowest setting. Lastly, with a countdown timer with 10-minute increments from 10-60 minutes and a two-year warranty, the Aura Daylight BL40 Light Therapy Lamp ticks the boxes in terms of features and value.
For those looking for an ultra-portable light therapy lamp, the Circadian Optics Luxy weighs in at just 9.6 ounces and is just 3.5 x 3.25 x 3.25 inches. It blocks all harmful UV rays while emitting 10,000 lux of mood-boosting white light. The LEDs are said to last 50,000 hours, and they produce uniform, glare-free, full-spectrum light that mimics the noon-day sun (5,500K). This compact light therapy lamp is easy to use, is USB powered, and has three brightness settings.
The Verilux HappyLight Lumi Plus has the performance features any good light therapy lamp should have in an easy-to-use, inexpensive device. It’s small and portable, very flat, and has three adjustable brightness settings (up to 10,000 lux) and a countdown timer with 15-minute intervals. The product is backed by a three-year warranty.
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