Everything You Want Or Need To Know About Desk Lamps

Everything You Want Or Need To Know About Desk Lamps

We’ve all been there, studying or working until the early hours of the morning. There are few things worse than not having enough light in your room to read, however. You have a few options at your disposal when it comes to ensuring that you have enough light to see what you are doing.

The most obvious option is to install a few spot lamps or other types of lights to ensure that there is enough light in your room. This can get help make your room a pretty cluttered place, which is quite unfortunate. Sometimes larger lights just can’t get the job done because they have trouble getting their light into places where you need it most.

Desk lamp.

This is why there are many different kinds of lights that you will find available for your room. Today, we are going to be looking at one of these specialized light types, and we would wager that most of you have used one of them before. We are going to be looking at desk lamps and most of the details you need to know about them.

What Is A Desk Lamp

Before we get to the heart of the matter, we should first ensure that everyone is on the same page. While the idea of a desk lamp may sound simple, there is a particular type of lamp that is classified as such. Just because a lamp can fit on your desk, it does not mean that it is automatically a desk lamp.

For example, a table lamp designed for a night stand may be able to fit on your desk comfortably, but this does not make it a desk lamp, even though it can be used as such. A desk lamp usually has a variety of features which make it ideally suited for use while working or studying on a desk.

Desk lamp - woman with child.

Desk lamps feature a long neck that is designed to shine light over whatever it is you are working on. While their mounting points can change depending on the style of your desk lamp, they often require this degree of adjustability so you can ensure that the light is shining exactly where you need it.

We will get further into the details of desk lamps further down in this article. Just know that desk lamps are not the same as lamps which can be put on a desk. In fact, some desk lamps are not even placed on a desk, as is the case with wall-mounted designs and other lights which are meant to save space.


Here are the most popular types of desk lamps:

Office Desk Lamp

The most traditional type of desk lamp that you will come across is the office desk lamp. These lamps are meant to be used in offices, but this does not preclude them from being used at home. In fact, since they are designed for utilization in offices, you will find that they are often more efficient than other types of desk lamps.

There are a few features that are unique to office desk lamps. First, you will find that they feature many space saving design aspects. This ensures that you will be comfortable in your office with your desk lamp and that it will not take up too much space, which would make it harder for you to do your work.

Office desk lamp.

While there is no set design for office desk lamps, you will find that they follow a few simple templates. For example, some are the standard pod type desk lamps, which feature a stand at the bottom and a lamp connected to the stand by a long neck, which is often articulated and flexible.

Before we move on to other types of desk lamps, we will be taking a look at some of the purposes that office desk lamps are designed for.


The most common application for desk lamps is so that you can have enough light to read comfortably. It can get rather annoying to have to read in darkness. Trying to do this can often result in you inadvertently straining your eyes, which can be painful and have damaging effects on your vision in the long term.

Since desk lamps are designed to obstruct your desk as little as possible, you will find them particularly suited for reading. A desk lamp will also allow you to keep the rest of your room dark while you read, this ensures that you will be able to save money on your power bill and douse any unnecessary lights.

Woman reading a book.

However, desk lamps are not only designed to facilitate the reading of books, but they also make it easier to read reports from work or anything else. Desk lamps also tend to emit light that is less harsh on your eyes than other types of lamps that you will find available.

Computer Work

With the gradual decline of paper, you will find that a desk lamp which is optimized for use with books and written reports will not be beneficial. It is for this reason that modern desk lamps are all designed with computers in mind as well. You may be wondering why you would need a desk lamp if your computer screen emits its light.

While your computer may be bright enough for you to see it in the dark, it is not particularly healthy for your eyes to be using a computer in the darkness thanks to the sharp contrast. This contrast is between the brightness of your computer screen and the darkness of your desk or the rest of your room.

Many office desk lamps are designed to emit light that will not make it difficult to see your computer screen. Modern computer screens are mostly made in one of two ways, glossy or matte.

Desk lamp for computer work.

While glossy screens offer better color definition, they will also reflect more light, which is why most computer desk lamps are meant to provide light that will not bounce off of your screen. Matte screens, on the other hand, will have fewer problems with this occurrence, but they can still have issues with glare.

If most of your work takes place on the computer, you will be happy to have a desk lamp which works well with your computer screen. Regardless of whether you use a laptop or a desktop, it is important for your eyes to have adequate lighting while using it, especially in the night or the evening.

Magnified Desk Lamp For Hobbies

Another type of desk lamp which is far more unique than the other varieties you will come across is the magnifying desk lamp. These lamps do exactly what you would expect from reading the name, they both light up and magnify an area. While you may be wondering how they do this, it is quite simple.

Think of an ordinary desk lamp, but instead of a single bulb, it uses a ring of lights (most often LEDs), this ring of lights provides room for the magnifier. The magnifier is usually just a large magnifying glass that has the ring of lights placed around it. This allows you to both magnify and light up your subject.

There are many possible applications for magnifying desk lamps. For example, you will find that they are very well suited for use in hobbies that are heavily oriented towards details. A magnifying desk lamp would be a good choice for collectors of many kinds, regardless of whether they collect coins, stamps, or all manner of other objects.

Magnified Desk Lamp For Hobbies

While a magnifying glass may be adequate for certain applications, you may find that it is hard to bring out details that are shadowed or obscured. This is why magnifying desk lamps have both a magnifier and a lamp, so you do not have to worry about shadows getting in the way of your study.

Keep in mind that magnifying desk lamps are not isolated to use on traditional desks. You may find yourself using a magnifying desk lamp in a lab when doing experiments, or in any other application which may require a clearer, closer look at your subject.


One thing to consider is the design of your desk lamp. Since the term “desk lamp” covers a wide variety of products, you will find that they can vary quite wildly from one model to the next. This is why it is important to know what kind of desk lamp you are looking for before you set out to buy one.

Traditional Or Contemporary

The first decision to make is whether you prefer a more traditional design for your desk lamp or if you would rather opt for a more modern one. There are pros and cons to each choice, although the decision is up to you and your preferences in the end.

Traditional desk lamps tend to offer the advantage of simplicity. They are typically in the classic gooseneck style of lamp that most people think of when they picture a desk lamp. This design has been tried and tested over decades, so you can rest assured that it will work well, but it will not do anything extraordinary.

Luxury Desk Lamp

The most common choice of desk lamp is the traditional style since they tend to be more affordable as well as more commonly found in stores. If you are looking for a little something more, however, you may find yourself preferring a desk lamp which features a contemporary design.

Contemporary desk lamps do not define any particular lamp, but they often have a few aspects in common with each other. For example, contemporary desk lamps usually feature a more modern design, as you may have gathered from their name, this makes them better suited for use in areas where visitors have a higher chance of seeing them.

In addition to their superior aesthetic value, you will find that contemporary desk lamps are usually designed for more specialized applications. They will often work better when used alongside computers, as well, as we discussed earlier.


There are several styles of desk lamps that you should take into consideration.

Gooseneck Desk Lamp

As we mentioned earlier, the gooseneck desk lamp is the most common variety of lamp that you will find which is suited for use on your desk. The defining feature of these desk lamps is a flexible neck which resembles that of a goose, which is why these desk lamps are so named.

Gooseneck Desk Lamp

Gooseneck models tend to have the advantage concerning commonality, which means that it will be easier to find them at most retailers, while you may have to order more specialized lamps online. They are also far more affordable thanks to their superior commonality and simple design.

Swing Arm Desk Lamp

Swing arm desk lamps are another relatively common style of lamp, and they feature an articulated neck, but it is a different design from that of the gooseneck lamp. Swing arm lamps instead feature a neck with fewer points of articulation. They will usually articulate at the top and in the middle of the arm, which offers a large enough range of movement.

Swing Arm Desk Lamp

Swing arm desk lamps will usually cost more than gooseneck models since they are more complicated to manufacture. Their advantages lie in their superior durability when compared to your typical gooseneck desk lamp, which features a design which is more susceptible to breaking.

Wall Mountable Desk Lamp

As you may have guessed by the name, this desk lamp type is not meant to be positioned on your desk, but rather over it. More specifically, these desk lamps are meant to be mounted to a wall through a variety of methods. They have several advantages over other types of desk lamps, but some downsides as well.

Wall Mountable Desk Lamp

Wall mountable desk lamps suffer from a more complicated installation process since they must be mounted to the wall in some way. They offer the advantage of saving space on your desk, however, which means that you will never have to move your lamp out of the way if you are overloaded with work.


Here are some of options of adjustability of desk lamps:

Swiveling Head

One of the more important features to look for in a desk lamp is a head that can swivel from side to side. This feature ensures that you will always be able to project light onto something which is just out of reach of your lamp's adjustable neck, also saving you from having to reposition the lamp itself.

Swiveling head of desk lamp

The vast majority of modern desk lamps will feature a swiveling head, but keep in mind that it is not necessary for some designs which are capable of own their rotation. For example, certain types of gooseneck desk lamps will be able to move the head from side to side by adjusting the neck alone.

Fixed Shade

Another feature which can affect the adjustability of your desk lamp is whether or not it comes included with a fixed shade. Shades which are not fixed to the lamp may be swapped out with other types of shades or may be moved around to provide better light diffusion while you work.

Desk lamp.

Power Type

There are two types of power types of the desk lamps:


The most common type of power source for desk lamps is a simple cable which connects to a power outlet. This design is both reliable and straightforward. This ensures that your desk lamp will always be able to work as long as there is power in the house and it also helps cut down on the cost due to simplicity.

Wired desk lamps will suffer regarding portability, of course, as they always need to be close enough to a power outlet to function at all. This is rarely a problem when they are placed on desks, however, as most desks will have enough power outlets near them for a decent number of electronics.


A cordless desk lamp, also known as a battery operated desk lamp, is a desk lamp which is designed to work without the use of a power cord. This ensures that your desk lamp is much more portable than a model which must be hooked up to an outlet to function.

This design helps make your desk lamp much more versatile than it would be otherwise since you can bring it around with you wherever you need it. Unfortunately, this also means that you may have to purchase batteries for it if it does not feature a built-in rechargeable battery, which can end up costing you more money in the long run.


Here's some of the important specifications of the desk lamps:


The degree of adjustability of your desk lamp is important to consider before you make your purchase. Adjustability is one of the main features that make desk lamps so appealing since you will rarely find more conventional types of desk lamps that are adjustable to the same degree.

Adjustability of the desk lamps.

Adjustability can depend on a few design aspects, and we looked at a few of them earlier on in the article. For example, an articulated neck, regardless of whether it is the gooseneck style or the swing arm style, will help immensely with the adjustability of your desk lamp.

Bulb Type

It is also important to consider the type of light bulb which will be used in your new desk lamp before making your purchase. Most desk lamps will not use your typical standard size light bulb since it is so much more powerful than you will usually need in such a lamp.

Some types of light bulbs are more common than others, but some are also more energy efficient. When deciding on the kind of light bulb that you want in your desk lamp, it helps to consider whether you have a store which stocks specialty light bulbs nearby.

Energy Saving Options

There is also the matter of desk lamps which come included with features which will help you save energy. There are many reasons why you would wish to conserve energy, primarily, it makes the world a better and cleaner place, but it will also end up saving you money on your power bill, which can stack up.

LED Desk Lamp, TaoTronics Stylish Metal Table Lamps

There are many different energy saving options available. Some lamps will feature a “low power” mode which will emit a dimmer light but also use measurably less power. Other lamps will feature an automatic shutoff feature which ensures that they will not end up using too much power while not in use.

Additional Features

Some of the desk lamps have an additional features:

Brightness Settings

One of the more useful additional features that you will find in desk lamps is the capability to adjust the brightness of the light which is emitted by the lamp. This feature allows you to vary the brightness for different ambient light conditions.

Aside from varying the brightness in different lighting, it also makes these lamps much more versatile. For example, when you require a spot lamp to see a corner of your room better, you can always raise the brightness to the maximum. This also allows you to use more powerful light bulbs without blinding yourself.

USB Port

A USB port is another feature which can greatly help increase the versatility of your desk lamp. This feature allows your desk lamp to be used in various situations where you may not have access to a power outlet. For example, if you are on a camping trip and you have your laptop, you can connect your desk lamp to it.

USB port in desk lamp.

A USB port makes a desk lamp useful in emergency situations as well, such as during a power outage during a storm. Desk lamps with USB ports may or may not feature rechargeable batteries, but this feature significantly increases the number of potential charging sources you will have access to.

Ambient Sensor

This is a feature which is usually found on more modern desk lamps. An ambient sensor will search for motion and may turn on and off automatically depending on whether or not you are present.


Desk lamps are quite simple to maintain, like most other lights. You should periodically clean out the shade, as dust and dead insects will tend to accumulate inside of it. Aside from that, all you have to do is ensure that you change the light bulb when it burns out.

Desk lamp.


Now that you know almost everything there is to know about desk lamps, we recommend moving on to our buying guide. In this next article, we will be taking a look at five of the best desk lamps available. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them down below.

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