What Factors Do I Need to Consider When Choosing a Desk Lamp?

Desk lamps often come in different styles and finishes. Taste is personal, so there is no right or wrong choice in this department—the style, size, shape, and finish are all up to your personal preference and unique requirements.

Choosing a lamp style that matches the décor of your space is a good place to start. For example, if you have contemporary or modern décor, you'll want a contemporary or modern desk lamp. Do your cabinets and drawers have brushed nickel or rubbed bronze handles? Match (or complement) your desk lamp finish to the other finishes in your space when possible. At the same time, don't pick a task lamp based on looks alone.

If you are using your desk lamp in a space that is used for other activities, such as watching TV, you might want a light with a dimmer on it and possibly a more focused, controlled beam of light. A lamp with a 30 degree beam spread will direct light onto the surface you wish to highlight but won't send any stray light out to affect other activities in the room. LED desk lights tend to have the most controlled beams of light, as LEDs are directional light sources.

If it will be on 24/7 an LED lamp will be less expensive to use than a halogen lamp or incandescent version. Although the upfront cost of an LED desk lamp is typically higher, the cost to run it is significantly cheaper and only uses 1/5 the amount of energy as a halogen lamp. Additionally, LED lamps run cool to the touch while halogen bulbs can get very hot.

Finally, for those of you who have a large desk you will need to use a desk light that has a longer arm to reach across it. If you are working on a desk top versus a laptop computer, consider your work space configuration and ensure that the light will cover the entire work area on your desk. You may also choose one that can mount on a wall or clamp to your desk or table top.

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