BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Home

Best banker's lamp

What is the best banker's lamp?

Banker’s lamps were invented over a century ago to soften the harsh light of the lightbulbs of that time. They are versatile, stylish and employ attractive lampshades to capture and redirect the light. They make desk work easier on the eyes without taking up much space.

Most banker’s lamps are made with a brass base and green glass shade, but there are modern styles that use other materials and colors. You can find a banker’s lamp that fits your office or home decor. For its attractive curved design and easy assembly, the best banker’s lamp is the Catalina Traditional Bankers Lamp with Glass Shade.

What to know before you buy a banker’s lamp

Styles of banker's lamps 

Banker’s lamps come in three distinct styles.

  • Traditional banker’s lamps have a thin metal base — usually brass— that supports a green shade, although there are other colors available.
  • Modern banker’s lamps have curved and carved base designs with a variety of shade styles.
  • Tiffany-style banker’s lamps are topped with stained glass lampshades reminiscent of the art style from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This style can be expensive.

How tall are banker’s lamps?

Banker’s lamps range in height from 12 to 20 inches. Most are 14 to 16 inches tall. The bottom of the lampshade should be at your eye level when sitting at your desk. Some lamps are adjustable to the size of your desk and as your lighting needs change.

What kind of lightbulbs work in banker’s lamps?

Each banker’s lamp uses a specific lightbulb. Most modern lamps use LED bulbs that last 20,000 hours or more. Other lamps use incandescent bulbs. Review the manufacturer’s information to ensure you are using the right kind.

What to look for in a banker’s lamp


There are three main aspects of a lampshade to consider.

  • Color: This is not only important for matching your decor, it also affects how light is filtered, which can affect the overall illumination. Green is the traditional shade color, but there are many other colors to choose from.
  • Material: It's most often frosted glass, but clear glass, plastic and mica are also used.
  • Thickness: Each lampshade is meant to be thick enough to protect the lightbulbs but not cause the lamp to become top-heavy.

Base material

Traditional banker’s lamps have a brass base. Modern designs may have a brass coating that looks like a traditional base. Some have artistic designs, while others are plain and smooth.

Number of lightbulbs

Banker’s lamps either have room for one or two lightbulbs. The size and overall ambiance of your office or home determine how much illumination is required.

Switch or pull cord

Most banker’s lamps use a metal pull cord that emulates the traditional design, but some use a switch on the lightbulb holder similar to those on table and floor lamps. Tug a pull cord gently, since some tend to snap upward and could crack the shade if pulled too hard.

How much you can expect to spend on a banker’s lamp

Lamps priced from $30-$40 are typically single-bulb, shorter and feature a green shade made from inexpensive glass or plastic. For $40-$60, you'll find taller lamps with more design features. Tiffany-style lamps are often priced between $60-$100.

Banker’s lamp FAQ

Will I need an extension cord for my banker’s lamp?

A. If your desk or table is positioned close to a wall outlet, you should not need an extension cord since most banker’s lamp cords are 5 to 6 feet. Extension cords may be needed if your wall outlets are far away from where the lamp will be.

How do you clean a banker’s lamp?

A. A simple dust cloth used every two months should be enough to keep it clean. Brass polish and glass cleaner for brass bases and glass lampshades also can be used if the lamp gets extra grimy.

What is the best banker’s lamp to buy?

Top banker’s lamp

Catalina Traditional Banker's Lamp with Glass Shade

What you need to know: This easy-to-assemble stylish lamp has a curved body and bronze finish with a metal pull chain.

What you’ll love: The lamp stands over 17 inches tall with an amber frosted glass shade. It has a 5-foot power cord and can be connected to smart home devices. It uses a 60-watt lightbulb. A one-year warranty is included.

What you should consider:  A few reviewers complained that the lamp isn't adjustable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top banker’s lamp for the money

Newhouse Morgan Banker's Desk Lamp

What you need to know: This traditional-style banker’s lamp has a rectangular harp shade that looks great in any room.

What you’ll love: The antique brass base is stylish and comes with a pull cord. The LED lamp lasts 25,000 hours and saves up to 90% on energy costs. It provides flicker-free light for all desk activities. No assembly is required.

What you should consider: Some customers said the pull chain can be hard to operate.

Where to buy: Amazon 

Worth checking out

OttLite LED Pivoting Banker's Lamp

What you need to know: This innovative banker's lamp has a flexible neck and swing shade to adjust to your work area.

What you’ll love: The lamp neck moves between 12 and 21 inches with an LED lamp that lasts up to 40,000 hours. It has three brightness levels that alternate with a touch-sensitive switch. It is engineered to reduce glare and promote natural daylight.

What you should consider: Some consumers wished the base pivoted along with the arm for different setups.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals. 

Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of our consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.


Share this post: