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Best Reading Lights

Updated December 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 37 Models Considered
  • 9 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 1026 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best reading lights

    Last Updated December 2018

    Curling up in bed with a good book is a great way to fall asleep at night. But if you share a bedroom with someone else, leaving the overhead light on just isn’t an option. If you don’t want to disturb anyone else as you enjoy your favorite mystery novel, investing in a good reading light is key.

    However, there are so many different reading lights on the market that shopping for the right one can be a challenge.

    At BestReviews, we strive to make shopping as straightforward as possible. Our careful product research enables us to pass along all the key facts you need before you go shopping, helping you save time and frustration.

    If you’re looking for a new reading light, our shopping guide has plenty of tips to help you choose the perfect one so you can get back to enjoying your favorite books.

    A reading light makes an ideal gift for a student.

    Types of reading lights

    There are three main types of reading lights: models that clip to the book, lights that clip to the table, shelf, or headboard, and models you wear.

    Clip to book

    These reading lights are the most common option, featuring a clip or other attachment that enables you to attach the light to the book you’re reading. It focuses the light directly on the page so you can see every word as clearly as possible.

    Clip to table or headboard

    These reading lights have a clip or attachment like those that clip on a book, but the clip is usually larger. This enables you to attach the light to the edge of a bedside table or top of a headboard. It doesn’t offer the same concentration of light as the type that clips on a book, but you don’t have to move the light as you flip the pages the way you sometimes do with a reading light that attaches to your book.

    Wearable

    A wearable reading light fits on your body rather than on the book you’re reading or a nearby table. Some styles drape around your neck to illuminate the book, while others have a headband that holds the light on your forehead.

    Versatile and long-lasting

    This LIGHT IT! reading light provides an ultra-bright, glare-free light that’s ideal for reading, crafting, and other detail-oriented tasks, and you’ll never have to replace the LED bulb. Its sturdy clamp attaches to books, tablets, tables, or shelves, and the flexible gooseneck enables you position the light exactly where you need it.

    Reading light benefits

    There are several reasons why a reading light can be so convenient.

    • Doesn’t disturb others: The main reason why many readers love using a reading light is that it enables them to read comfortably without turning on a bright light that might bother another person who might be trying to sleep in the room.

    • Protects your eyes: By providing a concentrated light close to your book, a reading light keeps you from straining your eyes. Reading lights usually have light bulbs designed to prevent eye irritation, fatigue, and watering, too.

    • Offers versatility: While reading lights are primarily used with books, they can be used for any task that requires concentrated lighting. For example, if you enjoy crafting or detail painting, a reading light can provide just the right amount of up-close illumination.
    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    If you travel with a reading light, it’s a good idea to keep it in a case so it won’t get damaged in your bag.

    Reading light features to consider

    Bulb type

    Most reading lights use LED bulbs, which are energy efficient, bright, and have a fairly long lifespan. LED lights are designed to protect the eye by minimizing irritation.

    Some models use incandescent bulbs, which can use up to five times the electricity that LED bulbs do to produce the same amount of light. Incandescent bulbs aren’t usually as bright as LED bulbs and aren’t likely to irritate your eyes.

    Power source

    Most reading lights use batteries. Some use standard AAA batteries while others use rechargeable Li-ion batteries. AAA batteries are usually less expensive, but they don’t last as long, which means you’ll need to replace them frequently. You can recharge long-lasting Li-ion batteries when they run out of power. If you prefer not to have to use a battery-operated reading light, you can find some models that plug into an outlet or use a USB adapter.

    Weight

    For a reading light to be as portable and convenient as possible, it’s important to pay attention to the weight. Amodel that weighs approximately two ounces can be easily attached to any book or table without adding much bulk. A reading light that’s small and lightweight also means you can easily stash it in your bag when you travel.

    Adjustability

    Some reading lights have a bendable gooseneck that enables you to adjust the angle of the lamp or bend it closer to the page for brighter illumination.

    Brightness

    To make sure that you have the proper light for every situation, choose a reading light with more than one brightness setting so you can turn up the light when you need extra brightness or turn it down so it doesn’t disturb others. Some reading lights have daytime and nighttime settings to make it even easier to choose the right brightness level.

    EXPERT TIP

    Avoid heavy, bulky reading lights. It can be hard to get them to stay in place on your book or table.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Reading lights that use batteries are better for travel because you don’t have to worry about finding a convenient outlet.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Reading light prices

    Reading light prices vary mainly based on the power source. You can expect to pay between $2 and $22 for one.

    Inexpensive: Reading lights with replaceable batteries are usually the most affordable option, ranging from $2 to $10.

    Mid-range: Reading lights with rechargeable batteries typically range from $10 to $16.

    Expensive: Reading lights with AC adapters or USB cords are usually the most costly option, ranging from $16 to $22.

    High-performing and ready to travel

    The extremely compact Energizer book light has a collapsible neck, so it’s perfect for traveling bookworms. It may be  small, but it’s mighty, offering a bright LED light that shines for up to 25 hours.

    Tips

    • Consider the other lighting in the room when choosing a brightness setting for a reading light. You don’t want to turn the light up brighter than you need because it can create glare that leads to eyestrain and fatigue.

    • Match the reading light clip to the attachment surface. Make sure that the clip on your reading light is wide enough to clamp onto the item that you want to attach it to. For example, a narrow clip might not be the best choice for a thick hardcover book.

    • Don’t forget extra batteries or the charger when traveling. You don’t want to run out of power in the middle of your favorite book.
    Wearable reading lights can also be worn when jogging or walking at night to help make sure drivers can see you.

    FAQ

    Q. Are reading lights safe for my eyes?

    A. Most reading lights are designed to be as safe as possible for eyes. Most use LED bulbs to reduce glare that might irritate, fatigue, or otherwise strain your eyes. Eye doctors typically recommend using lighting that shines directly on the page that you’re reading rather than over your shoulder, so a reading light can actually offer the most direct light when you’re enjoying a book.

    Q. What type of reading light works best for serious readers?

    A. If you read for more than an hour a day, a reading light that’s powered with an AC adapter is probably your best option. You won’t have to worry about the light running out of power as you read your favorite books. You might want to avoid reading lights that use replaceable batteries. You’ll drain the batteries pretty quickly and be constantly spending money on replacements.

    Q. What type of reading light is brightest?

    A. Reading lights that use an AC adapter for power are typically the brightest and maintain a constant level of brightness. Battery-operated models can still offer fairly bright illumination, but you’ll notice that they gradually start to dim as the batteries die.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Steph
      Steph
      Writer

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