Best Reading Lights

Updated November 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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Best of the Best
Glocusent Rechargeable LED Neck Book Light
Rechargeable LED Neck Book Light
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Most Versatile
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A hands-free option that contains multiple settings for users to customize the light.


Band sits comfortably on neck. Rechargeable with USB. 3 temperature modes and 6 levels of brightness. Narrow beam focuses directly on book without disturbing neighbors.


On the bulkier end, so may not be the ideal option for slimmer shoulders.

Best Bang for the Buck
Energizer Lightweight LED Clip Book Light
Lightweight LED Clip Book Light
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Trusted Brand
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A flexible reading light that includes 2 long-lasting batteries so users can start reading right away.


Strong clip that's small enough to be used on thin paperbacks, clipboards or a Kindle. Battery life lasts up to 25 hours. Flexible neck and lightweight structure for travelling.


Does not include any adjustable light settings.

LIGHT IT! by Fulcrum MultiFlex Reading Light
LIGHT IT! by Fulcrum
MultiFlex Reading Light
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Easiest to Use
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An excellent all-around reading light with dual features designed to keep you focused on the page.


MultiFlex clip-on grabs on to multiple surfaces. Has a fairly bright LED bulb with a wide beam of light. Sturdy and inexpensive. Gooseneck is flexible and easy to adjust.


Does not include batteries that are required to function.

LEPOWER Clip On Reading Light
Clip On Reading Light
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Best for Large Spaces
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With a classy design, this clip-on reading light is best when affixed upon headboards, desks, or night tables.


Adjustable design makes it easy to focus light. Choose between 2 light and brightness settings. Light can also be powered via USB. Large clip-on ideal for homework, reading, or typing.


Dim setting isn't bright enough to be useful according to some users.

Vekkia LuminoLite Rechargeable Book Light
LuminoLite Rechargeable Book Light
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Best for Young Readers
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With fun colors and lightweight construction, this charming book light is an excellent choice for both adults and children.


Encompasses large areas and books without any strain on eyes. Clamp can be placed on any sized book. 3 types of colored lights for a variety of functions. Micro USB port.


Not as many levels of brightness as other products on this list.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best reading lights

Curling up in bed with a good book is a great way to fall asleep at night. However, if you share a bedroom with someone else, leaving the overhead light on isn’t a very considerate 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.

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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.


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.

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.
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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.


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.


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.


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.

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

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.


  • 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.
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Wearable reading lights can also be worn when jogging or walking at night to help make sure drivers can see you.


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.

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