If you have a student in your family, you understand the importance of having a functional desk lamp. But these days it’s not that simple. In my quest to find the perfect desk lamp, I determined 6 features to look for and a few to avoid.
College students WILL be doing late-night studying. A light source that provides good task lighting is a must when there’s no natural light.
I’ll explain the important features to look for in a good desk lamp, as well as where to find an affordable desk lamp for less than $50.
Best Desk Lamp For College
Compact – If you have a teen moving off to college, space is one of the primary concerns. Dorm rooms have limited space and the lamp you choose should be compact.
Charging Capabilities – Many of us have three or more mobile devices that we need to charge daily. It’s handy if the desk lamp also has a built-in USB port, and more than one is even better. And the BEST desk lamps have a wireless charger, which limits all of the cords you need to have on a small work surface.
Directed Light – This is a nice feature if your student is sharing a room. They can turn a light on to work without disturbing a roommate.
Versatile – Since space is a priority I like a desk lamp that can also be used on a bedside table. It can be hard to find space and if you can get two lamps for the price of one, all the better. Look for a desk light that can be easily moved or rotated.
Dimmable LED Bulb – LED light bulbs last longer and they don’t burn as hot. The best lamp will have both qualities and are especially important in a dorm room.
Variable Color Temperature – If all things are equal, warm light is better at preventing eye strain. Many office lamps allow you to adjust the color.
What Type Of Lamp to Avoid
Some “dorm lamps” sound great but when it comes down to it they aren’t worth it.
Clamp Lamp – I have personally used lamps that clamp onto desks or countertops, but they are not the best option. Although they have a space-saving design they never seem to stay where you put them and they can be a real nuisance. This includes lamps that have a chip clip type clip as well as
Expensive Lamps – Dorm rooms are such temporary spaces that it’s not worth spending a lot on a high end desk lamp. My top pick is under $50.
Adjustable Arm Lamps – I’ve owned a few of these and my feeling is that the arm never adjusts well and doesn’t stay put.
Amazon’s Top Pick – There’s an algorithm choosing these. It doesn’t mean they are the best lamps. I like to research the seller to see if they are in the lighting business exclusively, or whether they are just in the business of getting the least expensive knockoffs.
5 Favorite Desk Lamps for College
I focused only on lamps under $50 and that were easy to get. Most of them are from Amazon, but they are sold by companies that work ONLY in lighting. My other go-to source for bargain lighting is Wayfair.
Bar Lights – These are slim and easy to move around.
- LEPRO LED Desk Lamp – This comes in black and white. It doesn’t have wireless charging but it has charging capabilities. It has a modern look and sleek design and it’s a portable lamp. Lepro makes all kinds of LED lighting exclusively. They have an online store that is separate from Amazon.
- BeyondOP LED lamp – This one has wireless charging and the company makes lots of really interesting LED lights with a modern design. This one has touch control for brightness and 5 lighting modes.
Task Lights –
- Brightever Desk Lamp – This lamp looks small, but it has the capability to charge three devices. It has 3 levels of adjustable brightness and the head rotates 360 degrees and it has a nicer look to it (in my opinion than the bars). The company is in the lighting business. It even comes with a bulb, which makes it plug-and-play. It only comes in black.
- Lalisu White Metal Desk Lamp – This lamp comes in black or white and has adjustable brightness levels. Don’t get the lower-priced version, which has no charging capability. Lalisu is another seller that sells lots of lighting.
- Elyona wood desk lamp – This adjustable lamp comes in lots of different colors. I don’t know why but a few colors are $54 and a few colors are $49. This lamp DOES have an adjustable arm, but I think it’s really nice looking and the company makes lots of different lamps. If I was buying based on looks alone, this lamp would be my top choice.
I use affiliate links so I can afford to keep doing this. Hope it saves you time. See my disclosure policy.