Unlike high-output overhead lighting, task lighting focuses on a specific area instead of a general one. The main objective of task lighting is making a task easier to complete by augmenting illuminance and improving contrast.
Overhead fixtures provide a general lighting that is not optimal for visually demanding activities. As a matter of fact, overhead lighting can reduce the visibility of certain areas in a room by making dark colors and shadows seem lighter. In order to avoid that, task lights need to be placed strategically.
Besides making a specific area more visible, task lights will reduce eye strain, making it possible for a person to work for longer periods of time. Additionally, they can make the work environment more pleasant. All of this is particularly true in work industries that count eye strain as a major issue, such as computing and jeweling.
Depending on the physical location and the objective of the task, there are various approaches to task lighting. Some of the most common are:
• Localized average lighting: Where both ambient and task light are provided by a single fixture. It often consists of a light source that is directed downward. It is usually directed this way either vertically or at a slight angle.
• Freely adjustable task lighting: This type of task lighting is achieved by using movable lamps and other light sources. Being able to have their orientation and position changed, they present few limits to how they can be adjusted. They may even present controls to graduate luminescence and forms of glare control such as honeycombs and parabolic louvers. The most common types of freely adjustable task lights are goose-neck lamp and swing arm light fixtures.
• Magnifying task lighting: Mainly used in work industries that require maintained focus on small details, these type of lights have an added magnifying glass for high-detail activities.
• Asymmetric task lighting: Intended not to hit the task directly, asymmetric task lights illuminates the object in an oblique fashion. It uses a parallel arm that holds the lamp head horizontally. This is done irrespectively of the arm movement. If they are not strategically positioned, asymmetric task lights can cause more glare than other types of task lights.
2. How much wattage (LED Power) do I need to perform a task professionally?
Although it has been proven that task lighting greatly aids visual performance, there are various factors that need to be taken into account. Besides positioning, LED power is one of the most important factors for proper task lighting.
The amount of wattage needed varies according to the task itself and the visual capabilities of the user. However, it can be generally stated that the amount of LED power needed for things like reading and writing is between 3 and 5 watts. Ranging from 6 to 10 watts, the amount of LED power needed for more demanding tasks is higher.
3. Why is it important to avoid glare?
Although there are different measurements systems for it, glare can be quickly defined as difficulty seeing caused by excessive luminescence. The excess of light reflects on the task surface, creating discomfort, eye strain and fatigue. In some occasions, glare can even dazzle and impede vision. Caused by reflected light hitting the eye directly, this is a huge problem that can cause accidents.
Glare can be avoided by seeking uniformity in light and brightness levels across the task surface. At the same time, controlled brightness ratios can help by eliminating excessive contrast. Other lighting strategies can be implemented through the use of task lights. Relocating the light source and adjusting its angle can be incredibly helpful. In offices, adjustable task fixtures at workstations often take care of most glare problems.
4. What types of task lighting are there?
Task lights are often portable fixtures, complete with a cord and a plug. They can also be fixed lights, usually meant to be placed under a cabinet. There are various types of task lights available for purchase. The most important are:
• Desk lights: Without a doubt the most common type of task light, desk lights are essential for the modern workplace or home office environment. Desk lights exist in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes in order to adapt to different needs and personal tastes. Most desk task lights feature a 30-degree beam spread that will illuminate the task surface without affecting other activities in the room.
• Reading lights: Any bookworm knows that the right type of lighting will be incredibly helpful to see the page better, reduce eye strain and reduce overall fatigue. Reading task lights are usually semi-movable in order to stay in the same place but with the ability to be oriented in different angles. Generally speaking, reading lights should be between 45 and 60 watts.
• Under-cabinet lights: Adding both function and style to any space, under-cabinet lighting improves kitchens, office spaces and shelving units by illuminating them in a way that facilitates detailed work.
5. Why should I use LED lighting ?
Although it is a bit more expensive, LED lighting is the way to go in order to obtain efficiency and durability. LED lights provide the most durable and energy-saving type of task lighting available. At the same time, they are the less bulky type of task lighting, allowing smaller and more efficient lamp designs. Additionally, LED lighting is easy to install and incredibly low maintenance. All of this makes LED lighting the best task lighting option by far.
6. What are some recommended products for task lighting?
• Kelvin LED Green Mode II Table Lamp: This elegant lighting fixture boasts a contemporary style that looks great anywhere. Made entirely of a resistant aluminum alloy, it uses stainless-steel springs to guarantee easy mobility and perfect balance. It features 30 one-watt LEDs that provide the perfect amount of light for focused working without eye strain.
• Laito Wood Table Lamp: Already a classic lamp, the Laito uses natural wood elements that transmit a sensation of warmth. Its design is simple, dynamic and elegant at the same time. Contrasting the classic feel of its wooden body, this lamp features a base and a head made of stainless steel. Providing an interesting element of surprise, its durable cord is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasant. Moderately sized, the Laito fits anywhere without sacrificing functionality. Perfect for working or reading long hours without fatigue, it uses one E26 bulb with 60 watts of power.
• Birdy Table Lamp: Made by Northern Lights, this series represent a true Norweigan legend brought to the modern age. Awarded the golden medal at the Milan Triennale, it is a re-launch of the classic lamp series designed by modernist designer Birger Dah in 1952. Made mostly out of metal, all the components that make these lamps have been updated to fit the highest standards of modern lighting. All subscribing to the same award-winning style, the series include a floor lamp, table lamp and wall lights. They feature an E27 incandescent bulb with 60 watts of power. Boasting a minimalist, sober and beautiful design, the series comes in black, white and gray colors that will adapt to any room.
• Tolomeo Classic Table Lamp: This table standing lighting fixture has truly stood the test of time. Designed by Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina, this lamp has a truly unique style that's not only eye-catching but also extremely functional. Capable of rotating 360 degrees and standing at various angles, it's a fantastic choice for adjustable task lighting. Adding to its versatility, it can provide either fluorescent or incandescent lighting. Comprised of extruded aluminum, it features a diffuser made of stamped, anodized matte aluminum. Amazingly, it even provides customers with a choice between a base, clamp or in-set pivot.
• Talak LED Table Lamp: This table-mounted lamp features a sleek and clean design that's great for high-detail work. Designed by Neil Poulton in 2008, this fixture features a body that rotates 360 degrees upon its vertical axis, making it perfect for adjustable task lighting. As an additional measure, its height can be adjusted simply by sliding the head along the stem. Made of injection molded thermoplastic in a matte white powder coated finish, the Talak is extremely durable and resistant to scratches and blemishes. Its stem is made of polished chrome steel that looks amazing contrasted against the white-painted steel base. It uses one eight-watt LED light that's perfect for reducing eye strain and fatigue.
• Sento Tavolo NV Table Lamp: Designed by Axel Meise and Christoph Kugler, this lamp from Occhio is sleek and contemporary, making it perfect for modern work environments and home offices. Its features both an adjustable head and an adjustable stem, ensuring that it can be oriented perfectly to fit any particular task. Made in Germany, it boasts the highest quality in materials and construction. Adding to its versatility, it is even available in two different sizes.