1 - Can LED table lamps damage your eyes? Are they better than "usual" lamps?
Studies have shown that long-term exposure from any artificial light can damage your eyes if you stare close enough or long enough. That's why it is paramount to select the correct wattage and position your lamp correctly. However, LED lamps are considered safer than alternatives artificial lights, such as CFLs and fluorescents. To produce light, CFL and fluorescent lamps emit potentially harmful ultraviolet rays. LEDs produce far less ultraviolet rays than these options.
2 - How much wattage (LED Power) do I need for reading at my desk?
If you are considering making the switch to LED lamps, it is best to think in terms of lumens. A lumen is the true measurement of light and a better representation of LED brightness. Generally, 600-800 lumens are recommended for LED lamps for table applications.
If you still prefer to purchase based on wattage,desk lamps should emit a maximum of 60 watts for incandescent lamps, or 8-12 watts for LEDs. The recommended power also ranges based on age, so if a child uses the desk more, you should scale back to 3-5 watts.
3 - Why is it important to avoid glare?
Glare can cause great discomfort, forcing your eyes to water, become itchy, or squint. Over time, squinting wears on your eyes. Glare can also cause temporary disabling blindness. At minimum, glare is uncomfortable and reduces your productivity.
In order to avoid glare, it’s important to realize what you’re dealing with. There are two types of glare: direct and reflective, also known as indirect. For example, if your computer monitor faces a window and the sun is setting, you may be looking directly into the sun's brilliant rays. This is a typical case of direct glare. If you position you computer to the east wall to avoid the direct sunset, your monitor will reflect the sun, subjecting you to reflective glare.
Avoid reflective glare by controlling the brilliance of a single lamp. Choose a bulb with the correct lumens or wattage. This will decrease the reflection on glossy magazines, glass, your piano-finish desk, and other reflective surfaces.
To avoid direct glare, be sure to position the lamp above your head and out of your eyesight.
Direct glare can also result from too much lumen contrast. Imagine walking out of a building without windows and into the sun. You might try to shield your eyes or may even suffer from temporary blindness. This is because your eyes are struggling to adjust to the contrasting level of light. When your ambient light is too dim, and your computer screen is too bright, your eyes will struggle to adjust. You can alleviate this by purchasing an appropriate desk lamp.
4 - What types of LED table lamps are there?
Standard- This lamp is best suited for ambient light or as a decorative feature. A standard table lamp usually consists of a lamp base, a harp and harp holder, socket, and a shade to cover the bulb and harp. Although this lamp is basic, there are are several styles available for LED applications.
Desk- If your main concern is to amplify the lighting for your work space, this is a great option. Also known as a task light, a desk lamp is an excellent tool for recreation and business. It is typically used for reading, working, and minimizing glare from a monitor. The base, or stem, of a desk lamp is usually aided by an adjustable arm to provide maximum functionality.
Piano- The piano lamp was created to illuminate sheet music for musicians while shielding their eyes from the lamp's direct glare. Decades later, the piano lamp still functions well as a task lamp. The piano lamp is similar to the desk lamp, although the arm is usually less adjustable. A shade covers the bulb, reflecting the light downward in a single line.
Torchiere- A torchiere lamp is primarily for accent lighting. It consists of the stand and a bowl that reflects light upward. Fluorescent and incandescent torchiere table lamps are more common, but there are several LED lamps for table applications available.
5 - Why should I use LED lighting?
Switching to LED lighting is an investment. Although the initial investment is more expensive, the overall life cycle cost is much more efficient. In addition, there are several benefits that make LEDs a great alternative lighting source.
• Longevity- Believe it or not, even the most durable industrial HID lamps only shine for about 20,000 hours. LED lights dwarf other lamps’ life cycles by functioning for 50,000 to 100,000 hours, or approximately 10 years. Even after its life cycle is completed, LEDs will continue to run for years, though at about 70% brightness.
• Energy Efficiency- Energy efficiency is one of the greatest benefits to switching to LED lighting. Energy.gov estimates that LED lamps save as much as 80% electricity compared to standard incandescent lighting. This is because the clusters of light emitting diodes need much less energy to produce light. In addition, most LED lamps are dimmable, allowing you to control the amount of energy you save.
• Cool- If you plan on working long hours underneath a desk lamp, the low temperature of LED lamps will be a tremendous benefit. LED lights are designed to produce less heat. This is accomplished in the form of a heat sink. Basically, the heat sink absorbs the heat the LED lamp produces, leaving the bulb cool to the touch. The end result is a lamp with increased longevity and a higher level of thermal comfort.
• Dimmable- In addition to energy efficiency, this feature allows you to customize the lighting level to your individual needs.
Although an LED light can technically work with most dimmers, it will not function to its fullest capability. You might begin to notice flickering, or the lamp’s life cycle will shorten significantly.
• Environmentally-friendly- In addition to saving energy, the materials used to manufacture LEDs make it an environmentally-friendly light source. Fluorescent lights contain a small amount of mercury that may cause issues if broken and will need to be properly disposed of at the end of its life cycle. Incandescent bulbs, though not containing hazardous materials, will only add to landfills. LED lights are a true eco-friendly alternative. They contain no toxic materials and can be recycled.
6 - What are some recommended products for LED table lamps?
Although many table lamps are compatible with LED bulbs, if you want to take advantage of an LED’s full capabilities, it’s best to purchase an LED specific lamp. Thanks to mass production and growing popularity, there are now several styles available at cost-effective prices. Below are a few stellar recommendations:
If you’re hoping to conserve energy, this desk lamp is a great option. The Green Mode II comes equipped with a motion sensor, daylight sensor, and manual switch. While this lamp is best suited for direct lighting, it is also dimmable, and you can turn the lamp upwards to customize its brilliance. The aluminum arm is also adjustable.
The Falling in Love Table Lamp is king of customization. This spherical light offers ten color selections, allowing it to fit easily into any design scheme. The light can be set directly on a desk or shelf or, if you prefer a more traditional table lamp, you can still mount the sphere to an optional stand. This light also allows you to dim to your preference and comes in a 100 or 200 volt option.
The Tolomeo Table Lamp is equipped with a highly adjustable arm, allowing you to position the light upward, similar to a torchiere lamp. In addition, the arm can be adjusted at three points, allowing the the light to shine at a very low 45 degree angle. The reflector can also be adjusted 360 degrees. The aluminum frame is available in several modern colors.
Also from Artimede, the Talak Lamp’s design is minimalistic but highly functional. The body of the lamp rotates 360 degrees around a chrome stem. The height of the lamp base can be adjusted as well, which can be helpful with reducing glare. You can purchase the lamp with a traditional base or a clamp, allowing you to maximize all of your desk space.
If you’re short on electrical outlets, consider the Circa Table Lamp. The light multifunctions as a USB charging port, ambient light, and direct light. The circular lamp body provides mostly ambient light, but can be adjusted up to 45 degrees, allowing you to customize the level of direct light. In addition, the lamp is dimmable to three settings.