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10 best SAD lamps to brighten up your day

If the change of seasons leaves you feeling down and lethargic, you may benefit from the enlivening effects of light therapy. To help you choose the right one, here’s our guide to the best SAD lamps you can buy this year.

By Gemma Lumley | Last updated Oct 11, 2021

Woman working with SAD lamp on the table

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) hits many of us when the temperature drops and the evenings draw in. Going to work and coming home in the dark is enough to make anyone feel miserable, but it can also have a negative impact on your health too.  

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A persistent low mood, loss of appetite, exhaustion and irritability are just some of the distressing symptoms of SAD, so if you find yourself feeling down specifically in the winter months it could be due to the lack of natural sunlight.

Some SAD sufferers swear by light therapy lamps for their sunlight-mimicking qualities, which trick the body into believing it is basking in luscious, warm sun and releases mood boosting serotonin. 

If you’ve been finding yourself feeling lethargic and low since summer ended, a SAD lamp could help to improve your mood and energy levels, so we’ve taken a look at the most effective SAD lamps available in the UK today. We’ve scoured the reviews, researched best buys and sought out real recommendations from the Mumsnet forums to find out which products actually worked for our users.

Here are the best SAD lamps to buy in 2021.

1. Best overall SAD lamp: Lumie Desk Lamp

Lumie SAD desk lamp

Price: £144.00 | Buy now from Amazon

“I also have a Lumie desk lamp which I use most days. It has the added benefit of lighting my face nicely for Zoom calls.”TigerDroveAgain

The medically certified Lumie Desk Lamp has four levels of brightness that can be easily controlled by tapping the base. 

We were also impressed by the even, flicker-free quality of the light. On its highest setting the Lumie makes a great task lamp, but a softer light, for the bedroom or lounge, can be created by attaching the diffuser, though that will extend the treatment time from 30 minutes to an hour. 

The design of this lamp is practical rather than stylish but it will look great in an office or kitchen environment. Its large size means you don’t have to sit too close to feel the benefits and the directional neck is useful as you move around your work station. 

Pros

  • Medically certified
  • Four light levels
  • Touch control 
  • Flexible neck 
  • LED bulb included
  • Removable diffuser

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Tech Spec

  • Power: 10,000 lux at 22cm
  • Dimensions: 55 x 29 x 14cm
  • Weight: 1.7kg
  • Warranty: Three years 

2. Best budget SAD lamp: Mlife Portable Light Therapy Lamp

Mlife SAD BOX

Price: £21.99 | Buy now from Amazon

The Mlife Portable would make a great unobtrusive SAD desk lamp thanks to its compactness and low weight. About the size of a Kindle, it’s easy to have close by as a source of light therapy while taking Zoom calls. The light also makes a flattering filter so everyone will think you’re just back from the spa.

The buttons are simple to use and, if your Mlife is hanging on the wall, there’s a remote control to adjust the brightness and set the timer. 

For such a small price, the level of customisation is fantastic as the colour of the light can be warm, cool or natural to suit different times of the day. 

Pros

  • Remote control included
  • Three timer settings 
  • Adjustable brightness
  • Can be wall mounted
  • Adjustable light colour 
  • Great price

Cons

  • No internal battery
  • Less warranty than other models

Tech Spec

  • Power: 10,000 lux
  • Dimensions: 17.5 x 11.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Weight: 0.37kg
  • Warranty: One year 

3. Best SAD lamp for office spaces: AQOTER Daylight Lamp

Daylight SAD Lamp

Price: £37.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“Mines called a Daylight. It was a gift, one of the best gifts ever.”wishingforsun

The Daylight is a great value SAD light with three easily adjustable brightness levels. It also has the option of either warm or cool light to suit your mood and the lamp’s location in the house - a feature we loved. 

It also has an impressive six timer settings, very useful if you keep forgetting to turn it off. 

The compact size of the Daylight means it can be carried to and from the office or on weekends away. Alternatively, it’s easy to fix to a wall or prop up on a desk, making this great value for money.

Pros

  • Adjustable brightness
  • Can provide both cold and warm light
  • Lightweight
  • Six timer settings 
  • Touch control 
  • Can be hung on a wall 
  • Even light 

Cons

  • No internal battery

Tech Spec

  • Power: 10,000 lux
  • Dimensions: 23.5 x 14.2 x 1.6cm 
  • Weight: 0.65kg
  • Warranty: Amazon standard guarantee

4. Best portable SAD lamp: Beurer TL30UK Ultra Portable

Beurer TLK30 SAD lamp

Price: £45.60 | Buy now from Amazon

 “I have a Beurer one from John Lewis, it cost about £40. I feel it helps.” OtraCosaMariposa 

This portable light box for SAD sufferers is medically certified and just one week of use can help to scare away the winter blues. 

The design is small and stylish and the unit is perfect for propping next to your computer or hanging on the wall across from your favourite chill out chair. 

When travelling for work it’s important to have your home comforts so we adored the portability of the TL30UK and the handy protective case that comes with it. 

Pros

  • Medically certified 
  • Lightweight 
  • Portable
  • Can be hung on a wall 
  • Flicker-free 
  • Storage case included

Cons

  • No internal battery
  • Not dimmable 

Tech Spec

  • Power: 10,000 lux at 10cm
  • Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.6 x 2.6cm
  • Weight: 0.79kg
  • Warranty: Three year guarantee

5. Best SAD lamp alarm clock: Phillip’s Wake Up Light

Phillips Wake Up Alarm Clock

Price: £168.61 | Buy now from Amazon

“I upgraded to this. And it’s BLOODY FANTASTIC”Greenalltheway

This Phillips alarm clock will improve your morning routine immeasurably. It replicates a sunrise effect in your bedroom and wakes you up gently with a slowly increasing glow. 

The Wake Up Light isn’t technically classified as a pure SAD therapy light, but it will be an excellent partner for one and the sunrise feature can do wonders for your wellbeing.

Choose from five levels of light to wake you over 30 minutes, from soft and gentle to ‘Hello sunshine!’, and it comes with both traditional and natural alarm sounds. 

Pros

  • Five brightness settings 
  • FM Radio 
  • Reading lamp
  • Five natural alarm sounds
  • Light intuitive display
  • Snooze setting
  • Sunset and sunrise simulation

Cons

  • Won’t stream music 
  • Not a ‘pure’ SAD light therapy device
  • Expensive

Tech Spec

  • Power: N/A
  • Dimensions: 19.2 x 19.9 x 14.6 cm
  • Weight: 1.13kg
  • Warranty: Two years 

6. Best multi-purpose SAD box: Lumie Zest

Lumie Zest SAD lamp

Price: £150 | Buy now from Amazon

 “They are life changing. I trust the brand.” Mistymonday

The Lumie Zest is a nifty little device which acts as both a SAD therapy light and a wake-up lamp. It’s easy to transport, has uncomplicated brightness and timer settings and will blend seamlessly into any room in your house. 

We loved the wake-up function, and the cool blue toned light feels like natural daylight illuminating your bedroom.  We all know that annoying iPhone alarm alert, so it’s a pleasant surprise that the alarm on this is an inoffensive beep, although one reviewer recommends ‘weaning’ yourself off of a louder alarm by using them together first.

What’s more, the Zest is a medically certified device so you know the light therapy it provides is high quality and effective. 

Pros

  • Multi-functional
  • Medically certified 
  • Dimmable
  • Five light levels
  • Snooze button
  • Compact and portable 

Cons

  • No warm light option
  • Pricey

Tech Spec

  • Power: 10,000 lux at 25cm
  • Dimensions: 13cm x 15cm x 5cm
  • Weight: 0.26kg
  • Warranty: Three years

7. Best SAD lamp for style: Buerer TL50UK

Buerer TL50UK

Price: £69.99 | Buy now from Amazon

This beautifully designed SAD light manages to be both minimalist and curvaceous. It is effortlessly attractive and stylish, while delivering medically certified levels of light therapy. 

Beurer’s elegant one button system emits 10,000 lux of transformative light. You need just 60 minutes a day in front of it to balance your energy and help dark moods start to lift. 

The TL50UK is easy to carry from room to room and will fit into an overnight bag so there’s no need to ever be without it. 

Pros

  • Medically certified
  • Simple operation
  • Adjustable brightness
  • Even illumination
  • Compact
  • Sleek design 
  • Touch control
  • Timer 

Cons

  • The highest setting can be too bright for some
  • Not a budget option

Tech Spec

  • Power: 10,000 lux at 15cm
  • Dimensions: 27.1 x 24.7 x 14.6 cm
  • Warranty: Three years 

8. Best adjustable SAD lamp: Gemoor SAD Lamp

Gemoor SAD Lamp

Price: £33.99 | Buy now from Amazon

The Gemoor SAD Lamp is a highly adjustable device with four adjustable brightness levels and four timer settings. 

If you’re new to light therapy, the Gemoor would be a fantastic starter lamp as the price is so reasonable. 30 minutes a day for one week should see positive improvements. 

Reviewers loved how simple the controls are and were surprised at the quality of the construction for such a low price. 

Pros

  • Four timer settings
  • Touch control
  • Adjustable brightness
  • Compact and portable
  • Budget option

Cons

  • No internal battery
  • Heavier than other models

Tech Spec

  • Power: 10,000 lux
  • Dimensions: 17 x 12 cm
  • Weight: 1.84kg
  • Warranty: Amazon standard guarantee

9. Best SAD lamp for sunrise and sunset: Lumie Bodyclock Glow 150

Glow 150 Sunrise Alarm

Price: £84.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have a Lumie alarm clock, which I bought in September. It really helps. I am NOT a morning person and it often takes a long time before I feel properly with it. With the Lumie, I am awake and I am AWAKE. I was sceptical before I bought it, as it was reasonably expensive, but I'm impressed.”Squirrel26

Waking up and bouncing out of bed at 6am on a cold January morning is made easier with this sunrise alarm clock (yes, really). Lumie is a trusted brand, and with products such as this, it is easy to see why. 

Sleepyheads can choose to be woken over 20, 30 or 40 minutes and decide on the final level of light - not everyone can deal with full sunshine when they’re stumbling across the room first thing. 

The level of personalisation available from the Bodyclock Glow is mind-boggling with either yellow or orange hues to choose from and the option to relax into sleep with fading sunset light and the soothing sounds of nature filling your room.

This isn’t a SAD therapy light but it is recommended for sufferers as the features can help to boost mood and aid sleep. 

Pros

  • Sunrise options 
  • Sunset options
  • Adjustable 
  • 10 soothing sounds
  • Snooze function
  • Light colour options

Cons

  • Complicated to set up 
  • Not a pure SAD therapy device

Tech Spec

  • Power: N/A
  • Dimensions: 16 x 19 x 12 cm
  • Weight: 5.65kg
  • Warranty: Three years

10. Best SAD lamp for large rooms: Redstone SAD Light Box

Redstone SAD light

Price: £39.99 | Buy now from Amazon

At 48cm, the Redstone is our best SAD box for large spaces. It’s not as portable as some of our other suggestions but that means it can be used at a greater distance and still be effective. 

Our favourite aspect of the Redstone was it’s one-button simplicity, allowing you to switch on the 10,000 lux of light and get on with your day. 

We think the Redstone would be great as a table lamp in a bedroom or hanging on the wall facing your desk for a boost of daily light.

Pros

  • Flicker-free light
  • Wall mountable 
  • Simple to operate
  • Strong light - good for large rooms
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons

  • Heavy
  • One year warranty - lower than others on the list

Tech Spec

  • Power: 10,000 lux
  • Dimensions: 48 x 30 cm
  • Weight: 2kg
  • Warranty: One year 

What is a SAD Lamp?

SAD lamps generate artificial sunshine. While they don’t replace the warmth and joy of a beautiful sunny day, they work by tricking the brain into making less melatonin, a hormone that can produce low mood and a lack of energy.

What is SAD? 

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a form of depression that occurs at specific times of the year such as when the nights get darker. 

The Royal College of Psychiatrists suggests that around 3 in 100 people suffer from some form of winter depression, and other research suggests that 29% of adults the symptoms, with women more likely to experience it than men

The effects of SAD and the triggers are different for each person. Gloomy weather, changes in temperature and darker nights can all produce the symptoms of SAD which include: 

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low energy levels 
  • Feeling antisocial
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • A depressed mood
  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of libido

Symptoms will range from mild to severe. If you’re struggling to cope with SAD symptoms, the NHS recommends that you contact your GP for help. 

How to choose the best SAD lamp 

A SAD lamp can be a real investment buy. Here are a few things to consider before you hit 'add to basket':

  • The strength of light: The best sad lamps provide 10,000 lux (the unit that visible light is measured in) the level of light we absorb outside on a sunny day. In comparison, a standard inside room will only provide 500 lux. Many light therapy lamps or boxes will have variable brightness to suit the user and their surroundings. Some people may find that a blast of just 2500 lux while eating breakfast is enough to ensure they start the day feeling jolly. 
  • Ease of use: Fiddly buttons and confusing instructions will only make a low mood worse. Simplicity is an important feature so look for touch controls and easy to understand timer and brightness settings.
  • Size and weight: A lightweight and compact SAD light box would be perfect for transporting around your home, to the office or with you on cosy, winter weekends away. The downside of these dinky lamps is that you have to have them closer to your face to enjoy the benefits, not ideal when you’re juggling household tasks.
  • Lifestyle: Working from home reduces our exposure to outside light and will exacerbate your symptoms. A directional SAD desk lamp will help deliver a much-needed boost between conference calls. Multi-tasking by soaking up the light while training in your home gym is a fantastic idea. Look for SAD lights which can be wall mounted or attached to a treadmill or static bike.
  • Design: SAD lights don’t have to be ugly. The sleek, modern design of the lamps and clocks we have chosen will look gorgeous in all styles of home. Think about where you'll be using it and if there's a certain look you're after.
  • Price: The range of prices is vast. Branded lamps such as Lumie often cost well over £100 whereas budget light boxes can be purchased for as little as £25. The expensive SAD lamps are often medically certified and come with long guarantees but we do recommend trying light therapy to see if it works for you before investing.
  • Sunrise light or SAD lamp?: Sunrise alarm clocks are a fantastic way to wake up, especially on dark winter mornings. You will be roused gently from sleep by a gradually increasing glow. They can be used alone or in combination with a SAD light. 

Do SAD lamps actually work?

There are plenty of SAD sufferers who are thrilled with the positive effect that SAD lamps and sunrise alarms have on their condition. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has stated it's not evident whether light therapy is effective, yet the Royal College of Physicians report that 80% of SAD patients benefit from it. 

Other treatments for SAD include regular exercise in the outdoors and a healthy balanced diet or more intensive routes of care such as cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and psychotherapy.  

What is the best way to use a SAD lamp?

Light therapy is most effective in the morning as it sets you up for the day ahead and a consistent pattern of use for 30 to 60 minutes a day will reset your body clock and natural rhythms. Avoid using your light after 5pm as you may have trouble sleeping.

Light therapy will work best when your eyes are open and the lamp is around half a metre away from your face. Portable SAD boxes or lights on a lower light setting will require you to be closer. 

What is the best SAD lamp?

The overall best SAD lamp was the Lumie Desk Lamp, a large lamp that is worth making the extra room for. We loved the power and variety of light it produced and the fact it fought SAD symptoms without needing to be close by like the compact SAD boxes. 

Close to the top of our list of the best light therapy lamps was the Mlife Portable. It is the most inexpensive of our choices but we were impressed by the customisation. If you’re new to light therapy, the Mlife is perfect for exploring what works for you without spending too much.

Getting out of bed when you’re under the influence of SAD is hard graft. Invest in the Phillip’s Wake Up Light and gentle sunrise will slowly nudge you awake making your mornings happier and much less jarring.

Latest safety advice 

Always seek medical advice before using strong light therapy. People with eye issues, skin sensitivity from an existing condition or medication and those already receiving mental health support should be particularly cautious. 

How we chose our recommendations 

Our recommendations for the best SAD lamps have come from suggestions on the Mumsnet forums and from consumer reviews on the internet. 

We researched the technology and ensured all our suggested devices were effective, easy to use and came with the proper safety features. 

We also consulted independent review sites for opinions about products to ensure we were bringing you an honest summary of SAD lamps for 2021.

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We strive to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find amazing products that real parents love.

Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always honest about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.