Can Light Actually Improve Your Mood? Here are 9 SAD Lamps on Amazon with the Best & Brightest Reviews
When winter comes around, many people experience negative effects from the dark, dreary days. Whether it's full on seasonal affectiveness disorder (SAD), a type of depression, or a case of the winter blues, the bleak weather can have a serious effect.
However, lighting may be the solution. Light therapy lamps, often referred to as SAD lamps. These lamps mimic natural outdoor light. This light is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain that can combat SAD and general winter sluggishness.
- Intensity. Lamp intensity is measured in "lux," a measure of the amount of light you receive. The typical recommendation for people with SAD is 10,000 lux.
- Timing. For most people, light therapy is most effective when it's done early in the morning, after you first wake up.
- Duration. Typically daily sessions of 20-30 minutes are used for standard 10,000 lux lamps. Low intensity luxes may need longer sessions.
Let's take a look at some of the top SAD lamps that Amazon has to offer, and what customers are thinking:
Verilux is one of the OG brands for SAD lamps, and this HappyLight model is small but powerful. It's only 1.5 pounds, so perfect for cramped spaces. Clocking in at a Lux level of 5000, this Verilux lamp is well-suited to all day use, but is less powerful than other similar lamps in the market.
This lamp scored an average of 4.2/5 from 1,428 customers. Here's what some reviewers had to say about the lamp:
"I didn't expect this to make much of a difference, but the effect of the light is incredible. I live in northern Wisconsin where the winters are brutal, dark, and -35 degrees of get-me-out-of-here, so it's natural to feel a bit down in the winter. Spending 45 minutes or so a day in front of the light boosted my focus at work, helped me feel more awake, and drastically helped my sleep pattern. I wear a sleep tracker and there was a noticeable change in the quality of my sleep on days when I used the light. I was skeptical at first, but this really is an amazing product." - Eric (5/5 stars)
"I was skeptical about this to say the least, but it is the bomb.com. I get really fatigued and drowsy in the winter, and I felt better after one use of this thing. I went on to use it most mornings for about 15 minutes while I was getting ready for work every day, and it was a game-changer for the winter. I even considered buying a second one for my desk at work, but I felt so much better even just with using it once a day, I decided I didn’t need a second one. Will be using it every winter from now on, for sure. If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder at all, this thing is worth every cent!!" - Sakoulas_86 (5/5 stars)
"Really feels more like a placebo effect. I work in a cube farm without windows and wanted to just add some “pick me up” light and get some serotonin fix going but I’m not really seeing measurable effects. I don’t have S.A.D. as a medical condition and bought this light because I believe humans aren’t meant to work in enclosed light-deprived spaces and we need the sun to grow, stay healthy and feel energetic. So far...I don’t see a difference when I do use it vs. when I don’t. I keep it on my desk and point it away from my direct eyesight but angled at my eyes like the instructions said." - Madehak (3/5 stars)
Circadian Optics Lamp
This lamp from Circadian Optics is extremely versatile, offering 3 different brightness levels and an adjustable setting that allows for flexible placement. Its 5500k color temperature mimics the tone of a noon-day sun and 10,000 Lux brightness is the recommended level for effective light therapy.
Over 650 customers have given Circadian Optics' lamp an average score of 4.3/5. Here's what some Amazon reviewers had to say:
"I purchased this product based on a detailed review by another customer who did an extensive comparison and am very pleased with my purchase. I have had a couple of other full-spectrum lights in the past, and this one exceeds the results I've had with prior lights. From the first day, I have noticed increased alertness immediately after use. I live in the midwest, and we have many cloudy days in the winter months. This light has definitely helped to boost my energy and my mood. Thank you, Circadian Optics, for providing such a high quality light for a reasonable price!" - Diane M (5/5 stars)
"First time reviewing a project, but this one deserves it. It has actually changed my life. I struggled with SEVERE insomnia for over a year. I finally met the right doctor who suspected I was just struggling with a very delayed circadian rhythm and told me to get a light like this one. I use it for about 30 minutes right when I wake up. Within two weeks I was off Ativan and actually getting some of the best sleep of my life. Hands down, it's the most impactful $70 I've spent." -Anonymous (5/5 stars)
"First, although the picture makes it look like the lights have a diffuser, they do not. There are rows of very harsh, glaring LEDs that are really super bright and potentially damaging to the eyes. I place the light over my head, so it isn't anywhere near my field of vision, but I'm actually afraid about my pets looking into the lights. Second, although it says it has a weighted base, it really is very unstable. I've been able to make this work opening the light out flat and putting it on a shelf with stuff on top of it. This light is definitely not worth $60. I've used it for almost a week and it does improve both my circadian rhythm and my mood." - Tamara (2/5 stars)
This sleek design from FITFIRST emits 10,000 Lux intensity of full-spectrum light, the standard level to mimic a sunny day. In addition to two available brightness levels, this lamp also has an auto shut-off timer for 10, 20, and 30 minutes. The lights used are glare and flicker free.
FITFIRST's lamp has an average rating of 4.7/5 stars, but so far has only been reviewed by 47 people. Here's what people have had to say so far:
"I rarely write reviews, but this light therapy lamp is working great and that is why the 5 stars. because the light is great and seems to be helping. I've only had this light therapy lamp for a week, but I am very happy with it. It's much better than the one's Ive used before. First of all, it is beautiful, compact, stable. Then it has two settings to adjust the brightness, I live in Northern Vermont and light is a scarce commodity during the winter, and I find that using this light therapy lamp everyday in the morning lifts me out of some of the groggy, slow wave brain activity. Very happy with the effect this light as had." - Cathy Priest (5/5 stars)
"I got this light to use at my office because I don't have any windows and sit in florescent lighting all day. This light is small but packs a lot of light. I was surprised how bright it was for it's size. A very nice feature is it has two settings to adjust the overall brightness in case the full strength is too bright for you. It sits on my desk and adds a nice balance for that "daylight" feel and seems to help brighten my day!" - Michael Zurcher (5/5 stars)
"Nicely designed. I have not had a chance to see if it will affect me yet, just used it for the first time this morning. The only negative was that the cable was very hard to plug into the light. I was afraid I might break it, because it was so hard to insert. Other than that, the light seems good, but timer is a nice feature. I hope the blue light therapy idea works! Time will tell." - ACNorthShore (3/5 stars)
Aura Daylight Lamp
Aura has created the first ever medical grade Light Therapy Lamp. The automatic timer means you can experience up to 10,000 Lux of bright light for intervals between 10 and 60 minutes. Depending on your preferences, you can set the intensity between 3,500 and 1o,000 Lux. Not only will this compact lamp easily mount onto a wall, it's also foldable.
This lamp has scored 4.4/5 stars from 232 Amazon customers. Here's what they had to say about Aura Day's Light Therapy Lamp:
"I've had other brands of light therapy lamps and not that there was anything mechanically wrong with them (only some) with the other lamps I have had in the past,but this is my favorite and has features others didn't have.
This updated model has a dimmer switch which actually is convenient when you want to have the light on but don't need the full power of the bulb, and secondly, there is a timer which is a big plus IMO, and to top it off it is very stylish." - Disney Fan (5/5 stars)
"This light therapy lamp is the best! I really love that it has an automatic timer so you don't have to keep up with it! Also, it has a dimmer switch, which is great to use when you first start using it. I've definitely noticed a difference in my general Outlook and feel better using it after only 3 sessions! Lamp is just the perfect size! Glad I paid a little extra to get this particular one!" - Sarabellum 7 (5/5 stars)
"Seems effective to stop my minor season depression I get in the long winters. The timer function is useful. Bit awkward to move around and position as the shape is hard to grip securely and the fold-out foot is kind of flimsy. I would prefer if it had a carry handle. Has an annoying buzzing sound." - Al T (3/5 stars)
Aura Day Light Therapy Lamp: $98.89
TaoTronics makes electronics of all kinds, and one of their latest forays is in SAD lamps. Their lamp is not only one of the most economically priced options, but offers the same 10,000 Lux strength as its pricier counterparts. You can choose between 3 brightness settings, and the memory function will resume the last setting programmed.
The TaoTronics lamp only has 18 customer reviews so far, but has scored an average of 4.6/5. Here's what Amazon shoppers have to say:
"The Tarotrons light therapy lamp is very easy to use providing 3 light settings . The lamp is lightweight,only problem is the shape makes for very minor difficulty to move or pickup. These minor problems are more than overridden by the ease of use and the impressive strength of the lamp itself. I would highly recommend this product,the price is excellent and shipping is speedy" - Sandylynn (5/5 stars)
"I have had depression for 25 years and especially during the winter months suffer more symptoms than usual. I absolutely love this light. It’s the perfect size. I use it everywhere. I have more energy and feel so much better." - CW (5/5 stars)
"Too bright, flickers off and on constantly, and the different brightness levels function won’t work!" - Sharlie N Rozsavolgyi (2/5 stars)
Nature Bright Lamp
NatureBright's lamp has 10,000 LUX light power, and since it emits at 8,000 kelvin, the UV-free light allegedly simulates the light of a blue sky. A timer allows for 15 minute intervals up to one hour. In addition to the light therapy, this lamp also offers negative ion therapy, which releases 4.5 x 10^14 negative ions per second to help soothe you.
One of the most widely reviewed SAD products on Amazon, the NatureBright lamp scores an average of 4.2/5 stars from a whopping 3,498 shoppers. Here's the feedback that customers gave:
"The day I got this light, I set it up and sat directly in front of it for a full hour. The light starts at an almost overwhelming brightness. But you get used to quickly. Then you get a slightly warm sensation, just light being in actual sunlight. Since I've started using the light first thing in the morning for about 30 minutes or so, I start my day off in a better mood and with more energy. I also sleep much deeper. I don't like the ozone smell, so I can't speak to the benefits of the "negative ion generator." - Christ Thompson (5/5 stars)
"I have seasonal affective disorder, which can get really bad during Boston winters. Since buying this sun lamp (~4 months ago), mornings are much, much easier. I turn it on when my first alarm goes off, snooze for about 15 minutes, and by the time the second alarm goes off I feel much more awake and motivated to get out of bed. If you have SAD, you know what a huge deal it is to feel WILLING to get out of bed. I keep it on for the 30-ish minutes that I'm getting ready, and occasionally in the evening if I'm feeling down (but never right before bed). I love the adjustable timer and also how quiet it is. Would recommend this product. Caveat to this review: I haven't tried any other sun lamps before." - Amazon Customer (5/5 stars)
"Unfortunately, there is a major problem with the power cord, as others have noted. When the light works, it is great and would be highest rated. However, being able to use this on a daily basis requires having to repeatedly check if now is the time it's going to work. It's too bad, I feel I should buy another brand in anticipation of when I can't get this to work at all." - M. Murphy (2/5 stars)
NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp: $61.86
This light therapy lamps from Carex offers 10,000 Lux of glare-free white light, an adjustable stand, and flicker free bulbs. The height is easily adjustable, and two different brightness settings are available. This lamp is slightly pricier when compared to its similar competitors.
The Amazon reviews for this Carex lamp score an average of 3.8/5 from 238 customers. Here's what shoppers have to say:
"This is expensive but well worth it if you are suffering from SAD or just need to increase the amount of bright sunlight in your daily life. What I especially like about this is that it sits on a table and you can adjust the height and angle so that the light shines down on your eyes from above. That's how the sun shines on our retinas. I also like that the screen diffuses the light so that, while VERY bright, it is also pleasant. There is also a switch that allows you to turn it on at a lower setting so it can serve as a work/task light. This is a good product, better than I expected it would be." - Ingles (5/5 stars)
"Attractive, relatively compact sun therapy lamp for the nice broad area it illuminates. This means the therapy benefit is preserved without such a strict positioning of the user. I owned a therapy lamp from 2000 that was much more glary and less flexible for more money. Nice that these have improved! Great that a lower setting is available for use as a regular desk lamp." - DB (5/5 stars)
"This device was a total disappointment. It arrived non-functional, with two of the three light bulbs not working. The craftsmanship is clearly poor as screws repeatedly tried to strip when disassembling the light box per the guidance of the included instructions to troubleshoot it. Some of the steps were impossible for me to complete despite half an hour of tinkering. Frankly, I find it concerning that the the instructions prominently mentioned that the light bulbs may not be functional. Despite following the guidance on troubleshooting I was unable to get all 3 lights functional. Personally, it's frustrating to pay over $100 for an item that a company expects you to troubleshoot yourself. If you're looking for an item of even modest quality, I strongly encourage you to look elsewhere." - Nick (2/5 stars)
Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp: $103.46, but you can get 25% with these Carex promo codes.
Lavish Home Lamp
This lamp from Lavish Home is a different style from the others on the list, but also provides natural full spectrum daylight hues. It produces pure bright white illumination, which reportedly makes colors appear more vibrant while reducing eye strain and fatigue. The bulb used can last up to 5,000 hours, and the flexible design means it can shine at any angle. However, the Lux level for this lamp isn't listed.
The Lavish Home Lamp scored an average of 3.9/5 stars from 3,316 customers. Here's what Amazon shopper had to say about their experiences:
"This lamp is amazing! It arrived yesterday; I was delighted to find that it fully illuminates a 12 x 14 bedroom, and the quality of the light is superb -- this artist/writer is very happy. It is very easy to assemble, and I was able to do so within less than 10 minutes. I have already ordered a desk version, but I am going to order another floor lamp as soon as I have completed this opinion. Finally, the design/styling/coloring of the lamp is innocuous, and as a result, will look well in any room or studio." - JG (5/5 stars)
"This is a very nice, very bright floor lamp for desk or table work. It is LED and thus efficient and runs very cool.The light is very white and illuminates whatever I'm working on. The only detriment -- and it is a minor one -- is that the on-off sequence has to go through all four brightness levels before you can turn it off. The lowest brightness is plenty bright enough for most of what I need. When it comes time to turn it off, I have to click through the three brighter levels in order to reach the off position." - M. Sables (4/5 stars)
"We are very disappointed in this lamp, which is poorly made and has an absolutely terrible design for the on/off "switch" (which is not actually a switch, or a button, but a touch pad that is usually unresponsive). It took some time to assemble and we had to jerry-rig the wires to get it to work from day one. But we had an urgent need for it and didn't want to go to the hassle of taking it apart, returning it, and finding a replacement. It worked (inconsistently) for a while, but now it won't turn on at all. We should've returned it when we first got it. What a mistake." - Tres (1/5 stars)
Lavish Home Full Spectrum Sunlight Therapy Reading and Crafting Floor Lamp: $37.39, and you're able to save 40% with Lavish Home promo codes.
This futuristic looking Philips' lamp uses diffused lighting and 10,000 LUX power to boost people's moods. Users can choose between 5 intensity settings. Unlike other SAD lamps, this one doesn't need to remain plugged in, and will hold a charge for up to 60 minutes. It also offers a free Energy Light App so you can customize an energy program.
Philips' light therapy lamp received an average score of 4.1/5 stars from 226 reviewers. Here's what customers thought of this lamp:
"Lightweight and easy to travel with. Solid construction. Simple to operate. Nicely designed. Good battery life. I used it daily, 20 - 30 minutes, for about two months and felt an improvement in my mood within a week. Looking forward to years of use." - Amazon Customer (5/5 stars)
"Exactly as described. Very nice to be able to take with you and use without a plug, as long as its been fully charged. One thing...I can't seem to detect the difference in the lowest setting and the highest, but that could certainly be my perception.
I have been using this for almost 2 months over the fall and I can feel a difference in my mood. I'm less irritable, more relaxed, and yet also feel an increase in my energy level. For me, 20 minutes per day is plenty. More than that can create a bit of a jittery state of mind, although not really that bad. I'm sure this is unique to each person, but just FYI." - M. Lummis (5/5 stars)
"I've noticed a significant improvement in my mood when I regularly use this light. However, my experience has been that the stand it sits on is very fragile. It started getting more "flimsy" over time, and then it completely broke the other day. Now I can't use the light anymore. I'm wondering if there's a way I can get a new stand sent through the mail?" - Amazon Customer (3/5 stars)
No more SAD feelings this winter
Amazon boasts a wide range of light therapy lamps for every budget and size. Let a SAD lamp take some of your winter blues away!