The best SAD lamps 2023on September 13, 2023 at 14:45 Tech Advisor


If you struggle with low energy during the winter months, it could be seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

SAD sufferers tend to experience restless sleep, lethargy, and low spirits – all caused by the decrease in light levels during the winter. But a good SAD lamp can help to ease the symptoms.

A SAD lamp or light box is designed to mimic the natural outdoor light we miss during the winter months, and stimulate the same physiological response in users. It can boost your mood and your energy levels.

If you’ve been diagnosed with SAD and you live in the UK, you’re entitled to waive the VAT on products designed to help with symptoms. SAD lights are classed as medical devices. You can find out more reading Government guidance but, in short, you’ll pay less at the point of purchase. You’ll find the option available when you click to buy a SAD lamp from Lumie’s online shop

You may also find that a light alarm helps you to wake up on dark winter mornings and feel refreshed. A light alarm reproduce the stages of early daylight to allow you to wake naturally, and can be a huge help to people struggling with a lack of light in their winter routines. We’ve tested some of the best in our round-up of the best light alarms

For more information on SAD lamps, and for buying advice, read on after the chart.

The Best SAD Lamps

1. Lumie Task – Best design


Elegant design

Dual use

10,000 lux brightness

Renders colours accurately


Height can’t be adjusted


This beautiful lamp will provide 10,000 lux to brighten up your day. Plus, it’s a brilliant task light with a colour rendering index of 95+, making it a perfect light for drawing, sewing, painting and other crafts.

If you want a SAD lamp that fits in with the decor in your home and doesn’t take up too much space, this is the model to go for. It’s slim and elegantly designed and will look good wherever you place it. Plus, it comes in five genuinely appealing colours. We tested the charcoal blue, but it’s also available in sage green, golden yellow, steel blue and white mist. You can get a look at all the colours on the John Lewis website.

It’s dimmable, with a lovely operating mechanism: just swipe your finger along the Lumie logo on its base to choose your brightness. The lamp’s direction and angle are fully adjustable – but bear in mind that its height is fixed. Still, we found it the perfect height for working, or for using as a SAD lamp.

Yes, it’s expensive but if you’re a SAD sufferer and you buy direct from Lumie, you can save over £40 as you won’t need to pay VAT.

Read our full

Lumie Task review

2. Lumie Vitamin L – Most budget-friendly



Not harsh light

Well priced


Single function

Lumie’s Vitamin L SAD Lamp is slim, slight and simple enough to find a spot for in any room. It’s incredibly bright, but manages not to be harsh thanks to its rippled design – it can illuminate a whole bedroom or small living room if you want it to. The entirety of its large rectangular surface lights up for optimum exposure.

It has to be plugged in, but the cable is long enough that you can pop the lamp on a bedside table or a desk. It can stand in portrait or landscape position thanks to its kickstand, and the only button or control is the on/off switch on the back.

The effects of the lamp will vary from person to person, so it’s tricky to offer a verdict on whether or not it’ll work for you, but 30 minutes while getting ready for work made us feel noticeably more awake and alert in the morning.

It’s one of the best priced SAD lamps we’ve seen, but others with higher price tags often include additional features, while this is a straightforward, simple solution. 

3. Lumie Zest SAD & wake-up light – Best dual-function lamp


10,000 lux

Wake-up light


Best for bedroom use

The Lumie Zest has dual functionality. It’s both a SAD lamp and a wake-up light. 

This compact little dedicated SAD light box boasts up to 10,000 lux output and adjustable brightness levels to suit your tastes. For light therapy, you can set it on a choice of brightness and timer settings, and use the adjustable stand to position it towards your face for the most effective light therapy. 

The wake-up light has a 15 or 30 minute sunrise option, along with a snooze function. The blue-enriched white LEDs give the impression of natural daylight coming into your room, making it a gentle light to wake up to. You can set an optional beeping alarm, but you can’t choose any other soothing sounds as you can on dedicated wake-up lights.

The Lumie Zest does need to be plugged in all the time but because it’s so small, you can move it around your home easily. It may not offer all the same features as some of the dedicated products, but this little hybrid definitely packs a punch. 

4. Lumie SAD Desklamp – Adjustable height desktop SAD lamp


4 brightness settings


Other features limited

This SAD lamp from Lumie doubles as a table lamp. It has four brightness settings which you can cycle through by tapping the base, but you won’t find any other features such as timers or alarms – which may underwhelm some, considering that the Desklamp costs over £100.

Compared to some other SAD lamps, the design is basic, with an adjustable neck and a smooth plastic finish. It’s not battery operated, so it will have to remain plugged in for use.

The Desklamp’s style is quite severe and clinical (it doesn’t surprise us that it’s a Class 2a medical device). We found it to be fairly chunky too.

The light itself, however, is clear and bright at 10,000 lux at full strength – which makes it a great study or work lamp if you wanted to integrate it into your day-to-day life. It comes with a detachable diffuser.

Lumie recommends sitting under the light for 60 minutes a day, or 30 minutes a day with the diffuser removed.



How do I use a SAD lamp?

Recommendations can vary by device, so it’s always worth checking the instructions. For a 10,000 lux device, you should use it for somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour per day.

There’s no need to sit and stare into it. In fact, that’s not a good idea. Instead, angle it so you look past it while you read, work or watch TV. Just make sure that its light can reach your eyes directly. To do so, it should be placed on a desk, table or shelf around 15-25 inches from your face.

But this information is just a guide. All SAD lamps will have slightly different instructions, so if you buy one, check the manual before using it.


What is the difference between a SAD lamp and a light alarm?

A light alarm is different from a SAD lamp, although both devices can be useful to people who struggle with the lack of light over the winter months. A light alarm will come on in place of an audio alarm, brightening from a low, warm light over a period of time to mimic dawn. They’ll help to wake you gently and make you feel more refreshed by the time you have to get up.

Typically, they also have audio alarms and can be used as bedside and reading lights.


Is a SAD light worth it?

SAD lamps are expensive devices, so you may be wondering if it’s really worth it to get one. If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, we think the answer is yes. Here’s why.

Bright light therapy is one of the best accepted treatments for seasonal depression. Light therapy works by controlling the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle. It also boosts the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects your mood. In short, it can help to sort out your sleeping pattern and improve the way you feel.

SAD lamps are different from ordinary lamps, hence the price. They’re medical devices designed to produce at least 10,000 lux of brightness. You can’t sit under an ordinary lamp and get any kind of wellbeing boost from it.

But there’s good news. If you’re a SAD sufferer in the UK, you may not need to pay VAT on your purchase of a SAD lamp. Visit Lumie and buy there and you’ll see the option when you are ready to add the device of your choosing to your basket.

Lighting, Smart Home

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