Best book light?
December 18, 2010 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Best book light?

People always seem a bit disappointed with their book lights, Itty Bitty or otherwise, and I've never used one so I don't know exactly why, but desynced schedules mean the time has come to stop waking up my SO with late reading, so I'm looking for a book light for nighttime in-bed reading with the following characteristics:


• Not such a bright LED that it defeats the purpose of having a book light and wakes up the other person
• Not clumsy or overly-heavy
• Battery life is not so brief that keeping it working gets on my radar as an ongoing task


• Warm light temperature

Can you recommend a book light like this that you've been satisfied with? Can you fill me in on why there seems to be a disappointment factor with book lights and what I should be watching out for?

posted by Your Time Machine Sucks to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This light is pretty good. It is a cold LED color, but the 5 LED's are bright enough to read by, but not too bright that they wake my roommate (who sleeps rather soundly). The batteries last a while, with the catch that it is somewhat heavy to have on a book. But, overall, I'm very satisfied with it.
posted by 47triple2 at 1:51 PM on December 18, 2010

I really like the Spike Light. I also read in bed when my husband is asleep, and I've never had an issue with him waking up because of the light unless he turns and faces me. The light is clean and bright, especially with new batteries, and lasts a good amount of time. Now, I don't actually clip it onto my books, as I tend to read while laying down on my side. Instead, I stick the battery end of the light under my pillow then bend the neck of the light up so that it shines on the pages. However, I have tried it before, and I think the neck is long enough that it doesn't really interfere with the turning of pages.
posted by jenny76 at 1:52 PM on December 18, 2010

I have the "mighty bright" ... it has two settings (using one LED or both LEDs) so you can adjust the brightness, it's light enough to use even with fairly flimsy books and doesn't weigh down my hands. Sometimes I feel like it's not quite lighting all of of both pages on a full-size hardcover when I have it tucked in close enough not to "bleed" out the sides at all, but I only do that when I'm pointing the "bleed" towards my husband.

I actually used mine for nighttime nursing reading AND as a light to see what I was doing (it fit neatly on his co-sleeper) for my son's entire first four months, and then for most nighttime feedings until he was around 9 months old (though they went down from four a night to two a night and so on) ... I went on a single pair of batteries from when I got the booklight maybe two years before that (but didn't use it more than weekly or so) until he was about nine months old with those nine months being fairly significant usage. When the battery is going to die the LEDs come on bright but then start fading. This happened so gradually it took me a (sleep-deprived) while to figure out it was the batteries and not the fact that I'd been up repeatedly in the night for nine months and I was losing my mind or sight.

And if anyone has an Arm's Reach co-sleeper, this light clips perfectly onto the sides and provides just the right amount of light to deal with a nighttime nursing! (Plus you can aim it where you need to see -- away for just a bit of a glow, right at the baby if you've got to see if there's a problem.) It was also bright enough to aim over my shoulder at my book while I nursed. I was always terrified I'd fall asleep nursing if I didn't read during the nighttime feedings!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:53 PM on December 18, 2010

I bought the Kandle to go with my Kindle, but it's great for books as well and it meets all of your criteria.
posted by patheral at 2:29 PM on December 18, 2010

I bought a LightWedge for my wife three years ago and she uses it just about every night. She likes the fact that it isn't as bright as a lamp and I like it because I can go to sleep while she reads in bed. It also serves as a bookmark!
posted by davcoo at 4:19 PM on December 18, 2010

I had a great one that I got for a dollar from a stall on the side of the road. It lasted three years before the battery needed changing. I don't know the brand or how to get another one, but I'm chiming in anyway, just to say that you don't necessarily need anything expensive or a well known brand.
posted by lollusc at 4:23 PM on December 18, 2010

I came in to say Itty Bitty, plug-in variety. But I'll also second lollusc. I despair at the economics that make things work like this, but, it is easiest and cheapest to find a dollar store with a decent variety and buy them in bulk, pitching them as the batteries die.

I tried searching around for some sort of ne plus ultra of book lights a year or two ago -- I would've been happy to lay out quite a bit for something perfect -- and it just didn't seem to be out there. On the plus side, the disposable jobbies do last quite a while, and most work quite adequately. This is my favourite throwaway.
posted by kmennie at 7:41 PM on December 18, 2010

posted by annie o at 9:43 PM on December 18, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks folks, LightWedge looks promising, as does Mighty Bright, and I'm considering the throwaways but without the throwing away part. I'll report back once I've had some results.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 2:32 AM on December 19, 2010

Just to present a couple of alternatives, and ones you may already have: small LED lights (they sell 2-3 per $5 pack at hardware stores) or a camping-style headlight. Both can be hands-free, though the second is perhaps too utilitarian. I read lying down in bed on my back (paperbacks), so balancing a small LED light on my upper chest will direct it directly on my book, not too bright at all.
posted by dreamphone at 2:46 AM on December 19, 2010

For me the disappointment factor with a "clip on the book" type light was that the head of the lamp (i.e., the part containing the bulb) was always in the line of sight to the page, or close enough to that to be a perpetual irritant. Guess it depends on the details of one's reading in bed position, but it never worked out for me.
posted by Kevin S at 3:28 AM on December 19, 2010

Hah, the picture at kmenny's link is identical to the one I got from the stall by the roadside. Seriously, it was great!
posted by lollusc at 4:22 AM on December 19, 2010

I got the Mighty Bright and use it for reading print books, but I also clip it onto the edge of my nightstand to give me some light if I go to bed after my husband; it's great. For my Kindle, I use the M-Edge e-Luminator because it folds into my M-Edge Kindle cover. Not as bright as the Mighty Bright, but it's fine for my Kindle. I don't know that I would describe the quality of either as warm, though.
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:07 PM on December 19, 2010

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