Inexpensive desk lamp with adjustable brightness?
April 9, 2013 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a nice, inexpensive task lamp to put on my desk at work. It should have adjustable brightness (low/high is fine) so that I can have either a little or a lot of light, as required. Free-standing, not clamp-on. $30 or less would be ideal. Help?

I often find myself at work wishing that I had a lamp on my desk to that when I am doing detailed work I can get a better view of what I'm doing. Where I sit, all the light comes from behind me and if I am doing something fiddly it can be hard to see well enough as I tend to block my own light.

I'd like to have a lamp with a free-standing (rather than clamp-on) base so that I can move it around the desk, and which has at least a high and a low light setting. The bulb should be shrouded well enough that I can use it to flood my desk without having to stare into a naked light source.

Other than that, it doesn't need to be fancy. I don't care much what it looks like or what it's made of as long as it's at least moderately sturdy. I would prefer a warmer light (so maybe an incandescent or halogen lamp, unless there's an LED one that makes a nice warm white) as the place where I work is lit by those nasty six-foot fluorescent tubes and it would be nice to have something a little less clinical-feeling.

Does anybody know of a light like this? Maybe you own one? Please let me know, I'd be overjoyed.
posted by Scientist to Shopping (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is the cheapie LED option. I have a few like this halogen one and they are pretty good, two settings, sturdy and bright. Something like this might give you more power but I don't have specific experience with it.
posted by jessamyn at 9:20 AM on April 9, 2013

Response by poster: The trouble with that halogen one, and ones like it, is that the bulb isn't really shrouded. So unless it is angled straight down, one tends to have a bright point of light in one's field of vision. That may not be an issue for most people, but it drives me crazy. If there were something like that halogen lamp but with a more recessed bulb, it would be pretty much perfect.
posted by Scientist at 9:34 AM on April 9, 2013

Response by poster: Also (not to threadsit) but according to the reviews that lamp has a problem that I've encountered with other similar halogens, which is that it doesn't have the kind of range of motion that it looks like it should. You apparently can't tilt the lamp part back very far -- it is sort of locked in a downward position. Again, that general style of lamp would be great if someone made one that was properly adjustable and had a recessed bulb.

I realize I am being picky here, but if I weren't picky then I wouldn't have bothered coming to AskMe for this. I trust y'all to be as picky as me about this kind of stuff, and to understand why it is that I am beanplating the heck out of such an ostensibly-straightforward purchase.
posted by Scientist at 9:40 AM on April 9, 2013

Ah yeah I hear what you're saying. Unfortunately the ones I love without that pinpoint light problem are significantly more expensive.
posted by jessamyn at 9:50 AM on April 9, 2013

You might be able to use an aftermarket dimmer switch on a lamp that otherwise fits your criteria, though I've got no idea how terrifying those might be from a fire safety perspective.
posted by asperity at 10:02 AM on April 9, 2013

Here's one like Jessamyn's, only it's $40 at Staples.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:10 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was just at ikea for some other things, and idly looking at lamps for my desk exactly like what you want and in that price range. I swear i saw a smaller, simpler version of something like this that was only $30 or so but still had adjustable brightness. I ended up getting nothing because i'm a waffle iron, but that seemed like an awfully good place to go meander through ideas of what you want while also getting to check them out not in a photo on a monitor.

Oh, and some of the better ones that are usually like $60 on their website were in the "up to 50% off" area with a tiny dent in them or something. If i end up going back to get one, that would be where i'd grab one.
posted by emptythought at 4:05 PM on April 9, 2013

Response by poster: Resolution: I ended up ordering this lamp in the end. It was a used one, which apparently has a small scratch on the base (they normally retail for around $70). I'm hoping for the best.
posted by Scientist at 4:29 PM on April 10, 2013

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