If you’ve been diagnosed with an Autumn- or Winter-onset seasonal affective disorder, then there’s a good chance that you’ve been told to get a therapy light. The best SAD therapy lights reviewed here will help you receive the lux that your doctor has recommended and do so for a competitive price. That way you can effectively chase the blues away today, tomorrow, and any time the season might have you feeling a little down.
One Chart for the Best SAD Therapy Lights
You’ll find that the therapy lights available for SAD come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. There are lamps. There are boxes. They might be square, rectangular, or round. These are the top-rated models that will provide you with the healthy light you need to hopefully start feeling better.
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Light Therapy Lux||Flicker Free||Aromatherapy||Brightness Adjustable||Price|
|NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light/Ion Therapy Lamp|| 4.3 ||10,000||Yes||Optional||No|| $$ |
|Baltoro Power Sunlight Desk Lamp|| 4.2 ||1,800||No||No||Yes|| $ |
|Verilux HappyLight Liberty Personal Portable Light Therapy|| 4.2 ||5,000||No||Optional||No|| $$ |
|Beurer Daylight Lamp|| 4.2 ||10,000||Yes||No||No|| $$$ |
|LSE Lighting Natural Full Spectrum Daylight/Sunlight Floor Lamp||4.4||1,800||No||No||No|| $$ |
|Verilux HappyLight Liberty Light Therapy Energy Lamp|| 4.3 ||7,500||No||No||Yes|| $$ |
|Carex Daylight Classic Bright Light Therapy Lamp|| 4.3 ||10,000||Yes||No||Yes|| $$$$$ |
|Carex Daylight Classic Bright Light Therapy Lamp|| 4.4 ||10,000||Yes||No||Yes|| $$$$ |
|SunBOX Sunlight Jr. Therapeutic Light Therapy|| 4.3 ||10,000||Yes||No||No|| $$$$$+ |
|Sphere Gadget Technologies Lightphoria|| 4.2 ||10,000||Yes||No||Yes|| $$$ |
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Light Therapy Lux||Flicker Free||Aromatherapy||Brightness Adjustable||Price|
Reviews of the Best SAD Therapy Lights
You can use the lamp 12-18 inches away from your face for seasonal affective disorders and receive a physical response in less than a week. Any further away than this reduces the effectiveness of this product. It’s nice that this product can simulate natural sunlight without the need for UV filters. The light produced is smooth and consistent, without flickering. There is little glare, but you will feel discomfort if you happen to look at the light directly. You’ll want to make sure your eyes are looking away from the unit when you turn it on for use.
We like that this is a smaller therapy light, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up a lot of space. The 10,000-lux rating is valid up to 14 inches away, so you have more space to operate compared to similar therapy lights. We found that the lamp tends to work best when it is set at a 45-degree angle. It comes with a 55-watt 5,000 Kelvin full-spectrum bulb, but it also provides a UV-filter for eye and skin safety. The triangular shape of the SunBOX Junior should also be considered as one of its top features.
Here is why the Aura therapy lamp is different. You receive a patented lux adjustment dial on the lamp so that you are in complete control over your therapy session. At its minimum setting, you’ll receive 3,500-lux of support. At the maximum setting, you can achieve an output of 10,000-lux. This product sits on its own, but does adjust between 70-85 degrees so you can receive a somewhat customized angle for your light therapy as well. You can also mount this lamp if you prefer a more permanent solution.
It is important to note that this is a therapy light, not a sunlight simulator. Over 99% of the UV is blocked from the light output, which means you’re not going to receive any help with a potential Vitamin D deficiency. We also found that holding the lamp about 1 foot away from your face isn’t always the most comfortable experience. The stand sits nicely on a table and you can then sit right next to the lamp. The light is quite bright with that closeness, so you may wish to schedule a dedicated light therapy time in the morning to obtain the full benefits of this product instead of trying to multi-task.
You’ll receive up to 7,500-lux of output that you can adjust to a desired level. You have access to a high or low setting, as well as two interchangeable lenses, so you receive the therapy levels that you want. This light therapy box also blocks UV-light, allowing you to use it for longer therapy or light exposure sessions when needed. Although the filters are interchangeable, the process to undertake a change isn’t the easiest to complete. You need to unscrew the top of the lamp to put a new filter into the lamp. There’s a tool that comes with the HappyLight to help facilitate this, but it would be easier to be able to slide the filters in and out instead.
We felt that this floor lamp was very stable. It was tried on numerous types of flooring, from hardwood to laminate to carpeting, and the results were about equal. It is very balanced and will provide a good overhead light source that offers a low-lux option for those who may experience mild symptoms on gray days. There was some slippage on non-carpeted floors, but one would need to bump into the lamp or have it positioned where it was contacting furniture in order to achieve this result.
Maybe the best feature of this bright light therapy lamp is the adjustable stand that comes with the product. Because this is an LED-based lamp, it is quite thin and portable, even if it is larger than most other portable products in this category. The stand that comes with it allows you to use this light either vertically or horizontally. It is very lightweight, weighing just 1.2 pounds. The look and feel of this product is like having a tablet with you. The only difference is that instead of streaming a movie on it, you’ll be enjoying the therapeutic light that you may need.
This is one highly durable product that has been built to withstand the rigors of portability. It can withstand a drop from up to 1 meter with consistency in our trials and features a UV-filtered output so that it can be used on a daily basis and for extended use. It doesn’t overheat like other therapy lamps tend to do, so it can be used in small spaces. In return, you can receive the circadian rhythm balancing that your doctor may be recommending. In order to receive the full 5,000-lux, users will need to position the light about 8 to 10 inches away from their face. This makes it an effective product, but it can be difficult to complete tasks with this proximity need.
The primary feature we really appreciated about this sunlight desk lamp is the elbow-design that has been built into the frame. This allows you to use this lamp as a reading lamp or a task lamp, positioning it into whatever position you need it to be. You can also adjust the head of the lamp to face toward you, providing a light source that can be used as a therapy lamp if desired as well.
There are two other design options available as well: you can have a touch switch or a desk/floor lamp combination to meet your specific needs.
This isn’t a wake-up light or a sunrise simulator. The NatureBrightSunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp are specifically designed to provide bright light therapy with a couple of added benefits. You can use it while watching TV, eating your breakfast, or even while reading something on your computer. It provides a visible white light and works best if it can be used immediately after waking up. You also have the option of turning off the negative ion therapy feature if you prefer.
What Is a Therapy Light? Why Would I Want One?
Light therapy helps to treat SAD and other conditions by providing an exposure to artificial light. During a therapy session, you would sit, lie down, or work next to your light. It will mimic outdoor light, but without the UV exposure, so you don’t need to worry about damaging your eyes with the item.
Light therapy is believed to affect the chemicals in the brain that are linked to mood and sleep. With regular light exposure, the symptoms of a seasonal affective disorder can be lessened.
Light therapy may also help with different sleep disorders, various forms of depressions, and other conditions as recommended by your doctor. It can be used in conjunction with antidepressants or other medications, though people with epilepsy or bipolar disorder will want to consult with their doctor before purchasing one of the best therapy lights.
A therapy light can also be useful for those who travel frequently because it can lessen the symptoms of jet lag. It may also be helpful for those who work alternative shifts or have a chronic sleep disorder.
It is important to look at each therapy light review to make sure the product is intended for use as a treatment for SAD. There are different therapy lights that are used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis. This type of therapy light uses UV light, which can damage the eyes and skin with the prolonged contact that is needed for a SAD treatment.
Are There Any Risks Associated with SAD Therapy Lights?
Using light therapy is generally safe. Many people experience zero negative side effects when using a lamp or box.
If negative or unwanted side effects do occur, they are generally mild and do not last for very long. The most common side effects include the following.
- Eye Strain.
- Headaches or Migraines.
For people who have bipolar disorder, whether it is diagnosed or not, the use of a light therapy product is known to trigger an episode of mania. This may cause side effects that include feelings of great euphoria, intense agitation, or extreme hyperactivity for a prolonged period of time.
People who have been diagnosed with epilepsy should carefully go through each of the best SAD therapy lights reviewed here to make sure they are flicker-free. Therapy lights that do flicker have been known to trigger seizures in those who are epileptic, even when seizures are under control.
Caution should also be taken if your skin is sensitive to light because of a medical condition or medications that you are taking. Some herbal supplements, especially St. John’s Wort, may enhance skin sensitivity as well.
How to Make Sure Your Light Therapy Session Is Effective
For your light therapy session to be as effective as possible, there are three key points of focus that must be considered.
- Light Intensity. The typical recommendation for someone experiencing SAD is to use a light therapy lamp or box that provides 10,000-lux. You would want to place the box or lamp about 16-24 inches away from your face. For general use without a SAD diagnosis or concern, lux levels of 5,000 are often sufficient to provide results.
- Duration. When using a 10,000-lux light therapy product, daily sessions of up to 30 minutes are usually recommended. If you prefer to use a low-intensity lamp or box, then multiply the amount of time you spend by the division factor of your lamp from the 10,000-lux rating. For a 5,000-lux light, as an example, you’d likely need to plan daily sessions of up to 60 minutes.
- Time. Light therapy is usually most effective when it is completed in the morning. Use it right away after you first wake up. For some individuals, a mid-morning, afternoon, or evening light therapy session may be more appropriate. Your doctor will be able to help you determine when you will gain the most benefits out of your light therapy.
Light therapy is at its most effective when it is used consistently for the right amount of time. Some may believe they must stop everything they are doing to sit in front of a therapy light, but this is a false assumption. You can place your light therapy lamp or box next to your computer, television, or at your work desk and be able to experience its benefits.
Even if you purchase a light therapy box that contains no UV light, it is still important to avoid looking straight into it. Prolonged exposure to any bright light offers the potential of damaging your eyes. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on your preferred SAD therapy light and whatever advice your doctor may offer.
Pricing Expectations for the Best SAD Therapy Lights
Therapy lights for SAD are generally priced in a reasonable range. You can purchase several 10,000-lux models in the $50-$100 range. Some lower lux models are priced in the $25-$40 range.
If you want a lamp that can provide you with light therapy, you’ll find that many models tend to be priced around $150.
The best SAD therapy lights reviewed here can help you regain control of your life. If you haven’t spoken with your doctor about the possibility of having a seasonal affective disorder, then do so. Then pick up one of these fantastic therapy lights so you can potentially reduce the signs and symptoms of your disorder.