I admit I’m a little old school. I love a well-worn paperback as much as I like having an e-book reader. I do most of my reading at night, just to unwind without technology. But my eyes were straining under the lamp’s bright light. So, off I went, down the rabbit hole, searching for the best book lights for reading in bed. Here’s what I found.
A Guide to Buying the Best Book Light
What are the advantages/benefits of a book reading light?
Unlike the days of yore where you had to use a flashlight under the covers after the lights were off, now, book lights have evolved with the times.
Book lights are usually free-standing devices.
Book lights are better for reading than a flashlight because you can use them hands-free. This means you have both hands while reading, which is far superior to one-handed use. One hand can support the book while the other can turn pages and hold the other half of the book down as you read.
Book lights care for your eyes.
The soft glow of your bedside lamp will not be enough for long periods of reading. Book lights help avoid the eye strain that comes from squinting as you try to make the words out on the page. They also prevent the headaches that result when you read in improper lighting.
As we get older, good lighting becomes even more important. As our eyesight loses the clarity it once had, we need to prevent placing it under unnecessary stress.
Book lights help you concentrate on reading during the night.
When the fine print is lit just right, you read faster. Nothing can slow you down, except for drowsiness or a phone notification. Book lights give you a well-lit bubble of space where you can relish in reading a good book.
Is warm light better for reading?
People have vilified blue light for so long, claiming it’s harmful to the eyes and can even suppress melatonin, which promotes sleep. But are any of these claims true?
Scientists don’t agree on the matter. If you look at this recent study claiming blue light is actually beneficial for sleep, they still have not made any definitive conclusions because they tested on mice, not humans. This is not to mention that mice are nocturnal creatures and may not respond to light the same way we do.
So, it’s all up to the reader’s personal preference. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, we should focus on intensity, not color, of light for better reading. You need a bright light when reading at night, to mimic the effects you get when reading during the day.
The caveat to this is, brighter lights may disrupt your sleeping habits. Scientists recommend a completely dark, cool room as the best sleep environment. To work around this, remember to turn off your reading lights before snoozing off.
How to choose the best book reading light?
So you’re ready to shop around for a book light, only there are so many options and shapes on the market, it’s nearly impossible to choose one that is 100% right for you. To narrow your options down, here are some things you have to consider.
Where will you be doing the bulk of your reading? Is it in bed, possibly next to someone? Will it be on a desk? Are you taking your book light with you on your travels or commute?
If you’ll be mostly using the book light in bed, you’ll want something that is lightweight and can clip on your book. You may also want a wearable book light. If you’re reading on a desk, a standing book light would be ideal. When traveling or commuting, you’ll also want something that’s lightweight.
The most important quality in a book light is its brightness. You need a book light that illuminates the page without hurting your eyes.
Usually, a book light will have brightness settings. These settings will change the light’s color temperature. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin. The light can be either warm or cool.
A book light can either have a rechargeable battery or a standard battery. It can also come with a power cord.
For rechargeable book lights, check how long it can go on a single full charge. If you read a lot or for a long time, you’ll need to top this up frequently.
Battery-powered book lights can be a more convenient option but you’ll have to replace the batteries, too, once it runs out of juice. That can be inconvenient when the book light dies down and you don’t have batteries on hand.
For both these types, check the battery size to see if you can use it comfortably for your daily use.
The most common book light is the clip-on type that may also serve as a standing lamp. These are great because they clamp on the book directly so you get even lighting without obstructions. However, they may be too heavy for tiny books.
An innovative book light design is the hug light, which is a wearable, easy to use design that looks like a necklace. This is helpful if you don’t want something weighty hanging onto your book as you read. It’s one of the best book lights for people who read a lot in one sitting.
Book lights can have features that go beyond the usual specifications you expect from a typical reading light. These include flexible necks, a shut off timer, and a non-disturbance feature. This allows you to read without disturbing someone next to you. It focuses the light on the book alone.
Look for a book light with a money-back guarantee and warranty, in case you change your mind or if the product isn’t to your liking.
The Top 5 Best Book Lights for Reading in Bed
Energizer Clip on Book Light for Reading in Bed
If you didn’t know Energizer also sells book lights, well, now you do. This battery-powered reading light clips on the book or the desk and gives you 25 hours of illumination with 2 Energizer 2032 batteries, included in the package.
This is foldable and compact so you can take it with you wherever you need extra lighting. It has 11 lumens (a measure of brightness) of warm light. It’s LED light that’s gentle on eyes but shines enough light on the page.
You can control the direction of the light with its flexible and collapsible neck. If you’re taking this with you on the plane, your seatmate won’t be disturbed because its beam is wide enough for whatever you’re reading without infringing on the privacy of those next to you.
Because it can go for 25 hours, this is perfect for outdoor activities, camping, road trips and other events where you don’t have access to a power outlet. This is perfect for marathon reading as well.
The clip does have its limitations. It can only clip on surfaces and books up to 0.5 inches or 13 mm thick. The book light can radiate brightness up to 4 meters away. However, the brightness is not adjustable. The lack of rechargeable battery can be a con for some people, as well.
The clip and neck also limit the reach of the book light. It only illuminates the page you clip it to. This could be a problem for big books. However, for the price, this is a solid choice.
- Compact and foldable
- Uses a warm white LED light
- Has a flexible neck
- Scope of light won’t bother others
- Can go for 25 hours
- Brightness is not adjustable
- Limited reach when reading
- No rechargeable battery
Ecologic Mart – Multi Light All in All Book Light
Something listed as the Lamborghini of book lights does pique the attention, especially at such a reasonable price.
The Ecologic Mart Book Light is a rechargeable book light with 1200mAh. For reference, cellphones typically have around 3500mAh or more. I prefer rechargeable reading lights because I don’t have to scramble for batteries when I inevitably forget the batts are about to die. A rechargeable battery is more eco-friendly, too.
According to the brand, you can get between 2.6 to 130 hours on a single charge. It’s a pretty wide range, maybe because there’s a 1-arm and 2-arm option. When the battery is dangerously low on power, you’ll be reminded via an alarm. It also shows the battery status of the light.
The Ecologic Mart Multi Light is not just for reading in bed; it’s a clip-on book light that doubles as a desk light too. But what distinguishes it from other book lights on the market is the keyhole hanger mode. You can turn the book light into a hanging or wall lamp.
Both single and dual arm versions of the book light are lightweight and are less than 3 oz. For light settings, you can choose from warm, cool, and natural. The brightness levels can be adjusted to low, medium, or high.
In the box are a USB charger, an extra long USB cable, and a carry bag.
The book light comes with a lifetime warranty for factory defects. For batteries and cables, the warranty is up to 3 years on batteries and cables. There’s a separate 5 year-warranty on LEDs.
This book light needs a lot of pages to clamp onto, so it’s not for thin paperbacks. You’ll be fine with a hardback or thick reads, though.
- Is a rechargeable book light with a good battery size
- Has various status indicators for power
- Multifunctional and can be used as a desk or hanging lamp
- Has different light and brightness settings
- Has good warranty coverage
- Not for thin books or paperbacks
Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light
If your partner has complained about your night reading habits waking them up, the Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light may be the best book light for both of you.
Its LED light beams at a 90-degree angle, narrow enough not to wake someone next to you but bright enough for you to see the words on the page.
It has dual beams, one on each end, and you get to choose from 3 brightness levels for each head. On the neck of the device, you can adjust the color temperature to yellow, warm white, and cool white.
The LED lights won’t flicker on you, thereby preventing eye strain. It also has a blue light filter, useful if you find blue light keeps you up at night.
The arms of the heads are flexible so you can point it to the exact angle you need. It’s hands-free and the ergonomic design feels good on the neck.
It has a 1000mAh battery that provides up to 80 hours of light when reading with a single head. If you’re using both heads for dim reading, it can last up to 40 hours. I love that it’s rechargeable via USB-C which is the most innovative charging cord now. It’s a reversible type of socket so you don’t have to flip it to connect it to a power brick.
As for warranty, I couldn’t find any information but it’s likely up to the specific seller.
Some users have noted that the neck light is not made for women because it would slide off. They wish they could tighten it more and fasten the ends of the light.
- Has a narrow beam scope
- Has customizable light settings and color temperature
- Made of anti-flicker LED lights with a blue light filter
- Has flexible arms
- The battery has a decent size
- Can be charged via USB-C
- No warranty information
- Neck light is not adjustable for a better fit
GLORIOUS-LITE 5W LED Clip on Light
If you’re looking for a great multipurpose lamp, the Glorious-Lite is the best book light for you.
It’s a clip-on ring light-style lamp with a malleable neck. The gooseneck is 40 cm high and molded from high-quality aluminum. It’s twisty, durable, and non-heat retentive.
The circular head has a doughnut hole in the center. It emits two types of LED light: warm and cold. You can pick between dim and bright for the light settings. This will cover most types of dark reading environments.
The clip is sturdy with a good range. It can clamp on widths up to 2.3 inches or 6 cm. It can handle even the thickest of tomes or desks. If you’re using this on furniture, you don’t have to worry about scuffs because the clip has a protective foam pad. This pad also makes the base sturdy and resistant to wobble.
The Glorious Lite LED Clip-On Light is powered by a USB cord. The cable is adequate at 59 inches or just below 5 feet. You can plug it into a computer or power bank. To plug it into a wall, you’ll need an adapter.
This reading light measures 14.96 inches or 38 cm tall. I think this is the perfect light for bed readers who have a headboard. The book light can also be used to light up work areas, makeup vanities, a Zoom meeting, and cars when reading on road trips.
The book light has a 1-year warranty. The USB cord may be finicky for some people who are used to a standard power cord.
- Has a flexible neck
- LED light emits two kinds of temperatures and two brightness levels
- Has a sturdy clip with good range and a foam pad
- Has a long cable
- Small but sturdy reading light great for bed, home and on the go purposes
- The USB cord as a power source may be a dealbreaker for people who are not used to it
Vont: LED Clip On Reading Light
The Vont LED Reading Light has a svelte design with a focus on customer satisfaction. This is the best book light for those who want both style and function.
I’m impressed with how the book light was built. It’s eye-catching yet functional.
The Vont LED Clip On Book Light is a chargeable clip-on lamp with a 1000 mAh battery. It will give you 8 hours of comfortable reading. It’s charged through a micro-USB cable.
At 120 lumen, this can give off an amazingly bright light. Select one of three brightness levels to suit your preferences. The low setting is great for reading next to someone deep in slumber. The brightness is controlled through a touch-sensitive switch.
The light can clip on most surfaces because of its wide clamp that can accommodate up to 1.8 inches. Perfect for a headboard, perfect for a thick book. It can also stand alone as a desk lamp.
It also has a 360-degree gooseneck, allowing you to control the light’s direction. And when the light is focused on your book, you won’t experience any flickers or glare. Vont also boasts of more contrast on text compared to other book lights. It’s definitely a good book light for reading.
To top it off, the book light has a lifetime warranty which tells me they take customer service seriously.
Unfortunately, you can’t change the color temperature of the book light. It comes with a cool or true white light. If you prefer warm light when reading in bed, you may be better off with something else.
- Modern and eye-catching design
- Rechargeable with a decent sized battery
- Gives off powerful LED light
- Has adjustable brightness settings
- Has a wide clamp
- Has a flexible gooseneck
- Doesn’t flicker or cause glare
- Gives you more contrast when reading
- Has a lifetime warranty
- The color temperature can’t be changed
Since I do most of my reading in bed, I want a clip-on style booklight that’s easy to use especially with one hand, since I’ll need to hold a book with the other. I also want a rechargeable type of booklight with a warranty and light settings. As a bonus, I also like something that looks good even when not in use and has additional features that improve my reading experience.
Because of these reasons, the best one on the list for me is the Vont LED Clip On Reading Light. I have a weakness for modern spins on classic things, and this is one of them. It’s powerful but gentle on the eyes. The battery will last you throughout the night, and even the day. The clamp width is enough for most books and the neck is adjustable, too. Best of all, it will not flicker or give you glare when reading so you can focus on the words, not the light. For the price, this book light is an amazing bargain.