sad light box

Best SAD Lamps to Ease Seasonal Depression: Top Picks, Reviews & Buying Guide

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Shopping for a SAD lamp?

You’re at just the right spot!

As winter approaches, so do shorter days with dark and gloomy weather, which can get quite depressing. If you’re tired of all the winter blues, scientifically referred to as the Seasonal Affective Disorder by experts, you should consider buying a SAD lamp.

SAD lamps mimic outdoor natural light to fulfill the requirement of sunlight for your body. With darker days and scarce sunlight hours, it is completely natural to feel tired, exhausted, drained of energy, and unable to focus on your work.

We can relate to it too!

However, with a SAD lamp, you can say goodbye to seasonal depression. Light therapy works wonders to improve your sleep and mood and start each day with a positive attitude.

So, what if the sun decided to shine a little less in winters?

A SAD lamp is an excellent replacement and a very effective solution to your winter woes!

Why Do You Need a SAD Lamp?

We’re always drawn towards the light – going out for a walk, opening the curtains in the morning, and preferring rooms where light floods in.

There is a simple explanation behind this very common preference, and that is: because natural light acts as a mood booster by increasing serotonin levels (your happy hormone) and regulating the internal biological clock.

As winter and fall arrive, you might start to feel drowsy, agitated, depressed, exhausted, and fatigued. However, symptoms often tend to worsen if left untreated and may progress to depression and hopelessness. This is where a seasonal affective disorder lamp can help.

SAD lamps compensate for the declined sunlight by emitting artificial light for your body. These lightboxes are bedside lamps that keep your circadian rhythm in check, boost serotonin production, and keep you alert and refreshed throughout the day.

So, if you suffer from seasonal depression or sleep difficulties, light therapy is a great way to keep things under control.

You can combat anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, jet lag, tiredness, and depression by exposing yourself to artificial sunlight. We highly recommend using a SAD sunlight lamp to stay focused, happy, and energized throughout the day.

What's In This Buying Guide

In this article, we discuss all the necessary information about seasonal affective disorder lamps that you need to know.

We first review our top three picks for the best lightbox for SAD and then discuss how to choose the best lamp.

We also list all their pros and cons and answer a few common FAQs so that you can easily pick the best seasonal affective disorder lamp.

Best SAD Lamps

  1. Editor’s Pick: Carex Light Therapy Lamp
  2. Best for the Budget: Verilux VT10 Light Therapy Lamp
  3. Portable SAD Lamp: Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp

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Product AwardLight IntensityAdjustable AnglesBrightness SettingsBlocks UV LightSurface Coverage AreaSize of Light PanelWeightPortabilityPriceWarranty
Carex Light Therapy Lamp
sad lamp

See Price on Amazon

Editor’s Pick10,000 luxAdjustable height and anglesTwoYesLarge (up to 12 inches)15.75 x 13 x 3.1 inches9.35 lbsNoHigh5-year
Verilux VT10 Light Therapy Lamp
seasonal depression lamp

See Price on Amazon

Best for the Budget10,000 luxNoNoneYesSmall (up to 4.25 inches)6.3 x 3 x 7.4 inches1.5 lbsYesLow30-day risk-free guarantee
Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp
sad lamp

See Price on Amazon

Portable SAD lamp 10,000 luxThree hinges and rotatable panelThreeYesSmallest4 x 14 x 2.75 inches1.74 lbsYesModerate2-year

1. Editor’s Pick: Carex Light Therapy Lamp

sad lamp

Mimicking a typical desk lamp, the Carex light therapy lamp is, by far, the best SAD lamp in the market. It stands on an adjustable pedestal and delivers 10,000 lux at a 12-inch distance.

With maximum effectiveness and glare-free light, it guarantees effective light therapy for seasonal depression, jet lag, and sleep disorders.


  • 10,000 lux full-spectrum white light
  • Glare-free and safe, and blocks 99% of UV rays
  • 15 x 13-inch screen
  • Broad surface coverage up to 12-14 inches
  • Adjustable height and angle tilting
  • 2 light settings
  • 5-year warranty


  • Stand takes up considerable space on the desk
  • Heavy and huge

Our Review

The Carex Day Light Therapy Lamp gives off the warmest, full-spectrum, white fluorescent light, which is an exemplary substitute for sunlight.

Featuring the highest recommended 10,000 lux intensity, it projects light downward, but you can freely tilt the angle of the lamp. This way, you can adjust the height and angle without having to reposition yourself.

The Carex Light offers a lot of customization, including the 2 light intensity settings.

The wide display screen ensures a broad illumination range of up to 12 inches, allowing you to sit far from the lamp without worrying about losing optimal contact with light.

The Carex SAD lamp places major emphasis on safety. It emits glare-free light and filters out 99% of UV radiations, so only potentially safe and non-cancerous light reaches you.

With a hefty build and a sturdy stand, this lamp serves as a perfect addition to your study table or workplace desk, so you can use it without interrupting your daily routine.

Plus, the adjustable downward projection makes this lamp highly effective and a top favorite. It is perfect for treating seasonal depression and sleep disorders, boosting low energy, and improving mood, fatigue, and even jet lag.


2. Best for the Budget: Verilux VT 10 Light Therapy Lamp

seasonal depression lamp

If you’re looking for an economical SAD lamp, the Verilux VT10 is a good option. The useful features, such as the 10,000-lux natural light, easy operation, and compact size, are definitely trade-offs for such a reasonable price.


  • Strong beam intensity of 10,000 lux
  • UV-free light and flicker elimination technology
  • 20 square inch lens dimension screen
  • Simple, single-button on/off operation
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Compact
  • Pocket-friendly


  • Bulky construction
  • Smaller size requires longer therapy time
  • No adjustable brightness

Our Review

For people with a budget restriction, the Verilux VT10 is a wonderful option.

It takes up minimal space, so you can easily place your laptop, books, and other stuff on the desk as well. It also weighs just 1.5 pounds, so you can benefit from phototherapy even if you travel a lot.

Despite the small size, the VT 10 emits intense 10,000 lux full-spectrum cool white light that helps with improving your mood, depression, lethargy, jet lag, and insomnia and helps you feel energized and refreshed for the day. It’s almost like a mini partner to help you get through your gloomiest winter days.

The VT 10 is completely UV-free and features a flicker elimination technology to eliminate glares and eyestrain. Plus, the single on/off button ensures straightforward and basic control.

However, the coverage area is only 4.25 inches, which requires you to sit pretty close to the lamp. With a small 20 sq. inch screen, the treatment time also needs to be prolonged to deliver efficient results.

All in all, this is a reliable and low-cost solution if you’re looking for increased light exposure in your workplace or when you’re on the move.

3. Portable SAD Lamp: Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp

sad lamp

If you want a SAD lamp that is easy to stuff into your travel bag or carry around to different places, the Circadian Optics lamp is what you should go for.

The 3 adjustable brightness settings radiate 10,000 lux cool LED light that helps ease symptoms of depression, emotional tensions, and less focused energy.


  • Provides 10,000 lux full-spectrum light
  • UV-free with no potential dangers
  • Quick one-touch button operation
  • 3 brightness modes for different times of the day
  • Lasts 50,000 hours, much longer than fluorescent bulbs
  • Uniformly even and dot-free light
  • Rotating light panel to adjust the angle as per convenience
  • Stylistic design, convertible, and portable stand


  • Smaller surface area requires longer time

Our Review

If you love the look of contemporary lamps, the Circadian Optics Light Therapy lamp will perfectly complement your taste. It promises excellent value for its price and is portable and easy to use.

The Circadian Optics lamp provides a full-spectrum 10,000-lux LED white light. These LED lights are UV-filtered and last up to 50,000 hours, which is way longer than fluorescent bulbs.

The lamp is designed in a convertible style, with three hinges and a rotating panel for your preferred angulation and exposure.

It is finished in glossy white and is sleek and tall, so it hardly takes up any desktop area, and you can easily tuck it away in your travel bag without it occupying much space. It’s also pretty simple to operate with a single button push.

The Circadian Optics lamp is very user-friendly and comes with 3 adjustable brightness settings optimized for daytime and nighttime usage.

It provides light therapy with a non-dotted, color temperature light that mimics natural sunshine. This helps with anxiety, irritability, morning mood swings, gloominess, depression, drowsiness, and tiredness.

SAD Lamp Buying Guide

seasonal affective disorder light

What Is a SAD Lamp – and How Does it Help with Depression?

Seasonal depression is an uninvited guest as cold, dry weather approaches. With dark skies and little sunshine, one ends up feeling sleepy, unrefreshed, and irritable, which consequently ends up in a depressive episode throughout the day.

A SAD lamp is a lightbox powered with fluorescent bulbs with increased brightness that emit full-spectrum light similar to sunshine.

It helps with depression by compensating for the lack of sunlight in those depressive winter days. It mimics natural outdoor sunlight and triggers certain chemical changes in your brain to keep you rejuvenated and active.

The most significant of these is the regulation of the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is a biological clock instilled in every human that maintains a sleep-wake cycle.

A SAD sunlight lamp influences the circadian rhythm to reset your body’s clock. A structured circadian clock allows your body to regulate the release of hormones.

Exposure to light decreases melatonin production, which reduces lethargy and drowsiness throughout the day, and increases serotonin, significantly contributing to a cheerful mood, optimistic energy, and focused behavior.

How to Use a SAD Lamp for Seasonal Depression

A SAD lamp emits artificial light to give you your daily dose of sunshine.

Light therapy preferably works best in the morning, when you align your body with the sun’s natural cycle.

Position the lightbox at eye level or a higher height, and sit at a rough distance of 16 to 24 inches from the lamp. The optimal intensity for a SAD lightbox is 10,000 lux, with consistent exposure of 20-30 minutes daily.

You can set your lamp on your desk or the bedside table and carry out your everyday routine tasks in front of the lamp.

Your eyes must stay open so that the fluorescent lights indirectly enter your eyes and reach your skin. However, don’t look directly at the lamp, or you might end up damaging your eyes.

For the best results, experts recommend using a SAD lamp within an hour of waking up. But don’t forget – consistency and patience are key!

What To Look for In a SAD Lamp

best sad lamp

To get the best SAD lamp, make sure you consider the following:


SAD lamps start from around $100 and generally go up to $150. The price is based on the addition of advanced features and user-friendliness, so a SAD lamp from a renowned brand with multiple qualities can cost you even more than $150.

However, keeping a reasonable budget range in mind always helps choose a product that ticks off all your needs and requirements.


SAD lamps that don’t filter out UV light do more harm than good.

Because ultraviolet rays of light are harmful to the skin and eyes, it's important that the SAD lamp gets rid of, if not all, then 99% of these cancerous radiations.

The lamp should emit full-spectrum light, which is highly suitable for mood improvement. The majority of lamps are generally safe to use because they filter out UV rays.


To get your hands on the best SAD lamp, you’ll need to be on the lookout for certain specifications.

Adjustable lamps are always a plausible option because they give you an upper hand in tilting and angling the lamp according to your needs.

Advanced models showcase a variety of features that allow you to dim or brighten the light intensity. The weight and dimensions are also important to consider if you need a portable lamp.


The lamp should have a generous surface area of around 12 to 15 inches for pragmatic therapeutic results. With greater coverage, you can even sit at a farther distance and still reap the same benefits.

You should consider the sturdiness, construction material, weight, and shape based on your daily routine. Small lamps are better suited for compact spaces or if you’re on the move. However, since they have lesser coverage, they are relatively less efficient, so you’ll need to increase the time span.


Inbuilt timers are surely a thoughtful addition to SAD lamps.

A timer helps avoid over-exposure to light, which may consequently be quite harmful.

The recommended time for a light therapy session is 20-60 minutes. Standard lamps have a 30-minute timer but may also include a 60-minute timer for people demanding longer exposure time.

Other models may also feature customizable timers with 5- or 10-minute increments for enhanced ease.

Light Intensity

seasonal affective disorder lamp

The functionality of a SAD lamp is all about its light intensity, and Cool-white fluorescent full-spectrum light is the best option for effective therapy.

Note that if you go for a lamp with a lower lux, then you’ll need to use the lamp for a long time to achieve similar results as those with a higher lux lamp.

The best SAD lamps feature adjustable light intensity, peaking up to 10,000 lux. You can achieve this by gradually increasing the lux from a lower to a higher level.

Low-end lamps feature 2500 to 3500 lux and require a hassling 1-2-hour exposure time.


Most manufacturers offer a warranty on their SAD lamps, covering up any non-functional or damaged bulb or lighting systems.

The warranty of different lamps varies based on the brand. It mostly ranges from 1 to 5 years but may even go as high as 7 years for high-end brands.


Keeping your health a priority is a top concern, so the light emitted from the SAD lamp must be glare-free and filtered.

The lamp should be tilted at a 45-degree angle and project over you in such a way that light does not enter directly into your eyes.

Glare-free lamps prevent eye strain by filtering the UV rays and deflecting the light off other surfaces before it enters your eyes.

Pros and Cons: SAD Lamps

best sad lights

Based on the flourishing principle of light therapy, SAD lamps have been a popular curing choice for many disorders. However, you must consult your doctor beforehand to eliminate the possibility of any risks occurring.

To give you a clearer picture, here are the pros and cons of seasonal depression lamps.



SAD lamps are highly practical devices that offer treatment within your comfort zone. They are extremely convenient and easy to use, early in the morning, without requiring a doctor or a clinic visit.

Based on a non-invasive and non-contact technology, the lightbox only requires you to sit in front of it and receive treatment without interfering with your routine tasks.

Treatment of Disorders

Needless to say, lamps cover a wide spectrum of ailments and mood disorders with a high curing rate.

SAD lamps are highly advised for mild depression, winter blues, mood disorders, routine adjustments, and disrupted sleep patterns. They have also shown assuring results in treating insomnia, acne, skin diseases, dementia, and even jet lag!

Safe and Efficient

By filtering out UV light, a SAD lamp yields maximum benefits similar to natural sunlight.

A seasonal depression lamp eliminates the need to take anti-depressant medications. With intensity brighter than regular lights, the LED technology guarantees faster results and quicker therapies.



Light therapy might not suit everyone.

People with skin sensitivities to bright light or eye problems should refrain from using a SAD lamp. Medical conditions and diseases such as lupus erythematosus, glaucoma, diabetes, skin cancers, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, and photo allergies are contraindications for light therapy.

Side Effects

Often, the initial treatment by a SAD lamp might be accompanied by some complications. However, you can alleviate these side effects by reducing the exposure.

Frequent complaints include headache, dry eyes and nose, blurry vision, eyestrain, nausea, and sunburn. Also, if you allow light to enter your eyes directly, you can develop certain diseases and end up damaging your eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Winter Blues Common?

Yes, they are very common. Nearly 10 million Americans experience seasonal depression and feel down and unhappy through the cold and dark days. Typical symptoms involve increased appetite, drowsiness, lethargy, and fatigue.

What are the Side Effects of SAD Lamps?

People sensitive to intense and prolonged exposure to light can display various side effects, such as headaches, visual disturbances, agitation, irritability, nausea, lethargy, hyperactivity, and blurry vision.

Do I Need a Portable or Desktop Lamp?

If you travel a lot or live in a confined space, a portable or desktop SAD lamp will prove to be a great purchase. With a portable lamp, you can get therapy while working on your desk. Portable lamps are lightweight, small, and easy to carry around when you’re away from home. However, a small lamp might demand a longer treatment time.

Final Verdict: What is the Best SAD Lamp Sold Today?

After carefully reviewing the many unique features and specs of various SAD lamps in this guide, we found out that the best SAD lamp sold today is the Carex Light Therapy Lamp. It comes with a 5-year warranty, perfectly stands on a table, and emits a 10,000-lux glare-free, UV-free, full-spectrum light similar to natural sunlight.

It is the best choice for treating seasonal depression, owing to its adjustable height and angles and customizable brightness settings that enhance user-friendliness.

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