Although many people might catch a case of the blahs when the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, that’s far different from a clinical case of SAD, which should only be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. You should use a SAD lamp or light box only under medical supervision, as it is in fact a medical device.
Carex Day-Light Classic Plus
This light has all of the specs our expert sources recommend, as well as a reasonable price and a generous warranty.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $115.
The Carex Day-Light Classic Plus meets all of the criteria necessary to be considered therapeutically effective and safe, and it’s cheaper than many of its competitors. The lamp’s “99.3 percent UV-free” LED light and 10,000-lux light intensity at 12 inches, combined with its large, 15½-by-12½-inch face, mean you won’t have to sit in front of it for more than 30 minutes (the minimum length of time that experts recommend) to experience its physiological benefits. It has a color temperature of 4,000 Kelvin.
If you’re willing to pay a bit more for one of the sleekest large light therapy lamps we looked at, or if our pick is unavailable, we recommend the Northern Light Technologies Boxelite. With a minimalist, rectangular design, the Boxelite is the lamp we’d like to put on our own desks. Its light face is about the same size as that of our top pick (15 by 12 inches), and it provides 10,000 lux of fluorescent, “UV-free” light at 14 inches (two more than our top pick). The Boxelite also has a warmer color temperature (3,500 Kelvin) than our top pick, which may better suit your taste. As with our top pick, you have to sit in front of it for only 30 minutes to benefit. But the Boxelite isn’t adjustable, unlike the Day-Light Classic Plus.
Verilux HappyLight Luxe
The compact HappyLight Luxe shines brightly in multiple color temperatures and brightness levels, and has an automated shutoff feature. It’s the best sub-$100 lamp we’ve considered. However, its light is less powerful than that of our other picks and it only provides 10,000 lux at a distance of six inches.
At nearly half the price and a quarter of the size of our top pick, the Verilux HappyLight Luxe provides 10,000 lux of “UV-free” LED light at six inches, according to the manufacturer. Its 9-by-6-inch light surface has three color temperatures to choose from (3,500, 4,250, and 5,000 Kelvin, more choices than on our top pick or our also-great model), and it comes with a useful countdown timer. However, it isn’t position-adjustable like our top pick, and its small overall size and light face mean you may need to get creative with positioning to ensure an effective angle during use. And in a side-by-side comparison using a commercial luxmeter, we found that the HappyLight Luxe’s light appeared less powerful than that of our other two picks.