Shedding Light on Reading and Task Lamps!

What are the best reading lights?

Whilst you may be perfectly happy with the general lighting around your home, there may well be times when you need a little extra light for a specific purpose.

The most common reason for needing additional lighting is for reading. The general light in most sitting rooms is provided by the overhead ceiling light fittings and possibly wall lights, but you may well need a brighter light for reading.

Other circumstances where you might require additional light could be at a table or desk, dealing with correspondence, to perform other detailed work, such as needlework or a craft hobby, or for a student to study or do homework. Anyone with less than perfect eyesight (and unfortunately nearly everyone’s eyesight begins to deteriorate from about age 40) will find additional lighting particularly helpful.

There are lots of table lamps that will provide extra pools of light in a room but for reading and other detailed work you’ll need a style of lamp referred to as a ‘task lamp‘. These are designed to focus additional light on the specific task. These can be table/desk lamps, freestanding floor lamps or wall lights. Whatever your need, and whatever the style of your home, the Lighting Company can find the right light for you.

The Lighting Book ANVIL chrome wall light with LED task light and shade

To all the serious readers and crafters, the best reading lights are the ones that increase the general light level around you, and also put a focused light on the page. Most often, these will be lights with 2 sources of light and are available as a wall light with a reading arm light, or a floor lamp with a main light and a flexible reading arm light, commonly known as ‘mother and child’ lamps (could also be called ‘mother and daughter’, ‘father and child’ or father and son’).

These popular reading lamps are free standing floor lights that have one light source to focus on the task and also an uplighter to increase general light levels in the immediate area. This type of lamp can increase the light level by up to 3,400 lumens. The majority of these lights have been upgraded to the new LED (light emitting diodes). LED lights are super energy saving by comparison to halogen lamps. The ‘mother and child’ style floor standing lamps are tall and slender and available in a choice of metal finishes. Although they are modern in design many people with traditional décor find that the satin brass, antique brass or rustic brown versions do not look out of place.

The Lighting Book OUNDLE modern copper and grey LED mother and child floor lamp

Most mother and child floor lamps will feature a dual switch, so that the uplighter and the reading arm can be operated independently. This allows you to have just the reading lamp, just the uplighter or have both lights working at the same time. It offers great flexibility that modern homes need, with rooms often performing more than one sole function. This type of reading lamp is highly recommended by ‘The Lighting Company’.

If you are looking to reduce energy consumption, either for ecological reasons or to save money, then the LED versions of the ‘mother and child’ lamps should be your choice.

Want to have a look at the ‘mother and child’ reading lamps or want to buy a ‘mother and child’ lamp? Just click here to shop now!

We are often asked “What’s a good floor standing reading lamp, when a modern style lamp is not suitable?” Often people with older, period style homes want lights that fit in with the décor and the look of the lamp is as important as the light that it gives. The “Suffolk” traditional standard lamp may be the one for you! This lamp is height adjustable, designed to stand alongside your favourite chair and the shade can be angled to throw light over your shoulder while reading. This would be our recommendation for a more traditional style reading lamp.

The Suffolk Lamp is good value and gives a soft diffused light, making it tempting to sit in that cosy armchair with a soft pool of light from the lamp and enjoy a good book or favourite magazine, perhaps with a glass of wine near at hand.

Retro style floor lamps and desk lights add a stylish look which is very much in vogue. Retro style lamps can be small desk top lamps or giant oversized versions used as floor standing reading lights. Small desktop retro lamps with 1950’s styling seem to be popular with young and old alike. You’ll want to keep these lamps forever: retro style reading and desk lamps offer you a timeless classic look which will always be desirable.

The Lighting Book ASHWORTH matte black and chrome modern desk lamp

Often people say they want an ‘anglepoise lamp’ when they mean a flexible lamp. Anglepoise is a name rather than a lamp – a bit like saying ‘Hoover’ to refer to a vacuum cleaner. Anglepoise is a well-respected brand and the price for a genuine Anglepoise lamp is often more than similar lamps from other manufacturers. If you want an angled adjustable lamp to sit on your desk at a more affordable price, we can help! The Lighting Company has a great range of flexible reading lamps and desk lights to suit all budgets, although we do not sell original Anglepoise lamps.

The Lighting Book RANGER antique brass adjustable desk or reading lamp

Modern style task lamps, desks lamps and reading lamps are normally in chrome or satin silver finishes. Some modern task lamps have built in LED bulbs and are often referred to as integrated LED (very low energy consumption) reading lamps. It can be difficult to assess the light level given by a LED bulb purely by looking at the wattage. The wattage is simply how much energy the lamp uses; it isn’t necessarily an indication of the light that’s being produced. The efficiency of bulbs has increased dramatically over recent years and different types of bulbs (and different manufacturers) have varying degrees of efficiency, and even though the wattage to power the bulbs can be the same, the level of light produced may be very different. The way to compare light output from LEDs is to check what lumen level each LED reading lamp you are interested in produces.

The Lighting Book ASHWORTH 3 light matte black and chrome floor lamp

New EU guidelines and legislation requires that manufactures give the light level produced in ‘Lumens’ as this is a better way of measuring the light level achieved, at least in theory! Although many of us are in the dark about what a lumen is! You’ll find lots of complex information about LEDs which we’ll spare you from. A basic rule-of-thumb for non-scientists is that if, for example, you want the equivalent of an old fashioned 60 watt bulb, then look for a LED bulb that produces around 600 lumens (often written as 600 lm). For an old fashioned 100 watt bulb looks for around 1100 to 1200 lumens. These are not exact figures as they will vary between manufacturers, but they are near enough for most purposes.

If your existing lamp does not have an integrated LED it may still be possible to use LED by buying a retro fit LED bulb. Retro fit LED bulbs can be used in many task lamps but, as mentioned previously, LEDs can vary in light output; some are very bright and others not so. ‘Retro fit’ simply means you can put a LED bulb into a lamp that was not originally designed to take one, however you may prefer to buy a new integrated LED lamp as this is likely to be smaller and neater. You will need to consider if it is worth paying the extra for an integrated LED lamp. LED task lamps with integrated LED will last many thousands of hours, some up to 50,000 hours. This could be 15, 20 or more years and whilst LED lamps can be more expensive to purchase they will save money in the long run due to the reduced power consumption and not having to replace bulbs. If you read a lot then it may be worth going down the LED route, otherwise, maybe not.

So many different types and styles of lamps are available for reading and other tasks that choosing the correct lamp can be difficult. As well as finding a lamp that you like, it is important to check that the performance of the lamp provides the level and type of light you require, and that the light can be put in exactly the right place.

The Lighting Book Vol: 2 GOBI marble effect and satin brass LED touch wall light

Here at The Lighting Company we want to make sure you are happy with the lamp you choose. Customers of The Lighting Company can visit our website and ask specific questions. For a general lighting query use our frequently asked question page or the ‘Contact Us’ facility. To ask about a particular lamp, click the ‘Ask a Question’ button on the web-page for that light. Type your question, such as “is this light suitable for reading?”, and our dedicated lighting experts will reply quickly by email. The Lighting Company is a UK Lighting Company and we offer advice based only on our range of products and our advice is based on current UK lighting regulations and standards.

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