Best Book Light of 2021
The Ecologic Mart Lamborghini of Book Lights exceeded our expectations for a book light, earning our top spot. Its dual arm design ensures that both pages of your book are well-illuminated, its brightness levels are more than sufficient for books of any size, and its small clip is easy to attach to any paperback or hardcover book. Though the design is simple, it outperformed some of the other plastic-heavy models in quality. It has slender gooseneck arms constructed of sleek cables and a matte black finish on the clip, with soft padding for your pages. It is also a great portable option, as the arms can be adjusted to lay flat, and it even comes with a velvet carrying pouch.
We loved how the quality of light and the brightness could be adjusted, with three different color options of warm, cool, and natural. Our testers were partial to lights with a warmer light quality, which allowed us to read for hours without our eyes feeling strained from bright white light. The milky filter over the LEDs distributes the light broadly and evenly over a book page, without brightening up a dark room too much to disturb a sleeping partner. The battery capacity is also much larger than other models, at 1200 mAh, and there is a handy battery life indicator on the side of the clip.
The only downside we could see about this light is that while it did fit on paperback books, it felt slightly bulky compared to the smaller, lighter models we tested. It will weigh you down as you near the end of a smaller book. But if you appreciate different lighting options and good light coverage and don't mind setting it on a table to stand on its own for the last chapter of your page-turner, the feature-rich Lamborghini of Book Lights won't disappoint.
This Topolek 7 LED Reading Light is a favorite with our testers because, in addition to its great design and light capability, its sturdy clip can be attached to the crocheting bag or used to help sort small things in the garage. With seven LED lights alternating between yellow and white to give a consistent, warm glow, the lamp emits plenty of light to cover two pages of a hardcover book. It has three brightness levels that are more than adequate for reading in a dim or dark area, and the three color settings provide 3000K to 6500K with cool, cool and warm, or warm settings. The 650 mAh battery gave us 60 hours of light with a recharging time of only an hour and a half. The testers really like this light in part because of the heft. The Topolek has a thicker neck that is a little shorter than some of the others, but which helps eliminate annoying kinks. The clip is nice and deep (over 3 cm) and the head moves 360 degrees. Very easy to use; the on/off button is on top of the unit makes it easy to find and use. The thicker, shorter neck allows the light to be placed where desired, even to have it stand alone, and to have it stay there without drooping or getting in the way.
The testers really had to struggle to come up with any negatives on this lamp, and finally admitted that the clip may be slightly bulky for some people. Overall, though, the number of features and the low cost make this a clear winner in our books.
For those who want a simple, functional light for the lowest cost, the Energizer Clip-On book light is our top choice. While book lights have advanced in design and technology over the years, many will remember when they were at their most simple — small, with flexible heads and one light setting. That is what the Energizer is. With a small clip that is perfect for paperbacks, hardcovers, and eBooks and a bright white light that easily illuminates a page, this is a great choice for a low-cost, low-hassle option.
The bright white light and lack of settings may detract from the Energizer's appeal. Also, the light will not stand up on its own like the other small lights tested — it must be clipped to something. It is also not rechargeable. It requires CR2032 batteries (which are included), and you'll need a screwdriver to replace them. This book light is a great portable option, as it is made of a single piece of durable plastic and has a handy feature where the head folds down and attaches to the clip, making it half the size. We think this is the best low-cost option on the market for those seeking a simple, portable clip-on light.
The Hooga Health Clip-On Light is the best choice for those who do a lot of reading before bed. Blue light, a high-energy wavelength commonly emitted from electronic screens and devices, can be harsh on the eyes. The Hooga light claims to be 99.94% free of blue light, and our testers found its 1600K amber-colored hue to feel pleasantly soothing for the eyes after long days in front of computer screens. Its simple design was easy to clip onto our books or eBooks without adding too much bulk, and it was lightweight enough that we would choose it to take with us on weekend getaways or overnight trips.
While it does have three settings, the Hooga is not exceptional in its brightness. For this reason, it excels at its intent — book reading — but for those who like their light to be more multi-purpose, serving as a small flashlight in the car or when camping, for example, this light does not provide a very useful beam. It is very specialized in its use but is great for what it was made for, and your eyes will thank you for it before bedtime.
The Dewenwils USB Rechargeable book light took us by surprise by being an unlikely frontrunner in our collection. The tiny compact light slips between the pages of your favorite book with a thin metal clip, and its small head swivels left and right to shine its light in the direction you choose. Other clip-on lights have larger bases that make clipping them to paperback books awkward. The Dewenwils is slim and light enough to use with all kinds of small to medium-sized books and is portable enough to take wherever you and your book may go. It also has the bonus feature of a built-in USB, so it can be plugged into the closest charging port or computer. This is a very welcome feature in such a small package.
The 3000K warm white light it emits is a great middle-ground between the bright white and amber found in other models we tested. While it does have three brightness settings, our reviewers found that it did not cover two pages of a medium-sized book as well as other models with its mere max brightness of 20 lumens. It also has the lowest battery capacity of the lights in our testing group, yet still had a run time of 8 hours on its highest setting (possibly due to the low lumen count). For its small size and excellent portability, we had an overall positive experience using it night after night reading a 400-page paperback novel.
While a very non-traditional booklight, the Glocusent LED Neck Light has a wearable design that is easy to use, requires no attachment to a book, has many light adjustment settings, and is useful for more tasks than just book-reading. The flexible gooseneck arms have an LED light on each end and can be adjusted to any angle. Each light has three brightness settings that can be adjusted individually, and there is an additional button on the neck that allows the user to change the light quality from cool white (6000K), warm white (4000K), to yellow (3000K).
Of all the lights we tested, this one is the most versatile and can be used for a number of tasks or hobbies such as knitting, technical repair work, or working under the hood of your car. Use it as a bike light or as a flashlight on a nightly dog walk. It is, of course, great for reading, but we found it somewhat annoying to have to adjust the arms every time we changed position. Since it doesn't have to be clipped to a book, there is no worry about the heaviness of the unit or any fear of damaging pages. It is not the most portable option, as it is on the large and bulky side, but its versatility makes it something you might not mind taking with you on the go.
The Raniaco 12 LED Clip book light is one of the largest lights we tested. With a clip that is three inches long and can open up 2.36 inches wide, it is bottom-heavy enough that it can stand on its own or be clipped to the edge of a desk, table, or headboard of a bed. With merely a touch of your fingers, you can turn the light on, and it will easily illuminate a small space with its cool white light and three brightness settings. Our testers found some unconventional uses for it as well, attaching it to a beam in our dark closet, which allowed us to easily light up our storage area.
The touch switch feature is handy but also very sensitive, sometimes turning off and on when we wanted to adjust the light or move it from place to place. The clip itself is also so large that our reviewers did not like to clip the Raniaco to a book itself, as it is much too bulky to be natural or comfortable. This light is better suited as an auxiliary, cordless lamp to attach to wherever you might need bright, directed light.
The Vekkia Rechargeable LED Warm book light has two gooseneck arms that extend from a clip base. While our favorite light, the Lamborghini of Book Lights, has multiple color options and brightness settings, the Vekkia keeps it simple with only one color mode: an eye-pleasing 3000K warm light. Not too cool and not too warm, our testers found this light quality to be bright enough to create good letter contrast on a page, but warm enough not to be harsh after long periods of reading. The two brightness levels are more than adequate, and we appreciated not having to go through the extra process of constantly cycling through different light colors and brightness combinations.
The design of this Vekkia model is a little less sleek than the Lamborghini, as the clip base and the light heads themselves are on the larger side. The plastic build also has a slick, shiny finish, and while not a huge deal, our reviewers preferred the matte quality of the Lamborghini for the lack of visible fingerprint smudges you leave behind. With its large clip, this light will also feel a bit heavy on a paperback, but its base will sit stably on a flat surface, expanding its versatility. For those who want a simple light without the headache of brightness and color options while also providing great light coverage, the Vekkia is your best bet.
If you are looking for something to attach to your bed's headboard and provide more light than your average bedside lamp, look no further than the Lepower Clip-On Light. Its large clip can attach to many surfaces, whether a desk, table, or headboard. The only caveat is that it must be plugged into a wall outlet and therefore serves its best function in a more permanent location. Once situated, it provides great directional light with its long, adjustable gooseneck, two color settings, and two brightness settings.
It is a large light, and we would call it more of a book lamp than a book light. It is of quality build for its relatively low price and has an interesting silver and black cloth accessory around its clip, potentially designed to protect the surface and edges of whatever it is clipped to. This light is a great reading light option for those who want something that is always reliably there, with a nice long gooseneck for adjustability.
Our testers were really hoping that the Vekkia Bookmark Book Light would solve the missing bookmark issue; one of them constantly loses bookmarks between the couch cushions, under the car seat, or in other unique and mysterious places. Thinner than any other light we tested, the Vekkia Bookmark Book Light is 1.5 inches wide, which is plenty wide to hold your place in a book. This lamp has three light settings: amber, natural, and cool white. The brightness levels can be adjusted simply by holding the on/off button longer; and that worked very well, especially since the brighter settings help cover both pages. It has a 250 mAh rechargeable lithium battery that will give you 20 hours of reading time before charging, with a convenient UBS port right on the end for ease of charging eliminating keeping track of an extra cord.
The length of this light separates into a 3-part clip for ease of marking pages, but the light blocks the clip from going all the way down into the book, leaving 3+ inches sticking out at the top, making the whole thing clumsy. And because the weight of the light makes it top-heavy, the bookmark can slide around on the page which also moves the light. The book clip is also only 1.5 cm deep which is not enough for a hardcover or any thicker paperback, and the on/off button on the right side of the unit was difficult to find at first because of the frame around the light. For those who like to read with natural light but are unable to get outside, or who want the convenience of having a handy bookmark, this could be a handy option.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our testers have been hard at work for years, developing in-depth reviews of the best tech gear to enhance your lifestyle. Ruth Bruckbauer and Miya Tsudome, the main reviewers on this project, have spent thousands of hours reading in low-light conditions, starting with the flashlight under the sheets. Their decades of avid reading have them always looking for ways to enhance the pre-bedtime reading ritual. They bring a rapt attention to detail and a desire to find easy-to-use technology to narrow down the best choices for your everyday lighting needs.
To make accurate assessments for each of the book lights, we spent at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading time with each light in a dark room. This way, we could precisely evaluate the light quality and see how the different color or brightness settings felt soothing or harsh on our eyes before bed. We judged each light to see how well they covered the pages of different-sized books and if they disturbed a sleeping partner next to us. We also assessed how easy the lights were to use and how they attached to different types of books, how portable or versatile each model is, and their power sources.
Analysis and Test Results
While electronic screens are now the go-to in our everyday lives, nothing can completely replace the satisfaction of a good old-fashioned book. The avid readers among us will find themselves turning the pages of their latest, engrossing novels well into the night, in the car, on camping trips, at their desks when they should be working, or curled up on the couch with a mug of tea in the evening. A good book light is an essential tool for every reader, ensuring that you'll be able to keep reading after your partner goes to sleep, and some can even help your eyes relax after a long day in front of a computer screen.
We rated each light against a series of metrics to see how well they performed. Light quality, portability, versatility, battery life, and ease of use were categories we determined would be the most useful to examine to help you make the best choice.
When measuring light quality, we took into consideration the light color and brightness, whether these factors were adjustable or not, and how our eyes felt after long periods of reading.
A brighter, cooler light color (around 6000-6500K color temperature) enhances the contrast of lettering on a page and is more akin to a typical flashlight in light quality. Lights with exclusively this light color were the Raniaco and the Energizer, while the Glocusent, the Lepower, the Lamborghini, and the Topolek Rechargeable have adjustable light color settings. This light color is favorable in the Glocusent and Topolek for precise work like knitting, and some people will like the stimulating effect it provides if they are used to falling asleep after reading in low light. Others will find this light color too stimulating and straining on the eyes and will prefer the more relaxing effect of warmer tones.
The Hooga light has one unique color temperature of 1600K, a warm amber hue that is claimed by Hooga to be free of the eye-straining blue light that emits from most electronic screens. This deep orange color allows the eyes to relax before bed. Some will prefer warm tones that still provide a good level of contrast without being too cool — tones around the 3000K range are a great compromise between too warm and too cool, and the Vekkia Rechargeable light gets this just right with this color choice as its only setting. The Lamborghini, the Lepower, and the Glocusent also have the ability to cycle through warm, warm white, and cool light settings, providing ultimate adjustability for different lighting desires.
All of the lights tested have at least two to three brightness levels except for the Energizer which only has one. The Lamborghini and the Vekkia Rechargeable have dual-arm designs that provide excellent light coverage for their size over the small neck of the Energizer or the limited rotating head of the Dewenwils. The gooseneck models of the Raniaco, the Glocusent, the Lepower, the Hooga, and the Topolek also allow for great adjustability and light coverage.
To some, it may be desirable to have a light that can go wherever their book goes. Others may only need a light that stays attached to their bed's headboard so it can never be misplaced. Most of the lights can be moved around easily enough, but they vary wildly in size. The Dewenwils and the Energizer Clip-On are the smallest and most compact lights we tested. These foldable lights measure a mere 4.5 inches and 4.25 inches respectively when folded, and both weigh under 2 ounces.
Our favorite model, the Ecologic Mart Lamborghini of Book Lights, is the smallest out of the dual-arm design options we tested and scores extra points for portability due to its included carrying pouch. The Hooga and the Topolek are other portable options; although their gooseneck and clip design make them slightly awkward to carry in a bag, they are light and small enough to do so.
The wearable design of the Glocusent is convenient as a hands-free light but large and bulky for transport. Its gooseneck arms can be folded to make it into a more compact package, but it is not something we would slip into our bags as an afterthought and is more likely to be used around the home for its versatility. The Raniaco and the Lepower are the largest lights we tested and are more practical as sturdy lights with big clips that would stay in one place. The Vekkia Bookmark Book Light is in a category all its own as the only light that doubles as a bookmark.
Some of the lights we tested are simple lights designed to illuminate book pages and nothing more. Others can be used for a number of activities, functioning as flashlights or having clips big enough to attach to a variety of surfaces and edges. The Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light is a clever, wearable design featuring a flexible band that fits comfortably around your neck and provides light with dual LEDs at the end of each arm. Because it is hands-free, you can use it for a number of activities that might require better light, such as knitting, embroidering, technical repair work, drawing, or painting. It could also be used as a convenient flashlight, whether you're going out on a late-night walk or have to check under the hood of your car.
No other light we tested could outperform the Glocusent in versatility, but other lights have their own advantages. Having two gooseneck arms like the Lamborghini of Book Lights and the Vekkia Rechargeable LED Warm enables the reader to adjust each light to best cover both pages of a book. It can give a more narrow or broader beam of light by how close or far apart the arms are set and would be a great light choice for a music stand, for example.
The Raniaco has a clip too large to fit a book comfortably but can be clipped to a variety of other surfaces, making it a great cordless lamp. The smaller, more portable models of the Energizer and the Dewenwils are the least versatile of all the lights, with small clips made simply for books and eBooks. The Hooga and the Vekkia Bookmark also have limited versatility with their small clips, and Hooga's specific light color setting for reading may limit its overall usefulness.
Battery capacity is a key consideration when considering any wireless device, and book lights are no different. Our lights varied in their power sources and battery capacities and could also be manipulated to have longer battery life with adjustable light settings. The lights varied in their manufacturer's stated battery capacities, and we cross-referenced how many lumens or wattage each light provided with their mAh battery capacity levels to see which lights would last the longest on one charge.
The Ecologic Mart Lamborghini and the Hooga have the highest battery capacity of all the tested models, with 1200 mAh. Their actual battery run times varied greatly, however, due to their different designs and lumen outputs. The Hooga has an advertised run time of 30 hours on its lowest setting of 17.5 lumens. The Lamborghini, on the other hand, has an advertised run time of 130 hours with a single arm on its lowest setting, but only 2.6 hours with both lights on their highest settings. Because of the dual-arm design, the Lamborghini can be manipulated more to extend battery life. You have the option to use just one light or both and can adjust the brightness setting of each one. Brighter settings take more battery power.
Most of our other lights have an average battery capacity of 1000 mAh, and the more settings a light has, the more variable their run time on a single charge will be. The outliers included the Vekkia Bookmark at 260 mAh and the Dewenwils only 200 mAh. But with the Dewenwils brightest setting being a mere 20 lumens, it still could hold a charge for an advertised 8 hours. The Energizer is our only tested model that doesn't use rechargeable batteries; instead, this model employs replaceable CR2032 lithium coin cell batteries. Because the Energizer only has one brightness setting, its battery life cannot be manipulated and has an estimated run time of 25 hours. The Lepower is our only corded model and does not run on batteries.
While rechargeable lithium-ion batteries reign supreme in our selection of book lights, it is worth noting that they can only be recharged so many times and therefore have a limited life span. They may have the capacity for over a thousand charges, but even if left unused, their energy capacity will slowly deplete. Replacing a lithium-ion battery can be expensive and not the most straightforward task, especially if it was unintended by the manufacturer. Given the low cost of these products, it might be worth just replacing the whole item when its time has run out.
Ease of Use
Book lights are relatively simple to operate, but some models were more of a hassle to attach or adjust than others. We judged their ease of use by how they attached to a book, whether they could fit on hardcovers and paperbacks, and assessed how easy it is to modify their light settings.
The Energizer, the Dewenwils, and the Topolek lights are the easiest to attach directly to a book without weighing it down. These models have clips that are small enough to fit on paperbacks and can also clip to hardcovers with ease. The Lamborghini, the Hooga, the Vekkia Rechargeable, and the Topolek have slightly bigger clips but are also small enough to be effective directly on a book. However, when nearing the end of a paperback, we preferred to set these lights on a table to finish reading.
The Raniaco surprised us with its clip's size, and we found it far too large to clip on a book without feeling a bit ridiculous. Its clamp is more appropriate for a desk or headboard and also can stand on its own, making it more of a cordless lamp than a book light. And the Vekkia Bookmark light's clip is too small to attach to a thicker paperback or to a hardcover.
The wearable model, the Glocusent has the most unique design in our test fleet. It is easy to wear around the neck for long periods without feeling uncomfortable and has two different buttons to adjust light colors and brightness.
Most of our book lights have buttons or switches to turn them on and off or cycle through their light settings. The Raniaco is unique with its touch-activated base, and although this could be useful to avoid fiddling for a switch in the dark, our reviewers found it more annoying than helpful as it was extremely touch-sensitive and would turn on and off or adjust its brightness if we handled or moved it.
Whether you are looking for a warm light that is easy on the eyes while curling up with your favorite novel before bed or looking for a versatile tool to serve multiple purposes, we are confident that you'll find one in our round-up of the best the market has to offer. This is for all the bookworms out there who appreciate a little bit of useful technology to enhance their reading experience.
— Miya Tsudome & Ruth Bruckbauer