After researching well over 30 popular and affordable floor lamps we chose the best 8 to purchase and test head to head for 2020. Our team spent many hours assembling, arranging, and lighting up every nook and cranny to bring you a comprehensive review full of fun and functional options. Picking a floor lamp can be daunting — there are literally thousands of models to choose from. While we present only a small cross-section of the market, it's a diverse and multi-functional offering sure to shed some light (ha!) on what's currently available. Whether you need something for detailed tasks or just cuddling up with a book, we've got a suggestion. Read on to discover our findings.
The Best Floor Lamps of 2020
The Joly Joy Floor Lamp is highly adjustable and versatile, ideal for all kinds of spaces and activities. Its slender stature means it can fit in even the tightest corners, and its 360-degree adjustable neck allows you to direct light wherever you need it most. With five brightness levels and four color modes, you can set any mood and accomplish any task with ease — mood lighting for a quiet dinner? Check. Bright, crisp light for an intricate art project? No problem. Adjustments can be made via a touchpad on the top or with a remote. The remote even offers six pre-programmed settings for work, tasks, leisure, nursing, reading, and recreating. It's no wonder this do-everything lamp ended up being our overall favorite.
The Joly Joy wasn't our favorite right out of the box. If you're looking for something beautiful or decorative to complete a thoughtfully designed space, this likely isn't ideal. It's got a minimal and rather utilitarian look and certainly isn't a showpiece or conversation-starter. That said, its sleek look can blend in almost anywhere and the versatility it offers is fun and incredibly useful. If you like having lots of mood and lighting options and want a do-it-all lamp you can control from across the room, this is a seriously great choice.
Style is a tricky thing. Obviously, it's important, especially for home decor items, but it's also highly subjective. We polled our entire staff as well as a select group of our friends, asking them to rate all our tested lamps in order of most-to-least attractive. The results were all over the board but, when averaged, the Stone & Beam Deco lamp came away as the clear winner. This is a simple piece with just one setting, but the clean lines and fresh aesthetics can't be denied. If you want a quiet statement piece that's sure to bring an element of class and style to your house, this is our current favorite.
What the Stone & Beam is not is overly cheap — in price or in craftsmanship. To a certain extent, you really do get what you pay for. In our opinion, the higher quality materials and design of this lamp make it worth its higher price point. Just keep in mind that it's not highly versatile — it can't use a 3-way bulb and the base is wide enough that it won't fit sneakily behind a chair or couch. But if you want something fresh and lovely that you won't want to hide behind a piece of furniture, this is one to place on your shortlist.
The Simple Designs Mother-Daughter lamp is, as the name implies, simple and straightforward. It's probably not going to be a conversation starter in your home, but if you want something versatile with excellent light quality, it's a great choice at an approachable price. The lower lamp adjusts easily for activities like reading, and the upper one has three settings and brings a lot of light to almost any size room. Multiple members of our team commented on the impressive light quality of the Mother-Daughter, noting that it could really transform the look and feel of an otherwise drab room.
Aesthetically this lamp looks rather juvenile, like something you'd have in a college dorm room or your very first apartment. The lampshades are plastic which adds to the "budget" look, and it's not particularly stable, especially on carpet. However, if these things don't concern you as much as price point and quality of light, then this might be a good fit. It's decently good-looking and brings a really homey and cozy feel to a reading nook or couch.
The Miroco LED is an affordable and highly useful lamp. It's quite similar to the Joly Joy, our Editors' Choice, but with one less brightness setting and no remote control. It is, however, quite a bit cheaper, so if you're eyeing that lamp but want to spend less, this is a great choice. The neck is super adjustable and there's a built-in memory function; whatever brightness and color mode it's set on when you turn it off it will return to the next time you turn it on.
The style of this lamp won't appeal to some people and the height is rather unfortunate — we wish it was a little taller so it could be used more easily at a high counter or workbench. The power button is also very bright, even when the lamp is off, so this may not be the best for your bedroom. However, the bendable neck and customizable settings make it a top choice for task-oriented individuals. If leisure time for you involves knitting, reading, sewing, drawing, puzzling, or crafting this is a helpful light that you will likely find very useful and accommodating.
The Brightech Carter Mid Century Modern is a lamp that, in the right setting, can be a subtle statement piece. It's distinguished look is simplistic but classy with elegant lines that reference another time. For the price, this is a well-made lamp with tall stature and clean lines that borders on posh. It comes with a 60-watt LED bulb that creates a soft and warm feeling as it shines through the neutrally-colored linen lampshade.
The color palate of this lamp — wood and earth tones — won't appeal to everyone, especially if you don't like a 1950s era feel. One reviewer felt it looked too much like something you would find in a hotel room. It also only has one setting, so if you're looking for something that can create more than one mood, this isn't it. However, for the person that has a clear sense of their aesthetic and likes the look and feel of this lamp, it's well-made and decently affordable.
If you're someone that loves things that can serve more than one purpose, look no further than the Brightech Maxwell LED Shelf Lamp. Shelves lead up to a soft calming light that, while not bright enough to illuminate a whole room, creates a lovely and cozy glow. The shelves are big enough to stack books if you need to use the space practically, or they look excellent with small plants or books. If you're looking for something both useful and unique to add to your space, this is a lamp to consider.
We wanted to love this piece and, while we did enjoy our time with it, we can't let the cheap craftsmanship go undocumented. For the price, we had really hoped for something better than cheap-feeling particleboard and an unsightly cord that runs down the side through retainer clips that will break if you aren't very careful. Also, keep in mind that this isn't a bright get-things-done kind of light — this is an accent piece that will create a mood and accent your decor. That said, this is still a fun lamp at an okay price and we think that you can get a lot of use out of it, despite the unimpressive materials.
If you want to light a large area with only one lamp, the Brightech Sky LED Torchiere is a great option. It has three settings, the brightest of which is equivalent to a 200-watt incandescent bulb. The lamp head pivots and tilts so that you can direct the light wherever suits you best (though it can't be directed down), and cycling through the settings is as easy as tapping a touchpad on the center pole. The Torchiere isn't much to look at, but it's decent — slim enough to be useful in a lot of locations and available in many different finishes.
There's one caveat to this lamp being able to light up a large area. If your ceilings are solid and flat, providing a good area for light to bounce off of, then this lamp can illuminate a decently large room impressively. If, on the other hand, your ceiling is overly high or constructed with exposed beams, the light will get absorbed. It will still provide decent light, but likely not enough for a whole room, especially for things like reading or sewing.
When polling our staff and friends regarding aesthetics, the Elegant Designs Lamp with Scalloped Glass Shades was a contentious subject. Some people love it, some hate it with a fiery passion. It's got the kind of styling that will either work for your decor impeccably or be cringe-worthy. If you do like the look, then you'll be pleased with the hefty weight and decent craftsmanship of this piece. The settings allow you to have the two reading lamps on, the top lamp on, or all three, and the light it produces is warm and inviting.
Looks aside, we did have a few complaints with this light. The lower reading lamps can only be turned on together, not individually, and their bendable necks are short and ill-crafted. They only adjust a little bit and didn't like to stay where we put them. Also, the top lamp is nice but we wish it took a three-way bulb for more overall versatility. This piece is also the heaviest of the lamps we tested, so keep that in mind for assembly. Overall this is a unique and artsy light that, for the right person, will be a nice addition to the home.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lamp testing was led by Penney Garrett. She works as a Senior Review Editor and Project Manager for OutdoorGearLab so she's no novice to the intricacies of the gear testing world. She also holds a degree in Fine Art from Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design with an emphasis in painting and drawing, so she knows a thing or two about composition, design, and the need for high-quality lighting. During testing, Penney consulted with professional photographer Laura Casner, a lighting theory expert by trade and a lover of good design aesthetic by passion.
We researched a lot of lamps and investigated a ton of online user reviews before deciding on the eight highlighted here. We then purchased all of them at full retail price (a tenet of the GearLab ethos) and tested them rigorously and head-to-head. Each lamp was scored based on aesthetics, light quality, stability, craftsmanship, ease of use, and versatility. To score aesthetics we polled our entire staff and a group of impartial friends and then averaged their results. While style is very subjective, this poll showed us clear trends in what people like and dislike. From there we set up every lamp in multiple spaces and at all times of the day and night. We read, crafted, and played games under each light to see which are best for tasks and which are better suited to ambient mood lightning. We took extensive notes while unpacking and assembling each lamp, paying attention to how smooth this process was, the quality of the materials, and the stability of the overall product when put together. Read on to learn more about each of these testing metrics and which models fared the best in a particular category.
Analysis and Test Results
After many hours of setting up lights and engaging in various activities underneath each of them, we gained a solid perspective of what is best for particular use cases and what works well across many scenarios and room layouts.
Style is clearly very important when picking out a piece of furniture. It's also highly subjective and impossible to assess fairly with only a few people. For that reason, we created an anonymous poll that our entire staff and a slew of impartial friends and family participated in. Each person was asked to rate our tested lamps from least to most favorite. After that, all the data was added together and averaged to determine the most loved and hated floor lamps. While there was a lot of variance from person to person, some clear trends emerged.
The Stone & Beam Deco was a clear winner in this category, offering clean lines and a hip aesthetic. People loved the bright white fabric lampshade and the simple yet elegant black base. This is the kind of lamp that looks amazing in a well-thought-out room with an equally clean and classy layout. Another favorite was the Brightech Maxwell LED Shelf Lamp, though the cheap materials and an unsightly cord are quite disappointing. The Brightech Carter Mid Century Modern is another favorite for those that appreciate a little vintage classiness and the Simple Designs Mother-Daughter was appreciated for its nice finish and gracefully arching dual lamps.
To assess light quality, we set each lamp up in both the day and night, in corners and hallways, in rooms with high and low ceilings, both beamed and solid. We took note of the type of bulb as well as its wattage, and how large an area each model could illuminate. Was the light pleasant? Moody? Harsh? Good for detailed tasks or only suited to cuddling up with your dog and a movie? This is tricky to assess and arguably more subjective than not, but we feel we've made a pretty solid assessment of the lamps that give the best quality of light.
We were a bit surprised to find that the Simple Designs Mother-Daughter, a rather introductory and plain floor lamp, scored the highest here. But on several occasions when this light was turned on, someone in the room would comment on how nice the light was. The top lamp accommodates a three-way bulb and the bottom reading lamp has a long adjustable neck, so it's easy to really craft the exact kind of light you want for a given activity. Similarly, we enjoyed the Brightech Sky LED Torchiere with its pivoting head and three brightness settings. While you can't aim the light downward, the wide head creates a really nice glow and, with the right ceilings, is impressively bright.
Stability & Craftsmanship
For this metric we paid attention to every piece of hardware while assembling, the overall quality of the main pieces and how they joined together, and the stableness of the lamp once fully assembled. Differences in quality were readily apparent and stayed pretty consistent throughout our testing process. One aspect of note is that, while many of our LED lamps seem well-crafted, they don't have a way to replace the bulbs if something should break or burn-out. While we love fancy lights with touch settings that don't require needing a pack of bulbs stashed in the closet, it will behoove you to be sure you can return your lamp if something should indeed break.
Several models stood out for their solid materials and well-conceived design. Both the Joly Joy and Miroco LED are high quality and have flexible necks and thoughtful features. That said, the cord for the Joly Joy attaches at the bottom above the base instead of threading underneath and the power button on the Miroco is annoyingly bright. Neither of these things were dealbreakers for us, but keep it in mind if you plan to have the base in view or need something for the bedroom.
The other lamps we appreciated for their craftsmanship were the Stone & Beam and the Brightech Mid Century Modern. Both have high-quality fabric lampshades and stylistic features. The Stone & Beam is also the most stable lamp in our lineup, thanks to the wide four-legged base.
Ease of Use
We factored in several things when assessing ease of use for our floor lamps. First and foremost, we paid close attention to how easy or difficult the assembly was. Were the instructions clear and did the parts all fit together as they should? Next, we considered the basic operation and settings of each lamp. If there are touch controls or programmed settings, are they easy to remember? Is the switch easy to reach and operate? Is it reachable behind various kinds of furniture? All of these aspects were leveraged as we determined a score for this metric. While all lamps are on some level easy to use, certain things stood out to us as we used and abused these lights day in and day out.
Both the Joly Joy and the Miroco LED are insanely easy to assemble, though learning the settings takes a little practice. The thing that sets the Joly apart is that it comes with a remote control. From across the room, you can adjust the brightness and temperature as well as chose from five pre-programmed modes AND a nightlight. Being able to adjust your light without getting up takes the cake for ease of use. The Torchiere is also incredibly easy both to assemble and use — simply screw the pole together and then touch the control pad to illuminate. Easier as can be.
All the other lamps are as simple to operate as pulling a chain or twisting a switch, so assembly is really what sets them apart. If you love the Shelf Lamp or Elegant Designs Lamp, just keep in mind that the former requires building all those shelves and the latter is quite tall and heavy.
Can floor lamps be versatile? You betcha! Some can be adjusted and tilted, allowing you to position your light just so, while others offer just one placement. Some have multiple settings for both brightness AND color, while, again, some have just one. Another aspect to consider is the design of the base, the details of the cord, and where the switch is located. Can the lamp be used in different places in the house (both stylistically and ergonomically) or is it relegated to one use case? Consider where your lamp will live and what you will be using it for most of the time so you can hone in on the best model for your specific needs.
Far and away, our Editors' Choice Joly Joy is the most versatile lamp in this review. Flexible, slender enough to fit anywhere, controlled by both touch and remote control, and overflowing with customizable settings. The Joly Joy, surprise surprise, is a joy to use. The Miroco is very similar and therefore also highly versatile, but it doesn't offer a remote and has fewer settings.
Other nicely versatile options are the Sky LED Torchiere with its pivoting head and three settings (one of which is VERY bright), the Maxwell LED Shelf with its, um, shelves, and the Simple Designs Mother-Daughter with its three-way bulb up top and a lower reading lamp on a highly flexible neck. Depending on your preferences and preferred activities, we think there's a solid choice here for you.
While choosing furniture and decor items for the house can be fun, it can also be extremely overwhelming. Finding the right floor lamp for your needs may sound simple, but there is a lot to consider. We hope the assessments from our expert team help you hone in on some fun and affordable options for your home or office.
— Penney Garrett