The 15 Best Sun Lamps to Help Lessen Those Winter Blues

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By now, you’ve likely assembled all your winter essentials: You've got the ice scraper for your windshield, a bag of rock salt for the front steps and a whole wardrobe full of cute winter hats. But what about a sun lamp? Also known as a light therapy device, these specialized lamps aim to prevent seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—a type of seasonal depression that occurs in the colder months that can be clinically diagnosed and managed with the help of a medical professional—and they may not yet in be your arsenal.

A 2009 National Institutes of Health study published in the International Journal of Aging and Human Development found that just 20 minutes a day spent in front of a sun lamp eased symptoms of depression in patients with SAD, also known as the "winter blues," consequently improving their moods.

Even if you don't have SAD, you can use bright light therapy to resynchronize your body's internal clock to enhance alertness, increase sleep pressure and activate serotonin neurotransmitters, according to research published in a March 2019 issue of Frontiers in Psychiatry, making these lamps an appealing choice for those who regularly feel sluggish, too.

How Do Sun Lamps Work?

While noted authorities like the Cleveland Clinic confirm that light therapy doesn’t actually create more vitamin D in your body, it does aid in its regulation of both melatonin and serotonin. Scientists believe that the longer nights we experience in winter can lead our bodies to produce excess melatonin, consequently making us sleepier. By exposing yourself to longer periods of bright light, you can essentially help to regulate your melatonin, tricking your body into thinking that the nights are shorter than they actually are and that it doesn’t need to produce as much of the sleepy-making hormone as it typically would for you to hibernate, more or less.

How to Use a Sun Lamp

How you best enjoy your sun lamp session is as unique as your circumstances, so finding the right lamp for your needs can mean the difference between actually using it and relegating it to the garage. (Don't worry—we've got plenty of options for you below.)

It's important to note that you should never look directly into the light, as it can cause eye strain. Cleveland Clinic recommends positioning your sun lamp 2 to 3 feet away from you. You can do some work or read while you’re light bathing or even half-close your eyes—some have even been known to use this time to meditate.

While it's suggested to sit in front of the light for 20 to 30 minutes a day as a general rule of thumb, it largely depends on how much lux (that's a unit used to measure light illumination) is emitted by the lamp. According to The University of British Columbia, if you’re using a 10,000 lux lamp, you should start with 30 minutes of light therapy per day, ideally in the morning, to see how your body reacts. “It’s common to see improvement in your mood within two to four days if you use a 10,000 lux bulb for about 30 minutes every morning,” the Cleveland Clinic claims.

If you’re using a 5,000 lux lamp, you may need to spend more time in front of it (from 45 to 60 minutes per day). Similarly, a 2,500 lux lamp may require one to two hours of exposure.

What Is the Best Lux for Light Therapy?

That brings us to the question of how much lux you should be using. The best lux for light therapy is 10,000, which is equivalent to the light you’d get from natural sunlight, according to Health. White fluorescent light (not ultraviolet) is also considered more effective than other types, such as blue and full-spectrum.

Where to Buy Sun Lamps

Sun lamps can be purchased online (ahem, Amazon) in retail stores, like Nordstrom and Macy's and in speciality stores, like Verilux. Prices will vary depending on factors like lux intensity, features, size, portability, retailer and brand.

The Best Sun Lamps For 2023 At A Glance

Best sun lamps: A collage of sun lamps
Photo via Dasha Burobina for PureWow

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  • Key Features: Sleek design, customizable features, one-hour timer
  • Lux: Up to 10,000

This is the first and last sun lamp you'll ever need. Sure, you'll love its cute, rounded design, which works with a unique detachable magnetic base that lets you place it just about anywhere and adjust the angle to your liking, but it's also super functional. We're talking four brightness settings, three temperature hues (are you a fan of bright white light or are you more comfortable with a yellowish glow?) and a timer that can be set in ten-minute increments (up to one hour). Commerce Director Nicole Briese also swears it works for an early morning energy boost. "I first tried this after having gotten very little sleep the night before, and after ten minutes on the brightest setting, my mind felt like it was working at full capacity—like I'd gotten a full eight hours. I can't say if it definitively improved my mood, but it definitely made me feel more awake than I otherwise would have."

Best Sun Lamp Stand

2. Carex Day-Light Sun Lamp


  • Key Features: Adjustable stand, two light settings, works up to 12 inches away
  • Lux: 10,000

This lamp’s got an edge over other models, since it comes with a stand that allows you to lift it up to 31 inches. Yup, that means it can shine the light down on you, just like the sun would. Its large face (more than 15 inches by 29 inches) means that it can radiate over a wide area, and the manufacturer says that it emits the gold standard of 10,000 lux from up to 12 inches away (other lamps require you to get as close as four inches). While this rather hulking lamp isn’t going to easily blend into your home decor, its presence will be a strong reminder to get your daily dose of faux sunshine.

Best Dual Sun Lamp

3. PureGuardian Sun Lamp


  • Key Features: Compact design, emits white or blue light, six light intensity levels, adjustable tilt
  • Lux: 10,000

A smidge smaller than a piece of printer paper, this lamp can be discreetly set up on your desk. Its compact size doesn't sacrifice illumination, though: It still radiates 10,000 lux of white light, as well as blue light, which is great for the skin. It’s equipped with a five to 30-minute timer and a switch that lets you toggle between six light intensities, depending on your preferences.

Best for the Car

4. Luminette Drive Sun Lamp


  • Key Features: Visor attachment, easy to use
  • Lux: 468 nm blue light

This slender device attaches to the visor of your car and hits your face at a 45-degree angle that the company claims will do the trick after just 20 minutes of use. While it uses blue light instead of white, narrow-band blue light treatment at a 468 wavelength has been proven to be equally effective for light therapy treatment, which is the exact nanometer this device uses. Plus, the brand boasts that turning it on for a night drive is equivalent to having a strong cup of coffee.

Best for Travel

5. Erligpowht Sun Lamp


  • Key Features: 90-degree rotatable stand, four timer options, super slim
  • Lux: 10,000

Just 7 inches tall, this little gizmo packs is one of the smallest sun lamps of the bunch, but still packs a punch (think pure white light of 10,000 lux with a timer that lets you set it to 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes on a 90-degree adjustable stand). Because it's so slim, it's also a breeze to throw in your bag for travel, so you can keep up with your light routine no matter where you're at.

Best for the Office

6. Circadian Optics Sun Lamp

Circadian Optics

  • Key Features: Vertical design, adjustable hinge, three-level brightness, one-touch operation
  • Lux: 10,000

For a discreet option you can take to work, there's this pick from Circadian Optics. It has a super innovative vertical design that ensures it won't take up tons of real estate on your desk and an adjustable hinge that allows you to use it from practically any angle. You can also adjust the brightness of its 10,000 lux light with three different settings. Better yet, it turns on with a single touch of the button, so it won't be a disruptor in your day-to-day operations.

Best Wall-Mounted Sun Lamp

7. Aura Day Sun Lamp


  • Key Features: Mountable, adjustable angle, lux adjustment
  • Lux: 3,500 to 10,000 lux

Mount this lamp on the wall in your office or by your bed to quickly tap it on when you need some extra sunlight-like exposure. With lux settings that go from 3,500 lux to the full 10,000, this baby can also be dialed down on days you don't need quite as much of a glow. The timer can be set between 10 and 60 minutes, plus, it adjusts from 75 to 80 degrees for the perfect angle.

Best Freestanding Sun Lamp

8. Northern Light Technologies Flamingo Sun Lamp

Northern Light Technologies

  • Top Features: Illuminates up to 18 inches away, standing design
  • Lux: 10,000

For a sturdy and trustworthy standing light therapy device, look no further than this Northern Light Technologies pick. Designed to radiate light from up to 12 feet away, it lets you soak in its 10,000 lux while reading in your favorite chair or getting your sweat on next to your workout Mirror. It’s got a durable metal construction, shines from above for a more natural feel and has a rotating head that can be angled to your liking. It even uses LED-efficient bulbs. What's not to love?

Most High-Tech

9. Hiboitec Sun Lamp


  • Key Features: Mod design, five brightness levels, smart memory function
  • Lux: 10,000

While this sun lamp has a lot of the same features as the others, with three hues to choose from and five brightness levels, it stands out thanks to its smart memory function, which will automatically default to the settings you last used with it. Its mod design can also double as a super cool piece of decor.

Best Basic Sun Lamp

10. Verilux HappyLight Luxe Sun Lamp


  • Key Features: Detachable stand, wall-mountable design, four brightness settings
  • Lux: 10,000

A basic lamp that will get the job done, this corded Verilux HappyLight find is equipped with four brightness levels, so you can revel in faux daylight or a bright white glow. There's a a wall mount and a detachable stand, so you'll have total control over how much light you get, too—and where it’s coming from. Last but not least, there's a countdown timer to ensure you get just as much light as you need, but no more.

Best Minimalist Sun Lamp

11. Sunrise Sensations Wood Sun Lamp

Sunrise Sensations

  • Key features: Solid, sustainable hardwood, unique design, remote-controlled
  • Lux: 5,000 to more than 10,000 lux

For those who dig a more minimalist vibe, this Sunrise Sensations sun lamp might just be a winner. It’s crafted from fully sustainable, solid hardwood and allows you to adjust its brightness from 5,000 to more than 10,000 lux, according to what you needs. Bonus perk: It comes with a remote, and the brand claims it’s energy efficient.

Best Rechargeable Sun Lamp

12. Doraubia Sun Lamp


  • Key Features: USB charging port, doubles as a ring light, touch- and remote-controlled
  • Lux: 10,000

It’s a ring light! It’s a phone charger! It’s a sun lamp! It’s all of the above! With a 10-, 30-, 60-, and 90-minute timer, this lamp lets you go about your business without worrying about leaving it on too long, and it has three adjustable color temperatures to boot. It comes with a power adapter, so you'll never run out of juice mid-session, and there's a remote control, too.

Most Aesthetically Pleasing

13. Rsccleaner Sun Lamp


  • Key Features: Moon-inspired design, remote controlled, four brightness levels
  • Lux: 10,000

This out-of-this-world sun lamp (get it?) is shaped like the moon, making it an aesthetically pleasing accent piece that offers daytime, warm and natural light options. It reaches 10,000 lux for optimal brightness and is conveniently remote-controlled, so you can effortlessly switch up the light settings without needing to get up. It also boasts a USB port, timer setting and four brightness levels.

Best Design

14. Northern Light Technologies Pyramid Sun Lamp

Northern Light Technologies

  • Key Features: Aesthetically pleasing, lightweight
  • Lux: 10,000 lux

Is it a sculpture? A therapy device? Actually, it’s both (not to mention a total conversation piece). This pyramid-shaped light box is just 4 pounds, so it can be easily moved to a pedestal or side table for use as a decorative object when it's not in use, and it gives off 10,000 lux from 12 inches away.

Best Light Therapy Glasses

15. Luminette 3 Light Therapy Glasses


  • Key Features: Can be worn on-the-go, slim profile
  • Lux: 500, 1,000 or 1,500 lux

If convenience is at the top of your priority list, these Luminette 3 sun lamp glasses will do the trick. They’re designed for people who are often on-the-go and reportedly work well with both contacts and glasses. "They are snug and don’t fall off, very comfortable to wear," assured one buyer. If you’re worried about these babies not working as efficiently as a traditional sun lamp, fret not: The brand claims that the 500, 1,000 or 1,5000 blue-enriched white LED lux they emit will give you benefits on par with a a 10,000 lux lamp.

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Brittany Gibson is a NYC- and CT-based freelance writer with a background in SEO. She has bylines in BuzzFeed, Insider, Real Simple, Reader’s Digest and more. When she’s not writing about products, you’ll likely find her trying out new coffee shops, hanging with her Maltipoo, Mochi, listening to Taylor Swift or scouring the internet for new petite fashion finds to fill her already-crowded closet with. Follow her on Instagram @brigibson.

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Freelance Writer

Brittany Gibson is a NYC- and CT-based freelance writer with a background in SEO. She has bylines in BuzzFeed, Insider, Real Simple, Reader’s Digest and more. When she’s not...

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Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...