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What is the Best Light Bulb for Reading? 2022 Top 7 Comparison

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Welcome to my quest to find the best lightbulb for reading. Because let’s face it, we all need a little more of that, right? At first glance, it may seem a little pointless to talk about the best light bulbs for reading. It’s dark. Then it’s light. Tada!

But lighting is super important! What did you do the last time the power went out at your house? Probably pulled out the flashlights, because light is essential. When you’re a reader, you want the right type of lighting for your needs, or it can completely ruin the mood.

SO without further ado, let’s come out of the dark and step into the light with these best light bulbs for reading!

What is the best light bulb for reading? Here’s my top 7 list:

Here are my top picks for each of the light bulbs, sorted by the purpose they serve. So you might have some that are best for low-level lighting, but others that are best for your budget.

  1. Phillips LED Dimmable A19
  2. Sylvania 13W CFL T2
  3. Philips 60 watt equivalent A19
  4. GE 3-Way Light Bulb
  5. Vintage Edison LED Bulbs
  6. Novostella Smart LEDs
  7. Yangcsl LED

Best light bulbs for reading comparison chart (top 7 highest)

Best Overall
Philips LED Dimmable A19

Philips LED Dimmable A19

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Best CFL
Sylvania 13W CFL T2

Sylvania 13W CFL T2

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Best Budget
PHILIPS New 60-Watt Equivalen

PHILIPS New 60-Watt Equivalen

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Best Incandescent
GE 3-Way Light Bulb

GE 3-Way Light Bulb

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Best Vintage
Vintage LED Edison Bulb

Vintage LED Edison Bulb

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Best Smart Bulbs
Smart Light Bulb, WiFi LED RGB

Smart Light Bulb, WiFi LED RGB

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Best Remote Control
Yangcsl LED

Yangcsl LED

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My Reviews of the Best Light Bulbs for Readers

What follows is my in-depth reviews of the individual light bulbs. And if you read to the end, I’ll even tell you what I personally use. Let’s dive right in!

Best Overall
1. Phillips LED Dimmable A19 (Best LED Reading Light Bulb)
10/10Our Score
  • Philips A19 LED light bulbs with Warm Glow Effect provide 800 lumens of soft white light, equivalent to 60 Watt incandescents; These bulbs fit standard medium base (E26) fixtures with the look and feel of a classic bulb; Not for use with Philips HUE products
  • Warm Glow dimming offers flicker free, silent dimming that works with more dimmer switches than any other LED on the market; The more you dim, the warmer the light from 2200 to 2700 kelvin just like traditional incandescent light bulbs
  • These best in class, Energy Star Certified Philips LEDs provide steady, natural lighting at 1/4 of the energy of incandescents, 1/2 the energy of halogens and with 10X and 4X the lifespan respectively; Philips LEDs are mercury free so they don't contribute to harmful hazardous waste
  • A19 soft white light bulbs are perfect anywhere you need a balance of clarity and warmth with the flexibility of dimming in an slightly smaller bulb; The E26 medium base fits standard fixtures on pendant, vanity, and bare lamps
  • This 4 pack of A19 LEDs is expected to deliver a lifetime of up to 15, 000 hours and over 20 years based on standard usage of 3 hours per day, saving you the cost and hassle of frequent bulb replacement
  • Comfortable Light: Our products meet strict test criteria including flicker, strobe, glare and color rendition to ensure they meet EyeComfort requirements; Switch to Philips LED, light that’s designed for the comfort of your eyes
  • Not too bright, comfortable
  • Dimmable
  • Energy saving
  • Nothing I could see

These Phillips LED bulbs are this girl’s top pic for the best LED bulb for reading. They provide 800 lumens of soft white light which is about equal to a 60W incandescent bulb. This means that they aren’t overbearingly bright, but provide enough light to ensure that you can see whatever you are reading. It’s just plain comfortable light.

Comfortable might seem a little pretentious when describing light, but that’s exactly what you need. Comfort. No straining. No squinting. Plus, these bulbs are dimmable and the more you dim… the warmer the light becomes. Keep it festive and bright or warm and cozy. The choice is up to you, but the dimmable option makes this Phillips option as the best light bulb for reading at night for me.

Best CFL
2. Sylvania 13W CFL T2 (Best CFL Reading Light Bulb)
8/10Our Score
  • Comfortable lighting
  • Energy saving
  • Can’t dim

The Sylvania 13W CFL is an awesome choice for those of you into CFL type bulbs. These energy savers only use up 13W, but they pack a punch. They can replace a 60W incandescent bulb and provide up to 850 lumens. This falls into a comfortable light range keeping your eyes shielded from undue strain, making it a contender for the best light bulb for reading and studying..

Being CFLs, these bulbs cannot dim, so look elsewhere if that’s what you need. However, they do provide a whopping 10000 hours of light (backing up the best light bulb for studying claim). So they got that going for them which is nice.

Best Budget
3.  Philips 60 watt equivalent A19 (Top Budget Reading Lamp Bulb)
8/10Our Score
  • This Philips 60 watt equivalent A19 LED bulb uses only 8.5 watts of energy, saving up to $62.03 over the life of the bulb (based on 3 hours/day, 11 cent/kWh, costs depend on rates and use)
  • This Philips LED bulb turns on at full brightness with 800 lumens, and provides a light similar to Natural daylight
  • With a life of 10+ years, this Philips LED bulb is perfect for closets, dining, living and bedrooms
  • Non-dimmable
  • Best bang for your buck
  • Saves you money in energy savings
  • Look cheap

I always like a good deal, and the Philips 60 watt equivalent A19 (not to be confused with the dimmable A19 above), is one of the best ways to save money. Before you look at the price tag and roast me in the comments about how it doesn’t look very cheap, just hold your horses.

You see, it’s not about the cost of the bulb here, but how much it will save you in energy costs. This bulb will save you over $60 in energy savings per bulb! That means that just one bulb could make up the cost of purchasing the entire set. And that’s just one bulb!

Best Incandescent Reading Bulb
4. GE 3-Way Light Bulb (Best Incandescent Reading Bulb)
9.4/10Our Score
  • Model number : H&PC-71059
  • The Package length of product is 9.4"
  • The Package width of product is 22.35"
  • The Package height of product is 22.61"
  • Great old-fashion bulbs
  • Super bright options
  • More variety
  • Don’t save as much energy

If you’re old fashioned and prefer your light bulbs to be as well, these GE’s are the pick for you. They get the job done and are cheap. Nothing too fancy. What sets these apart from other incandescent options is the 3-way capabilities. Use these at three different wattages–50W, 100W, or 150W.

However, these will use more electricity than CFL or LED bulbs. And they won’t last nearly as long. But if your desk lamp just won’t support LEDs or you are looking for that iconic incandescent glow, here’s a solid option as the best reading light bulb for eyes.

Best Vintage Reading Lamp Bulbs
5. Vintage LED Edison Bulbs (Best Vintage Reading Lamp Bulbs)
8/10Our Score
  • 2700K Warm White and 540 Lumen : 4 Packs 6W e26 medium base LED Edison bulbs provide 540 lumen 2700k warm white lighting, bring a soft warm glow to your home
  • Energy efficiency and long lasting:6W LED E26 light bulbs are equivalent to 60 watts incandescent bulbs, save over 90% on electricity bill of lighting.Low power consumption provides over 25,000 hours lifespan lasting over 13years (based on 5 hours of use each day) reducing bulb replacing frequency
  • Vintage Style: This clear glass Edison light bulbs comes with a retro and stylish appearance, combines fashion and retro to perfectly match modern furniture. These Edison bulbs not only can be used for lighting, but also beautiful decorations for lamp chandelier, fixture, pendant lighting, wall sconces, ceiling light, room
  • Smooth Dimming: Compatible with LED dimmer switches, offering a smooth dimming control with the lowest brightness at 10%. No flicker or glare
  • High quality and safe: These LED bulbs are well packed, wrapped with foam in box, ensure the safety of product during transportation
  • Super awesome aesthetic
  • Dimmable
  • Soft lighting
  • Long lasting
  • Good only for certain aesthetics

Whoever said light bulbs couldn’t look cool probably wasn’t very cool themselves. These are awesome! These dimmable LEDs produce up to 400 lumens of soft amber glow. They are also expected to deliver up to 30000 hours of light per bulb!

These bulbs are just perfect for a cozy little reading nook or intimate setting like a formal dining area. Plus, they add a cool bit of ambiance to whatever room they light up. They’re sure to be a conversation starter for any who see them.

Best Smart Reading Light Bulbs
Smart Light Bulb, WiFi LED RGB Color Changing Light Bulbs with Remote Control, A19 E26 2700K-6500K Dimmable Lights Work with Alexa and IFTTT, No Hub Required, 9W (75W Equivalent), 2 Pack
8/10Our Score
  • RGBCW Smart Bulbs- 9W 900LM, RGB & cool white and warm white smart bulb creating your favorite light effects,tunable white from 2700K-6500K, more than 80CRI super high display. There are 16 million dimmable colors and 8 lighting scenes to choose from
  • 3 in 1 Color Changing Bulbs- You can control the light bulbs by WiFi, IR remote controller and voice. Convenient to use, easy to adjust colour and brightness. Create customized scenes to match your mood. Note: One remote control can control all bulbs, 2*AAA Batteries Not Included
  • Group Control & No Hub Required-Work with Amazon Alexa(Echo/Dot/Tap) and Google Assistant. IFTTT is also supported. You can create a group for all of your smart bulbs and control all lights via your voice to turn on/off or dim/brighten,remote it anywhere any time even you are not at home. Works with 2.4GHz network (not support 5GHz)
  • Wide Application and 8 Scene Modes- You can set different light modes on "smart life" app to match various occasions including kitchen, living room, bedroom. Smart wif bulb also can be used for table lamp, cafe, bar, party, Halloween, Christmas, etc
  • Life-span and Warranty- Smart bulb with 50,000 hours lifespan is perfect for household and holiday use.The LED light bulb design with A19 size and E26 base, equivalent to 75W traditional incandescent bulbs. CE & FCC listed for safety and quality assurance. Support 30 days money-back guarantee and 1-year free warranty
  • Smart LED technology
  • 16 million color combinations
  • Doesn’t get too bright

With things such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, the smart home revolution has taken off. Not only can you control your speakers and TV, but you can utilize smart tech for your light bulbs as well. However, in order to do so, you need to make sure you have the compatible bulbs. And this bulb is one of the absolute best out there.

At only 7W it can produce up to 600 lumens in almost any color you can imagine. Yep, there are right around 16 MILLION different color combinations that this single bulb can output all from the sound of your voice. You can also app control away from home. This means you can “Roxanne” your room when coming home from a hot date prior to arriving. Or put it at a nice warm glow for reading.

Best Remote Control
7. Yangcsl LED (Best Remote Control)
9.4/10Our Score
  • This is a LED color changing light bulb with remote control. It is very easy to operate and adjust brightness, It fits multi-purpose in life. It has warm white for daily illumination, 2700K, CRI>85, equivalent to 85W, 1200lm; There are 9 RGB color and 6 modes for mood and decoration as well. In addition, it comes with 2-year-warranty, 90-day-refund guarantee ensuring high quality standards applied and friendly customer service provided.
  • The bulbs are available in 10 colors and 6 modes (Flash, Strobe, Smooth, Warm, Fresh, Romantic). With 7 kinds of brightness adjustable, we can set the right atmosphere at any time to reflect different emotions.
  • Memory function: It can memorize the last static color or dynamic mode we used. Synchronization is a amazing choice, it is ideal for environments where multiple bulbs, such as fan lights, downlights, chandeliers, etc., are used together. When we use dynamic mode, the rhythm of the color changing of the bulb can be consistent.
  • Low light decay design . Warm white use 16 beads 1W high-brightness LED chips; Reduce the current and increase lumens per watt; Reduce the light decay and extend the life of LED bulbs.
  • Timing function: no need to connect the timer, after finished the setting, it will automatically turn on and off every day. We can install in corridors, courtyards or other outdoor environments, which will make life more convenient.
  • Has a remote control
  • Has different colors
  • Has strobe and other lighting functions
  • Remote is easy to lose

On a scale of 1-Nerdy Book Girl, how lazy are you? Well if you’re just like me, the remote control feature of this light bulb is all you need. But that definitely not all this bulb can do for you. This bulb can bring the party. When utilized to its fullest potential, you can set it on different colors or functions–such as strobe–with just the simple press of a button.

If you want to use it for reading, it’s also great! I tend to fall asleep when I read (which is why I have to find a position where the book doesn’t drop directly onto my face). By using this light bulb, I can actually set a timer for it to turn off after a specified amount of time. This definitely qualifies it as a best light bulb for reading in bed contender.

What are the different types of reader light bulbs?

As we have seen above, reader light bulbs come in many different flavors. (This being said I just prefer a light meal. Ba-doom Tsss…Still waiting for my comedy career to kick off). Here are the big three:c

  • Incandescent
  • Flourescent
  • LED

And each of these have their own advantages and uses. Let’s explore them a bit more.


These are the OG’s of light bulbs. Contrary to popular belief, Edison didn’t invent the electric light bulb. This honor can be bestowed to Humphry Davy back in 1802. But it’s shine was short-lived. Extremely short lived at that and way too bright for any practical purpose. Over the next 70 years, other inventors tried to create a viable product but to no avail.

This is when Edison stepped in. Using a charred bamboo filament, he and his team were the first to create a viably commercial electric light bulb. Thus the credit goes to him. (I still have my reservations about this Edison guy.)

Either way, these early bulbs were considered incandescent bulbs. Bulbs which are still around to this day, albeit much more modernized.

Incandescent bulbs work by transferring electric current through a specialized filament. The filament–which is in cased within a glass or quartz bulb filled with inert gas–then begins to glow and… Voila! Let there be light!

As simple as these bulbs are, they still hold some pretty great advantages when compared to its LED or Fluorescent counterparts. These include:

  • Great for providing warm light to small areas
  • Cheap cost for consumers
  • Reliable even lighting with no flickering
  • Safe with no toxic materials
  • Dimmable
  • Come in universal sizes


Developed in 1934 by General Electric, these bulbs are still highly relevant today. You probably see them everyday or even have some inside your home.

You know those long skinny tube bulbs? The ones found commonly in office spaces and vanities? Those are fluorescent or halogen bulbs. But they don’t necessarily have to take those shape anymore. Modern day CFL bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) are now commonly found in the best floor lamps and overhead fixtures.

I am sure you’ve seen those tornado-like or twisted style bulbs. More than likely, those are CFLs. The twists and turns provide an extra length needed for the bulb to operate instead of just a long straight path.

The advantages for a fluorescent or halogen bulb include:

  • Much better energy efficiency when compared to incandescent bulbs
  • They are relatively cheap
  • Their energy efficiency leads to long term cost savings on electricity
  • Often provide for a better light distribution over incandescent bulbs
  • Less heat production due to its use of less energy

However, it’s worth noting that a halogen or fluorescent bulbs can sometimes lead to eye strain, so it’s important to remember that when making your selection.


If incandescent bulbs are the original gangstas of light bulbs, then LEDs are the new kids on the block. They’re normally small, but extremely bright and durable. Most modern light sources are making the swap over to LEDs and for many good reasons. You can find them as light bulbs, computer screens, smart phones, televisions, etc.

Here are just some of the advantages of LED light bulbs:

  • The most energy efficient of light bulb choices
  • Extremely long life
  • No flickering or warm-up time
  • Solid state–this makes them super rugged
  • Awesome color rendering means colors are more true under their light
  • Easily directed to specific areas
  • Brightness and Color control is made easy

Just beware though. LEDs do have one hidden danger.

Blue light.

Excessive blue light can be detrimental to your eye health. In order to find out more info on blue light, check out THIS article on the best blue light blocking glasses.

So, are LED light bulbs good for reading?

Yes, LED light bulbs are good for reading, as long as you get warmer LEDs. You can get warm LEDs, or bulbs with a tint, removing that negative blue light when you don’t need it. Otherwise, the money and energy costs you save with LEDs are definitely worth it.

What is the best reading light bulb for me & what do I actually use?

Honestly, I’m a huge fan of LEDs. I believe that they are among the best light bulbs for reading, and I use them all the time alongside my favorite book stand.

Incandescent bulbs are essentially phased out in the US and for just a few bucks more than a CFL, I can get a quality LED. Plus, I love the adaptability of LEDs. CFL’s just can’t do that. But, if you’re on a tight budget, CFLs will work in a pinch. I would just reserve incandescent bulbs for antique lamps in order to get that authentic glow. However, LED tech is providing that glow now.

That’s just my two cents anyway. Let me know what you think. What bulbs are you using and why? I’d love to hear from you.


FAQs on the best bulb for reading

Which color bulb is best for reading?

The best color bulb for reading is a warm color. Something like a soft yellow or orange. What it does is negate the harmful effects of unnatural blue light, which we often get too much with our phones anyway. Go with a warm light as opposed to a white light.

Is white or warm light better for reading?

A warm light is better for reading, as it is softer on the eyes, and doesn’t have the harmful effects of blue light. It also sets a mood for reading, giving you that cozy feelings of snuggling up next to the fire with a nice book.

What wattage of light bulb is good for reading?

Generally, you want a wattage of 40 – 60 watts, or the equivalent. For reading, you don’t need super bright or harsh lights. Instead, you’ll want to keep the lighting warm and soft so your eyes are not strained while trying to read your favorite book.

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