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!
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.
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!
These Phillips LED bulbs are this girl’s top pic for Best LED. 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.
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.
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. So they got that going for them which is nice.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 them as one of the best light bulbs for reading.
As we have seen above, 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.)
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:
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 home 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:
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:
Just beware though. LEDs do have one hidden danger.
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.
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.