Physical books (and some e-readers) don't come with built-in backlighting. That’s why the best book lights on the market are a fundamental tool for many
book lovers who frequently read at night. Fortunately, there are a lot of book lights out there, and if you're on the hunt for a great one, there are a few things to consider.
Before you select your ideal book light, consider where and how you’re most likely to use it. If you’ll mostly be
reading at home in bed, portability isn’t a major factor, but it might matter more if you travel a lot. You’ll also want to think about whether your preferred type of reading material can handle a clip-on book light, which works well for sturdy hardcovers or e-readers, or whether you read a lot of flimsy paperbacks that might do better with a wearable light. And if you think clipping a light to your book is a hassle, a compact light you can secure to your nightstand or headboard could be a better fit.
Book lights are often rechargeable or battery-powered, so you’ll want to think about whether you have a preference between the two. Finally, consider how long you’ll need your light to last, especially if you’re going with a rechargeable option. Some particularly lightweight options will only last about five hours, while others can last more than 50.
The picks for best book light, listed below, were chosen with these different needs and functionalities in mind. Read on to learn more about the best book lights for all kinds of readers — kids and adults alike.
1 The Overall Best Book Light
Vekkia Luminolite boasts a 4.7-star overall rating after more than 12,000 reviews — and it’s no wonder why. It features three light settings (warm, white, and mixed warm and white) and is powered with one easy-to-use button. The light features a rubberized clip that secures it to both physical books and e-readers. It’s conveniently rechargeable using the included micro-USB cable, and each charge can last up to 70 hours. And no need to guess when the battery’s good to go — it has an indicator light that tells you when it’s fully charged. One reviewer wrote: “I rarely write product reviews, but had to say how much I love this little reading light. It’s lightweight, with three brightness settings, and the best thing is the bendable neck, which lets you adjust it to exactly where you need it. Easily rechargeable, and once charged it lasts a long time. I like mine so much that I've given two more as gifts. A great little item for anyone who likes to read!” 2 The Fan-Favorite Wearable Book Light (That’s Great For Paperbacks)
If you’re looking for a hands-free option, check out this
neck reading light, which has racked up more than 59,500 ratings on Amazon and counting. This wearable light sits on your neck instead of clipping onto your book. The lack of a clip makes it a great fit for anyone who reads a lot of paperbacks and finds that clip-on options aren’t always the easiest to use without stiff covers. The Glocusent light is rechargeable with the included USB cable, and each battery charge can last up to a whopping 80 hours. The two bendy arms have separate lights, and each arm has three brightness and three warmth settings, which means you can really customize your reading experience.
While it’s intended to be used while reading, its unique design makes it truly multipurpose — reviewers have reported using the wearable book light as a hands-free flashlight on camping trips and night hikes.
One reviewer wrote: “Makes reading in low light much easier. I also like that the light doesn’t attach to the book. This makes it so much more pleasant reading because there is no fumbling to turn the pages.” 3 The Best Budget-Friendly Book Light That Uses AAA Batteries
If you want a budget-friendly option that doesn’t require any charging cords, the
LEPOWER book light is the way to go. Instead of a rechargeable battery, it runs on three AAA batteries. It also comes with a USB cord if you’d rather just plug it into a power source instead of using batteries. It has five brightness settings, including warm and white light, and a secure clip with a non-slip surface. Aside from attaching it onto physical books, it can also stand up on its own if you want to use it at a desk or table. While the manufacturer specifies it can be used with e-readers, one reviewer noted that it’s a bit large and heavy to comfortably use with their Kindle. One reviewer wrote: “The option of not having to plug it in and using batteries is great and it’s light weight and portable has three light setting and head moves in any direction. Clamps to most things but rest flat on any surface fine doesn’t fall over, like a regular desk lamp only smaller.” 4 The Best Book Light For Travel
Clocking in at just 1.3 ounces and measuring just 0.5 inches thick, the
Dewenwils USB rechargeable book light is lighter and more compact than the other models on this list. It folds flat and slim and plugs directly into any USB outlet for charging. The battery only lasts up to eight hours at its brightest setting, but it takes just an hour and a half to fully charge once it’s depleted. The LED light offers two brightness levels in a warm white.
There may be other book lights out there with more secure clips and dimmer light settings, but if you’re looking for something super portable and durable to use while you’re on the go, this one’s a no-brainer.
One reviewer wrote: “This little thing is pretty awesome. It serves as a bookmark and page clip that is transparent so you can actually read through without having to take off the light. It has multiple light settings, it swivels, and tilts so you can aim it at the opposite page. A lot of thought went into designing such a simple little gadget.” 5 The Best Book Light With A Hand Strap For E-Readers
If you use an e-reader without a backlight, this
book light can be ideal for nighttime reading. Similar to the non-rechargeable LEPOWER book light, it runs on three AAA batteries (which you’ll have to snag separately) — but this one’s made specifically for e-readers. It has a clip that’s designed to not get in the way of your e-reader screen, and it even comes with a hand strap to make holding your device easier. This book light has two brightness settings, plus its arm moves up, down, and side to side, and it can stand upright on its own, too.
If you’re not sure you’d get good use out of the hand strap, check out this alternative
book light that works well with e-readers. One reviewer wrote: “The [light] fits easily onto the top of the Kindle. It is sturdy and stays put. The angle of the light is adjustable to whatever angle I prefer. I am so happy to be able to read when the power is out.” 6 The Best Magnifying Book Light
Anyone who struggles to read small print might appreciate this
magnifying book light, which magnifies text up to 300%, bringing words a lot closer. The 12 bright LED lights are located along the underside of the magnifier, and it features an anti-glare reflector to keep the light focused on the page. You can adjust the light to the exact brightness you need using the dial at the base of the magnifier.
Unlike the other options on the list, it doesn’t operate hands-free, but the wide horizontal lens covers a lot of text at once. This book light is operated by three
AAA batteries (not included). One reviewer wrote: “This magnifier is much more helpful in reading a page of smaller print than a hand-held magnifying glass. This can be placed on top of page of small print so you can read the whole page without having to hold a magnifying glass and move it around the page, which makes it much more likely to lose you place in reading. In addition, the built in lights on this magnifier make it easy to see print without needing a bright lamp beside you, so you can read without disturbing someone sleeping or watching television. It is so useful that I plan to order a second one to keep in the bedroom.” 7 The Best Book Light To Clip To Your Bedside Table
If you primarily read in bed and aren’t in need of a portable option, check out this
bedside lamp, which is available in black, white, and silver aluminum to match your home’s aesthetic. The gooseneck is sturdy enough to adjust in different directions, but the clip-on base is slim. This means it won’t take up precious real estate on your table — alternatively, you can clamp it to a headboard up to 2 inches thick.
Along the length of wire, there are two switches: one that allows you to toggle the lamp on, off, and between its warm and white light settings, and the other to dim or brighten it. In order to work, it must be plugged into a power source with the USB cable or adapter, which are both included with the light. If you’re in need of a rechargeable reading light for your nightstand, this
cordless desk lamp is also worth considering. One reviewer wrote: “This is a very useful little light – I have it clipped to my Adirondack chair that I made, on our back porch. My sister just turns off all the back porch lights and leaves this light on. It's perfect for a reading light for me reading print books.” 8 The Best Amber Book Light
If you’re sensitive to white light (or have a partner who is), you might appreciate this
amber option. It mimics the effect of reading by warm candlelight, but the focused light source more powerfully illuminates the pages of your book. While many lights offer warm light settings, this one only has amber options — so there’s no need to toggle through any bright white settings to get to the one you need.
The light fastens to physical books and e-readers with a sturdy clamp, while the gooseneck lets you rotate the light 360 degrees so that you can position it where you need it. To power it on and off, there is a single button located on the lamp itself, which also controls its three brightness settings. According to the manufacturer, it runs for five hours on the brightest level, and comes with a micro-USB cable when it comes time to recharge it.
One reviewer wrote: “This book light is perfect for night time reading- especially before bed. I love how warm toned the light is but how illuminating it really is. It’s perfect for those who want to wind down before bed with some reading but not have their sleep affected by bright light. I am very happy with it!” 9 The Best Book Light For Kids
According to Amazon reviewers, this
book light for kids has become a go-to bedtime reading tool for families with young bookworms. The lamp is lightweight with a padded clamp that can fasten snugly over books, and it comes with a flexible neck to shine the light over the pages. To appeal to both kids and kids-at-heart, it’s offered in four fun options, ranging from pink to blue.
It’s powered by a single button, which allows kids to quickly turn the lamp on and off, as well as switch among its three brightness settings. In any setting, it illuminates a warm white light that is easy on the eyes, while offering illumination for up to 40 hours. It is rechargeable and comes with a micro-USB cable to charge it up between reading sessions.
One reviewer wrote: “My daughter has trouble sleeping at night and is a BIG reader at 8 years old. I noticed she was trying to read by the light coming in from the living room at night (lights go out at bedtime as she shares a room with her sisters and [none] of my kids wants lights on as they sleep). I didn’t want her straining her eyes and found this for her. She is VERY happy with this book light in both functionality and visual aesthetics [...] Now she reads at night no issue as her sisters sleep undisturbed; and when ready she turns it off and heads off to dream of her stories (I can only assume).”
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This article was originally published on
Oct. 19, 2019