Finding the Best Art Lamp in 2021

This is the third part of my new three article series designed to help you set up the perfect workstation for drawing, painting, digital art or any other art or craft work.

This article will concentrate on finding the best light for artists, specifically a lamp for a desk, work table or drawing table, that is optimized for the needs and uses of any commercial or fine artist, art student or beginner, crafter or anybody else doing creative work.

💡 Please note: This article may include affiliate links. When you buy through those links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Table of Contents

Please also check out the first two articles in this series!

But before you go let’s see if we can shed some light on this basic question: What is the Best Lamp for Artists?

What Should You Look For in the Best Lamp for Artists?

This is actually pretty simple. When selecting the best lamp for artists, you really need a few basic things:

  • Stability and Flexibility: Being able to solidly mount the lamp, or getting a lamp with a very solid base, and then being able to easily and effortlessly position the light itself wherever you need it and have it stay put.
  • Adjustable Brightness: It’s nice to be able to find a light level which makes it easy to see what you are working on, but also works well with the surrounding lights and with natural light coming in from the windows.
  • Adjustable Warmth: From cooler shades, which can reveal more detail and seem “brighter,” to warmer shades, which can be easier on the eyes. If a lamp does not have adjustable color temperature, it should instead have the coolest temperature available for best visibility and most neutral color rendition — 5000 to 6000 Kelvin.
  • Natural Light: A light source with a CRI (Color Rendering Index) of 100 is the equivalent of natural daylight, which is considered perfect for the most accurate rendering of colors — super important for any color work you may be doing, and the best lamps for artists should have at least an 80 CRI.
  • LED Bulbs: Not just (much, much) longer lasting, and using a lot less energy, but also flicker-free and easier on the eyes.

Other than that it comes down to style — yes, we’re artists, and even our lamps need to look great — and price. The above considerations are quite important, and if you can get all of that in a lamp you like the look of, and can afford, you’re good to go.

How can You Find the Best Art Lamp for You and Your Needs?

But it can take a lot of time and effort, and cause a lot of frustration, trying to find a lamp that really has all of that, a desk lamp that is really the best for artists and crafters — believe me, I know. And how do we even know if it is a good lamp anyway, that it is well-made, provides good and even light, adjusts easily and stays in place? Of course, Amazon pictures and descriptions are going to cast any lamp, well, into the best possible light!

As I mentioned in my companion articles on desks and chairs, this buyer’s guide for art lamps is a bit different from my past articles. Yes, I can get my hands on lots of different pencils and pens, different brands of paper, even digital drawing tablets and laptops, and I have, but it is a little tough for me to really use so many different art lamps, especially in my own space and for an extended time.

So for this and the other two articles in this series I have gone deeper than ever into the loads and loads of online customer reviews — particularly those from verified customers who have used their lamps for an extended period — and these testimonials, in combination with my own experience and feedback from other artists, friends and students, have allowed me to select a few really great lamps for artists.

And now that the whole process is done I am really excited, and I’m quite sure that every single lamp on this list (and also the desks and chairs I’ve recommended in the two other articles) are amazing products which will really serve you and your needs perfectly. They are all truly the best art lamps available today, with great features and great overall quality, and they all represent, for their respective price points, the best value possible.

At the end of this article, in my Final Thoughts section, I will talk a little bit more about color temperature, CRI and natural light, and recommend some of the best natural light lightbulbs on the market today, but now let’s find the perfect light for you!

Overview: Best Art Lamps for Artists and Crafters in 2021

  1. Multifunctional LED Art Lamp
  2. Multifunctional LED Art Lamp

    With Wireless Charger, USB Charging Port, 5 Lighting Modes,5 Brightness Levels, Sensitive Control, 30/62 min Auto Timer, Eye-caring Office Lamp with Adapter


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Phive LED Architect Desk Lamp
  4. Phive LED Architect Desk Lamp

    Clamp Lamp, Metal Swing Arm Dimmable Task Lamp (Touch Control, Eye-Care Technology, Memory Function, Highly Adjustable Office / Work Light)


    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. Brightech LightView LED Magnifying Art Lamp
  6. Brightech LightView LED Magnifying Art Lamp

    Comfortable LED Magnifying Glass Desk Lamp for Close Work - Bright 2.25x Magnifier Lighted Lens - Puzzle, Craft & Reading Light for Table Top Tasks


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. Daylight Clamp on Adjustable Desk LED Lamp
  8. Daylight Clamp on Adjustable Desk LED Lamp

    Daylight Slim line with superb additional features - Aluminum shade with full-length diffuser - Better spread and diffusion of light - 4 brightness levels - Flexible joints for perfect positioning


    Buy Now on Amazon
  9. Neatfi XL 2,200 Lumens LED Art Lamp
  10. Neatfi XL 2,200 Lumens LED Art Lamp

    With Clamp, 24W, 117 Pcs SMD LED, 23 Inches Ultra Wide Lamp, 4 Level Brightness Dimmable, Eye-Caring LED Lamp, Glare Free, Adjustable Arm Utility Clamp


    Buy Now on Amazon
  11. Black & Decker PureOptics Summit Zoom Magnifying Desk Lamp
  12. Black & Decker PureOptics Summit Zoom Magnifying Desk Lamp

    Zoom Magnifier 10W Flicker-Free Natural Daylight LED Desk Lamp, 5-Diopter Lens, USB Port, 6 Dimming Levels (416 Lumens)


    Buy Now on Amazon
  13. BenQ eReading LED Art Lamp
  14. BenQ eReading LED Art Lamp

    Swing Arm/Eye-Caring Table/Office Lamp/Zero Glare/Adjustable and Dimming Color Modes/for Home Office/Multiple Monitors/Workbench


    Buy Now on Amazon
  15. Koncept Mosso Pro LED Art Lamp
  16. Koncept Mosso Pro LED Art Lamp

    Desk Lamp with USB Port - Different colors - 99 lumens per watt - changes light colors from warm to cool and anything in between. An intuitive built-in touchstrip allows for effortless continuous dimming.

    

    Buy Now on Amazon

Best Budget Art Lamp

Multifunctional LED Art Lamp

With Wireless Charger, USB Charging Port, 5 Lighting Modes,5 Brightness Levels, Sensitive Control, 30/62 min Auto Timer, Eye-caring Office Lamp with Adapter


At a Glance:

  • Style: Desktop Base
  • Lumens: 410
  • Color Temperature: 2700 – 6000 Kelvin Adjustable 
  • CRI: 80+

I’m not going to include any super-cheap lights in my list of best art lamps, because there are just too many reports online of quality control issues, flickering light, poor build quality and unstable bases. But for a still bargain-basement price you can get an extremely high quality desk lamp that’s really ideal for any artist in the AFROG LED desk lamp.

The AFROG desk lamp is a great size, at about 16 inches tall — big enough to be really useful and not so large that it overwhelms your working space. Both the lamp head and the stem swivel and turn, allowing for very specific positioning, and the lamp stays solidly in place once positioned. 

The AFROG is nicely adjustable in terms of light as well, with variable color temperature and brightness, and has an excellent CRI rating of 80. In fact, everything — adjustability and usability, light quality and overall quality — is excellent for such an inexpensive lamp, and the AFROG might well be the best value artist lamp on the market today.

Best Large Area Budget Art Lamp

Phive LED Architect Desk Lamp

Clamp Lamp, Metal Swing Arm Dimmable Task Lamp (Touch Control, Eye-Care Technology, Memory Function, Highly Adjustable Office / Work Light)


At a Glance:

  • Style: Clamp-On
  • Lumens: 1100
  • Color Temperature: 5000 Kelvin
  • CRI: 85

A very high quality and extremely adjustable desk lamp, the Phrive CL-1 is easy to get into exactly the right position and once there, with its strong and secure construction and ultra-stable mounting clamp, stays put.

Stepless brightness control means you can get the brightness at exactly the right level, and the nice memory feature will remember your settings. While the color temperature is not adjustable, the Phive CL-1 produces an extremely cool and bright 5000K temperature, which is excellent for seeing even the smallest details and doing even the most exacting and precise work, and has a CRI rating of 85 for excellent color rendition.

A big lamp, the Phive CL-1 clamps on and so takes up no desk space, and is great for both small desks and large work areas, with a very clear, bright and flicker-free illumination that is perfect for any kind of work and easy on the eyes – an easy choice for the best inexpensive architect lamp on the market today.

Best Budget Magnifying Art Lamp

Brightech LightView LED Magnifying Art Lamp

Comfortable LED Magnifying Glass Desk Lamp for Close Work - Bright 2.25x Magnifier Lighted Lens - Puzzle, Craft & Reading Light for Table Top Tasks


At a Glance:

  • Style: Clamp-On
  • Lumens: 650
  • Color Temperature: 6000 Kelvin
  • CRI: 80

A wonderful desk lamp for both normal illumination and extreme detail work, the Brightech LightView Pro has a bright, even ring light surrounding an excellent 5 inch 2.25X magnifying glass. This is a basic lamp in many ways, without adjustable brightness or color temperature, and yet proves to be one of the best and most useful artist lamps you can buy.

You can use the LightView Pro for general lighting, with a soft and cool light that is not overwhelmingly bright but is fantastic for revealing every detail and making everything as clear as possible, and then swoop it down close to your work, peer through the glass and get an amazingly clear view of fine details, with accurate color rendition (CRI rating of 80) and extremely stable, flicker-free illumination — especially important for eye health and stress-free working

With a high quality glass lens that will not scratch or warp over time, a dust cover to protect the magnifying glass and provide more light when closed, strong and easily adjustable arms and a clamp that allows for super-stable mounting but takes up virtually no desk space, the Brightech LightView Pro is a smartly designed and well built product, and my choice for the best inexpensive magnifying desk lamp for artists in 2021.

Best Value Overall in an Artist Lamp

Daylight Clamp on Adjustable Desk LED Lamp

Daylight Slim line with superb additional features - Aluminum shade with full-length diffuser - Better spread and diffusion of light - 4 brightness levels - Flexible joints for perfect positioning


At a Glance:

  • Style: Clamp-On
  • Lumens: 1065 — 4 Level Adjustable
  • Color Temperature: 6000 Kelvin
  • CRI: 80

Ok, calling a lamp that’s around 120 dollars “best value” may seem strange, but not if you have experienced the Daylight desk lamp, with its amazingly natural, clear and stable light, not to mention its superb fit and finish and overall quality. 

But just considering the quality of illumination, I can easily rate this as not just the best value in a desk lamp for artists, but one of the best lamps for artists overall. The light that comes from the Daylight is just delightful. It shouldn’t, based on specs, seem any different than other lamps, but it has a soft yet vividly bright quality that I just love. 

The overall design is simple, elegant and effective. There are four brightness levels, though no temperature settings — the light is an ideally cool and natural 6000 Kelvin — and basic, highly stable adjustability of position, and this is one of the nicest looking and most premium feeling products I’ve come across. But really the Daylight U35108 is all about the beautiful, natural and accurate quality of the light, and for working on art I can think of very few desk lights I would rather have.

Best Super Bright Art Lamp

Neatfi XL 2,200 Lumens LED Art Lamp

With Clamp, 24W, 117 Pcs SMD LED, 23 Inches Ultra Wide Lamp, 4 Level Brightness Dimmable, Eye-Caring LED Lamp, Glare Free, Adjustable Arm Utility Clamp


At a Glance:

  • Style: Clamp-On
  • Lumens: 2200 — 4 Level Adjustable
  • Color Temperature: 5600-6000
  • CRI: 80

Sometimes you just want or need the brightest light possible, for extreme detail work, extra precision and control, very large work areas, poor eyesight or just sheer impact, and the Neatfi XL has that and more — with 2,200 Lumens of illumination in an excellent package overall.

A beautiful lamp, available in four colors (I love the pink, but for non-distraction when I’m working with colors I would probably settle for boring old white or black), the Neatfi XL is also a beautifully made product, with everything — stability, physical adjustability, brightness control and overall operation — working perfectly, and with soft, even, flicker-free and very bright light that renders colors accurately and reveals details perfectly.

For a very large work area or a small desk, if you want the brightest light possible, in a lamp that is just ideal for artists and offers the best possible design, material and construction quality and overall value, the Neatfi XL is the perfect choice.

Best Magnifying Art Lamp

Black & Decker PureOptics Summit Zoom Magnifying Desk Lamp

Zoom Magnifier 10W Flicker-Free Natural Daylight LED Desk Lamp, 5-Diopter Lens, USB Port, 6 Dimming Levels (416 Lumens)


At a Glance:

  • Style: Desktop Base
  • Lumens: 416
  • Color Temperature: 5000 Kelvin
  • CRI: 85

The Black and Decker PureOptics Summit Zoom Magnifier desk lamp may have a super-fancy name, but it is in fact a super-simple lamp, which focuses almost exclusively on the quality of optical glass in the 2.25X (5 diopter) magnifying lens and the quality of light from the PureOptics LED light bulbs. 

As far as features go, well, there’s not much… You can move the light into pretty much any position and it will stay put, you can adjust the light at six different levels, you can charge your phone, and you can take off the base and use one of three other mounting hardware kits that come with, including a very stable desk clamp. Oh, and there’s a power switch.

But the clarity is something special — whether using the ultra-sharp optical glass magnifier or not, you will instantly notice that whatever you’re looking at just seems more clear and sharp, and you can do more precise and finer detail work with greater ease and less eye strain. Rather than overwhelming you with hyper-brightness, the Black and Decker PureOptics has a moderate amount of brightness, but the overall quality of the light makes it seem like much more, and it is more than enough to use as a general desk lamp as well as a magnifier.

An exceptionally well made and high quality lamp, the (here we go again…) Black and Decker PureOptics Summit Zoom Magnifier is a wonderful tool for any artist or crafter, brilliant for small, detailed or high precision work, and the best overall magnifying desk lamp for artists on the market today.

Best Wide Angle Art Lamp

BenQ eReading LED Art Lamp

Swing Arm/Eye-Caring Table/Office Lamp/Zero Glare/Adjustable and Dimming Color Modes/for Home Office/Multiple Monitors/Workbench


At a Glance:

  • Style: Desktop Base
  • Lumens: 800-900
  • Color Temperature:  1700-5700 Kelvin
  • CRI: 95+ (!)

While the BenQ LED desk lamp is certainly good enough in every respect to earn inclusion on this list of best desk lamps for artists in 2021 — with adjustable brightness and color temperature, incredibly high CRI, super steady eye-friendly light, a very solid base and great, stable physical adjustability — it is especially notable for the wide angle illumination it provides (50 percent wider than many large area desk lamps), and as such offers really great corner-to-corner lighting for drawing tables, big sheets of paper or canvas, or any larger art or crafting projects.

It is also an extremely well made and beautiful lamp, and even includes a super-slick feature which can automatically adjust the light level as surrounding and ambient lighting levels change, which when you’re in the zone can really reduce stress.

A great product overall, and especially for larger work surfaces, the BenQ LED desk lamp is the best wide angle artist’s lamp I’ve found, and very highly recommended.

Best Art Lamp Overall

My Pick
Koncept Mosso Pro LED Art Lamp

Desk Lamp with USB Port - Different colors - 99 lumens per watt - changes light colors from warm to cool and anything in between. An intuitive built-in touchstrip allows for effortless continuous dimming.



At a Glance:

  • Style: Desktop Base
  • Lumens: 540
  • Color Temperature: 2700 – 5500 Kelvin Adjustable
  • CRI: 90

The Koncept Mosso Pro is quite possibly the best artist light I have used and, without getting into ridiculous price levels, is probably the best lamp for artists or crafters on the market today.

Based on specifications alone, the Mosso Pro may not seem that special, but when you are actually using it for artwork, seeing the colors with such vividness and accuracy, clearly noticing every single detail with absolute clarity and precision, seeing everything evenly from edge to edge, you realize that this desk lamp is at a whole different level.

With fully adjustable brightness and color temperature, a solid and stable base and easy, reliable physical adjustability, flicker-free LED lights that are easy on the eyes and even and consistent across the work surface, occupancy sensor and USB charging station, the Koncept Mosso Pro ticks all the boxes, and when you sit down and use it, even for a few minutes, you will understand why it deserves my top recommendation as the best desk lamp for artists overall in 2021. Incredibly beautiful, accurate and usable light and a wonderful product in every way!

Bonus: The Best Natural Light Bulbs

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Before we close, we still might want to consider a few basic questions about the best lighting for painting, drawing, crafting and other creative work — we may not answer them all, of course, but we can consider them…

  • What is the Best Lighting for Drawing or Painting?
  • What is the Best Lighting for an Art Studio?
  • Is LED Light Good for an Art Studio?
  • What Type of Light Bulb is Closest to Natural Light?

Many of the best desk lamps today have adjustable color temperature, and this is quite cool (see what I did there?) for various reasons — warmer light can be easier on the eyes, and can help you wind down at the end of the day, and cool light is better for making everything as bright and visible as possible, and in some ways is also “better” for your eyes in that you don’t have to strain as much to see fine or subtle details.

But honestly, for me, natural light is the way to go. Lamps that have a CRI of at least 80 (like all of the recommendations in our list of best art lamps) and the coolest, whitest light possible (ideally 6000 Kelvin, or sunlight equivalent) are all I really want, and while changing color temperature is nice, and I will use it, if I have excellent color rendering and bright white light I know I’m seeing everything perfectly and can work in confidence.

And this leads us to another possibility. If you are looking for the best possible illumination for making art, but aren’t ready or able to buy a new lamp, you might want to consider getting some natural light lightbulbs instead. These can offer very high CRI — othen 100 — as well as cool and neutral color temperature, and so provide the most accurate view of whatever they are lighting. And they can be put into your existing lamp or light fixture!

I’ll provide links here for a few natural light bulbs that I think are the best, both in normal and small socket sizes. If your existing lamp is pretty far gone anyway, remember that any of the lamps I’ve recommended above will also offer the most natural, neutral and accurate lighting possible, but if you still want to give your old lamp another go, any one of these natural, high color rendering bulbs would be a great choice.

Best Standard Size Natural Light LED Lightbulb

Sunco 8 Watt (60 Watt Equivalent) 6000 Kelvin LED Light Bulbs

 8W=60W, 6000K Daylight Deluxe, Dimmable, 800 LM, E26 Base, Refrigerator & Fan Light - UL & Energy Star


Best Standard Size Natural Light Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb

Philips Energy Saver Compact Fluorescent 6500 Kelvin Light Bulbs

Philips LED Energy Saver Compact Fluorescent T2 Twister (A21 Replacement) Household Light Bulb: 6500-Kelvin, 23-Watt (100-Watt Equivalent), E26 Medium Screw Base, Daylight Deluxe, 4-Pack


Best Standard Size Natural Light “Corn” LED Lightbulb (high output)

Yiizon 15 Watt (120 Watt Equivalent) 6000 Kelvin LED Corn Light Bulbs

E26 LED Corn Bulbs,15W LED Candelabra Light Bulbs 120 Watt Equivalent, 1500lm, Daylight White 6000K LED Chandelier Bulbs, Decorative Candle, Non-Dimmable LED Lamp(4-Pack)


Best Standard Size Natural Light “Edison” LED Lightbulb

Sunco 8.5 Watt (60 Watt Equivalent) 6000 Kelvin Edison Style LED Light Bulbs

Sunco Lighting 12 Pack ST64 LED Bulb, Dimmable, Waterproof, 8.5W=60W, 6000K Daylight Deluxe, Vintage Edison Filament Bulb, 800 LM, E26 Base, Restaurant or String Lights


Best Small Socket (E12) Natural Light LED Lightbulb

Sunco Daylight Deluxe 5 Watt (40 Watt Equivalent) 6000 Kelvin E12 LED Light Bulbs

Sunco Lighting 10 Pack G14 LED Globe, 5W=40W, Candelabra Bulb, 450 LM, 6000K Daylight Deluxe, Small Edison Screw Base E12, Frosted


I hope you’ve enjoyed this article – Finding the Best Art Light: A 2021 Buyer’s Guide for the Best Lamps and Work Lights for Artists – and I would love for you to also check out the two companion pieces, Finding the Best Art Desk and Finding the Best Art Chair. And please visit my blog – Art Side of Life – for other buyer’s guides, online courses, articles and lots of other resources.

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