Shedding Light on the Best Book Lights

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on September 8, 2008

Once upon a time, candlelight was the light to read by if you up past the hours daylight, that or a firelight. Obviously, we’ve come a long way since then, reading by a light bulb, a florescent bulb, natural light, LEDs and energy efficient everything. These days you’re told if you read by good old candlelight you’ll ruin your vision and to get yourself a reading lamp or one of those little book lights.

Who uses the book light? Travelers on trains and planes. Spouses wanting to read in bed while the significant other sleeps. Kids who are supposed to be asleep and instead are huddled under a blanket trying to get through that last chapter of Harry Potter. Campers. The list goes on.

But what light is the best light? Let’s dissect a few:

The Light Wedge– Supposedly revolutionary, LED bulbs, 4 AAA batteries (ick), comes in lots of colors. Depending on who you listen to it’s brilliant or horribly disappointing. Ranging from $15-$40, to take this device for a spin will cost you. A Harry Potter edition makes for a great gift for that kid huddled under their blanket. Unfortunately, the editions vary for paperback and hardback so you might actually be spending $30-80. And while it’s super discreet, you will have to move it each time your turn the page.

Phorm Light Voyager: Claiming to be the 10,000 hour light, the Phorm has the most unique and convenient size and shape for travel. It folds up nicely and weighs very little. Running on 4AAA batteries (ick) and a flourescent bulb, user reviews are favorable. However, your batteries on this type of bulb will only last 10-15hrs at a time. Add the battery bill to the $30 price tag, but use the A/C adapter and you’ll be able to stretch that out.

Mighty Bright: A more traditional looking book light, this one clips on with an adjustable neck that can be positioned however you need. Gone are the tiny light bulbs of yesterday and inside this are two LEDs powered by 3AAA batteries. So one less battery than the Light Wedge. This one in particular is designed to go along with Amazon’s Kindle. Well priced at $16.99 and highly recommended by users.

Multi Flex LED Light: The choice for a more cost concerned consumer would be this mini light from the Fulcrum Group. The downside being that the flexible arm loses it’s staying power as it ages and becomes less rigid. Using 3AAA batteries as well, this single LED light is best for those who have little space (think hiking) and need the lightweight, no nonsense light. This product doesn’t seem to be for the everyday user, more of a casual need. If you plan on using the light often, opt for something a bit more robust.

Itty Bitty Booklight: Probably the most well known light is the Itty Bitty offering from Zelco. The age of this brand shows in it’s many offerings, as replacement bulbs can be purchased from their first edition, which has evolved into an LED version. Reviews have been mixed, because of its size, it is more fragile than some of the other lights on the market. The clip is unique in that it’s not the alligator clip type that clips onto the back cover, but more of a paperclip style that grabs onto a few selected pages. If you decide to go with Zelco, get the $30 LED version and skip all that pesky light bulb replacement nonsense. The price is about the same and they both come with A/C adapters and battery packs.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Betsy September 15, 2008 at 4:33 pm

I own the Mighty Bright and absolutely love it. A must for any traveling bookworm.

John Lester October 24, 2010 at 7:42 pm

I really need a book light. My roommates can’t sleep if the light is on.

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