The Gadgets Page

January 5, 2015

New Options for Light Therapy

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Michael Moncur @ 2:09 am

Winter means lack of sunshine, and for many, unhappiness due to seasonal depression. Fortunately there are a wide variety of light therapy devices–basically high-powered lamps. My usual recommendations are the desk lamps and floor lamps from Full Spectrum Solutions. They’re not too expensive, look great as decorative lighting, and put out a very strong 70W fluorescent light.

3 sizes of CF bulbs

More recently we discovered a new lower-cost option. Most experts recommend 50-100 watts of fluorescent light, and with the decreasing cost of Compact Fluorescent (CF) bulbs, they’ve become the least expensive way to get a bright light. If you have a light fixture or lamp that will fit one or more of these, it’s a great way to get light therapy at low cost:

  • 23 and 26-watt CFL bulbs (“100W replacement”) are available at department stores at a low price. Three or four of them are a pretty good light therapy option.
  • If you’re willing to order bulbs online, there are higher-wattage options available. For about $10 the Feit Electric 42-watt CFL is about as bright as a 200W incandescent, and we’ve found the 42W fits into many typical lamps.
  • And for a single-bulb solution, costing about $12, Amazon has a huge 85-watt CFL bulb that actually outshines the 70W light therapy lamps.

We were very impressed by the 85W bulb, which fits into a standard light socket, but there are two issues:

  • Size. It’s huge–almost comically large–and won’t fit into very many light fixtures. However, many cheap desk lamps and hanging lamps will work with it just fine. We recommend getting a bulb first and then finding a lamp that will hold the giant bulb. (Picture above shows this bulb, the 42W bulb, and a typical 13W CF bulb)
  • Brightness. This is a BRIGHT bulb, and unlike the Full Spectrum Solutions lamps linked above, it’s not dimmable. Unless you have a huge shaded lamp, you won’t want to hang it in the corner of your living room and keep it turned on. (Notice how it protrudes above the shade in our lamp.)

Despite those caveats, if you shop around for a lamp that fits, you can turn one of these into a light therapy lamp that would have cost you thousands of dollars 10 years ago for under $30. And if you do use it in your living room, it will certainly be a conversation starter!

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2017 Michael Moncur, Laura Moncur, Matthew Strebe, and The Gadgets Page