Best SAD Lights of 2017 (Buyer's Guide)

The best lightboxes to beat the winter blues.

Top Picks

Philips - goLITE BLU RechargableCheck Price
Nature Bright – SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy LampCheck Price
Philips – Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise SimulationCheck Price
Verilux – HappyLight Liberty 10,000 LUX Light Therapy Energy LampCheck Price
Lightphoria 10,000LUX Energy Light LampCheck Price
Northern Light – Travelite 10,000 Lux Bright Light TherapyCheck Price
Sunbox – Sunlight JrCheck Price
Caribbean Sun – 10,000 LUX Sunlight TherapyCheck Price
Northern Light – Aurora LightPad Mini – 10,000 LUXCheck Price

1. Philips – goLite Blu

This is our top pick and for those serious about dealing with SAD it should be the first thing you try.

This light has been clinically show to produce results.  It specifically produces light in the wavelengths that are known to alter and enhance your mood.  Think sunny blue skies and the effect they have and you should begin to appreciate what this light will do for you.

There are a few models for the blue light.  Make sure you get the rechargeable one that has a built in clock.  The link we provide should get you to the correct one.  The clock allows you to set a specific time for the light to go on.  This means you can set the light to go off in the morning at a particular time.  Basically, you can create your own sunrise whenever you want.  Perfect for the winter months when the sun may rise later in the day than you would like.

It doesn’t take much to have an effect.  As little as 20-30 minutes a day.

The best part: it’s portable.  You can travel with it and it runs either on the battery or plugged in!

2. Nature Bright – SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp

Our second choice is also targets the blue wavelengths of light which has been clinically show to help improve mood.  In fact, this particular device is recommended by the Columbia Department of Psychiatry and the New York State Psychiatry Institute.

Although it lacks some of the features of the goLite blue it does add negative ion therapy which the goLite lacks. That is it releases negative ions into the air to further help improve your mood.

Note that this device is rather large and needs to be plugged in.  Keep that in mind.

If you don’t need a clock and want to try out ion therapy in addition to targeted blue light this is definitely what you want to try.

3. Philips – Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation

This is the best selling wakeup light on the market period.

It doubles as booth an artificial sunrise AND an artificial sunset.  Got attention yet?  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  It also can pump out nature sounds to give you the best possible start to the day.

This thing is fantastic.  It completely replaces your alarm clock. It will display the time and even includes a built in FM radio if you’re into that.

You can control the rate the sun “rises” or “sets”.

Just a quick note to get model 3520 which allows you to tweak the color of the light in addition to the brightness.  You want your sunsets to be red/orange and your sunrises to be bright and brilliant.  The link we’ve include should get you to the correct one.

4. Verilux – HappyLight Liberty 10,000 LUX Light Therapy Energy Lamp

With our fourth pick we finally reach the full spectrum lights.  If you find that the targeted spectrum lights are not doing the trick and improving your mood then full spectrum is your next step.  Basically this device is trying to emulate full natural daylight.

The HappyLight (as the name suggests) is all about mood enhancement.  It’s small and weighs just about 2lbs but it produces over 10,000 LUX over a larger than normal surface area.

You can adjust the intensity of the light in two ways.  There is a intensity control on the front face and it comes with two lens, one for comfort and one for high energy, that can be swapped.  Which settings you use will depend on the effect you’re seeking.

Cooler still is that you can either keep this on a table (and use the tilt control to switch from tilted at you or tilted 15 degrees up to light up a room) or you can even mount it on a wall.

Give it a try.  With light therapy most people notice an effect in just a few days.

5. Lightphoria 10,000LUX Energy Light Lamp

Our fifth light is an odd ball.  No, really.

It’s neither full spectrum nor specifically targeting a specific wavelength.  It’s tries to emulate natural light using LEDs rather than fluorescent bulbs. Ahem, 72 LEDs to be exact.  And it seems to succeed at it!

It’s super portable light the Philips goLite.  It’s probably smaller than you’re currently imagining… So it’s super portable and the footprint on a table is super small.

But at the same time it’s not battery operated.  So you need an outlet nearby.

It has a timer and intensity controls so you can tune the dose of light to get exactly what you need to alleviate your symptoms.

For those of you that can’t handle the Philips goLite this might be a better choice.  Give it a test.

6. Northern Light – Travelite 10,000 Lux Bright Light Therapy

Our sixth light is a gem and often gets recommended a lot.

The first thing you’ll notice about this light is the large front face.  It’s roughly 7x13 inches in size!  Sometimes you just need more light from a larger surface.  Also at that size the whole thing should fit in a normal backpack which makes it portable enough for travel.  Although it’s called a travelite I wouldn’t necessarily travel with it.  (The bulbs can shake loose and you have reseat them.)  Note also that it’s about 3inches deep so a laptop bag might not cut it.

It emits full spectrum light so if the blue wavelength targeting lights are not doing it for you this would be a definite alternative.  It emits 10,000 LUX at up to 12 inches away.  Now one thing to note is that given the size of the face 12 inches is going to seem really close. (Try putting your face 12 inches from your computer screen to get a feeling for it.)  12 inches is typical but just be aware that it will feel weird at first.

To emit full spectrum it uses flourescent bulbs.  The bulbs used last 20k hours and but treatment only requires as little as 30min a day so they’ll last a long long time.

7. Sunbox – Sunlight Jr

Our seventh light in the round up is neat and let me tell you why.

First is the interesting shape.  The triangular prism shape means you can tuck this thing away into corners.  Want a light that will fit on a desk in the corner of a room… this will fit neatly into that corner.

Next is that light source.  It’s a full spectrum (UV filtered) light source.  But more than that, it will emit 10,000 Lux at distances up to 14” away.  I can tell you that 14” is little more comfortable than the 12” you normally get stuck with.

One thing to note is that it isn’t battery powered (should be obvious) so you’ll need an outlet nearby.  The size is similar to the travelite except in the depth of the product.  You’ll remember that the travelite was just 3 inches deep.  Given that this is in the shape of a triangular prism … yeah it’s not 3 inches deep.  It’s roughly 6x7x14 inches.

8. Caribbean Sun – 10,000 LUX Sunlight Therapy

LED light boxes are becoming more and more popular.  Why?  They’re smaller for one.  But they also last longer.  A lot longer.

The Philips goLite is LED based but targets just the blue part of the spectrum.  What options are there for people who want more of the spectrum?  Perhaps something closer to natural sunlight?  That’s where the Caribbean sun lightbox comes in.

It delivers 10,000 LUX like most of the other lightboxes but using LEDs.

The light emitting face is roughly 5x7” which is actually fairly generous and the entire device weighs less than three pounds.

It’s fantastic, it works and people swear by it.  However, before you buy realize that it isn’t battery powered, the power cord is a little short and there is no built in timer.  Small quibbles I know for such a great device.  It’s likely the best option for a white LED lightbox.

Oh and the darn thing comes with a 10 year warranty.  Amazing.

9. Northern Light – Aurora LightPad Mini – 10,000 LUX

A second, some would argue better, option than the caribbean sun light box is the Aurora Lightpad mini.

The biggest draw for this lightbox is that like the caribbean sun box it’s broad spectrum so it more closely matches actual sunlight.

Another huge advantage is that it’s insanely bright.  In fact, it’s the brightest LED light therapy light out there.  It will deliver 10,000 lux at 25” inches away.  Most lightboxes you need to be between 10-14” away to get that light level.  The 180 white LEDs pack a huge punch.

Put your face 14” inches from a wall and 25” inches away to get a feel for what a difference those extra inches will make.

The Aurora designers seem to have learned a bit from the Caribbean folk by including a cord that is longer.

Two things to note about this device.  It gets warm and won’t be cool to the touch while operating.  It also isn’t battery operated.  Neither of these issues are deal breakers because of how well this thing works.

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