Monitor Light Bar Vs. Desk Lamp: Which One is Better?

If you’re confused between choosing a monitor light bar or a desk lamp, then this guide is for you!

Both have their pros and cons, and choosing the right one depends on your specific needs, such as the size of your desk, the type of work you do, and what you find most comfortable for your eyes during long work sessions.

In this article, we’re going to break down the differences between monitor light bars and desk lamps to help you decide which one is better for your setup.

Quick Side-by-Side Comparison

Monitor Light Bars

  • Saves desk space
  • Wireless control
  • The premium model costs $179
  • No glare or reflections

Desk Lamps

  • Adjustable and portability
  • Different modes for different tasks
  • Wide range of options to choose from
  • Focused light wherever you need

Monitor Light Bar Vs. Desk Lamp

Space On The Desk

Let’s start our comparison with the most important factor that often people neglect, SPACE! If you’re like me having a lot of stuff on your desk, like books, papers, maybe a coffee cup, and even a plant for some good vibes, you know that space is precious.

Here’s where the choice between a monitor light bar and a desk lamp really becomes interesting.

A monitor light bar, for those who might not know, attaches directly to your monitor. It sits on the top, shining light downwards. This means it takes up zero desk space, and you can arrange your desk however you like without having to worry about making room for a lamp.

On the flip side, we’ve got the desk lamp. Desk lamps can range from small and compact to large. Depending on the style and size you go for, a lamp can take up a good chunk of your desk space. This might not bother you if you have a large desk. But for those with limited space, it can be a major inconvenience.

Winner: Monitor Light Bar

Flexibility and Adjustability

When we talk about flexibility and adjustability in terms of our workspace lighting options, there’s quite a bit to consider. Most light bars I’ve come across are kind of flexible. They can turn or swivel a bit, which is handy. But since they sit on your computer screen, you can’t move them around much. This can be annoying when you want to focus the light on a certain area and can’t because the light bar won’t bend or twist the way you need.

Now, on the other side of the coin, we have desk lamps. These usually come with an arm or neck that can be adjusted, the range of motion is far greater than for light bars.

Depending on what model you choose, you might get a lamp that can bend, twist, and turn in just about any direction. With this level of adjustability, you are able to direct the light exactly where it should be making sure that your workspace is lit perfectly.

Whether you’re reading, typing, or working, being able to position the light source at the best angle makes all the difference.

Winner: Desk Lamps

Lighting Options

Moving on to lighting options, it’s interesting to see that both have their merits depending on the models you look into.

Starting with monitor light bars, most have a variety of brightness levels and colors. That means you can select the level of dimness or brightness you desire for the light, and also whether you prefer a warm or cool light. This is perfect for individuals who prefer to have control over their lighting and customize it according to their preferences.

Now, let’s look at desk lamps. they’re not left behind in this game either. Most desk lamps have similar options for adjusting brightness and color temperature.

Plus, some desk lamps even have different light modes for stuff you do.

For example, there’s a mode for reading, one for work, and even one to help you relax. Being able to swap these settings gives you a lighting experience caters to your specific needs at any given moment.

In short, both types of light come with decent adjustability features. It really comes down to what fits best with your room, your job, and your own taste.

Winner: Tie

Aesthetics and Design

It’s quite fascinating to think about how lighting could influence the aesthetics of your workspace.

Monitor light bars, known for their sleek and modern design, take zero space on the desk. This is a huge plus for those preferring a minimalistic setup, or just have a very constricted desk. Moreover, the look of these lightbars is very tech-forward, nicely integrated on top of your monitor. Ultimately giving your setup a futuristic look!

On the other side, we have desk lamps. Although the purpose is the same, they have a completely different look. Here we have a lot of options ranging from vintage designs to classics and modern and minimalistic. Therefore, giving you the freedom to choose according to your desired workspace.

Honestly speaking, choosing between these two is more of a personal preference than a head-to-head comparison.

If you prefer a more modern look, want to save space, and only want to light the desk area up – definitely opt for a light bar. But if you prefer portability, and flexibility in lighting and want to have more options in design, go for a desk lamp.

One point I’d like to mention here is that there’s no such rule that you have to choose one. I’ve seen a lot of amazing setups where they have both, a light bar on top of the monitor and a desk lamp as well.

Winner: Tie

Glares and Reflections

Lighting is not only for aesthetic purposes. The usability factor it adds to our daily life is huge.

Specifically, when we are talking about lighting up our workspace. The most common thing people complain about is the glare and reflections they get. We use monitor light bars not only to light up our workspace area but also to reduce eyestrain. But if you don’t have the right light (depending on the brand) you might get unwanted glare.

That’s why we’ve written a guide on the best monitor light bars. Check it out!

On the contrary, desk lamps, offer more control and portability. But the main issue with desk lamps is that we are getting light from one side. Even if we adjust it according to our preferences, we may still end up with some glare and reflections on our monitor screen. It’s just impossible to set it as we would get with a light bar.

Winner: Monitor Screen Bar

Quality of Light

Now let’s talk about light quality. But how do we determine that?

Well, most people use light bars for aesthetics and to light up the workspace. But there’s more, the quality of light and its impact on our eyes.

Both options have a variety of models, from very affordable to high-end expensive models and the quality of light varies with pricing.

There’s no shortage of good desk lamps or light bars. But here’s the thing, It depends on what you are doing.

If you do lots of physical reading or writing then definitely desk lamps are much better for your eyes. It provides more concentrated light and also reduces eye strain.

But if you’re like me, sitting in front of a monitor for hours, then definitely there’s no other opinion than screen light bars.

For example, BenQ Halo, reduces the amount of damaging blue light (420-480 nm) that reaches your eyes. As we already know there’s a lot of debate on blue light, affecting the sleep cycle and leading to eye strain.

So it really depends on what you do, and which option is best suited for your work style.

Winner: Tie

Budget Considerations

Budget is a deciding factor in any purchase, and nothing is different here. For both desk lamps and light bars, there is a wide range of options with varying prices. You can find super affordable and expensive models in both options.

Speaking of monitor light bars, you can get a decent one for around $40 – $60.

For example, the Xiaomi Light Bar is a popular choice that falls into this range. I’ve been personally using this for some time now and I must say, it’s a great value for money.

Then, on the higher end, you’ve got options like the BenQ Halo (The best of the best). It costs around $179, packed with top-notch features. It is the most advanced monitor light bar currently on the market.

Now, switching gears to desk lamps. The range here is even broader.

You can start with something as inexpensive as $25, which is great if you’re on a tight budget.

But then, there are also lamps that can go up to $400 and even more! These are high-end lamps with unique features and aesthetics.

So in a nutshell, we can get the most advanced model of a light bar at just $179 while the range of desk lamps is much wider.

Winner: Monitor Light Bar

Personal Experience and Recommendation

monitor light bar

After comparing both options, I would like to share my personal experience and recommendation.

I’ve been using both desk lamps and light bars for a few years now, and I must say, both have their own pros and cons.

If you’re someone who works long hours staring at a computer screen. Then without a doubt, a monitor light bar is a must-have. It helped me reduce eye strain and improve my focus while working. Plus, the added ambient lighting also enhanced the overall look of my workspace.

However, for tasks like reading physical documents, and books, or taking notes, a desk lamp is still a better choice. Lamps provide more flexibility, portability, and adjustability compared to monitor light bars.

If you’re still confused, my recommendation would be to purchase both if your budget allows.

But if you have to choose one, then consider your primary work/task and choose accordingly.

I hope this guide cleared any confusion, and helped you make a wise decision. Thanks for reading!

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