10 Top-Rated Light Therapy Boxes to Use While You're Stuck Inside All Day

Try one of these popular SAD lamps for quick relief from winter and work-from-home blues.

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verilux-happy-light
Photo: Amazon

Light therapy is one of the go-to treatments for seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—a type of seasonal mood disorder that leaves people feeling lonely, depressed, or isolated and typically strikes during the cold, dark winter months. Studies suggest that exposure to bright light from a special lamp or light box can help make up for the sunlight you're not getting naturally when the days are shorter or you're stuck inside.

Light therapy devices are brighter than your average lamp; they should deliver light at 10,000 lux (about 20 times greater than regular indoor lighting), according to the National Institute for Mental Health.

Not only will soaking up their artificial rays for about 20 to 60 minutes potentially help ease symptoms of SAD, but it can also create a better environment for working from home. Many homes lack the large, unobstructed windows seen in offices, but these tiny boxes will ensure your space replicates those bright, sun-drenched spaces for a less drowsy ambiance.

Considering investing in a light box? Here are 10 you can buy on Amazon that earned five-star ratings from at least half of shoppers.

Best Personalization: Verilux HappyLight Luxe

Light Therapy Lamp, Ultra-Thin UV-Free 10000 Lux Therapy Light
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 800+

Compact enough to fit comfortably on a bedside table or desk, Verilux's most luxurious device delivers 10,000 lux light through the brand's largest screen yet. Expect a totally customizable experience between three color temperatures, a programmable countdown timer, and four brightness settings, which let you personalize the treatment between a fast-acting, high-energy dosage or a less intense anti-glare setting that prevents eye fatigue. Trusted by more than 800 people, its powerful light can easily be directed using the tilted stand or mounted to the wall for a full-room glow.

What reviewers are saying: "I was skeptical, but this product actually works very well. I actually have to turn it off after 20 minutes because I get jittery with energy, much like I do with coffee. Highly recommended! It's now part of my daily routine!"

Best Adjustable: Aura Day Light LampAura Daylight

Aura Day Light Lamp
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 340+

Unlike other lamps, this UV-free pick uses a patented dial system instead of light presets. This shift lets you customize the light output between 3,500 and 10,000 lux to perfectly suit your mood. Further personalize the experience by using the adjustable tilted stand to direct the light. Another option: Tuck it away so you can mount the device on a wall instead.

What reviewers are saying: "For many years, I've used light boxes for SAD, and this is far superior to the others. It's lightweight, so easy to move; yet sturdy and not easily tipped over. I particularly like having the ability to control both the intensity and the angle of the light...I am already using it and can feel the change in my mood."

Best Compact: Verilux HappyLight Touch

Verilux Touch light box
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 1,100+

This tablet-sized light won't take up much real estate on your desk or countertop—but it's still just as powerful as the full-sized version, delivering up to 10,000 lux brightness. Choose the ideal light hue, set one of four timers for 15- to 60-minute sessions, and get an instant mood boost.

What reviewers are saying: "I have been a light therapy user for over 30 years due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I look forward to starting each fall, winter, and early spring day at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee, reading the news on my iPad, and benefitting from my Happy Light. This new Happy Light Touch model is a pleasure to use."

Best Design: Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0

circadian-optics-lumos-light-box
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 3,200+

A sleek addition to your nightstand or coffee table, this compact lamp fights winter blues with UV-free white light at up to 10,000 lux. Its flexible hinge makes angling your light source a cinch, while the thin base means you can easily set up shop anywhere. Plus, its streamlined one-touch operation and long-lasting LED bulb ensures using and maintaining your lamp is a breeze.

What reviewers are saying: "It has actually changed my life. I struggled with severe insomnia for over a year. I finally met the right doctor who suspected I was just struggling with a very delayed circadian rhythm and told me to get a light like this one. I use it for about 30 minutes right when I wake up. Within two weeks, I was off Ativan and actually getting some of the best sleep of my life."

Most Powerful: Alaska Northern Lights Northstar 10,000

Alaska Northern Lights Northstar
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 140+

It may be larger and pricier than other top-rated picks, but this device guarantees 10,000 lux at two feet away, so you don't have to sit quite so close to the box to reap its benefits. A convenient carrying handle makes it easy to transport around your home for therapy everywhere from the kitchen to the bedroom.

What reviewers are saying: "The light from this thing is crazy bright, and I mean that in the best way. When I have it turned on in my living room I can't even tell if my regular lamps are off or on. When I use it in the evening, I find myself closing the curtains because otherwise I feel like I'm performing on stage for anyone who walks or drives by my windows—it's that bright!"

Best Glare-Free: Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp

best-sun-therapy-lamps-carex
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 1,200+

Get 10,000 lux of bright white glare-free light with this powerful lamp. Its 12-inch screen is covered with a diffuser to reduce the negative impacts of eye-straining glow, while its tilting head and adjustable stand let you easily direct light where needed. Simply pick from two light settings and kickstart your session.

What reviewers are saying: "I would highly recommend this for seasonal affective disorder [or] major depression. This literally saved my life and marriage, and I'm finding life up north bearable now, versus dreading it every fall."

Best White Light: Circadian Optics Lampu Light Therapy Lamp

light-therapy-lamps-circadian-optics
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 1,100+

With its sleek, clean design, this light therapy lamp scores major style points. Also good: It delivers the pure white light you'd expect from the sun at noon on a summer day. It has three one-touch brightness levels, bulbs with a 50,000-hour lifespan, and a 3-year warranty.

What reviewers are saying: "I use it for about an hour when I first wake up. I'm not a morning person, and it markedly improves my level of alertness within minutes. I've waited a few weeks before reviewing, and I'm confident to report that it is helping some with my depression, too. Occasionally, I'll use it in the afternoon, if I get sleepy and cranky, and the result? Well, let's just say I'm more popular with my coworkers."

Best Yellow Light: Wobrikosee Light Therapy Lamp

Light Therapy Lamp, Ultra-Thin UV-Free 10000 Lux Therapy Light
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 300+

Although white light may better replicate the sun, the warm glow of yellow light can feel equally soothing for a lower dosage treatment. Luckily, this UV-free lamp gives two light temperature options in up to 10,000 lux in a lightweight frame. Get started by picking your brightness level and then select from four timers.

What reviewers are saying: "I love this light. I have seasonal depression, which has been exacerbated by a great loss this fall. This light has helped some of my fog lift. I use it for about 4 hours per day on the warm setting (not at its brightest strength)."

Best Budget: Verilux HappyLight Compact Personal

Verilux HappyLight VT10 Compact Personal
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 4,400+

Treating SAD shouldn't cost a fortune—and this compact pick is proof. It delivers the recommended amount of 10,000 lux brightness in a compact 20-inch screen for less than $40. No wonder the ultra-thin design has impressed more than 4,400 shoppers.

What reviewers are saying: "I'm sitting under this light every moment I get the chance. Sundown is no longer a trigger for sadness and despair. Come on Winter Solstice, I've got something for you. I'm also under a doctor's care for my depression but this is the best I've felt in two decades."

Best Alarm: Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light Therapy Lamp

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light Therapy Lamp
Amazon

Perfect Ratings: 1,100+

This smart lamp emits the warm glow of sunrise to help you rise naturally even in the middle of winter. And this natural wakeup call isn't the only benefit of integrating the lamp into your bedroom routine: It also offers guided breath meditation and seven sleep sounds to help you fall asleep faster.

What reviewers are saying: "This sunlight 'alarm' is the best quality of life improvement I've made in a decade. I've told my coworkers about the Somneo, I've told my hairdresser, I've raved to strangers... In fact, I'm doing so now! If you find waking to be a brutal experience, the Somneo will change your life overnight."

Updated by
Braelyn Wood
Braelyn Wood

Braelyn Wood is the e-commerce lead for all health and wellness content at Meredith. Based in New York, she covers all things product in the form of reviews, gift guides, and roundups. Prior to joining Meredith, her work was featured in Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, and Romper. When she's not testing out a new pair of sneakers or leggings, you'll find her in reading in the park, taking a cycling class, or trying a new recipe.

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