The Day-Light Sky is a fantastic all-rounder and features large, UV-filtered, 55-watt fluorescent bulbs. These are designed to deliver a warm natural light at two brightness settings: high brightness for therapy sessions and soft light for everyday use. The best light therapy lamps (opens in new tab) should be solid in every area, and the Day-Light Sky is just that.
In our tests, this lamp delivered an impressive 10,000-lux reach and coverage. It also didn't get very hot and had great adjustability. You can certainly find more powerful lights at higher prices, but this is a good starter. If you find light therapy really helps improve your seasonal affective disorder, then it might be worth it to invest in a lamp with a longer lux reach and greater coverage. We'd also recommend using one of the best sunrise alarm clocks (opens in new tab) to wake you with a cheery sunrise during the darker months.
Many people use these types of lamps to help treat Seasonal Effective Disorder, in tandem with regular exercise and good sleep. To get a little more active each day, consider using one of the best fitness trackers (opens in new tab) to count your steps and minutes spent being active. For better sleep, take a look at our guides to the best mattress online (opens in new tab) and the best pillows (opens in new tab).
Day-Light Sky: Features
In addition to having a functional brightness setting and a therapy brightness setting, the Day-Light Sky's vertical and angular adjustability is unmatched. The lamp, which is on the end of an extendable arm, has two adjustable pivot points. You can move it vertically and adjust the angle of the light upward or downward to fit your situation. Many lamps can only adjust between 15 and 30 degrees, with very little flexibility to shift from upward angles to downward angles. This lamp’s adjustability and coverage area make it easy to sit comfortably while still benefiting from your light therapy sessions.
In addition, it’s easy to replace its bulbs when they burn out. The manufacturer says the bulbs are 99.3 per cent UV-free. We tested this using a UV sensitive card, which changes color when exposed to UV radiation. After an hour under the light, it didn't change color at all, but the second we took the card outside (on a rainy day), it changed color. We're confident you won’t be exposed to UV radiation.
Day-Light Sky: Performance
Lamp brightness diminishes quickly the further you get from the source. You can lean back in your chair just a few inches and receive thousands less lux of light than you were before. The Day-Light Sky's 10,000-lux reach is 12 inches. This still puts it 4 inches short of the recommended minimum distance for a comfortable session – sitting even 12 inches from a lamp feels uncomfortably close.
However, the Day-Light Sky's performance is still impressive compared to many lamps. In addition, you can still sit a comfortable distance from the lamp and benefit from light therapy without the full 10,000 lux of light – it just means your sessions may have to be longer than 20 to 30 minutes.
The Day-Light Sky’s biggest downside is its size. Not only is it large, but it is also on an adjustable arm. Because of this, it takes up a lot of space and is unwieldy to move if you want to take it from room to room. However, this is a very minor complaint, and the advantages of its size outweigh the drawbacks of using a large lamp. For example, the light’s coverage is exceptional as is its luminous intensity. As such, its light’s brightness covers more area than that of other lamps at this price point.
The Day-Light Sky has a color temperature of 4,000 Kelvin. The Center for Environmental Therapeutics, an organization of experts on environmental therapy, recommends light therapy lamps have a color temperature between 3,000 and 5,000 Kelvin because this range best replicates a blue sky. At this wavelength, the light has a warm glow that's safer on the eyes than a higher temperature, which is closer to blue light.
After 30 minutes, the lamp's surface was 122 degrees Fahrenheit – warm enough to the touch that you want to be careful handling it after a session, though not nearly as hot as other lamps. For example, the Verilux HappyLight Full-Size reaches 149.5 degrees and the Aura Daylight reaches 144 degrees. That said, when we aimed the Day-Light Sky at a wall for 30 minutes from 16 inches away, it increased the wall’s surface temperature more than other lamps did – 2 degrees. This increase is considerable and felt more intensely on the skin. So it's possible to feel uncomfortably hot after a session, but since there's no UV light the lamp won’t burn or damage your skin.
Should you buy the Day-Light Sky?
The best way to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is to expose yourself to sunlight, and the Day-Light Sky is a better substitute for natural sunlight than other light therapy lamps under $200. Its brightness, coverage, color temperature, adjustability and price make it the best light therapy lamp.