Online shoppers seem to love the Naturebright Sun Touch Plus, and part of the reason for that might be its price – at around $50, it hardly represents a major investment. But it also happens to be a very decent lamp, and certainly on a par with the cheaper models in our list of the best therapy lamps (opens in new tab).
The Sun Touch Plus is by no means perfect, though. Other lamps offer better coverage and, perhaps more importantly, there is some doubt about its safety, which we'll come to shortly.
If you're using it to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, also take a look at our best sunrise alarm clocks (opens in new tab) guide, as these specialist body clocks can also help take the edge off your symptoms. Diet, exercise and sleep will help too, so consider using a fitness tracker (opens in new tab) to motivate you to move more, and use our guide to the best mattress online (opens in new tab) and the best pillows (opens in new tab) to ensure you have the right sleep set up.
Naturebright Sun Touch Plus: Features
The Naturebright Sun Touch Plus features a 10,000-lux brightness with above-average reach, and it can provide negative ion therapy – an experimental therapeutic treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that uses high voltage to ionize air molecules.
Negative ion therapy works on the premise of positive ions in the bloodstream being responsible for some symptoms of SAD, and attempts to cancel this out by infusing the air with negative ions. It should be noted that the majority of the scientific community considers this to be pseudoscience.
The Sun Touch Plus has only one brightness setting, but it features four timers. This is a nice touch and ensures you get the exact amount of light you need without exceeding your limit. However, the lamp isn’t adjustable – you can’t even lay it on its side for broader coverage like you can with other lights that have triangular box designs.
Naturebright Sun Touch Plus: Performance
In our tests, the Sun Touch Plus delivered 10,000 lux at 7 inches. This is above average, but far below the brightness you'd want when sitting between 16 and 24 inches from the lamp. In fact, at 16 inches, the brightness measured 2,030 lux. Even at this brightness, you can receive the therapeutic benefits. It just means your therapy sessions have to last longer.
The Sun Touch Plus’s coverage doesn’t compare with the Day-Light Sky’s or the Sunbox Sunlight Jr’s. However, it is certainly decent. Light therapy lamps with good coverage allow you to sit and move around comfortably within the light field without losing the benefits of the brightness.
The biggest concern with the Sun Touch Plus’s performance is its 17,000 Kelvin color temperature. The manufacturer claims the light is designed to mimic the color temperature of a blue sky. However, the light therapy experts at CET.org warn against using blue lamps with temperatures above 5,000 Kelvin. For starters, they argue there is no evidence to suggest that blue light is beneficial or that it even mimics a blue sky, especially considering the sun has a color temperature of about 5,000 Kelvin at noon.
But most importantly, the bluer light causes extreme aversive glare and can potentially damage your retinas if you take photosensitizing medications. You can feel the glare, especially if you have sensitive eyes. It feels brighter than it is, and you can't read or see things as well under it.
For a fluorescent light therapy lamp, the Sun Touch Plus’s heat output is pretty tame. After 30 minutes, the lamp’s surface reached 125 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough you should be careful when grabbing it but far cooler than some light therapy lamps.
When aimed at a wall from 16 inches away, it raised the wall’s surface temperature by 1.45 degrees. This is enough to feel the warmth but not enough to become uncomfortably hot after 30 minutes.
The biggest safety concern is the lamp’s negative ion feature. It's unclear how it works, and the manual and manufacturer never explain it. Because it uses high voltage to supposedly create negative ions in the air, the electrical safety seems doubtful.
Should you buy the Naturebright Sun Touch Plus?
The Sun Touch Plus is among the top five brightest and best-performing light therapy lamps under $200. And since it costs less than $50, it represents excellent value. That said, there are some concerns worth weighing – for example, its very high color temperature and the potential electrical risks of the negative ion therapy.