Compared to its cheaper Compact sibling, the Verilux HappyLight Full-Size doesn't offer a high-quality performance like the best therapy lamps should, at the very least, offer high-quality performance. We found it to be below-par both in terms of its brightness and its coverage.
It does have some things going for it – not least its sleek, modern looks and its adjustability. But ultimately, this type of lamp is meant to provide light therapy, and we're not convinced that this one does, which is surprising for Verliux, which also makes some of the best sunrise alarm clocks.
Verilux HappyLight Full-Size review: Features
With its slim, modern aesthetic, we can't complain at how the HappyLight Full-Size looks. It'll fit in nicely with any contemporary home or office. Even though this is the larger of the two HappyLight lamps we tried, it measures just 12.5 inches in height and weighs in at 2lb, making it easy to shift from one place to another.
The HappyLight Full-Size's tilting design enables you to easily adjust it for comfort, and you can also tweak how much light you want thanks to the lamp's high/low intensity controls.
Verilux HappyLight Full-Size review: Performance
In our tests, the HappyLight Full-Size failed to produce impressive results. And at a color temperature of 6,500 Kelvin, the light is bluer than many of the full-spectrum lights we've tested, falling outside the range recommended by the experts at the Center for Environmental Therapeutics (CET).
In our first brightness test, we measured how bright the light was at 16 inches from the lamp – the recommended distance you should sit from the lamp for comfort. At that distance, the light was just 516 lux, which is not much different from a standard light bulb. In fact, the lamp's 10,000-lux reach was just 2.5 inches. To receive the full benefit of the 10,000-lux light, your face needs to practically touch the lamp. Obviously, this doesn't make for a very comfortable therapy session. That doesn't mean you can't receive the same benefits of the light at 16 inches, but you have to extend your sessions far beyond the recommended 20 to 30 minutes to do so.
Despite having a large surface area, the HappyLight Full-Size’s coverage wasn't great compared to other lamps’. The luminous intensity measured at only 200 CD, which means the light's intensity diffuses very quickly. This explains why the 10,000-lux reach was so short.
The short reach is a concern, especially considering this was one of the hotter lamps we've tried. After 30 minutes, the lamp’s surface was 149.3 degrees Fahrenheit. If you sit really close to the lamp, you're going to feel that heat radiating. When we aimed the light at a wall from 16 inches away, the wall’s surface temperature increased by 1.5 degrees. By comparison, the Day-Light Sky and the SunBox Sunlight Jr both increased the surface temperature more, though not by much, and they were far brighter.
Verilux light therapy lamps use bulbs that produce a full-spectrum light measured at a color temperature of 6,500 Kelvin. This gives it a very white, if not bluish, color. Unfortunately, the light therapy experts at the CET recommend that light therapy lamps don't exceed 5,000 Kelvin, as higher temperatures can cause aversive glare and potentially damage your retinas if you take photosensitizing medications.
Should you buy the Verilux HappyLight Full-Size?
For a large lamp, the Verilux HappyLight Full-Size's performance is disappointing. Its 10,000-lux reach was only a few inches from the lamp's surface, and it got hotter than we would want, too. In addition, it exceeds the color temperature recommendations for a light therapy lamp, which makes it potentially unsafe for some people. There are definitely better lamps out there for the money.