Looking for the best HappyLight? We purchased and tested all 10 models to narrow down which ones are best!

Deciding which HappyLight is right for you depends on which features are most important, is it variable color temperatures? Or maybe you want the brightest one? How about the smallest and most portable?

Comparing Verilux HappyLights

Here’s a table that will give you a quick overview of how some of the features of the HappyLight lineup compare across models:

duo floor happylight light therapy lamp
Duo Floor
duo desk happylight light therapy lamp
Duo Desk
halo happylight light therapy lamp
Halo
luxe happylight light therapy lamp
Luxe
alba happylight light therapy lamp
Alba
touch plus happylight light therapy lamp
Touch Plus
lumi plus happylight light therapy lamp
Lumi Plus
full size happylight light therapy lamp
Full-Size
lucent happylight light therapy lamp
Lucent
compact happylight light therapy lamp
Compact
Price
$$$$$
$$$$
$$$$
$$$
$$
$$
$$
$$
$$
$$
Adjustable Brightness
Brightness Settings
7
7
4
4
4
3
3
2
1
1
Adjustable Color Temperature
Lux @ 12"
11,300
4,500
4,600
4,200
3,300
4,200
3,900
4,700
4,200
1,900
Circadian Light @ 12"
18,700
6,700
6,100
5,800
4,500
5,700
5,500
6,700
5,500
2,600
Link

Now how about we compare the brightness and effectiveness of each light…

Lux and Circadian Light

Every HappyLight advertises “10,000 lux” but of course, almost any light source can achieve 10,000 lux if you get close enough to it.

You’ll likely be anywhere from 1.5 to 2 feet from a light therapy lamp during regular practical use, so this claim is a little silly.

In order to see the true lux output, we measured each of the HappyLight models at 1 foot to get an average lux output, and here are our results:

Average Lux bar graph of verilux happylights

As you can see, the only one to achieve 10,000 lux at 1 foot is the Duo Floor model which is definitely a bright lamp!

Most of the other models hover around 4000 lux while the Compact is by far the dimmest.

However, relying on lux to determine how effective a light therapy lamp is a bit outdated. We now have much better metrics to use such as circadian light.

While lux measures how “bright” a light source is, circadian light specifically measures the visible radiation that aligns your circadian rhythm.

Let’s take a look at our lights again, but this time with circadian light in mind instead of lux.

Average Circadian Light bar graph of verilux happylight light therapy lamps

For the most part, the order is the same, though we do see some lights switch around.

Most notable are the differences between the Duo Desk and Halo.

While the Duo Desk was emitting around 200 less lux, it’s now emitting over 600 more circadian light! Making it the clearly better light therapy lamp.

The reason for this usually comes down to differences in color temperature…

Color Temperature

So we also measured the color temperatures of the HappyLights over that 60-minute period and here you’ll see why the Duo Desk emits more circadian light than the halo…

verilux happylight Correlated Color Temperature

That’s because its light has more blue in it! Making it a cooler color temperature. The Halo averages 5150K while the Duo Desk is 5550K.

The oddballs out here are the two older HappyLgihts, the Compact and Full-Size. The reason for this is that they utilize fluorescent bulbs while all the rest are using newer LED technology.

spectral power distribution graph of verilux happylight compact light therapy lamp
Spectral graph of a fluorescent HappyLight
spectral power distribution graph of verilux happylight lumi plus light therapy lamp
Spectral graph of an LED HappyLight

One thing I’d like to commend Verilux on is their LED build quality. We’ve also tested the Circadian Optics light therapy lamps and their LEDs shifted far more during our 60-minute test.

For example, take a look at our graph from that test:

circadian optics Correlated Color Temperature bar graph

Quite a dramatic difference in color shift over time! This happens with lower-quality LED panels as they heat up past the point of stability.

It seems apparent to me that the Verilux LEDs are of much higher quality than Circadian Optics.

This brings me to our last metric, color rending quality.

Color Rendering

Light sources that closely mimic sunlight will have higher CRI (color rendering index) scores.

The closer to a perfect score of 100 a light source gets, the more realistic the light it emits.

Color Rendering Index bar graph of verilux happylights

If we look at our 10 HappyLights, the Duo Desk stands out quite a bit here! An impressive CRI plus the relatively high circadian light and lux make this one of my favorite light therapy lamps from Verilux.

The Duo Floor is also not too bad at the higher end of 80, while the rest are just average to subpar for LEDs and nothing to get too excited over.

Light Therapy Database Button

Which Verilux HappyLight Is Best?

Below are my favorite HappyLight models, but if you’re on the hunt for the best SAD lamps overall, be sure to check out our best SAD lamps article!

1. Duo Desk

Other than the Duo Floor which is a pretty niche light therapy lamp, and the Full-Size which is an older fluorescent model I don’t recommend buying, the Duo Desk is the brightest HappyLight Verilus makes, and its color quality is miles above the rest as well!

Compare the Duo Desk to the Halo for example and you’ll see just how much more full the spectrum is.

verilux happylight duo desk light therapy lamp spectral power distribution graph
Duo Desk spectrum
verilux happylight halo light therapy lamp spectral power distirbution graph
Halo spectrum

If you’re looking for a high-quality task light for desk work and a nice light therapy lamp, look no further!

As you can see there are also 3 separate color temperatures to choose from if you like. While the warmer you make it the less effective it will be, this lamp is plenty bright enough to wake you up no matter what temperature it’s set to, provided the brightness setting is high enough!

Duo Desk

verilux happylight duo desk light therapy lamp

Pros

  • Very high CRI LEDs make for comfortable realistic light
  • Highest output LED HappyLight behind the Duo Floor model
  • Has a USB output for charging devices

Cons

  • No timer function
  • A bit large for some desk setups

2. Luxe

The Luxe is the best classical light therapy lamp offered by Verilux. So if you’re looking for this style, get this one over the others!

The luxe shines above the others such as the Lumi Plus because it has the highest lux and circadian light output, while also having the lowest lux per square inch, making it very easy on the eyes at its brightest.

verilux happylight luxe light therapy lamp spectral power distribution graph
Spectral power distribution graph of Luxe colors

The Luxe also has a keyhole on the back that can allow it to be mounted on the wall if you’d like to free up desk space, or want to take advantage of light therapy from higher up, which is more effective.

On top that off, the Luxe has a built-in timer function, multiple color temperatures, and several brightness settings.

Luxe

verilux happylight luxe light therapy lamp

Pros

  • Lowest lux per square inch on its highest setting making it the most visibly comfortable HappyLight
  • Keyhole mounting ability for setting it above eye level
  • One of the brightest HappyLights

Cons

  • Largest of all the desk model HappyLights

3. Duo Floor

This is another one of my favorites because it’s the brightest light therapy lamp Verilux has to offer!

This obviously isn’t a good choice for your desk at work. But this lamp does wonders in the living room or dining room in the morning when you’re trying to wake up for the day.

Just make your coffee, sit down at the table, and turn this sucker on for some sunshine inside!

The Duo Floor model uses what appear to be decent-quality LEDs similar to that of Phillip’s new Ultra Definition lineup.

verilux happylight duo floor light therapy lamp spectral power distribution graph
Spectral power distribution graph of Duo Floor colors

You can see what I mean by checking out the Ultra Definition light bulbs over in our Light Bulb Database.

But this ensures that the Duo Floor emits a high CRI light that trumps most of the other HappyLights except for the Duo Desk model.

Duo Floor

verilux happylight duo floor light therapy lamp

Pros

  • Brightest and most effective HappyLight
  • Useful to light up dark rooms on gloomy mornings

Cons

  • Most expensive model at $130
  • Assembly can be challenging

How To Use a Verilux HappyLight

Let’s go over some instructions on how to get the most out of your Verilux HappyLight.

Official Directions

Verilux recommends starting out with a “pre-test”.

To perform a pre-test:

Step 1. Place the lamp about 18″ from your face and do not look directly into the light.

Step 2. Turn the lamp on for about 10 minutes and then shut it off. If this causes discomfort, consult with a doctor. If no discomfort is experienced, you can now consider increasing the duration or brightness or decreasing the distance.

Use your HappyLight during the early morning hours after waking up to align your circadian rhythm and get better sleep.

In the rare instance that you’re falling asleep too early in the evening, a light therapy lamp can be used then as well to help delay the sleep phase and help you wake up later in the morning instead.

What’s the Optimal Distance

The optimal distance for a light therapy lamp really depends on the brightness and your comfort levels.

Verilux recommends staying usually between 6 inches and 24 inches, and given the lux of their lights this sounds about right.

Where you ultimately end up using your light however will be personal preference, just get it as bright and as close to you as you comfortably can for the best effect.

How To Position a Verilux Lamp

Verilux mentions that a light therapy lamp should be slightly off-center, but still pointed at your eyes.

You should not be looking directly into the light during use.

Light therapy lamps are best placed above the focal plane as light entering the eyes from above is more effective than below.

Some Verilux lamps (such as the Luxe, Touch Plus, and Lumi Plus) have a rear keyhole slot that allows them to be mounted either on the wall or in other creative ways, so consider getting one of these if you want to try that!

How Long Should You Use It

Depending on which lamp you buy, your manual will recommend anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour of usage.

verilux timer graphic

Your brightness setting and distance to the lamp will hugely affect how long of a session is needed.

There are also independent variables such as age, eye health, and personal qualities that can determine and affect the amount of time necessary to achieve your goal.

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