In addition to the popular Classic and Sky models Carex offers, which we’ve tested, they also sell a lineup of SAD light therapy lamps called Theralite.
So like all the lights in our database, we tested these too!
In this article, we’ll break down the pros and cons of each as well as our thoughts on which ones we recommend.
Let’s start off with a quick table comparing all 6 of the Theralite lamps:
Lux @ 12"
Circadian Light @ 12"
As you can see, only the Aura Qi, Radiance, and Halo offer wireless phone charging, which is a nice feature that’s unique to these lamps.
The Aura Qi would be my choice here, due to the fact that it’s much more effective than the other two.
These three models also have built-in alarm clocks and screens which is another unique and interesting feature that sets them apart from other lamps out there.
Lux Measurements and Comparisons
Now, I know what you’re really here for. The unveiling of the lux!
Like all of the other lamps we’ve tested, we placed these a foot away from our spectrometer and took a reading every minute for an hour.
Below is a graph comparing the average lux we captured over the hour for each of the 6 lamps.
As you can see, the Aura and the Aura Qi are the only lamps that came close to achieving that 10,000 lux benchmark at one foot.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Aura Qi is more effective than the Aura. For that, we’re going to have to look at our measurements of circadian light.
While lux is simply a measurement of all visible light, circadian light (or CLA) specifically focuses on the wavelengths that affect your circadian rhythm – aka alert your brain that it is now daytime.
While this usually does track pretty closely to lux measurements, in the graph below you might notice something different.
*Hint – look at the Aura and Aura Qi.
While in the lux graph, the Aura Qi was the top winner, in terms of circadian light it appears that the Aura is just a teeeeensy bit better!
This means that the Aura actually has more light irradiance in the bluer wavelengths than the Aura Qi which makes it more effective at waking you up.
If you follow the red line in the graph above, you’ll see there is more of the spectrum included in the 470-485nm range than the blue line. This would account for the better circadian light output.
Now, you might be thinking – well, since the Aura has more of the blue spectrum, it will have a bluer color temperature right?
Turns out, the Aura Qi is technically slightly cooler in temperature than the Aura.
From the graph, we can see most of these lamps fall around 3000K which is closest to the color temperature of morning sunlight.
All except for the glow… not sure why they decided to make it so much cooler but there ya have it.
Color Rendering Index
SAD therapy lamps don’t really need to have a great color rendering index but it can be nice if you have things you want to work on while using the light.
The color rendering index gives us a gauge of how the light interacts with colors and how “true to life” it makes them appear. The closer to 100, the closer to sunlight.
Unfortunately, none of these lamps have great color rendering.
The Auras are coming out on top with the Halo close behind, but 80 still isn’t what I normally would like to see in a light device.
Like I said, it’s not a make or break situation; but if you wanted to know, now ya know.
Which TheraLite Lamp is the Best?
I think you’ve been able to determine just which of these lamps became my personal favorites.
Both of these lamps were neck and neck in terms of performance. Either will be effective at helping you adjust your circadian rhythm in these dark, wintry times.
The Aura Qi obviously has a few more premium features than the Aura such as the time display as well as wireless phone charging capabilities.