One of the questions I often see being asked is whether a small light will be good enough. All I can say is, when it comes to buying a light size really does matter!
Daylight or SAD lamps are becoming very common and the prices are coming down but, even though they used to be in the hundreds of pounds and they are now nearer £70, people still want to save where they can and are drawn to the much cheaper versions.
Of course they are still advertised at 10k lux so they should be just as good, no?
No, sadly that is not the case. Not all 10k lux lights are equal.
The problem is that 10k lux as a measurement is not enough to gauge whether the light is good enough or not, it’s the distance that it is 10k lux from the lamp that matters.
All lamps could be bright enough right up close but the brightness drops off as you move away from the bulb. For big lights this could be a distance of 30cm making them very usable as you can put them on a table and read a book or as I do put it on the kitchen windowsill in front of the sink so I can use it while I do the dishes.
With a small light the brightness might drop off after only a few centimetres meaning you have to have your nose wedged up against it to get the most benefit or use it for a much longer period of time.
Field of effectiveness
Another problem you face is that the light is supposed to reach your eyes at an oblique angle. You are not encouraged to look directly at your light, so if it is so small you have to have it right in your face that won’t be so easy to achieve.
Also consider that if you are sat in front of a fairly large light you will be able to move your head without moving away from the light, with a small light you have much less room for movement meaning there is less you can do while using your light. If all you can do is sit there with a light on the end of your nose, are you really going to use it for 30 minutes to an hour?
If after reading this you are still tempted to buy the smaller cheaper light you might want to consider this; is it cheaper to spend £70 on a large light or £40 on a small one, find it’s no use and then £70 on the large one?
It might be that you have to save up a little longer or you will have to move something in your house so that you can accommodate the larger light, but I assure you, it really is worth it.
One fellow SADder had a really hard time in the winter and would spend hours in front of her good quality 10k lux lamp only to find it just wasn’t enough. Last winter she invested in a huge light and kissed many of her symptoms goodbye. We may not be able to afford something as extravagant as that but for a few extra £s you might find you relcaim some of your winter days.