I am in the market for a very bright lamp for my knitting. My 100
incandescent isn't enough and is hot. (My hot flashes are quite enough thank
Does anyone have experience with or knowledge about so called daylight
lights: fluorescent vs. Solux (halogen) vs. Ultralux vs. LED (which is cool
and bright but not daylight type)? I am interested in the differences (real
vs. hype) before I plunk down $75-200. I have looked at some websites but
they are predominantly by the manufacturer or distributor. I don't mind
spending the money if I will notice the difference and will realize reduced
Thanks for your advise,
Bonnie in NJ
Call a good lighting showroom. There is one in Teterboro called Swift. I'm
not sure if that's near you, but ask if they have a fluorescent lamp
display. Some electrical supplies have them also. You can compare the light
given by several types of tube and place objects under the light to see what
it actually looks like
I don't know a thing about knitting but I've tried several "daylight"
type lamps for reading and the one that has worked the best for me is
the Ott Model: 25C92NKS. It is bright, not hot, adjustble so that it
doen't hit my shoulder when it's next to my reading chair. (okay so
I'm 6 foot tall) The visual claity is far better than any of the
others I've tried and at my age, not young, that is a real plus. You
might try a google search for ott light. One of the places that comes
up is a site for sewers and knitters.
My wife bought an Ott light for her knitting but found it to be pretty
useless. The light is not strong enough to really illuminate much of
the work. I can't see why they are so highly acclaimed myself. Pricey,
Try one of these first.
I have installed a lot of 5500 kelvin fluorescent lamps. They tend to look
weird in color when compared to any other light source. My ex sister in law
has daylight bulbs in the kitchen in Seattle to chase away the winter blues.
The term is used by mean whatever the advertising department wants it to
mean. There are some rather expensive types $100-200 that are nothing
special other than the marketing done by Sharper Image and like retailers
than any other fluorescent lights.
Halogen is nothing more than a type of incandescent and it will be as
hot as any other. The color of the light may be a little whiter and it may
have a better controlled light distribution, but will also likely be more of
a problem with shadows.
Same thing as the Sharper Image stuff. Nice lights, but overpriced.
LED's, are just coming onto the market and I would suggest staying away
from them unless you have a special need for one of their features of long
life, white (but an odd white) light very cool operation and ability to be
formed into ropes etc.
My suggestion is to visit a lighting store and explain what you want and
let them help you find a good fluorescent lamp in a fixture that will work
for you and the way you knit. If color is important, you should be able to
choose a bulb that will produce a good light color.
Daylight typically means daylight in the afternoon (with a blue sky)
rather than daylight in the morning when the sun is orange.
For reading and office work, I bought 35W special Compact
Flurourescents with a color temp of 5500 deg K. These cost under $10
each and produce a very bright white-blue light. For me, they are
perfect for this application. They are also good for outdoor
I wouldn't put these in the bathroom or the kitchen, however as they
are too blue and make for harsh skintones. Go lower in color
temperture for these locations (more redish - yellow light).
A few years ago I replaced about eighty 40W four foot flourescents in
our office with Phillips "daylight" bulbs from Home Cheepo. They cost
about 2-3 times as much as their "commodity" 40 watters.
Everyone here said they liked 'em immediately and "felt better" working
under them than they had under the landlord's bulbs, which we'd been
living with for several years before I relamped the whole place.
I was amazed! It was probably the best valued improvement I could have
done for employee moral short of committing hari-kari in the parking
Lots of folks report that they see better (whatever that means) under
"daylight" bulbs and lots of folks report the opposite. There's no science
that says that one color of light is better than another, so it's
subjective. Some say lighting color preference is also cultural with Asian
countries preferring daylight colors while Europe and North America prefer
warmer tones. That conclusion is based upon the numbers of fluorescent
lamps sold of various colors so at least there is some data to back it up.
There are plenty of anecdotes about people liking new lighting better than
the old when just the tubes are changed; but Google "Hawthorne Effect" to
see why that often happens.
So, bottom line, use whatever color you like and can afford.
The color temperature preference is also different for differing tasks. At
home I like a warmer tone to relax, read, etc. At work, I like the daylight
as it seems more "livelier that the cheap tubes. It supposedly has a lot to
do with moods in the winter when we are often daylight deprived and
stimulates the production of melatonin. People are less bitchy that way.
It is expensive to replace all the bulbs with daylight, but we use them in
certain places where people need extra light to work and spend a lot of
their time as opposed to general lighting in a warehouse or aisle where
people just pass through on occasion.
That sounds like a good approach. There's certainly lots yet to learn about
the light and human health subject. My sense from reading the research is
that color of the light source by itself is not very important (except
subjectively). For SAD, melatonin regulation, etc. you have to consider
light intensity, timing, duration as well as color to get it right. There's
some information at:
Halogen "daylight" lamps produce less light than same wattage of
"regular-color" halogens. Halogens improve only a little, maybe somewhat
over incandescents, and I doubt a halogen of "daylight" color will produce
a higher ratio of light to heat than "regular color" "regular
incandescents". Possibly there is improvement in heat directed your way,
since some of these halogens have reflectors of type that may have reduced
reflection of infrared.
As for LEDs - I say there is mostly hype and plenty of half-truths and a
few outright lies. There are now white LEDs somewhat more efficient than
halogens and about to maybe somewhat over twice as efficient as regular
incandescents, but they are still less efficient than fluorescents. Also
consider that $75 worth of LEDs is not going to produce nearly as much
light as a 100 watt incadescent. I have yet to hear of that much light
from $75 worth of white LEDs even at prices that a lighting device OEM
would pay for 10,000 LEDs.
As for some suggestions:
1. I would beware of fluorescent units from anyone making health claims.
My impression is that you pay for hype and likely half-truths and
2. I would beware of compact fluorescents advertised as "full spectrum".
All too often they are not what most in the industry would want to
call "full spectrum" or "broad spectrum" but something you can pay
much less for if you know what they are.
Furthermore: The "Lighting Industry" lacks an accepted definition of
"full spectrum". I have even seen some resistance to adoption of
such a thing, since a foreseeable effect would be legitimizing some
of the hucksters.
3. One thing to consider is "color temperature".
This means roughly:
2700 - roughly incandescent or orangish "warm white"
3000 - very slightly whiter, roughly "halogen" but may also be
pinkish/less-yellowish "warm white"
3500 - My words: "semi warm white", maybe like short life
incandescent/halogen photoflood lamps and projetor bulbs,
but can also be slightly more-pink/less-yellow.
Includes some Sylvania compact fluorescents labelled
4100 - The "regular cool white" color, which I consider roughly
"average sunlight". The main problem of "traditional" /
"old tech" cool white is a color rendering index of only 62.
5000 - An icy cold pure white, sometimes appears slightly bluish,
roughly the color of noontime tropical sunlight with clean
mid-5,000's to 7,000's - more bluish, generally bluish shades of
white. 6500 is a common figure here. Typical overcast sky
is about 6,000 and most black-and-white TVs are 9300.
10,000-infinity is roughly the range of "sky blue".
Please keep in mind that color temperatures around or over
4,000 easily appear "dreary gray" at lighting levels used in
most home use.
4. Most fluorescent lamps with rated color rendering index in the range
of 82-86, especially if color temperature is in the 2700-5000 range,
have their color distortions in the direction of making most colors
brighter and "more vivid" than "proper". Most other fluorescent
lamps, probably all with color rendering index 70 or less as well as
most with color rendering index in the low 90's, have their color
distortions mostly in the direction of making colors appear darker
and duller (more brownish, sometimes and/or more grayish) than
5. In general, fluorescent lamps with color rendering index higher than
86 have less light output than most with color rendering index in
the range of 53-86.
6. Despite reduced light output, a good one is Philips TL950 color.
These are available in 17 watt 2-foot and 32 watt 4-foot T8 (1 inch
in diameter). Get at electrical/lighting supply shops that sell
Philips products, and be prepared to special-order a whole box of
them. Or get from bulbs.com - also likely a minimum order of a
whole box of them - which is 25 bulbs!
These are 5000 Kelvin ones with rated color rendering index of 98.
Use these in fixtures that take T8 (32 watt or 17 watt) bulbs.
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
Dumb question - do you wear eyeglasses? Had eye exam recently? When I
need more light, it is a sign I need my glasses changed.
I have a daylight magnifier/lamp which was my mom's. She used it for
needlework. It has a heavy base and a long "arm" so the magnifier lens
can be placed in your field of vision over your work. Might not work
well with knitting, depending on how much room you need.
Have you tried adding more lamps to the room, not just the one next to
you? Ambient light around you should improve the situation.
I don't need a new prescription...and a magnifier won't solve the problem. I
don't want to turn on every light in my room either.
Thanks to all for your suggestions. I am going to go to an electrician's
store in my area today. They also sell lighting. Will see what they have to
I've been pretty happy with an UltraLux 55W floor lamp for reading.
I've only compared it to a 150W incandescent & a 27W fluorescent
Wal-Mart floor lamp; the UltraLux is much better than either of those.
The incandescent probably would have been fine, except for the heat,
if it was used with a reflector.
I'd guesstimate that the 18W/27W WalMart ("Sunter" brand) lamp is
about is about 85% as effective as the UltraLux at 20% the price.
You might want to look at
I'd be interested in hearing if you find a good solution.
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