Monitor Light Bar Vs Desk Lamp

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Chris, Chief Editor & WFH Expert

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We all know proper lighting is essential for a home office and content creation. But what’s the best way to go about it? Monitor light bars or desk lamps?

Both have advantages and disadvantages, but which one should you choose if you want to create a professional-looking desk environment without spending too much money?

Personally, I prefer to have both a monitor light bar for fantastic desk illumination and desk lamps to set the ambiance and a vibe.

I’ll be taking a deep dive into monitor light bar vs. desk lamp so you can decide which option best suits your needs.

  • Monitor light bars provide bright, uniform, and glare-free illumination for your desk setup without causing eye strain or fatigue.
  • They are energy-efficient, require no installation, and have different adjustable light settings. Perfect for content marketers working from home.
  • Compared to traditional table lamps, monitor light bars are more expensive, and if they happen to break down, you need to exchange the entire unit.
  • Desk lamps are cheaper and adds a particular style to your desk setup.

What Is a Monitor Light Bar?

what is a monitor light bar

A monitor light bar is a type of lighting device that sits on top of your computer screen and illuminates the entire desk environment.

The screen bar provides a bright, uniform illumination source for workstations, allowing users to see their monitors clearly in any lighting condition.

Monitor lamps are designed to be energy efficient and provide a comfortable and ergonomic brightness level without causing eye fatigue.

These LED desk lamps come in different sizes and shapes, with some models featuring adjustable dimming settings, and even an ambient light sensor, so you can customize the amount of illumination provided.

They also have multiple light modes and color temperature options, so you can reduce the amount of blue light hitting your eyes.

The most common colors available are warm light (3000K), natural white light (4000K), and cool light (6000K).

Some models even feature RGB lights, allowing you to adjust the color spectrum to fit into your overall vibe, perfect for a gaming desk setup.

Monitor light bars typically require no installation; simply plug them into a USB-powered port near your computer, and it starts working immediately.

Overall, monitor light bars offer an easy way to improve your desk space’s visibility while simultaneously being space-saving.

How Does a Monitor Light Bar Work?

A screen light bar works with LED lights; you can rotate the entire bar to adjust the direction for the best lighting.

The LEDs are positioned in front of the screen and emit a soft and flicker-free glow that illuminates the area around it without causing any reflections or glare on the display itself.

This makes them ideal for those who want to work late at night or in dimly lit areas, as they won’t cause eye strain like other types of lighting might do by entirely avoiding the eyes.

Pros of Monitor Light Bars

Zero Desk Footprint

Monitor light bars don’t take up any space on your desk since they attach directly to the top of your monitor or laptop screen.

This makes them ideal for those with limited space in their work area who need to maximize it as much as possible.

Or just someone like me who loves minimalism and a clean desk to feel more productive and energized to tackle the work day.

Centered Beam Spread

Monitor light bars offer an even distribution of illumination focused toward the desk where you have and use your gear instead of being dispersed across the room as traditional light bulbs do.

This allows you to focus more easily on what’s in front of you without having bright spots all over your workspace.

You can easily find your digital notepad, see the keys on your keyboard, and reach for anything you need without blasting your room with uneven light.

Simple Cable Management

The cable from a computer monitor light bar can be tucked away neatly behind your monitor or laptop so that it won’t get tangled up with other cords and wires on your desk.

This helps keep everything organized while still providing adequate lighting for whatever task you may be working on at any given time. I’ve plugged mine into my monitor screen’s USB port.

And for the more high-end light bars, you even get a separate touch control that luxuriously rests on your desk without any cables and allows for stepless dimming.

my benq screenbar halo

Zero Screen Glare

Since these lights are attached directly on top and in front of the monitor, there is no glare bouncing off it.

Additionally, this eliminates any reflections from overhead lights, making it difficult to read text clearly or accurately see images on a computer screen.

However, some potential drawbacks should be considered before investing in one, which I didn’t think of and had to find a workaround for.

Cons of Monitor Light Bars

Webcam Placement Is Obscured

Monitor light bars make it difficult for webcams to be placed on top of your monitor, as they need to sit in the center of your screen for good balance.

This could be a problem for those who frequently use video conferencing or a monitor with a built-in webcam that pops up in the center.

A solution to this is to move your webcam to the side and use something like a camera flex arm or a tripod instead.

I actually prefer to have the webcam more in line with my eyes instead of it sitting way up there; it makes for better video calls overall.

webcam on the side of a monitor

Non-Replaceable Light Source

One of the main drawbacks of monitor light bars is that the LED lights used cannot be replaced if it stops working for whatever reason; you’ll simply have to purchase a new bar.

This won’t be an issue if you buy a quality unit like the BenQ ScreenBar Halo, but it might be the case with the cheaper alternatives, so make sure they have a warranty.

When To Use Desk Lamps

Desk lamps are a classic choice for desk lighting, and they still have many uses today.

Desk lamps provide direct light to the area you’re working in, making it easier to see what you’re doing. They can also be accent pieces that add style and personality to your desk setup.

Desk lamps come in various styles and sizes, so you can find one that fits your needs perfectly.

From traditional banker’s lamp designs with green glass shades to modern LED models with adjustable arms, there is something for everyone.

If you need more focused lighting on specific areas of your desk or workspace, consider using task lights or spotlights instead of a standard desk lamp.

Task lamps are explicitly designed to provide bright illumination in small areas. At the same time, spotlights can highlight the room’s artwork or other decorative elements.

For those who prefer natural light but don’t want too much glare from windows during work hours, daylight bulbs may be worth considering.

Daylight bulbs simulate natural sunlight without producing harsh rays, making them ideal for reading and writing tasks at home or in the office.


Is A Desk Lamp Better Than A Monitor Light?

No, a desk lamp is not necessarily better than a monitor light.

Desk lamps provide an additional lighting source that can supplement the light from your monitor.

However, depending on the type of work you are doing and the environment in which you work, a monitor light may be more suitable for providing adequate illumination.

Monitor lights often have adjustable brightness settings so they can be tailored to suit different environments.

Is A Monitor Light Bar Worth It?

Yes, a monitor light bar is definitely worth it!

It lights up an entire desk setup without a hitch, making your eyes feel fresher and more relaxed.

As a content creator, I work a lot in front of the computer and can attest to the effects in my own setup.

What’s The Point Of A Monitor Light?

The point of a monitor light is to illuminate your workspace evenly and help with eye strain in low-light environments.

It also adds ambiance to any workspace, creating a more pleasant atmosphere for work or leisure activities.

Monitor lights are adjustable in brightness and color temperature, allowing users to customize their lighting environment for optimal comfort and productivity.

Should I Put A Lamp Behind My Monitor?

You can if you want to illuminate the wall behind your screen.

There are now monitor light bars with a built-in light source in the unit, which lights up the wall behind your monitor.

It’s a neat feature that helps create a cozy atmosphere.

Final Thoughts And Recommendation

Monitor light bars are a great choice if you want an adjustable, dimmable, and focused source of light that will only take up a little space on your desk.

Desk lamps provide more flexibility in positioning and brightness levels but can be bulky and require more space.

Ultimately, both solutions have pros and cons depending on individual user requirements.

However, suppose one was forced to choose between either. I’d then recommend selecting a monitor light bar due to its low energy consumption, minimal heat output, and superior lighting adjustability.

BenQ ScreenBar Halo – Best Overall

Screenshot 2023 03 16 at 17.07.53
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Editors Rating: 5.0 /5

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