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Buyer's Guides - Save Your Eyes - Take Your Lighting to Task

Save Your Eyes - Take Your Lighting to Task Page 3

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Daniel | 0 comments

Are you having trouble sewing, reading, or typing because of inadequate and incorrect lighting? A task lamp should allow you to do intricate and detailed work with the least amount of eye strain and fatigue. Task lamps have been specially designed to direct lighting to efficiently perform task or hobbies that require more illumination than a table lamp can acheive.

Selecting the right task light for your needs requires a few simple considerations. In this guide you will learn about the different types of lamps, understanding brightness and lumens, and useful features that are distinctive to your individual needs.

Consider This When Shopping for Task Lighting

  • Design. Be sure to consider the intended use when selecting a task lamp. Will you be adjusting the lamp frequently? Also consider size. Select the proper size lamp for the job. Task lamps come in a wide variety of sizes, and the right size can make all the difference for your individual needs.
  • Brightness. Most task lamps offer clean bright light which may be directed in most any direction. LED, halogen, fluorescent (CFL), and full spectrum are popular varieties of lighting types that each have unique light characteristics.
  • Style. Who says functional can't be attractive? Task lamps come in a wide range of styles, from modern to vintage-inspired. Finding the right one for you should be fun & easy.
  • Specialty. Every task has specific and varied needs. We offer lighting solutions for just about any purpose you require. Flexibility, reach, magnification, and ease of adjustment are all important considerations to take into account.

Popular Types of Task Lights

What light type is best for tasks?

With all of the different types of task lamps available, LED, Halogen, Incandescent, Full Spectrum, CFL, it may seem confusing to select the lamp that provides the best lighting for your needs. Reading lights, desk lamps, task lighting, and craft lamps each have their special qualities.

Gone are the days of a single standard, like choosing between a 60 or 100 watt bulb and being done with it. Lighting for visual tasks is typically best served by the use of cool light rather than warm light. Cool light provides more contrast which allows you to see differences clearer in the subject of your tasks. This rules out the use of incandescent bulbs since they generally produce a warm light, which is preferred for living spaces. Most task lamps today use fluorescent bulbs since they cast a more cool tone. LEDs are gaining popularity in task lighting applications, and similar to fluorescent, cast a cooler tone which provides higher contrast.

Understanding Lumens & Brightness

A lumen is a measurement of light output from a lamp, often called a tube or a bulb. All lamps are rated in lumens. For example, a 100-watt incandescent lamp produces about 1,600 lumens. 

The distribution of light on a flat surface is called its illumination and is measured in footcandles. A footcandle of illumination is a lumen of light spread over a one square foot area.

The illumination needed varies according to the difficulty of a visual task. Ideal illumination is the minimum footcandles necessary to allow you to perform a task comfortably and efficiently without eyestrain or fatigue. According to the Illuminating Engineering Society, illumination of 30 to 50 footcandles is needed for most home and office work. Intricate and lengthy visual tasks — like sewing — require 200 to 500 footcandles.

1,000-1,400 Lumens is a commonly accepted range for most applications of task lighting. An average of 50 Lumens per square foot is a common measure.

Another lighting term you may hear is efficacy. Efficacy is the ratio of light output from a lamp to the electric power it uses and is measured in lumens per watt.

Lumen Conversion Chart

Demystifying LED Light

When comparing the raw lumen output of traditional lamps with the lumen output of many LED lamps, it may seem that LEDs deliver less light than the conventional counterparts. These comparisons, however, are inaccurate and misleading, since they fail to account for the amount of wasted light in conventional lighting. 

Therefore, lumen output is a poor measure of the suitability of a lamp for a given task. The better measure is delivered light — how much light a fixture delivers to a surface, as measured in lux (lx) or footcandles (fc). You can make comparisons between conventional and LED lighting fixtures on the basis of delivered light, as it measures how much of a light source’s raw lumen output reaches a surface or area you are lighting. 

Determining the amount of a conventional lamp’s raw lumen output reaches as area, you must discount any light lost in the fixture housing (at times over 30%), as well as the light lost as a result of shading, lensing, and filtering. Since incandescent and fluorescent lamps often emit light in many directions, you must also discount any light cast away from the target area. 

Benefits of Proper Task Lighting

Task lamps are an important tool that serve to make your work easier and more efficient. The ability to direct and focus the light is critical when it comes to detail-intensive jobs. An easily adjustable task lamp can pay dividends when it comes to time saved, decreased frustration, improved health, and overall satisfaction of whatever your task may be.

  • Improved eye focusing
  • Less Irritated, dry or watery eyes
  • Lowered eye fatigue
  • Lowered blurred or double vision 
  • Less light sensitivity
  • Less pain in the neck, shoulders, or back


Whether your task is reading, writing, sewing, art, crafts, assembly, repair, or drafting, all can benefit from the use of proper task lighting. Task lighting is not confined to a few odd office lamps. LampsUSA offers task lighting in the form of table, floor, magnifier, full spectrum, craft, and more. 

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