Product Name: The Verilux HappyLight 2500 Compact Energy Lamp
Original Review Date: 30 July 2016
Updated Review Date: 28 August 2018
Price Guideline: $$$
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The Verilux HappyLight 2500 Compact Energy Lamp is a no frills light, but it is at the cheaper end of the spectrum (no pun intended) and worth an investment if it is your first SAD light.
- Editor Rating 84%
Provides up to 2,500 lux of natural spectrum daylight (note 10,000 lux is the recommended light intensity level to treat SAD effectively)
Optix Lens filters and diffuses light – reducing glare
Compact, space-saving design is easy to move from room to room
Electronic ballast and Flicker Elimination Technology™ assures no-buzz operation and instant-on, flicker-free illumination
On-off power switch on cord
Energy efficient bulb uses only 26 watts to produce 150 watts of natural spectrum light
Product Dimensions: 4.8W x 2.8D x 9H inches
Product Weight: 1.3 pounds
Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
Bulb: A 26 watt GU24 bulb that is Daylight Full Spectrum
Bulb Life: 10,000 hours
Lux Strength: 2500 lux
Power: AC 120V~60Hz
30 day satisfaction guarantee
One Year Limited Warranty
In The Box
HappyLight Compact Energy Lamp (including bulb)
Verilux HappyLight 2500 Compact Energy Lamp Review
So How Does It Work?
The HappyLightCompact 2500 Energy Lamp is a pretty simple piece of kit – but that it not a bad thing.
Just place the lamp around 12 inches from your face, slightly offset from center but directed at your eyes.
Remember this is only 2,500 lux of light so less powerful than other lights. This means you need to use it for a little longer – recommended usage time is one to two hours. The lamp is something you could quite easily, and fairly un-intrusively, place on your desk at work for instance.
Some users do find that having it as close as recommend can be a bit overbearing though.
As always if it is the first time you’ve used a SAD lamp it will take time to adjust to the brightness of it. Pre-test your sensitivity to it by starting with ten minutes in front of the lamp and if you do feel any discomfort then discontinue use.
If you don’t then gradually increase the time you spend in front of the HappyLight 2500. In the same way tinker with the distance you have it away from you.
Eventually you should find a duration and distance that suits your needs.
Whilst it may not be in the same league as the Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device the HappyLight Compact Energy Lamp certain has the advantage of being compact and portable.
It is 9 inches high by 4.75 inches wide and 2.25 inches deep so doesn’t take up too much space. To give you an idea of the size, it is comparable to a large tissue box and not heavy at all (it weighs 1.3lbs).
It is very easy to unplug and move from room to room and is very unobtrusive.
It can fit on most surfaces – even a cluttered one and you could take it to work with you, although you would need to be careful and make sure you protect the bulb and case.
HappyLight is probably an apt name for this SAD light as the light it gives off is very natural, soothing and pleasant. The white plastic casing that surrounds the light softens the bulb inside and reduces the jarring nature that you can sometimes get with SAD lights, instead you get a nice clean light.
Several users have commented on how it beautifully illuminates a room due to its natural light.
A combination of the natural light and the compact design means, as mentioned previously, you could easily use this light at work. It is one of the better SAD lights for a work environment.
It is not too intrusive and the light produces more of a glow rather than a harsh shine. If having a light you could take to work with you is an important factor then the HappyLight is well worth considering.
Always an important factor – the HappyLight is very reasonably priced. Coming in at just under $60 at the time of writing, it is significantly cheaper than most SAD lights out there.
Because of the cheaper price tag lots of people use the HappyLight as a good second lamp. You could have your main lamp in the bedroom for instance and set up this light in the bathroom to use as you get ready for work or leave it at work itself.
Due to the pleasant nature of the light you could even use it in your living room as a standard lamp or reading lamp (although don’t use it too late as it may upset your circadian rhythm!).
Finally, the lamp is very easy to use, you literally plug it in and turn on using the switch on the cord and you are ready to go.
Also the company that produce this light, Verilux, is a top brand, trusted for quality and renowned for their SAD lamps, so you have brand confidence as well.
The HappyLight Compact is, to be blunt, quite basic. Essentially it is a fluorescent light bulb in a plastic box, with a diffuser that spreads and softens the light from the bulb. It does feel slightly cheap, but of course it is compared to other lights.
Along the same lines it doesn’t have any special features – no timer, no alarm, no adjustable settings or intensity levels. But again at the price you are paying you wouldn’t necessarily expect these.
The strength of the light is only 2,500 lux. Most light boxes are 10,000 lux. This means that you would need to sit with the HappyLight for at least two hours to get the same effect you do from a 10,000 lux SAD light in 30 minutes. So you do need longer exposure to the HappyLight for it to be effective.
However due to the portable nature and unobtrusiveness of the device it is something you could set up on your desk at work and quite easily sit for a couple of hours in front of.
It is also worth noting that the bulb used in the HappyLight is replaceable only by a specific bulb (the GU24). You can’t just buy a standard full-spectrum light bulb. This GU24 bulb is quite expensive, at around $15 it is about a quarter of the price of the light itself. You can buy adapters that will convert the Verilux base so you can use a standard full-spectrum light bulb though.
A very small number of users did report that the light did induce slight agitation and annoyance rather than making them feel happy! However this really was a small number in the overall scheme of things (definitely less than 5% of users).
The product has, in my opinion, a sleek eye-pleasing design. It has a clean, modern look and fits easily into a small space. The light diffuser works nicely, giving it a lovely glow when the light is turned on. It also seems quite durable. So all in all no complaints in this department.
And Does It Work?
The majority of users say it leaves them feeling happier, brighter and more energised. Some even commented on how, without realising, they had dropped their afternoon caffeine fix and their afternoon snack when using this light.
SAD charity SADA have released figures showing that light therapy is effective in up to 85% of diagnosed cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is backed up by study after study that show light therapy makes a difference to those suffering with SAD:
- University of North Carolina study
- University of British Columbia study
- Harvard Health Publication
- Overview of numerous studies
In short – the chances are it will make a difference for you!
Compact and portable design
Lovely natural and soothing light
No special features like a timer or adjustable intensity
Easy to take to work and use at your desk
Only 2,500 lux so need longer exposure
Very reasonably priced
Replacement bulbs are expensive
Makes a good second SAD lamp to use elsewhere
Plug in and go – easy to use!
Verilux brand is well respected
If you suffer from more mild SAD or want a SAD light to plonk on your desk at work, then the HappyLight Compact Energy Lamp could be perfect for you! It’s portability and pleasant soft light belies its cheaper price tag.
If your SAD symptoms are a bit more severe you might want to go for a stronger SAD light, like the Verilux Happy Light Liberty 10,000.
But if you are venturing into the world of SAD lights for the first time and looking for a reliable, well priced light, made by a respected company, to see if it has any effect on your SAD then you could do far worse than trying out the HappyLight. It is basic, but it does a good job.
- EDITOR RATING 84%
An alternative budget light with variable light intensity that is portable and provides the full 10,000 lux of light that is recommended to treat SAD effectively is the Sphere Gadgets Lightphoria, so you might want to have a look at that.
If you would like to leave your personal review or experience of this product, or if you have any questions, please do leave them below. I would love to hear your feedback!
About The Reviewer
Lead Editor, Product Tester & Writer
Steve first noticed he might be suffering from SAD in Autumn 2011. After 18 months travelling the world (and following the sun!) he returned to England in March 2011 and was plunged back into grey skies and cloud!
Find out more about the Shine A Light On SAD Review Team.