Product name: Verilux HappyLight Liberty Personal 5k Natural Spectrum Energy Lamp
Original Review Date: 21 October 2016
Updated Review Date: 16 August 2018
Price Guideline: $$$
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Note: All images used in this review have been kindly provided with the permission of Verilux.
The Verilux HappyLight Liberty Personal is possibly the perfect light if you suffer from mild to moderate winter blues, but might not work if you have a serious case of SAD.
- Editor Rating 84% 84%
Small compact design
5,000 LUX of illumination (note 10,000 lux is the recommended light intensity level to treat SAD effectively)
Optix Glare-Control Lens to filter and diffuse light to reduce fatigue
Weight: 1.5 lbs.
Dimensions: 6.3″ W x 7.4″ H x 3″ D
Area that emits light: 4.5” x 4.5”
Cord Length: 72″
Bulb: Verilux 26W GU24 CFS bulb (included)
Input Power: 120 VAC, 60Hz, 0.50 A
In The Box
HappyLight Liberty 5K Energy Lamp with bulb installed
One year manufacturer’s warranty
Liberty Personal Review
So How Does It Work?
Verilux recommend that if this is the first time you have used a SAD Light that you carry out a pre-test to determine if you have sensitivity to light treatment.
You do this by turning the Verilux Happy Light Liberty 5k on and placing it about 18 inches from your face and sitting in front of it (without looking directly at it) for ten minutes and then turn it off.
If you suffer discomfort in anyway then stop using it and consult your doctor, if you don’t then gradually decrease your distance from the lamp and increase your usage time.
For optimum effect you are advised to place the light somewhere between 6 inches and 24 inches from your face and to use it for 30 minutes to one hour a day.
It uses a 26 watt natural spectrum bulb that has a lifespan of 10,000 hours. If it does blow it costs around $22 with shipping to replace it.
Ok so probably the first thing you will notice about the Verilux Happylight Liberty Personal is it is cheap. That might be what draws you towards it in the first place – the price tag.
Taking the this into account it is fairly basic and does not haven’t the same range of functionality some other SAD lights do hence why it is relatively inexpensive.
But Verilux are a reputable brand name in the world of Seasonal Affective Disorder and this product comes at a good price.
The Happylight Liberty Personal is also very small and compact, so the size is perfect for a desk and it will fit well on small tables or counter tops.
It is not too big to fit in an office, but not too small that if it is three feet or so away from you you can still feel the effects of it.
As a result it is also very lightweight, so it is small enough to put in your car and carry back and forth to work or move around your home so you can use it in any room.
The actual light itself is very pleasant – a very bright, cool colour that mimics sunlight and it has an Optix Glare Control lens which filters and diffuses the light make it easier on the eye.
It is a white, full spectrum light with almost every wavelength from 400nm to 700nm represented. As it is full spectrum this means blue light is present as well, mainly in the 430nm to 440nm wavelength.
So as alluded to above this model is pretty basic. You cannot adjust the brightness settings – it is simply either on at 5,000 lux or off completely.
There is also no timer – as tempting as it might be to sit there all day in front of the light that isn’t a good thing for melatonin production and your circadian rhythms so make sure you have a clock or your own timer nearby so you don’t overdose!
Positioning the unit can be a problem. The face of the unit is fixed – it is angled forward not upwards and unlike other SAD lights it doesn’t have a stand you can tilt to angle the light higher or lower.
Additionally as the unit is quite light in weight it moves around very easily – even the weight of its own cord can turn it around. So it can be a bit annoying when you spent time positioning the light just right and the slightest nudge or touch on the cord either pulls it over or around completely. You might need to find a way of weighing it down.
Another shortcoming of the unit is that it is only 5,000 lux – that is half the brightness recommended as being effective for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Also due to the small size of the area of light (it is about 4.5 inches square) you need the lamp to be 6 to 10 inches away to get the full 5,000 lux.
The lower lux output isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it does mean you need to spend longer in front of the light to get the same effectiveness of 10,000 lux models.
Despite the compact size of the Happylight Liberty Personal some may still find it too bulky to travel with. It is very light, but at around 7 inches high, 6 inches wide and three inches deep it is too big for a purse or briefcase.
It would fit in a backpack and would be fine to place on the seat next to you in a car, but if you are thinking about taking it to work every day and rely on public transport to get to your workplace then you might need to rethink your plans.
This Verilux is very inexpensive, but you might also want to consider that this uses a natural spectrum bulb and if it needs replacing it will cost you around $22 (including shipping), over half the cost of the unit itself.
Now the bulb is rated for 10,000 hours so hopefully you will never need one, but it is certainly worth remembering.
There are a couple of other minor quibbles with this unit – due to the bulb it uses it does emit a fair amount of heat by the time you have got through your 30 minutes to an hour of light therapy.
It isn’t excessively hot and as long as you don’t sit there with it on for hours it will be fine. Also the power cord is quite short – although you can mitigate this by using an extension lead.
It is small and it is inoffensive, there isn’t really much more to say about this unit. It isn’t going to win any design awards, but it looks fairly neat and won’t draw any disapproving stares from visitors.
And Does It Work?
Now you have to remember this only pumps out 5,000 lux of light – the recommended amount to treat SAD effectively is 10,000 lux, so it won’t have you immediately jumping through hoops, but if your condition isn’t too severe it will make a difference.
One user called it a miracle, whilst another said it had changed their life. Another said that after a few sessions they had more energy than they had ever had.
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:
In short – the chances are it will make a difference for you!
No brightness settings
Small and compact
Awkward to position
Lovely warm light
Only 5,000 lux
Actually quite bulky to travel with
Replacement bulbs quite pricey
If you are thinking about getting a SAD light but a little bit wary about it, then this is as good a place to test the water as any.
It is inexpensive and it only provides 5,000 lux so you can see if you feel any positive effects from it before deciding whether to move on to a 10,000 lux SAD light. It can also serve a purpose as a good second SAD light to leave at work or anywhere else you visit regularly.
If you have a serious case of SAD, then this might not be the SAD light for you. But if you are looking for something to augment your use of another SAD light, or just something to brighten up a winter day, perhaps take it to work for your office, then it is a very good purchase.
- EDITOR RATING 854% 854%
You won’t get many cheaper SAD Lights than this, but if you don’t necessarily needed the full 10,000 lux you could always try the Verilux Liberty 7,500 Lux Energy Lamp which is an all round better option albeit slightly more expensive.
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
Product Tester and Writer
Laura lives in the beautiful wilderness of Canada – which mean some stunning scenes from Spring to Autumn, but some very dark winters. She has suffered from SAD since her teens, but has it under control thanks to her collection of SAD Lights!