OTT-LITE Vision-Saver Floor Lamp Graphite/Chrome

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This lamp made my SAD sadder. Lots of hype, waste of $

Oct 21, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:It is full spectrum lighting which is good for all

Cons:Too dim, bulb blew quickly, flickered, cheaply made

The Bottom Line: Ott is one of the better known names in full spectrum lighting but better brands have come along. Lots of hype but the lamp was a dud.


I mentioned in my review of the Ultralux 55 Watt Full Spectrum Desk Lamp that I have SAD, or “Seasonal Affective Disorder”, which is a fancy term for the winter blahs times 10. In the darker months, I get sluggish and tired, find myself with little energy, and have much less motivation than in the brighter months. It took years to conclude that I truly do have SAD and the treatment suggested to me was to go on a low dose of an anti depressant from September through May of each year. I nixed that idea because it seemed crazy to try to adjust to a chemical in my body then wean off it only to do it all again in a few months year after year.

I searched for alternatives and found that light therapy with full spectrum lighting was helping people with SAD and similar afflictions to conquer the blahs without medication. I invested in a 10,000 LUX therapeutic light box that I use daily and I replaced my household lamps with full spectrum lamps and light bulbs as my home is naturally very dim even on sunny days.

The first full spectrum floor lamp I bought was the OTT-LITE Vision-Saver Floor Lamp in Graphite/Chrome. Back then, I didn’t know too much about this type of lighting and didn’t realize that wattage or LUX as the call it with full spectrum light, was so important. Ott is a name I had heard and read about everywhere and it seemed to be THE name in full spectrum lighting so, without even looking at other lamps, I bought an Ott.

Full Spectrum Lighting?

Full spectrum lighting closely emulates sunlight without the ultra violet rays that are harmful. It is clear, bright, and distortion free. I believe every household should use full spectrum light bulbs in place of regular halogen ones year round. Full spectrum lighting is beneficial to everyone, not just those affected with SAD. However, for therapeutic benefits, a 55 watt/10,000 LUX lamp is needed. Less is fine, but you can’t truly get a therapeutic dose of the rays you need to up the serotonin in your brain and alleviate your symptoms.

Having said that, a good in home lamp would be a 27 watt one which is strong enough to read, sew, work on the computer, do crafts, whatever without being too bright. This will give you some benefits as you use it and will be comfortable on the eyes.

This OTT lamp is just 18 watts which, for most purposes, is just too dim to be practical.

The Lamp

This lamp is graphite and chrome and looks a little sharper than the original dove gray version. It still isn’t a fashion piece though. This is from Ott about this lamp: The ultimate floor lamp. Specially designed to fit perfectly over a chair, desk, sewing table or quilting frame. Flexible neck lets you focus light right on your project and will adjust from 4' to 5'. Weighted base for stability is 10.5" long. Comes with energy saving 18 watt OTT-LITE bulb, which is in a 13" long head. Approximates the light of a 130 watt incandescent bulb.

My Experience

The lamp arrived in two pieces. You just have to put them together which takes a minute and no tools. The base is quite heavy and weighted and the lamp will not tip over. You can push the base under a piece of furniture or a table to bring the actual light closer to you if you want. The cord is about six feet long and has a huge end like a block which takes up two spaces on a wall outlet which, for people with limited outlets, can be a problem.

The lamp is metal with a plastic bulb shield and plastic weighted bottom. It stands at about four feet but has a gooseneck that will stretch higher depending on your needs. It will give off light from about four to five feet from the floor. You can also swivel the head to point in your direction. It does not have a dimmer switch. It has a simple click on, click off button. That is rather unusual with these types of lamps but, I suspect, because 18 watts is already fairly dim, the company figured people wouldn’t want to dim it further. I, however, would much prefer any lamp to have a dimmer switch for versatility.

The problem with this lamp is that it’s too dim for many projects. At only an equivalent of 130 watts of “regular” light, it isn’t enough to comfortably read or do other work that requires ample lighting. The bulb is a straight and tubular like a mini fluorescent one. This means it doesn’t spread light but rather concentrates it on one spot. I had to crane the neck down as far as possible and point it at my book or whatever for it to provide enough comfortable light.
Aside from the fact that this lamp is too dim for practical use, it’s also fairly cheaply made and flickered. My Ultralux 55 Watt Full Spectrum Desk Lamps and floor lamps never flickered once. The Ott seemed to be sputtering along.

After only three or four months of daily use at about two hours average a day, the bulb died. Replacement bulbs for the Ott brand lamps are expensive and claim to last 10,000 hours but mine lasted only a fraction of that.

Because it wasn’t a good reading lamp and didn’t really give me the light I needed, I didn’t replace the bulb. I replaced the lamp – with an Ultralux brand lamp instead and have been blissfully basking in the sunlight ever since.

Buying Info

Ott lamps can be found on a variety of lighting websites and some health related ones. Amazon.com also sells a wide range of Ott and other full spectrum lamps. Ott has many styles and wattages to choose from. This lamp was $139.99 at the time. It probably is more expensive now. I assume some brick and mortar lighting stores and health stores sell Ott lamps as well although, after my experience with this one, I never looked for the Ott brand again.

Conclusion

Ott spends a lot on advertising and you can probably find the lamps in any tabloid ad, in some mainstream magazines, on infomercials, and on the net touting themselves as the first and best full spectrum lighting company but, the fact is, they are not that well made, they are as costly as other, better brands, and they’re unreliable. I have been reading many customer reviews right on the sites that sell this lamp where people have complained of the very short lifespan of the bulb and the quality of the craftsmanship.

If you want to bring some sunlight indoors, there are several good manufacturers of full spectrum lamps of all varieties. For reading and other tasks, anything above a 27 watt lamp will suit you fine. For a therapeutic lamp, go with a 55 watt and use it for 30-60 minutes on full brightness daily as you go about your work. It will make you feel amazingly better and give you energy that you thought you lost.

Ott lamps are easy to obtain but they just don’t live up to their hype even at higher wattages.

I have to give this lamp 2 stars. It wasn’t made too well, the bulb blew quickly, it was too dim for most things, and it was a waste of money for me. Also, the lack of a dimmer switch was a big negative for me.


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