Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Daylight Smart Travel Lamp – Review


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Have you ever looked at your embroidery in the bright light of day and discovered that the last thirty minutes of stitching that you put in the night before doesn’t look quite as good as you thought it did?

This has happens to me all too frequently. Sometimes, it might be a matter of stitching when I’m tired, or when I’m just not into it and being attentive.

But sometimes, it happens because the night before, I abandoned my stitching light and sat somewhere else, making do with whatever light was on hand. It pays to stick with my good light!

When we travel, though, we don’t often have the option of our favorite stitching lamp. Mine are too big and too heavy to tote about. So I have several small lights that work well for travel. They never work quite as well as my studio lights, true. But they work well enough for the type of stitching I take with me when I go somewhere.

Today, I’m reviewing the Daylight Smart Travel Lamp for you. It definitely has pros and cons, and they’re both worth considering carefully before making the investment in the lamp.

Daylight Travel Lamp review - pros and cons

I bought this lamp earlier this summer when I went on a day trip to Hamilton, Missouri, with a couple of my sisters who do a lot of sewing. We had never been to Hamilton, and we were intrigued by the possibilities. There are, after all, twelve shops in the town that are part of Missouri Star Quilt Co, and most of those are fabric shops.

If you’re into quilting, I would imagine this town would be right up your alley. The shops, which are airy, clean, bright, and neatly laid out, carry a whole lot of quilting fabric. And they’ve gone to great lengths to make the whole shopping experience very pleasant.

In addition to fabric, though, we found a couple shops that had some great sewing notions, and in one of them, I came across this lamp. I know there are many stitchers who love Daylight brand lamps, and I figured it was worth purchasing so I could review it for you.

Besides, after driving three hours to get there, I felt compelled to purchase something!

Daylight Travel Lamp review - pros and cons

The lamp is the foldable stick type of lamp. It is composed of a main body and a snap-on base. The cable that comes with it is a USB cable. The lamp does not have a regular wall plug – just a USB plug that you’d plug into a USB charging base of some sort.

You can use the lamp while it’s plugged into a charging base, or, when charged, you can use it without the cord. The battery life of the lamp is supposedly 10 hours.

Daylight Travel Lamp review - pros and cons

The lamp unfolds to reveal the light.

The lamp, folded, is only about 10.5″ high, and about 2″ wide. It’s fairly thin when folded, thickening out towards the base. It packs into a small space quite well, which makes the size and construction really ideal for portability. It’s pretty easy to throw it in a tote.

Daylight Travel Lamp review - pros and cons

The light that the lamp gives off is good. The LEDs are daylight LEDs and the color underneath them is good for stitching.

It is not as bright as my studio lamps, by a long shot, but it is decent enough for task lighting. I wouldn’t expect too much more out of a travel lamp. I like the light it gives off on a full charge and when it’s plugged in.

Daylight Travel Lamp review - pros and cons

When the lamp is open at a 90-degree angle, so that the light is parallel to a work surface below, there height of the lamp is only 10.5″, so it’s not very far off the table, but it’s not too bad. I can stitch under it comfortably at a table, which is what I’d want from a lamp that I’d take to workshops or similar situations.

Daylight Travel Lamp review - pros and cons

You can, of course, open the lamp up further, angling the head of the lamp as far up as a straight extension from the base.

Angling the lamp head upwards allows the light the shine on a wider space, but the further away you get from a task lamp, the less effective the lighting is. That’s the whole point of a task lamp – you normally work under it.

Overall, I like the light this lamp gives off. For a travel light, it’s decent, and the daylight LEDs deliver a good interpretation of color.

Daylight Travel Lamp review - pros and cons

This is probably my biggest hang-up with the lamp.

It’s supposed to be a dimmable lamp. The on and off button is this little grey thing that feels like it should have a tactile click mechanism underneath it, for turning the light off and on and for holding the button to dim the light.

In fact, to turn the light off or on, you just tap this thing. You don’t squeeze or push it. Just a quick tap will do it. On. Off. Tap. Tap. And that part works fine, once you figure out that you’re not expected to actually push a button.

But holding the button to dim the lamp is a fruitless occupation. Occasionally, I’ve gotten one slightly dimmer movement of the light from holding that button. I have tried every approach to the button for dimming. The lamp doesn’t dim the way you would expect it to, if at all, and in that sense, marketing it as a dimmable lamp is rather inane.

As far as longevity goes, I’ve used the charged light for several hours running, without any noticeable diminishment in light.

I have not tested the 10-hour battery life over a full 10 hours, but most rechargeable lights begin to dim after the halfway point of their charge. Usually, the dimming isn’t noticeable at first, but it becomes significant towards the end of the charge. I can’t seem to get to the point where this one looks like its dimming – which is a good thing, I suppose.

If you’re looking for a workshop light, it helps to have a portable battery power bank with any rechargeable light. This one works fine while it is plugged into a battery power bank. (These are the small power banks that you’d have for charging mobile phones, that have a USB input. Check to be sure that the power bank can trickle to lower-usage electronics. Most can.)

Pros & Cons

Pros: It’s a small, nice, easily portable, lightweight lamp that gives off decent light – more light than book lights and similar options – and that delivers a good interpretation of color. It is rechargeable and lasts a decent amount of time on a full charge. It’s a comfortable light to use – my eyes seem to like it.

Cons: The on and off button is somewhat stupidly conceived, and the dimming function is nil. If you don’t care about dimming (I don’t – I always want bright light from a task lamp), then that might not be problematic for you. The lamp is relatively short – when it’s open and the light is directed downwards, it gives you only about 11″ of height from the table. This works for me. It might not work for you.

Overall, I like the light. It has some design flaws in the on / off switch (and dimming function), and for some, it may not be high enough off the table for tasking, but I do like the quality & color of the light from the lamp, and I like it’s smallness, lightness, and easily portable, cordless function – and the fact that it can be plugged into a power bank when you don’t have outlet close by for the charging base.

Where to Find It

I would imagine that the Daylight Smart Travel Lamp is available at needlework and sewing shops that carry Daylight lamps. You can always inquire at your favorite shop.

In the US, it’s also available on Amazon, and you can find it listed here on my Amazon Recommendations page under Tools & Accessories.

This article contains an affiliate link to my Amazon Recommendation Page, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small commission on purchased made through that link with no extra expense to the shopper.


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(12) Comments

  1. Is it a true “daylight” lamp though? I bought a floor standing lamp that was supposed to give me “daylight”. Originally I thought it did, but 2 or 3 months ago, when I was making a felt “painting”, I was blending different colours of fibres to get the palette I needed for the background, which was of far distant hills. I thought I had achieved exactly what I needed, till I looked at the results next morning. I had to rip out the work that I had done with those blends (which is one of the advantages of “painting” with felt) and re-do the blending sitting beside the window to get the correct colours because I found that the daylight lamp must have a blue cast.
    So now I only use the lamp for reading in the evenings, or work that is not colour critical. That’s going to curtail my “painting” hours, especially during the winter.

    1. They say it’s 6000K, so…? I don’t have a way to actually measure kelvin units myself, so I can’t double check that. It doesn’t measure up to my studio lights, that’s for sure, which are 6000K when on full, but for stitching, I did like the color profile of these particular LEDs. I somehow doubt they would measure a full 5500-6000K, but the overall color profile is not bad.

  2. I have this lamp; in fact, I have 3 of them because I also had a lot of trouble with the on-and-off switch and both the manufacturer and the Amazon vendor sent me replacements. I tried to return the faulty ones but the vendor could not get the Amazon return process to work and finally told me to keep them. So I can use them if I can get the switch to work.

    I agree with you that it is a nice travel lamp because it is small and compact and the light is quite good. But after not that many uses, the battery life dropped off considerably. The last time I used it, I got less than an hour after a charge. It works fine if you can keep it plugged in, but I feel the battery life is a problem. I was supposed to attend last year’s EGA seminar in Boston, so I had bought a portable charger to take with me so I could keep the lamp plugged in. However, the seminar got canceled because of the pandemic so I haven’t really had a chance to use them together.

    It may be that I got a faulty one, but the other two had faulty switches, so 3 out of 3 is not a good record for faults!

  3. A decade ago husband and I bought a SMALL RV to travel in. (It is a Chevy van made into an RV, so I mean REALLY SMALL.)

    Working on embroidery at night became a problem. While the lighting in it is more than adequate for most things, including reading, the small light over the seat I use was not sufficient to do embroidery. (The driver and passenger seats rotate to face the back of the RV and I am sitting in the driver’s seat.)

    We do not have room to carry extraneous things nor is there room for a standing lamp behind the seat (which in this case is the dash board and steering wheel as seat in turned 180 degrees from where it is for driving) nor is there a table or room for one for a table lamp. I bought a good clip on book light and clip it to the hoop of my embroidery and it does a wonderful lighting my sewing area.

  4. I have this lamp, too. Glad to hear I’m not the only one that has issues with the dimming function. I thought maybe mine was defective, but maybe it’s not. I’ve not been able to get anything close to 10 hours of light without charging out of mine—more like 2 or 3 hours.

    1. Yes, strangely, it says 10 hours on the box. But the website claims 7 hours. I’ve used mine longer than that – well, actually just left it on for about 3.5-4 hours, so I can’t speak for the full charge. But that’s why I have a power bank when I travel, so it’s not too much of a problem if I don’t have access to a wall outlet for the USB plug.

    1. They’re stalled at the moment. It’s been a busy summer! I hope to get back into them in the evenings soon. I’ve got loads of long strips to sew together!

  5. How do you work with variegated silk threads (Gloriana) in small cross stitch areas? The flower area does have vine lines going through it. Do I just stitch across lines This, however does leave lines of color as I work with the thread.

    1. It depends on the effect you want. If you stitch all in one direction first and then come back and cross all the stitches, you’ll end up with a more blended effect. If you stitch complete cross stitches, the color change will be more pronounced in a smaller area.

  6. Dear Mary

    Thank you for the review on the Daylight Smart Travel Lamp, it looks like a good bright lamp and a nice foldable and ready to go travel lamp. I like the bright light but unfortunately with my eyesight not so good these days, I need a magnifying lamp and really bright light. Thank you for the review and sharing with us the travel lamp and the pros and cons.

    Regards Anita Simmance

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