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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.