Picture Light: Review & Recommendations

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Welcome to our big picture light test 2020, where we present you all the picture lights we have tested in detail. We have put together detailed background information for you and also added a summary of the customer reviews on the net.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you to find the best picture light for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer you interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page, which you should definitely pay attention to.

The most important facts in brief

  • A picture light is a wall light or a light mounted directly on the picture, which provides perfect illumination of a picture. Thus you set accents in the room and direct the view of the viewer.
  • There are two different types of picture lights, which are classified according to the type of power supply. These include power supply via a cable and via a battery. Both types have their individual advantages and disadvantages.
  • When buying, you should pay attention to the material, the light colour and strength and other features.

Picture light test: Favorites

  • The best picture light in brass design
  • The picture light with high energy efficiency
  • The best stainless steel picture light

The best picture light in brass design

This LED wall lamp has a very noble look due to the matt brass design and is super adjustable by its flexible arm. The lamp is dimmable and is in the energy class A++.

The LED light source is included, but is not replaceable. If the lifetime (according to the manufacturer ~25000 h or 20000 switching cycles) keeps what it promises, this should not be too big a problem. It produces 380 lumens and consumes 4 watts.

The picture light with high energy efficiency

This light can provide a powerful 15 Watt. The LED lamp with switch is ideal for the bathroom or painting on the wall due to its shape and brightness. The angle is easily adjustable and the lamp is not dimmable, but splashproof.

The lamp is also made of high-quality stainless steel. The manufacturer indicates the life span with approx. 50000 h. The lamp creates 1000 lumen. To find the optimal angle that does not dazzle, you may have to try a few around.

The best stainless steel picture light

This lamp stands out by its design. It is also wireless and therefore requires 3 AA batteries (or suitable rechargeable batteries). It has an on-off switch and the light head can be rotated. 100 lumens are available here, so the lamp is for stylish lighting, but not for more intensive work where good light is needed. The lifetime is indicated with 20000 switching cycles.

Advisor: Questions you should deal with before you buy a picture light

What should I consider before buying a picture light?

The staging of works of art by light needs space. Check beforehand whether there is enough space for your ideas. You should also check if there are already power outlets or if new cables need to be laid.
You should also think about the size of the picture, the furnishings and the colour of the wall, especially if you decide to install a power supply through cables.

Where can I buy a picture light?

You can buy picture lights in various online shops in all colours, materials, types and price ranges.
During our research we mainly came across the following shops:

amazon.com
lampworld.com
furniture

Of course you can also buy picture lights in DIY stores or interior design shops. If you would like to be advised which lamp is best suited for your purposes, you should try it in a specialist shop.

Another advantage of this is that you can compare different light intensities, light colours and models on site and make up your own mind.

What does a picture light cost?

Picture lights are available in all price ranges. From the simple model for 20 euros to the extravagant eye-catcher for several hundred euros. To give you a small overview, here are the results of our research:

We could find picture lights in bar design in different materials in a price range from 15 to 950 Euro. So you can surely find much more expensive models.

In our research, the grab-farm models ranged between 20 and 850 euros. As always, there are no upper limits to the price and exclusivity in either case. In any case, you should consider customer reviews and test reports and include them in the decision-making process.

In some cases it may make sense to order several products at the same time. This way you have the chance to compare the different models yourself and find your own test winner.

Which material is available and which is suitable for me?

Basically several different types of picture lights are distinguished. In some shops, picture lights are first categorized according to their material.

Picture lights made of chrome
Gold picture lights
Brass picture lights
Plastic picture lights

As you will see, picture lights are therefore mainly made of stainless steel. However, plastic models can also be used in the interior. The various materials are not very expensive. In all categories you can find low and high priced models.

However, the material can be decisive for the design of the picture lamp. For example, if you prefer an antique look, brass could be something for you.

If you prefer it simple and modern, you should take a look at the chrome or plastic models.

If you like it more extravagant or want to illuminate a very stylish, possibly old painting, you might also think about a golden lamp.

Which light colours are available?

Basically one can distinguish between three light colours:

Warm white
Neutral white
Cold White

The colour of light is determined by the so-called colour temperature. Here we work with Kelvin as a unit.

You will rather not find colored picture lights, because they falsify the colors of the artwork instead of emphasizing them. Each colour of light has a certain effect and influences the mood in the room.

The warm white light colour has a particularly cosy and relaxing effect. Physically, the range is 2700-3300 Kelvin. The light appears yellowish to reddish and is ideal for the presentation of old paintings and other works. In current research the best colour rendering qualities are found here.

Also interesting for the presentation of your pictures is the light colour neutral white or daylight white. The physical limit for this light colour is the spectrum up to 5300 Kelvin.

This light colour is mostly used in places that require increased visual performance and concentration. Thus it is used in most cases for product presentation. This light is also wonderfully suitable for artistic installations.

The light colour cold white in the physical colour spectrum of 5000-6500 Kelvin, on the other hand, merely strains the viewer and should probably not be the first choice in the presentation of pictorial works.

Especially if you want to put a picture in scene with different shades of red, you should choose this light, because here you can distinguish especially well between red tones.

Normally this light colour is more likely to be used in areas such as warehouses or workshops because its high blue content prevents the release of melatonin and thus maintains the waking state.

Of course you can also use this light for your picture lighting, but especially in living rooms we would rather advise against it.

The combination of warm white and neutral white light colour is recommended for a particularly pleasant atmosphere in the room. By using neutral white light for accentuation, you create a pleasant atmosphere in the room and set the scene for your pictures.

What kind of illuminant is available?

In the meantime, the use of LED lights is being relied upon in almost every case. If you are interested in an energy-saving and environmentally friendly solution, you too should prefer this solution to the use of a conventional light bulb.
Especially for the gentle presentation of works of art, LED light is perfectly suited. With conventional light sources, UV light or infrared light is usually detectable, which causes fading and yellowing of artworks. Furthermore, these types of light sources give off significantly less heat to the artwork, which means that the brilliance of the image is retained for longer.
Museums and galleries are now also using LED. With regard to halogen lamps, on the other hand, it is said that they falsify rather than highlight the colours.

Did you know that museums and galleries use different lamps for different exhibits?
In museums, a lot of attention is paid to the lighting of the artwork. These should be optimally staged by the lighting. That is why many different types of luminaires are used.

Decision: What types of picture lights are there and which one is right for you?

The luminaires can be distinguished according to a great many criteria. It is then more difficult to point out clear advantages and disadvantages, which we would like to try here to help you immediately with at least one criterion.

We have therefore decided to differentiate here according to power supply. There are two types of picture lights:

  • Power supply via cable
  • Powered by a rechargeable battery

Depending on whether there is a power outlet nearby, a battery-powered light can make sense. A power supply via a cable – preferably with an integrated switch – is also a suitable option.

What distinguishes the luminaire with cable and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Logically, you can leave the lamp burning as long as necessary and you don’t have to worry about a dead battery. Charging times, replacement battery or weakening light output will not bother you.

Not to be underestimated is also the optics, the look of the overall presentation. Depending on the model, this can look very classy with a wired picture light. Here, the wall colour, the cable colour or the possibility to lay the cable perhaps completely in the wall or behind a cover play a role.

Advantages

Permanent power supply
No battery to be charged
Once installed you have an impressive setting for the presentation

Disadvantages

Small range
New cables may have to be laid
No flexibility
High power consumption if no integrated switch

This somewhat more complex installation is one of the disadvantages of a wired picture light. You are not very flexible with it. In addition, you always have to consider the length of the cable and, if necessary, take care of extension cables.

Also make sure that the lamp has a switch. Otherwise it will consume an unnecessary amount of electricity. A very long period of use naturally also reduces the life span of the light source used.

Lighting
Pendants
31/01/20

What are the characteristics of the lamp with rechargeable battery and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Quickly assembled and disassembled, this picture light is ideal for quickly changing exhibition locations. In addition, there is no (visually) disturbing cable that has to be concealed or specially laid. Also, your electricity bill cannot explode unnoticed if you forget to switch off the lamp. In the worst case, the battery is simply empty.

Advantages

Flexibility
Reduced power consumption through conscious, manual control and d
[…]

Disadvantages

Regular charging of the battery necessary
Possibly cumbersome removal of the battery
Lower light intensity with almost exhausted battery

Of course, this also has disadvantages – you have to take care of a spare battery and charging in time. Depending on the model, the battery can also be a bit awkward to install, so that changing it would be a bit laborious. If you always want to present bright light, you also need to keep an eye on the lamp to detect a weak power supply early on.

Which picture lights are still available?

A further distinction that appeals above all to aesthetes is that according to the “construction type”. In principle, you could use any kind of lamp to illuminate your pictures. However, picture lights are specifically designed to illuminate pictures with the right light intensity, light colour and from the right angle.

This special type of luminaire is usually called a display luminaire because it is part of the visualization of the artwork.

In principle, two types of construction are common:

  • The one that is reminiscent of a stick and provides the image with light at close range
  • The one that looks more like an arm and illuminates the picture from a little further away

Decisive for the selection of the type is the desired type of presentation, the style of the rest of the room and your personal preference or dislike for one of the two types.

The first, rod-like type is probably the more inconspicuous way to illuminate the image. You should place this lamp above, below or even on the side of your picture. For the perfect incidence of light, the lamp is already bent at a suitable angle. Depending on the material it can appear very elegant and simple.

You can find this type of picture lighting in many museums and galleries. So if you need some inspiration, it’s best to check them out. If you take advantage of this opportunity, pay attention to the colour of the light and the light intensity to make a good and appropriate decision later.

The second, arm-like type, on the other hand, is the somewhat more conspicuous variant. If lighting and picture are to be presented together as an effective work of art, this type of lamp could be the right one for you.

Depending on the style and material of the picture light you can create a modern or antique impression. For example, a picture light made of brass or chrome can put your pictures in scene in a stylish way.

These do not necessarily have to be works of art from past eras. Modern art can also be presented with such light pictures.

Perhaps you also prefer a break in style of picture and illuminant? Then present a modern picture with an antique looking lamp or the other way around an older work with a modern lamp in a gripper arm design.

Purchase criteria: With these factors you can compare and evaluate picture lights

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate picture lights. This will make it easier for you to decide which lamp is suitable for your purposes or not.

In summary:

  • Type of picture light
  • Material
  • Light colour and intensity
  • Andere Merkmale

In the following approaches you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Type of picture light

Depending on the room situation you have the choice between the two described typical types of the stick-like chandelier above, below or to the side of the picture or also the one with a gripper-farm like shape with flexible orientation.

In some cases, a ceiling lamp or floor lamp may also be recommended. However, the latter is not ideal for presenting your artwork.

While furniture or other furnishings tend to rely on indirect lighting, direct lighting is actually always recommended when staging pictures.

Material

You should also think about the material of the lamp. So you usually have the choice between brass, chrome, gold or plastic.

The material does not necessarily affect the light quality, but it does affect the style and design of the picture lamp.

Brass picture light

Brass picture lights are probably the classic and also the most popular material. They present the picture stylishly and are an eye-catcher themselves.

They are available in numerous designs and colours. In some cases, in the right light it can even look as if it is made of pure gold.

So if you are looking for an elegant and classic solution for picture lighting, a brass lamp is definitely the right choice for you.

Picture light made of chrome and plastic

Chrome and plastic are mainly used in modern picture lights. As a rule, they are kept simpler and are less in the eye of the beholder than a brass lamp.

If you are looking for a simple and inconspicuous picture light, which still lets your picture appear in the right light, a lamp made of chrome or plastic is definitely the right choice for you.

Gold picture light

Gold picture lighting lamps are perfect if you want to show off your artwork in style. They are rather daring, but are especially impressive for older or even antique paintings and pictures.

So if you want to put this kind of pictures in the right light or just make a statement, this kind of lamp is probably perfect for you.

Simon MundineLighting Expert, Visual Merchandise Lightning
In an art gallery, lighting plays a very important role.
Often LED lights are used. Higher-priced lights are our recommendation, because they usually show the colours of the pictures in a better light than cheaper models.
We also always recommend lights with a dimmer, as these can optimally stage the picture and can also strongly influence the mood on the picture and in the whole room. (Source: youtube.com)

Light colour and intensity

As described in the guide, you can choose from three different colours for your lighting – warm white, neutral white and cool white. It is recommended that you use warm white, neutral white or daylight white light sources.

When purchasing an LED light source, make sure that the light intensity is sufficient. The colour rendering index should also be CRI>90 for the most perfect and true-to-original reproduction possible.

Andere Merkmale

Of course you can also pay attention to the weight (especially with the battery-powered lamps) or the dimensions. There are not too big differences in the latter, especially within the lamps, which are similar to rods or arms.

The battery capacity can be an important point for you or which light source you can use. Some lights only work with one type, others may be able to work with different lamps.

Any seals or test marks strengthen confidence in the manufacturer and can make the difference for you between otherwise equivalent luminaires. An on/off switch is also useful, especially for private individuals who operate their lamps individually and do not switch off all the lights at once at the end of the day, as in a museum.

Trivia: Worth knowing facts about lights and lamps

What does LED mean and how do they work?

The abbreviation LED stands for light emitting diode. In contrast to conventional light bulbs, an LED does not first generate heat to produce light. An LED converts electricity directly into light by the migration of electrons.

Did you know that the picture light can decisively influence the perception of a picture?
Depending on the light temperature with which the picture is illuminated, the picture looks different. The type of lighting, e.g. spot or light strip, also influences the perception of an image. Especially with plastic works of art, the lighting plays a decisive role.

We have found a very good and understandable explanation of how an LED works on the Internet:

A light emitting diode consists of an anode and a cathode. A wire, the so-called bond wire, ensures the current flow between the two poles. The necessary energy for the desired electroluminescence flows over this wire. On the cathode there is a chip surrounded by a plastic lens that protects the chip and distributes the light in the room.

The chip used for light generation is inserted in a so-called reflector trough, which ensures good light yield and high efficiency. The chip is a semiconductor crystal made of two different materials, which are doped differently.

This means that there is a surplus of positive or negative charge carriers. If electricity now flows, the electrons react and energy is released in the form of photons. The LED lights up.

This is done in a particularly energy-saving manner. LEDs also have a particularly long life of 40,000 hours or even more. LED lamps can be purchased in a range of different colours. For the staging of pictorial works, however, the colour white in its various manifestations is particularly suitable.

For a better understanding of how an LED works, here is an explanatory video:

Are picture lights dimmable?

Most of the picture people are not dimmable. However, you can certainly find models with this feature. However, the light colour can be changed on some models. This can also have a significant effect on the mood in the room.

Within the spectrum of light colours, warm white light is probably most likely to be in the range of the light colour of subdued light and conjures up a dignified, relaxing atmosphere.

How do I mount a picture lamp on the wall?

As a rule, picture lights are supplied with a bracket for fixing to the wall. For this you only need a screwdriver.

It is best to hold the bracket in the desired position beforehand and mark in pencil the points on the wall that you want to use for the screws.

Before you do this, you should pre-drill the holes with a drill at exactly these points and fit dowels. This will later provide a better and more stable hold for your lamp.

Then simply take the bracket of your picture light again, hold the holes provided for the screws directly over those you have drilled into your wall yourself and fix the screw with the screwdriver in the wall.

The best way to attach the picture light is to use a spirit level to prevent the lamp from being placed at an angle and losing its charm.

How do I attach a

The other way to stage your pictures is to use lamps on the ceiling. In principle, the process is similar to the one just described.

Here, however, you should – especially if you want to connect the lamp to the power supply – switch off the power by flipping the appropriate switch in the fuse box or take care not to drill any power lines in the wall.

Even with this type of lighting, a suitable bracket should normally be supplied. If you want to have a closer look at the process, we have found a suitable video for you here:

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