The Best Cordless Table Lamp for Making Your Dining Room or Patio Table a Whole Mood

Convenient, useful, romantic: Our favorite table lamp has it all.
Three La Luz cordless table lamps in blue orange and green.
Photo by Travis Rainey

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Cordless table lamps have become ubiquitous accessories helping to set the mood at restaurants across the country. They emerged alongside COVID-era dining sheds in major cities, but their arrival on diners’ tables seemed inevitable. Compared to candles or battery-powered tea lights, rechargeable table lamps are less fussy, and the good ones will stay lit for an entire dinner service.

And while they are an indispensable asset at this point for restaurants and bars, cordless table lamps are handy to have around the house as well. Because they aren’t attached to the wall they are easy to move around. They cultivate a romantic ambience for an evening alfresco dinner party and can add practical illumination to your existing outdoor lighting setup. Once the party is over they become desk lamps, rest on bedside tables, or even take up part-time residence in windowless powder rooms as an alternative to a harsh overhead light.

We tested nine cordless table lamps to see how well they performed as versatile home lighting options. While our priority was performance at the dinner table, we ultimately settled on a choice that can bring illumination all over the house. Check out our pick below and read on for more information on how we tested.

The best cordless table lamp overall: The Poldina Pro

Zafferano Poldina Pro Table Lamp

No cordless table lamp we tried was as feature-laden or stylistically versatile as the Poldina Pro by Zafferano. It offers control over brightness and light temperature, which makes it well-suited for people who are interested in using a lamp for different settings and lighting conditions.

The lamp mimics the shape of a classic table lamp with a lampshade, but it’s actually a modern touch-activated LED table lamp built as one single unit (i.e., the shade doesn’t come off). The design allows it to blend with most surrounding decor, looking at home in both ultra-modern and more classic settings. Unlike most of the other lamps we tested, the Poldino Pro casts light both upward and down, illuminating the food you are about to consume as well as the face of your table companions with a pleasant, diffused glow.

The touch controls aren’t complicated but take a little getting used to. To turn it on and off just tap on the small black dot on the top of the lamp. To adjust the dimmer, all you need to do is hold your finger down on the dot while the lamp is on and it will gradually start to fade. Remove your finger once it reaches your preferred brightness level. To change the color temperature of the light, you hold your finger down on the top for about four seconds while the light is off. Once the blue LED light flashes on, you tap the top dot to cycle through three color settings. You can use a very rich, warm yellow the brand calls “candle light,” a warmer white that looks like what you’d get from light bulbs labled “soft white,” and a bright white that’s more like a “daylight” light bulb. After you’ve picked your setting, hold down once more to select it. The lamp will remember that color setting every time you turn it on and off until you change it in the same way again.

The Poldina Pro offers approximately nine hours of cordless illumination, after which it will flash on and off a couple times to signal that it needs a charge. To do that, place it on the charging port, a red light will turn on at the top that will eventually switch to green once fully charged.

It really is the ideal portable table lamp. It’s versatile, dimmable, comes in a bunch of different colors, lasts an entire evening, and allows you to customize color temperature as well.

What we didn’t like about the Poldina Pro

The most obvious downside of the Poldina Pro is the price—$169 is a lot for a rechargeable LED table lamp. However, we’d say it’s worth it for the impromptu ambiance it brings anywhere you need it. And if you want to exert control over your lighting situation, nothing provides that better.

Size4.3" x 4.3" x 15"
Battery life9 hours
MaterialsLED bulb, polycarbonate diffuser, aluminum bod
Light temperaturesCandle Light 2200K, Warm White 2700K, Bright White 3000K
Weight3 lbs.

What we looked for

We passed over battery operated lamps, preferring rechargeable table lamps instead. While battery-powered options tend to be less expensive, extra costs (and waste) quickly add up once you factor in all the batteries you have to buy. Our selection of lamps was a mixture of popularly recommended best sellers, the most frequently purchased options available on Amazon, as well as a couple more designer choices we recognized from our Instagram grids. We did our best to avoid cheap, poorly made lamps, as we’d rather invest in one that will last a long time rather than something that will give out after a few uses.

The La Luz lamp, which could be a budget alternative, doesn't come with a charging dock but needs a cord plugged directly into the LED.

Photo by Travis Rainey

How we tested

We evaluated the lamps based on the controls they provided (dimming, light temperature, etc.), ease of use, how long they lasted on a single charge, and the quality of the light they cast on the table. We know that a lot of the factors that go into choosing a table lamp are subjective—they depend on personal tastes and the spaces the lamps will occupy—so we focussed primarily on more technical aspects. However, visual aesthetics did play a part in the lamps we chose to test in the first place.

Noah Kaufman
Noah Kaufman
Noah Kaufman

Our initial test involved charging the lamps completely and then leaving them on to see how long they would last. We figured that eight hours was plenty of time for a very long, languorous, summer evening dinner party—so we left them on throughout the workday to see if they’d make it to the end. If the lamp had settings (which ideally they did) we tested those to see how easy and intuitive their controls were.

Others cordless table lamps we tested

Zafferano Pina Pro

The Pina Pro has a glitzy reputation—it was the table light of outdoor dining according to the New York Times, and is still ubiquitous in restaurants around New York City. It’s small, unobtrusive LED bulb casts a broad cone of warm light that illuminates a whole table. Overall, it’s a spectacular lamp and offers the same controls as our top pick. But unlike the Poldina Pro, which shines light up at your dining companions as well as down at your food, the Pina only casts light downward. When not supplemented by additional lighting it gives the dinner table a bit of an interrogation-room vibe. Still, it’s a fantastic lamp with a sterling reputation.

Zafferano Pina Pro

Balmuda Lantern

The Balmuda lantern looks like an old-fashioned hurricane lamp and has a dimmer setting that mimics the flickering of firelight. You can hang it in a tree or you can carry it around like you’re lost in a haunted forest. The problem is this lamp had, by far, the shortest battery life. At full power it only lasted about three hours before shutting off. For the Balmuda-level price tag we hoped for more.

Balmuda The Lantern

ZTFLOS Cordless Table Lamp

This generic Amazon table lamp shows up under a variety of different brand names and came with a long run of positive reviews on the site. You can find it under the names JONEMO and NEWSEE as well. It has a nice bell-shaped shade to cover the LED light bulb and has three different color temperature settings. It lacks a dimmer, which is a big negative, and while it stayed lit more than 8 hours, many on Amazon have complained that their models have gone kaput as quickly as 10 minutes. At $20 it’s unquestionably affordable, but keep in mind those longevity issues before you checkout with it.

ZTFLOS Cordless Table Lamp

La Luz Table Lamp

The La Luz light looks a lot like the Poldina Pro. It also casts a nice light for a fraction of the cost. But you aren’t getting any control over brightness or color temperature, which is what helped make the Poldina Pro so versatile.

La Luz 13-Inch Cordless Table Lamp

HAY PC Portable Lamp

This lamp, from beloved Scandinavian home decor store HAY, is better suited for general living room ambiance than dinner table lighting. Its thick, squat shape takes up more space on a small dining table than we’d like. The charger uses a micro USB, but the cord is angled in a special way so that it can plug into the bottom while the lamp is still standing up. However, if you lose this cord or try to charge it with a conventional micro USB, you’ll have to lay the lamp on its side. Also, the dimmer is located on the bottom of the lamp, making it one of the hardest to use.

Hay PC Portable Lamp

HAY Pao Portable Lamp

This HAY lamp is even larger, making it an even tougher sell for lots of dining tables. Make no mistake though, this is an extremely cool lamp that casts plenty of light. So if you’re in the market for an attractive general-purpose lamp, this would make a good choice.

Hay Pao Portable Lamp

Cordless Mushroom Table Lamp

This lamp is exceedingly cute and a nice affordable alternative to the HAY options we tested. Even wider than the Hay PC, this may not be the best choice as a table lamp for a dining room or outdoor patio, but if you are looking for a whimsical bedside lamp or nightlight, this one is a great option.

WEILAILUX Cordless Mushroom Table Lamp

LED Table Lamp

Another top selling generic Amazon lamp, this one has three temperature settings but no dimmer. It casts a pleasantly diffuse light, but we weren’t fans of the impossible to miss power button that looked like it belonged on a 1990s Gateway computer tower.

TBBGA LED Cordless Table Lamp