this thing's incredible

This Cordless Lamp (That I Carry From Room to Room) Is the Best Thing I Bought This Year

The lamps in all their glory. Photo: Chloe Anello

If you’ve read any of our Strategist editor hauls, you’ll know that our writers and editors buy a lot of stuff, and even though we think carefully about each thing that goes into our carts, there are still standouts. To close out the year, we’ve asked our staffers to write about the best thing they bought in the past 12 months. Today, Chloe Anello on the one cordless lamp she now carries from room to room.

It takes me a month of complaining about an easy-to-solve problem (like how unorganized my spice cabinet is) before I actually get around to fixing it (by buying spice racks). The most recent example of this is when I finally decided it was time to do something about the bad lighting in my apartment, which gets great sun exposure during the day but becomes unbearably dark at night. The easy solution would be, naturally, lamps. But I only have so much space, and I would rather have bad lighting than unappealing cords running all over my apartment floor.

I thought I’d be stuck in the dark until I spoke with Felix Burrichter, founder of PIN-UP magazine, who raved about his ​​Tobias Grau Salt & Pepper lamps. “I’m obsessed with cordless lights. They’re the future,” he told me. I was intrigued, but I forgot about them until actor Alan Cumming told me about his portable lamp not long after: “We take it everywhere around the house — the deck, our kitchen, wherever. You can pick it up just like a glass.” Right after the interview, I Googled “portable lamp” because not one but two tasteful men had given it their seal of approval. As soon as I saw this Hay lamp (on sale, too), I bought it immediately: It was functional, attractive, and affordable (especially compared to those recommended by Burrichter and Cumming).

When it arrived, I immediately fell in love with the vague mushroom shape and petite size, perfect for a side table or nightstand. (It’s about the same height and weight as an empty reusable water bottle from Corkcicle or S’well.) You turn it on by lightly tapping the button on the bottom of the lamp, which first that seemed like a bizarre location for a light switch, but I came to appreciate it when I realized there’s no chance of accidentally turning it off as I carried it around.

Once on, the lamp gave off enough light for me to read a book without straining my eyes or see what I was stitching on one of my embroidery projects. I used it to check my black-haired dog for ticks after a walk through a wooded area. I talked about it nonstop, showing it off to every person who came over. My sister-in-law complimented it within just a few minutes of entering my apartment, while my mom called the lamp “very charming.” But as it started to get darker earlier, I decided I needed even more illumination, so I bought another, opting for the all-white one this time around. (Hay also offers all-black, all-green, and white-and-blue versions.)

I realize the image of me toting a mushroom-shaped lamp from room to room like a pioneer with a lantern in their wood cabin might seem ridiculous, but it makes all of the difference. And because I use the lamps so much, I do have to charge them via a USB cable maybe every two to three days for them to reach the maximum brightness; however, you can still use your lamp while it’s charging, and if you’re okay with less light, the two lower levels suck up much less battery. Plus, plugged in or not, it never gets hot.

And aside from the wonderful light, the lamp looks like an objet d’art stationed on a table when not in use. I can’t imagine buying corded lamps tethered to wherever the nearest outlet is any time soon, because now I can say with complete certainty that Felix was right: Cordless lamps are the future.

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This Cordless Lamp Is the Best Thing I Bought This Year