Nightlights are versatile light fixtures that serve many functions. A subtle light source can guide people who get up during the night without disturbing their sleep partner. Nightlights can also minimize disruptions to our sleep-wake cycle, as even briefly using overhead lights can make it more difficult to fall back asleep.
Many children find nightlights to be comforting, especially if they are afraid of the dark. By reducing anxiety and improving sleep outcomes, they can also help with night terrors.
Nightlights today range from purely functional to more complex. Some offer additional features like white noise, while others have built-in motion sensors. Most are designed to be compact and portable, making them suitable for both home and travel use.
After much research and testing, our sleep experts compiled a list of the best nightlights. In addition to detailed product reviews, we’ll give an overview of the different types of nightlights and how they are most commonly used.
Top Picks Overview
Our Top Picks
Casper Glow LightBest Overall
- Light gradually dims at night to encourage sleep onset
- Optional app with Bluetooth connection
- 30-day trial and 12-month warranty
The Casper Glow Light is an intuitive device engineered to improve sleep quality. Warm light gradually dims at night to help promote sleep onset, while light slowly brightens in the morning to gently awaken sleepers. By using light to work with a person’s circadian rhythm, the model is an excellent choice for those wanting to optimize their sleep environment.
The cylinder-shaped LED nightlight features a sleek yet sturdy polycarbonate shell measuring 5.25 inches tall. With a 4-inch diameter base and 5-foot cable, the minimalist design won’t take up much space on a nightstand.
The nightlight is designed to operate using simple movements. Flipping the device turns the light on or off, while twisting adjusts the light strength. Once activated, a 45-minute drift mode gradually dims the light, though it can be paused by using buttons on the top and bottom.
If the light needs to be used during the night, gently shaking the unit produces a subtle glow to keep overstimulation at a minimum. The ambient sensor also adjusts based on room brightness, which prevents jarring light from disturbing others.
Sleep and wake-up light can be scheduled using an optional app. Multiple units can also be synced using a Bluetooth connection.
The Casper Glow Light ships free of charge in the contiguous U.S. and for a fee to Alaska and Hawaii. The nightlight includes a 30-day trial and a 12-month limited warranty.
Yogasleep Duet White Noise Machine with Night LightBest for Speaker Capabilities
- Emits gradient, soft amber light
- 30 sound options, including white, pink, and brown noise
- Wireless speakers
For those seeking a more complete sensory experience, the Yogasleep Duet combines a traditional nightlight with a white noise machine. The device produces soft amber light and 30 different sounds to help people fall asleep, and wireless speakers allow users to stream audio content from their smartphone.
At 4 inches tall by 3 inches wide, the portable Yogasleep Duet doesn’t require batteries and is powered by a USB cord. The dimmable light emits a warm glow designed to help people achieve restful sleep without interrupting their circadian rhythm.
Non-looping audio content can be set to play all night or at three scheduled time frames: 45 minutes, 90 minutes, and 8 hours. Options include white, pink, and brown noise, lullabies, and nature and fan sounds.
The Yogasleep Duet includes free ground shipping for customers in the contiguous U.S. The nightlight comes with a 101-night trial and 1-year warranty.
Vansky Motion Activated Bed LightBest Under-Bed Light
- Motion-activated light sensor
- Adjustable timer
- Affordable price-point
Designed to fit conveniently beneath a bed, the Vansky Motion Activated Bed Light emits a soft warm glow using an LED strip. The discreet placement minimizes the chances of waking a sleep partner or disrupting your own sleep cycle.
The light automatically turns on and off based on motion detected by a passive infrared sensor. The shut-off timer can be scheduled for anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. The energy-saving design comes at a very affordable price, making it a great option for those on a budget.
The LED strip is 5 feet long and is secured in place with adhesive backing. The color temperature is between 2700 and 3000 Kelvin, which results in a warm white glow. The light runs for up to 100,000 hours, and the sensor detects movement within a range of just under 12 feet.
No tools are required for installation, and the waterproof and dustproof LED strip is also suitable for other areas of a home such as closets, staircases, and kitchens.
The Vansky Motion Activated Bed Light includes an LED strip, a motion and light sensor, a 4.6-foot power adapter, and a 3.5-foot extension cable.
LumiPetBest for Young Children
- Soft washable construction
- Adjustable LED light with 9 color options
- Remote included
With its stylized animal shapes, LumiPet’s selection of nightlights are designed with babies and young kids in mind. While dimensions vary based on design, the popular owl model stands 6.1 inches tall by 5 inches wide and is made from soft yet sturdy silicone. The nightlight resists heat buildup and can be held by young children or placed on a nightstand near a crib or bed.
The LED light produces a soft adjustable glow with nine color choices. Users can also select from various light modes: dim white light, bright white light, slow flow color, or blinking color. The LumiPet is operable by remote, but it also has a manual power button.
The nightlight can be plugged into an outlet or charged in advance using a USB cable. When fully charged, the LumiPet will illuminate continuously for up to 12 hours. A timer can be set for periods of 15, 30, or 60 minutes. The silicone shell can be wiped clean or removed and sanitized in the dishwasher.
Hatch Baby RestBest Features
- 11 sounds and multiple light colors
- Programmable design
- Toddler lock option
Combining various sound and light functions, the Hatch Baby Rest is a versatile, highly customizable device. Brightness, volume, and sleep-wake schedules are all programmable using the Hatch Baby app.
This model features 11 sounds and 10 preset light colors to help lull young children to sleep. Color shades are adjustable using the app’s color wheel. A Time-to-Rise feature allows parents to slowly train kids to adapt to a wake-up schedule. Caretakers can be added to the app permissions, and the toddler lock feature is an added safeguard for curious kids.
Measuring 6.25 inches tall by 4 inches wide, the nightlight packs conveniently for travel. The cylinder shell is made from ABS plastic and easily wipes clean. The plastic also stays cool when in use. The model uses one lithium battery and communicates using a Bluetooth Low Energy connection.
LittleHippo MellaBest for Rise Training
- Alarm clock and nap timer
- Multiple light colors and brightness settings
- Also functions as a noise machine
The LittleHippo Mella is a nightlight, sound machine, and alarm clock all in one. The device is designed to assist children in sleep training by using colors and facial expressions to reinforce a sleep-wake cycle.
At a set time in the evening, the device displays a sleepy face as a cue that it’s time to go to sleep. Then 30 minutes before the programmed wake-up time, the Mella glows yellow and displays a playful expression that is intended to prepare a child for rising. The face turns green and shows a full smiling face when it’s time to get out of bed.
Made from ABS plastic and silicone, the model uses LED lighting to produce multiple colors and brightness levels. The white noise, lullaby, and ocean sounds have adjustable volume settings and are designed to promote sleep onset and duration. All settings are easily controlled at the bottom of the unit.
The LittleHippo Mella complies with a number of consumer product standards, including the FCC and CPSIA. At less than 5 inches tall and weighing just 8 ounces, the nightlight is small and travel-friendly. The model rests on feet that come in a handful of colors like blue, green, and purple. It includes a 4-foot USB cable and one lithium battery.
What Is a Nightlight?
Nightlights come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all are intended to illuminate a dark room. Some are plugged into a wall outlet, while others are placed on a table or nightstand. Certain models even project images onto a ceiling or come with a built-in white noise machine. Most are designed to increase visibility while only emitting a subtle glow.
It’s not uncommon for young children to be afraid of the dark, but nightlights in a bedroom can ease anxiety and help a child fall asleep. A dim light source can also be helpful for parents to discreetly tend to their newborn during the night.
Nightlights are often used as a safety precaution when navigating dark spaces like hallways and stairwells. They are also less stimulating than overhead lights for sleepers who wake up during the night to use the bathroom.
Due to their compact size, most nightlights are portable and can be used in hotel rooms. For a relatively small apparatus, a nightlight has far-reaching uses.
How to Find the Right Nightlight for You
Some nightlights are better suited to certain rooms and uses than others. Shoppers should note size, outlet, or battery requirements; the presence of a motion sensor; and the type of light the fixture emits. Those with children may also consider extra features like bedtime wind-down settings.
Types of Nightlights
Nightlights have become much more sophisticated over the years. What started off as simple light fixtures with manual power switches now often incorporate timers or motion sensors. The most common types of nightlights are tabletop lights, plug-in fixtures, and projectors.
|Nightlight Type||What It Is||Who It’s Good For|
|Tabletop Nightlights||This type is meant to be placed on a table or nightstand. Some look like standard lamps, while others are more stylized and sleek. Depending on the light strength, certain models also function as reading lamps. Some models use batteries, while others are plugged into an electrical outlet.||Tabletop designs are a good choice for adults or older children who like to read in bed, since they usually emit brighter light. They are widely available and have a range of price-points, so even the most budget-conscious shoppers are likely to find a suitable fit.The light output on some models might be too strong for people who require a darker sleep environment. The short cord length of some nightlights doesn’t always accommodate certain room configurations.|
|Plug-In Fixtures||This is often the type that comes to mind when a person thinks of a nightlight. As the name implies, these light fixtures illuminate when plugged into an electrical outlet. Their compact size makes them popular for use in small areas with limited surface spaces like bathrooms.Light strength varies, but most are dimmer than tabletop designs. Plug-in fixtures can be fairly energy-efficient since many use motion sensors to illuminate.||Plug-in nightlights have a discreet size that makes them suitable for any space with an outlet. Since many have motion sensors, they can be a practical visual aid in bedrooms without causing too much disturbance for sleepers. They can also be an important safety addition to dark hallways, particularly for the elderly or visually impaired.Plug-in fixtures are portable and tend to be relatively inexpensive. Not all rooms have convenient or accessible outlets, so some households might be more restricted when it comes to placement.|
|Projector Nightlights||This type of nightlight projects light or visual patterns onto a screen or wall. Many models are geared toward children and also play music in addition to displaying images and colors.||Children with nighttime anxiety may find projector nightlights comforting, especially if they offer soothing sounds. Many designs include timers, so parents can schedule the projector for set intervals.Some projectors might be too sensory immersive, which could cause children to start associating bedtime with play if the lights or sounds are too engaging.|
Nightlight Light Sources
Nightlights have different methods for illuminating, which impacts energy efficiency and the way the light is experienced. Here is a quick overview of the main types of light sources.
LED: Light-emitting diode nightlights use positive and negative currents that pass through a semiconductor to produce light. LEDs tend to be on the pricier side, but they are much more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
The average LED bulb lasts anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 hours. LEDs also generate less heat than other types of bulbs, making them a more child-friendly option. One drawback of LED lights is that they generate more blue light than incandescent bulbs, which can interfere with sleep.
Incandescent: This bulb produces light when an electric current passes through a tungsten filament encased in glass. Unlike many LED varieties, incandescent bulbs can be used with dimmers. One caveat is that they can easily overheat to the point of burning skin upon contact. They also aren’t the best choice for households concerned with energy efficiency.
Halogen: A subset of incandescent lights, these bulbs illuminate by combining halogen gas with tungsten vapor. They are moderately efficient, have a fairly long lifespan, and emit a warm glow similar to incandescent bulbs. Halogen lights generate substantial heat and can potentially burn carpets or furniture.
CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp): These tubular bulbs create ultraviolet light when an electrical current interacts with mercury vapors. Visible light is then created when the ultraviolet light strikes a fluorescent coating inside the bulb. While designs vary, they come in two basic types: screw-in or plug-in.
CFL bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent lights, and typically last between 6,000 and 8,000 hours. The bulbs can sometimes take longer to warm up and brighten, but they pose about the same overheating risk as incandescent bulbs. They contain toxic mercury, so the bulbs should be handled with extra caution.
Why Should I Use a Nightlight?
Nightlights increase visibility in dark hallways or cluttered rooms, helping to prevent stumbles and accidents. Subtle illumination can orient parents in a nursery or guide sleepers who wake up to use the bathroom. Nightlights can also have a comforting effect on children, especially if they are fearful of the dark.
Are nightlights good for children?
A pitch black room can feel like a hostile place for a child, but nightlights can ease tension and help soothe children to sleep. It’s important to find one that doesn’t produce blue light, which is known to disrupt sleep. Nightlights can also help both children and adults navigate a messy room scattered with toys and other tripping hazards.
Do nightlights help with night terrors?
Night terrors occur for various reasons, including separation anxiety and interrupted sleep schedules. Nightlights can potentially reduce night terrors by creating a more peaceful sleep environment and helping to normalize sleep patterns.
How can nightlights help adults?
Bright artificial light has been shown to interfere with sleep by suppressing melatonin, so nightlights can help minimize disruptions to the sleep-wake cycle for adults who get up in the middle of the night. Lights that turn on via motion sensors can make it easier to fall back asleep, since fumbling for a light switch can be overstimulating.