How We Test

Choosing the right light is important, since music lights can cost as much as $200 and as little as $10. Any amount may be too much to spend for something you will be disappointed with.


Since music lights are designed to increase the light on the page, brightness is the first factor to consider. Our Brightness measurement is the amount of light at the bottom center of the music stand desk in lux. The bottom of the page is just as important to see as the top. The light is adjusted so that it covers the as much of the page as possible. A new bulb is used if the light is incandescent. New (or fully-charged) batteries are used.

Shields Audience

Music lights shield the audience if they prevent direct viewing of the stand light bulb over the top of the stand toward an observer. Lights that do not shield the audience may detract from public performance.

Bulb Type

There are two types of bulbs currently in use for stand lights: LED (light-emitting diode) and incandescent (filament). In general, LEDs will last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs (50,000 to 100,000 hours is typical).

Number of LEDs

If the bulb type is LED, this measurement indicates the number individual LEDs used to provide light. In general, the more LEDs, the brighter the light. However, some lights do a better job of directing this LED light to the page than others, so check our brightness measurements as well.

Power Used

This is a measure (or estimate in cases where it cannot be measured) of the watts used by the light. Battery operated lights that consume more power need more battery capacity (usually the size of or number of batteries) than those that consume less or they will have shorter run-times. Wall-powered lights that use less power will save money for electricity when used in larger groups, such as orchestras and pits.

Light Color

Generally, lights either provide a slightly bluish color (cool blue) or a slightly yellowish color (warm white). The quality of the light can be important to consider when selecting a light. Choose a color that is pleasant to your eyes.


Music stand lights are made from plastic, aluminum, or steel. Aluminum and steel should last longer, but may scratch. Aluminum is the lighter metal. Plastic will provide the lightest weight of all for portability.

Number of Clips

The number of clips used to attach the light to the stand. More clips are better. Single clips need to be able to hold the light solidly to the stand. Otherwise, taller lights with one clip can lean during performance. Lights with two or more clips usually require a sold desk music stand.

Maximum Lip Thickness

The thickest lip that a music stand can have and support the light. Some music stands have a thick lip across the top which not all music lights can handle. Make sure that your light will fit the top of your stand. Clips which can accommodate a very thick music stand can sometimes be less stable on thinner music stands.

Hot Surface

If the music light gets hot enough that it would be uncomfortable to touch, we indicate it.

Wall Power

Yes indicates the music light can be used while plugged into an outlet.

Battery Power

Yes indicates the music light can be used with batteries.

Battery Type

AA or AAA indicates that readily-available disposable batteries are used. NiMH (nickel-metal-hydride) or LiPo (lithium-polymer) batteries are rechargeable and do not need to be replaced until they can no longer hold a charge. Both rechargeable battery types should last a long time before needing replacement.

Run Time (full brightness)

Our measured run time of the light from full batteries to the light going off. In the case of a rechargeable battery, the battery is charged according to the manufacturer's recommendation. Fresh Alkaline batteries are used in lights that are not rechargeable. Some lights will dim as the power diminishes. Better lights will stay at a constant brightness to the end of the battery.

Recharge Time (from empty)

Our measured time to recharge the battery from when the light goes off. The battery is charged according to the manufacturer's recommendation until the product indicates a full battery.


Indicates if the light level can be dimmed. Most lights that dim either offer up to three distinct levels or a full range of dimming from zero to 100%. If you will be using the light in darker areas such as clubs, pits, or church services where a bright light would stand out too much, consider buying one with a dimmer.

Lights per Power Strip

Indicates the number of identical music lights that can be plugged into a standard 6-outlet power strip. Some stand lights have power adapters that preclude all the power strip outlets from being used. If you play in small groups such as quartets and would like to use one only power strip, consider one that indicates 6 lights per power strip.


MSRP is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Often lights are available for less than the MSRP through major retailers.