The best lava lamp

Decor

The lava lamp was invented in 1948 by an English accountant named Edward Craven Walker.

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What is the best lava lamp?

It seems that no matter how much culture changes, there’s always a demand for the retro, which is why the playful visuals of a lava lamp never seem to go out of style. Featuring vibrant colors and a relaxing style, they deliver more ambiance than room light.

As new generations discover the delightfully chic lava lamp, also known as liquid motion lights, it has once again begun popping up everywhere, from dorm rooms to offices to Zoom backgrounds. If you’re looking to add some mood lighting to your space, our top pick is the classic LAVA Brand Original Lava Lamp. However, there are many more styles on the market, including some with unique features. Here’s a look at some of the best lava lamps out there.

What to know before you buy a lava lamp

Shapes and sizes of lava lamps

Lava lamps come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. The classic-style lava lamp ranges from 11-27 inches in height and usually comes in the signature cone shape with a silver cap and base. Some lamps feature differently colored hardware, including blends and swirls. Many competitors to the LAVA Brand offer unique shapes and sizes, including some that bear little resemblance to the original design.

Lava lamp colors

Lava lamps come in a multitude of color combinations covering the entire rainbow. The lamp contains a mixture of water, mineral oil, dye and colored wax that forms the lava-like blobs. Usually, the lamp’s liquid and wax are contrasting colors, while some also feature light filters attached to the bulb. Most colors are vivid hues like neon pink, turquoise, bright orange and midnight blue, but the hazy fusions are the product’s signature. 

Preparation

There are a few points to consider before buying a lava lamp to ensure you have one that fits your space. For example, smaller models are suitable as nightlights or desk lamps, while more oversized editions make great highlights for living rooms and other shared areas. Once you have your lava lamp, it’s essential to leave it on for several hours to allow the wax to melt. If the wax doesn’t melt completely, it could harden, causing the product to malfunction.

What to look for in a quality lava lamp

Authenticity and quality

Before choosing a lava lamp, it’s essential to verify the manufacturer’s reputation and authenticity. For the classic cone-shaped light, the original American company, LAVA, is the wisest option. Decades of producing quality merchandise give LAVA a good reputation, and their products receive consistently positive reviews. Sometimes, poorly-made knock-offs are sold by questionable vendors, so be sure to verify your lava lamp is made by a legitimate company.

Extras

Some lava lamps come with unique features that set them apart from traditional lava lamps, like an attached Bluetooth speaker, for example. Stream your favorite songs from your smartphone or tablet and relax in the glow of your groovy lamp. Others display unique visuals like glitter, illustrations, smaller wax blobs or motion effects like vortex and volcano. It’s also common to see lava-style lamps that feature free-floating objects like faux tropical fish and sea creatures.

The average cost of lava lamps

The price range for most lava lamps, all brands, is $15-$150, so there’s bound to be one in your budget.

Lava lamp FAQ

Are lava lamps safe?

A. When used properly and responsibly, a lava lamp is perfectly safe. However, the light can get hot with extended use and is a fire hazard, so you should avoid touching the glass vessel or metal base. Keep loose paper and other flammable objects away. Do not leave it on for more than 10 hours, as it could overheat and cause problems with the wax. In rare instances, extreme heat may cause the lamp to explode. It requires a 115-volt electrical outlet, so be careful with liquids and other potential electrical dangers. 

Can I replace the bulb in a lava lamp?

A. Yes, most lava lamps use a standard small 25-watt incandescent bulb, which you can purchase in stores or online. Also, the LAVA Brand sells replacement bulbs through its website. Larger models might use a bulb between 40-100 watts. Consult the manufacturer’s instruction manual to determine which bulb is suitable for your lamp, and never use a light bulb with a higher wattage than recommended.

Which lava lamp is the best

Top lava lamp

LAVA Brand Original Lava Lamp

LAVA Brand Original Lava Lamp

What you need to know: In the case of this psychedelic relic, the original reigns supreme.

What you’ll love: Warm light and vivid orange, yellow and purple “lava” create a relaxing atmosphere, boosting creativity and relieving stress. Also available in other colors.

What you should consider: If the lamp is not initially heated for long enough and the wax is not melted completely, it can harden and cause malfunction. Also, there are some reports of cloudiness and loss of motion or shapes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top lava lamp for the money

Lamp Lava 14.5-inch Rainbow with Hand-Painted Base

Lamp Lava 14.5-inch Rainbow with Hand-Painted Base

What you need to know: An inexpensive option with bright and vivid colors boasts a unique look and lively visuals.

What you’ll love: Art deco design and rainbow hues make it an excellent way to brighten dull spaces.

What you should consider: There are a few reports of the “lava” clumping or the liquid becoming too hazy.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

My Groovy Light 13.5-inch Lava Lamp

My Groovy Light 13.5-inch Lava Lamp

What you need to know: This lamp’s rocket shape distinguishes it from the competitor’s classic model, delivering a simple-yet-elegant visual.

What you’ll love: This is smaller than most lamps, making it a fitting addition to small spaces like desks and shelves.

What you should consider: The monotone color is not as visually stimulating as the more colorful models.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Matt Fleming is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

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