Monday, August 05, 2013

Ikea JANSJO Work Lamp Review

Years ago when I was still in college, I had to make a run to Ikea to check out LED light strips for use as a "backlight" for my computer monitor. Those strips weren't what I was looking for. Instead, I stumbled on the JANSJO LED lamp. This was one of the first LED lamps that I had ever seen, especially one that looked like a "normal" lamp. If I remember right, the only LED bulbs available then were huge with massive arrays of LEDs arranged in concentric circles. The price tag attached to just the bulbs was also huge and hovered north of $30. Finding a new, next generation technology for just $20 was pretty exciting -- seriously.

Ikea JANSJO work lamp
The price tag for JANSJOs has since fallen fairly significantly in price to CAD$ 11.99, which is nearly 50%. And it now comes in a bunch of different configurations from the work lamp with base that I got to floor lamps, other table mounts (e.g. clip), and even a USB version. The few versions that I checked out on the Ikea website all said that they consume 3.0W.

Great and interesting new tech, but was it any good as a lamp?

Ikea JANSJO Work Lamp - US$ 9.99 (CAD$ 11.99)

A reminder that I have a version of the JANSJO work lamp that's about five years old. It looks the same to the one available now and the manual on the Ikea website suggests that no major changes have been made, as far as I can remember.

Ikea JANSJO light from ~3' away
The lamp came in a relatively small box and wasn't very heavy at just 2 lb (website). I got this years ago and the assembly process was insignificant enough that I don't remember much of anything. Using the manual available on the Ikea website to job my memory a bit, I  remember having to peel and stick the bottom mat on. I kind of remember having to screw the lamp's arm into the base. overall, it wasn't troublesome, and with such small and light parts, it shouldn't have been.

As far as I know, the bulb isn't easily replaceable by the user. It should last a while though.

I never had a problem with this lamp. The base always felt heavy and wide enough for the very light-weight arm. Unfortunately, I really should have reminded myself to pick the lamp up by the base and not by the arm. I moved this lamp around a lot over the years and lifted it by the flexible arm most of the time. The arm itself is just a very thin metal material that holds its position or shape after manipulation. Within it is the electrical cord, which it turns out, has been carrying the load for a while. This only came to my attention when I picked up the lamp by the arm and noticed that the metal was separated from the cone between the arm and the base. The screws to the base are attached to that cone. Woops. I thought the arm, including the cone with the screws, was attached to the base and the cord just looped through it.

Ikea JANSJO lamp up
Expandability / Customizability
It comes with different mounts?

Ikea JANSJO lamp down

Everyday Use
This lamp didn't work out for me, hence the constant moving around that lead to the breaking of the arm. It's been a while since I've last used it, especially after finding the damage.

The first time I used it, I didn't care for the shade or lack thereof. It was not a bright light at just 3.0W -- even for a CFL, a 3.0W lamp is less than a 40W incandescent (~8W CFL?), probably closer to 25W (~4W CFL) or less. It also put the light through a relatively minute aperture, which meant it didn't distribute it too much. The result was having to set the JANSJO higher up to illuminate an adequate amount of desk area.

I found the shade to be very small too with the LED bulb mounted only about an inch behind the lens or edge of the shade. Combined with the high bulb position and small aperture, the brightness felt distracting and annoying. With my other traditional table lamps, the wide and deep shade and the large bulb usually means that I don't have an overly bright spot in my field of view.

When the JANSJO was set high enough, I found that there was just about enough light to illuminate a letter-sized page. So, if the brightness of the bulb and shade wasn't annoying to me, I could have been satisfied. Its compact size and low profile was a great plus too.

Broken connection between base and arm

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