Product Review: Music Stand Lights

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Posted May 1, 2019

A music stand light can illuminate your music when you are performing in a space with insufficient light. It’s great for evening community band concerts when the sun is going down, and is essential for pit orchestras. When choosing a stand light, you’ll probably want to consider things like size, brightness, and power source. This article takes a look at three LED options and one traditional option.

Many lights these days are LED, which provide bright white light, as opposed to the more yellowish light of traditional incandescent bulbs (though you can now buy daylight bulbs to get that same type of white light). The main difference between LED and “regular” bulbs is that with LED lights, you can’t replace the light once its lifespan has ended. However, LEDs are typically expected to last about 100,000 hours. That’s over 11 years of continuous use!

The Mighty Bright Duet Light

The Mighty Bright Duet Light features two independently switched LED lights. Each light is either on or off, with just a single brightness level. The goosenecks allow you to point each of the two lights precisely where you want them. Of the lights reviewed here, the Duet (with 2 LEDs) provides the lowest level of light, at just 12 lumens.

It is also the most compact and lightweight option. The clip is designed to fit any type of stand, and it does, but due to the small point of contact between the clip and the stand, the connection does not feel very secure on either a Manhasset stand or a Hamilton wire stand; even a small amount of pressure against the left or right side of the light can cause it to move.

Power is provided by 3 AAA batteries (a set is included with the light).

The Mighty Bright Hammerhead Light

There are two brightness levels for the six-LED Mighty Bright Hammerhead Light. Levels are selected a button on top of the housing; one press gives you the bright setting, a second press dims the light somewhat, and a third press of the button turns off the light completely. A flexible gooseneck allows the light to be positioned however you like. The lamp throws off up to 28 lumens of light, making it brighter than the Duet light but not as bright as the Encore or the BandStand lights.

As with the Duet light, the small point of contact between the Hammerhead light’s clip and the music stand means that it doesn’t feel terribly secure when clamped onto the stand, though it should work fine for casual situations.

Power is provided by 3 AAA batteries (a set is included with the light). You can buy an AC adapter that will work with this light, but there is not one included.

The Mighty Bright Encore Light

Like the HammerHead, the Mighty Bright Encore Light has six LEDs and two levels of brightness. The sliding power switch is used to select the brightness level. Position of the light can be adjusted easily by moving the flexible gooseneck. At 55 lumens, this is the brightest of the Mighty Bright lights reviewed here.

The clip for the Encore light forms a much sturdier connection to a Manhasset stand than either the Duet or HammerHead models, but it doesn’t work so well with a wire Hamilton stand. (The larger size and heavier weight of the Encore light as compared to the Duet and Hammerhead make it less suited to a wire stand.)

This light is powered by 3 AAA batteries (a set is included with the light), but a 13-foot AC adapter is also included with this light, so you can always plug in if you run out of battery power.

The BandStand Lamp

The BandStand Lamp is a traditional plug-in stand light. It is well-constructed and very durable, with a thick metal light shield, as well as a metal arm and metal clip. This light will not break easily! Most stand lights these days (including all the Mighty Bright lights in this review) are made of less durable plastic components. There is a reason why the BandStand light and others like it are used in many professional settings.

The BandStand light does not have a gooseneck adjustment like the Mighty Bright lights, so the only adjustment you can make to the direction of the light is to shift it up or down, but this light will brighten the entire music stand, so there’s really no need to force light left or right.

If you want maximum brightness, the BandStand lamp will not disappoint. This light will throw off 240 lumens with a 40-watt tubular incandescent bulb. (It will accept a 15 watt standard bulb or up to 40 watt tubular bulb.) The bulb is not included with the light but can be purchased with it.

Unlike the Mighty Bright options, the BandStand light requires AC power to operate at all times. The cord is approximately 6 feet long. If you’re far from an outlet, you may need an extension cord.

This stand light is much heavier than any of the Mighty Bright options (metal vs plastic), but it attaches really well to music stands. When it’s on a Manhasset stand, it’s not going to fall off. It stays in place very well on a Hamilton wire stand too.

Which is right for you?

In many ways, the Encore light may be the best all-around light, since it offers the convenience of cord-free bright light with the ability to plug in when necessary. It is bright enough to light up a stand but not so bright that it would distract the audience.

The Duet and Hammerhead lights have their place too: they are lightweight and can even fit inside certain instrument cases.

The BandStand light is designed to last for decades. If you know you’ll always have an outlet available and the cord isn’t an issue, this is a purchase you won’t regret. It clips sturdily onto any type of stand, and the light is very bright. If you want, you could find an LED bulb to fit… just look for something with a standard medium (E26) base connector.

Any of these lights could easily be repurposed as book or utility work lights when they are not being used for musical purposes. Regardless of which light you pick, you will enjoy being able to see your music regardless of where (or when) you happen to be performing.


Model Power Source Estimated Battery Life Light Source Brightness
Duet 3 AAA batteries 28 hours 2 LEDs 12 lumens
Hammerhead 3 AAA batteries or optional AC adapter 7 hours 6 LEDs 28 lumens
Encore 3 AAA batteries or included AC adapter 15 hours 6 LEDs 55 lumens
BandStand AC cord not applicable 15 watt standard or 40 watt tubular bulb 280 lumens (may vary based on bulb used)