Having a long distance relationship is hard, regardless of whether it’s romantic, platonic or familial. Planning trips to spend time together isn’t always feasible thanks to busy schedules, and even something as simple as different time zones can make FaceTime a difficult undertaking. Relationships take a lot of work to maintain, but showing someone you care is the most important thing you can do. And in an age where many of us live far, far away from our closest friends and family, the friendship lamp has helped us stay directly connected to our far-flung loved ones.
That’s exactly why the Long Distance Friendship Lamp is such a game-changing idea. By connecting friendship lamps, you can instantly show someone you’re thinking of them, even if you don’t have time for a phone call. Just one touch and every connected lamp will turn the same color. It’s a simple but meaningful way to stay in contact, no matter where you are or how crazy your life gets.
Husband and wife team John Harrison and Vanessa Whalen designed the Long Distance Friendship Lamp in 2014. They then made the lamps in their basement and sent them to family across the United States and in Canada. The lamps were specifically designed to sense touch rather than use a button, as the creators felt it was a more intimate way to connect. Now, the couple sells the lamps commercially and has even teamed up with charities to give production jobs to people in need.
There aren’t many friendship lamps out there, so we scoured the web to round up the best options we could find. Below you’ll see a handful of different options (including the original friendship lamps), all of which will help bring a smile to your friend or partner’s face the next time they’re feeling down about being so far away from you.
1. The Original Long Distance Friendship Lamp
The original Friendship lamp developed by John Harrison and Vanessa Whalen, this simple-to-use lamp allows you to send a friend or loved one a sweet gesture with just the tap of your hand. What’s more, setting this little lamp up is as easy as using it. Simply plug the included bridge into your wireless router (via Ethernet cable) and then plug in your lamp. From there, head to Filimin’s website to choose your color settings, and voila! you and your friend are now connected.
We love the funky styling of the original and also appreciate that you can buy the lamp in singles or pairs. If you’re sharing this lamp with a loved one, pick up a pair and send one to your partner. If, however, you’re buying for the whole family, you can pick and choose as you please, and even customize the color per person. The classic has a sleek black frame and a crackle-design over the bright shade, making it a great minimalist addition to a variety of decors.
2. Mid-Century Long Distance Friendship Lamp
BEST NATURAL MATERIALS
A slightly funkier take on the same design, this version of the Long Distance Friendship Lamp will fit with a more modern or mid-century styling. We like that this will connect just as well with the original, so friends and family can decide which lamp they prefer based on taste, instead of just pure functionality. As with the original, setup up is as easy as plugging in the included bridge into your router and deciding color options online. The Mid-Century is an artful, modern design of stacked wood disks that adds an aspect of visual interest to any bedside, desk or coffee table.
3. Brookstone Friendship Lamp
BEST FOR LARGE FAMILIES
Brought to you from the fine minds at Brookstone, this version of the friendship lamp is great for large families, instead of romantic partners. Using Brookstone’s lamps, you can connect up to 10 different lamps together across the world, ensuring that everyone in your family (or chosen family) stays connected, no matter the time or distance. Aside from the easy setup and usability, we like that Brookstone backs their lamp up with a 6-month warranty, just in case something goes wrong with one of your lamps. What’s more, this option offers two lamps for the same price as one of the original Long Distance Friendship Lamps. The Brookstone branding is a little tacky, but this is still a solid option and one of the best friendship lamps on the market.
4. The Modern Long Distance Friendship Lamp
BEST MINIMALIST PICK
Another option from the original creators of the Long Distance Friendship Lamp, this option is very sleek and unassuming, featuring just a rectangular lamp lined with black accents. For those looking to keep a lamp that is as unobtrusive and discreet as possible, this is your friendship lamp.
5. Friend Lamp
Our final option for friendship lamps is arguably the most stylish of the bunch. It features a simple wooden base and a tall, cylindrical lampshade to complete the design. But though the look is simple, the functionality is just as advanced as the other options, allowing you to easily pick and choose colors and notify your loved ones with the tap of the light. We like that you can buy these in a set or individually and that the styling will pretty much go with any home decor setup you or your friends might have. There are a bit more expensive than other options, but if style is your main deciding factor, we’d recommend this modern option. Thanks to the wooden base and minimalist design, this is definitely one of the best friendship lamps you’ll find.