There are thousands of forum pages and social media posts across the internet dedicated to the ideal lighting for a craft table. And when it comes to weeding vinyl fromor working with small creations on a 3D printer, or any of a dozen other small craft things, good lighting is one of the most important things you can have. And when there was no consensus for what the best light was for Cricut users, the company decided to start making its own.
The recently released BrightPad Go from Cricut is great for some materials and its portability is great, but isn’t quite right for everything. To address this, Cricut has released a pair of lamps to cover as many different craft rooms as possible, and we’ve spent the last couple of weeks checking out both.
- Perfect lighting exactly where you need it
- Quality, sturdy design
- Looks great anywhere
- More expensive than other craft lights by quite a bit
- Power cord is not long enough
- Base for the desk model is huge
Lighting a craft space usually comes in one of two concepts — filling the whole room with as much light as possible, or using a flexible lamp you can point wherever you need to get your work done. Cricut’s Bright 360 lamps are the latter, designed with a rotating head and a pivoting arm you can place wherever you need. The overall goal with this lamp is to make it quick and easy to get the light source wherever you need it, and have the lamp itself look nice in the process. And in those respects, Cricut has succeeded gracefully.
The design of these lamps couldn’t be simpler, but what you get out of that design is unlike any other craft lamp I’ve ever used. The flexible head is perfect for placing exactly where you need it, but the real stars are the two sliders on the side of the lamp. One slider controls brightness in a simple 1-100% way, while the other controls color temperature from 2,900 to 5,200 K.
This is a big deal for a couple of reasons. It not only means you can set the perfect color temperature to get the best photo of whatever it is you’ve made, but it means you can set the right color temperature for the task at hand or time of day. For example, when I’m working on a project later at night, I will set the color temperature warmer to eliminate blue light and help prepare myself for bed.
Cricut’s Bright 360 Lamp comes in two sizes, a floor-length lamp capable of standing 56 inches tall and a desktop lamp capable of standing 27 inches tall. Aside from a $60 gap in price and the previously mentioned height, the only real difference between the two models is the light output. The floor model is rated for 3,000 lux, while the desk variant is rated for 1,500 lux. This doesn’t necessarily mean one is twice as bright as the other for most things, rather that the floor lamp is working harder to make sure a larger area is lit as well as the desktop lamp, which can get closer to most workspaces to function.
At the base of each lamp you’ll find a big heavy counterweight, and it’s here that I wish these two lamps were slightly different. My only complaint about the desk lamp version is the size of the base. I know it has to be big and heavy to counter the top weight, but unless you have a giant crafting space it takes up too much room. The only way I can really get it to work on my standard desk is to have it all the way at the back and use the front of the lamp to move it around rather than the handle. It’s not ideal if you have a smaller desk, which may affect which one you end up buying for yourself.
For the rest of the design, Cricut has done a great job. The lamps look like premium products, like they belong in a professional craft space. The design stands out, and looks great no matter how you have it set up. And because it’s not a completely flexible neck lamp like some others, it’s a lot less likely to break with constant use. Which is good, because once you get the base where you want it the whole thing isn’t likely to move much. The power cords on these lamps are not particularly long, so it’s unlikely to be possible to move around much in your average craft room.
It’s impossible to talk about either version of the Cricut Bright 360 without discussing the price tag. At $250 for the floor version and $189 for the desk version, these lamps are more than a little expensive. There are absolutely less expensive lamps out there, but each one sacrifices something that makes the Bright 360 great. Some offer touch buttons instead of the sliders available here, which are harder to use when your hands are busy or covered in paint. Some offer a smaller body to take up less space, or a light source that isn’t as bright, with nowhere near as much flexibility in color temperature.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find the best way to light my craft space, and short of building something myself with smart LED strips, this lamp is the best option I’ve found for all of the different things I do.
Cricut set out to build a pair of lamps for as many different kinds of creators as possible, and in many ways we think it has succeeded. There’s some significant room for improvement, and I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t hate a lower price, but this is already a massive step forward in the maker space and we’re excited to see any company attempt to compete with these lamps.