The very best lava lamps in 2023

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Up to date Feb 6, 2023 9:04 AM

Our smartphones at present fill that function however the humble lava lamp as soon as crammed that function again within the Sixties with hypnotic blobs of wax. Folks like to stare at glowing objects. Whereas a stable half-century has handed because the lava lamp’s heyday, these iconic sources of illumination have maintained a stage of kitsch that appeals to everybody from boomers who noticed Pink Floyd again in ’72 to Zennials who simply discovered the Traditional Rock part of Spotify and received’t shut up about it. The very best lava lamp for you is basically a matter of style, however the picks on this record have the whole lot you should activate and zone out for a couple of hours. 

How does a lava lamp work?

Take a look at a working lava lamp and also you’re witnessing a sublime instance of a scientific idea known as a convection present. The glass container holds a collection of wax blobs suspended in a liquid like water or generally mineral oil. The wax and oil/water are immiscible, which suggests they received’t combine, much like how oil and vinegar stay separated in a salad dressing bottle.

A easy mild bulb sits under the glass enclosure and heats up the contents, nevertheless it does so inconsistently. Wax sitting on the nice and cozy backside of the jar heats up and turns into much less dense, which causes it to journey to the highest of the lamp. It cools down because it will get farther from the warmth supply, which causes it to contract and sink again all the way down to the underside—the place it begins the method once more. So, if somebody calls your lava lamp “stoner decor,” casually inform them that it’s merely a shrine to the magnificence of fluid dynamics.

How we picked the most effective lava lamps

We’re not going to faux we’re lava lamp specialists, however we did exit of our approach really to spend a while staring deeply into these colourful tubes. We selected fashions that have been dependable, engaging, and, most significantly, inexpensive. Along with our hands-on expertise, we thought of consumer impressions and spec comparisons to choose the absolute best fashions. 

The very best lava lamps: Opinions & suggestions

With the specs out of the best way, it’s time to dive into our particular picks. As you’ll see, there’s not a ton of selection on the market by way of type issue and worth ranges. You could find some further options floating round if you would like them, however once more, we advocate you get one thing easy that you could recognize for some time with out getting bummed if it breaks. 

Greatest total: Lava Colormax lamp

Why it made the reduce: It’s really a basic lava lamp that received’t overwhelm your room with psychedelic nostalgia.


  • Peak: 14.5 inches
  • Wax coloration: White
  • Liquid coloration: Clear
  • Colour supply: Painted glass


  • Traditional tri-color design
  • Sturdy base
  • Simple-to-change 25-watt bulb


  • Design could also be “a bit a lot” for some individuals

The Lava Colormax actually offers you the basic lava lamp expertise. The bottom, cap, and glass all sport a tri-colored design that will really feel proper at residence in a retro-styled room or perhaps the again of a conversion van with a dragon painted on the facet of it. At 14.5-inches tall, it’s not overwhelmingly big, and the 25-watt bulb makes it glow with out bathing a lot of your room in mild. I put it within the nook of our lounge throughout our testing and located it much less gaudy than I anticipated. It takes a stable two hours to essentially get the lava transferring round contained in the glass container, however that’s commonplace throughout just about each mannequin we’ve tried. 

As a result of it will get its tint from paint on the surface of the glass, the colours look brilliant and vibrant. If you’d like one thing you may stare at after altering your thoughts, this can do the trick with aplomb.

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Greatest tall: Jambo 16-inch movement lamp

A missile-shaped lava lamp

Why it made the reduce: Be sure you get the massive one if you wish to be sure everybody who enters your own home says, “Hey, is {that a} lava lamp?” 


  • Peak: 16-inches
  • Wax coloration: Inexperienced
  • Liquid coloration: Blue and yellow
  • Colour supply: Dye


  • Stands out in a room
  • Silver base has a classic look
  • Distinctive coloration mixture


  • Colours might not be as vibrant as painted fashions

It seems a bit like a trippy missile, however this 16-inch lamp’s measurement helps it make an announcement in a room. Inexperienced wax floats round in blue-ish liquid, which provides it a really sci-fi vibe. We all know it’s wax in there however for those who needed to faux it’s some sort of alien ooze, you might probably accomplish that whereas nonetheless reasonably sober. 

The wax and liquid contained in the chamber comprise the dye that offers the lamp its coloration, so that you don’t have to fret about paint flaking off of the outside. The silver base lets the precise lava a part of the lamp take heart stage with out visually competing. It’s large and comparatively low-cost, so it’s exhausting to go mistaken right here.

Greatest distinctive: Edier 16.5-inch Lava Lamp with Bluetooth speaker

Lavalamp speaker

Why it made the reduce: One gadget supplies your trippy music and visuals due to a built-in speaker and a Bluetooth connection.


  • Peak: 16.5 inches
  • Wax coloration: Orange
  • Liquid coloration: Purple
  • Colour supply: Dye


  • Constructed-in Bluetooth speaker is sweet for youths
  • Distinctive form shirks the standard missile-shaped design
  • Nice coloration mixture


  • Speaker high quality is as you’d count on (dangerous)

For just a bit more cash than you’d spend on a typical lava lamp, you will get this mannequin with a Bluetooth speaker constructed immediately into its base. Regardless of the 16.5-inch top, the speaker itself is comparatively small, so handle your expectations in the case of sound high quality and quantity. It has a primary Bluetooth connection that may be a bit finicky nevertheless it’s completely able to jamming out some Hendrix tunes for those who don’t have something extra strong. 

The lava side of the lamp entails orange globs floating in purple goo, which supplies a pleasant distinction. Regardless of a quite massive mild bulb, it’s not overly brilliant and it offers off extra of an ’80s really feel than a ’60s vibe. You may activate the sunshine or the music by themselves or preserve them each on on the identical time. Pairing the Bluetooth is a little bit clunky since there’s just one change onboard, quite than buttons or any sort of display, nevertheless it’s exhausting to demand extra for underneath $50 (loads of the most effective Bluetooth audio system value that, or extra, sans trippy visuals).

Greatest glass: Tricolor White and Clear 14.5-Inch Lava Lamp with Aluminum Base and Cap

best lava lamp glass

Why it made the reduce: Painted glass and a black base make this distinctive in comparison with its competitors. 


  • Peak: 14.5 inches
  • Wax coloration: White
  • Liquid coloration: Clear
  • Colour supply: Painted glass


  • Excellent if you would like a lava lamp, however you aren’t a hippy
  • Black base blends into the decor when it’s not turned on
  • Vibrant pink offset by white


  • Paint might rub off over time

Purple, white, and clear bands adorn the surface of this 14.5-inch lava lamp. It sits on a black base, which makes the colours pop greater than they’d towards a extra colourful high and backside. At 14.5 inches, it’s on the shorter facet, which permits it to warmth up comparatively shortly, although that also means you’ll be ready a few hours for it to succeed in full glob ballet mode. 

It presents a decidedly volcanic aesthetic that doesn’t appear as dated as another fashions that throw off severe retro vibes. It is a stable alternative for youths who don’t need one thing they’ll get sick of in a couple of weeks. It additionally has the very basic lava lamp form regardless of its distinctive colours.

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Greatest finances: Lamp Lava 2179 14.5-Inch

best budget lava lamp

Why it made the reduce: Your child needs a lava lamp and also you need one which received’t catch on fireplace, but in addition doesn’t value very a lot. 


  • Peak: 14.5 inches
  • Wax coloration: White
  • Liquid coloration: Clear
  • Colour supply: Painted glass



  • Easy in-line energy change

Possibly you need a white elephant reward and also you’re on a finances. Possibly your nephew as soon as talked about that he appreciated a Doorways music, and that’s all the data you’ve about him. There are many causes to need an inexpensive lava lamp and this 14.5-inch mannequin matches the invoice. 

It has a painted glass container that matches its metallic base and cap. It’s not too large and heats up comparatively shortly (two hours or so) regardless of its tiny bulb. Did we point out that it’s low-cost?

Greatest lava-lamp various: JBL Pulse 5 Bluetooth speaker

JBL Pulse 5 Bluetooth speaker pulsing blue in a getaway cabin

Why it made the reduce: When the vibe is heating up however you don’t wish to look ahead to the sunshine present to heat up, the JBL Pulse 5’s 360-degree app-controlled ambiance is offered on the press of a button.


  • Peak: 8.5 inches
  • Wax coloration: N/A
  • Liquid coloration: N/A
  • Colour supply: Customizable LED lights


  • Sturdiness (IP67 dustproof and waterproof enclosure)
  • 12-hour battery life (USB-C charging)
  • Expanded frequency response due to an expanded acoustic chamber/passive radiator for the woofer and an added tweeter
  • Bluetooth 5.3 for improved sign stability
  • A number of audio system may be paired for larger, brighter, bolder sights & sounds


  • Fingerprints and smudges are very seen on the outside, so be sure to make use of the built-in rope strap
  • Whereas this speaker presents an alluringly lysergic mild present, it doesn’t replicate the viscous visuals of a real lava lamp

The historical past of JBL stretches all the best way again to the Twenties, and the corporate was releasing best-selling hi-fi loudspeakers within the late Sixties/early Nineteen Seventies—so it is aware of a factor or two about reproducing trippy sounds. With the Pulse line of transportable social gathering audio system, JBL provides trippy visuals to the equation.

The translucent obelisk incorporates a 360-degree, almost top-to-bottom floor backed by 140 LEDs—an ornamental show solely damaged up by a emblem on one facet and a strip of buttons/ports on the other facet. As well as, a ring-shaped halo tasks downward onto the floor the speaker sits on. With the JBL Transportable app, numerous vibrant themes may be chosen/adjusted so you may visualize any type/pace of music with acceptable accompaniment.

Talking of sonics, new design parts on this fifth iteration push much more air out from the upfiring 30W woofer, whereas a newly added 10W tweeter extends crisp treble to assist stability the mid-lows. The Pulse 5 outputs a stunning quantity of bass and readability for a compact Bluetooth social gathering speaker.

As a conveyable social gathering that may pulse to your playlist’s tempo, JBL’s newest aurally and visually brilliant Bluetooth speaker is value its $249 price ticket. The biking colours and elevating audio add momentum to the atmosphere {that a} conventional lava lamp by no means can. On the identical time, a part of the enchantment of a lava lamp is watching the groovy move of all that mellow magma—an expertise the JBL Pulse 5 can’t recreate. After all, for those who drop a lava lamp you’ll be cleansing up a spill, whilst you can toss the IP67 Pulse 5 right into a pool and it’ll preserve kicking.

Issues to think about earlier than shopping for top-of-the-line lava lamps

We’ll be blunt: Lava lamps aren’t essentially the most refined ambient lighting you may add to your house. For that, you need a helpful desk lamp or maybe the most effective LED strips to offer your room that Twitch streamer vibe. Lava lamps are largely a novelty and you need to preserve that in thoughts when comparability procuring. There are some things to think about earlier than you resolve on the most effective lava lamp for you, nevertheless. 

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Lava lamps usually stand between 12 inches and a pair of toes tall. Clearly, you need one thing that matches in your house, however you’ll additionally wish to contemplate how affected person you might be once you’re ready for these globs to start out their dance. Bigger lamps comprise extra liquid, which requires extra warmth to get issues transferring. 

More often than not, you’ll discover that the peak refers back to the whole top so the precise glass space (which corporations usually seek advice from because the “globe”) will likely be shorter than that. 


The phrase “lava lamp” usually evokes an eclectic, psychedelic coloration pallet akin to what you’d discover at that retailer within the mall that at all times smells like patchouli. That’s often right nevertheless it’s not at all times the case. Some lava lamps embellish their look much more by including glitter and different enjoyable pollution into the combination to enliven the sunshine present. Others tone it down a bit and provides off extra of an ’80s artwork deco vibe. None of them are significantly delicate, although, so for those who’re on the lookout for one thing to enhance your Kanye-style all-white dwelling quarters, perhaps it’s time to get a daily lamp.

It’s value taking note of how the businesses add the colour to the lamp. Some add dye on to the wax and liquid, whereas others use impartial substances inside and paint the surface of the container. These painted on the surface might lose a little bit of their luster after common cleanings, however they’ll look extra vivid within the meantime. 

Once more, these are novelties, so some fashions will pull out all of the stops to maintain you entertained and set themselves aside from a sea of comparable merchandise. Some play music and even rotate. Typically talking, we advocate one thing easy since you may remorse spending the additional money on getting the fancier lava lamp as soon as the novelty wears off.


Q: How a lot does a lava lamp value?

If you happen to’re paying greater than $50 for a lava lamp, you’re in all probability doing it mistaken. You’re paying for a tube of goo and wax with a really low-cost mild bulb beneath it. These are easy, enjoyable units, and also you shouldn’t go all out except you’re an actual connoisseur. You can too make one by yourself if you wish to be tremendous low-cost about it. 

Q: What’s the most secure lava lamp?

The most secure lava lamp is the one you place in a spot away from potential accidents after which by no means contact. Most lava lamps are merely mild sockets hooked as much as a primary twine. They generate warmth out of necessity. Preserve them away from flammable supplies, don’t contact them after they’re on, and preserve them away from youngsters who may wish to style the forbidden lava inside. 

Q: Can you permit a lava lamp on on a regular basis?

Nope. It is best to flip your lava lamp off once you’re not residence or once you fall asleep. If you happen to’re not actively gazing into it or making an attempt to set an actual temper, you need to flip it off then, too, since you’re simply burning electrical energy for no cause.

Closing ideas on the most effective lava lamps

Whereas lava lamps might not be the classiest lighting resolution to spruce up your private home, they’re undeniably enjoyable. When individuals come over, they’ll say, “Oh, cool, is {that a} lava lamp? I haven’t seen a kind of in endlessly!” Whereas you will get a ton of various types, we advocate going with one thing basic and enjoyable. Simply don’t contact it as soon as it’s on.