CHOICE membership

Bedside Touch Lamp

It seemed a good idea at the time.
When I moved into my flat I discarded the bedside lamp with the pushbar switch which I would invariably knock down if I ever needed to turn the lamp on in the dark.
A touch lamp seemed to be a better solution.
In fact it’s a bit of a nightmare.
You only have to brush near it and it accidentally comes on. You reach for the tissue box near it and it comes on. You dust it and it turns on. You move it an inch and it turns on.

It has a dimmable globe and needs to be touched three times before it reaches the ‘off’ stage: you miss the count and you could be there all night!

If it accidentally comes on during daylight hours and you don’t notice the first dim light, it could be on all day.

Not a good idea for a bedside lamp IMO. :-1:


We have a few touch lamps. One bedside lamp is better behaved than yours and not a worry, but another has shown susceptibility to electrical fluctuations that began when the solar system was commissioned, and yet another sometimes turns itself ‘on’ when a particular adjacent ‘switched’ light is turned off.

I’ll second :-1:


I have several. None have the problems that you describe, you have to touch in a little pit on the base to activate the switch, I doubt that I have ever done it accidentally. I can find the switch by touch in the dark with no problem. None of the ones in my house have ever suffered from interference or random problems.

I like the three stage brightness and the LED is very economical. Yes I have run past the off position in the cycle a few times but I don’t recall being lost there trying to count to three for more than a second or two even when not fully awake.

Power switches with moving parts wear out, the last bedside lamp I had was replaced for that reason. How long the touch switch will last I don’t know yet.

I think the touch lamp is just fine for a bedside light.


That sound easier to avoid accidentally switching it on, mine gets activated by touching anywhere except the lamp shade.


I prefer lamps with the switch in the cord. This is easy to find in the dark and doesn’t present any of the problems for switches at the glode (pushbar or traditional power point style) or touch lamps.


I didn’t realise you’ve been around that long !

Touch lamps (at least the ones I’ve been familiar with) are essentially RF devices and can be affected by and generate EMI. Lets just say it can be fun watching peoples lights turn on and off when you have access to an RF emitting device that will tune across a generous range (hypothetically, this could be in response to receiving unwanted and annoying interference from the free running oscillator in said lamp - anecdotally, lamps might be ‘binned’ if they ‘misbehave’ inexplicably :rofl:).


We inherited an old one which requires three taps to turn off. Works well in the spare room. However, several times, plugged in and switched on, it has turned itself on after a power outage. These are quite common at our rural residence. It might be some days before we notice. We now make sure it is turned off at the wall as well, that meant moving furniture to get at the power point easily. It ended up down the shed, same deal. Need to remember to switch it off or check on it when the power goes off / comes on. Otherwise it is OK and better than fumbling for a switch at night, as the lamp sits on a shelf above the bed.


Compact fluorescent globes were notorious for emitting EMR in frequency ranges that affected other appliances (including AM/FM radio receivers, televisions, hearing aids)
Good thing that LED lights have replaced previous forms of lighting at our place.


So it would seem that there are different switching systems. The ones with all over sensitivity are the ones with the problematic design.

We have fan lights that do that. It’s a mighty shock & unpleasant way to wake up when the lights turn on all over the house in the middle of the night. On the positive side, at least we then know that we have had a power outage and need to reset clocks.


We have a lamp either side of the bed. Both are plugged into a remote-switched powerboard that has a physical switch on a cord. The cord is held to the side of one bedside table by a self-adhesive cord clamp.

I prefer the physical switch to a touch switch, and the cord clamp means that the switch is held in place and I know exactly where to reach for it in the dark.

Another approach could be to use wireless remote controlled outlet adapters. We have a set of four outlet adapters with a single remote control that allow multiple lamps in our loungeroom and adjacent room to be switched on/off. Having a single button on the remote to switch them all off is very handy. They look similar to these:



Aren’t we all supposed to be living in the totally connected home. Just ask and Google Assistant can turn you off or on or calm you down or …?

Before going to bed, just remind Google Assistant that if you start to reach out for the bedside lamp it needs to be turned on dimly. A quiet moan means turn the bathroom light on please. Loud moans for the elderly please call an ambulance. Loud moans in any other circumstances please look the other way? :thinking::rofl:


Years ago, through Choice actually, we had some people some in and measure how much electricity every device in the house was using when it was on (operating) and when it was “off” (not turned off at the wall, but waiting or standby mode).

The device that used the most electricity by far when off/standby mode? My wife’s touch lamp!


I … I … I … oh dear … ahem … refrain … no jokes about the ex being turned on dimly … oh, damn … “hey google” …


I have LIFX mini globes, They were expensive but will live longer than me. I can ask Siri/Alexa/Google to turn one or more on, but I usually just do it on my phone. I like being able to get to the loo in the middle of the night without tripping over something, and I like being able to turn on th kitchen light from the bedroom, and set the kettle or coffee maker going as well (Cygnett smart plug) so that by the time I stumble out, its ready for me to make my morning pot of tea or coffee (prepared the night before).

I like having “connected” stuff, and plan to get a video doorbell and a keyless entry lock at some point in the future (with key override, I do not like the idea that I could not get in or out if the lock broke or stopped working.)… I’m planning for a time when I will need home care, and that may include not being able to get to the door, myself.

“Hey Siri, good morning!” turns on some lights and sets the coffee making in my dripolator. Its good.

My vote for a touch lamp would also be thumbs down. That design is well past its useby date.


Google et al might agree.

As you suggest there are other solutions for those with a more techie mindset. Our bathroom light must stay on all night for that 3am call. One of us doesn’t navigate in the dark all that well. And it’s worse after turning the light off to find your way back.

Convenience of operation is about more than bedside lamps or poorly performing touch controls. If only the kitchen aircon was set up for remote operation on those colder mornings. Our newer models offered that as an option, but not off the stockist shelf when there were discounts on the standard version.

Off topic, will Uber or Google be the first to offer digitally connected aged care services? We know what you are doing, why not let us take care of your every need! It might even be a better option than the current broken down Cold War era Lada we call in home aged care. There’s a classic joke that compares a golf ball to a Lada. I won’t spoil it for you.


Maybe a solution is to get some night lights. They cost about $10 each, use next to no power when compared to a traditional light and have a light sensor switch…meaning they turn themselves off when not needed.


Thats why we get smart plugs.


Yes, it works for some items, but the aircons are hardwired with an outdoor weatherproof isolation switch. One less problem when the pythons need a new toy, and common for split system installs.

Yes, it is one solution we used with the children when little. The front entry one is now permanently off. The fruit bats can see perfectly well in the dark as can the pythons. Grown up children have torches on their phones.

It’s finding the bathroom without turning the bedroom light on that is important. There is now a strategic 2.5W LED bulb to confirm the location and seat status. It cost much less than $10 and costs less than 1c per night to run. (Less with PV credits.) It’s also practice for ‘walking towards the white light’. Confidence comes from being able to walk away from it as it illuminates the pathway back to bed. I’ll know it’s real when I don’t remember walking back to bed. :wink:

If it was a one person bedroom?


Also cats quickly learn how to turn touch lights on and off, and how much it annoys you…great fun. For the cat.


I agree totally! I had two of these bedside touch lamps and it took all of two hours for my Brown Burmese cat to work out how to turn it on and off. I was constantly being annoyed by her playing with it so into the bin they went.