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LED Reading and Berth Lights

Alpenglow Reading Lights are available in two LED versions: the white LED; and the **NEW** Dimmable model operated with separate dimming knob (rheostat).  Smaller Berth Lights are for limited space requirements. Choose Titanium (Brass) or Chrome finish.

Reading lights and berth lights

Advantages Over Other Reading and Berth Lights

  • Dramatically less power consumption
  • Larger area illuminated by single fixture
  • Much more even illumination
  • Much lower operating temperature
  • Dimmable option, continuously variable from full brightness down to less than 5% of full brightness

Dimensions and Specifications

  Reading Light Berth Light
Shade Diameter 3 7/8" 3"
Base Diameter 3 3/8" 3 5/8"
Overall Projection from wall
(when pointed straight down)
6" 4 5/8"
Triangulation measurement  between 3 screw holes 2 5/8" 2 3/4"
Power Consumption 1/3 amp 1/3 amp
     Dimmable High .4 amp n/a
     Dimmable Low .02 amp n/a


About our **New** LED Dimmable Reading Lights

We designed this new light model with a dimming control knob (rheostat) separate from the on-off switch, so that you can turn the light on and off without having to readjust to your desired brightness each time. You get the same warm light color quality as our regular LED Reading Light that is continuously variable from full brightness down to less than 5% of full brightness. The power consumption is from .4 amp (400 milliamps) on high, down to less than .02 amp (20 milliamps) on low. We have listened to our customers! Many of you have expressed that you like to read in bed while your partner would rather sleep.

What about RFI? Dimming of LEDs is most often accomplished with a circuit that turns the LEDs off and on very rapidly, with increased off-time resulting in greater dimming. Although this is a good and highly efficient method, the high frequency switching generates lots of radio frequency interference (RFI) which is very difficult to filter out. Most non-dimming LED drivers also use similar circuitry to regulate the current. In order to prevent radio frequency interference, we do not use switching-type drivers and dimmers. We use linear voltage regulators which are electrically nearly silent.

The LED Reading and Berth Lights

White LEDs have improved to the point that for certain applications they have significant advantages and we believe that for most of our customers, the warm, white LED version may be the better choice. Our LED Reading Light is not a wimpy dim light as are many of the currently available LED lights. It also is not the cold bluish-white color that is common in white LEDs. Many of the currently available white LED lights obtain their brightness by focusing all the light into a very narrow beam, typically 15 to 30 degrees. While this can result in a very bright light, the illuminated spot is so small that it is of limited use. Ours are powerful enough to give adequate brightness over a 60 degree angle. Because of the expense of high power LEDs, the trend in LED light design is to drive the LEDs at the highest permissible level in order to minimize the number required. We have done the opposite. We use very high-power LEDs and run them at about half of their maximum rating. By driving them at much lower levels, they run cooler, are more energy efficient, and last much longer.

LED Upgrade for (older) Fluorescent Reading Lights 

We will be glad to upgrade your existing fluorescent Reading Lights to LED! It's a great improvement. You will see dramatically less power consumption, and you won't have the glare of that protruding bulb. The cost for the LED Upgrade from fluorescent to LED is $55 plus return shipping. If you want the Dimmable feature in your Reading Light, as well, it is an additional $25. Just contact us ahead of time by email or telephone. We'll do the LED Upgrade, and get your light back to you in as quick a turn-around time as we can.

Why Buy a Complete Fixture Rather Than Just an LED Bulb?

Although white LEDs are much more efficient than incandescent or halogen bulbs, high power LEDs still produce lots of heat, and heat is the mortal enemy of LEDs. The cooler they operate, the longer they last and the more energy efficient they are. The need to control this heat puts practical limits on how powerful retrofit bulbs can be. It takes substantial heat sink to adequately control heat, and there is a limit to the size and weight that is practical. This limitation results in retrofit bulbs operating at or beyond the maximum design temperature of the LEDs, shortening their life. We have received numerous reports of short life from some of them. The amount of heat sink required for high-power LEDs results in a fairly large and heavy unit (bulb) which, in most cases, the typical two-pin halogen mounting socket is too flimsy to hold them securely. Particularly on a boat. Most of them are actually designed for residential track lighting where there is little motion.

To perform truly well, a reading light not only needs to be bright, but also needs to illuminate a reasonably large area. We believe that about a 50 degree viewing angle is the minimum, and the brightness should be quite uniform over that entire area. It simply isn't possible to get the necessary power nor combination for both brightness and viewing angle from a retrofit bulb to be ideal for a good reading light. They must limit either the brightness or the viewing angle, i.e., they are either reasonably bright but illuminate too small an area, or the light is spread over an adequate angle but is too dim. Getting a wide enough angle and enough brightness into a small package is just very difficult, and results in high temperatures. Most retrofit bulbs illuminate a reasonable area at a very low level, with a very distinct small bright spot in the center. When Practical Sailor tested LED bulbs, the only ones that were reasonably bright accomplished that by concentrating their light into a very small spot. In fact, with the brighter ones, that bright spot was 1/10 the area of that on the Alpenglow Light. Only the Alpenglow Light was both bright and covered a wide area. And the Alpenglow Light that was tested was an early version. Our current version produces consistent even illumination over the entire wide viewing angle. It's no wonder that Practical Sailor stated that the Alpenglow Light was the reviewer's favorite.

By building the LEDs into the fixture itself, we eliminate all the limitations of the retrofit bulbs. The entire bell reflector functions as the heat sink, so the LEDs operate at just a fraction of the temperature of retrofit bulbs. The power supply is located away from the LEDs in the base of the fixture, so its operating environment is even cooler. With retrofit bulbs, the power supply must use the same hot heat sink as the LEDs. Most LED lights (and particularly retrofit bulbs) use the fewest LEDs possible and drive them at their maximum rating. We use a high-power, 9-watt LED array driven at just a small fraction of its maximum rating. This not only improves efficiency, but dramatically increases the life of the light.

We encourage you to make your own comparisons and decide for yourself. We are confident that you will see the many advantages of using a light in which the LEDs are an integral part of the fixture.

Viewing Angle

Our LED Reading Light has a viewing angle of 60 degrees. That means that at 3 feet from the light, it is illuminating about a 3-foot-diameter circle. Even though white LEDs are less efficient, by concentrating the light into this smaller area the result is brighter illumination within that circle while using less power. Brightness is equal to the 9-watt earlier version of our fluorescent Reading Light, while using 1/3 the power. Our LED Reading Light is ideal for supplemental light for reading, or anywhere that you prefer the extent of the light to be limited. The LED Reading Light may not be ideal if you are trying to light the entire cabin with them, although they would be better than halogen or lower wattage LED reading lights. Our compact fluorescent (CFL) or our LED Overhead Lights are still by far the best for general area lighting.


Until recently, white LEDs were an extremely cold color. Actually almost bluish. There are now what the LED industry calls warm white LEDs. They are warm compared to the regular ones, but still not as warm as standard residential lighting or as our compact fluorescent lights. Light color is rated in degrees Kelvin. The higher the number, the colder the color. To give you some idea, incandescent bulbs, our compact fluorescent (CFL), and our LED lights are rated 2700. Cool-white fluorescent lights (typical commercial lighting) is rated 4100. Many white LEDs are rated as high as 6000 or higher, which is quite blue. The majority of the white LEDs that are called warm are actually around 4000 which is similar to cool fluorescent. One of the reasons we waited this long before offering LED reading lights was the poor color. There now are LEDs available that are warm enough to be acceptable. The warmest we have found, and the ones we are using, are rated 2700 Kelvin. That is between warm and cool fluorescent. It isn’t quite as warm as some people prefer for overall area lighting, but we find it perfectly suitable for task lighting, particularly when there is also nice warm area lighting.

Bottom Line

We feel that most people will be best served with our LED Reading and Berth Lights. The exception would be when the reading or berth light is the primary source of light. Actually, we don’t recommend any kind of reading light for primary area lighting. The highest efficiency and wide angle coverage is best accomplished with our Overhead Lights.

Titanium Finish

We offer the Reading and Berth Lights in a titanium nitrite plated brass, as well as chrome. It's the beauty of brass, without all the work. The process yields a finish that is UV proof, won't fade, and is tarnish resistant. It cleans with soap and water, which makes it easier to clean than stainless steel, and won't wear off like lacquer eventually will do. Virtually all of the top manufacturers of kitchen, bath and architectural hardware have resorted to this PVD process (physical vapor deposition), and most have totally discontinued the use of electroplated gold and clear-coated brass.

Specifications subject to change as the LED industry continues to mature, and we continue to adapt and fine-tune our product.

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Prices and specifications subject to change without notice.


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