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Last Updated on September 30, 2021
You might have recently spotted the lava lamp in our “Popular funky furniture of the 90s” list… I have to confess that when the lava lamp and I got reacquainted, I instantly wanted to get one again!
I mean, I used to have one (as most of us 90s kids did), but who knows what terrible destiny befell that poor lamp? The only thing I can say for sure is that it is not to be found in my mom’s house anymore. So, after some infructuous digging, I was left with the task of finding an apt replacement!
All in all, lava lamps haven’t changed all that much, but there are certainly a few more coloring options than back in the day. Read on to find out what’s the best lava lamp to add to your home right now!
The appeal of Lava Lamps
Lava lamps, also known as motion lamps, were incredibly popular during the 70s for obvious reasons (cue in the shrooms and the hippie movement!) and went under a huge revival period during the 90s. They became a big part of the decade’s weird hodgepodge of decorative items that somehow completely gelled together and made the interior decoration of that period so much fun!
Lava lamps are naturally soothing and they create a super relaxing atmosphere. It is no wonder they are an all-time favorite in households with people with sensory issues or for those who suffer from anxiety. They are also the perfect companion for children scared of the dark or if you are playing on your computer well into the night.
There are multiple combinations of colors and quite a lot to choose from when it comes to base colors, but outside of Mathmos, the shape of lava lamps is pretty similar outside of a few exceptions.
Best Lava Lamps for Adults or Teens
Lava lamps are generally between 11 to 27 inches and are designed to fit comfortably atop a shelf, a tabletop, or a desktop. The most popular sizing and the easiest to find on Amazon is the 14 inches tall with a 20 ounces capacity. Most of the classic models use this sizing and have either silver or one-colored original bases.
I chose these three models as my favorite classics because they could potentially fit in any kind of decor are the most subdued ones I could find.
#1. Black Waxed Lava Lamp
#2. Purple Waxed Lava Lamp
#3. Brteyes Lava Lamp
For a more conservative environment, the black waxed Lava Classics lamp is perfect and one of the most serious color combinations there is. The purple one is the girlier counterpart to this design. They are both classically shaped whereas the Brteyes lava lamp is thinner and rounder. It makes for a sleeker design and a much more ergonomic visual effect. The shape really does not affect its functionality, but the combination of rounder curves and a thinner base make it look more modern and space-like.
Beware: Some lava lamps use plastic instead of glass in the housing. I would advise against going for those, glass is more translucent and better quality plus it will be longer-lived. Also for the base and the cap, go for steel ones and avoid plastic ones as well. They are usually of very poor quality.
Let there be fire! But keep it non-hazard with these funny and awesome lava lamp options.
#4. Edier Lava Lamp
#5. Schylling Mini Volcano
#6. 2149 Color Max Volcano
Edier lava lamps also double up as speakers via a Bluetooth connection, so keep that in mind! Apart from the obvious different designs and coloring, always check what kind of light source your lava lamp has. LED lights last longer and are more eco-friendly, so I would go for those when possible. The standard light bulbs that lava lamps use are 25-watt incandescent bulbs. Do check the wattage when changing your light bulbs… Otherwise, there might be some unpleasant and undesired secondary effects.
My favorite ones are the Schylling Mini Volcano or the 2149 Color Max Volcano because they do look like tiny volcanoes. I really can’t decide between them because I would choose the first one due to its black base and cap… And I would also choose the Volcano decal one because of the amazing base and cap texture! I think it would depend on where to place them. They would look great in a boys’ gaming room or a chill living room, right next to the sofa.
#7. Edier Glitter Lamp
These unusual lava lamps are packing a bomb of colors! They certainly won’t be sleep-inducing, be it wax or glitter, these lights were made to shine. They might prove to be the perfect addition to your kitchen counter or tabletop though, particularly if you want to make the most of the dancing bubbles created among the lights and get a little music going with your Edier glitter lamp while you grab a quick bite!
Best Lava Lamps for Kids
Although lava lamps are designed and tested to be safe, they are still not recommended to be on for more than 8 hours straight. It is an important measure to keep them from overheating. Keep it away from direct sunlight and restrict your hours of use and you should be absolutely fine! Remember to tell your kids to not touch the lamp once it has heated up since they can pack quite a lot of heat.
These three pretty lava lamps are the absolute most perfect night lights I could find.
The first one reminds me of the Northern Lights and for good reason, the combination of the base and cap decal with the glittery filling is simply magical. Maybe it’s the little girl in me but these are my favorite for girls’ bedrooms! They make the perfect gift too!
#9. Space Lights
If I had to choose my top choices for boys, these space-themed weird lava lamps would be it!
The alien fluorescent lava lamp with an alien face for a base is amazing and the red rocket-shaped turbo-effect lamp looks like it’s about to launch. Don’t they look cool?
Here is a little extra: Kinda
#10. Lava Lamp but Sea Themed
This model is not strictly a lava lamp, but it looked so cool that I just had to include it.
Might prove an interesting choice for sea creature lovers! Reminds me of something a James Bond villain might have on their evil lair… It is just too awesome to pass up!
Before you go fill your home with lava…
What makes a lava lamp… well, a lava lamp?
The original lava lamps were invented around 1963 by the British entrepreneur Edward Craven Walker, founder of the still-alive-and-kicking lighting company Mathmos. Although some recent models include crazy glitter combos and other quirks, like a hurricane-like movement inside the lamp, the retro models are much simpler.
Lava lamps basically consist of a ball of colored paraffin wax mix placed inside a glass vessel, generally tapered, surrounded by clear mineral oil or translucid liquid mixed with water. The glass vessel is then placed atop a box with an incandescent light bulb, whose heat will cause temporary reductions in the density of the colored wax and the tension of the liquid. This is is what creates the classic blobs of wax that float inside lava lamps when the warm wax rises through the liquid. After it reaches the top, it soon cools down and goes back to the bottom of the vessel, repeating the cycle that somewhat reminds us of effervescent lava.
Since its creation, all kinds of colors and variations have been added, generating a myriad of lava lamps combinations and styles. It is interesting to note that Mathmos lava lamps are still made in the original factory in Poole, Dorset.
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