The Best Lava Lamp

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Lava Lite 14.5-Inch Color Max Volcano Print Lava Lamp

Our Top Pick for 2018: Lava Lite 14.5-Inch Color Max Volcano Print Lava Lamp
Read our full review.

Lava lamps or liquid motion lamps are a unique style of lamp that has been around for decades. The main part of the lamp is designed with two liquids that are insoluble in each other, like oil and water. The idea is that when the light bulb in the base of the lava lamp heats the liquid, the freshly heated liquid changes density and rises to the top of the lamp. When the liquid gets to the top of the lamp it is cool enough to sink back to the bottom. The science of the lamp is extraordinary, but if you are thinking of purchasing one, you are probably more interested in other features. Take a look at this guide to help you figure out exactly what type of lava lamp you want to add to your living space.


#1. Lava Lite 14.5-Inch Color Max Volcano Print Lava Lamp

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*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

Our gold pick is a liquid motion lamp that is loved by consumers and critics alike. The color max volcano print lava lamp is a 14.5 inch lamp that is manufactured from Lava Lite. It is designed to look like a volcano just erupted on your desk or into your quiet living space. Unlike a real volcano, this one will provide you with a soft relaxing glow that is soothing to look at.

This lava lamp has a classic shape that is made more appealing by the decorative highlights in the design. The base of the unit is orange and black, but it is designed to look like freshly spewed bed of molten lava. The cap on the lamp is also designed in this manner. The liquid in the lamp is clear, and the wax is white to make it look like white lava. The exterior of the globe is painted in a multicolored design that gets brighter the closer to the light source it is. It is a very light orange close to the base and it becomes redder as you move up the globe. This design gives the illusion that the lava is brighter and hotter at the bottom as it erupts through the lamp and spews out the top, landing on the base of the lamp.

This volcano print lamp requires a 25 watt incandescent bulb to shine, which is included, and it will give off a soft orange light that perfect for relaxing in the evening before bed. The power cord comes complete with an in-line switch, which makes it easy to quickly stop the lava flow before it is too late. When you purchase this lava lamp, you will receive a 90 day warranty to back the durability of the product. If the lava is not your style, this exact lamp is available in a few other styles as well, which include black with white dots on the base, a surfing print, and a print of the earth. Each of the other options has their own unique multicolored globe that complements the theme well.

When it comes to reviews, there are about 100 available on Amazon at the time of this writing. 76 percent of the users who wrote a review gave this lamp a positive four or five star rating. Here is an example of a five star review from a mother whose son loves this lava lamp: “Bought this for my nine year old son who was disappointed in the lava lamp we purchased for him in the store because it never worked properly. First off this is the only one that I could find that even looked like it had orange lava (orange is his favorite color), and secondly the whole volcano picture is kind of neat. Needless to say he loves it, and I’m very happy with my purchase!”

#2. Lava Lite 14.5-Inch Color Max Paintball Print Lava Lamp

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Our silver pick is also a uniquely designed liquid motion lamp that was created by Lava Lite. The color max paintball print lava lamp is a 14.5 inch device that is designed to give a groovy atmosphere to your living quarters. The liquid inside the glass globe is clear and the wax is white, but the globe itself it a tri-colored design that will give you a calm and peaceful glow.

The globe is yellow at the light to introduce a bit of brightness to the room. As you move up the globe it will change to a grass green color, and then at the top you will see a bright pink color. As the white wax rises up through the globe, it will seemingly change to the colors we just described. The base and the top of the unit are designed to look like they were attacked by a paintball gun that delivered a shot that was in four different colors, which are pink, blue, yellow, and green. The lamp requires a 25 watt bulb to function, which is included with the purchase. In addition, a 90 day warranty is also included with the purchase of this device.

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When it comes to the reviews of this colorful creation, 71 percent of all of the 181 reviews found on Amazon gave this device a positive rating. Most of the customers love how soothing the coloration of the light is. Here is what one user had to say: “This was a Christmas gift for my nephew and he loves it! The colors the light projects are so bright and vivid! Any child would love it!”


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#3. Lava Lite 16.3 Inch Silver Base Lava Lamp

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*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

Our bronze pick is another lamp that created by Lava Lite. It is a 16.3 inch lamp that features the classic design that we have all grown to love. The top and the base of the unit is silver, which is a classic color for lava lamps, and the globe is not painted like it is on our first two picks. The liquid inside the globe is purple rather than clear, and the wax is dyed yellow. This color combination is great for creating soothing slowly rising red tinted bubbles that look great in the soft purple glowing background. The lavender light is perfect for relaxing in the evening and if you want, you can burn a lavender scented candle or infuse the air with lavender to involve all of your senses in the soft light that this liquid motion lamp provides.

If you are interested in other color options, this same model is available with a rainbow painted globe and a yellow wax, blue liquid combination. This unit features an in-line switch to make it easier to switch the light on and off. In addition, it comes with a 40 watt bulb as well as a 90 day warranty from the manufacturer.

60 percent of the almost 600 reviews that are present on Amazon have been rated with a four or five star quality level. Here is what one user had to say about this unit: “Big and beautiful lamp. Takes a bit longer than regular sized lamps to get really moving, but that’s to be expected. Also, comes with a dimmer switch which I had never seen on a lava lamp before and I think it is quite neat since you can have more control over the type of lava movement you get.”

#4. Lava Lite 14.5-Inch Classic Silver-Based Lava Lamp

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*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

Lava lamps are not traditionally a high cost accessory for your living space, but if you still don’t want one of our first three picks because the price is too steep, then try our ballin’ on a budget pick to see if it suits you. This option is another 14.5 inch lamp created by Lava Lite. It is a traditionally designed liquid motion lamp that has a classic brushed steel base that is painted silver to give the lamp a stylish edge. Like our bronze pick, the liquid in the globe and the lava is colored to create a unique look. In this particular lamp, the liquid is a blue color and the wax is yellow, which means that as the wax rises up the globe it appears to be a beautiful green color.

Since this lava lamp illuminates the room with a soft bluish green glow, it is the perfect night light for a small child to enjoy as they fall asleep. If this color is not your style, there are a plethora of different color combinations available to consider. The lamp requires a 25 watt bulb, which is included in the packaging, and the unit turns on by way of a convenient in-line switch.

When it comes to the reviews of this device, there are well over 3,000 reviews available on Amazon at the time of this writing, and over half of the reviews were given a positive rating of four or five stars. Here is an example of one such review: “I absolutely LOVE this lamp! Unlike a regular lava lamp it stays cool to the touch. It also has a little off/on switch on the base so you can hide the cord behind whatever you’re sitting the lamp on.”

Pre-purchase considerations

Types of Lava Lamp

There are many different types of lava lamps available today, but they all originate from the traditional timeless style that has been a favorite for decades. The bubbles rising and falling are almost hypnotic in the original design. Another popular type of lava lamp is the glitter lamp. This type uses confetti instead of two types of liquid, and it takes a lot less time to heat up and activate. They also are available with a vortex design that almost looks like a small tornado in the middle of the lamp. If that is not your style, the electroplasma option may draw you in with an electric shock. There are also aquarium lamps that are designed to look like a fish tank if you want something that is non-traditional. Decide which type of lava lamp fits your style best before deciding to purchase one that you will wish you had not settled for later.

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Size and Shape

Liquid motion lamps come in a plethora of sizes and shapes. Start by deciding how large you want your lava lamp to be. They are available in sizes that range between an eight ounce unit and a 52 ounce one. How big is the area where the lamp will be placed, and what size lamp will the space accommodate. You can also find lamps with different shapes if you desire. Many people like the traditional bullet design, but some are shaped like a rocket ship, a pyramid, or even a unique wave shaped design. Figure out what shape fits your style before settling.

Color Variations and Themes

The base of a lava lamp can come in a myriad of colors that vary from neutral black and silver to traditional red and blue. Sometimes you find a unique jungle themed lamp or a sports themed option. The liquid in the lamp is typically two different colors, one for the oil based liquid and another for the water based one. Typically, they can be found in all colors of the rainbow, but there are even unique variations of the liquid that you can find as well. There are so many options, so the best way to find what you are looking for is to decide on a few color options that you prefer to have and start from there.

Bulb Type and Illumination

The amount of illumination that you want to have will be a key factor in which lava lamp you select. It you want a bright light, then you may have clear glass with a light colored liquid inside, or if you prefer a dimmer light, you may want a blue glass with a orange liquid inside. These devices do not require special bulbs, but the larger the lamp is the more wattage it typically requires. For example, a classic 14.5 inch lamp requires a 25 watt refrigerator bulb, where as a 27 inch lamp needs a 100 watt flood light bulb to function.

Extra Features

Sometimes lava lamps have additional features that you may find interesting. One of these features is Bluetooth functionality. It is designed so that you can lower the lights and listen to some smooth tunes all from your lamp, which is the perfect concept for creating mood at a party. In fact, some lava lamps are motion activated, so when a room becomes empty after a party, the lamp will turn itself off, which will reduce the risk of it overheating. Other lamps are designed with warm colors that are comforting to a small child. These are designed to be plugged into an outlet and used as a nightlight to protect you from evil and light your way in the dark.

Making Your Own

Sometimes it is fun to experiment with science, and one way to do so that you and your kids will enjoy is to create a lava lamp from materials that you most likely already have at home. Start by filling a flask or a bottle almost full with vegetable oil. Don’t fill it to the top or the other ingredients will not fit. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water, and watch it slowly sink to the bottom as you pour it into the oil. Now add a few drops of any color of food coloring, which will also sink to the bottom. Break an Alka-seltzer into several small pieces, and then drop them into the mixture one at a time. The reaction will be a liquid motion lamp that you created yourself. As the lava slows down, add more Alka-seltzer if you like.


Anything can happen during shipping, whether it is on the way home from the store or through a carrier that brings it to your door, damage can occur. Make sure that the lamp that you purchase has at least a 30 day warranty in case the lava does not flow like it should when it arrives at your home.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

In this guide we have explored traditional lava lamps, glitter lava lamps, and some other more obscure options. We have looked at the unique color options that are available and checked into the different sizes that are available. Hopefully our guide has helped you find a great lamp to fit your décor. Maybe you like one of our top picks, or maybe you have a style of your own that you prefer, either way you are on your way to having a beautiful accessory for your living space.