It used to be that ring lights were the hidden tool amongst high-end video productions. But these days, with the advent of TikTok, they’re now commonplace. And ring lights are a go-to means for many wanting to upgrade their lighting or production quality. So much so, they’re the defacto standard for those looking to enhance anything from selfies to vlogs, live streams, and video conferences.
Thankfully, gone are bulky and dangerous fluorescent bulbs that used to plague these designs. No. LED’s have now taken over, further reducing the entry point, increasing the safety and their power. And today’s ring lights are ultra-compact, portable, and supremely versatile. You can also find plenty of options designed for smartphones and laptops too, especially helpful considering today’s new at-home standard. As such, they’re also great for video-conferencing setups, not just boosting your casual photos and videos.
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But, in this area, there are a lot of cheap knock-off brands that are supplying flimsy unreliable products. And you’ll quickly realize many companies are slapping their name brand on the same generic products. Time and time again. With that, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best ring lights on the present market. And we’ve also included a quick guide on the main factors to consider to determine a suitable model for you.
Rotolight NEO 2
Rotolight’s Neo 2 is a hidden gem in this category. This bi-color LED light offers a range from 3,150-6,300K and a whopping 2,000 LUX brightness. It’s also supremely color accurate, managing a CRI of 96 for faithful color reproduction. Neo 2 doubles as a flicker-free external flash unit too, useful for photographers wanting to capture fast-paced action. But enabling the flash mode boasts its power 500% when using the included power adapter.
Otherwise, you can power this light with AA batteries, ready for 90 minutes of use at max power. And you’ll mount it using the built-in 1/4-20″ tripod thread to light stands or on DSLR or mirrorless cameras. There you can access its various creative effects, such as fire, lightning, gunshots, and TV flicker, to significantly add excitement to your videos.
Overall, while not technically a traditional ring light, Rotolight Neo 2 is a revolution amongst the LED crowd. And it’s a solid option for creators using larger DSLR or mirrorless cameras wanting something more polished.
Razer’s Kiyo makes streaming affordable and quite convenient. This ring light uses a fixed daylight-balanced LED with adjustable brightness. But, crucially, it doubles as a professional webcam with an integrated 1080p camera that streams at 30 FPS to Switch. And it mounts to desktops or laptops with a clever clip-on design for easy installs. It also houses a built-in omnidirectional microphone, ensuring your voice remains clear and audible during the video. Other bonuses include a tripod thread.
Overall, while not a traditional ring light, Razer Kiyo becomes an all-in-one solution that fixes a common problem. That is, improving both your lighting and video quality simultaneously. As such, it’s an excellent option for remote workers or those wanting to stream without difficulty.
QIAYA Smartphone LED Light
QIAYA Smartphone LED Light aims to become the ultimate selfie light. This ring light offers 3W of equivalent power, a fixed color of 5,600K, and three brightness levels to switch between intensities. This ring light attaches to the device with a simple clip-on design. But, weighing only 42g or 1.5 oz, it’s ultra-lightweight and barely noticeable. You’ll power this light via a micro-USB cable, charging its built-in battery. And it’s ready for one hour of usage, making it great for quick snaps on the road.
Overall, while straightforward, QIAYA’s Smartphone LED Light is a solid entry-level option for those wanting to upgrade their selfies.
AIXPI 10-inch Ring Light
AIXPI’s 10-inch Ring Light kit aims to be a cost-effective and ultra-portable option. This kit comes with the 10W ring light offering three color temperatures ranging from 3,200-6,500K and ten brightness levels. This light uses a USB outlet for charging, so you have plenty of options to power it. AIXPI also includes a phone bracket and a pan-tilt head to attach both smartphones or larger cameras to the center of the light.
And they also include a small tabletop light stand mounted to a ball head for 360º angular adjustments. Even so, the whole package is compact, easy to set up, and lightweight at 1.1 lbs. As such, it’s well suited for on-the-go users who want to move around freely without being bogged down. And it’s also doubly capable as a flattering table lamp.
Overall, the AIXPI 10-inch Ring Light kit is easy to use and straightforward. And it’s an excellent option for smartphone users wanting a tabletop ring light kit with little hassles.
Ivisii 19-inch Ring Light
Ivisii 19-inch Ring Light kit offers large-scale power, flexibility, and an enormous accessory bundle to boast. This kit comes with the IR-60c bi-color ring light offering a 60W equivalent brightness, a range from 3,000-5,800K, and a 0-100% variable brightness. Yet, this light is surprisingly color accurate, boasting an outstanding 97 CRI/TLCI rating. This ensures it delivers a natural yet precise color rendering, great for doing makeup videos with final detail.
The kit also contains three color filters, including red, blue, and green, which are ideal for adding creative effects. It also offers multiple power options. You can either use the included power adapter to connect it to the wall for indefinite use or rechargeable batteries. And if you use it on location, you can conveniently change the brightness or color settings using the included wireless remote. Ivisii also installed three cold shoe adapters on the light to attach larger cameras and accessories.
Plus, they also include both a smartphone and tablet holder, securing devices as large as an iPad, along with a USB socket to charge the attached device. Other bonuses include a carrying case, a 75-inch light stand, and a Bluetooth remote controller.
Overall, Ivisii’s 19-inch Ring Light kit offers immense value given its accuracy, power, and accessory setup. And it’s an excellent kit that includes everything you need.
ESDDI 18-inch Ring Light
ESDDI 18-inch Ring Light offers loads of power at a surprisingly reasonable price. This kit comes with the R432 bi-color ring light offering a 48W equivalent brightness, a range from 3,000-6,000K, and a 10-100% variable brightness. And its outer shell has a soft diffusion cover to soften the light to make it more flattering. You’ll power this light with the included power adapter, which connects to the wall for indefinite use. ESDDI also includes a phone holder that attaches to the center and tops of the light using cold shoes.
The light itself rotates 180º, which is perfect for flat lays. But you can also install the bundled flexible tube to position it with great accuracy. Other bonuses include a one-year warranty, a 72-inch tripod, and a carrying case.
Overall, ESDDI’s 18-inch Ring Light is an excellent option if you want both size and maximum output. But you don’t want to kill the budget in the process.
UBeesize 10-inch Ring Light
UBeesize 10-inch Ring Light aims to provide utmost portability without breaking the bank in the process. This bi-color LED light offers three temperatures ranging from 3,000-6,000K and 11 brightness levels with simple touch controls to change both. You will power this light with the included power adapter, intensifying its brightness by 50%. But, you can also plug it into the wall or a portable battery bank via USB, making it quite versatile for use on location.
The light itself mounts to the including 50-inch tripod via a built-in ball head. But it also has a central thread to install the included phone holder, great for hands-free operation, be it in portrait or landscape orientation. The tripod also collapses small enough to use on tables or desks. Other bonuses include a Bluetooth remote control.
Overall, UBeesize’s 10-inch Ring Light is a great budget-friendly option to improve your selfies or video calls.
Westcott 18-inch Bi-Color Ring Light Kit
Westcott 18-inch Ring Light Kit is a versatile option from a well-known player in this space. This kit comes with a 48W equivalent ring light with a bi-color range from 3,200-5,600K and a stepless dimming range from 0-100%. But, crucially, it boasts an outstanding 97 CRI/TLCI color accuracy rating with built-in diffusion, producing soft, consistent color, regardless of the scene. This light also offers multiple power options.
So you can use the included power adapter to connect it to the wall for indefinite use. But, you can also use it in remote locations by attaching the included batteries, where it’s ready for 70 minutes of use. Westcott also includes two mounts, a swivel mount for larger cameras, and a clamp mount for mobile phones. But the light also has an extra 1/4-20″ connector at the top, letting you attach external microphones or other accessories. Plus, the kit also includes a flexible gooseneck arm and the 78-inch light stand for added versatility. Other bonuses include a one-year warranty and a carrying case.
Overall, Westcott’s 18-inch Ring Light Kit is well suited for content creators wanting a professional system ready for indoors or out. And while pricey, it offers excellent control with a high degree of power and accuracy to compensate.
Neewer 18-inch Ring Light Kit
Neewer 18-inch Ring Light Kit brings enormous power and flexibility. This kit comes with a 55W equivalent ring light using a fixed color of 5,500K and a stepless dimming range from 1-100%. But Neewer added two reflective silver layers internally around the LEDs with this release, boasting the light’s output. Otherwise, this kit contains two color filters to alter the white balance to 3,200K or add diffusion.
You’ll power this light with a universal power adapter for indefinite use. And by default, you’ll mount your phone into the center of the light with the included smartphone holder. But, they also include a ball head adapter, letting you mount larger DSLR or mirrorless cameras. Additionally, Neewer also includes a 61-inch aluminum light stand and a flexible soft tube. Together, these let you use the light remotely or as a part of a desktop setup with tremendous flexibility over its angle. Other bonuses include a carrying bag and a Bluetooth controller.
Overall, Neewer’s 18-inch Ring Light Kit is perfect for photography enthusiasts. But, it’s also doubly capable for remote meetings and content creators wanting to light large spaces. And this upgraded version merely ups the standards in value.
Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit
The Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit makes an epic return to a previous fan favorite. This kit comes with the RL48-B ring light boasting an 80W equivalent output with a set daylight-balanced temperature of 5,600K. And this model obtains the high-end lighting technology from Rotolight’s pricer models. So despite its cost, it still delivers a soft and shadowless light, especially when using the included diffusion or skin tone filters. This kit also contains several color filters to alter the white balance to 4,100 and 3,200K to match specific times of the day.
And the filter holder is even weatherproof, ensuring you can shoot uninterrupted rain or shine. You’ll power this light via three AA batteries, ready for 4 hours of use. And Rotolight bundles a lightweight mini tripod, which you’ll attach to the twin accessory bar to mount both the light and the phone, creating a seamless ultra-light setup.
Even so, you can use the light independently for larger cameras, computer setups, or on 360º swivels and lighting stands. And you can even attach it directly to shotgun microphones, perfect for on-the-fly interviews. Other bonuses include a one-year warranty.
Overall, Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit is an excellent option, praised for its outstanding quality and design. And it’s understandable why it’s one of the go-to options around.
What to Look For in Ring Lights
Choosing the best ring light will ultimately come down to your needs. How and what you plan on lighting will largely dictate the type, size, and price point of light to consider. Generally, smartphone and single operator lights are smaller and more affordable. But, they don’t offer the same power output as larger, more professional lights aimed at studio or macro photographers.
Thus, consider your use case. If you want something small, portable, and casual, skip the larger high output options. But, understand, they will have slightly less versatility. Otherwise, spending a bit more here is wise, as you’ll have better long-term flexibility with the product.
Besides your use case, the brightness of the light becomes the next primary consideration. Generally, most consumer ring lights have ten adjustable settings or a 1-100% variable range to control the brightness. But, the specific output varies based on the size and price point of the light. For this, consider where you plan on filming. If you want to overpower daylight or shoot in dark pitch rooms, you’ll want a light with at least 50W equivalents of output. Otherwise, it won’t be powerful enough to make an impact.
The color of the light will directly impact how you’ll use it and how you’ll appear on-camera. You can find lights with cool colors, making the light appear more white, or warm lights that look more like candlelight. The color temperature that works best will come down to the environment you’ll film in and the aesthetic you prefer.
Even so, most ring light manufacturers include color filters that you can install to change the default color. But, you can also find bi-color lights that vary across a range of colors for more specific values. Either way, both work. But bi-color offers more flexibility.
The last consideration is the size of the light. Ring lights come in a variety of sizes, most falling between 8-12 inches. But, you can find ones as small as 6 inches and large as 18. The size that works best will likely come down to preference. But, generally, the larger lights are best for lighting subjects full body. Conversely, the smaller lights are best for closer selfies. Even so, if you don’t plan on traveling with the light, getting a larger size is best as it’ll be more flattering, powerful, and versatile.
Last Updated on September 22, 2023 by Photography PX Published May 23, 2021