This guide to the best ring lights of the year will help you become a better photographer, makeup artist, or video streamer.
You see, getting great light on your face is the fastest way to make you look better on camera.
Ring lights provide beautifully soft illumination, with the best ring lights offering ways to match the colour temperature of natural light.
Aside from stellar light quality, a ring light adds a circular ‘catch light’ around your pupils, making your eyes literally sparkle.
Most people need their ring light to be portable and easily dismantled or assembled.
A smartphone attachment is a big plus, too, especially if you’re using a ring light for Zoom calls or live streaming.
There are lots of cheap right lights available on Amazon, but their quality varies greatly.
We recommend sticking to this ring light selection that offers excellent light quality, a good range of features, and great value for money.
What is the Best Ring Light in 2023?
LumeCube Cordless 18 Inch (Best Ring Light Overall)
- Mains or battery-powered
- Can hold a camera
- Easy to use
This 18-inch bi-colour ring light is designed to be easy to use and is one of the best ring lights for any application and any creator.
It comes with a 6.5-foot light stand, which makes it ideal for even the tallest of people, and it can be powered by AC or DC power for on-the-go use.
With its included DC batteries, you can expect a run time of 1.2 hours on 100% brightness.
The light is very easy to use and control.
There are three different readout modes on the back of the light for brightness (1-100), the colour temperature range (a warm 3200K to a cool, daylight equivalent 5600K), and a battery life readout.
The ring light can be tilted to adjust the angle of illumination, and there’s a shoe mount on top of the light for any external devices you might want to use, such as a microphone.
It’s set up for use with a mobile phone, either by way of clamping it to a gooseneck or ball-head mount. And, if you want to use a camera, you can utilize the ball-head mount, which can take a maximum load of 6 lbs.
NEEWER 18″ Ring Light Kit (Best Ring Light for Streaming on TikTok, etc.)
- Very adjustable stand
- Good size for most uses
- Carry case
- No in-built colour temperature modes
This is a good piece of kit and one of the best ring lights for those starting out creating online content.
It has a ball head hot shoe adaptor to be used with smartphones and smaller DSLR cameras.
With its detachable white and orange filters, you can easily change the colour temperature to either cool or warm with just a few clicks.
The 18-inch light is dimmable so that you can control the brightness fully.
Its stand extends from 19 to 59 inches, making this a versatile piece of kit for anyone who wants to film content, whether sitting down or standing up.
If you’re using it for product showcases, it should be noted that this size light is for larger products. If you’re looking for a tabletop option, see the LUXSHURE overhead ring light below.
Westcott 18″ Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit (Best Ring Light for Photography)
- Reputable lighting manufacturer
- Can be battery or mains-powered
- Colour temperature adjustment
- Excellent build and light quality
- High price
- No Bluetooth remote
This is a very high-quality complete kit coming from a well-known lighting brand.
It is, in fact, one of the kits that TV news anchors most commonly use.
Two lithium-ion batteries can charge This ring light or plug it straight into the mains.
The brightness and colour temperature can be easily adjusted using a handy button on the ring (the brightness has a step-less dimmer), and there’s also a readout that lets you know how much battery power you have left.
With its stand extending up to 6.5 ft, few people would be too tall for this light.
It comes with a mount for DSLR cameras, which can hold up to 4 lbs in weight, plus a gooseneck mount for mobile phones, and there’s also a cold-shoe mount for attaching extra equipment such as a directional mic.
Yarrashop Desktop 10.5” Ring Light (Best Ring Light for Zoom Meetings and Video Conferencing)
- Pros here
- Good for small spaces
- Small footprint
- Adjustable colour temperature
This Yarrashop light is a good size for illuminating yourself with flattering light during a Zoom meeting or video conference.
It’s also one of the best ring lights for shooting products. Either the products themselves or, if you want to, for illuminating your hands while showcasing a product.
It’s also big enough for simple talking head content videos or makeup tutorials, as the light is powerful but not so bright that it will blind you.
Ten brightness levels are adjustable through a wireless control, and three different light modes take you from 3000K to 6500K: white, natural and warm.
Its height is adjustable, from 22 to 29 inches, and the head tilts so you can control the angle of illumination.
Of course, it comes with a gooseneck mount and phone clamp for your smartphone.
Sensyne 10” Ring Light (Best Ring Light for MakeUp)
- Can be charged from mains or computer
- Bluetooth remote control
- Easy to use
This ring light has a very simple design and setup, and that, along with its compact size, makes it a great choice for makeup tutorials.
Its legs extend from 15 to 50 inches, and it’s USB-powered, so you can either plug it into a computer or via a USB unit into a wall socket.
Its phone clamp is customizable in 45-degree increments, and it’s tight and feels solid and reliable.
You can also change the phone’s angle with the clamp itself and tilt the angle of the light using the tripod.
Its ten levels of brightness and three colour temperatures will help you look good regardless of your ambient lighting conditions.
This light also comes with a remote control. You don’t need an app to use it; it just connects via Bluetooth. It’s very simple, too, and starts and stops your video or takes a photo.
Evershop Upgrade Overhead Ring Light (Best Ring Light for Product Photography)
- Highly adjustable
- Remote control
With its 10-inch diameter ring light and cantilever desktop mount, this is one of the best ring lights for product photographers.
It’s bright, extremely adjustable, and will give you much flexibility in tight spaces.
The mount is 26 inches fully extended and extremely versatile with three points of adjustment (base, middle, and neck). Its head can tilt 180 degrees and rotate 360 degrees.
For control, you have two options. There’s a controller on the cord which you can use to adjust brightness levels and colour temperature. And, it also comes with a remote control for your phone, which connects via Bluetooth.
Bear in mind, this is meant to be used for smaller products. The Neweer 18″ further up this guide is one of the best ring lights for larger ones.
LUXSHURE 10” Ring Light (Best Ring Lights for Food Photography)
- Adjustable colour and brightness
- Can upgrade power
- Highly adjustable
This 10-inch ring light is very similar to the Evershop Upgrade offering above, and it’s one of the best ring lights for food photography.
The light is nice and bright and good for casting even light with no shadows, which is ideal for food.
There are three colour modes – cold, natural and warm – and 10 brightness levels. You can also get an adaptor to take the power above 10W to make the light even brighter.
It comes with a cantilever stand with a desk mount, and this is a highly adjustable setup. With it, you can shoot in tight spaces and easily make micro-adjustments.
And it’s strong, with the ability to hold up to 3.3 lbs.
Switti 19″ LED (Best Portable Ring Light with iPad Holder)
- Remote control
- Bluetooth shutter control
- Strong build
- Very bright
This is a large ring light with a stand that extends from 61 cm (24 inches) to 188 cm (74 inches).
It’s an extremely versatile and portable ring light as it can be powered either by the mains (it comes with a power brick) or with 2 NP-F batteries, although these are not supplied.
That potential portability is reflected in its accessories, as it comes with a nice carrying case for the ring light and also a separate one for the tripod.
Power is adjustable using a dial on the back of the light, and you can set brightness and colour temperature (3000-5800K) there too, or using the remote control.
It also comes with a Bluetooth camera shutter control.
There’s an LCD screen on the back of the light that gives you a clear readout, and the light is tilt-able, so you can easily adjust the angle of illumination.
It’s a big light, and that means it’s one of the best ring lights to use with something the size of an iPad.
As such, it has an iPad holder, a mobile phone holder, and a ball-head mount for cameras.
There are also three hot shoes, so if you are recording on something smaller, like a mobile phone, you can use multiple devices at the same time.
There’s also a USB port on the light so you can plug your iPad (or phone) in and keep it charged.
How to Choose the Best Ring Light
First of all, you need to know your needs. What will you use the ring light for?
That will determine the size of the light you’ll need and also the kind of stand or height you’ll need.
For example, if you’re mainly going to be shooting products on a table, you’ll probably need a smaller ring light with a desk mount.
Whereas if you want to be filming yourself standing up, you’ll probably need a bigger light that comes with a tall tripod.
You’ll also need to look for adjustable brightness and a good range of well-rendered colour temperatures to help you get the effect you are looking for and to match your surroundings.
Here’s a summary of factors for choosing the best ring light:
- Size and Portability: The size of the ring light will affect the type of illumination you get. Larger ring lights offer a broader light source that can illuminate a larger area with less shadow and more even lighting. On the other hand, smaller ring lights are more portable and convenient for travel.
- Light Quality and Brightness: Look for a ring light that offers a high-quality light output with adjustable brightness levels. This will allow you to use the light for various scenarios and control the intensity of the light for your subjects.
- Colour Temperature Range: The ability to adjust colour temperature is crucial for matching the light with the ambient lighting conditions or setting a particular mood. A good ring light should offer a range from warm (yellow) to cool (blue) tones.
- Adjustability and Control: Some ring lights come with a dimmer switch or a remote control, which can be very handy for making quick adjustments during a shoot.
- Power Source: Consider whether you prefer a ring light plugging into an outlet or battery-powered for greater flexibility and portability.
- Mounting Options: Check how the ring light can be mounted or positioned. A stable and adjustable stand is important if you use it in different locations or need to adjust the height and angle frequently.
- Camera/Smartphone Compatibility: Ensure that the ring light you choose can work with the device you’ll be using, whether it’s a DSLR camera, a smartphone, or a webcam.
- Additional Accessories: Some ring lights come with additional accessories like a carrying case, mirror attachments, or colour filters, which can enhance your lighting setup.
- Durability: A well-constructed ring light can withstand regular use. Look for a model made with durable materials that can handle wear and tear, especially if you’ll be transporting it often.
- Price: Ring lights can vary widely in price, so consider how much you’re willing to spend and what features are non-negotiable for your needs.
- Brand and Warranty: Buying from a reputable brand often means better customer support and warranty options. A warranty can provide peace of mind that you can get help if your light malfunctions.
What Size of Ring Light is Best?
Different needs require different sizes of ring lights.
If you photograph small items, products like jewellery or watches, or even when photographing food, a smaller ring light, like a 10 or 12-inch, will do. The same goes for makeup tutorials.
Small lights are also good for streaming and selfies, as you must illuminate a smaller area and often need the light close to you. A larger light in these situations can cast unwanted shadows over your face.
Also, if you’re working alone rather than with an assistant, you’ll want to consider getting a smaller light as they are less hassle to set up and more portable.
Larger products need larger ring lights (from 18 inches upwards), as do subjects like people when you’re filming them for video content.
A good rule of thumb is to think about what area you need to illuminate and figure out your ring light size from there.
Frequently Asked Questions about Ring Lights
Which ring light brand is best?
There’s no right brand to buy, to be honest.
Most of the brands that sell ring lights are reputable and sell other lighting equipment other than ring lights.
Do your research and read reviews to ensure you’re getting the right ring light for you.
What is the best ring light for filming?
An 18-inch light is probably best for general filming as it casts an intense yet soft and flattering light that is not so bright that it bothers your eyes.
What ring light do professionals use?
Professionals use ring lights that are perfectly suited to their profession.
For example, a professional product photographer would likely use a smaller ring light that they can use in tight spaces and attach to tables. Still, a news anchor would use a large ring light on a tall stand to illuminate them indoors or outdoors when standing up.
Are ring lights good for streaming?
Yes, ring lights are good for streaming, as they brighten your feed.
Streaming video suffers from the same problem as any other footage if it’s poorly lit.
If the lighting is poor, it’s less pleasant to watch, and you risk having people turn off.
As a streamer, you don’t want that.
What ring lights do YouTubers use?
Since YouTubers shoot a great variety of content, they use almost every ring light out there.
However, you can be sure that YouTubers who are shooting beauty tutorials or product showcases will be using smaller ring lights, and anyone shooting in less tight spaces or with more of themselves showing will be using bigger-diameter ring lights.
What size ring light is best for TikTok?
Given the aspect ratio of TikTok content and how you would frame yourself to fill the screen, the best thing would be to use a medium-sized ring light, something like a 16-inch.
See also our guide to the best LED lights for TikTok.
Which ring light is best for beginners?
Honestly, any of them would work for beginners.
Ring lights are extremely simple to use and set up.
Even the most ‘professional’ standard ring lights have very few controls and settings to learn.
What colour ring light is best?
If you mean the colour of the light itself, then you need one that is bi-colour, which means it can emit warm and cold lighting.
If you mean the colour of the casing, most come in black, but you can also find brands that sell lights with, for example, pink or white casing, if that’s your thing.
How do I choose a makeup ring light?
The most popular size of makeup ring light is between 10 and 14 inches.
That’s big enough and bright enough to light a whole face and the details.
This size of light is also cheaper than bigger ones.
Which Neewer ring light is best?
The best Neewer ring light is the one that’s the size you need.
Neewer is a reputable lighting manufacturer, so all of its products are good quality.
You just need to ensure the one you invest in is right for your needs.
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