The best ring lights for Zoom, YouTube, live streaming and more
The best ring lights are a wonderful lighting solution for Zoom calls and photography as well as for TikTokkers, YouTubers and live streamers. They’re cheap, versatile and easy to use, allowing you to brighten up your face while you’re talking to the camera, or to cast light on objects that you might want to film or photograph.
If you’ve ever wondered how influencers on TikTok or Instagram managed to get the right light for their videos, it’s probably because they’re using one of the best ring lights behind the camera. There’s actually a giveaway sign – see if you can spot a tell-tale ring-shaped glint in the person’s pupils in the next videos you see. Most ring lights are very simple setups – usually an arrangement of LED bulbs but sometimes they have a single fluorescent tube. It’s this arrangement that creates a flattering light that’s perfect for selfies and videos,
There are some very, very cheap ring lights around – sometimes too good to be of any use. This means that it’s worth checking what you’re going to buy – for example, the number of LEDs (generally, the more the better for a more flattering light that you don’t need to have so close to your face). In our guide below, we’ve picked out what we think are the best right lights based on reliability, maximum brightness, features like dimming and colour control, value and customer feedback (see more about how we test and review). If you’re unsure of what to look for in the best ring light, we answer some of the most common questions at the bottom of this guide.
If you’re looking for more tools to give your videos a more professional look, see our pick of the best cameras for vlogging and the best camera for YouTube. And if you’re wanting to enhance the look of Zoom calls, see our pick of the best webcams and the best monitors with webcams.
The best ring lights available now
Joby is a well-established brand for photo and video accessories, so its name alone offers some reassurance about the quality of this ring light. And we found that the Beamo ring light does live up to the brand’s reputation, being as well made as Joby’s flexible GorillaPod tripod. Where it particularly excels, however, is in the versatility it offers for customisation and adding additional accessories.
There are three cold shoe mounts around the Beamo ring light, which you can use to attach additional accessories. A microphone is an obvious choice, though you may also want a smartphone clamp or tablet stand if you need to hold an autocue script where you can see it – just be aware they’re sold separately. The Beamo is also easy to use with other Joby products like the GorillaPod we mentioned, so you have a range of options for standing and mounting it.
Of course, this would also mean nothing if the light itself were no good, but e found the Beamo to offer a solid brightness of 100 lux at 1m, which is just what most people will need. The ring light also has 10-step dimming, which we found very useful for adjusting the level of light to just how we wanted it. It also has an adjustable colour temperature from 3000K to 5600K, which is very handy for matching any ambient light around you.
If you’re going to be starring in more Zoom calls than TikTok videos, you might prefer to consider a simple desktop ring light like the Neewer Table Top. It’s a 10-inch light, so smaller than others on the list, but its desktop setup means it’s naturally going to be closer to your face anyway, so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
There are a lot of sensible design choice in this light, such as the USB connectivity that allows the light to be powered from your computer – perfect for long calls or marathon streaming sessions. Also, it has a built-in flexible phone holder that allows you to position and orientate your phone for the ideal framing.
Despite its small size, the Neewer Table Top ring light packs in 120 LEDs, meaning you should have plenty of illumination even if you’re broadcasting from a dark broom cupboard (we’ve all been there). The ten brightness levels also give you good flexibility. While it’s probably too small to be used as anything other than a close-up desktop light, the Neewer Table Top ring light is a great choice for keeping clutter down – and it comes at a pretty reasonable price, too.
A large ring light is often better for creating a flattering look, with diffuse lighting and softer shadows. The Neewer 20-inch LED Ring Light Kit goes big, with a 20-inch diameter and an impressive 352 LEDs, but it’s not as unwieldy as you might think. As well as mains power, the Neewer 20-inch LED Ring Light Kit can also run off lithium-ion batteries, making it portable and versatile despite its size.
Still, this is a big light, and won’t be for everyone. Its heavy-duty stand is adjustable from 90cm up to 2m, and has a sturdy base so you can be confident that it won’t topple over easily. There are also some handy extra accessories included, like a phone holder that makes it easier to shoot hands-free. The hot-shoe also allows you to mount a microphone or whatever else you like. Geared towards more advanced social creatives, this is an impressive ring light kit.
This ring light from Mactrem is small, light and suitable for anyone shooting on location from an iPhone or other smartphone that wants to brighten up their photos or videos. The light itself has three colour temperature settings to balance with other ambient lights, 11 brightness levels for greater flexibility over the lighting and suits those looking for a small fill light to brighten the face whether inside or out.
Mactrem ships it with additional accessories to make the shooting process smooth and painless by shipping with a mini tripod for your iPhone to refine the perfect composition while using the light on a separate stand. Just note that as this is designed to be mobile it doesn’t have a power supply built-in so you’ll need to supply a USB power bank to get the light going.
Ring lights with light filter gels that snap onto the front help to match cool white lights with existing ambient lighting such as lamps or ceiling lights through the use of orange tints. However, if you want to get a little more creative with your ring light then this RGB model from Neewer is the one to go for. There are 16 RGB colours to choose from, all of which are fully dimmable. Creative lighting controls are available with up to four different modes which include: smooth, strobe, fade and flash which provide many alternative lighting options to experiment with.
The light comes with two remote controls – one for the ring light itself, plus a Bluetooth remote for your phone. The tripod extends up to 54 inches and has two phone holders: one inside the ring light and another on the tripod leg.
Ideal as a home studio ring light, this 18-inch model from Neewer is filled with 240 LEDs balanced to a colour temperature of 5500K. The light can be perfectly harmonised with other light sources by using the in-built dimming which ranges from 1 to 100%.
The ring light has dimming controls to customise brightness, and while there are no dedicated colour controls the attachable filters in combination with the brightness dimming can be used to refine exact colour temperature as required. It has a lightweight but strong tripod, and, as well as a phone holder, it also comes with a hot shoe so that you can mount a dedicated camera like a DSLR or another type of camera like a GoPro.
For iPad users who like to do all their work on the do-it-all device this mega rig from Ivisii may be just the ticket. Able to accommodate the iPads rather bulkier dimensions thanks to its wide 19″ diameter and tablet adapter, it also provides a wonderfully soft halo light due to its size. Of course, smartphone, DSLR and mirrorless camera users aren’t snubbed as there’s multiple adapter options that ship with this ring light kit.
The light gives full control over both colour temperature and brightness. It produces excellently bright white light when boosted to full power and, for more creative control, it comes with a set of green, blue, red and white filters which can be mixed together for multicolour lighting styles.
Don’t shoot the messenger – we’re aware this compact dazzler isn’t strictly a true ring light. However, considering it has a ring shape and gives very similar results, we thought it was worth including. The Rotolight Neo 2 packs a real punch, both in terms of light output and customisability. The benefit of the Neo 2 is that it has controls for dimming and colour temperature with extreme accuracy making it ideal for continuous lighting for filmmakers or photographers. It also has a High Speed Sync (HSS) feature to freeze moving photography subjects at up to 1/8000 sec, helpful when using in conjunction with a DSLR or mirrorless camera capable of shooting fast shutter speeds.
It’s unique in this line-up in that the Neo 2 also uses CineSFX custom lighting to replicate real-world lighting situations. Such examples include: lightning, fire, TV, Gunshot and more. Powered by 6 x AA batteries it can continuously light at full power for up to 1.5 hours or 85,000 flashes providing plenty of power for a shoot on location, and this lasts much longer when dimmed down.
How do I choose the best ring lights?
At first glance, most ring lights look pretty similar. However, there are a few criteria we’ve looked for when making our pick of the best ring lights above to make sure that they’re each worth the investment. The most important things to consider are the size of the ring and the number of LEDs, since this will affect brightness and thus how close you need to be to the light source.
Also, the more LEDs, the softer and more diffuse the quality of light, which makes it more flattering, reducing the prominence of skin blemishes and spots. In our list above, we’ve also looked for options with dimming/brightness controls, versatility (i.e., whether the ring lights can support different types of camera) and reliability, which is what often influences the reputation of a brand.
What size ring light should I buy?
The larger the ring light, the softer and more pleasing the quality of light it provides. When making our picks for our list of the best ring lights, we generally looked for a minimum size limit of at least 12 inches in diameter as we believe this provides the required balance of light quality and price. There’s one exception – the little 6-inch light from Mactrem, which is a solution for those who want something ultra-portable for making videos on the go, but otherwise, every product is at least 12 inches in diameter, and in some cases considerably more.
Apart from size, another thing that sets apart one LED ring light from another is the amount of LEDs, which affects how diffuse and possibly how bright the light is. We’ve made sure to include products with plenty of LEDs for this reason.
What controls should a ring light have?
Most people will benefit from choosing one of the best ring lights with a dimming/brightness control: Having a ring light that allows you to control the brightness will make life a lot easier – if the brightness is fixed, then your only option if the light level is wrong is to move the light closer or further away. A dimming control allows you to place the light where you want it and change the strength of the light as required.
Do I need a ring light with changing colour temperature?
Most users can get by with just white LED ring lights, as this is the easiest way to get accurate, true-to-life colours. However, for those wanting to balance other available light, like tungsten light bulbs, or refining light based on skin tone, then a ring light with colour temperature control might be something to consider. They come either with snap-on filters or are controllable with onboard knobs, depending on the model.
Some sophisticated models have options for altering RGB colours, making them ultra customisable, whereas others have filtered gels that sit over the LEDs themselves. Professional-grade LED lights may also even feature creative lighting effects to mimic natural lighting such as lightning, gunshots or campfires.
Are battery-powered ring lights worth it?
It really depends if you need to be able to take the light outside or on location. Some models are mains only and as such can be a little less expensive because of the extra connections and electronics required to accept batteries, but there are models that offer both.
By having the option to both plug-in to the mains or draw power from a battery on a ring light is the most flexible option as it allows both studio and location lighting. But ring lights with both are often pricier than models that stick to just one or the other. If you’re filming for long periods inside, stick with a mains-powered ring light. But if you’re going to be outside and can film in shorter bursts then opt for a battery-powered light.
Which is the best ring light brand?
The popularity of ring lights on platforms like TikTok has meant that there are a lot of cheap ring lights out there, and it can be tough to sort through. For this list, we’ve stuck with reputable, well-regarded brands like Joby, Neewer and Rotolight. These manufacturers make well-priced lights, but you can rest assured they’ll still offer a decent level of quality, and won’t be flimsy pieces of equipment that simply fall apart after a short length of time.
Can ring lights hold different cameras?
A useful feature to look for in the best ring lights is support for different cameras. The best ring lights are not only good for lighting up a subject, but can also be modified with ease to support different types of camera, or interfaced well with other useful video accessories like microphones. Part of the reason we rate so highly the Joby Beamo, our number 1 pick as the best ring light overall, is because its built-in cold shoe supports make it easy to add other accessories for a do-it-all video setup. We’ve also included products that will work well with different types of video setup, like the Ivisii 19 inch Ring Light, which is a particularly good choice for those capturing video on an iPad.