If you examine the photos ring light retailers use to promote their products, you might expect the only people who put these devices to use are young models obsessed with taking the perfect bathroom mirror selfie. And, sure, social media mavens definitely depend on ring lights for their social media photos. But in the age of ubiquitous video conferences and remote work, the ring light serves multiple masters.
For the more vain among us, a ring light provides an even enveloping light for taking selfies, videos and livestreams. For work-from-home warriors, the ring light can create a better image for Zoom, Skype or FaceTime video conferences. The right lighting can make a big difference when you’re making a first impression remotely. Dim lighting always looks more unprofessional, and the best ring lights offer a simple and affordable solution.
On a technical level, the reason why this happens is because in low light, your camera sensor has to crank up its ISO to let more light in so that you’re actually visible. But when that happens, there’s more noise introduced into the picture (you know, that super-grainy look) which leaves you looking less than flattering.
As its name makes clear, the ring light is an angled circle of focused illumination designed especially for modern cameras, webcams and video feeds. Even the best ring lights are still affordable, and the options below include various features to meet your basic lighting needs. Any of the products below will suit lighting needs for a variety of purposes — but to aid you in your quest for perfect lighting we’ve divided this piece up into the best ring lights for video conferencing, influencers streaming and professional-looking video/photography. The lights for video conferencing are smaller and designed to take up as little space as possible on a desk so you don’t look like a zombie on your 9am team huddle call. The lights for influencers are portable, easy to set up and perfect for selfies. The lights for video/photography are at a more professional caliber and while they are more expensive, the quality pays for itself in what your work will look like.
Best Ring Lights for Zoom Calls
1. UBeesize 8″ Selfie Ring Light
BEST SMALL RING LIGHT
If you often use your smartphone for video conferences and need a small ring light that’ll fit on your desk — then this is absolutely your best bet. We’ve written about the UBeesize 8″ Selfie Ring Light before, as it’s a simple but reliable solution to your lighting woes. With a tripod, phone holder, multiple light settings and a remote selfie button, it’s one of the best ring lights for social media influencers in the making.
2. Baufuy 10-Inch Ring Light
If you only need to light a small area, like your home work desk, then this smaller ring light is a great option. It comes with a double-sided mirror mounted inside of it which offers 1X and 2X magnification, so it’s great for your desk or a makeup vanity. The light has three color options you can choose between — warm, natural and white — and nine different speed flash levels if you’re going to be using it for photo shoots. It also has a metal shell around the light that dissipates the heat more efficiently than plastic to protect items around it from melting. It also comes with two different tripod stands, one taller and one much shorter, as well as a smartphone holder that can extend between 2.6″-3.5″ and accommodate most smartphones.
3. Rotolight Video Conferencing Kit
BEST RING LIGHT FOR VIDEO CONFERENCING
So you’ve decided that your setup for work Zoom calls isn’t cutting it, but you don’t necessarily need a studio-grade lighting solution for those twice-weekly, 30-minute meetings. The Rotolight Video Conferencing Kit combines the lighting manufacturer’s NEO 2 ring light with a compact desk stand which helps you quickly and easily integrate this thing into your video conferencing setup. Powered by six AA batteries (or an AC adapter), the Rotolight can more than 1000 Lumens, while having a CRI color accuracy rating of 96. Color temperature and brightness are both fully adjustable and the four different diffusion filters ensure you have the best light on you at all times.
Best Ring Lights for Influencers
4. Neewer Dimmable LED Ring Light
We’re starting off big, bright and bold with this pick. This 18″ ring light is large, but the bright LED light is dimmable depending on your needs. The kit includes the LED ring light, white and orange color filters if you’re interested in experimenting with different hues, a stand and a smartphone holder. There are 240 LED bulbs inside that have a dimming range between 1-100% with no steps so you can get the exact light level you prefer. The light is lightweight, portable and built on a flexible soft tube up top that’s easy to adjust. The stand is made of aluminum alloy that’s strong but light, and the stand also includes a place to attach a DSLR camera up top. The light quality is superb and with the ability to reliably adjust its color and brightness, this ring light is perfect for anything from a photoshoot to looking great on your FaceTimes.
5. Beam Electronics 10-Inch Selfie Ring Light
The Beam Electronics Ring Light includes all of the light functions expected of such a device, but it stands up to big spaces with an upgraded adjustable tripod stand using flip locks and a weighted tripod base for stability. That tripod stand extends from 17.5 to 59 inches high, and the phone holder rotates to horizontal, vertical, high-angle, low-angle and other positions. The spring-loaded phone holder extends up to 3.6 inches wide to take on any smartphone.
6. Auxiwa Clip-On Selfie Ring Light
BEST POCKET-SIZED RING LIGHT
For the influencers out there on a budget, there are times when you need to get the perfect selfie off and you’re not able to carry an entire studio’s worth of gear around to do so. Luckily, for the price of an avocado toast, you can grab this little clip on ring light which has 36 LEDs and three brightness settings to help you achieve photographic perfection. Even better, this has a rechargeable battery that should last you at least a couple of hours per charge, ensure your next viral moment isn’t ruined by a sub-optimal lighting situation and a dead ring light.
7. QI-EU 10.2-Inch Ring Light
Armed with 120 dimmable LED bulbs, the QI-EU selfie ring toughens up with its iron foldable desktop tripod. The phone holder rotates 360 degrees to catch the right angle and will support iPhones and Android devices vertically or horizontally. If you connect your phone via Bluetooth to the remote, you can control your device from within the ring without needing to download any app.
8. UBeesize 10″ Selfie Ring Light
There are ring lights with phone holders, and ring lights used as selfie rings. This UBeesize 10″ ring light combines the two into one thanks to three dimmable color lights with 11 adjustable brightness levels for each color. The tripod legs can extend or minimize between 16″ and 50″ depending on your preference, and the ring is big enough to place a smartphone inside so you can orient the light directly rather than at an angle. This ring light also comes with a Bluetooth remote that operates with a range large enough for any room, and the universal mobile phone holder inside the ring will adjust to fit your device.
Best Ring Lights for Professional Video and Photography
10. Savage Luminous Pro 17″ Ring Light
BEST RING LIGHT SPLURGE FOR VIDEO
For the filmmakers, YouTubers and Twitch streamers out there who want to take their game to the next level, the Savage Luminous Pro is here to deliver results. This ring light has 480 daylight-balanced LED chips that can produce up to 5300 lumens of light on the cooler 4200K end of the Kelvin spectrum giving you plenty of brightness in the dimmest lighting environments. And for those looking to shoot on the move, this thing is also battery powered, able to produce continuous light for up to 75 minutes on a single charge.
But for the more advanced users out there, there’s plenty to love. The power levels and color temperature of the Luminous Pro are fully adjustable, and there’s a shoe mount which will let you stick a phone or camera at the bottom of the ring to ensure your shot looks as natural as possible. Plus, this thing comes with a remote and an LCD screen that offers up info such as the current power level, color temperature and remaining battery life. All in all, this is a high-end option that will yield top-notch results for anyone who can afford to throw down on it.
11. Godox Witstro AR400 Ring Flash
BEST RING FLASH SPLURGE FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
While you most commonly see ring lights used for video work, a ring flash can also be a great tool for a photographer, able to evenly light the subject and yield a dramatic final result. The Godox Witstro is a 400W, pro-grade flash that is designed to mount in front of your DSLR lens and can produce a flash at 22 different power levels, giving you complete control over the shadow-free lighting. But this thing can also pull double duty as a video ring light, as its capable of emitting 5600K light at 440 lux. This thing might not be cheap, but if you’re serious about your photography, it’s built to take your shots to the next level.
If a ring light feels like a bit too much and you’d rather go with something a bit more subtle or versatile, we’ve included other desk lighting options for the work from home life that have emerged as possibilities recently. It never hurts to think outside the box with your workspace, and these lighting options take up less space and are more widely applicable than your standard ring light. However, If you’re in the digital space and looking for a light for photo shoots or content creation, we still do recommend the picks above.
11. Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit
This lighting cube sticks to your laptop and brightens up your face without creating a glare or distracting you with blinding light. It has a soft and professional light that comes from a frosted lens and additional white diffusers that give you the ability to adjust and soften the light to your liking. You can control the brightness between 1-100% and choose between an orange and white light depending on which is more flattering. It includes a suction cup that easily mounts on most computers and has a built-in extended battery with house and house of life. It also comes with the option to plug it into the USB port on your computer and run off of external power.
12. Video Conference Lighting Kit
BEST FOR REMOTE WORK
Okay, so technically this is still a ring light but it’s mini which is an alternative to the bigger setups above. This 3200k-5400k dimmable LED ring light is easy to clip onto your laptop for calls on the go so no matter where you are you’ll still have good, professional lighting. This 48 LED light comes with 360 degree adjustment if needed, and it’s clip-on so it works with all laptops. You can adjust the color brightness and temperature depending on what you’re looking for, and it’s super small, portable and easy to carry so your lighting needs won’t weigh you down.