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The best ring lights for YouTube, Zoom, videos and more

Included in this guide:

Best ring lights: woman using smartphone and ring light
(Image credit: Cottonbro on Pexels)

The best ring lights are a great low-cost, high quality lighting solution. Whether you're a vlogger who needs to up their game, wants to look better on video conferences, or needs a light to improve your stills, ring lights are a great, highly affordable option. 

The benefit of a ring light is that it produces effortlessly soft shadows that complement portraits by reducing the appearance of blemishes, spots and other skin issues. Ring lights are powered by LED making them smaller, lighter and much more affordable.

The things that set apart one LED ring light from another these days are the amount of LEDs (and therefore how diffuse and possibly how bright the light is), and the control you have over the colour and brightness of the light. Some more sophisticated models even 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. 

We've picked out a range of the best ring lights for most use cases. Whatever your needs, you should be able to find the right ring light for you and quickly upgrade the look of your videos, photos and even Zoom calls. And if you're looking to upgrade more of your hardware, don't miss our pick of the best cameras for vlogging, the best camera for YouTube or best webcams

The best ring lights available now

Best ring light: Fositan 12-inch ring lightCB

(Image credit: Fositan)

01. Fositan 12-inch LED Ring Light Kit

The best ring light for YouTube

Specifications
Colour temperature: 3200-5500k
Weight: 2.98kg
Power source: Mains
Dimensions: 52 x 46 x 10cm
Reasons to buy
+
Useable size for variety of applications
+
Phone holder mounted in centre
+
1/4" hot shoe adapter
Reasons to avoid
-
Mains power only
-
Light gels only to change colour

An incredible price and simple operation make the Fositan 12" ring light easily the best ring light and good value for money to boot. Powered by 180 SMD LEDs can be dimmed but are perfectly balanced for accurate colour rendition thanks to the 5500K colour temperature. Lihgt filter gels adjust the colour balance of this ring light, dropping the accurate and flat 5500K white light down to 3200K which matches Tungsten lightbulbs easily to produce universal colour across interior lighting. A general purpose 1/4" hot shoe mount and phone holder come with the kit to make it simple to mount a smartphone to the centre of the ring light for maximum halo effect.

It also ships with a handy light stand that's over 2.1m tall and holds the light sturdily even while tilting forward and back 90 degrees for the perfect composition.  The stand's legs even collapse backwards on itself to pack down small and tidy away without fuss.

Best ring light: Neewer Table Top 10-inch USB LED Ring LightCB endorsed

(Image credit: Neewer)

02. Neewer Table Top 10-inch USB LED Ring Light

The best ring light for Zoom calls

Specifications
Colour temperature: 3200K-5600K
Weight: 467g
Power source: USB
Dimensions: 29 x 27 x 5cm
Reasons to buy
+
Built for desktop use
+
Lots of settings
+
Built-in phone holder
Reasons to avoid
-
Not as versatile as other ring lights

Hitting the Zoom calls all day for work meetings often means lots of paperwork filling the desktop space, so if you're running out of places to put things this handy little desktop-based ring light may be the one for you. Fortunately, this 10-inch ring light from Neewer is one of the best ring lights for Zoom calls and makes things nice and simple with its handy desktop stand. Plug in to the USB ports on your computer or dock and the lights stay powered on when live streaming or recording a video on your computer without needing a power point - that means it's as portable as you are. There's a built-in, flexible phone holder to orientate the phone in any orientation and get the perfect composition while recording.

With 120 LEDs it'll light you up well even in the darkest corner of the home office, and there are three light modes as well as 10 brightness levels, so with a bit of experimentation you'll quickly find a lighting setup that shows you at your best.

Best ring light: Neewer 20-inch LED Ring Light Kit

(Image credit: Neewer)

03. Neewer 20-inch LED Ring Light Kit

The best big ring light for pro illumination anywhere

Specifications
Colour temperature: 3200k to 5600k
Weight: 5.4kg
Power source: Mains/battery
Dimensions: 69.5 x 10.5 x 74cm
Reasons to buy
+
Massive 20-inch light
+
Mains and battery power
+
Impressive stand
Reasons to avoid
-
Plastic stand mount

The most flattering light generally the one that's biggest and most diffuse as it produces softer shadows which are kinder to facial features. Neewer have recognised this with a huge 20-inch model, packed with 352 LEDs that are customisable to a wide white balance range for ultimate control. While it'll take mains power at home or in your studio, if you need to go portable it can also run off Li-ion batteries for improved portability. 

The Neewer 20" is a little bigger than most on this list and so requires a sturdy base, luckily the heavy-duty stand is adjustable from a minimum height of 90cm up to a maximum of two metres. Extras come in the form of a phone holder for faff-free videos and a hot shoe for mounting other digital cameras or accessories.

Best ring light: Mactrem LED Ring Light 6"CB endorsed

(Image credit: Mactrem)

04. Mactrem LED Ring Light 6"

The best ring light for iPhone

Specifications
Colour temperature: Not specified
Weight: 440g
Power source: USB
Dimensions: 29x 19 x 4.2cm
Reasons to buy
+
Compact and lightweight
+
Adjustable settings
+
Lots of extras
Reasons to avoid
-
Not as powerful as other models
-
Separate phone holder

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.

As if that wasn't enough, Mactrem make sure it ships 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. Being design 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.

Best ring light: Neewer 12-inch RGB Ring Light

(Image credit: Neewer)

05. Neewer 12-inch RGB Ring Light

The best ring light for added colour

Specifications
Colour temperature: Not specified
Weight: 1.5kg
Power source: USB
Dimensions: 38 x 28.3 x 9.5cm
Reasons to buy
+
16 colours
+
Four lighting modes
+
Tripod, remotes and phone holders included
Reasons to avoid
-
Lacks full RGB control

Ring lights with light filter gels that snap on to the front help to match the 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.

Best ring light: Neewer Camera Photo Video Lighting Kit

(Image credit: Neewer)

06. Neewer Camera Photo Video Lighting Kit

The best ring light for your home studio

Specifications
Colour temperature: 5500K
Weight: 5.2kg
Power source: Mains
Dimensions: 61.4 x 51.3 x 11.2cm
Reasons to buy
+
Big ring light
+
Fine lighting controls
+
Good for DSLRs
Reasons to avoid
-
Mains only

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.

Best ring light: Ivisii 19 inch Ring Light

(Image credit: Ivisii)

07. Ivisii 19 inch Ring Light

The best ring light for creative control

Specifications
Colour temperature: 3000K-5800K
Weight: 5.12kg
Power source: Mains
Dimensions: 58 x 51 x 11cm
Reasons to buy
+
Powerful lighting
+
Versatile colour options
+
iPad holder included
Reasons to avoid
-
Mains only

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.

Best ring light: Rotolight Neo 2

(Image credit: Rotolight)

08. Rotolight Neo 2

The best ring light for video and stills

Specifications
Colour temperature: 3150k to 6300K,
Weight: 354g
Power source: AA batteries or DC
Dimensions: 14.5 x 5 cm
Reasons to buy
+
Flicker-free
+
HSS flash
+
Custom lighting FX
Reasons to avoid
-
No lithium-ion battery

Don't shoot the messenger but we're aware this compact dazzler isn't strictly a true ring light, but 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.

What size ring light should I get?

Generally, the bigger the light source is in relation to the subject, the more flattering the image. That's because bigger light sources produce softer shadows which fall more gracefully across the face, hiding skin blemishes and smoothing out features. But it's not just a massive light you'll need, a smaller light placed much closer can provide similar effects. However, it's important to bear in mind the size of your recording space. If a small, desktop-mounted ring light is all you can fit in, then move the light closer to you.

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.

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.

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Jim McCauley is a writer, cat-wrangler and occasional street performer who's written for a multitude of publications over the past quarter of a century, including Creative Bloq, T3, PC Gamer and a whole load of long-dead print magazines.