The best ring lights have fast become the easiest and most affordable way to improve everything from video calls to YouTube videos to stylish portraits.
Once upon a time, the best ring lights were secret weapons of high-end photoshoots and music videos, but today you'll find them in the arsenal of everyone from vloggers and videographers to TikTokers and photographers.
Because they produce continuous lighting, they give you what-you-see-is-what-you-get results – so they're ideal to light subjects if you're new to shooting portraits. While they can't match the power output of the best flashguns or the best strobes, some ring lights do have flash modes or even High Speed Sync modes, boosting their power by up to 500% (with no recycle time).
Their continuous output obviously makes them perfect for capturing video, particularly with many ring lights' ability to adjust color temperature for true skin tones – something that makes them especially valuable for make-up and beauty vloggers and content creators.
Even if you don't have aspirations of making it big on YouTube, ring lights also come into their own in the new world of increased home working. Indeed, pair them with the best webcams and your home setup will instantly look more professional – vital for making the best impression when on an important video conference!
Lastly, if you want to shoot a different kind of close-up, check out our guide to the best ringflash for macro photography.
Best ring lights in 2021
The Razer Ring Light does everything you could ask for. It packs all the power you'd want from a 12-inch USB product, the light quality is excellent and the build quality is superb – especially the bundled tripod, which unlike those included with most ring lights is sturdy and substantial.
Third-party brands are cheaper, mains-powered options are brighter, but this strikes the perfect balance and is a fantastic everyday ring light – and one that's well worthy of the Razer name. If you're in the market for a portable 12-inch ring light for streaming, video conferencing and vlogging, this won't let you down.
At first glance the Lume Cube Wireless Ring Light seems overpriced, compared to other options. However, drill down into what you actually get and it offers good value: not only do you get a brilliant ring light, which can run on mains power or for up to 90 minutes on batteries (which are supplied), an LED readout to monitor your settings, and an immensely useful 6.5ft light stand.
This is our favorite 18-inch ring light. It's ideal for shooting portraiture, filming vlogs and videos, and giving you the flexibility to work wirelessly either on location, in studio or anywhere you might need to move the light around. The strength of the plastic mounting bracket is the only question mark, so if you plan to take a lot of top-down shots for flat lays or unboxings then you might want to try before you buy. For the 90% of people who use ring lights upright, though, look no further.
Many people who are looking for a ring light don't necessarily need loads of fancy bells and whistles. They just want something simple that works, and in that regard, the Neewer 10-inch LED Ring Light is an excellent choice. It's on the smaller side for a ring light, but still a perfectly good size for self-taping, vlogging, TikToks and other quick and easy uses. It plugs in via USB, and comes with a 54-inch tripod, meaning it's very easy to get started the instant you take the Neewer 10-inch LED Ring Light out of its box.
You don't get the sophisticated features of some other ring lights on this list like those from Rotolight, and there are also larger lights available, including from Neewer themselves. But the Neewer 10-inch LED Ring Light is an all-around solid choice that will suit the vast majority of users perfectly, and that's why it nabs our top spot. The bottom line is: if you're looking for a ring light, this will almost certainly fit the bill.
The ESDDI PLV-R432 is a beefy 18-inch ring light that kicks out 48W of power from 432 LEDs. It's big and bright enough to work as a key light for sumptuous portraits with that unique "ring light look", producing soft illumination and circular catchlights. It's also ideal for videos and vlogs, providing useful key or fill to soften shadows and even out lighting when presenting to camera. Its sheer size makes it perfect for beauty and makeup work, too, giving you plenty of room and abundant light.
This kit includes everything you need to get going, with a 6-foot light stand and padded travel case. Prominent dials adjust brightness and temperature, and the light can even rotate 180°, making it useful for shooting flat lays or macro work. Sadly the bundled phone holder isn't terribly sturdy, and you can't mount a camera to the light – so you'll need to set up a separate tripod to use a DSLR or mirrorless body if you're filming yourself.
Note: The ESDDI PLV-R432 18-inch Ring Light is becoming harder to get outside the US, so international users may want to consider some of the other options on our list.
Okay, so the Neo 2 is technically a ring-shaped light – though for most people it will do exactly what they want it to. Since it isn't a truly donut-shaped light source, it won't achieve the same sculpted softness or circular catchlights for portraits. What it will do, however, is deliver a whopping 1,840 lux (a little lower than the claimed 2,000) at a distance of 3 feet, making it an ideal key or fill light for both stills and video (especially when it can be modified with everything from barn doors to softboxes). Powered by six AA batteries, the Neo 2 can also be powered by a mains adaptor for up to 500% more power in flash mode.
The Rotolight RL48-B Stealth was one of our favorite portable ring lights in years past, but disappeared from the market a while ago. Now it's back in an all-in-one kit, which also includes a Rotolight mini tripod, stand adapter, phone clip and accessory bar – making it the perfect partner for a tabletop smartphone setup. While this kit is geared towards phones, the RL-48 is also an ideal on-camera light for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. The Neo 2 is a bit heavy and unwieldy for the hotshoe, but this smaller model is just the right size (though this kit doesn't include a foot for the shoe), and the hole in the middle is perfect to poke a microphone through!
If bigger is better then Neewer's 20-inch option is the way to go! While it's the largest ring light on offer here, with 44W of dimmable output from 352 LEDs, it doesn't have quite as much power or temperature range as ESDDI's 18-inch 48W model. However, larger light sources are softer – and the Neewer offers the option of battery power in addition to mains, compatible with the versatile NP-F550 / F970 family (two batteries and a charger are included, though you'll lose about 10W of output compared to mains power). Also bundled are a 6'5" light stand, ball head adapter and vertical / horizontal phone holder, wireless remote and carry case. If you're looking for a true ring light with the largest light spread and wire-free shooting, you've found it.
If you're looking to add a splash of color to your images or videos – or if you want a ring light that can double as a cool mood light to perk up a room when not in use – the Smoovie LED Colour Stream will be right up your alley. It features 16 RGB colors and 9 light modes, from pulsing colors to cycling through the spectrum. It also features Natural, Soft and Warm white lighting, which mimics traditional color temperates for use in natural and artificial light conditions. Available in both 6- and 8-inch options to suit your needs, it also comes with a collapsible telescoping tripod and also (at the time of writing) includes a free 3,000 mAh power bank as well.
If the Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit is too pricey, then this tabletop equivalent from ESDDI is a pocket-friendly alternative. Just bear in mind, though, that while it's much less expensive, it's also much less powerful, at just 10W output compared to the equivalent 80W of the Rotolight RL48. That said, it's more powerful than the similar 10-inch model from Neewer (which produces 8W of power), and while not dimmable it has three levels of brightness. The ESDDI 10-inch ring light is Ideal for smartphone shooters, with a two-way grip that holds your handset both horizontally and vertically, along with a Bluetooth remote for stills and video. And since it's USB-powered, you can run it from a power bank and use it anywhere.
Sometimes you only need a little light – and sometimes, you need a literally little light that you can throw in your laptop bag or handbag for when you need illumination on the move. This is where the handy Xinbaohong Clip-On Selfie Light comes into play – a brilliant mini ring light that clips onto anything 18mm or thinner. That means you can attach it to your phone for perfect selfies in a nightclub, or put it on your laptop to give you a key light when you're working on the road and need to dial in from a hotel room or coffee shop. Stick it on your tablet, your monitor, even clip it into the sun visor to give you better light in your car – it's so cheap that you should definitely get one to keep in your bag!
Ring Lights are fantastic but, unless you're sitting at a desk or table, you might struggle to find a surface or enough space to erect a tripod. The Smoovie Flexi Selfie Ring Light solves this problem by providing you with a flexible clip arm, which means that you can mount your light virtually anywhere – the edge of a shelf, a window sill, a radiator, the interior of your car… it goes where tripods can't! The clip also has a second flexible arm that can hold your camera phone, so this can either be used strictly as an adaptable ring light or as a dedicated smartphone setup. The light can be adjusted to three tones of white to match daylight or artificial conditions, and the brightness can be adjusted too.
More buying guides:
The best LED light panels: portable lighting for photography and video
Best video lights: continuous video lighting for vlogging and filmmaking
The best photography lighting kits: for studio, location and video
The best webcams for home working
The best camera for streaming