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Best lights for Zoom calls in 2022: smarten up your image with desktop lighting

Best lights for Zoom calls: Rotolight Video Conferencing Kit
(Image credit: Rotolight)

If you don't use lights for Zoom calls, now may be the time to start! As Zoom calls and other video conferencing platforms steadily replace face-to-face interactions for many of us, it’s important to have a set up that shows a clear, crisp image to better communicate with the human on the other side, whether for personal use or for a business. 

Whilst a decent webcam or dedicated camera can help capture more detailed images it’s the lighting that really makes the difference when it comes to looking good on camera. And in business, we all want to create the right professional appearance.

For some, purchasing a light for Zoom calls may seem extravagant, but many creatives such as photographers and filmmakers can double-up their use to produce stills photography and video content. Some models even feature in-built creative lighting effects to mimic fire, lightning, and emergency vehicles.

Lights come in all shapes and sizes and typically are all powered by LEDs due to their low energy consumption and longevity. Table-top models include integrated light stands, smartphone holders, and USB power to make it simple to set up with a laptop or computer. Slightly larger offerings bring more flexibility in LED brightness and color rendition for balancing color temperatures with ambient lighting. Bigger lights also create a more flattering light that hides spots and blemishes, producing a more polished image without the need to add filters.

So whether it’s an ultra portable light you need for better-looking Zoom calls whilst out of the office, or something a little more high-end that can remain fixed to the light stand at home, we’ve rounded up the best lights for Zoom calls right here.

Best lights for Zoom calls in 2022

(Image credit: Neewer)

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


Perfect for desktop use, it has an in-built smartphone holder for ideal lighting placement and composition

Specifications
Color temperature: 3200-5600K
Power Source: USB
Weight: 467g
Dimensions: 290 x 270 x 50mm
Reasons to buy
+Compact table-top design+Flexible phone mount
Reasons to avoid
-Limited color modes-Stand isn’t height adjustable

This 10-inch table-top LED ring light from Neewer has an in-built, adjustable smartphone holder perfect for Zoom calls and vlogging alike. An attractive integrated light stand can fold forward 90 degrees for table-top compositions to show documents or other types of flat lays. The stand isn’t height adjustable unfortunately, but it does have a universal 1/4" thread to mount to a light stand.

With three color modes to choose from it can easily match interior lighting for more realistic color and skin tones, though a dimmable slider option would be better for those requiring precise balancing. Powered by USB it plugs straight into a laptop or powerbank for quick startup.

(Image credit: Lumecube)

2. Lume Cube Cordless 12'' Ring Light Mini

A gorgeous mini ring light that works easily on location or in the office

Specifications
Color temperature: 3200-5600K
Power Source: Li-ion battery and mains
Weight: Not stated
Dimensions: 304 x 50mm
Reasons to buy
+Mount for cameras and phones+Comes with huge selection of accessories+CRI 97 rating for flicker-free results
Reasons to avoid
-1.5 hour run time only

This ring light from Lumecube is a small light with fantastic versatility. Capable of mounting both smartphones and cameras it’s possible to use this light with a DSLR or mirrorless camera weighing up to 4.5kg for capturing the best possible quality.

It ships with a whole host of accessories including a 198cm light stand, carry case, travel case, battery, battery charger, and AC power cord for unlimited use. On its lithium-ion battery it’ll run for a full 90 minutes at full power and has a good color temperature range for balancing with ambient light. It’s also rated up to CRI 97 for flicker-free Zoom calls.

(Image credit: Rotolight)

3. Rotolight Neo 2

Great for the content creators that also need a light for Zoom calls

Specifications
Color temperature: 3150-6300K
Power Source: AA batteries or Mains
Weight: 354g
Dimensions: 145 x 50mm
Reasons to buy
+No flicker+Great battery life
Reasons to avoid
-AA batteries only-Extra features unnecessary for zoom

The Rotolight Neo 2 is a ring-like LED panel light that works not only for Zoom calls but also suits the creative content producer who needs a good, portable light. Photographers and videographers may already be aware of this light and for good reason. It has a fully dimmable set of LEDs which can be white balanced from 3150K to a whopping 6300K for accurate color balancing. Not only does it operate as a continuous light source for video with flicker-free results, but it also outputs HSS flash pulses up to 1/8000 sec for capturing fast-paced action stills photography. 

It’ll sit discreetly on a tripod or light stand of any size meaning it’s ideal to use on the desk at home or out at the office. For more creative pursuits it also features CineFX custom lighting modes to mimic gunshots, fire, lightning, and more.

• Rotlight does make a Rotolight Video Conferencing Kit specifically for video calls which includes a desktop light stand – see the main image at the top of this article.

(Image credit: Neewer)

4. Neewer Dimmable Bi-color LED

Versatile LED panel that provides flattering light with its detachable diffusion panel

Specifications
Color temperature: 3200-5600K
Power Source: Li-ion battery and mains
Weight: 1680g
Dimensions: 325 x 305 x 75mm
Reasons to buy
+Powerful light output+Sturdy and robust build
Reasons to avoid
-Diffuser panel fiddly to fit-Power cable not long enough

This LED panel from Neewer is an attractive item for those that need a good Zoom light but require flexibility when it comes to lighting for photos or videos. A slim profile and robust metal finish makes it easy to transport for use out of the home office, too. 

Dimmable and capable of matching color temperatures between 3200-5600K it can render skin tones accurately. A universal 1/4" thread mounts directly to light stands and the U-mount bracket allows full vertical tilting. Also included is a useful diffusion panel for softer, more flattering light. 

(Image credit: LituFoto)

5. LituFoto R18

A smartphone-sized pocket rocket that lights up Zoom calls with ease and doubles as a power bank

Specifications
Color temperature: 3200-5600K
Power Source: Li-ion battery
Weight: 205g
Dimensions: 149 x 80mm
Reasons to buy
+Integrated power bank+Creative lighting modes
Reasons to avoid
-No mains connection-Small rear screen

About the size and weight of a smartphone this LED panel from LituFoto doubles as a power bank should you need to charge mobile devices when out and about. When fully charged though, this pocket rocket can output for up to 90 minutes and has three handy 1/4" threads to connect to light stands or selfie sticks.

Tactile button controls on the side of the device make it easy to operate and the screen on the rear of the device, though quite small, aids in accurate setup. Perfect for Zoom calls thanks to its compact design and simple operation it also benefits from creative lighting modes to mimic emergency vehicles, flash, or candlelight.

(Image credit: Manfrotto)

6. Manfrotto Lumimuse 8 LED

A tiny LED light with big light output for the extremely space-limited or commuter Zoom callers

Specifications
Color temperature: 5600K
Power Source: Li-ion battery
Weight: 175g
Dimensions: 115 x 71 x 21mm
Reasons to buy
+Ultra portable+High power output given size+Rechargeable li-ion battery
Reasons to avoid
-Snap-on color filters

Setting up a Zoom call but have limited desk space, or perhaps you just need some more light while in a virtual meeting while on a train? Then opt for the Lumimuse 8, a lithium-ion powered LED light that will easily add more light to your video call. It’s incredibly bright considering its compact dimensions and so lightweight it’s easy to throw in the pocket before leaving the house. 

Simply prop it up on the desk or attach it to one of Manfrotto’s many accessories for flexible positioning. The only drawback is a limited stepped brightness control and snap-on filters for adjusting color balance, but for most Zoom users it’s a great value LED panel to add a splash of light.

Jason Parnell-Brookes

Jason Parnell-Brookes is an Internationally award-winning photographer,  writer, and former Technique Editor of N-Photo magazine. He won Gold in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. Jason is a qualified teacher, Masters graduate and works with many high profile international clients.