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Best ring light in 2021: beautiful lighting for vlogging, video calls and selfies

Best ring lights in 2020
The ESDDI PLV-R432 is one of the best ring lights you can buy (Image credit: ESDDI)

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

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Razer)

1. Razer Ring Light

The best 12-inch ring light

Specifications
Color temperature: 3,000K / 4,500K / 6,500K
Power source: USB
Dimensions: 300mm outer diameter, 241mm inner diameter
Weight: 260g
Reasons to buy
+Great light quality+Great build quality+Brilliant tripod included
Reasons to avoid
-USB power only

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. 

Recommended

(Image credit: Lume Cube)

2. Lume Cube Wireless Light

The best portable ring light packs a powerful punch

Specifications
Color temperature: 3200-5600K
Power source: Li-Ion batteries, mains
Dimensions: 18 inches
Reasons to buy
+Mains or 90 minutes of wireless power+LED readout for settings+6.5-foot light stand included
Reasons to avoid
-Pricier than rivals

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.

(Image credit: Neewer)

3. Neewer 10-inch LED Ring Light

The best simple ring-light for TikTok

Specifications
Color temperature: 3200k-6000k
Power source: USB
Dimensions: 380x283x950 mm
Weight: 1.3kg
Reasons to buy
+Easy to operate+Small and portable+Tripod included
Reasons to avoid
-USB power only

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.

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. ESDDI PLV-R432 18-inch Ring Light

Best ring light for YouTube – big, bright and bicolor

Specifications
Color temperature: 3000K-6500K
Power source: Mains power
Dimensions: 458mm outer dia / 318mm inner dia
Reasons to buy
+18-inch diameter with 48W power+Includes light stand, case, phone clip
Reasons to avoid
-Requires lots of space-Phone holder isn't great

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.

(Image credit: Rotolight)

5. Rotolight Neo 2

Best ring light for webcam video calls

Specifications
Color temperature: 3150-6300K
Power source: 6x AA batteries, D-Tap port, AC adapter
Dimensions: 150x45mm
Weight: 354g (504g with batteries)
Reasons to buy
+Bicolor lighting+Temperature adjustment+Powerful HSS flash mode
Reasons to avoid
-Not a true ring light

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. 

(Image credit: Rotolight)

6. Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit

Best ring light for streaming with a smartphone

Specifications
Color temperature: 6300K, 5600K, 4100K, 3200K (using filters)
Power source: 3x AA batteries
Dimensions: 130mm outer dia / 38mm inner dia
Weight: 170g
Reasons to buy
+80W equivalent power+Ultra compact+Includes filters to adjust temp
Reasons to avoid
-Changing filters is fiddly

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! 

(Image credit: Neewer)

7. Neewer 20" Dimmable Ring Light

A ring light so big, it could sit around Saturn

Specifications
Color temperature: 3200-5600K
Power source: 1x NP-F battery, mains power
Dimensions: 530mm outer dia / 420mm inner dia
Reasons to buy
+Best ring light for makeup tutorials+Huge 20-inch diameter+Mains or battery power+Takes Sony NP-F batteries
Reasons to avoid
-ESDDI is more powerful

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. 

(Image credit: Mayhem UK )

8. Smoovie LED Colour Stream Ring Light

Best color ring light – add a splash of fun to stills or video

Specifications
Colors: 16 RBG colors + 3 white tones
Power source: USB
Dimensions: 6-inch or 8-inch
Reasons to buy
+16 RGB colors with 8 light modes+Tabletop tripod+USB powered
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller than others

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.

(Image credit: ESDDI)

9. ESDDI PLV-R120 10-inch Ring Light

Best buy ring light – tailor made for the tabletop

Specifications
Color temperature: 3000K, 4000K, 5600K
Power source: USB
Dimensions: 260 x 390mm
Reasons to buy
+Tripod stand, remote, two-way phone grip+USB powered+Adjustable through 360°
Reasons to avoid
-Not as powerful as Rotolight RL48

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. 

(Image credit: Amazon)

10. Xinbaohong Clip-On Selfie Light

Best ring light for iPhones and laptops

Specifications
Color temperature: 6000K
Power source: USB (internal battery)
Dimensions: 85 x 28mm
Reasons to buy
+Brilliant all-purpose light+USB and battery power+Bright and dim modes
Reasons to avoid
-Small battery dims after about an hour

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!

(Image credit: Smoovie)

11. Smoovie Flexi Selfie Ring Light

Best mount-anywhere ring light that can also hold your phone

Specifications
Color temperature: (Three white light settings)
Power source: USB
Dimensions: 6-inch
Reasons to buy
+Flexible clip arm mounts anywhere+Second flexi arm can hold smartphone+3 tone settings & adjustable brightness+USB powered
Reasons to avoid
-Less color temp control

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

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-PhotoDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show. An Olympus (Micro Four Thirds) and Canon (full frame) shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a particular fondness for vintage lenses and film cameras.