When it comes to webcam quality in a stream, a high bitrate and reliable camera can only carry a setup so far before lighting becomes the most important variable to consider. One of the most common and easy to set up solutions is a ring light.
Ring lights offer a professional alternative to the more traditional softboxes that are commonly used for lighting. Ring lights are becoming more standardized due to their ease of storage and wide price range. The ability to store a ring light easily is a simple benefit in itself, but the fact that these convenient ring lights occasionally come in at prices less than $20 means they are accessible for new streamers who want to achieve somewhat reasonable lighting.
These factors add an extra advantage for some ring light brands over softboxes, which tend to be more intimidating and expensive for those who are new to lighting. But there are plenty of expensive, high-end ring lighting options as well.
If ring lights sound like the option for you, one thing to be absolutely sure of is that you stay away from fabric diffusion when looking to soften the look your light provides. Fabric can sometimes burn underneath a ring light, so be sure to use an alternative covering instead.
Best overall ring light
The Angler Bi-Color LED Ring Light is an 18-inch light available in kit form from various vendors, with the kits including a light stand and, in some cases, a green screen popup background. This light ring is one of the most fully-featured options on this list. It is fully dimmable from zero to 100 percent; it features 240 SMD LED lights around the ring; it is a great size at a foot and a half across; and it has an adjustable color temperature ranging from 3200 to 5600k.
This light has also tested with a 98 CRI accuracy, which should translate into more accurate colors on your final video. Power-wise, this light can be plugged in, of course, but it can also run on two NP-F975-type batteries for about 2.5 hours if you need to take the light on the go or can’t reach a power outlet for whatever reason.
If you’re looking for a fully-featured light which will offer value for years to come, the Angler Bi-Color LED ring light is a good option for you. Just remember to pick up a light stand to go with it.
Best high-end ring light
For those streamers looking to upgrade to a truly exceptional lighting setup, the Diva Ring Light Super Nova 18-inch ring light is a pretty decent option. Although it is one of the more expensive options on this list, it is an impressive 18-inch diameter light that is capable of producing some truly professional results. This pro light is a great way to produce a bright but soft tone for your face.
This light features fluorescent bulbs rather than LED ones. Out of the box, it comes with a 5400k Daylight bulb, but 3200k bulbs are available for purchase if those suit your needs better. Because it is fluorescent and not LED, this ring light is less dimmable than some of the other lights on the list, with a dimmable range only covering 20 to 100 percent power and no lower.
The kit comes with a diffusion ring, which can further soften the light if needed. It also includes a six-foot lighting stand, multiple attachments, a warming filter, and a flexible gooseneck option. If you buy this light with the kit, you won’t need to purchase anything else to get streaming with your new ring light right away.
Best mid-range light
This 18-inch LED light from Great Video Maker (GVM) is not only a fairly high step up in terms of price compared to the budget option but also in performance and customization. Like some of the other lights on this list, it comes equipped with a variable color temperature ranging from 3,200 to 5,600 kelvin and is fully dimmable.
If you’re searching for a ring light that doesn’t break the bank and provides quality lighting that’s comparable to high-end streams, the GVM ring light functions as a great option. The GVM ring light also comes with a Bluetooth receiver, adjustable stand, and diffuser to round out the package.
Best budget ring light
This AIXPI product is the perfect ring light for casual streamers who want to upgrade their stream with some entry-level lighting. It’s easy to transport, easier to set up, and comes with three different options for various lighting styles and 10 different brightness levels, all for around $25.
It won’t be effective for large spaces due to its small, 10-inch diameter. With this ring light’s limited range, it doesn’t provide the highest quality for face illumination, and it likely won’t help create a professional-looking background. Even considering those drawbacks, it’s a worthy budget option.
Additionally, given its limited capability, it isn’t necessary to go after a diffusion product for this ring light. This product provides all the necessities for a beginner lighting setup, making it a straightforward option that gives creators everything needed to get up and running without any extra hassle.
Best large ring light
While bigger isn’t always better, having a ring light with a large diameter can help you even out the lighting in your stream for a warmer, less intense aesthetic. The MACTREM 22-inch ring light can provide this kind of lighting for mid-range prices and comes with all of the standard bells and whistles you’d expect from a standard ring light.
Along with brightness options, this ring light comes with color temperature options of 2,500, 5,500, and 8,500 kelvin to help you achieve different moods. A 75-inch tripod, three soft smartphone clips, one storage bag, and a ring light remote controller are all included.
Best small ring light
With smaller ring lights come less even distribution, but also cheaper prices. This YingnuoST 10-inch ring light is comparable to the AIXPI budget option but with more customizable lighting. The standard brightness options are all there in addition to the three different color temperatures for setting different moods. Along with this are 15 different static and nine dynamic RGB modes, an adjustable tripod with a max range of 52 inches, and a controller to localize all of these options in one place.
While not anywhere near the best option in terms of quality or price, the YingnuoST 10-inch ring light is an attractive option for those who specifically need a smaller ring light but also want to ensure there’s enough customization to keep their stream looking personalized.
For streamers of all kinds, ring lighting solutions are a popular and affordable way to personalize a stream while making their visual quality rise substantially. While not the only lighting solutions on the market, they are easily the most simple to store, set up, and maintain. In addition to this, they come in a wide variety of prices and qualities, which makes them ideal options for newbies and veterans alike.
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