The 6 Best Ring Lights for Cameras in 2022

Make sure your photos get the perfect amount of light

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The key to great-looking photographs? Good lighting. Content creators have been using ring lights for years to look their best for vlogs and Instagram photos. The best ones can give your images that studio-lighting look with minimal setup.

A ring light is a ring of LEDs on a tripod or other mount. Some have an attachment in the center that holds a smartphone or DSLR, while others are mounted directly around a camera lens. They distribute balanced light that evenly illuminates objects and creates flattering portraits without unwanted shadows.

Whether you’re creating shareable photo and video content or simply putting your best foot forward over Zoom, we’ve done the research to find the best ring lights for your needs.

Best Overall: Neewer 18-inch Dimmable SMD LED Ring Light

Neewer Upgraded 18-inch LED Ring Light

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Tripod adjusts from 36-78 inches

  • Comes with orange and white light filters

  • Mounts for both a smartphone and DSLR camera

What We Don't Like
  • No carrying case

  • Flimsy tripod

This versatile ring light kit from Neewer is a great fit for most users and comes with everything you need to create great lighting in your photos and videos. It's a little on the pricier side, but there are quite a few things in the box. This kit includes the 18-inch ring light, an orange and white filter (to create warmer and more diffuse light), a smartphone holder, a hot shoe adapter for cameras, and a Bluetooth receiver so you can remotely control the camera shutter.

The 18-inch size makes this a large ring light, and it may take up too much space on your desk if you only want something to use for video calls. But if you're taking product photos or creating content for social media, the adjustable tripod and two different mounts make this a super versatile option. The light is dimmable, and the two filters let you choose between cooler and warmer light, from 3200K to 5500K.

The included phone holder rotates 360 degrees and has a clamp design that's easily adjusted for different phone sizes. The standard quarter-inch thread ball head fits any camera with a standard tripod mount, so you can easily switch from recording social media posts to taking professional-quality product photos. If you have an especially heavy camera, the tripod might not be sturdy enough to support it securely, especially when extended to its full length.

Diameter: 18 inches | Color Temperature: 3200K to 5500K | Total Power: 55W | Connectivity: Bluetooth

Best for a Portable Studio: Neewer LED RL-12 LED Ring Light 14"

Neewer LED Ring Light 14"

Amazon

What We Like
  • Complete kit with camera and phone mounts

  • Collapsible tripod

  • Carrying case

What We Don't Like
  • Not as bright as the 18-inch model

  • Large phones only fit in the holder in landscape mode

This 14-inch ring light from Neewer is a more portable alternative to the large 18-inch model. It has the same included accessories: a white and orange filter, phone holder, camera mount, Bluetooth receiver for remote shutter control, and an adjustable tripod that extends up to 61 inches. But this tripod folds down to 29.5 inches, and the entire kit comes with a carrying case for easy transport.

The portability makes this an excellent option for content creators who need to take photographs and videos from different locations. The smaller size also makes this a more desk-friendly choice for the working-from-home crowd.

This light has 36W of power compared to the 55W of the larger model, but that’s still plenty of brightness for most people’s needs. Like the 18-inch version, this ring light is dimmable and comes with both white and orange filters that allow you to adjust the light temperature. The added benefit is the ability to break this ring light down into a bag whenever you want to take it on the go or store it away.

Diameter: 14 inches | Color Temperature: 5500K | Total Power: 36W | Connectivity: Bluetooth

Best for Selfies on the Go: Auxiwa Clip-on Selfie Ring Light

Auxiwa Clip-on Selfie Ring Light

Amazon

What We Like
  • Clips directly to a laptop or mobile device

  • Quick to set up and use

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Not very bright

  • Might not fit around bulky phone cases

If you’re looking for a way to improve your selfies instantly, this clip-on ring light from Auxiwa is an inexpensive solution that provides even lighting for your phone or laptop camera. And there’s no setup required; clip it to the top of your phone or computer and switch it on. The clip is also padded to prevent scratches on your device.

This ring light has 36 LEDs adjustable to three levels of brightness. You can easily recharge it with the included USB cable when the battery dies. You can also use it with either the back or front-facing camera, but note that the 3W of power means it doesn’t throw light very far and is optimal for close-up photos. The low-profile design makes it super portable but also means that it won’t fit over super bulky phone cases.

Diameter: 3 inches | Color Temperature: 5600K | Total Power: 3W | Connectivity: N/A

“Just about anyone can benefit from this affordable little ring light. Use it not just for selfies but to improve lighting on family video calls, social media pictures, or for taking macro photos of food, plants, or even insects.” — Katie Dundas, Tech Writer

Best for Canon DSLRs: YONGNUO YN-14EX

YONGNUO YN-14EX

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Each half of the ring is adjustable

  • External power socket for quick recycling time

  • Can be controlled via the camera’s menu on compatible Canons

What We Don't Like
  • Issues with battery compartment door

  • Won’t fit some non-Canon cameras

Ring lights can be handy in macro photography, providing even light for close-up subjects. The YN-14EX by YONGNUO is a lens-mounted ring flash specifically designed for Canon DSLRs. It attaches to a camera's hot shoe adapter and can be fitted to the lens using the included 52-, 58-, 67-, and 72-millimeter lens adapters.

You can control the two halves of the ring light separately using the LCD screen on the back. On compatible Canons, these settings are accessible through the camera's menu. Use both sides of the ring for direct light, or set them at different strengths to create a directional flash.

The AA battery-powered YN-14EX has a few other features that one would typically expect from a more expensive ring flash, including support for standard PC Sync, which helps trigger the flash when you press the shutter. You also get an external power socket for a shorter recycling time (how long it takes for the flash to power up again).

Diameter: Fits 52mm, 58mm, 67mm, 72mm Canon lenses | Color Temperature: 5600K | Total Power: N/A | Connectivity: PC synchronous line

Best for Beauty Bloggers: Diva Super Nova 18" Ring Light

Diva Super Nova 18" Ring Light

Amazon

What We Like
  • Complete kit with filters and diffusion cloth

  • Designed for color-accurate lighting

  • Long-lasting and reliable

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat expensive

  • No phone mount

In the world of beauty and fashion content, lighting is everything. Whether you’re an aspiring Instagram skincare expert or an established YouTuber, the Diva Ring Light Super Nova lighting kit has the right mix of accessories and features for your home studio.

The kit includes the 18-inch ring light, a diffusion cloth, a six-foot stand, and both a gooseneck and tripod bracket connection. That allows you to connect it to the included stand or attach it to your own tripod. Because this ring light is quite large and designed to accommodate a camera, it’s best suited to studio setups.

The LED lights are dimmable down to 20 percent of their full brightness. They also have a color temperature that mimics daylight, meaning your looks have true-to-life colors and won’t be tinted by unnaturally cool or warm lighting. The included diffusion cloth further reduces shadows for soft, flattering light in close-up photos and video. It’s pricier than many of the smaller models on this list, but if you want a reliable and high-quality ring light to make your beauty content pop, we think the Diva Super Nova kit is the way to go.

Diameter: 18 inches | Color Temperature: 5400K | Total Power: Not specified | Connectivity: N/A

Best for Video: Savage Luminous Pro LED Ring Light Plus

Savage Luminous Pro LED Ring Light Plus

Amazon

What We Like
  • Runs cool without a noisy fan

  • LCD readout with settings and power level

  • Includes remote for easy light adjustments

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't include a stand

  • Expensive

This premium ring light from Savage is large, adjustable, and absolutely silent, making it well suited to video studios. The 18-inch diameter can provide even light from a distance. Videographers can shoot from the 11.5-inch opening in the center of the ring for direct lighting on their subject. The light can also be adjusted for a variety of different situations.

A convenient LCD readout on the back lets you read and manage the settings at a glance, and you can also change the settings using the included remote control. This feature is especially helpful if you’re filming or photographing yourself. This light doesn't come with its own stand, so you need to purchase a tripod separately.

Diameter: 17.5 inches | Color Temperature: 3200K to 5500K | Total Power: 96W | Connectivity: Remote control

Final Verdict

Our top choice is a versatile Neewer 18-inch SMD LED Ring Light (view at Amazon), which comes with its own stand and mounting attachments for both a smartphone and DSLR. If you want something a little more portable, we’d recommend the Neewer 14-inch RL-12 model (view at Amazon) from the same brand, which offers many of the same features and comes with a collapsible stand and carrying bag.

What to Look For in a Ring Light

Dimensions

When buying a ring light, pay attention to its size. You can find tiny ring lights designed for smartphones, all the way up to professional devices that are several feet in diameter. When deciding on the size, think about the space constraints in your studio. Or, if you frequently travel, a smaller, portable ring light will be a better option. 

"Though they tend to be less powerful and often battery operated, a clip-on ring light can be used in nearly any on-the-go situation. If simplicity and a touch of extra light is more important than high quality, this can definitely be the way to go." — Nathan Berry, Lensrentals Lighting Supervisor

Durability

While most ring lights are durable, some models use cheaper construction than others. Before purchasing, note the ring light’s materials, as well as the warranty. You want to make sure you purchase one that can withstand frequent use and comes backed by a decent warranty. 

Color Temperature 

Each ring light has a color temperature. You can see it noted with a number, followed by a K. The K stands for Kelvin and is a measure of temperature. When it comes to light, temperatures above 5000K tend to be cooler whites or blues, while 5000K and under tend to be warmer. For reference, daylight tends to fall between 5000K and 6200K. Most ring lights are around the 3000K to 5000K mark, but you can often adjust the lighting to suit your needs.

"Color temperatures in ring lights are important. Bi-color LED lights allow the photographer to adjust the color temperature of a light to match the existing natural light in a location." — Nathan Berry, Lensrentals Lighting Supervisor

FAQ
  • What size ring light is best?

    The size of the ring light you need depends on your usage. If you need a professional setup for a studio, an 18-inch ring light can serve you well. For a more portable option, a 14-inch ring light won't weigh you down as much while still offering plenty of light for your shooting and videography needs. If all you have is a phone, there are simple phone-mounted options as well as camera-mounted options.

  • How do I set up a ring light?

    If your ring light comes with a stand, adjust and position it to your liking, or set up a tripod. Then place the ring light on the stand or tripod. Depending on the type of ring light you choose, you might also be able to mount your camera or smartphone on the ring light stand. If your ring light is compatible with a camera lens, laptop, or mobile device, you'll need to clip on the light according to the manufacturer's instructions. A final step will be to activate Bluetooth on your phone if your ring light comes with a Bluetooth remote.

  • How do I turn on a ring light?

    First, make sure to plug in your ring light to a power source if necessary. If your ring light runs on batteries or requires charging, take care of that first. Many ring lights use a switch or a button to control power. This same control may also help you adjust dimming and lighting settings.

About Our Trusted Experts

Emmeline Kaser is a former editor of Lifewire's product roundups and she has several years of experience researching and writing about the best consumer products out there. She specializes in consumer tech.

Katie Dundas is a freelance tech writer and journalist. She frequently covers photography, cameras, and drones. She’s also an avid landscape photographer.

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