The 8 Best Ring Lights to Buy for Cameras in 2018

Make sure your photos get the perfect amount of light

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Believe it or not, ring lights were first invented for the oral hygiene industry, to help dentists get better photos of their patients' teeth. Since then, however, their use has expanded into many other areas, from macro photography to makeup tutorials, taking better selfies, and much more.

If you've ever seen a well-lit image of a model's face with a distinctive circular light reflected in their pupils, it's highly likely to have been shot using a ring light.

Ring lights come in all kinds of shapes and sizes: cheap-and-cheerful models that clip onto a smartphone, professional-grade equipment that connects to a DSLR, and even large studio versions with towering stands.

Whether you're trying to lift your photo and video quality to a professional level, or just want to take better selfies on a budget, we've found the best ring lights for cameras on the market today.

Our Top Picks

Best Value: Neewer Upgraded 18-inch LED Ring Light

Neewer makes a number of well-priced ring lights in various sizes, with the upgraded 18" version offering particularly good value.

As well as the large lighting ring itself, the kit comes with several accessories. There's an adjustable 35-79" stand, rotatable smartphone holder, hot shoe adapter for mounting a camera, U.S. and European power cables, a pair of filters for adjusting the color temperature, a Bluetooth remote, and a carry case.

The 240 LED lights have a total power output of 55W, although there's a dimmer for dialing the intensity back. The angle of the light can also be changed if you'd prefer to have the stand higher and the light pointing downward.

The Bluetooth smartphone remote is simple but effective, used for taking photos or starting and stopping video recording without having to touch the phone.

Given the effectiveness of the light, competitive pricing, and range of accessories that come in the box, this 18" Neewer model is our clear ring light value pick.

Best for Smartphone Use: UBeesize Ring Light

If you're just looking for an inexpensive ring light to use with your phone, this UBeesize model ticks all the right boxes. The two-part stand is secured by a large clip at the bottom, making it ideal for attaching to a desk or table.

The shorter 14" section of the stand has an adjustable smartphone holder at the end that fits most devices, while the longer 27" part holds the ring light itself. Both pieces use an adjustable gooseneck design, and the phone holder also rotates to switch between portrait and landscape shooting.

Powered via USB from a laptop, portable battery, or wall socket, the 24-LED light has a small inline remote for selecting one of ten brightness levels and three color temperatures.

Whether you're using the light for shooting photos and video, doing your makeup, or just as a phone holder and desk lamp, it's a versatile, well-made product at a great price.

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

The Neewer LED Ring Light 14" weighs around five pounds and extends to 61", and has all of the same other accessories as its larger, sibling models, from color filters to Bluetooth remote.

At 36W with 180 LEDs, the light output isn't quite as high as the larger model, but is still very bright and more than enough for most situations. Again, there's a sliding dimmer switch if you need it.

The water-resistant carry case fits the lamp and accessories, with handles on top for ease of carrying. To avoid damaging the LEDs, the stand doesn't fit inside the case but rather folds up to a compact, travel-friendly size.

The power supply handles voltages from 100 to 240v for international use and includes both North American and European plug types. Whether you're going across the city or across the world, this is the ideal portable ring light option.

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

Need a simple clip-on ring light for better phone selfies? Hundreds of companies make them, but Auxiwa's version is the ideal mix of price, features, and quality.

The 36-LED ring light clips over the top of the phone—although it's designed primarily for use with the front/selfie camera, it works equally well with most rear cameras, and can even attach to laptops, desktop monitors, or similar. The inside of the unit uses a soft, padded foam to ensure no marks or scratches are left on whatever you're attaching it to.

The non-removeable battery lasts up to eight hours, and charges from the micro-USB cable that comes in the box or any other you have lying around. A button on the top switches between three light intensities, with the highest setting being impressively bright for such a small device.

Overall, it's the ideal way to take better selfies, at an unbeatable price.

Best Budget Ring Flash for Nikon DSLRs: VILTROX JY670N

Looking for a way of getting better lighting for macro shots with your Nikon DSLR? The good news is that you don't have to spend a fortune, with third-party manufacturers like Viltrox offering inexpensive ring flash options.

The JY670N's flash unit attaches to the standard camera hot shoe, with a cable and dual-LED setup that connects to the front of the lens. Six adapter rings are included, ranging in size from 49 to 67mm, and there's a soft bag to keep everything together.

Effective between approximately 8" and 16', the light output of each LED is separately controllable, with 80-degree coverage in either direction. There's full i-TTL support, along with multi-flash and manual flash, all configurable via an LCD screen on the back.

Whether you're shooting insects, jewelry, or any other macro situation, the JY670N is the ideal way for Nikon owners to get better lighting on a budget.

Best Budget Ring Flash for Canon DSLRs: YONGNUO YN-14EX

As with the Nikon-compatible model mentioned above, Canon DSLR owners aren't left out in the cold when it comes to affordable ring flash options.

The Yongnuo YN-14EX looks and works very similarly to the Viltrox version, with the main unit attaching to the camera's hot shoe adapter, connected to a circular dual-LED lighting setup mounted on the lens.

The flash has support for both PC Sync and through-the-lens (TTL) metering. Each LED can be configured separately via the large LCD screen on the back of the flash. Four adapter rings for 52-72mm lenses are included in the box, with a durable protective case rounding out the list of accessories.

Power is provided by four AA batteries, but if you're planning on shooting all day, there's support for an external battery pack as well.

Costing just a fraction of the official model, this is the perfect flash for Canon owners looking to up their macro photography game.

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

Of all the potential markets for photography ring lights, beauty and fashion bloggers, YouTubers, and Instagrammers are arguably the largest. Bright, accurate lighting is vital for shooting high-quality video, and Diva's Super Nova 18" ring light is a very popular option.

There's a good reason for that: It's a reliable, high-quality piece of equipment, delivering great results in a wide range of situations. The 5400K (daylight-calibrated) bulb is dimmable down to 20 percent of its maximum output, and if the default lighting isn't soft enough, a diffusion cloth is included in the kit.

The legs of the six-foot stand are wider than usual, providing the stability that's often lacking in larger ring light setups like this, and the flexible gooseneck attachment is firm enough to hold the light in place at almost any angle.

Designed primarily for studio-type use, since a carry case isn't included, the Diva Super Nova Ring Light costs a little more than some of the competition. For many video content creators, however, it's easily worth the extra investment.

Best for Tabletop Use: Neewer Tabletop 8-Inch Ring Light Kit

If you don't need a large studio-grade ring light, but need something better and more flexible than a clip-on version, this Neewer tabletop kit is ideal.

As well as the bright, 7.7" 24W, 120-LED ring light itself, the kit includes a stand, separate mini-tripod with a smartphone holder, and a small makeup mirror that mounts directly inside the light.

The angle of the light can be adjusted within a 180-degree arc, but the wide aluminum alloy base is stable enough to keep it securely in place without danger of tipping. Despite that stability, it doesn't take up much room on your desk or table, so there's space for your phone or camera in front or alongside.

Fully-dimmable, the LED light is easily bright enough for close-up work, whether you're shooting video or simply using the light as a makeup aid without sharing the end result with the world.

Our Process

Our writers spent 15 hours researching the most popular ring lights for cameras on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different lights overall, screened options from 12 different brands and manufacturers and read over 150 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.