The 6 Best Ring Lights for Cameras in 2020

Make sure your photos get the perfect amount of light

Whether you're streaming, taking some killer glamour shots, or just jumping into a lot of Zoom meetings at home, the best ring light can make sure you (or any subject you're shooting) look your absolute best. A great ring light is like a shortcut to perfect lighting, and they've become a virtual necessity for Youtubers and top Twitch streamers, and have long been a staple for makeup artists looking to highlight accurate skin tone.

So what should you look for when shopping the best ring lights? You'll probably want a light with a dimmer, so you can adjust it to suit your set up and needs; a dimmer adds a layer of versatility that means you can quickly and easily adjust the light itself, instead of having to mold your entire set up around it. Depending on your use case, you'll also want to consider color temperature. Warm, "natural" light is often best for casual streaming, while cooler light emphasizes details for macro photography like close up glamour shots.

See below for the best ring lights for any setting.

Best Value: Neewer Upgraded 18-inch LED Ring Light

What We Like
  • Full, versatile kit

  • Excellent dimmer

  • Bluetooth smartphone remote

What We Don't Like
  • Some phones don't fit the holder

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 a Portable Studio: Neewer LED Ring Light 14"

What We Like
  • Light and portable

  • Sliding dimmer

  • Water-resistant carrying case

What We Don't Like
  • Not as bright as the larger model

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

What We Like
  • Simple and easy to use

  • Attaches easily to phones, laptops, or monitors

  • Impressive brightness

What We Don't Like
  • Works best for closeups

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 for Canon DSLRs: YONGNUO YN-14EX

What We Like
  • Supports PC Sync and TTL metering

  • Compatible with external battery pack

  • Dual-LED lighting

What We Don't Like
  • Plastic locks on battery door

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

What We Like
  • Bright, accurate lighting

  • Super reliable

  • Huge brightness range

What We Don't Like
  • Nails may strip

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

What We Like
  • Very flexible/adjustable

  • 120-LED light

  • Fully dimmable

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly bulky

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.

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a versatile light that will suit nearly any use case, the Neewer 18" Ring Light is a fantastic value, and comes with enough accessories and add-ons to ensure it's great for virtually any photo/video scenario. For a less expensive alternative that works great with phones, the UBeesize is well made, durable, and easy to use.

About Our Trusted Experts

David Dean is a full-time tech writer whose work has appeared in publications like the New York Times and Chicago Tribune. He has a 15-year background in corporate IT and operates his own travel technology site and blog.