The 8 Best Softbox Lighting Kits to Buy in 2018

Because let's face it: Good lighting is everything

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One of the secrets to getting the best results from studio photography is having quality lighting without harsh glare or dark shadows. Softboxes are one of the most popular ways of achieving this, diffusing the output of studio lights to give a softer, more flattering end result.

The most cost-effective way to get started with softboxes is by buying a kit containing all of the various components you need, from the lights and softboxes themselves to stands, mounts, and other useful accessories.

Dozens of different options are available, however, and it's not always easy to work out exactly what you need. That's why we've rounded up the best softbox lighting kits available for photographers and videographers of all kinds, across a range of price points.

Whether you're after something highly-portable or with maximum versatility, are on a strict budget, want the best kit for shooting video, or something else entirely, we've got you covered.

Our Top Picks

Best for Starting Out: Fovitec StudioPRO Softbox Lighting Kit

Fovitec StudioPRO Softbox Lighting Kit

Courtesy of Amazon

Looking for a kit that has everything you need to get started with softbox photography, at a price that won't break the bank? This Fovitec StudioPRO kit fits the bill nicely. It's available in one, two, or three-light variants, but we'd recommend the latter for maximum versatility.

In that box, you'll receive three light stands that adjust all the way up to 90 inches, three 20- x 28-inch softboxes, and three lamp heads, each with five bulb sockets.

The kit ships with eleven 45W compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs, with the intention of using five in both of the floor-standing lights, and one in the lamp head that's attached to the boom. You can buy and add more if needed, however.

There's also an adjustable boom stand with a counterbalancing sandbag, and a large carry bag with a hand strap for easier lifting. Each of the lamp heads has three switches on the back for controlling power to the light sockets.

That's a lot of equipment for the money and is ideal for new studio-based photographers looking to take their shots to the next level.

Runner-Up, Best for Starting Out: StudioFX 2400 Lighting Kit

If you're just starting to get more serious about your photography and need a good, basic softbox lighting kit, the StudioFX 2400 is ideal.

Comprised of three large (28- x 20-inch) softbox enclosures, an overhead boom mount, three stands, eleven fluorescent bulbs, and a carry bag to store everything in, this kit is the perfect way to improve your studio shots without spending a fortune.

Each stand is fully adjustable up to seven feet high, and the boom mount attaches to any of them. The length of the boom can also be changed, ranging from 31 to 71 inches depending on your needs.

Both of the floor-mounted enclosures hold five 45W 5500K (daylight) compact fluorescent lamps, each of which can be controlled via a switch at the back for highly-configurable dimming. The boom-mounted softbox holds a single 85W CFL.

As with many inexpensive kits, the stands can be a little flimsy when fully extended, and there's no sandbag included to counterbalance the boom. That's the only minor criticism, however, of what is a flexible, great-value way of getting started with softbox photography.

Best Battery-Operated: Neewer 2x160 LED Dimmable Lighting Kit

Not every good photo opportunity comes within six feet of a wall socket, and extension cables will only get you so far. Because the lights in this Neewer softbox are LED-based, they use a fraction of the power of traditional CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). That means it's possible to run them from a rechargeable battery, and that's exactly what these ones do.

Both of the 5.9- x 6.7-inch lamps hold 160 LEDs, with the removable softbox sitting over top. The stands adjust up to six feet high.

Because of their small size and weight and the use of a standard hot shoe mount, however, the softboxes can also be mounted directly onto DSLR and video cameras.

Each light uses a common Sony rechargeable battery pack, and you can also run them from normal AA batteries in a pinch. You'll get roughly an hour out of each battery, so it may be worth buying spares if you're planning an extended shoot.

Best Budget: Neewer 700W 24-inch Softbox Lighting Kit

For those who really don't have much to spend on a softbox lighting solution, and just want to improve their studio photography at low cost, this Neewer 700W kit fits the bill perfectly.

This dual-light system comes in a range of different kits, with square, rectangular, and octagonal lamp options, and an LED variant.

There's also a three-lamp kit version that includes an overhead boom, but it's the square and octagonal lamp kits that are the best budget choice. Octagonal lights (octoboxes) are ideally suited for shooting human subjects, while the square models are for more general-purpose photography.

Whichever version you go for, you'll end up with a pair of softbox enclosures and two 85W 5500K CFL bulbs, two 41- and 88-inch adjustable stands, and a large, simple carry bag.

The enclosures can be angled in almost any direction for precise lighting control, and use standard E27 fittings so you can easily swap in other bulbs (with different color temperatures, for instance, or a slave flash unit.)

Best for Video: Neewer Softbox Lighting Kit With Background Support

If you're in the market for a versatile softbox lighting kit that will handle everything from portrait photography to Youtube videos, this Neewer package will be right up your alley.

It contains a wide array of equipment, including a pair of 20- x 20-inch softbox enclosures, two umbrellas, four 45W fluorescent lamps, and four adjustable stands with appropriate mounts for all of the above.

Where the kit stands out, however, is in letting you also have control over the background of your shots. Available in three sizes (small, medium, and large), the kit comes with white, green, and black muslin backdrops, plus a support system and clamps for holding the backdrop in place.

A pair of carry bags complete the kit, one for the stands, enclosures, and accessories, and one for the backdrop support system. If you would prefer an overhead/boom light to the pair of umbrella stands, a slightly-cheaper variant of the "large" kit provides that option instead.

Best for Extra Light: Fovitec Complete Photography & Videography Studio Kit

If you like the idea of having an adjustable backdrop, but want even more control over the lighting, consider this three-piece Fovitech softbox kit. Equally good for studio photography and interviews, it ships with no fewer than 15 5500K 45W CFL bulbs for a super-bright, consistent light source.

Each of the three enclosures holds five bulbs, which can be switched on and off in various configurations via the three switches at the back to dim the output if necessary.

The stand raises up to seven feet, six inches, while the support stands hold backdrops between 6 x 9 feet and 10 x 20 feet, depending on the kit you buy. Each kit has three muslin backdrops, colored green, white, and black. A carry bag completes the set.

For the money, we'd have liked to see the optional clamps included, but since they're pretty cheap to buy, it's not a show-stopper for what is otherwise a well-made, useful, and very bright softbox lighting kit.

Best for Portability: LimoStudio 700W Softbox Lighting Kit

If you're regularly needing to travel to photo shoots with a portable lighting kit, the last thing you want is a big, heavy bag and lengthy, complicated setup process.

That's where this inexpensive LimoStudio softbox kit comes in. Weighing just over ten pounds, with a durable 30-inch fabric carry bag, it's small and lightweight enough to come along on almost any shoot, and can be put up and taken down in a couple of minutes.

The kit contains a pair of 24- x 24-inch enclosures and softbox covers, each holding a single 85W 6500K fluorescent bulb, along with two stands that adjust between 30 and 86 inches for additional height.

You can also buy a single-lamp version of this LimoStudio kit, but the extra brightness and flexibility that comes with having two light sources makes the twin-pack well worth the relatively small additional cost.

Best for Boom Lighting on a Budget: Mountdog 1350W Studio Lighting Kit

You'll often pay quite a bit more to get a softbox lighting kit that includes a boom mount for overhead lighting, but that's not the case with this Mountdog package.

Usually selling for under a hundred dollars, the kit contains three rectangular 20- x 28-inch light enclosures with fabric softbox diffusers and three 28- to 80-inch adjustable stands, plus a single boom mount attachment and sandbag. The boom stand can also be used as a third upright softbox light if desired, giving a wider range of shooting options.

Each enclosure holds a single 135W fluorescent lamp, and somewhat unusually for a budget kit, a spare bulb is included in the packaging for when one blows or breaks.

At around 16 pounds the kit is relatively light and isn't too bulky to drop in the included carry bag for photo shoots away from your usual studio. As with many inexpensive kits, the stands can be a little flimsy (the boom mount in particular), but it's an acceptable trade-off to get a lightweight, versatile, and well-priced softbox kit.

Our Process

Our writers spent 7 hours researching the most popular softbox lighting kits on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 14 different lighting kits overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers and read over 55 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.