The 5 Best Softbox Lighting Kits of 2022

Good lighting is everything

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Lighting can make or break your photographs, especially when shooting indoors. You can create more lighting uniformity with a softbox lighting kit and even replicate daylight inside a professional studio or at-home setup. Thanks to the fine cloth layers that enclose and diffuse a light source, you can also control the shape and direction of light, lessen shadows, and reduce glare.

To help minimize distractions and create the best lighting conditions, you should choose a softbox size and shape that's right for your project. You'll also want to consider the features and accessories, such as stand heights, carrying cases, and the lighting temperatures and switches, that will help you achieve the desired effect.

There are tons of options for soft lighting kits and supporting accessories in various styles, sizes, and with special features. We've researched and reviewed the best softbox lighting kits to use for portraits, products, and anything in between.

Best Overall: Fovitec SPK10-037 3-Light 2500W Fluorescent Softbox Lighting Kit

4
Fovitec StudioPRO Softbox Lighting Kit

Amazon

What We Like
  • Adjustable features

  • Light bulbs included

  • Carrying case

What We Don't Like
  • Boom stand isn't sturdy

  • Single bulb in boom stand

If you're just getting started with softbox photography, make your introduction an easy one with the reasonably priced Fovitec StudioPRO softbox lighting kit. It has everything you need to get started on the right foot.

In the box, you get three adjustable light stands with heights upward of 90 inches, three 20x28-inch softboxes, and three lamp heads (two with five bulb sockets and one with a sole socket) to use as you see fit. Each of the heads has three switches on the back to control power to the light sockets.

The softbox set is available in one, two, or three-light variants, but we recommend the latter option for maximum versatility. Fovitec also includes an adjustable boom stand with a counterbalancing sandbag, but our reviewer Benjamin notes that the stand is flimsy even with the sandbag, so you may need to supplement the weight. The StudioPRO kit also ships with 11 45-watt compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs and a large carry bag with a hand strap.

In all, the StudioPRO kit is a steal that supplies a ton of equipment for a fair price. It's not the cheapest on our list, but it's outstanding for new photographers looking to take their shots to the next level.

Light Source: Compact fluroescent︱Color Temperature: 5500 kelvin︱Softbox Dimensions: 20x28 inches︱Lamp Wattage: 45 watts

"We’ve used Fovitec lighting for photos and video before—their Square EZ Set-up Softbox Light Kit has been our go-to for the past year—and this new kit is a nice upgrade."Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester

Fovitec SPK10-037 Softbox Lighting Kit

 Lifewire / Benjamin Zenman

Best for Starting Out: StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit

4.5
StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit

Amazon

What We Like
  • 2400 watts

  • Individual control for each bulb

  • Counterweight and sandbag

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to adjust equipment

  • Boom stand only has one bulb

  • Too bulky for storage bag

StudioFX's 2400 Watt Large Softbox Continuous Photo Lighting Kit gives Fovitec's StudioPRO Kit a run for its money. The kit has three large 28x20-inch softbox enclosures, an overhead boom mount, three stands, and 11 fluorescent bulbs. It also comes with an underwhelming storage bag, but this kit is the model way to improve your studio shots without spending a fortune.

Like the Fovitec kit, the StudioFX kit lets you adjust your stands up to 7 feet high. Depending on your needs, you can attach the boom mount to any of the stands, with the length of the boom ranging from 31 inches to 71 inches. StudioFX's floor-mounted enclosures hold five 45-watt 5500K compact fluorescent lamps, optimal for shooting daylight photos. You can control each bulb via a switch at the back for the desired configuration. Unlike the straight stands, the boom-mounted softbox holds just one 85W CFL, and some photographers dislike boom stands with a sole bulb.

As with many inexpensive kits, the stands can be slightly flimsy during adjustment and when fully extended. Nonetheless, StudioFX did throw in a counterweight and a sandbag for stability. Overall, the kit is a flexible, great-value way of getting started with softbox photography.

Light Source: Compact fluroescent︱Color Temperature: 5500 kelvin︱Softbox Dimensions: 20x28 inches︱Lamp Wattage: 45 watts

"The softboxes in this kit seem very durable and are the thickest and most high-quality that we tested."Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester

StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Lighting Kit

Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman 

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

Neewer 700W 24-inch Softbox Lighting Kit

Amazon

What We Like
  • Variety of lamp options

  • Budget-friendly

  • Impressive light stand height

What We Don't Like
  • Lackluster materials

If you're want to improve your studio photography on a budget, the Neewer 700W 24-inch Softbox Lighting Kit is worth a look. The dual-light system is affordable and comes in a range of different kits with square, rectangular, and octagonal lamp options in addition to an LED variant. Neewer also offers a three-lamp kit version with an overhead boom, but the square and octagonal lamp kits are the best budget choices.

Neewer's octagonal lights, called octoboxes, are well suited for shooting human subjects, while the square lights are good for general-purpose photography. Whichever version you choose, you receive a pair of softbox enclosures, two 85-watt 5500K CFL bulbs, two adjustable stands that span from 44 inches to 88 inches, and a Cordura carry bag. You can angle the included enclosures in almost any direction for precise lighting control. In addition, you can easily swap bulbs with different color temperatures or a flash unit with a sensor via the standard E27 fittings to further adjust your lighting.

As a budget option, the quality of materials isn't top of the line. Nevertheless, many photographers claim this Neewer kit is a budget-friendly introductory kit that's reliable and gets the job done.

Light Source: Compact fluroescent︱Color Temperature: 5500 kelvin︱Softbox Dimensions: 24x24 inches︱Lamp Wattage: 85 watts

Best for Compact Space: MountDog Softbox Lighting Kit 20"X28"

MountDog Softbox Lighting Kit 20x28"

MountDog

What We Like
  • Adjustable lamp holder

  • Embossed nylon material 

  • Range of light stand heights

What We Don't Like
  • Lack of brightness control

  • No weights for light stands

The compactness of the MountDog Softbox Lighting Kit doesn't sacrifice quality material. The softbox's light reflector has silver film reflective fabric with a white nylon screen that aids in banishing shadows and softening harsh light. When you're on the go, you'll enjoy the convenience of the kit's one-piece opening to easily fold, store, and transport.

The kit has two 20x28-inch softboxes, two light stand tripods, an adjustable lamp holder, two 95-watt energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, and a storage case. Supplying 5500K of color temperature, the bulbs last up to 8,000 hours while providing a remarkable photographic environment. With standard E27 sockets, you can change the bulbs as you see fit. Neither socket exerts any control over brightness, though, so you have to modify the diffusion level by adjusting the front cover or moving the lights altogether.

You can adjust the kit's contents as you see fit. For example, the lamp holder can be adjusted by 210 degrees, which is well-suited for taking pictures at any angle. Either light stand can be folded to 27" inches or expanded to 80 inches. Just as the lamp holder and stands can serve different needs, this lightweight kit works well for shooting portraits, glamor shots, products, and more. But be careful that your light stands don't fall over, as the kit doesn't come with sandbags or weights of any sort.

Light Source: Compact fluroescent︱Color Temperature: 5500 kelvin︱Softbox Dimensions: 20x28 inches︱Lamp Wattage: 95 watts

Best for Vloggers: RaLeno Softbox Photography Lighting Kit

RaLeno Softbox Photography Lighting Kit 20x28"

RaLeno

What We Like
  • Professional bulbs

  • Dual technology

  • Long cable

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Lacks accessories

RaLeno's Softbox Photography Lighting Kit is ideal for vloggers, YouTubers, and social media influencers. Even though it's relatively basic, it offers all the essentials for your home setup. RaLeno includes two 20x28-inch enclosed softboxes, two adjustable light stands spanning between 27 inches and 80 inches, and two 85-watt CLF bulbs. The kit's heat-resistant nylon reflectors and polyester fiber diffuser panels are standard features in most softbox lighting kits.

Despite its lack of fancy accessories, this kit is superb for simple, everyday use. Two 5500K lights dispense natural illumination but remain fixed at that temperature. The temperature shouldn't pose a problem when used in your home office or workstation. You can eliminate shadows with the bulbs' dual technology without washing out the characteristics and features of your subject. The RaLeno kit also has a 90-inch cord, so reaching your nearest outlet won't be an issue, which helps make the kit easy to set up and use.

While the RaLeno can get you started creating digital pictures and videos on a budget, you may want to consider buying a boom arm or a different mount later if you need them for your photography.

Light Source: Compact fluroescent︱Color Temperature: 5500 kelvin︱Softbox Dimensions: 20x28 inches︱Lamp Wattage: 85 watts

Final Verdict

If you're new to using softbox lighting, you can't go wrong with Fovitec's StudioPRO Softbox Lighting Kit (view at Amazon). It has several adjustable features so you can tailor the settings, heights, and angles to your needs. If you want to spend less while starting out, check out the comparable StudioFX 2400W Large Softbox Continuous Photo Lighting Kit (view at Amazon). StudioFX's kit is difficult to adjust and is a bit bulky, but it produces professional studio-quality images.

What to Look for in Softbox Lighting Kits

Size

As a general rule, the appropriate softbox size should be similar to the size of your subject, whether it's a person, object, or both. The smaller the box, the harsher the light. The larger the box, the softer the light. Larger boxes are more high maintenance since they require larger bulbs to supply more energy. A softbox with an 18-inch to 24-inch diameter works fine for headshots and portraits. Full-size body shots require double the size. Beginners probably won't need a softbox wider than 27 inches.


Portability

Portability is crucial if you need to shoot images on the go. Most lighting kits come with a carrying case. You want to focus on softbox lighting kits that can be effortlessly assembled and disassembled. Weight plays a factor in equipment portability as well. Our list consists of pretty lightweight kits, but anything more than 10 to 15 pounds may be troublesome.


Adjustability

Getting the perfect angle or height for your shots can be tricky. It's important to diffuse light across the exact area you have your camera focused on. A fixed lightbox or stand won't have the range necessary to get the shot you desire. You can modify almost all light stands with heights ranging between 27 and 80 inches. On the other hand, not all lightboxes can rotate. A good range is more than 200 degrees for those that do rotate.

FAQ
  • What is a softbox?

    A softbox is an enclosure specifically designed to surround a light source to soften and increase the size of the source. The reflective interior of the softbox emphasizes the artificial light source, such as a flash tube or halogen lamp. The projected light is emitted through the diffusion screen and onto the photograph's subject.

  • Aren't softboxes the same as umbrellas or beauty dishes?

    Although softboxes, umbrellas, and beauty dishes all deal with lighting, they each assist differently. Umbrellas produce uncontained and uncontrolled diffused light. Beauty dishes produce dissimilar lighting too. These dishes sculpt a subject's face and improve overall brightness, while softboxes deliver softer light with less contrast.

  • What are the types of softboxes?

    The most common classifications include rectangle, square, strip, umbrella, lantern, and octagon. The type or types you need depend on your subject and your shooting environment. For beginners, rectangle or square softboxes will likely do the trick, but once you start to grow your photographic skillset, you may want to explore using a lantern for omnidirectional lighting.

About Our Trusted Experts

Nicky LaMarco has been writing and editing for more than 15 years for consumer, trade, and technology publications about many topics, including antivirus, web hosting, backup software, and other technologies. Her work has appeared in publications such as Tech Republic and Web Hosting Sun.

Benjamin Zeman has a background in film, photography, and graphic design. His work has been published on SlateDroid.com, AndroidForums.com, and others. He reviewed our top picks from Fovitec and StudioFX.

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