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The best ring lights in 2021

Best ring lights
(Image credit: Westcott)

Whether you use one on a camera or smartphone, the best ring lights offer a simple and effective way to improve the quality of your Zoom calls.

A ring light is an external lighting accessory with a circular, donut-like shape. They're often marketed as selfie lights or vlogging lights, but whatever they're called, they serve the same purpose: namely to produce a continuous, diffused light which flatters almost any subject.

These days, the best ring lights mostly use LED lighting technology. And many are extremely versatile: content creators can use them for product photos, portraits and to provide flattering illumination for online video chats; vloggers are using them as TikTok lights and on other social media platforms; and many people who work remotely are using them with a webcam to look better in video meetings.

The best ring lights are available in many forms, with some able to accommodate not just stand-alone cameras, but also smartphones and other devices. So which model do you choose? 

In this buying guide, we’ve looked at ring lights across a range of prices to help you decide. Here, then, are the best ring lights you can buy right now.

What are the best ring lights?

Westcott’s 18-inch Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit ($199.99) is the best ring light overall, as it gives you a huge amount for the money. It has an intuitive design, with user-friendly controls and while it’s a bit pricey compared to other models, it’s well-built and will last.

However, if you’re not looking to spend quite as much or need something smaller and more portable, consider the 10-inch Raya Bendie-Brite Folding USB Bi-Color LED Ring Light ($49.95). It’s relatively inexpensive, weighs just a little over one pound and gives you the ability to adjust both the color temperature and the brightness.

You’ll find other models that might fit your needs too, including two inexpensive portable ring lights — the Qiaya Selfie Light Ring Lights LED Circle Light ($17.99) and the Xinbaohong Rechargeable Portable Clip-on Selfie Ring Light ($13.99) — if price is the most important factor in your decision.

Check out all of our picks for the best ring lights here.

The best ring lights you can buy today

Best ring lights: Westcott 18-inch Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit with Batteries and Stand

(Image credit: Westcott)

1. Westcott 18-inch Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit with Batteries and Stand

The best ring light for pros and enthusiasts

Specifications
Brightness—Dimmable Range: 0-100 (1 step increments)
Mount Type: 1/4"-20 Female Thread, 5/8” Receiver
Color Render Index (CRI): Up To 97 CRI
Color Temperature (K)—Range: 3200-5600K ±300
Foot-Candles (1m, 3m, 5m): 54.5-60.8, 6.0-6.8, 2.2-2.4
Flicker-Free: Yes
LUX (1m, 3m, 5m): 587-654, 65.2-72.7, 23.5-26.2
TLCI (QA): Up To 97
Current Draw (Amps): 4A
Watts: 48W
Volts: 15V DC
Input Power: 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz, 0.7A
Power Type: AC/DC
Cooling: Passive
Operating Temperature: 14-113°F (-10-45℃)
USB: USB (5V Out)
Connector: 5mm Barrel Plug
Cable Type: 9-Wire AWG 18
Power Cord: 5 feet
Battery Voltage: 7.2V
Battery Type: NP-F Series Lithium-Ion
Battery Mount: NPF Battery Dock
Charge Time (Hours): Up To 6 Hrs.
Run Time: Approx. 1.2 Hrs. (DC) / Unlimited (AC)
Watt-Hours: 32.6Wh
Removable Battery: Yes
Color: Bi-Color
Dimensions: 21.8 x 21.0 x 4.0 inches
Weight: 11.1 pounds.
Warranty: One Year
Reasons to buy
+Pro-level features+Sturdy build quality+ Powerful, versatile and accurate+Kit includes batteries, so it can be powered either AC or DC
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively pricey

If you’re looking for a versatile ring light kit that has a professional build quality and provides you with lots of features and options, the Westcott 18-inch Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit with Batteries and Stand will fit the bill. Westcott has a long history producing top-notch lighting equipment for pros, and is an excellent choice, whether you’re using it for vlogging, live streaming, capturing video or shooting still photos for portraits, food, still life and many other types of genres. This ring light has user-friendly controls and a hassle-free setup, and it claims to have high color accuracy. It also has a built-in diffuser which produces soft, beautiful lighting that fills in shadows on your subject's face with iconic catchlights in the eyes.

You get lots of options with this model: it can be used with a phone or nearly any type of stand-alone camera, since the kit comes with two cold-shoe mounts and a 1⁄4-inch-20 mounting option. It runs on the included AC power adapter or, when you’re far from a power outlet, on the two included NP-F750 lithium-ion batteries. These provide up to 70 minutes at full power, according to the manufacturer. It’s also fully dimmable and equipped with an adjustable color temperature ranging from 3200K to 5600K in increments of 25 Kelvin. And all of the components can fit into an included carrying case, for easy travel and storage.

Best ring lights: Nanlite Halo 16C Bicolor and Tunable RGB 16-Inch LED Ring Light

(Image credit: Nanlite)

2. Nanlite Halo 16C Bicolor and Tunable RGB 16-Inch LED Ring Light

A very versatile ring light with touch controls and Wi-Fi capabilities

Specifications
Brightness—Dimmable Range: 1-100 percent
Mount Type: 5/8-inch Receiver
Color Render Index (CRI): Up To 97 CRI
Color Temperature (K)—Range: 2700-6500K
CRI: 95
TLCI: 93
Lumen Output 6500K: 2340 Lumens
Lux @ 1m 6500K: 490 Lux
Power Source: 15v DC
Max Power Draw: 31w
Dimensions: 16 inches diameter (12 inches inner)
Weight: 5 pounds.
Warranty: Limited 2 Year Warranty
Reasons to buy
+Unique touch-control design to adjust settings+USB pass-through feature lets you power a phone while in the fixture+Wireless capabilities
Reasons to avoid
-A bit pricey, but worth the price

This Nanlite Halo 16C is one of several ring lights the company has in its product line, ranging from 14 to 19 inches in diameter. This 16-inch model is well suited to many uses, including beauty lighting, vlogging, live streaming, makeup application and tutorials, portrait photography and small product photography.

What makes this one of the best ring lights is that it offers variable color settings (including an RGBWW feature) and the ability to change the brightness of the light. The USB pass-through feature is another useful addition, as this lets you charge a phone while it’s positioned in the fixture, ensuring you won’t lose power during your shoot. 

Other interesting touches include a unique touch-control design — rather than traditional knobs — for adjusting the color of the light, and built-in wireless (so you can control the fixture remotely from your phone or other mobile device). In addition to the ring light, this model comes with a mirror, carrying case, AC adapter and smartphone bracket.

Best ring lights: Neewer 18-inch 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light Kit

(Image credit: Neewer)

3. Neewer 18-inch 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light Kit

A reasonably priced ring light with a fixed 5500K color temperature

Specifications
Brightness—Dimmable Range: 1-100 percent
Color Temperature (K): 5500K (fixed) or 3200K with filter
Total Power: 55W
CRI (Color Rendering Index): >83
Dimensions: 20.1 x 4.3 x 24 inches
Weight: 11 pounds.
Reasons to buy
+Stepless dimming from 1-100 percent+Kit includes a 61-inch light stand+Includes Bluetooth for remotely controlling the ring light
Reasons to avoid
-Color temperature is fixed at 5500K

This 18-inch Neewer ring light has a fixed color temperature of 5500K, which matches a daylight-balanced light source. However, it also includes two color filters (white and orange), made from high-light-transmission plastic, which allow you to easily switch temperature from 5500K to 3200K. There's also a stepless dimming knob, which lets you adjust the brightness. 

This portable LED kit also comes with a 61-inch light stand, constructed from aluminum alloy, giving it exceptional strength. It also has a 360-degree rotatable smartphone holder, plus a Bluetooth receiver for controlling your ring light remotely. Oh, and it even comes with a handy carrying bag.

Best ring lights: Godox LR150 18-inch LED Ring Light with 78-inch Extendable Tripod Stand

(Image credit: Godox)

4. Godox LR150 18-inch LED Ring Light with 78-inch Extendable Tripod Stand

The best ring light for studio settings

Specifications
Color Temperature—Range: 3000K-6000K
Brightness—Dimmable Range: 1-100 percent
Brightness (LUX)—100 percent at 1.64 feet: 1400
Power: Approx. 38W
USB Output Power: 5V/2A
DC Power Supply: 24V/2A
CRI: >90
TLCI: >90
Dimensions: 21.9 x 17.9 x 1.8 inches
Weight: Approx. 2 pounds.
Reasons to buy
+Light head rotates 180 degrees+USB ports can charge phones and devices+Offers a variety of mounting options for phones and stand-alone cameras
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn’t have an option to run on battery power

Like Westcott and Nanlite, Godox has a good reputation for making quality lighting products. The LR150 is no exception, which is why it makes our list of the best ring lights. 

On the light itself, there are two knob controls to adjust the color temperature (3000K to 6000K) and brightness of the light. It comes with a power supply, but no batteries, which makes this more suited for studio or home scenarios. It also comes with a built-in USB port to keep your smartphone charged. A nice extra on this ring light is that it lets you rotate the light head 180 degrees horizontally. The included tripod stand, meanwhile, can extend up to 78 inches.

There are several mounting options, including a tripod ball head, which lets you use a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Plus, you have the ability to mount up to five phones at the same time on this model. And as a nice extra, the back of the light comes in two colors — pink and black.

Best ring lights: Raya Bendie-Brite Folding USB Bi-Color LED Ring Light (10 Inches)

(Image credit: Raya)

5. Raya Bendie-Brite Folding USB Bi-Color LED Ring Light (10 Inches)

A versatile, portable ring light with touch controls

Specifications
Color Temperature: 2700K-5600K
Power Connector: Micro USB
DC Input: 5 V
Light Intensity @ 3 ft.: 148 lux
Diameter: 10.2 inches
Depth: 1.5 inches
Weight: 13.4 ounces.
Warranty: Limited 1 Year Warranty
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight, portable and folds for easy carrying+Touch controls
Reasons to avoid
-Build isn’t as sturdy as pro-level models-On-camera labels and decals may fall off over time

The Raya Bendie-Brite Folding USB Bi-Color LED Ring Light is the best ring light if you’re on the road a lot and want a ring light that can travel with you. It’s lightweight (weighing less than a pound) and can fold in half, so you can take it with you to shoot your vlogs or video chats or capture some casual selfies. However, although it’s small, it has some more advanced features, such as the ability to adjust the color temperature and brightness for your project via touch-sensitive controls.

The Raya Bendie-Brite ring light can be powered from a USB port (from a computer, laptop or tablet). That means you can avoid lugging around an AC adapter. (The manufacturer recommends that If you’re only carrying a smartphone, use a small power bank to run the light when you’re ready to record or talk.) The ring light also comes with a flexible phone arm that fits most smartphones. Plus, the included ball head gives you the option of mounting the light on a desktop tripod. There’s even a built-in cold shoe to add a microphone or accessory arm to your setup.

Best ring lights: QIAYA Selfie Light Ring Lights LED Circle Light

(Image credit: Qiaya)

6. QIAYA Selfie Light Ring Lights LED Circle Light

The best ring light under $20

Specifications
Brightness: 3 modes: low, normal, high
Power: This model is powered by a built-in, rechargeable, lithium-ion battery
Cable: 1 USB-micro cable
Dimensions: 3.1 x 3.1 x 1.0 inches
Weight: 1.76 oz.
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight and portable+Includes wireless capabilities
Reasons to avoid
-Some users claim battery life isn’t as good as expected

The QIAYA selfie ring light is the most lightweight of the products we looked at for this guide. In fact, it’s also compact, enough so that you can easily carry it around in your pocket. Overall, it has a very simple, straightforward design, but doesn’t provide a lot of options when you compare it to more expensive models.

However, for the price, it’s quite a useful selfie light that allows you to set the brightness at three different levels. It can also be used with a variety of devices, including a smartphone or laptop, which can be useful when you have a meeting and want to make the lighting look soft and natural. It’s ideal for those photographers who want to shoot casual selfies or video clips. It can also be controlled wirelessly.

Best ring lights: XINBAOHONG Rechargeable Portable Clip-on Selfie Ring Light

(Image credit: XINBAOHONG)

7. XINBAOHONG Rechargeable Portable Clip-on Selfie Ring Light

A very good value for a budget ring light

Specifications
Color temperature: 6000K (one setting)
Brightness: 3 modes: low, normal, high
Power: B built-in, rechargeable, lithium-ion battery
Cable: 1 USB-micro cable
Dimensions: 3.4 x 3.4 x 1.2 inches
Weight: 2.4 ounces.
Reasons to buy
+ Easy to Use+Lightweight and compact design
Reasons to avoid
-Some online comments noted the light was too bright at its highest setting

Although this inexpensive ring light has a barebones design and feature set, it can be used on various mobile devices, including most phones and tablets, as well as on laptops. The model also lets you adjust the strength of the light’s brightness by setting it to low, normal or high.

What’s nice about this ring light is that it’s small in size and lightweight, so it will fit into many pocketbooks, or even a jacket pocket. It comes with a USB micro cord, in order to recharge the unit’s battery. The manufacturer claims this ring light has a battery life of 1-5 hours.

How to choose the best ring light for you

With so many ring lights available at so many different price points, how do you choose which model is right for you?

Price
First, consider how much you’re willing to spend. The models in our guide give you rough estimate of the price range of ring lights, which can run as little as $13.99 or a much as $199.99. However, there are pricier ring lights available for more professional or specialized uses. For example, some models can cost as much as $500, but are extremely powerful and versatile.

Use cases
Think about how you want to use the ring light. Are you just capturing casual photos on your phone? Then, you won’t need to spend a lot of money. But what if you are producing a weekly video podcast or episode for your YouTube channel? Then, you’ll want to pay more for a ring light that gives you more options.

Features
Do you need a ring that lets you adjust the light’s color temperature or brightness? Or do you need the option of powering the ring light either by an AC adapter or using batteries?

Size
Additionally, consider the size of the light: some are quite small and portable, which means you can take them on the road with you; others are larger and heavier, which may weigh you down.