Top 10 Ring Lights
Top 10 Ring Lights
I’ll come clean: I didn’t know anything about ring lights until professional barber/hairperson Kylie Belachaikovsky schooled me on them. She is a frequent visitor to our site, and she shared with me her trials and tribulations as she shopped for a ring light years ago when she was trying to build her business using vibrant Instagram photos. She begged me to write about the best ring lights. I told her I knew nothing about them. Consequently, we sat down one afternoon, and she told me all about them and discussed the pros and cons of the best options out there.
Below are the results of her years of experience…as filtered through the brain of a Neanderthal (me.)
What Are Ring Lights Anyway?
If you want to make totally awesome videos or take rad pictures like a pro, you need to have good illumination. Today’s photo studios are making use of the best ring lights. They are all the rage these days because they offer even, radial illumination that conceals skin imperfections, highlight the windows into your soul, and they minimize shadows. This makes these devices ideal for close-up and portrait photography, like when you want to show off the gorgeous new hair color job you just spent four hours on.
What to Look for when Shopping
Before we get to the ring light reviews, you gotta know what to look for. In Kylie’s experience, you get what you pay for when it comes to ring lights. So, what sets an amazing light apart from the just okay ones?
You don’t need me to mansplain that different ring lights have different lighting options. You get maximum functionality with the best models. For instance, the majority of ring lights allow you to take pictures in low light conditions and to adjust the light output. Others even allow you to adjust the color temperature.
LED versus Fluorescent Lamps
The two main types of ring light lamps are LED and fluorescent. We can’t give you a blanket answer for which is better. They both have their pluses and minuses. LED lamps supply a minor pink shade, while fluorescent lamps are on the green side. Plus, fluorescent lamps emit diffused light, but the LED lamps are more directional. When it comes to durability, nothing beats LEDs. So, you should choose an LED ring light if you plan on traveling to different places to take photos.
Extras and Size
We suggest checking out what accessories each model comes with to ensure you are getting everything you need. For example, some lights come with a stand. If you need a stand, be sure to check if the light comes with one. If not, you can buy them separately. I recommend the CowboyStudio Aluminum Adjustable Light Stand. Size also matters. You need a small diameter ring light for phones if you are going to do some macro shooting.
Now that you have a little idea of what to look for, here are the best ring lights in the professional opinion of Kylie:
- Dims to 20 percent of full power
- Comes with a 5400K bulb that is just like daylight
- You basically get everything you need, including a mounting bracket for your camera
If you don’t know about Diva, you’d better ask somebody. Since we’re here, we’ll answer the questions you may have. Specifically, Diva is at the top of just about all lists of the best ring lights, and the Super Nova is the standard by which all other lights are measured. It is ideal for videographers and photographers who want to bring out the best features in their subjects. One of the coolest things about this ring light is how it makes eyes look like they are sparkling.
Buy the Diva Supernova on Amazon
- Dimmable from 0 to 100 percent of full power
- Made up of 180 LEDs that produce 5500K daytime light
- Twelve-month warranty in case you get sick of photography after a year
The Qiaya Ring Light is our pick for best ring lights under $100. We like it because it is easy to take with you wherever you go. For instance, if you are visiting New York City, you can just pack it into the travel bag it comes with. If you happen to run into a big celebrity, like Mike Birbiglia, you can just set it up quickly and have a professional looking photograph taken with him. Despite the name, the ring light’s mounting bracket accepts all types of cameras and phones.
Buy the Qiaya Ring Light on Amazon
- The High Roller Pick
- 640 individual lights (don’t worry about replacing them all: they last for up to 100,000 hours of nonstop use)
- Comes with tripod mount, light stand mount, and diffusion cloth
If you have $400 to spend on a ring light, buy the Nebula right now. Click the link above and do it. It is the best you can buy. You can probably even make your money back after a couple of days of charging people $5 a pop to take selfies with it.
Buy the Diva Nebula on Amazon
- 240 LEDs, 5500K light, and dimmable from 1 to 100 percent
- Easy to use in your salon or while out on the town
- 5’ aluminum alloy stand
The Neewer Ring Light Camera Photo Video Lighting Kit is ranked so high because of its versatility. It does not take up much space in your shop, and it is easy to take with you on the go. You can get the perfect shot by adjusting the angle, twist, and height. And, you don’t have to use a tripod with it thanks to the built-in camera mount. The only downside is that the materials seem a bit flimsy (they’re made in China), so the Neewer ring light may not last long enough for your grandchildren to pass it on to their grandchildren.
Buy the Neewer Ring Light Camera Photo Video Lighting Kit on Amazon
- 5400K fluorescent daylight bulb that runs cooler than a Jamaican bobsled team
- Creates the rad Mr. Sparkle effect in your subjects’ eyes
- Light stand has a flexible gooseneck (not made of real goose)
If you want the name but don’t have the budget, the Nova is your most affordable Diva Ring Light option. It has all of the quality that you expect from that brand, but it lacks a lot of the neat features (i.e., dimmable lighting, LEDs, etc.) that you typically find with similarly-priced models.
Buy the Diva Nova on Amazon
- Dimmable 1 to 100 percent
- Comes with a tripod head, hot shoe adapter for DSLR camera, smartphone holder, and Bluetooth receiver
- 180 LED bulbs with 50,000-hour service life
This Neewer ring light is much like #4 up top there only it is 14 inches in diameter versus 18 inches. What difference does the extra four inches make? Well, if you are doing “glamor shots,” you want a bigger diameter because people have fat faces these days. This Neewer ring light is a great option for phones.
Buy this Neewer Ring Light on Amazon
- Comes with neat mirror attachment so your subjects can look at their favorite person
- Has a 6’ tripod stand
- 5500K lighting
We weren’t even aware that one could earn a Ph.D. in photography, but alas, here we are. The Photo Doctor ring light is a great product, but the price is a bit steep for the quality. It comes packed with extras, but the actual light is a bit harsh according to many users.
Buy the Photo Doctor Ring Light on Amazon
- Small, 12-inch ring light for phone that is perfect for shooting little people
- Shooting, as in taking photographs
- We love little people and are very much against bang bang shooting them
True to their name, you could conceivably take this light ring with you in a limo and have a little photo studio at your fingertips. The LimoStudio LED Ring Light is ready to use within a few minutes of extracting it from its packaging. It gets low marks because it is made of cheap materials, and most salons will probably want a larger ring light.
Buy the LimoStudio LED Ring Light on Amazon
- 5500K lighting
- Four-piece white color filters
- Comes with a bag that you can use for carrying candy
We know nothing about AW other than they get their materials from China, and they also run a fast food chain that caters to people who never leave their car. This is a giant, barebones ring light for phones that does not come with a stand.
Buy this AW Ring Light on Amazon
- Best option if you only have $75 and absolutely must have a ring light
- 5500K dimmable light
- You’re gonna need to buy a stand separately
Just because something is made in China, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is low quality. You can go to China and work with manufacturers to make quality products. It will just cost you a bit more. AW cut every corner to bring you this low-cost but functional alternative.
Buy this AW Ring Light on Amazon
I hope you like our ring light reviews. If you have questions or comments, please leave them below.