It’s rare to come across a streamer on Twitch who doesn’t have a face cam.
Most streamers rely on a hi-definition webcam or DSLR for this, however regardless of how high quality or expensive your choice of camera is, it’s good lighting that is going to help you get the most out of it.
Ring lights are a great alternative to soft boxes both in cost to purchase and in the space they take up.
In this guide, I’ve narrowed down 5 of the best ring lights for live streaming. Including the best overall, best on a budget and other honorable mentions.
Neewer Ring Light Kit:18″/48cm Outer 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light
In a nutshell, the Neewer light is the gold standard of ring lights – it’s heavy duty, versatile and is the best all-round light you can buy for a reasonable price point.Streamer Tactics
- 18″ Light size covers a large surface area.
- 55W / 5500K LED is more than you’ll ever need for live streaming.
- Wide range of dimming control 1% – 100%.
- It’s overkill if you only have a small streaming setup.
- It’s expensive if you need a two light setup.
- Assembly can be a little bit confusing.
This ring light by Neewer comes with a full set of equipment including a 155cm adjustable stand, two color filters (white and orange), a camera/smartphone holder, wireless remote and a carrying bag for easy transport.
It plugs in with a universal power adapter, meaning this light is suitable for both US and EU users without the need for an adapter.
The stand its-self is made from strong aluminum which allows the thin rod to support the weight of the light and camera mounted at the top.
This is one of the best ring lights you can buy because it’s so versatile and won’t break the bank, however it’s best suited for those who have space either behind or at the side of your desk as it takes up quite a lot of space due to its size. On the plus side, you can get a 14″ version of this ring light if you don’t think you need the larger size.
This light does sit at the higher end of the best ring lights for streaming however you do get what you pay for. It’s an amazon best-seller with thousands of positive customer reviews and Neewer are a well-respected photography brand.
Because of the lights photography pedigree, it will be suitable for long term usage which is a big worry when buying this type of product.
The dimming control is a very useful feature as you’ll be able to fine tune the lighting shown on your streaming face cam, preventing the likes of focusing issues and graininess.
If you use a DSLR camera, you’re good to leave the ISO on automatic adjust if you are only using the ring light as your light source. You can mount your camera directly to the stand to sit within the circle light but if you use a webcam then you may want to think about whether your camera cable will reach.
The white and orange light filters are simple snap-on plastic units. The white filter will help to diffuse the light more evenly and appear smoother in-front of a camera. You’ll be using the white one most of the time, but if you require a warmer light then you can switch to the orange filter, just don’t put the light too bright whilst using the orange filter otherwise you’ll look like a tangerine.
This ring light kit also comes with option to mount a mobile phone. Combined with the portable carrier bag, this is perfect for travelling to events as you can broadcast from the hotel room before hand without drastically lowering the quality of your stream.
VIEWNOW 8″ Ring Light with Tripod Stand Dimmable Selfie Ring Light LED Camera Ringlight with Tripod
The key takeaway about this light is that it’s small, simple and affordable. If you stream from a small setup, this is the ring light for you.Streamer Tactics
- Doesn’t take up much space.
- You can attach more than one light to the stand.
- Affordable price.
- USB power will eat away at your computer slots.
- Incompatible with DSLR cameras.
- Doesn’t come with the extra tools needed to add more lights.
This 8″ ring light by VIEWOW is an excellent choice if you want to mount lights directly on your desktop. The light has three temperature settings – warm, cool and natural, along with 10 brightness settings (3200K – 6500K).
In the box, you’ll get the light itself, a tripod, tripod ball head, mobile phone holder and a selfie remote control.
As this light is so small in comparison to some of the other ring lights out there, it is best used for extra lighting rather than mounting your camera inside the ring. That’s because this was originally designed for selfie taking (once again, ring lights are used heavily in the beauty industry) but serves a double purpose as a great light for live streaming.
The stand accompanying the VIEWOW light ring starts from 14.5 inches and can extend all the way to 52.5 inches. It also allows for extra lights to be attached to it and angled to your liking.
Having the lighting ring on a low down stand will allow you to easily place the light in between your computer monitors or offset to the side but this will depend on where your camera is placed.
It’s powered by USB as opposed to an electrical outlet unlike most of the best light rings. This still has its uses though for instance if you are travelling you’ll be able to broadcast from your laptop without having to sit near a power outlet. You could even use it for an IRL stream if you had a spare portable battery pack.
AceTaken Webcam Light Stand for Live Streaming
Don’t want excess clutter on your stream setup? AceTaken’s handy goose-neck stand will solve your problem. You might need two though.Streamer Tactics
- Flexible stand for maximum adjustability
- It’s simple and effective.
- It takes up very little space.
- USB powered, though the cable is reasonably long (55″).
- Only good within a close range.
- The light is only small.
The AceTaken ring light stand features a 24.2″ goose-neck arm that can be bent to suit your needs. It’s the cheapest ring light I’ve reviewed and while it doesn’t have as many gimmicks as some of the other lights out there it does serve it’s purpose, albeit in a very simple way.
The stand has two arms. The largest arm holds the light, while the other 14″ arm holds either your webcam or smartphone. Simply screw in your camera on the smaller arm and you’re good to go. At the base of the stand you’ll find a clamp to easily secure it to your desk. The stand is compatible with most Logitech webcams including Go-Pro cameras.
From a space saving perspective, this type of stand is pretty much perfect. You could mount multiple lights to your desk without having to worry about excess weight or space taken up by a wide base, that way you’ll still have room for your microphone arm, peripherals and stream deck.
As for the light, there are three color temperature settings (white, warm, warm-white) as well as 10 brightness levels. It’s not as heavy duty as other products out there, but it’s a fraction of the price therefore must have its drawbacks.
It’s highly unlikely you will be live streaming with a green screen setup if you are looking at this type of ring light, however it’s worth mentioning that this light will not be powerful enough to light a full green screen backdrop, you’ll need separate lighting entirely for that.
Inkeltech 18 inch 60 W Dimmable LED Ring Light Kit with Stand – Adjustable 3000-6000 K Color Temperature Lighting
Inkeltech’s ring light is one of the best in class thanks to its wide range of colors, customizability and power output, though it is priced accordingly.Streamer Tactics
- It’s one of the best in class.
- Lights up to 5 metres away with ease.
- 7 different lighting modes.
- Expensive compared to most ring lights.
- The stand has a wide base, eating up space.
This 18″ Ring led light by Inkeltech sits right at the top of the recommended range for live streaming. It’s one of the most powerful lights with the capacity of up to 6000K from the 480 LED beads housed within the circle.
Aside from being one of the most powerful recommended ring lights, what sets Inkeltech’s model apart is the seven different lighting settings to choose from. You can have the usual warm, white, cold and combined styles as well as a night mode.
Brightness can be adjusted by a simple knob on the back of the light as well as the handy remote control. The brighter settings of the light are quite blinding however you can place the light high on the stand and tilt the ring downwards to illuminate your setup.
There aren’t many real downsides to this model, but the two most obvious are the price point and the wide base of the adjustable stand.
With so many gimmicks used in the process of a quality stream setup, there’s hardly any room left if you stream from places like your bedroom, so you may want to consider this if you’re looking to save space.
As for the price, it’s a big buy-in however investing once in a quality product will pay off, as the saying goes… you buy cheap, you buy twice.
Whilst this light is designed to be powered by an electrical outlet, you can also insert batteries into the light itself to power it for a short while. (Note: only Sony batteries are compatible with this light and do not come included.)
This light comes with a complete set of kit, including: LED Ring Light, Tripod (20 inches to 75 inches), IR Remote Control, Selfie Controller, Phone Holder, Camera Holder, Adapter and finally a Travel bag.
MOUNTDOG 18″ Ring Light Kit 55W Bluetooth LED Ringlight with Tripod Stand Dimmable 3200K/5500K
Coming in at a firm middle ground, MOUNTDOG offers everything you need in one affordable package.Streamer Tactics
- You get a lot for your money.
- An equally ample 16″ model is available for less.
- All the gear fits in a handy carrier bag.
- Rotatable ring head.
- Not as high quality as other products, but not exactly low quality either.
- No remote control (if you plan on using it for photography as well).
If you’re unsure of how much value you’re going to get out of a high end lighting setup, starting out with a nice middle ground product like this ring light from MountDog is suitable enough to dip your feet in the water.
Just like similar models, you can clip on plastic color filters to get the desired lighting effect you need, as well as full control over the radiance by adjusting the setting on the back of the light.
This model is more for those who are simply looking for extra brightness rather than the flexibility to choose between cool and warm light, this particular model doesn’t actually have a cool light setting so you can only have either a white or warm output. This isn’t really a big issue as it’s highly unlikely you will want to add a blue hue to your webcam backdrop.
The stand is collapsible and simple to get set up; erected by a set of plastic thumb screws.
In the box, you’ll receive: 18” LED light, 33 inches – 79 inches stand, two color filters (White & Orange), adapter (compatible with cameras & mobile phones), smartphone holder, power adapter, power cable, portable black carrying bag.
Ring Light Buyer’s Guide
What Is A Ring Light?
Put simply, a ring light is a circular shaped light which emits a very bright and evenly distributed (Fluorescent or LED) beam.
The light its self is made up of hundreds of individual LEDs, NOT one big circular unit.
Its hollow, doughnut style shape allows the user to place a camera lens within the empty circle, allowing for significantly improved lighting and a clearer camera focus by minimizing the shadow cast on your face.
Good lighting is an essential tool in a streamer’s arsenal. Ring lights are one of the most convenient and affordable ways to accomplish that.
What Are The Benefits Of A Ring Light?
The major benefit of using ring lights is that your face cam will look much more crisp and vibrant as opposed to shady and dull.
Streamers who use a green screen will get the most out of this as there won’t be any patchy spots of the green screen shown on camera, which occurs when the shade of green being masked isn’t consistent.
You can also use them to emphasise your skin tone which is why ring lights are so popular with make-up artists.
Ring lights are also useful because they don’t take up precious space around your desktop streaming setup.
Types Of Ring Light
Camera Mounted Flash Ring Light
These mount directly on to your DSLR camera – either around the lens or in place of the flash. This isn’t really suitable for the purpose of streaming as your camera is often mounted away from you, whereas professional studio photographers would use this type of ring light for close-ups (think make-up advertisement photos, that type of thing).
Mobile Phone / Selfie Ring Light
Fairly self explanatory, this ring light mounts directly to the top of your mobile phone and is commonly used by Instagram influencers to take near perfect selfies while they’re on the go.
You may want to pick one of these up if you like to use social media to promote your stream, but they certainly aren’t essential. I’d get one if you plan on taking photos with your favourite streamers at conventions as they may retweet some of the nice pictures of them at the event.
Free-Standing Ring Light
This is the type of light you’ll want to look for as a streamer. These typically come with their own stand, making them ideal to mount either behind or between your desktop monitors.
By making use of a multi light setup, you’ll be able to use the stands to mount your lights at different heights to evenly distribute the areas you need to illuminate.
Most other forms of ring light are powered by battery due to the need for mobility, however free-standing ring lights are designed with studio use in mind and therefore use a plug socket instead.
Some models even have the ability to charge via USB, but if you’ve reached the point where you want to buy a ring light I’ll bet the majority of your USB slots are already taken up by your peripherals and other equipment.
What To Consider When Looking For A Ring Light For Streaming
For your face cam, ideally you want your skin tone to appear as natural as possible with a significant amount of radiance.
With this in mind, you need to consider whether the light you are looking at is going to be too bright and make you look pale.
The type of light I’d recommend buying is one which has the ability to manipulate the colour temperature, whether in the form of an adjustment knob or a simple snap-on filter.
Editor’s Note: We’ve also written a review on some of the Best Lights for Streaming if you want to explore options other than a ring light for your stream.
How Much Do Ring Lights Typically Cost?
The cost mainly varies on both the size of the light itself and the level of equipment it comes with. The price typically ranges from $20 – $150.
How To Use A Ring Light For Streaming
I recommend using ring lights exclusively for your desktop because you can achieve better backdrop lighting next to your desk by using soft boxes.
For smaller ring lights you can mount these to the top of your monitors by using a clamp. As they’re small, they won’t impact your vision when playing games nor will they add an unstable amount of weight to your monitor stand.
Medium to large sized lights are best used on their accompanying stand. You should have enough room to mount these either side of your desktop monitors, but the placement will heavily depend on where you have your camera pointing. It’s best to test this for yourself by having OBS open as you position the light.
Once you’ve got the stand constructed, directing the light should be simple as ring lights typically come with a rotatable ball-joint
Are There Any Downsides To Ring Lighting?
The only real downside to any type of additional lighting, whether that be RGB back lighting or stream setup lighting is that it will cause extra strain on your eyes.
Lights with a yellow glow are much healthier for your eyes, especially for prolonged usage. It’s the same effect you’ll get from your own computer monitor.
Another point to consider is that lights emit quite a bit of heat once they’ve been on for a while, so combined with your PC and monitors, your room is going to slowly turn into a furnace.
What streamers use a ring light?
You’ll be able to tell if your favourite streamers are using ring lighting as you can often see the circular reflection in their eyes, even more so if they wear glasses.
Twitch streamer Hachubby uses multiple small to medium sized lights and has next to no shadow appear on her camera. Her background and face are extremely well-lit, giving off a high quality look and allowing her camera to pick up on as much detail as possible
Twitch Old School Runescape streamer Flutten uses a single Neewer ring light kit for her live streaming setup combined with some fairy lights as a backdrop. The light is enough to illuminate her face without casting noticeable shadows to the background.