The 6 Best Ring Lights of 2023

Maximum Brightness (from 36″): 14 lumens | Dimmer: 4 increments.

The SnapGrip ShiftCam Creator Kit is a top choice for content creators who need a reliable light on the go. It comes with a semi-rigid case that protects and lights the battery, and it also strikes us as a high-quality device. Additionally, it turns any non-iPhone into a magnet-compatible device with the sticker adapter that comes with it. This light uses MagSafe magnetic technology to quickly click into place on your phone, turning it into a more traditional-looking camera with the added button, shutter, and detachable mini tripod legs that easily collapse down into a selfie stick.

When in motion, this compact light is our preferred choice for its convenience and high quality. The rotating ball joint occasionally causes it to tilt at an angle, as a result of the combined weight of the light and a phone when connected to the pole. If you intend to capture numerous selfies using the accompanying pole, you may observe that it is quite weighty. Its efficiency diminishes rapidly when positioned beyond a short distance, but it adequately serves the purpose for selfies or anything nearby. Although not particularly luminous, this light has only a handful of disadvantages that are worth mentioning.

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Reasons to Have Confidence in Us

To evaluate the ring lights, we captured numerous images using each of these devices and carried out controlled photo experiments to gauge the comparative brightness. In order to assess user-friendliness, we experimented with all the various functionalities, timed the setup and dismantling processes, and ensured stability by attaching our phones and cameras to each product. Throughout our testing, we ascertained the robustness by physically comparing each model and thoroughly examining online user reviews for any recurring concerns to take into account.

Our evaluation of ring lights is separated into four rating criteria.

  • Light Characteristics (50% of total score weighting).
  • User-friendliness (20% weighting).
  • Stability (20% weighting).
  • Longevity (10% weighting).
  • Ben Bauch-Applebaum has been with the GearLab team for almost six years, relying on the assistance of a ring light to shoot the best lighting and bring out the best in these models. Over the span of these six years, he has tested hundreds of electronic products and home goods, taking dozens of product photos each time. Richard Hayley, who grew up with a mother photographer and has a keen eye for composition, joined the team to assist Ben. He loves using ring lights for his own selfie game. Ben firmly believes that photography is like painting with light and has been working as a photographer for seven years, using a wide range of DSLRs, film cameras, and phones. The collective work of several senior testers and veteran GearLab reviewers, including Forbes Editor Review, spans two decades and includes shooting photos with a wide range of cameras.

    Examination and Test Findings

    Our best testers subject each product to a series of rigorous tests designed to reveal any strengths or weaknesses, then sort the results into four categories. If you’re just doing a ton of Zoom calls and need help looking your best, the Ring light is an essential tool for anyone who photographs or films subjects. It provides a diffused and kind of light that removes shadows and helps subjects stand out from their backgrounds.

    Value

    Regardless of which one you choose, you will still get a good amount of light at a much lower cost. However, you will have to give up some of the advanced features that the pricier models offer. If you are looking to save money without compromising on performance, the UBeesize 10″ Table Top and Xinbaohong Clip-On are excellent choices. The value of a product is determined by comparing its price to its performance, specifically its overall score.

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    The Neewer 18″ Kit is a solid value pick if you want something of high caliber but don’t need or want to pay for extra features. It is a versatile and long-lasting product, easy to use, stable, and durable. It delivers excellent quality light and sheer brightness, exceeding our expectations across all metrics.

    Illumination Characteristics

    Every kit provides a range of shades and adjustable brightness, similar to other features that are also relevant. We considered brightness to be the most crucial aspect of light quality. Our testing mainly focused on the quality and quantity of light produced by each product.

    The lights in our test suite emit a large range of lumens. We tested each light multiple times to confirm the readings, even in the absence of ambient light. To ensure accuracy, we measured each light ring at a distance of 36 inches. We used the EXTECH LT300 Light Meter to compare and measure the sheer brightness between these very similar devices.

    The Light Ring 10″ Sensyne and Tripod with the 10″ Ubeesize emit just a couple hundred lumens, which is significantly less powerful and smaller compared to its closest competitors. If you are searching for the absolute brightest light, you should go with one of these larger lights. The 18″ Westcott, in addition to its unique sliding scale tone feature, offers customizable dimming. Both the Lume Neewer and the Westcott offer continuous dimming, which is a unique feature. These models, although smaller in size, provide roughly 25 times the surface lighting area as the tiny Auxiwa Clip On. Another advantage of the Westcott is that it comes with batteries, while these three models are wall-powered lights. However, in our test suite, the Kit 18″ Neewer still takes an impressive third place with 2065 lumens. The former emits an exceptional 2267 lumens, and the latter emits a whopping 2435 lumens. When it comes to sheer brightness, the 18″ Cube Lume Kit edges out the 18″ Westcott.

    The Ultimate Vlogging Kit from Rotolight is exceptionally bright, with a size that is perfect for its brightness. It is portable and boasts up to 1000 lumens, which is multiple times brighter than lights of equivalent size. However, this model suffers in terms of overall quality because it relies on plastic swappable disks to change the face light temperature manually, instead of having a light quality that can be adjusted. Additionally, it lacks dimmability.

    It would be disingenuous to ignore the obvious issue of only approaching “brightness”. This test includes a huge range of sizes, from the tiny Clip-On Auxiwa model to the enormous 18″ Neewer. We also measured the exact sizes of the ring lights, which were advertised as the brightest, so these values should be compared to determine which lights are the largest and obviously the brightest.

    In our examination, there are four levels of light dimensions:

  • Biggest 18″ plug-in models.
  • 8-12″ USB designs.
  • The Mactrem 6″ LED (which fits into the middle of categories).
  • Portable/clip-on models.
  • If someone uses a ring light, you can almost always see their eyes in circular shapes — these are called “catchlights,” and they are one of the big things you can notice. In the case where we wanted to compare how each category of portrait size is affected by light, we haven’t used many ring lights.

    None of these photos underwent any editing. The facial features and the appearance of the photographs alter with varying intensities of light. This methodology illustrates the contrasting effects of different lighting conditions and their visual impact. To demonstrate this, we captured several selfies using various camera exposures to achieve a similar lighting setup.

    There is no light – it is arranged with striking side lighting so that the ring light becomes more prominent.

    Can you see how the Clip-On Auxiwa doesn’t provide enough bright light?

    “The distinctive eye “catchlights” are not visible, yet the side lighting is not as prominent; this particular one illuminates the face more effectively, Mactrem 6.”

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    You can start to see the catchlights light ring, but the photo also has a green cast. The right side is still lost, but this one fills the pretty face well — Aixpi’s 10″ Tabletop LED.

    There is a distinction between a selfie and the difference in the world. You can see the catchlights in the eyes and the face that stands out from the background. Do you know exactly what these lights are supposed to be? It is an 18″ Neewer.

    The low settings weren’t very important, so we discovered that we almost always utilized the lights to their maximum potential. The ShiftCam SnapGrip Creator Kit and Auxiwa Clip-On offer four and three levels, respectively, of luminosity. The USB lights provide 9-11 brightness options. The Westcott 18″ Kit and Neewer 18″ Kit offer seamless dimming. Nearly all of the lights have different levels of brightness.

    Additionally, the Neewer Kit and the Westcott Kit are included in the light, enabling you to adjust the white balance between 3200K and 5600K. Red filters can be attached to the light. The USB lights we tested offer three distinct controls, allowing you to achieve a warmer or cooler lighting effect depending on the desired ambiance. The Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit utilizes plastic discs instead of temperature lights. On the other hand, the Auxiwa Clip-On and ShiftCam SnapGrip Creator Kit lack “color temperature” adjustments. Almost all of the lights featured in the review possess “color temperature” controls. Lastly, as previously mentioned.

    Both the Warm and Cool tones come with three different shades of warmth, respectively offering 10 steps dimmer and 225 lumens and 11 steps dimmer and 240 lumens. These 10″ Light Rings from Sensyne and UBeesize perform better with the Tripod, extending up to 50″. The 10″ Light Ring from UBeesize performs better than the rest, including the smaller lights. In our review, the Westcott model came closest to the quality of light offered by the ring lights.

    The Lavkow is an enjoyable choice if you desire to enhance your selfies and videos with daring illumination. It provides a continuous dimmer in addition to these 11 light shade choices. This package includes eight enjoyable hues and three warmth alternatives. Despite emitting only 168 lumens, it compensates for its lack of intense brightness with a distinctive assortment of light shades. A notable contender in this category is the Lavkow RGB.

    User-Friendliness

    We repeatedly broke them down and set them up, making it easiest for us to sort out the products which were not well-designed (and there was a wide range of well-designed products within this metric). If a product is unnecessarily complicated, you may not use it with many things.

    The lights on the Tripod Aixpi, specifically the Xinbaohong and Clip-On Auxiwa, were unnecessarily fiddly because they took about 50 seconds to set up together. While the Clip-On Auxiwa and Clip-On Xinbaohong only took about five seconds to clip onto the phone, the rear-facing camera on the iPhone was primarily useful for selfies. Additionally, during our timed test setup, the Westcott and Neewer lights took the longest to set up, with each taking roughly 15 seconds and one minute, respectively. This revealed that the Westcott and Neewer lights were the clearest and most visible in this particular setup.

    If you are in an upright position, the Sensyne is not sufficiently tall for the majority of adults to utilize. Nonetheless, it does have a maximum height of 50 inches. Its legs can be extended in three stages, making it easy to adjust. We appreciate the comparable designs of both the Sensyne 10″ Ring Light with 50″ Extendable Tripod and the Razer Ring Light 12″. It may take a moment to comprehend the proper configuration, but there are three layers comprising the MagSafe adapter sticker, the light itself, and the tripod/selfie stick in The ShiftCam SnapGrip Creator Kit. Once you become accustomed to it, the setup becomes straightforward.

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    The Light Ring 10″ Sensyne is a basic but unique feature of the Creator SnapGrip ShiftCam Kit, as it includes a tripod that has a superior level bubble to ensure a level shot. We were impressed with the added capability of the SnapGrip portion, which allows the phone to be wirelessly charged while attached for use. However, the size of the light and the wired setup make it a little impractical, although technically it can still be used in this way with the Tabletop 10″ UBeesize tripod. We also looked at additional features in this category and gave higher ratings to products that included things like a tripod that can turn into a selfie stick or a remote trigger (for use with a phone).

    Stability

    We were confident in our electronics, whether it was a DSLR or a phone, and we assessed whether each could support us going to where we were actually staying. We vigorously jostled it to see if it could stay up, and if it could, we then attached the largest model of either a phone or camera. You must choose a light ring that can stand up with a phone or camera attached.

    Are your hands as steady as a tripod? They are also stable, to some extent, with the Kit Creator SnapGrip ShiftCam. In this category, high scores have also been achieved by models from Westcott and Neewer. These devices are inspiring confidence when it comes to using them in all categories. The UBeesize 10″ Tripod has proven to be remarkably sturdy in this category, making it the top scorer for stability.

    The strangely LED 6″ Mactrem has two different tripods, both poorly balanced. It is relatively stable, thanks to its low center of gravity. However, if the phone is not attached to the anchor on the other side, the weight of the actual light can cause the whole apparatus to tip to one side. The same issue arises with the 10″ Aixpi Tabletop LED, where the phone is attached to the anchor on the other side. The Ultimate Vlogging Kit from Rotolight also has a stable mini tripod, but it is slightly sturdier. The RGB Lavkow also has a wide base tripod, which makes it more stable. On the other hand, both the Sensyne 10″ Light Ring and the Razer 12″ Light Ring have tripods with a wide base, ensuring level stability. We struggled to fit our iPhone Plus models into the holder of the 18″ Cube Lume, but it has a stable tripod. We were impressed by the UBeesize phone holder on both the 10″ UBeesize Tabletop and Tripod models. However, there were many different DSLR holders and phone holders, and some were better than others.

    Durability

    Continuously, we dedicated time to arrange and dismantle each lighting unit in order to discover any vulnerable areas they may possess for the purpose of comprehending their resilience. In order to determine if there were any shared issues, we supplemented our evaluations by perusing user feedback. We ensured to subject them to all the challenges that a busy videographer or photographer may encounter.

    The lights on the Aixpi 10″ and Mactrem LED 6″ Tripods, Auxiwa Clip-On, Xinbaohong Clip-On, Neewer 18″ Kit, and Westcott 18″ Kit, Razer 12″ Ring Light Kit, UBeesize 10″ Tripod, UBeesize Tabletop 10″, are all underwhelming and liable to break if they fall on the floor. On the other end of the spectrum, the Westcott and UBeesize lights are the most durable, with a well-constructed metal body and fewer joints and hinges that are prone to breaking. The Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit and SnapGrip ShiftCam Creator Kit are also well-constructed and portable, but their smaller size contributes to the likelihood of joints and hinges breaking. Both kits come with a semi-rigid protective zippered travel case and the ShiftCam is rubber-coated.

    Conclusion

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