(Pocket-lint) - If you're looking to optimise selfies, brighten up vlogs or zhuzh up your face for video conference meetings, a ring light is a very worthwhile investment.
Tinkering with lighting may once have been considered exclusive to professional shoots, but a slew of selfie ring lights have made receiving the right kind of light more affordable and more accessible; meaning you no longer have to put up with drab self-facing snaps or video.
However, before deciding how best to illuminate your portrait, you need to decide whether you want an adjustable tripod that sits best on the floor or something smaller that can live on a dressing table or desk. There are also more portable options to consider, as well, which allow you to simply clip on the light to the top of a smartphone or laptop.
So, if you want to recreate the golden hour during any hour you please, we've compiled some of the top ring lights you can buy. Let's explore.
What are the best ring lights? Currently, our top recommendation is the UBeesize Selfie Ring Light. Other ring lights to consider are the Neewer Camera Photo Video Lighting Kit, the Diyife Ring Light, Auxiwa Clip on Selfie Ring Light, and the Trongle LED Ring Light.
Our Top Pick: Best Ring Light
UBeesize Selfie Ring Light
- Phone holder included
- Loads of accessories
- Super easy tripod with clips
- Bluetooth connection can be troublesome
If you need a versatile and affordable ring light, UBeesize's offering is a must-consider.
It gives you a wealth of options to explore, with three different colour temperatures (warm, cool, and daylight), with each offering 11 brightness levels. That means you're able to tune the light to match any surrounding lighting, with the tripod stand locking in place and able to extend between 17.5-inches and 51-inches.
That makes it an asset to pretty much any device you're shooting from, and, if that happens to be your phone, you can take advantage of the rotatable holder just below the ring, too.
Ring lights we also recommend
Not every ring light we test can take the top spot, but that doesn't mean they aren't worthy of your consideration. Here are the other ring lights we currently recommend.
Neewer Ring Light Kit
- Loads of accessories
- Can connect a DSLR camera straight onto tripod
Those who require something a tad more on the professional side will find what they need with Neewer's kit.
While MUAs and other content creators will be able to enjoy the phone holder and experiment with the 5500K LED light (and the white and orange snap-on filters), the 61-inch stand's adjustable height and hot shoe adapter make it ideal for shooting with a DSLR from distance, too.
Wherever you are when shooting, you can adjust with the dimmer switch, while the separate, wireless snapper can take selfies with the touch of a button.
Diyife Ring Light
- Very well-priced
- Fantastic for selfies
- A bit small for laptop usage
- Could be brighter
Replacing the batteries in traditional ring lights can be a bit of a faff, which is why rechargeable, portable variations like Diyife's option make for a neat choice.
You get three levels of brightness to pick between in use, with the device itself able to easily clip on to smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Battery life, naturally, depends on how you use the device, but the company estimates you'll receive around one hour on the lowest setting, 45 minutes using just the medium brightness, and 30 minutes on the brightest mode.
Auxiwa Clip-On Selfie Ring Light
- Easily clips onto nearly any phone
- Can be used on laptops too
- Fairy large
- Not the longest battery life
Maybe you don't need something that's permanently fixed to your dressing table or desk, and, instead, require better lighting that you can take wherever you go.
That's where clip-on selfie lights come into their own. With Auxiwa's option, you can forego your device's built-in flash by clipping it onto the front or back, flicking between the three light modes, and taking the perfect picture.
If you want to use it on your front-facing laptop camera, it can snap onto the screen with ease.
Trongle LED Ring Light
- Adjustable angles
- Stepless dimming
- Useful accessories
- Not the most stable option
For creators who always need a well-lit shot, whether they're standing up or sat down, Trongle's complete kit offers plenty of functionality.
The stand features a mount for your phone and can be adjusted anywhere between 42cm and 160cm, while the 10-inch ring light can be switched between three different colour modes and 10 brightness levels.
Since this is less of a portable solution than others, it also comes with carrying cases for both the tripod and ring light.
Other products we considered
The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.
These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5:
How to choose a ring light
Ring lights come in a variety of sizes. Depending on your needs, they can either be a clip on your phone or on a tripod that can have height adjustment.
If you're using the light for streaming from your phone and are often on the move, then a clip-on light might be best suited to you. Otherwise, if you have a home or studio setup that's fairly static, then a larger ring light can be used, which often provide greater illumination.
So, what should you be looking out for?
Why should you buy a ring light?
As we mentioned above, ring lights can make the world of difference to your on-screen appearance. Instead of creating unflattering shadows that can distract your beloved viewers, ring lights cast an even light on your face to evenly light up all your most prized features. It's a simple solution to lighting, where in the past it was fairly difficult to get a good setup, often requiring reflected surfaces and multiple lights for the right effect.
If you're streaming frequently, creating video content, or just want to get the right lighting to get your make-up looking just so, then a ring light is a fantastic accessory to have.
How many accessories do you need?
The ring light is an accessory in itself, but some have further additions to make it easier to use. To get the height correct, some have tripods. While others have remote controls to turn on the lights when needed. Some options also have multiple warmth options, usually in the form of light covers. These will change the light from warm tones to cold tones, depending on your preference.
Is portability necessary?
Portability is necessary for those on the move, shooting in multiple locations. Obviously, the ring lights that clip right onto your phone are ultra-portable but obviously have their own limitations. But some other options are a lot more portable than others. These will come with foldable tripods and cases to easily transport them wherever you need them.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
For ring lights, we used them for a lot of our YouTube videos and many of our selfie shots for some product reviews that warranted them. Obviously, we had some fun outside of work too, and tested them in a number of scenarios from holidays to online work meetings. We tested them on a number of phones and with a range of laptops and meetings apps.
We aren’t interested in pointless number crunching or extraneous details - we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like to use. And don’t for a second think that the products aren't tested fully because the reviews are concise.
We’ve been covering tech since 2003, and, in many cases, have not only reviewed the product in question, but the previous generations, too - right back to the first model on the market. There is also plenty of models we've considered that didn't make the cut in each of our buyer's guides.