The Best Cheap Ring Lights of 2019

A ring light is a circular lamp that surrounds the lens of a camera.

Fashion photographers use ring lights because they cast an even light, a diffused shadow and a cool halo-effect in the subject's eye. If you've seen yourself in a lighted makeup mirror, that's a ring light effect. 

Today, ring lights are mainstream because YouTube and Instagram personalities want their beauty and makeup tutorials to look professional. 

A typical ring-light kit includes a stand and colored filters. Some models also have a phone holder and a mini-tripod that can fit on a table top. Lights with larger diameters usually cost more than smaller lamps.

Here are the best-reviewed ring lights that have sold for $100 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $53 | Great Deal: $46

This ring light is very bright and great for makeup, according to several Amazon customers (many of whom post makeup looks to Instagram). Several reviewers say the light kit is easy to assemble despite poor instructions. A few customers complained about flickering.

Good Price: $86 | Great Deal: $75

Samtian's ring light gets high praise from Amazon customers, many of whom love the included accessories (e.g. a carrying bag, stand, phone mount and a shutter remote). Some reviewers say that the stand feels wobbly when its extended to its full height.

Good Price: $80 | Great Deal: $60

Neewer's ring light is high-quality, lightweight and easy to travel with, according to several happy customers. Some reviewers had issues with the power adapter and had to ask the manufacturer for a replacement; others said that no instructions were included (but that it was still easy to assemble).

Good Price: $20 | Great Deal: $11

This phone-sized ring light can be used as a desk lamp or reading light because it includes a gator clip and a snaking cord. Phablet owners may want to look elsewhere: Several Amazon customers say that the included phone holder can't support the weight of large smartphones.


John DeFeo