The Best Cheap Ring Lights of 2019

If you've seen yourself in a lighted makeup mirror, that's a ring light effect. 

A ring light is a circular lamp (or flash) that surrounds the lens of a camera. This produces even lighting, diffused shadows and a cool halo-effect in the subject's eye.

Beauty vloggers on Instagram and YouTube use ring lights to add professional polish to makeup tutorials (and to reduce the appearance of wrinkles). Similarly, Mixer and Twitch streamers might use a ring light as an inexpensive lighting setup. 

A typical ring-light kit includes a stand and colored filters. Some kits also include a carrying case, phone holder and a tabletop-tripod. These holders and stands are often made of lightweight plastic and shouldn’t be trusted to hold expensive cameras or smartphones (despite what the instructions say).

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

Good Price: $32 | Great Deal: $25

Aixpi's ring light assembles easily and produces a bright, pleasing light, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers (even happy ones) say the the included tripod doesn't work well, or at all.

Good Price: $100 | Great Deal: $90

This ring-light is easy assemble despite poor instructions, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers say the light is large, bright and easy to adjust; some caution that the included stand is fragile.

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