Professional content creators use ring lights when filming themselves. But what is a ring light, and what do they do? We’ll discuss what a ring light is, why you need one for your phone, and the 6 best ring lights for the job.
What is a cell phone ring light?
A ring light is a circular light used to evenly brighten close-up photos or videos. They’re often used for make-up tutorials, portrait photography, selfies and live streaming on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. They help light up the subject – usually your face – without any fancy, expensive lighting rigs.
You can pick up a ring light for your phone at a decent price – how expensive you want to go depends entirely on what you’re filming for. More money means more features, with extras like ring light mirrors, adjustable light temperature and more.
If you want a ring light for filming with your phone, you ideally need one with a smartphone bracket to hold your mobile.
Do I need a ring light?
If you’re filming content that focuses on you, then you probably need a ring light for your phone. Natural lighting and the brightness of your phone screen will only take you so far.
Unless you’re prepared to invest in key lighting, a backlight, a fill light and a crew to operate them, a ring light is the way to go. You can create slick, well-lit content on your own with just a ring light and your phone.
How do you put your phone on a ring light?
Most ring lights come with a built-in bracket to place your device. Some are built specifically for cameras, tablets or phones. Like any piece of equipment, remember to check with the manufacturer or retailer before buying a ring light that doesn’t hold your phone in place.
Below, we’ll discuss the 6 best ring lights for your phone on any budget. If you’re stuck for music to soundtrack your perfectly ring-lit content, why not check out our catalog? We’ve got more than 40,000 royalty-free tracks to choose from. We’re sure there’ll be something up your street.
Now, let’s dive into the 6 best ring lights for your phone!
Are cheap ring lights worth it?
While expensive ring lights are naturally more high-tech and give you more freedom, you can start creating content on your phone with a ring light without spending a fortune. Here are a few ring lights for your phone that won’t break the bank.
Xinbaohong Rechargeable Portable Clip-on Selfie Ring Light
This might be the cheapest of the cheap, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the Xinbaohong right away. If you want a ring light for your phone that you can just grab and go, this one’s hard to argue with. You charge it via USB, clip it onto the top of your phone and then you’re ready to go!
It’s less than four inches. The color temperature’s fixed at 6,000K. There are three brightness levels: low, medium and ‘Agh, has an asteroid just hit?!’ This is simple as they come, but at $11.99, it basically costs the same as a month with Netflix.
The Xinbaohong is handy for beginners, but make sure you give it a test run before spending any time filming content – the ring light may cover your phone’s camera lens, depending on the model. Read more about the Xinbaohong ring light here.
UBeesize 10" Selfie Ring Light and Tripod
The UBeesize is super compact at just 10 inches, with 360 rotation and the option to change both brightness and color temperature. Changing these settings is easier than a Sunday morning in your sweats – you just hit the buttons under the ring light.
Sure, it’s not the most sophisticated ring light for your phone. It’s a bit flimsy. It’s USB-powered. But considering you can pick this up with a 50-inch tripod for $35.99, we’re willing to let the cons slide. Especially when it’s boasting Bluetooth remote controls. Nice. Check out the UBeesize here.
Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit
Calling this ‘ultimate’ might be a stretch, but with a price tag of $64.99, we’re not complaining. The Rotolight packs quite the punch, with stepless dimming and Bluetooth functionality. The mini tripod also doubles up as a camera grip, so you can easily pick this puppy up and start walking around.
You’ve also got a universal light, phone and mic stand, so you can stick any old thing on it and it’ll probably fit. The default brightness setting for this ring light is quite soft and bright, so it’ll give you a glow-up no matter what.
It doesn’t include a ring light mirror, and the color temperature is fixed at 5,600K unless you apply filters, which aren’t included in the kit. The brightness can’t be switched either, so this might not be the best ring light for phones if you're going for versatility.
It’s also powered by AA batteries, meaning it only lasts four hours before you need to switch them out. For the price, though, the Rotolight Ultimate Vlogging Kit is a worthy beginner’s ring light for phones. Head here to learn more.
What are the best ring lights for phones?
If you want premium, you’ll have to cough up. Thankfully, none of the following ring lights are too expensive. They’re pricey compared to the ones we just mentioned, but in terms of lighting, they’re still an absolute steal. Read on for three of the best ring lights for your phone!
Inkeltech 21-inch Ring Light with Tripod
Coming in at $112.95, the Inkeltech is still a relatively affordable, high-quality choice if you need a ring light for your phone.
When it comes to extras, the Inkeltech goes all out: a generously sized tripod, two remotes and a carry case. It also allows you to charge your phone while filming, thanks to its USB power passthrough. Because it’s slightly larger than average, it provides three hot shoe mounts. This is perfect if you want to use more devices than just your phone with the Inkeltech ring light.
However, it’s not quite as versatile as some of the other ring lights for phones on this list, and the build could be a bit sturdier – that purely comes down to price, though. It also doesn’t include a ring light mirror. With all that in mind, the Inkeltech is still a great next step for anyone looking to create content with a ring light on their phone. Check it out here.
Neewer 18-inch 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light Kit
You wanted big? This Neewer ring light for phones comes with a 61-inch light stand. That’s taller than an actual child. Beyond that, the smartphone bracket is fully rotatable, the carry bag is pretty smart-looking, and there’s a nifty Bluetooth receiver, too.
You can adjust the brightness with a stepless dimming knob, but the light temperature is stuck at 5,500K. However, you can bring this down manually, thanks to the white and orange color filters included with the ring light.
The whole thing retails at $159.99, but Neewer sometimes drops the price to $119.99. Read more about the Neewer ring light here.
Nanlite Halo 16C Bicolor and Tunable RGB 16-Inch LED Ring Light
The Nanlite Halo 16C provides bang for your buck – it’s one of the best ring lights for phones out there, and at 16 inches, it’s comprehensive. The Halo’s entry-level, innovative touchpad allows you to adjust brightness, light temperature and hue with a swipe of your finger – pretty neat for $189.
You’re also offered more control over how the lighting actually looks, thanks to its built-in RGB settings. That’s not a common feature in ring lights, and is something people might fix with color grading in post-production.
In terms of setbacks, it doesn’t come with a stand or tripod. No biggie, it just means you have another small expense. Additionally, if you want to achieve hyper-precise lighting results every time, it might be worth swapping touch controls for a remote. That’ll set you back $12.99.
But the pros do outweigh the cons here. When it comes to ring lights for phones, the Nanlite Halo 16C is a champ. Aside from the top-notch ring light mirror and snazzy carry case, it’s even got built-in Wifi and a USB power passthrough. This means you can keep your phone charging while you capture all that sweet content. Read more about the Nanlite Halo 16C here.
Once you’ve got your ring light set up and ready to roll, you’ll need some cool tunes to complement your content. It’s easy to get lost in the mountains of music libraries, licensing agreements and royalty terms. So, why don’t you skip all of that?
With Epidemic Sound, we offer a direct license. We own all the financial rights to our music catalog, so you can use our tracks on a royalty-free basis. That means there are no people in the middle – you just sign up for Epidemic Sound, choose one of our plans and add your relevant channels.
Then you’re set! Seriously, that’s it. From that point, you’re cleared to use any of the tracks in our catalog for your videos. No copyright claims. No weird rights agreements. Just great tunes. Sign up for a 30-day free trial below.
Are you a video editor or filmmaker? Whether you’re an absolute master or just a beginner, discover what Epidemic Sound has to offer on our Epidemic Sound for Filmmaking page. Oh, and if you’re looking for some background music for your videos, we got you covered.