Hello there, and welcome to Streamer’s Haven, your hub of information about all things streaming! I am Monodex and it is a pleasure to meet you. In this article, I will go over five of the best lights you can buy for streaming these days, and explain some of their advantages and disadvantages so that you can understand these lights.
I’m going to let you know now, I am partial to the “Panel light” format, so a great many of these lights will feature this design. There are a few reasons that I have this opinion, but I can understand why others may like a different format themselves. If you prefer something like a Ring light, then that is all well and good. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, I recommend that you give this article about “the key light” I wrote a while back that does a good job of explaining the differences. Don’t worry, that link will open a new tab, so you won’t lose your place here!
Also included is why you should probably avoid an RGB-style LED as your primary light. With that being said, Let’s get into it!
The majority of new streamers tend to give more importance to other items such as their camera, their monitor, their chair, etc., when building their setup. And although these articles are certainly of great importance, few streamers, unfortunately, give their lighting the same due importance.
Proper lighting is crucial for streaming, not only because it enhances your on-screen presence but also because it contributes to a professional and more engaging viewer experience.
And truth be told, even if you spent hundreds of dollars on a powerful, high-quality webcam, your stream’s image will continue to be low-quality if you have poor lighting.
For that reason, we have created this comprehensive guide where we will delve into the world of streaming lighting by exploring different types of lighting setups and providing you with some key considerations for choosing the right lighting, and of course, also with a few product recommendations to help you shine brighter on your streaming journey.
Table of Contents
Best Overall – Aputure Light Storm LS C120D Mark 2
I don’t recommend this light unless you are seriously considering content creation as your professional career. Even then, you are far better off investing this money elsewhere, as there are countless cheaper lighting solutions that will get your foot in the door.
This is one of the better options on the market for seriously invested content creators looking to bring their webcam/DSLR quality to the next level. Of course, it has a price to match.
This is a studio light designed for the express purpose of producing quality light that can closely match the wavelength of the sun. It is not meant for entry-level streamers, so I recommend skipping this option if your just starting out. With that said, there are even more expensive options out there, and this one is reasonably priced by comparison.
- Fantastic Color Reproduction, CRI 96+, TLCl 97+
- Some pre-programmed lighting effects
- 30,000 lux at 0.5 meters, it’s insanely bright
- Heavy, you need a good light stand or tripod.
With that being said, something like this is most certainly not required in order to produce a nice looking webcam, so if the price of this thing is something you balk at, hold on just a minute…
Best Lighting Kit – RALENO LED Video Lighting Kit (Editor’s Choice)
This light kit comes with two LED panels, two light stands that can extend up to 75 inches up, two charging plugs, a carrying case, and a reasonable price. For an aspiring content creator getting their foot in the door, a kit like this is easily one of your best investments.
I’m particularly keen on this kit because getting two lights like these allow you far greater control over your lighting setup. Add one more and you can do a three-point lighting setup, which can really add depth to your content when used correctly.
Finally, because these are just light panels, they don’t take up a bunch of space like a softbox kit, which is a big plus for those of you working in smaller spaces.
- Relatively cheap for what you get
- Comes with almost all accessories
- Built in Li-ion Batteries to use the lights where power isn’t available
- Panel design is simplistic and small formfactor
- The included light stands tend to be a little bit flimsy feeling when extended to full height
- Far dimmer than the Aputure offering, coming in at only 2600 lux/0.5 meters
- No Remote
Out of all of the options, I feel that this kit offers you the best bang for your buck. This is why the Raleno kit earned the Editors Choice for this listicle.
Best low-cost Panel light – Neewer Ultra-Thin 192 LED Panel
If you’re on a tighter budget still, and just want to get your foot in the door to getting your webcam looking decent, you could opt for this panel. This is barebones stuff; A single panel, with no light stand or mount. You’ll need to buy a mount alongside this, or use one that you may have laying around. This light uses a 1/4″ – 20 thread mounting joint, which is the standard used for tripods, cameras, etc.
A suspension scissor mount is actually a decent choice here, as it gives you some adjustability if you have the room for it.
- Super Cheap option
- Quality 95+CRI (just know you can’t 100% trust this)
- Decent brightness for the price
- Half the battery life of the Raleno Offering: 4000mah
- No included light mounting system
- No Remote
Best RGB Set Light – Yescom 10 pack Smart LED kit
While the other three lights were focused on filling the needs of your key light, this kit aims to spice up your set; The stuff visible in the background. A well-done set can make your perceived production value skyrocket, creating focal points that naturally attract our eyes across the screen space.
There are, of course, alternatives to this one, such as the NanoLeaf, but I personally like the hexagon style more. I am a big fan of DND, and Hex Grids are oh so familiar to me.
Out of stock on Amazon? This light kit is also available on Walmart.com. So that’s handy.
- It is an expandable, modular system
- Supports full RGB in a fancy hex grid
- Can handle up to 10 modules.
- Cool Hexagon Shape. As a DND player, I approve.
- Compatible with Alexa Google Home
- Not as expansive as Nanoleaf’s system: Those support up to 30 modules connected at once per controller
- Colors aren’t amazing
- Not compatible with Lumia Stream
Best budget light – 12” Selfie Ring Light
This last one satisfies those on a super tight budget or those who simply prefer a ring light format. Just be aware that the bigger the diameter of the ring light, the more light it will be able to produce. If you can find one, an 18-inch diameter ring light will usually have better results.
This particular ring light has a cell phone mount that can be utilized to display Twitch chat on your phone. The included Selfie Bluetooth controller is kind of useless though. Though that depends on what you use it for, I guess.
Anyways, some people prefer the eye reflection you get with ring lights, so here is the breakdown of this light.
- 160 LED Ring light, Respectable for the price.
- Comes with a light stand and phone clasp on a gooseneck mount.
- Zero mention of CRI, don’t expect miracles
- The Included bluetooth controller is useless for streamers
- The bubble leveler head on the tripod is more or less useless for streamers.
- Low power light: USB powered, so 5v max.
- 50 inch max height. Limits how high you can get the light.
Introduction: The Power of Lighting in Streaming
It is safe to say that streaming has grown from a niche hobby to a full-fledged profession over the past few years, attracting a huge number and a diverse range of content creators.
And given that streaming has now become an actual job that requires professionalism, whether you’re a gamer, a vlogger, an artist, or a live performer, you need to care for the quality of your stream since it is what makes the difference between a good and a mediocre streamer.
And among the many factors influencing the quality of your stream, lighting stands out as a true game-changer. Good lighting does more than just illuminate your face or workspace; it sets the mood, enhances your on-camera presence, and conveys professionalism, which is why the choosing process of your lighting setup should not be taken lightly.
Types of Streaming Lighting
Ring lights are circular-shaped, lightweight lighting devices that consist of a circular arrangement of LED bulbs or fluorescent tubes set within a circular or sometimes square frame.
Ring lights are valued for their ability to produce shadow-free lighting that minimizes unflattering shadows on the subject’s face and provides illumination that enhances the subject’s appearance, which is why they are so popular for streaming and other activities such as portrait photography, beauty tutorials, vlogging, etc.
Softboxes are lighting accessories used to create soft and diffused lighting, reducing harsh shadows and providing a more flattering and even illumination of the subject.
While both ring lights and softboxes serve the purpose of enhancing subject lighting, a ring light provides a specific aesthetic with its characteristic ring-shaped catchlight, while a softbox offers more flexibility in controlling and diffusing light for a broader range of applications, which is why they are the choice of those looking for higher-end results. .
Similar to ring lights, LED panels are usually sought after for their compactness and portability. However, it’s safe to say that LED panels are a little above ring lights, mainly because they offer a more balanced and adjustable lighting source that often features customizable brightness and color temperature settings to cater to different lighting needs.
LED strip lights
LED strip lights, also known as LED tape lights or LED ribbon lights, are flexible, narrow strips embedded with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Although these versatile lighting solutions are mainly designed for decorative and ambient lighting purposes, they can also serve a functional purpose in streams since they can be used as fill lights (or even key lights, although rare) on certain stages.
Different Uses of Lighting
A key Light is the primary and most intense light source aimed directly at the subject to provide the main illumination. The purpose of the key light is to create shadows, highlights, and depth on the subject, defining their features and separating them from the background.
The key light’s intensity, angle, and color temperature can be adjusted to achieve different moods and styles, making it a crucial tool for achieving professional and visually appealing results in various visual media productions.
A fill light is a type of supplementary lighting used to reduce the harshness of shadows created by the key light, creating a more balanced and even illumination of the subject.
Positioned opposite the key light, a fill light is typically less intense and softer, providing gentle, diffused light that helps to illuminate shadowed areas without creating strong contrasts.
A backlight is a light source placed behind the subject to create separation between the subject and the background.
Backlights are essentially another secondary source of light that most streamers use to add depth and visual interest to their streams by placing them behind them.
This helps the streamer stand out from the background and can be particularly effective when using a green screen or for creating a cinematic or dramatic effect.
Key Considerations For Choosing Streaming Lights
The brightness of your lighting (measured in Lumens) is essential when buying one because it directly impacts the quality and effectiveness of your whole lighting setup. The brightness determines how well the light illuminates your subject or space, so make sure to find one with the correct lumens for your setup.
Color temperature is measured in Kelvins (K) and determines whether the light appears warm or cool. For streaming and content creation in general, selecting the right color temperature ensures that skin tones, products, and scenes are represented accurately.
Warm light (lower Kelvins, typically 2700K-3500K) creates a cozy, intimate ambiance, while cool light (higher Kelvins, typically 5000K-6500K) delivers a crisp, daylight-like appearance, so make sure to choose one that better fits your streaming style but if possible, also one that allows you to adjust temperature to your liking.
Considering a light’s heat generation is crucial when making a purchase because it impacts not only your comfort and safety but also the longevity and performance of the light itself.
Lights that generate excessive heat can create uncomfortable working conditions for you, especially during long streaming sessions, so keep this in mind.
The size of a light source affects the spread of light and the softness or harshness of shadows it produces.
Larger lights tend to create softer and more flattering illumination with gradual transitions between light and shadow, making them perfect for streaming. While on the other hand, smaller lights produce harsher shadows and may be better suited for specific creative effects or simply when space is limited.
Streaming equipment can range from budget-friendly to high-end, which is why understanding your budget helps you make informed decisions, prioritize essential lighting components, and avoid overspending.
The Best Lighting Options for Streamers: Our Top Recommendations
Best Key Light: Elgato Key Light
Brightness: 2800 Lumen (adjustable). Color temperature: 2900K – 7000K (adjustable). Dimensions: 30 x 350 x 250 mm (D x W x H). Price: $179,99.
With its sleek and adjustable design, this key light by Elgato offers unparalleled control over your illumination, providing flicker-free and professional-grade lighting thanks to its impressive brightness of 2800 lumens that, surprisingly, manages to keep heat impressively low.
Seamlessly integrate it into your streaming setup with the Elgato Control Center, allowing you to fine-tune brightness, color temperature, and even create dynamic lighting effects—all from your computer or mobile device.
Best Ring Light: Lume Cube Ring Light Pro
Brightness: 1500 Lumen (adjustable). Color temperature: 3200K – 5600K (adjustable). Ring Dimensions: 17.5″ diameter. Price: $269,99.
Designed for versatility and excellence, this ring light offers adjustable brightness and color temperature, allowing you to customize your lighting to achieve the perfect look.
With the quick and easy setup that a good ring light offers, this one offered by Lume Cube has the ability to instantly elevate your streaming aesthetics, making it a must-have tool for those who demand exceptional lighting for their online presence.
Best LED Panel Light: GVM RGB LED Panel Video Light
Illuminance: 5000 lux at 0.5m. Color temperature: 3200K – 5600K (adjustable). Dimensions: 40 x 270 x 263 mm (D x W x H). Price: $254,00.
With its customizable RGB color options, adjustable brightness, and color temperature control, this sleek LED panel allows you to effortlessly set the mood and tone for your streams.
Its lightweight and compact design ensures easy setup, while its compatibility with various accessories and mounting options makes it a valuable addition to your streaming arsenal.
Best Softbox Light: RALENO Softbox Lighting Kit
Wattage: 85W – 800W ordinary incandescent bulb. Color temperature: 5500K. Dimensions: 15 x 20 x 102 in (D x W x H). Price: $69,99.
A more affordable yet powerful and professional-like lighting setup, the RALENO Softbox Lighting Kit can perfectly be your secret to achieving professional-quality lighting in any streaming environment.
With two softbox light heads that provide soft, diffused illumination and adjustable stands, you can customize your lighting setup to suit your unique needs. Whether you’re streaming, creating videos, or hosting virtual meetings, the RALENO Softbox Lighting Kit delivers flattering, shadow-free lighting that enhances your appearance and captivates your audience.
Best LED Strip Light: Philips Hue Bluetooth Smart Lightstrip
Brightness: 1600 Lumen (adjustable). Color temperature: 2000K – 6500K (adjustable). Length: 78.7 in. Price: $99,99.
With its easy setup and customizable color options, this smart lightstrip allows you to paint your background with a vibrant spectrum of colors that sync seamlessly with your streaming content, making them the perfect backlight for your stream.
Whether you’re enhancing the mood, creating dynamic effects, or personalizing your backdrop, the Philips Hue Lightstrip offers endless possibilities to captivate your audience.
Tips for Achieving the Best Lighting for Your Stream
- Find the Right Balance
Experiment with lighting angles and intensity to find the perfect balance that flatters your features without causing glare or shadows.
2. Lighting for Specific Streaming Scenarios
Tailor your lighting to your content. Gaming streams may benefit from dynamic lighting, while art streams might require consistent, well-distributed lighting.
3. Maintenance and Care
Regularly clean your lighting equipment, including bulbs and diffusers, to ensure optimal performance.
As a streamer, your audience craves captivating content, and lighting is a vital ingredient in delivering just that.
By considering your budget, space and lighting needs as well as exploring top-quality products, and implementing effective lighting techniques, you can take your streaming to new heights.
We hope this guide has helped you in the process of choosing the best lighting for your setup, so you can illuminate your stream and captivate your audience with the power of great lighting.