The best lights for streaming of 2024: Expert tested and reviewed (2024)

Having the right lighting for your live stream or edited content can make all the difference in production values as well as audience interest and engagement. The best streaming lights offer a balance between cost, smart features, and lighting control. While more established streamers and creators may use a multi-light system with key and fill lamps, ring lights, and RGB accent lighting, beginners should focus on having a single, quality key light.

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What is the best streaming light right now?

I've chosen the Elgato Key Light Mini as the best streaming light you can buy, not only for its solid construction and small-but-mighty lighting capabilities, but also for its native Stream Deck integration and Wi-Fi connectivity. The built-in battery also gives you plenty of working time to get the perfect take or marathon a new release on stream.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Magnetic mounting option
  • Stream Deck enabled
  • Adjustable brightness and color temperature
  • Built-in battery

Cons

  • No viewscreen for operation
  • No RGB functionality

More Details

Elgato Key Light Mini features – Wattage: 45W | Max brightness: 800 Lumens | Light temperature range: 2900-7000K | RGB: No | Wireless: Yes | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB-C

Elgato is one of the top names in streaming gear, and for good reason. The Elgato Key Light Mini is an excellent option for both beginner and established content creators with its affordable price tag and versatile functionality. Not only does it have a traditional thread mount for a boom arm, but it also features a magnetic plate on the back of the light itself. This means you can place it on any magnetic surface for nearly endless lighting options.

The Key Light Mini is also designed with Stream Deck device and app integration in mind. It connects to your computer or smartphone via Wi-Fi, allowing you to remotely control brightness, color temperature, power, as well as to sync your lights and audio with other programs. I often use the Key Light Mini for review photography as well as portraiture and the occasional live stream, as the built-in battery gives you more than enough run time to handle an afternoon shoot or filming session. Verified Amazon reviewers also love the portable design and range of light settings.

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • Adjustable color temperature and brightness
  • Remote control and on-board dials
  • USB power and charging

Cons

  • No Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Not compatible with Lume Cube companion app
  • No RGB functionality

More Details

Lume Cube Ring Light Pro features – Wattage: 35W | Max brightness: 1500 Lumens | Color temperature range: 2700-7500K | RGB: No | Wireless: Yes | Connectivity: USB-C

When I first got the Lume Cube Ring Light Pro to test last year, I was highly skeptical that it would have enough unique features to justify its high price tag. And I was surprised to find that it does, and it quickly earned a permanent spot in my home photography studio. The best feature is that it has a built-in, rechargeable battery, which instantly makes it an ultra-portable option for outdoor locations where access to reliable electricity may be limited. You can connect the Ring Light Pro to your devices via USB for both power and to recharge the battery when a wall outlet isn't available.

You can adjust the color temperature of the light from as warm as 2700K for soft fill lighting or as cool as 7500K to simulate daylight. And you have full control over the total brightness as well as color temperature with on-board control dials and an included remote. The only downside is that it doesn't have Bluetooth connectivity or compatibility with the Lume Cube companion app, which limits your ability to sync power, temperature, and brightness with other Lume Cube photography lights. Verified reviewers on Amazon and B&H Photo also love the built-in battery as well as the ability to fine-tune light color temperature to match ambient lighting.

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Multiple kit options
  • Tons of effects and colors
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Alexa and Hey Google integration

Cons

  • Some effects can overwhelm small spaces
  • No built-in battery

More Details

Govee Hexa Glide features – Wattage: 36W | Max brightness: 100 Lumens | Color temperature range: 2200-6500K | RGB: Yes | Wireless: Yes | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

The Govee Hexa Glide light panels are an easy way to add visual interest, custom lighting effects, and fun colors to your stream backgrounds. You can choose a 7, 10, or 20 panel kit, which can be arranged in almost any configuration. The companion app gives you complete control over your kit with 40 lighting modes, custom color combinations, brightness and temperature sliders, and even Alexa and Hey Google integration for hands-free voice controls.

I have a 10-panel Hexa Glide kit set up in our guest room which doubles as my photography and streaming space. While some effects like fast flashing or rapidly changing colors can feel overwhelming in a small space (even with the brightness turned down), each panel is capable of producing some impressively bright and rich colors which allow you to create different moods and scenes. Verfied reviewers on Amazon and at Best Buy agree that the colors and light can be very bright and vibrant, and that you can create nearly endless color and pattern combinations with the customization tab in the companion app.

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 8- and 16-foot length options
  • Alexa and Hey Google support
  • Companion app for lighting patterns and colors

Cons

  • No Apple HomeKit support
  • Sensitive in-line microphone for reactive lighting feature

More Details

GE Cync strip light features – Wattage: Not specified | Max brightness: 1600 Lumens | Color temperature range: 2000-7000K | RGB: Yes | Wireless: Yes | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

The GE Cync is a great alternative to the Philips Hue strip lights, offering similar features for a lower price. It's available in 8- and 16-foot lengths that can be connected and shaped into almost any configuration you can imagine. You can use Alexa, Hey Google, or the GE Cync app to control power, color, and lighting patterns.

Fellow ZDNET expert Maria Diaz set up some GE Cync strip lights for a hands-on test of the reactive lighting feature, which uses a tiny, in-line microphone to listen for music, sound effects, or dialogue to trigger flashing lights. She warns that the in-line mic is fairly sensitive, and picked up footsteps crossing a hardwood floor; so it may not be a great option to have enabled in noisy, high-traffic areas. Verified reviews on Amazon and GE's website confirm that the adhesive is fairly strong, so you won't have to worry about them falling down in the middle of the night. But you may want to consider using velcro or something similar if you want to create custom shapes fairly often.

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Under $30
  • 3 light modes and 10 brightness levels
  • USB-C charging
  • Built-in battery

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity
  • No companion app or remote for changing brightness or color temperature

More Details

Newmowa mobile light features – Wattage: 60W | Max brightness: 250 Lumens | Color temperature range: 3200-5600K | RGB: No | Wireless: No | Connectivity: USB

Dubbed the "Alix Earle phone light," the Newmowa 60W mobile light went viral on TikTok for being a quality lighting option for content creators at a surprisingly affordable price. At just $25, this light panel can give your Insta Reels, YouTube Shorts, or TikTok videos an instant boost in production value.

It connects to your phone with a clip for easy placement, adjustment, and removal. It also connects to devices via micro-USB or USB-C for steady power or to charge the built-in battery. The Newmowa mobile light has 3 modes (bright white, bright white/warm yellow, and warm yellow) and 10 brightness levels, giving you plenty of control over the look and feel of your videos and still photos.

ZDNET expert Christina Darby went hands-on with the Newmowa mobile light to see if it was too good to be true. She was surprised to find that such an affordable lighting solution was able to add vibrance and depth to everything from simple front-camera selfies to staged product photos. Verified reviews on Amazon, along with it's viral popularity on social media, are a testament to the quality and value of the 60W mobile light. Many buyers were pleasantly surprised at how bright and durable the light was, and how much better it made their photos and short-form videos look.

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What is the best light for streaming?

My choice for the best streaming light is the Elgato Key Light Mini. Not only is it compact enough for use in smaller spaces, it also offers a magnetic mounting option to give you nearly endless placement possibilities. It also features native Stream Deck integration for remote control over brightness, color temperature, power, and syncing with other lights you may have set up.

Best streaming light

Best price

RGB

Wireless connectivity

Elgato Key Light Mini

$60

No

Wi-Fi

Lume Cube Ring Light Pro

$160

No

N/A

Govee Hexa Glide

$180

Yes

Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

GE Cync

$60

Yes

Wi-Fi

Newmowa mobile light

$30

No

N/A

*Lowest MSRP at time of writing. Please note that actual retail prices may vary depending on the seller as well as available deals and active promotions.

Which is the right streaming light for you?

If you're just starting out at a Twitch streamer or content creator, you have plenty of options for high-quality, affordable streaming lights. The Elgato Key Light Mini retails for about $80, and offers several brightness and color temperature options for fine-tuning your signature style and boosting production values. But even something like the Newmowa 60W mobile light, which retails for about $25, can go a long way towards improving the quality of your recordings and live streams.

More established streamers and creators may want to spring for more sophisticated lights, like the Lume Cube Tube Light Mini, which are capable of both warm/cool white and RGB colors. When blended with similarly capable lights, you can create custom color schemes to match your stream or eSports team colors, personal branding, or just show off your favorite colors that day. Other lights like the GE Cync strip lights feature reactive lighting functions, producing impactful visuals in-time with music, sound effects, and dialogue.

Buy this best streaming light...

If you need...

Elgato Key Light Mini

A well-rounded key light for streaming. The Elgato Key Light Mini features a magnetic mount for nearly endless placement options as well as Bluetooth connectivity for enhanced control.

Lume Cube Ring Light Pro

A professional-quality ring light for streaming. The Lume Cube Ring Light Pro not only offers Bluetooth connectivity, but also a built-in battery for better portability.

Govee Hexa Glide

A set of RGB light panels for streaming. With multiple kit options, the Govee Hexa Glide allows you to create custom RGB wall lighting for stream backgrounds.

GE Cync

A reliable strip light option for streaming. The GE Cync strip light is capable of both white and RGB lighting and easily integrates with Alexa and Hey Google for hands-free controls.

Newmowa mobile light

A budget-friendly and portable light for streaming. The Newmowa mobile light's quality vs. price made it go viral on TikTok, and it can elevate your content without breaking the bank.

Factors to consider when looking for a streaming light

Whether you're looking for your first set of lights, or upgrading an existing streaming setup, it's important to keep these criteria in mind:

  • Price:Just because a light is expensive, that doesn't mean that it's going to magically make your streams and videos better. Make sure you choose a light that is well within your budget and while also offering the features you need.
  • Light type:Should you choose a key light or ring light? While all lights technically do the same thing, different types are meant for different jobs. A ring light is for close-up shots, making them perfect for MUAs, artists, and model builders. Key lights are meant for lighting spaces, so they're better for roundtable discussions and "talking head" style face cam streams.
  • Light color:Do you need soft yellow or bright white? Are RGB lights worth it? Soft yellow lights are better for using during the day since they blend with natural light better, while bright white are best for studio settings. RGB lights are best used sparingly for visual effect.

How did we choose these lights for streaming?

While testing and researching each streaming light featured on this list, I and other ZDNET experts chose these criteria:

  • LED bulb: While compact fluorescent lights are a great, affordable option for photography, they can run hot and be expensive to operate. Each light on this list was chosen for its use of LED bulbs for energy efficiency and temperature control.
  • Light size and portability: Most streamers and content creators work in small spaces like bedrooms and home offices. And many others will often collaborate or travel for filming. Every light on this list was chosen for its compact size and portability.
  • Smart features: While a streaming light doesn't have to be "smart," it does help to streamline your production. Every light on this list was chosen because it has some form of smart feature like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, voice control integration, or a companion app.

What light color is best for streaming?

Color isn't as important as tone. Studio lighting can either be "cool" (with a slightly blue tint) or "warm" (with a slightly yellow tint). Choosing the right lighting tone for your space can go a long way towards raising your production values since it won't wash out details and colors. Lighting solutions marked "daylight" are often on the cool spectrum, using very bright, flat white, or very slightly blue-tinted light. These are good for nighttime filming and dark spaces. Warmer lights are often labeled "soft white" and are better for daytime filming since they blend better with natural sunlight.

If you want to add a bit of visual flair to your streams, there are tons of RGB lighting solutions on the market, like the Govee Glide Hexa panels. These lights can be set to virtually any color and often use different lighting patterns to make your backgrounds more interesting.

How many lights do I need for streaming?

You need at least one major light source to properly illuminate your space. If you're just starting out, your room's overhead light or even a table lamp can be good options. But if you want better production values, it's worth investing in at least one key light and using a combination of existing lamps and ambient light to eliminate harsh shadows. More experienced content creators may want to consider buying a key light as well as a fill light, especially if they plan to use 4K cameras for face cams or secondary filming since improper lighting will muddle details and colors.

For RGB lighting, you can set up strip, panel, or tower lights and sync them with either a control box or their corresponding desktop app. This allows you to not only create custom color and lighting schemes, but you can also sync lighting effects to game sounds and soundtracks, live and recorded music, or your voice. Another trick you can use to mimic professional lighting is to turn your monitor into a key light. You can do this by pulling up a blank document in Word or Google Docs. The bright light will help illuminate your face for streams. You can also search for specific color swatches and make them fill the whole screen for a bit of DIY RGB accent lighting.

What is the difference between key lights, fill lights, and ring lights?

Different types of lights serve different purposes for photographers, videographers, and streamers. A key light can be any sort of lighting option but is usually the main lamp used to illuminate a space. Fill lights are secondary lamps that are used to "fill out" the rest of the space and eliminate harsh shadows. Ring lights are special lamps designed to provide consistent, flat lighting for close-up filming like make-up tutorials and vlogs.

More expert tested streaming lights to consider

The Lume Cube RGB Panel Pro 2.0 is another excellent choice for a portable, powerful key light capable of warm and cool white light as well as RGB. It's compact size and built-in battery mean you can carry it anywhere, while the Lume Cube app gives you total control over settings.

View now at AmazonView now at B&H Photo-Video

Runner-up best overall light for streaming

more buying choices

ZDNET's Michael Gariffo got to go hands-on with the Logitech Litra Beam. He praised the key light's flexible placement and mounting options as well as the simplified controls for brightness and light temperature.

Watch:Logitech Litra Beam demo and impressions

more buying choices

The Lume Cube Tube Light Mini is capable of both RGB and cool/warm white light. A built-in battery and Bluetooth connectivity make it ultra-portable for off-site photo shoots or video recording while the companion app allows you to create groups of lights for custom themes and streamlined workflow.

View now at AmazonView now at B&H Photo-Video

Runner up best RGB light for streaming

more buying choices

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