Proper lightning makes huge difference for the quality of video calls. Not even the best webcam, or professional DSLR repurposed for web conferencing can deliver high quality image if the lighting is poor. And unless you only get on those video calls on full sun-light, in front of huge windows, in perfect weather, chances are you may need some lighting help every once in a while. When working from home, I am sometimes relegated to poorly-lit basement, so for me proper lighting is a must-have.
Thanks to Youtubers, Twitchers, and our increasingly work-remotely lifestyles, there is no shortage of lighting products. Unfortunately, not all of them are effective, and the onest that are can easily break the bank.
So, what is a relatively affordable, and high quality light you can start using for your non-professional setup?
Head to Head Comparison
We tested many products in this category. Here are some that we actually liked. The prices indicated are the ones on Amazon at the time of writing this review.
|Lume Cube Edge LED Desk Light||Desk-Mounted||$129.99|
|Elgato Key Light||Desk-Mounted||$180.99|
|Lume Cube VC-Lite||Mobile||$49.99|
Now, without further ado, let’s get to which one is the best.
And the Bestest is…
Lume Cube Edge LED Desk Light is our undisputed favorite. Price, quality, and convenience are all very good. Skip a ton of garbage out there, and go for it.
Honestly, it is scary how much garbage is out there in this category. We didn’t think video call lights would be a review we’d write, but it is what we needed and after spending hours swifting through reviews, ordering many horrible products and getting completely frustrated, here we are paying forward to save you, the dear reader a similar headache, because we hava a winner! And the winner’s name is Lume Cube Edge LED Desk Light.
This relatively small, but powerful product gets the job done! And does it with high quality. It was cheaper than highly-recommended Elgato, easier to assemble, and worked far better for us. We do, however recommend purchasing two lights, for best outcome, since you probably want your face to be lit up from both sides, for a good balance. Some pros recommend three (one for frontal lighting), but we think two is an OK compromise.
Popular One’s Got Issues
Elgato Key Light is a very popular recommendation online. And Elgato is a great brand. I love their webcam. So we kindof had to include this light. And I do own one, but I wouldn’t recommend it to friends or family.
OK, let me be honest. I mostly own Elgato Key Light, because I love the brand, gave this light too many chances to make me love it, and missed the return period. So I kindof got stuck with it. And since I own it, I do use it, but I pretty much hate it. Don’t get me wrong, it gets the job done (sortof), but it has no hardware way to adjust temperature or brightness and that is its biggest fault.
In theory, based on documentation and Elgato’s Youtube videos, they have mobile and desktop apps to contron both brigthness and temperature, but I dare you to set it up. I surely wasn’t able to. It uses weird wifi-based connectivity, and best I can tell it needs Wifi 2.4Ghz to work, which I don’t even have at home.
Either way, maybe you will have a better luck and end-up loving this one, but I sure didn’t and Lume Cube is cheaper, anyway. Especially considering that you generally want to buy a pair of lights, not just one.
The Portable Option.
We recommend Lume Cube Video Conference Lighting Kit - LITE Edition, in this category.
Honestly, I think small ring lights are generally not powerful enough to make any real difference, but if you are traveling full-sized desk-mounted pair of lights may not be feasible option. In such case and if you only need just tad bit more light, a portable ring light may be the solution for you. There is a lot of garbage in this category. Since we already love Lume Cube’s desktop product, we are recommending their portable product, mostly because brand loyalty is not a bad thing, but otherwise all small ring lights are too weak, frankly.
Why You Should Trust Us
It's pretty simple actually: we do not (repeat, do NOT) sell our opinions. We are not owned by any big corporation, we don't answer to any greedy Wall Street stakeholders, and we started doing this because we care. Every time we wanted to make an intelligent purchasing decision, we would consult with free websites once reputable but then purchased by big media conglomerates, or dedicated review websites that we had to purchase subscription for. We would read how authors had this degree or that degree and expert knowledge, but the simple fact was, their recommendations sucked. Excuse our language. So out of frustration this website was born. We give our honest opinion and recommend products that we ourselves own, enjoy or would recommend to our friends and family. Nothing more, nothing less. You get honesty of your fellow consumer here. And that is a promise we never intend to break.