This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which ring lights are best for an office?

Unless your office is in front of a large window, your lighting might not be ideal for video conference calls, particularly if you work from home. Lamps and overhead lights only shine in one direction, which can create undesirable shadows on your face. To give your skin an even tone, you’ll need a ring light.

The best ring light is large enough to cover your entire face. It will have features that allow you to control the brightness and the color temperature, so you can get your desired effect. A great choice is the Merra LED Ring Lighting Kit Lamp with Tripod, a 10-inch ring light that has three color modes and 10 brightness levels so you can fine-tune the lighting to your liking.

What to know before you buy a ring light for the office

What is a ring light?

Artificial light tends to come from one direction. If you take a flashlight and hold it under your chin in the dark, you get exaggerated shadows streaking up your face. These shadows are contrasted by very bright areas, making you look a little scary. While this may be great for telling campfire tales, it doesn’t work very well in a professional environment. 

A ring light looks like a large donut. The idea behind this design is that it shines light from all directions. With the top part of the ring shining down and the bottom part shining up, the right size ring light placed at the correct distance away from a subject can eliminate most, if not all, of those undesirable shadows.

What can you use a ring light for?

The most common use of a ring light is for photography and streaming. However, this item has other uses that extend beyond being just a selfie ring light. Besides lighting your face for Zoom meetings, online teaching and other photo or video purposes, a ring light is great to use when putting on makeup. If you have hobbies that require seeing small details without shadows, a ring light makes an excellent work table lamp. Anytime you want or need soft, even lighting, a ring light is a good option.

What to look for in a ring light for the office

Size of the ring

When you purchase a ring light, you need to buy one that is sized for your needs. For an office situation, you will want to get a model that is large enough to shine light around your entire face. Depending on how far the light is positioned from your face, roughly 8-10 inches is a suitable size for an office environment. However, if portability is important, you may want to consider a smaller size, but realize the results might not be as impactful.

Brightness control

For a ring light to be adaptable to your needs (and the changing ambient light), there must be settings between full brightness and off. For an office environment, anywhere from five to 10 settings should be enough.

Color temperature control

The temperature control changes the color of the ring light: A warm tone will have an orange cast while a cold tone will look blue. Most models have three settings: warm, natural and white. If you desire greater control, you will need to look for a model with more temperature settings.

Adjustable stand

To get the most out of your ring light, it needs to have an adjustable stand. Some models only sit on a desk, while others can be placed on the floor. Choose the model that is best for your particular situation. Additionally, the ring light will need to tilt forward and backward as well as rotate. 

How much you can expect to spend on a ring light for the office

On the low end of the price scale, you can find a model for as low as $15. At the high end, there are ring lights for professional photographers that cost $200-$300. For office use, you shouldn’t need to spend more than $80 for a great option.

Ring lights for the office FAQ

How do I set up a ring light for a Zoom meeting?

A. While the final decision depends on personal preference (and available space), a ring light works its best magic when it is directly in front of and slightly above the subject’s face with a slight downward tilt. This means you want to position your ring camera behind and above your computer screen, but tilted down. In this position, the light shouldn’t create a glare on your glasses (if you are wearing them). It will cast an even tone across your face and you’ll still have those white rings in your eyes.

Are ring lights safe?

A. Currently, there is no evidence concluding that ring lights are not safe. They function the same way as other lighting, though there are some things to keep in mind. Ring lights do flicker at high, imperceptible speeds. For some individuals, this can cause headaches, dizziness and other unpleasant symptoms. Additionally, ring lights are most often placed in front of the user’s face, so care should be taken not to stare directly at the light. If you purchase a high-quality model and find that it aggravates your eyes, try adjusting the color temperature so there is less blue light being emitted.

What are the best ring lights to buy for the office?

Top ring light for the office

Merra LED Ring Lighting Kit Lamp with Tripod

Merra LED Ring Lighting Kit Lamp with Tripod

What you need to know: This 10-inch ring light is sized to produce the best lighting results for streaming applications.

What you’ll love: There are 10 brightness levels and three color modes to offer a great deal of versatility. It can be powered by a USB port and comes with a stand that adjusts from roughly 18 inches to nearly 5 feet tall. The light can be rotated and tilted to provide any angle you need.

What you should consider: This model is not as compact as other offerings, so you will need a little extra room to set it up.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Top ring light for the office for the money

selfila Video Conference Lighting Kit

selfila Video Conference Lighting Kit

What you need to know: The stand of this compact ring light clips onto your laptop, making this a great option for situations when space is limited.

What you’ll love: This light has five levels of brightness and five light modes. The inline controls make it easy to quickly adjust your settings with the press of a button. It is less than 5 inches in diameter and manufactured to be lightweight, so it’s highly portable. 

What you should consider: While this model is conveniently sized and affordable, it’s a little smaller than ideal.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Evershop Desktop Ring Light for Zoom Meetings

Evershop Desktop Ring Light for Zoom Meetings

What you need to know: This is a versatile 8-inch ring light and stand that features an elegant design.

What you’ll love: The desktop stand on this ring light is easy to adjust. The light has three lighting modes and 10 brightness levels. It can be tilted and rotated to any angle, and the company promises a speedy response (within 24 hours) to any inquiries.

What you should consider: Although this model has a USB plug and works with most devices, some users occasionally had a little trouble getting the light to work with their laptop.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.