If you’re uploading YouTube videos and want to grow your channel, professional-looking lighting will set you apart from your competitors and keep viewers coming back for more. Our expert guide looks at the best cheap lights for YouTube.
You don’t have to spend big on your YouTube lighting setup if you’re just starting out. But putting in that extra effort will no doubt help you on your way to becoming an entertainer to take notice of. We’ve done some digging online to find cheap lights for YouTube on sale for less than £100.
Keep scrolling for more details on different types of lights and the products that professional YouTubers use, along with our top picks.
What kind of lights do YouTubers use?
The majority of YouTubers that have invested some money into a dedicated lighting kit will likely be using a softbox. A typical setup would consist of a DSLR on a tripod, with two softbox lights either side of it facing the presenter.
Investing in two lights instead of one will banish shadows and keep the light balanced. If you have a single softbox placed at an angle, that will create a shadow on your backdrop which isn’t ideal. It can also stop a green screen from working effectively, which we’ll come to.
Beauty gurus and make-up tutorial creators tend to opt for a ring light, which is good for showing off skin tones up-close.
Have you ever watched a YouTube video and noticed a coloured backdrop that consists of a pulsing light? it’s most likely achieved with an RGB lighting strip – these can change colour and attach to walls, shelves and the underside of desks.
If you’re shopping for coloured lights, you’ll want to have a read of our guide on the best Philips Hue alternatives under £50. These lights will help you add a splash of colour to your studio and video backdrop.
Why can’t I use natural light for YouTube videos?
We’re not stopping you, but your content will suffer if you rely on natural light. The key is consistency – with a proper lighting rig, all of your videos will be evenly lit. If you’re using natural light, one video might look darker than the other if it was filmed on a cloudy day.
If you’re looking to produce professional-looking videos, don’t rely on natural light. Grab yourself a cheap YouTube lighting kit instead and treat your audience.
Softbox, umbrella light or ring light: which is best?
Steering away from natural light will do wonders for your YouTube videos, but what type of light is best? There are three main options – a softbox, an umbrella light and a ring light. Each type of light has its own strengths, as we’ll explain below:
Using a softbox for YouTube – a softbox will help reduce harsh shadows in the room you’re filming in. They’re smaller than umbrella lights, so you can direct the beam in exactly the spot you need it. The downside is you might need two to get better coverage.
Using a ring light for YouTube – this circular light is a fantastic option if you’re making videos where you need some focus on the fine details on your face. Ring lights are popular with beauty gurus and makeup YouTubers for this exact reason.
Using an umbrella light for YouTube – compared to a softbox, umbrella lights generate a larger area of light. It’s good for lighting a whole room, but not the best option if you want to light a small, precise area.
How do I get views on YouTube?
With millions of hours of footage uploaded to YouTube every day, getting your videos to stand out is tougher than ever before. It’s essential you get the visuals right if you want to be taken seriously – that means investing some money in lighting to give your content some polish.
A proper lighting rig isn’t the only way to get more views on YouTube, but it definitely helps.
How to light a green screen
If you’re using a camera and green screen as part of a facecam setup, the surface behind you needs to be fully lit and shadow-free. Settling for a dimly-lit green screen means your camera will struggle to keep you in focus. When it comes to editing the footage in post, you’ll also notice flickering specs of colour appearing around you due to the shadows created by uneven lighting.
But even if you’re not using a green screen, learning your way around proper lighting equipment has loads of perks. Your growing army of subscribers will be treated to more natural-looking colours, and the strength of the light will soften your skin and make your videos far more pleasing on the eye.
Keep scrolling for the best lighting equipment for YouTube. We’ve included a mixture of products covering a range of price points, so whatever your budget, you’re covered.
See also: Best Headsets for PC Gamers
The Best cheap lights for YouTube
- Bundle consists of lights and tripods
- 210-degree adjustable bulb
- Produces even spread of light
This lighting kit serves up everything you need in one handy bundle. The kit has two aluminium tripods (68cm to 200cm), two 50cm x 70cm softboxes and a pair of 85W daylight CFL bulbs.
Setting up this lighting kit is an absolute breeze, and you’ll be delighted with the results when you watch back your camera footage. The combined power of the silver-lined softboxes create a nice, even spread of light, and the 210-degree adjustable bulb holder makes moving these YouTube lights to point at your subject a hassle-free experience.
We were impressed by how easy it was to disassemble the kit once we were done filming. That’s a welcome bonus if you don’t have the floor space at home for a permanent studio-style configuration.
Verdict: A versatile home lighting bundle perfect for beginners and experienced YouTubers alike. Brilliant value for money.
- Circular frame
- Foldable light stand
This ring light from Neewer is a solid fit if you’re a budding beauty vlogger. Its circular frame (available in sizes from 14-inch to 20-inch) illuminates your face perfectly up-close. That explains why this style of lighting is popular with creators uploading hair and makeup tutorials.
Once you’ve set up the foldable 155cm light stand (which comes in its own carry bag), you place your smartphone or camera inside the ring, with both the camera lens and the light facing towards you. The ring light is dimmable, so you can get play with the settings until you’re completely happy with the effect.
Orange and white filter paper comes bundled with this ring light. You can secure the filters on top of the frame to adjust the colour temperature of your videos. Using the orange filter will produce a warmer look, for example.
Verdict: Ideal if you’re on-camera and want to be the star of the show. The best YouTube lights for makeup gurus.
- Clamp attaches to desk
- Powered by USB
- Offers 10 brightness levels
Try this affordable light if you’re recording vlogs on your smartphone and don’t fancy spending big.
Unlike the other YouTube lights in our list, this option from Velouer attaches to your desk. A 2-inch clamp bites down on the edge of a table, and a pair of adjustable arms rise up from the secure base – one is a mini ring light, and the other holds your mobile. The ring light is powered via USB, so you can simply plug it into your PC. You have 10 different brightness levels to choose from.
The phone clip on this Velouer accessory can hold ‘most popular smartphones’, including Apple iPhone, Sony and Samsung models. Using the clip will save you from piling up objects on your desk so you can prop your mobile on top.
Verdict: Cheap and cheerful. This smartphone holder and ring light combo can help you get started on YouTube. But it won’t generate enough power to light a green screen – you’ll need a pricier kit for that.
- RGB light strip
- Peel n’ stick lights
- Offers 16 different colours
If you’re building a YouTube set, use these cheap RGB lighting strips to inject a splash of colour. The peel n’ stick LED lights are available in 2m and 5m rolls, attaching effortlessly to TVs, walls and tables. We’ve also seen them used to line shelving units in the living room.
The 5V lights ship with a remote control, and once plugged in you can use it to cycle through 16 vibrant colours. If you attach the strips to the back of a PC monitor, you can hide the wires behind the screen by plugging them into the rear USB port. Every time you turn your TV on, the lights will spring into life and put on a show.
As well as adjusting colour, you can also play around with the style of light. The remote control has options for Flash mode, Strobe mode, Fade mode and Smooth mode.
Verdict: A great product that gives your home studio a unique look. Delightfully easy to install, and fun to stare at too.n=edit
- Bundles includes light panels and stands
- Compatible with DSLR cameras
- Powered by battery or external DC power supply
The priciest option in our round-up is also the most powerful. For just under £100 you can grab this lighting kit from Samtian, which comes with two light panels, two 78-inch stands, five filters, a charger, a carry bag, batteries and a remote control.
Samtian’s beaming panels are multi-use, too. They’ll sit on top of the supplied lighting stands without a problem (no surprise there), but the attachment on the bottom of the lights also means they can latch onto the top of a DSLR camera. If you’re filming on the move, that’s a handy bonus. These YouTube lights can be powered by a lithium battery or external DC power supply.
There are some physical buttons on the back of each light box that let you quickly make adjustments. You’ll see brightness increase and decrease toggles, along with a battery indicator LED.
Verdict: If you’re serious about your YouTube setup and don’t mind spending close to three figures, these are the YouTube lights to go for.