Good lighting completely changes the quality and professionalism of your stream, and it gets the attention of high-end sponsors. We’ve researched various lighting solutions, and we’ve found the top 4 best lighting for streaming at any budget. Take your stream to the next level.
Elgato Key Light
Elgato is well known for their streaming gear and hardware. They have a wide variety of products, including; the Cam Link, the Stream Deck, and Stream Deck Mini, the green screen, and now the Elgato Key Light.
In the box, the first thing you’re going to notice is there’s a big piece of cardboard covering it all, and this is your setup instructions, it also has the assembly instructions, as well as the wireless pairing and the app instructions as well.
Underneath the cardboard covering is the light panel, what shocked us right away, was how thin this panel is. Many other light panels are going to be thick and bulky, but the fact that it saves so much space with this profile is a huge plus.
The all-white panel itself is frosted, which is going to produce a lovely soft and diffused light. In the box, you also have your power brick with international wall adapters.
Elgato Key Light – Professional Studio LED Panel with 2500 Lumens, Color Adjustable, App-Enabled – PC and Mac
The last thing in the box is your pole mount. The pole has a clamp on the bottom, for attaching it to your desk, there is also a ball head up top, and the minimum height of the pole from top to bottom is 22 inches, and when it’s fully extended it is 49 inches.
The clamps make it easy to snap the Key Light on to the lip of your desk. You can then tighten it to adjust the height. The joints here are rubber, so you can easily loosen it and tighten it.
The ball head at the top of the included pole isn’t a 360 ball head, but it’s going to help you quickly adjust the angle of the Elgato Key Light. Once the light is angled, you can then lock the light into place, and you’re good to go.
The light itself is super thin, and diagonally it is 15 inches. The light also weighs only around 1250g, so it’s not going to be tipping over on the pole, which is good.
Great for Green Screen
The Elgato Key Light has a maximum brightness of 2500 lumens, and the color temperature range is from 2900 to 7000 Kelvin, so it can get cool to warm.
On the back of the light is the power module, and you use the power brick to plug it in the bottom. There is also an on/off and reset switch on the back of the light.
There’s nothing on the light to plug it to your PC because it’s all done wirelessly. The Key Light connects to your network through your phone and then automatically pairs to their control center app on the PC.
Additionally, on the top, bottom, and both the left and right sides, there is a quarter-inch thread for mounting the light, so you can have it mounted either vertically or horizontally, or any orientation.
Getting the Elgato Key Light set up is easy if you don’t have Wi-Fi built into your PC, that’s okay! You can download the Elgato Control Center app on your phone.
Once you have the Elgato app downloaded, you can pair up to your network; it’ll automatically pair to your PC. As long as your PC and smartphone are on the same network, you can control the light from your PC.
In the actual app itself, you can turn the light on and off, change the color temperature, as well as the brightness, and you can rename the light if you have multiple lights.
In the control center app on PC, you have options to turn the Elgato on and off. The PC application is straightforward to use; it has sliders for brightness and color temperature.
If you have multiple Key Lights, you can have different settings for each one. That’s thoughtful of Elgato, as your stream grows you can add more lights and have a more professional look.
You also have a lot of detail in terms of brightness, on the PC you can see what brightness level you’re at as well as the color temperatures.
When you adjust the settings, you can see the actual Kelvin reading, and that’s helpful because if you are using a DSLR, you can match the white balance.
Made for Live Stream
While testing the Elgato Key Light, we noticed a drastic difference when the light was off; the stream looks so dark and much more noisy and grainy. But when we turned the light on, everything is much sharper.
The Elgato Key Light is excellent for a green screen, which most streamers have; the bright light will make keying out the green screen much easier and will result in better-looking streams.
If you’re asking yourself, why do I even need this? Again, it’s just another thing to make your streaming more professional and simplified. If you have a facecam, having good lighting is vital.
No Twitch viewers like seeing a streamer with a dark and grainy camera, having the extra lighting will immediately improve your stream.
One of the biggest things that we think is a huge plus is how thin and low-profile the Elgato Key Light is, it’s just so much better than having a big, bulky light.
Frosted Light Panel
Also, the soft frosted diffused shell on the actual light itself is going to give you not only more even light but a softer light as well, so you’re not getting those harsh looking shadows on your face.
Another bonus we did notice is that heat has not been a problem at all. A lot of our light panels that we use for video get extremely hot, but the Elgato Key Light was warm to the touch at most.
So you’re not going to be sweating like a pig when you’re streaming, and that’s always good, after all, looking good on stream is the main reason to get this key light.
Also having this Key Light connect wirelessly with your phone and your PC is a unique advantage because not a lot of lights out there do that at all.
Studio Grade Lighting
If you compare this light to professional-grade studio lighting for big video production companies and those higher-end lights, the Elgato light has more modern features.
We would have liked an optional knob on the back; if there were one there, we wouldn’t have knocked it. A knob on the back would be perfect is you’d want to make a quick and easy adjustment.
We’d also like to see a version with RGB lighting so that you could have full control over the color spectrum. RGB lighting would be beneficial if you wanted to set a mood for your stream.
We’re impressed with Elgato and what they’re doing now. They are putting out great products to take your stream to the next level, and they’re doing it in the best most innovative way possible.
The Viltrox VL-162T is a professional lighting solution for streamers. We recommend this light for streamers that already have a small following and want to upgrade their set up.
It’s a 3200K to 5600K bi-color light, and it can be adjusted 20% to 100%, and max outputs 1070 lumens at 1250 Lux and 12 watts, so pretty robust considering the price, which is something we’re going to get into in just a little bit.
The light has a CRI of 95, which is very nice and high, all professional lights have at least 95, sometimes better.
Inside you get the charger, which is just really a cheap Chinese charger, it’s meant for Sony batteries, nothing fancy or unexpected; it also comes with an essential NPF style battery.
VILTROX VL-162T CRI95+ LED Video Light, Portable Camera Photo Light Panel Dimmable for DSLR Camera Camcorder with Battery, Charger, High Brightness, 3300K-5600K Bi-Color, White Filter and LCD Display
The Viltrox also comes with a cold shoe mount with a little bit of adjustability of quarter-twenty. Nothing really that we would use for streaming.
You also get some color filters, which are: green, red, blue, again: we don’t use anything other than the clear filter to protect the bulbs.
The actual panel has 162 bicolor LEDs, you have a cold shoe mount thread, and you also have a mount to hook up a mic, which is unlikely for most Twitch streamers.
On the back, you have an on/off switch, the lock for the battery, and your DC input, which you do have to get separately. You also have your color temperature/brightness knob.
At 100% brightness, the light panel is crazy bright. The brightness steps go by pretty quick, and the battery’s not fully charged out of the box. The LCD screen on the back also gives information about your battery level.
If you press the knob on the back, your color temperature flashes and there you can go to 3300K for really warm up to 5600K for daylight.
The bicolor use is excellent, but we think at 4400K is about as bright as you want to go during streaming. Any temperature, more or less than 4400k, creates a harsh lighting effect.
Small Light Panel
Overall, the light panel is tiny and very light, it’s made of plastic, so it’s kind of on the cheap side, but there is proper ventilation, and it’s nice and lightweight so putting it on a mount will be easy.
The Viltrox has a threaded socket at the bottom, which you can use the included mount on, or some third-party aftermarket mount.
Battery life is okay at a hundred percent at 4400K; we’d say you’d get maybe an hour and thirty minutes. We do know some streamers talk about getting more time out of this thing; we wouldn’t push it.
We think it’s nice you get the Sony NPF battery included, you get the battery and the charger, the panel, and the mount, and the color gels. The color gels are magnetic, and they just kind of snap into place on the front.
Overall, it’s a lovely looking light panel and does an outstanding job in terms of light output. The big thing that we were impressed with is how much illumination you get, and bicolor adjustability, color temperature, everything like that for such an affordable price.
We couldn’t find any other LED panel that seemed of decent quality that offered these kinds of features. It appears to be of high quality. Viltrox puts out some proper stuff in terms of panels, and it’s not like you’re getting some dim light.
One of the significant trade-offs with other LED light panels, especially budget LED panels is a trade-off between brightness and features, but we think this Viltrox light is the perfect balance in terms of cost versus features.
You’ll get excellent brightness, not perfect, but very good, you’re getting bicolor, with Sony NPF batteries, a DC input if you want- and it comes with a battery and a charger.
So at the end of the day, you’re getting quite a lot of bang for your buck with this video light panel and if you’re, just getting into Twitch streaming this is going to be a great option if you’re starting.
GVM 2 Pack LED Video Lighting
This lighting option is a pack of two lights. If you have a large streaming room, then this light pack is ideal for you.
The GVM lights come with a bag that has a logo on the front. So the lights come with a nice carrying bag.
Large Lighting Kit
In the carrying bag, there is a bunch of empty compartments, so the bag is probably meant to accommodate a bigger kit, maybe a package with four lights.
Our option has two lights, we weren’t sure if the kit was going to come with barn doors, but apparently, the two-pack includes lights with barn doors. The lights chassis has a beautiful finish to it, so initially, the lights look good.
On the back of the lights, there are spots for two batteries, so if you don’t have access to an outlet during streaming, you can still use these lights.
On the back, there is also a switch. If you want the lights to use the battery or the adapter, there are also two knobs that control color temperature and intensity.
GVM 2 Pack LED Video Lighting Kits with APP Control, Bi-Color Variable 2300K~6800K with Digital Display Brightness of 10~100% for Video Photography, CRI97+ TLCI97 Led Video Light Panel +Barndoor
The color temperature goes from 2300K, which is surprising that it goes that low, all the way to 6,800K, and that the other knob is intensity, and on the back, there is a digital readout display that tells us the settings.
There are these little wing nuts on the side so that you can tilt the streaming light for the perfect angle.
The lights have 480 LEDs each, so that should be more than enough light for almost any streaming set up. Again, this kit does come with two lights so you can have total coverage.
This lighting kit also comes with two tripods. The tripods do have a quarter-inch screw mount, so you can use it for other things, which makes this whole kit very versatile.
The kit comes with two adapters: they are 15 volt 3 amp adapters, and there’s two, so one for each light, and also there’s a relatively long power cord, which is helpful if you want to pick your lights up super high, you will have enough extension cord.
The last couple of things that are left in the bag are the diffusers and the hardware for the lights.
The lights come with these little extensions screws that you put on the front so you can have the diffuser either close to the bulbs or farther away from them depending on how you want your stream to look.
The four mounting points for diffuser extensions are on the front of the light. Because of the placement of the extensions for the diffusers, you won’t be able to use the barn doors with the diffusers on the light.
If you want, you can also remove the barn doors from the light, using the screws at the hinges.
The diffusers do have a plastic film on them, so make sure you remove that plastic before you set up your light for streaming; otherwise, you’ll get poor quality lighting, and the plastic may even burn.
We used the AC plug that was provided with the kit to test the lights. When the light is plugged in it has a little red light, so you know when it’s powered on. On the back there is a switch for two options; 1 and 2, one is for battery and two is for the adapter.
The light intensity goes as low as 10%. Whenever we moved the knobs, the display automatically switches to information for that knob, so in our case, intensity and color temperature.
There are two different color LEDs in the lights. There are orange or warm LEDs, and then they’re just cool or white LEDs. The LEDs are interlaced, so you have even temperature distribution.
Wide Range of Temperature
If we go down all the way to cool, you’ll see that only the white ones are lighting up, and if we go all the way warm, the light becomes very yellow. Once you go extreme with color temperature, the different color LEDs just shut off.
There does appear to be a substantial color jump from 2400K to 2300K, 2300K is ultra yellow and then 2400K pretty cool. We’d like it more if the color changes were more fluid, but during streaming, the color temperature stays the same.
3200K is still very warm; we get more normal light where it’s pleasing to the eye at about 4400K. So during streaming, you want to stay near the 4000K color temperature.
With the diffuser on, we can get softer light out of the light. Without the diffuser, the light is very harsh, so we highly recommend you used the included diffuser with this light.
The included tripod is pretty convenient, you slide the light over the screw and then tighten it, and you’re good to go. The tripod for the light is sturdy and all-aluminum.
Overall, the light uses 29 watts of power and takes anywhere from 12 to 15 volts, and the temperature is 2300K to 6800K, and the size of the light is 216mm by 265mm by 48mm, so a perfect size for any streaming set up.
This kit is an all in one solution for streamers wanting to upgrade their lighting. Since you get two lights with this GVM Video Light kit, you quickly have even distribution and much better webcam presence.
SOKANI X21 Pro X21Pro
The SOKANI X21 Pro is a pocket-sized LED video light, and SOKANI has packed a lot of stuff into this little package. This is an excellent choice of lighting for entry-level streamers or streamers that travel a lot.
We were able to fit everything, except for the gels, because we didn’t want to crinkle them up, into an included travel bag, which is excellent, it has just two zippers, and it’s really soft and friendly and we- think for the price that we’re paying here, this is a really significant value-add.
Included Light Diffuser
In the box, you get the light, and it comes with two magnetic CTO’s and a diffuser, and they’re just magnetized to the front of the light. You can use the diffuser to hold the gels on and then the CTO one clips onto that.
One aspect we like about this light is the chassis. The chassis is made of all aluminum, which has a high-end fit and finish for this price point.
The light also has a three-button design and square bezels with a circular little push button. It reminds us of the iPhone 5th generation. The size is also comparable to the early versions of the iPhone.
SOKANI X21 Pro X21Pro Bi-Color LED Video Light Pocket-Sized 3200-6500K 122 LED Bulbs OLED Screen Build-in 3000mAh Battery for DSLR Sony, Nikon, Canon, iPhone Video Vlogging and Selfies
There is a power button on the side and when you hold that it turns on the LCD interface, which gives you a battery indicator and the current power of the light.
The plus and minus buttons on the back go up in one degree to set the power that you want the light to use. The buttons have a nice tactile feel to them, and they seem on par with this price point.
Once you press the power button again that turns the light on, and then if you press the power again, it turns off the light. You have to hold down the power to shut the device down or boot the device back up.
USB Powered Light
The light uses micro USB, it’s not type C, we thought it would be type C, but it’s no big deal, they also included a micro USB cable with it, so that’s that.
This light is called the X21 because it has 21 LEDs, which means it’s pretty powerful for the size and they’re kept behind a protective case which is like some of the earlier LED panels. This light rated at one meter is 200 lux.
The battery life for this light is a half-hour to one hour at maximum brightness, which is similar to its more expensive counterparts.
We tested the light at 5500K, if you put a CTO on it, it should probably take it down to about 3200K. Overall, the light performed well; we recommend you keep it a lower power setting and use the included diffuser.
If you already have good lighting in your streaming room, and you need some extra light, then the SOKANI X21 is a great choice. It’s incredibly affordable and performs on par with professional lights.
If you have bad lighting in your streaming room, then we recommend you don’t get this light because it merely does not provide enough light to fix a bad lighting situation.