Best Budget Lighting for YouTube Videos (Under $50) 2019

Updated on June 21, 2019

Getting the right lighting for your videos is important for overall video quality. Without it you may find yourself washed out, grainy, yellow, or unevenly lit.

Fortunately, finding a decent lighting source doesn't have to be expensive. In this post, I'll take you through my favorite budget lighting setups for YouTubers and give you my thoughts on each.

Run and Gun - Neewer CN-216

This little LED light packs a punch. With 216 LEDs build right into it and a shoe mount attachment for even a budget DSLR camera, it's great for taking with you.

The 216 LEDs are quite bright when turned all the way up. This is good as you never know when you'll need more light. Turning them down is simple to make for a quick soft lighting setup. Color temperature adjustment goes between 5400k and 3200k.

This isn't a light I'd use in front of your face in a studio setup although with the diffuser you can make it work. It takes 6 AA batteries and a simpler option that plugs into the wall would be better for that. Rather, you can use it on the side or for a run and gun option.

Overall, the Neewer CN-216 is compact enough to take in your camera case, convenient in that it can fit on the shoe mount, and a perfect option for taking with you on-the-go or shooting late into the evening. The LED bulbs have a life span of up to 50,000 hours. For these reasons, the CN-216 makes the cut for our cheap audio video YouTube setup.

If you're using the shoe mount for a shotgun microphone for YouTube, you might have to choose another lighting option here. Alternatively, you can use a different audio source as well.

Best YouTube Lighting Kit (Under $50)

A cheap lighting kit can give you a lot of flexibility in your home studio. Here's a couple of inexpensive options I like.

Cowboy Studio Triple Lighting Kit

My friend Craig over at Joker Productions has been using this Cowboy lighting kit for several years now. It costs around $50 and includes 2 white umbrellas, 3 stands (1 mini and 2 7 feet), a carrying case, and 3 45 watt 5500k bulbs.

While I do prefer a simple shoe mount LED light for my run and gun setup, the carrying case does allow you to take all of this with you. If you travel to a location that allows you set something like this up, you'll be surprised at just how effective it is.

In terms of brightness, this kit is all I need for my office. In fact, I often leave the mini light out as I currently have enough. Between the 3 of these, this should be plenty for a YouTube studio setup.

Final Thoughts:

This set is very similar to other options on Amazon including one I currently use in the LimoStudio Lighting kit. As they are pretty much the same, I'd go with whichever one is cheaper. Use it in conjunction with a good budget tripod like the ZoMei Z818 and you're got a solid studio setup for cheap.

A Budget YouTube Phone Lighting Solution

Qiaya Rechargeable Ring Light

You carry your phone with you everywhere so having an inexpensive lighting solution to improve the quality of your videos is a must.

This isn't the only ring out there but it is one I recommend. The Qiaya rechargeable ring light can be mounted to your phone in order to take better selfies or video while you're out and about.

It's very affordable at around $10 and is a quick way to get better photo and video from your phone right away. It's also extremely compact so you can take it with you in your pocket wherever you go.

Overall you'll definitely want this or something like it if you use your phone a lot.

Natural Light

Whether you're starting out or have been a YouTuber for a while, natural light can be your best friend. I have 5 windows in my office (3 small windows above typical viewing height). With my blinds I can close and shut these whenever I want. This along with 100% natural bulbs in my ceiling light allow me to come pretty close to my desirable lighting without any extra kits.

In fact, whether you're a new YouTuber or experienced one, I'd challenge you to get outside and use more natural light. Some of my best shots were taken outside and viewers find these types of shots interesting as well.

The Time of Day is Important for Natural Light

The only downside to using direct sunlight is that it can often be too much. If you move to a shady location or move around the people in your video so that the sun is your backlight, you'll likely find an angle that isn't overdone. Another option is to shoot during the blur hour when the sun goes down or the magic hour leading up to a sunset or just after sunrise.

Choosing the Right Equipment

For more experienced videographers picking the right lens and camera and using reflectors and flags can also help. Going in to the right equipment goes beyond the scope of this article; however, a camera with a lot of dynamic range will help during the day as well as a lens with low contrast and wide primes.

Under $20 - Newer Collapsible Disc

You might be able to avoid a bunch of unnecessary lighting options if you're willing to take with you a portable disc light reflector.

I currently use this 43-inch Newer Collapsible disc. It's cheap and I find myself switching between the translucent, gold, and silver options quite frequently. Other options include black and white. When I'm outside I use it to block the sun or change a bad angle to a good one.

Inside it's useful as well. As someone who does product reviews and shoots photos for them, this allows me to get just the right angle on the product I'm shooting as well without creating a box or taking too much time. I can also direct natural light from the window to my face or another part of the room.

Final Thoughts:

Overall this is an inexpensive disc reflector that will last you a couple years. Is it as nice as the professional options? Not in terms of material. Will it last you just as long? Probably, but if it doesn't it's cheap enough you could buy again if need be.

LimoStudio Lighting Light Tent Kit

If you do product reviews as I do, it's also nice to have a lighting tent kit setup. This 16 x 16" box, from LimoStudio, allows for different colors and gives your product the isolation it needs for just the right setup.

In addition to the tent, this kit comes with 2 LED lights, the 4 backdrop fabrics shown above, and a cellphone clip holder. While I'd recommend you use something other than your cellphone for pictures, I have seen some great pictures with my Samsung Galaxy S8.

The Included Lights Are Just OK

As far as the included lights are concerned, they're fairly basic as that's what you get with a $40 kit. So, you'll likely want to use another option at some point in time. And I found that they weren't powerful enough for what I was trying to go with. Still it's nice to have another lighting source for just about any project.

Overall, this box isn't the biggest setup in the world so it likely won't work for everything you do. However, in my case, it was well worth the $40.

What's Your YouTube Lighting Budget?

See results


Overall, there are a lot of inexpensive lighting options out there that can help take your YouTube videos to the next level. Try and get creative as much as you can as that often works better than the most expensive solutions.

Have a solution you use that you want others to know about? Be sure to use the discussion area below. Also, I'm open to answering any questions you may have.

I've also written additional posts on affordable YouTube audio and video setups. So, be sure to take a look at those if you'd like to know more.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)