The 5 Best Elgato Key Light Alternatives For Streamers In 2021 (For Any Budget)

By: Lorenzo  |  Updated: October 19, 2021

The Elgato key light is expensive, especially if you’re starting in the streaming world, then you definitely won’t want to drop $170+ from the get-go.

Having combed through many different lighting options, I came across some excellent Elgato alternatives that come at excellent price points.

So in this article, I’ll go through the five different Elgato key light alternatives and how they stack up against the Elgato key ecosystem.

Each of these alternatives follows specific criteria:

  • They range from 500 - 1,000 watts, so they’re strong and more distinguishable from your standard room light.
  • They have a decent amount of lumens, which affect the brightness of your light. You won’t be needing a light as strong as the sun, but one that accentuates your face when you stream.
  • The brightness should be adjustable.
  • You should be able to manipulate their color temperature for different vibes.
  • And they should all come at decent price points, ranging from $35 - $250.

Ring lights or softboxes are also great key light alternatives and can provide some quality lighting for your stream.

But enough chit-chat, let’s get started!

TL;DR: The 5 Best Elgato Key Light Alternatives

Key Light Alternatives

May come in a clamp or stand.

Clamps/Wall Mounts

Use these if you prefer to clamp or mount your lighting.

Stands

Use these if you prefer a stand for your lighting.

The 5 Best Key Light Alternatives

After countless hours of research, we’ve narrowed it down to the best five alternatives, starting with the...

Dazzne D50 Lighting Kit (2-Pack)

Best Elgato Key Light Alternative

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If you are looking for the closest thing to an Elgato key light without paying the premium price, the Dazzne D50 is the best alternative.

You can adjust its brightness from 0 - 100%, depending on your setup.

We also love how much variety there is when selecting colors; 3000K warm white and 8000k cool blue are two options available on this model.

It includes a nifty wireless remote where you can manipulate the temperature settings without changing the settings from the light, which you can see on the LED screen.

It’s not the absolute best key light out there, but for the ease of use, the brightness settings, and the build quality, this is the perfect beginner key light to add to your streaming essentials.

You can grab a single Dazzne key light for $117 if you only need one key light.

Neewer Dimmable LED Light (2-Pack)

Best Beginner Key Light Alternative

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If the Dazzne D50 lighting kit is still over budget, the Neewer Dimmable LED light kit is your next best bet.

The key light comes in at a price of around ~$35 for two, not just one.

The LED light panel come in an excellent compact shape which you can fit into any tight spacing.

But you shouldn't be fooled its size; these bad-boys get very bright, which is what you need for a key light.

And because it comes in a two-pack, you can illuminate both the left and right sides of your face...

Eliminating any unwanted shadows that may come from only having one front-facing key light.

Additionally, you can also swap out the lighting filters, changing the color to set the “vibe” of your stream.

You can go for a more cool blue filter if you want to showcase relaxing live streams.

Or go for an intense red when you’re playing an intense game. The choice is up to you.

The Neewer dimmable LED lights both come in a tripod stand instead of a clamp, so you can place them anywhere you want...

Without the restriction of needing a place to clamp them in.

If you like to have a lot of desk space, you can swap these out for one of the 3rd party c-clamps that we also have on this list.

The Neewer LED video light is the most affordable Elgato key lights alternative on this list.

A lighting kit that you won’t even need to upgrade until way down the line.

Neewer Ring Light

Best Ring Light Alternative

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The Neewer ring light is different because of the ring design, which provide different lighting from your standard key lights.

Where your standard key lights would provide some unwanted shadow, ring lights surround your camera due to its circular shape.

It’s like having a flash at the top, bottom, and on both sides.

The balance in the distribution of the light makes it ideal for photography, videography, and in this case, as lighting for your stream...

This also means that you can get away with a single ring light while not suffering from the shadows that would usually show up.

Although, for best practice, it’s always best to get two lights; one key light and one fill light.

The Neewer ring light comes in an 18” size, a height-adjustable stand, with a flexible neck, so you can tilt and pivot the ring to your desired angle.

If you are looking for a complete alternative to the standard key light, I would recommend grabbing the Neewer ring light as an Elgato key lights alternative.

VILTROX VL-200T Ultra-Thin Lighting Kit (2-Pack)

Best Portable Lighting Alternative

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The VILTROX VL-200T is a fantastic choice for any streamer looking to take their streaming game up another level.

It comes equipped with 3300K (96pc) / 5600K SMD lamp beads and bi-color LEDs that allow you to adjust the brightness from 20 -100%.

It has a flat, lightweight build that’s portable and easy to carry around, making it the perfect lighting to travel with if you enjoy streaming on the go.

You can also power the light with batteries, which makes it portable and easy to use outside. No power source is needed.

Additionally, the VILTROX lights comes with a wireless remote control that you can use to configure the different color temperatures.

If you want a more portable, form-factor lighting solution, then the VILTROX VL-200T is another solid key light alternative that comes at an affordable price point.

HeertTOGO 2-Ring Lighting Kit

Best Starter Light Alternative

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The HeertTOGO is a dual-wield lighting kit that you can clamp to your desk to provides perfect key lighting for your stream, all at a price point of ~$30.

The lighting kit comes in a 3-in-1 combo; two light stands and one phone holder, all connected to a table clamp.

If you don’t have a camera, you use your phone as your face cam.

The phone holder sits at the perfect height, and is adjustable, so you can set it at the perfect angle for your stream.

Although the HeertTOGO ring lighting kit does have downfalls...

The lights aren’t height-adjustable, so you won’t have that luxury of your lighting spreading out more on the sides.

The ring lights are smaller than what you would get on actual key lights, thus covering less real estate.

Overall, this is the most straightforward, most affordable lighting kit for beginners who use their phone as a face cam.

Optional: Wall Mounts & Clamps For Your Key Light

These are the best options if you prefer wall mounts or clamps over the stock stands that come with your lighting kits.

Smallrig Ballhead C-Clamp

Best C-Clamp Solution Alternative

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Despite its small form factor, the Smallrig ball head c-clamp is an aluminum alloy clamp that can hold your LED light in place without issues.

It’s surprisingly sturdy, which you can feel after clamping the Smallrig to your setup, so you won’t have to worry about your LED light falling.

And because it’s compact, you can set it up anywhere.

For the most part, the most surefire way to get adequate lighting is to clamp it to your monitor, which you can do with the Smallrig c-clamp.

Kiwi Design Wall Mount

Best Wall-Mount Solution

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The Kiwi Design wall mount is a nifty light stand made of stainless steel and aluminum alloy, durable and sturdy enough to mount any light to your wall.

You won’t have to worry about your LED light falling since the ball head is solid and the mounting mechanism is secure.

The most secure way to use a wall mount is to drill holes and install them with screws. It does take more effort, but it’s worth it if you’re not planning on moving anytime soon.

Or, if you don’t want to damage your wall, you can use the sticky adhesive pad.

The Kiwi Design is the perfect solution for you if you don’t want to use a stand or c-clamp for your lighting.

Note that wall mounts are a more long-term solution since they can be a pain to uninstall, but they can clear up a decent amount of room so you can utilize the space for other setup gear.

UTEBIT Mini Ballhead C-Clamp

Runner Up C-Clamp Solution

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The UTEBIT mini c-clamp has incredible flexibility to set up your lighting from any angle.

It has a different tightening mechanism than the Smallrig clamp, which allows you to mount it in different ways, in which you can fit almost anywhere.

Optional: Stands For Your Key Light

If you prefer a tripod/monopod over clamps and mounts or the stock stands that come with your lighting kits, these are the best options.

Neewer Extendable Monopod

Best Stand Solution

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Neewer comes out with many affordable products at excellent price points, and their monopod is another prime example.

Their monopod includes a tripod base built with aluminum alloy and can range from 20.5” to 66” depending on how you want to set up your lighting.

This means you have the versatility to either set it on your desk at its lowest settings or to set it up behind your desk standing.

The base does have a slight 15° tilt which you can use to play around with different lighting angles.

You won’t have to worry about your light falling or moving with the Neewer Monopod, and it is an excellent choice if you prefer lighting stands over clamps and wall mounts.

UBeesize 67” Extendable Tripod

Best Large Tripod Solution

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If you want a durable and sturdy tripod, the Ubeesize should fit your criteria perfectly.

Their Extendable Tripod is built to withstand adjustments and heavy work, which you can use anywhere.

But more importantly, as a solid lighting stand for your stream.

It comes at a 67” height (6.7ft), so you will never run out of height when trying to find the best angles and positioning for your key light.

If you prefer a more heavy-duty stand that won’t budget during your streaming sessions, then the Ubeesize 67” extendable tripod is an excellent choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Important Is Lighting For Streaming?

If you use a face cam, you need to have adequate lighting.

Your room light won’t cut it, and using a cheaper camera means that it won’t be great in low-light situations.

Having a proper lighting setup gives you a “natural” look on camera.

It also gives your audience the perception that you are running a high-quality stream.

Like in photography or videography, lighting drastically affects the end-product, and the same applies to streaming.

Do You Need More Than One Light For Streaming?

If you’re starting out, the only light you will need is your key light, which is the light facing you, so your audience can see you.

As you grow your channel, you can look to upgrade your lighting. A typical lighting setup for a high-quality stream would include:

  • 1x Key Light
  • 1x Fill Light
  • 1x Back Light
  • Lighting Accessories (For Background Effects)

This is often called the three-point lighting system. Here is how you would set it up:

This is a photo showcasing the three-point lighting system. You can use Elgato key light alternatives here.

Source: restream.io

The problem with having a key light on its own is it gives off some unwanted shadows at certain angles.

To combat this, you can use a fill light, which is a secondary light that sits on the other side, used to fill in those shadows.

In other words, it “fills in” any of the areas that your key light won’t cover.

See the example below to get a grasp of the difference between the two:

This is a photo showcasing the differences between having a fill light, and not having a fill light.

Left: No Fill Light / Right: Fill Light | Source: cnet.com

A backlight is your secret weapon in achieving excellent video quality.

It shines on the subject from behind, eliminating any shadows that remain thanks to key and fill lights.

Lastly, if you have a decent background, you can add some RGB LED strips to add some color to your stream, which can affect the mood that you are aiming for.

If you’re not a fan of the background due to where your setup is located, you can always snatch up a green screen and add whatever background you like.

Our Winner For Best Elgato Key Light Alternative

One light that we’ve found to be the closest to the quality of the Elgato Key Light.

And that light is the Dazzne D50 lighting kit.

Our Winner: Best Elgato Key Light Alternative

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The light has everything you need; you can adjust the brightness from 0% - 100%, you can change the light’s colors from a warm white to a cool blue to a fiery red…

And best of all, it comes at an affordable price point. You build a two-light set up for around the same price as you would get a single Elgato key light.

The Dazzne D50 is our recommended pick, but if you are on a strict budget, you can always opt for the Neewer Dimmable LED lighting kit, which will set you back only ~$34.

Or, if you prefer the ring light design instead, opt for Neewer’s Ring Light.

Regardless of which option you choose, these lighting options will significantly upgrade your light setup and improve your stream’s quality.

The Bottom Line

By now, you should have some knowledge on setting up your key lighting without having to drop a ton of money on an Elgato key light.

Unlike famous streamers like Dr. Disrespect, you don't have to drop a ton of money to have professional-looking lighting.

There are many affordable lighting options that will do the job; you just have to be resourceful.

If you have had success with one of the lighting kits from our list, comment below and let us know! We would love to know your thoughts.

Happy streaming!

Since the age of 6, Lorenzo has enjoyed gaming on computers. Having grown up in the digital age, the technology revolves around him. He enjoyed growing up gaming throughout his high school years and is now a young adult who does most of his work on his computer. Lorenzo's mission is to make buying products and building PC's an easy and fun experience for all.
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