Ring lights can truly bring your photos and vlogs to life. They’re surprisingly bright and powerful for their size, making you question whether they’re an efficient light source. So, do ring lights use a lot of electricity?
Ring lights don’t use a lot of electricity. Most ring lights are powered by a USB port or batteries, which inherently can’t provide too much power. Also, ring lights use power-efficient LEDs. However, some professional ring lights use power adapters, meaning they need a lot more energy.
This article will explain how much power ring lights really use and a few factors affecting power consumption. I’ll also share a few tips that’ll help make your ring light more energy-efficient.
How Much Power Do Ring Lights Use?
Ring lights use between 5 W and 75 W of power on average. Battery and USB-powered ring lights usually consume 5 to 10 watts. Studio-grade ring lights that use power adapters may consume up to 75 W to achieve the maximum light output possible.
I understand that the gap between 5W and 75W is rather wide. If you don’t know how much power your ring light uses, you can usually check it on the back or bottom of the device.
Battery-powered ring lights can’t use too much power. Otherwise, they’ll run out of juice long before you finish your photoshoot.
But most consumer-grade ring lights are USB-powered.
USB has several power standards. The maximum power output can be anywhere from 0.5 W to 240 W.
But since most computers and cameras use standard USB 2.0 and 3.0, your ring light probably consumes somewhere between 2.5 W – 4.5 W.
If you have an enormous, powerful ring light that can get brighter than the sun, its power consumption is typically within the 40 W – 60 W range.
But remember that ring lights almost exclusively use LED lights. They’re incredibly efficient, and you don’t need a lot of power to get extreme brightness levels.
Check out my article about whether ring lights are good for Zoom
Factors That Affect Ring Light Power Consumption
There are a few differentiating characteristics between various ring lights.
The connector type, size, and number of LEDs affect how much electricity a ring light needs. Let’s see what these factors are.
The diameter of your ring light directly affects power consumption. The larger it is, the more LEDs can fit into it.
However, this is a generalization that you should take with a grain of salt. Some high-quality ring lights can cram twice as many LEDs compared to cheaper alternatives.
But it’s safe to assume that a 12″ (30.48 cm) ring light will use more electricity than a 6″ (15.24 cm) one.
Number of LEDs
This directly ties into the previous point. A higher number of LEDs means more power consumption.
Again, the size and power output of the LEDs matter. Some ring lights can get much brighter and use more power while having fewer LEDs than the competition.
A high-quality ring light can have over a hundred tiny LEDs. And yet, the device might use less power than a ring light with 12 enormous LED bulbs.
So, the number of LEDs isn’t the only factor that affects power consumption.
If a ring light runs on a non-removable battery, it can’t consume too much power. These ring lights are usually smaller and more power-efficient than their USB counterparts.
Some ring lights offer separate external battery packs that’ll let you shoot for longer. But the power consumption stays the same.
If your ring light uses standard single-cell batteries, it’s even less powerful.
They have the weakest power output. But at least they consume very little power.
USB vs. Power Adapter
I already explained how USB-powered ring lights have a limit of 2.5 W – 4 .5 W. This isn’t much if you have an external power supply or a computer to plug the light into.
However, if you’re using battery packs or a camera to power it, you’ll run out of juice in an hour or two at maximum brightness.
But all of that looks rather low when you compare it to a power adapter.
High-end studio ring lights often consume 50W – 60W. A standard USB cable can’t come even close to those power requirements.
That’s where power adapters with power cords come in. They look similar to laptop power adapters because they convert AC to DC.
So, studio ring lights can consume a considerable amount of energy. They’re the only type of ring light that can make an impact on your monthly electricity bill.
How To Reduce Ring Light Power Consumption
It doesn’t matter if you’re using a studio ring light that consumes a ton of power or just want your battery to last a bit longer.
You came to the right place because I’ll share a few tips. Read on to learn how to decrease the power consumption of your ring light.
Lower the Brightness
Most ring lights on the market are dimmable. After all, you can’t take great photos using a lamp with a fixed brightness setting.
You can often achieve a similar or even better result if you dim the brightness somewhat and bring the ring light closer to you.
The brightness levels of your ring light make by far the biggest impact on power consumption.
It’s not a problem when you have it plugged into a computer or wall socket. But even the smallest and weakest ring light can drain your battery in less than an hour.
So, lower the brightness, bring the camera and the light closer to you, and you’ll save a lot of power.
Use the Ring Light You Need
I explained earlier how the diameter and the number of LEDs have a considerable impact on power consumption.
For example, a 50 W ring light would be overkill to shoot videos in front of your computer.
If you’re a professional photographer or YouTuber, I’d recommend buying several ring lights of varying sizes. That way, you’ll always have the right light for each scenario.
If you’re prioritizing battery life, always bring the smallest ring light that you can with you. You won’t have to compromise quality this way.
Make Use of Other Light Sources
A ring light is a great light source. You get an even light on your face that gives a natural glow to your skin and illuminates your eyes.
However, it shouldn’t be your only light source.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re shooting outdoors, indoors, at night, or in the afternoon.
You can always use other light sources, such as a street light, sunlight, or your room’s humble light bulb.
Turn the ring light on and play with your camera’s exposure setting until you get it just right.
Only Use the Ring Light When You Have To
More often than not, we use ring lights just because we have one.
But the thing is, a ring light can sometimes compromise quality. If you use it even when you have good lighting conditions, your photos and videos might look washed out.
Ring lights make a ton of sense for close-up shots. You can even use them as a fill light in a pinch.
But I’ve seen a few TikTokers use ring lights when it wasn’t necessary. For example, some would stand 30 feet (9.14 m) away from the ring light. The ring light can’t even reach its subject.
So, conserve your ring light’s battery by only using it when you actually need it.
Ring lights use a bunch of tiny LEDs that don’t consume a lot of power. Ring lights need correspondingly little electricity to illuminate a subject.
Since ring lights are used for close-up shots, they often run on USB power alone or batteries. However, professional ring lights need a lot of energy, so you must plug them into a socket.
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