Best Softbox Lights

Best Softbox Lights in 2023 [Compared]

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When it comes to filmmaking, lighting is everything. Softbox lights have a special way of illuminating the beauty of any scene. Skillfully placed, they bring the best out of your subject by creating a desirable softness.

For the most part, softboxes come in many shapes and sizes and are available to filmmakers of all levels. However, with so many options on the market today, choosing the best option can be difficult.

What Are Softbox Lights?

Well, in a nutshell, a softbox light is a box-shaped device that attaches to the end of a light. By using a see-through cloth placed in front of the light source it diffuses and softens the light.

Most importantly, softbox lights are used to create a natural look without unwanted shadows. They are a powerhouse on most shoots and can be your best tool on set. Also, they can be used for a range of different shooting scenarios. For example:

  • YouTube home studios
  • Interviews
  • Editorial
  • Product advertising
  • Video conferencing
  • Livestreaming
  • Weddings

What to Look for in Softbox Lights

First, work out what you need them for and then match the light’s features suited to your most common projects. Whether it’s three-point lighting for an interview or something finer for product videos.

For example, remote bi-color and brightness controls will allow you to work independently on set while saving time and energy. Filming outside? then look for softbox lighting kits that are battery-powered, strongly built, and quick to set up.

To get started, here are the main things to look out for:

  • Brightness
  • Color Temperature
  • Area of Coverage
  • Durability & Portability
  • Setup Time
  • Price

So without further ado, we test out and review the 10 Best Softbox Lights available today with a few pro tips to help you get started.

1. Mountdog Softbox Lighting Kit

  • Lights: 1 x LED Bulb (140 beads)
  • Power: 45W
  • Included: 1x light stand, 1x softbox, 1 x carrying case, 1x remote
  • CCT:  Bi-Color (2800-5700K)
  • Powered: AC Adapter
  • Weight: 2.21kg

First off, let us take a look at a perfect option for beginners – a single-unit light kit from Mountdog.

If you’re shooting solo, this light has you covered. For instance, you can adjust the look of the shot without moving away from your video monitor. This way, you can easily switch between white, warm, and cold color temps by using the included remote controller.

Lastly, this compact light comes with a tall 200cm stand along with a travel-friendly carrying case. It’s the perfect budget kit to get you off and running with handy features to experiment with.

Remember,  you don’t need an entire kit to get started. There are plenty of interesting looks to create using a single light. 😉

ProsCons
✔ Remote control✘ 60w brightness equivalent
✔ Tri-color modes 
✔ Portable with carrying case 
  

2. RALENO Softbox Lighting Kit

  • Lights: 2 x CFL socket heads
  • Power: 85W
  • Included: 2 x soft diffusers, 2 x stands, 1 storage bag
  • CCT: 5500K
  • CRI Score: 85+
  • Powered: AC Adapter
  • Weight: 3.7kg

Next on our list, we have a popular softbox lighting kit from RALENO. These 2 bright 85w CFL (compact fluorescent lights) pack a punch and are useful in various ways. Overall, the soft nylon diffuser gives you a truly smooth look.

For the most part, this run-and-gun design is great for a quick and easy setup. Given the sturdy and waterproof carrying case, you could say it’s an all-in-one softbox kit for traveling gigs and live broadcasting. With this purpose in mind, it’s a cheap price for what’s included.

ProsCons
✔ Powerful & bright✘ Brightness is not adjustable
✔ Color accuracy 
✔ Portable waterproof case 

3. NEEWER 700W Equivalent Softbox Lighting Kit

  • Lights: 2 x CFL socket heads
  • Power: 85W
  • Included: 2 x soft diffusers, 2 x stands, 1 x storage bag
  • CCT: 5500K
  • CRI Score: 96+
  • Powered: AC Adapter
  • Weight: 5.6kg

Third on our list, we have a large pair of 700w softbox lights from Neewer. The good news is, the heavy-duty aluminum alloy makes it a must-have for fashion shoots and other on-the-go events.

In the case of tall subjects or top-down shooting, this kit covers precision heights with its 2 x 210cm light stands. Also, the light mount has an exceptional 210-degree tilt range.

Finally, with regard to product-based projects, the CRI 96+ from this softbox lighting kit saves time from minimal color correction needed in post-production.

Pro-Tip: angle the lightbox directly up at a white ceiling for an extremely smooth bounce light fill.

ProsCons
✔ Perfect balance✘ Parts are made from plastic
✔ Exceptional strength 
✔ Low operating temperature 

4. Fovitec 3-Light Fluorescent Studio Lighting Kit

  • Lights: 3 x CFL socket heads
  • Power: 45W
  • Included:  2 x 5-socket light, 1 x 1-socket light, 11 x 45W bulbs, 2 x soft diffusers, 3 x stands, 1 x boom arm, 1x empty sandbag, 1 x storage bag
  • CCT: 5500k
  • CRI Score: 90+
  • Powered: AC Adapter
  • Weight: 10.79kg

Moving on, this all-around studio lighting kit is designed to help reduce shadows while centering your subject. Favotic’s 3-softbox light kit is a great option if you’re mostly creating in-studio content, especially when using the included boom arm.

Moreover, if you need to transport this gear, no problem. With its sturdy and durable build, consider it travel-friendly. However, give yourself at least an hour extra for setup time.

Important to note, the color temperature is fixed to daylight at 5500k. If needed, consider using LED Bi-color alternatives that can be adjusted on the fly instead.

ProsCons
✔ 3 piece kits✘ Need own sandbag
✔ Very bright✘ The lighting temp is a bit too cold
✔ Boom arm included 

5. NEEWER RGB LED Softbox Lighting Kit

  • Lights: 3 x LED light heads (260 beads)
  • Power: 48W
  • Included: 3 x soft diffusers, 3 x stands, 1 x remote, 1 x empty sandbag, 1 x storage bag
  • CCT: Bi-Color (3200-5600K)
  • CRI Score: 95+
  • Powered: AC power  or 2 x NP-F970 batteries
  • Weight: 9.66kg

In short, for filmmakers who need portable power, remote adjustments, and accurate color, the Neewer RGB LED softbox lighting kit is the one for you. 

Most certainly, remote access to light settings is a must-have when working alone. There are a ton of advantages, but perhaps one example would be to change your light’s color temperature from across the room. One day you’ll look back one day as if there was no other way!

It’s worth noting, LED video lights are easier to travel with and you can worry less about travel wear and tear. Please be advised, these compatible batteries (NP-F550/750/970) are not included.

ProsCons
✔ 3 LED lights✘ Fairly basic
✔ Remote Control 
✔ Comes with an empty sandbag 
✔ Boom arm included 

6. Godox SL-60W CRI 95+ LED Video Light Kit

  • Lights: 1 x LED head (Bowens Mount)
  • Power: 60W
  • Included: 1 x deep octagonal softbox, 1 x honeycomb grid, 1 x stand, 1 x remote, 1 x carrying bag
  • CCT: Bi-Color (2700-5600K)
  • CRI Score: 95+
  • Powered: AC power
  • Weight: 6.5kg

Next, is a top pick from GoDOX guaranteed to get the best-looking beauty shot. 

Why? Well firstly, larger light sources create a softer light because it wraps around the subject. As compared with a small softbox, which creates harsher light. In turn, this creates unwanted shadows around the subject and background.

Furthermore, you can control the softness by using the included honeycomb grid. Mostly, grids are used to light your subject well without lighting a close background.

Lastly, you can use single-layer or double-layer diffusion to really fine-tune the light.

ProsCons
✔ Very soft✘ Lightstand is not of great quality
✔ Large light source 
✔ Remote controlled 
✔ Honeycomb grid included 

7. Godox SL100D 2 x 100W LED Video Light kit

  • Lights: 2 x LED head (Bowens Mount)
  • Power: 100W
  • Included: 2 x softboxes, 2 x stands, 2 x honeycomb grid, 1 x carrying case, 1 x remote controller
  • CCT: 5600K
  • CRI Score: 96+
  • Powered: AC Adapter
  • Weight: 13.3kg

Are you an aspiring YouTuber, content creator, or commercial producer? Then, these two powerful GODOX LEDs might be a good place to start. For the most part, this powerful 100W LED package is affordable given the included softboxes, grids, and travel case.

In short, this softbox light kit strikes a perfect balance between space and performance. Namely due to its compactness, while maintaining its professional grade. Furthermore, controls and settings display big and clear on the light itself. But, if you prefer convenience, you’re all set using either the remote control or phone app.

However, the only downside is that the color temperature is fixed at 5600k. Therefore, you’ll need to break out some gels to create a warmer look.

ProsCons
✔ Perfect balance✘ Fairly basic
✔ Built-in FX 
✔ Honeycomb grid included 

8. GVM SD80D 80W LED Video Light Kit

  • Lights: 1 x LED head (COB Bowens Mount)
  • Power: 80W
  • Included: 1 x octagonal softbox, 1 x honeycomb grid, 1 x stand, 1 x carrying bag
  • CCT: Bi-Color (2700-7500K)
  • CRI Score: 97+
  • Powered: AC Adapter or Sony NP-F550/NP-F970 batteries
  • Weight: 4.84kg

First off, if you’re looking for the all-in-one option, you need to look closer at this LED softbox lighting kit from GVM.  As a matter of fact, this octagonal softbox provides an even smoother spread of light than all the rest listed before it! Also, the Bowens mount allows you to add any modifier you need. 

For example, have you ever needed lighting for a promo or music video but there are no outlets available? No problem as the GVM SD80 is battery-powered. Furthermore, the remote 0-100% brightness adjustments save time by not having to re-position the light.

Lastly, you can choose from 8 scene lighting modes to simulate a variety of light sources, such as sunlight, studio lights, lightning, candlelight, etc.

ProsCons
✔ Perfect balance✘ Fairly basic
✔ Battery powered✘ Two NP750 batteries (sold separately)
✔ App Controlled 
✔ Built-in Cooling fan 
  

9. GVM 150W Video Lantern Light Kit

  • Lights: 1 x LED head (COB)
  • Power: 150W
  • Included: 1 x lantern softbox, 1 x light stand
  • CCT: Bi-Color (2700-7500K)
  • CRI Score: 97+
  • Powered: AC power supply
  • Weight: 6.85kg

Now, we’ve landed on an option that differs from the rest of the pack – the GVM Lantern Light kit. This popular option is dedicated to film projects. With this in mind, you may have heard of its cousin famously called the ‘Chinese Ball’. In short, they have signature looks that feather-light nicely onto individuals, interviews, or small groups.

Also, you can use the remote or GVM’s app to switch color temps between 2700-7500k. The GVM settings are clearly visible on lantern light and can be easily controlled with its large LCD panel.

Lastly, if you add more lights to this kit, one can be set as the master mode, and the other lights can be set as slave mode. This way one of the lights can be used to control other lights saving you a lot of time. 🙌

ProsCons
✔ Bi-Color Temperature (2700-7500K)✘ Fairly basic
✔ (97+) Great Color Rendering Index 
✔ 8 Scene Lights 
✔ Master & Slave mode 

10. Aputure Amaran 200x S with Light Dome Softbox Kit

  • Lights: 1 x LED head (COB Bowens Mount)
  • Power: 200W
  • Included: 1 x octagonal softbox, 1 x Aputure light dome SE, 1 x Hyper reflector
  • CCT: Bi-Color (2700-6500K)
  • CRI Score: 95+
  • Powered: AC Adapter
  • Weight: 6.2kg

Finally, our last pick is the bright and powerful 200W Aputure LED. This popular and pro-grade lighting kit delivers top-notch quality.

Many filmmakers seek out lighting gear for softer and more accurate skin tones. With this high-quality light and its upgraded LED chipset COB (Chip On Board), the Aputure does not disappoint. In addition, this workhorse provides stepless dimming for precise exposure settings and consistent results.

Another great feature is the Aputure Amaran 200 nearly silent fan which can be powered by AC and battery. The cost is a little higher but this package still offers the latest tech in a reasonable price range. To top it off, you can also control seamlessly from the app.

ProsCons
✔ Perfect balance✘ Little Expensive
✔ Silent Fan 
✔ Great color quality 

Wrapping Up

To sum up, softbox lights come in many different shapes and sizes. However, working out the needs of the project and which features are most important will help you narrow it down.

For example, if you’re shooting models or small groups, using an octagonal or lantern softbox kit will provide the best results. Or if you’re filming product videos, be sure the CRI is above 96+ for minimal color corrections.

Obviously, there are many factors to consider, but keep it simple and avoid spending too much time comparing tech. Just get out there and try experimenting with different lighting styles.

Author
Marcus VanWormer
Marcus VanWormer
Marcus is a freelance director, cinematographer, and video editor based in Brooklyn. He has a diverse background in film production working with companies like ABC, CBS, Jeep, Harley Davidson, and Levi's. His passion is storytelling. Follow him on Linkedin.
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