Elgato Key Light review

Elgato's new soft light for illuminating your face while streaming has slick Elgato software controls but lacks physical controls and is quite expensive.

Elgato Key Light review

Our Verdict

75%

Slick software control makes this streaming light easy to use for streamers, but it’s not particularly versatile or cheap.

The Elgato Key Light is an LED light panel designed for streamers and other content creators, aiming to give them an easy-to-use, software-controllable setup for lighting their streaming or video-making area. It provides integration into the company’s streaming ecosystem, allowing for remote control via your PC, phone, or one of Elgato’s dedicated Stream Deck hardware controllers, so you can control your lighting without leaving your desk.

The Key Light can provide up to 2,800 lumens of illumination and ships with a stand that clamps to your desk. The company also offers the smaller Key Light Air, which puts out 1,400 lumens and comes with a weighted desktop stand. Both stand options are compatible with the company’s Multi Mount system, which provides further stands and adjustable arms for mounting other lights, cameras and microphones.

Elgato Key Light with stand

The design of the Key Light is a little different to the typical LED video lights, of which you’ll find dozens on Amazon. The latter tend to follow a more traditional video lighting setup, with a U-shaped mounting arm providing pivot points on the side for directing the light. The Key light, though, just attaches straight to the Multi Mount arms via a standard 5/8in tripod thread. This is a potential point of failure, though. The thread is just drilled straight into the side of the light, so if you position the light at an angle, the full strain of the light is centred on that joint.

You also miss out on any of the manual controls you’d expect from a typical video light. There are no brightness or colour temperature controls on the back, and no barn doors around the light to help direct the glow. This makes for a much tidier-looking light, but one that’s far less practical for more general-purpose use.

Elgato Key Light front

The stand is excellent, though. It clamps firmly to the desk, with foam padding ensuring it doesn’t leave any marks, and it provides two telescoping sections with secure twist-lock mechanisms, allowing for a minimum height of 55cm and a maximum of 125cm. Ball joints are then used to angle and extend the end. These provide a secure grip, holding up the lights at an odd angle and just about coping with holding a chunky Panasonic G7 camera a foot away from the stand’s upright section.

We hit a bit of a snag with the setup process, though. The lights can only be configured over Wi-Fi, so we had to employ Elgato’s phone app for configuration. It worked fine for the first light, but the second light proved troublesome to get connected. The inclusion of either an Ethernet or USB connection would help a great deal here, as would just having manual controls.

Elgato Key Light back

Once it’s set up, the lighting is plenty bright enough for any streaming situation where you just need to light up a nearby face. In fact, the Key Light Air is more than capable enough for this task. Via Elgato’s apps, the brightness and colour temperature can be adjusted, with the latter ranging from 2,900K to 7,000K, so you should have no problems matching the colour of lighting you prefer.

Elgato Key Light pros and cons

Pros

  • Smart design
  • Slick software control
  • Easy-to-use desk stand
  • Bright light

Cons

  • No hardware controls
  • Wi-Fi-only setup
  • Potentially weak mounting point
  • Expensive

Elgato Key Light specs

The Elgato Key Light specs list is:

Maximum brightness   2,800 lumens
Color temperature range 2,900-7,000K
Power consumption Up to 45W
Dimensions 30 x 350 x 250mm
Stand height  55 – 125cm
Weight 1.3kg
Extras Included desk clamp arm, optional multi-mount arm

Elgato Key Light price

The Elgato Key Light price is $180, making it an expensive option. However, cheaper options lack the clever Elgato software control.

Elgato Key Light review conclucsion

The Elgato Key Light is a slick-looking and, once set up, easy-to-use lighting system for streamers, where the ability to control the lighting at the touch of a button or keyboard shortcut is essential for such users. However, for most streamers, the smaller, cheaper Key Light Air will likely be sufficient, and outside of this very specific streaming niche, there are far cheaper, more versatile video lighting options available.

For more streaming and home office ideas check out our best home office and gaming setup comfort upgrade ideas guide.