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This post was most recently updated on January 21st, 2024.

You already know lighting can make or break your photoshoot. But the supporting stars of this show are often overlooked:

The light stands.

Have all the flexibility you need while you protect and support your lighting investment with one of these best light stands!

Find the perfect option for every budget and need right here.

Best Light Stands for Photography and Videography

Best light stand: Matthews 40 Inch Century Stand

Matthews 40 Inch Century Stand
These popular stands are versatile and support the best lighting for your shots whether you’re in the studio or on the go.
03/03/2024 06:06 am GMT

The Matthews 40 Inch Century Stand is the best light stand—it’s sturdy, durable and incredibly versatile.

You’ll benefit from having one of these versatile stands in almost any situation. This one holds up to 22 pounds. So it’s perfect for heavy lights.

Even when you’re using smaller lights, like small flashes, C-stands are the perfect tool to give you more accuracy. It gets in all the places a normal light stand would, but you have the advantage of using the arm to get better overhead angles close to your subject.

The advantage to this C-stand, in particular, is that it has a mountain leg (the highest of the three legs, which you can raise and lower). This makes it easy to fit it into crowded spaces. It’s also convenient for uneven terrain.

The straight part of the legs makes it much easier to secure your sandbags.

It’s quick and easy to loosen and tighten the arm. If you’re working with heavier light equipment, you can use the weight of the light to further tighten the arm by positioning it on the right side. If it gets too tight, you can loosen it just by pressing down on the left side of the arm.

The legs on this stand fit against each other in such a way that makes it convenient to store. It doesn’t take up much room and can lay flat against the wall or in your vehicle. You can easily stack two to three of these on top of each other.

The Matthews 40 Inch C-stand is a solid choice if you’re looking for the most versatile, convenient light stand that makes it easy to get great lighting at any angle.

Key Features of the Matthews 40-Inch Century Stand:

  • Load Capacity: 22 lbs
  • 1mm receivers for 16mm pins
  • 2-1/2″ gripheads are provided with 16mm pins
  • V-shaped brass brakes

Best budget light stand: Manfrotto 1004BAC

Manfrotto 1004BAC
Lighting is important, but how safe are your supports? This solid stand holds up to 20 lbs so you don’t have to worry about losing your lights!
03/02/2024 12:05 am GMT

The Manfrotto 1004BAC should definitely be your go-to stand for most situations. It’s the best budget light stand at just over 100 dollars.

This is a great budget light stand that you’ll want to default to for on-site shoots. Leave the heavier stands at the studio and take these instead. They’re light but durable, and their nesting design makes them easy to store.

It also holds up to 19.8 pounds, so enough to handle most lighting rigs. Even without sandbags, these are fairly sturdy at max height if you’re working with lightweight equipment.

The 1004BAC extends up to 12 feet. You probably won’t work with it fully extended in too many situations, but it’s definitely a nice feature to have for outdoor shooting.

This light stand has great air cushioning, making it easy to safely bring down your lights. It’s smooth, unlike some of the cheaper stands that have air cushioning that results in rough, jerky movements on the way down.

This is a big step up from your typical bargain brand without a drastic increase in cost.

Key Features of the Manfrotto 1004BAC:

  • Load Capacity 19.8 lb / 9 kg
  • Mounting Options:
    • 1/4″-20 Male Thread
    • 3/8″-16 Male Thread
    • 5/8″ Stud
  • Number of Sections: 4
  • Maximum Working Height: 12′ / 366 cm
  • Minimum Working Height: 48.8″ / 124 cm
  • Weight: 6.61 lbs / 3 kg

Best light stand under $50: K&F Concept 78.75”

K&F Concept 78.75”
Simple, easy to use, and quick to set up—the K&F Concept offers a lightweight solution for under $50.
02/25/2024 11:03 pm GMT

This light, aluminium stand is the best light stand under $50. It’s great for in-studio shoots (especially product photography). They’re small, easy to store, and are perfect for lightweight lighting equipment (up to eight pounds).

Use these with:

  • Lighting rings
  • LED panels
  • Umbrellas and softboxes
  • Smaller lights

This stand only weighs about two pounds. So they’re good to keep on hand for on-site indoor shoots. (Light enough to clip to your backpack or camera bag!)

That being said, you need sandbags if you’re going to take them outdoors. They’re not quite sturdy enough on their own.

Its tripod-style base quickly folds after releasing the locks. It’s easy to store and carry in the case that comes with it.

Rather than screws, the K&F Concept uses flip-locks, providing a fast alternative to your typical screw-lock. These are great for back-to-back shoots when you need to quickly set up and tear down your sets.

Key Features of the K&F Concept 78.75:

  • The diameter of the lampstand is 26mm
  • Folded height:2.26FT
  • Maximum height:6.5FT
  • Minimum height: 1.6FT
  • Max load capacity: 8.8 lbs
  • Net Weight: 1.95lbs.
  • 1/4 inch screw tip on the stem

Best cheap light stand: Neewer 75″

Neewer 75"
The Neewer 75” is great for quick shoots in the studio and supports most lightweight equipment like umbrellas, softboxes, and lighting rings.
02/24/2024 08:04 pm GMT

For just a little over $20, the Neewer 75” is a solid choice and the best cheap light stand. It only weighs about three pounds and extends up to about six feet.

If you’re looking to get started with small studio photography on a budget, these stands will hold just about all the lighting you’ll need—umbrellas, softboxes, reflectors, ring lights, and more.

It’s balanced with lighter equipment, even when fully extended. (You’ll need sandbags for heavier strobes.)

You do sacrifice some quality-of-life features like flip-locks. But functionally the Neewer 75” holds up to most lighting stands, even in the $50 range.

Key Features of the Neewer 75”:

  • Folded height: 25.98″(2.16 feet)
  • Maximum height: 75″ (6.23 feet)
  • Net weight per light stand: 3 Lbs
  • Max. load capacity: 13.5 lbs
  • Spigot: 1/4 or 3/8
  • Segments: 3

Best light stands for photography kit: Manfrotto 1004BAC kit

Manfrotto 1004BAC kit
Built like a tank and super compact, the Manfrotto 1004BAC kit is the perfect go-to for on-the-go and in-studio shoots. Its nested design lets you clip stands together for easy transportation.
03/07/2024 05:39 am GMT

This kit comes in a convenient three-pack. If you’re looking to upgrade and replace your on-the-go light stands, this is the best light stand kit.

The Manfrotto 1004BAC utilizes the Quick Stack System (QSS) and clip together for compact storage. They’re sturdy, durable, and are perfect for outdoor and on-site shoots where you need to be mindful of how much space you’re using.

Key Features of the Manfrotto 1004BAC Kit:

  • Load Capacity 19.8 lb / 9 kg
  • Mounting Options:
    • 1/4″-20 Male Thread
    • 3/8″-16 Male Thread
    • 5/8″ Stud
  • Number of Sections: 4
  • Maximum Working Height: 12′ / 366 cm
  • Minimum Working Height 48.8″ / 124 cm
  • Weight: 6.61 lbs / 3 kg

Best budget light stand kit: Neewer 2-pack 200cm Stainless Steel Light Stand

Neewer 2-pack 200cm Stainless Steel Light Stand
At only $40, the Neewer 2-pack Stainless Steel Light Stand kit offers a great (and affordable!) way to get started with a light stand for your umbrellas, softboxes, or ring lights.

At $40, this is the single best budget light stand kit. These durable light stands are made almost completely out of stainless steel.

They comfortably support most lights, including softboxes, umbrellas, flashes, and reflectors without the need for sandbags if you’re using it in the studio.

The stainless steel and heavy-duty, rust-resistant design make the Neewer stainless steel light stands perfect for outdoor shooting. It’s relatively small and easily fits into compact carrying cases for on-site sets. The only plastic parts are on the locks and base of the stand.

(Note that the 200 cm is the only one that has any plastic at all—larger models have replaced these with metal parts.)

Key Features of the Neewer 2-pack Stainless Steel Light Stand

  • Adjustable height ranges from 37.4 to 78.7 in (95 cm to 200 cm)
  • Segments: 3
  • 1/4 inch screw on the top

How to Choose the Best Light Stands for the Job

Each light stand has its place. C-stands (like the Matthews 40 Inch Century Stand) are great for situations that require precise lighting (like studio shoots), as well as outdoors when you have uneven terrain.

If you’re shooting at sports events, you’ll need something that can support a lot of weight at a decent height. (Especially if you’re working with floodlights and LED panels that weigh close to 20 pounds!)

Lighting stands like the Manfrotto 1004BAC are a great go-to in this type of setting.


Take some time to check out the reviews if you’re still stuck on which one to get. There are tons of helpful reviews and many happy customers that offer insight as to what each stand is best for.

And let’s face it—you need the best light stands in your photography kit if you want to make the most of your lighting equipment. Lights are only as good as the stands. You can’t get a good shot if they’re at the wrong angle or down on the ground!