Best DJ Lights – Buyer’s Guide (February 2022)
There are lots of “best DJ lights” lists, but many times you read them and wonder, “How did that make the list?” There’s no rhyme or reason to the selection and it’s hard to find the lights you’re looking for.
Here, we’ve compiled some of the best DJ lights by category so you know exactly why we’ve chosen them and what they can do. We’ve picked lights with a variety of effects so you can find professional DJ lights that best fit your style.
Lighting is essential for creating an immersive audio-visual experience. Light will guide and enhance the energy of a show, so it’s important to explore the different kinds of DJ lighting equipment. Whether you’re looking for the best party lights, the best disco ball, or the best uplighting, we’ve brought together a wide variety that will always guarantee a stunning DJ light show.
Check out our top 10 list below, and find the best DJ lights for your setup! To find more in-depth lighting reviews, check out our articles on moving head lights, lasers, strobes, and fog machines.
|ADJ Starburst||Best LED Disco Ball|
|ADJ 16” Mirror Ball||Best Disco Ball|
|ADJ Starship||Best Light Show Centerpiece|
|Chauvet Scorpion RGB||Best Laser|
|hauvet DJ Gigbar Move 5-In-1||Best Combo Effect|
|American DJ Focus Spot 4Z||Best Moving Head|
|ADJ Dotz Matrix||Best Blinder And Strobe|
|Chauvet Freedom Stick||Best LED Effect|
|ADJ H20 DMX||Best Water And Fire Effect|
|Chauvet Freedom Par||Best Wireless Uplight|
The ADJ Starburst combines the fun of a classic disco ball with futuristic LED beams. The ADJ Starburst rotates like a classic disco ball and projects 34 vibrant beams in all directions, each beam piercing the air at a 1 degree beam angle for clean, sharp lighting effects. Further, this LED disco ball contains a strategic mixture of HEX LED lights to provide a wide-range of colors.
- Disco ball–360 degree lighting
- Wide color range
- Fun and retro
- Limited application
- Audience specific: dizzying for some
If you’re looking for the classic 70’s disco ball, the ADJ Mirror Ball is the way to go. This 16 inch disco ball is covered in durable, quarter-inch glass tiles and fills a room with dancing lights. A classic mirror ball creates an equally vibrant but different effect than the LED disco ball: it’s retro and nostalgic, and there are no set number of beams because each mirror catches and reflects light as it passes by, so the beams appear and disappear like a free-flowing dance.
- 70’s retro classic
- Simple, durable design
- Does not include rotating motor
- Need separate spotlight for dark venues
The ADJ Starship could be a great focal point in your setup. As the name implies, this DJ light fixture looks like a star with 6 arms of LED lights. Each arm tilts side-to-side for a mesmerizing light show with sharp, vibrant beams. The ADJ Starship comes with several built-in programs, or you can design your own light show by controlling each LED independently with DMX programming.
- Crisp beam projections
- Color variety
- Customizable movement
- Not subtle–event specific
For stunning laser shows, the Chauvet Scorpion RGB is the way to go. This small system is lightweight and user-friendly but not limited by any means. The Chauvet Scorpion comes with 32 stunning built-in programs, or you can easily customize your lighting as well. You can control the Chauvet Scorpion manually, link it with other lasers in master/slave mode, or use sound-active mode in place of the automatic programs. With this level of variety, the Chauvet Scorpion makes for quick and easy setup right out of the box, but still adapts to more demanding shows as well.
- Lightweight, compact and portable
- Color variety
- Sharp, clean lasers
- Need fog for maximum effect
- Doesn’t include optional IRC-6 remote
5. Chauvet DJ Gigbar Move 5-In-1
The Chauvet DJ Gigbar is an all-in-one light system with moving heads, derbies, washes, lasers, and strobe effects. These are some of the best DJ lights because they can adapt to any event. Each light serves a different purpose–washes for lighting large areas, moving heads for beams and spotlights, lasers for sharp projections, and so on–and they’re all mounted on a single bar for an easy, organized setup. The Chauvet DJ Gigbar is super versatile and allows you to combine different lighting for stunning effects.
- Includes tripod, footswitch, and bags
- Gobo wheel
- Relies mostly on pre-programming
The American DJ Focus Spot 4Z is one of the best DJ lights for crisp spotlights and projections. It offers interchangeable color and gobo wheels for stunning designs, plus it has DMX-controlled motorized zoom and focus to guarantee sharp projections. The American DJ Focus Spot 4Z can function as a stage spotlight or throw crisp projections over the crowd. For more customization, this light also includes several dimming modes and strobe speeds.
- Gobo wheel
- Crisp projection
- Adaptable to many venue sizes
- Comes with clamp and cables
- Generic–not highly specialize
- Single head (others offer several heads)
The ADJ Dotz Matrix will elevate your show with unique strobe effects. With a wide variety of applications, you can get creative with your light show. The ADJ Dotz Matrix has a wide 60 degree beam angle, so it can illuminate large areas like a wash light. With such wide, clean projections, it’s also amazing as a blinder and strobe. It’s easy to use with auto-mode, sound-active mode, or various built-in programs, but you can also design more complex matrix patterns by activating individual LED lights with DMX control.
- Bulky for smaller events
- Use strobes and blinders with caution
The Chauvet Freedom Stick gives you exactly that: freedom. The Freedom Sticks are LED strips that come in a pack of four, and you can mount in their metal base or mount them as free-standing, battery-powered lights. Each strip contains RGB LED lights that can be individually programmed for personalized movement and design. This DJ light bar can easily resemble the dripping of icicle lights, the glittering of an arcade, or the flow of mesmerizing waves.
- Customizable and professional LED effects
- Creative freedom
- Includes carrying bag, wireless IRC-6 remote, charger
- Clamps sold separately
- Need multiple for large effects
- Audience specific–dizzying
The ADJ H20 DMX light specializes in water and fire effects.The unique rotating color wheel inside the ADJ H20 splits and moves the light in a smooth, wave-like motion to mimic the flow of fire or water. You can interchange glass wheels for different effects and use DMX control to manually dim and focus light beams. This allows you to illuminate a space with the brilliance and clarity that you desire. The ADJ H20 makes lighting design easy because you can simply plug it in and let it run on its own.
- Unique effects
- Energy efficient for longevity
- Smooth light movement and flow
- Niche performance abilities
The Chauvet Freedom Par is a completely wireless uplight that you can place anywhere. These types of mobile DJ lights are great for creating wash lighting on walls, curtains, and trussing. It’s small and portable, and it’s designed to fit perfectly inside stage trusses. It’s easy to control with the IRC-6 remote or through the FlareCON app on your phone. Further, it’s compatible with other Freedom fixtures so you can create a coordinated show.
- Lightweight and portable
- Control through remote (included) OR app
- Carrying bag not included
- No option to use wires
- 6 hours to recharge
Types of DJ Lighting
There are so many types of DJ lighting that it’s difficult to navigate and define them all. The lights listed above break from your typical categories of beam, spot, and wash. Instead, these lights explore a variety of effects that allow for more specificity and creativity.
Several of the lights listed above are great centerpieces–like the disco balls and the ADJ Starship–because they project light from a central point in all directions. It’s also important to note that these lights move. These centerpieces, as well as moving head lights and lasers, automatically tilt and rotate to create their unique effects.
Other lights listed above are physically stationary but create movement in other ways. Some lights–like the Freedom Stick and the Dotz Matrix–allow for individual LED control so you can light them one-by-one in wave-like designs. Some light fixtures–like uplighting and water effects–use smooth blending and transitions to create movement while washing a large area with light.
In addition, there are many light fixtures that combine several or all of these features. A multipurpose fixture can deliver creative freedom because it’s an all-in-one lighting package. When searching through different types of DJ lighting, it’s important to note how each light offers their specific strengths and specialties.
How To Control Your Lighting
DMX stands for “digital multiplex.” It has become an industry standard because it allows you to link several lights together and control them. When you link–or “daisy-chain”–multiple lights, you’ll use DMX to activate lights individually to create the timing and design you want. DMX allows for ultimate freedom, control, and creativity when it comes to lighting.
Sound Active mode makes professional light shows simple. Lights with Sound Active mode have built-in sensors that respond to and synchronize with the bass of your music. It enhances your music and it’s a go-to method for quick and easy setup.
Most lights come with a few pre-programmed settings (examples: club, stage, live, etc.). They’re user-friendly; you can count on them while you’re still learning the intricacies of lighting design or whenever you’re in a rush.
Totem mode allows you to set limits on the pan and tilt of your light. This is especially helpful with moving head lights that spin full circles and tilt in all directions. Setting limits with Totem Mode ensures that your light stays focused on the crowd rather than turning around and blinding you (like it could in auto mode).
Master/slave mode synchronizes several identical lights. As the name implies, one light is the “master” and other lights follow the master’s lead. Master/slave mode ensures perfect timing and organization. Similar to master/slave mode, sometimes lights will include chase mode, which is similar because several lights mimic a master but in a slightly delayed, sequential order.
3 Common Lighting Mistakes
#1 – Lighting Overkill
More is not always better. When it comes to lighting, you want to walk the line between exciting and overwhelming.
Your audience may become overwhelmed with excessive strobing or competing lighting effects. Light is great for transforming any venue into a creative work space, so it’s important to work with the environment and work with the music, but never overpower them. Too much lighting can result in a cluttered and messy performance.
#2 – Wrong Context
Context is key. Lasers and strobes are great for clubs, but you would never expect those same effects in a church service or a wedding reception. Lighting is a great tool to enhance the elegance, the hype, the solemnity, or the craziness of different events, so always aim for the appropriate mood to avoid confusion.
#3 – Color Coordination
Color coordination creates a sense of harmony and cohesion, and failure to coordinate quickly kills the mood of an event. Colors and sound can work together toward a unified experience but can also create confusion if they don’t mesh well.
How To Maximize Lighting
Haze and fog are the easiest methods for maximizing lighting. Fog captures beams of light mid-air as they travel throughout a room, enhancing the intricacy and movement of your overall light design. Fog is especially essential for lasers because lasers without fog are almost invisible.
Besides fog, you can also play with color combinations to highlight certain areas, create contrast, make a space feel bright and airy, or make a club feel dim and cozy. Mirrors can also help create cool lighting effects (like disco balls do).
How To Create A Great Light Show On A Budget
It is possible to find high quality DJ lights for a decent price, but it takes some research. That’s where we come in, helping to connect you to great lights that don’t break the bank.
The disco balls, the Chauvet Scorpion, and the Freedom Par listed above are on the cheaper side and deliver high quality lighting. Further, lights like disco balls and uplights project large amounts of light, which makes it easy to fill a large space with high quality lighting with less equipment (and less money).
Another way to create a light show on a budget is to invest in a larger, multipurpose light. Equipment like the Chauvet Gigbar is on the more expensive side, but you get the best value because you get a wide range of lighting effects in one piece of equipment. Investing in a quality, multipurpose light fixture could be more cost effective than buying multiple lights for the same jobs.
Lighting Safety Tips
Watch your aim.
Be careful where you aim bright lights and strobes: don’t shine them directly into your audience’s eyes. In addition, if your lights are running automatically, make sure they don’t spin around and blind you onstage.
Secure your gear.
Secure lights on stands or trussing with the appropriate clamps so a light won’t fall onto someone’s head. It’s also helpful strategically place your light stands in spots where people are least likely to bump into them.
Most lights are designed with internal cooling systems to prevent overheating, so opt for lights with quality ventilation. In addition, find ways to create good airflow in your venues to protect your equipment and your audience from overheating.
Pay attention to power.
Seems like common sense, but it’s worth emphasizing whenever you work with a lot of technology: don’t overwork your equipment. Pay attention to voltage so you don’t accidentally damage your lighting. In addition, manufacturers are continually improving the efficiency of their equipment, so research energy efficient light fixtures.
How To Safely Transport Lights
As a DJ, travel is usually an unavoidable (and fun) part of the job!
As tempting as it is to buy the cheapest lights possible, it’s always wise to research durable, high quality lights to save money in the long run. In addition, carrying cases significantly increase the lifespan of your equipment. Most brands will recommend carrying cases that fit their lights best. Caring for your equipment properly adds to your professionalism and prevents many avoidable mishaps.
When it comes to the best DJ lights, you have a lot of freedom. It’s not hard to find high quality lights that will last for years to come. The best DJ lighting is cohesive and expressive, so it really depends on your gigs and your style. Seek out light fixtures that meld well into your DJ lighting system, enhance the mood of an event, and work well within your usual venues. If you bring all the elements of space, light, and sound together in a unified design, you’ll always leave an impression.