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Gear Reviews

Best Flash Stands of 2019 for Photographers

By David J. Crewe on July 22nd 2019

One of the most important parts of starting and running your photography business is ensuring you’re equipped with the best possible gear. Depending on what you’re shooting, investing in lighting will be pretty high on your list of things to get. Especially when you start loading on large modifiers and boom arms, really stacking the weight on the stands, you want to be sure the products are stable enough to support them all.

Like everything else, light stands come in a variety of models and makes to support a wide range of styles and budgets. The big thing to keep in mind are the capacity, height, weight, and most importantly, price! Choosing the best stands and grips for your lighting plan depends on the light sources and modifiers in your production. Most light stands fall into either of two categories: C-Stands or lightweight stands. Then we have a few “unique” designs which we’ll dive into later.

To help you decide which light stand is right for you, we’ve created our list of the Best Light Stands for Photographers, updated annually. These lists are based on our personal experience as working photographers combined with extensive research from other reputable sources online.

If you aren’t familiar with some of the terms, options, or components on a light stands we mention here, please check out the resource on B&H Light Stands & Mounting. There’s a lot of great information compiled there that will make your understanding much more complete.

If we missed anything, or if you have any recommendations on what we should consider for next year, please comment below!

Best Travel / Compact LIGHT STANDS

One thing the photographer on the road has to have in their kit is a great travel light stand for those moments you’ll need a little extra light. The key to a great travel light stand is one that is lightweight, folds up into a neat compact package that hopefully can also fit easily in a suitcase, but still is tough and sturdy to make sure your gear can be supported.

Impact Heavy-Duty Air-Cushioned Light Stand

Our  Winner for Best Travel Light Stand.

This Impact Heavy-Duty Air-Cushioned Light Stand is a black anodized aluminum support that rises to a height of 9.5′ and folds down to 42″ for storage and transport. The stand will handle up to 22 lb and is topped with a removable 5/8″ spigot with 1/4″-20 and 3/8″-16 threads. It has a wide footprint of 52″ for greater stability. Air cushioning gently lowers the light when making height adjustments to protect equipment and fingers. At a price of just $54.95 you can’t go wrong here!

Check the prices from our preferred retailers below:

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

manfrotto 5001b 74-Inch Nano Stand (Our Choice)

Our 2nd place Winner for Best Travel Light Stand.

A compact photo stand that packs a mighty punch. The Nano Black Stand combines clever and compact features with a strong anodized frame. Come rain or shine, you can be sure that this hardwearing stand won’t flake, rust or wobble under pressure, even when supporting equipment weighing up to 3.31 lbs (1.5kg). It’s time to get out there!

Check the prices from our preferred retailers below:

Adorama | B&H |Amazon

Avenger Baby ALU 25 Stand

Our 3rd Place Winner for Best Travel Light Stand

The Avenger A0025B Baby Alu 25 Stand is a versatile, lightweight aluminum stand. It is quick to set up and very stable. Its locking T-knobs are large and ergonomic — making it easy for you to efficiently lock each section. This stand rises to a maximum height of 8.2′ (2.5 m). The Baby Alu Stand 25 has a black anodized finish and it folds to a size that is short enough almost any kit case – 34.25″.

The drawback on this stand is even though it’s a compact “travel” light stand, it’s one of the heavier ones weighting in at 6.61lbs so if you make this choice, plan accordingly.

Check the prices from our preferred retailers below:

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

[Related Reading: Cheap Light Stands | What’s The Best And Are They Worth It Anyway?]

Best Full-Sized C-Stands

When nothing else matters but the quality of your image, you’ll make sure the light stand and every other accessory attached to it is as good as it can get! For this, we’ve got the top three full-sized professional light stands of the year for you to bring your work to the next level.

These don’t have the compact space saving designs like the travel light stands, but that’s a fair trade for the weight, stability and security you’ll get out of the heavy-duty C-Stand and light stands below.

Matthews 40″ C-Stand with Spring-Loaded Base

Our Winner for the Best Full-Sized Light Stand

This black Matthews 40″ C-Stand Kit is comprised of a 10.5′ stand with a 40″ double riser and spring-loaded base that work to achieve a maximum height of 126″, or collapse down to a minimum height of 53″. A 40″ grip arm with attached 2.5″ grip head; and a 2.5″ removable grip head allow for multiple attachment options. The unique staggered leg design of the C-Stand allows it to be nested and placed extremely close to one another on a set, and the included grip arm and grip heads offer an assured, non-slip hold with both 3/8″ and 5/8″ mounting holes.

Check the prices from our preferred retailer below:

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

Kupo 40″ Riser C-Stand Turtle Base Kit

Our 2nd Place Winner for the Best Full-Sized Light Stand.

The 9.7′, black 40″ Riser C-Stand Turtle Base Kit from Kupo is outfitted with a patented spring ring locking system that removes all tension from the legs so that gravity can do the work for you. A “turtle base” is an industry term where the riser section can be quickly removed from the base for easy transportation and the base can be used with a stand adapter for a low mounting position.

The 40″ Grip Arm with Hex Stud is a 2 1/2″ grip head mounted on the end of a 40″ piece of steel tubing 5/8″ (16 mm) in diameter and finished with a faceted hex stud to keep lighting fixtures in position when they are placed on the end of the arm. The 2-1/2″ grip head consists of a pair of rotating aluminum discs attached to a 5/8″ (16 mm) receiver. The discs have four different sized “V” shaped jaws to accept any accessory with a 5/8″, 1/2″, 3/8″ or 1/4″ mounting stud or tubing. The “V” shaped jaws have “teeth” that grab whatever is mounted between the plates securely. The 2-1/2″ grip head features an oversized ergonomic “T” handle and dedicated roller bearings designed for maximum torque.

Check the prices from our preferred retailers below:

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

Neewer Heavy Duty Light Stand C-Stand

Our 3rd Place Winner for the Best Full-Sized Light Stand.

The Neewer light stand (double kit in this instance) is perfect for supporting most photographic equipment, including softboxes, reflectors, large strobe lights, and more. Suitable to use for indoor photo studio portrait, arts, magazine, video shooting or outdoor events.

Sturdy 3-leg stage combines with solid locking system which ensures the safety of the equipment. Steel material and heavy duty structure make it durable for long time use. Portable lightweight design for easier carrying, making your trip more convenient.

Check the prices from our preferred retailers below:

Unique Stands & Honorable Mentions

While there are lots of Light Stand manufacturers out there, there’s not a lot of variety in design out there…but every now and again, something will come out that’s a bit different, surprising, and oddly useful in special situations. This section is dedicated to those light stands that you may not of heard of before or never knew that you totally needed!

Savage Universal MultiFlex Light Stand (Our Choice)

https://bhpho.to/2Y6ctEeOur Winner for Best Unique Light Stand

The air-cushioned, 6′ MultiFlex Light Stand from Savage is a space-saving solution to setting up in tight spaces or on uneven terrain. Thanks to a clever design, instead of being fixed, one of the three legs can slide down from its normal position on the stand’s center section until it nearly touches the floor. That means squeezing a leg under a couch or table is no problem, stairs are a snap, and supporting gear on hilly terrain is routine. The stand has an industry-standard 5/8″ top stud, and comes with a touch fastener strap and a padded carry case for storage and transport.

Check the prices from our preferred retailers below:

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

Manfrotto 156BLB Mini Kit Stand

Our 2nd Place Winner for Best Unique Light Stand

The Manfrotto Backlite Mini Kit Stand is a versatile, hardworking, lightweight, aluminum stand. It is quick to set up, and very stable. It features a black anodized finish, plus a removable 1/4″-20 threaded tip that reveals a 3/8″ threaded tip on the top 5/8″ Baby top stud. Designed and kind of awesome for lightweight setups in small work areas. This rig works great for hiding a backdrop light behind your subjects or even using as a base for a reflector setup during your headshot sessions.

Check the prices from our preferred retailers below:

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

Manfrotto 231B Column Stand with Sliding Arm

Our 3rd Place Winner for Best Unique Light Stand.

The Manfrotto 231B Column Stand with Sliding Arm is a black anodized aluminum, wheeled, single column stand that is perfect for studio use. It features a spring-loaded sliding arm that allows quick height adjustment of your light fixture from almost floor level to nearly the top-most of its 8′ chromium steel column.

The 231 has a leveling leg, which extends and locks, making the load more stable on uneven surfaces such as steps. This product is available with a brushed aluminum finish (#231) or with a chrome steel column, (231CS).

This beast is best suited for studio work and clearly gives you a wide variety and flexibility with it’s setup and usage, especially since you can add accessories to use one stand to mount multiple lights and modifiers.

Check the prices from our preferred retailers below:

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

Cheetahstand C8 3-Section Aluminum Light Stand

The CheetahStand C8 light stand sets up automatically. Set it down and the standlegs open automatically. Pick it up and it closes automatically. The light weight three-section CheetahStand offers quick setups and repositioning. Whenever you have to move a light, just lift it.

The automatic legs, making it easy to move safely and easily through a crowded room without putting down your camera. The CheetahStand C8 is recommended for supporting portable, shoe-mounted flash units or small monolights.

The CheetahStand C8 extends from 29″ to 96″ in height and collapses to 28.5″ for storage, has a footprint that’s 32″ in diameter, anc can support up to 6 lbs.

Check the prices from our preferred retailers below:

AdoramaAmazon

Additionally!

Another thing to keep in mind with light stands, no matter what style you have, it’s in your best interest to always carry sand-bags to help safely secure your gear once setup! You can get pre-made/packaged ones or even just container bags that you can put your own weights in on site (to save on travel stress). For instance;

Impact Empty SBE-B-15 Saddle sandbag

Stabilize your light stands, boom arms, backgrounds, and more with the Impact Black Empty 15 lb Capacity Saddle sandbag. Easily transport the empty saddlebag to your location where it can be filled with available sand, dirt, or rocks and securely zipped shut. When your shoot is over, simply empty the contents to make your load lighter for the commute back home. Weather- and water-resistant cordura fabric stands up to the elements and use over time, while the double-zipper design provides an extra level of security to prevent the contents from spilling. Upper and lower handles made of durable nylon webbing allow multiple options for transport and hanging as a counterweight.

CHECK THE PRICES FROM OUR PREFERRED RETAILERS BELOW:

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

Summary

Here is a list of all the gear discussed in this article:

 

What did we miss? Please give us feedback so that we can check out other bags and keep this list up-to-date.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

David J. Crewe is a full-time commercial photographer and Senior Editor with SLR Lounge. Based out of both Southern California & Las Vegas, Nevada.

View his work and blog: DavidJCrewe.com

Follow his Instagram: @DavidJCrewe

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Eric Leboutin

    I’m very surprised the Matthews MERF didn’t make it onto the list. It’s about the same price, size, and weight as Manfrotto Nano but it’s dramatically stronger with a 9lb capacity instead of 3.31lbs.

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    • David J. Crewe

      That sounds kinda incredible! The list was created based on sales numbers from multiple large retailers so it’s possible the matthews stands just didn’t have the access/wide reach as the others. I’m going to look into these! Thanks for the tip

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  2. J Fox

    Love my Manfrotto gear which has been with me for a long time but gotta give that second place to the Westcott 7425 compact light stand version . It goes a foot higher and has a removable center column to use as it like a mono-pole.

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  3. Max Surikov

    I am surprised that the Cheetahstand C8 didn’t make the cut. It extends to 8’ and holds up to 6 pounds which is perfect for AD200. 

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    • David J. Crewe

      That’s a great addition! I’ll update it for the “honorable mentions!” thanks for the info

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