The best webcams are essential, whether you’re streaming to Twitch, working, or talking to loved ones. Webcams have much larger image sensors than laptop cameras, so they are able to capture details better, even in low-light situations.
The resolution of most webcams is also higher than that of most laptops, so you’re also going to get a lot more detail.
Despite the fact that the top-end models can stream in 4K and have built-in lights, even the most expensive of the best webcams are fairly affordable.
However, we tested a variety of webcams to bring you as many options as possible. It doesn’t matter if you use Zoom, Skype, Discord, or Microsoft Teams, there’s a webcam to suit your needs.
|Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam|
|NexiGo N60 1080P Web Camera|
|Logitech StreamCam Plus Webcam|
|Microsoft LifeCam Studio|
|Logitech C930e Webcam|
|Razer Kiyo Pro Webcam|
1. Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam
In spite of its unconventional appearance, the Razer Kiyo is one of the best webcams for streaming, which is unimaginably popular these days.
As with many high-end webcams, Razer has stripped away much of the bells and whistles in the Kiyo, focusing instead on what matters most to game streamers and YouTube vloggers – high image quality and high lighting through a “Light Ring”. It doesn’t take long to configure the Razer Kiyo stream – just plug it in and get started.
Razer Kiyo offers an elegant solution to this problem that provides a bright and clear image in the dark. The Kiyo is designed with an integrated ring light that helps you light up your face during video calls or broadcasts.
With a 30 fps recording rate at crisp 1080p or even a smoother 60 fps recording rate at 720p, this webcam is one of the best for gamers and professional content creators. While the Kiyo is on the pricey side of things, it’s worth the investment if you regularly work in dimly-lit environments and don’t want to purchase an external light.
2. NexiGo N60 1080P Web Camera
It takes much more than a 4-plus star review to pique my interest in small, unfamiliar brands on Amazon. This basic webcam, though only $40, is quite good for its price, thanks in part to the software.
The replacement camera also supports Macs, something its predecessor does not. For $35 to $40, Creative’s Live Cam Sync 1080p V2 is an excellent choice for Windows.
Even in low-light situations, the Nexigo delivers better video quality than many 720p laptop webcams with relatively good white balance and autoexposure, even with a basic 1080p 30fps webcam.
Although in low light or at full size, you shouldn’t expect great 1080p picture quality. Although there is noise and softness, it isn’t as bad as most 1080p webcams under $100.
It’s not the prettiest software I’ve used, but some aspects are more functional than others. Rather than giving you a choice between pink or green, the manual white balance actually works along a continuum.
All the adjustable settings can also be saved as presets. There isn’t a version of the software that supports macOS Monterey, so I couldn’t test it, but the company promises that a version that does will be available within the next few months.
The microphone is built-in, but the audio quality is poor. Noise cancellation is available, but you can’t turn it off or adjust it, so I heard quite a bit of popping and tinniness.
This webcam feels plasticky but not fragile, and the mount can tilt and swivel. There is a loose cover included.
A captive USB-A cable and a non-removable mount are other trade-offs for the price. It also has a 110-degree field of view, which is quite wide for a typical web conference. Digitally zooming is possible, but as with any 1080p webcam, this can become very unattractive quickly.
3. Logitech StreamCam Plus Webcam
If the name didn’t give it away, this tiny webcam is designed for streaming but has some features that make it useful for general use. It can be mounted horizontally or vertically, so it’s ideal for shooting quick TikTok or Instagram videos or video chatting with other people on their phones.
It can shoot in 1080p at 60fps, which can produce a better-looking video than 30fps. Furthermore, it is small, so it can fit into small spaces.
You can also take photos and videos in a 9:16 format with this feature-rich 1080p webcam, which also has automatic focusing, smart exposure, facial tracking, and a flippable design. The camera can even be mounted on a tripod, and it uses USB Type-C to transfer video faster and more efficiently.
4. Microsoft LifeCam Studio
LifeCam Studio isn’t the most attractive webcam, but it isn’t really designed to be attractive. As such, it is designed for business conferencing and presentations, with its 1080p recording, 720p live video calling, and wideband mic to deliver crystal clear audio.
For max settings, you’ll need a powerful PC, but that doesn’t mean it’s missing bells and whistles. Microsoft’s TrueColor system, for instance, alters exposure dynamically to keep you well lit.
Using the Truecolor technology included with the device, your footage will have subtle changes in lighting and color that will improve the overall quality, and you can adjust it to produce the best-looking video for any situation. A live video can also be enhanced with video effects and augmented reality objects.
However, all of this comes with a cost. Your PC’s CPU usage will spike when you record at 1080p HD resolution with effects turned on, so if your machine cannot cope, your footage will resemble a slow PowerPoint slideshow rather than a smooth, DVD quality video.
It works fine as a webcam for video chats at lower resolutions, but broadcasting in full HD won’t be possible unless you and your contacts have fast internet connections and no data caps. It is better suited for video blogging than the LifeCam Studio.
5. Logitech C930e Webcam
With the Logitech C930e, the video encoding is done directly on the camera instead of through the PC, which should translate into better video quality. It’s perfect for business video conferencing and presentations due to its wide, 90-degree field of view. In addition, it works with both Mac OS and Windows PCs.
A wide-angle field of view makes the Logitech Webcam C930e a perfect choice for video conferencing as it lets viewers on the other side of the meeting see everyone in the room.
There is no juddering or other distracting annoyances in the video due to high-definition streams recorded at 30 frames per second. The image quality is excellent.
Even though this is a professional webcam, it is extremely easy to install and adjust, thanks to Logitech’s experience with home webcams.
There is no need to install any drivers and it is plug-and-play on both PCs and Macs, so you won’t have to bother your IT department when you need to set up a video call quickly. Attaching and adjusting the included stand is easy, so you can quickly get the best viewing angle.
You can’t zoom or pan optically, so you have to do it digitally, which reduces the image quality. The webcam comes with a privacy shutter, which can be attached when not in use so that you are more private.
6. Razer Kiyo Pro Webcam
It can produce nice-looking videos because it doesn’t compress the stream. Razer’s unconventional-looking webcam supports 1080p at 60fps. Also included are an optimized sensor and autoexposure system, as well as an automatic white balance system that preserves more natural-looking skin tones.
There is also a cover that keeps dust off the front of the camera, not as convenient as a lens shutter. The mount is incredibly flexible as well.
Due to Windows 10’s awful, awful webcam settings interface, particularly how it imposes exclusive control over the camera, and Razer’s somewhat ill-conceived software, the problems are compounded.
If you want better quality in very low light, you need to switch the Kiyo Pro into its HDR mode, and that can only be done via Razer’s Synapse software — that and the Wide/Medium/Linear modes are the only adjustments that require Synapse.
It is not possible to change video settings in Synapse and display video simultaneously in many applications. As a result, you must quit your application, such as Zoom, change the settings in Synapse, and then restart the application.
However, Zoom does not always display the same way, so if you don’t like it, you have to quit again, change it again, and relaunch.
In spite of this, Windows often thinks the camera is being used, even when it is not, so nothing can use it. That can only be fixed by unplugging and reconnecting it. The detachable USB-C cable really comes in handy here.
Streamers should use a dedicated mic anyway, and the built-in microphone works fine for web conferencing.
Things to Consider Before Buying
While shopping for the best webcam, here are a few details you should keep in mind.
Work cams vs streaming cams
There are mainly two types of webcams on the market: work and live streaming. Some live streaming webcams are quite expensive, often costing upwards of $500. However, you can get additional features such as 4K, professional-quality microphones, and wide-angle lenses for a higher price.
Most conference call apps still suffer from video compression and lag, so you probably won’t require these features for a home office, since 1080p or even 720p is quite sufficient for most purposes.
Although the best webcams used to always come with a microphone built-in, that doesn’t mean the audio quality is always superb — or even acceptable. Because webcams are often positioned above and away from your face, it’s not uncommon for the built-in microphones to be quiet and include a lot of background noise or echo.
Make sure to add one of the best gaming headsets or gaming microphones to your purchase. Recently, big companies like Dell have also begun building webcams without microphones, so the rule is rapidly changing.
Most consumer-level webcams do not yet have built-in lighting, but manufacturers like Razer are trying to change that. The best camera in the world won’t do you any good if the lighting in your office is too dark.