The best webcam captures you no matter the condition of your room or office. It should take a dimly-lit office and accurately maintain a good shot of you. It should also have a good microphone that won't sound like you're in a tunnel. The best webcams do the heavy lifting for you and make video calls or streaming easy. We've went through all the options out there and picked the best ones to grab.
The best streaming webcam might differ from the best webcam for your remote working setup. If you're simply looking for the best picture quality at a reasonable price, the Logitech C922 HD Pro is a solid 1080p webcam choice. If you're looking for more, then the Elgato Facecam may be more your style. While it's flashy, it's also incredibly versatile and boasts superb picture quality.
Many of these webcams support HD and 4K up to 60fps, which adds to the price tag. If you're perfecting your streaming set-up, you want that extra resolution and higher frame rate capability. Streaming puts the most demand on a webcam to show off your gorgeous makeup in high res, or any swift motions you make (within the constraints of the limited bitrate and resolution of a typical Twitch or YouTube stream, of course). Many of the webcams below will negate blur, and record at least 1080p.
It's also worth checking out our guides for the best capture cards and the best microphone for streaming to hit the perfect setup for you. Whether you're simply recording yourself, streaming on Twitch, or conferencing with friends or colleagues on Zoom, the best webcams will provide a crystal clear picture for all to enjoy. So here are the best options.
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Elgato's new webcam positions itself as a premium camera for streamers who aren't quite ready to invest in more expensive options, such as a DSLR camera, but are still looking for the best picture they can get.
Out of the box, the picture quality of the Facecam is great, though we noticed it seeming a little over-exposed on first impressions. This does feel like a deliberate choice by Elgato, however. It makes the image come off brighter and lighter than your typical webcam, which you could argue is something most streamers want for their main shot.
Thankfully, one of the best parts of the Facecam package is its Camera Hub software. It's a simple control app that lets you adjust your camera settings in case that's not the ultra-bright look you want.
The Facecam offers uncompressed video at 1080p/60fps, which is a pretty huge deal and might be the biggest reason streamers will want to pick this thing up. Without getting into a deeper conversation about encoding and compression, the short version is you'll have a final video output with less artifacting with the Facecam than you would when using most other webcams. And all without needing to bump down your resolution or frame rate in programs such as OBS.
The camera itself uses a Sony STARVIS sensor, a slice of silicon traditionally used in security cameras optimized for low-light environments. I tested the Facecam in a lower light setting to see how it hangs against the Razer Kiyo Pro, itself a webcam that specializes in making places with terrible lighting look better.
The Facecam gets the slight edge when shooting in my dimly lit living room/office when directly comparing the two. The Elgato Facecam also wins out by just looking better overall compared to Kiyo Pro's odd fisheye effect at higher FOVs. If you're still torn on the two, let me just say for the record, the Facecam beats out Razer's offering, hands down.
The Elgato FaceCam is a good first attempt at a webcam, and a fine addition to the Elgato catalogue of streaming gear. It's specially targeted for streamers providing clean, low latency video footage for their broadcasts, so long as they are willing to pay a premium for it. But it sure delivers.
Check out our full Elgato Facecam review.
The StreamCam was designed for, you guessed it, streamers and other content creators—so much so, you can rotate the StreamCam on its three-axis clip for portrait mode in case you wanted your content more mobile-friendly. Or keep it horizontal. Whatever you choose, the mount can easily be angled face-down up to 90 degrees if you want people to look at your keyboard and mouse movements, or your fingers playing an instrument. No extra gear is required, but the StremCam does come with an additional mount that can screw onto a tripod for more complex arrangements.
It also shoots in full 1080p at 60fps. That's better than Logitech's three-year-old C922 webcam's 1080p/30fps, which has become a standard in a lot of streamers arsenal due to its competitive price of $80. And it works with major streaming software like OBS and XSplit.
Logitech's Capture 2.0 software automates a lot of the settings most people don't bother with, like exposure, white balance, and face-tracking. There's even a chroma key feature in case you work with a green screen. While this won't replace something as in-depth like OBS or XSplit, Logitech Capture 2.0 is a quick and dirty option if you need to record videos at a steady pace. It does take multiple sources including your screen but found that using the transitions between different scenes was a bit hinky. The face-tracking is an impressive feature if you move around a lot on camera and can be toggled on/off via that same software.
The StreamCam's works impressively well in low-light environments. Whether you're using prosumer-grade key lights or a desk lamp, the StreamCam manages to consistently focus on your face which is tough even for top-tier webcams.
Its microphone is serviceable and supports stereo and mono, but I'd recommend one of the best microphones for gaming instead of using the built-in one if you plan on doing anything more than a video call.
There are a few gripes I have with the camera itself. While the USB-C cable is a smart choice, the cable itself is on the shorter side at less than five feet. This is limiting in case you had plans to shoot any content outside of a desk environment. The cable is also is built into the webcam, so if you bend or break the cable, you are out of luck and $169. But this is still a way cheaper option than using a DSLR camera as a webcam that you often see popular streamers use, and requires less set up.
Read our full Logitech StreamCam review.
Most readers can stop here. Unless you're looking for specific features in a webcam, then there is no better value than the Logitech C922 HD Pro. Its sharp 1080p images, paired with a wide field of view and great autofocus, make it a fantastic video conferencing choice. Low-light performance is great; the noise level didn't shoot through the roof when I turned off a few lights. White balancing was accurate most of the time, too, although the default saturation can make the scene look a little washed out in bright lighting conditions.
Most of the settings can be adjusted through Logitech's Camera App. Streamers should also appreciate C922's excellent compatibility with the background replacement app, ChromaCam. All in all, the Logitech C920 performs its core duties exceptionally well and won't break the bank.
For streamers, the C922 is a perfect webcam to get started since you can track on down for less $100 at most retailers. There's also the C930e, for the titans of industry among us, but we prefer the cheaper option.
The new Kiyo Pro improves on Razer's previous webcams with a slightly different approach to handling lighting in dark spaces. It ditches the ring light in favor of a sophisticated light sensor to tackle the gloom.
Honestly, getting rid of the ring light was a good move for Razer since it always seemed like a novelty feature on the old Kiyo. Even in darkly lit environments, that ring light never felt bright enough actually to improve your shot, and I often found that the ring light itself was more distracting than useful. Which was why it never quite made it to the top of the our best webcams roundup.
The Kiyo Pro's other improvements include HDR (off by default), 1080p resolution at 60fps, wide-angle lens, and omnidirectional microphone. It's a feature-packed webcam for streamers.
The light sensor helps significantly compared to the popular Logitech Stream Cam, its closest competitor specs-wise. During daytime shots, the abundance of light coming from windows can almost completely blow out half of my shot on the Stream Cam while the Kiyo Pro manages to adjust on the fly. Though admittedly, it's a little heavy on the contrast.
Night-time or darker rooms is where the Kiyo Pro truly shines (pun absolutely intended). You can see how the Pro compensates for low-light environments, and the Kiyo Pro might be the best low-light webcam I've used in years. It manages to illuminate me and my background enough to make the camera usable with even a little light.
The wide-angle lens allows for more of your background to show off, but if you look close enough at some of these shots, you can see an almost fish-eye lens effect to them, which I'm not too keen on. Thankfully, you can switch to a lower FOV which looks so much better.
The Kiyo Pro also comes with an omnidirectional microphone. My microphone test script turned up some pretty crisp and clear audio, too, but picked up a ton of background noise like my desktop PC. If you're serious about streaming, you really should nab yourself a decent microphone to sound your best, and Razer itself makes one of the best cheap microphones right now.
At $200, however, the Kiyo Pro is one of the more expensive non-4K webcams you can find right now. With enough tweaking, you will be able to make the most of this webcam, but it's not naturally adept in every situation and the autofocus issue is a real pain. The right choice for anyone who wants the stream but who doesn't have the room or the luxury of setting up studio lighting for the best shot, perhaps, but not the ultimate webcam solution just yet.
Read our full Razer Kiyo Pro review.
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It takes a lot to knock the Logitech BRIO off its 4K throne, but the Dell UltraSharp WB7022 4K webcam does just that. Dell's new webcam is one of the best 4K webcams you can buy.
The Dell UltraSharp 4K webcam offers a lot of premium features for only $200. On top of being 4K at 30fps, you've got HDR support and even AI-powered auto framing. As expected, UltraSharp's support for 4K recording gives it videos and pictures wild impressive detail over your standard 1080p webcam. Its 90-degree field of view can easily capture your entire room and any pets asleep in the corner of your shot.
The UltraSharp works well in poorly lit or overexposed rooms. You should note that if you're only using this for work calls, the webcam's picture quality might be nerfed by certain apps like Meet or even Zoom, as you will fall victim to those platforms' video compression.
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In addition to its excellent capturing resolution, the UltraSharp webcam supports HDR capturing. This means that viewers who have an HDR-compatible screen will be able to enjoy richer, more vivid colors.
The UltraSharp isn't perfect, though. Its out-of-box monitor stand doesn't let you rotate the webcam, you're limited to just up and down, making for awkward camera angles. There's also no built-in microphone which could be a deal-breaker for some content creators though most webcam mics are so bad, I doubt you'd miss it. We also noticed the camera itself gets hot after using it for more than 20 minutes. Still, its excellent image quality and easy-to-use software make it a strong contender.
You might not have heard of ClearOne as the company tends to focus its efforts on office conference rooms. Outside intense (and expensive) teleconferencing gear, ClearOne also makes a pretty decent 1080p webcam for at-home streaming or video-chatting under $100.
If youre willing to compromise with 30fps, and have already bagged yourself an omnidirectional polar pattern best microphone, the Unite 20 Pro has a lot to offer for a group sesh. Predominantly the wide 120-degree field of view, which means you can fit a lot more into your frame than most webcams.
Great, if you're trying to stream a large group for a D&D session or want to fit your entire band for a Twitch performance. Not so great if you're trying to hide a messy bedroom on your morning video call with your boss.
Best webcams FAQ
How do you test a webcam?
Discord's video conferencing feature has taken the world by storm. As such, we've included it in our testing software suite alongside Skype. In both apps, we test the video quality at the maximum supported resolution. OBS is still our choice go-to app for streaming and video recording, while images are captured in the default Windows Camera app.
We used OBS to stream and record videos from each camera, testing them both fullscreen and scaled down to a "face cam" size. We also used each manufacturer's webcam software to take the highest possible resolution pictures with each and manually adjusted settings like white balance, brightness, auto-focus, and others where applicable. Each of these situations was tested with multiple lighting setups, from overhead fluorescent bulbs to nothing but the monitor's glow in front of me.
The process of selecting the right webcam is much like choosing a good camera. Most of the metrics we use to determine camera quality also apply to webcams. You should pay attention to the image quality, color accuracy, focus speed, and customizable features. Although many of us have dedicated microphones, the onboard microphone can come in handy too.
One of the greatest determiners of image quality is the amount of noise present in an image. When lighting is ample, most webcams have no trouble producing good image quality. The extra quality of the best webcams is more accurately reflected in low light; however, the camera needs to compensate for the lack of light digitally. Generally speaking, more expensive webcams come with higher quality sensors and usually have less pesky color blots compared to cheaper ones.
The other crucial aspect is the color of the images. Before we even begin to examine the color quality, we should pay attention to the white balance. White balance gauges the temperature of the lighting from your surrounding environment and sets the white point accordingly. If the white point is incorrectly set, the image may be masked with a blue or yellow tint. Unless a tuning utility is included, the white balance is usually automatically adjusted by the webcam's processor.
Next is exposure, saturation, and contrast—all three are equally important. Exposure is the brightness of the image, saturation is the depth of the colors, and contrast is the difference between black and white. Brightness ensures that you can be seen clearly, while saturation and contrast make your images pop. Again, unless the software is included, these settings are normally adjusted automatically by the webcam's processor. More expensive webcams are more adept at replicating the most accurate scene.
Some webcams also have built-in microphones, which we test by recording a short video in our studio or home offices.
Software for webcams is just as critical—if not more so—than other peripherals. Although many streaming and conferencing apps have built-in adjustment options, using the manufacturer's driver software allows you to adjust the settings globally.
Aside from the video quality, I also took a look at their ease of use. Each manufacturer has a different method of attaching a webcam to the monitor, so I tested them across different monitor shapes and sizes. I considered whether the webcam cord was long enough to reach from the top of a monitor to a case underneath a desk. I tested how easy they were to angle, readjust, and if they would fall off or reposition themselves if I bumped the desk. I tested the plug-n-play nature of them and noted whether the webcams downloaded drivers or software automatically. Lastly, I recorded audio with their built-in microphones, but this was not a heavily influencing factor as a webcam should be bought with video in mind first.
What resolution webcam do I need?
If you're planning to record at full screen resolution, you may want to look at a 4K webcam. However, if you're planning on streaming, or keep your webcam confined to only a small portion of your screen, it's likely the improved resolution will be lost on you. In that case, you're probably best investing in improved lighting for a proper glow up.