The best webcam should make you look your best no matter if you're in a dimly lit bedroom or home office. These webcams do the heavy lifting for you and make video calls or streaming easy. We've tested all the options out there to find 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 your sort of cam. While it's flashy, it's also incredibly versatile and boasts superb picture quality as well as some quality-of-life features content creators will appreciate.
Many of these webcams support HD and 4K up to 60 fps, 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).
Jorge knows a thing or two about webcams, more importantly, he knows exactly what a streamer or content creator should be looking for to make their face shine. Whether your budget is lavish or modest, he's personally tested out all the most popular webcams and knows which ones deserve your attention.
The quick list
The best overall
A high quality camera for streamers looking to level up. The Elgato Facecam ticks all the boxes.
The best budget
A long-lasting design that still gets the job done. This webcam can be found going extremely cheap and it's well worth it.
Best for creators
The best for content creators
A higher frame rate and vertical-friendly orientation options make this a great pick for the budding content creator.
Best for dark rooms
The best for low light
In our testing we found Razer's Kiyo Pro the best in dimly-lit rooms. That's thanks to a great light sensor stuffed inside.
This article was updated on February 20 to include the OBSBot Tiny 2 as our favorite 4K webcam and expand the Logitech C922 Pro HD entry.
The best webcam
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Elgato's webcam is positioned 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 Elgato Facecam 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.
Read our full Elgato Facecam review.
The best budget webcam
2. Logitech C922 HD Pro
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Most readers can stop here. Unless you're looking for specific features in a webcam, then there is no better cam than the Logitech C922 HD Pro, because it's both the best budget webcam and the one that makes the most sense for the average PC user.
The Logitech C922 HD Pro has been around for years, and has been floating around in our best webcam guide for about as long, too. And with good reason, it just ticks pretty much every box from a webcam do-want list. Its sharp 1080p images, paired with a wide field of view and great autofocus, make it a fantastic video conferencing choice.
It is limited to 30 fps in full 1080p mode, but if you want a slicker picture you can switch to 720p and snag a smoother 60 fps level for your video. But if you're just needing a cam for work, or to catch up with your buddies online that's all you need.
But if you're looking for a webcam that will deliver beautiful, slick, high resolution content, then you are going to have to look elsewhere on this list. And spend a fair bit more, too.
Because, while the Logitech C922 HD Pro isn't cheap, is it the best value webcam around for its performance and its overall feature set.
Low-light performance is great, and the noise level didn't shoot through the roof when I turned off a few lights. White balancing is actually pretty 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 C922 performs its core duties exceptionally well and won't break the bank.
For streamers who don't need a full-screen high-res picture, the C922 is a great 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 this cheaper option.
The best webcam for content creators
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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 StreamCam 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. 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 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 a lot of cash. 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.
The best low light webcam
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The 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 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 StreamCam, 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 StreamCam 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.
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.
The best 4K webcam
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
First and foremost, the OBSBot Tiny 2 is our pick for the best 4K webcam, but this is a cam that offers so much more. It's actually-useful AI features elevate if from a humble webcam into something else.
The Tiny 2's image quality excels. It does a great job of capturing details, contrast, and colors. It's does an adequate job In low light situations too, but in the end there's no substitute for a larger sensor. Adding a key light will take care of that, dramatically enhancing picture quality.
Hardware wise, the Tiny 2 boasts a 50MP, 1/1.5-inch CMOS sensor with an f1.9 aperture and a 26mm focal length. This allows it to achieve that creamy bokeh, separating the foreground from the background for a real professional look. The glass can handle up to 4X zoom and offers both autofocus and manual focus.
The Tiny 2 can supports 4K video at 30 fps with HDR. Other supported resolutions include 1080p, 960p, and 720p, supporting framerates of 60, 30, 25, 24, 20, and 15 frames per second. Output options include MJPEG, YUV, and H264 formats, catering to the preferences of the majority of video creators. The Tiny 2 seamlessly collaborates with OBS Studio, Nvidia Broadcast, Zoom, Teams, and Google Meet.
OBSBot really outdid itself with its fully featured Webcam app. It houses the main sections for tweaking tracking modes, setting presets, and it includes a virtual joystick for gimbal and zoom control. The AI section offers specialized options for Desk Mode, Whiteboard, Hand tracking, and Group video. It can even recognize limited voice and gesture commands.
The tabs for Image and Beauty includes options for various effects, exposure, color grading, and filters. And its got some really fun features like being able to alter body parts. That's the kind of thing that will bring out the inner child in all of us. It's a really feature rich app and it adds a lot of value to the overall package.
Overall, the OBSBot Tiny 2 is one of the most impressive all-round cameras we've ever laid eyes on. No matter if you're checking in on a Zoom call, a streamer, or whipping up a funny TikTok dance. Its ability to capture stunning high-resolution video, track movements, and respond to commands is a game-changer for the solo creator. While the price might be steep, considering what you get, it's well worth the investment.
Read our full OBSBot Tiny 2 review.
How we test webcams
Discord's video conferencing feature has taken the world by storm. As such, we've included it in our testing software suite alongside Skype. We test the video quality in both apps 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. Most webcams have no trouble producing good image quality when lighting is ample. 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. The image may be masked with a blue or yellow tint if the white point is incorrectly set. Unless a tuning utility is included, the webcam's processor usually automatically adjusts the white balance.
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, the webcam's processor normally adjusts these settings automatically. 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 and readjust and if they would fall off or reposition themselves if I bumped the desk. I tested their plug-and-play nature and noted whether the webcams automatically downloaded drivers or software. Lastly, I recorded audio with their built-in microphones, but this was not a heavy influencing factor as a webcam should be bought with video in mind first.
What resolution webcam do I need?
If you plan to record at full-screen resolution, you may want to look at a 4K webcam. However, if you plan on streaming or keeping your webcam confined to only a small portion of your screen, the improved resolution will likely be lost, so sticking with a 1080p webcam should be more then enough for most folks.
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Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware, from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for over ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, Tom's Guide, and a bunch of other places on the world wide web.