Streaming, content creation, and sharing gameplay is more relevant than ever. If you want to be taken seriously as a streamer or Youtuber, you will need a high-quality webcam.
Good webcams are rare and far between, but lucky for you, we have compiled a list of the best ones on the market as of 2020.
Our Top 3 Picks
1. Logitech StreamCam
1080p at 60fps
- Full HD 60 fps video
- AI-driven autofocus function, perfect for portrait video
- High value for your money
The brand new StreamCam from Logitech offers everything you would want from a webcam as a content creator. It provides sharp full HD resolution with 60 fps, a smart AI-driven autofocus function, and it has a very reasonable price tag.
Logitech StreamCam was designed for professional content creators, and that becomes very apparent once you play around with it a bit. Not only is the video quality perfect for streaming on Twitch or creating Youtube videos, but all of its unique features are targeted for streaming. The camera itself can be lifted and rotated if you want to record in a portrait angle, which I really like as the camera won’t take up as much of the screen and allows your viewers to see more of your gameplay. It is also equipped with AI-driven smart focus software that instantly detects facial features and focuses on it.
The webcam itself feels very high-quality due to its semi-heavy design and clean aesthetics. The monitor mount is what you would expect from a quality webcam, and it seamlessly latches on to your screen and feels very stable.
Unless you want to go significantly up in price, then there is no better option on the market right now than the Logitech StreamCam. The video quality at 60 fps is good enough for any channel, small or large, and its additional features make your experience as a content creator even better.
2. Logitech C922
Best budget webcam
1080p/30fps – 720p/60fps
- 60 fps video
- Exceptional value-for-money
- Full HD at 30 fps
- You will have to choose between frame rate and video quality.
You would be hard-pressed, finding a better webcam in the 100 dollar price range than the C922 from Logitech. It’s able to record in full 1080p HD at 30fps but also offers 60fps at 720p.
For a very long time, the C922 was the most popular webcam in the world, and that is not a coincidence. Its video quality is excellent for new or smaller streamers, and if you don’t care too much about running in 60fps, it even has full HD resolution.
We will leave it up to you to decide which resolution you prefer, but one thing is for sure. Whether you want the full HD with mid-tier frame rate or the 720p with 60fps, both options look great. And being able to hold a steady 30fps with full HD is not a small feat for a camera of this price class.
Very few webcams on the market offer this kind of value for money, and if you want the highest possible performance for your money, then look no further than the C922.
3. Razer Kiyo
Best low-light webcam
720p 60fps/1080p 30fps
- 60 fps video
- Ring light that brightness up the video in darkened rooms.
- Very high value for money
- Having to choose between fps and full HD is never fun
If you are a late-night streamer, then look no further than the Razer Kiyo. Not only is it affordable and has 60 fps video, but it also has built-in lighting that will increase your video quality a lot if you play in a darkened room.
Video quality-wise, it is mostly the same as the C922 but feels slightly less qualitative. However, it comes with a lot of cool features that give the C922 a run for its money. Its main stand-out feature is, of course, the circle lighting that surrounds the camera, which will do wonders for streamers that play in poorly lit rooms or just late at night. Webcam video quality struggles if you don’t have professional lighting, and the Razer Kiyo solves this issue quite cleverly. You can easily adjust the brightness level of this light by adjusting the wheel around the camera.
It also has a pretty useful auto-focus function, a built-in microphone, and a neat folding design. I would not recommend using the microphone for serious streaming, though, as most headsets and stand-alone microphones will have far better sound quality.
4. Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Pro
Best high-end webcam for content creators
1080p at 60 fps / 4k at 30 fps
- Exceptional video quality & frame rate
- 4k recording
- Highly adjustable
Do you make money from making videos? Or maybe from streaming on Twitch? If no, then this is likely not the webcam for you. It is quite expensive, but equally impressive and is the clear choice for professionals.
This is as good as it gets, but also quite expensive. This is the best pick, without the shadow of a doubt, if you are a professional streamer or content creator. The video quality is second to none, but if you don’t work with video making, it can feel very overpriced.
There is not much to say. This is the best webcam currently on the market, but also one of the most expensive.
It only fits that Logitech takes the crown in another category and proves themselves the official kings of the PC camera market.
In short: this webcam has the best possible frame rate, resolution, and overall video quality. So if you don’t mind spending (a lot) of extra money, then this is the one for you.
For most people, this cam is not worth the money, but if you make a living or have a side job as a YouTuber or streamer, then this can be an excellent investment.
For the Pro Content Creators
This is made for those people who take their craft very seriously, and it pays off. Even though it is pretty expensive, the investment can pay off if you make videos or stream daily. The extra quality will likely lure more viewers in and keep them interested for longer.
This is the cam that a lot of the best and most viewed Twitch streamers use, and we understand why. This camera screams quality and proves to your viewers that you take them and your job seriously.
Too Much for Smaller Streamers
As we have mentioned before, this is not a webcam worth paying for if you are just a regular Joe. This is only for the streamers, video creators, or those with a little too much money on their person.
But make no mistake, this is a phenomenal webcam.
How we Tested them
These are some of the criteria we used to test out the many different webcams and may aid you in finding the ideal pick for you.
Side-by-side Camera Quality Comparison
This is where we always start, and it is a quick way to figure out where a cam is, performance-wise. Luckily most webcams can be co-connected, meaning we could effectively test 2 cams, side-by-side, which allows us to quickly determine which was the better webcam, at least in terms of video quality.
Also, a good way to get a feel for the frame rate, seeing as you can see the two screens right beside each other. So if one of them holds a steady 30+ fps, it is very easy to call out a bad cam. Also, it makes it easier to determine the minor difference and find the ultimate victor.
This is different from each camera, but most cams have a particular niche or feature that is supposed to sell the product. Often it is straightforward to determine whether or not the feature is functional and working as intended.
A good example is the Logitech C922x since it had two new significant features over the C920. New microphone and background replacement tech.
First, we tested the microphone, which was a little better, but still lacking for the purpose, it was created for, which is streaming. So after a little while, we decided that the microphone could not be considered a pro, and might even be a slight con, seeing as it drives the price upwards.
The replacement tech is a little rarer, and therefore a harder to test. But we found the other cams with similar features and quickly learned that no one had come remotely close to what Logitech had achieved here—making it a very successful function.
Quality and Durability Test
This is quite simple: what can happen to a webcam? It Might fall off the screen occasionally, and maybe even get stuck when you close your laptop. So that is what we did. Every cam got dropped a LOT, from small and medium heights. Surprisingly few cameras struggled with this test, which is why we consider durability to be a less important factor than with most other PC equipment.
A few more struggled when it came to getting stuck in the laptop, and this is where we could literally remove all the weak and poorly made cams from the test.
What you should consider when looking for a new webcam
Things that might help you find the correct cam for you.
What are your needs and budget
This is crucial to ask yourself, seeing as there is a vast difference in price depending on your needs.
To us, there are four different price layers, and finding yours can save you from wasting money.
- Minimum webcam needs, budget options ideal
- The avid Pc user, who use their webcam often
- The amateur streamer/content creator, who will need a good cam and mic to be taken seriously and to test the industry properly.
- The professionals, those who live of off streaming or video making. These people will find it well worth their money to buy the best of the best.
Your economy can also play into this, if you are a struggling streamer, you can start with a budget cam, and if you are a wealthy regular gamer, you might want to get a costly cam.
This is a minor thing, but worth mentioning. We found that with webcams, brand matter a lot, more so than with any other PC equipment we have tested. Logitech and Microsoft dominate the industry, and understandably so. While there are other decent brands, this is what we found:
- Logitech: They dominate this industry, and of the 9 Logitech cams we tested, we failed to find a single bad one. So if you want to make sure always to get your money’s worth or maybe more, Logitech is a safe bet.
- Microsoft: A great alternative to Logitech.
- Razer: Haven’t made a lot, but the ones they have made have been great.
- Ausdom: Pretty much a poor man’s Microsoft, they have made quite a lot of good webcams. However, they always seem to be a little lacking compared to Logitech and Microsoft, but if you want more features for your money, such as a cheap full HD cam, they can be the way to go.
- Creative: Risky, although they have a few decent cams out there. They are generally not of the best quality.
- Technet: Another budget brand, which does a little better than Cimkiz, and does have a few budget version worthwhile. But generally, budget versions from Logitech and Microsoft do a better job.
What makes a good webcam
The Internet has facilitated the ability of people to communicate quickly and more conveniently. Through the Internet, interactions are no longer limited by space or time, as people all around the world can communicate more efficiently. Technological advancements have necessitated several changes in the mode of communication. A great change that is noteworthy is the ability of people to not only send and receive audio but also video footage. The combination of sound and pictures much more enhances this form of communication, or live images, in this case, are much better than audio alone.
The benefits of Webcams can never be overemphasized as they are responsible for adding this new and exciting element to communication systems.
Now, it doesn’t matter if you are in a different country on vacation or if you are abroad for a business convention. With Webcams, you can enhance your chatting experience while communicating with your loved ones and associates regardless. Webcams eliminate the differences in time zones as both parties feel that they are in the same room while interacting with one another.
Due to the importance of the device, the purchase of a webcam should depend solely on its level of functionality. The type of webcam required for professional use is entirely different from that which will only be used to keep in touch with friends and family. Webcams are available in various shapes and sizes, but several vital features make a good webcam.
Essential Features of a WebCam
This is perhaps the most critical aspect of a webcam. Resolutions are subdivided into two different categories, namely ;
• Standard definition – This has a lower resolution of 480-pixel
• High Definition – There are two levels of resolutions available under this category. The 720-pixel option and the 1080 pixel option.
It should be noted that how clear or sharp an image depends on how many pixels are present in the vertical scanning lines. As the resolution of a webcam determines how clear the video broadcast will be, it is equally essential for users to have high definition monitors to view HD videos.
This is another feature that a webcam is expected to have. The quality of the microphone integrated into the webcam will determine the type of videoing you will do. Video chatting does not require a webcam that comes with a top of the range microphone. For more professional uses, you must invest in a good quality external microphone if the inbuilt mic is not up to par. The built in-microphone is mostly for casual video conversations with friends or family, seeing as serious content creators should look for a high-end headset or a stand-alone mic.
Megapixels are dots of color that create a visual image when combined. A webcam with more megapixels will offer clearer pictures, and users should get webcams that have at least 720p to be taken seriously as a content creator.
The question of design will be determined by the type of computer or monitor you use, the size of your desk, or if you’ll require a webcam that can be attached to the monitor with a clip. It is also crucial for you to decide if you’ll need a stationary webcam or one which can rotate during filming.
Clip-on webcams are usually designed for computers with thin monitors such as laptops. This type of webcam can also be used on desktops with slim monitors, and it is ideally suited for users who have limited space. Freestanding webcams require more space, but they are easier to adjust. What kind you want will most likely depend on whether you are a Youtuber, Twitch-streamer, or businessman. Whereas the clip-on cam is more than enough for any business needs, the Youtuber and streamers will likely want one of higher quality that can offer better quality video recording to their viewers.
Although the lens is less noticeable than other features, it is an essential feature of a webcam.
The lens of the webcam captures the light on the subject, which is then transformed by the sensors into an image. The quality of images is connected to lens quality, and a high-quality lens will capture more light, thereby producing images with higher quality. This means that a good quality lens will create a better-broadcasted image. Without a proper lens, it won’t matter much which resolution or pixel quality you are sporting.
6. Low Light Quality
Users need to consider the low light quality of webcams if they intend to use them during low light conditions. Without this feature, the webcam will create low-quality images, and no amount of tampering will generate an image with better quality. Webcams are now designed with a bright light feature that enables users to create pictures in low light conditions without compromising quality.
7. Connection Type
It is also vital for you to consider how the webcam connects to your computer. Some webcams make use of wireless connections while others are connected to computers via a USB cable. USB webcams are more common as they are easy to attach and convenient to use. Wireless webcams are positioned further away from the computer and are ideally suited for home monitoring, and not normal video uses. The wireless option is also much less ‘value-for-money’ efficient and is usually not recommended unless you need it to be wireless.
Some webcams are designed with autofocus. This feature works by automatically focusing on a moving object during filming. Though invaluable, this feature can further complicate things because it takes some time for the camera to focus. Fortunately, some webcams allow users to turn off the autofocus option.
The durability of a webcam is another aspect worth considering. If you do not plan on carrying the webcam around often, then a plastic webcam is a safe option. However, a metal webcam with a rugged construction is less likely to get damaged during trips.
10. Frame Rate
The frame rate is the rate at which the webcam can capture images. Images captured and broadcast in quick succession appear as animated videos. To create smooth and lifelike videos, it is essential to start with webcams with 30 frames per second and work your way higher.
Webcams are fantastic communication devices that allow people who are separated by distance to have enhanced interactions as well as being a crucial part of modern streaming and video creation. Every quality webcam must have most of the features mentioned above to create high-quality images for a user’s satisfaction.
Other webcams we tested
On our journey to find the best webcams, we tested a LOT of cams. This is a list of those worth mentioning, but that didn’t quite cut it.
Microsoft proves that budget webcams can be really good, with this budget webcam. While not on the same level as the cams mentioned above, this is as good as it gets if you are looking for a cheaper solution.
This Microsoft Lifecam was the only one of those which we tested, that offered any real competition to the Logitech C920 in terms of value for money. Although not quite as powerful as the C920, this is an excellent webcam for those looking for an all-purpose cam.
While a popular budget option, and offers a great deal of value for money. The few dollars saved do not make up for the lack of performance compared to the Microsoft HD-3000 or the Logitech C310.
We did like the Microsoft budget option slightly more, but they are basically the same webcam, but the C310 is just a little more expensive, which is why we chose the HD-3000
This is our runner-up to the runner-up. Making it our third favorite webcam on the market in this price range. There is no denying the fact that Logitech knows their way around making webcams, and we struggled to find a single bad one. What stands out about this one is its versatile capabilities. It can be optimized and changed in a hundred different ways, which can make it perfect for most situations, once you learn to operate its software.
Just a lite version of the C615. It is a great webcam for the price, but not quite among the best ones on the market.
Another high-end option from Logitech. Like any of the other Logitech webcams we tried, it is not a bad deal, which is a general rule when it comes to webcams. If you buy Logitech, you get exactly what you pay for, or more. So it is hard to go wrong with them. But we don’t feel the extra power is worth the additional amount of money compared to the C922x or C920.
Cimkiz USB 2.0
This is the budget version for those whose budget is on a budget. Its price is almost non-existent. But the performance was very fitting for the price, and we can only recommend this cam if you have the absolute minimum of webcam needs.
Ausdom 1080p Cam
This is a great pick for those specifically looking for a 1080p video and look to save a few bucks. It is by far the cheapest 1080p PC camera on the market but is not so good at anything else; hence, why it did not make it onto the list.
Microsoft Studio Lifecam
The 1080p version of our pick. It’s in the same price class as the C920 from Logitech, but nowhere near as perfect. The 1080p mode is also lacking, which will often force you to go down to 720p, making the upgrade obsolete.
eBay – How much resolution is enough? A comprehensive guide to webcam resolution.
Truelook – Understanding PTZ webcam resolutions and pixels – An expert piece about webcam pixels and resolution.
Lifewire – 7 most important webcam features – an in-depth guide to the most important webcam features.
TechRadar – Best webcams – TechRadar’s guide to the best webcams today.
Logitech – Logitech webcam support – Logitech’s webcam security and usage guide.