- External webcams offer higher resolution and better video, image, and audio quality than built-in webcams.
- The Logitech C920s Pro is a budget-friendly webcam with a glass lens, removable privacy shutter, and real-time movement tracking.
- The Logitech StreamCam is designed for streaming and features AI-powered facial tracking, auto-framing, and convenient mounting options.
- The Insta360 Link is a 4K webcam with automatic eye and movement tracking, overhead and whiteboard viewing modes, and excellent video quality.
- The Anker PowerConf C300 is ideal for video conferencing with its ultra-wide field of view, auto low-light correction, and AI noise suppression.
- The Razer Kiyo Pro is a great webcam for online gaming with its adjustable FOV, good low-light performance, and HDR-enabled image quality.
Most laptops, smartphones, tablets, and some monitors come with a built-in webcam. While these standard internal webcams are convenient, they are relatively low-quality and don’t offer much flexibility. However, external webcams have higher-quality components and offer higher resolution and better video, image, and audio quality than their built-in counterparts. Furthermore, you can move them around and try different angles without worrying about the quality of your footage.
Finding the best standalone webcam can be the difference between looking your worst or best in your video calls. If you’ve been struggling to make a better onscreen impression using your laptop, phone, or tablet’s low-resolution webcam, consider upgrading to a high-quality standalone model.
We’ve been checking reviews of hundreds of webcams on the market today in search of the best, and here are our top picks:
History-Computer’s Top Picks for Best Webcams on Earth Today:
- $75.99Buy Now
- 1080p@60fps HDR
- AI-framing and autofocus
- Dual noise-cancelling mics
- Adjustable FoV
- Low-light correction
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#1 Best Overall Webcam: Logitech C920s Pro
Logitech’s C920s Pro is our #1 Best Overall webcam, as it offers an excellent balance between performance, features, and price. It is an ideal option for someone who needs a budget-friendly, no-frills webcam but one that still delivers good quality for video conferencing as well as for basic live streaming and gaming.
The C920s Pro is a lightweight webcam with a glass lens. It has a high resolution of 1080p and a high frame rate of 30fps, meaning it will deliver clear and detailed videos. It also performs remarkably at 720p/30fps. Among all Logitech models, it is one of the few with a removable privacy shutter and two omnidirectional microphones.
Open the Logitech C920S Pro box, and you will find a 4.9-foot USB-A cable and a universal mounting clip. It does not, however, come with a tripod stand. This webcam features Logitech’s Right Light 2 technology for automatic light correction. It is also one of the very few budget webcams with real-time movement tracking. Its autofocus feature is also impressive for a webcam within its price range.
In terms of compatibility, the Logitech C920s Pro can be used with Windows 8 or later, ChromeOS, and macOS 10.10 or later.
|It offers full HD resolution of 1080P.||The field of view is not adjustable.|
|The camera is budget-friendly.|
|There is a privacy shutter.|
|It has autofocus and light correction features.|
Best Webcam for Streaming: Logitech StreamCam
- Full HD 1080p@60fps
- Can shoot vertical video
- Smart autofocus system
- Adjusts aperture and ISO speed in real-time
- Compatible with Windows 10 and MacOS 10.14 and above
The Logitech StreamCam is the best webcam for live streaming. Even the name states the purpose for which it was designed. It is suitable for artists and content creators who put a premium on high-quality videos and audio.
Like its C920s Pro sibling, the StreamCam is lightweight, weighing only 5.28 ounces. It comes with a monitor mount and a tripod mount. This 1080p, 60fps camera delivers lifelike videos with vibrant color rendition. It also supports 720p and 360p resolutions, plus the fps rating can go as low as 24.
Its AI-powered facial tracking and auto-framing features ensure the video quality remains constant when live streaming. It also has a 78-degree FOV that keeps the shoulders and head within the frame. One of the amazing features of this webcam is the ability to switch from landscape to portrait and vice versa by just rotating it.
The low-light feature is a plus for those who livestream in the evening. Also, it has dual omnidirectional mics that eliminate background noise, capturing your voice clearly from all angles.
The StreamCam works with Windows 10 and MacOS 10.14 and above. Even though it is a plug-and-play webcam, you can expand its functionality using Logitech Capture software. Its free 3-month premium XSplit license is a plus for those interested in high-end recording and streaming software.
|This camera has excellent color balancing.||It does not have a privacy shutter.|
|It has high-speed frame rates.||The camera lacks HDR support.|
|There are convenient mounting options.|
|The StreamCam delivers good low-light performance.|
|It’s easy to toggle between portrait and landscape modes.|
Best 4K Webcam: Insta360 Link
The Insta360 Link is the best 4K webcam on the market today. It has four times more resolution than 1080p webcams. Therefore, it promises more detailed video quality. It is a win for anyone looking for outstanding color contrast, low-light balance, and high-end tech features.
The webcam’s motorized swivel head keeps the lens pointed at you, thanks to the gimbal mount that allows it to rotate to almost 360 degrees horizontally and about 180 degrees vertically. Designed to track faces and keep them within the frame, the Insta360 zooms in and out to maintain desired visibility in case you move too far or too close.
Another unique feature of this Link webcam is its viewing modes: overhead and whiteboard. The former is useful when demonstrating something that requires an overhead camera, such as drawing, playing a piano, or solving an equation. In Whiteboard mode, the lens focuses on rectangular surfaces and is good when streaming presentations.
This 4K webcam also has HDR, a low-light adjustment feature, dual noise cancellation omnidirectional mics, and can be controlled using the Link Controller app. At the top end, it supports 30fps, 25fps, and 24fps. However, it allows you to downscale the output resolution to 1080p@50fps or 60fps.
The Link comes at a price tag twice that of the StreamCam, discussed above. Well, one would expect such a high-end webcam to feature a privacy shutter, but instead, it deters hackers by turning its head downwards away from the user after 10 seconds on standby.
|There is automatic eye and movement tracking.||It is expensive.|
|The camera allows gesture control.|
|The Insta360 Link delivers excellent video quality.|
|It has a larger sensor delivering more details under low-light conditions.|
Best Webcam for Video Conferencing: Anker PowerConf C300
- 1080p@60fps HDR
- AI-framing and autofocus
- Dual noise-cancelling mics
- Adjustable FoV
- Low-light correction
The Anker PowerConf C300 is the best webcam for video conferencing, especially one that involves more than one person sharing a camera. This is primarily due to its 115-degree field of view, which makes it wide enough to accommodate multiple faces within one frame.
This AI-powered, Zoom-certified webcam weighs 4.2 ounces and records in full HD 1080p resolution at 60fps. It comes with four meeting modes: customizable mode, meeting mode, personal mode, and streaming mode. With the AnkerWork app, you can tailor the camera to your needs. The auto-framing function ensures the participants are correctly positioned in the frame.
The Anker PowerConf C300’s auto low-light correction will ensure exceptional video clarity, whether in heavily backlit or extreme low-light conditions. It comes with dual noise-canceling microphones that remove background and surrounding noise.
The C300 is one of the cameras best for face tracking, with HDR mode and an anti-flicker option. It works best with both Windows and MacOS and is compatible with all video conferencing software such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Twitch, and YouTube. The device has an in-built privacy cover that blinds the lens when not in use.
|The camera has an ultra-wide field of view.||It may be a bit wide for a single user.|
|It provides vivid color and image clarity.|
|There is AI noise suppression.|
|The support software is easy to use.|
Best Webcam for Online Gaming: Razer Kiyo Pro
The Razer Kiyo Pro is the best webcam for gamers who livestream to fans or have video sessions with their gaming group. It offers the same features as Logitech’s StreamCam, such as 1080p at 60fps, autofocus, low-light correction, and privacy cover.
It is a plug-and-play webcam with an adjustable FOV of 80, 90, and 103 degrees that will easily connect with both PC and Mac. Although it is best suited for PC users, this is because it will require a driver to work properly on a Mac. It is also only compatible with USB 3.0 ports.
The Kiyo Pro also excels in low-light environments, which is where most gamers spend their time. However, you will need Synapse software to get the most out of this webcam.
It is worth noting that the Kiyo Pro works perfectly well with a wide range of platforms, including Twitch, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, XSplit, YouTube, OBS, and Skype, even though it is slightly dated. So, if you need the latest Kiyo webcam to add to your Razer gaming rig, consider the more pricey 4K resolution Kiyo Pro Ultra.
|It has a long-lasting Gorilla Glass lens.||The Razer is quite expensive for a webcam that can’t do 4K.|
|The camera has good low-light performance.||It requires Razer Synapse to adjust FOV.|
|It is HDR-enabled.|
|The camera offers great image quality.|
How to Pick the Best Webcam: Step by Step
What makes a good webcam, and what should you consider before buying one? Remember, webcams are not designed the same. One small feature can make all the difference in your streaming or video conferencing experience. Therefore, if you are in the market for a webcam, here are basic features to look for:
- Intended use
- Frame rate
- Low-light correction capabilities
- Field of view
- In-built microphone
- Compatibility and software
Do you need a camera for video conferencing, live streaming, or to share your presentations? Webcams with single microphones might be great for streaming if you have a standalone microphone, but they are less reliable for video conferencing.
Additionally, you might not need a camera with face and movement tracking features when taking part in business meetings where you need to sit still. However, this feature is a must-have when streaming while in motion.
Your budget becomes the next key consideration once you decide what to use the webcam for. The price of webcams ranges between $50 to over $300.
Models at the bottom of the price ladder might be too basic to do all the things you need them to, and there is always a cheaper webcam that claims to have the same features as the top-priced models. A $100 budget should get you a webcam with the necessary features. Now, let’s look into the features you should prioritize.
This refers to the number of frames the webcam captures in a second. With a higher frame rate comes smoother video. Most webcams offer 30fps, some extend to 60fps, and very few reach 120fps.
It is important to know that high frame rates are often possible at lower resolutions. Most webcams that promise 60fps can only deliver that at 720p and drop to 30fps at full HD 1080p.
Resolution is a measure of pixels per inch in an image or video. The higher the number of pixels, the better the image clarity. While you can find standalone webcams with a resolution as low as 480p, 720p or higher will produce better video quality. We recommend 1080p, and if your budget allows, 4K, which is ideal for routine video meetings.
Autofocus is a feature that ensures the lens remains focused on the primary object, even when the background changes. Cameras with this feature also have auto-framing, which keeps the subject within the frame.
It is a must-have feature for streamers, especially those who have to move around when presenting or streaming. It is also important for those who use their webcam in areas with a busy background. Autofocus is also handy when working in a place with multiple light sources.
Low-light correction is a feature that allows webcams to adjust the brightness of images and videos when taken in dark places. The feature comes in handy when using the webcam early in the morning or late in the evening.
Field of View
Field of view (FOV) is measured in degrees, and it is an important feature if you’re looking for a video conferencing webcam. It refers to the area that a webcam camera can capture. Most webcams feature a FOV ranging from 60-90 degrees. However, some modern models swivel 360 degrees.
All the same, bigger is not always the best. A webcam with a small FOV is perfect for capturing one person. A 78-degree field of view is ideal for capturing two people, while 90 degrees would be great for capturing a small group of participants. However, if you need a webcam for larger business group meetings, then a wider FOV is better. Additionally, check if a webcam’s FOV is adjustable.
Audio is important when recording videos, and a webcam with a built-in microphone is a cost-effective choice, as it eliminates the need for a separate headset. While most webcams today have at least one built-in microphone, a dual-mic webcam with two mics on both sides and a noise cancellation feature will produce a more natural-sounding, binaural audio.
Compatibility and Software
Ensure the webcam you purchase is compatible with your operating system. While most webcam models are plug-and-play, some only run on Windows 10 and later or MacOS 10.14 and above. Those with support software for additional control also might be limited to specific system requirements. Check these out before making a purchase.
What to Know Before Buying the Best Webcam
It is worth noting that a webcam is as good as its lens, and there are only two types to choose from: glass and plastic lenses. Plastic lenses are found in low-budget models and can’t deliver 4K resolution. If you need high-resolution webcams that do not scratch easily, go for glass lenses. In fact, high-end webcams use glass lenses and tend to produce sharper videos and still images than their plastic lens counterparts.
Using Best Webcams: What It’s Like
External webcams have several benefits over built-in laptop cameras. They have high-quality components providing better videos and images. Their FOVs are often adjustable, and they have light-filtering capabilities.
Unlike laptops, they are not prone to overheating when used for extended periods. Besides, they are easily replaceable and upgradable. Thanks to their drivers and software, these webcams can work with a wider range of conferencing apps and operating systems.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©ipanacea/Shutterstock.com.