Up until the pandemic, webcams were becoming almost an afterthought. There’d been no significant development in the niche for years, with Logitech dominating the rest. The shift towards working and studying from home has transformed the webcam landscape, introducing new models with untold possibilities. You can even use the best webcam for streaming at a level of quality that comes close to professional equipment.
A webcam might not be a replacement for a full-frame DSLR. Still, it’s an inexpensive investment capable of putting out more than adequate video for streaming purposes. Some webcams can stream in 4K, while others come with comprehensive software that lets you shape what the viewer sees down to minor details. We’ve selected the ten finest to get your streaming journey off to a head start.
The Best Webcam for Streaming – Our Top Picks
- Elgato Facecam – The dedicated streaming webcam
- Razer Kiyo Pro – Facecam’s fiercest rival
- Dell UltraSharp 4K Webcam – The sharpest webcam around
- Obsbot Tiny 4K – Keeping an eye on you
- Logitech Brio – The original 4K webcam
- Logitech StreamCam – A solid all-around choice
- Logitech Mevo Start – Change your perspective
- Poly Studio P5 – An inexpensive camera that covers all bases
- AVerMedia PW 513 – Another 4K candidate
- Logitech C922 Pro – The best cheap streaming webcam
Max resolution: 1080p 60fps | Field of view: 83° | Built-in microphone: No | Autofocus: No | HDR: No
Elgato is the leading name in game capture & streaming equipment, so it makes sense that the company also came up with the best streaming webcam. The Facecam is ideal for streamers tired of ordinary webcams but don’t have the money or inclination to invest in a good DSLR or mirrorless. It’s hyper-focused on providing highly adjustable video, leaving sound and lighting to other components in your setup.
Even the Facecam’s appearance is unusual as it resembles an action cam. The mount that attaches to it can stand on a monitor or your desktop, or you can use the thread on the camera’s bottom to attach a tripod. It uses a USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter, so make sure to use one of your motherboard’s more modern plugs.
Made Especially for Streamers
The Facecam has a relatively narrow 83° lens made from low dispersion glass to counteract chromatic aberration. It’s also coated to minimize flares. Conversely, the camera lacks autofocus and a microphone. That makes it a poor fit if you just need something for Zoom calls. However, streamers will rejoice since they can use their XLR mics and not worry about going out of focus every few seconds.
The video quality is decent if understandably less sharp than on 4K cameras filming in 1080p. This is offset by the breadth and depth of features offered through the Elgato Camera Hub. There you can change so many settings that it feels like you’re using an actual DSLR. These include exposure, ISO, color balance, and noise reduction. The picture is slightly overexposed by default but easily correctable here.
Best of all, the time spent finding your ideal settings isn’t wasted since you can save them directly to the Facecam. That means it’s possible to hook it up to a computer for the first time and look your best instantly.
Razer Kiyo Pro
Max resolution: 1080p 60fps | Field of view: 80° – 103° | Built-in microphone: Yes | Autofocus: Yes | HDR: Yes
Hot on the Facecam’s heels is the the Pro version of Razer’s Kiyo. It’s even more advanced than the original, offering outstanding visual fidelity and excellent low-light performance. It’s among our costlier picks, but you can frequently find the camera on sale. Add comprehensive tweaking options through Synapse, and you’ve got a worthy alternative to our best webcam.
The Kiyo Pro is a large, cylindrical webcam with a rotating ring in the front that, unfortunately, does nothing. Razer put a lot of effort into designing its mount. The mount lets the camera move four ways while tightly gripping and adjusting to your display. It’s possible to mount the Kiyo to a tripod with or without it.
Readers familiar with the original will note that the Pro lacks a ring light. Larger and more powerful ones are easy to find at reasonable prices, and having more room to work with let Razer’s engineers focus on improving core features. Chief among them is video quality, which is excellent for a 1080p webcam.
Lookin’ Good in Any Light
Improvements are particularly noticeable in low-light situations, where the Kiyo Pro maintains a good balance. Conversely, its HDR mode introduces more contrast and brings parts of the image that would be overblown in SDR mode back in line. The tradeoff is that HDR reduces the max framerate from 60 to 30fps. Unless you’re the expressive type, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Razer Synapse isn’t as sophisticated as Elgato Camera Hub, but it does the job. Several presets already make the video look good. You can dial these in further by playing with the brightness, contrast, saturation, or white balance. The software also allows you to change the field of view and zoom in digitally.
There’s nothing to complain about the Kiyo Pro, but Synapse could use some work. Owners of Razer’s keyboards or mice already know that the software is a resource hog. Certain features also require registering an account, which some users may be reluctant to do.
Dell UltraSharp 4K Webcam
Max resolution: 4K 30fps | Field of view: 65°, 78°, 90° | Built-in microphone: No | Autofocus: Yes | HDR: Yes
Do you want your audience to see every tiny detail on your face in near-perfect clarity? Ordinary 1080p cameras won’t cut it. You’ll need to up the resolution to 4K, and Dell’s Ultrasharp webcam is the device for the job. Even if your likeness is mainly relegated to the corner when playing games, the added sharpness this camera brings to 1080p is worth the comparatively high asking price.
Dell absolutely nailed the design, making the Ultrasharp one of the finest-looking webcams on the market. It is a long cylinder made from anodized metal that makes excellent use of magnets. One is there to attach the privacy cover either over the lens or in the back for safekeeping. The other keeps the mount in place and lets the camera tilt up and down slightly. As suspected, the resulting contraption is heavy, so you might want to get a tripod instead of mounting it on a flimsy laptop lid.
An advanced Sony Starvis sensor is at the heart of the UltraSharp’s success. It maxes out at 8.2 MP and is considerably larger than most webcam sensors at 1/2.8″. Along with a back-illuminated design, this ensures more light hits the sensor and provides greater adaptability in low-light conditions.
This is the best 4K webcam, hands down. On the one hand, the amount of detail it can capture is exceptional. On the other, it is quick to focus and can competently adjust to the environment. Expect usable footage even in torturous situations where you’re sitting directly in front of a window or rely on a screen as your only light source.
The Peripheral Manage software provides a comparable experience to Synapse in terms of functionality. Apart from several presets and finer adjustments, you can set the camera up to work with Windows Hello or have it lock the computer when you step away from it. Streamers will want to keep that setting disabled, but it’s a valuable addition for anyone using the computer the camera is attached to for work.
This is the second webcam we’ve come across that lacks a microphone. It makes sense – if you’re willing to spend close to $200 on a pro webcam, you’re also likely to invest in good audio, even if it’s just a quality gaming headset.
Max resolution: 4K 30fps | Field of view: 65°, 78°, 90° | Built-in microphone: Yes | Autofocus: Yes | HDR: Yes
The Brio is a true trailblazer as it introduced 4K to the webcam world when it was barely a thing elsewhere. Even though it’s five years old, it could very well be the best webcam for streaming if you crave 4K at a reasonable price. The picture quality is still top-notch, and the user experience only keeps improving as Logitech Capture matures.
Despite its 4K capabilities, the Brio is one of the more conventional-looking cameras on the list. It’s oblong, small, and superbly portable. You get a handy drawstring bag and a 7-foot USB-C to USB-A cable among its accessories. An adjustable stand also allows for some tilt while hugging monitors and laptop screens with equal vigor.
How much use you’ll get out of 4K as a streamer is debatable, but such a high ceiling helps 1080p shine too. The Brio can put out clear 1080p video at 90 fps, giving those lucky 144Hz display owners something to appreciate. Footage captured with the Brio looks vibrant, and the inclusion of HDR goes a long way when you need to balance harsh shadows with bright light sources.
Still a Contender
While not as good as a dedicated streaming mic, the Brio’s two omnidirectional microphones can tide you over until you’re ready to invest in better audio gear. They’re certainly an upgrade from whatever built-in mic your laptop comes with.
Using the Brio is a plug & play affair since macOS and Windows recognize it instantly. You can go straight into your streaming software of choice or set things up in Logitech Capture beforehand. The Brio has three fields of view, which you’ll want to test for a time before streaming. 90° is ideal if you want a wide shot of your surroundings, while 65° is a narrow option that puts your visage in the forefront.
The Brio has gone down in price significantly since release, so we can’t ding it for that anymore. This leaves only minor nitpicks like the unstable privacy shutter. It’s flimsy and wraps awkwardly around the camera. You’re better off covering the lens with a piece of paper when not in use or looking at the indicator light to gauge when the Brio is active.
Obsbot Tiny 4K
Max resolution: 4K 30fps | Field of view: 86° | Built-in microphone: Yes | Autofocus: Yes | HDR: Yes
All the webcams we’ve looked at so far work best when you sit still. But what if your style or type of content requires lots of moving around or centering on objects other than your head? Obsbot has an innovative solution in the Tiny 4K. It’s a compact webcam that uses AI and hand gestures for more intelligent control and seamless tracking no matter how active you are.
Unconventionally-shaped webcams seem to be a trend. The Tiny 4k reminds us of motion-tracking security or nanny cams with its gimbal arm and sturdy base. It works flawlessly from any flat surface, and the bottom has a standard tripod screw head. A display mounting clip is also part of the package. The Tiny 4K’s freedom of movement is exemplary for a webcam. It’s able to pan 150 and tilt 90 degrees, so its main interest is impossible to lose.
Keeping You in the Spotlight
While it’s possible to control it through more mundane means, you’ll get the most authentic Tiny 4K experience by using hand gestures. Raising your hand, waiving, or forming an L-shape causes it to change focus and zoom level. Sometimes it won’t recognize a motion, but the controls are reliable overall.
No webcam equals the UltraSharp’s clarity, but the Tiny 4K is in the same league. However, we’d argue that the high resolution is even more important here. The autofocus has two modes. One exclusively tracks faces, while the other focuses on the most prominent object in the scene. Coupled with 4x digital zoom, this is useful if you’re showcasing a small product like an SSD and want the camera to snap to it quickly.
Default exposure and contrast settings are adequate. You can enhance them further by engaging HDR or put your own spin on them inside the TinyCam software. That’s also where you toggle the autofocus type and set the maximum zoom. Even though the camera can record in 4K, you might want to use 1080p for 60fps and a smoother experience when moving.
Price is the only thing about the Tiny 4K users might find off-putting. It costs around $270 when not on sale, which is a hard pill to swallow with the existence of the UltraSharp and Brio.
Max resolution: 1080p 60fps | Field of view: 78° | Built-in microphone: Yes | Autofocus: Yes | HDR: No
Logitech has been in the webcam game since forever, so the StreamCam is one of several webcams we’ll be recommending. Despite the name, it’s not the best webcam for streaming since the competition has since moved on. Even so, this model has several intriguing features and is moderately priced, so it might be just what you need to jumpstart your streaming career.
The StreamCam is among our more elegant recommendations, sporting a felt front and an adjustable monitor mount. Owners of white setups will appreciate its availability in that color. The Logi logo is printed sideways, prompting you to turn the camera 90 degrees. Doing so lets you record vertical videos and post them to Instagram, but you can’t stream in this mode.
Built-in stereo microphones offer good audio quality if you don’t have a dedicated mic yet. The autofocus sometimes takes a few seconds to hunt but provides a crisp image once it zeroes in on your face.
Logitech’s Streaming Camera Take
The video quality is fine, albeit susceptible to changes in lighting due to the small sensor. You’ll either want your face to be lit up or relegate it to a corner where the detail lost in darkness won’t matter. The StreamCam works with G Hub, which provides basic control settings. You’re better off getting Logitech Capture to unlock its full potential.
Capture lets you tinker with focus and white balance or change the framerate to prevent strobing. There’s also a green screen feature present since the C920 days that renders everything other than your outline invisible. You can play with borders & effects or even engage a feature that slightly crops the image and then tracks your head movements.
Many of our picks come with USB-C to USB-A adapters. The StreamCam has an integrated cable, so you’re stuck with USB-C. Not that this is bad per se, but it does mean you’ll have to either spring for an adapter or take up one of your PC’s or laptop’s scarce USB-C ports.
Logitech Mevo Start
Max resolution: 1080p 30fps | Field of view: 84° | Built-in microphone: Yes | Autofocus: No | HDR: Yes
Other webcams we’ve discussed cater mainly to smaller or sedentary creators who plug their webcam in, find an angle that works, and go with that. What if you’re a streamer who goes out of the studio to events or needs multiple angles for their cooking or PC building show? You’re in luck, because Logitech has come up with a multi-camera setup that can save you a lot of hassle and even more money.
The idea behind the Mevo Start is ingenious – it’s a wireless camera that connects to your phone and can stream from anywhere, provided the connection is good enough. It’s larger and tougher than conventional webcams, with ports for MicroSD cards and external mics. The on/off button is the only physical control, while LEDs indicate the recording and battery status. The Mevo Start can record for six hours per charge.
The accompanying apps are essential to the Mevo experience. There’s the regular Logitech Mevo app that controls a single camera. It broadcasts a feed of the Mevo Start to the screen, allowing you to change how everything looks. Several buttons let you instantly stream to the most popular platforms.
A Streaming Studio in Your Pocket
You’ll want to invest in a Mevo Start 3-pack to truly take advantage of the system. Using all three requires you to install Logitech Mevo Multicam. This app turns you or a friend into a camera operator, seamlessly transitioning from one of the three sources to the next with a tap. That’s incredibly useful when you need one camera to face a presenter and others to focus on what’s in front of them from different angles.
As for quality, the Mevo Start is limited to 1080p at 30fps. It compensates by delivering above-average picture clarity and better sound than on most conventional webcams.
A high asking price is responsible for the Mevo Start’s low ranking. A single camera will set you back around $400, with three of them going for close to $1,000. Granted, this product is intended for a niche within a niche and is considerably cheaper than investing in several DSLR or mirrorless cameras. Still, you’re better off with one of our other picks unless you’re going for the multicam version.
Poly Studio P5
Max resolution: 1080p 60fps | Field of view: 80° | Built-in microphone: No | Autofocus: No | HDR: No
Next is the P5 from Poly Studio, a dark horse in the best camera for streaming running. It might be capped at 1080p, but the excellent vibrancy it can put out make the P5 a compelling choice. Better yet, it’s reasonably priced and comes with a directional microphone that minimizes outside noise if you aren’t using a dedicated mic or headset.
We’re fans of the P5’s tapering body and gray-on-white texture. It has one of the cleverest privacy shutters since you just need to twist the ring in front for red plastic to start obscuring the lens. The clamp is flexible but firm, and you get a 3-foot cable that doesn’t add much clutter. Mounting on a tripod is an option, but you must first snap the clamp off.
A Well-Rounded 1080p Webcam
The P5 has one of the best-looking out-of-the-box picture settings on the list. It’s not UltraSharp or Kiyo material, but it comes close. We were especially impressed with how true the colors look, whether you’re in natural or artificial light. The camera more or less nails white balance as well. It could be snappier to react to differences in lighting. Still, that’s a problem streamers with thought-out lighting setups won’t encounter.
That being said, the picture quality itself could be better. Footage recorded with the P5 is on the soft side, with noticeable detail loss in the edges of the frame.
Rather than picking up everything in the surroundings, the P5’s directional mic focuses on your voice. That means no more keyboard clacking or mouse clicks spoiling the mood. Audio quality doesn’t hold a candle to larger cardioid mics, but it does give you a taste of their benefits.
You get to adjust a handful of settings with the Poly Lens software. It’s simpler than most but lets you save and recall several presets. That’s handy if you want to quickly switch from settings suitable for a business meeting to an optimal preset for when you’re streaming surrounded by colorful LEDs. The standard array of adjustments is present, and you can toggle the autofocus and gain as well.
AVerMedia PW 513
Max resolution: 4K 30fps | Field of view: 94° | Built-in microphone: Yes | Autofocus: No | HDR: No
Our final 4K webcam recommendation comes from AverMedia. The PW 513 is a simple camera designed to get you up & streaming in minutes. It’s not the best webcam for streaming at default settings since the 1080p 60fps option is soft. However, users willing to tinker with both it and their lighting setups will find the picture quality more than acceptable.
The PW 513 is a wide webcam with the lens in the middle flanked by two average stereo microphones. Unlike the Brio, it has a clever privacy shutter you flip down by rotating one of the sides. It has an integrated mount that extends to encompass displays of varying thicknesses. Alternatively, you can use the thread at the bottom with tripods.
Whether you stream natively in 4K or not, you’ll still want to use it on this camera. The video quality changes noticeably as you switch resolutions, becoming soft and obscuring details at 1080p 60fps. The best way of dealing with this is to record in 4K but downsample to a lower resolution through OBS. That means you’re stuck with 30fps, but you’re getting the most out of the PW 513.
A Hands-On Experience
The video quality isn’t bad, but you’ll have to jump through a few hoops. We’ve already mentioned downsampling, and you’ll also want to ensure you’re filming in a well-lit environment. The more light is at its disposal, the less grain the PW 513 has to introduce to compensate.
CamEngine is the PW 513’s companion program and a simple means of tailoring several settings to your liking. You can set the exposure, adjust hue & saturation, or add filters & effects to make your stream look unique. The software saves changes you make and applies them at startup, so there’s no need to keep remembering slider positions.
Logitech C922 Pro
Max resolution: 1080p 30fps | Field of view: 76° | Built-in microphone: Yes | Autofocus: Yes | HDR: No
- Considerable improvement over built-in webcams
- Above-average audio quality
- Excellent price
- No privacy shutter or 60fps in 1080p mode
Many would have considered the C922 Pro the best webcam overall upon release, and it’s still good enough to make the cut five years later. Newer models have since surpassed its technical limits, but streamers who want a cheap yet significant upgrade to their existing webcam will find the competition lacking.
The C922 Pro shares much of its DNA with the more expensive Brio. It’s oriented horizontally, with perforated speakers on the sides. Two white LED bands between them and the lens aren’t enough to help with lighting, but they’re clear indicators of the camera’s activity. You get the standard flip-out mount and even a useful little tripod. A privacy shutter is not included, however.
An Affordable Yet Feature-Rich Gateway to Streaming
A max output of 30fps at 1080p is indicative of the C922 Pro’s age. But, don’t confuse lack of frames per second with poor video quality. Compared to webcams you’ll still find even in the most expensive laptops, Logitech’s affordable model is miles ahead. Better resolution is a given, yet the C922 also impresses with its exposure adaptability and smooth handling of motion.
Additionally, the C922 Pro has one of the best built-in microphones. It’s a stereo model that captures all surrounding audio, so you’ll want a quiet streaming environment for best results. Still, voices sound more natural and lack the pronounced plosives and tinny sound you’d associate with built-in laptop mics.
We’ve already mentioned the benefits of using Logitech Capture. It works the same for this as for other cameras on the list, except you don’t get access to specific features like FOV selection. The C922 Pro is fixed at 76°. It achieves a good balance between keeping your face at the forefront and giving the audience a glimpse of your studio.