If you want to look your best in video calls, your laptop's little camera won't cut it. Here's what you need to look for when shopping for the right add-on webcam, along with our product recommendations.
Resolution: 1080pFeatures: Background removal, Low-light correction, 720p/60fps video while streaming, Stereo audio, autofocus, auto light correction
REASONS TO BUY
+Great low-light capabilities
+Full 1080p HD
+Supports 720p/60fps streaming
REASONS TO AVOID
-Fixed camera, no swivel
There’s a reason you’ve probably seen the Logitech C920 in just about any conference room -- this is the best webcam you can buy overall. The C920 records sharp videos at 1080p and 30 frames per second, and has a wide 78-degree field of view that’s ideal for both solo conference calls and large meeting rooms. It has a sleek black design, and its companion software offers customizable backgrounds and avatars.
With crisp 1080p HD resolution and fantastic lighting and color detection at an affordable price, this fan-favorite webcam hits a spot in the market that struggles to see any substantial competition and is still one of the best performing webcams on the market today.
Some other nice features at this price include its strong articulating stand, which can sit atop your monitor or just as easily screw into a tripod. It’s just a great value for the price.
Resolution: 720p Framerate: 30 fps (720p) Field of view: 60 degrees
REASONS TO BUY
+Auto light correction
REASONS TO AVOID
-No pan, tilt, and zoom
-Can’t adjust field of view
If you’re really in a pinch, and your main requirements in a webcam are simply that it’s reliable, very affordable, and it has a microphone, you might want to check out the Logitech C270 HD.
It’s by no means a stunner when it comes to video quality — it’s only capable of 720p resolution at 30 frames per second — so you’ll get a fairly fuzzy image no matter what your lighting situation is. You’ll get the best picture if you have it connected in a well-lit environment.
While it doesn’t have an autofocus feature, it does have auto-light correction, so your image will look right. The camera lens is plastic instead of glass, and the mic is mono instead of dual, but this should be sufficient for virtual classrooms and chatting with family and friends.
The webcam also has a universal mounting clip to put the camera on the laptop or stand on a table or shelf, but it lacks a privacy shutter.
Most people should spend ₹3500 / $60 on our top pick, but if you just want something that gets the job done without making a large investment, the C270 HD will do just that.
The best webcam for streamers
Works with: Windows 10 and macOS
Resolution: 1080p, 60fpsFeatures: Variable FOD, fixed focus, Sony sensor
The Streamcam is a tough webcam to beat, yet Elgato’s Facecam comes close. It has a great balance of performance and features — offering slightly better-looking video quality than Logitech’s webcam — but its lack of a microphone combined with its higher, ₹14,999 / $199 price tag makes it tough to recommend to most people.
The Facecam has similar specs to the Streamcam. It can record at 1080p with up to 60 frames per second, and you can customize how you look in its companion software. After some tweaking to the many settings in Elgato’s Camera Hub app, I preferred how the Facecam made me look with my lighting setup (though its default settings out of the box weren’t great).
The choice to not include a microphone or autofocus capabilities will make it seem like a half-baked product for anyone just looking for a webcam, but the inclusion of those features often proves to be more trouble than they're worth for folk broadcasting on sites like Twitch or YouTube.
As a result, the Facecam is beautifully optimized for the streaming community, with some of the best software we've ever seen on a webcam to boot.
Whether you’re willing to forgive the Facecam for its lack of a mic, or if it wasn’t a problem for you in the first place, I’d still recommend waiting until this one drops a bit in price.
Razer Kiyo Pro
Razer's high-end webcam
Works with: Windows 10
Resolution: 1080pFeatures: Variable FOD, smart exposure and focus, detachable cable
The differentiating feature of the lens-shaped $199 Kiyo Pro, compared to other higher-end webcams, is its super-wide 103-degree field of view. It allows you to see more of your work or play space, as well as more of you. It can also be set to 80 degrees or 90 degrees, if you want to tweak the look.
You can choose between three different fields of view for different scenes in your Livestream, and select either a smooth 1080p 60FPS option for gameplay or a high-res 'HDR' mode for improved video quality during Zoom sessions.
You'll also want a beefy computer if you're planning to stream to Twitch or Discord: A full-resolution stream while playing a game caused the Kiyo Pro's video to stutter on our older laptop.