Only one of the best webcams will ensure you're communicating, streaming, and carrying out business in the clearest possible way. However, with more options than ever - particularly as we get into a world where 4K displays and cameras are becoming standard (sort of) - it's sometimes hard to know exactly what to pick from the bunch. This guide will help you in that regard.
Naturally, we have a keen eye for and lean toward the best webcam options that have some gaming and streaming pedigree, but you'll also find something here if you just need a simple and budget-friendly solution for working from home.
As an example, the likes of Razer streaming gear may seem like overkill for normal, everyday use, but actually - like a lot of gaming gear - the overall quality is greater. Indeed, these cameras offer incredibly clarity and functionality. As a result, your bang for buck value goes upward dramatically.
At the other end of the scale and from a streaming-first point of view, you'll find some absolute corkers here in our list of the best webcams; we're talking premium webcams that will complement the best ring light, best green screen, best capture card, and best microphone for streaming. With many being able to sit comfortably atop the best gaming monitors with ease, it's never been easier to find a webcam that'll provide a decent launchpad into streaming.
This list will grow and change over time as we test more models, and newer, shinier entrants come into the market, but here's our take on the best webcams you can currently buy.
Best webcam - top 5
This is my personal choice for the best webcam - I use it every day for work, have recorded multiple videos with it, and it never lets me down. It's a stylish, simple-to-use unit, and presents really great quality footage even in low light situations.
The latter quality is mainly due to that immediately-noticeable built-in light ring. Be you an everyday work user, an aspiring streamer, or a fan of the best products for your budget, good lighting is key so having a built-in light source in your webcam is incredibly useful - this thing makes the Kiyo competent for recording in any lighting situations, even pitch black. The light's intensity is easily adjusted by spinning the exterior ring around as well, so there's an excellent element of control depending on where you sit, the environment, and so on.
The camera itself has a 1080p sensor that boasts excellent quality. It will capture pictures with great detail, sharpness, and clarity, and is greatly assisted by an adept autofocus function. Specifically, in terms of output and what you can expect, it can record at 1080p and 30fps or at 720p in 60fps. Combine all that with the companion app (Synapse) which enables some adjustment to levels and color and presentation, and a really fulsome package begins to form.
It just about takes our top spot given its versatility as well as gaming and streaming capabilities. A great shout for best webcam.
Anyone looking for an entry-level best webcam option that won't break the bank should check out the Logitech C270. This dinky little webcam will only set you back around $30 / £30, and takes up very little real estate on a monitor or laptop screen, especially with its handy and adjustable clip on the rear. That price comes with a few limitations though - namely resolution. This is a 720p HD webcam with 30fps max framerate, so not quite the right quality if you're looking to get into game streaming or YouTube video creation.
But, for remote working and online meetings, this is a great option. The image isn't always perfectly sharp and struggles in some lighting situations, but the Logitech camera software is great for making adjustments to the picture quality. You can tweak the exposure, white balance, brightness, and even zoom in or adjust the framing to make the most of your positioning. There's an option to have the focus follow your face too if you're particularly animated. It works with some success, but the fixed option definitely delivers the best results.
The in-built microphone is fantastic too, with noise filtering included making sure you're heard with crystal-clear quality.
This is a fantastic option for video calls, then, and although it won't make you a viral sensation (for the right reasons), its affordability and customisation options even at 720p HD make this a hard option to beat.
At $120 / £110, the AverMedia PW315 webcam has certainly strayed away from the budget space. However, with 1080p streams at 60fps on offer, it's certainly found an excellent price point here. We usually see this kind of video quality on webcams ranging from $140 to $200, and while there are a few slip-ups that keep this cost down, there's plenty of value here for those looking for more professional Zoom call quality or starting out in streaming.
In natural lighting, video quality feels effortlessly clear. With excellent quality and snappy framerates, you're certainly getting a premium experience when it comes to everyday use. However, this camera does struggle a little in lower lighting, and that may pose a problem considering this device does fall into a blurred line between premium and mid-range.
AI features are also baked into the device's Cam Engine software. On paper these allow your camera to track you within the frame and ensure you're always on screen while you move in front of it. You do need some considerable power to achieve a smooth effect with this, though, and in most of our tests it came out a little too slow.
If you're just after a high-quality 1080p contender for best webcam for streaming, teaching, or to smarten up your conference calls, the AverMedia PW315 still offers excellent value in this pricing. Plus, we may see more development on these software features in the future as well.
If you want something that goes above and beyond the call of duty (particularly for streaming), the Razer Kiyo Pro has you covered. It's expensive, but that high price tag nets you equally high quality.
Where most webcams struggle with low-light environments of the kind you'd find in a streaming setup, the Kiyo excels. Its sensors nail the landing in almost any scenario, be it darkened rooms lit only by your monitor or bright offices awash with overexposure. It's noticeably better than the competition in that regard.
Although it doesn't provide 4K footage, it's also a good stepping-stone before moving on to expensive DSLR equivalents. It's much better than standard webcams but is still affordable enough that you won't break the bank.
The Logitech StreamCam is aimed squarely at the amateur streaming market. More specifically, it's focusing on members within that market running high-quality machines that can really push this device to its limits.
With footage captured at up to 1080p resolution at 60fps, you're getting particularly impressive video quality here, all running silky smooth and taking advantage of additional software features like backlight correction, centre framing, and image stabilization. You may need to fiddle with a few of these settings to get everything working just right for you, dropping down the framerate to allow the centre framing to react quickly, for example, but if your PC can withstand the considerable power draw this webcam requires, this is an amazing piece of kit.
That $170 / £140 price point does mean we'd only recommend picking this up if you're thinking about getting serious with your streaming. Most everyday video conferencing software won't take advantage of the power sitting inside this blocky device. It's also worth noting that such speeds are only possible thanks to the USB-C connection, which may be limiting if your current setup doesn't have a spare port.