We are in an age of video calls, and this list of the best webcams is here to help. Whether you use them in a professional sense or with friends and family, we've got something for you below. While nearly every laptop comes with a webcam built-in, they are often only capable of low resolutions. The small microphones included in laptop webcams don't produce the best quality sound, either.
By installing one of the best webcams from our list, however, you can give your video calls and conferences a massive boost both in terms of video and audio quality. Because these webcams are external devices (connected via USB), the manufacturers are able to pack in more advanced tech. That means you can find webcams with 1080p and even 4K resolutions. Many of these webcams also feature microphones that offer noise cancellation, which is ideal in busy environments with lots of ambient noise.
Read on for our pick of the best webcams to level up your video calls and conferences in a huge way (or see our specific best webcams for conferencing for meeting-focused ideas). You can also look at our list of the best ring lights if so you're always presented in the best light. Meanwhile, check out our guide to the best smartphones for making quality video calls on the go.
The Logitech C922 Pro Stream is our pick for the best webcam of 2021. It ticks all the right boxes for the best webcams, including a 1080p camera, low-light correction, and fantastic audio quality. Logitech is a well-respected brand when it comes to webcams, and the Logitech C922 Pro Stream is currently the best one the company has made. It's also very reasonably priced and has an unobtrusive design that allows it to fit into any home, studio, or office without being an eyesore.
The Mevo Start is the best high-end webcam around, especially if you fancy yourself a live streamer. This camera is capable of streaming 1080p video to YouTube and Twitch among other platforms. That's largely in part to its 802.11ac MIMO Wi-Fi and dual antennas. However, work-from-home warriors will also be pleased to know that the Mevo Start works as a webcam for popular video conferencing platforms (although that function is still in beta). Connect the Mevo Start to your smartphone via Bluetooth to control the camera - you'll avoid those unflattering in-your-face angles whilst trying to get your settings just right.
The Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 is our pick for the best cheap webcam of 2021. Keep in mind that this is a very basic webcam with a 720p max resolution. However, it also sports a noise-reducing microphone, TrueColor technology, and a universal attachment base. For such a low asking price, the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 provides a nice small suite of features for those daily video calls.
The Logitech C930e is ideal for video conferencing. That's because it has a stunning 1080p resolution and a wide 90-degree field of view. This lets it record everyone in the room. Built-in video encoding allows it to offer excellent image quality that doesn't put a strain on your PC, which would usually handle the encoding duties. It's also Skype-certified for PC and Mac, so if you use that for your video conferences, you know that the Logitech C930e will complement it nicely.
Every webcam in this list has a built-in microphone, but the mic on the Ausdom AW615 is especially good. It features noise-cancelling technology that eliminates background noise – making it perfect for use in busy offices. The Ausdom AW615 also offers full 1080p resolution, which not many webcams at this price do. It does lack a few features – most notably autofocus – but the quality microphone, full HD resolution, and low price more than make up for it.
The Logitech Brio is our pick as the best webcam with 4K. Now, 4K may be overkill for most people who just need a reliable webcam to get them from one Zoom meeting to the next, but content creators or presenters who want to upload UHD video to YouTube should give the Brio a try. The Brio's 4K resolution is augmented by HDR (High Dynamic Range) support, further boosting its impressive video quality. This webcam is compatible with Windows Hello facial recognition and Cortana voice assistant, too, allowing the Logitech Brio to weave nicely into Windows' ecosystem.
If you're looking for the best webcam for livestreaming on services such as YouTube and Twitch, then the Razer Kiyo is the one to get. It features 1080p resolution so your videos will look great, and its unique design includes a ring of light that ensures you're always well lit when broadcasting. It boasts a plug-and-play setup, so you don't need to spend ages messing around to set it up, and compatibility with popular streaming software OBS and Xspilt.
The best webcams: what to consider
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Unless you're a professional YouTuber or Twitch streamer, chances are you won't need anything too sophisticated when it comes to a webcam. However, you'll at least want something that has a decent resolution and good sound quality so you don't come across too grainy and distorted during video conferences or virtual hangouts.
The sweet spot for video resolution appears to be 1080p, which is better than what you'll find built into most laptops (720p). You can consider upgrading to a 4K webcam if you're a heavy-duty creator or give major presentations often. Also keep in mind frames per second, or fps. The higher that number, the smoother the video will be. Good webcams are capable of at least 30 fps, while 60 fps and above is optimal for live streaming.
If you don't have an external microphone, the good news is that most webcams have mics built-in nowadays - but some are more advanced than others. Omni-directional microphones are good for conference calls as they can pick up sound all over the room. Meanwhile, webcams with noise-cancelling mics are ideal if you're occasionally in areas with a lot of ambient noise.