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The age of remote learning and working is here, and we’re right smack in the middle of it. Whether you are a teacher, student, or employee, a proper webcam has risen towards the top of the list as a must-have in your home. We hate to use the word, but webcams are essential if you want to get anything done remotely, especially if you need to connect with your fellow students, teachers or workers.
Why Buy a Webcam When My Laptop Already Has One?
You might be asking yourself the question, “What’s the point of buying something my laptop already has?” While school districts operate on a hybrid remote learning structure and as working from home is openly integrated with several companies, many of us have noticed that we need more from our webcams. For instance, the built-in cameras on many laptops, such as MacBooks, may boast HD resolutions, but in reality, the picture is washed out, grainy, and doesn’t handle tricky lighting situations all that well. Plus, you can’t adjust the camera without moving the screen. That in itself can create problems with getting the right video angle. And if you’re trying to give a presentation, or demonstration for your online class, that isn’t going to cut it.
Dedicated webcams generally have better image quality and a larger field of view than built-in ones. They also have the ability to clip to your screen or a tripod, rotate and tilt to get the video angle that you are looking for.
How We Chose the Best Webcams
We looked for cameras that feature 1080p resolution and at least 30fps (although gamers and YouTubers will appreciate the cameras with 60fps found below), though there are still some quality 720p cameras that we included. Cameras that feature auto-focus and light correction will help you stay in focus for your co-workers and students. And with the economy being shaky at best, we also looked for cameras that feature all the above, but also won’t cost you an arm and a leg (the exception being the Mevo Start). You can snag a pretty amazing webcam for around $100.
1. Razer Kiyo Pro
It doesn’t matter whether you are on a Zoom call for work or streaming while gaming with your friends, the Razer Kiyo Pro is going to make you look great. The camera can film at an ultra-smooth 60fps at 1080p. So, not only will the stream look incredibly smooth, but equally as sharp. You can forgo the 60fps on Zoom calls and go with the HDR setting to look as clear and sharp as possible. Even if the lighting is bad, you’ll still look good through the Razer webcam.
2. Logitech StreamCam Plus
If the Razer Kiyo is unavailable, consider the Logitech StreamCam Plus. It can also stream 1080p at 60fps for ultra-smooth and detailed picture quality. And thanks to auto-focus and face tracking, you’ll stay in frame as you move around in your chair. Beyond streaming, you can flip the camera and take pictures, as well as transfer pictures and data through a speedy USB-C cable.
3. Razer Kiyo
RAZER RUNNER UP
Looking for a webcam that’ll turn a few heads? The Razer Kiyo webcam looks like something out of a science fiction movie, but under the hood, it packs some serious horsepower. 100 percent designed for streaming use, this webcam records video at an impressive 60 frames per second and even features a multi-step ring lighting system that lets you dim or brighten the camera’s light on command. A smart option for gamers and everyday streamers, it’s also the best general webcam that you can actually buy right now. It will work great for anyone who doesn’t want to look like a grainy, pixelated, washed-out zombie during their work Zoom calls.
4. Anker PowerConf C300
GREAT FOR GROUPS
Whether the family is video chatting with grandma and grandpa, or your team at work all needs to hop on a Zoom call, the Anker PowerConf C300 captures excellent wide-angled streaming footage. It connects USB-C to USC-C for the best data transfer speeds, but if your computer doesn’t have a USB-C port, a USB-A adapter is also included. There’s also a sliding camera privacy door that can pop on the front of the camera when it’s not in use to protect from hackers and inadvertent live camera accidents (we’ve all seen the YouTube videos).
5. Logitech C920
The Logitech C920 is far from new. In fact, it’s almost reached its 10-year anniversary. But don’t let that deter you from one of the best webcams available. Its 1080p resolution, along with exceptional lighting and coloration make this a top choice among businesses and streamers. Not to mention, the price is right, too.
6. Logitech C615
Chances are you’re mostly just looking for a webcam that will get you through your weekly slate of work-related Zoom calls. If that’s the case, the Logitech C615 is the best webcam for the job, providing a solid 1080p picture at a reasonable price. Unlike many budget offerings, the C615 software allows you to tweak video and exposure settings for an optimal picture in any environment, features an effective autofocus feature, and delivers clear audio through its mono mic. While aspiring YouTubers and Twitch streamers may want something more robust, this is an excellent choice for work meetings and calls with family.
7. Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
GREAT FOR CONFERENCE CALLS
What makes the LifeCam HD-3000 a good choice for conference calls isn’t just the 720p live video, but also the built-in wide-band microphone. This provides great audio for your fellow participants and helps prevent audio from cutting out or being too quiet. It can rotate a full 360-degrees and even connect to a tripod if necessary. When you want to be seen and heard loud and clear, it’s a great choice.
8. Logitech BRIO
Image quality is the bread and butter of this webcam. It captures crystal clear 4K image quality great for streaming or Zoom calls. Additional Microsoft Hello functionality allows you to open your computer with facial recognition. It’s not the most adjustable camera, but if you plan on setting it and forgetting it on your computer, the limited angle adjustment shouldn’t be a bother.
9. Creative Live! Cam Sync
GREAT AUDIO SOFTWARE
This is an affordable webcam with decent visual acumen and even better sound quality features. What’s so special about the sound quality? Using the VoiceDetect and Noise Cleanout features, the camera will automatically mute the mic when you aren’t talking to reduce background noise. This also means you don’t have to worry about speaking for a full minute without anyone hearing you. Plus, you can pick up this webcam for just around $50.
10. Microsoft Lifecam Studio
BEST FROM MICROSOFT
If you want a camera that can compete with the Logitech C920 in terms of image quality, the Microsoft LifeCam Studio is the way to go. Capable of recording at up to 1080p resolution (720p for video calls), this camera is built to deliver a clear, detailed and color-accurate image in any lighting situation. On top of that, it has a design that screams premium, so you can ensure that the decor of your home office won’t suffer a downgrade.
11. Dell UltraSharp Webcam
GREAT IMAGE QUALITY
If you’re looking for great image quality, look no further than the Dell UltraSharp webcam. The camera can film in 4K at 30 frames per second, and get even smoother at 720p at 60 frames per second. And no need to fool around with exposure or focusing as the camera white balances and auto-focuses as well as keeps you in the center of the frame automatically. The only real downside is that it doesn’t have a built-in microphone, which is why pairing this with the Anker PowerConf S3 Bluetooth Speakerphone below is a smart idea.
12. Spedal Wide-Angle Webcam
For when you want to capture a little more space, this Spedal model features a super-wide 120-degree viewing angle to help you record more. The 1080p lens is able to record video at roughly 30fps, and the built-in noise-canceling microphones make it a great option for bigger groups and rowdier environments. It also features automatic low-light correction and image enhancement technology, both of which help make it a solid choice for video conferences and large video chats.
Courtesy of Amazon
13. Mevo Start
This is a fantastic webcam, albeit, a pricey one. But with the high price comes great wireless video and streaming capabilities. For starters, in tandem with the app, you can pan, tilt and zoom the camera, so you can continue teaching or demonstrating without having to touch the camera. It’s battery-operated, so you can set it up anywhere and start your live stream. And with low-light correction and 1080p streaming, your video will look sharp as ever. If it wasn’t so dang expensive, we’d consider this camera the best webcam of 2021.
14. Wansview 1080p Webcam
AMAZON BEST SELLER
Wansview might not be one of the heavy hitters in the webcam world — not like Logitech or Microsoft anyway — but there’s good reason it is the best-selling webcam on Amazon. It shoots in 1080p for clear video calls and can easily clip to your TV, laptop or desktop. It plugs in via USB 2.0, so you’ll need an adapter for a laptop like the MacBook Pro or Air. But it only runs you about $38 for a quality webcam, and there’s nothing wrong with saving cash.
15. XPCAM 4K Webcam
The Xpcam 4K webcam can stream video in 4K, 1080p and 720p. When you’re done streaming you can use the attached privacy shutter to close the webcam to prevent hacks or inadvertent live streaming. Speaking of stopping the stream, there is a handy play/pause button located on the top of the camera to stop your live streaming with a simple press of the button. It’s a pretty solid choice considering the price.
16. Logitech C310 Desktop or Laptop Webcam
For when you need a bare-bones webcam that’s easy to use, offers reliable video quality and doesn’t demolish your bank account, Logitech’s C310 model has you covered. This versatile webcam can be used for both laptops and desktops and comes with 720p video quality. It also features its own built-in mic (great for Skype calls) and comes with the ability to easily take 5MP snapshots with the click of a button. While it may not pack as much power as these other cams, it’s a great budget option and one that may actually surprise people with how easy it is to use.
17. Anker PowerConf S3 Bluetooth Speakerphone
This is obviously not a webcam, but a speaker can be an essential part of your webcam, especially the Dell UltraSharp cam that doesn’t have a microphone. This Bluetooth speaker has six microphones built around the speakerphone so you’ll be heard loud and clear whether you are sitting down or walking around your office and talking. It also has built-in voice optimization software to cancel out unwanted background noise and focus in on your voice.