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 must-haves 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?” Now that school could possibly be exclusively online in some areas, and as working from home becomes extended for many 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. That being said, with so many of us working (and generally existing) from home more than ever, many of the top webcams are currently sold out.
We still have our favorite sold-out options at the bottom of the list should they come back in stock, but our main list is currently focused on the best webcams you can actually buy right now. Take a look.
1. Razer Kiyo
BEST WEBCAM OVERALL
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Aukey FHD Webcam
BEST BUDGET WEBCAM
There’s nothing flashy about the Aukey FHD Webcam, but it does exactly what it says, delivering a clear 1080p picture over video calls with a mic that picks up your voice in stereo. As an added bonus, it also has support for low-light environments and the mics have noise-canceling capabilities. But the nice thing about this webcam is the ease of use: It promises to work with any device and video app without having to install any additional drivers. For those who don’t want to spend too much time or money figuring out how to improve their video conferencing setup, this is the best webcam.
5. Microsoft Lifecam Studio
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.
6. 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 2020.
7. 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.
8. Wyze Cam v2 Security Camera
BEST WEBCAM WORKAROUND
It may seem odd using a workaround to turn a security camera into a webcam, but considering that so many of the best webcams are out of stock, this is a great way to step up your video conferencing with a 1080p camera that costs less than any other choices on this list.
The Wyze Cam v2 recently received an optional firmware update which will allow you to use it as a webcam, complete with 1080p resolution. This comes with a few compromises, however, since the V2 wasn’t designed to be a webcam: You’ll have to be comfortable and adept enough to manually update the firmware, you can’t simultaneously use it as a security camera unless you reinstall the default firmware and you’ll probably need to use a different microphone than the one built into the Wyze cam (such as the mic on your laptop or headphones). But if you’re OK with all of that, you’ll get a quality (if barebones) webcam experience on the cheap.
9. 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 by how easy it is to use.
10. 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