Working from home has become the new normal for many of us. If your laptop’s own webcam isn’t cutting the mustard when it comes to video calls and meetings it might be time to look into a separate camera altogether.

Webcams come in all shapes and sizes, so which is the best for your needs? Maybe you don’t need a webcam for video meetings but are flirting with the idea of firing up a vlogging channel or livestreaming on Twitch instead. Perhaps you just want to Skype your family and friends with greater clarity.

Whatever it is you’re after, here we explain what to look out for when in the market for a new camera, along with reviews of what we think are the best webcams around. Just a heads up: webcam stock is unsurprisingly in short supply right now, so you may need to shop around to find the webcam you want. 

If you’re serious about game streaming, check out our tutorial on how to stream on Twitch and our selection of the best game streaming software to help get you started. 

Best webcam 2020

1. Logitech C922 Pro – Best Overall

Logitech C922 Pro

2. Ausdom AF640 – Best for Ease of Use

Ausdom AF640

3. Papalook PA452 – Best Balance of Price and Features

Papalook PA452

4. Aukey PC-LM1 – Best Value

Aukey PC-LM1

5. Logitech StreamCam – Best for Streaming

Logitech Streamcam

6. Razer Kiyo – Lights up your Face

Razer Kiyo

7. Microsoft LifeCam Studio – Old Reliable

Microsoft LifeCam Studio

Webcam buying advice

Resolution

While resolution is usually a good measure of overall video quality, it isn’t the only aspect to consider. Your requirements will largely depend on how you’ll be using the webcam; if you’re using it for Skyping your friends or livestreaming gameplay on Twitch or YouTube, 720p or 1080p HD should suffice.

That’s mainly because the vast majority of video apps, from Streamlabs’ OBS to Skype, support a maximum of 1080p, and we can’t imagine that changing any time soon. It’d take a pretty solid internet connection (minimum 25Mbps to 45Mbps) to perfectly stream 4K, after all.

There’s no real need for a 4K webcam at the moment unless you’re looking to record video locally instead of stream or chat. In that case, a 4K webcam could offer the quality that you’re after. 

Plastic vs Glasses lenses

Some high-end webcams will boast glass lenses over plastic lenses used by cheaper webcams, but in general, the difference isn’t that noticeable – especially when used for video chat or livestreaming.

Microphone

A built-in microphone is very handy for video calling as it negates the need to use a headset, and provides a more natural experience. But while it’s a welcome feature for video calling, it’s not a feature used very often by streamers. Streamers tend to use dedicated microphones, or headsets with built-in mics, as they generally provide much clearer audio and some offer advanced features like noise cancellation to reduce the sound of clicking keys and other ambient noises.

Additional features

Not all webcams are created equal, and some may offer advanced features that help separate them from a sea of competitors. These can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from image correction capabilities to background removal and, in the case of the Razer Kiyo, a built-in ring light for even lighting.

It’s worth doing research about how well these features perform as, especially in the case of background removal, results can be very hit-and-miss depending on the amount of light and other environmental factors. But, if you can find one that does work well, it’ll give you a more professional-looking webcam feed without having to invest in a physical green screen for chroma keying.

Compatibility

Another feature to consider is compatibility. Generally speaking, all webcams should work with the likes of Skype, Google Hangouts, XSplit Gamecaster, OBS and more, but some offer specific support for certain apps. Though it’s dependant on the webcam and app that you use, buying a supported webcam could provide access to more advanced settings and features.

And, in the case of XSplit Gamecaster, supported webcams may provide a free trial to the premium livestreaming software. It’s certainly the case with the Logitech C922 Pro, featured above.

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