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Best webcams 2021: top picks for working from home

Best webcams
(Image credit: Future)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

As the world returns to something resembling normalcy, the best webcams are finally back in stock. Whether they’re from Microsoft, Razer, Logitech, or one of the cheap webcams that punch above their weight, there’s a plethora of choices to pick from to help you upgrade your streaming or video conferencing.

Since more communication is happening online these days, it’s crucial to have your zoom calls with friends and video conferencing meetings that are crystal clear. And, that means you need to invest in one of the best webcams for your computer setup. It’s true that most of the best laptops of 2021 or all-in-one computers already come with a webcam installed but having a dedicated one will offer more features and higher resolutions.

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to keep in touch with your extended network or putting together the perfect work-from-home setup, invest in one of the best webcams to make sure your family and colleagues can see your bright, shiny face. From the best webcams for game streaming and the best webcams for Zoom to the best webcams with microphones, we’ve collected our top picks here and included our price comparison tool to help you find the best deal.

The best webcams of 2021:

Logitech C920

The long-reigning jack of all trades. (Image Credit: Logitech) (Image credit: Logitech)

1. Logitech C920

The overall best webcam

Specifications
Resolution: 1080p
Features: Background removal, Low-light correction, 720p/60fps video while streaming, Stereo audio, autofocus, auto light correction
Reasons to buy
+Great low-light capabilities+Full 1080p HD+Supports 720p/60fps streaming
Reasons to avoid
-No 1080p/60fps-Fixed camera, no swivel

The Logitech C920 has been one of the best webcams on the market since its release in January 2012, consistently beating out rival products that promise more affordability or better performance – and for good reason. This is a beloved favorite across the entire spectrum of streamers, content creators, and office professionals alike, and when cost, quality, and performance are all calculated, the C920 is still the best overall achiever across the board.

With crisp 1080p HD resolution and fantastic lighting and color detection at an affordable price, this fan-favorite webcam hits a spot in the market that struggles to see any substantial competition and is still one of the best performing webcams on the market today.

Read the full review: Logitech C920

Elgato Facecam product image

The Elgato Facecam is the plucky, optimized new kid on the block. (Image credit: Elgato)

2. Elgato Facecam

The best webcam for streamers

Specifications
Resolution: 1080p, 60fps
Features: Variable FOD, fixed focus, Sony sensor
Reasons to buy
+Great Sony sensor+Fantastic 60fps 1080p +Incredible software
Reasons to avoid
-Niche userbase-No mic / autofocus

Edging out ahead of the competition for the best streaming webcam is the Elgato Facecam, thanks to some divisive design choices that make this a niche buy that sways itself towards content creators. The choice to not include a microphone or autofocus capabilities will make it seem like a half-baked product for anyone just looking for a webcam, but the inclusion of those features often proves to be more trouble than they're worth for folk broadcasting on sites like Twitch or YouTube. As a result, the Facecam is beautifully optimized for the streaming community, with some of the best software we've ever seen on a webcam to boot.

Read the full review: Elgato Facecam review

Razer Kiyo Pro

The Razer Kiyo Pro is the new king of HD streaming (Image Credit: Razer) (Image credit: Razer)

3. Razer Kiyo Pro

The close second for high quality streaming

Specifications
Resolution: 1080p
Features: Variable FOD, smart exposure and focus, detachable cable
Reasons to buy
+Buttery smooth 60fps 1080p +HDR setting+Great low-light capabilities
Reasons to avoid
-Too expensive/powerful for most people needs-Simple adjustments, no ball joint swivel

Coming in at a close second for streamers is the Razer Kiyo Pro, the latest addition to Razer's webcam family. This beast doesn't come cheap but it delivers a performance worth every penny. You can choose between three different fields of view for different scenes in your Livestream, and select either a smooth 1080p 60FPS option for gameplay or a high-res 'HDR' mode for improved video quality during Zoom sessions.

Read the full review: Razer Kiyo Pro

Logitech StreamCam

Logitech StreamCam has many tools to offer for your content creation needs. (Image credit: Logitech)

4. Logitech StreamCam

The best Logitech webcam for content creation

Specifications
Resolution: 1080p
Features: Smart auto-focus and exposure, AI-enabled facial tracking, 9:16 format, built-in electronic image stabilization, USB Type-C connectivity
Reasons to buy
+Content creation features+Facial tracking+Auto-focusing
Reasons to avoid
-Too expensive for simple office use-Fixed USB-C cable connection

The Logitech StreamCam won’t just have your back when you’re video conferencing, video chatting with families and friends, and live streaming your games. This feature-rich 1080p webcam has many tools to offer for your content creation needs as well, including auto-focusing, smart exposure, facial tracking, up to 60fps frame rate, and a flippable design so you can take photos and videos in 9:16 format. You can even mount it on a tripod, and it uses USB Type-C for fast and more efficient video transfer speeds.

Read the full review: Logitech StreamCam

Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000

The Microsoft LifeCam Studio is one of the best webcams out there. (Image Credit: Microsoft)

5. Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000

The best webcam for Skype

Specifications
Resolution: 720p
Features: Colour correction, noise cancelling
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Cheerful
Reasons to avoid
-720p only

The Microsoft LifeCam Studio is one of the best webcams out there. Aimed at users with large displays, it features a familiar configuration of 1080p recording and 720p live video calling. It rotates 360 degrees, and can be mounted on a tripod with autofocus. The wideband mic delivers crystal clear audio, and Microsoft’s TrueColor system will shift the exposure dynamically to keep you well lit, making it a great choice for business conferencing and presentations.

Read the full review: Microsoft LifeCam Studio

Razer Kiyo

Razer Kiyo focuses on what matters most to game streamers and YouTube vloggers. (Image Credit: Razer)

6. Razer Kiyo

The best 'all in one' solution

Specifications
Resolution: 1080p
Features: Ring light, Compatibility with OBS and Xsplit
Reasons to buy
+Convenient ring light+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey for a 1080p / 30fps webcam-Ring light comes with a learning curve

The Razer Kiyo might look weird, a testament to Razer’s unique designs, but it’s still one of the best webcams out there for streaming – which is unbelievably popular in this day and age. With the Razer Kiyo, Razer has stripped away a lot of the bells and whistles that more premium webcams offer, focusing instead on what matters most to game streamers and YouTube vloggers – good image quality and lighting through a “Light Ring”. You don’t need to spend a ton of time configuring the stream – just plug in the Razer Kiyo and get to work.

Microsoft LifeCam Studio

Microsoft LifeCam Studio is made for business conferencing and presentations. (Image Credit: Microsoft)

7. Microsoft LifeCam Studio

The best webcam for offices

Specifications
Resolution: 1080p
Features: Colour correction, hi-fi microphone, Skype
Reasons to buy
+Wide field of view+Wideband mic for better sound
Reasons to avoid
-Overpriced compared to newer options-Really designed for corporate types

It isn’t the most attractive webcam, but the LifeCam Studio isn’t really designed to be attractive. Instead, it’s made for business conferencing and presentations, with its 1080p recording, 720p live video calling and wideband mic to deliver crystal clear sound. This is a serious peripheral – one that requires a powerful PC for max settings – but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking bells and whistles. For instance, it comes with 360-degree rotating capabilities and Microsoft’s TrueColor system, which will shift the exposure dynamically to keep you well lit.

Read the full review: Microsoft LifeCam Studio

Logitech BRIO 4K Pro

(Image credit: Logitech)

8. Logitech BRIO 4K Pro

B2B conferencing in Ultra HD

Specifications
Resolution: 4K
Features: High dynamic range (HDR), integrated optical and infrared sensors, Windows Hello support, three field of view (FOV) presets
Reasons to buy
+4K options+Tripod screw mount+Easy to deploy
Reasons to avoid
-The camera cover was an afterthought-Weird method of connecting the clip

For your video conferencing needs at work, the Logitech BRIO 4K Pro may just be the ultra HD resolution webcam. It’s a finely built one too, gloriously engineered for professionals and businesses that need robust tools. The image quality, of course, superior – especially to anything else you’ll find on a typical laptop, including business ones. There are other features worthy of mentioning as well, including its three fields of view presents and omnidirectional mics with noise-canceling technology.

Read the full review: Logitech BRIO 4K Pro

Logitech HD Webcam C310

(Image credit: Logitech)

9. Logitech HD Webcam C310

The best cheap webcam

Specifications
Resolution: 720p
Features: Noise reduction, Auto light correction, Zoom and Skype compatible
Reasons to buy
+Very affordable+Auto light correction
Reasons to avoid
-Only 720p-Mono mic

The Logitech HD Webcam C310 is a solid option for those who just can’t splurge on a webcam. It's perfect for anyone just needing to get onto that Zoom or Skype call and be seen clearly. And, while it does only shoot in 720p, the C310 does come with Logitech’s RightLight 2 auto-light correction technology so you’ll always be shown in the proper light. With its noise-reducing mic, you’ll also be heard clearly from up to 5 feet or 1.5 meters away. This may not be a streamer’s top choice but it’s a quality pic for anyone on a budget.

Logitech C930e

Logitech C930e is Logitech's most advanced HD webcam yet. (Image Credit: Logitech)

10. Logitech C930e

The best webcam for home offices

Specifications
Resolution: 1080p
Features: On-board processing, Zeiss lens, wide angle lens
Reasons to buy
+On-board video processing+Wide field of view
Reasons to avoid
-The C920 model is cheaper and similar-The microphone isn't great for team calls

Unlike traditional webcams, which rely on the PC for all the heavy lifting, the Logitech C930e does the video encoding itself, which should in turn result in better video quality. The wide, 90-degree field of view means it’s well-suited to business video conferencing and presentations. And of course, it’s Skype-certified for PC and Mac.

Read the full review: Logitech Webcam C930e


What should you look for when buying a webcam?

In this bizarre new world of home working, you may feel a little overwhelmed when looking at webcams to buy – after all, all these cheap models on Amazon look the same right? Webcams are usually marketed with resolution (720p, 1080p, 4K etc) and framerates because this is the most important factor for most people when buying a product, but there are many other considerations that make a webcam 'good' or 'bad'.

The first thing to consider is what you need your webcam for.

For working professionals or office staff, most conference calling software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams will restrict your broadcast quality to 1080p resolution and 30fps to preserve bandwidth. Google meets goes a step further and restricts your quality to 720p as this is the standard resolution on most built-in laptop cameras.

If you're planning on using a webcam purely for these work-related calls then there isn't any point in buying a powerful 4k model as you simply won't see the benefit. The light and color detection will vary for each model though, so you'll still see a variance in recording quality depending on what webcam you buy.

For content creators such as YouTubers or Streamers, there is a range of powerful webcams available, with some reaching 4K resolution and 60fps for buttery smooth video. These webcams are overkill for occasional use, but with features like a variable field of view (or FOV) and adjustable resolution or and zoom, the extra cash could be a worthy investment to your hobby.

What about those cheap webcams on ___?

Our list is heavy on big brand names such as Logitech for good reason. Reputable brands have been tested across many different devices to make sure that the products are compatible with different graphics software. This is why you may see different quality if you use the same camera on a desktop and a laptop - the webcam hardware communicates differently with different devices.

Logitech, Razer and other well-known webcam manufacturers can provide a product that is more likely to work well across a wide range of different machines, so whether you're looking to run your camera on a new gaming desktop or an old Chromebook, you should see similar results.

A cheap 1080p/30fps webcam from Amazon or eBay may disappoint you if the drivers and sensors are not up to the same standards as trusted products on our list, so don't take the resolution and framerate as gospel that you'll be getting great video quality.

Woman working at desk

Wherever possible, try and position yourself in front of natural lighting when you film. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

How to make your webcam look better

Even the most expensive webcam can look terrible if you don't take your environment into consideration. Lighting can make a cheap 720p webcam look almost HD, and this doesn't have to make a dent in your wallet.

Natural lighting is prized by photographers for being better than most expensive studio lights, so where possible try and record in front of a window. This will not only illuminate your features and make you pop against your background, but it'll illuminate background 'noise' – the fuzzy static effect seen when webcams are trying to film in low lighting conditions.

You can also replicate this using studio lights if you work in darker environments away from a window. You can also use cheap desk lamps in a pinch by directing them against a wall to reduce the harshing lighting and create a diffused appearance.

Always make sure your background looks nice. This doesn't mean you need to do anything fancy (unless you're a streamer and have the budget for some fancy LED lights and gamer swag), but you need to make sure you're the focus of the broadcast. Tidy up any mess, don't sit behind an open door and make sure you don't sit behind any other light sources. This will usually throw off the light sensors in your webcam and reduce your film quality.

Bill Thomas has also contributed to this article