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With the increasing number of people who work from home or rely on teleconferencing, it really pays dividends to invest in one of the best webcams. Whether you're streaming or just attending meetings from home, having a webcam is slowly becoming something of a necessity.
When looking for a premium webcam, you'll want to look at video resolution which ultimately means a higher quality picture. Beyond that, you'll want to make sure it has a halfway-decent microphone if you don't have a dedicated mic.
If you spend a fair bit of time out of the office, make sure to check out our 10 best tips for working from home.Otherwise, read on to see our list of the best webcams to buy.
True HD on a big screen
Quality audio recording
Sturdy, sleek design
Stable mounting system
Camera doesn’t rotate
A lot of webcams eschew hardware in favor of rudimentary functionality. While high-end specs may be unnecessary for most users, they can certainly come in handy, especially if the addition will only cost you an extra $15 or so. Enter: the Logitech C920. This webcam is every bit a camera, capable of providing HD stills and video for a variety of purposes, making it a versatile webcam for gaming, blogging, conferencing and even creative purposes.
Our testing showed that it shoots and streams in Full HD (1080p) at 30fps (frames per second), records stereo (2-channel) audio, and can capture still images at 15 megapixels. This is comparable to most high-end smartphone cameras. It also features a tripod-ready universal clip that fits to laptops and LCD monitors, a 360-degree swivel base and articulating support.
"Both live video and recordings are sharp with tons of detail." — James Huenink, Product Tester
No vertical adjustment option
Has difficulty staying put on a computer monitor
The Meeting Owl Pro is designed from the ground up for use in virtual meetings, distance learning, and video calls. It features a 360-degree camera that automatically focuses on and follows the speaker, eliminating the need to awkwardly adjust the camera every time you need to move around the room or bring someone else into frame. It records and streams video in 1080p full HD for crystal clear picture quality. This webcam also has an 8 microphone array with an 18-foot range, ensuring that in even large classrooms or conference rooms, everyone will be heard.
You can connect the Meeting Owl Pro to other smart conference equipment to build the ultimate virtual meeting room. When tables aren't practical, the Meeting Owl Pro has threads that allow for tripod mounting when space is at a premium, or you're at an off-site location. The webcam is certified for use with popular apps like Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams; so no matter what your office uses to stay in touch, the Meeting Owl Pro will work with it.
Windows Hello compatible
No Built in microphone
The Lenovo 500 FHD webcam is an excellent option for PC gamers looking for a reliable way to video chat with friends in party games or apps like Discord and Skype. This webcam records and streams video in full 1080p HD for great picture quality. The lens gives you a 75-degree viewing angle with 360-degrees of pan and tilt controls to perfectly center you in the frame. It features plug-and-play functionality, meaning you can use it straight out of the box without having to install extra drivers or video software. It's compatible with Windows Hello facial recognition software for password-free log-ins to your computer and programs to give you an extra layer of security while you're away from your desk. It also has a privacy shutter to block unwanted spying. The Lenovo 500 FHD webcam has a hinged clip for mounting on your monitor as well as threads for tripod mounting and custom placement options.
720p resolution video
Pan. zoom and tilt features
Only compatible with windows OS
If you’re a high-energy business type or active Skype user, but you’re trying to spend as little money as possible on a new webcam, you may want to check out the Logitech C270 instead of the Microsoft LifeCam. Logitech is one of the top brands in webcams, having a hold on most of the top-selling products. But there’s a reason for that: they make quality, dependable webcams. With 720p video calling and recording and a modest design, the C270 is a solid option for any Skype session, Google Hangout or Zoom meeting.
You can snap really basic three-megapixel still images, and it features a built-in noise reduction mic. It does not swivel left or right but it does tilt and articulate vertically.
Full HD at 60 fps
Optimized for streaming
No RGB element for ring light for dynamic studio lighting
Razer built their Kiyo streaming webcam from the ground up to meet the demands and needs of Twitch streamers of all levels. This webcam features a built-in ring light with adjustable brightness so you get even, studio quality lighting without cluttering your streaming space with bulky box lights. The camera can record and stream in both 720p and 1080p HD at 30 and 60 fps, respectively, so your video feed always has smooth, clear motion and tons of detail.
The Kiyo is optimized for use with the Streamlabs suite of streaming software and is also compatible with OBS and XSplit. The hinge stand allows you to mount the webcam on either your computer monitor or on a tripod and allows you to customize your streaming setup. The built-in microphone captures your voice for crisp, clear audio during game and Discord chat. The camera features an autofocus function so you don't have to waste time fiddling with settings to get the perfect picture.
Windows Hello certified
The Logitech Brio UHD webcam records and streams video in 4K UHD as well as 1080p and 720p. With HDR support and an autofocus feature, your video clips and streams will have stunning detailing and contrast. With dual omnidirectional microphones, your voice will be recorded and streamed in full stereo no matter where you are at your desk. It's compatible with Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS laptops and desktops as well as many video calling apps like Zoom, Skype, and Discord.
This webcam is certified to work with Windows Hello for facial recognition login capabilities. The built-in stand hinge allows you to mount this webcam on your computer monitor or a tripod for expanded placement options. The Brio utilizes Logitech's RightLight 3 software to automatically detect your room's lighting and adjust your picture quality accordingly so you get a consistently great-looking video recording or stream. It also comes with a removable privacy shade for peace of mind when not in use.
The Logitech C920 is a well-rounded webcam that works for professionals as well as gaming enthusiasts. It streams and records in full 1080p HD for great video quality in almost any app. The Meeting Owl Pro is designed specifically for teachers and business professionals in mind. The 360-degree camera automatically rotates to focus on and follow a speaker around the room, and the 8-microphone array has an 18-foot range, ensuring everyone is heard.
Our expert reviewers and editors evaluate webcams based on design, video (and photo) quality, functionality, and features. We test their real-life performance in actual use cases, in video chat apps, streaming services, and for dedicated recordings and taking stills. Our testers also consider each unit as a value proposition—whether or not a product justifies its price tag, and how it compares to competitive products. All of the models we reviewed were purchased by Lifewire; none of the review units were furnished by the manufacturer or retailer.
Taylor Clemons has over three years of experience writing about games and consumer technology. She has written for IndieHangover, GameSkinny, TechRadar and her own publication, Steam Shovelers.
James Huenink is fascinated by the ways tech helps people connect to others and improve their lives in a fast-paced world. An avid marathoner, home brewer, and uber nerd, he spends his free time cooking for friends and family and teasing his wife.
Resolution - Do you need 720p or 1080p webcam? That depends on how you’ll be using it. If you’re planning on recording and publishing video with your device, then maxing out the resolution is probably a good idea. But if you’re just doing some video conferencing with it, and you don’t want to spend extra money for better resolution, 720p should work just fine.
Price - You’d be surprised at how much you can shell out for a webcam, considering the technology hasn’t changed all that much over the last few years. If you are paying extra attention to the bottom line, then you should make sure you aren’t spending too much on a webcam. You can get the quality and features you need without breaking the bank.
Microphone - The built-in microphone on your computer isn’t always the highest quality. If you’re not going to be using an external mic when you are using your webcam (though we highly recommend it if you’re filming for YouTube or another service), then the quality of the microphone built into the webcam is very important.