No one wants to watch a stream on Twitch or YouTube that has poor visual fidelity. In order to have an entertaining and professional-looking stream, you'll need a solid webcam. Plus, a webcam can boost your production quality by allowing a PIP (picture-in-picture) of your face on top of your gameplay. However, there are a lot of webcams on the market, and while pretty much any webcam will work for your livestream, there are some that stand above the rest. We've tested all of the following webcams you see below, so you know they're worth your money and time. Here are our picks for the best webcams.
The best webcams
In addition to the webcam itself, there are a number of accessories that can help make your feed and stream better. These include key lights to make sure your webcam is well-lit, green screens to remove your background from your stream, and Elgato's Cam Link to let you use a DSLR camera as a webcam to get the best visual quality possible. The prices shown below indicate a product's regular list price and don't reflect any current discounts or fluctuations. Amazon discounts products all the time, so you may be able to get any of these webcams for much cheaper than they usually go for.
The Logitech StreamCam is an excellent webcam that is capable of 1080p and 60 FPS. It also boasts an excellent auto-focus that adjusts quickly to bring its subject into focus. I've been particularly impressed when showing my audience a close-up look at a figure or drink. The StreamCam also has auto-exposure, though you'll still need a good lighting setup to get the best-looking picture.
One particularly neat feature is that ability to flip this webcam from a 16:9 format to a 9:16 one. This works best if you want to stream to Facebook or Instagram or you want to use that format for your PIP on Twitch and/or YouTube. It connects to your PC via USB-C, which provides a stronger, faster connection--of course, you'll need to make sure your PC has a USB-C port, or you'll need a USB-C to USB adapter.
The Logitech 4K Pro Webcam is a surprisingly great device. While using it, I didn't even need a light. In a dimly lit room at 11 PM, it provided a clear and bright image that trounced all of the webcams on this list. The colours looked much more accurate and bright as opposed to the darker, higher contrast image of the Logitech StreamCam, when comparing the two webcams without a light. There's no doubt that a light improved the look of the 4K Pro's feed, but it's definitely not needed for a great visual of your face.
The 4K Pro Webcam is capable of recording at up to 4K and 30 FPS and streaming up to 1080p and 60 FPS. The one problem I found was that Logitech's Capture software did not allow me to record or even view the webcam's feed in 4K. There was also a lot of visual noise in the background of the image. Thankfully, this wasn't the case in Streamlabs OBS, which provided me with a clean, smooth image.
The Razer Kiyo is a 720p, 60 FPS webcam that is perfect for streaming. One thing about its lower resolution that you have to remember is that the PIP of your face is going to be much smaller than the rest of your stream's feed. That means it will still look great even if you're streaming at 1080p and beyond. Where the Razer Kiyo picks up that slack, however, is having a built-in ring light, which lights up your face and ensures a great looking picture.
Razer has also supported its Kiyo webcam with software and firmware updates, bringing new features and customization. Razer's Synapse 3 software lets you adjust focus, brightness, contrast, and more as well as save profiles of your favourite settings--Razer even has some built-in presets if you're not sure what to tinker with. Its latest firmware update brought improved auto-focus, automatic low-light compensation, and automatic white balancing among other things.
Logitech's C900 series are all-time greats when it comes to webcams, and the C922 is an excellent choice for streaming. It can capture 1080p and 30 FPS or 720p and 60 FPS and features excellent autofocus and lighting correction. That means this webcam performs well in dim conditions, though you'll still want to get an extra light to make your webcam feed look as best it can.
The Logitech Capture software helps you customize your feed, including exposure, frame rate, and scene effects, including negative colours and a fish-eye effect that provides goofy warped faces. It's a great piece of software that makes it easy to tweak different settings with your webcam. The Logitech C922 Webcam also comes with a free three months of XSplit Premium, which gives you everything you need to set up a stream and broadcast to Twitch and YouTube.
There are some great webcams out there, but if you want the absolute best quality image of your face on stream, then you're going to want to upgrade to a DSLR camera. The Elgato Cam Link 4K lets you connect your DSLR to a PC, granting you an extremely professional, high-quality look for your stream.
Key lights are a must if you want to get the best image. These will help eliminate shadows, especially around your eyes, letting your viewers get a better look at you and providing an overall more professional look.
If you want to eliminate your background and take up as little screen real estate as possible, a green screen is the way to go. However, if you choose a bad-quality one, it'll only make your stream look worse. You'll also need to make sure the green screen is wrinkle-free and one colour throughout. You can achieve this by nailing your lighting setup, eliminating any shadows that make parts of your green screen darker.