Working from home has become the new normal for many of us, and it doesn't look like video meetings will be going anywhere anytime soon. 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.
After all, even flagship laptops come with comparatively low-tech webcams - usually 720p HD resolution rather than the superior 1080p HD you'll find on most webcams.
Webcams come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of features, so which is the best for your needs? Maybe you don't need a webcam for video meetings, but you're instead flirting with the idea of starting a YouTube channel or live-streaming on Twitch. 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. There's also a roundup of the best USB mics if you're yet to take the plunge.
Best webcam 2022
AnkerWork B600 - Best Overall
- Impressive 2K camera and light bar
- Solid mics
- Punchy dual speakers
- In-depth customisation
An effective video calling setup requires a great camera, solid audio and good lighting. The AnkerWork B600 excels at all three, making it the most complete solution you can buy.
The first thing you’ll notice is its size. Anker describes the B600 as a Video Bar, making it much larger and heavier than your average webcam. While portability does take a hit, the included mount means you’ll have no problem attaching it to your laptop or monitor.
Some basic controls on the device itself allow you to mute the microphones, toggle the light bar and adjust brightness. But the AnkerWork desktop app adds tons more customisation options.
The large camera sensor outputs at a crystal-clear 2K resolution by default, but this can drop down to 1080p, 720p or even 360p if you prefer. You’ll also find four choices for field of view (FOV): 65°, 75°, 95° or ‘Solo-frame’.
As its name suggests, the latter automatically moves the camera to always keep you in frame. It usually takes a few seconds to register, but it’s effective and fun to use.
The default image has brightness, sharpness, saturation and contrast ratio all set to 50. This produces quite a bright image (in good lighting) with cooler tones, but this can easily be customised to your liking.
Having a built-in light bar is great for when the lighting isn’t quite as good. You can set a specific brightness or allow it to adjust automatically, as well as warmer colour temperatures to match most light bulbs.
Anker doesn’t let you adjust the B600’s audio, but it’s just as impressive. A total of four mics deliver loud, crisp vocals from up to 2m away, while dual speakers are a clear upgrade on most that are built into laptops.
However, you will need to connect it to your PC and a power source at all times. It’s also significantly more expensive than most webcams – something more affordable may be a better fit for many people.
But if you’re not on a budget, this is an excellent all-in-one solution that performs well in all key areas.
Anker C300 - Best Value for Money
- Customisable 115-degree FOV
- Great image quality
- AI Zoom is hit-and-miss
The Anker C300 is a small yet capable webcam that’ll suit most users, be it for video conferences or livestreaming gameplay on Twitch.
Unlike most webcams that tend to cap out at around the 90-degree mark, Anker’s C300 offers an impressive 115-degree lens, and it’s capable of shooting at [email protected] too – no need to compromise on resolution or framerate like others in our chart.
The 115-degree view is expansive, capturing a lot of the environment that you’re in, meaning it’s suited more to group calls or presentations than a single person, although Anker does provide the ability to digitally crop in to narrower viewing angles. Without an optical zoom it does so at a detriment to overall quality, but it’s not as noticeable as you might expect – especially when most video chat software caps out at 720p anyway.
In fact, even when cropped, the Anker C300 offers impressive image quality in well-lit rooms, capturing even minor details, and that’s further improved by the inclusion of HDR. When light levels begin to drop, the C300 is still able to capture surprisingly well-exposed video, although there isn’t a built-in light like with the Razer Kiyo or Papalook PA552.
The AnkerWork software for Windows and Mac provides advanced features including AI-powered face tracking, allowing you to move around the room and stay in the picture – making good use of the wide-angle lens on offer. You can also adjust the image, enable HDR and adjust the resolution and frame rate.
The Anker C300 sports a hinged black clip that folds back to support the webcam against the back of your monitor, and there’s a separate folding foot to help further secure its position. That’s attached to a small hinge that lets the webcam move around freely, and there’s a tripod screw mount on the bottom if you want to get a little more creative with your angles.
Though there’s no built-in privacy shield, Anker does provide two privacy shields that stick to the front of the webcam and block the sensor when not in use.
If you’re looking for a versatile [email protected] webcam with software smarts and great video performance, the Anker C300 is a strong option.
Logitech C922 - Best for Streamers
- Multiple mounting options
- Tripod in the box
- Free XSplit Gamecaster trial
- No 60fps mode at 1080p
- 78-degree FOV
Logitech, in many regards, is the leader in the PC peripheral market with high-quality products that don’t break the bank (most of the time, anyway!) and the Logitech C922 Pro doesn’t buck that trend. It’s small, produces great quality video and offers multiple mounting options.
The camera has two resolution settings: 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps, giving you the choice to focus on either frame rate or overall quality. High frame rates provide a much smoother camera stream and won’t look out of place if you’re streaming 60fps gameplay.
The webcam also boasts a Carl Zeiss glass lens with smart and adaptable autofocus that produces crisp, clear videos. It works well in low light and backlit environments too, thanks to built-in light correction that boosts light levels when required, making it ideal for late-night Skyping, though the 78-degree FOV could be too narrow for some.
It offers support for XSplit Gamecaster and with a three-month trial in the box, and also features a stereo microphone. It’s not really a factor for streaming, but it’ll make video calls and using Cortana much easier. There’s also Logitech Camera for Windows app that allows you to preview your webcam and change settings that’ll be applied to all apps that use the camera.
It features a flexible grip that can be placed both on the top of your PC display and folded over and placed on your desk. That’s not all though, as the C922 also features a tripod mount and even comes with a handy mini tripod in the box to get you started. It’s the little things, after all!
Steamplify Cam - Best Cheap Webcam for Streamers
- Bundled tripod
- Great [email protected] image quality
- Camera needs manual tuning
- Can't swap USB cable
The Streamplify Cam is an inexpensive webcam targeted at first-time streamers that offers great value with key streaming-focused features.
The biggest feature, especially at the entry-level price, is the 60fps performance both at 720p and 1080p, offering smooth camera capture to go along with buttery-smooth 60fps gameplay.
There's a 2Mp sensor hidden behind a glass (not plastic!) lens, and the autofocus is both faster and more accurate than some we've seen from budget webcams.
While the default camera tuning left my feed looking a little harsh in low-light conditions, it's easy to adjust the capture settings in most broadcast software - although there isn't a dedicated companion app available. After a quick tweak, we found the Streamplify Cam to capture much more detailed, balanced images.
The plug-and-play nature of the USB webcam is handy, and the cable is longer than most at 2 metres - although unlike some premium alternatives, you can't swap out the cable for something of a different length if you need to.
The 90-degree field of view is expansive - arguably overkill for a single-streamer setup - but the upside is that you can crop in without too much of a loss to overall quality, especially at 1080p. The good news is that, with both a clip and a tripod in the box, you can set the webcam up wherever you like.
There are also stereo microphones and a privacy shield built-in, although these are more for video calls than streaming.
If you're a first-time streamer on a budget, the Streamplify Cam ticks a lot of boxes.
Ausdom AF640 - Best Webcam for Ease of Use
- 90-degree FOV
- Versatile mount
- Plug-and-play on PC & Mac
- Washed out colours
- Slow autofocus
Ausdom might not have the pedigree of Logitech when it comes to its webcams, but if you leave your brand loyalty at the door, the AF640 doesn't disappoint.
The hardware itself goes toe-to-toe with the likes of the famed C920, with a glass lens, an adjustable bracket - complete with a threaded universal tripod mount inlaid into its base, a wide-angle field-of-view, up to [email protected] video capture, noise-cancelling capabilities from its integrated microphone and face-based autofocus.
Whether you're video conferencing from the boardroom or Skyping with the family, one of the AF640's greatest assets is its ultra-wide 90° field of view. You can fit more into frame than most of the cameras in this lineup and the Ausdom also brings impressive image clarity to the table too.
It's integrated mounting is also incredibly versatile, with a rubberised base, so it won't slip if placed on a flat surface, as well as the option of using the hinge to grip to the edge of your monitor or laptop display and, as mentioned up top, it can even be affixed to a standard 3/8-16 tripod screw.
The plug-and-play compatibility with both Windows and Mac OS, means it's not one for tinkerers but is ideal for those who want fuss-free setup and instant use.
Picture quality is great, albeit a little less saturated than some entries in the lineup and while autofocus is slower to adjust than some cameras, it reacts with a consistency and confidence that means it never needs to hunt to keep the image sharp and always makes its mark.
Papalook PA930 - Most Versatile
- QHD video output
- 90-degree FOV
- Multiple mounting options
- Image lacks vibrancy
- Disappointing background noise cancellation
Papalook’s PA930 webcam is a relatively inexpensive way to seriously upgrade your streaming and video calling game.
Its f/2.0 sensor outputs QHD (2560x1440) video at 30fps by default, but also supports Full HD (1920x1080) at 60fps - both with HDR. The high resolution will benefit calls with friends, family and colleagues, while the improved frame rate comes in handy for live streaming. It’s great to have the options for both.
In general, footage from the PA930 has a solid amount of detail and decent exposure, although it can look washed out and lacks vibrancy at times. For anything more than casual use, we’d recommend pairing it with some warm lighting.
The PA930 also features dual stereo microphones, so many people won’t need to buy dedicated audio equipment. It does a good job of accurately reproducing voices, albeit with plenty of background noise (despite Papalook advertising built-in noise cancellation).
However, the key strength of this webcam lies in its versatility. The PA930 can switch between a regular and 90° wide-angle view at the click of a button, allowing you to adjust the output depending on the number of people in the shot.
The plastic mount can rotate a full 360° and is impressively flexible, meaning it can attach to the top of almost any laptop or monitor. You might not want the camera to always be directly facing you though, so Papalook has included a mini tripod in the box. It’s very easy to set up and works well on most flat surfaces.
This simple setup extends to the webcam itself. There’s no special software to download, so it’s just a case of plugging the 2m USB-A cable into a compatible device and selecting it from the relevant app. Officially, the PA930 supports all recent versions of Windows, macOS, ChromeOS and Android.
Design is an area where cheap webcams often make sacrifices, but that’s not the case here. The main lens on the PA930 is surrounded by an attractive fabric finish, and even with the tripod connected it remains very lightweight and portable. There’s also a physical privacy cover for when the webcam’s not in use.
If you can look beyond footage with a relatively muted colour scheme, the Papalook PA930 is a great choice.
Logitech StreamCam - Best Webcam for Portrait Video Recording
- Record in Portrait or Landscape
- [email protected] performance
- AI-powered face tracking
Logitech's StreamCam, the latest camera from the brand, is the first to record both horizontally and vertically depending on its orientation – that's because the device is created with aspiring content creators and video game streamers in mind. (It'd certainly be easier to record content for Instagram Stories, right?)
The camera also boasts features like AI-enabled face tracking, smart image stabilisation and Full HD video capture at up to 60fps.
It works via Logitech's recording and streaming software Capture which users can use to fine-tune how the feed looks. The easy-to-use software lets you composite two separate StreamCam feeds, overlay titles and graphics and use a green screen too.
The camera is compatible with third-party software like Open Broadcaster Software and XSplit too, so you can stream directly to YouTube, Facebook Live and Twitch if you prefer, and of course, it's also compatible with video conferencing software.
The StreamCam is available in white and graphite and ships with one tripod mount and one monitor mount.
Creative Live! Cam Sync 1080p V2 - Best Balance of Price and Features
- Built-in privacy shield
- Multiple mounting options
- Decent video & audio performance
- No 60fps at 1080p
- Companion app can be awkward to use
Its full name is too wordy, but when so many webcams from well-known brands cost twice the price, it’s easy to look past Creative’s naming strategy.
The Live! Cam Sync dispenses with high resolutions and sticks to what most people actually need from a webcam for remote working: a sensible price and the right features.
It has a handy flip-down cover which physically blocks the lens when you don’t want to be seen. The unit is mounted on a ball-joint so it’s easy to get the precise angle you want, while the folding clip adjusts to fit most PC monitors and laptop screens. There’s also a standard tripod mount set into the clip and the 1.8m USB-A cable should be plenty long enough even if you have your PC mounted underneath your desk.
Put simply, this is a great-value choice if your PC doesn’t have a webcam or you’re fed up with the poor quality of your laptop’s webcam.
As the name suggests, this webcam has a 1080p resolution and it offers good, if unspectacular, video quality. Audio quality is decent too, so you don’t have to rely on your laptop’s built-in mics, which vary in quality a lot.
You don’t have to install it, but the simply named Creative App offers a few settings and features that you can tweak. For video, that’s just choosing between 50Hz and 60Hz to avoid flicker from artificial lighting.
Audio options are more plentiful, but you have to jump through a few hoops to see them. One is Voice Detect that mutes and unmutes the webcam’s mic automatically, and the other reduces background noise.
AverMedia Cam 315 - A Solid All-rounder
- Versatile mounting system
- Indicator light & privacy shield
- 95-degree FOV
- Video can be noisy at times
- No autofocus
AverMedia’s Cam 315 is an excellent webcam suitable for a wide range of situations, whether you’re a live streamer or just want a decent camera for video calls.
For starters, it comes with a versatile design with the ability to swivel 360-degrees and the small ball joint means you can make sure it’s straight even if your laptop or PC isn’t. The mount offers a similar design to others with a small hinge that adjusts to wherever you clip it, plus a 1/4in thread for a tripod.
The overall look is quite plain with a cylindrical shape similar to some Bluetooth speakers. A privacy shutter covers the lens and there are dual microphones along with a blue LED to indicate when the PW315 is on.
In terms of quality, this is a Full HD (1080p) webcam with a smooth frame rate of 60fps. If you want higher then look to the 4K Live Streamer Cam 513. It’s almost certainly higher quality than your built-in webcam and offers a wide-angle lens with a 95-degree view.
Video and audio quality is very good, although a little noisy at times. With the USB-A port, you can simply plug-and-play with the PW315 – no need to install any drivers or software – and it will work with the likes of Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and more. The webcam is compatible with Windows, macOS and Chrome OS.
However, if you want more control, you can install AverMedia’s CamEngine app. This gives you basic control over things like brightness, contrast and zoom along with more advanced settings and features like AI Framing which can automatically crop and pan. There’s also Face Effects like animals but they’re a bit basic.
One feature it doesn’t have is autofocus, so look for the PW310P if that’s something you need.
Razer Kiyo - Best Affordable Webcam Lighting
- Built-in adjustable ring light
- Versatile mounting options
- Perfect for low-light
- No companion app
- Non-adjustable FOV
While many webcams look alike, the Razer Kiyo offers something different; namely, a multi-step ring light surrounding the camera to provide even lighting, even in dark conditions. The ring light comes on automatically when the webcam is in use, and can be adjusted (or turned off completely) via a dial just behind the light.
It’s ideal for those that don’t get a lot of natural light near their PCs and want evenly-lit video. Though the ring is quite large, the good news is that the camera folds back on itself when not in use and doesn’t take up much space.
That’s not the only unique design feature either; the Kiyo features an L-shape joint and a wide, flat base that can be used to either prop the camera on top of your computer display or placed on a desk and angled upwards. It’s easy to find the right angle with the Kiyo, and for those that want something a little more stable, it also features a tripod mount.
The Kiyo boasts a 4Mp camera sensor and like the Logitech C922, it also offers a variable resolution; [email protected] or [email protected] The camera quality is great, and even with the ring light turned off, it handles low-light environments surprisingly well.
It doesn’t have an accompanying app for PC, meaning the camera settings will have to be edited on a per-app basis. It’s not the end of the world, but a simple camera preview app with access to camera settings would’ve been nice – especially for the price.
Overall, though, the Razer Kiyo is an impressive webcam and is the ideal choice if your PC is in a dimly-lit environment.
Webcam buying advice
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 live-streaming gameplay on Twitch or YouTube, 720p or 1080p HD should suffice.
That's mainly because the vast majority of video apps 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 upload) to perfectly stream 4K, after all.
There's not much need for a 4K camera unless you're looking to record video locally instead of stream or chat - if you're looking for a new webcam for your YouTube channel, for example. There's also the ability to digitally zoom in to a 4K camera exporting at 1080p without noticeable loss in quality, perfect for added drama in streams.
In those cases, a 4K webcam could offer the quality and improved detail 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 live streaming.
A built-in microphone is very handy for video calling as it negates the need to use a headset, and provides a more natural chat experience. But, while it's a welcome feature for video calling, it’s not a feature used very often by streamers or YouTubers.
Content creators 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. It'll all depend on what you need the webcam for.
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.
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, featured above.
Some webcams come with a privacy shutter or slide, so you can be sure no one can see you through your camera when you're not on video calls.
But most webcams don't feature this, so we recommend you buy a separate privacy shutter and stick it on the webcam. The higher-end webcams will also have a light or two showing you when it is on.