Webcams used to be a pretty cut and dry market. Logitech served most people's general needs with mainstays like the Logitech c920 and the Logitech Brio 4K, and premium manufacturers like Razer addressed niche markets like video game streamers. But after the 2020 pandemic shifted a whole new set of workers to telecommuting, companies raced to enter the market with their own, new options.
Stock was so tricky to find for most of 2020 that which webcam you bought was dependent less on quality and more on availability. But now that we're in 2021, that's finally starting to change. Webcam stock is stabilizing across all contenders, which means we now feel confident making a list of the all-time best webcams of 2021.
Quick Shopping Tips
Here’s a few details to keep in mind when shopping for the best webcam.
- Streaming vs work cam: The webcam market is mostly split into two categories: work, and livestreaming. Livestreaming webcams can run on the expensive side, sometimes up to $500, in exchange for additional features such as 4K, professional-level microphones, and wide-angle lenses.
But since video compression and lag are still problems for most conference call apps, you probably won’t need these features for a home office, with 1080p and often even 720p support being appropriate for most situations.
- The best webcams on the market used to always include some sort of built-in microphone, but that doesn’t mean the audio quality is always top-notch -- or even good. With webcams usually situated above and away from your face, it’s not uncommon for built-in mics to be quiet and include plenty of background noise or echo. Consider supplementing your purchase with one of the best gaming headsets or best gaming microphones. We've also been seeing great webcams without microphones lately, even from big companies like Dell, so this rule is rapidly changing.
- Lighting is a bonus: While built-in lighting isn’t a standard feature on most consumer-level webcams quite yet, manufacturers like Razer are doing their best to change that. It doesn’t matter how capable your camera is if your office’s lighting is too dark to take advantage of it.
Best Webcams 2021
An oldie but a goodie, Logitech's C920 has been the gold standard for webcams since it launched way back in 2013. Even after seven years, it’s still arguably the best webcam for video conferencing. There are other versions of the camera, notably the C920S, which comes with a privacy shutter, and the C922, which is designed for streaming.
All versions of the Logitech C920 have the same excellent 78-degree field of view lens that can show not only you, but the room behind you or the people sitting next to you. The 1080p sensor picks up plenty of detail even in low light and its color reproduction was once the best we've seen. Senior Editor Andrew Freedman wrote a Logitech C920 review for Laptop Mag back in 2016 and he was impressed with both the image quality and width.
He also noted that the camera’s dual microphones picked up clear sound, though in a crowded office, they also picked up some background noise. But If you're in a quiet room, they should be fine for casual calls.
Time has caught up to this camera a bit, in that more recent rivals have made its color reproduction look a little washed out. But it’s still a solid, consistent performer that will serve you well if you want something tried and true.
Costing $10 less than the Logitech C920 and generally being more available even as stock refreshes, the Microsoft Modern Webcam is also more feature full than its older competitor and tended to produce warmer, more accurate colors in our time with it.
Its monitor mount is a little on the wobbly end on some monitors, especially those that aren’t flat along the back, but you can get it stable with some artful balancing. That said, the sliding physical camera shutter still gives this webcam a premium feel at first glance.
It’s also got an intuitive app that’s designed to look like a Windows menu, although it’s not that powerful. It is where you’ll adjust most of this camera’s special features, though, which include HDR and flicker reduction powered by its ability to capture footage at 60 fps. This webcam’s 1080p @ 60 fps capture is a big get for streamers, especially since competing, gaming focused webcams can often reach into the hundreds of dollars.
It’s unfortunate that you can’t swivel or rotate this camera for better shooting angles. While the C920 shares that limitation, there are lower budget options with that flexibility. But if you want a camera in the C920’s space that doesn’t wash out colors as much and has more options, the Microsoft Modern Webcam is an easy choice. Just be careful if your monitor is too curvy along its back.
If you have money to spare, the $199 Dell Ultrasharp Webcam is an easy frontrunner. This camera’s got a load of features, including 4K @ 30 fps and 1080p @ 60 fps recording, plus HDR and even optional AI that helps keep you in frame. It’s also got three different field of view options, and lots of customizability thanks to the ability to turn on manual focus and zoom sliders. But where this camera really blew us away was on image quality. Regardless of which resolution you pick, this camera’s footage looks sharp and has the most flattering lighting and colors we’ve seen yet. There’s no artifacts or weird pale or yellowish tones to be found here.
There are a few issues in the build. While the camera itself feels sturdy and looks stylish, it’s got a lot of small parts you’ll need to swap in and out. For instance, the monitor mount and tripod mount are two separate pieces. You can easily change them in and out since they both fit into the same magnetic slot, but once you add in the magnetic webcam cover, that’s a lot of extra stuff to keep track of. The monitor mount also lacks feet, which means it can feel unstable when setting the camera up. I don’t feel like it’s going to fall off my monitor, but it did take some work to get it to that point.
Still, that’s all worth it for this almost mirror-like image quality. This is definitely one of the more expensive cameras on this list, but given all of this camera’s features and how little you have to work to make its footage look good (although there’s plenty of post-processing options available to you in its easy to navigate software), it easily justifies its price.
At about twice the price of the standard casual use webcam, the Razer Kiyo is an entry-level model for professional streaming. Still, it’s far more approachable than other options like the $400 MeVo.
Its almost $100 price tag will net you standard 1080p recording at 30 fps, but also 720p recording at 60 fps. It also includes a built-in omnidirectional microphone, but it’s key feature is an adjustable ring light, which will help with dark offices.
Tom's Hardware Senior Editor Andrew Freedman wrote a Razer Kiyo review for Laptop Mag when it came out in 2017, where he praised this webcam's excellent image quality and flexible design. He also said the image capture was about on par with Logitech's C920 series, the industry leader.
If you’re willing to spend a small premium to get a name-brand webcam, this webcam will not only be great for conferencing, but also for game streaming if you want to start streaming on Twitch.
The Razer Kiyo Pro is Razer’s 2021 update to the Razer Kiyo, and it adds plenty of new features that will be very helpful for content creators and amateur filmmakers alike. These include HDR recording, the ability to capture footage at 1080p @ 60 fps, a light sensor that adjusts how much light the webcam captures to make images as flattering as possible regardless of lighting, and a microphone with headset-level audio quality.
All of these features come at the loss of the original Kiyo’s ring light and a new $199 cost. While the light sensor impresses enough to make the loss of the ring light sting less, that new cost does limit the camera to creators who need its extra features as opposed to a more everyday audience.
The Kiyo Pro’s features can also be a touch difficult to access, as you’ll need Razer Synapse to change settings like field of view or how warm/cool your photos are. And to access 60 fps recording, you’ll need to set that up separately in your recording software.
The price also puts the Kiyo Pro on par with the Logitech Brio 4K, which has the benefit of capturing footage in, well, 4K. But given that most streaming platforms don’t support 4K yet, the Kiyo Pro’s other features do help justify its cost despite its 1080p max resolution.
The Kiyo Pro’s image quality is still plenty excellent, and its 60fps recording is great for game streamers while its HDR capture makes it more appealing to just about everyone. Most people can probably make do without these bells and whistles, but if you want something premium and aren’t sold on 4K, the Kiyo Pro is a solid bet.
Like its popular sibling, the Logitech C920 / C920S, the Logitech C930e has excellent image quality with superior color reproduction, sharpness and low-light performance. However, it one ups the C920 series by providing a Carl Zeiss lens that has a 90-degree field of view.
One of the very best webcams you can get at any price, the C930e also comes standard with a privacy shutter. Its dual, omni-directional mics also provide better noise cancelling than the C920. The main advantage that the C920 and C920S typically have is price as the C930e's MSRP is $129 as compared to $69 for the C920S.
The Logitech StreamCam is a premium option, aimed at giving streamers and other content creators everything they need in one package. The focus here is more on convenience than pure quality, however.
The StreamCam is a special contender on our list in that it supports all resolutions from 240p to 1080p, and is able to stream or record each at any frame rate from 5 to 60. Though most will, of course, want to use the highest setting of 1080 60 fps, this lets those with low bandwidth customize their usage to their liking.
It also comes with a built-in omnidirectional microphone, complete with a small noise filter, as well as a white indicator LED, a standard tripod mount (in addition to a monitor mount), auto-focus and exposure, USB-C connectivity, and streaming software for fine-tuning filtering and other capture details. Those who prefer vertical video can also remove the camera from its mount and physically rotate it to shoot with full HD 9:16 video.
At $170 officially, the Logitech StreamCam usually sells for just $30 less than the Logitech Brio 4K Ultra, but since most streaming platforms don’t support 4K yet, its unique bonus features still make it an enticing buy.
The Logitech Brio 4K has been the name in 4K webcams since it was first introduced in 2017, but that doesn't mean it gets a free pass. While its image quality is hard to argue against, Tom's Hardware Senior Editor Andrew Freedman still had problems with it back when he reviewed it for Laptop Mag.
But let's start with the positives. The first being right there in the name: this camera captures high quality 4K footage. That alone makes it stand out on this list, since even our premium contenders mostly top out at 1080p. In his review, Andrew praised the Brio 4K's color accuracy and field of view. But this camera can also do 1080p @ 60fps recording, letting it compete with the Razer Kiyo Pro as well.
Andrew did feel that the Brio 4K fell behind even the Logitech C920 in a dark room however, and had some gripes with the build quality. The monitor mount, for instance, didn't feel as if it attached securely, and the optional, detachable privacy cover came across as a cheap afterthought, even leaving residue on the camera.
There's also the question of who needs a 4K webcam. Since most livestreaming apps top out at 1080p, the audience for this camera is going to be niche. Its 60 fps option and high quality lens helps it maintain some relevance at 1080p, but it lacks the creature comforts of the Logitech StreamCam or Razer Kiyo Pro.
Still, there's no denying that this camera probably produces the prettiest images and video on this list. Assuming you can find a use case for it.
Elgato’s long been a contender in the streaming realm, with capture cards and stream decks that make it a popular brand among content creators, but the Elgato Facecam is its first webcam. With that comes a few first-time jitters that need to be worked out, but the Elgato Facecam still has unique advantages that might justify its lack of features elsewhere, assuming you’re part of its target, hardcore steamer audience.
At $199, the Elgato Facecam costs as much as the Razer Kiyo Pro and the Dell Ultrasharp webcam, but it doesn’t have 4K or HDR. What it does have is 1080p @ 60 fps recording, a fixed focus lens, and live ISO information in its software. While 1080p @ 60 fps footage isn’t unique to this camera, those last two features are rare even on other specialty equipment. But if you spend hours in front of a desk broadcasting to viewers every day, they might be plenty useful for you.
The Elgato Facecam’s fixed focus lens is optimized to depict any subjects within 3 to 5 feet of the lens with perfect clarity, which is perfect if you’re just showing off your streaming space. This lets you quickly move about your space and bring new objects on screen without waiting for autofocus to catch up. Meanwhile, the live ISO feed lets you easily adjust your room’s lighting.
Still, those are hardcore features that even a good deal of streamers probably won’t be interested in. The Elgato Facecam’s build also comes with some compromises, in that the plastic feels cheap and the camera itself is pretty topheavy on its monitor mount. Plus, given its lack of more generally applicable features like HDR, which other cameras at this price point do have, we can’t recommend this for everyone. But to its target niche, it’s unique strengths might be worth its lack of consideration elsewhere.
Read: Elgato Facecam Review
The Ausdom AW635 is one of the cheaper webcams on this list, coming in at $53.99 on the official Ausdom Amazon listing. It’s half the size of the Logitech C920, records in 1080p @ 30 fps, and has a built-in omnidirectional microphone. What makes it unique is its zoom.
The Ausdom AW635 shoots zoomed-in video that fits about one head in frame, making it ideal for video chats, but not much else. There’s no way to control the zoom on the AW635, but if you want the focus to be squarely on you and not on your background, it will do that for you.
As for its video quality, its colors tend to appear lighter than in real life, its autofocus tends to be sensitive and frequently adjust and it’s more prone to glare than the Ausdom AF640. Texture also doesn’t come across well on the AW635, making it a better choice for casual use than business use.
It’s microphone, unfortunately, has a quiet, fuzzy and muffled sound quality.
But in a nice touch that gives it some added versatility, it will swivel 360 degrees. However, it won’t tilt up or down.
Its price still makes it cheaper than other options on this list, and while it might not be as reliable as the Logitech C920 or even the Logitech C525, it will work well if you don't want to break the bank.
The Ausdom AW651 is Ausdom’s most recent webcam, and it makes for a more powerful alternative to the Ausdom AW635 we posted higher up the list. And while it costs twice as much as that camera, it only costs about $10 more than the Logitech C920’s MSRP. While the camera’s sensor can produce overly sharp images and it resorts to distributing clunky freeware rather than coming up with its own software, it is a technically capable device that offers a lot of capability for its price point.
This camera produced bright footage with accurate colors when we reviewed it, in part thanks to its ability to capture at 1440p. If you prefer to shoot at 1080p, you can also capture footage at 60 fps with this device, which will be useful for game streamers. HDR is another feature here, and in a nice touch, this camera comes with a tripod and can also rotate 360 degrees. Its tilt is a bit more limited, ranging from 180 degrees when pointing down to 30 degrees when pointing up.
This camera’s software is its biggest problem, since it suggests you use a freeware program called Amcap to configure it. This is a powerful but clunky program that reminds you of the small company jank Ausdom still can’t quite escape from, and while you can use the Windows camera app instead, it’s not quite as powerful. Luckily, there’s other freeware solutions like OBS or Nvidia Broadcast that you can use to configure this device instead.
READ: Ausdom AW651 Review
The Opal C1 webcam is at once a very exciting indication of things to come in the future of webcams overall and also a niche product that probably won’t appeal to most users. If money is no object, then yes, this camera probably takes the best photos and video on this list. At the same time, it costs $300, its software is Mac-only, and said software costs $4 a month.
It’s an easy-to-use software suite, sure, and there are convenient features like bokeh and an AI powered touch-up function. But we’ve seen similar functionality for cheaper elsewhere, and it doesn’t make you sign up for yet another “service.”
What makes the Opal C1 worth keeping an eye on is its focus on “computational photography.” This is a technique primarily used in smartphones, and it’s why your iPhone’s camera usually captures better looking footage than the webcam attached to your $2000 laptop. Sure, the camera sensors themselves are powerful, but the real magic is the small edits your phone does in real-time to beef up an image before you even see it.
Webcams, for the most part, don’t employ that trick, and that’s because they usually don’t have beefy processors of their own. The Opal C1, meanwhile, uses the Intel Myriad X, a VPU that specializes in on-device neural networks. The result is stunning, and even if photography purists will decry the lack of neutrality that comes with your camera editing your photo before you even see it, it does a great job of showing you in your most flattering light. It’s just probably not so flattering that it’s worth $300+. Still, it’s tech we want to see other brands look into incorporating into their own webcams in the future.
Read: Opal C1 review
Aukey is more well known for making some of the best chargers on the market than it is for making webcams, but at a typical $55 price with frequent sales, its 1080p Logitech c920 clone is one of the better budget options people have.
It helps that this comes from a company I’ve heard of before making this list, and while it’s not exactly on par with a Logitech, the Aukey webcam’s image quality beats most of the other contenders on this list while remaining competitive on pricing. Colors were a little warmer than real life in normal lighting conditions, but the angle for my shots was nice and wide while texture was impressively accurate.
This camera also has a few features the c920 lacks, namely its robust vertical tilt and 360 degree horizontal swivel. Audio recorded on its built-in microphone was clear and loud, though a little sharp and prone to picking up background noise.
As of June 14th, the only store where we could find this webcam in stock was Aukey's own.
Sometimes, you need a bit more from a webcam, but don’t want to break the bank. Usually, recording at 60 fps or in HDR requires you to spend up to almost $200, but Anker’s new PowerConf C300 packs those features at a much more affordable $130 price point. You’ll have to deal with some laggy software to access most of them, and the included detachable, adhesive camera shutters are so cheaply made that you might as well not use them at all. But with fidelity that frequently beats the Logitech C920 and lots of customizability, including multiple field of view options, this is a great choice for those who like to tinker. There’s even automatic AI framing to help you keep your shots focused on you as you move about, although it’s a little tricky to actually trigger it.
Finding Discounts on the Best Webcams
Whether you're shopping for one of the best webcams or one that didn't quite make our list, you may find savings by checking out the latest Logitech promo codes, Newegg promo codes, Amazon promo codes, Razer promo codes or Micro Center coupons.
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