Now that school is back in session for many kids and college students, going back to school requires a whole new set of tools, one of which is a webcam. Whether you're working from home or schooling from home; whether you need the best webcam for streaming, like the Logitech Streamcam, or just want a webcam for Zoom or Skype calls, we've got the best for your needs from low-cost and basic to pro-level for influencers.
Note: While these are our picks for the best webcams for Mac and PC, there is a widespread shortage due to COVID-19. If you need one right now, no matter what, here's where you can check out the latest in-stock webcams.
The best webcam for Mac to buy right now
- Logitech C920 Pro - Best webcam for most people: A 1080p camera with autocorrect features everyone needs to look great in any light.
- Logitech 930e - Best webcam for PC: Plug-and-play versatility with built-in mic.
- Wansview 1080P Webcam - Best budget webcam: Proof that you can get an excellent webcam for less.
- Razer Kiyo - Best webcam for Twitch gamers: A fan favorite of the gaming community.
- Logitech StreamCam - Best webcam for content creators: With USB-C, facial tracking, and vertical video support to look your best while you stream.
- Hrayzan Webcam - Best wide-angle webcam: With 110-degree viewing angle, it's perfect for group video.
- Logitech Brio: Best webcam with 4K: If you need 4K, you want this webcam.
What are the best webcams you can buy right now?
Finding the best webcam for Mac and PC is a harder question to answer right now, during the widespread pandemic, than it ever has been before. The Logitech C920 Pro is the best all-around webcam because it has a 1080p camera, built-in microphone, auto-focus and lighting correction, and comes at a good price. The problem is that it sells out soon after retailers get them in stock. If you're not in a hurry, I recommend waiting around until you can get the C920.
The Logitech Brio is the 4K webcam everyone is talking about and is an excellent webcam if you have a YouTube channel. The problem is that most video services and social networking sites don't support 4K, so you won't be able to take advantage of the more-expensive technology if you're just looking for video chats or daily Stories.
If you need your webcam to fulfill your basic needs and don't want to spend a lot, the Wansview 1080p Webcam is a remarkably good webcam for its price ... which is remarkably low.
Note: These are our best picks for the best webcam for Mac and PC, but there is a widespread shortage of webcams due to COVID-19. If you need something right now, check out the latest in-stock webcams.
1. Logitech C920 Pro
Best Webcam for Most People
Resolution: 1080p | FPS: 30 | Built-in Mic: Stereo | Field of View: 78-degree | Connector Type: USB-A
- Universal clip
- Mic quality is low
- Rarely available
The Logitech C920 Pro is the most popular webcam for Mac and for a very good reason. It's easy to set up and use right out of the box and has a good quality camera for a reasonable price. Quite a few people on the iMore team use the C920 and the iMore Show podcast crew, including former host Rene Ritchie, all have the C920.
In today's high-definition world, everyone's webcam should at least have a 1080p camera, but unfortunately, most of the Mac lineup only has 720p iSight cameras. You're going to appreciate this spec bump.
The C920 is a plug-and-play stand-alone webcam, which means you don't need anything extra, like an external USB microphone for Mac, to get the job done. Keep in mind, however, that no webcam has good quality mic support, and the C920 is no exception. It'll work in a pinch, but a headphone mic (like in the AirPods Pro) or external mic would be ideal.
The five-element lens camera array has built-in autofocus to make you look crisp and clear and having just the slightest bit of background blur for a quality stream. It also has built-in lighting adjustment to pull in more light in darker situations or less light in brighter rooms.
The C920 Pro is so popular that, unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to buy at its suggested retail price of $80. As more people are working from home or going back to school remotely, you'll be holding a golden goose if you get your hands on one right now.
This is our top pick for anyone looking for the best webcams for Mac. It's all-around easy to set up and use and works great right out of the box. It's currently tough to find, so if it becomes available at the correct price of $80, you should grab one and count yourself lucky.
2. Logitech 930e
Best Webcam for PC
Resolution: 1080p | FPS: 30 | Built-in Mic: dual omni-directional | Field of View: 90-degree | Connector Type: USB 2.0
- Support for more video services
- Easy setup
- Manual zoom (4x)
- H.264 video compression
- Software is confusing
The 930e is Logitech's business webcam with certified compatibility for some of the most popular video services, like Skype for Business and Cisco. It also has built-in enhanced integration with BlueJeans, Vidyo, Zoom, LifeSize Cloud, Broadsoft, and Zoom. It's easy to set up. All you have to do is plug it into a USB-A connector on your computer. It uses USB 2.0 but is compatible with USB 3.0.
With the Camera Settings app, you can manually control zoom and pan. You can zoom up to 4x, which is nice if you're trying to hide the cluttered corner of your living room.
Though it has its own settings app, the software experience can be confusing. It isn't compatible with older Windows and Mac software and can sometimes act weird if you try to plug it into a USB 3.0 port. Luckily, the Camera Settings app is optional. If the software isn't compatible with your PC, you can just use the webcam without zoom or pan (autofocus still works, though!).
The 930e also uses H.264 video compression, so you're less likely to experience lag or video skips while on your conference call. It features UVC 1.5 encoding to keep resource usage to a minimum.
3. Wansview 1080p Webcam
Best Budget Webcam
Resolution: 1080p | FPS: 30 | Built-in Mic: Noise-canceling | Field of View: 90-degree | Connector Type: USB 2.0
- Very inexpensive
- Mic works up to 20 feet away
- Great picture quality
- No auto-focus
- Wide-angle rounds the edges
Though the saying, "you get what you pay for," is great advice most of the time, this budget model proves not all of the best webcams for Mac are expensive. It's pretty darn good for its price. It has 1080p support with a crisp, clear picture, including darker rooms.
The microphone has subject recognition, so even if you're on the other side of a room while you're talking, it will pick up on your voice while blocking out the sound of the dog barking outside.
I realize I mentioned this already, but the picture quality is remarkably clear, crisp, and bright, especially for a webcam that costs about half of what other popular brands offer.
This webcam has an adjustable lens for focusing, but that means it does not have autofocus, so you're going to want to set up your camera before you join that video call. I think it also uses software to create a wider field of view, which results in rounded corners at the edges of your view. If your camera is set up with a wall or other background set close behind you, it won't be noticeable, but you may see curves in the door frame or bookshelf if you're not sitting right in front of it.
For such a low price, it's not going to be perfect, but this Wansview webcam is pretty impressive.
4. Razer Kiyo
Best Webcam for Twitch gamers
Resolution: 1080p/720p | FPS: 30/60 | Built-in Mic: Integrated | Field of View: 81.6-degree | Connector Type: USB 2.0
- Built-in ring light
- 60 FPS (at 720p)
- Easy to use
- Regular firmware updates
- Special functions don't work on Mac
Gaming live streams have become more popular than ever over the past few months. If you were already a game streamer, good on you for getting in early. If you're starting out, this is a great starter webcam for a couple of reasons.
Speaking from the experience of someone who live streams regularly, a good light source is absolutely necessary for proper brightness, and a light ring is perfect for getting that brightness you need right on your face. The Kiyo comes with a built-in light ring right around the camera's lens, so you're going to be well-lit whenever you're facing the camera.
The Kiyo also streams in either 30FPS or 60PFS, depending on the pixel quality. If you want a crisp, sharp image, you'll use 1080p at 30FPS, but if you want to show the speed and agility of your avatar as you blast through 100 unsuspecting builders, you can reduce the resolution to 720p and ramp up the frames-per-second to 60. This is why the Kiyo is a game streamer's webcam. It'll catch all of the action without stutter, lag, or skips.
Razer does a good job of keeping the Kiyo up to date. Since it launched, it's had several major updates to improve performance, so you know you're investing with a company that takes care of its customers.
The Kiyo, unfortunately, does not have full support for Mac. It does work as a basic webcam with a light ring, but the software needed to adjust the settings just don't work with Mac, so the Kiyo is more of a "plug and go" type webcam if you're on the Mac.
5. Logitech StreamCam
Best Webcam for Content Creators
Resolution: 1080p | FPS: 60 | Built-in Mic: Dual omnidirectional mic | Field of View: 78-degree | Connector Type: USB-C
- Support for OBS
- Vertical Video support
- 1080p at 60FPS
- Companion software for content creators
- Only 78-degree FoV
- Doesn't work well with USB-A adapters
The StreamCam has everything a YouTube influencer would need from a webcam. It is optimized for Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), StreamLabs, XSplit, and more, making streaming to the most popular social platforms, like Twitch and YouTube easy. It uses USB-C for faster video transfer speeds, so you won't experience lag or stutter from the camera.
Because the USB-C connecter is permanently fixed to the camera, however, this means PCs that don't have a USB-C port will need to use an adapter, which can cause friction with performance. If you don't have a USB-C port on your computer, I'd recommend checking out the C920 Pro instead.
The StreamCam supports vertical video, which is a huge bonus for influencers whose main platform is Instagram or Twitter. You no longer have to use your phone to record your streams. Set up the StreamCam in vertical mode for high-quality 1080p streams in 60FPS.
The companion software, Logitech Capture offers a multitude of tools designed specifically for content creators. You can record from two webcams and combine them into a single scene, add text overlays, customize your webcam settings, add transitions, and more.
This camera is designed for the close-up, so it only has a 78-degree field of view (FoV). That's a great positioning view for most situations, but it'll be more difficult for you to fit in a second person, or a particularly well-designed living room in the background. There's no wide-angle here.
The StreamCam is a webcam with a microphone designed to capture your voice while you talk, so if you don't yet have an external mic set up, you can just plug this in and run with it, no extra hardware needed.
Best Wide-Angle Webcam
Resolution: 1080p | FPS: 30 | Built-in Mic: Noise reduction | Field of View: 110-degree | Connector Type: USB 2.0
- Includes privacy cover
- Includes desktop tripod
- Poor mic quality
- Edge distortion
Sometimes, 90 degrees is just not enough of a field of view. If you want to fit a group of people into your video chat, you may need something wider, and that's where this ultra-wide-angle webcam comes in. With the widest viewing angle at 110 degrees, you can video chat with the whole family and room to spare for the dog.
This Hrayzan webcam comes with a privacy cover, which is very comforting when you hear about how webcams can be hacked. It also comes with a desktop tripod, in case you don't want to mount it on your computer. It uses a magnetic mount, however, so you don't have to worry about permanent fixation.
Though this is a webcam with a microphone, the quality of the mic is muffled. With the video output, you may notice some edge distortion due to the extra stretching of the wide-angle.
This is relatively inexpensive for having a 1080p ultra-wide-angle lens, and it is regularly in stock.
7. Logitech Brio
Best Webcam with 4K
Resolution: 4K | FPS: 30 | Built-in Mic: Dual omni-directional | Field of View: 90-degree | Connector Type: USB 3.0
- 4K resolution
- Works with Windows Hello
- 5X digital zoom
- USB 3.0 interface
- USB 3.0 required for 4K
The Brio is considered the best webcam for Mac and PC because of its 4K camera. There aren't a lot of webcams on the market that support 4K; it's still a somewhat niche market. Video chat services like Skype don't support 4K. A 4K webcam makes more sense for live-streaming or recording video that you later upload somewhere.
The Brios camera system includes optical and infrared sensors for facial recognition, which works with Windows Hello to secure your Windows-based computer.
With the companion Camera Settings software, you can manually adjust the field of view from 65, 78, or 90 degrees. You can also adjust the frame rate and resolution and manually zoom up to 5x.
The Brio is set up to be future-proof with a USB 3.0 interface. It does work with USB 2.0 ports, but the only way you'll be able to record full 4K is with a USB 3.0 port, so make sure your Mac or PC meets these minimum requirements for 4K video recording.
How to set up your webcam like a pro
We've listed the cream of the crop for the best webcam for Mac, PC, and streaming, but there is more to a webcam than just the camera itself. Lighting, positioning, and audio are also important to get the best quality video. You don't have to be a pro to look like one, and you don't necessarily need to spend money like a pro to look like you have.
Do you need a webcam tripod?
All of the webcams on our list, and most webcams of any brand, come with their own mount that you can put directly onto your computer, whether it's a laptop or a desktop. So you don't need a tripod. There are, however, some reasons why you may want a tripod for your webcam.
Positioning is key to good framing with a webcam. When you mount your webcam to your computer, you don't have very much flexibility in how high, or which direction it faces. You may have already noticed that a lot of people in video chats look like they're looking down at something instead of directly at the screen. That's because their webcam is sitting up high at the top of a large-screen computer, way above eye level. Or, you may have also noticed that you're always looking up the nose of your video chat mate. That's because they're using a laptop (probably on their lap), with the camera below their chin.
Ideally, you'd have your webcam positioned directly in front of your face with about 2 feet between you and the camera (webcams with zoom make it even easier to adjust the closeness). You also want to have your head take up more of the screen than you realize. You don't want your background to be the main focus. When possible, get the top of your head to sit about an inch or two below the top of the screen.
Sometimes, just a minor adjustment to the left or right will enhance your angle. A webcam lets you make these small rotations, as well as angle up or down.
Do you need special webcam lighting?
If you're having Zoom, Skype, or Hangouts meeting with friends, family, or coworkers, you can make use of the natural lighting around you instead of spending the extra money on special lighting. The key is to have a window that lets in light in front of you. The natural sunlight will give you nice lighting without being too bright. A window off to the side will work, too. But ideally, it should be in front of you. Don't video chat or stream with your back to bright light; this will turn you into a shadow.
If you're doing more than video conferencing with friends, family, or coworkers, you may want to consider some additional lighting options. A ring light is a standard amongst video podcasters and streamers. It provides a nice bright light directly on your face to keep you from having weird shadows in places like under your eyes or nose, which aren't very flattering.
Be aware, however, that with a ring light comes some additional lighting needs. Depending on the type of ring light you use, you may end up washed out in your dimly lit room. So, if you don't have a decent amount of natural light surrounding your room, you should look into a panel light or two, or at least place a desk lamp or two behind your webcam, reflecting off of a wall to create ambient lighting.
We could go much deeper into lighting for webcams, but that's a story for a different article.
Do you need a webcam with a microphone?
Every webcam on this list, and most webcams in general, come with a built-in microphone, but most of them have subpar mics. Again, if you're chatting with friends and family or sitting in on a meeting, the microphone in your webcam is probably good enough, but it might be a little muffled or underwater-sounding.
I don't ever use the built-in microphone on any webcam, but I do use my headphones. Any headphones with a microphone will work just fine with your computer and webcam. There's no special driver needed. Just connect your headphones to your computer, and when you start up your video chat or streaming program, just check the settings to make sure it's connected to your headphones or earbuds.
If, however, you're trying to get your brand recognized, you should definitely spend the extra money on a quality microphone. Audio quality is just as important, and I would even argue more important than video quality. You should have an external microphone connected directly to the device you record audio to. The best podcasting microphone is going to be one that has frequency adjustors and noise reduction. You should also get a microphone mount to protect against accidental table bumps.
Pay close attention when buying a microphone for your computer. If it isn't natively a USB microphone, you're also going to need to get an audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Lory Gil is the managing editor of iMore, the co-host of the iMore Show podcast, and MacBreak Weekly. She's been using webcams since before they were popular and knows what's important when finding the best webcam for Mac, PC, and streaming.
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