The best webcams you can buy in 2021
In the past year and a half, we’ve been spending a lot more time at home. In-person meetings and gatherings have often been replaced by virtual get-togethers, and it’s become more important than ever to have a good webcam. However, the PC market hasn’t necessarily followed. Be it the result of shrinking bezels or the simple belief that users don’t care about webcam quality, even some of the best laptops still have bad cameras. Sometimes they’re horribly placed, and sometimes they’re just not there at all. If you’re in need of a camera upgrade, we’ve rounded up some of the best webcams you can buy today.
As usual, we’re going to cover a few different categories to help you find something that fits your needs and your budget. Whether you’re looking to get a super cheap webcam or a very high-end one, we’ve got options for you.
Navigate this article:
- Best overall: Logitech C920S
- Best with a ring light: Razer Kiyo
- Best 4K webcam: Dell UltraSharp
- Best USB Type-C webcam: Logitech StreamCam
- Best wide-angle webcam: Anker PowerConf C300
- Cheap Windows Hello: Lenovo 500 Full HD Webcam
- Cheap with a ring light: Angetube 967
- Cheap starter webcam: Wansview 1080p webcam
Best overall: Logitech C920S
Surprising as it may seem, this webcam from many years ago is still in the spotlight today. There’s good reason for it, too. It handles live video and recordings at 1080p and 30fps, and it features dual microphones for stereo audio capture. The 78-degree field of view isn’t super wide, but if you’re usually alone on camera, it should do just fine. It has autofocus and light correction to adapt to different situations, and there’s even a built-in privacy shutter, which is always nice to have.
You can also use Logitech’s Capture app to adjust camera settings on Windows or macOS, but the camera will also work with Chrome OS. Of course, this isn’t the pinnacle of image quality, but considering its official price tag of $69.99, it’s really good. It will certainly be better than any laptop webcam you’re using right now.
Also great: Microsoft Modern Webcam
If you want something a little more recent, Microsoft recently launched the Microsoft Modern Webcam, and this is also a great choice. It’s another 1080p camera, and it costs the same as the Logitech C920s, but it’s packing some modern features like HDR and True Look, which can help you look your best under different lighting conditions. It also has auto focus, so you should look clear at any distance from the camera.
The webcam includes a built-in privacy shutter so you can block unwanted attention, and the camera actually integrates with Microsoft Teams, so if you close the shutter, it turns your video off altogether instead of showing a black image. The opposite also happens if you uncover the camera during a Teams call, too. The camera also has a mounting system that can be used on a laptop, a desktop monitor, or a dedicated stand, you have options for how you want to set up, too.
In terms of compatibility, the Microsoft Modern Webcam will work on any Windows version from Windows 8 onward, as well as macOS 10.15 or newer. However, some features are only available on Windows.
Best webcam with a ring light: Razer Kiyo
If you’re used to hosting live streams in dark rooms, it can be difficult to have a camera that captures you well in the dark. The Razer Kiyo addresses that issues by building a ring light around the camera, so your face is always well lit. That light intensity can be easily adjusted by rotating the dial on the camera, so you can customize it to fit your setup and stay comfortable. As for the design, the Razer Kiyo is foldable so you can more easily store it and take it with you on the road.
The camera can record at up to 1080p at 30fps or 720p at 60fps. The lower resolution and higher framerate are ideal if you’re streaming games, with the game taking up most of the screen. You can customize various image settings with Razer Synapse, and using the app is definitely recommended. You can switch between auto and manual focus, color balance, and more. It also allows you to get firmware updates, which Razer has released to improve the image quality and add more options.
Best 4K webcam: Dell UltraSharp Webcam
If quality is your top priority, you’re not going to find a better webcam than the Dell UltraSharp Webcam. For one thing, it’s a 4K webcam, which is just a very high resolution, higher than most streaming services or meeting apps will support right now, really. Still, that gets you incredible quality, and Dell is using a Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor, which means you’ll still get a very clear picture in dim environments. It supports HDR too, so detail is clear in both light and dark areas of the image.
On top of being a regular camera, the Dell UltraSharp also supports Windows Hello, so you can use it to unlock your PC hands-free. If you’re worried about privacy, it comes with a lens cover that attaches magnetically to the camera so it’s easy to place it and remove it as needed.
The Dell UltraSharp has a 90-degree field of view, which is pretty wide, but you can also change it depending on your use. It can go as low as 65°, which is perfect if you want your face to be the sole focus of the video feed. On top of that, it uses AI to keep you in the frame if you move around, making it easier for people to stay focused on you.
It also includes features like autofocus and automatic white balance so colors look good as the lighting changes. It’s hard to go wrong with this one, even if the $200 price tag is a little steep. Another great option if you want a high-end 4K camera is the Logitech Brio, which may be easier to find at a discount since it’s a slightly older model.
- The Dell UltraSharp offers the best image quality of any webcam you can get today. It supports up to 4K videos and it uses a Sony STARVIS sensor that makes it suitable for very dim environments as well as daytime. Add features like smart framing, autofocus, and auto white balance, and it's hard to ask for much more.
Best USB Type-C webcam: Logitech StreamCam
As USB Type-C becomes more widely adopted, some laptops are starting to ship without USB Type-A ports, as is the case of the Dell XPS 13 or Apple’s MacBooks, which only have Thunderbolt. If you want a webcam you can use without adapters, the Logitech StreamCam is a solid option.
Actually, it’s just a great camera overall — it supports 1080p video at 60fps, which is great. It’s not 4K, but most meeting software or streaming apps don’t support that resolution anyway. It has some versatility, too — you can rotate the camera 90 degrees to record vertical video if you need it.
It has other benefits too, like smart autofocus with face tracking and auto exposure. Plus, you can tweak settings using the Logitech Capture app, which gives you some extra capabilities for streaming and recording. It’s a really solid camera, and with the USB Type-C connector, you’re future-proofing yourself, since we might see more and more laptops ditch USB Type-A ports over time.
- The Logitech StreamCam is a great webcam that supports 1080p video at 60fps, and it includes features like smart autofocus and auto exposure. It also gives you the option to easily rotate the camera to record vertical videos, and the use of USB Type-C makes it a great option for modern laptops without USB Type-A ports.
Best wide-angle: Anker PowerConf C300
All the options we’ve covered so far are pretty good if you’re alone participating in meetings or streaming, but what if you want more people in the frame? The Anker PowerConf C300 has a very wide 115° field of view, so multiple people can show up together. If you’re alone though, you can adjust the field of view with the AnkerWork software, plus the webcam uses AI framing to keep you centered in the frame as you move.
As for image quality, the Anker PowerConf supports 1080p video at 60fps, and it comes with some AI features to help it adapt to different scenarios. AI lighting can improve image quality in dim environments, while AI colors can perfect the color balance in the image. The webcam also supports HDR and autofocus, though there’s no option for manual focus if you want it.
Another benefit of the Anker PowerConf is its flexibility. The monitor mount has multiple hinges to adjust the angle of the camera, and you can also swivel it at 300° so it can be pointed wherever you need it to be.
- The Anker PowerConf C300 is a great webcam if you're participating in calls with a big group thanks to its wide field-of-view. However, you can adjust it, and it features solid webcam quality at 1080p and 60fps, along with some smart features to improve image quality.
Cheap Windows Hello: Lenovo 500 Full HD USB Webcam
If you’re looking to add Windows Hello facial recognition to your setup, this Lenovo webcam is a great and affordable option. In addition to the IR camera, it has a regular 1080p webcam that supports 30fps video, and it has a 75° field-of-view. You can adjust the camera’s angle to adjust it to your setup, but there isn’t much more to it.
It’s a fairly basic camera, but it has solid video quality, and adding Windows Hello is already a big deal for this price. Plus, it’ll probably look better than most webcam laptops, and it’s fairly cheap. If your laptop doesn’t have a webcam at all, this is an option worth looking into.
- The Lenovo 500 Full HD Webcam is fairly basic as a regular webcam, but it has a big feature -- Windows Hello facial recognition. Considering its price tag, it's a great option for adding facial recognition to your setup, especially if you don't have a webcam at all.
Affordable with a ring light: Angetube 967
A ring light can be useful, but the Razer Kiyo isn’t the most affordable webcam out there. If you want something a little more affordable, this webcam from Angetube has a built-in ring light too, and you can choose between three brightness levels.
It’s actually packing a few useful features; it has autofocus, face retouch, and background replacement, which might be useful during a stream or meeting. The camera itself supports 1080p video at 30fps per second, and also includes two microphones with noise cancellation. It might not be on the same level as Razer’s offering, but it’s also significantly cheaper.
Cheap starter webcam: Wansview 1080p Webcam
Our last option is for the most budget-conscious users out there. This camera from Walfront is very cheap, but it still supports Full HD (1080p) video at 30 frames per second. It has dual microphones for capturing audio, and it’ll work with almost any device.
The webcam has an adjustable head so you can get a better angle for your calls, and you can rotate the lens to change to focus manually if you need to. It also touts low-light correction, though at this price, you probably shouldn’t expect any miracles. Still, it’s better than not having a camera and a solid place to start if you only do meetings every now and then.
With these options, you should be ready to choose something that suits your needs. When choosing a webcam, you’ll want to consider your budget, how often you use it, and what you use it for. If you’re usually in well-lit environments, the Logitech C920s and Microsoft Modern Webcam are two fantastic choices because they’re relatively affordable and offer great quality for most use cases. But some options like the Razer Kiyo might be ideal if you’re in darker rooms. If you use your webcam all the time and need the very best quality, it may be worth investing in a premium webcam like the Dell UltraSharp.
If you’re buying a webcam and you’re streaming or in meetings while traveling, you may want to get a laptop that stays connected wherever you go. We have a roundup of the best 5G laptops you can get right now, so you don’t have to rely on Wi-Fi all the time.