With an increasing amount of virtual work meetings from home, and Zoom calls with friends, a good webcam is a must-have piece of hardware. Though your laptop’s built-in webcam gets the job done in a pinch, it doesn't always produce the best picture or video. That’s where external webcams come in. Whether you’re looking to ensure a clearer picture on video calls or want to look as natural as possible while streaming your favorite video games, external webcams are a huge jump in quality.
If you’re in the market for a premium webcam but don’t know where to begin, don’t worry, we’ve done all the research and the heavy lifting for you. To find the best webcams available today, we spent more than a month testing these devices in all kinds of lighting conditions.
After weeks of testing, the Logitech Brio(available at Amazon for $186.99) claimed our top spot thanks to its superb picture, video, and field of view. However, if you're a casual user, and prefer a more straight-forward device that's good for basic video calls, we recommend our Best Value pick, the Mimoday 1080p USB Web Camera(available at Amazon).
Here are the best webcams we tested ranked, in order:
Mimoday 1080p USB Web Camera
Nexigo Autofocus 1080p Web Camera
Aukey FHD 1080p Webcam
Razer Kiyo Pro
Anker PowerConf C300
Logitech C920x Pro
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
Resolution: 2160p at 30 FPS (frames per second), 1080p at 30 FPS or 60 FPS, 720p at 30, 60, or 90 FPS
Diagonal Field of View: 90, 78, and 60 degrees
Focus Type: Autofocus
The Logitech Brio is a fantastic webcam that offers a wide selection of resolutions, frame rates, and fields of view. It's a great option for both video conferencing and streaming. When I recorded a 4K video at 30 frames per second (FPS) in natural light, the Brio captured small details like the colorful drawings hanging on my fridge. My face didn’t look washed out, either. Still images are equally impressive as well. When I took a still image (4096 x 2160 resolution) of myself in natural lighting, the pastel colors on my cardigan were vivid and my face was sharp and completely in focus.
The Brio has a default 90-degree field of view. That’s wide enough to fit multiple people in the shot. During testing, I stood in many different areas in my kitchen, off to the side and even practically on top of my rolling pantry cart, and there was never a point where I couldn't be seen on camera.
It's straightforward and easy to use. Some cool features include adding text overlays, filters, and colorful borders. You can even remove your background entirely by using the software’s Chroma Key. This software is a great tool for Twitch streamers and YouTubers, as it allows you to really personalize your video content.
The Brio comes with a carrying case, a privacy shutter, and a removable L-shaped mounting clip. The privacy shutter feels more like an afterthought, though, as it’s just a piece of black plastic that slots into the top of the webcam. To cover the Brio’s glass lens, you just push the flap down. The privacy flap definitely gets the job done, but it feels flimsy compared to the high-build quality of the webcam. As for the mounting clip, I had mixed feelings about it.
While the L-shaped mounting clip kept the Brio in place atop my laptop screen, I had to use some force to insert it into the bottom of the device. I didn’t like using more force than necessary because I didn’t want to accidentally break the mount or camera. Plus, the mount is made of the same flimsy black plastic material as the privacy shutter. The mount works fine and does what it’s supposed to do, but I’m concerned about durability and long-term use.
Although we love the Brio’s high quality video capture and wide field of view, it may not be the right fit for casual users. The Brio is expensive and the plethora of features is more than what most people need. But if you’re looking for a premium product, this is one of the best 4K webcams available today. If your budget is not a top consideration and you’re looking to improve your picture quality in video conferencing calls or Twitch streams, the Brio is the way to go.
With its wide field of view, buttery smooth video performance, affordable price point, and removable privacy cover, the Mimoday 1080p webcam is a great value. When I recorded a 1080p video at 30 FPS in natural lighting, the blue checkmark on my zip-up sweatshirt was visible at any distance and there was no lag or stuttering. Still images are sharp, but colors are on the warmer side, as my face had a slight pinkish tint to it.
The Mimoday performed surprisingly well in low light. When I recorded a video using the light from my laptop screen, I could see myself in about six out of the 15 spots I had marked in my kitchen. However, in low lighting conditions, I was only visible in about two or three positions. This isn’t too surprising, as most webcams aren’t designed to work well in dim or low light.
Audio sounds pretty clear and natural, too. When I spoke the same two sentences in 15 different spots in my kitchen, you could hear me just about everywhere. I was also surprised by the microphone’s ability to pick up my naturally soft voice. The Mimoday didn’t seem to pick up much ambient noise, either. Although I had my sliding glass door open, the webcam’s microphone didn’t really pick up the sounds of birds chirping outside.
The Mimoday can be adjusted more than many webcams on the market. It can swivel around 360 degrees and tilt up and down. When I clamped the Mimoday to the top bezel of my laptop screen, it stayed in place and felt really secure. It never wobbled or nosedived. The mount also includes a built-in tripod socket]. This is cool if you want to hook it up to a tripod on your desk. While there’s a lot we like, there’s one minor shortcoming.
The Mimmoday doesn’t have an auto focusing feature. This means the lens doesn’t move to adjust the picture. While this isn’t a deal breaker, autofocus does make a difference, especially if you’re the kind of person that moves around a lot. That said, the picture was consistently clear and not many smaller details were lost even when I was standing at a distance.
Hi, I’m Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo and I’m an editor for Reviewed's Best Right Now buying guides. After working remotely for a year, I understand the importance of investing in a quality webcam. Not only do I spend a lot of time on Google Meet calls with coworkers, but I also regularly use Discord and Zoom to video chat with friends. The integrated webcam in my Chromebook just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. That’s why I spent weeks testing the best webcams available today.
For webcam testing, I recorded a video in three different lighting conditions: bright light, natural light, and low light. In the video, I moved to 15 different spots in my kitchen. At each spot, I’d throw a Rubik’s cube up in the air and then say two sentences at a normal volume. This helped me gauge the webcam’s video and audio quality, field of view, and autofocus speed.
To determine image quality, I took a number of still images in natural lighting with each webcam and lined them up side-by-side. This helped me see the differences in color accuracy, exposure, field of view, and so on. I also used the webcams for video calls with coworkers and friends while taking into account build quality, included accessories, mounting, and more.
What You Should Know About Buying a Webcam
Webcams are more complicated than you might think. That’s why we’re here to break down everything from frame rates to the field of view.
Integrated Webcams vs. External Webcams
An integrated webcam is typically built into the top of your laptop screen. They don’t produce great looking photos or videos because many of them are limited to 720p resolution..
External webcams can be plugged into your laptop or desktop tower via USB port. They produce better pictures and videos because they have higher resolutions and frame rates. They also have additional features like autofocus and low light correction. External webcams are also more adjustable and can be tilted or turned to get the best angle.
Frame rate directly impacts how smooth your movements are on video. It’s the speed in which images (also known as frames) are captured. The higher the frame rate, the smoother and more natural you’ll appear on video. For webcams, the baseline is 30 frames-per-second (FPS). But if you’re a streamer and want to look as natural as possible on video, we’d recommend investing in a webcam that supports 60 FPS or higher.
Resolution affects the sharpness of your picture. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture. Standard HD—720p resolution—is the base minimum and is good enough for video calls. However, if you’re looking to upgrade the way you look in video calls, we’d recommend springing for a webcam with 1080p resolution (otherwise known as full HD) or higher. The Logitech Brio, for example, is capable of recording 4K video at 30 FPS.
Fixed Focus vs. Autofocus
A webcam with fixed focus means the focal point is permanently fixed. This is fine if you’re just sitting in front of a camera, but if you move around a lot, look for a webcam with autofocus. It will automatically focus on you and adjust the picture as you move around. One type of focus isn’t necessarily better than the other, as it just boils down to how you plan to use the webcam.
It’s no secret that hackers have been targeting webcams for years, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to secure yours. Many webcams come with an attachable privacy cover or shield, which you can put over the lens when the device isn’t in use. If your webcam doesn’t come with a privacy cover, you can always purchase one online (like this sliding lens cover or cover it with electrical tape.
Field of View
The field of view is the width of the area captured by the webcam’s lens. A webcam’s field of view is measured in degrees, so it can be as narrow as 60 degrees or as wide as 90 degrees. If you’re looking to fit two or more people in your picture or video, you’ll want to purchase a webcam that has a field of view of 78 degrees or higher.
Webcams are designed to clip or clamp onto the top of your laptop screen or monitor. Some webcams have a flexible base that allows you to stand it up on a flat surface. If you’re looking for a different angle (other than head-on), you may want to consider buying a tripod. A few of the webcams we tested had built-in tripod sockets for easy access.
Webcam lenses can be made of either plastic or glass. High-end webcams generally have glass lenses while inexpensive ones have plastic. Glass lenses tend to produce sharper video and still images, but that doesn’t mean plastic lenses are inferior. Thanks to color correction and other features, plastic lenses can still produce a decent picture.
Image Sensor Size
The image sensor is the semiconductor chip that sits behind the lens. Its main purpose is to capture light and convert information into an image. Basic webcams use smaller sensors, which means less room to capture and store information. If you're looking for the best picture possible, we'd recommend springing for a larger webcam.
Most webcams have built-in microphones. A high-end webcam may even have omnidirectional microphones, which are designed to pick up sound from all sides. While most webcam microphones will pick up your voice in video calls, I wouldn’t say the audio quality is fantastic. If audio quality is important to you, you’ll get better sound out of an external microphone.
Other Webcams We Tested
Resolution: 1080p at 30 FPS
Diagonal Fields of View: 65 degrees
Focus Type: Autofocus
The NexiGo Autofocus 1080p Web Camera has a lot to offer thanks to its sharp video quality, included privacy shield, and responsive autofocus. When I recorded a 1080p video at 30 FPS in natural light, I could see the colorful squares on my Rubik’s cube at any distance. The autofocus was quick to find me as well. As for still images, that’s another story.
The NexiGo produces crisp still images, that’s for sure, but light distribution is an issue. When I took a 1080p photo of myself in natural lighting, my face looked a bit washed out and sections of my blonde hair were almost blindingly bright. However, you can always download free Open Broadcast Softwareand adjust the settings.
I had mixed feelings about the audio quality. Although my voice was clear up close and at a distance, it sounded like I was talking through a tin can. It picked up a lot of ambient noise, too. I kept hearing the whooshing of my dishwasher in the background as well as a few birds chirping outside. You may want to consider picking up a standalone microphone to use with this webcam.
The Aukey FHD 1080p webcam is a great low cost alternative to big players like the Logitech Brio and C920x Pro. It produces sharp video and still images. When I recorded a 1080p video at 30 FPS in natural lighting, the viking logo on my grey sweatshirt was sharp and visible from a distance. When I took a 1080p still image in natural lighting, my face was sharp and in focus and the pastel colors on my cardigan were surprisingly vivid.
The hardware is pretty adjustable, too. You can turn the Aukey completely around and tilt it up and down. While most webcams can be tilted up and down, many of them don’t move 360 degrees. The mounting clamp is strong as well. When I clipped the mount onto the top of my laptop screen, it felt super secure. The rubber square on the inside part of the mount gives it more grip. If you want a different angle, the mount can stand up on a flat surface.
What surprised me the most about this webcam was its audio quality. The Aukey’s front-facing stereo microphones picked up my naturally soft voice when I was standing about 10 feet away from my laptop. I sounded clear and not at all tinny. It didn’t pick up much ambient noise, either. I live in a woodsy area and I couldn’t really hear the birds chirping outside.
My only nitpick is that there’s no dedicated software to fine-tune the exposure or brightness. However, this isn’t a deal breaker because you can always download OBS (free recording software) and tweak the brightness and exposure there. That said, the Aukey’s default settings are perfectly suitable for video conferencing.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive webcam that’s easy to set up and performs well during video calls, the Aukey FHD 1080 is a great choice.
If you’re serious about streaming video games, the Razer Kiyo Pro is a fantastic option. It delivers smooth 1080p video at 60 FPS and handles light well. When I recorded a 1080p video of myself in my sunlit kitchen, my face was never blown out and overexposed. The Kiyo Pro also produces really sharp still images as well. When I took a 1920 x 1080p photo in natural lighting, my face was in focus and colors were accurate and vivid.
The Kiyo Pro works well in low lighting conditions, too. When I took a photo of myself using just the light from my laptop screen, the moon and sun designs on my sweatshirt were visible. Razer uses a Sony IMX327 CMOS sensor, which helps sharpen images and video in low light environments. This webcam is definitely designed with streamers in mind, as they tend to record in darker rooms with decorative backgrounds.
If you want to make adjustments to the field of view, autofocus, or exposure, you’ll need to download Razer’s Synapse 3 software. It’s pretty intuitive and easy to navigate. Personally, I like that you can choose from an array of different image presets. The Kiyo Pro tends to take rather warm looking photos. While I don’t mind the healthy glow in my cheeks (I’ve got a naturally pale complexion), some folks may prefer a cooler image preset.
Made of plastic, glass, and steel, the Kiyo Pro is a solidly built webcam. It looks more like the circular lens of a DSLR camera than the pill-shaped webcams we’re used to seeing. The lens is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and is scratch resistant. Although Razer really nailed the build quality, it’s a chunky piece of hardware that takes up a lot of real estate atop your monitor or laptop screen. It’s ginormous, sure, but the L-shaped mounting clamp is strong enough to hold it up. I like the Kiyo Pro a lot, but I struggled with the autofocus.
The autofocus is a bit finicky. Whenever I shifted in my chair or leaned back for a quick stretch, it took the autofocus a few seconds to find my face. This resulted in my face looking a bit blurry every now and then. I found it to be a little distracting during work calls with coworkers, as I was out of focus a couple of times. I wouldn’t say it’s a massive problem, as the autofocus corrects itself in a matter of seconds, but it’s just something to be aware of.
My other issue is with the Kiyo Pro’s audio performance, which I found to be lacking. Although it has omnidirectional microphones built in, I sounded very quiet. When I replayed the video footage during testing, my voice was noticeably soft. It picked up some ambient noise, too. I could faintly hear the hum of my dishwasher in the background. I’d recommend springing for a standalone microphone or a headset with a microphone built in.
If you’re interested in streaming video games, the Razer Kiyo Pro is a great pick.
The Anker PowerConf C300 is a nice webcam, with well-rounded offerings. Not only does it deliver crisp video and picture, but it has three field of view options (78, 90, and 115 degrees). This is great if you’re looking to capture closeups or wide-angle shots with multiple people. It also has a built-in privacy shutter that slides over the lens. What really stood out to me was the webcam’s audio quality, though.
The PowerConf C300’s dual stereo microphones did a good job of picking up my naturally soft voice, especially when I was standing about five feet away from my laptop. The webcam even dampened the sounds of birds chirping outside my window. The audio quality is definitely good enough for work meetings or calls with family and friends. Although the PowerConf C300 checks off a lot of boxes, I’m not a big fan of the face tracking feature, which uses an AI chip inside the webcam to automatically center the subject in the frame.
When I was on a call with a friend, the webcam occasionally zoomed in on my face, which made for an awkward shot. Although my friend and I had a good laugh about it, the face tracking feature was a bit annoying. That said, the camera only zooms in once in a while. It’s not something I was constantly dealing with.
The Logitech C920x Pro is a reliable webcam that delivers sharp still images and video. The maximum resolution for video is 1080p at 30 FPS, which is plenty sufficient for Skype or Zoom calls. When I took a 1080p still image in natural lighting, the bluish rims of my glasses are really crisp and in focus. In fact, you could even see a few flyaway hairs on my head. The image is on the cooler side, but that didn’t bother me all that much.
The construction of the webcam itself is really solid. The hard black plastic shell feels both strong and durable, and there’s a layer of glass protecting the lens from scratches. What’s more, the subtle all-black design is great because it blends in with most computer setups. If you’re looking for a durable webcam with a low-key design, the C920x Pro checks off all those boxes.
I really like the mounting clamp because it really sticks to the top of your laptop screen. When I folded the mount open and clasped it to the top of my laptop screen, it was very secure. The hinge is strong and the rubber squares on the inner part of the mount gives it more grip. Plus, the mount has a built-in tripod socket. This is cool if you want to hook it up to a small tripod.
The C920x Pro has omnidirectional microphones, so the audio sounds pretty good. The microphone was able to pick up my naturally soft speaking voice. Even as I moved a distance away from the webcam during a video recording, I could still clearly hear myself. The microphones picked up a bit of ambient noise, but it wasn’t too bad.
If you’re filming a video in natural or bright lighting, you may need to download Logitech’s camera app and adjust the exposure. When I recorded a 1080p video at 30 FPS in natural lighting, I looked pale and washed out and a bit like a vampire. The light wasn’t evenly distributed.
The C920x Pro suffers in low-light environments, too. When I recorded a 1080p video at 30 FPS using the light from my laptop screen, only half of my face was visible. As I moseyed about my kitchen, pausing to stop in different spots, I often disappeared in a swath of darkness. That’s not too surprising, as most webcams don’t do well in dark environments.
With its no-nonsense design and 720p video resolution, the Logitech C310 is an affordable webcam that’s easy to use. When I filmed a 720p video in natural sunlight, colors appeared natural and the angles of my face looked smooth and clear. As for still images, they’re pretty sharp and color accurate. I could see a few flyaways on my head and the reflection of my laptop screen on my glasses. It’s a solid performer and a good option for the everyday user.
The C310 is small, lightweight, and goes with any type of computer setup. Unlike the Razer Kiyo Pro, a ginormous webcam that looks more like the circular lens of a DSLR camera, the C310’s pill-shaped design doesn’t draw any attention to itself. The webcam also sat comfortably atop my laptop screen. However, it wobbled a bit when I moved my laptop to another room.
The only drawback is that you’re limited to 720p resolution in video calls. That’s the bare minimum for a passable picture. If you’re on a tight budget and need a webcam for Zoom calls with coworkers or family, the C310 is a good option. However, at this price point, you’re not getting extra features like autofocus and a removable privacy cover.
If you’re working with a limited budget, the Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000 is a good option. The 720p video resolution is perfectly usable for Skype or Zoom sessions, and colors look natural in still images. The webcam itself is compact and portable, and the rubber mounting clip is highly adjustable. But there are a couple of things that really stood out to me.
I like that the Lifecam is compact, portable, and lightweight. The rectangular frame is attractive and subtle and something that blends in with any office setup. In my testing notes, I lovingly nicknamed it the “baby webcam.” The rubber mounting clip is flexible and can be molded to fit on any laptop screen or monitor. The rubber material gives it more grip as well.
When I snapped a 720p still image in natural lighting, the bluish rims of my glasses looked weirdly pixelated. It’s not a bad photo, per se, but it’s definitely not as crisp as other webcams we tested. Colors looked natural and the exposure was nicely balanced. While still images look pretty good, this webcam isn’t without a few trade-offs.
I wasn’t impressed with the Lifecam’s audio quality. Although it picked up my voice in the short video I had recorded, I kept hearing an ever-present buzzing noise in the background. It was a little distracting, especially during video calls, but the mysterious buzzing didn’t completely overpower my voice. That said, you may want to invest in a standalone microphone.
As we were publishing this guide, Microsoft announced it's releasing the Modern Webcam with 1080p and 78-degree field of view in June. We'll be sure to update this guide once we're able to review it.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.