Attracting viewers on YouTube starts with a catchy title and an even catchier thumbnail. They click on your video and see a loose approximation of a person. They click away immediately to watch a 4K video of a pancake-making Japanese man to wash away the pixelated mess that just ravaged their eyes.

We’re a long way from 2005. Your built-in 480p laptop camera is no longer the best webcam for YouTube. A high-performance image capture device is always a good investment in the world of content creation.

In this post, we’ll help you pick out the best webcam for YouTube videos in 10 categories.

1. Best Beginner YouTube Camera: Logitech C920 HD Pro

Price: From US$65

Why get it:

  • Plug-and-play
  • Reasonable price
  • Good default settings
  • Great low-light compensation
  • Stereo microphone

Why avoid it:

  • Chunky
  • Capped at 30fps
  • No X-axis swivel

Many outlets rank the Logitech C920 as the best webcam overall. And that’s for good reason. It puts out a well-rounded performance and doesn’t require any complex technical fiddling right out of the box.

The C920 offers 1080p and 720p resolutions at 30fps. The second-gen RightLight technology automates low-light compensation, which is a godsend if you have little to no experience in setting up proper lighting for your recording or streaming setup. Overall image quality is clear, crisp, and color-accurate.

This webcam is compatible with Logitech’s Camera Settings software, which gives you access to basic customizations. It’s also lightweight and straightforward. Plus, you can use it without installing a driver. Plug it in and it’s ready to go.

The stereo microphone, while not perfect, is sensitive and gives full-bodied sound quality at the max one-meter distance from the camera. Many a beginner will find it useful, especially if they’re still saving up for a high-quality standalone microphone.

The C920 is no spring chicken, having been released in 2012. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of newer and more advanced hardware. But this is the reason why it’s the best camera for YouTube beginners. It’s not bogged down by features that probably won’t concern newbies. It’s a perfect entry-level camera that’s not just affordable but also incredibly competent at what it does.

2. Best Cheap Camera for YouTube: Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000

Price: From US$26

Why get it:

  • Cheap
  • Microsoft TrueColor

Why avoid it:

  • 720p max resolution
  • Limited mounting options

We don’t all live in spots where gigabit internet is available. And we’re not all swimming in Mr. Beast YouTube money either. For those of us who live a more grounded lifestyle, the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 is the budget YouTube camera.

With a resolution that maxes out at 720p/30fps, the HD-3000 is a great camera if your internet connection makes it hard for you to upload or stream high-definition video (1080p and up).

The mounting base is basically a soft, flexible strip that’s also rubberized. You can bend and twist it to fit your display without worrying about scratches. It doesn’t have a mounting port for stands though.

Microsoft’s excellent TrueColor technology perks up color and general video quality in low-light conditions automatically. The unidirectional microphone has auto noise-cancellation and records audio clearly.

It’s not the best-looking piece of hardware. With a release year of 2011, its design really is a product of its time. But for the price, you get a lot of value in quality and performance from the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000.

3. Best External Webcam for Laptop: Logitech C310 HD

Price: From US$26

Why get it:

  • Affordable
  • Compact
  • Good picture quality
  • Good low-light correction

Why avoid it:

  • 720p max resolution
  • Limited mounting options

In-built laptop cameras are good for conference calls and that’s pretty much it. If you want better quality videos and more mobility, you’re going to have to get an external webcam. That’s where the Logitech C310 HD comes in.

This 1.2-megapixel webcam has a 60° diagonal field of view and uses RightLight 2 technology, which improves image quality in low-light situations by a great deal. The built-in mono microphone’s sound quality is serviceable and has auto noise-reduction.

The C310 doesn’t have a threaded hole for mounting on stands or boom arms. You’re stuck with the mounting clip, but it’s stable enough.

The C310 slips into your everyday travel bag easily thanks to its tight, compact build. This portability makes it our choice for the best external video camera for laptops. It’s a great choice for the content creator on the go.

For how much it costs and the above-average picture quality you get, the Logitech C310 also makes for an excellent budget backup in case the camera for your main rig dies out on you unexpectedly. It’ll sit in your drawer without taking up too much space.

4. Best Webcam for PC: Razer Kiyo Pro

Price: From US$130

Why get it: Why avoid it:

  • Excellent light sensor
  • HDR-capable
  • Multiple FOV options
  • Pricey
  • Fish-eye effect on wider FOV
  • Sketchy saturation in low-light

Our pick for the streaming camera for PC is the Razer Kiyo Pro, which is a prime case of “you get what you pay for.” It’s a little expensive but it does walk the talk.

The Kiyo Pro is a 1080p/60fps webcam that offers three different FOV options: 80°, 90°, and 103°. The 103° FOV gives off a fish-eye effect around the edges of the video. This effect can either be a hit or miss with audiences. But for us, it was more distracting than anything.

The HDR function can be toggled on and off through Razer’s Synapse app. However, the framerate drops down to 30fps with this feature enabled. Synapse also unlocks a wide array of customization options. There are presets available as well as sliders for more advanced individual quality modifications.

The main camera unit detaches from the clip through a standard thread, opening it up to other mounting options, such as tripods and boom arms.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Kiyo Pro is its adaptive light sensor. Even in a pitch-black room, this webcam can squeeze out recognizable images. The feature works best if you find it difficult to maintain consistent lighting, like if you record or stream in a room with large windows, for example.

In good lighting conditions, the Kiyo Pro’s color saturation is impressive. Hues are vivid and as close to reality as possible. But in extreme low-light, saturation takes on a sort of chalky and bloomy quality.

The Razer Kiyo Pro best fits YouTubers who appreciate and can navigate the extensive camera customization options that are accessible mostly through a PC.

5. Best HD Camera for YouTube: Logitech C922 Pro HD Stream

Price: From US$75

Why get it:

  • Inexpensive
  • 1080p/30fps and 720p/60fps
  • Convenient features
  • Good audio quality

Why avoid it:

  • Unstable background removal
  • Substantial fidelity loss on 720p

Like its older cousin, the C920, Logitech’s C922 is a constant top-notcher among many content creators’ “best entry-level webcams” lists.

This model’s main draw is it has two HD resolution modes: 1080p/30fps and 720p/60fps. Very few 1080p cameras today offer a lower resolution at double the frames. The C922 lets you capture smooth rapid movements at the cost of diminished image quality.

The 720p resolution works great for gaming YouTubers who use a facecam and frequently play games that run above 30fps. Your feed on the lower resolution while on full-screen might offend more discerning viewers, but scaled down, the fidelity loss is barely noticeable.

On 1080p, the output is crisp and clear. The same goes for the audio quality from the noise-canceling stereo mic. Low-light treatment is admirable for a camera of its price as well.

The Logitech C922 also has a digital background remover that’s usable. It can’t replace a proper physical green screen but many users will appreciate this functionality.

Packed with useful features while staying reasonably priced, the Logitech C922 is our choice for the definitive HD camera for YouTube.

6. Best USB Webcam: Logitech StreamCam

Price: From US$130

Why get it:

  • High-speed data transfer
  • Portrait mode
  • Facial tracking
  • Great image quality

Why avoid it:

  • Pricey
  • Fixed cable

USB-C is the current golden standard in consumer electronics data transfer interface. And it’s what Logitech StreamCam boasts.

One of Logitech’s more high-end webcam offerings, this 1080p/60fps camera produces sharp images with buttery smooth motion. The colors look natural and lively even in low-light, courtesy of its intelligent exposure system. The facial tracking is incredibly responsive and keeps you in the center of the frame at all times.

And all of these happen at lightning-fast speeds thanks to the StreamCam’s USB-C connection, which optimizes data transfer between devices. The USB-C interface also allows uncompressed recording of 108060 videos—maintaining the quality of your recordings throughout your workflow.

The cable is fixed, however, and you’ll need an adapter to use it on your A-type ports. Note that only USB 3.1 ports will work for the StreamCam. Features, such as auto-framing, portrait mode, and stabilization, are only accessible via the Logitech Capture app, which is a straightforward yet powerful video capture software.

Don’t worry, though. Logitech Capture functions as a virtual camera. It’s selectable in OBS or other streaming software. Select Capture and your StreamCam settings will carry over to your broadcasting program of choice. This also makes StreamCam one of the best USB cameras for streaming.

7. Best Wireless Webcam: Mevo Start

Price: From US$335 (1 pack); US$999 (3 pack)

Why get it:

  • Live editing
  • External mic-capable
  • Wireless streaming
  • Long battery life
  • NDI mode

Why avoid it:

  • Expensive
  • Unimpressive image quality
  • Mediocre audio quality

The Mevo Start is a Logitech off-shoot and is marketed as a live event wireless camera. That’s why there’s a three-pack bundle offer for a multi-camera setup for large events, such as worship services and concerts.

You can stream wirelessly via Wi-Fi or mobile data from 360p/30fps up to 1080p/30fps. Recording resolutions are 720p/30fps and 1080p/30fps.

Being a wireless webcam for streaming, you’ll be controlling the Start through a mobile device using the Mevo app (Android and iOS). From the app, you have access to useful real-time editing features, like cropping, zooming, and panning, just to name a few. The app also allows simultaneous broadcasting to multiple streaming platforms, which include YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and so on.

Image quality customizations are DSLR-levels since this camera uses a Sony IMX307 sensor. Despite the high-profile hardware, the Start’s image quality is a solid 710. It’s not horrible but it’s not mind-blowing either. Recordings on wireless are saved on a micro-SD card.

Similarly, the internal mic won’t make you throw out your dedicated microphone. Fortunately, the Mevo Start has a 3.5mm external mic jack, which allows you to use a condenser or shotgun microphone, for better quality audio.

If you want to use the Mevo Start as a desktop or laptop camera, it has an NDI mode, which makes it discoverable as an image capture device on streaming software like OBS and XSplit. Just make sure your devices are on the same network. Streaming from the app is disabled when NDI is turned on.

Meanwhile, battery life is way above average for a wireless camera. You can get as much as six hours of stream time per full charge.

8. Best 1080p/60fps Webcam: Elgato Facecam

Price: From US$200

Why get it:

  • On-board settings save-state
  • Uncompressed video streaming
  • Great video quality
  • 1080/60fps streaming

Why avoid it:

  • No microphone
  • Pricey

Elgato does a lot of things right and the Facecam is testimony to this.

There’s a lot to unpack here. Let’s start with the Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor, which makes images incredibly detailed while greatly reducing noise in low-light situations. Encoding happens on-board, which, coupled with the USB-C interface, allows true, uncompressed full HD streaming and recording at 60fps with almost zero latency.

The settings you lock in through the Elgato Camera Hub app go with the Facecam, thanks to the built-in flash memory. This means you don’t have to reset everything whenever you switch devices. Go from your Windows PC to your Mac with all your settings intact. There’s so much going on under the hood that the Elgato Facecam has an in-built heatsink.

Compromises had to be made, though. This webcam doesn’t have a microphone. Producing excellent-quality images is so resource-intensive that there’s little to no room for audio stuff. It’s a polarizing choice indeed. But, considering the Elgato Facecam handles video with such a high level of competence, it has our vote as the best camera for 1080p/60fps for streaming and recording.

And this is Elgato we’re talking about, you know it’s optimized to work with their tens of other streaming peripherals.

9. Best Professional YouTube Camera: Sony A6400

Price: From US$900 (camera only)

Why get it:

  • Great 4K/30fps recording quality
  • Compact and lightweight
  • External mic support
  • Flip-up screen
  • Interchangeable lens

Why avoid it:

  • Expensive
  • Requires dummy battery

The Sony A6400 is a mirrorless digital camera. It’s what you might call a “proper” camera. As a webcam, it can be considered as “hyper-premium”. But as a standalone camera for taking photos and videos on the go, the A6400, more or less, sits in the middle range.

The A6400 brings all the premium features of a mirrorless camera to pre-recorded videos and live-streamed content for YouTube. You can record up to 5x slow motion and up to 60x quick motion videos, time-lapse, and 120fps high-speed footage. Processing for these functionalities happens in the camera so you don’t have to do much in the editing cave.

As a webcam, you’d need a 4K-capable capture card, like the Elgato Cam Link 4K, for your recording or streaming software to detect it as a camera. But you can also use the A6400’s USB interface to directly connect it to your computer without a capture card. You’ll need Sony’s Remote Image app installed on your computer and a bit more fidgeting on your streaming software to make this work.

Since this is a camera that uses actual lenses, you can take your pick from a crop of great Sony lenses that serve various purposes. We’re talking about a professional video camera for YouTube. These after-market add-ons are not cheap.

A computer connected to the A6400 via USB doesn’t provide power. To juice up the device for your 12-hour streams, you’d need a dummy battery, which connects to your power mains or your computer.

The Sony A6400 isn’t technically tagged as a professional video camera. It’s still, at its core, a consumer-level piece of equipment. However, with the amazing performance and good number of features that this camera offers to YouTubers, it’s about as close to having broadcast-grade hardware as you’d get.

10. Best 4K YouTube Camera: Dell UltraSharp

Price: From US$190

Why get it:

  • Incredible image quality
  • Easy to use
  • HDR
  • Multiple FOV options

Why avoid it:

  • No microphone
  • Gets pretty toasty
  • Awkward mounting clip

YouTube is one of the few live streaming platforms that allow playback and live streaming in 4K. If you want to take advantage of this feature and your internet connection can handle it, consider the Dell UltraSharp webcam.

Your resolution and framerate choices are: 4K at 24 and 30fps; 1080p and 720p at 24, 30, and 60fps. You can adjust your FOV to 65°, 78°, or 90° to fit your recording and streaming needs. Use the 90° FOV at 4K with HDR enabled and you’ll be treated to a superb level of image quality and true-to-life colors that you won’t find in other similarly priced webcams.

The Dell UltraSharp sports a large sensor by Sony. The handling of low-light and overexposed conditions is fantastic. And video noise reduction is about the best we’ve seen in any webcam we’ve tested.

Other great functionalities include AI-backed auto-framing and a detachable USB-A to USB-C cable. The latter seems like an insignificant quality-of-life feature. But it’s worth noting because you hardly ever get it, even from higher-end webcams.

There are several catches, though. It doesn’t have a built-in mic, which most content creators probably won’t mind. Webcam mics tend to underperform and yet add a lot to the cost. The monitor mount is a bit awkward and can be unstable at times. The UltraSharp also doesn’t turn sideways, which is an interesting choice on Dell’s part. It also gets hot when in the 4K setting.

It was a close fight between this and the mighty Logitech BRIO as the best 4K camera for YouTube. But the Dell UltraSharp’s superior overall image quality won us over. For both pre-recorded videos and live streaming in 4K for under $200, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better.

Wrapping Up

YouTube has replaced network and cable TV for a lot of people—even more so when the pandemic pushed us all into our homes. The demand for broadcast-quality content on the platform has never been higher.

If you’re just breaking into content creation, one of the many challenges lies in producing material that’s at par with what’s already on the platform. If you’re already an established YouTuber, it’s your job to up your game continuously to remain relevant and watchable.

Putting out good-looking content because you’re using a webcam that perfectly fits your needs is a great first step in overcoming these challenges. We hope we’ve helped you pick out the best webcam for you or, at least, gave you a better idea of what to look for in a webcam for YouTube.