If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
If your job or school program requires you to be on video several times a week, you’re going to need a webcam. A good webcam will allow the other participants in your meeting to see you clearly, which can help you look more professional while you make your point.
Many modern laptops have built-in webcams, which are convenient to use in a pinch, but not as good as standalone hardware. The reason why is because the cameras are built into the computer’s lid, which is extremely thin. Camera hardware needs space to work — this is the reason modern smartphones have a camera bump — so a “real” webcam will produce more satisfying results.
Working from home has become a lot more common recently, and using a dedicated webcam is one way to make sure your home office setup a little more sophisticated.
What Are the Best Webcams?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best webcams for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Video resolution: Webcams are designed to help you look your best, which is why all of our picks can stream video in HD (or higher) resolution.
Microphones: All of our webcam recommendations have built-in microphones, which will be an improvement over the ones built into your computer or headphones.
Compatibility: Every webcam in this guide can connect to your computer via USB-A, and works with both Windows and MacOS machines without any proprietary software. They’re also compatible with any video conferencing or streaming service, so you don’t have to worry if your company uses more than one.
Security: It’s unlikely that your webcam will be hacked, but we made sure the ones we chose had a couple of precautions. First, all three have an LED light that turns on when the camera is in active use. Second, our picks come from trusted companies that have been in the consumer electronics space for a long time.
1. Anker PowerConf C300
For home office use, the Anker PowerConf C300 is a great choice. It offers clear HD video at 60 frames per second allowing you to conduct your remote presentation with ease.
This HD webcam’s AI features set it apart, with smart framing, color adjustment and exposure. Your new webcam will automatically sense as you’re moving around and adjust the frame, balance contrast and white-balancing depending on how well lit your room is, and adjust shadows and highlights for more vivid pictures.
There’s also a privacy shutter for when this HD webcam is not in use. And, with multiple ways to mount it, you can place this webcam anywhere you want.
2. Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Pro
If you need a webcam to help you look your absolute best, Logitech’s Brio Ultra HD Pro is the appropriate choice.
It can stream video in 4K, which makes it the best option in this guide in terms of overall video quality. Its lens supports autofocusing and light correction (high dynamic range), so you’ll look sharp and well-lit regardless of where you’re streaming or what time of day it is. As a general rule, having more light in the room will produce better results. Finally, this camera supports HDR (high dynamic range), so the colors from your stream will look more accurate to the people you’re conferencing with.
The Brio Ultra HD Pro has a pair of microphones that record stereo sound, but Logitech doesn’t say they block out background noise, so this may not be the best webcam to use in noisy environments. Streaming video in 4K will require a very fast internet connection, but if you have the bandwidth, Logitech’s Brio Ultra HD Pro is the best pick on this list.
3. Razer Kiyo Pro
Razer’s Kiya Pro HD webcam features an adaptive light sensor that automatically adjusts to the lighting in your space. There’s HDR too for high contrast levels and more true-to-life colors.
One of the best parts of this HD webcam is the wide field of view at about 103 degrees, great if you’re video calling in a group or while you’re presenting. The frame rate is also at 60fps, which should work well whether you’re streaming or video conferencing — keep in mind though that activating HDR will lower the frame rate to 30fps.
There’s a built-in mic as well which should deliver clear audio during your video calls, especially if you don’t want to spring for an external mic. Do note though, while this is a strong pick for PC users, it might not be the best HD webcam for MAC owners. If you’re a MAC owner, pick another HD webcam from our list.
4. Microsoft LifeCam Cinema
Microsoft’s LifeCam is an excellent webcam if you regularly video conference with a larger group of people.
The webcam can stream video in 720P (HD), so you’ll look pretty good to the people you’re on a conference call with. The LifeCam supports “face tracking,” which will keep your head in focus if you move around, and a Microsoft technology called TrueColor, so the image you’re streaming will look more accurate. Microsoft says its lens can adjust based on the lighting conditions in your room, so your don’t look to dim or bright. The camera has a single mic with noise-cancellation features, so the people who you’re speaking with won’t have to strain to hear you.
The LifeCam’s standout feature is its extreme flexibility. The camera can be rotated a full 360-degrees, so you can swivel it to get the appropriate angle. If you’re conferencing with multiple people, the ability to change positions quickly is a major asset. This is especially true if you’d like to provide commentary on something going on behind you. Instead of turning your entire computer around, or setting up a tripod, you can swivel the LifeCam while still looking at your laptop’s screen to see your audience’s reaction or read notes.
Microsoft’s LifeCam has the lowest video resolution of any camera in this guide, but the technology built into its lens more than makes up for this shortcoming.