As we all know laptops and PCs have shipped with pathetic webcams for decades now. Not many people cared about it previously because they were decent enough for once-in-a-while video conferencing. However, things have changed now, a lot of activities such as, attending business meetings, seminars, virtual class lectures, etc happen online. That’s why, getting a good external webcam is essential.
Just like Twitch and YouTube streamers, regular people also need superior-quality webcams. But, it’s already clear that you cannot rely on the built-in webcams on laptops. Since, you can’t always upgrade to a laptop/monitor with a better webcam, we’ve to look for the second-best option: external webcams.
- The Popular Uses of an External Webcam
- Minimum Hardware Requirements
- 11 Best External Webcams in 2020
- 1. Best Overall: Logitech BRIO
- 2. Best for Streaming: Razer Kiyo
- 3. Best For Video Conferencing: Logitech C930E
- 4. Best with USB C: Logitech StreamCam
- 5. Best for Business: Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
- 6. Best under $100: AVerMedia CAM 313
- 7. Best For Online Classes: Logitech C920S HD Pro
- 8. Best For Laptops: AUSDOM AF640
- 9. Best with Manual Focus: AUSDOM AW615
- 10. Best Budget-Friendly: Logitech HD Webcam C310
- 11. Cheapest Option: Dericam 1080P Webcam
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict
The Popular Uses of an External Webcam
An external webcam can help any professional who works from home. I mean, you can enjoy sharper visuals and better audio quality. It means your presentations and marketing pitches are going to be more impressive than ever before. Even if you use the webcam for personal use, you can enable high-quality video conferencing calls with your friends and family.
However, we think the following groups of people need an external webcam as a part of their life.
- Faculties who teach online and want the best video and audio delivered to the audience.
- Streamers who want to capture their IRL in high quality while streaming.
- Work From Home professionals who need to attend conferences and meetings.
- College students who attend remote classes.
- Internet business owners to interact with their team members/clients.
You can make the best use these devices with apps such as Skype, Zoom, Apple Facetime, and websites like Google Meet and Facebook Messenger. Just plug them, set them up and start using.
Minimum Hardware Requirements
The primary reason why we look for an external webcam is the need for superior quality. So, here are some basic hardware requirements that help us choose the right product.
- Resolution: 720p or better (1080p/4K recommended)
- Zoom: 2x
- Connectivity: USB (Type C recommended)
- Microphone: Built-in
- Focus: Auto
- Privacy Shutter: Recommended
Let’s check the best external webcams out there, then?
11 Best External Webcams in 2020
It doesn’t matter what your webcam needs are, whether you want one to make personal video calls or attend long meetings on Zoom, this list has a model that’ll suit your needs. Before making this list, we researched over 43 devices from different brands and have finally picked the 11 best. So, let’s get started?
1. Best Overall: Logitech BRIO
After reviewing so many options from the market, we think the Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Webcam is the best-in-class webcam for video calls, streaming, and even video recording. Though it comes with a hefty price tag, its specifications and optimized features make it the ideal webcam for everyone.
Making it an impressive upgrade from any laptop/PC webcam out there is the 4K UHD sensor. It means that you can record or stream the highest-quality 4K video as long as you have a fast-enough internet connection. By the way, if you reduce the resolution to 1080p, you can record videos at 60 FPS as well. If you come down to 720p, the webcam even supports 90 FPS, which is smoother than ever.
In addition to the 2x digital zoom, there are some quality-boosting features as well. The 4K sensor comes with HDR support and Rightlight 3, which optimizes brightness according to the environment. Because the webcam is using infrared and optical sensors, you can also use it for secure login via Windows Hello.
Using the official Logitech app, you can choose between three — 65, 78, and 90 degrees — fields of view as well. This option allows you to capture a wide-angle video without moving your monitor or laptop. The Logitech Camera Settings app can boost the overall capability of the webcam. You can see better results when it comes to changing auto-focus options as well.
This premium external webcam comes with a single USB Type C port on the back. This means you can use a Type C to Type C or Type-A cable to connect the device to your computer. It also comes with a pair of omnidirectional microphones, which captures crystal-clear audio. Last but not least, you get a Privacy Shutter and the necessary mounting hardware. What else do you need?
- 4K UHD Video Input
- USB Type C connectivity
- Customizable settings
- Multiple fields of view
- HDR & Rightlight 3 support
- Heavily expensive
2. Best for Streaming: Razer Kiyo
A product from one of the biggest gaming hardware manufacturers, Razer Kiyo, is an external webcam that is made for streamers. This premium webcam combines high-quality video recording and scene-optimization features to provide a compelling package for game streamers.
First of all, the Razer Kiyo webcam packs a high-quality 1080p Full HD sensor inside. This sensor lets you capture 1080p footage at 30fps and 720p footage at 60fps, giving potential choices for streamers. So, even if you do pick 720p footage, you can have smoother output. The webcam works perfectly with popular streaming software like OBS and Xsplit, and the essential apps like Skype and Zoom.
Although the webcam does not feature digital zoom, there are some quality-improvement features. Razer has optimized the webcam to deliver noise-less, high-quality footage even from darker environments. Or, if you prefer having a lighted environment, you can use the 5600K daylight-balanced ring light that is attached to the sensor. The ring light comes with an intuitive bezel that allows instant customization.
Just like the Logitech webcam, however, Razer Kiyo also offers software-based options. This means you can adjust different metrics like focus, sharpness, and contrast using the Razer Synapse 3 app. Besides, you can combine the product with other gaming-centric gadgets from Razer for an improved experience. While this webcam cannot beat BRIO when it comes to footage quality, it’s a sure-shot upgrade from a basic webcam.
Coming to the hardware aspect, Razer does not offer anything fancy. Sure, you have a conveniently packed USB 2.0 cable that you can connect to your PC or Mac. The connector cable is 1.5m long and is braided for improved durability. Along with the omnidirectional microphone, the device brings standard mounting slots as well.
- 1080p video output
- Razer Synapse customization
- Optimized for low-light
- Built-in ring light
- Classic support
- Reported compatibility issues
3. Best For Video Conferencing: Logitech C930E
Superior-quality video and audio is a must during business meetings. You can also use many features like digital zoom and automatic focus in the process. If you are looking for these things, you should check out the Logitech C930E 1080p Webcam.
As the name says, this external webcam uses a 1080p Full HD sensor, which is more than enough for business video conferencing needs. It’s just that you should have a steady supply of internet bandwidth. Because it’s optimized for Skype for Business, you can enjoy the best footage quality as well. One thing that Logitech does not specify is if the webcam can record 720p footage at 60fps.
As we said, this business-friendly webcam packs 4x digital zoom, which is useful while delivering marketing pitches, among other scenarios. Logitech has also chosen an advanced field of view — of 90 degrees — for this product. This means you can record wide-angle shots without having to crop the frame. Other options in the package include autofocus and USB 2.0 connectivity.
The built-in pair of omnidirectional microphones may not be the best in the industry. However, its placement of the mic gives the device some edge over other products. Coming to the software part, the Logitech C930e 1080p Webcam uses an optimized encoder to deliver high-quality footage without consuming much internet bandwidth.
The hardware aspect of the device is also impressive. The webcam supports a bunch of mounting options — and you can place them on laptops as well as desktop monitors. There are reliable components that help you to mount the webcam to tripods as well. Last but not least, you can use the Privacy Shutter for a better feeling of safety.
- 1080p Full HD recording
- High-quality low-bandwidth encoding
- 90-degree field of view
- 4x Digital zoom
- Multiple mounting modes
- Mic could be better
4. Best with USB C: Logitech StreamCam
One benefit of premium streaming webcams is that they can deliver the smoothest video footage. If you pick a device from a brand like Logitech, you get customization options as well. If you want any of these, for streaming or meetings, you should check out the Logitech StreamCam.
First things first, the StreamCam allows you to record crystal-clear 1080p Full HD footage at 60fps. It’s just that you should have a standard PC or Mac to get the maximum input. Probably the most significant benefit in the package is that the camera can capture vertical HD video with a 9:16 aspect ratio. This is perfect if you want to go live through Facebook or Instagram.
Logitech seems to have traded digital zoom functionality to include some quality-improvement features. The device comes with smart autofocus and exposure control, giving you premium-quality footage even in dark environments. You also get AI-enabled facial tracking, which is an excellent feature while streaming something like musical instruments.
Compared to other webcams we have covered so far, the Logitech StreamCam packs a higher-quality built-in microphone pair. Coming to software features, though, you can make the best out of the Logitech Camera software by optimizing the footage and controlling aspects like brightness, contrast, and autofocus. You can also use the Logitech Capture Software to manage your streams better.
Despite the features inside, the Logitech StreamCam is a compact package. It has USB Type C connectivity, enabling high-speed data transfer and power through a single port. Once connected, the cam works perfectly with apps like OBS and Xsplit. Last but not least, Logitech ships the necessary mounting hardware — for the monitor and tripod.
- Full HD Video at 60fps
- 9:16 Vertical video support
- USB Type C connectivity
- Compact design
- Versatile mounting options
- Rather expensive
5. Best for Business: Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
If you cannot afford the business-oriented webcam that we had recommended earlier, you may want to look at the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 package. This one combines the standard features you need for smooth footage, all under a budget of $100.
A product from Microsoft, this external webcam, targets ordinary users who need a little better video quality during video calls on Zoom or Skype. It has a 720p HD sensor that provides you footage at 30fps. You don’t have to spend much time setting up the device, and it has been optimized for Microsoft Teams as well. The 4.0MP sensor gives sufficient-sized images as well.
Quite surprisingly, you get 4x Digital Zoom with this webcam. However, using the zoom means you will see some pixelated content. Although it does not have wide-screen footage options, Microsoft has used top-end features like TrueColor to enhance the final output. Other noticeable features of the product include auto-focus optimization and some level of customizability.
The manufacturer has included a microphone in the package, but it also performs quite typically. You might still have to rely on your computer/laptop’s microphone. Because there is no dedicated software like the ones you see with Logitech products, there is a limit to how much customization you can avail of. You have to depend on individual apps’ settings for optimizing the output.
When it comes to hardware, you get the necessary mounting hardware with the webcam. It does not have a privacy shutter, either. Just like you’d expect, it uses a USB 2.0 cable for power and data transfer. While it does an excellent job of providing higher-quality footage for business meetings, we cannot recommend the cam for streamers.
- Affordable pricing
- Built-in microphone
- 4x Digital Zoom
- TrueColor support
- Optimized for Teams
- Not many customization options
6. Best under $100: AVerMedia CAM 313
Let’s just say you have gotten started with streaming recently, and you can’t spend much. If you have a $100 budget, though, you can check out the AVerMedia CAM 313, which surprisingly packs a set of cool features as well.
This budget-friendly streaming webcam comes with a 1080p Full HD sensor. With a decent data connection, you can stream high-quality content to your audience without fail. One downside we had expected is that it records the 1080p footage at 30fps. So, this won’t be the best choice if you need an ultra-smooth recording utility for streaming.
The manufacturer has made some compromises in terms of advanced features as well. For instance, you do not get digital zoom or adjustable fields of view. You will have to physically move the camera to get a wide-angle view of yourself. On the bright side, the mounting equipment comes with a 360-degree swivel, meaning that you can choose any angle of your convenience.
In the software section, however, the AVerMedia Live Streamer CAM 313 packs a set of features for smooth streaming. For instance, you can use the recommended app to optimize the footage and even apply some of the funnier AI-tracking stickers. So, if you are not familiar with advanced editing options yet, the RECentral app would be an impressive addition.
Given that you are paying way less than $100, we can’t complain about the built-in mono microphones on this webcam. They do, however, provide an overall decent experience for streaming. The auto-focus part is not perfect, either. Last but not least, the webcam comes with a standard set of hardware options, such as an easy mount and a privacy shutter.
- Affordable pricing
- Streamer-centric features
- AI-tracking stickers
- Support for RECentral
- Privacy shutter
- Subpar quality
7. Best For Online Classes: Logitech C920S HD Pro
If you are a versatile content creator, you need a webcam that can assist you in streaming, video calls, and a little podcasting. As it happens, the Logitech C920S HD Pro packs everything you need, including a privacy shutter for peace of mind.
Just like many other webcams available at this budget, the Logitech C920S HD Pro Webcam comes with an excellent 1080p Full HD sensor. Because it’s optimized for business needs, you get sharper images with top-level color accuracy as well. Regardless of the device you use it with, the camera provides crystal-clear video footage. You can improve the footage to 60fps by downgrading the quality to 720p, though.
The webcam brings several advanced features as well. For instance, it comes with an increased field of view of 78 degrees. Compared to other business webcams that we have used before, this one packs a better tech for light correction and autofocus. However, you don’t get options like background replacement or the support for Logitech’s software-centric features.
Although you can use this device for streaming, you won’t have many dedicated features. For instance, you don’t get digital zoom or content optimization. On the bright side, its HD autofocus works so well, even when you shift to 720p footage. The dual stereo microphones also do a commendable job of recording high-quality audio during business presentations and video calls.
In terms of hardware, Logitech C920S HD Pro Webcam is pretty much the standard package. You can connect this camera to compatible devices using a USB 2.0 cable. By default, the mounting gear helps you attach the device to most laptops and desktop monitors. If you want advanced options, you can always connect a third-party tripod or stand. On top of all these, there is a pretty useful privacy shutter as well.
- 1080p Recording
- Privacy Shutter
- Enhanced Light Correction
- Accurate autofocus
- Superior-quality microphones
- Limited customization
8. Best For Laptops: AUSDOM AF640
There are times when a 1080p Full HD webcam becomes a necessity. You may be a faculty who needs to do online lectures or someone who has to attend frequent business meetings. However, you might not have a huge budget in the first place. In that case, you can check out the AUSDOM AF640 video camera.
As said, the AUSDOM AF640 Video Camera makes use of a 1080p Full HD sensor for recording. This sensor is not something exceptional but does its job very well. Because the camera comes with automatic low light correction, you can enjoy standard quality even during conferences at all times. What we don’t see inside is an ability to increase the fps.
You get a wide-angle perspective with this webcam, thanks to the 90-degree field of view. This means you can accommodate more people or objects in a business presentation or elsewhere. If you are the only object in the frame, though, the autofocus feature does a fantastic job as well. Combined with the low-light and white balance optimization we talked about, the overall output is just incredible.
This webcam does not offer much when it comes to software-focused features, though. Sure, you can enjoy the basic optimization options, but that’s it. So, you should look for something else if you’re a streamer with heavy requirements. At the same time, the software does enough optimization to provide you a smoother business video conferencing experience.
In the hardware section, the AUSDOM AF640 Video Camera does not offer much. You can connect it to a big number of devices using USB, including Android. However, you don’t have options like privacy shutters or the benefits of adjustable angles. On the bright side, you can mount this webcam using the provided tools or get one extra tripod.
- Very affordable
- 1080p recording
- Dual stereo speakers
- Built-in optimization
- Made for businesses
- No customization
9. Best with Manual Focus: AUSDOM AW615
Manual focus is a great feature that can get you customized footage from an external webcam. Won’t it be awesome if you can get a webcam with manual focus without spending too much? That’s what the AUSDOM AW615 brings to the table.
Despite the low price tag that it bears, the AUSDOM AW615 Computer Camera comes with a 1080p Full HD video sensor. Though not exceptional, this sensor does a decent job of rendering quality-rich video. Although we are stuck with 30fps footage, the software can do better things in terms of distortion removal and white balance correction, among other things.
Compared to the regular webcams that you get for this price, the AUSDOM AW615 Computer Camera comes with a broader field of view. This means you can easily use this device to conduct team-based meetings if any. The robust set of sensors on the lens also contributes to a streamlined quality when taking pictures or capturing videos.
Once again, we cannot see anything special in the software department. While you can make the basic set of adjustments, we don’t think this webcam is suited for someone who streams content online. But, if you are okay with a plug-and-play webcam that provides standardized content, this is great. More importantly, you can customize the footage using the power of manual focus.
When it comes to hardware specifications, though, the AUSDOM AW615 Computer Camera is an excellent choice for most people. It comes with features like 360-degree rotation design and foldable metal memory clip — both of which help you in ensuring the right angle for the footage. The included microphones also do a good job of recording non-distorted audio content.
- Truly affordable pricing
- Manual focus
- 360-degree rotation
- Decent microphone
- Ready-to-use design
- No software-based control
10. Best Budget-Friendly: Logitech HD Webcam C310
Logitech is indeed one of the most trusted names when it comes to the webcam industry. If you want to get a webcam from this manufacturer without spending too much, you can consider the Logitech HD Webcam C310. It offers a pretty impressive package when compared to the price you have to pay.
The first thing you’d notice is that the webcam comes with a 720p HD sensor. However, thanks to the high-quality sensor that the company has used, the device provides rather impressive footage. The sensor is of 5 Megapixels, and you can use the same to take rich-in-details photographs once in a while. There are also a few options for footage enhancement.
For instance, the Logitech HD Webcam C310 does a fantastic job of light correction, which comes in handy during low-light scenarios. Similarly, you get many benefits of choosing a product from Logitech. Probably the most important thing is that you can use the webcam with the Logitech Recording software, which helps in video optimization and direct upload to YouTube or Facebook.
Another area where you should not worry at all is compatibility. Designed to be a plug-and-play device, you can start using this webcam with popular IM and meeting apps without a hassle. Whether you want to make a few changes to the output is another question. Coming to the audio part, we can see that its noise-reduction microphones do a decent job as well.
In terms of hardware support, you cannot go wrong with the Logitech HD Webcam C310. First of all, you get an easy-to-connect universal clip. This means you can set this webcam up with desktop and laptop devices with ease. However, you don’t get options for 360-degree swivel or much portability, per se. On the bright side, this USB 2.0 webcam has options for face-tracking.
- Affordable pricing
- Superior video quality
- Hassle-free setup
- Face-tracking & auto-focus
- Logitech software support
- No 360-degree swivel
11. Cheapest Option: Dericam 1080P Webcam
Last on this list is a great webcam that can surprise you in terms of affordability. If you are looking for a Full HD webcam that costs less than a premium cup of coffee, you should consider the Dericam 1080P Webcam, which surprisingly offers superior quality.
First things first, you get a 1080p full HD sensor with the package. Thanks to the software optimization cores at work, you get a crystal-clear video for both meetings and casual video conferencing. It also is excellent that the webcam works smoothly with popular Instant Messaging apps like Skype and Zoom. As is the norm when it comes to such webcams, you can record 1080p content at 30fps only.
If you know how to smoothen the video source, you can use the Dericam 1080P Webcam for streaming as well as video calls. It also packs several standard features like auto-focus and versatile compatibility. You can easily connect this to an array of popular devices and get things on track. There are also some features for the beautification of the video if you are into that.
Compatibility is another strong forte of the webcam since you can plug-and-play it with almost all popular meeting/video calling apps out there. Although not of exceptional quality, its built-in techniques for low-light correction can improve the overall quality at non-favorable lighting conditions. Last but not least, the auto-focus system on the camera also seems to work fine.
Surprisingly, the Dericam 1080P Webcam does not compromise anything in the hardware sector. It comes with a universal mount that enables quick installation as well as rotation. The mounting angle also ensures a good placement of the noise-reduction microphones. As always, staying true to the spirit of the budget, it uses USB 2.0 for connectivity.
- Truly affordable
- 1080p video recording
- Effective light correction
- Rotation/swivel options
- Universal mount
- Footage quality could be better
Frequently Asked Questions
It is hard to give you a specific answer because there are so many manufacturers that focus on customers of different categories. For instance, webcams from Razer are an excellent choice for streaming-related uses, while Logitech has been the go-to choice for years now.
The final value of a 4K UHD webcam depends on the major purpose and the working environment. If you are someone who wants to record content from a webcam perspective and use it with other videos, you can get a 4K webcam without a doubt. When it comes to streaming, you have to think about bandwidth as well.
Autofocus webcams are designed to work by deciding the object of focus. So, if you have a subject that can move frequently, the autofocus can be a little problematic. With manual focus, however, you don’t have this problem. Instead, you can decide the ideal focal length for your video/stream recording.
As you can see, we have included products that cost as much as a decent smartphone and as low as a cup of coffee. One thing that you should know is that the content quality gets a boost as you move to the premium sector. So, if crystal-clear content is your priority, you should have a bigger budget.
If you plan to use your webcam for streaming, the first feature you should look for is customization itself. It should not only offer you a reliable platform that helps you optimize the content but also enables easy data export, among other things.
We hope you found our collection of the best-rated external webcams useful. Diversity was our primary point while picking the products for this article. In addition to including affordable products and premium ones, we’ve also tried to include webcams for specific purposes.
For instance, you can find some business-quality camera models that prioritize content optimization. You may also have to check for advanced features like multiple fields of view and adjustable angles. Digital zoom also helps you in business conferences and marketing pitches.
At the same time, you may have to pick a rather powerful sensor if you are planning to make your content. Nevertheless, since we have chosen products from some of the most reliable brands, you don’t have to worry about aspects like software support or other malfunctions.