Despite the fact that most laptops and mobile devices come equipped with cameras and microphones, many of us still prefer to use webcams for improved video quality and better portability. Webcams let us easily communicate and record video without the need to be videographers or own expensive equipment. In fact, the best webcams are plug-and-play, and come with software for video and image editing.
The best webcams facilitate Skype and other video chats, record videos, and take high-resolution photos without the need for a DSLR camera. They’re even used in the business world for teleconferences and webinars, which require high-quality picture and wide angles to show a room full of people. For all these tasks, the stock cameras our devices come with just won’t do.
Things to Consider for the Best Webcams
Most people want clear, HD picture quality from their webcams, but there’s more to consider:
- MegaPixels and Resolution. The best webcams come in either 720p or 1080p, where 720p represents 1280×720 pixel resolution, and 1080p represents 1920×1080 pixel resolution (the highest available). A megapixel (MP) is 1,00,000 pixels. Therefore, 720p is equivalent to almost 1 MP, and 1080p is 2 MP. Why, then, do some webcams report 5MP+ quality? Those claims refer to photo interpolation.
- Photo Interpolation: When the best webcams claim to offer more than 2 MP of picture quality, they are generally referring to the enhancement performed by the webcam’s software after the picture is taken, and this level of quality is limited to still-photos.
- Frames Per Second: When it comes to video quality, you can have all the resolution in the world and it won’t mean a thing if the frame rate isn’t up to speed. Frame rate (FPS) depends on your webcam’s and your CPU’s ability to process the video.
Most of the best webcams feature built-in cameras and microphones of varying degrees of quality, and feature other conveniences like autofocus or light correction. For those who need to film a large area, webcams are also available with wide-angle lenses.
If you looking for one of the best webcams for everyday use with friends and family, you may not need these added features, but when quality matters, it’s always better to spend a little extra.
Top 10 Best Webcams Comparison Guide
Top 3 Best Webcams Reviews
Logitech has long held a reputation for making the best webcams on the market, and the C920 is one of their most popular, versatile models. True to its name, this webcam can capture 1080p HD video, and includes the H.264 video encoder necessary to run high frame rates. That means that unlike other webcams, which struggle at <20 FPS in HD, the C920’s video won’t skip or stutter. For still-photos, the C920 can produce a staggering 15MP quality.
Compatible with the most recent versions of Mac and Windows, this webcam also comes with a slew of other features to make recording videos or taking pictures hassle-free. Dual high quality computer speakers pick up great sound, automatically canceling out background noise and giving you a perfect complement to crystal clear videos. Handy facetracking ensures you can move around the frame without losing focus, even in low light situations. Need a wide angle? That’s no problem for the C920, which also features 16:9 widescreen option.
Setup with the C920 is easy, as it can be clipped on to any laptop and even has camera tripod compatibility. Reviewers are also thrilled with how easy this webcam is to use. This device is ready to use with Skype, Facetime, and all your other favorite programs out of the box, without any complicated installation. You might expect a premium webcam like this to break the bank, but the C920 is priced affordably for most budgets.
For its price, the LifeCam Cinema’s 720p picture quality is nothing to sneeze at, and promises up to 30 FPS for uninterrupted video. The auto focus feature follows you throughout the video, and this webcam will automatically adjust color and light levels to achieve optimum, true-to-life results. Like the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, the LifeCam Cinema also offers widescreen functionality.
Don’t worry about wandering off-screen, either – the LifeCam Cinema can rotate a full 360 degrees, and boasts reliable facetracking. Reviewers were also impressed with the sound quality, reporting that it delivers the superior volume, sensitivity, and clarity you’d expect from one of the best webcams. We especially like the design and the aluminum body, which gives the impression of a pricier device. Users report that the solid construction will last through years of regular use.
The major complaint for this webcam was that it would sometimes lose frame rate at full 720p. While some users may not mind downgrading resolution when their processors become overtaxed, those who demand consistent quality over long recordings may need to look elsewhere. For the average user, however, this webcam has all the features you need.
Maybe your computer didn’t come with a camera, or the quality is so bad it may as well not even be there. For a quick solution on a budget, you can’t do better than the AUSDOM 720p Network Camera. Just because it doesn’t have the 1080p HD of the Logitech, or the crystal clear audio recording of the LifeCam, this device still deserves a spot on the list of best webcams.
Reviewers can’t get over how good the video quality is for the price, and no one denies AUSDOM’s claim of 720p for under 20 bucks. Video and picture quality are great, though stuttering can sometimes be a problem during high definition recordings, and you may have to downgrade to a lower resolution.
It’s also worth noting that this webcam is compatible with later versions of Windows and iOS, so if you have an older machine this is the perfect upgrade. Of course, you can also use it with the latest operating systems, including Linux. Importantly, the sound quality with this webcam leaves a little to be desired, and isn’t suitable for professional audio recordings. The speaker is not very sensitive, and may record audio with environmental interference, like humming or static. This isn’t a problem for most reviewers, however, who mostly use this webcam for simple video chats.