The 10 Best Webcams

Updated June 20, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

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We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether you're Skyping with family and friends, installing a home security system, or setting up professional teleconferencing in the office, a quality webcam is the place to start. With a wide range of physical configurations and image qualities, our comprehensive list is sure to contain the right solution to your digital video recording needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best webcam on Amazon.

10. Creative Live!

Travelers on a budget should consider the Creative Live!, a tiny and very affordable unit that's great for video calls in a pinch. It comes with proprietary software that allows it to also function as a security camera and stream the live feeds for remote viewing.
  • noise-canceling microphone
  • lockable with a password
  • lacks any autofocus capability
Brand Creative
Model 73VF077000000
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Trustin Minoru

The Trustin Minoru looks like a fun little creature sitting atop your screen, and it creates a one-of-a-kind chat experience by transmitting videos and still images in three dimensions, though you can set it to normal mode when needed.
  • comes with 5 pairs of 3d glasses
  • no oem drivers for use with mac os
  • video quality is not very high
Brand Trustin
Weight 9.1 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. AVer CAM530

Perched squarely at the high end of both price and performance, the AVer CAM530 is the ultimate way to visually connect with the rest of the world at HD resolutions and 60 frames per second. Ten PTZ presets let you focus on a single speaker with the touch of a button.
  • great in almost any lighting
  • large aperture reduces motion blur
  • not intended for casual home use
Brand AVer Information
Model COMSCA530
Weight 21.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Hue HD Pro

The Hue HD Pro is useful in a variety of applications, from basic duty as a home webcam, to daily use as a school document cam, and more. It has a flexible neck and a sturdy base that allow you to record from virtually any angle, but the picture isn't the best quality.
  • wide view captures a full a4 page
  • great for making animated videos
  • good addition to a classroom
Brand HueHD
Model PC0003
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Meeting Owl

The Meeting Owl is a revolutionary new product that curates the teleconferencing experience for you, while you work together on the task at hand. Its 360-degree camera and 8-microphone array detect and focus on up to 3 separate speakers without any user input.
  • detection radius of 12 feet
  • usb plug-n-play ready
  • advanced tech though at a high price
Brand Meeting Owl by Owl Labs
Model pending
Weight 5.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

5. Logitech Brio

The Logitech Brio is built to deliver the best image possible. It stands apart as the only one on the market today that's capable of recording at 4K resolution using HDR imaging, but such high-quality capture will seriously tax your computer's resources.
  • automatic light correction
  • ir sensor for facial recognition
  • costs more than 1080p models
Brand Logitech
Model 960-001105
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. LilBit RGB-IR

The LilBit RGB-IR clips unobtrusively to the top of your monitor and features infrared face recognition, so once you've docked your laptop, you can log in without even opening it, and it remembers multiple users for easy access to shared PCs.
  • optimized for windows hello
  • rgb camera shoots at 720p
  • lower picture quality than most
Brand LilBit
Model RGB-IR Camera
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. PTZ Pro 2

The PTZ Pro 2 is Logitech's high-end option, designed to maximize communication and increase productivity during meetings. It offers top-quality features, like motorized pan, tilt, and zoom functions, albeit at a price most home users would blanch at.
  • many additional peripherals offered
  • optimized for various business apps
  • top-of-the-line 10x optical zoom
Brand Logitech
Model 960-001054
Weight 8.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Conference Cam

The all-in-one Conference Cam by Logitech is a fantastic solution to long-distance, small-business communication. It contains everything you need to get up to speed with partners and clients around the world, and it's compatible with most UC-certified products.
  • control from the base or by remote
  • full duplex speakerphone
  • echo and noise cancellation
Brand Logitech
Model 960-000866
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Logitech HD Pro

The 15MP sensor in the Logitech HD Pro provides the best video quality of most options. A pair of stereo mics pick up clean, crisp sound with minimal outside noise, and the upgraded model features background removal for streaming games on Twitch.
  • very responsive autofocus
  • consistently beloved by owners
  • quite reasonably priced
Brand Logitech
Model 960-000764
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

"But Doesn't My Computer Already Have a Camera?" -- Cue Laugh Track

The first webcams in the 1990s were installed in public places and provided the kind of live, linked feeds employed worldwide today by everything from police departments to traffic reporters and creepy neighbors. Most of us, however, can think of a time before video chat. You remember when we had to walk to school up hill both ways in ten feet of snow, and we ate dirt and were grateful, and dinosaurs roamed the earth?

Well, those days are gone, and now almost everyone has a camera of some kind built into their devices, be they computers, tablets, or cell phones. But, generally speaking, those cameras aren't so good. Make no mistake, there may be billboards with beautiful pictures from your iPhone 1000 S Plus Infinity Supreme Deluxe LE all over the city, but they weren't taken with the front-facing camera, which is the one you use for video conferencing.

Those front-facing cameras tend to be a fraction of the quality that phone companies place on the back, which is where the "serious photography" takes place.

So, you need something sharper, more capable, and more versatile than those little guys, perhaps for business conferencing, perhaps for personal use. Whatever the need, the cameras available today far outshine their ancient ancestors.

With a combination of today's hardware and video conferencing software, the big screens in your conference room can feel more like windows into a room next door than they might feel like fuzzy broadcasts from the nether reaches of Antarctica. The thing about these technologies is you've got to see them in action to appreciate them.

Just Like a Camera, But Different!

In the age of digital cameras, not too much has changed about what makes one camera sharper or better in low light than another. Most folks go straight to megapixels and only care to compare that number. Please, don't be one of those people.

I don't care how many megapixels your camera sensor has. If the lens letting the light hit it isn't up to snuff, megapixels will never matter. And in the world of lenses there are a few important variables to consider. One of those variables is size.

That's right, and I'm sorry fellas, but this is one of those fields in which size definitely matters. The best telescopes in the world are enormous for a reason, and it's not just about magnification. It's also about light collecting area: the wider the lens is at its first element (the glass part that you see), the more data it can collect. So, a bigger, wider lens is bound to take in more light information. That's also why the best lenses for still photography and big budget movies are so large.

Another thing to consider is aperture, which is a pain to explain technically, but is usually represented by a fairly simple number. Some webcams advertise this number proudly; others never mention it. What you need to know is that the smaller the aperture number is, the more light the lens can let in, and that will drastically improve a camera's performance in bad lighting. What's a good number? Anything below 5.6.

Science Fact: The Webcam's Long Journey to Reality

One of the most pervasive examples of the video call in our culture is, of course, the classic scene of personal failure in Back to the Future 2, in which a beleaguered Future Marty McFly loses his job. The technology was also extensively used in an under-celebrated aquatic sci-fi television series called SeaQuest. There are plenty of examples, but it took a great long while for the technology to catch up with our dreams of it.

That day first came in 1991, when some eminently practical students in the computer laboratory at Cambridge University pointed a web-connected camera at the communal coffee pot outside the Trojan Room. The students gave everybody on the local network access to the live image, as the idea, apparently, was to enable students in other parts of the building to save themselves a trip to the coffee pot in case it was empty. That camera ran for 10 years, and its final image was preserved for all to see.

Later, around the same time the first commercial webcams became available in 1994, the University of San Francisco launched their FogCam, which still runs to this day, and is the oldest webcam still in operation.

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Last updated on June 20, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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