/>
X
Tech
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

What are the best webcams for streaming and are 4K ones worth it?

Whether you're just starting out or an experienced content creator, the right webcam can go a long way toward elevating your vlogs, streams, and scripted content. Brands like Logitech offer budget-friendly options for beginners while creator-centric brands like Elgato offer higher-end models for more experienced streamers who need high-quality video.
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer

Choosing a webcam for streaming live on Twitch or Youtube is a bit different than choosing one for virtual learning or video calls for work. Content creators have more specific needs in order to produce high-quality videos and broadcasts for their audience. Thankfully, there is a wide variety of webcams to choose from that are capable of recording in full 1080p HD resolution or even 4K as well as with frame rates up to 90fps. 

You can now even use built-in chroma key software to digitally remove video backgrounds without a green screen, which is great news for streaming newcomers or anyone who has a space that might be too small for a traditional green screen. There are even devices like the Elgato Cam Link 4K which let you use a DSLR camera as a webcam for ultra-high def video. To help you decide which is the right streaming webcam for you, I've put together a list of the best ones you can buy. I've broken down their features and price points to help you find the right fit for your needs as well as your budget.

Also: What is the best budget gaming laptop? Top picks (mostly) under $1,000

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Autofocus and auto light correction
  • Background removal software
  • X-Split license included
  • Plug-and-play connectivity
Cons
  • A bit pricey
  • No privacy cover included
More Details

Resolution: Up to 1080p | Frame rate: Up to 60fps (at 720p) | Connectivity: USB | Background removal: Personify Chroma Cam

Logitech is one of the biggest names in webcams for business, but you can also use the C922 Pro Stream for Twitch and YouTube. It captures video in 1080p at up to 30fps for smooth, clear video playback. It also uses an autofocus feature to keep your images crystal clear no matter how much you move around and an automatic light correction so you look your best even if your lighting isn't. Dual, noise-canceling microphones also pick up clearer sound than previous models so you're heard even without a separate mic like the HyperX QuadCast S or Shure MV7. 

The folding base makes it easy to clip the C922 Pro Stream to your PC or laptop monitor, and it even has a threaded mount for use with a tripod. And if you download the Personify Chroma Cam app, you can remove your video backgrounds without a green screen for more professional looking streams and videos. It also includes a 6-month, premium license for X-Split so both streaming newcomers and seasoned creators looking to switch can get started right away.

Also: The best webcams

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Under $50
  • Privacy cover included
  • 1080p
  • Windows, Mac, and Android compatibility
Cons
  • No built-in chroma key function
  • No built-in mic mute
  • No tripod mount
More Details

Resolution: 1080p | Frame rate: 30fps | Connectivity: USB | Background removal: N/A 

If you're just starting out as a streamer, you don't need to spend a fortune on a webcam to create great content. The NexiGo N60 retails for under $50 while still offering premium-grade features like 1080p recording, a noise-canceling microphone, and the ability to adjust white balance. It also includes a privacy cover to protect you when the webcam isn't in use. 

With plug-and-play functionality, it's compatible with Windows, Mac, and even Android platforms so you won't have to worry about it not working properly with your computer or smartphone. It also works with any streaming program that is based on the OBS Project source code, so you can use your favorite desktop app to broadcast.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 4K at 30fps
  • Windows Hello compatibility
  • Windows, Mac, and ChromeOS compatibility
  • Adjustable FOV
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • No built-in mic mute
  • No side-to-side swivel
More Details

Resolution: 4K | Frame rate: Up to 90fps | Connectivity: USB-C/USB 3.0 | Background removal: Personify Chroma Cam 

The Logitech Brio is a great choice for more experienced content creators looking to enhance their live streams with 4K video. It's capable of recording in native 4K resolution at up to 90fps for ultra-smooth playback. It also uses an automatic low-light correction mode to boost visibility even if you don't have a key or fill light for your stream. It also supports HDR for enhanced detailing, which is perfect for make-up and special effects artists who need a camera that can pick up fine details for tutorials. It's compatible with Windows, Mac, and ChromeOS computers as well as Windows Hello facial recognition technology to help protect your computer (and streaming accounts) from unauthorized access. And a privacy cover ensures protection when the camera isn't in use. 

You can even adjust the field-of-view from 65 to 90 degrees to suit your face cam preferences or green screen. The folding mount lets you quickly and easily clip the Brio webcam to your monitor or laptop, and it has a threaded mount for use with a tripod for more placement options. And if you don't have a green screen, you can use the Personify Chroma Cam application to digitally remove your video backgrounds for more professional-looking content.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Built-in ring light
  • Tripod mount
  • Plug-and-play functionality
Cons
  • No built-in mic
  • No Mac or ChromeOS compatibility
  • No privacy shutter
  • No chroma key software included
More Details

Resolution: Up to 1080p | Frame rate: Up to 60fps | Connectivity: USB | Background removal: N/A 

Going live for the first time on Twitch or uploading your first video to YouTube can feel like an impossible task because of all of the equipment needed to create quality content people will want to watch. Thankfully, the Razer Kiyo has you covered with a built-in ring light. This allows you to have better key or fill lighting without big, bulky box lamps or full-sized ring lights. You can also adjust the brightness to suit your needs. 

It records in 1080p at up to 30fps for consistent playback as well as a low-light correction mode to boost visibility in dimmer shots. It's compatible with OBS-based streaming software like StreamLabs and Stream Elements as well as X-Split and even productivity apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The Razer Synapse 3 desktop app lets you adjust the ring light brightness as well as create custom presets for perfect recording every time. It's hinge mount lets you place it on your laptop or monitor while the threaded mount lets you use a tripod for more placement options.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Use with any DSLR camera
  • Low-latency streaming and recording
  • Mac and Windows compatibility
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No chroma key software included
More Details

Resolution: Up to 4K | Frame rate: Up to 60fps (in 1080p) | Connectivity: USB/HDMI | Background removal: N/A 

For streamers who have made the move to full-time content creation, the Elgato Cam Link 4K is an almost necessary piece of equipment. While not a webcam itself, it allows you to connect any DLSR camera to your computer for ultra-high def recording and live streaming. It can record video in up to 4K resolution at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps for clear, smooth playback. It connects to your computer via USB and your camera with an HDMI-to-mini HDMI cable, and is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers. With low-latency recording, you won't have to worry about lag interrupting your streams and recordings or making it difficult to interact with your audience. The device itself is incredibly compact, making it easy to store away when not in use or take with you for off-site recordings and collaborative projects.

What is the best streaming webcam?

My pick for the best webcam for streaming is the Logitech C922 Pro Stream. It captures video in 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, and even Android so no matter what you use to record and edit your videos, you won't have to worry about connectivity. The lens uses an autofocus feature to keep your video crystal clear, even when changing shots on-the-fly while 2 built in mics help capture audio. It also comes with a free, 6-month premium license for X-Split so streaming newcomers can get started right away with high-quality assets and overlays.

Streaming webcam

Price

Max resolution

Max frame rate

Logitech C922 Pro Stream

$96

1080p

60fps

NexiGo N60

$40

1080p

30fps

Logitech Brio

$128

4K

90fps

Razer Kiyo

$65

1080p

60fps

Elgato Cam Link 4K

$100

4K

60fps

Which is the right streaming webcam for you?

Really any webcam will be just fine for both streaming newcomers and seasoned pros. But if you're looking for specifics, a webcam that is capable of at least 30fps and recording in 1080p will give you the clearest video, even over slower internet connections. More budget-friendly models usually top out at 720p resolution, which is alright for beginners learning the ropes, but may put off audience members who prefer higher quality face cam videos. 

Choose this streaming webcam

If you need…

Logitech C922 Pro Stream

A well-rounded, high quality web cam with a decent price

NexiGo N60

A budget-friendly webcam under $50

Logitech Brio

A high-end, 4K webcam for experienced content creators

Razer Kiyo

A webcam with a built-in ring light for beginners

Elgato Cam Link 4K

A device for using DSLR cameras for Twitch and YouTube streams

How did we choose these streaming webcams?

I deliberately chose both beginner-friendly and higher end models to suit both first time streamers and experienced content creators. I also made sure that I chose webcams with varying price points to fit into a wide range of budgets.

Each webcam was chosen for its ease of use, resolution, frame rate, and compatibility with popular streaming programs like StreamLabs OBS and X-Split. 

Do I need a 60fps webcam to stream?

Not at all! Unless you stream full time to hundreds, or thousands, of viewers every day you really don't need a webcam that is capable of 60fps recording. Most webcams are capable of 30fps, which is smooth enough for Twitch and YouTube, even over slower internet connections. A webcam capable of 60fps is much more suited to podcast-style streams where you may have guest contributors or scripted content for smoother playback and easier editing.

Are 4K webcams worth it?

If you're just starting out making content on YouTube or Twitch, you really don't need to spring for an expensive 4K webcam right away. However, as your skills improve and audience grows, a 4K webcam can be a great investment. With higher video quality for live streaming, you'll also have higher quality VODs (recordings of past streams) to post on YouTube or clips for TikTok and Instagram, which are important for fans who may miss your live broadcasts and to reach new audiences.

Most of the more budget-friendly webcams are capable of at least 1080p resolution, which is more than enough for most streamers; especially since video quality is also determined by your internet upload speed and lag.

What webcam is best for using with a green screen?

While there are a few webcams on the market with chromakey technology built-in, effective green screen use relies more on sufficient lighting and a good editing program than camera quality. Virtually any webcam can be used with any green screen, as long as you have plenty of fill lighting to eliminate shadows that can ruin background graphics as well as a good enough editing program to quickly and efficiently edit in images.

Are there alternative webcams for streaming worth considering?

There are a ton of webcams on the market that are great choices for streamers who are just starting out as well as established content creators looking to upgrade their setup. Here's a short list of alternative options that I thought were great:

Editorial standards