'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.
Lockdown restrictions might be a thing of the past, but video calls have proven to remain a core element of present and likely future hybrid working practices. Many laptops and all-in-one desktop PCs now include a built-in webcam, so it's not essential to buy any additional equipment for video calls. However, those built-in cameras stick to the basics, with moderate resolution and image quality, a limited viewing angle, and few controls. Business users -- or even creatives -- who want to project a more professional image can benefit from a dedicated high-definition camera that delivers a better image and mic quality among other rich features.
Straying from the usual 720ps, these HD cameras offer 1080p or even 4K resolution along with other upgraded features, such as an adjustable stand that allows you to tilt and swivel the camera, a wide-angle lens, and a noise-canceling microphone.
Also: How to use your iPhone as a webcam with Continuity Camera
With most webcams using a standard USB connection, they're compatible with both PCs and Macs and can generally be used with video conferencing apps like Skype, Zoom, and Teams. Note that Mac users should also check to see if the camera requires a special app from the manufacturer that provides additional features.
Insta360 Link features: Rotational camera piece allows facial tracking | Whiteboard and DeskView modes | 4K resolution with autofocusing | Lightweight fit to hang on laptops
The Insta360 Link is the first webcam from the camera company, but it delivers on nearly all fronts. When testing the gimbal-like system back in 2022, ZDNET's June Wan not only gave it a 5/5 rating, but went so far as to say none of the handful of webcams he tested during the pandemic "check as many boxes as the Insta360 Link does."
These "checked boxes" include a crisp 4K resolution, quick and easy installation, and DSLR-like autofocus. Uniquely, there's also an assortment of AI-powered tracking features such as facial tracking (thanks to the rotatable camera piece), hand gestures for zooming in and out, a presentation mode to emphasize the colors of a whiteboard, and even DeskView mode, which pans the webcam downward to capture the contents on your tabletop.
At $299, the Insta360 Link is not the cheapest webcam on the market, but it's also not the most expensive (as you'll see later down the list). For the price, you're getting an impressive spec list that will benefit business professionals, content creators, and educators alike. To make it even better, a single USB-C cable is all that's needed to power the unit.
Razer Kiyo Pro features: Scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass | Lens provides three viewing angles | Built-in microphone
The Kiyo webcam was one of the products that helped Razer expand out of its traditional gaming market, gaining good reviews that helped attract many people who are now working from home.
It's no surprise that Razer has now followed up with the Kiyo Pro. Some have been disappointed that the Kiyo Pro sticks with the same 1080p resolution (1920x1080) as its predecessor while increasing the price to $199 (now selling for as low as $99). However, Razer added new features that ensure the Kiyo Pro can cope with the varied and unpredictable lighting conditions of a home office.
The scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass lens can record 1080p video at 30fps with HDR to provide stronger colors and contrast, or it can step up to 60fps -- without HDR -- for smooth, sharp animation. The lens provides three different viewing angles and also includes an adaptive light sensor designed to handle low-light conditions.
Elgato Facecam features: Flexible tilt mechanism | Features Sony's Starvis CMOS sensor | Comes with detachable privacy cover
The pandemic not only ushered in an area of video conferencing but also content creation. With more people investing in the creator economy (maybe including yourself) via shooting video, streaming, and publishing digital content, companies like Elgato (now owned by Corsair) have met the call of duty. The latest from the Stream Deck creator is the Facecam, a 1080p webcam that supports 60fps output, has a fixed-focused f2.4 aperture sensor, and dials into Elgato's extensive software support for broadcasters.
While great for streaming, the Elgato is also great for video conferencing. Imad Khan, senior reporter at our sister site, CNET, is currently using the Elgato and raves about the video image quality.
Hardware-wise, Facecam's boxy form factor and highly flexible tilt mechanism set it apart from the rest of the gaming-centric webcams. While there are no ring lights, users can take advantage of the in-body Sony Starvis CMOS sensor to deliver great video output, no matter the lighting conditions. The camera comes geared with all the tools a streamer or video-conferencer would want, including a detachable privacy cover when a broadcast is done.
AnkerWork B600 Video Bar features: 2K resolution for conferencing | Built-in light bar also serves as privacy cover | Four microphones
If you're among the many who have transitioned to the WFH or even hybrid lifestyle, then you're probably well aware of just how cluttered a desk can be when gearing up for a video call. A webcam, speaker, and microphone setup can be a burden on its own.
Enter the AnkerWork B600 Video Bar. It's Anker's all-in-one conferencing solution that bundles a 2K-resolution webcam, four microphones, dual speakers, and a built-in light bar that doubles as a privacy cover when closed. The video bar isn't cheap -- it retails at $219 -- but keep in mind that you're essentially paying for three separate devices, tactfully rolled into the convenience of one.
Anker also bundles the B600 Video Bar with its proprietary companion software, which gives your Windows or Mac computer access to the camera's features, including visual effects, field-of-view, resolution, and even light bar intensity. From testing the video bar, Wan first-hand saw that it served as a valid replacement for all the video-conference accoutrements that go unused and unappreciated on an office desk.
Logitech Connect features: 1080 and 720p video modes | 90-degree field of view | Connect conference cam doubles as a speakerphone
Logitech's webcams are primarily intended for personal use, but the company also makes a number of "ConferenceCams" that are more versatile, such as the Connect.
The cylindrical Connect is designed to sit on a desk rather than attach to a computer screen, but you can pan and tilt the glass lens using the handheld remote control (which also covers the lens for privacy when the Connect isn't in use). The camera provides 1080p and 720p video modes, with 4x digital zoom. The 90-degree field of view is good for when you need to step back and give presentations and for covering small groups in an office.
This webcam includes two internal microphones, and the Connect can also work as a speakerphone for audio calls, using Bluetooth to connect to your mobile devices. It even includes a rechargeable battery so you can quickly pick it up and carry it from room to room, allowing you to use it as a standalone speakerphone without requiring a USB connection to your PC or Mac.
Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro features: High-quality lens supporting 4K | HDR (High Dynamic Range) for stunning visual quality | Offers three angles (65, 78, and 90-degree)
As the rather long-winded name suggests, the Brio Ultra HD Pro is Logitech's top-of-the-range camera suited for personal and business users alike. (There's another model called the Brio Stream, which looks virtually identical, but is designed for gamers.)
It's packed with features, including a high-quality glass lens that supports full 4K (4096x2160) resolution with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for optimum picture quality. You'll need a PC or a Mac with USB 3.0 or USB-C to use the 4K mode, but the camera also offers 1080p and 720p modes for older computers.
The Brio provides three viewing angles, with 65 degrees designed for simple head-and-shoulders shots, 78 degrees for fitting another person in the image, and 90 degrees for a wider view of the room for presentations and demos. There's also a 5x digital zoom available (although this only works when using 1080p resolution), along with a privacy shutter, dual noise-canceling microphones, and optical and infrared sensors that support Windows Hello for extra security.
Logitech C930e Business Webcam features: 1080p resolution | 90-degree viewing angle with autofocus | Adjustable stand allows you to capture multiple angles
Logitech has been in the webcam business for decades, and its current range covers everything from low-cost cameras for home users right up to boardroom video-conferencing systems that cost a pretty penny. If you're looking for an affordable business-quality webcam, then the C930e is a good place to start.
Equipped with a high-quality glass lens, the C930e delivers 1080p resolution -- which can be scaled down to 720p if required -- and a 90-degree viewing angle with autofocus, so you can step back to a whiteboard for presentations if needed. There's also 4x digital zoom for close-up work, dual microphones, and a privacy shutter in case you've just stumbled out of bed in the morning.
You can tilt and swivel the camera on its adjustable stand, which can be clipped onto a laptop or external monitor. If you have a tripod, the camera also has a tripod connector, which is great for group meetings when paired with the 4x digital zoom functionality.
Also: The best tripods (and why they're great for content creators)
After crowdsourcing, conducting research, and looking at ZDNET's hands-on reviews, I've concluded that the Insta360 Link is the best webcam. It's an investment, sure, but it's one that means business. Other options, like the Elgato Facecam, Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro, and others on this list are also packed with fantastic features and market standouts.
Field of view (in degrees)
4K (3840 x 2160)
Razer Kiyo Pro
1080p (1920 x1080)
1080p (1920 x1080)
AnkerWork B600 Video Bar
2K (2560 x1440)
1080p (1920 x1080)
Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro
4K (4096 x 2160)
Logitech C9930e Business Webcam
1080p (1920 x1080)
For simple video calls with colleagues, you may find that an affordable 1080p camera is perfectly adequate. But if you want to look as professional as possible, then a more expensive 4K model can make a big difference. A wide-angle lens is more expensive but can be useful for small groups sitting around a table in a huddle room, or for people who need to stand up while giving a presentation.
Also, note that not all webcams include a built-in microphone -- some people prefer to use a separate microphone or a shared speakerphone system -- so check on that before buying.
Choose this webcam…
Want a webcam with crisp 4K resolution, autofocus, and a suite of AI-powered tracking features. ZDNET went hands-on with this camera and considers it the best of the best.
Razer Kiyo Pro
Have a low-lit WFH space. It's great if you want a durable webcam with three viewing angles and a built-in microphone.
Want the best video quality. Popular amongst content creators, the Elgato Facecam promises crisp quality no matter the lighting conditions.
AnkerWork B600 Video Bar
Want the best all-in-one webcam. With the AnkerWork b600, you get a 2K webcam, speaker, and microphone with just one setup.
Want a conference room cam. With a 90-degree field of video, this webcam works best for small groups in the office and it doubles as a speaker phone.
Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro
Want a webcam packed with features. Supporting 4K, offering HDR, three viewing angles, a privacy shutter, and noise-canceling microphones, you're set for any meeting.
Logitech C9930e Business Webcam
Want the most bang for your buck. At Walmart, this camera retails for $57 but still packs in 4x digital zoom, 1080p resolution, and a 90-degree viewing angle.
Since the remote/hybrid work boom, most people in the market for a webcam want to upgrade from their built-in laptop camera (720p). The foundational quality I looked for was improved image quality, meaning a 1080p (1920x1080) or 4K (3840x2160) resolution webcam.
I also turned to customer reviews, our own hands-on experience, and my webcam user colleagues to get a better understanding of each camera's key features, pros and cons, and user experience.
Most modern laptops -- and many desktop PCs -- already have a built-in webcam, but these are often low-cost cameras with 720p resolution (1280x720 pixels) that provide relatively poor image quality. If you're working from home and want to make a good impression with your clients and colleagues, then a high-quality webcam with better image and sound quality is a very worthwhile investment.
Modern webcams that use a USB interface -- either USB-A or USB-C -- are plug-and-play devices that should work with any PC or Mac without requiring additional software or drivers to be installed. However, some webcam manufacturers provide their own apps that provide additional controls and features. Some of these apps will only run on Windows PCs, so Apple users should check on Mac compatibility before buying.
The USB compatibility of modern webcams should ensure that they work smoothly with any video software that runs on your PC or Mac. However, some webcams may offer features that are designed for use with specific apps, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Some manufacturers also provide their own proprietary video conferencing systems that require both hardware and software to be provided by a single manufacturer.
Of course, these aren't the only webcams on the market worth your consideration. If you're looking to save or even splurge a bit more on high-quality cams, here are some worthy alternatives.
Logitech undoubtedly makes some of the highest-quality video cameras, but that can come at a price. The C920 retails for $60 without compromising Logitech's signature sharp image quality. Plus, it still totes a 78-degree field of view and automatic light adjustments.
At a lower price point, this camera features a microphone, auto-focus technology, and a 1080p HD widescreen sensor. Despite Microsoft in the name, it also supports MacOS and is USB compatible.
The Logitech Mevo Start HD Action Camera delivers a 1080p HD resolution, lets users stream live via Wi-Fi, 4G/5G, or Ethernet, and produces high-quality broadcasts. At the price, it's a splurge but it might be worth it for YouTubers or content creators.
For more about cameras, be sure to check out ZDNET's picks for the best vlogging cameras, the best DSLR cameras, the best cameras for beginners, and the best camera phones.