The Best Cheap Streaming Cameras of 2019

Many gamers on YouTube and Twitch use an external camera to stream video.

A good streaming camera will look better than an integrated webcam. Plus, using an external camera makes it easier to frame and compose shots. This article is focused on external webcams.

(Some professional gamers stream 4K video using a DSLR, mirrorless camera or camcorder that is connected to a 4K capture card or HDMI-to-USB dongle. These are costly setups that require a lot of graphics processing power.)

A streaming camera is only as good as its lens quality, resolution and its ability to output at least 30 video frames per second (fps). Beyond those basics, you might also consider:

  1. Will you use a ring light or rely on ambient lighting?

  2. Does your setup include a gaming headset and streaming microphone?

  3. Do you plan to replace your background using a green screen?

The answers to these questions will help you decide if you need a camera with excellent low-light capabilities, a built-in microphone, or the ability to automatically replace a background. 

Here are the best-reviewed webcams that support 30fps full-HD video (1080p) and have sold for $50 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $64 | Great Deal: $40

This camera has great picture quality and works out of the box on most Windows PCs, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers were disappointed by the onboard microphone. Some say the included Logitech software is poor; others were frustrated using this webcam with Open Broadcaster Software (OBS).

Good Price: $74 | Great Deal: $50

Logitech's C922x Pro has wonderful picture-quality and low-light performance, but does not include drivers or software, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers say the background removal feature (i.e. chroma key) doesn't work well. Some say that Logitech's older camera, the C920, is a better value.

Good Price: $34 | Great Deal: $25

This webcam is acceptable for the money, according to several Amazon customers, but it has quirks and drawbacks. Some reviewers say the camera doesn't perform well in low light; others were not used to manually adjusting focus on a camera. This camera doesn't work on Macs, but because there are no printed instructions in the box, a few Mac owners discovered this the hard way.


John DeFeo