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If you don’t own a webcam, you should get one ASAP. It’s one of those things that seems unnecessary until you have one, and then it suddenly becomes useful for all kinds of things.

In the past year, I’ve used my own webcam for home surveillance, one-on-one video chats, and multi-user video conferences. Other uses include vlogging on YouTube and streaming video games. If you’re keen on earning a bit of side income, there are even ways to make money with a webcam.

And the best part? You don’t need to spend much at all. Webcams are quite affordable compared to other kinds of gadgets, and you can find several high-quality options for less than $60. But we’ve done the work for you! Here are the best budget webcams currently available.

What to Look for When Buying a Webcam

Webcams are simple, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before diving in. Knowing what the following specifications mean will help you make the best webcam decision for your budget.

  • Resolution. The higher, the better. These days, a webcam with a resolution under 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) just isn’t worth getting. On the other hand, 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) is nice but unnecessary. Note that bigger resolutions require more bandwidth!
  • Frame rate. The higher, the better. The standard right now is 30 frames per second, which isn’t exactly smooth but still good. Ignore any webcam under 15 frames per second. Note that while 60 frames per second looks great, it requires much more bandwidth.
  • Adjustability. There’s nothing worse than a picture-perfect webcam that can only stare at the wall because it lacks adjustability. At the very least, it should tilt up and down. Trust me, you do not want to deal with the frustrations of a rigid webcam!
  • Autofocus. This is a convenience feature, but it’s a big one, especially if you’re going to be moving around a lot on camera (which includes leaning in and out or moving side to side).

What about microphone quality? I’ve found that the built-in mics for most webcams, whether $5 or $50, are simply bad. They’ll do in a pinch, but if you actually care about sound, you should buy a dedicated microphone. These “podcast” microphones are great entry-level, affordable options.

1. Logitech HD Pro C920 (UK)

The Logitech HD Pro C920 has been our favorite webcam for years and there are no signs that this will change anytime soon. In terms of bang for your buck, it blows all other contenders out of the water.

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Yes, it can shoot in 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second. Yes, it can autofocus. For still images, it can even capture at 15 MP. While the C920 does tilt up and down, it’s a shame that it doesn’t pan side to side.

This webcam is flexible enough to mount almost anywhere, and it even has a tripod mounting point, but the body is a bit bulky and doesn’t “fold down” like other Logitech webcams, making it less ideal for travel. But for day-to-day use at this price point, it can’t be beaten.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, Widescreen Video Calling and Recording, 1080p Camera, Desktop or Laptop Webcam Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, Widescreen Video Calling and Recording, 1080p Camera, Desktop or Laptop Webcam Full HD 1080p video calling (up to 1920 x 1080 pixels) with the latest version of Skype for Windows Buy Now At Amazon $59.75

2. Microsoft LifeCam Studio (UK)

Right away, you’ll notice that the Microsoft LifeCam Studio is ugly. It has the stiff, cold aesthetic that most Microsoft products tend to have. But if you can get past that, you’ll find that the LifeCam Studio is pretty darn good.

It can shoot in 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second and comes with some nice features like autofocus, color correction in low-light situations, and Skype certification. And unlike most webcams, its microphone isn’t terrible (this model was designed for business conferencing).

Like the C920, the LifeCam Studio has a tripod mount. Unlike the C920, the LifeCam Studio can tilt up and down and swivel around in 360 degrees, which makes positioning much easier. And no, it’s not only for Windows.

Microsoft LifeCam Studio for Business Microsoft LifeCam Studio for Business 1080p HD widescreen sensor - For superior sharpness and image quality. Buy Now At Amazon $49.99

3. Logitech HD C615 (UK)

If you like the C920 but can’t abide its lack of adjustability or don’t want to pay that much for a webcam, then consider the Logitech HD C615. The drop in price does come at a cost, though.

It can shoot in 1080p resolution but not at 30 frames per second. The image quality isn’t as sharp and the autofocus is slower and less accurate. But compared to other webcams at this price, the C615 absolutely wins.

The C615 has a tripod mount like the C920, but the C615’s is better because it can tilt and pan. Plus, the C615 folds down and fits inside a tiny portable case, making it the ideal choice for frequent travelers.

4. iRush GUCEE HD92 (UK)

The iRush GUCEE HD92 is a newcomer webcam from a not-so-well-known company with a polarizing aesthetic design, but delivers quite the punch for its price. It’s hard to say anything about long-term reliability yet, so I only recommend it if you’re willing to take a risk.

But for just one-third the price of the C920, the HD92 shoots in 720p at 30 frames per second with excellent image quality (thanks to its glass lens). It also automatically adjusts image quality in low-light situations. A big downside is that still images are only 2 MP.

The mounting clip is sturdy and the webcam itself has tilting and 360-degree swiveling for optimal positioning.

Webcam 720P HD, GUCEE HD92 Webcam Skype Camera Wide Angle with Microphone USB Plug and Play Web Cam, Widescreen Video Callling Recording for PC Computer Laptop for Mac, Windows XP / 7 / 8 / 10 Webcam 720P HD, GUCEE HD92 Webcam Skype Camera Wide Angle with Microphone USB Plug and Play Web Cam, Widescreen Video Callling Recording for PC Computer Laptop for Mac, Windows XP / 7 / 8 / 10 [HD 720P AT 30FPS STREAMING]: Powered by the 720p Full HD pixel CMOS, the HD92 Webcam produces exceptionally sharp and clear videos at resolutions up to 1280 x 720 pixels up to 30fps. The five-element glass lens provides a sharper image. Buy Now At Amazon $19.99

5. Genius WideCam F100 (UK)

The Genius WideCam F100 serves a slightly different purpose than the others on this list. Whereas most webcams have a field of view between 50 to 90 degrees, this one’s field of view is 120 degrees. (A wider field of view can “fit more” in the image.)

Able to shoot in 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second, the F100 is nothing to sneeze at. Combine that with the wide angle and you have a webcam that’s perfect for situations like conference rooms with lots of people. Note that the wide angle does produce a bit of fish-eye distortion.

The F100 lacks autofocus, but that shouldn’t be a problem for its designed use cases. If you want to take still images, the F100 captures at 12 MP. It also has 360-degree swiveling for easy positioning.

Genius 120-degree Ultra Wide Angle Full HD Conference Webcam(WideCam F100) Genius 120-degree Ultra Wide Angle Full HD Conference Webcam(WideCam F100) 12MP interpolation photo Buy Now At Amazon $33.99

Crucial Tips for All Webcam Users

Once you’ve chosen the right webcam for your needs, keep going and learn about how to look good on a webcam How To Look Good On a Webcam How To Look Good On a Webcam Here's a little something many of us dread - webcam meetings. It's one thing to chat with friends and family using Skype or Google Hangouts, but it's another thing completely to try to look good... Read More . Aside from common sense, there are a few tricks and tips that can help improve your camera presence.

And don’t forget that webcams can be hacked How Easy Is It For Someone To Hack Your Webcam? How Easy Is It For Someone To Hack Your Webcam? Read More . Few things are more unnerving than the idea of some random person spying on you in your house through your own camera! Which is why we recommend covering your webcam when it’s not being used Why You Should Disable or Cover Your Webcam Right Now Why You Should Disable or Cover Your Webcam Right Now If you aren't careful, hackers can easily gain access to your webcam and spy on you without your knowledge. So you have two options: disable the camera or cover it up. Read More .

Which webcam did you end up choosing? If you know of any other budget options that we missed, we’d love to hear. Share with us in a comment below!

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  1. neosap
    June 15, 2017 at 2:32 am

    All great suggestions!!!

    I am looking for a camera do video conferencing with my family in Europe and Asia. I currently use an old SONY HD camcoder with my media center PC that is connecte dto my TV in my living room.

    Any great suggestions?

  2. Erlis D.
    December 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    I think this is true for amazon and probably other stores based in US. Here in my country (Albania) the prices are really high. For example, you can find Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 for about €85 (around $105). Also in other countries in Europe prices are really high compared to amazon.com
    Anyway, my favorite one is still C920, having one of the best video quality. As for the audio, I prefer Blue Microphones' Snowball.

    • Joel Lee
      December 6, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      The Snowball is a fantastic choice for value, quality, and convenience. Fully recommend it!

  3. Mark
    December 2, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    The logitech C920 is a great camera, i bought one for both me an my girlfriend around 6 months ago. But I'd like to mention that pricing items for an article might not be the greatest idea around black friday sales. Yes, I seen it on sale over the past weekend for around 49.99, but now it is back up to 59.99 on amazon which is still cheaper than when I bought it which was 70 dollars each. It's official "retail value" is still 99.99. Yes 59.99 isn't that much of a big deal, but it is still over the 50 dollar budget and it is definitely not normally priced at 50 dollars.
    Also, to NOT comment on audio quality is a horrible decision. the microphone quality on the C920 is amazing, from my experience. It blocks out all background noise and works better than the mic on my expensive headset.

    • Joel Lee
      December 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks Mark, I didn't realize the price was only for Black Friday. The article will be updated ASAP!

  4. Alexis C
    December 1, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    The webcam can be excellent but take into account that if you want to stream in HD you need a fast internet connection.

    • eric jay
      December 2, 2014 at 1:46 am

      that's the big thing to consider, both upload and download speeds.

    • Joel Lee
      December 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Absolutely. Thanks for mentioning that, Alexis. Choppy video and other issues could arise from a bottleneck in bandwidth.

  5. WinDork
    December 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    All great suggestions, Joel! I own a couple of those Logitech C920 -- the price has definitely come down. It is an excellent web cam that works quite nicely with Windows 8.1.

    • Joel Lee
      December 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      You have a couple? Did the previous ones break or are you just using a multi-webcam setup? Either way, glad to hear it works well for you. The C920's value is phenomenal. :)

    • WinDork
      December 3, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      Actually, I purchased two of them by mistake. I purchased the second for my son's Windows 7 computer, but he had needs that transcended the utility of the C920 on a Windows 7 computer. I ended up purchasing an older-model (and cheaper) Microsoft web cam for his computer that fit the bill, and now I have a leftover C920. I guess you live and you learn.