The best budget webcam may not cost much but it will be a vast improvement on your laptop's internal webcam. And so you'll both look and sound better on your Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other videoconferencing platforms.
Alternatively, you could spend hundreds on the best 4K webcams, but do you really need to? After all, most of the webcams on this list cost less than $50 / £50 at time of writing, yet still offer great quality video and audio.
Below you'll find the best cheap webcams available today, for Windows computers and Macs, covering a range of prices, and with resolutions ranging from 780p to 1080p Full HD. However, if there's something specific you need that isn't catered for here, seeout our general guide to the best webcams.
Best budget webcams in 2022
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The eMeet c960 is our pick as the best budget webcam overall. It's easy and straightforward to set up, and is compatible with both Windows and Mac.
With Full HD 1080p video at 30fps, and a 90 degree field of view, the picture quality is very good. You can angle the camera up and downwards, and if you're in a dimly lit room, you'll appreciate the in-built auto low-light correction tech. Plus you get a privacy cover, and good audio from two omnidirectional noise reduction mics.
As you'd expect from the price, this is a fairly basic webcam. For example, there's no digital zoom and no autofocus. But it'll still make your video calls look and sound much better than your computer's in-built webcam, for a low price indeed. For more details, see our eMeet C960 webcam review (opens in new tab).
If you're looking for a webcam for business use, but are short on funds, then here's a great option. The LifeCam Studio from Microsoft is currently discounted on Amazon on both sides of the Atlantic, bringing it into the realm of cheap webcams, but still has some pretty high-end features.
These include a Full HD 1080p resolution for video recordings, and up to 720p on video calls. The CMOS sensor lets you take 5MP stills, and the 75° diagonal field of view and 360° rotation capability make it easy to capture everything that's going on. Audio is high quality, too, thanks to the inclusion a wideband microphone, and it boasts Microsoft’s TrueColor system for more accurate colors. Finally, although you might not expect it of a Microsoft product, it works with Macs as well as Windows computers.
Do you make a lot of video calls from noisy offices? Then you may prefer the Ausdom AW615, because we found the noise-cancelling technology with its built-in mic worked the best out of all the cheap webcams on this list.
This is also a great budget webcam in general. It's compatible with both Windows and Mac, and the picture quality is fantastic for the price, thanks to Full HD 1080p resolution, 30fps and a 65 degree viewing angle. Digital zoom is also included. On the downside, there's no privacy cover and the picture in low light isn't as good as the eMeet 960, number one on our list.(opens in new tab)
The C310 HD, like the rest of the cheap webcams on our list, does not offer Full HD resolution. However, 720p at 30fps will be good enough for most purposes. And on the plus side, this device is very easy to set up. It's also very small (71 x 31 x 26mm) and super-light (75g).
This cheap webcam boasts auto light correction tech and noise reduction, but in practice we didn't find either of these strikingly effective. So overall, we'd mainly recommend this one if smallness and lightness is your priority; if you have a Chromebook (it's compatible with Chrome OS); or if you find one for a very low price. For more details, see our Logitech C310 webcam review.(opens in new tab)
Logitech has a number of sub-$50 webcams available right now, and they're all pretty good. The C505e is very similar to the c310 (number 4 on our list); the main differences are the long-range microphone and extra-long cable.
The former is a single, omnidirectional mic with noise-reduction technology, which is engineered to support clear conversation up to 3m away, even in busy environments. The latter is a seven-foot long USB-A cable, along with a universal clip, giving you huge flexibility in terms of where to position your webcam.
• See also Best Logitech webcams (opens in new tab)
At time of writing, the C270 is the cheapest Logitech webcam on our list, despite being very similar to the C310 (number 4 on our list). That said, you do get a less powerful sensor (3MP to the C310's 5MP) and the field of view is slightly narrower (55 degrees, to the C310's 60 degrees). Also note that the C310 is a bit bulkier.
On the whole, though, both webcams offers 780p resolution at 30fps, both are around the same weight, and both are compatible with Windows, Mac and ChromeOS. So if every penny counts to you, the C270 is definitely worth considering. For more details, see our Logitech C270 HD review (opens in new tab).
Microsoft is a reliable and trusted tech brand, and a recent drop in price means its LifeCam Cinema webcam is now within the realms of "cheap". Note, though, that it's only compatible with Windows, so if you're using a Mac or Chromebook, you'll need to look elsewhere.
Otherwise, this well-made webcam has a lot to offer. With a quality, precision-cut, 5MP CMOS sensor, you'll enjoy a great picture with 720p resolution. And you'll benefit from a range of features, including TrueColor Technology, digital pan, tilt, and 5x digital zoom, auto focus (ranging from 6 inches to infinity), and automatic image adjustment with manual override.
If you're watching the pennies, then the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 offers a significantly cheaper alternative to the LifeCam Cinema, featured above. In fact, at time of writing, it's the cheapest webcam we can recommend today (as long as you have a Windows computer to use it with).
Like the former, you still get 720p resolution, a noise-reducing microphone, and TrueColor technology. The main things you're compromising on are the lack of autofocus, a narrower viewing angle, a less powerful (4MP) sensor and a more limited digital zoom (4x). But given the current price differential, you may well find that acceptable. For more details, see our Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 review.
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