The 3 Best Budget Webcams In 2020 — They're All Under $50

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Webcams can cost hundreds of dollars, but unless you're a professional streamer, a camera in that price-point is probably unnecessary. The best budget webcams should more than suffice for video calls with loved ones and Zoom meetings for work. That said, good webcams (even budget ones) should have a higher resolution, be compatible with your operating system, and deliver certain key features.

Let's start with resolution. High-definition (or HD) webcams mean a clearer picture due to more pixels. The best available is usually 1080p: The "p" stands for "progressive scan" and 1080 is the vertical resolution. Even some budget-friendly webcams under $50 offer this level of clarity, but 720p is still considered HD if you're looking to shave off a few dollars.

However, an HD picture won't get you very far if the webcam doesn't work with your computer to begin with. Always check the operating-system compatibility before purchasing — though most quality webcams should switch between Windows and Mac without issue. Also ensure that the means of connection works with your computer, too. (These all use a USB plug, which is convenient and intuitive for most people.)

Last but not least, think about the types of features that'll improve your video-calling experience. Do you want a clear built-in mic with noise-reduction technology? How about an auto-correcting lens? What about a privacy shutter and 360-degree rotation? If you know where to look, you can get a durable camera with some or all of these features for less than $50.

The Overall Best Budget Webcam

Despite its budget-friendly price tag, the Wansview HD webcam has some pretty great features. Enhancement technology automatically optimizes the picture, low-light correction ensures that your image looks balanced in just about any setting, and the USB 2.0 plug makes it easy to work with. Then there's the wide-angle lens and the built-in dual stereo mic with automatic noise-reduction. Needless to say, it's a great pick for work meetings, casual calls, and webinars alike.

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac OS, Android Smart TV, Xbox One
  • Connection: USB 2.0

One reviewer wrote: "Great cross-platform budget camera. [...] It is a fine camera for video chat and recording. Works with little to no effort after plugging in, and produces good video."

The Runner-Up: A Cheap Webcam That's Easy To Use

You won't get too many bells and whistles with the Foxnovo HD webcam, but at under $30, the value is hard to beat. This one has a 720p resolution (so it's still considered HD) — plus a built-in microphone with noise-reduction capabilities and a wide compatibility across various operating systems and applications. It also offers a multi-layer glass lens for a crisp picture and a padded clip for damage-free mounting. Most importantly, since it's affordable and "seriously plug and play," according to one reviewer, it's the best option for those who aren't particularly tech-savvy.

  • Resolution: 720p
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac OS, Chrome PS, Smart TV, Android 5.0
  • Connection: USB 2.0

One reviewer wrote: "It was very simple to set up and so far it's excellent. Much cheaper than most of the better-known brands — great value for money."

A Webcam With 360-Degree Rotation & A Privacy Shutter

It still comes in under the $50 mark, but the Winchar HD webcam is as luxurious as budget webcams get. 1080p resolution, dual mics, and a 76-degree wide angle ensure that your video calls are high quality — but you'll also find features like auto-adjusting focus technology, a vibrant five-layer coated lens, 360-degree rotation with a 180-degree hinge, and a privacy shutter that you can close when the webcam isn't in use. Finally, it's compatible with a ton of different programs, not to mention software that helps you customize the light settings, white balance, and more options. It's also super easy to use. Just plug in the USB 2.0- and USB 3.0-compatible unit and get going.

  • Resolution: 1080P
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac OS, Linux
  • Connection: USB 3.0

One reviewer wrote: "I was very surprised when I first used it — build quality, image quality, field of view, and low-light performance are great. It has a built in microphone that does some noise cancellation even when there is background noise going on. Price is very reasonable for the quality of this webcam."