black webcam above computer screen

Guide to Buying a Cheap Webcam

Knowledge Base

Even when we’re physically separated, the internet can make us feel closer together. This is why a webcam is such an important tool for anyone who regularly uses apps like Skype and Zoom to connect with others. No matter if you are talking to friends, coworkers, or making content for your YouTube channel, a webcam with a high-definition picture will improve the experience for both you and your viewers. Buying the perfect webcam for your set up doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some tips for shopping.

What to Look for When Picking a Cheap Webcam

Finding the best cheap webcams means navigating through many poorly-designed products. Many of them are not up to standard for proper long-term use, not even mentioning image quality. But cheap webcams can still come with HD image quality. Both 720p and 1080p products can be found in this price range. This is why it’s worth finding the product that works best for your image resolution needs. Image resolution and other features define the true value of an affordable cheap webcam.

Image Resolution

As one of the cheap optical products, not much is expected in terms of image resolution. But not all products are made to fit the needs of those seeking maximum versatility in crisp images.

Simply put, job interviews don’t look good for the candidate with poor quality images. Video calls aren’t at their highest potential with poor quality images either. This is why even a 720p webcam is superior to many other products. In most cases, it is also worth seeing which 1080p webcam fits the budget.

Image resolution has a few drawbacks which might not be visible from the start. For example, image resolution results in larger files. This is why those recording images with their webcam will end up with large files, which may take longer to share online. This is where compression software can be a solution. Another option is to select a lower resolution configuration, which is something most webcams can offer.

Design and Adjustability

The design is directly responsible for the adjustability of a webcam. Users have the liberty of actually choosing a design that can be adjusted to 360-degrees, even if it’s something most users won’t ever use at its full potential.

One of the adjustability settings that will be used at full potential is the vertical adjustment of the webcam. In this case, users will have to find the right angle to center their face. According to the user’s height, there are a few webcams that can offer full vertical adjustability.

Those who don’t count on any webcam angle adjustability will need to get creative. One of the simplest ways to ensure the right recording angle is to place the webcam directly over the laptop’s monitor, right in front of the user. This might be something not many have the freedom to do, but even those with desktop computers can try this method by placing the webcam directly on the monitor.

Advanced Image Processing

Advanced image-improving software is sometimes included with webcams. Even if their sensors are small, most webcams offer a quality solution for decent image quality in changing light. The light is responsible for low image quality in most cases. Even more, good light can make the difference when it comes to low image quality, even with HD capabilities.

One imaging improvement for those looking for a simple solution is to have the sun behind them; users may find this to be a practical solution to high contrast images.

Other in-webcam processing tools include sharpness adjustments. These are digital adjustments and not optical adjustments. However, one of the best parts about using the webcam at home is that not all images need to be as sharp as possible. It is when sharing the photos publicly that sharpness starts to play a considerable role.

Size and Portability

The size of the webcam has its role as well. If larger webcams are suitable for extra stability, smaller webcams are perfect for mobility. Those who take their webcams to work or freelancers working from coffee shops might only be looking for compact, cheap webcams as a result.

When it comes to size, it is also important to note that larger webcams prove more difficult to protect against shocks when traveling. It is also worth finding the best design when it comes to home use as well.

It is known that computer accessories such as webcams and microphones attract dust particles. One of the design faults of cheap webcams is that they are nearly impossible to dust. This is why dust buildup can make them look old quickly. At the same time, it is also important to know that clean lenses on a webcam equal cleared images. This is why lenses that are hard to reach on webcams will remain dusty in the long term.

Other important considerations should include the compatibility of the webcams with the laptop or computer. Cheap webcams often only come in a corded design. This is why a USB port needs to be free on a computer at all times. Even more, most users will have the ability to find the best solution if using a laptop or computer. They might need to purchase a USB splitter when working with laptops or tablets with no USB.


Do I Need Drivers to Install a Webcam?

Not all webcams need drivers to be installed on a computer. Nearly all webcams can be installed with no drivers on the latest operating systems.

Are HD Webcams Worth It?

HD webcams offer superior image quality. They might not provide the same details as what larger HD cameras can offer, but they are superior in capturing high-resolution images.

Which Webcam Do I Need for Skype Calls?

Any webcam will work for Skype calls. However, those who want to enjoy crisp results and detailed images will need to purchase an HD webcam. Even more, most users will find them to be the best even for other uses, such as live streaming.

Can I Install a Webcam Myself?

A webcam can be installed without any help. Once connected to the computer, the webcam will install automatically. Even multiple webcams can be installed on the same computer with no extra help.

Which Webcam Can Be Fitted on My Laptop?

When it comes to the right fit, the mounting accessories are the most important. This is why it’s only worth buying the webcams which have the most versatility on where they can be mounted, which varies from the actual computer desktop to the top of a monitor.

Are All Webcams Connected via USB Ports?

All modern webcams are connected via USB ports. This means that the image transfer is quick, and the actual internet speed only limits the quality of a video call.

Final Considerations

Getting the best cheap webcams under $25 / $50 is a matter of patience. There are good webcams to find in this category, but buyers need to get through the poor designs first. Luckily, all the webcams above can be used for video calls. Some of them might even be used for live web streams.

Depending on the primary purpose of the webcam, buyers can choose one of these designs. Those who want maximum image quality can go for a full HD webcam. Even more, those who want to watch their budgets can go one step below to a 720p webcam.

But one of the most overlooked aspects comes with the actual design of the webcam. With many products that are not adjustable to the sides, there is no room for a good user experience. Users might not be able to find a reliable place to put their webcams, which can be further limited by poor angle adjustability.

Some of the best cheap webcams of the moment are made with high-quality attachments, even when they are quite affordable. This is why they can be installed easily on a laptop. At the same time, these attachments can sometimes allow webcams to be installed directly on the computer desk.

Without investing too much, all types of users can find their best cheap webcam. Since they are now made with improving image quality, their design remains the only real differentiator. All webcams above are adjustable and can be installed anywhere on the laptop or directly on the computer desk as a self-standing device.