(Pocket-lint) - Picking up a top webcam is essential for those who want to stream themselves while they game or join in on video calls while working from home - but doing so on a budget is easier said than done.
While there are plenty of more expensive options for you to pick from, the entry-level and mid-market webcams are much harder to pick between. Many come with near-identical specifications and no distinguishing design to help you decide, which is why we've created this guide to some of the best budget devices you can buy.
The options on this list pretty much shoot exclusively in 1080p HD, but, if we're honest, unless you're already deep into your streaming career or want to impress your co-workers with wild resolutions and frame rates, the below picks are more than good enough. They also represent a step-up on a lot of built-in cameras on laptops, so they're worthy considerations for those looking to upgrade, too.
Best budget webcams you can buy today
Aukey 1080p Webcam
Aukey has plenty of webcams out there for you to explore, but its entry-level 1080p is a great pick for those who want excellent performance for a reasonable price.
With a 1/2.9-inch CMOS image sensor and two built-in microphones, you're able to consistently receive crisp audio and smooth, auto-focus video when streaming.
Like others on this list, there's thankfully no software to download before you get started, and it's compatible with Windows, Mac, Android and all major streaming platforms.
Vitade's 960AF is slightly more expensive than some of the other picks here, but it does give you a bit more functionality.
The built-in ring light - which comes with three adjustable brightness levels and touch control - is ideal for those who need to up the illumination while streaming, with the camera itself capturing in 1080p HD resolution at 30fps.
It also throws in a bit more than just simple video capture, too, with automatic low-light correction and autofocus giving your stream a more professional feel without you having to manually tinker with settings.
It's also widely compatible, working with Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android and every major streaming platform.
Another offering from Vitade here, though this one is more about pure webcam performance than lighting features.
The 826M features a 1080p shooter that operates at 30fps using a 110-degree lens angle.
Like the Vitade webcam above, there's an automatic light correction feature, and users can also manually adjust the focus to keep things crisp when streaming.
It's incredibly simple to set up, too. Like other options on the list, it's a plug-and-play setup, also coming compatible with Windows, Mac and every major streaming platform you can imagine.
Gesma 1080p Webcam
If you need a relatively budget solution to your webcam woe, Gesma's 1080p offering is a solid pick.
There's no need to download any software, with the webcam able to simply mount onto the top of your monitor or laptop. Once set in place, it can capture Full HD resolution while the built-in microphone works to capture your voice and filter out background noise.
The design can also be rotated 90-degrees to help you find the right angle, and, once you've connected the USB 2.0 connector, the cam is able to support pretty much every major streaming platform.
Foscam 1080p Webcam
If you're looking for added privacy when you're not streaming, Foscam's 1080p pick comes with a cover to snap over the lens.
When it is in use, however, there's plenty to like. It shoots at 30fps, while H.264 compression allows for efficient capture and eliminates lag and robot-like speech.
Naturally, there's also a built-in microphone, and the 85-degree wide-angle lens and mountable design make it easy to place and connect.
Weicha 1080p Webcam
Weicha's 1080p webcam is another simple offering designed to give you a budget-friendly way to achieve Full HD resolution while streaming.
There's no particular bells or whistles with this model, but you do get more than enough to get by. The lens itself will autofocus and shoot at 30fps, a microphone is built-in and there are no additional drivers to download.
This means there's virtually no setup required, and it'll work providing you're running on Windows or streaming through the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Mixer.