Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting to explore the world of streaming, and whether you’re more of a game player or more of an entertainer, you’ll likely want to use a microphone, webcam, and/or lights for your streams. You don’t need top-of-the-line supplies to find success in streaming, though. Here are some of the best microphones, webcams, and lighting options for budget streamers, as well as those looking for a higher-end setup.
A good microphone may be the most important piece of equipment for streaming — after all, your viewers are tuning in to hear what you have to say. While you won’t need to spend thousands on a microphone to achieve good sound quality, we recommend you use a cardioid condenser microphone. It will pick up your voice clearly without picking up a lot of background noise.
Inexpensive: MAONO USB Condenser Microphone
If you’re looking for reliability and quality without breaking the bank, the MAONO AU-A04 USB Condenser microphone kit is a great choice, especially for beginners. For less than $50, this microphone kit includes a USB Plug-and-Play cardioid condenser microphone, a shock mount, a scissor stand with a vice clip mount, a foam windsock cover, a two-layer pop filter, and a 10-foot USB cable. On top of coming with all of the accessories you’ll need in one kit, the microphone is impressive and provides professional sound without the professional price tag.
Expensive: HyperX QuadCast Condenser Microphone
If you’re willing to spend about $100 more, the HyperX QuadCast is very popular among streamers. It provides crystal-clear sound quality, along with a conveniently located tap-to-mute sensor and gain control adjuster. While it doesn’t come with all the accessories that the MAONO microphone kit includes, the QuadCast includes an anti-vibration shock mount that keeps the microphone stable without taking up too much precious desk space. This microphone is especially great for streamers because of its beautiful LED light, which comes in red for the base QuadCast, but is adjustable for the upgraded QuadCast S. Both the QuadCast and QuadCast S can switch between four different polar patterns, meaning they can pick up sounds from different directions, depending on your needs. For all of its functionality, the QuadCast may be worth the money for a serious streamer.
While not all streamers choose to include video of themselves in their stream, those that do should aim for a camera with a resolution of at least 1080p to ensure picture quality that is clear and not grainy or hard to see. Luckily, most modern webcams are suitable for streaming.
Inexpensive: NexiGo N930AF
For under $55, the NexiGo N930AF boasts a 30fps refresh rate and a 65 degree wide view. Its AutoFocus function ensures that your stream won’t look blurry, and its special low light feature automatically brightens the picture if needed. Although some note the camera’s weak audio capture, this shouldn’t be an issue for streamers with a separate microphone. The camera also comes with a privacy lens for when it’s not in use. While some complain of issues with overexposure from the low light feature, a firmware update is available from NexiGo which corrects the problem. All in all, the N930AF seems to be a solid option for those who want to try their hand at streaming without making a huge investment.
Expensive: Razer Kiyo Pro
As many avid gamers know, Razer is a big name in the gaming and streaming world. For about $130, the Kiyo Pro provides 1080p 60fps video and includes an adaptive light sensor and a wide-angle lens with three field of view options. Razer is known for its high-quality products, and the Kiyo Pro is no exception. For an experienced streamer who wants to get more bang for your buck, this is the webcam to try.
Finally, if you’re going to be streaming with a camera, you’re going to want to have the best possible lighting to get the best picture quality from your webcam. There are many options for ring lights, with a wide range of prices and sizes. For streaming, a good option is one between 10-18 inches, depending on how much space you have and what kind of look you’re going for.
Inexpensive: UBeesize 12” ring light
At just under $37, the UBeesize 12” ring light isn’t the most inexpensive ring light for streaming, but it definitely provides one of the best values. It’s small enough to be portable if needed, and comes with a cell phone holder and remote control for streams away from home — or selfies, of course. This light also comes with five different color temperatures and ten levels of brightness to choose from. The tripod stand can be adjusted up to 67”, so the light can be placed on a desktop or on the ground, depending on your needs.
Expensive: Elitehood 18” LED ring light
At about $83, the Elitehood 18” LED ring light is a bit pricier than some of its alternatives, and with lighting your stream, bigger doesn’t always mean better. However, if you’re looking for the most professional look, this one is worth the extra cost. It comes with many of the extra functions of the UBeesize light, like a phone holder and tripod stand, but rather than offering only five color temperatures and 10 brightness settings, it includes knobs to adjust the color and brightness to precise settings. The Elitehood is a solid choice for streamers looking for the best production quality.
As any successful streamer will tell you, having all of the priciest equipment won’t make you a great streamer. While it can help improve your production quality, the most important part of the stream is what you bring to the table — your creativity, demeanor, and personality. Even if you can only afford the inexpensive options, you can still build a community that loves to spend time on your streams.