Streaming online is one of the most enticing hobbies around. It doesn’t take a whole lot to get started, so long as you have a solid internet connection for livestreaming and a few relatively inexpensive gadgets, like a webcam and, depending on the kind of content you want to make, perhaps a capture card as well. However, you’ll need a lot more than the basics to take your streams and on-camera shows to the next level. If you want your livestreams to boast great video and audio quality for viewers, we’ve gathered 12 products that can elevate your streaming setup.
Here are our top picks for streaming equipment that anybody going into streaming should consider.
Logitech C920x webcam
The Logitech C920x webcam is one of the best values on the market. $59.99 is a great price for 1080p capture resolution, plus automatic focus and light correction that yield better results than many comparably priced models. In case you don’t want to buy a separate mic, the C920x includes dual microphones for better sound balance compared to Logitech’s other webcams. You can rest the camera directly atop your monitor with its built-on clip, or fasten it safely to your laptop’s lid.
Insta360 Link webcam
If you have extra cash to splash on a higher-quality webcam, the Insta360 Link webcam is worth looking into. At $299.99, it’s no surprise that it easily surpasses the Logitech C920 Pro in several ways. It offers 4K HDR recording, the highest possible quality you can get when recording video.
The Insta360 Link also has features that set it apart from other pricey webcams, too. It has reliable face tracking thanks to its built-in gimbal (Insta360’s DNA as an action camera company is showing here) and AI-powered hand gesture controls. The Link’s software also allows it to flip downward to look at your desk with the click of a button, in case you want your streams to incorporate what’s on your desk (this might be a hit with people who draw during streams).
Elgato Stream Deck MK.2 controller
The Elgato Stream Deck MK.2 controller is one of the industry’s most popular products. The Stream Deck can be programmed with shortcuts so that you can access the commands you need by simply pushing a button instead of a series of mouse clicks that could distract you while streaming.
The Stream Deck is especially useful for issuing livestream reactions when a streamer wants to easily interact with viewers. It’s useful outside of streaming, too, like for quickly posting on social media, for video editing shortcuts, and myriad other actions that you can program into the device. It may not be a day-one purchase for every streamer, as it’s regularly $149.99 for a device that’s more of a convenience than a necessity. But it’s something that most streamers should consider at some point.
Elgato HD60 X Capture Card
Your PC can both capture and stream footage of PC games that you’re playing on it, but what about consoles? If you want to run a multifaceted stream, juggling your camera feed and a console game stream, you should invest in a capture card. Capture cards can push footage from your PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch to your PC in HD resolution or better, depending on the model.
The best, most well-rounded model around is the Elgato HD60 X capture card, which supports up to 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second capture (in other words, it’ll look suitable for a stream). It also supports 4K resolution and 60 fps passthrough with variable refresh rate (VRR), so what you see on the screen as you play for viewers will look great and play smoothly, too.
Logitech Litra Glow
Lighting can make all the difference in how professional a stream looks. It’s not just for lighting up a room, but for shining on streamers’ faces so that they look vibrant and energized. The Logitech Litra Glow is a relatively affordable key light that’s suitable for beginners and more experienced streamers alike.
It’s not just a throwaway ring light, but more of a mid-tier investment at $59.99. In addition to offering custom brightness levels, you can also tweak the color temperature to better match the ambient lighting in your room. The Litra Glow connects with its included monitor mouse via a standard tripod connector, so you can mount it however (or wherever) you’d like. If you want a premium option that lights up more room or comes with more features, you might also want to consider the newer, bigger Logitech Litra Beam XL that costs $100 more.
Audio-Technica AT2020 studio XLR microphone
You could use the mic that’s built into your webcam, but you’ll want something better if you’re aiming for audio excellence in your stream. The Audio-Technica AT2020 XLR microphone is designed for studio recording, so it’s a great fit if you want a mic that’s dedicated to streaming. This mic features a cardioid condenser that’s great for focusing on voices while reducing sounds from the rear and sides of the mic. Its XLR output means you’ll need a special audio interface (we’ve included a few picks below), but the results and extra cost are worth it if you want amazing audio quality. All these features come in a $99.00 product that works nicely for musicians and streamers alike.
Audio-Technica AT2020 mic boom arm with foam windscreen
Many microphones come with their own stand. For the most part, there isn’t anything wrong with these. They do, however, tend to clutter your setup or show themselves on the camera, which some streamers don’t like, understandably. A mic boom arm can open up space on your desk and make filming with the mic off-screen much easier.
The Audio-Technica AT2020 mic boom arm comes with a foam windscreen that works like a standard pop filter (reducing the “pop” sound made from uttering plosives, as well as protecting it from saliva) for $19.49. That way, you don’t need to buy an additional attachment to lessen undesired noises. It’s guaranteed to match the Audio-Technica AT2020 microphone we recommend above.
Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB audio interface
If you want to go an extra step for sound quality, a gadget like the Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB audio interface can record your voice as if it’s in a vacuum. It’s how you get podcast-level audio that straight capture from a USB microphone can’t match. The Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen USB Audio Interface is a simple, relatively affordable option to get started with. In terms of ports, it features one XLR port (perfect for the Audio-Technica AT2020 we recommend above) and a headphone jack. It makes listening and tuning on the fly far easier than with various devices plugged in via USB.
HyperX Cloud 3 Wireless headset
There are hundreds of great gaming headsets out there that can let you enjoy audio and can even broadcast your voice with a built-in mic, but we like the HyperX Cloud 3 Wireless headset the most. Its battery life allows for up to 120 hours of uninterrupted listening with upgraded sound quality from its 53mm angled drivers — all of which are a step up from its predecessor. It also keeps all the comfort from other HyperX models, like the adjustable frame and its cozy memory foam earcups.
As you might have guessed from the product’s name, the Cloud 3 Wireless connects wirelessly to your PC and consoles, so that’s one less cord to get tangled up at your busy streaming station. On top of that, it comes with a detachable mic so that you can make it a one-stop shop for both audio and mic if needed. It costs $169.99, but it’s a product that we think is worth the cost. If you don’t like the look of the HyperX Cloud 3 Wireless, you could try one of the other high-quality headsets in our best gaming headset guide.
Elgato green screen
Green screens enable video content creators and streamers to impose themselves on whatever background they want. Have a messy background you’d like to obscure, or want to appear as if you’re broadcasting from outer space? Get a green screen. One good option is the Elgato green screen, which comes in a collapsible, pop-up form that makes filming on the go as easy as filming in your room. Its sturdy frame makes it so that you don’t need to worry about the background easily falling over. The durable, wrinkle-resistant polyester fabric also makes it more difficult to rip or mess up than cheaper options (which do exist and are good for streamers who are on a budget).
If you plan on filming wider-screen videos, you might also consider the Neewer Photography Kit for about $240. In addition to a wider green screen, it comes with stand-up lights, reflectors, a tripod, clamps, and carrying bags.
Elgato Wave Panels Starter Set
Any serious streamer should buy some sound-dampening products, both to reduce sound spilling into other rooms and to refine your sound to not sound echo-y. The Elgato Wave Panels Starter Set is one option; it includes six hexagon-shaped sound panels that can add personality (and utility) to your room for $99.99. As a plus, the panels are easy to stick onto the walls and add some style to your streaming setup with their angular shapes. Elgato’s product is pricier than egg-crate-style foam dampening tiles, but they look so much cooler.
Govee LED light strips
Light strips are an optional but attractive way to light up your gaming space — for your own enjoyment as well as your viewers’. Govee LED light strips are popular for decorating rooms because the LEDs can be customized with Govee’s smart lighting software, and because you can make them any length that you’d like. These strips come in several lengths that you can cut (or add onto yourself) to suit your decorating needs. You can stick them to anything with a steady surface, like a wall, desk, or other furniture in your room, like a bed frame.
If you want a larger LED decoration, Govee also sells LED hexagon panels. However, if you’re already getting Elgato’s Wave Panels, it might be too many hexagons for your wall (unless you’re going for that gamer hive look).