• Logitech Brio Pro 4K webcam

    Best webcam

    $130 at Amazon

    Price alerts on for Logitech Brio 4K Pro Webcam

  • Lume Cube

    Fix the lighting

    $80 at Lume Cube

  • Phone tripod mount

    Free up your laptop

    $40 at Best Buy

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

    Get a laptop with a decent processor

    $1,000 at Lenovo

  • Blue Yeti USB mic (Update: Out of Stock)

    Get a better microphone

    $130 at Best Buy

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Video conferencing on Zoom, Google Meet and the likes is no longer novel. While many aspects of our lives have returned to normal, working from home and distance learning are here to stay. If you haven’t already, it’s important to get a quality webcam and set up the rest of your telecommuting gear so that you look and sound your best during remote video calls and meetings. 

Part of this means learning the fundamentals of a videoconference meeting on camera. You don’t need an HD webcam to get good results — optimizing lighting conditions (don’t try to stream in low light), choosing the ideal environment and positioning the camera lens in just the right way can make your video call look much more professional. Truly, you don’t need to be a professional YouTube personality or Twitch streamer with a great webcam, even better external mic and lighting options galore to look good during live streaming and video recording — even a novice can function competently without too much of a learning curve.

First, it’s essential to have the right gear, including the best webcam and microphone. Unfortunately, in most cases, your laptop’s built-in camera and microphone stink — and they’re preventing you from coming across as professionally as possible on videoconferencing calls. You should ditch the integrated webcam and invest in a standalone webcam and stereo microphone with noise cancellation. Even a cheap webcam with autofocus and a decent microphone can improve picture quality and sound enough to take things to the next level when on a video call.

Upgrading your audio and video tech is fairly easy from a technical perspective, however, and relatively affordable — and it will dramatically improve your production values in virtual meetings. We’ve compiled a shortlist of the best gear for video chats from home webcams, lights, mics and more that will enhance your video chatting. This list has plenty of input from CNET’s on-camera video team, all of whom are working from home now, too. Our favorite picks for the best webcam and external mic options are below, and we’ll update this periodically.

(Note that prices are accurate at time of original publication, but may fluctuate. Also, availability and delivery times are changing all the time, so be sure to check before moving forward with any purchase.)

Read more: Best Wireless Earbuds and Bluetooth Headphones for Making Calls


Logitech Brio Pro 4K webcam

Best webcam

After the masses began working from home in the pandemic, it became difficult to find a brand name webcam anywhere. My favorites — Logitech’s StreamCam and the 4K-capable Brio — are pricey and frequently out of stock, but worth the money if you can find them. 

In the meantime, if your laptop’s integrated camera isn’t doing the trick, you can use a tripod and your phone’s HD camera to boost video chat quality when live streaming. Here’s how to do it.

Read our Logitech Brio 4K Pro Webcam preview.


$130 at Amazon$200 at Best BuyGet Price AlertsYou’re receiving price alerts for Logitech Brio 4K Pro Webcam


Lume Cube

Fix the lighting

I’ve tried many, many lights over the past few months and, so far, the Lume Cube is my favorite. This bright LED light is highly adjustable — with a physical toggle to change the brightness and color temperature — and the nifty display shows all the levels and how much juice is left in the USB-C rechargeable battery. You can position it in landscape or portrait mode using the included suction cup mount.  

About that mount. I should note that there are plenty of Amazon user complaints about it not working properly, but I can’t seem to replicate the issue with my Lume Cube. I’ve stuck it securely to the back of multiple laptops and a standalone monitor, and I can’t pull the thing off — even with sustained force — without first loosening the suction mechanism.

My backup choice is the Joby Beamo Mini, which is about the same price as the Lume Cube. It’s extremely compact, waterproof and — capable of blasting out 1,000 lumens — incredibly bright, though the iOS app and included diffuser make it simple to dial in the perfect amount of light. It has a magnetic back that will stick to any metal surface and will also screw on to a tripod. 

$80 at Lume Cube$80 at Amazon


Phone tripod mount

Free up your laptop

It’s hard to multitask on a webconference: Opening and closing apps, resizing browsers and windows, all while you’re talking to your boss on your Google hangout or Zoom call — it can all be a bit much. One solution is to offload all of your audio and video recording tasks to your phone — which may have better camera, video quality and mic technology, anyway — freeing up your laptop to take notes, consult documents and spreadsheets or whatever else. (Here’s how to do it.)

If you take this route, you’re going to want to have an adjustable tripod that can securely hold your phone steady — and at a flattering angle. I like this tripod kit from Joby, currently on sale for $30, which includes a clamp that’s big enough to accommodate my iPhone XS Max. And I also like the company’s bendy Gorillapods, which can be wrapped around posts or other nonflat surfaces.

$40 at Best Buy$40 at Amazon

Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Get a laptop with a decent processor

If you’re running an older MacBook Air or Windows laptop that came out several years ago, you’ll find that a single Zoom session can send your computer’s fans whirring and reduce your multitasking options to zero. Getting a newer laptop with an updated processor and webcam software — a ninth- or 10th-gen Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 should do the trick — will make those videoconferencing sessions a lot easier to bear. 

I recently put aside my aging MacBook Air and picked up a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga and have been amazed by all that I was missing out on: blazing speed (courtesy of the modern Intel processor), USB-C ports and a touchscreen display. It currently starts at $959. For other recommendations, check out our list of the best laptops for 2022.

$1,000 at Lenovo$959 at Amazon

Blue Microphones

Blue Yeti USB mic (Update: Out of Stock)

Get a better microphone

Nothing can torpedo an online meeting quicker than background noise and audio that’s cutting in and out, and your laptop’s lousy built-in microphone may be the culprit. Once you’ve added a decent webcam to your setup, you’ll be in better shape — but a standalone microphone will make you sound clear, rich and full. This Blue Yeti model has long been a staple of podcasters and streamers, and it’s what I use when I record audio or participate in a high-stakes video chat. 

Yes, it looks like something you’d see in a 1940s radio station, but the audio technology is 100% modern. It has three capsule microphones, four pickup patterns (for different kinds of recording) and just enough controls to help optimize the way you sound without overloading you with super technical features. 

$130 at Best Buy$119 at Amazon

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