Laptops today have integrated HD webcams of varying quality (most are at 720p). When you’re starting out as an online teacher, it’s fine to rely on your built in webcam but over time if you start teaching a lot of classes you may want to consider upgrading your camera as it’s your most important tool.
Your company may ask you to upgrade your camera as well if you become a popular teacher. Lastly, you may just want to upgrade because you’re a dedicated teacher who want’s to provide an excellent classroom experience.
If you’re looking for a way to step up your video quality for cheap then you may want to consider getting a small, inexpensive, dedicated webcam. Webcams perform much better than a built in webcam in regards to low light performance, depth of field, video quality, colors and on screen space. You can also move an position a webcam with ease.
This is not only helpful for teaching online classes, it is also helpful if you ever want to create YouTube videos, do live streaming or hold a conference call.
So what should you look for in a webcam for teaching English online? We suggest the following:
Most integrated webcams in laptops record at 720P. 720P is fine for most online teaching companies. But if you’re buying an external webcam, we suggest spending the money to get a webcam that is a significant improvement over what your laptop has which would be a 1080P at a minimum.
Integrated, built-in microphone
Some webcams are strictly webcams, but the ones that are actually worth buying come with a built in microphone. While your laptop has a microphone built into it as well, the audio from an external webcam with a microphone will be much better and is worth purchasing.
Ability to adjust the position of the webcam
An under-rated, but very helpful feature of an easy to use webcam is that you can change the angle and position of the webcam, unlike your integrated webcam and can even mount it on a tripod.
In addition, some webcams like our top recommendation come with a handy little tripod to help you position the webcam as needed. This is important, because you want to make sure you have a good teacher background so being able to position your camera independent of your laptop is essential.
Teachers who are not familiar with cameras will notice the focal length on an integrated webcam is a bit cropped in. When looking to buy an external webcam, consider getting something that has a more wide angle field of view.
This enables you the teacher to have more visual space for your lessons online instead of the camera shot being tight on your face. Requiring you to push back, or sit back from from your laptop.
The 8 Best Webcams for Online Teachers
So here is Teach and GO’s guide to the best webcams for online teaching and sort of working professional looking to upgrade their camera for a good price.
- Logitech C922 Camera
- NexiGo AutoFocus 1080p Webcam
- Vitade Webcam
- IPEVO Ultra HD Document Camera
- Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam
- Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000
- Logitech BRIO
- Jelly Comb 1080P webcam
Logitech C922 – The Best Price and Performance
This is the webcam we suggest getting here at Teach and GO. It has excellent audio and records at 1080P. Your field of view will be much wider, colors more vibrant, video more crispy and clearer, improved low light performance for those early mornings and it sounds better.
This camera is a massive improvement over any integrated webcam and allows you to do all sorts of other fun things you previously could not do. Want to create YouTube videos? You can now. Need a camera to create a video introduction? This can do that too.
- This web camera has much improved video clarity, low light performance, sound, colors and field of view over the previous C920.
- Designed for working professionals. This webcam was made for online teachers.
- Can mount on tripods and comes with it’s own mini tripod for ease of use.
- The only con is the price. It’s not too expensive but it is going to cost more than a “cheap webcam.”
NexiGo AutoFocus 1080p Webcam – The wide option
Want a webcam with a wide field of view? Then take a look at the Nexi Go. We were pleasantly surprised at how wide this webcam was for online teaching as most webcams are still designed for personal use and are a bit tight on the face.
The Nexigo is a budget-friendly, plug and play webcam that’s easy to set up. Its 2MP camera delivers smooth video with its autofocus and facial enhancement features. While its autofocus feature helps to make sure your video is crisp and sharp.
Last, it also includes a built-in noise cancelling mic which reduces ambient noises during online classes. Perfect for when you need your voice captured while eliminating unnecessary background sounds. It’s compatible across Windows/Mac OS devices as well as many popular apps for increased flexibility at home or work.
- Wide field of view.
- Great audio.
- Lens privacy hood.
- No way to crop the live video image in if you’re not liking the wide angle.
Vitade 1080P Streaming Cam -The Mid Range Option
A step up from your internal web camera, not as expensive as other options on the list and it has a built in LED light? Yes please. The Vitade streaming webcam is a great option for those who want a significant improvement in terms of lighting, field of video and picture quality.
While designed for let’s play game bros who want to stream online, this camera is a surprisingly good option for online teaching. The 1080P is a significant upgrade in quality to your internal webcam, has a wide angle lens, good audio and has a ring light.
- 1080P recording.
- Built in light.
- Works out of the box.
- Build quality of the device is low. Feels cheap and fragile.
- Not a wide angle. For teaching, it’s helpful to have a wide field of view instead of the video being cropped in.
IPEVO Ultra HD Document Camera – The creative professionals choice
The IPEVO Ultra HD Document Camera will transform your online learning experience. This webcam comes with an 8-megapixel camera that can capture ultra high definition live images and is perfect for people who do demonstrations or web conferences. The adjustable stand and camera head allow you to take pictures of books, documents, art projects or yourself.
This webcam has a fast focusing feature that is perfect for art teachers who need to create video tutorials or present an art process live. The image sensor provides exceptional noise reduction and color reproduction, even in low light environments. While, not the cheapest webcam around, if you’re looking for a quality mid-range upgrade this is it.
- Simply the best option if you’re wanting to do any sort of live, on screen tutorial.
- Easy to adjust to record books, yourself or any type of document.
- A bit excessive in terms of price and size for online English teachers.
- Not portable at all.
Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam – LED Light Built In
This camera is the main alternative and competitor to the Logitech C922. The Logitech has a more natural color profile but the Razer Kiyo has a built in LED light which is quite helpful for online teaching. We prefer the Logitech as most teachers have some sort of video lighting.
If you’re looking for a webcam that can record in 1080P and has a built in LED light this camera is an excellent choice.
- 1080P recording
- Built in LED light to brighten your face
- A bit expensive, but the quality is there
- Colors are not as vibrant as the C920
Microsoft Q2F LifeCam – A decent but limited option
The Microsoft Q2F Lifecam is a popular choice for online teaching because of its TrueColor technology, which tracks facial movements and adjusts the exposure so your videos are sharp. It has a 75 degree field of view and can be rotated to the left or right with ease.
With it’s “Clear Frame” technology in place, it also provides smooth footage with detailed images. This camera has great video recording capability up to 1080p but it is limited for video calls at 720p resolution. Still adequate if you’re conducting classes or having teacher-student conversations on Skype or via an online teaching app.
Last, the audio is mono and a bit noisy. While you can adjust the sensitivity via your laptop, in general your laptops integrated microphone is probably better.
- A good budget option from Microsoft.
- A fairly wide field of view and the ability to rotate the camera.
- Only 720P for video calls. A deal breaker in our opinion. But this webcam is still a popular choice.
- Mediocre colors, white balance and auto focus. Compared to our top recommendation, there is webcam falls short.
Logitech Brio – The 4k, premium choice.
This is a 4k webcam. 4k is a video size that is the next step up from 1080P. This webcam has auto-focus, facial recognition, can record at 4k at 30 frames a second or 1080p at 30-60 frames a second, dual mics built in for good audio, has a wide angle lens built in and 5x digital zoom.
This is an expensive, feature rich webcam designed for professional content creators. It makes the list because this is the best webcam on the market currently.
- Excellent video and audio quality.
- 4k recording capabilities
- Wide angle field of view
- Excellent low light capabilities
- As it’s the best webcam, it’s expensive.
Jelly Comb 1080P Webcam – The Budget C920
The Jelly Comb webcam is a nice alternative to the more premium Logitech C920. It’s a well built webcam that offers 1080P recording, excellent audio, automatic light adjustment and a wide angle lens. What’s also great about this camera is that it’s plug and play. No need to download drivers. Works out of the box.
- All the features of the C922
- Video quality and colors are not as sharp as the C922.
Best Webcams for Online Teaching Conclusion
That covers the best webcam options for online teachers. All in all, we strongly suggest getting the Logitech C922 for most teachers as it has the best price and performance for online teachers. The IPEVO document camera is also a good choice too.
Regardless, getting a proper webcam even if your laptop has an integrated webcam is a great idea because they are designed for professional use where your internal webcam is more designed to chat with family and friends.