The best free webcam software for Windows 10
Edited by Carrie Marshall
May 12, 2021
Here are the 3 best webcam recorders:
- Movavi Screen Recorder – a desktop program
- Screencapture Webcam Recorder – an online tool
- Windows 10 camera – a built-in program
The best webcam software for PC is really useful to have. In business, you can use it to record meetings and presentations or make a copy of webinars so you can refer to them after broadcast. They’re great tools for making HD training videos, promotional videos, or for presenting software reviews. And the top webcam recorders can come in useful for lots of other things such as design projects, making presentations into movie files and for messing around with the kids or your friends. If you’re looking for the best webcam downloads, webcam software for PC, laptop camera software, or a webcam application with universal compatibility, you’ve come to the right place.
There are three key kinds of video recording software for Windows 10. There are apps that you run on your Windows 10 desktop; there are apps that run online; and there are browser extensions that you can call from your web browser. Some are paid-for and others are freeware. The best web camera software for PC might not be the most feature-packed, or the one with the highest price tag: it’s the one that has the features you need at the price you want to pay.
We’ll show you the best free webcam software for Windows 10 as well as paid-for options and some Mac apps too, with links to reputable places for your webcam software download.
Free webcam software for Windows 10
Best for capturing online calls, webinars, and streaming videos
G2 rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars, 41 positive reviews out of 44
The best thing about Movavi Screen Recorder isn’t its flexibility or extensive file format support. It’s that the learning curve is virtually flat: this is an app you can install and use without having to work out what button does what. It can capture your webcam, your display, or both simultaneously; you can schedule recordings in advance; you can annotate as you record, and there’s a useful audio-only recording option too. The free version is fully functional so you can put it through its paces without having to spend any money, and it can record both Full HD and 4K video.
OS: Windows, macOS X
Formats: MP4, AVI, MOV, MKV, GIF, MP3, PNG, BMP, JPG
Price: Free / $64.95
- Webcam and display capture
- Record scheduling
- Audio-only option
- Full HD and 4K
- Very flexible
- Very fast and easy to use
- User friendly
- Excellent file format support, including HD
- Free version is fully featured
- Free version has watermark
Best for Logitech webcam owners
Logitech Capture is available for both Windows and Mac, and it’s designed to work specifically with Logitech’s own webcams. There are lots of useful features here, including multi-source recording – not just desktop or window plus webcam, but two webcams if you have them – and vertical video capture for when you’re making movies to be seen on mobile phones. It enables you to livestream and to add live text overlays, and you can customise your settings and save up to six different camera profiles if you like to have a different look for different kinds of video. It’s very capable, although it’s the kind of app you’ll want to spend some time learning to appreciate what it can do.
OS: Windows, macOS X
- Multiple sources
- Vertical mode for phone viewing
- Multiple camera profiles
- Very capable
- Portrait recording
- Multi-source recording
- Doesn’t work on M1 Macs
- Overkill for some
Best for special effects and family fun
CNet rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Many webcam recorders can make videos, but can they make you look good too? YouCam can. Its Live Makeup feature can make subtle enhancements to your skin tone to make sure that every side is your good side. The app also has lots of special effects and filters, which make it a good option for messing around with the family, but it’s also a serious tool that you can use for business. There’s a dedicated presentation mode that helps you turn slideshows into something more visually interesting and a good collection of video enhancement features to help you get the best from your recordings. There’s a 30-day free trial so you can put the app through its paces and see quite a lot of pop-up messages urging you to buy the whole thing.
OS: Windows 7 or later
Formats: WMV, AVI, MP4
- Live makeup
- Presentation mode
- Good filters
- Lots of fun
- Business-friendly options
- Lots of effects
- Trial version really wants to sell you the app
Best for quick webcam recording
TrustPilot rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Webcam recording doesn’t get much simpler than this. Simply point your web browser at Screencapture.com and you can record your webcam with a single click (or three clicks if you include giving the browser permission to use your webcam and microphone). There are no editing features and no on-screen controls other than a stop-recording button; when you do that you can then download your video as an MP4 file. This isn’t a great option for Mac users, though: it doesn’t work in the Safari web browser, and while you can get around that by opening it in Google Chrome instead the downloaded MP4 file isn’t supported by the QuickTime Player on your Mac so you’ll need additional software to play it.
OS: Windows, Mac (via browser)
Supported devices: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera
- Not many: it’s designed to be extremely simple
- Fast and effective
- Very basic; webcam only
- Doesn’t work in Safari on Mac
- File format won’t open in QuickTime on Mac
Best for making learning fun
G2 rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
ManyCam is the kind of webcam application we’d turn to in education or training, thanks to the inclusion of a whiteboard that’s ideal for sketching, scribbling, and doodling. It can handle multiple simultaneous video sources and stream live to Facebook and YouTube, it enables you to use multiple layers and adjust their opacity, it can replace the background of your feed with a virtual location and there’s also chroma key support for green or blue screen effects. Not all of these features are available in the standard edition, though: if you want the virtual backgrounds, chroma key, and the ability to record in 4K, you’ll need the Studio version, which is $59 a year.
OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Formats: GIF, FLV, MKV, MOV, MP4
Price: free download; from $29 per year
- Chroma key
- YouTube and Facebook streaming
- Virtual backgrounds
- Useful whiteboard for education/training/meetings
- Multiple video sources
- Multiple layers
- Live streaming
- Standard version doesn’t include background blur or chroma key
Best for PC hobbyists
Snapfiles rating: 4 out of 5 stars
YawCam gets its name from Yet Another Webcam Software, and it’s a Windows webcam app written in Java. It’s a fairly simple freeware app in terms of what it does – if you’re looking for multi-camera footage with all kinds of special effects and other goodies, this is not the webcam program for you – but it has its own built-in web server, the ability to upload to FTP sites, motion detection and an online scheduler. You can also use it to make time-lapse movies. What it can’t do is output in any of the video formats you’d expect: the output options here are JPG, GIF, and PNG images, although you can stream live to the internet. That means YawCam is best suited to applications such as public webcams or security cameras rather than making video podcasts or game speed runs.
OS: Windows XP/2000 or later
Formats: GIF, JPG, PNG
Supported devices: PC only
- Built-in web server
- Automatic FTP upload
- Motion detection
- It’s free
- It can stream live
- It can make time lapse
- No video file export
- Feels very old
Best for multistreaming
You can tell that SplitCam has been around for a while: its marketing materials on splitcamera.com make great play of its compatibility with Windows 7, ICQ, and MSN Messenger. That latter service was closed in 2014. But the app itself has been in continuous development, and the most recent version at the time of writing was released in April 2021. That’s for version 10, for Windows 10; there’s also a Mac version but that’s version 0.9, which is a beta version.
The big draw here is multistreaming, which enables you to stream one video source to multiple live services or to multiple apps simultaneously without melting your computer. SplitCam also has virtual webcam features to mix your webcam with other sources such as your screen, media files, or apps, and there’s full desktop sharing too. Having multiple sources also means handling multiple audio sources too, and SplitCam’s built-in audio mixer makes that easy. It looks and feels like a premium app, but it’s freeware: the only cost is if you want it sent to you on a disc instead of downloading it.
OS: Windows 10, macOS X
Supported devices: PC, Mac
- Multiple streaming destinations simultaneously
- Virtual webcam
- Desktop sharing
- Audio mixing
- It’s free
- One app, multiple livestreams
- Good audio features
- Mac version is a beta
Best for keeping things simple
This Windows 10 camera app is Microsoft’s own image and video app, and it integrates well with OneDrive cloud storage so you can access your content from anywhere and any device. The video recording feature has a useful auto-stitch feature: you can pause and resume your recording whenever you like, and the Camera app sticks the bits together into a cohesive whole.
Microsoft’s camera app for PC is all very polished and works very well, but the Windows 10 Camera app is designed to be simple and doesn’t offer much in the way of features. We’ve also seen users complain that the file sizes can be massive: because Windows 10 Camera is designed to work with every PC, it doesn’t use some of the more efficient but processor-intensive compression you’ll find in many paid-for Windows webcam apps.
OS: Windows 10
Platforms: Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Xbox One/X/S
- OneDrive integration
- Auto-stitch recordings
- It’s really simple
- It’s really easy
- It’s really basic
- Video files can be very large
Best for home security camera recording
TechRadar rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Debut looks a bit dated but it’s a solid and straightforward screen recorder that includes some advanced options, including scheduled recording and lots of export options. In addition to your webcam it supports multi-screen setups and it can also grab footage from IP cameras, so you can use it to tune into and record from internet-enabled security cameras too. However, while it supports multiple video sources it can only record from one source at a time. You can still record your screen and webcam simultaneously thanks to its virtual webcam, which puts you in a screen overlay as you record your PC screen.
There’s lots to like here, with lots of control over resolutions and video size, aspect ratio and frame rate, and you can also adjust the brightness and contrast to make footage more vivid. It’s worth noting that while this app is free, that’s only for non-commercial use. For commercial users, you need the $39 Pro version.
OS: Windows, macOS X
Formats: AVI, MPG, MP4, MOV
Price: Free for non-commercial use
- Scheduled recording
- Multi-camera recording
- Virtual webcam
- Image adjustments
- Works with IP cameras and connected video sources, e.g. video recorders
- Direct upload to YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr
- Green screen and audio-only options
- Looks a bit old-fashioned
Best for messing around
Webcam Toy’s name is a bit of a giveaway: this is a webcam app that’s designed for having a bit of fun rather than doing anything serious – so while it enables you to add all kinds of special effects while you clown for the camera, there’s no video recording facility here. Instead, the app takes one or more still images that you can share to your socials or download as JPEGs to your computer or mobile device.
OS: Any (web browser)
- Live filters
- Still image capture
- Social media sharing
- Over 80 effects
- Instant results
- Easy to use
- Static images only
Best for arty filters
MyCam is a webcam application that enables you to apply a range of artistic filters to your video, with a library that includes filters to distort, blur, recolour and transform the footage from your webcam. We particularly like the ones that make the video look like it’s hand-drawn or painted. These filters are possible because unlike some of the apps we’ve looked at here, MyCam can take advantage of the power of your PC’s graphics card to apply its effects. It’s not the most comprehensive webcam application we’ve looked at but its filters and effects are fun. The free version is fully featured but watermarks your projects; you can get rid of the watermarks by getting the paid-for version, which isn’t very expensive.
Formats: MP4, GIF
Price: Free (watermarks) / $9.99
- Real-time artistic filters
- Hardware acceleration
- It’s cheap
- It’s fun
- Effects are very good
- It’s quite basic
Best for big ideas
Capterra rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Bandicam is designed specifically for recording PC screens or webcams, and to capture games that use DirectX/OpenGL/Vulkan graphics technologies. It can record 3D games at up to 4K Ultra HD resolution, it can shoot video at up to 480fps and it can also record external connected devices such as your games console or an IP camera. It uses a very high compression ratio that makes its video files much smaller than many rivals, and it has a range of advanced features, including chroma key, scheduled recording, and narration recording.
Formats: AVI, MP4
- 3D game recording
- Connects to external devices
- Chroma key
- Record scheduling
- Great for games
- High compression makes smaller files
- Very flexible
- A bit much for basic recording
Best for simple filters
Photo Booth Pro is very like MyCam in that it’s really a webcam application for messing around in real-time rather than a dedicated screen recorder. Video recording is a very recent addition to the app, which was previously focused on producing static images and photo strips, and it’s as straightforward as the photo effects: find a filter you like, record it and then save it or share it to your socials. It’s fun to mess around with but limited in what it can do.
OS: Windows 10 Anniversary Update
- Live filtering
- Social media sharing
- Static images and photo strips
- Fun filters
- Really easy to use
- Easy sharing
- Very basic
Best for editing while you’re online recording
TechRadar rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
As you’d expect from a web grabber, Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder enables you to record all kinds of on-screen activities: demos, online calls, streaming videos, and more (but not games). But it also has an extra useful feature, which is the ability to edit your recordings in real time.
Unusually for a browser-based editor, Apowersoft has extensive file exporting options comparable to a desktop app. You can upload your recording to Google Drive, Dropbox, YouTube, or Vimeo, which covers the essentials for most people.
This is a really good option, not least because it doesn’t have time limits or watermarks, although to run it you will need to install a browser plugin.
OS: Windows, macOS X
Formats: MP4, WMV, AVI, FLV, MPEG, VOB, ASF, and GIF
- Real time video editing
- YouTube and Vimeo uploading
- Google Drive support
- Can record almost anything
- Lots of output formats
- No watermarks
- Launcher installation required
- Can’t record games
Best for Mac users on a really tight budget
Camwiz Webcam Recorder has been around for a long time, but it hasn’t been updated in six years – something that’s apparent if you open it on a Mac with a Retina display, which makes the user interface so small you can’t read any of the text labels on the controls. It works well enough and exports as MOV files at up to 1080p HD resolution, and we had no problems with either our built-in webcam or an external USB one, but there are many more modern options in the Mac App Store.
OS: macOS X 10.9 or later
- External camera support
- Audio-only record option
- Night vision mode
- Simple to use
- Very dated
- Interface is microscopic on Retina displays
Best for keeping an eye on multiple cameras
If you use webcams for security, IP Camera Viewer enables you to monitor four of them simultaneously and supports over 2,000 different camera models from all the leading names, including stand-alone IP cameras and USB webcams. You can make per-camera adjustments to improve the picture, and if your camera supports it, you can also control pan, tilt and zoom. However, the app doesn’t support recording: for that you’ll need WebCam Monitor from the same provider, which costs £50.
OS: Windows 7 or later
Supported devices: More than 2,000 cameras
- Per-camera image adjustments
- Can control tilt, pan and zoom of compatible cameras
- IP camera support
- Watch 4 cameras at once
- Useful image enhancement
- Wide range of supported cameras
- A viewer, not a recorder
|Movavi Screen Recorder||MP4, AVI, MOV, MKV, GIF, MP3, PNG, BMP, JPG||Very flexible. Very fast and easy to use. User friendly. Excellent file format support. Free version is fully featured.||Watermarks in free version|
|Logitech Capture||MP4||Very capable. Portrait recording. Multi-source recording.||Doesn’t work on M1 Macs. Overkill for some.|
|Cyberlink YouCam||WMV, AVI, MP4||Live makeup. Presentation mode. Lots of FX and filters.||Trial version really wants you to buy the app|
|Screencapture Webcam Recorder||MP4||Fast and effective||Very basic. Doesn’t work in Safari. File format requires installing codec on Mac.|
|ManyCam||GIF, FLV, MKV, MOV, MP4||Useful whiteboard. Multiple sources. Useful layers. Live streaming.||Standard version doesn’t have blur or chroma key|
|YawCam||GIF, JPG, PNG||It’s free. Live streaming. Timelapse.||No video export. Feels very old.|
|SplitCam||MP4||It’s free. Multiple livestreams. Integrated audio mixer.||Mac version is a beta|
|Windows 10 Camera||MP4||Really simple. Really easy.||Really basic. Big files.|
|Debut Video Capture Software||AVI, MPG, MP4, MOV||Works with IP cameras and webcams. Direct upload to video sites. Green screen and audio-only options.||A bit old-fashioned|
|Webcam Toy||JPG||Over 80 effects. Instant results. Easy to use.||Static images only|
|MyCam||MP4, GIF||It’s cheap. It’s fun. Effects are good.||Quite basic|
|Bandicam||AVI, MP4||Great for games. High compression for smaller files. Very flexible.||A bit much for basic recording|
|Photo Booth Pro||JPG||Fun filters. Easy to use. Easy sharing.||Extremely basic|
|Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder||MP4, WMV, AVI, FLV, MPEG, VOB, ASF and GIF||Records almost anything. Good output options. No watermarks.||Requires launcher app installation. Can’t record games.|
|Camwiz Webcam Recorder||MOV||Simple to use||Very old Interface is tiny on Retina displays|
|IP Camera Viewer||n/a||Watch 4 cameras at once. Per-camera settings. Webcam and IP camera support.||A viewer, not a recorder|
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Frequently asked questions
What is the best webcam software?
That depends on what you want it to do: some apps are great for quick and easy filtering, others can monitor security cameras and some are fully featured video apps. That’s why we’ve included a range of options in this guide.
What software is best for video recording?
We have an in-depth guide about that very thing. Click the link to learn more about video recorders.
What is the best webcam software for Windows 10?
We really rate Movavi Screen Recorder but there are other options too, such as Windows 10 Camera, Bandicam, and ManyCam.
What app do YouTubers use for recording?
Everybody has their own favourite, but many YouTubers use Movavi Screen Recorder because it integrates tightly with the rest of the Movavi apps, so they can do pro-level editing and FX without having to learn a whole bunch of different apps from different developers.
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