The Six Best Capture Cards For Streaming As Of 2021 – Upgrade Your Twitch Game!

Those with a dream of being the next YouTube or Twitch streaming star will need to get themselves a capture card to do so. Without the knowledge of specifications required and which brands are good, it can be difficult to choose the right one, which is where this article comes in.

The following capture cards meet a variety of different needs, budgets and specification requirements, as well as being produced by reputable manufacturers and utilized by some of the best streamers on the net.

Prepare to demonstrate how good you are at Fortnite or Stardew Valley in full HD… or just play some Geoguessr.

Although most capture cards highlighted here are very similar – because streaming in high quality has a specific set of requirements that must be met – there are some subtle differences that might just influence your decision when making a choice.

Good luck and happy gaming!

Elgato Game Capture HD 

Specifications

  • 1080p picture quality
  • 60FPS frame rate
  • USB 3.0 connection
  • Works with Windows, MacOS and Linux
  • PS4 & Xbox compatible

Given just how many popular streamers reference the Elgato brand when asked what their setup for working looks like, it’s no surprise they are top of this list as well.

Easy to connect to whichever device you’re using, with the latest USB technology and HDMI capabilities, everything you need to get started is included.

Bringing HD 1080p quality video and audio to your viewers is incredibly easy, with integrated streaming software for Twitch and Youtubes, as well as full webcam and overlay support.

Another reason to opt for Elgato is their amazing customer support service, highlighted by the constant positive feedback the team is receiving; with such an affordable price tag at this quality, it’s difficult to say why you should consider other products!


Y&H HDMI Game Capture Card

Specifications

  • 1080p picture quality
  • 60FPS frame rate
  • USB 3.0 connection
  • Works with Windows, MacOS and Linux
  • PS4 & Xbox compatible

The perfect budget capture card, encompassing all the features of an Elgato at an even more budget-friendly price, you still get access to plenty of good stuff when you invest in a Y&H instead. It’s one of the cheapest reputable products on the market 

and well worth thinking about if you’re working with little cash.

1080p video, screen sharing and freely included live streaming software are just a few of the reasons Y&H are such an up and coming brand; plus, this card is also compatible with plenty of other software, including VLC Media Player and OBS Studio.

There’s no stressful setup with drivers or updates – everything sets up as soon as you plug the included USB 3.0 cable to whichever device you want to stream from, whether that’s an Xbox, PS4 or your PC.


Plugable Performance NIX

Specifications

  • 1080p picture quality
  • 60FPS frame rate
  • USB 3.0 connection
  • Works with Windows, MacOS and Linux
  • PS4 & Xbox compatible

Ideal for those who favour using XSplit or OBS Studio when streaming, the NIX Capture Card from Plugable Performance is popular with streamers who prefer to use specific software, rather than working with programs included when purchasing their capture card.

Capable of configuring recordings to run at 60FPS, with 1080p picture quality, your gaming footage will come through crystal clear and crisp for all viewers, regardless of whether you’re using Twitch, Youtube or another streaming service of choice.

Your purchase also comes with both USB 3.0 and USB-C cables completely free, so you can work with whatever connection you prefer, whether you’re using PS4, Xbox One or PC.

Plus, with a two year parts and labor warranty and US-based customer support, you know your purchase is guaranteed to be protected.


AVerCapture Live Gamer Portable Lite HD

Specifications

  • 1080p picture quality
  • 60FPS frame rate
  • USB 3.0 connection
  • Works with Windows, MacOS and Linux
  • PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox compatible

Easily handling ultra low-latency streaming and recording, sharing your stream directly to Twitch or Youtube, the AverCapture HD from AVerMedia is a simple, easy introduction to the world of streaming, even for those who aren’t familiar with the technology.

With integrated commentary and RECentral software, you don’t even need any additional programs, drivers or installations to get started.

Plus, the TimeShift function even allows you to record retroactively, after you’ve already streamed, if you prefer to add in your audio later for uploading onto other sites.

As long as you register your purchase on the AVerMedia website in the time frame specified, you’ll also receive a two year warranty, so in the event you have any problems, their customer service team will be on hand to help you resolve them.


MiraBox Capture Card

Specifications

  • 1080p picture quality
  • 60FPS frame rate
  • USB 3.0 connection
  • Works with Windows, MacOS and Linux
  • PS4 & Xbox compatible

Capable of working alongside any 1080p and 720p HDMI devices, from the Wii U and the Xbox 360 all the way up to Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC and even DVD players, the MiraBox is an affordable yet awesome inclusion in this list of capture cards. Stream movies for the whole family to enjoy!

Thanks to the Zero Latency HDMI Loopout, there’s absolutely no lagging, so when you’re streaming and gaming simultaneously, your viewers will see and hear everything just the same as you do.

Compatible with Windows 7 and beyond, as well as Mac OS and Linux, there’s no need to install drivers: simply plug this bad boy in using the supplied USB 3.0 high speed transmission cable and you’re ready to stream, whether you want to use Twitch, OBS Studio, VLC, YouTube or something else.


MyPIN HDMI Game Capture Card

Specifications

  • 1080p picture quality
  • 60FPS frame rate
  • USB 3.0 connection
  • Works with Windows and MacOS
  • PS4 & Xbox compatible

For streaming beginners, it’s hard to get better – and cheaper – than the MyPIN Game Capture Card, which offers similar benefits to the top of the line Elgato range at far more forgiving of a price point.

Hardware accelerated upscaling and downscaling allows for 1080p resolution at 60FPS – and this baby even automatically converts your input audio formats to the superior 48 kHz PCM stereo audio, for crisp and clear sound quality every time.

There’s no need for an external power supply or downloading any drivers – a fast, familiar and affordable method of streaming low latency games to Youtube, Twitter, Twitch, or wherever you want to show off your gaming skills, with no need to use a HDMI splitter.

Not only can you stream with this, but it also accommodates screen sharing, so if you’ve got a meeting and need to share a presentation, there’s no need for fancy software – just directly connect your laptop, tablet or other smart device to begin streaming and away you go! The twelve month warranty is also very welcome.


Final Thoughts – Which Capture Card Should You Get?

The tech you choose to invest in will ultimately depend on what budget you’re working with. You should also focus on the minute differences between each card, like the streaming software they’re compatible with, and whether or not they come with free programs right out of the box.

Likewise, if you’re only recently getting into streaming, you might not be familiar with the technology it utilizes, so a capture card that’s ready to go right out of the box and only needs to be hooked up will certainly help streamline the process for you.

You should also consider your current gaming console or PC setup and whether it’s going to work for streaming, as you need a certain amount of RAM, CPU power and graphics card quality to be able to do so successfully.

Before you invest in a capture card, make sure your other equipment is up to scratch too!

Stephen Deane

Stephen is a gaming and tech enthusiast. He has been playing computer games since the Commodore 64 days in the 80s. He has worked as Broadcast Engineer with BBC News and knows a thing or two about building, fixing, and playing with PCs.