If you’re looking to stream gameplay from a Switch, PS4, or Xbox, you’re going to want a capture card. While there are some consoles that don’t require capture cards, many streamers still use them to save their PCs from the intense load that gaming and streaming can cause. Furthermore, capture cards can be used to turn a DSLR into a webcam and they’re also required if you want to stream from a two PC setup.
If you’re just starting out, there are a variety of reasons why you might not want to blow a small fortune on a capture card. For starters, why pay extra for features like 4K or 60fps if your PC can’t handle them? Furthermore, if you’re new to streaming, you might not want to invest a ton of money until you’re sure the hobby is right for you. Whatever your reason, we’ve compiled a list of the best budget capture cards for streaming—all under $150.
Be advised that capture card prices can and will change with market demands. Always do your research and shop around to get the best deal.
Elgato H60 S+ ($149.99 on Amazon)
It’s no surprise that an Elgato capture card has snagged the top spot on our list. Elgato is a tried and trusted brand known for their premium capture cards. While a 4K Elgato card will set you back almost $400, the HD60 S+ has proven itself to be one of the best 1080p/60fps capture cards on the market under $150. The HD60 S+ currently holds a 4.6 star rating on Amazon with over 6400 reviews and counting.
EVGA XR1 Lite ($59.79 on Amazon)
It’s safe to say that a capture card manufactured by a graphics company can be trusted to produce quality video. The XR1 Lite allows you to record at 1080p/60fps and game at 4K/60fps. Though it’s less than half the price of the Elgato HD60 S+, many users report that the XR1 delivers comparable quality. The XR1 currently has a 4.5 star rating and roughly 300 reviews on Amazon. It’s not as popular as some of the bigger names, but this card could fit nicely into a new streamer’s budget.
Best for On-the-Go
AVerMedia Live Gamer Mini ($99.99 on Amazon)
This little card is the perfect travel accessory for streamers who want to save space but aren’t willing to sacrifice on performance. At just under $100, the small but mighty Live Gamer Mini delivers 1080p/60fps with low latency. AVerMedia is another well known capture card brand, with the Liver Gamer Mini garnering over 2700 reviews on Amazon. It currently holds a 4.4 star rating with over 85% of users giving it 4 stars or higher.
Best Budget Capture Card for Nintendo Switch
Mirabox HDMI Video Capture Card ($39.99 on Amazon)
One look on Amazon and you’ll see that Mirabox offers a variety of capture cards at budget prices, all claiming to produce 4K/60fps quality. However, a variety of users have verified that the Mirabox only produces 1080p/30fps quality, which is still perfectly adequate, especially for basic setups. While users looking to play higher resolution games on PS4 or Xbox might be left wanting, the cheap but effective Mirabox is “good enough” for Switch gameplay. I have personally used this capture card to stream from my Switch and was satisfied with the performance to price ratio.
Best Internal Capture Card
AVerMedia Live Gamer HD 2-PCIe Internal ($149.99 on Amazon)
While there’s a lot to be said for “plug and play” capture cards, most gamers agree that internal cards (capture cards that plug directly into your gaming motherboard) offer the least delay. If you’ve got a little PC know-how and a motherboard equipped for it, the Live Gamer HD 2-PCIe could be a great addition to your setup (it even has RGB lighting). An internal capture card is also a great way to keep your setup looking as clean as possible. The Liver Gamer HD has over 550 reviews and is currently sitting at 4.5 stars.
Before ordering a capture card, read reviews, shop around, and double-check the return policy. Remember that when you first receive your capture card, there’s bound to be a little troubleshooting involved, regardless of which brand you choose. We have a tutorial for setting up your card with Streamlabs Desktop to get you streaming your favorite games in no time.