If you’re just getting started on streaming, whether Twitch or YouTube, you don’t have to drop a ton of money to get the “best” streaming gear available...
There is a high chance you already have the streaming essentials; all you need to do is set it up and start streaming.
But if you don’t know what you might be missing, then don’t worry...
This article will explain what streaming essentials you will want to start with to produce a high-quality stream like your favorite streamers.
Additionally, I will go into what other optional essentials you can get down the line as you grow your channel.
Whether you’re a total beginner looking to gather info into the streaming world or you’re on the way to growing your channel, you will be able to find some excellent streaming gear to add to your repertoire.
So enough talk, let’s get started!
We will break down your streaming essentials into two categories; the products that we recommend to start with if you're starting out...
And optional essentials that you will want to get down the line. They're not necessary, but they can be useful to solve specific problems, or are upgrades to your existing setup.
Below are streaming accessories that are in your best interest to get before you start streaming.
You don’t need all of them, to begin with, but they are all excellent entry-level products to provide a professional and engaging streaming experience.
When you stream, you are essentially showcasing yourself and your personal brand.
So it’s vital to have a face cam. Showing your face allows your audience to connect to you, and a choppy, low-FPS camera won’t cut it.
If you study all of the top YouTube and Twitch streamers, they all have clear and lag-free face cam quality.
It’s possible to stream without a camera, but we don’t recommend it.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money upfront; to get excellent camera quality, you can start with the Logitech C922x which is a quality entry-level face cam.
A clear-sounding microphone is another critical element in your repertoire as a streamer.
What makes people tune into your stream is your personality showcased through your commentary and interactions with your audience.
You can get away with being one of the top-rated players in your respective game, but keep in mind, your fans become loyal fans because they connect with your personality, not just your skills.
When choosing a microphone, you have the option between a condenser mic and a dynamic mic.
They do have quite a lot of differences which I won't cover in this article, so here's a cool guide on the differences between the two.
Condenser mics generally have better audio quality, whereas dynamic mics are best for cutting out background noise.
A condenser mic like the Blue Yeti should do the trick if you’re just starting out since it only uses a USB connection that you can easily plug into. These are best if you can stream with minimal background noise.
If you want to get the best quality microphone for streaming, then go for the Shure SM7B; just make sure you grab a Mixer and Cloudlifter while you’re at it.
Instead of having your mic sitting on your desk, which can be distracting and bothersome, you can get a Mic Stand / Boom Arm, which helps you position the mic at any angle or place that you want.
Some streamers like having their mic out of frame, usually placed at the top, whereas streamers like Dr Disrespect prefer to have the mic directly in front of their mouth without obstructing their face cam.
A pop filter is necessary for streaming because it reduces the “popping” sounds that you make, for example: when you use words that include “P’s” and “B’s.”
The pop filter is the black shield that sits in front of your microphone, which you can apply to both condenser and dynamic mics.
They are inexpensive accessories that increase the quality of your microphone, so it’s worth investing in if you want some crisp, quality sound.
It’s crucial to have good lighting when you stream because it makes your viewers feel like they are right there with you and can also help them see the details of what is happening on the screen.
It improves your overall visual appearance and can make your stream look high-quality and professional.
Lighting is crucial for your Face Cam as lighting will affect how well your camera sensor will pick you up and make you look good on-camera.
When it comes to your lighting, you want the perfect blend between brightness and contrast. Usually, a softer, natural-looking light will give you the highest quality.
The Elgato Key Light is a high-quality studio light that is highly adjustable, but if you want to start small, you can opt for the budget-friendly Neewer studio light.
If you’re a serious gamer, chances are you already have a headset.
A top-tier headset provides you with sound cues that you can use to gain an edge over your opponents strategically.
Headsets are crucial for most PVP games where you are versing another person, and you will 99% of the time find that pro/famous FPS gamers are wearing a headset.
Your headset should be comfortable to wear for long periods and produce a 3D environment so you can pinpoint exactly where your enemies are.
You may prefer to have a headset with a detachable microphone since you may find using your external condenser/dynamic microphone better.
Just ensure you set up your mic so that you toggle between talking in-game and talking to your audience.
If you want to add some style to your voice to make your stream more engaging, an audio mixer is the way to go.
Here’s an example of some hilariousness you can add to your stream: via Dr Disrespect
An audio mixer allows you to manipulate your voice by changing your pitch, add some echo, add distortion, etc., in real-time.
It also acts as a control panel for you to control the volume of your microphone, which is a nice touch.
If you prefer a dynamic mic with an XLR input, your mic will work seamlessly with the audio mixers.
Mixers tend to come at varying price points and are used by more professionals in the music/movie industry, so you don’t have to spend a ton of money on a mixer.
Stick to the basics, like the GoXLR, which is easy to pick up and implement into your streaming gear stack.
The stream deck is specific to Elgato and can be a game-changer for streamers due to the sheer amount of customization you can do to streamline your streaming workflow and increase your efficiency.
The purpose of the stream deck is simple; eliminate the need for keyboard shortcuts, and allow you to program whole sequences at the click of a button.
With a stream deck, you can do many “streamer” activities at the click of a button; switching between scenes, launching media, playing sound FX, add on-screen GIFs and images; the possibilities are endless.
Every button is completely customizable, even to the point where you can pick the icon that shows up on the LCD screen.
If you’re a big fan of streamlining your workflow and increasing your productivity, the stream deck will be an excellent buy.
It requires a slight learning curve and a couple of hours to set up, but once you get the hang of it, you can get the creative juices flowing and streamline any workflow you use repeatedly.
A stream deck is not essential for beginners, but the benefits you gain from having a stream deck are worth investing in early.
You can start small with a 6-key deck hovering around ~$85, or you can go all out and grab an XL 32-key deck priced at around ~$250.
As a streamer, you will be sitting in your chair for long hours at a time, so it’s vital for your health that you sit in a chair that’s comfortable and ergonomic.
It would be best if you had proper ergonomics when you sit, meaning you’re not hunched over, your eyes are level with the top of your gaming monitor, and you have adequate support for your lower back and neck.
Having an adjustable chair allows you to find the perfect position no matter what your frame is.
You can choose from three different materials, PU Leather, Mesh, or Fabric, which all come with pros and cons.
Mesh is the most breathable, the fabric feels the most comfortable, and leather gives you that “luxury” look and is easy to clean.
One company, in particular, Herman Miller, has been hailed as the "golden standard" for chair ergonomics, and in our opinion, is the most comfortable chair on the market to date.
However, they come at a premium price and recommend Herman Millers to those who badly need an ergonomic chair.
Alternatively, you can get the GTRacing gaming chair which is comfortable, supports large frames and won't break the bank.
By this point, you should have all of the essentials you need for a quality stream. You should only consider upgrading the following products as you build your channel or if you have the extra funds.
Note that these are optional but are essentials that very many famous streamers have.
You can get away with a single monitor setup, but once you switch to a two-monitor setup, your productivity increases dramatically.
According to New York Times survey, having a dual-monitor setup increases productivity by 20 - 30%.
Snatching up a second monitor is self-explanatory; it gives you more screen real estate to work with.
You will find that most popular streamers have a minimum of two monitors, one “main” monitor to game on, and their secondary monitor to keep an eye out on their stream and interact with their viewers.
Your secondary monitor does not have to be a high-end gaming monitor since you will be using it more for extra screen real-estate, not for its graphic quality.
Additionally, you can put both on a dual monitor stand if you want to save desk space.
Upgrading to a mechanical keyboard from a membrane keyboard is like a night and day difference.
The mechanical switch mechanism is far superior to membrane switches. They are far more satisfying to press, they actuate faster, and they are highly customizable.
Most of the top-rated gaming keyboards nowadays are all mechanical, with a few high-quality membrane keyboard exceptions.
There are three mechanical switch types to choose from; Linear, Tactile, and Clicky.
Tactile switches have a middle bump that gives you feedback for when you are about to actuate a key.
Clicky switches are tactile switches but have a loud “clack” sound when you actuate your key. These switches are the closest thing to an old-school typewriter sound.
And finally, Linear switches are the recommended switch to get for competitive gaming. They don’t have a tactile bump in the middle, meaning you can press a key with the lightest touch, and it will actuate.
Linear’s are considered the best switches because you can actuate them the fastest, but your mechanical switch is up to personal preference.
Below are three different types of keyboards, with three different types of switches to choose from.
Like how a mechanical keyboard is a massive upgrade from any standard keyboard you might have, a gaming mouse has the same effect.
Switching from a standard office mouse to a full-fledged gaming mouse designed for performance will give you a considerable advantage, especially in games like First-Person Shooters, where accurate mouse clicks are critical.
Gaming mice have come a long way, and nowadays, you can buy some quality mice at affordable prices.
What makes a gaming mouse great is the weight, build quality, sensor, and comfort in your grip.
If you don’t know which grip you’re using now, you can determine it by reading our mouse grip guide here.
Below are three highly recommended mice that are designed for different mouse grips. Determine which grip is best for you and run with it.
To take full advantage of the benefits of a gaming mouse, you should invest in snatching up a large mousepad too.
Mousepads provide a smooth texture for your gaming mice’s sensor to catch.
A mouse pad ensures that your optical or laser sensor can read a smooth surface, therefore ensuring that your mouse movements are clean and consistent.
There are two types of mouse pad surfaces; a hard cloth and a soft cloth.
Hard cloth mousepads are more “slippery,” allowing you to move your mouse faster. The downside to a hard cloth mousepad is that it may be harder to control your mouse movements.
Soft cloth mousepads are the opposite. They introduce more friction and therefore allow you to control your mouse movements better. The downside is that they are not as fast.
Again, it’s a personal preference. If you prefer more control over your mouse pad, then a soft cloth pad is recommended.
If you do a lot of flicks or need to maneuver your mouse fast, your mouse may better suit a hard cloth pad for you.
There are also many different mouse pad sizes to choose from, and generally, the bigger your mouse pad, the better since you’ll never run out of space no matter how sporadic your mouse movements are.
Green screens are an excellent addition to your background when you’re streaming since it allows you to get creative with your streaming effects, and can hide an untidy background.
They come at a budget-friendly price and are easy to set up and start using.
Green screens do require some maintenance, though; you will have to ensure that your green screen is getting sufficient lighting to ensure your background stays consistent.
Green screens do also restrict your movement, as you will only be able to set your camera up on that one spot.
Other than that, you can have fun playing around with green screens, and they can add a layer of entertainment to your stream and make your stream look more professional, especially if you want a cooler-looking background.
Sound-proofing your room can help tremendously, especially if you stream in a relatively noisy household.
Acoustic panels are designed to mitigate background noise, reverberation, and echo.
This can be a game-changer for streaming, as your microphone will no longer pick up any background noise, which will be beneficial for your audience and your overall stream quality.
On the flip side, it also masks the noises that you make. If you have a family or roommates and need to keep it down at night, then acoustic panels keep your noise to a minimum.
Sound-proofing your room takes some proper planning and time, but the results are worth it.
Are you looking to upgrade your streaming quality? One of the ways you can do that is by using a live video switcher.
This nifty device allows you to switch between multiple different cameras at once while you’re live streaming.
These devices are more commonly used in video production, during professional scenes like live games or interviews.
But the same can be applied to your stream. With a little bit of creativity, you can switch between different camera angles instead of just having your Face Cam on you 24/7.
Although not an absolute necessity, a video switcher like the ATEM Mini is an excellent product to add to your live streaming stack due to its productive nature.
As you start to spend more time streaming, you will find that you are seated at your desk for long hours at a time.
At this point, it’s essential to ensure your ergonomics are up to healthy standards. You should already have a comfy chair, and the next best buy will be an adjustable desk.
An adjustable desk will allow you to raise your desk to the point where you can stand—standing while working has a ton of health benefits that you will want to take advantage of.
These benefits include lowering your risk of weight gain, lowering blood sugar levels, reducing back pain, and improving energy levels.
If you tend to break your ergonomic posture even if you have a comfortable chair, an adjustable desk will help.
Capture cards pass through the primary signal that you’re capturing, back through your main display as it’s being captured.
In simple terms, you can use a capture card as the primary recording device when you’re recording your gameplay or if you’re live streaming.
Capture cards allow you to game and record with 0 latency due to their pass-through technology, depending on the model you choose to get.
It’s important to note that capture cards are best used on a secondary PC as it uses your CPU to encode your videos after they’ve been captured.
Often you will find that popular streamers have a second PC specifically for streaming as it lightens the load for their main PC’s so that the resources can go towards running their designated game at its highest performance.
Note that if you’re going to stream on a console, you will need a capture card to record your gameplay.
Note: It's always better to build the PC yourself since you'll have more control over the components you pick, and you won't have to pay the "premium" for having the PC pre-assembled.
As games start to increase in graphic quality, so does the demand for resources, and running your streaming software and these resource-heavy games can put a strain on your system.
So the quick-solve solution for this is to build a double PC setup; one main PC to game on and one PC to dedicated to stream.
Video capture software such as OBS, Streamlabs, and XSplit all use your computer’s resources, especially your CPU and GPU.
The good news is that you don’t need to buy top-of-the-line PC components but rather can grab a more affordable PC since your streaming software isn’t as resource-heavy as video games.
If you find that your main PC is overloaded by the apps and software you’re using, buying a dedicated streaming PC will solve your problems.
As you gain popularity in the streaming world, you will naturally want to increase your streaming quality, and upgrading from your webcam to a mirrorless camera can do just that.
Mirrorless cameras are also used by famous videography/photography YouTubers alike. Therefore you can rest assure that a mirrorless camera is superior to a webcam in every way.
There’s a considerable jump in megapixels, which provides:
And not to mention, your FPS will be much higher, with little to no delay.
Mirrorless cameras are more durable and can be used for long periods without overheating, breaking down, or stuffing up.
If you have the budget and want to upgrade from your traditional webcam to a more professional, high-quality camera, then a mirrorless camera is worth looking into.
An HDMI adapter such as the Elgato Cam Link will allow you to broadcast live using a DSLR or Mirrorless camera.
It captures, records, and encodes what your camera captures, which, when your streaming, is most likely what you’re doing on camera.
They’re small in size and can come in USB form, making them easily portable, allowing you to take your streaming gear while you travel.
Your HDMI display adapter, alongside your DSLR/Mirrorless camera, will provide higher face cam quality for your streams in comparison to your standard webcam.
Different camera lenses will affect many aspects of the footage captured by your camera, whether it’s how well it captures you in low-light situations, how much you can zoom in or out, and overall video quality.
Lenses can cost more than your mirrorless camera in the camera world since professional-grade lenses have a wider range of flexibility and usually provide higher-quality videos and images.
You won’t need to spend an arm and a leg to snatch up a quality camera lens for streaming.
You can get away with a mid-priced lens like the Sigma 16mm (f/1.4) which will provide premium-quality clarity for your stream.
Cable management really should be higher on this list because it can help de-clutter your workspace, allowing you to have a clear mind and feel more productive.
Although I didn't add it because it's not a necessity.
It's best to do cable management in one big sweep, and just maintain it weekly.
Cable management involves organizing your cables in a way that looks tidy and most often out of sight when you’re seated at your desk.
It’s easy to get tangled up in a mess of wires, especially if most of your peripherals are cabled and not wireless.
The good news is that it doesn’t take too long to do cable management, and the feeling you get after tidying up your cables is extremely satisfying.
If you are into competitive gaming, you will also benefit from buying a mouse bungee which gives you a tangle-free experience when you are using your mouse.
Last but not least, snatching up a gaming router will ensure that your internet connection stays consistent and that you are gaining the most out of your ISP (Internet Service Provider).
Your internet is the only connection between your audience and yourself, and having technical difficulties with your router can be highly frustrating.
YouTube streaming recommends 1.5 - 4 Mbps of upload speed per second, and Twitch recommends 2.5 - 4 Mbps per second, and this number would be even higher if you wanted to get into HD or even 4K streaming.
A gaming router is a massive upgrade to the stock router when you start with your Internet Service. The WiFi is more reliable; in some cases, the router can increase your internet speeds too.
It’s always best to have a direct connection from your router to your PC for maximum consistency.
Although, if your house is set up in a way where you must rely on WiFi connections, you can always combine your gaming router with a WiFi Mesh Extender which increases your WiFi strength without connecting to a different network.
Below are the requirements for streaming on both Twitch and YouTube:
Below are the minimum requirements to stream on Twitch and YouTube, but we will also provide our take on the recommended requirements you should have to have a high-quality stream.
These specs are just for Twitch/YouTube alone and do not take into account the game you’ll be streaming.
These specs are the minimum requirement to game on high FPS and stream at the same time.
You don’t need top-tier peripherals and components to build a professional and entertaining stream.
It’s best to start small and upgrade your pieces as you continue to grow your channel.
If you are looking to start streaming, you can check out our beginner’s streaming guide to help you get started.
If you want help getting started with streaming or need some tips on improving your stream quality, comment below; we would love to help!