If you feel like it’s time to start a YouTube channel and begin sharing your ideas with the world, you’ll need to know what equipment you’ll require.
There are many bits of gear that can be useful for creating YouTube content, and countless brands and models to choose from.
This guide aims to help you make the best decisions when investing in your first pieces of equipment. You’ll find a list of all the basics you’ll need and some more advanced gear if you have a bigger budget.
Once you’re finished reading, you should feel more confident to find the right equipment, buy what you need, and start making incredible content for YouTube.
Best YouTube Equipment For Beginners
Starting a YouTube channel can make you wonder what equipment you’ll need. Making a list will depend on what kind of content you want to make and what your budget is.
Here are the two most basic things you’ll need:
- YouTube account (free for all!)
- Camera (DSLR, webcam, smartphone, etc.)
If you have a larger budget for equipment, you can look into getting the following:
- Tripod or mount
- Lighting setup
- Computer and editing software
- Microphone and DAW
The first piece on this list isn’t technically equipment, but it’s a very important part of the YouTube experience: a YouTube account.
This is where you’re going to post all of your content, study your metrics for better results, and save videos by other creators that you enjoy and who inspire you.
You can set up an account here.
YouTube is a video-based social media, so you’ll need a camera to record your videos.
There are many kinds of cameras that you can use for getting started. One that is probably already available to you is your smartphone.
Most smartphones built in the last few years have technical specs that allow you to create HD videos without any hassle. You can save a lot of money right from the start by choosing your phone as your recording device.
However, if you prefer to invest in a camera that is specifically designed for videography and photography, here are some options:
And plenty more!
DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex. This is one of the most common kinds of cameras and can be used for both taking pictures and recording videos.
They come in many shapes and sizes at various prices. If you’re starting a vlog and prefer to see yourself on screen as you record, getting one with a flip screen will work best.
Here are some of the best DSLRs available:
- Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III
- Nikon Z30
- Sony ZV-E10
DSLRs can be expensive, but will work in any setting.
If you’re planning on recording in your home studio or want to set up a tripod outside, they’re a good choice.
Most people think of webcams as equipment that you can use for video and conference calls.
However, they have become very common for creating YouTube content, especially gaming videos. They are compact, come with great specs, and are already linked to your computer so you don’t need to transfer files.
Here are three of the best webcams available today:
- Logitech C922x Pro Stream
- AVerMedia PW515
- Insta360 Link
Webcams only work when connected to a computer.
This means that they’re optimized for studio footage. If you’re a gamer or reviewer, a webcam might be your best choice.
Action cameras tend to be small and sturdy.
As the name suggests, they are used for activities with a lot of movement and action, like running, cycling, and even diving. If you want to record your adventures and put them on YouTube, an action camera will be your best choice.
The best-known brand that focuses on action cameras is GoPro, but there are other companies which make great models. Here are some examples:
- GoPro Hero11
- DJI Action 2
- Insta360 One RS
There are plenty of action cameras which can be used in-studio, but their main focus is outdoor activities.
Creators who want to film sports and city walks will benefit from one of these cameras.
360 cameras are some of the most innovative pieces of video gear to have emerged in the last few years. They use various lenses to film in all directions then stitch the footage together in order to create 360 videos.
You then have a video that your audience can manipulate to see everything around you when you made the recording.
Several companies make fantastic 360 cameras that are easy to use. Here are some examples:
- GoPro MAX
- Insta360 One X
- KanDao Obsidian R
360 cameras work best for exciting and educational content. If you’re planning to record extreme sports or even gentle hikes through forests, one of these cameras can suit you.
Tripod or Mount
Not all YouTube creators need a tripod or mount for their camera, but one can make you more comfortable and give you better options for framework and lighting.
If you’re planning on setting up a home studio and have a larger camera like a DSLR, having a tripod will come in handy.
DSLRs can be heavy and you will need to keep it steady. If you’re on a budget and have a shelf or a pile of books that can keep your camera at eye level, then go for it.
However, the best YouTubers have a tripod so they can get the perfect position for their camera.
One will also be useful for keeping the camera constantly set up. You won’t need to reposition when you have a tripod in the right spot.
YouTubers who want to head outside and bring their camera might benefit from a mount more than a tripod. Action cameras can be accessorized with great mounts that can be attached to your chest, helmet, bike, and more.
You can also pick a handheld grip (or selfie-stick). These are great for vloggers who want to keep their camera at arm’s length and record their face as they talk or what’s coming up ahead as they walk.
Here are some examples depending on what camera you choose:
- Peak Design Travel Tripod (for DSLR camera)
- GoPro Gumby Flexible Mount (for action camera)
- Insta360 Invisible Selfie Stick (for 360 camera)
Computer and Editing Software
If you’re recording on a dedicated camera instead of a phone, you’ll need somewhere to store and edit the footage you’ve recorded. Computers and laptops are perfect for organizing your videos and editing them using different kinds of software.
There are so many programs for editing and one way to differentiate them is by:
- Installable video editors
- Online video editors
Programs that you can install on your computer tend to be better, with lots of advanced tools for creating the best content possible. This also makes them harder to use and the best ones can cost a lot of money.
Some examples of installable video editors are:
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Apple Final Cut Pro
- CyberLink PowerDirector
Online video editors are generally easier to use, but lack more advanced features. Many are free or come with different pricing plans. Some of the best are:
You can also edit YouTube videos for free, but you would have to adjust the expectations for the video quality you can reach.
If you’re on a budget, you can carefully use natural light from a window and ceiling lights and lamps to light your videos.
But if your budget can stretch a bit, investing in a lighting setup can add so much value to your content.
Your shots should always be well lit and the best way to do this is with a dedicated setup of different lights and colors.
You will want to make sure you light the subject to create separation from the background and to match color temperatures if you’re using more than one light on whatever you’re filming.
There are lots of lights that can be used individually or with other pieces of gear. Here are a few examples:
- Falconeyes RX-8T
- Neewer NL480 LED panel
- Rotolight NEO 2
Once you have lights, you can also look into other pieces of equipment like diffusers, barn doors, and smart light bulbs.
Microphone and DAW
Most cameras come with a built-in microphone which can work well for your earliest videos.
However, the best YouTubers know how important it is to have good sound. The best way to achieve this is with a dedicated microphone.
Here are some types of microphone connections that can be useful for your setup:
- Mics connected with USB: these are the most convenient as they just need to be plugged into your computer. The quality isn’t the best, but they tend to be cheaper and easier to use.
- Mics connected with XLR: XLR cables are the most common pieces of gear for connecting microphones. They are used by professional musicians, sound engineers, YouTubers, and many more. Your audio will be recorded into your computer with an interface or your camera if it has an XLR input.
- Mics connected with 3.5mm jack: if your camera has an external mic input, it will likely take a 3.5mm jack. You can clip the mic onto your clothes and plug the cable directly into the camera. The sound will be recorded there.
If you’re planning on vlogging outdoors (like for a travel vlog), a jack output mic straight into your camera will work best. They are small and convenient, and are designed to reduce background noise.
Connecting your microphone with an XLR cable will give you the best quality, but you’ll also need to buy an audio interface if you’re recording with your computer.
This device will convert the signal from the microphone and allow you to record into a digital audio workstation (DAW), where you can edit the sound.
USB microphones aren’t great, but are good enough for getting started. You’ll still need a DAW to record the audio into. From there, you can make changes to what you recorded and try to get the best sound possible.
Here are some of the best microphones for YouTubers:
- Blue Yeti (connected with USB) - perfect for podcasters
- Sennheiser MKH 50 (connected with XLR) - incredible boom mic to keep out of your shots
- Zoom F1 (connected with 3.5mm jack) - great for attaching to DSLR cameras
If you do need a DAW, here are some that work well:
- Logic Pro
- Ableton Live
Making a list of gear you need is the best first step to getting your YouTube channel up and running. You should figure out what you really need for your style of creating and how much it will all cost.
You can prioritize getting the best quality with the lowest amount of work.
If you find a camera that has great settings for balancing colors and shadows and has good audio, you won’t need to invest in a lighting rig and extra mics right away.
You can also look into free editing software with simple controls. If you’re not familiar with video editing, you can get lost with the more advanced features.
Finding the easiest way for you to create and share high-quality content is the key to success.
What did you first invest in when starting a YouTube channel? Tell other readers in the comments below.