It’s the season to cozy up in front of your monitor with a big blanket, a cup of hot cocoa, a great game and all of your best friends in the Twitch chat. But before going live on Twitch or YouTube, there are dozens of factors to consider, such as lighting, audio quality, video output and software organization — and that’s just to get on-air. If you want to succeed as a streamer, it also takes practice, charisma, luck and, of course, the proper equipment.
While we can’t help with the patience, natural talent or social factors that determine who becomes a streaming star, we can recommend the tools to make a channel look as professional as possible from day one. If anyone on your gift list is serious about diving into the business of video game streaming, these are the gadgets they’ll be ecstatic to unwrap (and show off on-camera).
The Wave:3 is solid. This mic plugs into a PC via USB and delivers high-quality audio in a sleek black package. The Wave:3 is a cardioid mic, meaning it’s designed to isolate background noise and pick up just one speaker at a time, making it ideal for streamers. It’s simple to plug in and go live with this baby, and a mute button at the top of the mic also makes it easy to cut off your audio at the source. If you’re looking for broadcast-quality sound at a reasonable price point, the Wave:3 is the mic for you.Buy Elgato Wave:3 at Amazon - $150
Now you’re just showing off. The BEACN Mic delivers incredibly high-quality audio, complete with noise cancellation so precise you’ll be able to ditch your headset, even with a game raging through your speakers. This alone makes it great for Twitch and YouTube streams, but the BEACN also looks fantastic on-camera in either black or white, with a customizable strip of RGB lighting running around its midsection. The BEACN is a dynamic mic that connects to a PC via USB-C, but its kit comes with a USB adapter as well. BEACN is a great choice for anyone who wants the best or prettiest mic around.Buy BEACN Mic at Amazon - $280
Astro A10 Gen 2
Astro’s A10 Gen 2 will get the job done and look cute while doing so, no matter what your personal style is. The Gen 2 comes in a variety of colors and patterns, from deep black with neon details to pastel purple or teal, meaning there’s something for every kind of live streaming vibe. It has a flip-to-mute boom mic, an incredibly flexible body, and replaceable ear pads and headband cushion. This headset is compatible with PC, Mac, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and Switch, so have at it, no matter how you play.Buy Astro A10 Gen 2 at Amazon - $60
Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro
This one is especially great for PC streamers with serious live-streaming intentions. The Arctis Nova Pro is a top-of-the-line headset that delivers the most crisp sound possible, including 360 degree spatial audio. Meanwhile, the mic has AI-powered noise cancellation abilities, and the whole thing comes with a 10-band equalizer for swapping settings on the fly. The Arctis Nova Pro uses a USB connection and it’s compatible with PC, Mac, PS4, PS5 and Switch.Buy Arctis Nova Pro at Amazon - $239
Elgato Stream Deck
Elgato’s Stream Deck makes live streaming easier, while also making users feel like they’re the captain of a 1970s spaceship. The Stream Deck is a customizable desktop controller with 15 LCD keys that can be set to launch and manage apps like Twitch, YouTube, OBS, Spotify and XSplit. Not only does this allow streamers to swap among programs with ease, but the buttons themselves are a lot of fun to press. This baby looks cute, feels good and it’s extremely useful in streaming situations – what more do you need?Buy Elgato Stream Deck at Amazon - $180
8bitdo Pro 2 Bluetooth controller
8bitdo knows its way around a wireless gamepad, and the Pro 2 Bluetooth controller is no exception. Whether in the transparent-body special edition or the classic black, white or gray, the Pro 2 delivers precise inputs, support for up to three custom profiles, and two extra back buttons. The Pro 2 looks like an old-school controller but it has advanced, modern capabilities, and it works with PC, Mac, Android and Switch.Buy 8BitDo Pro 2 at Amazon - $50
Razer Ripsaw HD
Capture cards ensure your gameplay and streaming antics are preserved in their best possible form, and Razer’s Ripsaw HD is a fantastic option for any player. It’s a pluggable device that records and streams gameplay at 1080p and 60fps, while allowing the game itself to hit 4K and 60fps. This is professional-level streaming with a plug-and-play interface.Buy Razer Ripsaw HD at Amazon - $219
Logitech is one of the oldest desktop camera brands around and its expertise is apparent in the StreamCam. The Logitech StreamCam records in full HD – 1080p and 60fps – with a 78 degree field of view, auto-focus and dynamic auto-framing that keeps you centered as you shift around in the shot. The whole thing connects to a PC or Mac via USB-C, and it works out of the box with popular streaming software including OBS and Streamlabs.Buy Streamcam at Amazon - $170
Logitech Litra Glow
The best thing you can do for your live-streaming setup is to get some good lighting, and Logitech’s Litra Glow has you covered. This is a small, mountable LED square that delivers a diffuse, soft glow without any harsh shadows or defined edges, and it’s designed to make its subjects look their best. It comes with an extendable three-way monitor mount and is USB-powered.Buy Litra Glow at Amazon - $60
Nanoleaf Hexagon Smarter Kit
Every stream needs a little flair, and that’s where Nanoleaf comes in. The company has a line of light panels in various shapes and configurations, but the Hexagon Smarter Kit is a great place to start. The kit comes with seven light-up hexagon panels, and all the things you’ll need to install and customize them. You’re able to sync the lights to your gameplay or music, and they connect to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, Samsung SmartThings and Razer Chroma.Buy Nanoleaf starter kit at Amazon - $200
Wanxing neon signs
Nanoleaf may be the premier brand when it comes to live-stream lighting, but there are plenty of other, cheaper options in the realm of on-screen glow. Wanxing, for instance, has a line of neon signs that’ll make any streaming space pop, at prices that won’t bust your budget. There are plenty of designs to choose from, including skulls, hearts, ghosts, game controllers and cute text, each available for less than $40.Shop Wanxing neon signs
More Holiday Gift Ideas: Check out the rest of our tech gift ideas right here. Also, you'll find the best ideas for car lovers at Autoblog, gifts for the young (and young at heart) at In the Know, and picks for just about everyone else on your list (moms, dads, teens, nurses, you name it!) in Yahoo’s holiday gift ideas section.