Stream with confidence with the best streaming decks this year!
Since the inception of Twitch, then known as Justin.TV, the world of streaming has grown from a humble hobby to a viable career path that can earn the individual in question money, sponsorships and even a little. of drama depending on their luck.
Streaming remains a relatively easy hobby to pursue, with the bare minimum being game recording software/capture card and a microphone. However, this paltry list of equipment quickly turns into an expensive sequence of investments, one of them being a flux bridge. So let’s take a look at the best flow deck you can get, along with some honorable mentions.
The best stream deck
Stream Deck XL
Second Best Flow Deck
The Best Budget Flow Deck Option
Vaydeer one-handed mechanical macro keyboard
What is a stream deck?
Before telling you which stream decks to buy, we should probably first explain what they are. As with most game-specific things, they have a name that isn’t exactly intuitive to the uninitiated. Essentially, a stream deck is a self-contained bank of macros, which means you can assign a given function to each button to speed up the process.
This can have huge benefits in terms of productivity and overall stream quality, as it helps eliminate the need to delete any game you’re streaming to do something about it. Most often they are used to quickly mute audio, change inputs, start/stop streams, and much more. That means the best flow deck should have lots of inputs, an ergonomic and easy-to-understand interface, and there are a few extra creature comforts that we like on top of that too. Let’s take a closer look at what we expect from a flow deck below.
Is a stream deck worth it?
Macros continue to present other issues as peripheral software such as Corsair iCUE, Razer Synapse, and Asus Armory Crate are notorious for being difficult to use when it comes to macros. A dedicated streaming rig will be much easier to set up and stream than a nebulous keyboard macro ever could be.
Along with easier-to-use macros, you’ll also gain speed and efficiency while streaming. Plus, since the functions are on a separate dedicated device on your desk, accidentally activating them becomes next to impossible. The best flow decks can even help you diagnose problems if your flow controls are acting wayward.
What to Consider When Buying the Best Stream Deck
Considering the simple work of a stream bridge, they can be quite expensive. This is even more painful considering that these are, as we said, just fancy boxes of macros. This irritant makes it even more important to use your money wisely. So let’s see what you need to keep in mind when getting a new flux deck.
If you’re only streaming with friends, you probably won’t need a stream deck, as you can go in and out with reckless abandon, as long as your friends aren’t too picky.
If you consider Twitch streaming a career or even just an enthusiastic hobby, then it’s worth getting some sort of streaming deck. It won’t exactly be a jaw-dropping change for viewers, but it will make your life much easier, as will memorizing complex keyboard macros in the heat of battle.
This is the spec that will change the price the most significantly. Simply put, the more buttons, the higher the price. This means it’s important to consider what you already do in your feeds that could be assigned to a feed feature button, and what you’d like to add to your feed directory.
Also, you might not find streaming life very enjoyable. So while it’s tempting to drop ~$250 on the big man Stream Deck XL, you’ll be begrudgingly drop that disgusting little desk-mounted money pit if you don’t end up using it.
The stream bridge will be positioned on your desktop within easy reach. This prime positioning means it has the potential to absolutely ruin the aesthetics of your current gaming setup. Some flow decks use interchangeable faceplates to help increase visual customization, which of course is helpful. Luckily, most flux decks are a neat matte black that will go with everything, so unless you’re an incredibly visually specific type of person, your gaming desk won’t be ruined with the addition of a flow bridge.
The Best Stream Bridges
So, now that we’ve thought about why you might need a stream deck, let’s take a look at the best options available, covering budget, Elgato stream deck alternatives, and of course, the best of the best.
Stream Deck XL
Wired (USB 3.0)
32 customizable LCD buttons
182 x 112 x 34mm
LCD keys make operation easy at a glance
Seamless integration with multiple programs
Very expensive (Smaller variations are available for much less)
Of course, we had to start with the current flagship of the Stream Deck range, the Stream Deck XL. Previously known as the Elgato Stream Deck, Elgato was acquired by Corsair in 2018, and their collection of capture cards, stream decks, and lighting solutions has grown steadily ever since.
Stream Deck XL Features
What helped put the stream bridge on the board were of course the LCD buttons. These can be customized to match their specific function, letting you know exactly what each button will do at a glance. reduce the possibility of errors. Plus, the stream deck is built at an ergonomic angle so you can see exactly what’s going on at all times. This combines with the expansive 32-button layout and great software integration to produce the best flow deck currently available. Speaking of software, let’s get to that.
Stream Deck XL Software
The Stream Deck comes with some of the best streaming device software. You can assign actions, multiple actions and even set different profiles to functionally increase the number of available inputs. Additionally, you can load custom icons onto buttons for specific user-to-user actions that you can bind to the Stream Deck XL.
The Stream Deck XL also comes with out-of-the-box integrations with Twitch, OBS, YouTube, XSplit and more. This means that if you’re not ready to customize all of your actions, you can instead just use the preconfigured ones that come with it.
Vaydeer one-handed mechanical macro keyboard
Wired (USB 2.0)
110 x 109 x 57mm
Tactile mechanical keys
Orders less available than the competition
Next, we move on to the most economical Stream Deck option, the Vaydeer One-Handed Macro Keyboard. This choice was obvious to us because the sub-$50 price tag, mechanical switches, and minimalistic design are all things we’re a fan of here at WePC.
Vaydeer One-Handed Macro Keyboard Features.
The Vaydeer’s best feature has to be the mechanical key switches. These allow greater tactility comparable to that of a mechanical keyboard which has obvious advantages. Plus, the small form factor is fantastic for those of you with limited desk space who want to keep the space you have less cluttered. It’s also much more affordable than the other selections here.
Vaydeer One-Handed Macro Keyboard Software
The downside of the Vaydeer comes in the form of less comprehensive software options. You don’t get a pretty interface to assign all your actions and commands, it’s literally just a macro setup. You get a little OSD (on-screen display) hiding in the corner to remind you of controls, so it’s still totally usable, just less easy than the other options here.
Wired (USB 3.0)
12 customizable touch screens, 8 physical, 6 buttons
6 addressable buttons
Large high quality screen
Next, we come to the new contender on the scene, Loupedeck. Although it looks superficially similar to the Stream Deck XL, it has some features that really set it apart, making it a very competitive option against Elgato’s fan-favorite.
Features of Loupedeck Live
We were initially unfamiliar with Loupdeck, but after doing some research, they seem to have some very interesting products, and they could soon be one of the biggest players in the streaming device game. The Loupedeck Live, for example. It doesn’t just stick to knobs like the other options on this list do, it adds more audio-friendly mixing solutions to the table with 6 addressable knobs that are great for mixing chat volumes , mic and on-the-fly gameplay with much ease. It also opts for a full touchscreen, instead of individual physical buttons, which could lead to some interesting integration options.
Loupedeck Live Software
As with all top streaming decks, the Loupedeck live comes with its own software suite. It is very similar to the Stream Deck XL. Allowing you to fully customize what is on screen, as well as the resulting button behavior, actions and bindings. It also has comparable integrations with streaming programs, in addition to some creative app compatibility with Adobe Creative Cloud. This makes it a wider option for uses other than streaming.
Related broadcast pages
Are you a sucker for streaming stuff? Check out some of our other pages below.
Best Stream Deck: Last Word
Adding a stream deck to your setup can have a huge positive impact on the quality and ease of your streams. Unfortunately, you have to make an investment, but given the amount of money that can be made from a successful streaming career and a bit of luck, the initial investment will be worth it.