The Elgato Stream Deck is a fantastic kit that can help you automate tasks on your computer. It is primarily designed for streamers on platforms like Twitch, but you can also use it to improve your productivity, control your smart home, receive stock alerts, and more.
If you are thinking of purchasing the Elgato Stream Deck, you might be wondering which model to buy. We’re going to compare the Stream Deck Mini, Stream Deck, Stream Deck MK.2, Stream Deck XL, and Stream Deck Mobile to see which one is right for you.
Understanding the Elgato Stream Deck software
Before comparing the different models of Elgato Stream Deck, it is important to understand that the software used by these decks is identical. No matter which Stream Deck you purchase, you’ll download the same free software, available for Windows and Mac.
Whether you plan to use your Stream Deck to power your Twitch streams, help automate tasks to speed up your work, or as a media control center, you can do it all from every Stream Deck model.
Although some models have different brackets or cables, the main difference between them is in the number of physical keys they have. As such, consider your application for a Stream Deck and the physical space you have on your desktop.
- LCD keys: 6
- Dimensions: 84x60x58mm
- Weight: 160g
- Cable: USB 2.0 integrated
As the name suggests, the Stream Deck Mini is the smallest in the Elgato range. The small form factor makes it perfect if you have limited office space. It doesn’t come with a stand, so it can glide lightly on some desk surfaces, but that’s easily fixed with a little tinkering.
Although it only has six customizable LCD keys, you are not limited to that number of actions. This is because you can use pages and folders in the Stream Deck software, creating an infinite number of virtual keys. The only downside is that you will need more physical button presses to find them compared to larger Stream Decks.
Other than that, the Mini runs the same software as any other Stream Deck, so you don’t get a watered-down experience. It’s the perfect entry point into the Stream Deck and is perfect for any beginner streamer.
- LCD keys: 15
- Dimensions: 118x84x21mm
- Weight: 190g
- Cable: USB 2.0 integrated
If you want to take your streaming to the next level, the Elgato Stream Deck is for you. It has 15 keys, which is more than enough to program easy access to flow controls, audience engagement, sound effects, and more.
While the $ 150 price tag means it’s not exactly an entry-level device, it’s great at what it does. You get satisfying physical and visual responses to your button presses, access to the powerful Stream Deck software, and it’s easy to set up and use.
- LCD keys: 15
- Dimensions: 118 x 84 x 25 mm
- Weight: 145g
- Cable: Removable USB 2.0
The Stream Deck MK.2 is the latest release from Elgato and is the latest release of its flagship Stream Deck. It works the same as this one, but comes with new features: a stronger stand, a USB-C port with detachable cable included, and interchangeable faceplates.
If you already have a Stream Deck, there’s no point switching to this model. However, if you are new to the Elgato series, the MK.2 is the one for you, especially if you want to be able to theme the theme to match your desktop color scheme.
- LCD keys: 32
- Dimensions: 182 x 112 x 34 mm
- Weight: 410g
- Cable: Detachable USB 3.0
The Stream Deck XL is the largest deck you can buy, with 32 customizable keys. It comes with a detachable magnetic stand, which is great for keeping the turntable in one place on your desk, and a USB-C to USB-A cable.
Since it retails for $ 250, the XL is really only for avid streamers who need quick access to so many keys on one page.
If you currently have a smaller Stream Deck and think you could benefit from more keys, the XL is of course a great choice – the hardware and software remains the same – but for most people, the Standard Deck or the Mini will suffice.
This one is different from everything else on this list because it is not a physical product, it is a mobile app available for Android and iOS. You can get a 30-day free trial, after which it costs $ 2.99 / month or $ 25 / year.
Of course, you don’t get the Elgato hardware here, so you’re missing out on the satisfying button push that comes with these products. But you trade that for the convenience of mobile, because you can take your Stream Deck anywhere you go. This is perfect if you are a streamer who has multiple configurations; although if that applies, you probably already have a more advanced solution in place anyway.
Having said that, it also means that this is not another kit that needs to sit on your desk, as chances are your mobile is already on it. It easily connects to the Stream Deck software on your desktop.
Which Stream Deck should you buy?
If you’ve decided you want an Elgato Stream Deck, the ultimate question is how many keys you want. Although some models have different brackets or cables, there is only one software for each one. You can use the same tools, plugins, and icons regardless of which deck you purchase.
You might want to try Stream Deck Mobile for 30 days to see if it fits well into your workflow. If so, consider upgrading to the standard Mini or Stream Deck. The XL is best placed only for experienced users.
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