What Gear Do You Need to Start a YouTube Channel

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links that I get a kickback from.

If you think of starting a new YouTube channel but the thought of having to buy gear scares you enough to not do it, then you came to the right place.

You’ll quickly find out that it costs nothing to start making videos.

Thousands of channels on YouTube go viral while using gear that they already have, like their phone and laptop.

There are 2 types of gear: essential gear and nice-to-have gear.

Essential gear for YouTubers

Gear depends on your channel type too.

If you do screen recordings then you only need a microphone and video editing software.

If you want to go full out and show yourself on camera then some lightning equipment and a newer phone are nice to have.

Buying gear is not necessary if you’re creative enough.

Gear just adds convenience and marginally improves your videos

There are many more important things than gear: video ideasthumbnails, consistency, editing, and your mindset all destroy gear in terms of importance.

With that said let’s see what gear you need when starting a YouTube channel:

Essential Gear You Need to Start a YouTube Channel:

There are a few essential pieces of gear and software that almost every new YouTuber needs to have in order to grow. 

That’s not to say that you have to pay for them. 

Here’s a list of the most essential gear for starting your YouTube channel:

1. SEO tool (price: $0 - $10/mo):

VidIQ keyword competition score

YouTube SEO tools let you do keyword research for YouTube videos.

Doing keyword research and trying to rank videos for YouTube Search is a common strategy among new YouTube channels – and it often works out.

Optimizing your videos for SEO lets you create evergreen content that can bring in consistent views every month. 

Read more about SEO tools:

VidIQ review.

TubeBuddy review.

2. Video editing software (price: $0 - $400):

Premiere pro video timeline
  • Canva (Price: $0 – $10/mo) – best free video editor for someone with 0 editing skills.
  • DaVinci Resolve (Price: $0) – best free, advanced video editing software.
  • iMovie  (Price: $0) – a free video editor for Mac.

Paid alternatives are Premiere Pro (Price: $20.99/mo), Final Cut Pro (Price: $300),  Camtasia (Price: $300), and InVideo (Price: $0 – $15/mo). 

I wouldn’t recommend paying for video editing software when starting out on YouTube. 

DaVinci Resolve is the best free option if you’re willing to learn how to edit from YouTube tutorials.

If you do, however, edit in Premiere Pro, I recommend checking out my YouTube Video Course that goes over exactly how to make YouTube videos in your bedroom from scratch using this editing software.

3. A phone (price: $0 - $1500):

If you already have a fairly recent phone there’s no need to upgrade to a new one for recording YouTube videos. 

Lightning is a lot more important in your videos than the “resolution” of your phone’s camera.

Most modern smartphones have cameras that are more than enough for YouTube videos – especially when you’re starting out.

4. Photo editing software (price: $0 - $80):

Photoshop pen tool banner
  • Canva (Price: $0 – $10/mo) – best for creating simple thumbnails, has many free elements, fonts, and images to make the thumbnail creation process easy. 
  • Gimp (Price: $0) – Gimp is the best free alternative to Photoshop.
  • Affinity Photo (Price: $50) – best one-time payment photo editing software (similar features to Photoshop)
  • Photoshop (Price: $20/mo) – best photo editing software, but expensive, and requires a lot of time to learn)
  • Luminar (Price: $10/mo or $150 one-time payment) – best for enhancing thumbnails to make them pop

Photo editing software is necessary for making YouTube thumbnails.

“If people don’t click, they don’t watch” – Mr.Beast

5. A computer (price: $0 - $2500):

MacBook Air With Keyboard And Utility Apps On The Table

For making your first videos any computer will do. 

The goal is to get going with as little friction as possible. 

Don’t bother getting a new computer for editing videos if you’re going to quit making videos after 1 month.

That said, if you plan on purchasing Final Cur Pro, you should get a Mac.

Macs are also great for editing photos because they have great screens.

But if you plan to edit videos with any other software then any computer will do the trick.

Specs to look for:

  • At least 16 GB of ram.
  • At least 500 TB SSD.
  • Better if the computer has a dedicated graphics card (GPU). 
  • Better if the computer has at least a 6-core CPU.

If you edit your videos with something like VEED or iMovie then you shouldn’t worry about your computer specs.

Total cost of starting the channel: $0

The total cost of essential gear to start your YouTube channel is $0. 

You don’t have to spend money to script, edit, record, or do SEO for your YouTube videos.

Most YouTube tools are freemium – they offer free versions of their software with limited features and offer the ability to access paid features later on.

P.S. I also made this free Notion template that has everything I know about starting and growing a YouTube channel from scratch. I hope you’ll like it.

With that said, let’s move on to optional gear.

Get a free Notion template with the tutorial for the game of YouTube

🚀 10+ Notion pages about how to play the YouTube game

⚙️ List of tools & gear for YouTubers

🧑‍⚖️ How to make your first video and get your channel off the ground

💰 Detailed guide about finding your niche & making money

Non-essential gear (in order of importance):

The non-essential gear is useful for YouTubers who are already making money from their creative business.

While all of this gear marginally improves the quality of your videos, if you’re only thinking of starting a YouTube channel and are not still earning money from it – you don’t need to buy it.

1. Microphone $50 - $500

After getting the essentials right, the next best thing to upgrade is your microphone.

Viewers will sit through bad video quality but not bad audio quality.

But in order to make your voice-overs sound professional you don’t need professional gear.

You can easily make your voice memo recordings sound great with just a little environment design and a few adjustments in your editing software.

I made an entirely free course on Skillshare about how to record a great voice-over with only your phone’s or laptop’s microphone. Check it out here. (Skillshare has a free 30-day trial so you can take any course on the platform for free for 30 days).

2. Good lightning

Lightning set up guide for YouTube videos

If you’re planning to show your face on camera the lightning is a lot more important than the quality of your camera.

You can also use sunlight from a window to achieve good enough lighting for YouTube videos.

3. Tripods

The most essential piece of gear here is the overhead tripod mount.

It serves a dual purpose.

It can act as a phone’s tripod that’s attached to your table or it can act as an overhead shot iPhone holder.

4. Editing assets

  • Envato Elements – stock video, music, sound effects, graphics & more.
  • Pexels – free stock photos and videos.
  • MotionVFX – Final Cut Pro and DaVinci Resolve plug-ins.

One of the best ways to improve your video production quality is in the edit.

Editing will make or break your video.

At the end of the day, an average viewer cares about the value that you can provide through video.

A viewer will never watch a video that starts off with an intro that’s too long or a video with bad pacing and storytelling.

That’s why learning how to properly edit a video can launch your YouTube channel to success. 

Here’s a full list of the best stock video sites for YouTubers.

5. Camera

Notice that this item is almost at the bottom of the list because a camera should be something that you upgrade last because your phone can get you 80% of the way there.

Some YouTubers with over a million subscribers still use their phones to record all the footage for their videos.

Camera quality is not going to make your video that much better.

Learning and improving your own video skills will.

With that said, having a camera, any camera is a significant upgrade from a phone because it allows you to achieve that cinematic depth effect with a blurry background.

The best budget camera: Canon M50

The best camera for YouTubers overall: Sony a7c

How Much Does It Cost to Start a YouTube Channel?

YouTube channel earnings after 1 year

It costs ZERO dollars to start a YouTube channel but it costs a lot of time.

99% of YouTube channels never reach 1000 subscribers & never start making money from YouTube

That’s why gear doesn’t matter (to an extent).

Being a successful YouTuber takes a stupid amount of time and that’s why most people can’t do it.

What makes it worse is that most likely no one’s going to watch your first 100 videos.

You’re making them for yourself, to learn the ropes of YouTube.

According to TubeBuddy, on average YouTube channels that reach 1000 subscribers have published 152 videos.

So until you’ve made 152 videos, there’s no need to worry about gear and your growth

At the start, you’re making videos to learn, not to earn.

That’s why gear doesn’t matter and you should start making videos on your phone or laptop right now.

What Is the Most Important Thing to Be a Youtuber?

The most important thing to success on YouTube is not the editing software you use or your camera equipment – it’s you.

The average channel doesn’t go viral overnight.

It might seem like many channels pop out with 100,000 subscribers everywhere but that’s just a small percentage of people.

This might skew your perception because you don’t see the thousands of channels that never make it on the platform.

The qualities necessary to be a YouTuber:

  • Long-term mindset – necessary not to quit.
  • Continuous learning – necessary to improve.
  • Adaptability – necessary to grow.

Of course, your mindset isn’t the only thing you can improve.

I’ll link to a few resources that will immediately improve your videos and might even start earning you money even if you’re not yet monetized:

17+ Best YouTuber Tools To Start Earning Money Faster

Read More

Best Stock Video Sites For YouTubers (Free & Paid)

Read More

How Much I Made On YouTube After 1 Year

Read More
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