Any streamer’s setup would benefit from the Elgato Stream Deck. It’s a simple, customizable control pad that can be used to display graphics and animations, send alarms and messages, open media, and much more.
The Elgato Stream Deck, which is powered by USB 2.0, is the ideal companion for streamers who want to engage with their system and their audience without taking their attention away from their game.
The stream deck is a fantastic tool for streamers, but it isn’t for everyone. The hefty price tag is enough to entice streamers who have only recently begun streaming on Twitch or YouTube.
Fortunately, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of stream deck options to help you get the most out of your streaming setup, even if you’re on a small budget.
The Do-It-Yourself Approach
When the fancy LED switches are removed, the Stream Deck is just a customised keypad. With an external number pad like this and key remapper software, a Reddit user decoded this and created his own stream deck replacement.
The only thing you’ll need is a num pad and some free key remapping software to put it all together for about $15.
To avoid keys interfering with your main keyboard functions, we recommend assigning ‘F13’ and ‘F14’ to the external number pad. Then assign specific functions to the ‘F13’ and above keys, such as launching the chat, sending out animations on YouTube, and so on.
The DIY technique has the small disadvantage of requiring you to memorise the keys and functions assigned to them. A easy solution is to replace the number pad’s native keys with new keys. The cost of a set of translucent keycaps is around $7.
Put a Nerd or Die icon pack under the translucent keycaps and you’ll have the exact same set of keys as a vanilla stream deck.
Alternatively, you can print personalised stickers and just place them on top of the current keys. The alternative way will save you some money and give you more customising options.
Ironically, the amazing affordability comes at a cost. It will take a long time to configure the buttons and then assign them to perform particular functions.
As a result, the initial setup will take a lengthy time, especially if you use custom keys. Let’s not forget that an external number pad will never be able to compete with LCD screens in terms of looks.
2. Elgato Stream Deck Mini
You’ll be able to organise your commands and create folders so you don’t have to sort through them while streaming. The LCD buttons allow for endless customization, and the Elgato interface is a godsend.
While you’re giving up nine keys, you’ll just have to pay a fraction of the price of the full-scale version.
If your streaming channel is gaining traction, this is an excellent place to start. If you decide to purchase to the fifteen-key variant later, you’ll be able to join the two together, thereby giving you 21 customisable LCD keys.
Sure, twenty-one keys is a bit excessive, but more is always preferable to less.
It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, either. For starters, six buttons is fairly limited and insufficient for most streams. Theoretically, you can organise the commands and functions into folders that can be accessed using certain buttons.
However, its applicability in the actual world is restricted. While flying through the folders, the LCD buttons take a minute to animate, which may cause a delay while broadcasting.
The full-fledged Stream Deck comes with a tilt stand that you may adjust to your liking, but the mini lacks this feature. It’s affixed to your desk, and it’s at an inconvenient angle for most people.
Apps for mobile devices
There are a slew of mobile apps that convert your phone into a control panel, serving the same role as a Stream Deck. Here are our favourite recommendations for mobile Stream Deck alternatives.
App for Matriculation
The Matric App, which is available for Android devices, converts your smartphone into a media deck. OBS studio is supported natively by the app.
You can personalise decks and create several decks for different circumstances with this simple but efficient Windows software. Apple devices do not have access to the client or server apps.
Deck of Macro
The Macro Deck is a simple, easy-to-use alternative to Matric that is less efficient. The app transforms your phone into a deck, but customization options are restricted.
However, because the app’s customizability is limited, it’s simple to configure and set up. The client app is available on Google Play Store, and the macro deck server is available for Windows.
Only OBS is compatible with Up Deck, which is a free, fully configurable alternative. You don’t need to install any server apps on your PC because the programme is available on both Android and iOS devices.
You’ll only need OBS Studio to get started using Up Deck. Up Deck was designed for tablets to take advantage of the increased screen space, but it works just as well on most phones.
Deck Board focuses on creating a system that is simple to use and customise. Here you’ll find native OBS support as well as Twitch support.
The free version of the software only allows you to use 12 buttons, however the paid version allows you to use all 30. Deck Board isn’t available on Apple devices, unfortunately.
Touch Portal is a free alternative to a stream deck that works on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. The features that stand out here are native support for OBS and Soundpad.
The free edition includes almost everything you require. The commercial version gives you access to 110 buttons, which is way too much for a small device.
StreamPuppy is a Twitch streamer-specific app. The server software is only accessible for Windows, whereas the client app is available for Android and Apple devices.
It has almost everything a Twitch streamer requires, all in an easy-to-use manner. To name a few, there are Chat-Activated Button Triggers, Voice-Activated Triggers, Stream-Event Triggers, and Stream Clip Button.
You don’t need to set it up again if you transfer PCs because the app is linked to your Twitch account and your preferences are saved in the cloud.
It’s simple to customise the app; simply add a hotkey in the app and set it in the Windows app.
The app’s free edition includes almost all of the functions you’ll need, but it’s limited to only six buttons. If you pay $39.99 for the streaming version, you get 45 customisable buttons spread out over three pages.
5. Stream Deck Mobile
The Stream Deck Mobile gives you all of the features of the Elgato Stream Deck without the need to buy any hardware. We’re talking about a fifteen-key setup that can be fully customised using the same server software that Elgato provides with its hardware.
As a result, customizability is the most straightforward on the market. The app is available for download for free, but only for a 30-day trial period. After the trial period expires, you’ll have to pay $2.99 per month or $24.99 per year to continue using Stream Deck Mobile. Unfortunately, there is no option to purchase a lifetime licence.
The phone is wirelessly connected to the app via the local network. On Apple devices, Siri is available, so you don’t even have to touch your control panel to have your chat bot do the work for you.
The app works perfectly on Apple devices, but there have been a few issues with the Android version. The software lost connection with the PC as soon as the phone went into sleep mode, according to users.
The loss of connection was followed by the deletion of buttons, forcing users to completely re-configure the system.
Put your Android device in ‘Never Sleep’ mode as an easy workaround. However, this isn’t a long-term solution, and we hope the developer will address the issue soon.
6. Streamlabs Deck
Streamlabs is a full-fledged broadcasting and streaming app for your phone, but if you’re using Streamlabs OBS on PC, the Streamlabs Deck app may be used as a remote controller in the same way that the Stream Deck can. The software is simple to use, however it has limited functionality.
For starters, if you’re not utilising Streamlabs, this software is practically worthless for you.
If you’re using Streamlabs OBS, you can use the remote app to move between scenes, such as your beginning soon screen, start and stop streaming, record, hide and show sources, and play and mute audio.
You can’t use its start animations, send warnings, or perform any custom functions, unfortunately. The mobile app is also not very configurable.