The Elgato Stream Deck always tops the list of the most recommended pieces of equipment for those looking to upgrade their stream setups – and for a good reason.
This little desktop companion helps users in so many ways, and it benefits more than just streamers. But for streamers, the Stream Deck allows easy management of all things stream-related. It has programmable buttons allowing for quick scene changes, mic or audio muting, alerts, messages, and more.
However, the problem with the Elgato Stream Deck is that it’s not for everyone – its price and relative size/footprint can be a bit restrictive for many. If you find yourself in this boat, don’t lose hope just yet! Fortunately, there are alternatives available – and we’ve put together this list to help you out.
If you don’t want the full-size 15-button Elgato Stream Deck or the even pricier and larger 32-button Elgato Stream Deck XL, there are a few alternatives from the company itself. Take a quick look below!
Best Elgato Streamdeck Alternatives
- Elgato Streamdeck Mini
- Elgato Streamdeck Mobile
- Touch Portal
- Up Deck
- DIY Stream Deck
Elgato Stream Deck Mini
If you like the look and feel of the Elgato Stream Deck and want the same functionalities, you might want to look into the mini version. The Elgato Stream Deck Mini is essentially the same as the full-size version, except it only has 6 buttons instead of 15. That may seem like a big downgrade, but for most streamers who only need a few buttons to switch OBS scenes or trigger certain media, six is usually enough. The fact that the Mini only has six buttons also helps to significantly reduce its physical footprint, making it the best choice for those who don’t have a lot of desktop space.
The Stream Deck Mini is compatible with just about everything and works with both macOS and Windows. Like its bigger siblings, the Mini supports custom icons and button folders to help you manage your shortcuts.
- More affordable
- Smaller footprint works well for smaller desks
- Same functions as larger versions
- With only six buttons, the mini can be easily outgrown
Elgato Stream Deck Mobile
Some may want the same functionalities as Elgato’s physical Stream Deck but don’t want to spend any money to buy the actual products. In this case, the Stream Deck Mobile app may be the best suitable option. The best part is, the mobile app is more convenient than the actual Stream Decks since you can use it with any compatible Android or iOS device you may already have lying around. It’s a handy way to put old gadgets to good use.
The Stream Deck Mobile app starts with a free trial but requires a monthly subscription afterward. It is still significantly cheaper than buying a Stream Deck Mini, but your costs will eventually add up if you use the app for many years.
You can customize the mobile app to use as many as 12 buttons for Youtube and 15 buttons for Twitch. It has most if not all of the functionalities that the physical Stream Decks have. The app integrates with most streaming software and services, but many complain about the app only being compatible with streaming on Twitch and Youtube. There are also certain issues that crop up once in a while, with one of the common ones being users having difficulty transferring their app to another device if they switch to a new phone or tablet.
- Affordable alternative with no major startup costs
- Can put old gadgets to use if compatible
- Has most of the functionalities necessary for streaming
- Can use up to 12 buttons for Youtube and 15 for Twitch
- Subscription-based, which means running costs will eventually pile up
- There have been complaints about issues when transferring the app from one device to another
- Only compatible with Youtube and Twitch so far
- If you only have one cell phone, the app will tie up your device and make it a hassle to use while you are streaming
While there may be many potential cons to using the mobile deck app, it remains a great way to get started, leaving room for you to save up for your upgrade later on.
Another alternative that you may find to be quite useful is Touch Portal. As another mobile app, Touch Portal is similar to the Elgato Stream Deck Mobile app in many ways. Touch Portal is an app that you can install on any compatible Android or iOS device. Touch Portal has a free version available, which allows basic use but does not allow much customization. The free version also limits the number of buttons you can use. Purchasing the app for your device will unlock all the features and allow full customization and button folders.
To use Touch Portal Pro (the paid version), the user must download the app onto an Android or iOS device then install the companion program onto their computer. The user can then sync the apps over the same wifi network or through a USB cable to begin customization. Much like Elgato, Touch Portal supports nesting folders within one another, allowing better organization for macros. The user can also customize buttons in many different ways: the button colors, icons, and border shape can all be changed.
With a wealth of customization options available, Touch Portal Pro is more complicated than setting up Elgato Stream Deck. It isn’t quite beginner-friendly, and the less tech-savvy may struggle to get everything set up. Luckily, many tutorials are available on Youtube to help new users get everything set up and good to go.
In terms of compatibility, streamers can use touch Portal to tie into many different apps and services. The app can also be connected to Twitch.
- The app can be used on any compatible iOS or Android device
- Tons of customization options
- Reliable as long as both desktop and device apps are synced over a stable connection
- Not as easy to set up, so beginners may struggle
- If the connection between desktop and device is unstable, Touch Portal can bug out
- Customization options aren’t very intuitive
Up Deck is another app that can be used to set up macros and shortcuts that users can trigger at the press of a single button. It has a free version, which has helped it become one of the most popular alternatives out there today. Like any other macro app, this one can be customized to let streamers control things such as their scenes, app volumes, and so on. Up Deck is compatible with both iOS and Android, again making it accessible to more users.
One thing that makes Up Deck stand out is the ease of certain actions. With this app, users can control their music apps to stop and stop music and change volume, queue certain processes, change object opacity, and more.
- Has a free version
- Provides the same functionality
- Has additional features that are more easily usable
- Compatible with both iOS and Android
- Not as customizable and full-featured as others
DIY Stream Decks
If none of the mobile app alternatives strike your fancy, you can always make your own by building a DIY stream deck. Many streamers have gone this route in the past, and many still swear by this method. This method is one of the cheapest for sure, but the caveat is, there are also many drawbacks.
You can get a USB-connected number keypad that you can program with macros using certain apps for setup. Unfortunately, this can be somewhat complicated and daunting for some people who aren’t very comfortable with this sort of thing. Those who aren’t tech-savvy may struggle, even with the many tutorials available out there.
If you want an easier way to set up a keypad, you can go with something like the Max Falcon-20 programmable macro pad. It has five programmable layers, which you can switch through with the push of one button. Unfortunately, the Max Falcon-20 is pricier, coming in at almost the same price as an Elgato Mini Stream Deck. At that rate, you might as well go full DIY.
One more downside to DIY Stream Decks is you won’t be able to customize your buttons. That means you either have to memorize your buttons and all the layers they may have, or you’ll have to come up with a label system otherwise.
Depending on your budget and how much room you have in your stream setup one of the above options should fit your needs. You don’t always have to spend a ton of money to get the job done.
As a stream deck is not a necessary part of a streaming setup it is better to spend that money elsewhere and use one of the free alternatives available when starting out.
When you are raking in the money from subs and donations you can maybe then go all out on an Elgato Stream deck.