Elagato Stream Deck Review – Spoiler – It’s AWESOME

Stream Deck will help you produce better content or simply be more productive in every day tasks.

If you’re an online broadcaster that uses Elgato Game Capture, common streaming software such as OBS, Twitch, Twitter, TipeeeStream, XSplit, YouTube, Mixer, and other platforms, the Stream Deck from Elgato Systems can help you optimize your setup and produce better content. 

If you are a Youtuber, Stream Deck will save you a ton of time in post-production and help produce better content

If you are neither of those, Stream Deck can still help you cut down the time it takes to do many repetitive tasks you do throughout your day.

What is an Elgato Stream Deck?

Stream Deck is hardware and software combined. It connects software tools, media inputs, and audio sources, allowing them to be controlled with a single button push. One-touch, tactile operation lets you switch scenery, open media, adjust music, or nearly unlimited actions. The result is improved streaming or improved daily workflow of almost any kind of work.

Which Stream Deck is best?

The answer lies in how much you want to automate. The real difference between models is the number of keys on the hardware. Smaller Stream Decks can have more actions than keys thanks to folders but if you want to automate with one push, the larger Stream Decks are required.

Stream Deck Mini vs Stream Deck Xl vs Stream Deck vs MK.2

Stream Deck
Stream Deck Stream Deck
Stream Deck
Number of Keys 32 15 6 15
Input Cable USB 3 USB 2 USB 2 Detachable USB-C cable
Software Same for all
Same for all
Same for all
Same for all
Main Difference Number of
Number of
Number of
Newest Version
USB-C port
Stronger Stand
System Mac and
Mac and
Mac and
Mac and

Stream Deck Hardware

The hardware differences between the different Stream Decks lies in the number of buttons on the unit. All Stream Decks use the same software so the only real difference is those buttons. You aren’t limited to just 6 actions on the Mini for example. Each of the buttons are a small LCD screen. Folders allow you to nest actions under one button. While that does expand the capabilities of the smaller Stream Decks, it is not as easy to use as you have to tap into one button, then the next action. So it’s a little slower than one push on the bigger models.

Stream Deck software

Stream Deck is a visual controller software for just about any computer or internet-connected function you can think of if you’re clever enough. Aside from the default functions that come pre-loaded on Stream Deck and are ready to configure, there’s a huge library of plugins that people have created to do a variety of tasks. The Spotify plugin allows you complete access over your Spotify account, and the album art can even be shown across the Stream Deck’s button grid. You can also create a new profile for Spotify control and set it to run when Spotify is the active window on my screen, bringing up my
customized Stream Deck interface right away. If you want, you can change tracks, adjust volume, favorite songs, and even assign keys to play specific music.

Stream Deck Folders take you beyond buttons

Stream Deck’s adaptability goes much beyond just the buttons you can see —each of which has a small little screen. You can expand the Stream Deck to up to 10 pages with the Stream Deck program. The buttons in the lower corners become back and forward keys, giving you 132 different functions to choose from throughout those ten pages—arguably more than most people will ever use. But it doesn’t end there. You may also nest items in folders, which allows you to create 14 extra functionalities under a single button. Yes, folders can be nested inside folders. After ten folders, I decided to call it a night.

Stream Deck Profiles satisfy your multiple personalities

You are a gaming streamer by night and a crypto trader by day. We all wear lots of hats Stream Deck can establish multiple profiles, either for multiple persons or to convert the functionality of the Stream Deck from work mode to streamer mode. Needless to say, there’s plenty of room to add and organize a variety of functions, so don’t be fooled by the 15 buttons that come standard. Custom images and animated gifs can be utilized for the icons and functionalities on the backlit button screens, giving them a personal touch.

Stream deck for streamers

For streamers, you’ll see a number of streaming functionalities that you may drag and drop into place on the Stream Deck. You can use Elgato Game Capture, OBS, Twitch, and even send a tweet (to let people know you’re online). From the Stream Deck, you can tweet about whatever you want. You may use macro functions to assign several actions to a single button push, allowing you to go live, inform your followers, alter your lighting, and perform other things that would normally require many steps. Stream Deck makes it easy to jump right on and start streaming If you love streaming, I’d argue that this tool is the most critical piece of gear you can have. Everything else may be built around Stream
Deck, which is named as such not for its usage in streaming but for its use in expediting otherwise time-consuming operations.

Example actions for streamers

  • Adjust Audio and queue a sound effect
  • Visual Feedback to Confirm Commands
  • Detect Scenes & Integrate Tools
  • Trigger graphics for the intro and outro
  • Switch to different camera, screencast and back
  • Switch to chat feature and back with one tap
  • Trigger a keyboard shortcut

Stream deck for non-streamers

Even for day-to-day tasks, Stream Deck is quite useful. Don’t see yourself as the next big thing in content creation? Can’t seem to get a good shot in Fortnite? That’s OK. Stream Deck is a must-have piece of technology if you spend your days working at a computer, as it acts as a single interface that can interface with, well, just about anything. Even if you feel that your tech-savvy skills are not up to the mark, you can always visit Elgato’s website for insight on how to start with it right away.

Example actions for non-streamers

  • Switch from screencast to webcam or to a different camera angle
  • Insert Intros and Outros to cut down on post-production
  • Switch to a different software view or browser to show other info
  • Take a screenshot
  • Turn on time trackers like Toggl
  • Trigger lighting changes on any programmable light like Philips hue
  • Open all your video editing tools, or screen casting setup, or normal workday setup

Setting up Stream Deck

If you are wondering how you can set up the Stream Deck, we have made it simple through the following steps which make it easier for you to get started.

  1. Connecting the Stream Deck – Connect Stream Deck directly to a USB port on your PC or Mac. USB hub might not just be a good idea.
  2. Downloading the Stream Deck app – Download and install the Stream Deck app. You can find it at https://www.elgato.com/gaming/download.
  3. Launch it and customize your Stream Deck – Launch the app to customize Stream Deck. Drag action from the right panel and drop them onto your desired keys on the left.
  4. Using the custom icons – Configure your actions and personalize keys with custom icons. Use 72 x 72 pixels .jpg or .png files to achieve the best results.
  5. Creating your own folders – Drag and hold one key over another to create a folder. Tap the back key to exit a folder and return to your main configuration.
  6. Right-Click Keys to Modify – Right-click keys to Copy, Delete, or Reset them.
  7. Use Stream Deck’s Stand – Prop Stream Deck on the included stand and adjust the legs for optimum access.
  8. Use Social Media Accounts – Enter your Social Media accounts in the Preferences to connect with your fans.

With these simple steps, you can easily set up your Stream Deck and get it ready for action. It’s easy to deploy and employ.

Elgato Stream Deck Plugins

Spotify is one of the plugins available. But this isn’t just a $150 Spotify controller. That’s only one among a plethora of plugins available. Just scrolling through the Elgato plugin “shop” reveals productivity reminders, a stopwatch, Unity connection, Toggl functionality, Zoom, a screen magnifier, IFTTT, and a slew of other options. And those are only the third-party plugins that have been developed. You can also do a lot with Stream Deck’s basic system integrations, such as paste text and open/switch applications on your computer.

Do you spend the majority of your time in front of a computer? Elgato gives several suggestions for how Stream Deck can help you enhance your workflow, and lots of other users have come up with their own creative uses for the gadget. It’s good doing a Google search for “non-streaming usage for Stream Deck” to see what other people are doing with it. Whenever I’ve had an idea for something I’d like Stream Deck to do, the answer has almost always been yes, even if it took some creative work to get there.

The IFTTT (If This Then That) feature is particularly useful because it allows you to connect macros to items that aren’t directly accessible through the Stream Deck. As a result, you’ll be able to operate your complete smart home setup with just a few keystrokes on the Stream Deck. While there is a slight learning curve to overcome, once you’ve got your setup down, Stream Deck can make just about anything easier, faster, more convenient, and simply more enjoyable to perform.

Ending Remarks

The Stream Deck is an absolute must-have for streamers. There’s no doubt that investing in a Stream Deck will transform the way you stream and save you time and effort on each and every stream you perform. Even if you never use Stream Deck to go live on Twitch or YouTube, I believe the great majority of people will find a lot of helpful features in it. It will be up to each individual to decide whether or not non-streaming functionality is worth the price of admission. Personally, I believe that the sheer amount of potential contained within the Stream Deck is well worth the price of having one on my desk. We live in a society where automation and tiny conveniences help to make our lives a little
easier. Stream Deck can put a world of easily controllable possibilities right at your fingers with a little tweaking.