What is the best inexpensive vhs camcorder?
Not worth the trouble. You can get approximately the same results with standard 8mm (rather than Hi8) or you could shoot in HD (MiniDV or even a new model of today) and downres in editing.
Whatever you can find in the local thrift shop. It's been what.. at least 10 years since they were made? Get a real video camera and edit the video to look "VHS".
They're no longer manufactured, so of course they are used or expensive (most new old stock stuff is). There are a couple VHS-C camcorders on sale that are listed as being in good condition for around $50. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-PV-L453-VHS-C-Camcorder-with-2-5-LCD-and-SD-Digital-Still-Capability/123488086833?epid=1503641868&hash=item1cc076ab31:g:sxkAAOSwwXRb61pT:rk:2:pf:0&LH_ItemCondition=1500&LH_BIN=1
Go to goodwill and buy a couple of them for $10.00 each.
Trying to work with VHS is going to be a pain - inclusive_disjunction's right about the camera side of things, and then you'll need to invest in a capture card and VHS tapes. It would be much easier to record the video with a phone / P&S camera and then play around with it using a video editor.