Screen recorders have soared in popularity in recent years, thanks to a growing interest in demos, presentations, tutorials, and YouTube channels. But no one wants to pay for another piece of software when there are plenty of free alternatives on the market. So, we’re making things a little easier by using our thorough experience of screen recording and video publishing to pick out the best free options available, no matter what kind of job you have in mind.
Our top pick is the excellent open-source OBS Studio, but don’t let that stop you from looking at other options, as there are plenty worth considering. Below are our favorites, each of which is free to use.
OBS Studio (Windows, Mac, Linux)
As an open source project with a lot of work put into it, OBS Studio is packed with features. You can customize real-time video and audio recording with highly detailed options for editing and mixing, making the software ideal for creating some very professional productions. The Modular UI allows you to focus on the tools you use most while bringing in video or audio from multiple sources to work with, and the studio mode lets you preview everything before you publish live video.
It’s an excellent choice for the most demanding projects, but if you haven’t worked with video editing software much in the past, then OBS can be a little overwhelming to learn, and may take some time to master. You may also have to do some research to find the right plugins for your specific needs, which will take up even more time. For simple projects, a simpler tool may be a better choice.
Bandicam Free (Windows)
Bandicam’s slick app allows for speedy screen recording with easy-to-use professional features. That includes screen selection for recording, real-time drawing while recording, real-time mic use when recording, and webcam overlays. You can even add your own logo to the video and, if you want, manage a mouse-based soundboard of noises. There are also many settings specifications for recording from various devices, or certain modes, or for certain types of games. Obviously, this is great when paired with a streaming service that you want to keep updated with recorded videos.
However, it’s important to note that the free version of Bandicam, while quite versatile, does impose a watermark on all your recordings. To get rid of the watermark, you will have to pay the full $40 price to buy the app.
Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder (web)
Apowersoft’s solution to free screen recording is unique: A web-based app that lets you instantly start recording whatever you want. Oh, you can download the app too, but the web version is particularly handy for those who need fast results for a particular project and don’t want an app hanging around their computer afterward.
That makes this software sound simple, and in many ways it is. You simply pick the type of video you want to record, the region of your screen, and off you go. But there are also options for exporting in a variety of formats, including GIFs, and the capture function is versatile enough to add your webcam, capture any audio source you want, and edit the screencast in real time. You may be so impressed that you’ll never need another capture app again.
ScreenRec (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Are your screen capture needs ongoing, but more business related? ScreenRec is an app designed specifically for businesses with widespread screen recording needs. It quickly records and saves videos in a designated cloud account protected with encryption. The UI is simple but well made for training videos, presentations, and tutorials. File management is focused on organizing and sharing large numbers of videos at once.
There’s also great administrator tracking to see who in the system has watched the videos, including both clients and colleagues. The only downside for businesses is that you may have to upgrade to pay for more than the 2GB of free cloud storage that you get through the Screenrec system.
FlashBack Express (Windows)
FlashBack Express is a straightforward, free app that allows you to record video and audio, capture webcam footage, and add commentary via text, images, or effects. That’s it! But this app gets plenty of points for having no limits on recording times and no watermarks included. Uploading to YouTube is easy, but your exporting options are limited to MP4, AVI and WMV with the free version.
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