The best free video editing software: 2023 List

The best free video editing software offers professional functionality at no cost.
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The best free video editing software: 2023 List - W3Tekno

The biggest free video editing software for contemporary filmmakers has a lot to offer. No, you won't be able to produce brilliant blockbuster movies in large quantities. Whether you want to create wild and fun snippets or polished professional videos (within limits), you'll be surprised how effective these tools can be.

You can rely on our hand-picked list of software for Windows, Mac, and Chromebooks, as well as the best video editing apps for mobile devices, because we have more than a decade of experience in evaluating video editing software. Most of these tools have been professionally rated after using them in our daily work, getting feedback from other creatives, and reviewing them for usability, speed, functionality, and other factors.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express - Free tool for making social media videos

Adobe Creative Cloud Express

Free tool for making social media videos
Specifications
  • Platform: Windows, macOS
  • Best for: Beginners
  • Watermarks: No
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Easy to use
  • Does the basics
  • Social media templates
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Lacks sophistication
  • Not to be confused with the Creative Cloud suite, which also offers professional video editing tools like Premiere Pro and After Effects, Creative Cloud Express is a free app for anyone without programming knowledge. It is accessible as an iOS app, an Android app and a web app. Its main goal is to make it easy to create both static and video material for social networks. Until recently, it was known as Adobe Spark.

    As a result, it offers you an easy approach to modify videos. Besides just cutting, you can add music, text and photos to your video and resize everything for different social networking platforms.

    When we reviewed Creative Cloud Express, we were impressed by the high quality of the templates and how user-friendly the UI is. However, compared to the other apps on our list, its video editing features are undoubtedly the most limited; honestly, it works more like a glorified slideshow maker than a "proper" video editing program.

    However, it makes things smooth and fast if you want to post a social media video as soon as possible without worrying too much about the overall quality. Thanks to the sophisticated use of AI and the latest integration of Adobe Firefly, making and editing videos is now easier than ever.

    ACDSee Luxea Video Editor - Free video editing software for intermediate users

    ACDSee Luxea Video Editor

    Free video editing software for intermediate users
    Specifications
  • Platform: Windows 10/11
  • Best for: Windows 10 users
  • Watermarks: No
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Face recognition
  • Really responsive
  • Great light EQ tools
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • No cloud support
  • Hard to find some tools
  • You never know what you're going to get with the best free video editing software available, and if you've read the entries on this page, you'll see that some programs are only compatible with certain operating systems. Of course, there's also the old practice of giving away some tools for free while hiding other great features behind a subscription fee.

    One of the best free video editing programs available is ACDSee Luxea Video Editor, which provides a wide range of excellent video editing capabilities that you'll want to use without any restrictions. The string, if you can call it that, appears when you want to export your video. Once saved, the video will start playing with an ACDSee intro and outro.

    Of course, some of you will find this obnoxious. But for people who don't mind the ACDSee-branded aspects of their finished, exported movie, there are a ton of great and pretty pro-level editing tools accessible here for free!

    VSDC - The best video editing software for beginners on low-powered PCs

    VSDC

    The best video editing software for beginners on low-powered PCs
    Specifications
  • Platform: Windows
  • Key features: Supports wide range of file formats, built-in DVD burner, chart tool, video stabiliser
  • Best for: Enthusiasts and beginners
  • Watermarks: No
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Plenty of special effects
  • Large range of output formats
  • Works well with GoPro footage
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • More suited to presentations
  • VSDC is the best option if you are a beginner using an old and underpowered Windows PC. You won't experience constant crashes and freezes because it was created especially for users whose machines don't have the most modern internals and technical features. But take note - there is no Mac version.

    When we reviewed VSDC, we liked its adaptive import and export options and thought it worked particularly well for adding text, lines, graphics and other special effects to presentations. We were surprised to find that the free version offers almost all the features of the Pro version and no additional watermarks.

    In summary, VSDC is a great desktop program for beginners. Although OpenShot (above) is another excellent option and has more functionality, we found VSDC to be less jerky and still does a good job covering the basics.

    For example, VSDC lets you use Instagram-style filters, special effects like blur and color correction, and a mask tool to apply effects to specific areas of videos. Additionally, there's a built-in DVD burner, a video stabilizer that can help eliminate camera shake in footage shot with GoPros or drones, and you can even customize output for specific devices.

    VideoPad - Strong on audio and 3D features

    VideoPad

    Strong on audio and 3D features
    Specifications
  • Platform: Windows
  • Best for: Audio professionals, 3D video editors
  • Watermarks: No
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Sound mixing
  • 3D video editing
  • Excellent shareability
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Lacks advanced features
  • Slideshow-making isn't free
  • The free video editor VideoPad is an easy-to-use interface that is good for beginners, but it also has a ton of expert functions. It functions as a restricted version of the premium editions that come with more functionality and unlimited exports. The amount of projects you can export is limited and you are only allowed to use it for non-commercial use.

    Most importantly, VideoPad offers a high degree of audio flexibility, making it a great option for movie scenes that depend on sound effects. It offers an extensive library of playable sound effects and supports an infinite number of audio tracks.

    3D video editing, a unique feature among free video editing tools, is also supported by VideoPad. It also offers excellent features for social sharing, including the ability to post movies to websites like Facebook or YouTube without leaving the software, and a library of social media-friendly effects and transitions.

    DaVinci Resolve - The best free video editing software for pros

    DaVinci Resolve

    The best free video editing software for pros
    Specifications
  • Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Best for: Professionals and enthusiasts
  • Watermarks: No
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Colour correction
  • Audio post production
  • Collaborative working
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Learning curve
  • Today DaVinci Resolve is the best free video editing program for professionals. Note that DaVinci Resolve Studio, the premium version of the same tool, should not be confused with it.

    You can tell that DaVinci Resolve was developed for filmmakers because the software is manufactured by Blackmagic Design, which also produces a well-known line of camcorders. Despite being free, this feature-packed powerhouse really competes with commercial products in terms of utility and variety.

    In our evaluation, we discovered that the color grading features were unique and gave us complete control over how our videos would look. We especially loved the intelligent video stabilization tool when you get a shaky shot. The built-in audio mixing, VFX and title card creation modes also worked well. All this meant we could create the perfect video without having to 'do an Adobe' and switch between many apps; instead, we could do it all from one interface.

    However, while the interface is relatively simple to use for anyone with knowledge of editing, it will be difficult for beginners to learn quickly.

    OpenShot - The best free video editing software for beginners

    OpenShot

    The best free video editing software for beginners
    Specifications
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Best for: Open-source lovers
  • Watermarks: No
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Watermark-free
  • Unlimited layers
  • Simple, drag-and-drop interface
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Bugs and glitches
  • Occasional lagging, slow response
  • The goal of most free video editing programs is to eventually convince you to buy a commercial version. Open source software is an exception. Here, the entire product is provided free of charge and an army of volunteer developers are always working on its improvement at no cost to you.

    OpenShot is among the best examples. In our evaluation, we discovered that its simple drag-and-drop layer-based interface is incredibly user-friendly, making it our top pick for beginners as a whole. We really loved that you can add an infinite number of layers to your movie, including personalized images, overlapping videos and soundtracks. We really loved the handy selection of editable title card templates.

    In practice, all the standard options for editing and enhancing your video - crop, cut, rotate and resize - performed admirably for us. We were also successful in changing factors such as gamma, brightness, contrast and color gradation. Additionally, because OpenShot is open-source, it lacks the annoying ads, watermarks, and premium upgrade offers found in most other free video editing programs.

    However, during our review we encountered a few problems. Functions did not work as intended at times and there was significant slowness. Or when they did work, they were difficult to implement, making the editing process difficult. While these features are present in every open software, they are important to consider when choosing the best free video editor.

    In conclusion, we can say that Openshot is the best free video editing program for beginners who want to stay away from watermarks and ads.

    Hitfilm - The best video editing software if you don't mind watermarks

    Hitfilm

    The best video editing software if you don't mind watermarks
    Specifications
  • Platform: Windows, Mac
  • Best for: Professionals and enthusiasts
  • Watermarks: Yes
  • Reasons To Buy
  • 3D compositing
  • Great community and training
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Tricky download process
  • Powerful computer required
  • Hitfilm (formerly Hitfilm Express), which we previously mentioned as the Swiss army knife of free video editing software, is another excellent option for professionals. However, things have changed a bit and this program has dropped from number two to number three on our list.

    The change at Hitfilm involves the addition of two subscription tiers, so as expected the free version is no longer a true substitute for other for-profit products and is not exactly all-singing, all-dancing. If you're using the free version, a significant portion of the effects are now watermarked, including transitions, animation, color grading and more. Naturally this is not unusual, but it suggests that professionals will not find this program as viable an option as it used to be. Da Vinci Resolve is the only truly free option available for professional filmmakers.

    Watermarks can be removed if you pay. The Creator version unlocks fewer features for $9.99/£9.99/month, while the Pro version unlocks everything for $15.99/£15.99/month.

    The user interface has changed, becoming more ominous and bleak compared to Adobe Premiere Pro. While it's still simple to use, it feels a little clunkier. However, there's a great collection of tools to support your learning, including over 40 movies to help you learn the basics.

    Apple iMovie - Free video editing software that Apple users already have.

    Apple iMovie

    Free video editing software that Apple users already have.
    Specifications
  • Platform: Mac
  • Best for: Enthusiasts
  • Watermarks: No
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Great for audio
  • Already on your computer
  • Easy to make something polished
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Mac-only
  • If you're a beginner and looking for something simple to get started, you won't find anything more user-friendly than iMovie. And if you have a Mac, iMovie is already installed! It's also a free download for iPhones and iPads (skip to number 10 on our list if you only have Android).

    Due to its lack of functionality, iMovie is inadequate for all but the simplest tasks. However, it is easy to use and has a clear and organized design, making it a great option for beginners.

    In our evaluation, we found iMovie to be fast, simple and pleasant to use, making it ideal for simple tasks. We were impressed by its shake and noise reduction features, which effectively stabilize your video and reduce background noise.

    It also turned out to be more adaptable than we expected. For example, you can shoot video on one device, edit it on another and add sources from a third device. This, and the ability to output 4K at up to 60 frames per second, sets it apart from other simple video editors.

    While this tool initially seemed to be neglected, Apple has recently updated it to accommodate features found on newer i-devices. It's also important to note that if you have a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, iMovie has fully functional Touch Bar compatibility.

    KineMaster - The best free video editing software for Chromebook

    KineMaster

    The best free video editing software for Chromebook
    Specifications
  • Platform: Android, iOS, Chromebook
  • Best for: Beginners and lightweight pro use
  • Watermarks: Yes
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Surprisingly rich features
  • Good enough for professionals
  • Widely used and popular
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Adds watermarks
  • Slow on lower-end devices
  • Let's be honest: There aren't many free video editing programs for Chromebooks. But Kinemaster, available on both Android and iOS, is a notable exception. Unless you don't mind seeing movies with watermarks (you'll have to pay for a premium version to get rid of them).

    For beginners, it should be fairly simple to use, especially for simple activities like adding Instagram filters and using sliders to change brightness, contrast and saturation. In our evaluation, we found its interface to be extremely intuitive. And we really value the recently added background removal feature.

    It will also be useful for more experienced video editors who want to make adjustments on their phones, tablets or Chromebooks while in the field. It will by no means replace the comprehensive desktop software, but it is a useful addition to it. With features like color grading, chroma keying, audio mixing and beat syncing, it has more features than most editing apps designed just for mobile devices.

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