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Best Free Video Editing Software for Windows PC in 2021

Last Updated on Aug. 26, 2021 – by David Morgan
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Best Free Video Editing Software for PC

The best free video editing software lets you create Hollywood-level videos without breaking the bank.

Are you in the market for free video editing software?

Perhaps you're a beginner wanting to test the waters before you invest in expensive software. Or maybe you want to utilize professional-level tools and effects without paying for pricey programs like Premiere Pro.

Editing videos has become a popular hobby and career for many. As a result, lots of free programs have begun to hit the market.

However, free video editing programs can be hit-or-miss: some offer only basic-level features before roping you into a costly subscription, while others provide the same or better tools than paid programs.

How do I choose a video editor?

To help you sort through all your options, we have compiled a list of the best video editing software options for Windows that you can download for free. Read ahead to learn the pros and cons of each and determine which option is best for you.

Top 3 Free Video Editors for Windows PC and Mac in 2021

1. PowerDirector Essential: The Best Free Choice Overall

PowerDirector's comprehensive collection of free features and affordable add-ons satisfy editors ranging from beginners to industry professionals. You can get most of its features for free and subscribe if you'd like to add on the extras. If you are looking to start your own YouTube channel or cut together home movies or a short film you’ll have all the tools you need and then some.

2. DaVinci Resolve: The Best Free Choice for Experts and Professionals

The Best Free Video Editors with Effects for Beginners

There is no denying DaVinci Resolve is an incredibly powerful video editor. Designed best for working with Blackmagic camera footage and specially designed DaVinci hardware this is a great choice if you are willing to put in the time and have the dedication to learn it.

3. Movie Maker Online: Best free video editing software for online use

PowerDirector Interface

Movie Maker Online is incredibly useful if you are looking to make a simple video without having to download software. Upload your videos directly on the site, make all your edits, and download the finished video.

Overall The 9 Best Free Video Editors on PC

1. PowerDirector Essential - Best free video editing software overall

PowerDirector Interface

Free version: PowerDirector Essential is a free editing suite with all the basic and advanced features you'll need to create a professional video.

Pros:

  • Simple, easy-to-navigate audio and video editing
  • A wide selection of essential editing tools
  • Several choices of editing style
  • Designed for all experience levels, beginner to professional

Cons:

  • Exported videos include a watermark
  • Limited free export formats

If you're new to the video editing world, you will appreciate the comprehensive free features that PowerDirector Essential offers.

This free version introduces you to the mechanics of the program, letting you dive into its fundamental video editing tools, effects, and transitions without paying for the advanced features. You'll find that the free version of PowerDirector suits all your everyday video editing needs.

However, if you are looking for something extra, the premium version is an affordable alternative. PowerDirector is a long-time winner of the prestigious PC Magazine Editors' Choice award and comes highly recommended by Techradar Pro. It includes professional tools that don't break the bank but can turn your videos into Hollywood-level works of art.

The free version of PowerDirector includes features such as:

Download the free video editing software:

2. DaVinci Resolve

Best free video editing software for experts and professionals

DaVinci Resolve Interface

Free version: Free download on the website

Pros:

  • Intelligent color correction
  • Multi-user collaboration
  • Quality post-production audio tools

Cons:

  • Requires time to learn
  • Needs a powerful computer to run

DaVinci Resolve is a clean, intuitive program that you would never guess is free. It offers a wide range of advanced features, including intelligent color-correction tools that let you edit skin tones, eye color, and lip color at the touch of a button, along with quality audio-editing software.

DaVinci features:

  • Fairlight audio editing tools
  • Color correction
  • Motion graphics

3. Movie Maker Online

Best free video editing software for online use

Movie Maker Online Interface

Free version: Free online

Pros:

  • Access from any computer
  • Automated features
  • Library of songs to use

Cons:

  • Includes ads
  • Unusual interface

One of the biggest perks of Movie Maker Online is right in the name: unlike other editors in this list, Movie Maker runs in your browser. You can edit videos through the program on any desktop device and pick up where you left off at any time.

Movie Maker is also the best video editor for laptop use, as it doesn't have a RAM requirement or a specific operating system to run.

Movie Maker Online features:

  • Royalty-free content
  • Variety of editing tools

4. Lightworks

Great free video editing for professionals

Lightworks Interface

Free version: Features a wide range of tools and effects

Pros:

  • Professional-level editing
  • Access to tutorials

Cons:

  • No 4K export with the free version
  • Tricky to master

If you're looking for a free program that professionals use, Lightworks is one of your best options. It has been around for years and the professional edition was used to edit box office hits like Pulp Fiction, 28 Days Later, and Congo. If you're willing to put in the work to learn this software it's a great choice.

Lightworks features:

  • High precision video trimming
  • Export to 720p
  • Multicam support

5. Shotcut

Free video editing software for intermediate editors

Shotcut Interface

Free version: Free download on the website

Pros:

  • Multi-platform compatibility
  • Open-source program

Cons:

  • Little support for advanced projects
  • An unusual interface that takes time to learn

For editors who have moved on from base-level editing software like Movie Maker, Shotcut is an excellent next step. This program is open source, so once you download it, you will have access to all of its features and can customize your interface to your liking. Shotcut offers advanced effects and filters that will help you produce a high-quality video for free.

Shotcut features:

  • 4K HD resolution
  • Timeline editing
  • Video and audio editing

6. VSDC

Best free video editing software for presentations

VSDC Interface

Basic version is free. Download the free video editing software for Windows

Pros:

  • Easy-to-learn advanced features
  • Color correction and audio editing

Cons:

  • No free technical support

If you're a beginner video editor looking to make a professional presentation, you will love VSDC's easy-to-use platform. This program offers advanced editing features, such as color blending and masked effects, that you wouldn't expect from a free, basic program of its kind.

Though VSDC is more suitable for creating presentations, the casual video-editor will find its features sufficient to make fun videos.

VSDC features:

  • Ready-made filters
  • Customizable masking options
  • Built-in DVD burner

7. VideoPad

Free video editing software for beginners.

VideoPad Interface

Download the free video editing software for Windows. Free version: Free for non-commercial use

Pros:

  • Simple platform
  • Pre-made transitions
  • Exports directly to YouTube and social media

Cons:

  • Limited advanced features
  • Windows only

VideoPad is an excellent program for beginners wanting to play around with video editing tools for free. It features a variety of simple pre-made transitions and sound effects, along with a few advanced features such as camera shake reduction tools, in a familiar and easy-to-learn platform.

This program offers all of the necessities to create a clean, simple video without much expertise.

VideoPad Features:

  • Camera stabilization
  • Sound effects library
  • 3D editing

8. Openshot

Free video editing software for beginners with some advanced features

Openshot Interface

Free version: Free download on the website

Pros:

  • Unlimited layers
  • Open-source

Cons:

  • Few video tutorials

Openshot is free video editing software that simplifies advanced features you would see inexpensive programs. The program is open-source, so anyone can use and adapt the program to meet their needs.

Beginners will find the built-in templates, real-time previews, and advanced timeline features helpful to learn the ropes of editing, while intermediate users will appreciate the unlimited layering options.

Openshot features:

  • Real-time previews
  • Advanced Timeline
  • Variety of title effects

9. Hitfilm Express

Best free video editing software for advanced editors

Hitfilm Express Interface

Free version: The basic version is free, but you can pay for add-ons.

Pros:

  • Customizable user interface
  • Professional tools
  • Direct uploading to YouTube

Cons:

  • Complicated interface that takes time to learn

Hitfilm Express offers all of the basic features that editing enthusiasts need for free. The option to add on more features starts at $9 each lets you pay-per feature from there.

Hitfilm Express features:

  • 180+ editing effects
  • Wide range of import formats
  • 2D and 3D video support

Frequently Asked Questions

What is video editing software?

Video editing software is a program that allows you to cut and trim videos in order to combine them into a longer video. It can be used to modify and manipulate footage in a wide variety of ways.
You can use it to add text, images, special effects, sound design and color correct your videos.


What is the best video editing software for beginners?

The best video editing software options for beginners are built on easy-to-use platforms that allow users to learn quickly. PowerDirector has the most intuitive platform and offers dozens of tutorials to help beginners learn the ropes.


Does Windows 10 have a free video editor?

Yes, Windows 10 comes with a basic video editor that allows you to trim video clips, add text and music, overlay effects, and incorporate 3D objects. Type “video editor” into your Windows search bar to open the program.


Does Windows 10 have a movie maker?

Though Windows once came with a built-in movie maker, this program is no longer available for download. Instead, you can edit movies through the Windows Photos app, Movie Maker Online, or any of the Windows-compatible programs above.


Does Mac have a free video editor?

Yes, Macs come with iMovie, a basic video editor. However, the video editors on this list do have more features and tools which is why iMovie isn’t listed among them.


What is the best free video editing software for Mac?

The best free video editing software that doesn’t break the bank and lets you create pro-level videos.

  1. PowerDirector
  2. iMovie
  3. DaVinci Resolve
  4. Lightworks
  5. Shotcut
  6. Movie Maker Online
  7. Openshot
  8. Hitfilm Express
Check out our in-depth review of the Best Free Video Editing Software for Mac in 2021.


What is the best free video editing software for mobile?

The best video editing apps for iPhone and Android allow you to create compelling content from your mobile device.Here are our choices for the seven best free video editing apps for iPhone and Android.

  1. PowerDirector (iOS, Android)
  2. iMovie (iOS)
  3. Splice (iOS, Android)
  4. Quik (iOS, Android)
  5. KineMaster (iOS, Android)
  6. Filmmaker Pro (iOS, Android)
  7. Inshot (iOS, Android)
Looking to edit on the go? Check out our review of the Best Free Mobile Video Editing Software in 2021.


Is free editing software good enough for my videos?

Absolutely. Free editing software have cut home movies to feature films for years. They may not have all the bells and whistles as a paid software but if you are looking for the basics of what you need to cut together videos you can’t go wrong with free.

That said, sometimes spending a little money can give you a more complete and easier experience. For example, upgrading PowerDirector to a subscription, which is still one of the cheapest options, will give you access to lots of creative design packs and templates to make video creation easier.


Should I pay for a video editor to get better results?

This depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are going to be editing YouTube videos on the regular it is advisable to invest in a premium video editor. This will help you get the most out of your hardware, speed up the editing process, and create higher-quality cuts and video effects.

But just because you are going to buy a video editor doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Avoid professional industry video editors like Final Cut and Adobe Premiere Pro who are charging high prices thanks to their name recognition.


What video editing software features should I look out for?

This is dependent on what kind of projects you intend on editing. For example, if you are cutting together family videos you aren’t going to need visual effects but you will want easy-to-use tools for splicing clips together. Meanwhile, if you want to create short films or YouTube videos you might want an editor that have stylized transitions and special effects.

Here a few things to look out for regards of the type of projects:

  • What format and resolution does the video editor support?
  • Does it support the format your camera shoots?
  • Does it export directly to places like social media you want to share your videos to?
  • Are there any visual effects you want to create and does it have the tools to create them? For example, chroma key for green screen videos.
  • Are there any features that make the editing process easier like smart tools or simple editing modes?


To Sum It Up

Dozens of free video editing software options exist on the market today, but not all of them offer the same features and high-quality results. Thankfully, because these programs are free, you can try them all out for yourself to find the one that suits your needs and expertise.

Check out CyberLink PowerDirector or other free editing programs today to begin editing incredible videos.

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