Best Video Editing Software for YouTube
by Sam Campbell
The video editing software you choose to create your YouTube videos is a pivotal decision all YouTubers have to make early in the process of building a channel. Picking the right editing software can mean the difference between YouTube success and a major headache.
Those who are just getting started with YouTube can find it challenging to sift through these crucial production details. With all of the different options on the market and the huge variation in price and functionality, it can be a tricky decision to decide which editing software you want to commit your time and money into. Those new editors usually fall into two categories:
First, there are those who buy the most expensive editing software they can find, expecting it will be the most important investment they make toward their YouTube career.
Spot check myth-busting: Vitally important? True. Only useful if it’s the most expensive software they can buy? False.
Second, some try to skimp by hopscotching between free software trials offered by many of the prominent editors on the market to save money.
Spot check myth-busting: YouTube editing software should not be an afterthought. Avoid inefficient practices that will hurt your production process and your video quality. Trust us. Jumping around and using limited versions of software will only slow you down and prevent you from mastering one platform.
If you fall into one of these categories, worry not. Between shelling out extra money and getting tied down with half-baked editors, there is a better way!
We’ve done the research and testing to bring you a list of some of the best YouTube editing software available for YouTubers of all skill levels. In this article we’ve broken them down into the key facts that you’ll need to help decide which video editor is right for you. Let’s dive in!
- What Software Do YouTubers Use To Edit Their Videos?
- YouTube editing software for Windows
- YouTube editing software for Mac
- Online YouTube editing software
- Mobile editing software for YouTube
YouTube users make up almost one-third of all Internet users. And 72-hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every 60-seconds. That’s a lot of editing. But what are creators using to crank out all of this content?
While there are now more ways than ever to edit each with their own different strengths and weaknesses, there are a few editing programs that are universally acclaimed by YouTube beginners and pros alike. Whether you’re just joining together a few different clips or looking to edit with advanced effects, we’ve pulled together the best editors for all skill levels.
Take a look at our favorites lists below.
When asking what editing software YouTubers use, a great deal depends on your operating system. Not all editing software is cross-platform or compatible with all types of computers. If you’re a Windows user, here are a few of our favorites:
CyberLink PowerDirector 365
Hands down, a growing favorite for YouTubers from beginner to pro is CyberLink PowerDirector 365. Given the sheer volume of videos you’re competing with on the Internet, being able to quickly and easily edit your videos to have them go live so you can focus on the next video is crucial. This is where PowerDirector excels.
CyberLink has created a video editing software that streamlines the editing process and makes even the most complicated editing processes effortless. With pre-made templates, AI-powered tools to automate time-consuming processes, and a royalty-free stock video and music library built into the editor, PowerDirector puts everything right into one place.
If you’re really new to editing and in a hurry, one of the great features for creating YouTube videos quickly is the easy editing feature called the Magic Movie Wizard. It uses intelligent recognition software to automatically combine your photos and clips for you into premade templates. Genius.
For those who want to spend some time crafting a video with purpose, there are advanced features, such as multicam editing, keyframing, green screen tools, motion tracking, and 360-degree editing. All of this is included in the subscription, so you always have room to grow when you’re ready.
With an easy learning curve, and a very competitive price, this YouTube video editing software offers a lot of flexibility at a great value. Plus, you’ve got access to tutorials that have an easy learning curve so you can go from noob to pro in no time. There’s also the option for a free trial with PowerDirector Essential that lets you try out most of the features for free.
Pinnacle Studio 23 Ultimate
Even though this box says “advanced video editing,” this product is designed primarily for beginners. This may lack some desirable features and wow factor, but what it’s missing, it makes up for with a basic interface that can feel comfortable for users without any experience and just need to make a few simple edits.
Instead of a subscription, this is a one-off-purchase. And it’s worth noting that there is no free trial, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
They do have a few more advanced features available. Just be aware that those features are only available at a higher tier, which comes at a higher price. Having the upgrade option is nice for those who don’t mind paying for each feature but it can turn into a “pay-to-play” editor if you’re looking for something that will grow with you.
Advanced features include options like 360 VR editing, keyframing controls, and dynamic video masking. The only downside is that you aren’t opened up to any additional resources once you buy the higher tier, such as Adobe Stock or Shutterstock. Without the option of stock footage included in the video software, you’ll want to watch your budget as you add those investments from other subscriptions.
What do YouTubers use to edit if they need something completely free to get them started? Shotcut. This Windows-based editing software is free and open-source. It’s also great for those who are just starting out. Learning video editing on free software, so you get a better feel for what to look for when you are finally ready to buy can relieve a great deal of purchase anxiety.
Shotcut comes with the promise of being easy to use, and because it is open-source, there is a community of people with whom you’re gaining a range of tools and tutorials.
The dashboard has customizable pre-made panels so you can work in a way that makes sense to you while you’re learning. Who doesn’t love to have a few options that make sense to you when you’re starting out. It reduces confusion and frustration.
The downside is that it isn’t as polished as the other paid video editing products that are available because it is open-source. If an unattractive interface and lack of more advanced tools isn’t a problem for you, Shotcut could be a good starting point for novice editors.
Mac users often need their own software, or software that will do double duty with Windows. There are plenty of options; however, it’s worth noting that many Mac users have the option to create a second desktop on their computer that uses Windows. That option opens up a few doors if you have a Mac but have your heart set on a Windows-based video editing software that’s top of the line and versatile for all experience levels, like PowerDirector.
Mac users that are familiar with other Adobe products will feel right at home with Premiere Elements. It’s a one-off purchase model with a free 30-day trial period. Those who will get the most out of it will be beginners who are just learning how to edit videos for YouTube.
It’s not the most powerful, but Premiere Elements has options that won’t bog you down with so many tools that you end up overthinking all the options you have for video polishing. There are a stripped-down version and a pro version at a higher tier, so there is some room to grow.
Even though the interface is straightforward and easy to use, there’s a video creation wizard to help you along, three editing modes to choose from, and step-by-step tutorials.
For those with a little more experience, or when you’re ready to try out some pro features, there are tools included, such as audio effects and soundtracks, noise reduction, face detection, and guided edits.
Final Cut Pro X
If you are one with the Mac cult, you will have already heard of Final Cut Pro, even if you haven’t used it yet. While it’s a bit of an overkill for beginners, this is Mac’s video editing software of choice for YouTube professionals.
Final Cut Pro X has a generous 90-day trial period, sophisticated features, and can be purchased for a one-off fee instead of a subscription. Aside from being the favorite of many YouTube influencers, it’s also been used to edit countless Hollywood films, including Blockbusters anyone would recognize.
This video editing software offers plenty of features to polish your YouTube videos, but most people comment on the Magnetic Timeline system that makes moving scenes around no-fuss and straightforward.
Another feature YouTubers enjoy is the multicam option where you can simultaneously view up to 16 angles while syncing up to 64, giving this software an ooh-la-la response from experienced users.
iMovie is not only free for Mac users, it’s included with every macOS. This is ideal for beginners and those who don’t need their video editing software to do a lot of heavy lifting.
This favorite among people who are getting to know how to work with video and audio comes with features like a movie trailer option that will help you fit your footage into templates that keep the process clean, simple, and fast.
Because this software comes with your Mac, it’s easy to share videos across devices like your iPad or iPhone. Designers also made it just as easy to load your video to YouTube in a few simple steps.
Even though this is built for beginners, there is a bit of a learning curve. The interface is often commented on as not being as user-friendly as people might expect. Another limitation is that videos are limited to two video tracks and two audio tracks, making this something you’ll likely outgrow pretty quickly.
There are plenty of online editing software choices for those who don’t want to mess around with Windows versus Mac. Many are free and offer basic features geared toward YouTube beginners.
Projects can go from raw to touched-up to the YouTube platform in minutes with Adobe Spark. The focus of their free video editor is on simplicity, ease of use, and effortless speed.
Instead of loading footage to a design dashboard, you load your footage into one of their pre-loaded templates, called layouts.
Using their templates called layouts, you are provided with sets of typography, transitions, color themes, elements, and music. Basically, all you have to do is add your footage, titles, calls to action, and music. Just like that, your video is ready to upload to YouTube.
If you don’t like what you created, switch layouts to one of the other themes they offer. There’s also a library of video tutorials and inspiration galleries - especially useful for those who are still deciding on a branded look for their channel and videos.
Some users find Adobe Spark to be too limiting, but for free online software that gets your video from raw to uploaded in record speed, it’s not bad.
Also a free online video editor, Kapwing competes with Adobe Spark for simplicity and speed. You’ll upload your video footage. Then trim, add titles, overlay music, and hit publish. Boom. It’s on YouTube.
Even though the idea of layouts and templates is attractive, Kapwing offers a bit more freedom to craft a polished video that is also genuinely unique.
It works on Windows, Mac, tablets, and androids, making it extremely versatile and accessible. If you discover that you love it, there’s also a monthly pro version available for a surprisingly modest price.
Not everyone wants to edit on their computer. It’s not just because people want to avoid large files on their desktop or laptop. It’s because not everyone wants to have to deal with the added step of editing on their computer when they just captured footage on their mobile. May as well edit on your divide, too, right?
An Editor’s Choice on the Google Play store and trusted by millions of Apple and Android users PowerDirector Mobile is a great option for creating your next viral YouTube video. There aren’t many editors out there that are as easy to use as PowerDirector. It’s intuitive design will take no time to learn.
It has built-in stock libraries with free access to thousands of photos, videos and music tracks for commercial use. Comes with cloud storage that allows you to upload your projects and import them onto the desktop version for advanced edits. Did we mention it has both square and vertical style video editing making it an excellent choice for upping your Instagram or TikTok game.
Jam packed full of tools and effects this all-in-one editor will have you creating like a pro in no time. Try it out for free today. You won’t be disappointed.
Premiere Rush is available for Android and iOS with a subscription. The developers assume you’ll love it, so there's no free starter plan, but there is an available upgrade to Premiere Pro, so there’s room to grow into more advanced features.
Specifically designed for YouTubers and vloggers, Premiere Rush is streamlined for videos on the go. There are templates, access to Adobe stock assets to purchase, and audio features that can help give any video a high-polish finish.
There’s a cloud membership so users don’t need to save every project to their mobile device. They can leave the app and pick up editing later on any device, including their desktop.
The free version includes 2GB of cloud storage with unlimited free exports. The upgraded plan offers even more space and features.
With all of these choices to consider, we hope you’ve found a few solutions to get your editing career off the ground. Whether you’re looking for advanced features or a simple chop-and-pop editor, you’ve got plenty of great options here. We encourage you to take advantage of the free trials and explore features to see what works best for you. But remember, the true power of any editing software comes from the editor! Find a tool that feels right and once you’ve learned how to use it, we’re sure you’ll be able on the fast track to YouTube glory!