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7 Best Video Editing Software for YouTube [Windows & Mac]

Last Updated on Apr. 8, 2022 – by David Morgan
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Best Video Editing Software for YouTube

There are so many things you need to know to become a success on YouTube. Like understanding the complex YouTube algorithm, knowing how to create eye-catching thumbnails, how to get the best audio and visuals, and understanding music licensing rules. All of this doesn’t even include coming up with amazing content your viewers will actually want to watch. 

By the time it comes to choosing an editing software, you might just skip the research and go for the most expensive, assuming it will be the best. 

Picking the right YouTube editing software, however, should not be an afterthought. The tools you choose can mean the difference between becoming a YouTube success or having a major headache. 

If you’re just getting started, we would suggest to avoid paying too much for an overly-complicated video editor that will add hours to your editing time. On the flip side, saving money by hopscotching between free software trials may not be the best move either as this will only slow you down and prevent you from mastering one platform.

Finding a video editing software that will best suit your needs can be a long and daunting task. 

But don’t worry, we have you covered!

We’ve done all the research and tested some of the best video editing software for YouTube. No matter your skill level you can find an editor here that’s right for you. So let’s dive right in!

Top 3 Video Editing Software for YouTube Snapshot

PhotoDirector Logo

1. PowerDirector 365 - Best Overall

PowerDirector is the best all-in-one video editing software for YouTube. Content creators will love the slow-motion, video stabilization, chroma key, and other cool effects available in PowerDirector’s large editing toolbox. The program includes animated titles, filters, and transitions to make your video look professional. PowerDirector also comes with audio mixing tools and a royalty-free stock library of videos, images, sound effects, and music. Best of all, PowerDirector is easy to learn and will have your videos ready to go in minutes. More Info >

Premiere Elements Logo

2. Premiere Elements - Best for Beginners

Adobe Premiere Elements uses automated editing and step-by-step guides to make video editing quick and easy. Match music length to your YouTube video and fix grainy video in a snap. Add interesting effects to your vlog with freeze-frame, moving titles, double-exposure, and animated overlays. Premiere Elements is available on both Windows and Mac. More Info >

Pinnacle Studio 25 Ultimate Logo

3. Pinnacle Studio 25 Ultimate - Best for Precision Edits

Pinnacle Studio 23 Ultimate is a Vlogger’s ultimate dream with precision controls and cinema-grade effects. Edit across unlimited tracks including multi-channel audio mixing.   Pinnacle includes effects like split-screen, stop-motion animation, noise reduction, and 360-degree video editing. Pinnacle Studio 23 Ultimate is available on Windows. More Info >

What is a Video Editing Software?

Video editing software is a program that modifies, generates, or manipulates a video file. Editing is used to blend visuals and sounds to make the viewer feel emotionally connected to the video. 

Editing is one of the most important aspects of content creation and can make or break anything from feature films to YouTube videos.  

YouTubers, which make up almost one-third of all internet users, can use video editing to trim long cuts, replace a background, blur people or objects, add titles, music, stickers, or add in personal branding and “like” and “subscribe” buttons.

7 Best Video Editing Software for YouTube [Windows & Mac]

1. PowerDirector 365- Best Overall

PowerDirector Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 10/10

Advanced Features: 10/10

Key Features:

  • Object removal
  • Split-screen
  • Video Stabilization
  • Transitions

PowerDirector 365 is an affordable and easy-to-use video editor that is a favorite amongst YouTubers from beginners to pros. It includes advanced features like multicam editing, keyframing,animated titles,motion tracking, and 360-degree editing

Change the backdrop of your video with green screen tools and a library of backgrounds. Add overlays or apply a retro filter. Then add music and sound effects from the large royalty-free stock library. Use Smart Fit to match video length with your music and clean up audio recorded outdoors with wind removal and noise reduction. The possibilities for your YouTube videos are endless.   

This software streamlines the editing process and makes even the most complicated editing seem effortless. With pre-made templates and AI-powered tools to automate time-consuming edits, you can have your video posted quickly. There’s even a Magic Movie Wizard that uses intelligent recognition technology to combine your photos and clips into premade templates. 

Quickly edit and upload to any platform or device using the pre-selected aspect ratios for YouTube and other social media sites. PowerDirector has the fastest rendering times of all the video editors on this list, so no matter how many cool effects you put on your video, you’ll be getting likes in no time at all. 

With a low learning curve and a very competitive price, this YouTube video editor offers a lot of professional tools at a great value. You can even try PowerDirector Essential first which is completely free. It features all the video editing tools found in the paid version minus the premium stock library and design packs.

Pros
  • No learning curve
  • User-friendly interface
  • Fastest rendering speeds
  • Lots of advanced features
Cons
  • Screen recording currently only available on Windows version

You can download PowerDirector for free below:

2. Premiere Elements - Best for Beginners

Premiere Elements Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 9/10

Advanced Features: 7/10

Key Features:

  • AI Technology
  • Time Lapse
  • Double Exposure
  • Freeze Frame

Even beginners who are unfamiliar with Adobe products will have no trouble tackling Premiere Elements. It has a simple interface, video creation wizard, and step-by-step tutorials

Although it lacks some more advanced features, Premiere Elements has all the tools a YouTuber needs to create great content, including keyframing, multi-track editing, transitions, and titles

There are YouTube aspect ratios to choose from right on the starting page and an output option that allows you to compress large files before uploading.

Premiere Elements is a consumer-targeted, pared-down version of Adobe’s other products like PhotoShop or Premiere Pro, making it a great video editing software for YouTubers just starting out. 

Other features include an array of slideshow styles, masking, animated overlays, and noise-reduction. There are also some great organization tools to help keep your growing collection of videos in order.

Premiere Elements, however, lacks some advanced features, like 360-degree editing, multicam editing, and screen recording, but the slimmed-down offerings make it an easier choice for novices. Content creators, on the other hand, may be turned off by the very slow rendering times and output speed.

Pros
  • Simple interface
  • Lots of guided edits and tutorials
Cons
  • Lacks advanced features
  • Slow rendering speeds

3. Pinnacle Studio 25 Ultimate - Best for Precision Edits

Pinnacle Studio 25 Ultimate Interface

Image from PCMag

Compatibility: Windows

Overall Rating: 8/10

Advanced Features: 9/10

Key Features:

  • Multi-track editing
  • Split-screen
  • Noise reduction
  • 360-degree editing

Pinnacle Studio 25 Ultimate has a lot of advanced features that vloggers will love. It comes with a royalty-free music and sound effects library, animated titles, transitions, and cinema-grade effects. There’s also a screen recorder for YouTube gamers or online tutorials. 

This video editing software also features multicam editing, motion tracking, masking, and blend modes to give your videos a cinematic feel. It comes with a large selection of color grading tools you can tweak with precision and accuracy. Export your videos in HD and 4K in a variety of aspect ratios.

Pinnacle Studio’s large selection of advanced features does have a downside. The software seems to crash quite often and requires a lot of space to download, so check the reviews before purchase to make sure your desktop can handle it.  It’s also not very user-friendly with a steep learning curve, although an online user guide and tutorials are available. 

Pros
  • Lots of advanced features
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
  • Crashes often

4. Shotcut - Best Free Editor

Shotcut Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

Overall Rating: 8/10

Advanced Features: 8/10

Key Features:

  • Blending modes
  • Wide format support
  • Audio filters
  • Keyframing

Shotcut is a free, open-source, cross-platform video editing software for YouTube. YouTubers will like the webcam capture function, video and audio filters, and transitions. There’s also batch encoding for creators editing multiple videos in one go. 

As an editor, you can breathe easy with Shotcut’s unlimited undo and redo options. It has multi-track audio mixing and color wheels for color correction and grading. Because it is open-source, Shotcut has regular upgrades made by the community. The interface is not as clean and user-friendly as some paid software, but it is very customizable. 

Shotcut is a good option for those just starting out because it is free and allows beginners to get their feet wet without any monetary commitment. However, Shotcut does have a bit of a learning curve and doesn’t offer social media-friendly output options.

Pros
  • Free
  • Updated regularly by Shotcut community
Cons
  • Interface is not user-friendly
  • Steep learning curve

5. Final Cut Pro - Best for Professionals

Final Cut Interface

Compatibility: Mac

Overall Rating: 8/10

Advanced Features: 8/10

Key Features:

  • Cinematic Mode
  • 360-degree editing
  • Room for Plug-Ins
  • Organization Tools

Final Cut Pro has been at the forefront of video editing for years and has been responsible for editing a number of Hollywood blockbusters. 

It’s also a favorite video editing software for YouTube professionals for unique features like the multicam option where you can simultaneously view up to 16 angles while syncing up to 64. You can also auto-synch multiple clips and automatically add subtitles to YouTube videos from your audio track. There are plenty of motion graphics options for cool titles and even a neon filter to make your text pop. 

Final Cut Pro comes filled with pro features like advanced color grading, a large list of compositing tools, and object tracking. It has a beautiful interface and a magnetic timeline system that makes moving scenes around no-fuss and straightforward. And drag-and-drop makes adding visual effects easy.

Almost everything on Final Cut Pro is customizable, from effect filters to templates, making it a great choice for professionals but overwhelming for beginners. The price and learning curve will probably put off those just starting a YouTube journey, but more advanced editors and professionals will find a lot to love.

Pros
  • Tons of advanced features
  • Attractive interface
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
  • Expensive

6. iMovie - Best for Templates

iMovie Interface

Compatibility: Mac

Overall Rating: 7/10

Advanced Features: 8/10

Key Features:

  • Speed adjustment
  • Cinematic Mode
  • Split-screen
  • Picture-in-Picture

iMovie is Apple’s video editing software option for those just starting off their YouTube journey. It is free to Mac users and comes included with every macOS, making it an accessible and quick choice for anyone starting out. 

It also makes creating YouTube videos a fast and easy process with Storyboards - premade video templates that guide you through the movie-making process. There’s also Magic Movie, which instantly creates an edited video complete with transitions, titles, and music in just a few clicks.  

Because this software comes with your Mac, it’s easy to share videos across devices like your iPad or iPhone. Easily upload your video to YouTube in a few simple steps. 

Although iMovie isn’t as packed with advanced features as Final Cut, it has a good amount of movie-making tools and effects like green screen, filters, and smart soundtrack that automatically adjusts the length of your music to your video. You can even make movie trailers and credits sequences in no time at all with ready-made templates. 

Even though iMovie is built for beginners, there is a bit of a learning curve. The interface is not as easy-to-learn as some people might expect. 

Pros
  • Lots of automatic movie-making functions
  • Share videos across Apple devices
Cons
  • Complex interface
  • Limited video tracks

7. Movavi Video Suite - Best Screen Recorder

Movavi Video Suite Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 6/10

Advanced Features: 7/10

Key Features:

  • Overlays
  • Unlimited video tracks
  • Motion tracking
  • Picture-in-Picture

Movavi Video Suite is used by 3,000,000 users in over 200 countries since 2004. Movavi is a great video editing software for YouTube because of its screen recording capabilities. The screen recorder includes manual control over the capture area and allows you to capture webinars, record instructions/tutorials, or capture streaming videos and online events. 

It has a quick-movie creation tool similar to iMovie and PowerDirector that will turn your photos and videos into a video slideshow set to music. 

Movavi Video Suite includes transitions with sound effects, as well as filters, titles, stickers, and more to put a unique spin on your YouTube content. 

Movavi has a user-friendly interface and low learning curve, plus it doesn’t require a lot of storage. It comes with features such as chroma key, color adjustment, pan/zoom, crop/rotate,and video stabilization. Plus video effects like blur, vignette, and slow-mo. 

Movavi is a beginner-friendly video editing software for YouTube that’s easy to use yet packs a punch with features. However, seasoned editors won’t like that they don’t have much control over effects, nor will they like the glacially slow rendering times. 

Pros
  • User-friendly interface
  • Low learning curve
  • Lots of advanced features
Cons
  • Slow rendering speeds
  • Doesn’t offer precision control over effects

Best Video Editing Software for YouTube Comparison Chart

Software PowerDirector 365 Premiere Elements Pinnacle Studio 25 Ultimate Shotcut Final Cut Pro iMovie Movavi
OS Windows, Mac Windows, Mac Windows Windows, Mac, Linux Mac Mac Windows, Mac
Beginner-Friendly Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
Upload Directly to YouTube Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes
Motion Tracking Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
MultiCam Editing Yes No Yes No Yes No No
Free Download
Free Download
Secure Download
Download Download Download Download Download Download

PowerDirector 365 vs

OS

Windows, Mac

-

Beginner-Friendly

Yes

-

Upload Directly to YouTube

Yes

-

Motion Tracking

Yes

-

MultiCam Editing

Yes

-


How to Edit Videos for YouTube

Now we are going to show you how to edit YouTube Videos with PC Mag Editor’s Choice for best video editing software, PowerDirector. To get the most out of this section download it for free below and follow along.


  1. Import media files. Select Import Media Folder and choose the folder on your desktop that contains your media files. Click Select Folder.
  2. PowerDirector Interface - Import
  3. Once you have your media files in the media library, you can begin putting your video together by adding your photos and videos to the video timeline. Add the media clips in the order you want to tell your story. To add a video file to the video timeline, select it in the Media Library and then drag it to the video timeline.
  4. Split and trim clips using the Video Timeline Slider. Move the slider where you want to split the clip and click the double arrow button.
  5. PowerDirector Interface - Trim Video

    For a more in-depth look at splitting and trimming clips, click here.

  6. Add transitions between clips. Go to the Transition Room then click and drag a transition. 
  7. PowerDirector Interface -Transitions

    For more information on adding transitions, click here.

  8. Add title text to your video. Click on the Title Room, then click and drag a title text template to the title track on the video timeline.  Click the Designer button then enter the text you want to use. 
  9. PowerDirector Interface - Text

    Click here for a more in-depth look at adding text and titles to your video. 

  10. Add music. Go to the Media Library Window and select Media Content, then Background Music. Choose the music you want and drag it to the audio track on the editing timeline.
  11. PowerDirector Interface - Subtitles

    Check out a tutorial on adding and editing music here.

  12. Produce and save your video. Click Produce to export your video. Select the format you want and an output folder where the video file will be saved. Then hit Start.
  13. Or upload directly to YouTube. Click the OnlineTab. Select the YouTube option and enter the video title, description, and other information. Click Start to upload. 

Best YouTube Video Editing Software for Free

Finding a studio-quality video editing software for YouTube at a reasonable price involves a lot of trial and error. That’s why we’ve done the research to bring you the best YouTube video editor. 

PowerDirector 365 has all the features a YouTuber requires, like title templates, transitions, animated overlays, video speed adjustment, video stabilizer, special effects and so much more. 

It has a large royalty-free library of background music, sound effects, photos, and videos, as well as fun audio effects like voice-changer. You can change the background or remove unwanted objects from your shot and upload it directly to YouTube

The software has tools and features for any kind of video, from feature films to TikTok. Splice scenes, rotate, flip, trim, and crop videos and control brightness, color, and saturation with precision. PowerDirector has tons of effects like glitch, mirror, and emboss. It is a great choice for beginners with a user-friendly interface and low learning curve. 

Download PowerDirector 365 today to get your YouTube channel up and running.

Video Editing Software for YouTube FAQ

1. What are the Best Video Editing Apps for YouTube?

2. What Features Should I Look For in a Video Editing Software for YouTube?

The top ten features you should look for are:

  1. Titles
  2. Royalty-Free music stock library 
  3. Transitions
  4. Split/trim/crop features
  5. Animated stickers/overlays/text
  6. YouTube templates
  7. Beginner-friendly
  8. Background replacement
  9. Object Removal
  10. Filters

If you’re looking for video editing software for YouTube that checks all of these boxes, we recommend PowerDirector 365.

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