Best video editing software 2021

(Image credit: Snapchat)

The best video editing software can give you all the tools necessary to make amazing videos that will please your audience. The best part is that it doesn’t have a high price: you can buy complex packages for as little as $100 and let amateur video editors apply special effects, create stunning filters, and even cut complex scenes together.

These video editors have become more powerful, more user-friendly, and easier to access than they were a few decades ago. You still need to be careful when choosing the right video editing software. There are many video editing programs that can be used to edit videos.

While many of the best video editing programs on this list cost less than $100, others are more suitable for advanced users.

Continue reading to see our list of top video editing software.

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What is the best video editor software?

After testing many programs, Adobe Premiere Elements 2020 was the best overall video editor software. Even though it doesn’t have the latest technologies such as Multicam editing and 360-degree videos, the interface is intuitive and easy to learn. This is something amateur video editors will love. However, professionals will feel right at ease because it has many advanced features. It’s compatible with Windows as well as Mac.

CyberLink PowerDirector 365 for Windows, Mac, and Linux users will be of interest to both. The program offers an impressive array of features while still making it easy to use. PowerDirector 365 supports 360° video edits, unlike Elements 2021. It has more advanced audio editing tools than Elements 2021 and a larger selection of visual effects. It is now available for both Mac and Windows. The Windows version does have a few extra features.

HitFilm Express makes a good choice if your budget is tight. It came in first place in our top free video editing software roundup, and for good reason. It’s very user-friendly with lots of online tutorials and resources. Also, it is highly deserving of its position in our best video editor software list.

The best video editing software you can get today

Adobe Premiere Elements 2021

The best video editing software overall

Specifications

Compatible with Mac, Macintosh, and PC

Minimum system requirements: Windows 8.1 (64-bit), 2GHz processor, 6.8GB hard disk space; MacOS 10.13, 4GB RAM, 7.4GB hard disk space

Reasons to Buy

+Works on Macs as well as PCs+Easy for users to learn+New artificial intelligence features include video+4K support or video stabilization

There are reasons to avoid

No VR and 360-degree support.

Adobe Premiere Elements cross-platform video editor is the best. It offers the most user-friendly, sophisticated features and the best ways to output your videos.

Adobe’s Sense.ai artificial intellect makes editing much easier. Guided Edits remains an invaluable tool that helps novice filmmakers understand the process. There’s also support for stabilized video and 4K resolutions. This edition offers upgrades such as the ability to select a subject to edit, double-exposure video, real-time effects, and selective editing.

It does not have Multicam editing support or 360-degree video editing. Adobe’s program is still the best video editing software we have ever tested.

Adobe Premiere Elements HTML3_ HTML4_ HTML5_ HTML6_ HTML7_ HTML8_ HTML9_ HTML5_ HTML5_ HTML5_ HTML5_ HTML6_ HTML7_ HTML6_ HTML3_

CyberLink PowerDirector365

The best video editing software for Windows users (and Mac users)

Specifications

Compatible with Windows, Mac

Windows 7 64 bit minimum system requirements. Processor Intel Core i-series/AMD Phenom II. Memory 4 GB RAM. Graphics 128 MB VGA/RAM. Storage 7 GB. Mac OSX 10.14

Reasons to Buy

+Square, 1:1 aspect is great for social media+Built In motion graphics and royalty-free Music+Intuitive interface+Audio Scrubbing and 4K preview

There are reasons to avoid

Not all features available for Mac users

CyberLink’s PowerDirector is now available for Windows as well as Mac users. This software brings a spectacular array of advanced video editing features to a new audience in a simple-to-use package.

CyberLink offers PowerDirector Ultra (99$) and Ultimate (139$) as one-time purchases. PowerDirector365 ($69.99/year), however, is a subscription model. This includes Shutterstock integration, unlimited CyberLink’s background and editing plugins, and unlimited access. provides a complete comparison.

PowerDirector 365’s Windows version has more features and tools than the Mac version. Mac users may choose to use another program. It doesn’t support 360 photos and videos. Yet, there is plenty to interest everyone.

View our full review CyberLink CyberLink PowerDirector365.

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate

Windows novices will find great video editing software

Specifications

Compatible with Windows

Windows 7 (64 Bit) minimum system requirements. Processor Core i3 and AMD A4 series processors. Memory 4 GB (8+GB highly recommended); Display resolution – 1024 x 768

The Reasons Why You Should Buy

+Extensive 360-degree-editing features+Split-screen video facilitates elaborate video collages+Broad 3D-text support

There are reasons to avoid

-Windows Only-Interface isn’t very customizable

Corel has always been a competitor of Adobe in video editing software. Corel VideoStudio Ultimate is a great editing package for beginners using Windows.

VideoStudio makes it easy to create simple videos in a quick and efficient manner. It offers many tools such as 4K support, 360-degree video editing, Multicam supports, enhanced lens correction, and 3D text edit. Our main problem is that this program is Windows-only. This means you cannot customize your workspace as easily as you can with other applications.

Corel VideoStudio Ultimate review HTML3_ HTML4_ HTML5_ HTML6_ HTML7_ HTML8_ HTML9_ HTML3_ HTML5_ HTML3_ HTML5_ HTML4_ HTML5_ HTML3_ HTML4_ HTML5_ HTML5_ HTML6_ HTML3_ HTML4_ HTML5_ HTML3_ HTML3_ HTML3_ HTML4_ HTML5_ HTML5_ HTML3_ HTML3_ HTML3_

No-nonsense video editing software designed for Mac users

Specifications

Compatible with Mac

MacOS 10.14.6 minimum system requirements; 2GB RAM (4GB recommended); OpenCL -capable graphics card; 1280x800pixel resolution display

Reasons to Buy

+Simple interface+Abundant audio tools+Supports 4K

There are reasons to avoid

-Lacks motion tracking, multi-cams, and 360-degree features. Only available for Mac

Apple iMovie is the best Mac video editing software. It has professional trailers and themes, a large number of special effects, and a simple interface. You can also use it for basic video editing. iMovie can now support 4K editing and sharing. You can also extend the handling to video shots at 1080p, 60 fps, and more. Recent updates made the interface easier and included Touch Bar support on the most recent MacBooks.

Another advantage to iMovie is that you can work simultaneously on a Mac laptop or desktop and then switch to an iPad to continue your editing. It’s a useful feature for anyone who needs it.

Our Apple iMovie.

Best video editor for free

Specifications

Compatible with Macs and Windows

Minimum system requirements: Windows 8/64-bit, Mac OS 10.13 Sierra

Reasons to Buy

+Customizable interface+Drag & Drop special effects are easy and accessible+Cross platform

There are reasons to avoid

To switch to the dark interface, users must first pay

Hitfilm Express is one of the best value packages of video editing software. You can get more features for a low price, as well as free access to the program. The program works on both Macs AND PCs. Additionally, it supports discrete Nvidia as well AMD GPUs for threaded rendering.

Auto-stabilization, which smoothens out shaky footage, is our favorite Hitfilm Express tool. You can also export WAV audio, crop and zoom, a GoPro FX effect reference effect, and color adjustment effects. Hitfilm Express may seem daunting to newbies, but it is easy to use and has many scalable and affordable features.

Our Hitfilm Express review is available.

Pros use full-featured Video Editing Software

Specifications

Compatible with Windows 7/8/10, Mac, Linux

There are several reasons to purchase

+Free upgrade+Basic and advanced functionality+Good performance+Active User Forum

There are reasons to avoid

Export options restricted to 720p in guise.

The Pro version of Lightworks was used to produce multiple award-winning movies such as Pulp Fiction and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Even the free version comes with a large number of sophisticated tools. The output maximums at 720p. This is fine for home movies to share with loved ones, but it won’t work for anything more serious.

Upgrade to Pro Version for $24/month/$240/year to get 4K output as well as a variety of additional features, including the Boris Graffiti plugin. You’ll also be able to import more features and create timeline renderings. Or you can pay $390 for the full version plus BorisFX.

Although it takes some getting used to, the interface is simple enough to be mastered by a novice with a few tutorials.

Read the Lightworks complete review.

The best video editing tools for YouTubers

Specifications

Compatible with Windows OS, Mac OS

Here are some reasons to buy

+Easy and simple to use+Supports 360-degree video creation+Extensive export and sharing capabilities+Works on both Macs & PCs

There are reasons to avoid

-annoying notifications in the free Windows version-Windows version is more feature-rich than the Mac version. Auto speech to text subtitles feature works poorly

VideoPad is quite unique among video editing software programs. It can be used on both Macs or PCs. This increases its popularity and accessibility. However, the Windows version offers more features than that Macs.

VideoPad can be downloaded free of charge. But you’ll have some annoying notifications. There are two versions of VideoPad: the Home Edition ($39) or Master’s Edition $69, which remove those notifications but offer additional features like unlimited audio tracks as well as plugins.

VideoPad doesn’t have the flashy, whiz-bang appeal that some commercial apps offer, but it’s still a great choice for simple video editing. The app provides a range of YouTube options from 480p up to 4K as well as Facebook and Flickr as well as Google Drive.

View our VideoPad review.

Professional Mac users can use this video editor.

Reasons to Buy

+Subscription-free+Very intuitive interface+Fits into the larger Apple ecosystem

There are reasons to avoid

No Windows version.

Final Cut ProX, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Adobe Premiere Pro are almost neck-and-neck when it is about professional-level editing. Both are industry leaders. It’s hard for us to say which is better. They do have some significant differences.

One of these is the pricing model. Final Cut Pro does not require you to subscribe, unlike Premiere Pro. Final Cut Pro does come at a significant price. However, it’s less expensive than paying for a monthly subscription. Some users may hesitate to spend this much. Final Cut Pro is available for a free 90-day trial so you can try it out before making any commitments.

Final Cut Pro perfectly fits into the Apple ecosystem. It’s optimized for Mac Pro.

There are many advanced features like the Magnetic Timeline, ranges-of-effect option, and intelligent Smart Confirm Cropping. Smart Confirm crops follow dominant motion on the screen to make sure that nothing essential is cut. It’s intelligent, fast, and optimized for Mac. Final Cut Pro, unless you’re married to Creative Cloud has much to offer.

 Pinnacle Studio

With a simple interface, you can quickly edit video and add features.

There are several reasons to purchase

+A cleaner, more intuitive interface.

There are reasons to avoid

Windows only.

Pinnacle Studio came to us from Corel, the makers of VideoStudio Ultimate. This software is also a graphics and media heavy-hitter Corel. It’s designed for professionals than VideoStudio Ultimate and offers support for Multicam, stop-motion, and 4K video.

Although the interface is cleaner, recent updates have made it easier to use. However, we did encounter some slow or unresponsive behavior. An initial Home screen offers tutorials, news updates, and add-ons. There are three additional modes, Import and Edit, as well as Export. These provide all the tools necessary to create professional-looking videos.

Pinnacle is also known for its high rendering speed and a large selection of effects. Professional editors will love the range of features available, including video masking, clip-nesting, LUT presets, batch processing, and batch processing.

Pinnacle has a new, polished look that will appeal to Corel-lovers. It also offers a wide variety of professional-level features.

Filmora9 (Image credit: Filmora)

Filmora9

Filmora9 puts simplicity and usability first

There are several reasons to purchase

+Simple, intuitive, and easy to use+Low Price+A variety effect & filters

There are reasons to avoid

Motion tracking is not supported. No support for DVD menus, chaptering, or other multimedia.

Cinema9 from Wondershare is an excellent video editing software app for beginners and experienced professionals. YouTubers rejoice, it has an intuitive, simple, and clean interface. It also offers a variety of filters and effects that can easily be applied to footage. Easy to add emotion and flair with the royalty-free sound library.

It doesn’t offer many of the features found in Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. However, it’s not intended for the same audience. It does not come with a professional price. It comes with a free, fully-featured version (with a watermark), but the full version costs only $59.99. This includes full user support and no watermark.

Filmora9, a powerful and simple app for video editing that doesn’t cost a lot, is a great option.

Video editing software that is best for advanced users

Specifications

Compatible with: Windows 10, Mac, Linux

Minimum system requirements for PCs: Windows 10, Memory 16GB, GPU: OpenCL 1.2/CUDA 10 Support, 2GB VRAM. Macs: macOS10.14.6. Memory: 16GB. GPU: OpenCL1.2/Metal support. 2GB VRAM. Linux: CentOS 7.3. Memory 32GB. Discrete GPUs with at least 2GB of VRAM, OpenCL 1.2 support and CUDA 10 support.

Here are some reasons to buy

+Cross platform for Mac, Windows, and Linux+Intuitive interface for most routine functions+Exquisitely deep app for color grading, compositing, and audio production

There are reasons to avoid

-Steep learning curve

DaVinci Resolve is an excellent, professional-level cross-platform app. To get the best out of this video editor, you will need to use it on a system with discrete graphics. DaVinci Fusion has been integrated into the latest version. Fusion was previously available as a stand-alone app. Fusion includes four high-end video-production tools for editing, color correction, and motion graphics.

DaVinci is quite capable, but there’s a learning curve. High-level enthusiasts can find plenty of tools in the manual’s 256 pages if they don’t intimidate.

DaVinci Resolve has now reached version 17. The free version allows users to work together on the same project simultaneously, something that was previously only available to those who paid. Other versions include the addition of a NeuralEngine that uses machine learning for speed warp and facial recognition. A Cut Page is a simplified interface for editors who need a quick turnaround on projects.

You can read our full DaVinci Solution 17 review.

How to choose the right video editing software

No Charge or Fee

There is plenty of free software available for Windows and Mac. Here’s a list of top-rated free video editing software. While it might appear that paid and free software has a deciding factor, that is only part of the story.

These are the top-rated video editors.

There is a third option. You can download software, such as HitFilm or VideoPad, free of charge, and then pay for additional features as your skills and interests grow.

How to test video editing programs

Our list of the top video editing software was compiled by testing more than a dozen programs (paid and free) on Mac and Windows consumer computers for more than 100hrs. We wanted to find out which ones are best for editing videos and sharing them with friends.

All the software was evaluated on the following criteria: functionality, ease-of-use, performance, and sharing options. The latest version also has new features. We also evaluated packages based on real-world use for a range of categories such as best overall, free app, best YouTube channel, best for Mac users, and best on Windows platforms.

Performance results are vital, but not crucial components of software evaluations. This is because your mileage will differ depending on your hardware configuration. Comparatively, export clock speed is less important than ease of use, interface, features, and other factors. Speed testing, however, is an important comparative measure.

Since many of these programs have been updated with more recent versions since the initial review we are currently retesting them. We are also upgrading the testing platforms to include laptops with discrete graphics and those with integrated graphics. This will be a better reflection of the improvements in performance that can be made by apps that take advantage of discrete graphic cards. Stay tuned for the final results. We’ll keep this list updated once we have them.

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