Recording screen activity can prove to be quite handy when it comes to creating tutorials and educational videos. And of course, saving a record of your gaming session when you defeat the main boss for some bragging rights never hurts. The use case scenarios are quite diverse, but it all narrows down to one factor i.e. selection of the right screen recording software.
In order to save you the trouble of searching through Reddit posts and lengthy discussions on online communities, we have compiled a list of the best screen recorder for Windows. The following list has been composed keeping in mind the diverse needs of users, ranging from basic screen recording software to feature-heavy options for gamers and professionals. So without further ado, let’s go through our list of the 8 best screen recording software for Windows:
8 Best Screen Recording Software for Windows (2020)
Note: I tried these screen recording software on my HP laptop running Windows 10 Pro and they all worked as you’d expect them to. Most of the screen recorder apps are free, while some have free versions and free trials.
1. OBS Studio (Free)
High-quality screen recording? Check. Multi-platform streaming? Check. Pro-level editing and control tools? Check. OBS Studio is one of the most decked out screen recording software in the domain. It brings a vast set of video editing tools to the table, which is what makes it a favorite among the gaming community and professionals who know their way around video editing.
Pros: Unlike a host of other options in the domain, OBS does not impose a restriction on the length of videos one can record or stream, despite being absolutely free and open source. You can choose from various resolutions (HD, FullHD, etc.) and video formats (Flv, mp4, Mkv, etc.) to stream them on popular streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Live and DailyMotion to name just a few. And yes, OBS Studio can stream games in full-screen mode and record videos at frame rates of up to 60FPS. All in all, you won’t be left wanting for more options if you jump the OBS Studio bandwagon, provided you manage to ace its UI.
Cons: The sheer diversity of tools available in OBS Studio makes it an intimidating option for newbies, not to mention the fact that it takes a lot of time to customize and tweak the settings to one’s liking and comfort.
Download OBS Studio (Free)
2. Camtasia (Free Trial)
One of the most popular screen recorder software out there, Camtasia lives up to its name with a huge set of editing tools neatly arranged in an interface which makes it relatively easy to find and utilize them. Annotations, transitions, animations, you name it, Camtasia has it.
Pros: One of the most appealing aspects of Camtasia is the placement of beautification tools in its UI, which are easy to locate and even easier to use as they follow a simple drag-and-drop mechanism to apply them. The software has virtually every tool in the book (custom dimension, caption effects, cursor effects, timeline quizzes, etc.) to help you make that perfect video that can be shared on platforms like Vimeo and YouTube. Moreover, you can choose to save the edited videos either locally or on Google Drive straight from Camtasia. Despite being free, there is no time limit on the length of videos one can record, which is a huge bonus.
Cons: The rich array of goodies offered by Camtasia place it in a class of its own, but they come at a steep price. Even though you get a free trial period of one month, you’ll have to shell out $99.50 just to upgrade and $199 to purchase a single user license of Camtasia’s Mac and Windows versions in a single bundle. So, unless you are deeply invested in the ecosystem and can fully utilize its vast toolkit, going for the app’s premium version won’t be a good idea, as there are other options available that are free. And also, Camtasia takes a lot of time (and apparently, resources too) to load, so if you install the software on a not-so-powerful system, be patient.
Download Camtasia (Free trial, full version at $99.50)
3. Movavi Screen Capture Studio (Free Trial)
The Movavi Screen Capture Studio is a relatively lesser-known screen recording software for Windows, but don’t let its obscurity in the domain mislead you, as the Movavi offering is packed with all the core screen recording and video editing tools, and then some more. Movavi Screen Capture Studio is equipped with some of the best video editing tools that are rarely found bundled with any other software in the segment.
Pros: First things first, there is no time limit on the length of videos you can record with Movavi Screen Capture Studio. Aside from the core editing tools, the software also brings some novel beautification tools to the table such as mosaic, noise reduction, focus adjustment lenses, artistic blur tools, scenic filters, and stickers to name just a few. Text addition in various styles, stabilization, pan/zoom, and frame-by-frame editing are some other options that make this software truly unique and totally worth a try.
Cons: Although Movavi Screen Capture Studio’s UI is pretty clean and is loaded with features, the short free trial period of just 7 days is a bummer, plus, the exported videos have a big watermark slapped on them. Furthermore, whatever audio is recorded by users, only half of each audio file is saved in the trial mode. So, like it or not, if you want to use Movavi Screen Capture Studio for the long term, buying a premium version is the only option.
Download Movavi Screen Capture Studio (Free trial, with premium version starting $25)
4. TinyTake (Free Version Available)
TinyTake is to screen recording what MS-Paint is to draw. The way MS-Paint lets you perform basic image editing tasks like cropping and adding a splash of color, TinyTask will let you record short videos and capture screenshots with the same level of ease.
Pros: If you want a simple tool to record your screen activity that won’t confuse you with a complicated UI, loads of commands, and hidden tools, TinyTake is the ideal option for you. The software is really fast when it comes to recording screen activity and taking screenshots. Moreover, all the necessary tools are neatly laid out on the software’s home screen, from where you can choose to capture a still or record the complete screen’s activity (or just a section of it by manually adjusting the focus area). Furthermore, you also have the option to save them locally or on the 2GB free cloud storage that comes bundled with the free version.
Cons: While basic editing options like annotations and text addition are available for screenshots, you can not do the same with videos. All you can do is record videos of up to 5 minutes in the free version, which essentially means recording a gaming session is far beyond its reach. In order to use the software’s video editing tools and enable direct YouTube upload, you have to shell out $9.95 for a 1-week pass or you can go for a subscription plan that starts at $29.95/year, which also bring facilities like increased video recording limit, more cloud storage, etc.
Download TinyTake (Free version, Premium version starts at $29.95/year or $9.95 for 1-week pass)
5. Icecream Screen Recorder (Free Version Available)
Icecream Screen Recorder is one of the more capable screen recording software out there, thanks to its clean user interface and a rich array of tools that will let users easily control variables like aspect ratio (4:3 or16:9), video resolution (240p to 1080p) and audio bitrate among others.
Pros: Icecream Screen Recorder lets you capture screenshots in a wide array of resolutions and videos in multiple formats such as MP4, WebM, AVI, etc. You can convert the videos into GIFs and also upload them to YouTube directly from the software. Furthermore, you also have the option to save the recorded files locally or upload them to Google Drive and Dropbox. As far as screenshots go, one can add a number of effects such as arrows, text, and numbers among others to enhance their aesthetic appeal.
Cons: As is customary with a host of other screen recording software for Windows, Icecream Screen Recorder’s free version offers a very limited recording time i.e. 10 minutes. Apart from that, tools such as a customized watermark for videos, video format selection, etc. are only available in the software’s Pro version which costs $29.95. And hey, if audio quality matters a lot to you, I’m afraid that you’ll be left wanting for more if you give Icecream Screen Recorder a try.
Download Icecream Studio (Free version, Pro version at $29.95)
6. DVD VideoSoft’s Free Screen Video Recorder (Free Version Available)
If you want a no-frills-no-fuss screen activity recording software that is easy to use, fast, and lives up to its promise, then DVD VideoSoft’s Free Screen Video Recorder is the perfect software for you. Presenting itself as a tiny window with just 6 basic commands for capturing screenshots and recording videos, DVD VideoSoft’s solution is fundamental in its approach, yet sufficient for quick use.
Pros: DVD VideoSoft’s Free Screen Video Recorder is 100% ad-free, spyware-free, and malware-free as per the developers. You can capture screenshots in various file types (viz. PNG, JPEG, etc.) and videos without a time limit in a wide range of resolutions ranging from 240p to 1080p. In my time with the software, I found it to be quite fast as it saved the recorded files almost instantaneously to the designated folder as soon as one presses the stop button.
Cons: The video you record using the software, despite its superb visual quality and audio clarity, will be an aesthetic mess. The reason? A huge ‘DVD VideoSoft’s Free Screen Video Recorder’ watermark splashed dead center on the video. So, can it be removed? Yes, but only if you are willing to opt for the premium membership which starts at $19.
Download DVD VideoSoft’s Free Screen Video Recorder (Free version, Premium version at $19 for a year or $29 for unlimited usage)
7. Active Presenter (Free Version Available)
Active Presenter is a screen recording software tailormade for folks who want to create content like software tutorials, video demonstrations, and training videos to name a few. Aside from that, Active Presenter is quite easy to use with an easily navigable UI and a host of tools to edit the captured screenshots and videos.
Pros: When it comes to making software simulations, Active Presenter transforms the daunting task into a breeze, as it automatically segregates the video into multiple slides, much like MS-PowerPoint.If you seek to record reaction videos, shoot live commentary videos, etc., then Active Presenter can prove to be one of the better options, thanks to the sheer ease of recording such videos and the wide selection of editing tools like Smart Capture, Audio/Video Overlay, multi-format export and object highlight among others. And the best thing is, there is no time limit on the length of videos you can record.
Cons: Active Presenter appears to have been designed with a niche audience in mind, and as such, it is not a particularly good option for gamers to record their virtual action and dope combos. Also, the controls and editing tools can be quite confusing for folks who want to use the tool just for basic screen recording tasks. Moreover, the majority of editing tools, especially for videos, are exclusive to the software’s premium versions.
Download Active Presenter (Free version, Premium version starting at $149)
8. ezvid (Free)
ezvid is a somewhat barebones screen recording software, but that’s the real USP of ezvid, as it blends fundamental screen recording tools with a simple UI that will make newbies feel right at home.
Pros: First of all, there is no premium version of the software, so you won’t be compelled to shell out some hard-earned money for a more feature rich version. When it comes to functionalities, you can upload your reaction videos to YouTube straight from ezvid, add annotations, stickers, and symbols in the videos and also control playback speed. Moreover, ezvid’s sizeable library of background scores and voice synthesizer options are an added bonus, but, you can only record videos of up to 45 minutes in length.
Cons: One of the biggest drawbacks of ezvid is the lack of advanced video editing tools as well as its slow video processing and effect application speed on audio/video files, despite the developers claiming it to be one of the fastest options in its domain. Moreover, the software requires 10GB of free hard drive space on a system to work, not to mention the bugs and glitches you’ll encounter while using the software.
Download ezvid (Free)
In addition to the aforesaid list of screen recording software, I also tried a few other options too, like Webinaria, Screencast-o-Matic, and Smart Pixel to name a few, but they all have some major drawbacks which prevent them from being a truly productive option for taking screenshots or recording screen activity. Some of them are either primitive by today’s standards while others are buggy and laden with malware.
The Best Screen Recorder Apps for Windows
All in all, the aforementioned 8 software are indeed the best screen recording software for Windows that you can install on your PC. So, what do you think about our selection of the best screen recording software for Windows? Did we miss any ‘truly productive’ alternative? Do let us know in the comments section below, and also tell whether the list helped you in downloading that perfect software for your screen activity recording needs.