12 Best Free Video Editing Software in 2023 (Pros/Cons)

Overhead photo of person holding a tablet with video editing software in the screen.

It's no secret that great video editing software can help you produce professional grade videos for platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Vimeo, or YouTube.

If you're a content marketer you'll know that well-produced product videos are a more engaging form of media than photographs alone and can reduce a customer’s hesitation in making a purchase. 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best free video editing software from around the web, as well as a few with affordable paid versions. Each videographer has their own specific needs, so we’ve run down some of the most useful features as well as pros and cons of each tool.

    12 best free video editing software

    1. HitFilm Express
    2. Lightworks
    3. iMovie
    4. VideoPad
    5. DaVinci Resolve
    6. VSDC Free Video Editor
    7. OpenShot
    8. Shotcut
    9. Windows Video Editor
    10. Vimeo Create
    11. KineMaster
    12. Movie Maker Online

    1. HitFilm Express

    Best overall free video editing software program


    HitFilm express video editing software
    HitFilm Express


    G2 ⭐ rating: 4.5/5

    Available for: Mac and Windows

    Price: Free; $349 for the Pro version

    Watermark: No 

    If you don’t have a lot of experience with video editing, HitFilm may feel a little advanced at first—it’s used to produce Hollywood-style films—but it’s worth the learning curve, as it’s one of the best all-in-one free video editors available. (HitFilm does ask you to share a social media status update when you download the software, but that’s a small price to pay.)

    HitFilm includes animation tools that let you create and edit audio and video transitions without the need to create composite shots, which is a huge time saver when editing. It also offers cool 3D effects for films, music videos, and even YouTube videos, plus features you’d find in a paid video editing software, like 4K video, 360-degree editing, and a library of special effects. 

    Features include:

    • Professional video editing with motion tracking, color pickers, and cropping tools
    • Composite shot enhancements that allow you to animate two separate shots together for surreal video effects
    • An auto-stabilizer to make shaky footage look smooth
    • Unlimited video and audio timeline track creation
    • An adaptive trimmer that lets you re-trim your clips after adding them to the timeline
    • Ability to copy a group of attributes from one clip and apply them directly to another or to a whole project
    • Audio mixer for fine-tuning sound for professional quality output
    • Various transition options, such as push, zoom, and dissolve

    2. Lightworks

    Best for powerful features, with limited free version


    Lightworks video editor


    G2 ⭐ rating: 3.5/5 

    Available for: Windows, Mac, and Linux

    Price: Free; $24.99 per month for Pro version

    Watermark: No

    Lightworks includes a simple and intuitive interface, so it’s easy to pick up. It also offers a collection of detailed video tutorials, making it one of the more accessible and easy to learn Linux video editing software options on this list.

    Lightworks has a suite of original stock videos and music clips licensed for use in any videos you edit on the program, letting you give a polished look to any marketing video.

    Features include:

    • High-quality simple trim functions for fast and precise video editing
    • Speed optimization, letting you continue to edit while importing new content
    • Multicam editing for syncing clips from multiple cameras
    • Real-time team project sharing with full control over which user has editing access
    • Easy sharing of videos, with fast export to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Instagram
    • Support for a wide range of video formats

    3. iMovie

    Best free video editing software for Mac users


    iMovie video editor


    G2 ⭐ rating: 4.3/5 

    Available for: Mac

    Price: Free

    Watermark: No 

    Popular standby iMovie comes bundled with Mac OS. Like many native Apple apps, iMovie is uncomplicated and uses a simple drag-and-drop interface for moving files from your drive to your workstation. It’s an easy way to build powerful videos to boost your YouTube marketing efforts. 

    A big advantage to iMovie is that files are saved on Apple’s cloud, meaning you can work on your project interchangeably on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. iMovie is constantly being updated as well, so you can always look forward to new features and improvements.

    Features include:

    • Support for 4K resolution, allowing users to create cinema-quality films
    • Cloud-storage functionality that allows you to work on the same project from your iPad, iPhone, and Mac
    • Dozens of studio-quality title animations for professional-looking credits
    • Stylish, contemporary video filters built for specific film genres, such as Western and sci-fi
    • Built-in music, sound effects, and voiceover recording so your sound and picture editing are always consolidated
    • Speed controls that let you make high-octane action scenes faster and sports highlights slower

    4. VideoPad

    Best free video editing software for beginners


    Screenshot of VideoPad a free video editing software


    G2 ⭐ rating: 4.1/5 

    Available for: Mac, Windows

    Price: Free

    Watermark: No

    VideoPad is a great option for anyone who wants to create high-quality videos without spending a dime. With VideoPad, you’ll find all kinds of simple and easy-to-use features—such as 3D video editing and a sound effects library—to try different video compositions and styles. 

    You can edit your videos with special effects, overlays, texts, and transition, as well as use color adjustment and sound effects. Then export your finished video to YouTube, Facebook, Google Drive, and other mobile devices, quickly and easily. 

    The only drawback is that it may be too simple for advanced video editors. It doesn’t come with as many advanced features as some of the other free video editing software on this list, but with options to add light effects, fine tune colors, and overlay text and images, there’s enough here to make it worth the free download.

    Features include:

    • Double built-in screen (one to preview selected clips, one to preview complete sequence) for easy and intuitive editing
    • Pre-made customizable transitions for polished professionalism
    • Exporting presets to easily create video files optimized for specific platforms—such as Facebook and YouTube—and post them directly from within the software
    • Social media sharing and publishing tools to share videos online instantly
    • A large library of video transitions and visual effects to customize videos
    • Video optimization tools, such as stabilization 

    5. DaVinci Resolve

    Top free video editor for advanced editors


    DaVinci Resolve video editor
    DaVinci Resolve


    G2 ⭐ rating: 4.6/5 

    Available for: Windows, Mac, and Linux

    Price: Free; $269 for the full Studio version

    Watermark: No

    DaVinci Resolve combines professional 8K editing, color correction, visual effects, and audio post-production in a single production tool, which is why it’s the software of choice for many professional editors of films, television shows, and commercials.

    DaVinci allows for both offline and online editing, and its high-performance playback engine saves time when editing and trimming—even for processor-intensive file formats like H.264 and RAW. DaVinci Resolve’s complex features may be too extensive for some users, but its free version is perfect for more advanced projects.

    Features include:

    • Dual timeline for quick navigation, cutting, and trimming
    • A dedicated trim interface that gives you the ability to edit in minute detail
    • Intelligent auto-editing that syncs audio and video clips for you
    • Built-in tools for picture-in-picture effects, retiming, stabilization, dynamic zoom, text, and audio
    • Facial recognition that detects faces in your clips and automatically creates bins based on the people in each shot
    • High-quality motion estimation speed changes and frame rate conversions to easily and realistically speed up or slow down clips

    6. VSDC Free Video Editor

    Best no watermark editor for Windows


    VSDC free video editor


    G2 ⭐ rating: 4/5 

    Available for: Windows

    Price: Free; $19.99 for Pro version

    Watermark: No

    VSDC’s desktop video editing software is available as both a free and a paid version. Although the free version has reduced features, it still comes with VSDC’s full video editing suite—including a mask tool and chroma key functionality for green-screen video effects. VSDC is a popular editing software for GoPro footage.

    If you have the funds to spring for the full version, the suite of tools expands to include video stabilization, robust post-production effects, slideshow/presentation capabilities, 3D diagram templates, and direct social media publishing.

    Features include: 

    • Color-correction tools for a more professional look
    • A full suite of transitional effects
    • Easy-to-use image filters, similar to what you’d find on Instagram
    • Mask tools for hiding, blurring, or highlighting specific elements
    • Social media link for sharing videos on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Vimeo
    • HEVC/H.265 (an advanced video-compression standard), for maintaining the highest quality at the minimum file size—essential for processing 4K and HD files

    7. OpenShot

    The easiest free video editing software for intermediate editors


    OpenShot free video editor


    G2 ⭐ rating: 4.5/5 

    Available for: Windows, Mac, and Linux

    Price: Free

    Watermark: No

    OpenShot’s easy-to-use user interface makes it a great video editing program for intermediate editors. While more complex tools may offer more editing components, OpenShot’s intuitive interface and minimal design are perfect for simple editing.

    OpenShot is an efficient option for small businesses and is best for clip resizing, scaling, trimming, snapping, and rotation. It also offers credit scrolling, frame stepping, time mapping, audio editing, and real-time preview.

    Features include:

    • Unlimited layers for watermarks, background videos, and audio tracks
    • Customizable title-card templates
    • Drag-and-drop functionality for easily adding video, audio, or image files
    • Digital video effects, including brightness, gamma, hue, greyscale, and chroma key compositing for green-screen effects
    • Powerful key-frame animation capabilities for creating animated videos

    8. Shotcut

    Best open-source movie maker for audiophiles


    shotcut movie maker open source


    G2 ⭐ rating: 4.2/5 

    Available for: Windows, Mac, and Linux

    Price: Free

    Watermark: No

    Shotcut is an open-source, cross-platform video editor with a vast collection of tutorial videos. It also supports a wide range of formats, including FFmpeg, 4K, ProRes, and DNxHD. A warning, however: Shotcut was originally designed for Linux, so some may find the interface a little quirky. Despite this, it’s still a top-notch editor.

    Shotcut also provides extensive audio editing options, making it ideal for audiophiles. Its host of fine-tuning audio tools allows users to make bass and treble adjustments, create bandpass filters, adjust gain, add dynamic compression, and much more. 

    Features include:

    • Support for the latest audio and video formats via FFmpeg, the leading multimedia framework
    • Native timeline editing, which allows users to import video files directly into their project file rather than a media library
    • Multiformat timeline for mixing and matching resolutions and frame rates within a project
    • Advanced audio filters like balance, bass and treble, bandpass filters, compressor, and more
    • Support for AV1 decoding and encoding

    9. Windows Video Editor

    Best video editing software for Windows 10


    windows video editor
    Windows Video Editor


    G2 ⭐ rating: n/a

    Available for: Windows

    Price: Free

    Watermark: No

    Microsoft’s built-in editor, Windows Video Editor, is a convenient software for people looking to go back to basics. It’s great for making quick edits to short video clips you need ready right away. Windows Video Editor is more a photo editor, but offers the basic editing tools like cropping, trimming, and including text or audio. Included with Windows 10 and up, Video Editor is completely free and is good for basic video enhancement. 

    Features include:

    • Auto-preview tool for edits and effects
    • Auto-movie options for creating customizable cuts of your video clips
    • Animation tab to easily add music, titles, and credits
    • 3D effects section with minimal customization 
    • Easy to use for novice users working in Windows 

    10. Vimeo Create

    Best AI video editing software app


    Vimeo create editor
    Vimeo Create


    G2 ⭐ rating: n/a

    Available for: iOS and Android

    Price: Free; Pro and Business subscriptions start at $7 per month.

    Watermark: No

    Vimeo Create, a free editing software you can connect directly to your Shopify store, automatically turns your existing product images and text into polished ecommerce videos. No video experience needed.

    All you have to do is answer a few questions about your product, add your footage and logo, and choose style customizations. Vimeo Create then automatically edits your video in minutes (though you can also choose your own styles or start from scratch). The AI software even suggests colors, themes, music, and fonts. 

    It’s especially useful for creating videos at scale (if you, say, start a channel for your business in an effort to make money on YouTube and want to streamline the creation process). Vimeo is a popular video software solution with over 200 million users. Because Vimeo is an all-in-one solution, you can also manage, host, and distribute all your videos from one place, streamlining your workflow.

    Features include:

    • More than 1,000 templates to choose from
    • Facial recognition, filters, effects, and auto-cropping
    • Professional auto-editing ability
    • Ability to share videos across marketing channels
    • Unlimited high-quality stock images with iStock integration
    • Library of commercially licensed music to choose from

    11. KineMaster

    The best free video editing app for mobile




    G2 ⭐ rating: n/a

    Available for: iOS, Android, Chromebook

    Price: Free; $3.99/month for paid plan

    Watermark: Yes

    If you’re a video editor on the go, consider KineMaster for your go-to software. This free (subscription model optional) yet powerful video editing app is perfect for mobile devices. With KineMaster, you can easily shoot footage, edit it, and upload it all from your phone or tablet. Mobile editors usually sacrifice advanced tools to simplify video creation, but KineMaster does the opposite. 

    With KineMaster, you can cut, splice, crop, and combine videos easily, with more than 2,500 downloadable transitions and effects. Use color filters and adjustments to correct and enhance videos so they stand out. And when you’re finished, quickly share them to YouTube, TikTok, Reels, Stories, and more. 


    • Asset store to download effects, soundtracks, stickers, fonts, and more
    • Backup and sharing abilities to keep video projects safe
    • Eight blending options to create artistic video effects 
    • Reverse tool to make focal shifts, in-camera transitions, and other edits easy
    • Edit and export 4K videos at 60 fps

    12. Movie Maker Online

    Best online video editor 


    Screenshot of movie maker online video editing software
    Movie Maker Online


    G2 ⭐ rating: n/a

    Available for: Browser

    Price: Free

    Watermark: No

    Movie Maker Online is the best browser-based video editor to date. It’s a cost-effective tool for people that want to create videos, but there are some drawbacks. The tool is supported by ads, so you’ll have to navigate around them to edit your videos. It also has a 10-minute maximum duration, which should be sufficient for the standard free user.

    The interface also has some quirks. The video and audio timelines are positioned vertically, instead of horizontally like traditional video editors. It’s a bit challenging to get used to at first. However, it’s easily accessible on multiple devices because it’s completely browser based. 

    Movie Maker Online gives you all the basics you need to make a video for free. You also get access to free music, videos, and photos, which is a nice bonus. 


    • Free, browser-based video editor
    • Royalty free music, photos, and sound effects
    • Ideal for quickly trimming, combining, and adjusting videos 
    • Built-in support 

    Free Reading List: Video Marketing Tips and Tricks

    Video marketing is a powerful tool you can’t afford to ignore. Get a crash course with our free, curated list of high-impact articles.

    How to choose a video editor

    There’s a lot of desktop-based editing software available for businesses looking to create promotional videos. The biggest advantage of free video editing software for desktops is that they tend to have more features than most mobile video editing apps.

    Whether you’re editing videos for YouTube or TikTok, here are some considerations to keep in mind:

    • User experience. Another thing to consider is how easy it is to learn the software. Look for software that has express editing modes so you can edit videos in your preferred style quickly. Templates are also a bonus. A good editing software will also have tutorials so you can learn the features and excel.
    • Editing features. Check to see if your software of choice has powerful video editing tools that will impress viewers. For example, if you’re using drone footage, you’ll want an editing software that can enhance and add effects to video. Maybe you need chroma key editing or color grading, or more advanced features like 360-degree editing. 
    • Hidden costs. Some video editors are “free”, but only work well if you pay more money to access better features. Completely free editing software may have limited file format support, poor performance, or other limitations. The software you want to consider should meet all your basic editing needs without added fees. 
    • Support. Customer support is always helpful when you’re new to video editing. If you have a question about a feature, it’s nice to have somewhere to get answers. Check if your software has support services like email/phone support, FAQs, or community forums where you can get help from real humans. 
    • Export options. Where will you publish videos? Be sure your video editing software is capable of outputting high-quality video in popular formats, so you can upload videos to your social channels with ease. 
    • Requirements. Some programs are only available for certain computer types. For example, not every software on this list may work with Google Chromebook. Before investing time into a software, make sure it’s compatible with whatever desktop you use. 


    Now that you know your options in finding the best free video editing software, you can start testing them out. While each option comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, hopefully, you now have a better idea of which option is best for your level of video production.

    Videos consistently are proven to receive more engagement on average across all social media platforms than pictures or text posts. A professional, well-made video will help capture the attention of your audience and develop your brand’s personality.

    With so many options to choose from, there’s no limit to the creative potential of your video content.

    Learn more: YouTube algorithm


    Free video editing software FAQ

    What is video editing software?

    Video editing software refers to tools that help businesses successfully edit, modify, generate, or manipulate a video or movie file. You can cut and arrange video to give it a better flow, remove sections, and add effects to improve the video. Companies, regardless of size, can benefit from a good video editor to create powerful video content.

    What do most YouTubers use to edit videos?

    1. Adobe Premiere Pro
    2. Final Cut Pro X
    3. Adobe After Effects
    4. Lightworks
    5. Freemake
    6. iMovie
    7. Shotcut

    What is the easiest software to edit videos?

    1. Movavi Video Editor Plus
    2. Pinnacle Studio
    3. Apple iMovie
    4. Lumen5
    5. HitFilm 4 Express
    6. Blender
    7. Nero Video