The best free online video editor 2017

Video editing was once seen as being a task that required high end computers running dedicated software, but we've now reached a point where even this can be achieved online.

Of course, we're not talking about creating the next Pixar-beating blockbuster online, but you'd still be amazed at what it is possible to do with web-based video editors.

The quality of browser-based tools varies greatly, so here we've picked out the best online editors available today. Selecting the best tool will often be a case of seeing which closest meets your needs, so we've included a mixture of very basic and more advanced options.

Looking for a more powerful movie-making tool that you can use offline? Take a look at our guide to the best free desktop video editors.

Its interface is unusual, but Movie Maker Online is a fantastic video editing tool. Upload images and video clips, apply filters and effects, add titles and text, and save the results in MP4 format

1. Movie Maker Online

An amazingly flexible online video editor, with royalty-free media to supplement your own movie clips, audio files and images

First, a word of warning: Movie Maker Online is funded by ads that you might find distracting, and you'll have to deactivate any ad-blocking plugins you have installed before you can use it.

That said, Movie Maker Online is an excellent tool, and it's only fair that its developers are reimbursed for their work. Movie Maker Online lets you upload video, images and music, and combine them into a project by dragging and dropping them onto a timeline. The page layout is a little strange, so you'll need to scroll down a little way to find it.

You can crop uploaded videos, and there are numerous filters available to give them a new look. Movie Maker Online provides fade options for both audio and video too, as well as text overlays, transitions and more.

There's even a selection of royalty-free images and music files that you can use to help complete your project.

It just might take you a while to find your way around the system of menus and you can only export your finished projects in MP4 format, but this is a minor complaint. Movie Maker Online is the best video editor for your browser.

Try it here: Movie Maker Online

Even if you don't want to share your videos publicly, YouTube Video Editor's toolkit makes it easy to combine and optimize clips via a timeline-based interface

2. YouTube Video Editor

YouTube's own video editor isn't as powerful as Movie Maker Online, but the learning curve isn't as steep and the tools are all well designed

Using YouTube Video Editor doesn't mean that you have to upload your videos for the world to see – you can use the online editing tool by itself, then save your finished movies privately.

Start by uploading your clips to your account, then drag them onto the timeline provided in the editor. You can work with a single clip or create a compilation of several.

The video editing tools are simple but well designed. Options include brightness and contrast adjustment, automatic color correction, image stabilization, rotation and slow motion. There's also a selection of good-looking filters to choose from. You can also add a separate soundtrack and text overlay for a professional finishing touch.

It's not as packed with features as Movie Maker Online (above), but it's great for simple projects and you'll be pleased to learn that video processing is very fast.

YouTube Video Editor

ClipChamp's video processing is fast, its tools are easy to use, and it offers options for both instant online sharing and downloading to your desktop

3. ClipChamp

The free version of this online video editor lacks some advanced features, but it's easy to use and is a good choice for simple movie-making tasks

ClipChamp strikes a good balance between power and usability, and might be just the tool for you if Movie Maker Online and YouTube Video Editor (above) offer more options and settings than you're likely to need.

ClipChamp has premium tiers starting at US$7 per month (about £5, AU$9), but a free account still gives you plenty of editing tools a few limitations. You can create more than five videos a month, a maximum resolution of 1080p, and videos can be no longer than five minutes. That might sound quite restrictive, but if you only want to tweak one or two files, it's no hardship.

You can either upload a video you've already recorded or use your webcam to capture new footage. Either method works well, and once your footage is in ClipChamp, you'll have ready access to tools including trimming, cropping, flipping, rotating and brightness/contrast adjustment.

Processing is fast, and you can share the results online or download the video to use in other projects. Simple, but it gets the job done. 

Try it here: ClipChamp

If you have a lot of footage to tackle, VideoToolbox is the online video editor for you. It offers fewer options than some of its rivals, but supports huge files

4. VideoToolbox

Upload and edit up to 1GB of footage in your web browser, and download the finished video in a format of your choice

You can upload up to 1GB of video footage to VideoToolbox, which is very generous  – though expect to wait quite a while for larger files to upload.

You also have the option of working with online video from a number of sites, including YouTube, saving you the fuss of downloading them separately.

The range of editing options available in VideoToolbox is a little limited compared Movie Maker Online or YouTube video editor, but for certain tasks it's ideal. You can convert videos between formats, join multiple clips together, add a custom watermark, embed or extract subtitles, and trim unwanted footage.

The interface makes some tasks a little tricky and longwinded to complete, but Video Toolbox is well worth a look if you have a particularly large video to edit.

Try it here: VideoToolbox

Online Video Cutter is available as a browser extension, which is incredibly convenient for quick video editing tasks. It also lets you upload and edit a generous 500MB of footage

5. Online Video Cutter

If some of the tools above look confusing, check out Online Video Cutter. It's simple to use, and is available as a handy Chrome extension

Despite the name, Online Video Cutter is about more than just cutting up videos. The site lets you upload files up to 500MB in size, or work with clips stored on Google Drive or other online service. 

You can then opt to trim away unwanted footage, and crop in if you have taken too wide a shot. There's a rotate function for footage accidentally shot with your phone on its side, and there's even a Chrome extension available so you can access the editing tools more easily.

When you're happy with the edits you've made, you can take your pick from a variety of popular video formats and choose lower a quality setting if you need to minimize file size.

There may not be many video editing on offer here, but the site is beautifully set out and everything is nicely streamlined, making it a joy to use.

Try it here: Online Video Cutter