Best free video editing software (2024)

Woman using free video editing software on laptop
Videoredigering- De bedste gratis programmer i 2022 (Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best free video editing software puts professional post-production tools into everyone’s hands at zero cost. 

You don’t need to invest in the best video editing software to make a movie, learn how to edit, or create unmissable clips for social media. You can find loads of editing apps packing Hollywood-grade post-production tools - and they’re totally free. Some of our picks have even been used to cut big-screen movies, TV shows, and top YouTube channels. 

Like the best video editing software for beginners and mobile video editing apps, free video editors are great when you’re starting out, working to a budget, or just trying something new. To help you find the right one for you, we’ve tested out the best free video editing software. As part of our review process, we’ve explored the user interface and experience, and the full editing process. We’ve also checked extras like built-in VFX software, platform availability, performance, and any pricing upgrades. 

TODAY'S TOP 3 VIDEO EDITORS

Looking for a premium video editor? We’ve tested, reviewed, and rated the best paid-for video editor apps - perfect for professional editing into the home or studio.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Adobe Premiere Pro: best video editor overall 

Adobe Premiere Pro is an industry-standard video editing program that's really easy to use. And it seamlessly integrates with Adobe apps like After Effects, when you subscribe to Creative Cloud. In our 5-star review, we found it’s a stable video editing powerhouse with a huge list of features designed to help you intuitively build professional-grade projects. See our guide How to download Adobe Premiere Pro for free or with Creative Cloud

Cyberlink PowerDirector 365

CyberLink PowerDirector: best value video editor

PowerDirector is a premium video editor that keeps costs low, with lifetime and subscription pricing models. It’s a feature-packed tool that caters to beginners, intermediates and pros alike. Testing the software, we found you can create anything from a simple cut to a really complex project filled with effects, titles, slick transitions and effects.

Apple Final Cut Pro

Apple Final Cut Pro: best video editor for Mac

It may be aimed squarely at the professional end of the market, but Apple Final Cut Pro is an easy video editing software tool, and its 'trackless' timeline is super intuitive. You pay for it once upfront, so it could be very affordable long-term. Reviewing the tool positively, we called it an incredibly powerful piece of video editing software.

Best free video editing software in 2024

DaVinci Resolve free video editing software during our tests with the timeline

(Image credit: Blackmagic Design)
Best free video editing software overall

Specifications

Operating system: Windows, Mac, Linux
Key features: Color grading, VFX software, audio transcription
Best for: Experienced editors, aspiring professionals, prosumers

Reasons to buy

+
Feature-rich and free
+
Integration with VFX tool Fusion
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Multi-platform availability
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Used in professional film & TV production

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be complex for newcomers
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Node-based, which may not be right for some

As the best free video editing software overall, Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve is a tough video editor to beat. Not only for the vast number of features it comes with, from high-end video editing capabilities to a powerful node-based special effects system, extensive color correction features, and professional-level audio tools, but the whole thing is available for free. Yes, you read that right. There are no strings attached. You can download it for Mac, Linux, or Windows, and you’ll owe Blackmagic nothing.

Earning 4.5 stars in our review, we hailed the video editor best for pros and those serious about editing as "incredibly powerful, it’s updated regularly, and to top it all, it’s free. It puts a lot of competing software to shame. The only downside is so much power leads to a complex interface. But if you’re serious about video editing, this shouldn’t overwhelm you."

You can also get the more powerful Resolve Studio for a fee - of $295 for a perpetual license, with all future upgrades free from then on. The software even includes its own VFX software, Fusion - one of the best Adobe After Effects alternatives for designers. 

So what’s stopping everybody from using it? Well, it’s a very complex piece of software that could potentially intimidate newcomers to this profession. But if you’re serious about video editing, you should most definitely take this software out for a spin. You very likely won’t regret it.

Read our full DaVinci Resolve review

Screenshot of Lightworks being used to edit footage of a Tardis

(Image credit: Future)
Best free video editing software for beginners

Specifications

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux
Key features: Cross-platform, drag-and-drop interface, VFX tools
Best for: Social media content creators, marketers

Reasons to buy

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Powerful features and effects
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Highly customizable interface 
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Multi-track editing

Reasons to avoid

-
Steeper learning curve than some 
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Only exports in MPEG format

Lightworks is some of the best free video editing software - and it comes with a bit of a pedigree. Go to their website, and you’ll see how proud they are of the numerous professional feature films that have been cut with it. 

But this is with the Pro version. The Free option offers you the same interface but has a more limited selection of tools. It was something we highlighted in our review, noting that "Lightworks is a great free video editor with numerous tools to satisfy most casual video editors, although if you want more advanced features, you’ll need to pay for the privilege."

Still, don’t let that dissuade you: most of the pro features really are destined for professional users, and if you’re an amateur, enthusiast, or just starting out, you’ll have a great time learning the ropes with it. 

Everything is pretty intuitive, and the new contextual help windows guide you through your first steps effectively.

The only major downside to the free version is an inability to export your finished product beyond 720p. We’d understand if 4K was deemed a pro feature, but 1080p? Really? 

See how a video editor best for beginners and pros stacks up against its premium rival in Adobe Premiere Pro vs Lightworks

Read our full Lightworks review

HitFilm's new interface showing a timeline and preview panel

(Image credit: FXHome)
Best free video editing software for Windows 11

Specifications

Operating system: Windows, macOS
Key features: Transitions, asset library, subtitling
Best for: Filmmakers, content creators, marketers

Reasons to buy

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Professional-grade tools
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Extendable (for a fee)
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Excellent online tutorials

Reasons to avoid

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High system requirements
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Steep learning curve

Top tool HitFilm is powerful, professional, and one of the best free video editing software for Windows 11, Windows 10, and Mac. There are subscription tiers which include higher-end tools, and also grant you access to an extensive media library, 

But you can learn to ignore all the red ‘upgrade’ buttons peppered throughout the interface, and get on with creating your videos.

If you’re new to software for video editing, you’ll appreciate all the tutorials on offer straight from inside one of the best free video editor apps. Existing users will find most of the tools they’re used to, albeit across a revamped interface (and a new name - gone is HitFilm Express, simply replaced with HitFilm).

The only downside we feel with the latest version (2022.1) is that there doesn’t seem to be many new features, or at least many new features that don’t try to entice you to upgrade to one of the subscription tiers. 

Still, that doesn’t take away from the powerful features already present, which you can still use to create simple or impressive videos, all for free. Now that’s a price you can’t beat. The only thing to bear in mind is that HitFilm needs a computer with a bit of oomph, and one of the more recent operating systems, be it Windows or Mac.

Read our full HitFilm review

Free video editor Shotcut showing footage of a harbour during our editing tests

(Image credit: Shotcut)
Best free video editor for filters and effects

Specifications

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux
Key features: Wide format support, up to 8K resolution, webcam capture
Best for: YouTubers, prosumers

Reasons to buy

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Great selection of features, filters, and effects 
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Supports direct streaming
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Makes it easy to import media

Reasons to avoid

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Spartan interface
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Voiceover tool repeatedly crashed

One of the best free video editing software tools that's open-source and multiplatform is Shotcut.

Many of the best free video editor apps can leave a lot to be desired, adding veracity to the old adage that “you get what you pay for”. Shotcut however bucks that trend. Yes there are a few niggling glitches and design decisions, but that’s true for any software - paid or free.

While testing the software, our review praised it as "a strong contender in the video editing field, Shotcut might not wow you with a dazzling interface, but everything you need to edit a simple video is right there for the taking."

As it currently stands, Shotcut is a very robust and stable video editing package (it only crashed on us when trying the newest VoiceOver feature). And it's packed with numerous features, including markers, time remapping and a generous use of keyframing abilities. Having said that, during our own tests on Mac, the voiceover tool repeatedly crashed. From what we understand of the implementation, it feels a little convoluted. But we’d choose convoluted over crashes any day.

The interface itself is pretty flexible, allowing you to move sections around and even turn them into floating windows - essentially it will try its best to help you work the way you like to. If you’re in the market for a top free video editor, certainly give this one a go.

Read our full Shotcut review

Limited VFX options in ACDSee Luxea Video Editor

(Image credit: ACDSee)
Best for serious beginners and intermediates

Specifications

Operating system: Windows
Key features: Keyframing, support for 4K, screen and webcam recording
Best for: Beginners, content creators

Reasons to buy

+
 Accessible and easy to use 
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 Great for beginners and intermediate users 
+
 Advanced video editing and VFX tools 

Reasons to avoid

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Windows-only
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 Free version adds intro and outro to videos 
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 Not powerful enough for professionals 

While ACDSee has a long and storied history with a host of creative apps, its free video editing software for Windows 11, Windows 10, and Mac might not be on your radar. But it should be. 

Luxea Video Editor is one of the most accessible video editing software tools on the market. It likely won’t suffice for professional videographers and editors, who may swiftly outgrow the software. But it’s perfect for beginners and intermediates who need to create great-looking, professional videos and social media content fast. 

However, that low barrier to entry is deceptive. Under the hood, Luxea is absolutely packed with advanced features, from stock design assets to VFX tools and color grading. And, like the main tool, these are incredibly simple to apply to your footage, even if you’ve never tried it before. Luxea might not deliver Hollywood-grade tools - no Best Picture winner is likely to be created here - but their inclusion and operation is very impressive for a free video editor. 

We also found ACDSee’s offering excelled at video editing on low-end PCs and laptops. System requirements are fairly low, and we had no trouble with the tool when we tested it on a basic home laptop. 

The free version retains all the features of the premium, paid-for upgrades (available on a monthly/annual subscription, or a lifetime license). The only downside is that Luxea adds an intro and outro to all exported videos.

Read our full ACDSee Luxea Video Editor review 

Editing videos in Clipchamp, Microsoft's free video editor with stock footage of flowers

(Image credit: Microsoft)
Best free online video editor

Specifications

Operating system: Web, Windows
Key features: Green screen, stock asset library, resizer, browser-based
Best for: Social media content creators, marketers, beginners

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Browser-based
+
Loads of templates
+
Free, no watermarks

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as powerful as some editors
-
Can lack fine-tune control

Clipchamp is a free online video editor - so you can run it in your browser without needing some heavy duty video editing PC. A Windows desktop app is also available. 

The Microsoft-owned app is a seriously easy-to-use tool. It takes more than a few UI design cues from Canva, and that’s no bad thing. It’s largely built for those new to the art of editing, and those who need to crank out fresh content fast. Editing is simple - if you’ve never tried video editing before, it’s a strong place to start. But there’s multi-track support for more complex projects. 

Clipchamp’s real magic is in its templates. This makes it really simple to cook up videos for just about every social media platform - worth a look if you’re in marketing, or a content creator. Especially since videos aren’t watermarked and support full HD exports. You can even create GIFs with videos less than 15 seconds. 

The stock libraries are full of image, video, and music assets, but to get the gold, you’ll need a monthly or annual subscription. The software lacks the power to take on full-fat video editors. And it can be difficult gaining granular control over projects. But for anyone boosting their video output quickly and efficiently, Clipchamp has a lot going for it. 

Read our full Clipchamp review 

Testing Apple iMovie video editing software, featuring footage of a Cyberman

(Image credit: Apple)
Best for Mac users

Specifications

Operating system: Mac, iOS
Key features: Transitions, effects, audio library
Best for : Beginners, marketers

Reasons to buy

+
Seamless integration with iMovie for iOS and Final Cut Pro
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Compatible with iPhone 13’s Cinematic mode
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Great for those new to video editing
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Free

Reasons to avoid

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Mac-only
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Features not updated often enough

Apple iMovie for Mac used to be a great piece of free video editor app for consumers with little to no knowledge of video editing. But the feature list that made this true, has remained virtually static for years, and that’s become its biggest drawback: it’s been too long since iMovie's last major update.

Of course you can still edit your videos with it, using its sleek and simple interface, and its compatibility with iMovie for iOS and even Final Cut Pro makes it possible to start editing on your phone, and seamlessly continue to your Mac. That’s a big selling point, but is it enough?

The video editing software is free for all Mac users, and if you’re curious about the art, you can do so much worse. But you can also do better.

See how the program compares to Apple's pro tool in our guide Apple iMovie vs Apple Final Cut Pro.

Read our full Apple iMovie review

Adobe Premiere Rush video editing app being used to create a social media video

(Image credit: Adobe)
Best free app for mobile and desktop video editing

Specifications

Operating system: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Key features: Desktop and mobile, motion graphics, color correction, Adobe integration
Best for: Social media content creators, YouTubers, beginners

Reasons to buy

+
Really simple to use
+
Multi-platform availability
+
Plays nicely with other Adobe apps

Reasons to avoid

-
Premium features paywalled behind subscription
-
Not all tools available on all platforms

Adobe Premiere Rush is a fun useful tool if you’re in the market for the best free video editing software for Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android.

On the free Premiere Rush starter plan, you can create and share as many videos as you like, but you're limited to the free features. Premium features are locked away behind a paid-for Creative Cloud subscription. 

As you'd expect from Adobe, whose industry-standard Premiere Pro has grown to define the bar for modern video editors, using Premiere Rush is a sleek, simple experience. In our hands-on review, we noted the video app "sports a nice, clean interface with very simple editing features. A snappy clipper that's perfect for making short videos for social media." 

And that's the main appeal of Adobe Premiere Rush - the clue is in the name. The video editing tool is designed to work across multiple platforms: start on an iPhone, continue on a PC, polish on Android, and fine-tune on a Mac. 

As everything is stored online, you can easily jump from one device to another (as long as they’re linked to the same Creative Cloud account, of course). This offers great flexibility and an efficient workflow. If you upgrade to the full experience, you'll find a good range of tools, from color correction to titles, overlays, transitions, and even time remapping. Think of it like Adobe’s answer to Apple’s iMovie, and you won’t be far off. 

We'd like to see more features rolled out for free users. And we were baffled when we discovedred that certain tools are locked to certain platforms. For instance, you get a contextual menu to edit clips in your timeline, but only on an iOS device. 

But overall, we can't complain. It’s easy to use, with a simple interface, and pricing options are clear. The tool is only marred by the occasional odd glitch we encountered when a clip refused to be deselected for some reason, preventing us from selecting another to make changes to it. Although frustrating, restarting the app fixed that, and we only encountered it twice while trying the software out.

Read our full Adobe Premiere Rush review

Canva Video's free video editing software during our test and review session

(Image credit: Canva)
Best free video editor for slideshows and social media clips

Specifications

Operating system: Web, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Key features: Drag-and-drop interface, animations, screen recorder
Best for: Social media content creators, marketers

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly simple to master
+
Decent library of stock designs and elements
+
Perfect for influencers, social media managers, and content marketers

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a full-fat video editor
-
Limited effects and output formats
-
Clunky workflow on larger projects

Canva Video is deliciously simple free video editing software ideal for marketing teams, small businesses, and online influencers looking to cut clips in seconds. It’s not a fully fledged free video editor, like DaVinci Resolve or Lightworks - don’t expect Hollywood-level editing tools, features, and effects here. You can only export movies to MP4 and GIF for a start. 

What Canva Video excels at is helping beginners (or those in a serious rush) create professional-looking short videos and social media assets that can be shared with ease. The interface is near-identical to the company’s popular online graphic design tool, which relies on dragging, dropping, and resizing pre-built, customizable elements onto the canvas. If you’ve so much as glanced at editing software in the last twenty years, you’ll be fairly familiar with the layout and operation (in some ways, it reminded us of a modern version of Windows Movie Maker). 

The free video editor app won’t satisfy experienced editors or those in need of the industry-standard powers of Premiere Pro or Final Cut. It’s far too basic to deliver those results, even with a Pro or Enterprise subscription. But as a quick and dirty tool for creating visual media and animations for your social networks, it’s one of the best.

Read our full Canva Video review 

Adding icons in Adobe Express free online video editor

(Image credit: Adobe)
Best free video editing software for quick clips

Specifications

Operating system: Web
Key features: Video resizer, merge, format conversion
Best for: Social media content creators, marketers, beginners